Letter: Utah cannot afford to waste millions on standardized testing

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  • RedShirtHarvard Cambridge, MA
    June 18, 2018 1:31 p.m.

    Rather than drag the police pay into this, lets just look at the cost to education.

    If it is $81 million over 10 years, that means that each year we spend $8 million on testing. That means that each year we spend money on pointless testing instead of hiring 114 teachers.

    Imagine how many schools would love to have some of those teachers.

  • Zabilde Riverdale, UT
    June 18, 2018 8:30 a.m.

    Can we just kill standardized testing all together? Return the money to the classrooms and let the teachers teach for a full year. Many schools have to basically finish the curriculum six weeks early in order to make sure they have time to get all the students through the tests. And they often spend a few weeks before the tests teaching test taking skills. They teach the tests not the curriculum. It takes weeks to test because they don't have enough computers or testing proctors to test everybody at once.

    Then there is the fact that the tests don't matter to the students and they know it and apply appropriate levels of effort. So we have a test the kids don't care about and yet we are holding teachers accountable for the test results.

    This isn't working. Another new test isn't going to change anything. This is insanity, trying the same thing again and again and expecting different results.

    Let the teachers teach and evaluate their students. Give back those lost weeks and get rid of teaching the tests, and our students will perform better overall.

  • Thomas Thompson Salt Lake City, UT
    June 18, 2018 4:36 a.m.

    The SAGE testing would be a good thing -- but not at that kind of cost. That's what used to be called a "budget buster." Standardized tests can help us decide how our schools are doing in educating our children, and that's vital information to have. But $81.1 million?? Really?

  • UtahBlueDevil Alpine, UT
    June 16, 2018 2:11 p.m.

    Gail, I hate to break it to you but 8 million a year over 10 years just isn't that much money. It was money that was going to be spent on this anyway. What are you saying, there is a free way to test students? That Utah doesn't need a standardized way of testing how the schools are doing? What are you proposing.

    As to those things you mentioned as alternatives.... those have nothing to do with budget. The fact that retirement is being under funded, that pay for police and teachers is low, that is just more of Utah's ongoing war against anything they believe could be unionized. It's a war of ideals, not real budget dollars. To fix both of those would be reasonably easy. But Utahs legislature doesn't want those fixed. They want only one sheriff in town, and that isn't unionized civil servants.

    Don't like it... vote differently. Vote for people who want a functioning government.... not one at war with itself.

  • birder Salt Lake City, UT
    June 16, 2018 10:20 a.m.

    It is a sad reflection on our society’s priorities when police officers and teachers start in the 40's while those in the sports and entertainment industries start in the millions.

    And if we think the police and teacher shortage is acute now, just wait. About 1/3 of the faculty at my school will retire in the next 5 years. I wonder who will replace them, especially with the huge cuts in benefits.

    As for the testing price tag? The state pays those millions of dollars when a lot of the students blow off the test. So if USBE is under the illusion that those scores are valid, they probably ought to talk to some teachers.

  • ConservativeCommonTater West Valley City, UT
    June 16, 2018 10:20 a.m.

    This $81,000,000 cash give-away to improve scores shows that the people in this state are more interested in shiny things than results. Who gets the money? Family and Friends of legislators?

    Chalk this up to another was of money like so many other plans that Utah comes up with. Standardized testing guides the education of students to compete in a national and worldwide job environment.

    If Utah was really interested in educating children they would save the money and look at the "standardized testing" in the states with the highest results.

    The top 5 states are:
    Massachusettes
    New Hampshire
    New Jersey
    Vermont
    Connecticut

    Not surprisingly, those are all blue states with higher incomes in addition to higher education levels.

    I'm sure there will be comments about those states "forcing the liberal agenda" on students.
    Maybe? But they are still the most educated states and people.

    The bottom 5 states are:
    Louisiana
    Alaska
    Mississippi