Letter: 'Coal vs. kids' a flawed argument


To the editor:

Cheryl Arnett’s article, “Romney in small-town America: Coal vs. Kids,” was an interesting read for me.

Personally, I was offended because Arnett insinuates in her article that we must choose

between coal (one of the reasons this community exists at all) and our children’s education.

I am a Moffat County High School graduate and I have better critical thinking skills than to believe that.

I disagree with Arnett’s belief that standardized testing is crippling our educational system. I believe it is a necessary component of our system. How else do we know what our children are learning?

There are certain educational benchmarks that allow the student to progress in a future career. These benchmarks must be standardized so that an American high school diploma means each graduate has acquired the same skills as other graduates.

Besides, aren’t college entrance exams, graduate school entrance exams and other professional certification exams standardized?

Also, Arnett takes exception to Mitt Romney’s statements about the teachers’ union. It is that union that protects poor teachers who aren’t hard working and dedicated, which results in poor student performance.

When teachers have the skill to teach and work hard, their students will learn. If every teacher were as hard working and dedicated as Arnett, then standardized testing might not be necessary.

Unfortunately, this is not the case.

During my semester of student teaching just before graduating with a degree in secondary education, I observed a classroom where the students could not tell you the year that the Mayflower landed or where.

In spite of this, the teacher thought that he needed to tell the students “interesting” stories of Pilgrims, who because of their hunger in the extreme conditions were stealing Native American bodies from gravesites for food.

It is an extreme example, however, as a nation, we have stopped teaching facts and the necessary basics in order to help children feel “warm and fuzzy” and to propel a liberal agenda.

Unlike Arnett, I will be voting for Romney in the coming election. President Barack Obama has had nearly four years to pare down the government regulations concerning education and he has not.

It seems that to re-elect Obama would display a lack of the problem-solving skills Arnett advocates.

Meagan Ellgen Harding

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Jason Phillips 4 years, 10 months ago

I mostly side with Arnett on this one.

I don't think anyone is advocating doing away with standardized testing all together - but I think most would agree there is too large of an emphasis placed on the testing nowadays. And our public education system is in need of reform.

Meagan - I too am an MCHS graduate, and I also possess the necessary critical thinking skills to reject a ridiculous statement like, "we have stopped teaching facts and the necessary basics in order to help children feel 'warm and fuzzy' and to propel a liberal agenda." I think you detract from an otherwise decent argument with a non-specific partisan talking point like that.

However, the one part of Ms. Harding's letter that I do agree with is that many times the teachers unions are part of the problem, not part of the solution.


jammer 4 years, 10 months ago

Our schools are broken.Standardized testing is crippling our educational system.


jammer 4 years, 10 months ago

It matter not where or when the Mayflower landed. The schools history of it was not truthful at all.

Did you learn in school that a few years before the Mayflower a British expedition had landed there,took Indians as slaves and left smallpox behind killing over 90 percent of the locals before the Mayflower landed?

When the Mayflower arrived it made camp on a deserted ruins of the Indian village wiped out by smallpox. The Puritans believed it was God that killed off the locals with smallpox's.


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