John Florez: Education system needs big medicine

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  • dan76 san antonio, TX
    Jan. 23, 2013 8:03 p.m.

    Utah teacher:

    After I had taught for several years, 5 of my fellow teachers took an early retirement and started just such a school. They were experts in their respective fields and used not only the latest technology within the classroom but also brought in folks working in the subject area to expose students to a realistic work-world.

    Without advertising, their school soon developed a years out waiting list. Very few discipline problems occurred as parents were told the student did not have a second chance regarding appropriate behavior.

    Now for the downturn. These teachers were able to cherry pick their students. Obviously ESL, special need, or low performing issues were not present. Parents were mostly professionals living in preferred neighborhoods.

    While their students have obtained advanced degrees and are regarded as successful, these teachers acknowledge the "average" student continues to struggle within a public educational system which is not meeting student needs.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Jan. 21, 2013 9:41 p.m.

    Fact or Fake,

    Attendance? It's what you do with that time.

    Many students learn more in an hour then others do in a week, or month.

  • Fact or Fake Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 21, 2013 7:33 p.m.

    Here are the facts about education.
    1. You cannot force anybody to learn. Students need to want to learn.
    2. The family is the most important unit for education. Without family support, education goes nowhere.
    3. Attendance is the leading indicator of student success. You have to be there to learn. (Even effective home school participants know they have to set aside time to learn).

    All three of those things are out of government control. So, anything done by way of giving the Governor control over education is just hot air.

  • metisophia Ogden, UT
    Jan. 21, 2013 1:24 p.m.

    First, stop wasting money on uninformative, expensive, and onerous testing and invest those dollars in people, whether more teachers or more paras. More time spent individually with students really does make a difference in their attitudes and achievements.

  • John C. C. Payson, UT
    Jan. 20, 2013 4:08 p.m.

    We need three things:

    1. Standardizing the main curriculum targets, as has recently been attempted with the Common Core. The U.S. Department of Education is best situated to fund and coordinate research on what is effective in education. Local districts could still make some adjustments to the curriculum to reflect local priorities, and they could still experiment with innovation, sharing their successes with others.

    2. The redistribution of educational opportunity from the rich to the poor, which is now only partly done. Fortunately for Utah, we have some success at funding schools more equally than most other states. All children deserve a decent education, regardless of their parents' wealth or lack of it.

    3. The Feds and the States should give up their preoccupations with testing, competition, and micro-management. It's silly to think teachers and administrators are not sincere in their efforts to help children, especially if districts were truly controlled locally. Every community wants its children to succeed.

    Freed from micro-management and most worries about funding and curriculum, local districts could greatly cut their administrative overhead and focus on basic local management, which is the dream of the charter school movement anyway.

  • EJM Herriman, UT
    Jan. 20, 2013 8:27 a.m.

    Education does not need big medicine. What education needs is a shift in our societal thinking. We spend so much energy wanting to make things easier for the lives of our children that we have stopped, as a society, having our children even think about struggling. Having them come up against a problem and helping them, not enabling them, in solving the problem. As a result, our children know that, by and large, that mom and dad (usually mom) will be there to "make it all better". I poll my students and overwhelmingly they say that their parents are way too easy and lenient on them. So many want to be their kids' friend as opposed to being a parent and the kids take advantage of this. So when are we going to wake up as a society? Not until we realize that we are not doing them any favors. One last thought: you have to try to fail high school today it is so easy. And yet kids still do. Why?

  • There You Go Again Saint George, UT
    Jan. 19, 2013 10:53 p.m.

    gov. gary using children to send a message?

    Cons are against that sort of thing...

    only when President Obama does the same thing?

  • Jory payson, utah
    Jan. 19, 2013 12:41 p.m.

    Utah Teacher

    Put your money where your mouth is. Then you will actually see how hard it is to run a business.

  • Chuck E. Racer Lehi, UT
    Jan. 19, 2013 10:27 a.m.

