Bob's Words of Wisdom News

Testimony at the West Ada School Board

This meeting was to allow the public to comment on what they would like to see in a new Superintendent

We have received a fair amount of feedback from our readers on the new West Ada School Board and would like to thank you on behalf of our readers who live in the West Ada School district for the hard work the board is doing to bring about badly needed transparency and accountability to this district under difficult circumstances.

It is important that everyone remembers that education should be administered at the local level for the greatest amount of input from parents and teachers when it comes to what is being taught in our schools. Too many times we leave decisions of curriculum in the hands of administrators when they are usually the furthest from the actual classroom interaction between teacher and student. We need to find a Superintendent who will take the time to communicate with the trustees, teachers and parents on a regular basis and listen to their input.

If the parents had been involved to any degree in the decision to allow the Common Core Curriculum into our education system instead of leaving it up to the administrators, I assure you we would not have Common Core in our schools. We need to find a Superintendent who will look out for the needs of all of our children, not just those who are college bound. Our state has been failing for years in the education arena, and I believe, along with many other citizens, that we need to provide more diverse educational opportunities to our children. Not everyone wants to go on to college. Why is it that we try and instill into our children’s minds the need for a college education? There are many of our children who would like to learn a trade in carpentry, welding, auto mechanics, plumbing or electrical wiring with apprenticeships leading to employment upon graduation, but we don’t offer enough of those courses in our system.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, roughly 8.5% of college graduates between the ages of 21 and 24 were unemployed between April, 2013 and March, 2014. What is more worrisome is that a total of 16.8% of new grads are underemployed meaning they are either jobless, hunting for work or working part-time because they can’t find a full time job. There are jobs right now for 250,000 welders in this country that have no applicants. The entry level pay for a welder is about $33,000 a year, about what we pay our new teachers and escalate with experience up to over $100,000 per year.

My point is that maybe we need to stop worrying so much about how many of our children go on to college and start worrying about how many will be able to find employment and support themselves when they get out of school. I’m praying you find someone for this job that has vision and is willing to fight a single- minded educational establishment in this state that has shifted from a local control environment to a centrist attitude that sets standards without input from the most important participants, our parents or teachers.

Several people have mentioned that the new Superintendent needs to have a solid knowledge of business, but I don’t believe that is as important as their ability to be a relationship builder. The one thing I hope will not happen is that the board does not rubber stamp the Superintendent’s decisions. The board needs to be the gyroscope that keeps balance in the district both from an educational and a business standpoint.

Gem State Patriot News