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Comments about ‘Letters: Utah education system has an allocation problem’

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Published: Thursday, July 18 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Thanks, Braden, for a common-sense, from-the-trenches view of Utah's educational problems.

It's not as bad here as other places, hence our more thrifty educational budgets, but "educators" and their cynical trade guild are pushing hard to make Utah education as ineffective and expensive as it is back east and on the left coast.

Those of us with a few years [some of us with too many pounds] under our belts can remember a very good system, that provided kids an excellent education, and operated at only a little over half the inflation-adjusted cost of today's bloated, broken, ineffective system.

Return to that system is what Utah education should be striving for, rather than giving in to a mindless, headlong rush into some brave new Common Core [TM] world that controls kids' and teachers' every thought, but gives them nothing important to think about.

isrred
South Jordan, UT

The problem with this letter is that those pesky things called "facts" don't back up the claim. Using the 2008 data from NCES, 43 states have lower student/administrator ratios than Utah. Forty three. They seem to be funding education just fine (Compared to Utah anyway) and have even more administrators.

Blaming administrators (who, I agree, can sometimes be very wasteful) for the lack of funding for education in Utah is just ridiculous.

Roland Kayser
Cottonwood Heights, UT

If you compare education spending across the world, you find that all developed countries spend roughly the same amount on education. The difference is that the U.S. spends far more on administration and the rest of the world spends far more on teaching. That puts us at a huge disadvantage.

CHS 85
Sandy, UT

In the elementary school where my wife CURRENTLY works in the Jordan School District, there is one principal and an assistant who is there for half a day and spends the other half at another school.

Her school currently has 1,300 students - the size of the high school I graduated from. The days of your local neighborhood school having 400 students and being closed in the summer are long gone unless you live in a rural community. All of the other elementary schools near hers in Herriman all have over 1,000 students each and are on a year-round schedule in order to effectively use the space (25% of the children are off at any given time).

With the emphasis on teacher evaluations, the principal spends very little time with the students, but most of her time evaluating 60 teachers per year. The evaluations that JSD (called JPAS) teachers are subjected to is very rigorous and takes a great deal of time - especially for the administrator. That's not a bad thing, but the public needs to be realistic with the expectations they place on local school administrators. The laws of time and physics only bend so far.

procuradorfiscal
Tooele, UT

Re: ". . . the public needs to be realistic with the expectations they place on local school administrators."

The public IS realistic. It's "educators" that need a large dose of reality.

The commenter mentioned Jordan School District. Their web page has 2 columns of employee contact information. I got, maybe 2/3 of the way through the first column and counted 61 employees, none of whom are teachers. And that wouldn't include those that don't have private phone numbers. They work in subagencies like "Capital Projects," "Evaluation, Research, and Accountability," "Insurance Services," and "Alternative Language Services."

Hmmmmm.

Listed district agencies total 19, some with as many as 19 subagencies. An educated guess is that they could staff a dozen schools, maybe more, with the number of people employed as district bureaucrats.

How did administration costs in the Jordan School District get to out of control? Just look at their web site's list of administrators.

And, I suspect that district is illustrative of the others, as well.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

@ Roland

How much public money ends up in the hands of charter schools who often fail (yet continue to demand more money)? Rep. Howard Stephensen is even a President for one of these groups.

How much money dedicated towards education ends up in some select group (who lobbied for) some stupid program like online education? I've known of a few groups who lobby to develop new software to either be used in the classroom or for online education and it ends up being just a huge fiasco for the public/students/teachers (but a huge money maker for the business). Every once in a while it works out. But most of the time it doesn't.

I just wonder if those other countries have a lot of "third parties" who like to siphon the money as it trickles down from the government to the educators? As someone who has been in education for years, it always seems to me that the tiny loaf of bread our state dedicates towards education always seems to break and crumble away as it is handed down. Until it finally arrives in the hands of educators in the form of crumbs.

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

Ok, so far people have not really given us an idea of how bad the spending is.

According to some studies that I have seen, nationally only 60% of the funding allocated per pupil makes it to classroom education. Where is that 40% going?

In comparison, Utah highschools get about $7200 per pupil, wich is roughly the same cost as what it is to send that same child to a Challenger School. The Challenger schools typically have smaller class sizes than the public schools.

Can anybody explain why a Private school is able to have smaller class sizes and better educational outcomes than the equally funded public schools?

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

"Can anybody explain why a Private school is able to have smaller class sizes and better educational outcomes than the equally funded public schools?"

How many public schools can pick and choose which students to enter their schools?

How many public schools get to decide on their curriculum, free from the out of touch state legislature?

How many public schools are free from all the red tape that is strangling educators?

RedShirt
USS Enterprise, UT

To "The Real Maverick" public schools can "pick and choose" their students. Charter schools do this all the time. Public schools suspend students all the time and force them into other schools. They still get to pick and choose their students.

As for your other comments, I think you are starting to see the light. When you take the control of education out of the local school and give that control to the state or Federal government, you end up increasing costs to comply with unnecessary paperwork.

If you look at what some countries in Europe do, they run all their schools like charter schools, with little oversight from their government. If the school enrollment drops too much, they fire the administrators and the poorly performing teaching staff and start over.

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