Taking to educators about education, what an interesting concept. I am sure
that Senator Stephenson will be opposed to such crazy radical thinking.
Time and again, in newspaper quotes and television interviews, Mr. Dabakis
overstates his position and inflates his words. This article show more of the
same exaggeration: education in Utah is "catastrophic," he says.Perhaps it's how he was taught to communicate, or perhaps he just
doesn't know how to express himself. But it's hard to take someone
seriously, especially a politician, when he exaggerates as much as Mr. Dabakis
Let teachers have the visions, and stay out of it.Don't need
back seat drivers.
Until we ascertain, with some confidence, what creates academic achievement, we
need not talk about increased funding or new programs or new legislation. Kudos
to Sen. Niederhauser for demanding we have a target before we start shooting.We have ways of determining what is working in producing academic
achievement in students. By reviewing the data of high performing schools, and
analyzing their methods and policies, we could identify which models are most
successful and then help less successful schools to adopt those models. This is how quality is achieved most industries. Education is an
exception. In education, there is no reliable analysis of performance data
that is objective and upon which we can establish what works best. Were we to
have that analysis, we could then demand that those practices which are most
successful are implemented at public schools and we would see improvement in
Utah's education system a catastrophe is an understatement. It a time bomb
about to explode and the fuse is lit. Not only is our state eduction system
dumbing down its students and children, they are using snake oil pitchmen
selling socialism.A critical element of the catastrophe of education
is its excessive involvement with business to create curriculum that are narrow
and focused and ignoring many aspects of education required to broaden the
knowledge base. The schools train children for specific jobs and by the time
they get out of high school the OJT (on the job training) and job is out dated.
To have futuristic education you need to go beyond what business
hopes to have our schools provide for them. We need thinkers, not followers on a
narrow path. Put more effort in math and science beyond the testing attributes
established by state and federal government. Education that cannot be tested and
exceeds mandates is education to inspire a future.Most of all, fraud
and corruption breed failure. No accountability, secret spending of allocated
funds, and discrimination of teachers and school funding have taken its toll on
every child right of education.
Worf, I couldn't agree more with your view. Government mishandling of
anything they put their hands on is one of the biggest hindrances to the success
and welfare of the people. The Feds and State need to step aside and allow
schools to be run locally, privately, and morally. The Feds have taken morals
out of the schools, in the name of "political correctness," forcing
States to comply with their ridiculous guidelines, creating a bunch of
dumb-down, underachieving individuals. T. Roosevelt said to educate a child in
mind and not morals is to create a menace to society. Unfortunately, a lot of
these menaces find their way into politics.
Too often we have people state what is best for education by placing goals for
down the road. While these goals are often good and meant to inspire us, they
usually do nothing for what needs to be done today. Ask any teacher about the
pendulum swings education makes from one "silver bullet" to the next.
They will tell you the most common occurrence is starting a program only to
switch to the next big thing before any program has had the chance to really be
successful.Instead, we need to be concentrating on critical and
creative thinking as expressed through reading, writing, and math skills. We
also need to acknowledge we have fundamentally changed as a society, which
unfortunately does not value education the way we did even thirty or forty years
ago. Until we do those things and stop fumbling over ourselves to try and meet
the unrealistic expectations parents have for the education system (to guarantee
the un-paralleled success of their student without maintaining high expectations
for both academics and behavior) we will continue to flounder.We
need to reinforce the basics and allow for a person's post high school
education to be organic.
Carolyn Sharette's comment perfectly describes a conundrum in education,
"...there is no reliable analysis of performance data that is objective and
upon which we can establish what works best." Yet she claims, "We have
ways of determining what is working in producing academic achievement in
students." So what are those ways, if not objective data
(meaning a lot of test scores)?They include the professional
judgment of educators. Our test scores focus narrowly on reading,
math, and science. Many current initiatives only seem to value "STEM"
(Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Don't we care about the rest
of the curriculum? Consider these items from the Salt Lake City School
District:-A safe and caring learning community-Character
education-Effective use of educational technology and library media-Fine arts-Health-Physical education-Social studies-Critical thinking-Civic competence-World languages-Participation and communication in the global community-Cultural
understandingWe must sooner or later trust teachers and their
administrators. They're not in it for the money.
