Lawmakers pay visit to schools failing under new grading system

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  • Steven S Jarvis Orem, UT
    Nov. 5, 2013 10:32 a.m.

    There was no large High school that had acceptable passing rates for grade level math this past year. Even the High schools that received A's seemed to have a third or more of their students fail to be on grade level for math. All the High schools in the west side of the valley had less than 15% of their students reach grade level mastery. While I only checked a few east side schools, they weren't much better. While the grading system is incomplete, it does demonstrate we are way behind in our level of mathematics proficiency than we should be.

  • Downtime Saint George, UT
    Nov. 5, 2013 9:13 a.m.

    They are politicians looking for a photo op. The only real thing they are worried about is reelection. I can't understand why these politicians keep fooling the majority of those who vote. The only good politician is one who has been voted OUT!

  • Dibs Alpine, UT
    Nov. 5, 2013 8:01 a.m.

    When I was in 6th grade the kid next to me (we had two seater desks) didn't know how to read. I never saw the teacher work with him or even acknowledge that he had a problem. I worked with him and taught him to read during the year.

  • drummer Kaysville, UT
    Nov. 5, 2013 7:38 a.m.

    My hat is off to Senator Mayne for attempting to show some of her colleagues the error of their ways. Please note that this "so-called" School Grading Bill was moved by Parents For Choice, a group in the forefront of the shameful school privatization movement in our state.

    I am glad that Mr. Holdaway was there. I'm sure he provided a great voice of reason for all concerned

    By the way, grading on the bell curve? That went out with button shoes.

    MY HECK!

  • Springvillepoet Springville, UT
    Nov. 5, 2013 6:39 a.m.

    So long as any so-called grading system for schools enforces the idea that problems in schools can be boiled down to one or two aspects across the spectrum, nothing serious will be done to fix the problems which do exist. Education is far to complex to ever think there are one or two things which can be done to fix everything.

    As for DNS2's comments regarding teacher salary: No, teacher salary is not the sole issue, but it is clear you and many other Utahns do not respect the teaching profession. If you did, Utah would at least pay a salary which was competitive with surrounding states (other than Idaho) because if you want above average teachers and competent people entering the profession (whether for regular schools or charter schools) to teach your children you need to attract them just like any other profession. But there is the catch. You and other Utahns probably don't even see teachers as professionals. Most Utahns see the teaching profession as something to be relegated to a family's supplemental income.

    What a shame your attitude and salary drives many good teachers out of state or out of the profession.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    Nov. 5, 2013 5:09 a.m.

    I think they should question the test not the schools. I don's see any reason to involve students or teachers when the system is being challenged for or against the common core programs and its effectiveness.

    For a free education system it is impossible to test and if the can test stuntmen performance by test then we ban be assured they are not getting and education, they are being fed propaganda eduction.

    There has never been a problem in educaiton in this country and why it stood out among the best until someone decided they had to be able to test the students.

    What brought all this about was not the level and quality of education that american students were receiving because our systems was superior ant they didn't know why. So they established some arbitrary standards and teachers have to limit what they can teach so students can meet what ever arbitrary standards that federal government has established as an education. I think that there is a federal effort to prevent children from ever understanding personal finance so they can be pilfered as adults to foster criminal banking fraud.

  • birder Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 4, 2013 11:22 p.m.

    I work at a "D" school. My school has a lot of challenges. Teachers can work their tails off, but we can't make students learn. Those of you in the critical public, come and see if you can do the job better.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Nov. 4, 2013 11:12 p.m.

    So the west-side schools get "F's" and the east-side schools get "A's." Surprise!

  • R.S. Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 4, 2013 10:35 p.m.

    I work at one of these schools, and as far as I know, the visiting group of lawmakers used almost all of their time at the school to interview the principal. I think they only visited one classroom.

    Communication with school administrators is obviously important, but if these officials were going to make the effort to come to the school, they should have taken time to see how things are actually done there. They should have talked to faculty and students, sat in on several classes, and really saw how things "tick."

    Kudos to both principals for responding the best they could to a flawed grading system--they are defending their schools while recognizing the room that still exists for the schools' growth. Recognize what's great; fix what isn't.

    Utah legislature--honestly? Grading schools with a bell curve? What system is fair that automatically guarantees a certain number of schools getting As and Fs? Here's hoping that the proposed changes to the grading system come through so that the system becomes more fair--and so the data becomes more meaningful. The grading system needs to take student growth into account.

  • wally1121 Taylorsville, UT
    Nov. 4, 2013 9:43 p.m.

    These high school students lack understanding in fundamental concepts that SHOULD have been mastered years ago, but were not.
    This is a direct result of nonsense such as "No Child Left Behind".
    We're not doing our kids any favors by advancing them to the next grade when they have FAILED to master the current requirements. Hold them back - it will be to their greater good.
    It will take at least one and probably two generations to work through this. The grandchildren of today's students may be better prepared to learn.
    Oh, you wanted a quick fix, huh? You want math scores to improve next year, right?
    Sorry, it's not going to happen. You can't build walls and a roof before you have a solid foundation. Today's students are lacking that foundation, and all the money in the world can't turn things around that quickly.
    If legislators want to turn things around, then maybe THEY should be volunteering as tutors for under achieving students.
    Or do they lack the requisite skills as well?

  • DN Subscriber 2 SLC, UT
    Nov. 4, 2013 7:47 p.m.

    Utah schools, unlike the children in Lake Woebegone, are NOT all above average.

    In Utah, some schools are below average and some are failing their students. That is undeniable, although we can argue if it should be understandable or inexcusable. THe first step to to admit some schools are doing badly, and then try to fix them, rather than gloss over the problems, and wildly throw money at teacher salaries.

    If high school students have lousy math skills, that may indeed reflect a problem with the earlier schools they attended, not just the high school, and that is very valuable information.

    Good on the legislature for daring to challenge the :education establishment" by passing the school grade law, and at least getting taxpayers and parents a better handle on what our students are, or are not, learning. Good on the individual legislators who took the time to visit the schools and dig deeper into the problem. They want to improve our schools, not just fail them.

    Someone also needs to take a look at teachers and administration at the poor schools. Not all teachers and administrators are above average, and we need to fire the poor ones.