Comments about ‘Utah needs to implement changes to improve education, Walker says’

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Published: Friday, Nov. 12 2010 1:20 a.m. MST

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srw
Riverton, UT

"Sooner or later people in Utah are going to have to say 'this is not acceptable, we've got to change it.'"

I will say it right now. It is not acceptable. Let's be "efficient" in other ways besides teacher/student ratio. It is not acceptable to say that we can't afford reasonable class sizes.

Steven S Jarvis
Orem, UT

Education is only a priority to GET ELECTED. Once elected the Republicans work on things truly important to them like business and roads. We vote them in by overwhelming majorities like Margret Dayton over established educators by 60%, despite how much damage they have done to Public education because the wolf is an R.

The voters have made 35 in a kindergarten class acceptible by who they elected. In fact, Utah voters have given a mandate to be more efficent in government by voting more anti-education Republicans in. We even sent Herbert back!! Things aren't going to change until the people wise up to the cause.

peter
Alpine, UT

Sorry, Ms Walker, but the "reality" of class sizes and a broken education system have been around for longer than when I taught over 35 fourth graders 30 years ago. There are many more pressing problems facing education than class sizes that pushed me away from teaching 30 years ago, and Federal control over State education, including the NEA, is the primary problem. The Feds are corrupt in every way, and they have no respectable place in issues facing education on a local level. Dump the Feds and educaton will take a turn for the better.

John C. C.
Payson, UT

It's time to admit that we need to raise taxes for education. I challenge fellow Republicans to respond.

Lifelong Republican
Orem, UT

I so much wish Olene could have been governor for longer. Unfortunately the good ole boy club shoved her out the door.

She would have been the one to finally change the education system in Utah.

Now we have 35 kids in a kindergarten class.

My son has 40 in his high school class.

It is completely unacceptable and morally wrong.

Hellooo
Salt Lake City, UT

So, the lobbying starts again for education. Every year the same old song. The question should be, Why are we only able to educate 35 students per class? Why not 50 or 100 students? Are we really trying to educate students or reduce the work load and increase the pay of the teachers? With the technology we have today, it is inexcusable to continue to be this under productive and over compensated.

kimnprovo
Orem, UT

It's a bit frustrating when I see/hear people complain about the political parties in Utah when it comes to education. The problem isn't the reps or dems, but the union. I remember the public wanting to change and improve education through vouchers and charter schools. The union had that overturned. Now they want to complain about class size?!

advocate4u
South Jordan, UT

Propaganda Ms. Walker! The biggest change Utah needs is Transparency and Equalization for all Utah Students in the way Utah Funds Education. "You can not count apples and oranges"! The WPU is intentionally kept low and does not count all the money we spend for Education in Utah!
Let's support equalization of education funding in this State, as other States do. In Utah, Park City spends $20,000 per pupil whereas Tooele spends less than $2,000 per pupil! Utah does not count local property taxes! In that way they keep the propaganda of "Poor Utah" going strong! There is a bill sponsored by Merlynn Newbold that we all should back! It calls for equalization.

Insist that the Lies Stop! The UEA lobbyist will continue to keep class size high, teacher salaries low and pay fat building and administration cost until the sleepy Utah Public Wakes Up and demands accountability,transparency and equalization of Education funding.

The Sensible Middle
Bountiful, UT

If Utah were to introduce a moderate severance tax on minerals, this would help education.

The price of minerals has soared in the past several years. Some of this new found wealth should help go to help solve Utah's education problems.

Why a severance tax? Because if its moderate, these companies aren't going anywhere. They need to stay here to get Utah minerals.

cjb
Bountiful, UT

40 or 50 students in a class at the high school and even junior high school level really isn't a bad thing. In the Orient this is quite common and they still do much better academically than states in the United States where class sizes are much smaller.

What needs to happen is we need to pay teachers more, so that they can devote their full work related efforts to their school teaching career, also so that the many quality people don't discount school teaching as a career because it pays so low.

