From the pages of
The Sublette County Journal
Volume 5, Number 9 - 10/19/00
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

WyCAS - Heard on the Street

Yes, just a few more words on this contentious topic. There is much misinformation and misunderstanding out on the street about what part the WyCas testing plays in the overall picture of student and school performance. Parents don't understand what all the words such as "standards", "assessment", "accountability" and "proficiency" really mean in terms of what is required of their children, what the individual schools are trying to achieve and what the school Districts are mandated to prove they are accomplishing. The schools in Big Piney have been very good about sending information out to parents and keeping us posted, but I think there is only a fraction of the information that is really being understood. Legislators and newspaper editors can continue to beat the accountability drum all they want, but if parents cannot get the "big picture" presented to them in an easily-understood manner, trying to stir the populace into a frenzy over this issue is wasted breath. What would really be helpful is for the administrations or school boards of the school districts to put the WyCAS into perspective from their side of the fence and show us what is really being accomplished and what steps are being taken now to meet the letter of the law. I've had this whole thing explained very well to me by someone "in the know" and though I still don't get it all, repeating it in written form would be a big help. I'd like to see the school districts defend themselves publicly to all the criticism they are taking in the media.

Future of the County

The Journal editor, to his credit, admits that he contradicts himself in his column about the changes and challenges of the future in Sublette County ("Thoughts on Change and the Future, The Sublette County Journal, Oct. 5, 2000). His hesitation to support developing tourism because it is a "900 pound gorilla" that can run rampant among us is a point well taken, considering what we all see up north, but in reality, the only thing that threatens our lifestyle is us. I would bet that the vast majority of people who live in Sublette County are here by choice, not sacrifice and no one has forced them to stay against their will. We are rich and not-so-rich, working family and retired, recreationist and roughneck, cowboy and corporate executive all existing side by side in this part of "God's country" and we all must be gaining something positive here or we would vamoose! The perceived threat of uncontrolled tourism development is no more of a concern than what could be perceived is the raging tide of natural gas development in prime hunting and recreation lands in the high deserts from Pinedale to Big Piney to Farson. We can't choose who our neighbors are going to be or support one type of development over another without goring someone else's ox. Yes we have to plan, we have to manage, but we can't lock ourselves in a box away from the rest of the world and expect to prosper. We're going to have to do a little of everything, not a lot of any one thing, if we are going to maintain any semblance of the lifestyle we all say we want to keep and have all the things like affordable housing, quality schools, cowboy coffee shops and good paying jobs. By trying to keep the other guy down or out, the ox we gore may be our own.

Tsk, Tsk . . .

I have to say that when I came back from the wilderness and picked up the issues of the Journal I had missed, I was disappointed and perturbed at the front page photo of the elk Gerald Mason had killed that week. Yes, seeing dead animals in the back of trucks is a reality this time of year and hunting season is the proverbial tradition out here in the wild West. However, the photo was poorly done, did not include the other participant in the act and dishonored the animal itself and beautiful trophy he could have been by the ugly pose that was purposely left unaltered. The publishing of the photo was also so contradictory to the story I wrote in the September 14, 2000 issue ("One True Hunt") that it tarnished my effort to show a higher purpose for the sport of hunting. Though both sides are part of it and at times it is necessary to show the ugliness, we should not celebrate it. SCJ, you blew it on this one.

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Copyright © 1999, 2000 The Sublette County Journal
All rights reserved. Reproduction by any means must have permission of the Publisher.
The Sublette County Journal, PO Box 3010, Pinedale, WY 82941   Phone 307-367-3713
Publisher/Editor: Rob Shaul