COUNTER-OPINION to St. George News Columnist Ed Kociela’s Nov. 18 column, “On the EDge: You ain’t seen nothin’ yet” – I can’t help but wonder if this partisan pile of junk op-ed was written just for the vanity of having a piece published. It begins with equating family values to wealth, then equates student ability with money spent, and before long, rambles on about how the evil GOP, at the federal level, will now make everything worse. It begins, appropriately so for stgeorgeutah.com, focused on southern UT, then spends the full final half complaining about federal level election results, while offering no local solutions to the original problem he’s complaining about.
With the first issue, family values, I’d like to know how being poor is a negative family value? Only the most vein and materialistic of people buy the argument that “he who has the most toys wins.” I know a young family here, raising two daughters in extreme poverty. The two daughters are well fed, healthy, adequately clothed, kind and respectful. They don’t have video games, internet access, or cell phones, and yet, they’re happy. By the writer’s logic, this family’s values are drastically sub-par compared to the Kardashian bunch. Does UT having the lowest divorce rate in the nation reflect on our family values any?
Yes, Utah is at the bottom of the pile on educational spending. But are we at the bottom on educational performance? Nope. Bottom ten on performance? Nope! We’re not number 1 either, or even top 25. But the fact that we’re not bottom 10 is a reflection in itself that money isn’t necessarily the answer to the perceived problem.
I say that our lower educational rankings are a perceived problem because I disagree with the notion that our kids here have the same educational needs as kids in the mega-cities of the northeastern US or Pacific coast. That is precisely the comparison made in the rankings by standardized testing. But, the reality is, a lot of our kids here will grow up working in mines, on farms, and in energy production. That is not the same reality kids in New York City or Los Angeles face.
And that is reality. Every kid is different. Their needs when they grow up will be different. This is why I’m neither pro- or anti-common core. I’m anti lumping all kids into one box, expecting them to all learn the same things the same way to meet the same needs when they grow up.
I am in full agreement that the economy is still “in the dumpster.” It is. Yet, Utah enjoys the 2nd lowest unemployment rate in the nation, and is number 1 in job satisfaction. We also rank 3rd in household income growth, and achieved that while also ranking number 1 in lowest median hours worked per week.
I don’t even know where to start addressing your partisan political ramblings. I’m not a Republican. I’m also not a Democrat. I’m a Libertarian, and personally, hate both major parties equally.
Republicans shut down the government? No, political disagreement between the parties did. There’s no love from Boehner and McConnell to Obama, but there’s absolutely no love from the White House to them either. They’re all equally to blame for the perpetual barrage of negativity and divisiveness we’ve experienced the past several years. And you’re no better than any of them, trying to do the same thing locally.
I could go on, but unlike you, Ed, I’ll stick to the original topics of family values and education. I’m a transplant here. I grew up in TN and have spent time in every state but AK. I’ve been in UT almost nine years, and southern UT a little over two years. There’s a culture and community here unlike anywhere else I’ve seen. It is of no surprise to me that UT ranks number 1 in voluntarism. And I should probably note that my opinion comes despite not being LDS, and all of my neighbors and friends knowing I will not convert. That’s not just family values, but community values.
I’m not sure why you’re so eager to be negative about our state spending less to achieve more, but obviously you are. Or, it’s just your scape goat to complain about the election results. But, as I said before, each kid is an individual who learns in different ways, and will take different paths when they grow up. We need to address that local fact locally by making sure our kids are prepared for the path they will take. I barely graduated high school, mostly due to horrid English grades, yet I still learned and am enjoying a decent income as a fiction author. I’m able to own a home, and even own a rental home. I’m far from rich, but hopefully my ten year anniversary next week says a little something about my family values.
Federal politicians are going to do what they do best. Bicker over what is the best way for them to try an exert control over our lives. That’s what they do. That does not dictate what we make of life. Our own choices do that. I chose to live in a place that values community, and understand that family values aren’t achieved through materialistic wealth. I don’t regret that choice. I hope you can find the value in our community, despite your political convictions. I have.
Submitted by William Cooper, Beryl
Bio submitted by Cooper: William Cooper is a Veteran of the U.S. Navy, turned farmer and author. After running his own businesses for several years, medical issues stemming from his time in uniform forced him into an early semi-retirement. Now 100 percent service-connected disabled, he spends his time running a small farm and home-schooling his children with his wife. His first novel, Crashed: The Death of the Dollar, was published April 9th, 2014.
Letters to the Editor are not the product of St. George News, its editors, staff or contributors and are published “as is.” The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them; they do not reflect the product or opinion of St. George News.
- On the EDge: You ain’t seen nothin’ yet
- High school students collect 1,000 bags of donations to help end global poverty
- Opinion: Are Republicans prepared to govern?
- Make-do Christmas: Poverty is a state of mind that one family knows nothing of
- Voters share concerns at Republican candidates meet, greet
- Office of Education releases SAGE test results
- Residents meet with district, education officials over Common Core, SAGE testing
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