What follows is an open letter to Brooklyn Technical HS principal. As many of you know, I have always been a huge supporter of my alma mater. I learned many good lessons and met phenomenal people at BTHS. However, I see changes that are almost never good for under represented people in the sciences and technology.
I can appreciate that Mr. Asher is quite busy, but I would hope that he would eventually respond to my scribe.
I hope this brief scribe has found you in the best of spirits.
Hopefully, you will have a chance to get away during the down months of
the academic year.
This communication is in response to a letter which you wrote to BTHS
alumni. I am a Technite (or Tech head) graduate of 1985 (Mechanical
Engineering), a by-product of the Matthew Mandery administration. Your
letter was particularly compelling as it spoke of "karma" and "kindred
spirits." Yes, I do believe in karma. In fact, during Homecoming 2005
there was quite enough good karma to go around, it was great talking
with Sciabarra, Henry Jackson and some of the other instructors who were
instrumental in helping me mature as a student. I still remember the
wayward foundry, technical drawing and many other classes.
One other notable was the decreasing numbers of African-American
students. During my Tech tenure, I seem to recall a school community
that while it did not exactly mirror the Fort Greene section (circa 85')
demographics, the numbers were probably at 33%. Now these numbers have
dropped significantly. It concerns me deeply. I trust that it concerns
you as well. The question is quite simple. What are we doing to combat
this dilemma? I recently read an article in the NY Times which talked
about the steep decline of African-American students in our specialized
high schools in NYC.
I wrote a short essay on my thoughts on the article here
While I know this a very complex issue, I do expect that your very
knowledgeable team of knowledge workers are deeply engaged in attempting
to stem the tide.
Lastly, I recently completed a very interesting text entitled the "World
is Flat", written by Thomas L. Friedman. His premise is that the age of
the global economy has ushered in a new 'flatness' which will forever
change how Americans will do business and achieve in the global
marketplace. He spoke of a "new middle", that is a new middle class and
he also painstakingly described the methods by which we can counter and
prepare our youth for these rapid changes.
While I'm concerned for all current and future Tech students, I'm
particularly consumed by the plight of our under-represented students.
Mr. Asher how are you preparing to engage these at risk students for the
As I close, I wrote a similar, but less detailed letter to your
predecessor, Mr. McCaskill, but received no response. I do hope that you
can spare a few minutes from your very busy schedule to reply in kind.