Comments about ‘Senate committee unanimously endorses bill that caps Utah class sizes’

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Published: Monday, Jan. 23 2012 6:00 p.m. MST

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Howard Beal
Provo, UT

That sounds great but some of the class sizes and overall class loads of secondary education teachers are ridiculous. Some individual teachers are carrying nearly 250 students in maybe just six classes, many have 40-45 students. This can't be good either and should be addressed. And many of these teachers don't have aides or parent volunteers that can work with the students but rather are dealing with these students with very little support.

Salt Lake City, UT

I applaud this measure--of course it takes a Democrat to recommend it. The Republicans would be utter fools not to fund this measure.

As a secondary educator myself who teaches remedial classes, I witness every single day what happens when students fall behind in the lower grades--they play catch-up for the rest of their academic lives, never drawing even with their peers who mastered basic concepts early on. While classes are overcrowded in the jr. and sr. highs as well, I would much prefer any available money be allocated to the lower grades. This would be a huge payoff further down the road for the children of our state. Please, legislators, if you're reading this, do the right thing on this one.

Tooele, UT

Re: "Senate committee unanimously endorses bill . . . ."

So, cynical politicos leaned left and knuckled under to the UEA/NEA's wildly inefficient and unsustainably expensive number one labor organizing goal.

Hmmmmmm. I wonder why?

Here's betting it has less to do with commitment to educational excellence than with commitment to the quid-pro-quo support offered by the educational union.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Great idea if it is funded, if it is not funded just makes class sizes in all the other grades go up. Another unfunded government mandate for education will not help

one old man
Ogden, UT

Was Howard Stephenson sick?

Salt Lake City, UT

They actually did something useful on day 1? That's a pleasant surprise.

par, UT

Howard has been sick for awhile. Please fund this measure, I am not sure I can handle more than 39 8th grade history students in each class. If I have to put another desk in my classroom, I might ask for stadium seating.

Ogden, UT

Hood: this will do nothing for you unless you teach K-3.

one old man
Ogden, UT

procuradorfical -- That is totally false. And you probably know it.

Midwest Mom
Soldiers Grove, WI

Newsflash, Utah. Wisconsin has been doing this since 1995, only in our state, the class size for SAGE funding was 15. Part of it was paid for by the state and part of it was paid for by the local districts. Now that Republican Scott Walker is in charge, that program is in jeopardy. I am appalled that Utah still has such high class sizes. The Republican party likes to talk the talk of family values, but it is less supportive of children than that platform would suggest.

Salt Lake City, Utah

We don't need more money to lower classroom size. We need parents to be responsible and have fewer babies. We can achieve that by making only the first two children deductible on income taxes. This will be a more effective way to lower classroom size. Watch out for teachers and their unions demanding more money all the time. They waste some of the money they are now getting. They need to become more efficient.

gramma b
Orem, UT

This is just a way for the teachers' union to force more spending at a time when everyone is having to tighten their belts.

Wayne Rout
El Paso, TX

I don't support teacher unions or the typical administration in our schools. I am glad, however, that the state passed this law. While we have many problems that need to be fixed before we have truly educated students coming out of our schools, lowering the class size is one of the important things we need to do first. With this approach, it need not cause more spending. For one thing, the school systems could reduce the amount of overhead in each school. There is little desire on the part of most school organizations to cut cost, but hopefully this can force them to learn to do more with less. Productivity has long been missing from our schools...maybe this will get it started.

Herriman, UT

I'm just amazed at the negative comments from posters against this bill. This has nothing to do with NEA/UEA or any other organization. This is plain old common sense. Young students just starting out in school need more one on one time. Having 30+ students in kindergarten does not ensure that quality time to help that student with the basics. We aren't talking about teachers getting more pay out of this. We are talking about making certain that little kids get quality attention with their education. Having 1 teacher per 18 students or 1 teacher per 30 students. Do the math here people. Think about the time consideration. Why be against this? Oh, I forgot. Teacher unions brought it up? You should be ashamed. If Senator Stephenson was the one who introduced this bill all of you negative posters would think that it was the greatest idea since sliced bread. Jeez.

