Here’s why we have “gone to the dogs” – again!

From the Publisher Jay Nolan
From the Publisher
Jay Nolan

If you have not yet, please take a close look at page B5 as you read your newspaper this week. You will see that the award-winning children’s educational series -written from the perspective of some special four legged friends – is back. Lots of students and their families tell us they have enjoyed these stories in past years. So, we have “gone to the dogs” again for a fresh new 10-week series.

Why do this? After all, when I came here as publisher 8 years ago, I was told point blank, “You can’t get support in this community for an education page.”

We fought the battle to make public education newsworthy because, I can’t think of anything more important to our city, county and region. Having smart, educated young people capable of dealing with our rapidly changing, complex, high tech world produces hope, pride and economic prosperity.  The alternative is perpetual poverty and hopelessness.

Thankfully, lots of you, including many leaders in both school districts got on board. And this year, we have gained even more and stronger support.

I believe it’s making a difference. Keeping education in the news every week helps keep the issue on our minds. Publicly recognizing students in the newspaper who work hard and do something special academically can be life changing, for them, and their families. It also helps them inspire others.

In the last 8 years, education in Knox County has come a long way. Barbourville High School is now among the top 10% of high schools statewide. Lynn Camp High is one of the most rapidly improving schools in the state, and the entire Knox County School District has soared from a 28 percentile standing in 2013 up to a 63% rating in just two years. That is amazing!

But, here at the Advocate we are again “Back to the dogs” because as our two district superintendents remind us, the battle is far from over.  Despite our progress, today most of our local students are still scoring well below the state averages. Entire schools are still below proficient level.

So, we remain doggedly determined to help our children succeed. We will keep a spotlight on our school administrators: informing you about their qualifications, decisions, and policies. We will continue to recognize great teachers and successful students. And, because of so many wonderful sponsors, will again keep printing our newspapers in education page every week until the school year is over. I think our sponsors on page B5 deserve a word of praise for the stand they have taken for our kids.  What do you think?