First off, I just want to thank all of my friends here for not blaming it on the education system of Utah. I sincerely mean that. We do more with less money than any other place in the nation here. We have such huge family sizes, and such a small property tax base (because your average household is basically twice as big as everywhere else... meaning a 2500 square foot house will have 5 people living there instead of 2.5 and the tax rate on that house will be $1000 a year rather than $4000-8000 like in California). That creates a massive shortfall in needed education monies.
Utah educates students for about $4800 a piece (the weighted pupil unit). That is crazy, when you consider that states that score in the bottom 5 are spending upwards of $11,000 in their WPU.
I was ready to read a bunch of jokes about Utah's education system (which is a joke in overall funding, and some of the wack-a-doodles who have say in what we do). But the teachers really work hard. I did it for a long time, and I see my wife doing it now. In fact in the three weeks that school has been out, she has been home a total of 4 days. The rest were days she spent at work with her "team" rewriting curriculum and targeting kids to help with extra assistance and remediation for next year. She's not getting paid a bunch to do it either. We're just making it happen because it's important. She's my hero, and she works so hard for the kids.
But yes.... this girl was really a goof. You can tell she heard keywords and had a "canned answer" ready for about 10 different questions, and just made the classic mistake of coming up with her answer two words into the question (without LISTENING TO THE WHOLE QUESTION) and then realized she was screwed and instead of just hitting the reset button or thinking through it and giving a thoughtful answer, she really just choked.
My sister was a "beauty pageant" girl, and got to compete for Miss Utah. She was smart as a whip, and her ability to answer any question like this with no problem really helped her. I know a couple of other Miss Utah winners that I worked with that were actually brilliant. One won the Miss America pageant in I think 84 or 85. She did so by being great at these questions and somebody who was so graceful under any pressure, and has had a great career as a reporter actually (Sharlene Wells Hawkes is her name). The other is a lady I've worked with on many educational committees and she was a top 10 finisher in Miss America and holds a doctorate in psychology.
It seems that now it is almost better to be a dunce to get into these things, because it's more "entertaining" after the whole issue with the girl who gave the answer a few years ago about "The Iraq". I think viewership went up and they actively seek out people that will give answers like that to drive ratings. Too bad though, because these girls actually work really hard, and on the stage they just blow it. This particular girl is actually pretty smart and composed compared to a lot of the girls that were in the state pageant. She just choked unfortunately. Thanks for not blaming her teachers though.
R.I.P. Dad. I miss you. You will never be forgotten
1/12/39 - 8/7/08