LAPS 'High School 2.0' — a big yawn

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By William Sellers

There’s an old cautionary maxim in business, “If you torture the data long enough, it will confess.” Sort of like rigid ideologists continually pounding those square pegs into round holes.
One gets the impression this is what the bureaucrats at Los Alamos Public Schools are striving to do with University of New Mexico-Los Alamos as their latest brain flatulence envelops the room: i.e., “High School 2.0.” They’ve at once swerved into something creative and then overcompensated. It looks like what’s taking shape is yet again, another standard local community college, in which nebulous promises are made to guide the appropriate students into pre-career fields. Oh, the humanity!
People, we live in Los Alamos … stop and fully take that in for a second. Maybe a little dusty, maybe a little rusty, maybe a little shy, but our “global brand” is right up there with Coca-Cola.
Our kids are the best and brightest in New Mexico, and I can only say to the older dim-witted or unimaginative, “you’re not thinking big enough, Bucko.” Get a clue, this isn’t grad school any more, you can stop your ramen noodle diet and shopping at Goodwill.
Treat this as a marvelous opportunity to open the world, and open Los Alamos to the potential of the future. We don’t need to stay the “conehead hermit kingdom” forever.
Right now, two amazing mega-trends are about to intersect, seminally changing the nature of education and economics. What economists call the “terms of trade” are seismically shifting towards America’s favor in advanced manufacturing, away from Asia. And secondly, there has been a wholesale “Katie-bar-the-door” stampede of billions in venture capital into advanced, private tech-oriented education for just the age groups LAPS is looking at.
What’s the matter with you folks? Sometimes this place reminds me of Jon Voight’s Coach Bud Kilmer character in the movie, “Varsity Blues,” when he was chewing on his best players, “you’re the dumbest smart people I know.”
Put a proposed advanced version of the old standard community college business model out on the street, worldwide. Use that powerful Los Alamos cachet to have them absolutely pounding each other to get their deal here. Look at the equation from both sides and goodness gracious, stop getting bogged down in the “paralysis of analysis.” (Did you catch that, David Izraelevitz?)
Los Alamos needs to treat this as an opportunity to use whatever UNM-LA becomes as an economic “force-multiplier” craft a unique concept that further enhances our brand, one that would be a natural collaborative outlet for LANL.
UNM-LA just a “community college?” Meh.

William Sellers is a local venture coach and vice president of the Los Alamos Entrepreneurs Network. He is best reached via email at readbill19@usa.net.