Comments about ‘Letters: Public education’

Return to article »

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 17 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Sandy, UT

Brad Asay, I stand by your sentiments. It's time to re-commit because it's the best "investment" we can ever do for the future of our nation.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

Bravo! Great letter! Couldn't agree more.

In this state, too many of us have stood on the sidelines.

It's time to take our education back... Before our legislature sales off our children's education to the highest bidder.

It's time to get serious about funding education rather than let education "fund" our legislators. Too many are trying to make education a lucrative business for themselves rather than educate our children.

Tooele, UT

Re: "The promise of public education is under attack . . . by those who think the answer to providing a high quality education is to starve our schools . . . by those who see public education as the last frontier to privatize."

Actually, that promise is really under attack by greedy, gritty labor bosses and trade unions. They seek to advance their own careers, venal agendas, and standing with out-of-state national organizations, by putting a brazen and perpetual squeeze on taxpayers, most of whom earn less than teachers. And they do so, whether or not it actually improves our kids' education.

Have you ever heard a union boss suggest how much public money would be enough?

And you never will.

Their tactic will always be to disingenuously suggest children will suffer from ANY level of funding, or ANY innovation, such as privatization, that might adversely affect their power and control. Even if it's actually beneficial to education.

Its truly sad.

LDS Liberal
Farmington, UT

But I have to ask;

Why are the highly paid and ultimately responsible School District "Administrators" mysteriously left out?

Because my beef has always been with the ratios of
1 administrator
[who doesn't teach anything]
for every 2 teachers [who actually are doing the job we pay for].

But the lemmings and sheeple will demonize and "blame the Union"!

J Thompson

If the writer were serious, he would campaign to let parents decide which school their children could attend. He would campaign to get rid of any teacher who believed that their loyalty was to a union and not to the student. He would campaign to get the schools to look at successful schools and then emulate those schools instead of doing the same thing year after year after year.

He wants more money. Isn't that a big surprize? We want results. In any business, higher wages come AFTER proven results. Why does he want to have things backwards?

He, and those who want the "public" to pay more, when the "public", on average, earns less than the teachers, are just greedy. They want to be paid more for doing less. Wouldn't we all like to do that? It's just not going to happen, not in this world or in the world to come.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Public education is considered unnecessary, counter productive and is a hindrance to American capitalism. For the most part, American businessmen would like their consumers to be uneducated and unprotected by knowledge or government.

Because our governments are controlled by businessmen with business interests most prevalent at the lowest local government level and only slightly more people orientated at the highs level, my automatic assumption is that a person who demands neighborhood schools is more in tune with business needs than people needs.

The smaller the governmental unit, the more likely the schools will be of interest and control by the businesses of that unit.

As far as workers and employees are concerned, business operations would like to have the public cost of education aimed at preparing the student for use by business. They often rail about overeducating people.

Lastly, public education could swell the ranks of competitors for success in our world. The people who control education would like to give their own every advantage they can.

Provo, UT

"He wants more money. Isn't that a big surprize? We want results. In any business, higher wages come AFTER proven results. Why does he want to have things backwards?"

There is a strong relationship between per-pupil spending and academic success. I know this matters little to those who place ideology ahead of facts, like you. But it doesn't deny that every credible study done has shown that states who actually invest in public education do see better results with the academic success of their children.

Here in Utah, it is all about priorities. Public education, sadly, has not been given the priority. If it did, we'd actually fund it.

"He, and those who want the "public" to pay more, when the "public", on average, earns less than the teachers, are just greedy."

False. You might want to check the median income of Utahns and compare it to teachers. You may have your own (mistaken) opinion but you cannot make up your own facts.

Provo, UT

The recently passed grading system is yet another manifestation of the war on education from this state.

Not a single educator was invited to help craft this legislation. In fact, the primary architect was the largest pro-voucher lobbyist in the state. Gee, that's interesting! No conflict of interest there, right? Ha ha! What's funny is that this debate keeps roaring on despite the overwhelming majority of Utahns who voiced their opinions against vouchers.

