Scranton: Here we go starting off a new school year |

Scranton: Here we go starting off a new school year

Lance Scranton
Opinion columnist

Our local schools might actually get off to, dare it be said, a normal start this year. After two grueling years of interruptions such as at-home learning, Zoom classrooms, contact-tracing, mask wearing, virtue signaling, and fear mongering, this fall seems largely as though it will be a smooth back-to-school experience for our local kids.

But controversy still lurks around the corners and down the hallways of our American education system.

Public education is under increased scrutiny as people on both sides of the political spectrum try to use classrooms all over our country to push a certain agenda. For some, it’s about children learning about gender roles and sexuality. For others, it’s about getting kids to conform to a certain set of ideals. Public education is often mocked but is still our nation’s best hope for producing young adults who will contribute to society.

Education, in general, follows some pretty standard guidelines as far as learning is concerned. Students show up at our doors, and we try our best to teach them the things they need to know to become informed thinkers who can approach the world with a sense of purpose and promise. But sometimes we can overcomplicate the process.

In a world that has hastened toward specialization and the cult of expertise, it has become popular to confuse the simple mandates of educating a child with so-called experts who deem it a constant necessity to manage the thoughts and views of children without considering their age, psychological condition or maturity level.

In our haste to inform them of all that the world has to offer, some of these experts forget to understand the most important tenets of childhood: wonder, amazement, innocence and trust.

Education is about teaching children to think, to consider their actions, to quantify their interests, and to understand that wisdom and knowledge are the fruits of lived experience. Children can’t, and don’t need to, know about every conceivable choice that will potentiate their future.

There should be time for children to formulate their experience with their identity in an environment of protection with adults knowing that from one day to the next children vary wildly from wanting to be the next President of the United States to being a hip-hop singer.

The duty of a public school is to show children we care, set high expectations, allow kids to fail and celebrate their successes. Moffat County has always had an innate sense that kids are really important and worth the time, effort and patience that is required to help them grow. As we set off on another school year, let’s hope we teach our children well.

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