Comments about ‘In our opinion: Rethinking education’

Return to article »

Published: Sunday, Oct. 16 2011 3:00 p.m. MDT

Comments
  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
jp3
Salt Lake City, UT

I agree...let's not think about what's best for the student, but best for the Fortune 500 companies...we need to prepare the youth of today for the jobs of tomorrow. That's what should come first.

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

While educating students is one priority of higher education, some universities, such as the U and USU, are research-oriented institutions, and the value of that research cannot be underestimated with regard to its impact on the state's overall economy.

From the grants that fund that research, providing dollars, jobs, and multiplier effects, to new technologies, products, and understandings on how industry works that emerge from faculty and student innovations, university research is a key economic engine for the state and region.

In the discourse of the effectiveness of higher ed, I've been concerned that too much of the framing of research has centered on seemingly "valueless" research on "feminist" studies or reviews of obscure literary authors or "politically-correct" topics on ethnic studies and climate change. While they do exist within the university setting, there is also work being done on energy innovations, computer applications, worker incentives and leadership, medical advancements, and the like that are solving key social/economic problems that directly impacts society's overall well-being.

Yes, teaching is important. And research that seeks answers to society's problems is another equally important outcome of higher education.

Screwdriver
Casa Grande, AZ

Well, rich people sure seem to think money is important to thier child's education. They send thier kids to the most expensive private schools in the world.

But many of those same wealthy people are republicans and will tell you your child's public education that costs $5000 a year is just too expensive and wastefull.

FDRfan
safety dictates, ID

This should be read by every one who has an interest in education. Thanks.

DBeck
Eagle Mountain, UT

Are we will finally going to change how K-12 and higher ed are structured for academically and operationally? Why not share site and district support staff duties (more variety in work, fewer people)? How about more shared leadership at the site, district and even state levels? And while we are all at the table chatting about this, maybe someone can tell us how exactly 180 days/990 hours were determined to be the measure of successful delivery? These and so many other questions need answers. More so, these represent problems needing to be solved. The way per pupil monies have been poorly allocated fails our students overall. That means our graduation rate is problematic from various angles, our drop out rate is increasing, our proficiency rates are alarming, and so on. These impact the "seriousness" in how students approach college or vocational training. Some drop out although some do finish (usually with heavy debt). Instead of pointing fingers at teachers or blaming organizations charged with supporting them, politicians need to support an overhaul of our education system that allows us to step into our current century and make a serious difference for the kids.

Winglish
Lehi, UT

You write about accepting current levels of funding and embracing technology in the same series of recommendations?

Seriously?

It's time to get real, DNews. Technology costs money. Lots of money. Heaps of money. Stacks of money. Want kids to use technology in school? Fund the technology!

JFFR
Salt Lake City, UT

Honest question here:
"Shumway lamented declines in funding for education, citing a Utah Foundation study showing that the proportion of Utahns' personal income directed toward public education in the form of tax revenue has declined. According to the report in 1992, Utah ranked eighth in the nation in that measure. By 2009, Utah had fallen to 26th."

Is Jon Huntsman Jr.'s tax code responsible for this?

Henry Drummond
San Jose, CA

Thirty years ago Utah provided 80% of the cost of higher education. Today that has dropped to less than 45%. Utah has dropped from 8th to 26th in terms of college degrees. There has been a corresponding drop in high paying jobs in the state as corporations cross Utah off the list of states to expand into. The state constitution mandates that 100% of income taxes go to education, yet Republicans cut that funding source assuring everyone it would spur economic growth providing more money for education, not less. It didn't work. Now the Deseret News wants us to continue down the same path for another generation. Other states and other countries that are beating the socks off of us are not taking the approach this editorial suggests. They are making the financial commitment and are reaping the financial rewards.

Instereo
Eureka, UT

You get what you pay for. So in Utah where we spend the least amount per student since 1988, we get a good return on our money. Yet when the Deseret News implies we spend to much on education, I get the feeling they are not really concerned about our children. We need to invest in our schools, our teachers and our children and quit making excuses about how we need to do more with less. The Utah education system has beven doing that for a long time already.

The Utah Republican
Alpine, UT

ANOTHER flaw in DesNews' reasoning is found in the statement that funding has increased while achievement has stagnated. The flaw is in the fact that the equation neglects the impact of demographic shifts. Utah schools now service more minorities for whom English is the second language, more children living in poverty, more children from broken homes, and more children from homes where both parents work full time. All of these factors make learning more difficult, and in the face of the increased difficulty Utah public schools have held the line.

Achievement hasn't stagnated. Utah politicians have accepted status quo achievement as the level of education which they are willing to fund. American excellence depends on free markets. Market forces dictate that underfunded systems suffer. In this case, the level of suffering is balanced at the status quo level by the public's willingness to fund the system.

BYUI is a great institution and is accomplishing great things, but it can't be used as a model for public education. BYUI doesn't accept every applicant, offers employees compensation that public schools can't match, and has it's own funding mechanism. Our public schools operate in another world.

