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Gov. Brown may shorten high school science requirement

May 23, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Governor Jerry Brown is talking about cutting down the science requirements in high schools to save money, which has some students concerned about how they will get into California colleges.

The California finalists for Intel's Science Competition have developed truly amazing things after beginning their projects in high school.

The genetic test James Thomas of San Jose generated will be helpful.

"I created a model that actually has 92 percent accuracy in predicting the on-set of alcoholism in individuals," said Thomas.

The technology Jessica Richeri of Riverside developed will change the way we drive.

"My research finds a way to avoid traffic jams in the future with an autonomous robotic vehicle," she said.

Supporters believe this illustrates how innovation can stimulate California's economy and that these kids are tomorrow's job creators. They also say it all begins with STEM: science, technology, education and math.

But because of California's continued budget crisis, the Governor is considering cutting the second year science requirement in high school to save $245 million. For decades, schools have always been reimbursed by the state for teaching a second science class, but Governor Brown wants to move away from state mandates because they're too expensive.

Brown dropped by the science fair and said the cuts mean districts will have to find the money themselves to continue the program.

"I personally went to the school board and said this is a good requirement, but we want the locals to pick up that up. Otherwise, they charge us," he said.

Critics say, though, after years of decreased state funding, schools can barely keep the lights on, let alone pay for science curriculum.

"The problem is, all of this is being done during a time when other states and other countries are boosting their science and technology education to make their students and their population more competitive in this global market," said Matt Gray with the California STEM Learning Network

The other problem is University of California and Cal State both require two years of science for admission. So if you're in a school where you can't take that second class, it'll be tough to get in.

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