Summit Daily editorials: Parents, teach your children well; Don’t build a wall, fix our roads | SummitDaily.com

Summit Daily editorials: Parents, teach your children well; Don’t build a wall, fix our roads

Summit Daily editorial

Parents, teach your children well

The first days of elementary and secondary school are behind us. Supplies are stowed away. Seating arrangements are hashed out. Now, it's time for the hard work to begin.

We're certainly proud of our schools here in Summit, but, as the latest state test scores show, there is room for improvement. Although we're still largely outperforming the state average, numbers released last week show our test scores have slipped from the previous year. For example, roughly 40 percent of Summit fifth-graders met or exceeded expectations in math. Among sixth-graders, that percentage dropped to 27.

Of course, we'd like to see those numbers improve. And, no doubt, educators from Superintendent Kerry Buhler on down are putting their heads together to ensure those scores go up. We were particularly encouraged by what we observed on the first day of school at Silverthorne Elementary on Thursday. Teachers were energetic and welcoming, and students were eager to learn.

However, we believe the x-factor in all this is the parent.

Mothers and fathers of the Summit, we can't fool ourselves into thinking that someone else will educate our children if we don't. We mountain parents can often get caught up in our outdoors pursuits and passions, taking kids out of class to camp or ski at a resort. Those things surely have value — they're why we live here. But we should also recognize our power as parents to be a force multiplier for our hard-working teachers.

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The Southwest Educational Development Laboratory issued a report back in the early 2000s that found that students with plugged-in, engaged parents got better grades and performed better on tests.

So before you go on that evening mountain bike ride, ask yourself: Did I help my fifth-grader with her homework today? And what will we read together at bedtime?

CDOT can't look under couch cushions to solve budget crisis

Kudos to U.S. Senator Michael Bennet for calling attention to the abysmal state of Colorado's roads and bridges during his tour of the Eisenhower Tunnel on Aug. 23.

He had strong words to share as cars zipped by him on Interstate 70: "We don't even have the decency to maintain the roads and bridges, the assets and infrastructure that our parents and grandparents had the decency to build for us — much less build the infrastructure our kids are going to need in the 21st century."

We also applaud Shailen Bhatt, the executive director of the Colorado Department of Transportation, for refusing to soft-pedal the dire conditions of our state's infrastructure and our financial helplessness in paying to fix it.

"Right now, everybody in Colorado is paying in an unintelligent way for underinvestment in transportation, so you're sitting in traffic, you're hitting potholes, you're having to repair wheels and tires," he said. "Why don't we do what most other states have done and pay in an intelligent way and get a transportation system that is reflective of the 21st century, not the 1960s-era model that we have right now?"

He's right — our antiquated tax system for road improvements is a broken relic that no longer serves the needs of one of the fastest-growing states in the country. We're effectively hitting the brakes on our economic growth.

We were less impressed with a letter we received from gubernatorial candidate Doug Robinson, who suggested this week that Bhatt should find savings in his existing budget instead of calling for more tax revenue. It's magical thinking for Robinson to suggest that CDOT will find the $9 billion needed for unfunded priorities hiding under couch cushions.

President Donald Trump was set to roll out a plan for accelerating infrastructure projects earlier this month, but that sliver of hope was overshadowed by his decision to double down on comments he made about the violent march in Charlottesville.

We hope both Trump and Bennet can stand by their words on road and bridge spending and marshal enough support in Washington to address our country's most important needs, instead of getting mired in a continuous traffic jam of controversy. Don't build a wall, Mr. Trump — fix our roads.

The Summit Daily News editorial board includes editor Ben Trollinger, publisher Meg Boyer, reporter Kevin Fixler and two citizen members: Jennifer Schenk and Jonathan Knopf.