Our View: A test of character


Craig Editorial Board, October 2009 to January 2010

  • Bryce Jacobson, newspaper representative
  • Joshua Roberts, newspaper representative
  • Collin Smith, newspaper representative
  • Karen Knez, community representative
  • Ken Wergin, community representative
  • Kenny Wohl, community representative

The Moffat County School District has a responsibility to provide the highest quality education possible to our children and teenagers.

After meeting with Superi­ntendent Joseph Petrone, Assistant Superintendent Christine Villard, school board president Jo Ann Baxter and Finance Director Mark Rydberg, the Editorial Board believes the district as a whole appreciates the importance of this duty.

The high expectations parents have for their children’s teachers also is apparent.

We find it odd, then, that so many smart people with good intentions can’t come together to make our schools the pride of the state.

The members of this board often hear the common refrain that the quality of education here is a solid C-minus, passable for country kids but not a leader in anything.

We also hear and see that some parents are less than supportive of their children’s education.

What isn’t common in this community is hearing or seeing parents and school administrators working together in determined, progressive ways.

The fault for this lies with both groups.

District officials often lament that parents do not involve themselves enough in their children’s education. However, when asked directly, Baxter and others admitted they don’t have a system for community members who want to volunteer to do so.

This says two things: One, the district has not been proactive in creating ways for the community to be involved; and two, there must not be a lot of people interested, because the district would have a way to handle volunteers if enough people had asked.

If the school district is serious about fostering involvement, it needs to give people a chance to actually be involved. We hope the district can create such a system as soon as possible.

Volunteering in the schools during the day isn’t possible for many, though.

For those who work Monday through Friday every week, the School District Accountability Committee can be an extremely good way to stay informed about what your child is learning at school.

Some seem to believe that this group is somehow exclusive, that it is only open to certain appointees. This is far from the truth.

We should all take advantage of the chance to discuss ideas with other parents and address the community’s teachers and school administrators directly.

Although the Accountability Committee is a good opportunity, people don’t need to go to meetings to be involved.

Parent involvement starts at home by reading to a child from an early age, helping with homework and knowing when is the right time to turn off the Broncos game and talk to your kid about what’s going on in his or her life.

But all this only matters if our public education system is as important as people like to say it is.

Some members of this board have their doubts. We’ve been to high school football games and can’t help but notice the disparity in how loud the community cheers for a touchdown compared to a kid getting accepted to college.

This is not unique to Craig.

But we see an opportunity here for parents and school administrators to put their money where their mouth is on education.

District officials said students seem very aware of the expectations placed on them to do well in sports. Many, in fact, work diligently to keep their grades up so they can keep playing and not let their teammates down.

After the season is over, though, so is their commitment, and grades suffer.

The community needs to, at the very least, show its youth that academics are just as important as sports in the long, confusing game of life.

The school district should require all students except incoming freshmen to meet certain scholastic achievements for two full semesters before they’re eligible to play sports.

The community should realize this will hurt our sports teams, at least initially, but will be for the betterment of our young students.

Until we raise our expectations of what our youths can achieve, the quagmire of why Moffat County seems confined to mediocrity will persist.

Parents and school administrators are equally responsible in this regard.


als362 7 years, 3 months ago

This is one subject where I have to agree with the editorial board. Far too much emphasis is being placed on sports not only here but all over.
I work every day with people that put alot of energy into sports when they were in school. And while now they are quite adept at quoting scores, stats, and how to make a play. When it comes to spelling fairly simple words like necessary, they are left behind like they are tied to a tree. This is one of the problems with the education system today.
Sports are extracurricular activities, they should not take stage in front of education. The article states that "academics are just as important as sports" I say sports should take a back seat to academics.
Yes there are a very few people that have spent their entire school career engaged in sports and went on to become great figures in the professional sports world. But that possibility is chancy at best. And if parents allow a children to spend all of their waking hours just for sports, and they don't make it to the professional ranks, then where are they? This school system and many others in America need to put much less stress on sports, playing and winning a game, and more stress on math, reading, spelling, and how to make a living.


als362 7 years, 3 months ago

Yes, every now and then there is someone that actually makes some sense. Those that do not make sense I refuse to agree with. I hope this clears this issue up for you.


citizensforgrowth 7 years, 3 months ago

The trend for public education is that it is morphing into daycare. The list of sports activities rivals course selection. The common defence of this strategy is that sports builds leadership skills. I dont disagree with that statement , but that is only a piece of the equation. It should not be the centerpiece of a strategy. Are we finding out that new buildings dont improve grades?


als362 7 years, 3 months ago

You might be able to acquire leadership skills from playing sports. But if you can't add, read or spell, what good are they? You will never get the chance to lead without an education


calvinhobbs 7 years, 3 months ago

I agree education is before sports, thus the term "student-athlete" How many of you have been to a Parents Advisory Council meeting? Last time I was at one, there were 5 parents in attendance! What about parent teachers conferences? I hear teachers say all the time, we only see the ones we really do not need to see. Check out how many "academic state championships" that there are at the high school. There are more than there are athletic state championships! Schools are just daycare now, take care of my kids, teach them, but DO NOT discipline them. I do believe that the new buildings and arrangements will improve grades, there are fewer transitions, better facilities, real science rooms, computer labs and areas for small group learning. Areas for special needs and areas for gifted students. We need to look at new methods of using our dollars, the athletes pay to play, pay to travel, pay to eat and fund raise for equipment. The athletic dept at MCHS is almost totally self funded by gate fees and fund raisers. So cutting athletics will not do much. How about giving PE credits for extra curricular sports? Cut the number of PE classes at the HS, have the PE teachers teach more core classes. Why should 2 and 3 sport athletes be required to take PE 1? Only 2 years of required science at MCHS? To get into a Colorado college you need to have at least 3! Oh and before I end my rambling thoughts, student athletes are required to maintain academic standards when they are not playing, fail a semester, you do not play the next one. This is a Colorado High School Activities Association rule. see chsaa.org


als362 7 years, 3 months ago

How about telling the parents that if they don't attend PTA meetings, or make alternate plans to discuss the child with the teacher, their school tax mill levy will go up a percentage point? That might have the effect of getting some of these parents of their you know whats.


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