Randy Shumway: Legislature should empower educators to excel

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  • Independent Woman West Jordan, UT
    Nov. 9, 2011 9:59 a.m.

    Worf, it sounds like you would have us go back to the days when young single women taught school. They lived with people in the community and were paid virtually nothing. It is ridiculous to think that we can have educated citizens without spending money on it. You may be right about the regulations, etc., but the problem is that approach usually ends with teachers getting paid less for doing more.

    Teaching isn't community service. It is a job done by professionals, with college degrees, and should be treated as such.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Nov. 8, 2011 4:48 p.m.

    Too much money for education. That's why an over abundance of legislatures to control and micro-manage the system.

    Just think how simple and cost effective schools should be. Teaching and learning without all the regulations, testing, and mandates would be like water to a thirsty soul.

  • JHP Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 8, 2011 4:12 p.m.

    I'm fine with this approach, Mr. Shumway, provided that collective bargaining is done away with and teachers' unions and other interest groups have less influence. Reducing the legislature's involvement too much would only open the door for these groups to do more of what they want.

  • Jon W. Murray, UT
    Nov. 8, 2011 11:43 a.m.

    How can a body have oversight but not management? If they see something going on wrong, don't they have an obligation to try to fix it? And isn't that management? The whole problem is the wrong body has oversight. It should be local school boards elected by and accountable to the parents, and the parents themselves, with the oversight.

  • Joe Moe Logan, UT
    Nov. 8, 2011 11:05 a.m.

    Absolutely! A micro-managing, unsupportive legislature is exactly what we have here in Utah.

    I gaped at the recent idea floated by a legislator about having high schools pay colleges for undergrads who are unprepared for college....after public education funding continues at the bottom of the nation (per-pupil-spending). It would be absolutely hilarious if it weren't so serious. Fortunately, it appears that such a measure is too much even for our legislature (there is a limit to the insanity, thank goodness).

    The reality is we get a lot of bang for our buck out of our public schools. But recent budgets are cutting into the bone, and we will almost surely see data about declines in student achievement. And then the legislature will blame public education and bring out the ax (again).

    Shumway is right in this article, legislators need to have oversight but NOT management.

    As an involved parent, I see what is happening in the schools, and I lay the blame for most of the current struggles of our local schools squarely at the feet of the legislature. Which is largely why, as a registered Republican, I most often vote Democrat in local elections.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    Nov. 8, 2011 10:49 a.m.

    The last time I checked, the state of Utah just signed on to a National Common Core Curriculum. So, rather than seeking answers from the grass roots (i.e. parents and teachers), the state, and all of the so-called experts, has done the very thing that has caused many of the problems in our educational system, mandating more control! All the administrators will jump on board, showing even less respect for the teachers and understanding less of what constitutes good teaching, to show that they are in charge, while accruing another year of enormous salary, all at the taxpayers expense. Many administrators have little experience in the classroom. Legislators, probably less. Both, however, have one thing in common, energy, time, and resources to 'fix' things without understanding them! Teachers in many cases aren't even asked what would help for improving scores and achievement. When suggestions are given, more often than not it is ignored. Instead of simplicity, high expectations, concern for the student, and empowering teachers, we get a shuffling of papers, more mandates, greater scrutiny, and further erosion of principles and policies that will actually help the classroom teacher do what he/she wants to do--teach!