Our legislature loves to pile the initiatives, rules, restrictions, curriculum
details, and tests, but insist that throwing money at education does not improve
performance. They have even found so called "studies" that purport the
same. Therefore, they reason, it doesn't hurt schools to trim funding here
and there. You know, trim the fat. We pay less for our students than any state
in the Union and they're still finding fat?Their disdain for
teachers is thinly veiled. They insist, like Pharoah ruling over the
Israelites, that they continue to make bricks but don't want to help by
throwing any straw at them. Meanwhile the majority of Utahns in
poll after poll, repeat that they are willing to pay higher taxes to increase
school funding for our children.
As an educator I can tell you, based on attendance numbers, that students who
attend greater than 80% of the time will pass at least 7 of 8 classes in a
typical school year. Students who attend less than 80% of the time will pass
only 50% of their classes, on average. Teachers want to help students succeed,
whether they be in public, private, charter or online schools. But if that
student does not "show up", even to do online classwork, nothing good
happens. That is the elephant in the room legislators and administration refuse
to acknowledge because it means calling on parents to follow through with their
responsibilities and get Timmy and Susie to show up. Most parents do get their
kids to school but those who don't and their students test scores are
figured in with kids who do show up, averages drop and fingers are pointed at
teachers who then get told "you are not doing your job". So let's
address the attendance issue as a component of struggling schools.
If the legislature would just divide the big districts along the Wasatch Front
that are way too big into community-sized districts, the people would take their
concerns to their board members instead of to their legislators!Then
the legislature wouldn't have to continually deal with citizen concerns
about education. They could let the local citizens deal with their own problems
and either solve them or learn from their mistakes for everyone's
benefit.Do as Thomas Jefferson said to do:"The way
to have good and safe government is not trust it all to one, but to divide it
among the many, distributing to everyone exactly the functions in which he is
competent ... [more] ... It is by dividing and subdividing these Republics from
the great national one down through all its subordinations until it ends in the
administration of everymans farm by himself, by placing under everyone what his
own eye may superintend, that all will be done for the best."Neither the legislature, the governor, nor especially the President should
have anything to do with education. Get government OUT of education!
Every year we hear about the terrible condition of Utah education, every year
more bills are submitted and more laws are passed. Every year education gets a
little more of our budget. I for one am growing weary of, on one hand needing
and getting more and on the other hand learning that we are getting no value for
our efforts.My guess is that the UEA/NEA are such powerful lobbies that
they can keep us on the edge of our seats, asking for more and delivering less.
dawg, Actually every year bills are submitted, mulled over in
committee, receive a lot of press, are opposed by the Eagle Forum and then left
Mr Sutton says not a Utah education not a catastrophe.Says I am exaggerating.34
years straight as 50th state in spending. Largest classrooms in USA. 43 kids in
Davis County math class! 2000-2010 US Census numbers show 6.7% drop in Utah High
School diploma's. 47% Hispanic kids no diploma. 4th grade math and science
scores dropping like a fat guy off bungee cliff. Two out of last four years not
even funding our growth. Flat tax change robbing Utah neighborhood schools $180
million a year! I am exaggerating? Businesses not coming,because our kids not
prepared. Missionaries not ready. Utah GOP phobia about funding destroying a
generation of Utah kids ability to compete with Colorado and Wyoming. Never mind
China and Britain. CATASTROPHE---YES, sir.
A good and, certainly, relevant article. Utah's major problems today
include education. Utah's major problems for years have included
education. Dabakis is right in pointing out that the majority party has long
had opportunity to address it but has repeatedly failed to do so, preferring
instead to kick the funding can down the road. Funding for growth in the
state's student population and for very little else has been routine.
