Blaine County public schools were once known as some of the best in the state. It’s time to reclaim the fame.

The Blaine County School District board of trustees is wringing its hands over the fourth straight year of declines in student scores on the SAT college readiness test. Others in the nation are debating the value of the tests altogether.

The test is administered to 2 million high school students each year. Most colleges still use the test scores as part of their admissions standards. However, research has shown that grades are a better indicator of future academic success.

Some colleges and universities have made the tests optional. The list includes top-ranked George Washington University, Wake Forest University, Smith College and the University of Chicago.

Even so, standardized exams for everything from advanced education to trades licensing to the military remain a large part of American society. Thus, students must be prepared to deal with such tests because they can determine the entire course of their lives.

SAT tests do allow schools to compare the performance of students at one school to those at others.

The gap in test scores between white and Hispanic students in Blaine County tells us that a gap exists, but not how to close it. The scores don’t tell anyone what the gap consists of.

School board Trustee Kevin Garrison was right when he expressed frustration over the pattern of seeing the scores and hearing that educators will report back.

Before more time elapses, local educators must close the gap and get all students headed up the performance ladder. Students and families are depending on them to get the job done well.

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