Miss Utah’s gaffe is our fault, too

We all have seen it. We all have heard it. We all have gasped, laughed and been utterly shocked by Miss Utah’s answer at the Miss USA Pageant last weekend. Here it is in case you haven’t.

“I think we can relate this back to education, and how we are continuing to try to strive … to …Figure out how to create jobs right now. That is the biggest problem right now. I think, especially the men are … um … seen as the leaders of this, and so we need to see how to … create education better. So that we can solve this problem. Thank you.”

Once we get past the fact that what she said was, to put it lightly, syntactically confusing, she has a point. Though not the point I think she intended. She shed light on something that we as Utahns need to fix: our education system. Perhaps Miss Utah, a Skyline graduate, was spending more time in the mirror than the study sessions (she was a pageant queen, what do you expect?) but there is a scary truth behind her words, and that is that we need to “create education better.”

This year the graduation rate in Utah went from 76% to 78%, which is great considering we have some of the lowest student funding in the country. But just because more kids are graduating, doesn’t mean they are graduating with an education that will help them along the way. When Miss Utah says we need to “create education better,” she is right. We need to prepare our kids to go into college or out into the world with an education that will properly suit them. Our students need more stimulation and challenge. They need to be taught the basics at an early age so that they can take honors and AP classes sooner. Otherwise we risk sending our students out into the world sounding just like Miss Utah.

And granted, she probably wasn’t the most studious, but who knows? Maybe if one of her teachers had called on her instead of trying to manage the other fifty students things would have been different. We want to give our students all the opportunities in the world and right now we aren’t giving them that.

It is time to step up and demand change. No more one-to-fifty student-teacher ratios, no more cutting arts and PE, no more firing qualified teachers. And no more slashing education budgets because our state leaders can’t get their act together. These are my peers, and these are our futures. Let’s make that future better.

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