Economic concerns arise as fewer Utahns have college degrees


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  • Rifleman Salt Lake City, Utah
    Jan. 16, 2012 12:20 p.m.

    Re: Ultra Bob | 10:22 a.m. Jan. 13, 2012
    "Its very hard to believe the words of the people in government and business that have done so much to demean and diminish public education"

    One look at the financial mess the liberal educated folks in California have gotten themselves into shows that intelligence and book learnin' are two different things. At least Utah isn't paying billions of taxpayer dollars in interest on an ever growing debt.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 3:42 p.m.


    Also, please not that not ONE of the problems I noted above is the teacher's fault. Most of the issues noted above are problems that can be fixed by state and local governments. So I guess in that regard, we agree that government is the problem. Perhaps where we disagree is where the solution should come from. Of course, the most important solution is at home, where parents can have a tremendous influence. But we need to focus at the policy level on hiring, training and retaining the best folks we can to work in our classrooms. Unfortunately, in Utah, this means more funding is almost certainly required.

    Another issue I didn't address earlier is the common core for math. Utah, for some insane reason, has decided to go it alone with their own common core curriculum. This will mean a lack of materials, higher costs, and probably a wide variation in classroom experience depending on the nature and quality of training for our math teachers. While I agree that there are deficiencies in the way we teach math, I think the solution in this case is worse than the disease.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Jan. 15, 2012 1:38 p.m.


    I have lived on both coasts and in many states in between. I can tell you FROM EXPERIENCE, the schools here are not performing at the same level as schools in other places. Mind you, Utah is not the worst I have seen, but it is close. When soci-economic and two-parent families are adjusted for, Utah is actually BELOW AVERAGE. Translated: Given our advantages, we should be doing much better than we are. Said another way, a student from a similar economic and family background in Utah does not do as well on average as his her counterparts in other areas of the country.

    While I am sympathetic to your point that entrenched interests think money is the answer the everything, it is also important to note that money can be a problem for some things. Hiring and retaining quality teachers is a challenge here, as we have well below average teaching wages when adjusted for cost-of-living (39th nationally). If you want to counter my point, please do so with data. It is attitudes like yours that are keeping us from making desperately needed improvements, particularly in important areas such as math and science.

  • George Bronx, NY
    Jan. 14, 2012 10:30 a.m.

    I would be interested to now exactly what states you lived in, having lived in Utah for many years before moving to the east coast. I can tell you there is a huge difference. There was an article siting research in this very paper just a few days ago that attested to the fact that Utah ranks forth from the bottom. now if you have some research that indicates differently iIwould be happy to look at.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Jan. 13, 2012 11:05 p.m.

    Sorry Charlie, but I've been in all fifty states and have lived in fifteen. I lecture in many school districts around the country.

    They all think they're behind everybody else in something. Something the state is not doing right. It's mostly a cry for more funding.

    Districts follow the same federal guild lines and is pretty much the same everywhere. Standardized tests, teaching objectives, teaching strategies, accountability, arranging class schedules based on test scores, curriculum, behavior procedures, special ed, etc.

    You can't convince me Utah is any worse than anywhere else. It's not true. People maybe different, but the central command is for everyone.

  • Sorry Charlie! SLC, UT
    Jan. 13, 2012 9:04 p.m.

    Your comment makes no sense given that other states have a much better education system then Utah. Like Carmon we also moved here from out of state. We moved here from the east coast and I can tell you for a state that is suppose to be so concerned about children the education system here is a massive step down. You take the president to task for not taking the blame yet you try to displace blame of quality education on the local level on the president when other states are performing well ahead of Utah (46th). this is the result of a lack of leadership on the local not the federal level sorry. maybe the people of Utah should try taking some responsibility for a change.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Jan. 13, 2012 8:41 p.m.


    You sound inexperienced. The problem is not the teachers, but who micro manages them and the students.

    Bad teachers are the excuse of an intrusive government. They deal the cards.

    Like our commander in chief, they take no blame.

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    Jan. 13, 2012 6:22 p.m.

    The biggest problem is that we are not preparing our student adequately to GO to college!

    We moved from out of state to one of the better areas (top ranked HS, middle and elementary schools), and I can tell you that the schools here are a noticeable and significant step down. The biggest problems, in my judgement?

    1). Too many young, inexperienced teachers.

