Students studying
By Ella Hundere Dahlgren

Growing up in Teton County and attending our local schools, I have had dozens of parents ask me if I think my education has been adequate and pepper me with question such as do you think the quality of education you have received will affect your chances of being admitted to your choice college?

Do you feel deprived of your true potential?

Do you wish you had gone to school somewhere else?

No. No. And no.

The teachers in our school district care about their jobs, they care about the students
they teach and learning and growing. Public education in Idaho may not have the most funding, but that does not make it any less credible, especially when we have educators who concern themselves wholeheartedly with their students’ emotional and academic well being.

The amount of money going toward education in our public schools may not compare to that of private schools or homeschooling programs, both of which are funded by parents not taxpayers. But, that does not take quality away from what students can learn.

Money does not make the student, the mind does.

Exposure to myriad people and ideas teaches
students compassion and perspective. This is an important lesson, too.

I have been taught in Teton County School District 401 since I was in kindergarten, and I feel confident that I have been provided with the tools necessary to be successful.
My resources may not have been as high tech as they would have been if I had gone to school somewhere else, but I was still provided with the resources I need to be successful in college, the workplace, and life.

No matter where you go to school, your education is what you make it.

Putting in the extra time, exploring topics in the classroom and on your own, going the extra mile to ensure an understanding and enjoyment of a topic is what gives your education merit.
Every year, Teton High School graduates have gone on to make the Dean’s list at both private and public institutions of higher education, become nuclear physicists, doctors, and attorneys.

I struggle to see why parents question the caliber of education in our public schools.
Students in TSD 401 are given the resources needed to excel: teachers that care about their education, and textbooks that may be dated but still hold accurate information. Students have access to the Internet, whether it be at school, at home, or at one of the many public libraries in the valley.

The location and funding of schools can only do so much to bolster a child’s education. In the end, it is up to the child and how much they want to gain from what they are given.
We need to stop assuming that our school district’s limited funding creates shortcomings in education. The impact of a strong work ethic and passion for learning combined with dedicated teachers can only lead to success.

Our public school system provides its students with what they need. I’m tired of the questions. Pay attention to the successes.


Ella Hundere Dahlgren, 17, is a senior at Teton High School in Driggs, Idaho, and editor of the school’s newspaper The War Cry. A member of National Honor Society and four- year member of the THS Cross Country team, she is the daughter of Eva Dahlgren and Dan Hundere of Driggs. This Opinion piece was first published on February 28, 2019 in The War Cry (2019 Issue 3), an insert in the Teton Valley News, Driggs.