Comments about ‘Solving Utah's dismal graduation rate: Two schools may have the answer’

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Incentive, aesthetic initiatives boost rates, but more needed

Published: Saturday, Dec. 8 2012 11:30 p.m. MST

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Orem Parent
Orem, UT

Howard Beal,

About that comment of yours I quoted from....

I would love to see it as a letter to the editor so more people will see it instead of just the few reading the posts on this story. You hit the nail on the head.

eagle
Provo, UT

Thanks again Orem Parent for the kind words. I'll think on it (the letter thing)...

I have predicted for years that sooner or later our "great Utah schools wouldn't look so great" after a while. I support public education and our teachers. I am a bit concerned, as I have said over the years in posts, that we are becoming a revolving door of young, mostly female teachers. Our changing demographics do bring potential huge benefits but also huge challenges to our schools. Decreasing class size is one way to meet these challenges as well as generally doing better with all our students. It is insane to read in these posts how many don't think 1) class size matters 2) having experienced teachers matter and 3) attracting and keeping excellent young teachers matter (because schools need them too but we can't just keep churning over teachers). Of course, we also get the simple solution to our ESL students which is "teach them English", but if it were only that simple.

But in the end, our legislature holds the purse strings to make the proper investments. If it doesn't happen expect worse results and more blame aimed at teachers...

TiCon2
Cedar City, UT

Much of the problem is due to an outdated, inefficient and ineffective information delivery mode. With all the innovation in the past 150 years, we really can't figure out a better way to deliver crucial knowledge to the minds of our children? Why are we teaching the same way the Pioneers did?

Third try screen name
Mapleton, UT

So many issues:
1) Howard Beal is on the right track. There are all sorts of people with teaching degrees who are working tech support and other jobs because it pays better. Right out of college they are going to work where they can make some money. Or they leave the state.
2) Federal money is anemic but mandates from Washington control every facet of the process. Property taxes pay the bills but there is little local control. What's wrong with this picture.
3) Immigration is from the third world. Parents have less education. Often they see education as a delay to getting a job. They think that you don't need to waste time in school to cut grass and wash dishes. Our chain migration policies will mean more of the same.
4) Also related to #3 above is the literacy level of the parents.
5) Most bilingual programs take too long because they are trying to preserve the native language and culture. That's a lot of wasted class time.

JWB
Kaysville, UT

Part of the teaching children or students is that deviant people have been arrested at various levels in the education field that have violated student and parent trust. We live in a time when the Press and Media advertises these cases in a way that takes away the trust that centuries of good teaching has marred. We need to build trust in the public education system. With the 100s of millions of students that have been taught with trust by dedicated and proven teachers, all it takes is one bad apple in any school to help break down that trust.

The teacher hiring and periodic evaluation system needs to ensure without question the teacher certification criteria that their personal life is in agreement with their teacher credentials. It is a shame for the public and private education system to have the blight of these individuals in the trust and verification process.

Our children's education is too important to let this integrity of the trust go down the tube. Administrators at all levels and parents of children who have the changes in attitude and personality need to clarify what is the problem with the child.

worf
Mcallen, TX

carman,

Many teachers go on to administration because they couldn't manage a classroom.

Orem Parent,

Funding needs to be better managed, not increased. When is it ever enough?

Grades are inflated, because teachers are evaluated by failure rate. Grades have become an entitlement, and the urgency to succeed has been loss. It reflects in our society, and has nothing to do with funding. Low funding is an excuse for poor educational management, and let's get rid of those tests.

worf
Mcallen, TX

Hmmm? Two thirds of the state budget goes to education. Why are people pleading for more?

Should taxes be raised? Are teachers the only ones who change professions, and nobody else?

This is like the federal government. 16.3 trillion dollar deficit, and more funding is wanted. Double the funding to schools, and people will still want more.

No matter how it's spun, or justified, we're looking at a bad case of greed. It's ruining our country. It's a shame.

Orem Parent
Orem, UT

Worf,

You couldn't be more wrong. I'm not evaluated on my failure rate at all. The only things I am evaluated on are the end of level test scores and the in class evaluation by my principal. No one looks at the passing rate of my students in public ed.

I haven't met one administrator that left the classroom because they couldn't manage it. That isn't saying they are all good administrators. I have worked with several poor ones. The fact of the matter is 99% go into administration because they can get a $20,000 raise by doing so. It is simple economics for them and their families. Keep doing what you love (teaching) and barely get by or become and administrator and deal with the headaches of the job but provide a better life for your family.

Enough funding will be reached when we are equal with the 49th place state in the USA. We are about $1,000 PER PUPIL below that.

You can claim schools have enough money but they don't. Just because you keep saying it doesn't make it true.

I agree in getting rid of the mandated tests however!

worf
Mcallen, TX

Orem Parent,

Here in south Texas, it's not a rule, but strongly suggested, that our failure rate does not exceed five percent. If exceeded, it leads to a professional growth plan involving much paper work, and documentation. It's much easier to just pass the students along. This varies by district, but I assume most do it, because high failure rate brings inspections from the state.

As for administrators, it's just my opinion. Many seem to be better business administrators then teachers, and lack an understanding of what a classroom is like.

As for school funding:

* three schools can share a football field
* use of parent volunteers
* eliminate much of the costly programs, and use teacher assistants to circulate amongst three teachers for added classroom help.
* mandated tests are very costly.
* technology is highly over rated,and expensive. Students can use a library computer, or have their own.
* teaching is simple- Three things---1. study habits 2. researching 3. putting student research into a presentable format. It's just that simple.
* ask and allow businesses to donate. It's a tax write off, and when done right, is good advertising for them. I've collected tens of thousands by doing that.

raybies
Layton, UT

Investing time and money in our latino neighbors to help them do better in school is a win for everyone in this state. They become better integrated into society, smarter, more capable of contributing long term, and away from influences that degrade our communities. It's a win-win.

Midwest Mom
Soldiers Grove, WI

The teachers and schools are only doing what the think tanks and politicians are ramming down their throats.

Look into opting out of all the testing, if you really want to change the "teach-to-the-test" climate in today's public schools.

Coach P
Provo, UT

worf:

It sounds like you taught school for a while as have I. I think you are probably fortunate enough to retire sooner than I will. But the bottom line is that we have to crystal ball the future for teachers coming into the profession or starting out. They will NOT enjoy the raises we enjoyed, especially here in Utah. They will NOT enjoy the benefits we got. New teachers won't even begin to have the retirement pension that we will get. I don't think this is fair.

We can't sit and judge teaching by our experiences. It is harder and harder to recommend teaching as a profession because of what has happened the last few years and what is likely to occur later. So what are we getting more and more of in our state? Young single female teachers who do the profession for 1-5 years then leave--recycle the process. Even at the secondary level, male teachers are becoming less numerous. In the end this hurts children.

Many of your suggestions up there DO have merit and I agree 100% with you on mandated testing but in some ways you simply don't get it.

worf
Mcallen, TX

Coach P,

I don't understand how new teachers will last till retirement with all the stress, and accountability stemming from standardized testing.

Are you saying new teachers have no retirement plans?

As for me, it took ten years to reach the pay scale a new teacher starts with.

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