Education cuts to impact future of Silicon Valley

May 19, 2010 5:22:20 PM PDT
Silicon Valley companies are stepping up to help students being hurt by drastic cuts in education.

They are worried about the future of technology in California if the next generation of students does not get the help it needs.

Kraig Williams works for Cisco Systems. This summer, once again, he will volunteer helping 7th graders with pre-algebra.

"I wanted a way to give back to the community," he says. "Certainly, the science and the math are areas that tend to be lacking where students tend to be falling behind, especially in this state."

The program, called "Stepping Up To Algebra" is offered for three weeks in the summer to students from underserved communities in the Silicon Valley. Last year, there were 450 kids enrolled. This summer, 1,200 will take advantage of the free program.

It is these kinds of programs that companies in the Silicon Valley, like Cisco and Cadence Design Systems, are investing in, especially now that schools are experiencing major budget cuts.

"All these cuts are going to have a severe impact on student performance. They are going to go to school less time. They're going to have less intervention. They're going to have less support," Williams says.

The Silicon Valley Education Foundation works with companies in Silicon Valley and 400 schools in Santa Clara County, all with the common goal of funding schools and programs like "STEM."

"Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. I think that's so important. Even if you don't end up becoming an engineer, those subjects are so important to your future," Kathy Wheeler of Cadence Design Systems says.

It is also important to the future of Silicon Valley. On Wednesday, educators and business leaders talked about the impact the state budget cuts are having on education.

"The business community needs to say this pipeline is here and it's going to produce the workforce we need," says John Porter with the Franklin McKinley School District. "They don't have to go to India or go to China to find the workforce. It's right here."

The Silicon Valley Education Foundation managed to raise $4 million. They know they will need more money, more programs and volunteers to inspire tomorrow's innovators.


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