H. Neal Glanville: The results are your answer



H. Neal Glanville

I read Monday’s story in the Craig Daily Press, “Scoring the schools,” three times and had yet to make heads, tails or even apples and grapes out of it.

“Without jumping to any conclusions,” I decided I was going to set the paper aside and try again later.

It was 4:30 a.m. Thursday when I went for a fresh start on the Moffat County School District’s assessment of our student test scores.

If I’m to take into consideration that these scores are over a three-year period, the only good news for our district is … well, I don’t see any.

Hoping a statewide search for schools with averages closer to ours will soften the blow for parents in the district makes as much sense as plowing school parking lots during Christmas break.

To take a double deep breath and say we should be comparing ourselves to Montrose, Alamosa, Cortez, Littleton or Delta, and then second winding it with, we should “compare ourselves to ourselves” is passing the buck back to a system that appears to be failing our kids.

I’m quite certain that the compared cities are doing the best they can with what they’ve got, but to be frank — no, let’s be honest — the educational system with its “no child left behind” mentality is a bust.

The bright side of this report was the implication that going to a new school was a “global transition” that somehow lowered test scores and disrupted the system.

If that’s the case, my graduation from Butler Elementary to Midvale Junior High, with its half-mile or so walk to the bus stop and the 30- to 40-minute bus ride, was as near to Mars as I’m ever going to get.

Oh yeah, the bright side.

Since the scores at the new school are lower than the rest, they can only go up. Now there’s an improvement.

We live in an age that demands you be able to read, write and comprehend basic mathematics.

Every second that passes our children by without these skills is adding yet another number to the rolls of people in the unemployment line.

Our technology is changing so fast that without these three basics to build on, your children will spend their lives punching pictures at some fast food restaurant and returning the correct change because the computer screen told them to.

There’s no skill involved in stuffing a phone in your bra, or being able to text someone from your pocket — there is skill involved in being able to keep up with our rapidly-changing technology, which can only come from a solid educational base.

If you doubt this for a second, give your kid a pencil and some paper and have them write a letter to a relative, or give them some simple math problems.

The results will be your answer.

And finally

I’d like to say thank you to “nanny” for letting me play in the sandbox. I’m still giggling over that prestigious award, and another thanks to the H. Neal Glanville fan club.

Who’d a thunk it?

Hey, you be careful out there and stay to the light.

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wellwell 6 years, 3 months ago


Your "weak side" brain took a vacation this week, some good solid thought.


xrsareus 6 years, 3 months ago

What a great article. Basic skills are what keep most of us going every day. You know, the three R's that we all were suppose to learn in school. I use everyone of them every day. Without the basic knowledge of how to read, write, and how to add, subtract, multiply and divide our world would not survive. We need to get back to those R's in school these day. Also the "No Child left behind rules" are bringing our whole education system down. Teacher are so overwhelmed because of this law. Students who want to learn or get a grasp of whatever subject is are brought down by the kids that don't want to learn or can't. It brings the whole class down to the lower students level. Kids are not held back if they a not proficient in what they are suppose to learn. They still advance into the next grade throwing them even farther behind and the class further behind also. As for trying to figure out the numbers about how our school system rates. It is a government agency, they make it that way of purpose..... Thanks Neal


Jon Pfeifer 6 years, 3 months ago

I am so glad you highlighted that ridiculous review of the state of local schools. I read that article and came away thinking the administrator was full of excuses and explanations that made no sense. (What on earth do Littleton, Montrose, Craig, etc... have in common?)

I do have a problem with judging our schools on these test scores though. I think there is much more than test scores that factor into the success of students, and the most important of those factors have nothing to do with what happens at school. Some of those are: education levels of parents, cultural values relating to education, socioeconomic status, educational experiences before school begins, parental involvement, self-motivation of students and self-esteem/belief in own abilities of students. I don't expect a school system to instill any of these things (but they better not destroy those things that I have instilled within my kids).

Factors that a school can and should control are: discipline, creating a safe environment that promotes learning, encouraging students when they try, challenging students who need extra challenge, the quality of instructors, the quality of instruction, the curriculum (to some extent), advanced curriculum for better achieving students, special curriculum for underachieving students. I would much rather see an assessment that scores these factors for our schools instead of test scores. Test scores don't tell me much about a school... they tell me much more about the students and their backgrounds. I will take responsibility for my part and would like a way to assess how well the school is performing its part... the test scores just don't tell me that.


JimBlevins 6 years, 3 months ago

Thank you for this editorial. When I read the article, I felt like a used car salesman was trying to unload a lemon.

Jim Blevins


als362 6 years, 3 months ago

The school district must compare the students here to students everywhere. If that is not done how will these kids be able to function in todays society when they get out of school. Especially if these kids have any idea at all of leaving the Yampa Valley and trying to be viable in a carreer other than oil/gas drilling, coal mining, electrical generation, or working in the tourist trade. If the tests show that these kids don't measure up then adjustments in the curiculum must be made.
If that means for a student to be able to participate in sports, that student must maintain at least a B average, then that is how it must be.
If it means for a student to be in a school club, that student must maintain at least a B average, so be it as well. I am all for kids having fun, I am a fun loving kind of person myself. But their education must come first in this day ang age, if the expect to have any standard of living at all.


onewhocares 6 years, 3 months ago

Could not have said it better myself. Our kids HAVE to be able to compete with kids from all over the State and most importantly deserve to be educated enough to successfully compete at any higher institution. No excuses.......


Jon Pfeifer 6 years, 3 months ago

Don't get me wrong. Standardized testing is definitely useful for the reasons Als stated. But in my mind it doesn't allow me to accurately assess the quality of a school. It certainly allows me to see where students measure up with others in the state, and for that reason it is definitely important. However, No Child Left Behind does not permit the comparison of information about all of those factors that are great predictors of success in academics. This means I can't really see if the teachers/ curriculum here measure up to the teachers/ curriculum elsewhere. All we see are test scores (and a few other demographics, but not the factors I would like to see). And as I said before, many of the factors that determine test scores are not related to the quality of education at a particular school. I want to know how students with the same predictors for success (or failure) are doing at a particular school as opposed to the schools in Craig. That's how I would grade schools and that is a much more accurate measure of how well a certain school is performing.

In terms of preparing students for higher education, No Child Left Behind really fails in my mind, at least in places where most students are probably not going to go on to college. Its goal is to make it so that every child is above average (take some time to think about the logic in that goal). It has specific goals with regard to the traditionally lower testing groups. It has no provisions with regard to high performing students. They are the ones who are neglected because they are "fine," meaning they will meet the basic performance requirements that the testing measures. Programs such as AP classes and other college level courses are not priorities (and in Craig do not exist). The new regime focuses on the bulk of students in the bell curve, working hard with those at the lower ends of the curve, and ignoring those at the top. Not a good way to prepare college students in my mind, and definitely not a good way to prepare future leaders.


JimBlevins 6 years, 3 months ago

The future will be different than today as far as education is concerned. It is possible to get by today without post secondary education. It will be much more difficult 20 years from now. Look at an auto assembly line -- almost all robots. The same thing will happen with mining and drilling. Jobs that don't require at least an associate degree are very likely to be taken over by computer controlled machines. Controlling those computers will require more education.

Steamboat's scores are twice Moffat's. Getting the best score might not be best, but Moffat could obviously do a great deal better and still have time left for other things.

Jim Blevins


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