Comments about ‘Robert Bennett: One problem America needs to fix education’

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Published: Monday, Nov. 26 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

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Sugar City, ID

Education, K-12 and beyond is not addressing real needs:

I had a student at a local universality, who told me that in her HS health class she had to put a condom on a banana! Great. We have students that can't write a complete sentence but, glory hallelujah, they can put a condom on a banana!

A friend of mine called his daughter's school to ask that she not be involved in the Harvey Milk assembly. When the principal told him she doesn't have a choice, he said he'll just keep her home. The Principal told him that she'll need a signed doctor's excuse!

We spend thousands of $ on interschool sports that have absolutely nothing to do with education.

My son received his masters degree as a prominent eastern university. His complaint: They had to water down the courses so that the "affirmative action" students could pass the classes.

Unless a teacher is sexually involved with a student, you can't get rid of a poor teacher.

20% of entering college students have to take at least one non credit remedial class.

The list goes on and on and on.

Deep Space 9, Ut

Bob, you lost your last election because you don't understand that nation. If you want to get more people to enter into math and science related fields, you have to change people's attitudes. Unfortunately in today's society when somebody likes science or math they are labled a "geek" or "nerd" or some other deragatory term. Meanwhile on television the programming glorifies lawyers, doctors, businessmen, singers, actors, and non-science related jobs. Ask most any teenager if they want to sit behind a desk doing math and science, or if they want to do one of the jobs that they see on TV and most kids will do the popular thing.

So, the challenge is this, how do you change society's attitude about people in Math and Science? You couldn't make a TV series because the science would bore people, and there are few science and engineering jobs that could be marketed as exciting to the general population.


Mr. Bennett, consider this:

Job creation has been lackluster since we lowered tax rates during the Bush Administration. As wealth has become increasingly concentrated at the top, fewer jobs are being created.

One factor:

"The financial sector, which includes lending, stock brokerage, complex securities and insurance, among many other services, derives enormous profits from collateralized debt obligations. These new products require such sophisticated engineering that the industry now focuses its recruiting on new master’s- and doctoral-level graduates of science, engineering, math and physics, and pays them starting wages that are five times or more what they would have earned had they remained in their own fields.
“Because these new hires are often the very individuals who otherwise would have comprised the most robust pool of prospective founders of high-growth companies, the financial services industry’s steady rise has had a cannibalizing effect on entrepreneurship in the U.S. economy,” said Paul Kedrosky, Kauffman Foundation senior fellow and one of the paper’s authors. “Excessive financialization exacerbated and distorted the flow of capital in the economy, potentially suppressing entrepreneurship by drawing
away entrepreneurial talent.”
(Has the Growth of the Financial Sector Harmed the Economy?" )

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Blame business.

When businesses short change a PhD starting wages at $40K -
Why should someone invest 8 years of lost earnings, and $100K in-debt to earn barely 2X minimum wage?

When I worked at Boeing, we hired Engineers from India and China because $20/hr was a King's ransom back home.

They rented apartments in America,
while buying huge mansions to move back to later.

Unions stop this from happening,
Government can't,
Businesses won't.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

Blame the state Legislature.

They're the ones preventing educators from educating. They're the ones constantly interfering with things they have no idea on.

American Fork, UT

Our whole society actually villifies intelligent people, especially engineers, scientists and the like. Education is delivering basketball and football players, which is exactly what we want it to do.


"Unfortunately in today's society when somebody likes science or math they are labled a "geek" or "nerd"

Nothing new or recent about that.
The "jocks" and "popular group have long viewed the science/math students as geeks/nerds. Whether that affects the choice of major comes down to the individual's personality, and perhaps it also has to do with the school environment and population. I would say neither of my engineer sons suffered socially. Aptitude also plays a role. Engineering is a very demanding major requiring and not everyone has an aptitude for the math/science skills required to be successful. The elementary school my sons attended started differentiating kids according to math skills, in 3rd grade. Strong, medium and those students who struggled with math attended class with students of similar aptitude (for math only). Did this help? I don't know. The school district was in a relatively affluent community where many of the parents had college degrees.

We are failing poor and lower middle class children. We need to figure out how to help these families and the schools that serve them.

one old man
Ogden, UT

No, Red, Mr. Bennett lost the election because he carries Common Sense in his head and tries to use it.

Deep Space 9, Ut

To "Truthseeker" that is a nice story, but how do you change society's attitude towards math and science?

Orem, UT

Higher Ed (College and beyond) is the biggest pyramid scheme in America. People put a ton of money in, with no guarantee of return...but I digress...
There are so many problems with our antiquated education system. What we have worked great in the early and mid 20th century. What we need is a reboot of the whole system with a complete redesign of how we approach everything. We need some leaders to make this happen. The piece meal approach of current government just makes it worse. There are a lot of great ideas how to make it better; we need action and a new system in which to perform them.
I do agree with Bob, we can do it...Just need everyone to work together and be willing to compromise instead of criticizing and complaining.

