Why Education Matters



 

Like many people, you probably know that education matters. Education determines all kinds of future successes. You probably also know that not everyone benefits from the same kind of education and that there is a huge and growing need for solutions to education-related problems.
 
What you may not know, however, is what education looks like in Utah County. In United Way of Utah County's 2011 Community Assessment, we turned up a few things that are cause for concern.
 
Increase in Number of High School Dropouts
 
In 2006, a little over 200 students in Utah County dropped out of high school. Alarmingly, that number rose to 1,000 in 2007 and 950 in 2008. Fortunately, the number has since dropped to 500 in 2009, but that's still cumulatively nearly 2,700 students. 
 
Greater Rate of Dropout Among Minorities
 
Hispanic and Latino students drop out of high school at nearly twice the rate of all other students in Utah County. And by 2040, nearly 20 percent of Utah County will be Hispanic or Latino. With a need to increase in English proficiency, this population needs the help of our community.
 
Need to Improve Third Grade Reading Scores
 
Students who read at grade level in third grade are best equipped to stay on track for the rest of their schooling. In Utah County, however, third grade reading scores are dropping, and with that, their hope to succeed and graduate from high school.
 
A Problem with Solutions
 
Luckily, none of these problems are impossible. We do not understand all the reasons why these things happen, but we do know that there are solutions. For example, many studies have proven that mentoring helps students transition from primary to secondary school. A number of studies show that tutored children do better than children that are not tutored. Reading with students gives them extra practice and fosters a positive connection with learning.
 
So that is why we are inviting you to stand up and be counted. Get involved in whatever way you can. Be a vehicle for change and be an EveryDay Learner.