John Florez: Don't sacrifice education just to save money

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  • re Mike 8:26
    Feb. 10, 2010 11:58 p.m.

    You ask a lot of questions, which I really don't care to answer, because they don't get at the heart of the matter, which is ...

    Too many elementary math ed teachers do a poor job of teaching math.

    And ...

    I believe if standards were raised, we then wouldn't have enough teachers,


    If standards were raised along with pay for those teachers who met the higher standards, we could then attract enough qualified people.

  • Mike Richards
    Feb. 10, 2010 8:26 a.m.

    @ 7:02,

    Are you saying that some teachers are NOT qualified to teach? Are you saying that there are teachers in the classroom who should NOT be there?

    Have they been certified by the State? Have they passed all courses required? Have they proved themselves through 'student teaching' that they can handle the job?

    Yet, you say they are NOT qualified.

    That may very well be the case. If it is, where is the problem? Low salaries, or low qualification standards for teachers?

    Just how many teachers have left Utah to teach in other states?

  • Look at more than the Obvious
    Feb. 9, 2010 7:02 p.m.

    re Mike Richards | 11:24 a.m. Feb. 9, 2010

    Did it occur to you that in math education at least we do find teachers who are willing, for the pay offered, but not enough of the quality we need?

    If more pay were offered to elementary ed teachers, we could then raise standards of math competency and still attract enough teachers to fill the ranks.

    Conservative logic goes so far and only so far, sometimes you have to look below the surface. Life is more complex than your just the conservative philosophy.

    The Soviet Union fell because they refused to look beyond socialism/communism.

    We would fall too if we adhered to just conservatism (or even just liberalism). We need to do as Paul admonished and prove ALL things, hold fast to that which is true (that which works).

  • Mike Richards
    Feb. 9, 2010 11:24 a.m.

    @ 12:53,

    What is a 'fair' salary? It is a salary that YOU are willing to accept? Is it a salary where the number of applicants exceed the number of openings? Is it a salary that is acceptable because those earning it hang on to their jobs year after year after year?

    Utah pays teachers a fair salary. When Utah cannot find teachers who are willing to teach for the salary offered, then Utah needs to revisit the amount that it is willing to pay; otherwise, the onus is on the teacher to find another job that pays that he thinks he's worth, if he thinks he is being underpaid.

  • Kevin
    Feb. 9, 2010 8:22 a.m.

    Mr. Florez completely slammed Buttars without evening mentioning his name. Well done.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 8, 2010 8:53 p.m.

    It's always good to see how the conservatives politicize eduction. They always like to blame rather than search for ways to make the system better.

    Why do young graduates leave Utah? Perhaps for better jobs which Utah cannot or will not sustain. You attract young professionals who, in addition to a good job, want good schools. The only thing Utah has to recommend itself is the religious culture which may hold some but for others it is not enough.

    And if they go to school outside of the state, many choose not to return under any circumstance because of the myriad problems found in such a reactionary place.

  • Under the bus for years
    Feb. 8, 2010 3:07 p.m.

    Unfortunately, public education has been under the bus for years. We continue to be drug along pleading for money year after year from those on the hill.

  • faster and faster we go!
    Feb. 8, 2010 1:47 p.m.

    Re: @ 12:53 P.M.
    School districts should be frugal with spending.
    Example: Have you ever been in a college classroom and a video teaches the classroom, not the teacher.
    Teachers are getting paid for doing nothing!
    Teachers should be fired.
    This is why colleges and universities should be free for everyone.
    Example: No child left behind.
    Example: No ADULT LEFT BEHIND!

  • Just Me
    Feb. 8, 2010 12:53 p.m.

    Why do so few state legislatures adequately fund education? Teacher salaries are scandalously low. Extra fees are scandalously high.

    School districts should be frugal with their spending, especially when it comes to new buildings, but the state needs to man-up and put money where it would do the most good -- teacher salaries, which is the biggest part of education budgets. Perhaps some who choose other careers because of money would be enticed into education.

  • Mike Richards
    Feb. 8, 2010 12:40 p.m.

    @ 11:53,

    When did Utah stop exporting educated, highly skilled workers? Since I was in college, Utah has been in the college graduate export business. Industry does not leave Utah because of a dearth of educated workers.

    @ 11:50,
    How do you propose to make education more efficient? More core classes and fewer electives? Fewer clubs and fewer extracurricular activities? Longer hours? Only allowing 'bright' students to take certain classes so that the entire class learns faster?

    As someone who has worked in the process-control area for more than thirty years, I've always looked for ways to make people and machinery more efficient, but, there is a limit. People can only assimilate new ideas at a certain rate. New processes have to be learned. If 'teaching' goes faster than 'learning' the student falters.

  • smith
    Feb. 8, 2010 12:31 p.m.

    I have yet to see the education system eliminate any waste from their bureaucracy. Perhaps the citizens would be more amiable if the reductions weren't always in the classrooms but were taken out of a bloated system too.

    Finally, since the educational system has never proposed to look at other educational ideas except their own, I have no sympathy to their cause.

    Just bluster and foam about how it is hurting the children and deny there is anything wrong with the present system is destroying their credibility and harming their cause.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 8, 2010 12:12 p.m.

