Comments about ‘Richard Davis: Despite leaders, Utah needs a comprehensive education plan’

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Published: Wednesday, Aug. 13 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Tooele, UT

Re: ". . . a coalition of non-governmental groups [should] put an initiative on the ballot."

Yeah, good luck with than, Prof. Notwithstanding all the UEA/NEA blather, Utah education has yet to offer any credible evidence of a coming educational distopia to support their incessant cries of "wolf." In fact, Utah education is doing quite well, particularly in those districts not overly controlled by or beholden to UEA/NEA.

Leftist educators and their trade-union bosses constantly bleat about the necessity of concocting grandiose educational plans, but, focus some light on the propaganda, and these "plans" invariably boil down to more unsustainable taxing and spending -- as it does the Prof's article.

A savvy state legislator once asked a UEA/NEA boss, "how much money would it take to shut you up?" The stunned lobbyist could not come up with a figure.

That clearly illustrates the real issue here -- a UEA/NEA tactic and need to engage in perpetual community organizing, attacking any and all educational funding as too little, too late.

All to cover up the real single-item agenda -- more money for greedy trade-union bosses.

Provo, UT

There wasn't much or anything in the article about student scores in Utah and our low per pupil spending. D.C. has one of the highest per pupil spending in the nation but continues to have some of the lowest test scores in the nation. The money didn't make the difference. Parents and families make the difference.

I'm in favor of higher taxes for education, but only if the money goes to reduced class size and teacher salaries; and, only if there is a reduction in administration costs.

Utah Dem
Ogden, UT

I fully agree with the comments by Mr. Davis but I am also curious as to why the state superintendent of public instruction has taken no action to develop a long range plan for public education in the state. Shouldn't the state superintendent be out front on every public education issue in Uah?

Mark l

More money is simply not available for public schools. 60% of the state budget goes to public education.

DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The teachers unions and their allies on the left have only one solution for improving education- more money, always more money.

First, education is Utah may not be funded at what they think is an appropriate level, and indeed per child may be well below the national average. But, thanks to the quality of Utah teachers, the involvement of Utah parents, and the diligence of most Utah students, our education system produces pretty well educated kids. The notable exceptions being in communities with non-English speakers, many of whom are illegal aliens, but that is a different problem from school funding.

Second, as pointed out above, mere spending does not produce better results.

Third, no one asks, as they should, what is the best use of the funding currently available? Where is money wasted, what programs are unnecessary, and what jobs are not essential? How much are we paying for "administrivia" and non-value adding people, programs, requirements, reports, structures, advertising, equipment, etc.?

Finally, the "more money for schools" advocates ignore that fact that Utah taxpayers are taxed quite enough already, and they have no right to demand more money from people who are not getting paid more themselves.

Irony Guy
Bountiful, Utah

Why are Utah students average performers on every national test?

Simple math: A high school teacher with 200 students has half the time to assess, instruct, and remediate individual students than a teacher with 100 students.

That's the difference between Utah and, say, Vermont, which has the nation's highest scores.

So much for the tired, illogical conservative argument that class size is meaningless.

Utah parents would do anything for their kids except pay the price to educate them.

Fairview, UT

I wish people would look closer at the statistics before formulating their opinion.
Utah used to be a leader in educational outcomes and college preparation. Capital spending did not cause that. Now it appears Utah has fallen behind recently and I wondered why so I dug into the statistics to find out what is really happening with Utah education. I looked up the ACT web pages and read the Executive Summary which recommends looking at the five-year history rather than year-over-year changes. I noted a significant dropoff of ACT scores over the past two years and a couple of pages later, the Summary displayed the ethnic makeup of student test-takers. Not surprisingly, Hispanic representation was the only group which showed a significant increase during those same two years. Conclusion: because Utah is ranked #1 in economic conditions for underprivileged children (according to a report in DN), it is a magnet for immigration from Latin American families who have come to this country without the benefit of a solid educational foundation.
Whatever Utah's comprehensive plan eventuates, I hope it takes into account the underlying causes for current scholastic performance.

Orem, UT

Sal and DN Subscriber,
Davis actually cites a study, you know, facts to back up his claims. Please list for me a handful of credible studies that refute any correlation between spending money and education performance. All I saw from your post was there's no proof it helps without anything to back it up as opposed to Davis who DID back up his claim. Until you do, I am 100% in agreement with him.

