Saturday, December 3, 2022
Dec. 3, 2022

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In Our View: Cheers & Jeers: On-the-job learning; rising rents

The Columbian

Cheers: To “learning” on the job. State schools Superintendent Chris Reykdal has announced a plan to help high school students receive school credit for out-of-school jobs. The idea would allow students to receive one academic credit for 360 hours of employment; 24 credits are required for graduation. The credit can count as an elective, not core curriculum such as math or English.

“Students are saying they’re looking for more connections between where they want to go and what they’re learning,” Reykdal said. “This is about how students choose their time.” Part-time employment can provide life lessons that are just as valuable as book learning, but the program will require effective monitoring. Schools are expected to check with employers to track a student’s progress. If properly implemented, the program makes sense and reflects the fact that education extends beyond the walls of a school building.

Jeers: To an irresponsible gun owner. Somebody reportedly fired a gun at a vehicle that was driving recklessly this week in the St. John’s neighborhood. According to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, callers reported the driver, and then a man came outside a home and shot at the vehicle. By the time deputies arrived, the vehicle and the man were gone.

Reckless driving can be dangerous and can disturb the peace, but responding with gunfire is foolish. Shooting a weapon in a residential neighborhood endangers nearby homes and residents and can only make the situation worse.

Cheers: To falling COVID rates. Infections in Clark County have declined over the past week, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have moved the region from the medium-risk category to low risk. Local officials announced Thursday that infections had dropped from 170.1 per 100,000 people to 153.2. Meanwhile, about 20 percent of the county’s ICU beds are occupied by patients with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID.

Infection rates are difficult to track these days, with many people using at-home testing kits or simply isolating to wait out the symptoms. But it is good news that the numbers are trending in the preferred direction. Common sense — including wearing masks in risky situations — is still warranted to prevent another large outbreak of the virus.

Jeers: To unaffordable housing. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a minimum-wage worker in Washington needs to work 72 hours a week to afford a typical one-bedroom apartment in the state. In Vancouver, a worker would need to earn about $30 an hour to afford an average two-bedroom rental. The study uses a common threshold — 30 percent of wages going toward housing — to calculate its numbers.

It is clear that housing is tough on the budgets of many Washington residents. The data help put that difficulty into perspective.

Cheers: To Alexia Bravo. The 16-year-old is spending her summer studying the cosmos, taking part in an internship through the University of Texas’ Center for Space Research. The project has Bravo working remotely from home while collaborating with NASA scientists and engineers to analyze imagery and data received from satellites circling the Earth, moon and Mars.

Bravo’s work focuses on asteroid No. 14691. “I’m excited about what’s to come,” she said. “We’ve just really started processing data, usually in sets of about 150-200 images each. There’s a lot more to do.” Unsurprisingly, one of Bravo’s teachers at Union said, “She’s brilliant, off-the-charts brilliant.” Cheers go to Bravo and the teachers who have inspired her.