    College should be free.
    All education should be free.
    Then everyone would have a better chance.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 8, 2010 11:53 a.m.

    If Utah cannot produce the highly educated workforce necessary to compete for industry in the state, then don't complain when that industry leaves for somewhere else. Then the state can maybe retreat to the economic and social backwater status that the people really want.

  • wallofvoodoo
    Feb. 8, 2010 11:50 a.m.

    Make education more efficient. Start college bound kids in college courses which will lower class sizes in high school. I don't think it is what Buttars had in mind, but it could effectively do away with senior years for some students.

  • @Anonymous
    Feb. 8, 2010 11:17 a.m.

    Your comment goes right to the heart of the issue. We have in Utah a very fine cadre of teachers, many of whom I know personally and are doing their level best. But too many families utterly fail to support them. Any student can succeed beautifully with strong family support! It is truly the missing element.

  • Buttars
    Feb. 8, 2010 10:56 a.m.

    Ejicashun? Ejicashun? We don't need no stinkin' ejicashun!

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 8, 2010 10:13 a.m.

    Notice Asians and others with strong family orientated culture succeed in our public schools, it's always blame the teachers and not the parents. I find it telling that only in America would being smart and the best be accepted as a pejorative. Your kids grow up hearing intellectual elitist. The fact is educated people earn more than those who don't value education. You had your change and you didn't take the ball and run with it.

    I bet schools would improve if the parents of under preforming kids were required to sit in their classes and watch how they act.

  • @How to deal
    Feb. 8, 2010 9:56 a.m.

    That is the "third-rail" of Utah politics. Not one legislator will touch that with a ten-foot pole, even though you are absolutely correct!

  • dave
    Feb. 8, 2010 9:56 a.m.

    Discontinue the practice of paying 6 figure incomes to state employees. Teachers deserve higher incomes, "professional bureaucrats" deserve less!!

  • How to deal with the gap?
    Feb. 8, 2010 9:25 a.m.

    For starters, recognize where the demand for massive education funding is coming from - huge families who receive tax exemptions for their kids. Let's start with them.

  • Mr. Florez
    Feb. 8, 2010 8:48 a.m.

    What's your solution to the budget crisis? Education is by far (very far) the single biggest budget item. How do you fix the $890 MM hole?

  • Davis
    Feb. 8, 2010 8:33 a.m.

    From those I have met who went to public school in Utah I doubt it would make a difference.

  • Don
    Feb. 8, 2010 8:15 a.m.

    I've never considered Mr. Florez a sharp tool. So I take what he says with a very small grain of salt.

    I think most adults recognize that in good times or bad, the UEA will demand more tax dollars every year--and the Deseret News will always sound their support.

    But more dollars thrown into the system doesn't correlate with smarter kids.

    So, you and your comrades ought to come up with possible solutions to this problem, rather than your old standby of higher taxes.

  • Ah, Utah...
    Feb. 8, 2010 7:46 a.m.

    It seems that in our state that ignorance is not only bliss, it's public policy.

  • Mike Richards
    Feb. 8, 2010 7:16 a.m.

    Mr. Florez has pointed out some serious problems, but what does he suggest as solutions?

    Anyone can tell us to leave their favorite program alone, but when the pie is 50% smaller, someone is going to go without unless everyone receives 50% less.

    How about some concrete suggestions about solving the problem? How about tossing around some ideas to see what others think, just like members of the legislature are doing? How about putting your job on the line, just as some of the legislators are doing, as they look for ways to solve a problem that will have to be solves - soon.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 8, 2010 7:09 a.m.

    Throwing money at education has never improved it, never has and never will. They add layers and layers of admin with little going to actually teaching. Plus most teachers are just bad at teaching, spend some time in a junior high school actually watching teachers teach. Demand some accountability from education for the $ spent.

  • Some Solutions
    Feb. 8, 2010 6:26 a.m.

    I would expect the legislature to lower the pay of themselves before they cut education. Yes times may come to be so bad that cuts in education are necessary, but before that happens cut themselves first, or raise taxes first, on those who can most afford it.

    On a slightly different note. There is a charter school in Utah that specializes in using only public domain text books. I am writing one, in coordinate geometry, which I plan to donate the use of to the State of Utah.

    The reason I am doing this is because I was not satisfied with the quality of the text the school is using. So I began to write lessons for my own kid. These lessons over time became this book.

    Many text books in use are not that high of quality, given this and the huge amounts of money Utah could save by following the lead of this charter school, we ought to seriously consider using more texts and resources that are free.

    Knowlegeable Utahn's ought to consider writing books Utah can use. This would save Utah millions of dollars each year, and have great potential to improve the quality of books.

  • Anonymous
    Feb. 8, 2010 1:27 a.m.

    Why not? They only grow up to be liberals anyway. Too much education is detrimental to our values and way of life. You teach them science to question the world around them. You teach them math for the analytical and logic skills You teach them reading and writing and they read books and get strange ideas

    The best thing to do is just teach them the true religion so that they will think right. Keep them focused on who their people are and trust in God for everything else.