Kent C. DeForrest
Provo, UT

Amen. I have a friend who teaches math in a junior high. She has class sizes in the mid-40s. This is unacceptable. The problem with Republicans today is that they put ideology ahead of both common sense and real solutions to real problems.

Layton, UT

This is how we fix education.
The state legislature gives an abundance of Money to the local school districts and we trust the local school boards to make correct decisions.
The State office of Education should provide vision and support.
The local school district should be in control of planning and implementation, curriculum etc.
The local schools along with their community councils and teachers, differentiate curriculum for specific student and population needs.
Teachers should be able to print out a report showing which standards they have taught, where your child stands when it comes to learning the standards and which standards will be taught over the next few months.
Parents should be actively involved in schools.

Layton, UT

Part 2
Working mothers and fathers should be taking time off to spend with their local schools.
Parents should read to and with their kids daily at home... oh and help them to do their homework.
Parents should keep up on the latest instructional strategies so that they can help their kids at home. (This one is for all of you complaining that "they aren't doing it the way I had it as a kid.") BTW... We should probably be grateful for that.
Parents should learn the Common Core Standards, follow their kids progress and help them if they fall behind.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

Let's take the arguments of proc and sal to their logical level and put 100 first graders in a lunchroom with one teacher and see if works out...

Fairview, UT

@Tenn12- do your own study. Look up the per student spending by state. Then look up the student achievement scores by state. You will see there is not much correlation between the two. Of those states with high expenditures and high test scores, I have seen a distinctly different demographic makeup. You might have to agree there is a greater correlation between demographics and test scores than between spending and test scores.

@bradleyc- if you have ever looked at the Common Core Standards and methodology, you would never recommend that as an education solution.

@Howard Beal- what is logical about putting 100 first graders in a lunchroom except to serve them free meals to teach them dependency?

Orem, UT

That's the problem, I have. I have found the same conclusions as Mr. Davis. I don't find credible studies to back up anything you claim. Please enlighten us all. Oh and Washington D.C. doesn't cut it. They were an outlier. This is why I'm asking you and others who claim money won't help to show me credible studies that prove it doesn't.

Tooele, UT

Re: "I'm asking you and others who claim money won't help to show me credible studies that prove it doesn't."


The burden is not on real Utahns to prove a negative. Rather, it's on leftist educators and their union bosses to prove to us we should support measures they're constantly whining for. And that simply hasn't been done. Certainly not to any confidence level real Utah voters need to see in order to support the ruinous taxes UEA/NEA shills are demanding.

And, BTW, your suggestion that we should just dismiss out of hand -- as a somehow irrelevant outlier -- Washington, DC's shining example of the fact that heaving unsustainable boatloads of extra cash at schools enriches unions, but not kids' education, seems just a little too convenient to thinking Utahns.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

It's simple:

Eliminate the child tax dedication. Big families should slap some skin into funding public education too.
Raise minerals and natural resource exploitation taxes to levels of "liberal" states like Wyoming. It's time for these guys to pay their fair share of taxes.

Use these new revenues as ways to fund education.

Now, greatly strengthen the teachers union and the state board of education. The legislature, Eagle Forum, and Libertas is institute should have zero say on curriculum, testing, of how money should be spent. Get the special interest groups that want to privatize education out of the way!

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

Contrary to what the Eagle Forum says, there are studies after studies that show a strong correlation to per pupil spending and academic achievement. To say there aren't studies that confirm this is like saying that there isn't any man made global warming or that evolution doesn't happen...

Tooele, UT

Re: "To say there aren't studies that confirm this is like saying that there isn't any man made global warming or that evolution doesn't happen..."



So much misinformation here! I'll just address two:

First, Utah students do NOT perform better than in other states. Broken down by ethnicity, every group scores below average...even Caucasian Utah students do worse than average. White students perform better on standardized tests than non-white students...and Utah has lots more white students than other states. That's the ONLY reason it appears we are above average.

Second, money DOES matter. Naysayers always point to Washington DC, but the reality is that--when poverty, ethnicity and other factors are considered--study after study confirm a very strong correlation between spending and student success.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

There is a plan. It is starve public education to death and hope it all works. Until then, there will be a lot of collateral damage.

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