More talk isn't really called for--regardless the composition of the
group--since all the evidence is in that Utah should take immediate steps to
fund K-12 through a combination of new streams of revenue and other means, like
reduction of administrative levels, implementation of the computerized tracking
of students best able to progress at their own pace, and so on. There are many
combinations available, much evidence in about successful implementation of them
elsewhere, little need for further talk. Take my word for it: I have been
ringside to public education and talk, talk,talk in Utah for 47 years.
The time for talk is over. The time for undercompensating, overloading, and
underappreciating public school teachers is as well. Adequate funding, folks,
remains the missing ingredient.
Asking serious question: in my area there are several outstanding charter
schools. If they can do such a good job, why do we not adopt that model for all
our schools? Charter students are getting a great education on the public dime.
ALL students should have that opportunity
I wonder if Senator Stephenson's latest pet project was funded by the
legislature. For years our state has complained about unfunded mandates from
the federal level and for just as many years they have provided unfunded
mandates to our schools.Senator Stephenson has required so much
testing in our schools, without funding, that our state's students have
been tested more than students in almost any other state. And there was never
enough funding provided to develop, administer, score, and report those
tests.Why does the Utah Senate provide the leadership role in the
Education committees to those who are apparently bent on destroying publi
Me exaggerating? For 32 years, we have been last in the nation in funding.
Biggest classrooms in USA. 44 kids in Davis County math classes. 2000-2010 USA
census, Utah dropped 6.7% in graduation rates. Free fall in 4th grade math and
science scores. Utah kids not competing with Colorado and Nevada never mind
China and Finland. $180 million a year lost to Utah education since
'revenue neutral' flat tax imposed. Not even funding growth for 2/4
last years. 44% of our Hispanic kids not graduating from HS. I am
exaggerating--no sir,I am not loud enough! We have lost a whole generation of
young people and we are losing more. There IS a fire in this crowded theater!
Howard Stephenson and PCE has been driving the education vision for the last ten
years. That vision is to sabotage and destroy public education. If you look at
the 100+ yearly, anti-public education bills, you can't miss the vision.
dawgdeelux complained, "Every year education gets a little more of our
budget."Not so. According to a report by the Utah Foundation,
in 1992 we in Utah spent about $49.25 per $1,000 of our personal income on
education. That ranked us #11 among the states. Were among the most heavily
taxed per person in order to pay for education. Despite that we ranked dead
last among other states in the amount per student that we provided. That is
because Utah was rich in children. We called that the Utah Conundrum.Well, we're still rich in children and we still rank dead last in
spending per student, but our personal effort is declining. By 2009 our
contribution had dropped to $39.29 per $1,000 of personal income. The national
effort has remained about the same, but we are now below average, now ranking
39th.I would say we are a state of deadbeat dads. Not for lack of
effort. We keep telling the pollsters that we want to be taxed for to help our
schools, but not enough of us become party delegates, and our politicians are
too terrified of their party conventions to listen to us.
The single biggest problem in Utah education is...Too many young,
inexperienced teachers!!! When you underfund education, districts make ends
meet by burning through large numbers of young teachers at
bottom-of-the-pay-scale salaries and benefits. Then they pack a few extra
students into each classroom, and stop buying textbooks.C'mon
Utah. When are we going to get serious about building world-class schools?
@JimD: we are losing those Hispanic kids because they do not attend school, in
larger numbers than any other group. Now I will tell you that the majority of my
parents coming in about their kids are the Hispanic parents. They want their
kids in school but the Hispanic kids would much rather roll with their boys and
girls. With that said I have many many Hispanic kids wanting to do well who do
attend. Until the Hispanic community at large takes a hold of this problem it
will remain. Schools want to help them succeed but we are fighting a battle that
right now we are losing.
Great just what we need another "education task force." Made up of the
legislator's cronies that fund republicans, ie parents for choice. These
organizations pay to get those elected who then appoint these organizations
people to "task forces". Thereby, getting their money back for the
donations to reelect. Government is a SCAM!