Money alone won't help schools succeed

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  • Steve Cottrell Centerville, UT
    Sept. 21, 2013 10:06 p.m.

    In my opinion: It is the duty of each school board to provide each classroom with a qualified teacher. In fact that is a legal obligation of your school board. It is the duty of the legislature to make that possible by providing adequate funding. We will never have enough well qualified teachers without adequate funding.

    What amount is adequate? I propose that average funding would be a great step. Currently Utah funding is only 58% percent of average. That would require several thousand dollars per student.

    OK, how about a minimal goal of just getting us one step up from the very bottom level of funding? That would only require a little more than $1000 per student.

    Well how about getting a new legislature? That might be a positive step!

  • jp3 Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 21, 2013 6:27 p.m.

    At least in this article, Mr. Evensen finally concedes he's not an education expert--but he DOES have kids in schools. Well, good for him! I've flown in a plane before, so I'd like to give some advice to pilots. Not.

    As a teacher (the ones that actually do the teaching, the ones whose advice is never sought, the ones who never write such articles in papers), you could "throw money" at reducing my 7th grade English classroom from on average of 42 students per class to 35 or lower. You could also "throw money" at a laptop for every student--technology is great if there is a working computer and working network available--in Granite District, this is rarely the case. You could also "throw money" at paying teachers a competitive salary, thereby attracting not the dimwits of universities, but the best and brightest.

    Sadly, greed and selfishness always trump the collective good for conservatives like Mr. Evensen, and that's why we'll always put out a mediocre product here in good ol' Utah. Enjoy, folks!

  • Terry Marasco Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 21, 2013 7:39 a.m.

    It is not about money but about qualified educators with high motivation. I was a first grade teacher in Detroit in the 60s in all Black, poor neighborhoods. We, a cadre of Teacher Corps grad students, managed to take the kids to second grade also. When they reached 3rd grade they tested, many of them, at the 5th grade level. We did not get paid much... I held 2 other jobs in addition to my full time teaching position.

    However, we need to attract and train teachers who are highly motivated but treat them at the same level financially that we treat engineers. Now we are asking skilled professionals to buy pencils and crayons for kids while paying them not much above the poverty level.

    I left education to become a businessman not only because of the financial rewards, but moreso,the institutional bureaucracy stifled my motivation - school bureaucracies are more about don'ts than dos. That is another story...

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 20, 2013 9:24 p.m.

    West Jordan, UT

    Thanks for your clear response. Some fringe elements in Utah want to politicize education under the guise of helping education.

  • Shawnm750 West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 20, 2013 4:20 p.m.

    @The Real Maverick - Again, Evansen isn't saying that schools shouldn't be given more money, he's arguing that the WAY we spend the money they are given needs to be spent effectively. I think the argument is that we need to look at the educational system as a whole and determine if what we have in place is the most effective model. I would argue that it needs an overhaul from the federal level downward.

  • thatthatguy Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 20, 2013 10:09 a.m.

    "Money alone won't help schools succeed."

    Absolutely. On the other hand, schools without money cannot succeed.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    Sept. 20, 2013 7:31 a.m.

    No. Money alone will never make anything succeed. We could apply the statement "money alone won't help ____ succeed" to virtually any endeavor. Money alone will always be insufficient. I don't think there is really any disagreement on that point.

    The problem with such statements is that they imply much more than simply money being only part of the puzzle we must put together. Instead, it implies that money is really not necessary. Or, that the current funds available are sufficient. This sometimes appears to be a backhanded anti-tax argument.

    In anything with which I have ever been involved (business, govt., community, church) if you want first class results you need first class resources. Human resources and physical resources. If folks are willing to donate all of that - great, you won't need much in the way of money. If not, you are going to need some money to buy those resources.

    Step back. Look at the kind of organization you are trying to build. Figure the resources you are going to need to make it work and then apply a realistic cost figure (less donations of labor or materials). That is the money you will need.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Sept. 20, 2013 12:01 a.m.

    There is a strong relationship in all credible surveys showing a direct link between per-pupil spending and academic achievement.

    Is money everything? No.

    Is it the major determining factor? All studies indicate yes.

    Lets not disregard additional funding because Jay Evansen wants to promote his ultra-conservative voucher friendly agenda.

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    Sept. 19, 2013 11:59 p.m.

    "Money alone won't help schools succeed"

    Boy, you're not kidding. It takes a great deal of involvement from the parents to make their child a success.

