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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Lehi, UT

@ DiligentDave,

Math and science teachers are already making quite a bit more than their counterparts in Utah schools. You have asserted a false notion that the education association stood in the way of increasing pay for math and science teachers, when in fact the association supported the idea. Nice try, though.
Doug10 has nailed the issue at its core, in my opinion. Even though math and science teachers are paid more at every public school in Utah, they are still underpaid when compared with other individuals who have math or science degrees who are employed in fields other than teaching. Pay teachers like doctors, increase the rigor and requirements of an education degree, and you get the brightest students becoming teachers. Until the pay is increased, underperformance perpetuates. It's simple economics.
I also agree that it must be made easier to replace underperforming teachers. Senator Osmond's bill does just that.

Kearns, UT


I can name a school in area that has let three under-performing teachers go in the past five years. The principal is well aware of what is going on in the classrooms of her school, and the other teachers worked hard to mentor those struggling coworkers.

This school also has a strong partnership with a university and provides student-teaching opportunities for prospective teachers. The partner or mentor teachers do a wonderful job and have helped guide the participants who would not make good teachers to other career options.

I know there are other schools like this throughout the state. It's time the lies about out public schools here in Utah stop.

Ogden, UT

"And yet I hear teachers get demonized for demanding a livable wage. Don't we want to attract the best teachers for our children?"

The best teachers care more about teaching (imparting of information to others) than wages.

"Pay teachers like doctors... and you get the brightest students becoming teachers."

No, no. What you'll get are teachers who place a higher priority on making money.

Teaching is a unique profession requiring an overwhelming desire to impart information to others and seeing them succeed.

"I also agree that it must be made easier to replace under performing teachers."

Few people want jobs where they're always subject to dismissal if your charges refuse to perform.

Meridian, ID

I substitute teach in the public school system. I visit a lot of different classes. I teach math at the CC and have degrees in engineering and business. I feel I have a unique perspective on the education system.
The AP and honor math and science classes I visit are full of girls, I generally see more girls than boys and the girls typically are doing very well in those subjects. I always try to find out what their intentions are for post HS and very seldom do I get a response that includes a STEM field. Why? Genetics? There is surely some evidence for this. But, it starts in elementary school. We are losing the boys in large numbers, so we can't count on them (see "The War on Boys" on this site). It is a fact that something is wrong with our educational system. We need to look at several areas, one of them being who is teaching our children.

Brigham City, UT

If we all threw the TV in the garbage can and followed the scriptures which say "Thou shalt work 6 days a week," we would see a little improvement.

Bountiful, UT

My son is studying to become a secondary math school teacher. I've seen the classes he has to take. He is taking way too many education classes of questionable value. This means he won't be taking other classes which would contribute to him becoming a truely educated person.

I believe our education system might improve if we improved the education of our educators.

John C. C.
Payson, UT

Senator Bennett is correct about the lack of sufficient math,engineering, and technology graduates to fill current positions. But the real crisis is our decline in family values, social stability, moral behavior, political sophistication, and historical awareness.

We should rather pay more attention to the so-called "soft" subjects, even if it means being poor and happy instead of rich and dysfunctional.

Rural sport fan

Wow, I am amazed at how many folks here understand that the real issue for education is our society and attitudes regarding things like "working" for a living. As long as we look to Jersey Shore and pro athletes as the models for our versions of successful people, we are in serious trouble as a culture.

When the people that are successful or cool in the movies and TV shows are all , shall we say, less than intelligent, and the smart folks are all seen as either evil connivers or hapless fools with no common sense; who would want to be them? Who wants to be a scientist and work for an evil drug company that takes money away from us and hides bad test results, like they ALWAYS do in the movies?

Also...we need to quit blaming "education" for graduation rates, and put the blame where it belongs, in the families. Until parents ensure that their kids go to school, act right and do the work, that statistic will not improve.

