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Comments about ‘Utah last in education funding’

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Published: Thursday, May 26 2011 5:47 p.m. MDT

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DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Yes, we are list in funding per child.

So what?

We do have great teachers and they do a great job of teaching the kids, most of whom are given excellent support and encouragement at home. (See Deseret News stories earlier this week).

If funding equaled successful learning then the District of Columbia and New York (both spending much more than twice as much per student as Utah) would be turning out geniuses instead of hordes of dropout and illiterates and some good graduates as well. Is that the model we want?

Below average "school funding per pupil" is the ploy used by the teachers unions to constantly scare taxpayers into spending more every year without asking what they are getting for their money. Apparently, Utah gets quite a bit, but DC and NY students are getting shortchanged in the results department.

squirt
Taylorsville, ut

DN Subscriber,
Being last in per pupil funding should not be a badge of honor. The difference we could make in Utah would be unbelieveable. Look at what we accomplish with the largest class sizes in the country.

"The below average "school funding per pupil" is a ploy used by the teachers unions to scare taxpayers into spending more every year..." Did you not read the article?? We are not below average we are LAST!!!!

The teachers association is not perpetuating a myth. Please, stop with the mistruths regarding our teachers and their association.

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

Study after study continue to show that there is zero correlation between funding and educational success. Did you know that the best-funded school district in the country also has the 2nd-highest high school dropout rate?

So being last in per-pupil funding shouldn't be a badge of honor, but it isn't a huge problem either. If next year Utah were magically #1 in per-pupil funding, you wouldn't see an increase in test scores.

Studies show that educational success is predicated on one factor more than any other: parental expectations and involvement. If you really want to improve test scores, spend money on educational programs for irresponsible parents who don't care about their childrens' educations.

CHS 85
Sandy, UT

@DN Subscriber

It is because teachers are willing to spend their own money to buy supplies and books that help them teach their students. My wife is a teacher in JSD and we budget from our family budget $200 - $300 per month for supplies and books for her students, and yes, every month it is spent and usually a little more. Last month we bought crayons, glue, pencils, 120 level reading books - her class this year is reading on a higher level and she didn't have enough higher level books. You get the idea.

squirt
Taylorsville, ut

Brave Sir Robin,
Try telling that to the teacher who has 42 sixth grade students. More funding translates to more individual time with students.

Florida touts the argument that they make such huge gains on test scores AND they forget to tell you that they have a constitutional requirement to limit class sizes to 18 in K-3 as well as other levels. There are studies out there to back up the efficacy of lower class sizes.

I agree about the parent piece. Thank you for bringing that to light.

JWB
Kaysville, UT

Parents, Teachers and Administrators in public schools make a difference in a budgetary conscious Utah. Hopefully, the Legislature, Representatives and Senators, don't sit there for the next eternity downplaying the ability of all public teachers and administrators. There is not another state that has as dedicated educational workforce to help students attain the goals and objectives that are required and even beyond those requirements. I know a person who was a legislator for 14 years and he never had a good thing to say about teachers. The voucher issue several years ago still highlights the impression legislators have as they preach against public education.

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

squirt, the class size issue is more controversial than you think. About 80% of those studies conclude that class size doesn't matter. 20% conclude that it does.

There's no better example than our universities. Freshman chemistry classes have around 350 students, yet we seem to have no problem turning out good chemists in this country. Why is that?

The bottom line is, students who want to learn will learn, regardless of how many other kids are in the class. Instilling that desire to learn is the key - that is why it begins and ends with the parents (and not the budget).

squirt
Taylorsville, ut

Brave Sir Robin,
Your point about our universities is a good one but only as it relates to educating those students who want to be there. Our public schools deal with students who don't want to be there and they require much more individualized instruction and teacher motivation. Lower class sizes would help with this.

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

squirt, that's exactly my point. The kids who are successful are the ones who want to be there. And you are correct - public schools are full of kids who don't want to be there (hence they don't do well in school).

Where does the desire to be there (i.e. get an education) come from? From parents! It doesn't come from teachers. A student who doesn't want to be there won't have a change of heart by getting individual instruction from a teacher. When's the last time you saw a slacker turn things around because of individual attention from a teacher? Never, that's when. My wife is a teacher and she talks about this stuff all the time. The data backs up her anecdotes.

