Student-centered education is best chance to rise from bottom of the list in education funding

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  • asdjones Fond du Lac, WI
    July 17, 2014 11:20 a.m.

    Mr. Stoddard is describing the best of the four possible classrooms.
    1) Teacher-Centered: The teacher is the Big Honcho, saying, "This is MY room. You are just visitors. I run the show with a curriculum that was all set before you came to school first day. I will tell you what you need!" (although I do not know you at all.);
    2) TeachING-Centered: Curriculum is still pre-determined but the teacher is interested in the HOW of teaching - using a variety of teaching strategies and media to make the content as appealing as possible;
    3) LearnING-Centered: Teacher knows students learn differently and pays attention to matching teaching strategies to student learning styles to increase the absorption of the pre-determined curriculum.
    4) LearnER-Centered: The ideal educational system based on what the individual child needs to succeed now AND in the future delivering naturally all the things we worry about and try awkwardly to force with our pressurized, fear-based, high-stakes testing nonsense. Look at the kids coming out of Montessori schools and you will get a clue as to what is possible, and that is just the beginning to some of us - but a good one.

  • Lanny Bountiful, UT
    July 17, 2014 9:11 a.m.

    Comments continue to focus on the wrong solution: more school funding. Repeatedly - repeatedly - it's been shown that more funding does NOT improve schools. There are states and cities with far more school funding than Utah, whose schools do not perform as well as Utah schools. Besides, additional funding usually does NOT go to teachers but to non-teaching positions in the system.

    The solution is more parent involvement. The correlation between successful students and parent involvement is undisputed. Students with involved parents, generally do far better than students with UNinvolved parents - regardless of the money funded for education. Thus, the PTAs need to focus more on getting parents into classrooms to help the teachers. Then students can receive more individual attention, and we can achieve student-centered education.

  • Really??? Kearns, UT
    July 16, 2014 1:25 p.m.

    @I M LDS 2,

    As a business owner, I am sure that you do focus on the skills of each individual employee to place them in the best position possible that will provide the optimal benefit for the company. You would hopefully create a strong team with different skill sets and strengths that can work together to meet your business goals. Not everyone will be able to take care of the company's accounting needs, and not everyone will be skilled at bringing in new customers. If you don't have an employee-focused approach to hiring and maintaining a strong staff, you won't be a business owner for very long.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    July 15, 2014 1:08 p.m.

    Wow, I'm agreeing with Worf again. Mercy!

    He's right. Good teachers have always used student-centered education.

    IMLDS2 -- you are completely missing the boat with your comment. Unless perhaps you are talking about children of the 1% who must be educated toward the objective of being able to hang on to their inherited fortunes no matter who they must trample in the process.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    July 15, 2014 12:59 p.m.

    Re: "If we want to help Utah rise up from the bottom of funding, we need to believe student-centered education is worth a try."


    First off, why should we aspire to spend more money on Utah education, when it's far from the bottom of the effectiveness pile with what we currently spend. Secondly, how does a phony, grade-school post office translate into bigger paychecks for Utah teachers and their greedy union bosses?

    I guess this is just the latest in a long series of scams and hustles, meant to lull us into thinking that unions are not all about money and power. They are, of course, but they try hard to hide it.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    July 15, 2014 11:06 a.m.

    Student-centered education?

    It's always been that.

    Just let teachers handle education, and quit re-inventing schools.

    What a waste of funding.

  • I M LDS 2 Provo, UT
    July 15, 2014 10:26 a.m.

    Student centered approach? I thought education was supposed to be truth-centered, knowledge-centered, and skill-centered? Does student centered instruction teach students that the world revolves around them? When they go into the job market, will they get "student centered" treatment by their employers?

    As a business owner, we hire people we believe to be competent, capable, talented, and professional. Our company does not, nor will it, revolve around them. They will be expected to dig in and contribute value, being company-centric, not self-centric.

  • kiddsport Fairview, UT
    July 15, 2014 10:19 a.m.

    Even though the article doesn't even come close to addressing the particulars of education funding, its a moot point; there is no correlation between funding and student achievement when you look at the municipalities with the highest per-student costs. Washington, D.C. has the highest expenditures per student and has among the worst if not the worst student performance. Utah has always been relatively high in student performance while not being among the most profligate spenders in education. Once we stop conflating funding with student support and student-centered approaches as this article proposes, we will be well on the way to resolving the true issues. My personal sense is that students are being exploited by the oligarchy to garner more influence and power. Funding is just the kettle used to collect it.

  • Kings Court Alpine, UT
    July 15, 2014 10:01 a.m.

    I'm sorry, but voter approved bonds goes almost entirely to infrastructure construction, not the actual instruction and materials needed in the schools. That would take the legislature (The Super School Board) doing something meaningful with the WPU, but I don't see that happening. As a teacher, I've always believed in a student-centered approach and I've been screaming about this for years. Again, politics gets in the way of sound policy. Remove the politics from education (which has gotten much worse over the last 15 years) and it improve immensely. That is what they did in Finland. The removed the government from education and put educators in charge of it, but American culture just can't let go of inserting politics and micromanagement into every little tiny thing.

    July 15, 2014 9:28 a.m.

    The missing part about increasing funding is only implied in the article. The implication is that by doing student focused learning parents will be more willing to increase school funding.

  • Light and Liberty St. George/Washington, UT
    July 15, 2014 7:36 a.m.

    I am puzzled. Funding wasn't addressed!

  • Radical Moderate West Jordan, UT
    July 15, 2014 7:21 a.m.

    While I am certainly not opposed to changing the climate of schools or strengthening the bond between parent and student, Mr. Stoddard never shows us how this will increase the funding for schools. Making schools more successful will not force the legislature to increase funding. On the contrary, I have heard legislators brag about what a bargain the Utah system is: reasonable performance at rock-bottom prices. Speaking of performance, I'm curious: How did these students perform on the state-mandated testing? I can see a potential disconnect here, also.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    July 15, 2014 6:02 a.m.

    Listen, it's simple.

    You get what you pay for.

    Here Utah, we've paid to have the least funded students, classrooms, and teachers.

    Get class sizes down, give our soldiers (teachers) the materials to win this war, and get that darn entitled and corrupt legislature out of the way!

    Until we stop demonizing teachers, attacking public education for our own gains (Lockhart, Bramble, Stephenson), and actually pay for our kids, nothing will change.

    Why can't big families slap some skin into this game? It's funny how the people with the most kids pay the least! How does that make any sense? That's republican leadership for ya!