Utah Democrats rang in the New Year with an editorial in The Salt Lake Tribune excoriating Utah Republicans for making a mess of public education. Jim Dabakis, the new chairman of the Democratic Party in Utah, writes that Utah is ranked 50th among the 50 states in education funding and “that this tragic lack of funding is driving the Utah school bus off a cliff!”[pullquote]What if we paraphrased great words from great leaders…[/pullquote]
Dabakis’ rant is about on a fifth-grade level, so it’s really not necessary to deconstruct it line-by-line. What caught my eye was this line in his editorial: “To paraphrase the LDS Church leader David O. McKay, No other success can compensate for failure in education.”
It’s a curious exercise whenever people wrest the words of LDS Church leaders. I was especially entertained when Korihor did it in The Book of Mormon.
But Dabakis’s paraphrasing got me thinking. What if we paraphrased great words from great leaders, such as the LDS Church’s First Article of Faith: “We believe in Zeus, the Eternal Father, and in His son Apollo, and in Heracles?” Or this: “Ask not what your left foot can do for you, ask what you can do for your left foot.” Or this one: “Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this basketball court, a new sneaker, conceived by Nike, and dedicated to the proposition that all players should jump equally.”
Paraphrasing can be done intelligently or ridiculously. The paraphrase “No other success can compensate for failure in education” is ridiculous. President McKay, as president of the LDS Church, stated “no other success can compensate for failure in the home” precisely because he understood that family is the fundamental unit of society and, as an educator, he understood that parental involvement is the primary reason for academic success in a child’s life. Money is hardly a factor in a good education (as any home school family could testify to).
Money is important to the government employees within the public school system – but education (as opposed to schooling) has very little to do with where Utah ranks nationally in per-student spending.
With leadership such as Dabakis’, the two-party system in Utah will continue to suffer, unfortunately.