Avis Gray: Never mind the numbers, what about our Grand County students?
To the Editor:
Those who missed the Oct. 24 showdown between the Grand Lake Board of Trustees and the East Grand Board of Education might have appreciated the wisdom behind resident Doris Braun’s words:
“All we hear is numbers and more numbers, but we never hear anyone actually talking about the kids. Do we ever consider that Grand Lake, and every community, needs kids to be alive and to thrive? This town is simply not the same anymore without the kids.”
Numbers indeed were flung around at this meeting at a rapid and sometimes incomprehensible pace. Some 17 pages of the superintendent’s response to the mayor’s important questions never hit the mayor’s desk.
The school system has lost 47 children this year. Our reserve has reached $3 million over last year’s $1.7 million (which, when compared with 12 similar sized Colorado schools last year was one of the highest percentage reserves). About $3,500 of the magic, newfound money has already been spent on kitchen equipment and the like.
Somehow, perhaps erroneously, the 2012 line item for maintaining the empty Grand Lake school building is four times greater than when it was filled with children.
Doris, you are right. No one seems to be talking about the quality of our kids’ education. Not a word about the innovative courses introduced, the IB courses anticipated, creative and technological classes explored. Nor do we hear of new practical classes added, as now being offered by state-of-art Front Range schools, to teach our next Top Chefs, Henry Fords, and Steve Jobs. We just hear numbers.
The U.S. is now ranked at only mid-level of 70 developed nations in education. We rank way behind Canada, Singapore, and Finland, which has the world’s most advanced school system. Coincidentally, their children go to school the fewest hours. Our little Grand Lake children, on the other hand, get up at 6 a.m. and drag home at 4:55 p.m. on the bus.
About 85 percent, it is estimated, of our children don’t take the toughest courses – because it is not required, our parents are too preoccupied for survival to read and to reach out to their kids’ educational needs, teachers are too stretched to teach to new heights.
We’re in educational denial. How many dollars, how much time and effort is spent not just on numbers but on the core and betterment of our childrens’ education, their future commitment to the community, and inspiration to learn? Perhaps not enough.
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Grand County has joined the growing backlash across Colorado related to a proclamation from Gov. Jared Polis declaring March 20 as MeatOut Day.