Our View: All things to all people
December 22, 2007
Craig — What does education really mean?
What is its point?
Is it to move bodies through a system like products on a conveyor belt?
Is it to prepare youths to become members of a productive system?
Is it to teach our children how to think critically?
Or do we simply expect educators to teach the basics, such as math and reading?
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Is it to teach children how to take tests?
Do we look to it to set society’s moral standards?
Is it to provide day care for parents?
Or is it simply to give our youths nice wall decorations after years of school – a parting gift as they are kicked out of school and told to find a job.
Which brings us to the real question: Is the education system set up to teach our youths how to enter the proverbial real world?
These were some of the questions editorial board members threw at one another, after the discussion was led off with this question: Did the Moffat County School District make too much or too light of the recent School Accountability Reports and other such tests?
We think the school district is taking the right approach because it really is the only approach it can take.
It is a screwy system, one where the high school students actually did better testing this year than last year, but because of a prorated curve, the school showed an academic decline in the school’s overall rating.
The report and similar tests are not the best way to measure success. All it shows is that some students can take tests, and others cannot.
This is not to say it’s a terrible system. It does provide a measuring stick in some form, but does it account for other issues involved in education?
We think not.
So, the school district is in an awkward position – teach children to a required level that unfunded federal mandates specify, but also be all things to all people in terms of what education should be.
Is there a solution?
If education is the silver bullet to many of society’s ills, then parents and the community are the silver bullet to the education system’s ills. This community has stepped up and said it will help fund the infrastructure of area buildings for the foreseeable future. But we also have to help build these youths’ lives.
The education system simply cannot be all things to all people. And, currently, it can be no less than what the federal government dictates. But that, at times, can make it hard to be more than that. Good teachers will find a way to be more than that, but they cannot do it all.
And that is where the rest of us come in. Look at the questions above. What burden of expectation can you take off the school system so teachers and administrators can focus on what is being dictated to them?
Hopefully, with the school district and the community working together, it will allow our students to focus on who they are going to become in the future.
And that is more than being good test-takers.