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.