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Apathy is the reason Johnny can't read

Sun Advocate publisher

Saturday morning I sat in a large auditorium, with a number of educators from Carbon and Emery school districts and a few parents listening to ways to get kids to read, and like it.

I want to congratulate those parents that attended; they showed a commitment to their kids' education and future. It was a beautiful spring day, and it would have been easy for many of them to cut out even though they had planned to go to the event and to instead plant some roses or go four wheeling, do some fishing, etc. But these parents showed their dedication to their kids, unlike the hundreds of adults with children in their charge in the two county area that should have been there that day.

I often am the recipient of phone calls or visits from parents who say their kids aren't getting a good education in our local schools. They complain about apathetic teachers, poor teaching methods, poor school administrators, but never do they point the finger at themselves. I guess when you live in the forest it's sometimes hard to see your very own tree.

The project on Saturday was developed by the PTA, was well organized, had great offerings and yet only 80 people showed up to find out how to help their kids read. Despite large amounts of advertising on the local radio stations, in the pages of this newspaper and from fliers going home with every kid in school in the last few days, the turnout was pathetic.

The fact is that reading is the key to everything in life these days. A kid who can't read grows up to be a teenager who can't read and then an adult who can't read. Every kind of discipline at which anyone can make a living (and many at which you can't) require reading skills. We live in an age where if you can't read properly, your future is limited to the point as to be almost non-existent.

Over the past couple of months the debate over school vouchers has been raging and it appears the question of whether they should be allowed will soon be on the ballot for the people to decide. I know a lot of people who are for vouchers say that private schools can do a better job and that they should have the opportunity to send their kids to private school if they want. That's all good and fine, but from my experience with private schools (some personal and some from what I have heard from friends that have sent their kids to these schools) those parents who think the public schools expect a lot from them concerning their kids education are in for a big surprise. Parents in private schools are generally much more involved in their childs education than those in public schools. When you sign up to pay the bill for your kids education, you also make a commitment that you will do certain things too. I'm not saying that is bad; it is very good. But don't think private schools are the panacea for what ales public education; they are a different road with different requirements, and a lot of the travel down that road must come from parent commitment.

Dozens of people put large amounts of volunteer time into Saturday's workshop, and they were rewarded by people staying away in droves. I am sure all those who didn't attend had better things to do than go to a meeting that could make all the difference in their kids' future.

Apathy is what is killing our kids education, and that lack of caring isn't coming from educators.

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