Gifted Teachers Set An Example For Everyone

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More than 100 teachers from around the state attended this week’s gifted conference at Rim Country Middle School, which attracted education experts from around the nation — and one from Canada.

With state funding for gifted education eliminated, we applaud the efforts of the local gifted community, and head teacher Marlene Armstrong, to organize this event and for plugging ahead with grand plans despite the economic downturn.

Proceeds from the event will fund scholarships for teachers to earn gifted endorsements so they can better educate this community’s best and brightest.

Average kids are important, and so are those with special needs. However, today’s young Albert Einsteins, Steven Hawkings and Steve Jobses will be the ones to propel the next generation forward and help America continue to compete on a global scale.

The future will not wait while the economy lags. Some people might opt to throw pillows over their heads, but children are growing and wanting to flourish whether we adults apply our creativity or not.

How refreshing to see a group of community leaders embrace solutions instead of whine about things they cannot change. How inspiring to see people help themselves instead of complaining that assistance has disappeared. How awesome to see a team band together and try new things — downturn or not.

This week’s gifted conference not only gave local teachers new information and ideas to help educate students, but it also provided that opportunity to other teachers around the state. It gave the field’s current guard the chance to meet, talk and hear about new ideas or listen to inspiring stories.

This successful event was born from a conundrum. What started as the problem of eliminated funding turned into a beautiful solution that brought people together and furthered knowledge while raising funds to propel Payson’s own program forward.

Solutions can only come from challenges. And on the other side of defeat lies success.

In the meantime, gifted kids are learning from the adults’ ingenuity. These kids are learning that when you can’t get something handed to you, you work for it.

You don’t cry and throw a pillow over your head. You work and you don’t stop until you succeed. That’s a lesson you can’t learn from a book — only from the leaders around you.

State ran out of money

Newspaper editorials frequently rail against elected officials for corruption or idiocy. Gila County officials, unfortunately, don’t give us that chance.

While the state continues to impose mandates and cut funding, Gila County has somehow managed to weather the downturn with smart economics and good, old-fashioned dollar stretching.

Most people during the past couple of years have done more with less, whether at home or at work. So has the county, thanks to all the county workers who continue to do their jobs despite fewer fellow employees helping them. Their efforts have saved taxpayers $2 million.

Yes, you read that right — $2 million. Little things turn into big things.

Meanwhile, state legislators have not bothered to invite our leaders — who apparently have better fiscal sense than they — to the discussion. Lawmakers continue to hem and haw and sidestep solutions in favor of back-door dealings — their partisan handcuffs chaining them to one political party or the other.

State lawmakers have had the audacity to ignore the insight of county officials, who must still supply state-mandated services without state funding, and cowardly lament of their job’s difficulty. We agree lawmakers have difficult jobs. But perhaps they should invite stakeholders to the discussion instead of keeping them in the Capitol’s hallway.

We don’t expect everyone to agree. That’s against human nature. We understand significant philosophical differences separate Democrats and Republicans. However, our lawmakers have shown they have no idea how to manage the budget, for they have evaded difficult decisions with gimmicks and grandstanding.

They have proven they need help. We only wish we had leaders at the state level strong enough to ask for help when they need it.

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