Public education is being starved. Our legislature has millions to finance a relocation of our state prison yet doesn't have the money to fund education. What a joke.

Just how much longer are we going to take this?

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Free Public Funded Education is a good thing. But as with anything... when it gets too huge... it becomes hard to manage and tends to discourage excellence and tends to encourage teachers and students to fit the mold and not excel.

We need smaller school districts that serve and are funded by more LOCAL populations.

When you get the Federal Government bureaucrats mandating what's best for every community in every city, in every State... it's hard to get it right. It's hard to get it right even for every community in a State (If you have rural areas and urban areas). Their concerns can be different. Their resources can be different. Their needs can be different. Treating all the same nationally is not a recipe for success.

Minimum national guidelines may be a good thing. But we should not be striving to hit the minimum. And education isn't all about money. Anybody who tells you it is... has the wrong target in their sights.

Tooele, UT

Re: "You might want to check the median income of Utahns and compare it to teachers."

I did. Utah, per capita -- $23,650. Utah teachers [excluding much-higher-paid "Higher" Ed profs] -- $30,100. And, if a teacher has a Masters, that jumps to somewhere between $36+K and $57+k.

Which, of course, counts only their 9-month wages as 6-hour-per-day teachers, not whatever else they may do after school hours or during their extended summer vacation.

And, by the way, the strongest US correlation between per-pupil spending and education success is INVERSE.

The tendency is -- the more tax money it extorts and spends per-pupil, the lower performing the school. Top three are Washington, D.C. - $18,667; New York - $18,618; and
New Jersey - $16,841.

I defy anyone to suggest their schools are better than ours. For teachers or students.

Kinda makes incessant bleating by teacher-union bosses look a little silly, huh?

Provo, UT

@ procuradorfiscal

What does your comment have to do with education? Dnews, why was his comment even permitted for this story? Completely off topic and disruptive.

"America's problem is NOT business. It's government."

Utah's problem with education is that our legislature has no interest in funding it. Nor do they have genuine concern for our children. They seek to merely enrich private school interests and pro-voucher lobbying groups. I'm looking directly at you, Niederhouser and Stephensen.

"We need smaller school districts that serve and are funded by more LOCAL populations."

This is code for teaching Intelligent Design rather than real science, Evolution. This type of argument was used to segregate schools. No thanks. It is time to learn from history, not repeat it.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Procuradorfiscal, your facts are wrong. You're comparing teacher income to per capita income? That's apples & oranges. Utah average household income is $57K, which is quite high. Teacher household income is $36k, nearly 40% lower.

Also, look at the actual educational results for NY and NJ and you'll find they're among the highest in the nation, and way above UT. DC is a cultural outlier, as everyone knows. But the Northeast states that spend the most are getting the best educational outcomes. Check it out.

Tooele, UT

Re: "Utah average household income is $57K . . . ."

Yeah, so?

Teachers don't get paid a household income. They get paid per capita, just like all the rest of us.

It would truly be unfair to compare household income -- quite typically from 2 earners -- to a table of teacher salaries, based on the income of one earner.

Facts are a stubborn thing.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Neither my wife nor I earn as much as the "average" teacher in Utah. Most weeks, I work 65+ hours. I'm on call 24/7 and have been for over thirty years. We don't have two months off in the summer with days off during the rest of the year. We don't take vacations. We don't eat out. We sometimes go to the movies, usually at the dollar theaters.

One thing that makes us different from the letter writer. We don't complain about our wages. We feel fortunate to have work to do. We feel fortunate to have skills and abilities that let us contribute to society.

Sure, a little more money would be nice, but not if it means that our neighbors had to pay that money through forced taxation.

Our customers have a choice of where to buy their services. None of them are compelled to pay our wages. We don't threaten them. We treat them as we hope they will treat us.

Life is as good as we think it is. Some people will never be satisfied because they think that happiness comes from money. We know better.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

"Facts are a stubborn thing."

Well said! Completely agree!

