Young County Republicans Chair Kyle Milam Education Matters
Being the son of a coach/ teacher/ principal, as well as the husband of a teacher, education has been an important aspect of my life. Although I did not pursue teaching as a profession, I am somewhat of a part-time educator having taught adult GED through Region 9 ESC for 15 years and having subbed in Graham ISD for the last three years. The State of Texas has made public education a priority by direction from our state constitution and by the current attempts in the state Legislature to reform the funding of education. As stated previously, school finance is a complex issue, but it is vital to the depth of programs our rural schools can offer. And along with school funding come measures of performance determined from the STAAR tests that students are now taking or will be taking shortly as the school year begins to close. We can debate the validity of standardized testing until the cows come home, but the reality is that a funding provider (the state) wants to know that students are mastering and making progress in core subjects and the current way to determine that is through the STAAR test. The same concept was required for the GED program when I was an instructor. Funding was based on whether or not our students were making progress as measured by a standardized test; an issue that I could spend another article on itself.
The State of Texas has mapped out expectations and accountability for our school districts to justify funding as demonstrated by student progress. But education is a two-way street. What about the expectations of the students? Who is holding the student accountable for achieving grades and progress in school? A student is spending at least 12 years of life in school, and I can promise you that our schools are providing every tool, pouring out every bit of knowledge possible for the student to succeed. You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink. You can send a child to school, but the teacher can’t force him to learn. I have told students that if I had a laptop and the internet in my day, I would have been valedictorian of my class. As somewhat of an outsider looking in, I see too many students wasting an outstanding opportunity. Students either don’t complete assignments or take twice the amount of time, sometimes just marking answers, guessing as they go because they will not spend the time to study for a test or look up the answer for an assignment. Why does this bother me?
We are in a global economy; even in Olney, Texas. Whether you see it or not your student child, grandchild, or neighbor upon graduation from high school or college will be competing for jobs in a global marketplace. Young County graduates are no longer competing with just their school mates, but are competing for jobs with Asians, Pakistanis, Europeans, Russians, Japanese, as well as fellow Americans from the East Coast to the West Coast and employers are hiring ACHIEVERS that are COMPETENT and TRAINABLE. Large corporations recruit from major colleges, and the colleges of Science, Engineering and Business/Finance/Marketing require GPAs of 3.0-3.5 to stay in the program, and many recruits will only be considered with a GPA above 3.5. In most cases, the higher GPAs are getting positions that pay higher salaries. So yes, your performance in school matters and it starts at your local school. If you are over age 50, you should be paying close attention to education, hoping and praying that every graduate in Young County makes more in their lifetime than you because their earnings will be funding our Social Security and Medicare.
I have never met an educator that wanted a student to fail; just the opposite. Our schools and teachers are providing everything available for your child to succeed, but they cannot be the only source of inspiration. We have great children, and they are all teachable, but motivation from home will go a long way to their success. A free society thrives on a strong economy, and a strong economy thrives on an educated and skilled workforce. Students- apply yourselves to the educational opportunity at hand before you are passed by someone who is motivated more than you are. No one is going to give you your dreams; you have to make them happen. The opportunity is yours.