Published: Sunday, March 24 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT
I've lived in Ohio. If Ohio, with its vast number of slums, and its public
schools that are so bad that in some areas no middle class family sends its kids
to them (instead sending them to Catholic or other private schools) is
comparable to Utah as far as education results go, Utah's in real trouble.
How about a raise for the dedicated Utah teachers who teach with less and have
larger classrooms than anyone? We've even taken a pay cut in recent years.
A cost of living raise would be nice too. I don't think it's a waste
of money...do you?
The import of this letter is that the goal of education is to spend the least
money to get the best results possible. Is it? Because our results are as good
as Ohio and we spend less, is it time to celebrate? Why not compare our results
with Finland? I have no idea how much they spend, but the whole point is that
their results are superlative...not a word heard in Utah educational circles in
many many years.
For Utah's demographic makeup, Utah embarrassingly underperforms in
education. To be next to Ohio in the rankings is certainly not something to be
The Heartland Institute is an ultra conservative think tank which supports the
same policies which have led us to the economic and education mess we are
currently in.They promote from their mission statement,
"deregulation and free market solutions."Gee, I wonder what
direction they're going to take when it comes to education....Just another anti government pro voucher letter. It had been a few hrs since
the dnews had last printed one.
This letter is more pure nonsense from the Heritage Institute.I'm familiar with Ohio. I've lived and taught in both Ohio and
Utah. There is no comparison between the challenges faced by Ohio schools and
those of Utah due to demographics, the lack of education by so many Ohio adults,
economics and many other factors.If Utah's schools are only
equal in performance to Ohio's schools, something is very, very wrong!
Could it be that such things as class size play a very large part in Utah's
failure to do better?
I have no idea how Utah family size compares to the other states, I'm
guessing that Utah ranks pretty high? I do know that while I was a property
owner my taxes seemed to go up most years, even when the economy tanked, with
the bulk going to education! So my question to lawmakers or anyone for that
matter is this: are we taxed less than other states hences that amount for
education is less? Or, as I'm guessing, are we taxed as much or even more
than other states but because of the Utah mindset to super size families is less
available per student. If so then that is yet another reason for a head tax on
families of more than two or even three children. Some Utahans seem to think
they can have unlimited offspring without it having financial implications on
everyone, even those without children of their own or those that can't
really afford to support other people's large families!
@isrred "For Utah's demographic makeup, Utah embarrassingly
underperforms in education."You are absolutely correct. Thanks
for pointing this out. More funding and smaller classes would help.Also, the Heartland Institute, which the letter-writer represents, is known
for supporting tobacco giant Philip Morris in questioning the science that
proved secondhand smoke has negative impacts on health. In other words, the
Heartland Institute has little credibility.
Ok liberals, if money is the solution, explain Washington DC. The spend over
$29,000 per student in their public education system, yet have some of the worst
outcomes in the US for education. Why is it that they can spend more than
private schools cost yet have such poor outcomes?The fact is that if
you look at money spent per pupil and the outcomes in each state you will see
that there is no correlation between money spent and outcomes.To
"The Real Maverick" if you want to consider free market solutions and
deregulation, look at South Africa. The public schools there were terrible, so
a movement arose that started inexpensive private schools. Those inexpensive
private schools have higher education standards that the public ones, and result
in better educations. You can also look to Europe where some nations have
eliminated school boundaries and let the public schools compete for students.
Those that don't meet enrollment or perform poorly end up replacing the
teachers and administration.The free market works.
No “just spending less money does not automatically mean you're
getting lower quality.” Nor does it mean you are getting similar quality
hence a good deal. Service cannot be compared to manufactured products where
there one can of coke is exactly like another.Money and results are
not the same. But if you are tasked with building a service organization, money
means additional resources and the ability hire more and better qualified
people.If you seriously want to argue that money cannot (in the
right hands) help build better results, then the opposite must also be true
– that far less money or even NO money will yield similar results. That
is simply not true. There is a relationship between money and resources and, in
turn, between resources and outcomes.I have seen two districts with
similar demographics but one with more money available for schools. Schools
were better, and parents wanted to put their kids there (increasing the
difference between the schools).BTW - You want to compare
Utah’s results to other states? Don’t use Ohio and forget about New
York. Look to other rural western states.