And the facts prove that there is a strong relationship between the amount of money spent on education and academic achievement. More money spent means smaller class sizes, better materials, better schools, better teachers, and better results. Those are the facts and boy oh boy can they be stubborn, can't they?

For far too long we've asked bishops and stake presidents to educate our children. For far too long we've neglected our responsibility to finance education. I see plenty of boats and 4-wheelers out there. Yet, we don't have enough money to fun schools? Baloney.

So procuradorfiscal, what sayest thou? Do we fund education or not? Do we finance our children's future or do we finance a new prison so that representatives in our legislature can make a lot of money developing real estate? It's truly black or white.

Do we fund education in this state or not?

Salt Lake City, UT


Facts *may* be stubborn, but the (likely) intentional misuse of facts is pernicious and unconscionable.

From the Utah Department of Workforce Services website: "Why is Utah’s per capita personal income so low when compared against other states? Our large family size and youth population creates this extreme that in turn leads to a misperception." So . . . per capita personal income is skewed downward by the large proportion of children in Utah, but I'm sure you already knew that.

Consequently, Irony Guy's suggestion to use household income data, while not perfect, is certainly no worse than your suggestion to use skewed per capita income data. A better measure would be average income per wage earner, which isn't readily available, as far as I know, but which could probably be calculated. I suspect that if we compared average teacher income to average income per wage earner, the teachers wouldn't fare so well . . .

Tooele, UT

Re: ". . . intentional misuse of facts is pernicious and unconscionable."

Ain't it though?

That's why I used US Census data. As you admit, reliable Utah per-wage earner income data is not readily available, but Census data is, and is reliably collected, widely used, and widely considered valid.

If you've got better data, show them. But we're all aware they'll still show general wage levels significantly below the $30,100 median for teachers -- though, as we all know, even that number is low, failing as it does to account for significant earnings by a substantial fractions of teachers during their annual 3-month vacation.

And we all know it's inarguably superior to using household income figures against a single-earner wage table.

So as not to be derailed by off-topic gamesmanship, let me make the unassailable point we started with -- notwithstanding tiresome union drivel, Utah teachers are NOT underpaid. Utah education is NOT underfunded. And, Utah taxpayers, moreso than most, because of unfair revenue policies on ubiquitous federal lands, ARE overburdened.

All stubborn facts.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

The contract hours for school teachers at our local high school is 7-3 p.m. I bet some teachers work after school and before school for no pay or might coach for a very small stipend that doesn't equal a 1$ an hour. If I do my addition correctly that is 8 hours. So let's end the six hour myth. Many teachers would love to work 12 months a year and increase their pay. The calendar is not theirs but some hold on to the agrarian age. But they are not compensated for this time. (Some) parents want to spend summers with their children, go figure. But most teachers I believe go back to work in early to mid August so I suppose this nine month thing is also bogus.

I don't know if teachers are necessarily whining about wages. But I suppose they would like to have enough money to raise a family and have enough time to be with their families. I imagine that working 2-3 jobs which many teachers do isn't great for the primary job, teaching our children. I'd rather have my children not have an overworked, exhausted teacher.

Open Minded Mormon
Everett, 00

@J Thompson

If the writer were serious, he would campaign to let parents decide which school their children could attend.


And if you were serious,
You'd know that parents already can decide which school their children can attend.

They can move,
They can get a variance,
They can attend a private school,
They can attend a Charter School.
They can Home School.

Where do you come up with the mythical "forced" into only doing one way?

I can only suppose an insistent --
Evil Government, Evil Union - mindset.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The problem with government running the education system is... they don't want the general population educated enough to think they don't need them.

That's always been a concern of governments. Keeping their population convinced that they can't live without them, and if you get too much education, you invariably question that notion.

They want the people educated... but not TOO educated. Educated enough to work in their factories and do menial work, but not educated enough to go out on their own.

Educated enough to serve the 1% (not just the richest 1%... but the political elite 1% as well). Too much education is a bad thing for maintaining this balance. Too much and they rebel. Too little and their of no use to you.

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments