Getting on the ‘write’ path

There is one issue that every single person should be greatly concerned about—our educational system.

In Nebraska, we have local school boards but in addition we have the Nebraska State Board of Education, composed of eight districts with an elected representative from each. In my opinion, we learned just last year that we have all been sleeping in class on this subject. We have people who have no interest in creating a culture of learning in the classroom but instead care about indoctrination to a degree that most level-headed people cannot even understand.

This is not a Nebraska problem; this is a national problem coming from the national level, down to the state and then to the local schools. Without paying attention, we have allowed these advocates to take our kids into a classroom that we could not even imagine. We must admit that it happened on our watch. I often talk about the big elections like president and governor that get all of the attention but often we walk into that voting booth and we read a bunch of names that we are not properly prepared to vote for or against.

I think the key word and concept to focus on is culture. I think about the gut health that our swine nutritionist Dr. Fred Madsen has always preached about and how important it is to get that right. Bugs and bacteria are key. We are all going to be exposed to bad bugs in our life, in fact, the more bugs you are exposed to the greater the strength and resistance you develop. However, ultimately the key to proper health resides with the basic fact that you maintain more good bacteria than bad bacteria. This school initiative that surfaced is the tipping point of a healthy culture in a system where the bad bugs are certainly trying to take over.

I am concerned that we are racing kids through a system that forces them to score adequately on standardized tests without a clue about what the kids actually learn. Reading, writing, arithmetic, and history are just as important today as they were 100 years ago.

We have serious problems globally and at the federal level as well but it is abundantly clear to me that nothing is a higher priority in today’s world than properly preparing our kids for the future. This brings me back to the one topic that I have written about extensively in the last 20 years. The U.S. Department of Agriculture dietary guidelines have put our kids on the wrong path for a long time and if we are not meeting the nutritional needs required to feed our kids’ brains, we will never improve the culture of learning.

One final conversation that I wish to share about kids and learning involves a woman in the mental health field. The observations that were shared with me about what has happened to kids in the past two years, from a mental health standpoint, is enough to scare parents straight. Like every other issue, I dig into this one and can not come up with a silver bullet but rather a long hard pull that involves getting this runaway team under control and getting back on the “write” path.

Editor’s note: The views expressed here are the author’s own and do not represent the views of High Plains Journal. Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at, or email Trent at [email protected].