Editorial: The trite and truth about education

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Editorial board members:

• Al Cashion

— Community representative

• Bryce Jacobson

— Newspaper representative

• Patt McCaffrey

— Community representative

• Jerry Martin

— Newspaper representative

• Joshua Roberts

— Newspaper representative

Our View

Assessment scores were recently announced in the Moffat County School District. A host of people can tell you all the reasons why scores are below state averages. But, their solutions share the same fault — they attempt to treat education's symptoms instead of the ailments.

There's a tired laundry list of reactions in our community and country when assessment test results are made public.

The chorus of people chiming in, and their opinions, are as predictable as guessing the next day on the calendar.

We heard it all last week in Craig and Moffat County, as we have many other times before, when third-grade reading results were announced for our school district.

The long and short: our students aren't performing at the state average.

Now from the gallery:

School district administrators who talk up successes like they're a sign of things to come, downplay the misses as anomalies, and attempt to explain why our students and scores can't be compared to others around the state.

Online commenters, this very editorial board, and people in the community who see the scores, supposedly have the answers, but do little about promoting change.

The gaggle of teachers who talk about why they can't do the jobs they chose, at the salary they knew going in, and properly instruct the next generation. Maybe they'd have better answers if the subject was health insurance premiums or the nobility of teachers' unions.

We hear from them all a few times a year, but what do they truly say?

The explanations and alleged solutions have grown trite.

The truth of the matter is education is one of this country's biggest concerns and has grown to become perhaps its most colossal failure.

We throw oceans of cash at education each year, talk and bluster about it ad nauseum, and the only results we see is the gap between U.S. academic achievement and other countries widening, and our coffers shrinking.

Oh, our students will grow to be tech-savvy adults, to be sure.

Just don't ask them to make correct change.

Or write complete sentences rather than characters.

Or use and spell words correctly rather than some web babble of bizarre acronyms.

So, what's the solution, if there is one? It's better to address the problems first:

• Administrators who skirt the real issues.

• Teachers protected by tenure who couldn't inspire performance in a low-stakes bingo game let alone a classroom of young people.

• Parents who take no responsibility for their child's education, who aren't involved in the least.

• A broken, useless and bloated system.

• Politicians who pander for votes instead of ushering in new ideas.

• And everyone else who's stood by and let this precious institution rot before our eyes.

The fix for education, the only real fix, is complete overhaul.

That means our society has to be what it rarely has been — inspired to change.

It's a goal absolutely doable. Recognize some of our country's achievements and suddenly fixing education doesn't seem such a Herculean task.

We began as an acorn of a nation to become the world's biggest and most prominent superpower, a nation of free and influential people.

We've fought and won wars with the future of the planet at stake.

We've produced cities of unbelievable marvel, discovered and explored the limits of this world and beyond, and become pioneers in almost every conceivable area of innovation.

And yet today we're hampered by a system that can't teach the next generation why and how we did it.

People talk of a revolution sorely needed in politics, but education is where our emphasis should be, the cause around which we rally.

It's the silver bullet to what plagues us today, and it's beyond time we finally take aim at curing the ills rather than fiddling around them.

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