    2). Not enough emphasis on recruiting, training and retaining highly qualified teachers. In my limited experience here, I see talent jumping from the classroom to administration, or leaving the profession altogether, just so they can afford to raise their family.

    3). Low pay hurts ability to hire and retain the best teachers, particularly in key areas like math and science. See #3.

    4). Too much patting ourselves on the back. Our scores and college prep is ok, but when adjusted for demographics, achievement numbers turn poor, if not abysmal.

    5). Parent and school system expectations are too low for our students.

    The current Utah education system will fail a huge percentage of students in preparing them for 21st Century Jobs. We need to invest more and invest smarter or the long term consequences will be severe.

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    Jan. 13, 2012 5:30 p.m.

    Education is a vital thing and I think we should never stop trying to get more of it -- it doesn't all have to be in exchange for a degree.

    I think, however, we might consider adding to the options for education. In Europe, some opt out of university schooling, and instead go for technical and skills education, i.e. going into a trade which does not require English, Social Science, History, etc. And I'm not saying that those areas of education are bad, I'm just suggesting that traditional college degrees aren't creating the results they once did. Some do better and can make a pretty good living in a trade instead of in an office. We need both, so why not provide accredited training for both ends of the spectrum?

  • Claudio Springville, Ut
    Jan. 13, 2012 5:04 p.m.

    Re: Boomer Jeff

    Just out of curiosity, when was it proven (outside of your mind) that immigrants were naturally dumber, less educated, and less capable at the English language than Native Americans, African Americans, Arab Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, or the typical white person in Utah? This would be especially valuable information as many of our Republican presidential candidates, including the home favorite Mr. Romney, have suggested modifying our immigration laws so as to attract the world's brightest scholars.

    Apparently Mr. Jeff needs to contact the campaigns and inform them what a terrible idea this would be as no immigrant, nor their future children regardless of their native American citizenship, can compete with those who are born Americans by...wait...the logic escapes me.

    Thank you Mr. Jeff for this enlightening information. It speaks volumes.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Jan. 13, 2012 4:44 p.m.

    Our educators are constantly testing and comparing test scores. From this they find more ways to waste money.

    Here's another comparison. Increasing welfare means a poorer educated public. This has one common denominator, a corrupt government.

    Worfs law:

    Corrupt governments cannot exist with an educated population.

    Low intellect public leads to corruption.

  • Mukkake Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 13, 2012 4:21 p.m.

    The problem isn't just that fewer Utahns are obtaining college degrees, but that fewer people with college degrees are coming to and staying in Utah. Utah has little to offer young college graduates, in both jobs and lifestyles.

    I've seen the recruiting videos that various businesses and the University of Utah produce. Its pretty much all "Come to Utah, you MIGHT be able to Ski/Snowboard for 5 months out of the year".

    Utah is still seen as backward by many people, both from outside and inside Utah. Until the Utah legislature and various city/county councils decide to stop passing homophobic, anti-alcohol, and other lifestyle restrictions into law, Utah will continue to suffer "Brain Drain"

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    Jan. 13, 2012 3:42 p.m.

    @My2Cents, DeltaFoxtrot, Wayne Rout, etc.

    Do you truly believe that we need LESS EDUCATION in Utah? Really?

    There is study after study after study that proves that a person with a college degree earns more over a lifetime than someone without. A little research will easily dig up that info for you. Yes, I have a BA in Business. No, I don't work in a business field, I'm a computer technician using the skills I learned in the Army. I could not have even applied for my position without a degree - the agency I work for requires it. I earn more than my uneducated family counterparts. I earn more than my uneducated neighbors. You may not like it, but that's the way it is. Education = $$$$$ over a lifetime.

    BTW, by reading some of the ramblings and misspellings here, I can see that perhaps some of you should obtain some college-level English grammar training.

  • Ares Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 13, 2012 3:22 p.m.

    Lower tuition to attract people who may not be able to afford a degree and the state will get like 10 times the number of students. Many people are willing, but can't for financial reasons.

    I'm not economics major, but this is common sense.

  • BoomerJeff Saint George, UT
    Jan. 13, 2012 1:07 p.m.

    This isn't rocket science, when you have open borders and allow anyone in and encourage them to stay, eventually all our stats are going to drop. Currently 25% of the children born are from immigrants (per another Desnews article from today's date). A big chunk of those children are from a mother who is illegal and doesn't speak english and doesn't have an education herself. We are going to have higher dropout rates for high school students and fewer college degrees because of it. Poverty rates will climb, welfare services will increase in demand, your taxes will go up and your standard of living will decrease. Welcome to the new America.