I don't want to compare Utah students to Ohio students or Finland students.
I don't want to compare states that spend $6000 per student to those that
spend $18,000 per student.What I really want to compare is two
schools within the same community here in Utah that draw students from the same
demographic but one is a public school with all the baggage that comes with it
and the other is a private school that receives the same amount of funding via
vouchers but gets to choose its own administration and rules.That
would really tell us if the private sector can do a better job than the public
sector. That would tell us if paying a teacher more than another because they
are better really makes a difference.Unfortunately, such comparisons
are impossible because the current bureaucracy prevents such a situation. They
don't want to do a real experiment because they are afraid of what the
outcome might be.
Spending per pupil is not the right metric to use.Class size is.
Finland, mentioned above as a perennial top educational performer
internationally, has an average class size of 19 for first and second grade,
rising to 21 for grades 3 through 9. For science classes the cap is 16
students. (Kind of makes sense, doesn't it? Science is pretty intensive,
it stands to reason that students would need more attention from their
instructor, hence smaller class sizes.)If Utah can attract enough
qualified & talented teachers on a substantially lower salary than exists
today, and lower class sizes to something like Finland has achieved, then we
should be proud of only spending $5000 per student. (Not many people are
willing to take a 40% cut in salary without considering other employment
options.) But by the measure that has proven to get much better
educational results, we're failing, miserably.
JoeCapitalist2My own experience with private vs. public schools for
my kids broke down to two real points of difference.First, the
private school did NOT have to take all comers. They could pick and choose and
if your child was having a lot of issues or needed expensive helps, they could
just say "thanks for playing" and let him or her go. No public school
can do that.Second, private school parents were generally at least
middle class and were very involved. Note that we know MANY parents with kids
in public school (ourselves included) who were just as involved. But in a
private school it was the majority. Yes, I completely understand that involved,
interested parents are the ideal. But the sad reality is that all kids are not
so fortunate.Just my observations.
Utah is number ten in the percentage of its budget that goes towards
educationUtah is last in money per pupil because it has the youngest
population (most school children as a percentage of the poulation) in the United
statesYet, Utah is number 12 in education quality (ACT,reading
ability)[Ohio is bottom ten]Which brings up the question: If funds
per pupil, not education quality, is the measure to be raised - which other
program do you cut?
We accomplish a lot here in Utah, and much of it is good. Thank you to Counter
Intelligence for pointing that out. I also want to remind people that it is the
HOME which is the most important teacher in a child's life. Before you
send them to school to be taught, send them prepared. Then see where these kids
are able to achieve.
Twin Lights is right on with regard to private vs public schools being a
difficult comparison to make, because by definition the kids that go to private
schools have better parental support than many kids who attend public school.Private schools also do not have to provide transportation. School
choice is a good thing, but one thing to remember is that as we transport kids
to schools in every direction, the air pollution problem gets worse.Utah school districts are some of the largest in the nation, meaning the
administrative cost per pupil is quite low. CatCrazed: Certainly
parental support is the preferred model, but we have to remember those kids who
don't have a great deal of parental support, for whatever reason. The
single parent who is working 2 or 3 jobs is not going to be able to provide the
same level of support as the ideal 2 parent house.As Donald Rumsfeld
might say, we need to educate the kids we have, not the kids from situations
that we wish.
To "JoeCapitalist2" what you want to do is simple. You can compare
students from east side Davis County to students on the west side in Davis
County. Having lived in both areas, there is a huge difference in the outcomes
for the students at the different schools.
JoeC: "What I really want to compare is two schools within the same
community here in Utah that draw students from the same demographic but one is a
public school with all the baggage that comes with it and the other is a private
school that receives the same amount of funding via vouchers but gets to choose
its own administration and rules.That would really tell us if the
private sector can do a better job than the public sector."===============Only if the private school MUST accept all social,
economic and special needs children. Otherwise, they pick their students to
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