I'm telling you - money spent on schools/teachers doesn't matter, and there is volumes of data supporting this. Somehow we need to figure out how to use that money for parenting classes.

cbasiefan
Fruit Heights, UT

Brave Sir Robin,

I have seen individual attention from a teacher change the motivation in a student. Especially, in the younger grades. Motivation can come from success and attention which can come from a teacher if they have the time to give it. One of the problems in Utah is there isn't that time because there are so many students in each classroom to work with. It becomes very hard to give the attention necessary when there are so many kids in the classroom.

If you talk to enough people, you can find those who will tell you they were helped and turned around by a good teacher. Yes, there are those who will learn and thrive in any situation. The thing is, teachers are held responsible for all their students, whether they want to learn or not. Teachers are held responsible for all their students despite the background each student comes from. So we, as teachers, have to try and do everything we can to teach as many unmotivated, unwilling, broken students that we can on top of teaching the students who would learn with or with us.

Coach P
Provo, UT

As a teacher and coach for over 20 years I've seen plenty of students turn not only their academics and school performance around because of the efforts of teachers and coaches, but the course of their lives was forever changed. Teachers do well of course with supportive parents but often times teachers and coaches are the only adult figures these kids trust.

One of my teaching colleagues, who actually had a supportive family, talks about all the time how his high school football coach with a simple conversation at the end of a practice, changed his life. His coach was upset about his attitude and lack of attention to detail and that he wasn't performing up to his potential. He took football more seriously, his academics more seriously and he often points to this one little conversation from a caring coach (who also kicked him in the rear so to speak) changing his life. What's cool is both the coach and player from this story are still coaching and changing lives.

Rufio
Saratoga, UT

and of course money = quality.

Wonder how many "class-room" educators have advanced degrees, doctorates? My nephew has a Chemistry teacher with a PH.D. in Chemistry in another state...they have dozens of teachers making similar money to ours but with solid backgrounds. DesNews, why not compare that from around the country?

I would bet Utah families would be seriously interested in paying more if they got more for their students - the UEA just wants money and no accountability.

EJM
Herriman, UT

@Rufio: The UEA just wants more Monet and no accountability? If you really believe that then this would be an organization that would, across the board, be a laughingstock. Ask me why the legislatures afraid of the UEA then? If you read the charter and mission statement of the UEA you would see that they are concerned with educating our youth. They want the best possible teachers in our classrooms and have procedures in place to help get rid of those who can't pass muster. And yes, they also have protections in place to help teachers who are accused of improprieties, fairly and unfairly. Sounds to me like a decent organization. I don't agree with some of the policies of the NEA, which is the national governing body but locally the UEA has shown itself to be, overall, an advocate for students ,teachers and the community.

EJM
Herriman, UT

Money, not Monet. But he was pretty good himself.

squirt
Taylorsville, ut

EJM,
Thank you for finally voicing the truth and sharing the facts about UEA. It is very refreshing!

I agree, Monet, was pretty good too!

Fight On
Draper, UT

So, if we spend the same amount as New York and DC, will our schools be as bad as their schools? Spending more has not improved their schools at all, but it has strengthened the UEA there.

All money for the student should be tied to the student, and go directly to the school the student attends, not the district. Schools would then compete for students, and districts would compete for schools, who would pay them a management fee. The current method has Districts spending as little as possible on each school, keeping the rest for 'running things'. Reversing things would have schools spending as little as possible on Districts. We are incentivizing the wrong things.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

Some common sense to this all.

A teacher can better teach a classroom of 20 students vs. 30 students and 30 students vs. 40 students. I mean saying anything different flies in the face of common sense. A lot LDS saints think teaching is really easy but they do it on Sundays only with 7-10 kids, try 30 to 40 (daily) and it's a bit different.

Next, using money to reduce class size would improve education. Using money to put two teachers in a classroom would better educate our students than any piece of technology or pedagogical strategy or reform. But this would require investment.

The problem with D.C. schools where a lot of money is spent is that those schools have students from impoverished communities where parental involvement is low. In response to this, plenty of educrats have been employed trying to invent programs and such to address the problem that don't work. So indeed throwing money at the problem doesn't work.

But to spend less money on education and crowd more kids in classrooms (Utah's approach) isn't going to get better results long term either.

Orem Parent
Orem, UT

Wow Fight on, the UEA has been strengthened in New York and DC?

This is a perfect example of how little people actually know about the UEA and what it does.

The U stands for Utah.

To all of you teachers out there, thanks for what you do.

I'm sorry the ignorance of a few is usually the voice that gets heard.

worf
Mcallen, TX

Most states claim a low money per student ratio. I don't know of any state satisfied with their budget. Everybody wants more, no matter how much is given. With about $36 per day for each student or $3200 per semester, proper budgeting will go a long way.

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