Gov. Norm Bangerter praised educators Thursday and told them they should not fear that tax reforms will hurt education in Utah.
Teachers and administrators need to be more responsive to public needs, he said. "When I talk about tax reforms, a lot (of people) get nervous in the education field."I don't think you should get nervous. I think we ought to think in terms of how are we going to do it," he said.
The governor told members of the Utah School Board Association that today's education system is expected to teach students much more than schools taught in past years. "And if you listen to one-third of our people, you're expected to do it on less and less," he said.
Calling it "the miracle of Utah," Bangerter praised Utah educators for the state's high literacy rates, low dropout rates, new high school graduation requirements and education programs that have received national recognition.
"We do more with less and we do it better than anyone in the country," he said.
While campaigning for re-election, Bangerter told the association he was not as concerned with how he was going to get elected as he was concerned with how to govern the state if he became re-elected.
"We have our work cut out for us to show the people we know what we're doing and we need their help and need their support," he said.
The Utah School Board Association also presented awards Thursday to newspapers and reporters in various areas of the state for their efforts to fairly promote understanding of the issues facing the Utah education system.
Twila Van Leer, Deseret News education editor, received the award for the Salt Lake and Davis County area. "Twila can be counted on to be accurate in her observations without bias," said Maurine Jensen, president of the Jordan School Board, who presented the award.
Van Leer traveled to California to report on the effects that Proposition 13 had on the education system there and has written articles and series on several of the important issues facing educators and students in Utah.
Media awards were also presented to the Millard County Chronicle Progress, the Park Record, the Herald Journal and the Orem Geneva Times.
Distinguished Service Awards were also presented to John Reed Call, former superintendent of the Granite School District, former Gov. Scott Matheson, Darlene Gubler, state president of the Utah PTA and Gov. Bangerter.