Lance Scranton: High stress, high stakes
Seems like everything we do these days is high stress, high stakes — from elections to testing, we’re a wired-up and worn-out populace. I’m fairly certain that all the people who say they are going to move to Canada if Trump is elected will do the same as they did when President Bush returned for a second term. I’m also positive that for years to come, Moffat County School District will be educating as many children as come through the doors with the same idealistic intent as I have observed over the past 18 years.
It appears that every year students in America fall further and further behind their counterparts in other countries but we still find the time to go out of our way for each and every student no matter their particular learning style or disability. Not so where I grew up! Students are shocked when I explain that I never had to take a standardized test past my ninth-grade year because I was on track to receive a vocational diploma from my high school in Canada. Only the college-track kids took the “important” tests while I learned how to repair engines, lay down a decent weld and construct walls while attending regular education classes with little academic expectation from my teachers.
Somehow I learned to read, string a few thoughts together and get into college on an athletic scholarship in the land of opportunity! Most people who know me today can’t imagine that I apprenticed as an aircraft mechanic or spent more than a few summers welding for a steel beam construction company. True, that was a long time ago but one thing “real” jobs taught me is that hard work is still a premium attribute, which our country tends to reward handsomely.
When the educrats insist on telling us that kids who don’t score well on tests will fail in life, just smile. When the political class explains that the next presidential election will either save or destroy America, just take a deep breath. Tests indicate more about test-taking skill and motivation while presidential elections since John F. Kennedy have been more about personality than policy.
I’m not discounting the importance of testing well when it coincides with opportunity, and we should always vote our conscience because that’s what our country is about. But regardless, we will endure — and have endured so much already — that if we can learn to talk to each other again when this election is all over, we’ll realize that we’re living in a pretty special country.
Everyday that I get to teach and coach in Craig is a privilege that I never take for granted. Keep on keepin’ on, everyone, because there is plenty of work to be done, ballots to be filled out and test scores to interpret. But remember to smile and take those deep breaths!
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