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Growing scientists

Published June 1, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

In "Utah's STEM problem" (Opinion, May 25), Matt Berry, CEO of Sandy-based Orca Health, complains about the STEM problem in Utah — that we do not have enough college graduates in science, technology, engineering and math who are legal residents of the U.S. to staff his company. He asserts we need more visas to allow immigration for foreign workers with these skill sets.

People do not graduate with a masters degree in engineering without first singing the alphabet song in kindergarten. People rarely do doctoral-level research in genetics or nuclear physics without first passing calculus in high school.

Which makes me wonder. When was the last time Berry wrote an impassioned article demanding that Utah significantly increase funding for public schools? When was the last time he went to the Legislature and demanded that his own taxes be increased, that we all make a bigger commitment to education, so we can have high school math and science classes with 15 students instead of 40?

We are not going to have enough scientists in 2020 or 2030 unless we make a better commitment to education now.

Fred Hightower

Salt Lake City