Meridian, ID

I agree with the comments that we need to return to traditional values and the family is the main force for education whether it is good or bad. But, what realistic proposal do you have to do get back to that? Not just ideals, but actual proposals?
The education system is something that can be improved through the political process. Let's focus on the purpose of the article and not simplify everything by saying "turn to God" (I agree that would solve a lot of problems, but you and I can't change that through the political process.) Let's get involved and change the education system.
We had some great ideas put forward here in Idaho, but because of ignorance and lies the people overruled a well thought out and forward looking plan. Was it perfect? No. But it was a start that could have been improved. But, the education establishment who's only real complaint was they "didn't have enough say-so in the process and they are the experts", biased our children and their parents with half-truths and lies to get what was best for them, not the children.

newhall, CA

Let's stop rewriting our American history. Let's stop with the 'No Child Left Behind' failure of a program. Let's stop allowing the children of illegals from entering our schools. Let's stop offering bi-lingual education. Let's demand English as the language used in our classrooms. Let's stop teaching with standards that are progressive in nature and in fact don't teach anything but socialism. Let's stop teaching that homosexuality and all other forms of sexual behavior are normal. Let's eliminate the teachers union. Let's get rid of the Fed's Dept. of Education and return our schools to the states. Let's ensure that pedophiles are not hired. Let's get rid of the fluffy classes that mean nothing. Let's remove socialistic principles out of the classroom. Let's reward teachers that teach and get rid of those that don't or can't.

Chandler, AZ

Utah is a great example of the difficulties that the government creates for this problem. The legislature places ridiculous requirements on the districts to restrict their curriculum. For example, UT led the country in bankruptcy claims some time ago and ranked high in foreclosures so the legislature passed a law that all Jr High students need to take a Personal Finance class. This class, and the heavy focus on the liberal arts, i.e., humanities requirements, make it very difficult to take an adequate class schedule of STEM type courses.

This, plus the culture in UT that encourages teachers to be reluctant in holding students accountable, i.e., teachers are trying to be nice that they provide extra credit, allow test re-takes, push out assignment deadlines, etc. all in an effort to help them get higher grades, ends up being a disservice to the students.

I've found that when talking to UT administrators they seem to have a very high opinion of their schools but are reluctant to do any real benchmarking against other equitable schools districts in the region.

Therefore their governmental-parental and myopic approach, and will continue to fall short.

think b4 u speak
Orem, UT

Let's not forget the impact our terrible immigration policy has on this problem. Many intelligent people from around the world come to our universities to study STEM subjects and receive advanced degrees. However, after graduating, many of them are unable to obtain the visas required to stay and work here, and so they go back to their own countries and work for a fraction of the salary they could here.

Companies are then required to take those jobs to other countries because they can't find people qualified here. I would suggest that we allow immigrants who earn an advanced degree here visas to stay and work, as well as a path to citizenship. That way, we can attract the best and the brightest from around the world to come to America and allow us to keep a technological advantage.

Eagle Mountain, UT

I really believe as a teacher that what I am doing is of value. I also wish I had more time with technology in order to better align with the job skills that are out there. Right now our school is talking about how to better engage the techno-generation in learning. Engagement is a very necessary part of any education. Kids learn best with projects, good questioning that applies to real life, and technology. They need to be taught to WANT to learn. I could use some family help in that matter. I would like to start assigning on line homework, but not everyone has access to technology in the home. Any suggestions?

Hank Jr
Draper, UT

Blame Bush, don't blame the democrat's socialist agenda for dumbing down the American populace.

Layton, UT

we're in an interesting time where children that are engaged educationally through some other private means can excel far beyond a school system's ability to challenge them. It would be impractical to expect, even in the most expensive schoolsystem that we could afford to hire the breadth of education to keep all kids actively engaged in good learning.

The real challenge however is from the distractions to kid-life. This comes in the form of unstable families, moving, language barriers, peer trends and pressure, entertainment, media, devices, self-esteem, diet, exercise (or a lack of it), cellphones and other technologies. Sadly many kids don't even have an advocate in their life--no one to take interest in them, and gently nudge them into the more productive paths.

A healthy attitude by esteemed peers and loved ones is usually enough to motivate a kid to improve in school. But creating a program like that is anathema to beauracracy and formal government programs.

Eagle Mountain, UT

To correct Redshirt1701, I am a member of the Alpine Education Association, and a building Rep. We defend teachers only when they shouldn't be fired. We are the first ones to want to eliminate poor teachers. They are a blot on us all. We want good teachers to teach great kids.

Eagle Mountain, UT

to WestGranger: I realize everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and that not every school or school system is perfect, but I disagree strongly with your description of the pubic school system. It and other ways of educating have their good points. To completely generalize about any system is easy to do but it is also inaccurate.

I wish you and others would espouse the good in your own system, while leaving mine alone. I would love to see more facts and less opinion.

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