We have long advocated the retention of extracurricular activities for our students, even in tough economic times such as these.
The programs provide opportunities for young people to learn and grow in ways they wouldn’t roaming the streets or staring at televisions or computer screens. Extracurricular programs are particularly vital in a mostly poor area such as ours, where opportunities to expand horizons often are limited.
Time Warner Cable in Connect a Million Minds, which promotes science, technology, engineering and math education. Students competed for awards this week with the projects they completed during this year’s program.
As ECESD Superintendent Bob Pletka said, Connect a Million Minds focuses on teaching 21st century skills and also provides training in collaboration, critical thinking and creativity. Caught up in standards-based curriculum and often surrounded by knuckleheaded peers, such skills often go undeveloped or underdeveloped in many students during the regular school day.
But in afterschool programs, such development can and does happen. Many students involved in these ventures gain a love for learning they wouldn’t otherwise gain.
Cable television companies and newspapers often are rivals, as they regularly compete for the same advertising dollars, but we have nothing but praise for Time Warner Cable and Connect a Million Minds. Along with donating $11,000 to the local Connect a Million Minds effort, cable company employees volunteered more than 100 hours to work with the El Centro students. We would surmise adults and adolescents alike benefited from the collaboration.
What we like most about the Connect a Million Minds program, though, is it promotes creativity, which is one big thing Americans are still valued for worldwide, even with our education system becoming more rigid in the past couple decades.
Anticipated changes in school curricula nationwide may return some creativity to classrooms in coming years. In the meantime, Connect a Million Minds is doing a heck of a job after school.
THE ISSUE: Connect a Million Minds.
WE SAY: It’s developing mental muscles.
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