Our math education has declined a lot since I went to school. Back then, it was taken for granted that all students needed to understand how to add, subtract, multiply and divide; fractions and decimal numbers. Many educators today don't believe this is true, they say students have calculators.

Also the AP math track doesn't offer as high of quality of mathematics as it used to. Geometry education has been gutted, gone for the most part are the proofs and medium and challenging problems. Ditto for the rest of the AP math track classes but to a lesser extent. Education is hurting.

irxyou
Salt Lake City, UT

Here's a crazy idea. How about we change the child tax credit for the state? Sure you can have a credit up to "x" number of children but after that, no more credit. It's a choice to have more children, to "tax" the school system and add expenses, so why are those that are creating the huge numbers of students not the ones that are paying for it? I'm not saying this to be cold or callous, or to pick on the predominant culture here, I have children of my own in the school system and am a part of that predominant culture. It just doesn't make any business sense to allow those utilizing the system the most not to contribute more for it.
Is there any business model that allows the largest consumers to contribute less than those not utilizing the service that is successful?

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

Comparing our schools to Asia or anywhere else in the world is an irrelevant argument on most levels. Only in American Public Education do schools have to educate EVERYONE. Schools can't send the worst students away. Also, most countries in the world, say like Japan, have a homogeneous population. In Utah that has actually been the case (and is the case still in most schools) but this is changing fast, especially along the Wasatch Front. Not only is our population more diverse, their needs and challenges are also more diverse.

Governor Walker isn't the only one in tune of the increased challenges that lay ahead. Instead of meeting these challenges, Utah is "stacking them deep and teaching them cheap." The old efficiency model will fast be outdated. With increased diversity in our schools, with more ELL students, more at-risk students, more students from broken homes etc., doing things the way we used to and expecting the same types of results won't work.

Governor Walker knows what many of us know--Utah Education is in serious trouble if we don't change things. Class size does matter, let's get serious!

Mike Rose
Provo, UT

This study of peer states were spending three times as much for an average of $15000 per student per year. Whereas Utah averaged $5000 per student per year. the Peer states score averaged 250 where as Utah scored 240 only a three percent increase. The 3% difference divided by 200% difference in money spent a 0.015 correlation between money spent in similar states and tested results.

When historical trends are looked at the amount spent on education has hyper inflated while scores have steadily declined in every state resulting in a negative correlation! This might lead to a conclusion that spending less will lead to higher results!

At its core education is a poor substitute for apprenticeships and other forms of on the job training, but there aren't enough jobs for that. The industrial age and its productivity has resulted in 130 million people employed in a nation of 300 million.

Another potential explanation is that the historical decline of education accelerated with the unionization of teachers and government monopolization of education. Both union and monopoly have historically lead to higher costs, scarcity, and reduced quality. This calls for eliminating the monopoly and instituting competition through vouchers.

DR Hall
Clearfield, UT

Education is a small part business, but 99% service. Kids are not machines and neither are adults. They come in all sizes and attitudes and abilities. They change all through out life. That is one thing Republicans do not understand and some businesses don't either. You would think they would since most are married and have kids. Kids are in a unique formative part of life. Not all teachers are the same or abilities the same. The key is to help the teachers develop what they can to be able to reach most of her/his students. Not every body can be a teacher, in fact most people don't have the talent to become a good teacher. But teachers must be thought of as priority vocations and provided with adequate funding and supplies. But Utah's leaders has nothing but businesses on their minds so they can get reelected and how to "run things efficiently" but even they don't run that way. Get education back to where it belongs as number 1 priority.

