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State budget cuts mean science could suffer

READ MORE: State budget cuts mean science could suffer
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Budget cuts are scarring many areas around the state... including science, and there’s one science program that's on the chopping block.

"This is about as large of an investment that the state can make in promoting science, technology, engineering and math-related endeavors for children," said Dennis Kubasko, Regional Director for the North Carolina Science Olympiad, a state funded science competition.

Chris Conway is a local volunteer, and although he's partial to the bottle rockets, he said there's a lot of value in the program as a whole. "I think it's pretty important to a good portion of the kids out there who maybe, you know, don't have involvement in other sports. This is their sport."

"Because it has math and math terms and lots of other stuff that you can experiment with stuff and other stuff," said West Pender sixth grader Jose Palos.

Palos competed for the first time this year, lead by his science teacher Sally Turbeville. "It is a global world, and science and mathematics are a part of the global economy, so it helps them prepare."

"A lot of kids, as they go through school, don't see the importance of science and technology. Out here, they actually get to see the physical results of their efforts and doing their research, and actually seeing how things work versus just being told," said Conway.

Governor Bev Perdue just decided to cut the Olympiad's $150,000 funding, but the final budget won't be approved until the summer.

"It's about a $24 million in-kind volunteer effort, so that $150,000 that we desperately need to keep Science Olympiad running for children, we need our legislators and our state representatives to put that back in the budget so that we can keep this going every single year," urged Kabasko.

According to the Programme for International Student Assessment, children in the US rank 25th out of 34 developing countries in math, and 17 out of 34 in science.

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The problem is not just that

The problem is not just that the budget is being cut, but which programs and how much. North Carolina School of Science and Math is being allocated $19Million in the coming year to serve a scant 650 students, while the Science Olympiad program that serves 10,000 students across NC with less than 1% of that is cut entirely. That's a false economy - overspending on the entitlements of a small elite and cutting one of the most cost-effective, broad reaching science and technology programs the state has.

Science Olympiad got it's start in North Carolina - I guess we can be proud that there was once a time when we cared about giving all our students a chance at the future, even if that no longer seems to be the case. What a shame.

Lots of good programs have to suffer

We had ALL better realize that EVERYTHING is going to be cut, and accept that many worthwhile programs will suffer.

That's because your elected "leaders" are too weak to eliminate what truly needs to be gone, Medicaid, WIC, EIC, eternal food stamps, eternal Section 8 housing, and TANF that keeps getting extended and makes a joke out of the word "temporary" in its title. You have no "right" to anything the government must fund by taking money from other people. That is not a right, that's stealing and spreading the booty.

We also need to eliminate governmental funding of all things NOT related to government. Museums and large national or state parks need to start existing on entrance fees. Art councils and public broadcasting need to start tapping the wallets of all those who consider them so absolutely essential.

We also need to get a handle on Medicare spending. We need to start viewing Mediacre in two pahses - 65-75 and 75-EOL. It should exist in its present for during the first phase, but the second phase should see us make a shift to comfort care only. Giving a multiple bypass to an eighty year-old is like putting a new engine in your 1973 Chevy Vega - what goes out next week? The transmission? The brakes?

We need to end the "faked disability" cottage industry of lawyers actually teaching clients how to qualify for early Social Security and seniors how to hide assets to qualify for Medicaid. This is outright fraud and needs to end, now.

...and yes, we need to take a good, hard look at the Department of Defense, to eliminate some of the redundancy and bloat.

Until we recognize what this nation and state have become, how many societal sponges (intentional and unintentional) are sucking us dry, and cut off the gravy train to deadbeats and moochers, we're going to see everything else, everything worthwhile and needed, suffer.

Can We Afford To do This?

When we take in to consideration our low scores in science and math as compared to other countries I think that we can ill afford to let this program go by the wayside. It was an important part of our family life for many years as our daughter participated on the local and state levels. Science Olympiad gave her many things including the study skills need to be successful in college. Are there other areas that can be cut to allow our children the opportunity to excel and catch up with a world that is quickly leaving them behind.