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Comments about ‘Doug Robinson: The teachers respond to last week's column’

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Published: Wednesday, Oct. 2 2013 3:28 p.m. MDT

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Howard Beal
Provo, UT

It seems like Doug Robinson is the only D-News columnist that truly understands what teachers are facing in the schools. It's about time...

Strider303
Salt Lake City, UT

I still think that local control of the public schools and options for private schools via voucher or some other system that can be mutually agreed to (that may be impossible but I can dream can't I?).

In reality, we can let the schools run themselves without the intervention of the federal and even state legislature if we permit tax money to go directly to the district, and not have to be funneled through the legislature. Funneling gives the legislature a sense of power they do not need. I would refuse or not allow any federal monies because of the "strings" attached.

This is about control and we need to stop it. If schools we left to themselves some would graduate some would complete and some would drop out. Just as they do now, without the heart burn. Colleges and Vo-Ed schools could set their own admission standards and if the applicant can't meet the criteria he can go to night school or other re-training system to prepare him/herself or grab a shopping cart, move to a sunny climate and be a bum until he/she realizes the need to grow up,

worf
Mcallen, TX

High absentees?

I thought students working together in cooperative groups/teams would inspire motivation, and standardized testing would increase the desire to learn.

Students don't seem to like being measured, compared, and held accountable to a central authority.

Teachers were hired to teach. Forget the mandates, and trust them to do their job. Attendance, and their desire to learn will increase.

The Hammer
lehi, utah

@ strider303

I agree with you on most of what you are saying. I think most school districts though rely on funding from outside their own boundaries. That is why the funding is taken through the legislature. Even our state relies on federal funding taken through the congress to the dept of education to the district programs to provide for all the funding needs. This is why block grants to the states would be a great way to get funds to the local districts to use as they please and even offer pay raises which are sorely needed to attract good talent.

In the end it should be up to the student and parents to see their kids learn. Teachers are not super humans and they definitely don't get paid like it so don't expect miracles.

CC
Saint George, UT

@Strider303

Here is the dollar amount that we received from the Federal Govt in 2012: $461,246,072.00 for education. Are you sure you want to just cut the Federal Govt spending from education in Utah? While education is Constitutionally a state's rights power, we would be left in a pretty tight spot without federal funding. Please get on the USOE website and look at the financial revenue reports available to the public. I promise it will be an educational experience!

EJM
Herriman, UT

This remains the ugly elephant in the room of public education. Our school district believes that seat time is irrelevant and that students should not be punished/corrected/expected to attend all the time. And that teachers should be able to tailor their teaching strategies to meet every student's needs, even if they miss 10% or more of class time. Until we begin expecting students, in fact demanding students attend, no teacher can effectively teach. Maybe teachers need to take a stand and start calling in sick more often. If we don't expect our students to attend why expect teachers to attend? They will be danged if they do, and danged if they don't.

redshirt007
tranquility base, 00

Teachers don't like being held accountable either it seems. I've come across some pretty burnt out and terrible teachers in my time, many long before NCLB came along. It's a tough job and face it, the majority are not gunghoe and dressing up like George Washington to get kids excited about school.

The problem is deeper and more about our culture as a whole. Being a teacher is a very hard job that leads to burnout. Putting even more red tape around them won't fix that. Work on that.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

You will always have about 13% of the population as outliers. This is a statistical certainty. We can accept that fact and design a system that accounts for the outliers. It is the only rational thing to do. The alternative is to accept the unacceptable burden of that many people who remain dependent on the rest of us all their lives.

worf
Mcallen, TX

@CC--where did the Federal Govt get that money?

Cutting Federal taxes would allow states to educate their students without the mandates.

RWSmith6
Providence, UT

Nice column, Doug. Your guest writers said a lot that I'm willing to bet too many legislators and our governor will never read. Why not? They're too busy. Too busy inventing ways to disguise their tax aversion as necessity. Too busy believing and creating ways to prove teachers in Utah aren't really undercompensated. Too busy not to read the facts and figures from around the world that make clear the U.S. is falling behind in international assessments, all the while Utah resides, in this country, at the "bottom of the bottom" (Peter Cooke's words) in per-pupil funding. Too busy to face the reality of what they're doing to Utah's children on the backs of Utah's Teachers, K-12.

Utah is falling further and further behind, relying on teachers to bear the burden of the state's penury (read "elected officials' penury") while fooling enough of the citizens of Utah enough of the time to assure perpetual Republican rule in this reddest of Red states. As Rush Limbaugh would say, "It's a scam."

birder
Salt Lake City, UT

Thanks, Doug. Once again, teachers are and will be penalized for things that are beyond our control. The pressure to pass the tests and collect all kinds of (usually useless) data are about the only thing driving the education system these days. Let's make sure and not have any time to make school interesting and fun for kids. There is no time except to test, prepare to test, analyze the tests, and then test some more. How many adults could stand to spend all day doing that?

I just had a student miss a week and a half of school for a Disneyland trip. That's certainly more entertaining than the current way we are required to run schools.

VIDAR
Murray, UT

My son was too far ahead of the other kids when he started school. He would finish his assignments in a few minutes. then they had nothing for him to do. they told him to sit in the corner and color. Being very bright he was bored. He started acting out. We had to go to meetings, We said he is bored, he needs to be challenged. they told us he could not go into advanced classes if he was misbehaving.
forward to high school. Knew more than his teachers, he would question the lesson, they called this acting out.
We had him take harder classes, took two AP classes, calculus, French his Jr year. Got all A's
Senior year after turning 18, he stopped going to school for about a month, he was tired of dealing with school and teachers.
Had a meeting where they kicked him out of school, did not even try to have him stay.
He took six months off, then in May took classes for GED, they had him color to finish his credits
passed the GED top 1% in the nation.
Seems like all he learned to do is to color

timpClimber
Provo, UT

As a teacher of many years in public, private and charter schools I've seen many fads in education come and go and then return under some new name. And I've taught the brightest to the very challenged. Here's my two cents. The best teachers can adapt the curriculum to fit most student's needs but the few who don't fit the mold should be allowed to test out and enter college or the job market early instead of becoming bored or disruptive. The state money for this student should continue through the school year and the principal and teachers recognized for meeting the needs of the student. But to expect a teacher on their own time to catch a willfully truant student up is not professional or rewarding. These students and their parents should be given the option of paying for a tutor or completing packets and taking a competency exam. If they are making satisfa

Yorkshire
City, Ut

Perhaps all this misery is because basically kids HATE Tests.

Even many good students of any age who study and who know material hate the STRESS and the focus of you-as-a-person and your future being set by your performance on a particular day.

I was terrified, starting in Elementary school, of the very words: Iowa Basics. I remember being very young and wondering why somebody in Iowa got the right to make me miserable.
I learned to hate the misery of tests early and it stayed with me all the way through school. Of course I put up with like everybody does...

But there are much better ways of finding out what people know and understand--than "tests".

I've seen it recently in a couple of new non-traditional schools. All kids would love these. They learn because its interesting and exciting, not because you know they are going to constantly test you on it.....

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