Bakersfield, CA

Someone in your hierarchy should be trying to get solutions to your long trend of nation-leading suicide and depression stats...

My father was superintendent, principal and teacher in Idaho. We moved to southern Cal in the '60's and his eyes were opened. He and my mother taught for 35 years there and always lamented the sad state of education and teacher salaries in Utah and Idaho. After they retired to St. Geo in '90, they couldn't believe the appaling lack of progress in educational issues. For the past 20+ years my mother has been subbing on the side. She eventually refused to sub in Utah, "where they do not value their teachers". So she drives into Nevada and subs for almost double the salary.

This isn't about greedy finances. It's about valuing your educators and your students. She could sub every day of the week, if she chose. But back in the 90's she decided to refuse employment by a system that paid her teenage grandson more than it did teachers with masters and higher education degrees.

What would that frontier founder say today of the empire he forged and the emphasis he preached on education?

Orem Parent
Orem, UT

EJM you don't need to be appalled at some of the posters. They LIVE to get on and post something about UEA every day. It is like their morning cup of coffee. They can't live until they spew out some anti-teacher comment. It really is a sad life but several live it day after day.

I am applauding this bill as well. It is great that we have a few teachers in the legislature to produce a couple of bills that actually improve education.

I would also like to see this expanded into all of the elementary grades. Start it out and just expand it each year. When it gets to junior high, certain subjects can probably deal well with bigger classes but not all of them can. There is no way a core class should ever have more than 30 kids. Some of my kids' classes have 40+.

Keep up the good work and maybe we can make this a legislative to remember instead of trying to forget it before February is over.

George Spelvin

Senator Stephenson: "If we're not able to get this fiscal note funded, we ought to push the bill forward anyway and begin to impose a standard for these grades that you have identified," Stephenson said. He suggested that since districts already receive state dollars for class-size reduction, there ought to be a standard in place to ensure they actually do it."

Dear, dear senator-- The schools, principals, and teachers are not the source of the students. They do not create all the babies. How are they to reduce class size without hiring more teachers? The "state dollars" for class size reduction actually bought about .02 teachers per student. So, if a school has 500 students and 14 teachers (at a class size of 35.7), it would have to hire 21 more teachers to get the class size "down" to 23 students.

Take another look at your "class size reduction bill," Senator. It didn't scratch the surface.

Placing the burden of Utah's burgeoning youth population on the backs of teachers and schools, and expecting exceptional results, is no longer a reality.


My Dad is an Elementary Principal and when I spoke with him last night about this, he said it would probably pass, but not get any funding. Reducing these class size would require 4-8 extra classrooms in every elementary (1-2 per grade). Most likely it wouldn't receive extra state funding so it would become a law that school districts "strive for."

He actually had a good solution. The reason we have summers off is because 60 years ago kids needed to help on farms during that season, but now it's just because we always did it. He suggested going year round and having 6 week mini semesters then a two week break, but alternating which students were on break so that teachers were constantly teaching. This would save so much money. We would have smaller classes without building more schools, teachers could work a full year and we could pay them accordingly ($44,000 to start rather than $33,000), and students would be evaluated every 2 months rather than once a year (cont)


(cont) Wouldn't it be so much better to spot which child is struggling with a smaller set of skills rather than realizing they didn't understand much and should repeat the grade. It's much easier to have a child come in during their 2 week break to work on multiplication than having them do summer school to relearn multiplication, long division, and every other math skill from that year.

Other problems solved: You can take your kids on vacation during the school year without missing school, smaller classes lead to more personalized teaching, teachers have chances to reevaluate their teaching style throughout the year.

The only downside is for families who don't have anyone home during the day, but they may face the same struggles finding a babysitter during the summer.

Ogden, UT

sportsfan: many districts have done year-round and many don't like it. Many studies show it has little if any effect on learning and running AC units all summer does nothing to save money.

It's not a new idea.

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