JMOpinion
Orem, UT

I agree with Mr. Jarvis' observation that education is election rhetoric, however I must disagree with his example of Margaret Dayton. Mrs. Dayton tried to pass a bill that would have required the Union to pay for teacher representatives time off from classroom duties. As it stands now, school districts pay for union activities by teachers. This law would have put the financial burden for their activities squarely in the lap of the unions. I applaud her efforts! The USBA (Utah School Boards Association) and the UEA were the only two organizations that spoke out against this bill. Until we loosen the ties that bind our Unions and tax-payer funded lobbying organizations such as the USBA from our state represenatives, we will not see improvement to our educational system. These two organizations are holding back real progress in educational reform, solely in the name of protecting teachers and union coffers.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

I think there are people here that are greatly exaggerating the power of the UEA/NEA. By attacking it they also greatly suggest it has power that doesn't really exist.

But here's the teaching reality in Utah:

*Most teachers have had cuts in pays. Raises have been miniscule on the base pay but in practicality pay has been cut as teacher quality days have been cut and districts have even furloughed contract days.

*Insurance benefits over the past several years have got worse. Teachers pay more of their premiums than in past years.

*Class sizes have increased.

*Supply stipends have been cut.

*In many schools teachers now work more hours.

*Many programs in our schools have been cut causing teachers and coaches to dip into their pockets to pay for student/program needs.

*Many districts have cut retirement benefits, the state now makes new teachers work longer to earn retirement.

I don't see where more work for less pay in deteriorating working condition with reducing benefits is a sign of a strong union. If this is a strong union, I'm not sure what a weak one looks like.

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The education establishment (of which Olene Walker is a very long time part) will never be happy with how much funding it gets.

The reality the educators must face is that there will be no more money. Learn to do more with less, and eliminate ineffective programs, fire ineffective teachers, cut the bureaucrats who infest the school systems.

Find a way to stop wasting resources on those who refuse to learn, and those who are (admittedly through no fault of their own) are mentally incapable of learning. And, enforce our borders to eliminate the waste on people who are here illegally.

End the waste of paying teachers union reps to do union stuff while paid by taxpayers, and make it easier for teachers to opt out of the union and their forced contributions.

Walker and her career eduction friends are much of the cause for our present problems, and not part of the future solutions to them.

TJ
Eagle Mountain, UT

It all comes down to money. Utah has more childred per capita than any other state. Consequently, we need more teachers per capita. To have class sizes go down 25% we will need 25% more teachers. That is hundreds of millions of dollars over the next few years that would have to be raised mostly through higher taxes. I have 5 children in the mainstream public schools in Utah. Both my Wife and I work. What I have noticed is that the more involved with my children I am the better they do in school. I am all for paying teachers a good salary but the reality in Utah is that we would bankrupt our state if we pay our teachers significantly more and have smaller classes. You can't have both and there are too many people who are struggling to make ends meet to raise taxes. I would prefer to pay teachers more, have larger classes and hold parents more accountable for their childrens performance and behavior that distracts in their classrooms. Children who struggle should be getting more help at home.

EJM
Herriman, UT

It is laughable to hear from posters on here, such as advocate4U, who want to blame large class sizes and low teacher pay and bloated pay for administrators on the UEA. I mean, I am laughing out loud here because you do not have a CLUE as to what goes on. Not a clue. The UEA does NOT represent administration. Supposedly they are the ones (and yes, they do do this) wanting to increase teacher pay and reduce class sizes. When you post like that it tells me you don't know what is going on in reality.

Raven
Sandy, UT

Blah, blah, blah. We've heard it a million times before. "We need more money to solve our education problems..." Blah, blah, blah...

What is it going to take for our educational establishment to get to the root cause of our education ills? When are the parents of the children, in our public schools, going to realize that they, and only they, are the managers of their children's education? When are we, the public, going to tell the NEA, the UEA, the boards of education and the administrations to start doing "our will" and stop it with your failed policies?

When are we going to tell our teaching universities that your long loved professors need to be fired and new ones hired that understand that it doesn't take more money to change and create a good education establishment?

Until all this happens, Mrs. Walker, you are right, we are facing a crises and all we can do is to cry about our failures.

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