  • DeltaFoxtrot West Valley, UT
    Jan. 13, 2012 12:44 p.m.

    Why do we need more college grads?

    Part of the economic problem now is that there are more college grads than there are jobs requiring degrees. This has devalued a college education to the point that it is nearly worthless.

    Bring back the jobs that demand skilled educated workers and the number of people with degrees will rise. Until then all the grads are making $8.25/hr working at Wal-Mart.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Jan. 13, 2012 11:58 a.m.

    People can't get student loans so they stop going to college. Pretty simple.

  • Seeker13 Ogden, UT
    Jan. 13, 2012 11:23 a.m.

    Utah's educational advantage is shrinking because the ridiculously increasing costs of pursuing advanced degrees has far out-paced the means of the majority of the people in this state. Students and their families end up becoming little more than indentured servants at the hands of the unbridled greed of predatory educational and financial institutions that have long- since trampled our American ideals in favor of exorbitant monetary gain. Gov. Herbert says that we need to make sure that the education we are giving is... capable, robust and skilled. He would do well to add accessible and affordable to that list.

  • CougarBlue Heber City, UT
    Jan. 13, 2012 11:20 a.m.

    Dear My2Cents, wow where did all that vitriolic feeling come from. Seldom have I seen someone spew out such anger. Please sit back and chill a little bit. This nation would be a third world country without education. You show your lack of a quality education through your lack of proof of your statements.

    Education is not cheap, but I guess you want it real cheap and real quick.

    Sadly when I talk to kids about college there are far too many who want the latest and greatest Iphone, or Android Device or they must have the Ipad2. So many claim they can't fund their education, but when asked they freely admit they have $200 tennis shoes, $80 dollar pants or $60 purses. They also seem to put a lot on their credit cards for partying and socializing. They think nothing of driving all of over the place and don't recognize the cost of gas or wear and tear on the car. They feel this need to have 1,000's of songs on their ipod. A $150 phone bill is nothing.

    I recognize many youth are barely making it, but the ones I hear the loudest are described above.

  • Patrick Henry West Jordan, UT
    Jan. 13, 2012 10:59 a.m.

    Good for me, bad for them. Less competition for the jobs I want in Utah.

    In other words quality jobs are in scarce supply and the fewer qualified persons there are then the more likely it will be to land a job in that industry.

    Supply and demand economics, do your thing!

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 13, 2012 10:29 a.m.

    **'Education is key to easing poverty' - Deseret News editorial - 08/23/09

    And yet:

    **'Utah Legislature: Lawmaker proposes ending affirmative action in higher education' - By Josh Smith - DSNews - 02/12/10

    "Rep. Curtis Oda, R-Clearfield, is proposing legislation that would forbid state agencies, contractors, universities and colleges from providing preference based on race or sex."


    **'Study: African Americans Paid Significantly Less Than Whites' - By Boyce Watkins, PhD - Aug 3rd 2010

    Education is key to promote financial gain by the 1) Person 2) Family 3) State and 4)...


    Would you like to see what happens to people who work AGAINST education?

    **'Backers of proposed Utah affirmative action amendment don't show' - By Lisa Riley Roche, Deseret News - 12/03/10

    "SALT LAKE CITY Members of the Utah Constitutional Revision Commission were irked Thursday when backers of a proposed amendment to end affirmative action in the state didn't bother to show up."

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 13, 2012 10:22 a.m.

    Its very hard to believe the words of the people in government and business that have done so much to demean and diminish public education.

    Conservatives chide liberals for buying votes be giving service to voters. The other side of the coin shows that conservatives buy votes in the same manner by promising service to the voters, but then they never deliver.

    Jan. 13, 2012 10:16 a.m.

    well said toosmartforyou, sadly it will fall on mostly deaf ears.

  • ClarkKent Bountiful, Utah
    Jan. 13, 2012 9:37 a.m.

    I think that more students are paying a bit more attention to how much student debt they want to incur, since thank goodness they may no longer write it off in bankruptcy. Its a wise choice to not go for a degree and incur debt if you really aren't going to work long enough to pay the debt back (ie the MRS Degree in Utah).

  • justamacguy Manti, UT
    Jan. 13, 2012 9:11 a.m.