Diligent Dave
Logan, UT

I have seven daughters and two sons. I am very much for women getting higher education. However, with by far a majority of college students being female, you are not likely to see very more science and engineering degrees pursued.

All my life, I have tried to interest my daughters (and wife) in things that interest guys, like those subjects. But have largely failed. The reason? Science and math, etc, though my girls are good at them, don't keep them fascinated.

Programs that have promoted women in college, unfortunately, have made men, especially white men, but ultimately all men, less able to compete against women. In K-12, women do better being quiet and sitting better AND getting homework done. Males do better standing, moving, and learning by doing. Our education system is dominated by females, and is much more female friendly, and less male friendly.

Teachers' unions prevent paying math and science teachers more than other teachers. This means they lose the best to the private sector. Without good teachers in science & math in K-12, you won't have young men ready to pursue college degrees in those areas. No amount of programs can change the nature of genders.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

Aren't these the same legilators who constantly cut and cut education
villify and cut funding to these very same
Scientists and Engineers when they make mention and warn us about Global Warming or Stem Cell reasearch?

Then we wonder why no on goes into those already low paying jobs.

And YES - this is a shot at the Republicans and their 6,000 year old flat earth anti-progressive thinking.

Deep Space 9, Ut

To "LDS Liberal" but the studies out there show that over the past 30 years Utah has doubled its spending on education (adjusted for inflation), and the test scores are about the same.

So, if we are spending more than we have in the past, and have not seen any improvement, why should we throw more money at the system?

(FYI, it is the flat earthers who are joining in on Progressive thinking.)

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

Mr Bennett hints at a fundamental problem - the misalignment of jobs and degrees. One way to address this is to require schools to be completely transparent in reporting graduation and jobs obtained statistics (so a lawyer who now works at Starbucks would not be counted as "employed"). For-profit schools are notorious for their abuses in this regard, and should face dis-accredidation for these tactics.

Diligent Dave
Logan, UT

What law school will eschew new students? Their business is churning out new J.D.'s, whether there are jobs in the law for them or not. But, having so many lawyers as legislators, certainly they will do what they've done so well for centuries, muddle the law more so you need more of them to untangle the messes they help create. ObamaCare may become part of that boon and boom!

And, on the 'flat-earther' commentator, may I suggest that we give the parents of children a voucher worth just 90% of what we pay for them now in public education. I guarantee you, they'll be much better educated for a lower cost.

But, of course that effort would be thwarted again, as it was before in this state, by the education complex. While many public school teachers do their best, the education complex, which pays very high salaries comparatively, still can't deliver better results. Of course, the breakdown of families is much to blame. Still, true choice would still bring overall much better results. I guarantee it.



According the 2011 census the population of the US is approximately 311591917. Of that number 23.7% are under 18 and 50.08% are female. That makes 311591917*0.237=73847284 female. Of those 73847284*0.508=37514420 girls under 18 in the US in 2011 (approx.).

In your family there are 8 females and 3 males. Your assumptions on what girls like and what boys like are based on a sample size of 8/37514420 = 2.1325*10^-7 or 0.0000213%.

Your statement on girls like to sit and boys like to run also ignores selection effects such as the girls you are basing your assumption on all come from the same cultural environment; they're your kids. So given that the commonality of having the same father is probably more of an effect than 'all girls like to sit'.

But then, what do I know? I'm just a girl.

West Valley City, Utah

Education needs to be more focused on what students need and not union politics.Charter schools, vouchers will give parents more choice. Minorities and poor will not be stuck in poor performing schools. More open-minded, out-of-the-box thinking will help our children maximize the use of their talents and abilities instead of simply passing them along from one grade to another. For those who pay attention to education spending and student performance, they will see that excellence in education depends on HOW money is spent, not just HOW MUCH money is spent on education.

South Jordan, UT

An argument I hear a lot is that executive pay is high because companies need to be able to attract the best talent. And yet I hear teachers get demonized for demanding a livable wage. Don't we want to attract the best teachers for our children?

Roosevelt, UT

In Alberta a teacher who has been teaching for 5 years averages $74,000 a year in wages. The teaching positions are highly sought after, and if a teachers class does not perform academically they are replaced as there are many good teachers waiting to take their place.

A high school graduate from Alberta who attends university in USA and takes business as a major has all their math and science requirements waived as these are all high school requirements there.

Do you think the higher level of learning and the much higher teacher salaries are accidental? (Canada ranks 3rd in world education)

In the Tribune today a headline notes that Utah ranks in the bottom half of the country for high school graduation rates.

When the teachers position in Utah is paid what it should be and what it is in other places the students will benefit, the teachers will excell or be replaced and education will be put in the right place.

Mr. Bennett the title of the article should be "what Utah needs to fix is education" we don't need to look outside out own state until we have a higher level of competence.

Deep Space 9, Ut

To "Doug10" you realize that even if we wanted to replicate what is being done in Canada, the teacher's union would stop it. Just try and get an underperforming teacher fired. You have a better chance of winning PowerBall.

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