State senator hopes to curtail remediation, up retention at state's colleges

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  • Steve Cottrell Centerville, UT
    Oct. 20, 2011 5:02 p.m.

    Since most remedial classes at Utah and USU are taught by adjunct faculty, graduate students, instructors, and others who are at the lower pay scale, they may actually be money makers for those schools. Better check with the schools before prohibiting them from offering remedial courses.

  • welcomethemall Nampa, ID
    Oct. 20, 2011 11:15 a.m.

    From an outsider's perspective, I commend Utah's efforts at education reform. You are not allowing yourselves to bow before the demands of unions... and at least are trying new things. Some of them will fail - but that should not discourage the efforts overall.

    By and large the perception from out here is that Utah schools are excellent, and the Universities offer world-class service for a reasonable price.

    However... I would say the educational system is not the reason. It is the parents of Utah who make the difference. Maybe you aren't Shangri-la, but I live in a community where it would not matter how many bajillions more yuan we can throw at the system. There is such a culture of underacheivement and low parental expectations that teachers here really struggle. Of course it's more complex than my portrayal... but it's a serious problem.

    To you parents of the Beehive state - whether you homeschool , volunteer at school, sit on a school board or advisory board... or if all you do is help with homework and hold your kids accountable for their effort - you are THE difference makers. You do have a lot to be proud of.

  • DeltaFoxtrot West Valley, UT
    Oct. 20, 2011 9:48 a.m.

    Higher education is a bubble, just like housing. Prices rapidly escalated to ridiculous levels thanks to easy money... namely federally subsidized student loans.

    That bubble needs to be popped, just like the housing bubble was popped. The federal government should not be in the business of lending money.

    If student loan money suddenly dried up institutions of higher learning would be forced to lower their costs to what a person could truly afford or shut their doors.

  • Hellooo Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 20, 2011 7:33 a.m.

    Biggest thing to help those college students who do not finish their higher education experience with a college degree is to lower tuition costs, and legislate that course credits earned in one state system school be honor not just at the institution level, but in the graduation requirements of the departments and divisions of each institution. The University system developed in the middle ages as a guild to protect "knowledge" transfer without due compensation is not well adapted to providing the educational needs for any century and more especially the 21st century. It is adapt at generating $. The Senator sounds like a thoughtful man with some excellent ideas, but until the State graduates students that are prepared for college and their will always be a large percentage that are not, it needs to focus on providing remedial education effectively and cost efficiently. Not a bad idea to increase the admittance standards for USU and Utah they are not very competitive or focused on delivering quality under graduate education anyway. They have to a large extent faculty made up of research oriented Ph.D's many of which do not enjoy teaching, and prefer to focus on their research activities.

  • MyChildrensKeeper Taylorsville, UT
    Oct. 20, 2011 5:03 a.m.

    I think Sen Wimmer would take offense at these allegations that we are not educating our children graduating from High School. Sen. Wimmer thinks Utah children are so over educated that we can eliminate the 12th grade to save money.

    Sen Urquhart is correct on his fact based observation and reality. We are paying taxes to educate child citizens of Utah and we and our children are being robbed of this mandated constitutional education service. For decades we have been pushing children through the school system focused on objectives not even related to education of children. The focus has been on greed for federal funds by head count ignoring the reason for our schools, and eduction system has become a fund channeling service to misdirect and send school funds to private business and corporate payback.

    Not only are students getting in to colleges without proper credentials, they are forced to take out college education loans to pay for high school education classes. Utah Education is in serious need of oversight and accountability so funds and education is the goal of our public schools, even if it means sacrificing (stop) funds to colleges to do it.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 11:10 p.m.

    Sen. Urquhart should be commended for his thoughtful analysis and very specific and useful recommendations.

    This is the direct opposite of the "professional educators" traditional response to criticism, whose only solution is to throw more taxpayers' money at them to perpetuate their mediocre "goverment skools" in K-12 and liberal indoctrination programs in higher ed.

    Urquhart is exactly right in expecting High School grads to be prepared for college (or they should not graduate) and that colleges should be teaching college level courses, not remedial stuff that inevitably turns a four year program into five or six years paying through the nose before graduation.

    Raising admission standards for colleges is a good first step.
    And, comparing the entrance skills of home schooled, charter schooled and traditional school graduates would be a very interesting study.

    Perhaps one of the best things that anyone (including Urquhart) could do is to read the excellent series in the Deseret News this week on BYU-Idaho and the unprecedented changes they have made to provide a better education to more students at a lower cost.

    Utah is noted as one of the best run of all 50 states, thanks to our hardworking Legislators.

  • DR Hall Clearfield, UT
    Oct. 19, 2011 9:16 p.m.

    These Republican idiots who are so smart about every idea in the world. The reason there is remedial classes is that Republicans keep cutting back on K through 12 grade education in Utah. Students are not computers that all learn at a fast pace and retain everything. Students need a decent classroom size with help from the teacher. Too big a classroom size allows more students to fall behind other students and not get the help they need to learn. Teacher's aides are very helpful to acomplish this need. So why are not most Republicans millionaires and most all have PHDs by their names? And why are many Republicans out of work at this present time and have a hard time finding employment? Are they all not geniouses? Why do we even have unemployment in this Republican state if they are so much smarter than everybody else and did not use public education? Their direction at this time is very wrong, but too pig headed to straighten themselves out!