    Education and economics go hand in hand. If you do the research you will find out that in the current market the pay gap received by high school grads vs college grads has closed dramatically. Even state jobs in Utah which require degrees are now below market in pay and have no significant benefits to make up the difference. It is a serious decision for todays student to make. Whether the economic debt of college out weighs just diving into the job market. Good luck kids!

  • BobP Port Alice, B.C.
    Jan. 13, 2012 9:02 a.m.

    With a BA and low GPA you qualify to flip burgers, sell cars and perhaps real estate.

  • Claudio Springville, Ut
    Jan. 13, 2012 9:02 a.m.

    Re: Wayne Rout
    " If fewer people are no longer wasting their parent's money in the study of music, ceramics, or philosophy it is a good thing. We need graduates in technical areas. Young people continue to confuse hobbies with careers. We need graduates in career fields. If someone graduates and they don't have an employable skills they have not accomplished much in terms of their worth to society."

    The ability to think critically (philosophy) is certainly an employable skill and one many employers wish they saw more of among their employees. The advancement in the arts (music, literature, and yes ceramics) has always been a precursor to advancement in sciences throughout the history of humanity. It is an unfortunate common complaint by the "football is king" (a rather vocal group of people in Mr. Rout's home of Texas) community that the arts have no place in society and are a waste of time and money. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Surprising that a man from the border town of El Paso, TX would be critical of Hispanic Studies as it would certainly include a rich study of his home culture. Then again, maybe it isn't surprising.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Jan. 13, 2012 8:43 a.m.

    While there are notable exceptions, such as professional athletes or one who invented a great item such as some popular social media, the averages are that an educated person makes more money than one who is ignorant and the higher level of education generally equals a higher level of compensation.

    Once I knew a young lady who refused to go to college because her sister "had a degree in education and worked for the phone company." What she failed to realize is that her sister supervised 34 employees and that a 4-year degree in anything was a requirement for the position. I told her one couldn't major in "phone company" but the effort to obtain a degree was something the phone company found to be of value when hiring their employees.

    The greatest benefit of education is that it trains the mind to be flexible and adapt and learn a new skill in a new situation, getting away from the "assembly line" mentality of being able to only do one thing (however well) forever.

    Like anything that is consumed, choosing where, when and how to become educated requires skill, guidance and a clear goal.

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    Jan. 13, 2012 8:38 a.m.

    Degrees in Art History,Hispanic Studies, and similiar fields are largely worthless. There was a time when universities tried to help young people achieve skills that would help them in the real world. Now, many of the graduates are largely unemployable. If fewer people are no longer wasting their parents money in the study of music, ceramics, or philosophy it is a good thing. We need graduates in technical areas. Young people continue to confuse hobbies with careers. We need graduates in career fields. If someone graduates and they don't have an employable skills they have not accomplished much in terms of their worth to society.

  • XXEconomist SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Jan. 13, 2012 8:26 a.m.

    It is Utah women who are not keeping up with the educational attainment of their national counterparts. Utah men still far out rank U.S. men in obtaining college degrees. In Utah, where once women were better educated than U.S. women in general, we now maintain a smaller share of college-educated women than the national average. Moreover, Utah shows, by far, the largest gap between the share of college-educated men and college-educated women of any state in the nation.

  • VocalLocal Salt Lake, UT
    Jan. 13, 2012 8:04 a.m.

    The degrees that have high earning potential go to considerable lengths to 'weed people out' and the remaining degrees leave students with a load of debt and either no job or a job which pays no better than a job they could have obtained with a high school diploma. We need less of our rigid institutional higher education and more education which gives everyone willing to obtain marketable skills easy access to the training and testing to be certified with those skills. Modern media should make that incredibly easy but we still insist on people jump through the artificial hoops of higher education-thus lining the pockets of a few PhD's at the expense of society.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    Jan. 13, 2012 4:19 a.m.

    Education and economics have no correlation, except getting federal education funds for their state budget and excessive debt with legalized loan sharking by local banks and education departments.

    The economic loss is in the debt and federal funding they lose with fewer students in the schools. Its time that education start living in their budget just like all the other government agency's. This may be a precursory to raising taxes for education again this year to sustain an image and lifestyle of wealth.

    As far as job economics that is irrelevent to amount of education. Education is out to make money and force indentured servitude lasting up to 20 years for potential students. Debt is a major roadblock to getting an eduction in Utah where education is not a job benefit as thousands have learned.

    We would have the truth in education if you take the billion dollar financial benefits out of their claims and statistics.