Comments about ‘John Florez: Utah education is a leaky pipeline’

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Published: Saturday, Feb. 8 2014 12:00 a.m. MST

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Kearns, UT

You are right that educators are creating so many policies that are clogging the educational system, and it's the students that are suffering the most. On any given day, students are stuck taking meaningless assessments that are intended to measure improvement. The problem is that students now have so many tests that there isn't enough time for teachers to actually teach those skills they are expected to learn.

Parents, please talk to your children to find out how much time is wasted on testing instead of focusing on meaningful learning. Complain to your school boards and school district officials about what our schools are doing to our children. Plead for the teachers to have the ability to take back their classrooms and determine how to measure their student progress. I have listened to my nieces and nephews, and I will do what I can to change what is happening to them in school.

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Mr. Florez, take a breath. The people of Utah elected a Legislature to tax us for the education of our children. The people did not elect a "task force". The Legislature is doing its job. It is requiring accountability from the schools for the tax money they receive. How many decades of failure are we willing to pay for? How many generations of students will graduate undereducated?

The schools have demanded and received $140,000 per teacher. With the average salary slightly less than $50,000, that leaves $90,000 per teacher for buildings and supplies - per year. Schools cost money, a lot of money. Students need books and supplies. But, should a District Superintendent be paid $250,000 per year? How many district employees should there be, one per ten teachers, one per one-hundred teachers?

A task force has no accountability to the people who pay the taxes. The Legislature has accountability. It's time to clean house. It's time to fire everyone outside of the classroom and to hire people who know how to educate.

Bountiful, UT

Great column by Florez. I always thought it odd that our Republican legislature keeps adding complicated regulations to education in Utah, while criticizing Obama for the regulations and complications of Obamacare, the EPA, etc.

Of course, all this bureaucratic meddling is done with a shoe-string budget, resulting in excellent, seasoned teachers recommending to talented young people to avoid teaching as a career choice, at least in Utah.

The Legislature is completely tone-deaf to any criticism of how they've handled education the past 20 years, of course, so while Florez makes great points, the chance of meaningful reform is very low, near zero, so as long as there is a federal Department of Education, they can blame everything on Washington.

Utah Teacher
Orem, UT

As a Republican and a teacher, I echo this sentiment. We hold our breath every year to see what new "requirement" we will now have to fulfill as a teacher. For a legislature that loves to talk about local control, they sure don't give us any!

If the legislature would stay out of the education business and properly fund what we have, we would have a great system in our state.

Sadly many of them think that since they can teach a class of 10 eight year olds at church, they are now experts in education. I teach at church as well and believe me it isn't close to the same.

Please bring back some sanity and let us do our jobs.

Maybe we could require that for every new education bill the legislature comes up with, we have to delete an old one.


Granite School District employs 5600 people
Davis - 5200
Jordan - 5700
Alpine - almost 7000

Would you complain that the CEO of a corporation employing that number of employees is not worth $250,000 per year?

Saint George, UT

Mike Richards: Your idea will be labeled as radical by some, absolutely true by others, while most of it will be quickly glossed over by the power brokers and those feasting at the public trough, who will also huddle together to sqealch any threat by passing another task force or calling another meeting! I teach! I will admit that I do not believe most of the answers for our educational challenges are not found with the state or federal government, but for all those tea partiiers that think that there are no power hungry legislators at the state level, you are wrong. They pass the buck and collect it at the other end just as well as any! Any teacher, and I can say this with as much soberness as possible, that challenges even the minutest policy in place, becomes a threat, and your job is on the line! Teachers that actually try to teach are dwindling and no matter how many tests, programs, common core, or policies that are put place, the result will be worse, which doesn't affect those making the big bucks, because, after all, the status quo is there for a reason, to perpetuate it!

bill in af
American Fork, UT

As an educator for 36 years, I have seen many programs come and go from "the experts". One of the biggest problems in Utah education is the state legislature. They complain about big government from Washington interfering with education, yet they do the same on a state level. They are only to fund education (which they do not do very well). Locally elected school boards should be able to make local decisions for their school districts without interference from the state level. Government closest to the people is the best government. You will see less testing and more teaching when big government stays out of the process.

Salt Lake City, UT

Get rid of all the counterproductive programs, enacted by the legislature or set by School administrators. Do not talk about accountability, until you put lackadaisical parents in the hot seat. Until then, do something else!

Providence, UT

Florez is right on. Utah has underfunded public education for so long, and so many have sought to blame educators and unions for the problems. The result is a K-12 system now in need of major repair beyond the fiscal means of the state. Without long-term planning all along and in-state population doubling regularly, Utah's system of public education is on death watch--something folks like those in Eagle Forum seem happy to accept.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

Until we actually think having less than 40 students in a high school math class or 30 students in a first grade class is a bad idea, I don't think much good will happen in Utah education...

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

Also, the end game for most of the legislators to kill public education by starving it to death. This generation of students are just collateral damage to this aim but in a Republican legislator's view, necessary casualties of war on public education. As far as the educators, they are the enemy that stand in the way...

Mike Richards
South Jordan, Utah

Utah State Government employees more than 42,000 workers. Our "CEO" is paid about half as much as as a school District Superintendent. He is also the "CEO" who oversees those superintendents.

There is a lot of finger pointing going on. Teachers tell us that it's not their fault. Administrators tell us that it's not their fault. Union leaders tell us that it's not their fault. Columnist it's who tell us that everything is the Legislature's fault. Meanwhile our kids are not being educated while teachers, administrators, union leaders and government fight it out.

It's obvious that those who are involved in education, from the teacher to the Legislature, care more about themselves than they care about the students. Does anyone except me see a problem with that attitude?

Some of my grandchildren are home schooled. They are being educated.

Some of my grandchildren attend charter schools. They are being educated.

Some of my grandchildren attend public schools. They are being educated - at home after school is out for the day when their families gather around the kitchen table and work on home work.

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