    To Utah Teacher and Carolyn Sharette:

    The real improvement would be to allow charter districts for local communities, where they could band together for their own community, freed from the government, but where they could use their own tax dollars for their own schools, done the way they want - NOT the way some far away government or college educrat wants it done. THAT would be real deregulation!

  • Chuck E. Racer Lehi, UT
    Jan. 19, 2013 9:56 a.m.

    Who was it that made John Florez think he had the answers on education? What he proposes would only INCREASE the bureaucracy as he completes the government takeover of education by putting the governor in charge!

    Public education never used to be part of the government. It was a local, publicly-owned corporation of the local community. Then our cities grew too big, which also took the local community out of the equation. Then Kennedy used education to get himself elected in 1960, whereupon it became a national issue with more government interference. Now Florez wants the governor to take it over completely.

    Very little, if any, of the interferences from the national and state governments and the colleges of education, over the 30 years of my career as a teacher, have improved it. If you want to deregulate education, repeal all the national and state laws that interfere, and divide up our huge, regional districts into community districts. THEN the local communities would have the possibility of improving their schools. Some wouldn't, but rest of us would learn and grow from their example.

    Until then I have seen very little of what Florez proposes that would help.

  • Carolyn Sharette Sandy, UT
    Jan. 19, 2013 9:38 a.m.

    Utah Teacher,
    GREAT comment! Yes, you and your friends could (and SHOULD) open a charter school! Excellent teachers really do know how to fix the schools and you would be successful. If you decide you want to take that step - I will help!

    We need more excellent charter schools so that the public can see that removing the layers to the extent possible and getting rid of programs and constraints that are unnecessary really is effective. When schools can focus on excellent teaching, great things happen for kids. I believe perhaps the most powerful difference in our charter schools is our ability to let go of staff that isn't effective and rewarding excellent teachers.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Jan. 19, 2013 9:16 a.m.

    Education just needs to be simplified, and our children need more independence to become creative, and digest what they are being taught.

    Too many bureaucrats creating rules, regulations, excessive funding, and worthless micro-management.

    How schools were ran sixty years ago, weren't all wrong.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    Jan. 19, 2013 9:06 a.m.

    Utah Teacher and Real Maverick,

    I am a teacher with twenty years' experience and a registered Democrat and I believe that Mr. Flores is correct. There are far too many layers of administration and bureaucracy separating the people from the Governor. The Governor should be help responsible for the condition of education in this state. And the classroom should not be so many steps from the Capital that it takes years for changes to be implemented. And each of these bureaucratic layers costs money.

    Utah has the deck stacked against it because of the large and growing student population. We can't waste dollars and we have to emphasize efficiency in the schools. If ANY department, program, curricula, or project can't gather supporting data to prove its educational efficacy, it should be discarded. This would include some academic programs, many athletic programs and a significant number of district and state-level administrators earning over $80,000 a year.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Jan. 19, 2013 8:33 a.m.

    I love it when journalists and politicians act like they know what the solutions to education are when they have never taught a class and the last time they actually set foot in a high school classroom was over 20 years ago.

    Instead of interviewing these folks on the sidelines how about we interview someone in the trenches?

    Has the dnews ever interviewed a teacher for his/her solutions for education? Why not?

    Is the dnews so obsessed with bashing public education in order to stuff vouchers down our throats that they'd continue to offer us this vitriol instead of actual substance from teachers?

  • Utah Teacher Orem, UT
    Jan. 19, 2013 8:27 a.m.

    I have been discussing this with a few of the teachers at the school where I work. I honestly think I could take the 6 best teachers and open a charter school that would become the envy of the state. I know who the good teachers are in our school. Each teacher is an expert in their own subject. Each knows how to work with kids and loves what they do. The parents would flock to our school and be happy to get out of the bureaucratic nightmare our education system has come. To get away from the legislative micromanaging would be reward enough. However, we could each just about double our pay while working with the kids looking to succeed.

    No busses running the schedule, no school meal program, no catering to any certain group, no mandates from the district office, state or legislature. No frills. Just a good solid education.

    It really is that simple.