It is time to stop being proud of the fact that Utah's schools aren't as bad as they might be, given the low levels of state funding they get, and start being ashamed of the fact that they are not as good as our students, our families and our businesses have every right to expect.
Utah's leaders have long focused on the silver lining. They have bragged, with some justification, about the fact that our schools have been able to somewhat overcome the fact that they place dead last, year after year, in per-pupil funding by posting good test scores and running acceptable graduation rates. It was a testament, it was rightly argued, to the strong families and dedicated teachers who value education and make the best of whatever situation they find.
But, as time goes by, it becomes more and more difficult to put lipstick on this pig. Breaking down scores and rates, as required by the No Child Left Behind rules, exposed the dirty secret that many children indeed were being left behind. Children from low-income families, immigrants and non-English speakers just were not keeping up. And, as more and more of the students found in our public schools are members of one or more of those groups, overall educational results were falling as well.