  • The Hammer lehi, utah
    Sept. 19, 2013 11:09 p.m.

    In fairness their is some truth to what the author is saying. More Money doesn't always equal results, BUT!!! When money is used to attract talent at the teacher level you almost always see results. Also facilities based upon the idea of a smaller community school is more ideal then the behemoth 3000 student high schools we see now.

    In the end our children are a reflection of us and if we are more preoccupied with watching sports and movies instead of reading and other goodly pursuits our children will lack the familiarity with learning and succeeding. The childrens results are not the fault of teachers but the fault of parents.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Sept. 19, 2013 8:50 p.m.

    Re: "The argument that more money won't make a difference is absolutely baseless."

    So, how much money is enough?

    That's a question liberals will NEVER answer. No matter how much money is spent on education, liberals and greedy union bosses will ALWAYS demand more. Always.

    Taxpayers will be perpetually barraged with liberal demands for money. Our wisest course is to ignore the constant bleating. Look at results.

    Here's the inarguable bottom line -- ANY kid that really wants a good education in Utah can get it. In any school in the state, regardless of class size. From any teacher, regardless of his/her salary. Regardless of how many guidance counselors, librarians, sports programs, or administrators a school has.

    That's what we owe kids. The opportunity for a good education. We don't owe them expensive liberal programs, designed to force uninterested kids to learn. We don't owe them high teacher salaries. We don't owe them a budget that increases every year.

    Utah schools are wildly successful at providing what we owe Utah kids -- the opportunity to learn.

  • squirt Taylorsville, ut
    Sept. 19, 2013 7:04 p.m.

    The issue is that there has NEVER been adequate funding for our Utah public education system. We should be thanking our amazing teachers for getting the results they are getting under the most difficult, demeaning, and disrespectful circumstances in this country.

    The argument that more money won't make a difference is absolutely baseless. How about trying to adequately fund our Utah schools and then see what would happen. The systems which do in all aspects outspend us.

    It is absolutely shameful that we would ask our educators to do more and more with less and less and then tell them they are failing our children. Our legislature is failing our children.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Sept. 19, 2013 5:37 p.m.

    Comparing spending money on roads vs. education.

    I would suspect educating students is more complicated than building a road. Just because it is more complicated doesn't mean spending more money won't help. I think the recent test scores and grades, for whatever they are worth, show that when resources are available, like the ones spent at Northwest Middle School, that good things can be done in the most challenging schools. Otherwise, bad results seem to happen.

    But I've seen some of our road projects not turn out so well BTW. I mean, it didn't seem too long ago that some of the freeway was coming apart on I-15 not too many years after being laid. Just sayin'.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    Sept. 19, 2013 5:03 p.m.

    Look, we know what works. Look at Finland's education system. Let's implement that. No more testing, no more mandates; just hire good teachers and let 'em do their thing.

  • Shawnm750 West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 19, 2013 2:12 p.m.

    @jotab - I don't anyone is arguing that we shouldn't be investing (more) in schools. The argument is that we're not putting the money to use in the most effective way. That's the reason you don't hear anyone say "throwing money" at transportation. It's generally allocated for specific projects. The long-standing problem that afflicts education is that the money we spend doesn't seem to trickle down to the student level in such a way that it makes a notable difference. Somewhere between the six-figure administrator incomes and the other fluff, the money is getting apportioned in some places that probably could stand to be trimmed down.

    Education obviously needs to be a priority when we talk about the distribution of tax dollars. But I, like many others out there, would like to know that we're getting the most out of those dollars (especially in this tough economy.)

  • jotab Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 19, 2013 11:14 a.m.

    Why is it never said that we are "throwing money" at transportation or roads? I don't think we have ever tried "throwing money" at education in Utah. The assertion that a digital revolution will solve everything may or may not be true. But guess what? That will cost more money than the neocons will every want to spend. A demonstration project here or there is fine and dandy but a real investment is beyond their desire to fund.

    Investments in infrastructure and the future workers of the state are ignored at the peril of the future return on that investment. We will reap what we sow now. Furthermore, attracting new business to the state is dependent on the education of the workforce and condition of the schools in which the leaders of the businesses will place their children. Resources make a difference in those schools. Resources only money can buy.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Sept. 19, 2013 11:02 a.m.

    No, money isn't everything. But it's way ahead of whatever is in second place.