Comments about ‘A. Scott Anderson: Utah's elusive opportunity — excellence in education’

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Published: Wednesday, April 16 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

Updated: Friday, Aug. 8 2014 12:33 p.m. MDT

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Orem Parent
Orem, UT

That $168 million that the legislature likes to keep on chiming about is barely enough to meet the growth that comes to our schools each year. My local legislators always tells me, "but did you see how much we added to the education budget this year?" When I say, "yes, I saw that it barely will cover all of the new students in the system", he isn't very happy. They like to pat themselves on the back but in reality we have lost a LOT of ground over the last 10 years or so. It is pathetic that we are last in the nation in education funding and don't feed me the "but we have a lot of children" line. If we are going to have them, we need to step up and pay for them.

As for the charter "innovation", it just isn't happening despite what the press keeps saying. In fact the Dnews had an article a while back stating that a good portion of charters were performing "significantly worse" than the regular schools. Not a little worse, significantly worse. Charters just suck money out the real system. Now we pay for 2 secretaries, custodians, etc.

liberal larry
salt lake City, utah

An excellent book on educational reform is "The Smartest Kids in the World: And How They Got That Way" by Amanda Ripley. I talks in depth about the educational turn arounds in Korea, Poland, and especially Finland.

Finland only hires teachers from the very top colleges and requires all teachers to have masters degrees in the subjects they teach. It is very hard to become a teacher in Finland, but they are well paid, and they receive huge amounts of respect.

Finlands emphasis on excellence in teacher selection and preparation has given them one of the top educational systems in the world.

Salt Lake City, Utah

"Utah remains mediocre in education funding “effort”. So now last in the country is mediocre?

Before everyone goes crazy no money doesn't guarantee results but normally you get what you pay for more or less. Several will point to Washington DC as the example that money doesn't matter, but will ignore Massachusetts as an example that money does have an impact. People will ignore that none of the bottom 10 funded states are at the top of the states in performance, but money doesn't matter.

We need to quit making excuses and if education matters, then we need to fund it as if it were a priority.

Sugar City, ID

Additional funding will only help if the money is used where it can do some good. As long as education money is going into non educational programs like inter school athletics, the schools are sending a message that they have plenty of money. If athletic participation actually has educational value, then the schools should sponsor comprehensive student sponsored intramural programs that allow all students to participate, not just a select few who happen to be athletically gifted or politically connected. Intramural programs cost nearly nothing and involve more students than our current high school programs. It's win/win. Education money being spent where it can do the most good and more students involved.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Utahns would do anything for their children -- except pay for their education.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Irony Guy
Re: "Utahns would do anything for their children -- except pay for their education"...

Very snarky... but also not true.

Show me a Utahn who doesn't pay for their child's education... They may not pay as MUCH as you would like. But the fact is... every Utahn who pays their taxes... IS paying for their children's education.

You can debate whether they are paying ENOUGH... but Utahns currently do pay for their children's education. And they are getting a great education for the money (which is a good thing).


It would be more intellectually honest if you modified your statement to... "Utahns would do anything for their children -- except pay MORE for their education.


“Some Utah charter schools and private schools are making excellent progress with exciting innovation and advanced learning using technology. But little cross-fertilization or “best practice” exchanges are occurring among public, private and charter schools.”

Respectfully—many traditional public schools are overflowing with innovation and advanced learning. If we only look to the charters and private schools we will never be able to take advantage of that “elusive” opportunity of excellence in education that you are advocating.

Furthermore, there IS significant cross-fertilization of best practices between many schools that have a culture of continuous improvement. Schools that I personally know of (traditional, charter, private) identify other schools that have expertise in specific areas of need and send visiting teams to those schools for training.

Finally, the educational “establishment” is, in many cases, at the forefront of the school reform movement and is deeply committed to excellence in education. To put them on a separate “side” of school reform is unwise and counterproductive. I am confident that ALL “sides” have important contributions to make.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

I am truly saddened that the lie " ... a crucial long-term threat is labor shortages and poor education. Within five years, he said, lack of qualified labor will be a big problem, caused by baby boomers retiring, restrictive immigration policies, globalization/technological change leaving many low-level jobs obsolete, and an education system failing to prepare young people for a high-tech, globally interconnected world", is allowed to be printed in this paper.

It is the propaganda of business to cheat in the free market of labor by false prophesies that misstate the future according to the visible and present conditions that will actually make the future. The clear indication is that none of the predictions will come true.

The labor market will continue to tank because of the changes in the manufacture of goods. Eventually, the entire Capitalist system must change or we will simply become obsolete.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

I say we do what our legislature always does:

create more standardized tests, more red tape for teachers, more paperwork, and then refuse to spend any more on education.

We have tried everything but actually financing it. So sad

Baron Scarpia
Logan, UT

What's needed is striving to equate education with the very things that matter most to our legislators -- from exiting the United Nations, to keeping guns on campuses, to denying climate change and providing people health care, to "keeping the flame" on fossil fuels in the state, to hating Obama.

How to align education to these critical core values is the question.

2 bits
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Re: "We have tried everything but actually financing it. So sad"...

We have tried and continue to try to finance it. Every year we increase funding (except one). What amount of funding would make you happy?


Utah just doesn't have the type of money some States have. When you decide to live hear, you need to be able to acknowledge that. We will never be the LA School District. We will never be able to build 500 million dollar High Schools for the Hollywood elite. We can't afford to build huge schools like the one in Newton Mass. We never will.

If you want expensive schools like that you will have to move to a place with more money... you will have to move to LA, Chicago, Miami, New York, or Boston.


~50% of all State funds are spent on Education already. What more do you want? 75%?

We already have among the highest state income taxes. We COULD increase our property taxes... but do YOU really want to do that?

We can't make money out of thin air... it has to come from somewhere (meaning your wallet and mine).

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

2 Bits:

Since we are talking about our children, I would spend 90% of the budget if that's what is needed. But...

But perhaps instead of increasing the percentage of the pie for education we could perhaps increase the pie itself. Perhaps raising taxes on corporations, or increasing taxes on families with more than two/three children in the system. Or dare I say it, maybe a lottery. I would also love to get more access to federal lands. Many ways to increase the size of the pie...

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