Ogden’s schools have a reputation for absenteeism and low student performance – but not because of what’s happening in the schools; our teachers are doing a great job. It’s because we have a large segment of at-risk kids with issues outside of school affecting their ability to succeed.
Local business owners who love Ogden have told me personally that they often choose not to live within city limits because of the perceived quality of our schools; a tragic choice that affects both our community and our broader economy. When employers and employees choose to live elsewhere, we lose development opportunities, tax revenue, and federal/state school funding that is based on enrollment. I want to change that.
While education is financed from both federal and state sources, I strongly believe that as a city we should lead on improving education – right here in our own back yard. We must solve this problem collectively, aligning with our local non-profit organizations to identify and mitigate the at-risk issues affecting kids outside of school. No longer should we stand on the sidelines and point at the state/federal system. Let’s start by working with our teachers/parents of our at-risk kids and find the common issues that affect absenteeism. Is it a childcare problem? Is it a transportation problem, a food scarcity problem, housing, medical? This is not a challenge that we can solve overnight, but we need to start where we are and come together as a community. By working with our community leaders, parents, and non-profits as a city, we can make a larger impact and move the needle of progress for Ogden’s education.