Schools take a step up | VailDaily.com

Schools take a step up

Don Rogers

The Eagle Valley School District is making progress in its quest for excellence.

The district long tagged as average in an average state rose this year in the state accountability reports. Eleven of our 16 schools rated “high” and “excellent.”

The educators have worked hard on tuning up the curriculum, improving teaching techniques and otherwise finding ways to raise the quality of education.

One of the bigger, more controversial pushes was to embrace the Teacher Assessment Program, which includes a frankly overdue merit pay component for teachers.

Someday, perhaps, when constitutional pit bull Michael Cacioppo grows weary of heaving litigation at the cost of living adjustment that Eagle County voters strongly supported for boosting educators’ pay, based in part on merit, that component will finally get a chance to help in the quest, as well. Pay does matter, along with innovation.

Meantime, bravo and keep pushing. The next generation depends on it.

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No relief here

The state demographer has Eagle County’s population nearly doubling by 2025. And the United Nation’s fleet of environmental scientists has the world’s low-lying ski resorts drying up for lack of snow. Which will give?

As for the U.N., isn’t it a little curious that its scientists would use up obviously valuable time on a report pondering the challenges of running ski resorts as the world heats up inexorably? Never mind crops, the inundation of oceans and weighty stuff like that. What will the ski resorts do?

What will we do? The increase in golf course-building activity and summer buzz these past few years might prove downright prescient.

Maybe Vail Rec will have to fend off the golfers in late March while preparing the grounds for April openings.

Or the upper reaches of Vail and Beaver Creek will remain lofty enough for snow-starved skiers who used to frequent Europe’s endangered low-lying resorts. Maybe that’s how Vail will win back those precious “destination” skiers from abroad.

Maybe those folks who keep threatening to move off to frigid Montana will find it just Colorado enough climatewise to quit yakking and do it.

But there doesn’t appear to be relief in sight from global warming to cool down the Vail Valley’s astounding population growth, or that even faster job growth, over the decades to come. We’ll still be a remarkable oasis.