We appreciate the efforts of the Weber School District to take on the responsibilities of maintaining adult education for those students who are involved in the program. The commitment follows Ogden School District Superintendent Brad Smith's decision to quit the program, which serves about 250 students who are seeking a high school diploma.
Many of these are, as Sharilyn Gerber, a teacher and member of the Weber School Board said, "the poorest of the poor." The decision by Smith put many of these students in limbo. Smith argues that the program was an excessive diversion from the duties of Sarah Roberts, principal of George Washington High School, the alternative school where adults received their classes.
At that point the Utah State Office of Education emailed Jeff Stephens, Weber School District superintendent, asking his district to "assume full responsibilities." The state will provide the Weber district $267,945 to assist in covering the costs.
Stephens has his work cut out for him in order to start the adult education classes by July 1. Because Two Rivers High School -- an alternative Weber district school -- is located far away from downtown Ogden, the Weber superintendent says he expects to have classes at Ogden's Canyon View Elementary, 1100 Orchard Ave., and at the Ogden-Weber Community Action Partnership offices, at 3159 Grant Ave.
When the decision was announced last week by Smith to jettison the adult education program, it left a lot of the adult students unhappy and nervous about their chances of attaining a diploma. Stephens' response to their concerns is appreciated. "At Weber School District, we aggressively support their effort as they pursue their high school diplomas, without any discontinuance of services and with as little inconvenience as possible," he said.
One of the concerns we have with the recent cutting by Smith and the Ogden School Board is their apparent willingness to severely edit the role of public education. The Weber district's quick response, in tandem with state officials, is a reminder of the large, diverse responsibility of public education.