FDRfan
safety dictates, ID

The proposals and ideas expressed in this article are exactly what we ought to be discussing. I am a retired professor and just purchased a set of taped lectures on a subject unrelated to my area. They are fantastic and a vast improvement over the live lectures available at the typical state university. Why should every school hire professors when such courses from the best professors could be offered on line? Many of the top professors at each major state university are researchers who see students as a distraction. And lets look at their research with a little skepticism. Other than impressing their colleagues with their cleverness, a lot of it has no real world value. Merton Miller once said that by the time the academics got around to publishing research on a problem, the market had long since solved it. High quality education does not have to be available only to the wealthy. Nor indeed should it be.

Everest
American Fork, UT

Those who make excuses for the unabated growth in public school costs sound an awful lot like those who say we can't reduce federal entitlements. There are a million arguments for bureaucracies needing more funding. That funding simply doesn't exist.

If you start with the premise that budgets must hold constant or decline, then you will be forced to think about doing more with fewer resources. Yes, even technology can be deployed at lower cost. In fact, technology shouldn't be implemented at all UNLESS it is done at lower cost than growing the bureaucracy.

Lifelong Republican
Orem, UT

Sorry Dnews you missed the boat on this one.

Your editorial staff needs to pull their heads out of the sand and realized that a great education system isn't going to magically appear at no cost despite what our legislature thinks.

We keep saying we want to be the best, innovation and technology will take care of it, etc.

It isn't happening.

At my son's school, they tried to do the online testing for the end of year CRT tests. The computers wouldn't even run the testing program put out by our own state. Not to mention the fact that there were only enough computers in the school to test two classes at a time unless you kicked the technology classes off of their computers for a month.

You talk about technology but do you realize how much a computer costs? Do you realize how many computers would be needed?

We, as a people, just need to realize that education taxes aren't that much. We are getting a great bargain!

Orem Parent
Orem, UT

I just got my property taxes. On my house, my taxes for the school district portion are $1,576. My personal income tax will probably be about the same. So for around $3,000 my kids are getting a great education. That is cheaper than day care! There isn't a better education bargain around for that price.

In fact, legislators, you can feel free to raise my taxes another 10% if it will go to funding education. I'll gladly pay to have better facilities and equipment for my children. However, I don't want my kid in front of a computer all day. I want real interaction with a live body. Someone that can listen and adjust what is being taught, not some canned lesson plan.

Next thing we know you will be suggesting we outsource the computer teaching to India and my kid will be getting a greeting like this:

"Push 1 for Biology, 2 for Math, 3 for P.E."

No thanks.

Our education system worked fine for me and it is working well for my kids. We just need to fund it properly.

PHealey
Holladay, UT

Your are in the couds just above academia in their ivory towers.
1. you can't compare business to education
2. can't comapre private to public
3. can't compare different government services
fallicious arguments and thinking, just admit that you are opposed to public education you will not look so addlepated.

Chuck E. Racer
Lehi, UT

Costs for education have grown more than inflation, true. How this has happened for at least the last 25 years is this: Congress, the Legislature, and/or the State Board is pressured (usually by the media or candidates for office) for some program or additional requirements. Funding is approved for about 50% of the cost of the increased requirements. Multiply that year after year, until you have what we have today: high cost though not nearly enough funding to provide what is most important, but mandated to do all the increased requirements.

The bottom line is, while costs have increased, demands and requirements of the system have increased much more than funding has, leaving us more underfunded than before.

Diligent Dave
Logan, UT

When I went to the "U" in the 1970's, tuition ran between $150 and $250/quarter (they weren't on semesters there then). Books were comparable. Higher education was affordable. Any load over 12 hours cost the same, so I typically took 18-20 credit hours/term. And, I was able to 'CLEP' test (College Level Examination Program) out of a whole year of college. Of course, professors' salaries were much lower. Everyone made less. But I only had to take out 6-month credit union loans to acquire two bachelor degrees that took me 3-1/2 years to do.

Today, you can only acquire those diplomas with massive mountains of money. The adage "You can have anything in this world for money" and it's opposite corollary, "You can't anything much without it" is so true. Greed, covetousness, on the part of a whole generation or two has allowed the cost of higher (& lower) education to creep up, year by year, decade by decade, until only the rich can get it.

Don't only blame Republicans & legislators. Look hard into the mirror. How much has your own covetousness, over time, contributed to this situation?

JustGordon
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Let's rethink education in Utah by actually funding it at a level with the rest of the Third World. It would also be nice if we had a governor who had more of an education. Right now he can't value what he doesn't possess.

worf
Mcallen, TX

@Screwdriver | 7:33 a.m. Oct. 16, 2011


"Well, rich people sure seem to think money is important"

Careful of the Obama banwagon. "Thou shalt not covet" It can sure divide America and cause much bitterness.

Shame on BO for pitting Americans against Americans for the sake of gaining votes.

Gildas
LOGAN, UT

I don't know though. I think that the best part of this article is the part about cutting the frills: the sports programs and in fact anything spurious out of the system.

I approached education in this way as far as my personal efforts were concerned. I stayed in my room and read the subjects of the lectures rather than attending them. Why even waste time going to your lecture venue and listening to someone talk about it when it's already in books. The lecturer writes books himself; read his book or someone else's. Oh yes; maybe at the end the lecturer will answer maybe three students questions if he has the time.
Out of a hundred or so students that's not many. I'd e-mail him today.
I found tutorials helpful on the other hand, a much smaller group being involved for us. Then certain liberal courses with their liberal professors. Wast of time and money.

BTW I passed in three years "cum laude".

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments