This effort is Utah's chance to improve public education

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  • THOMAS DYCHES Washington, UT
    Aug. 8, 2018 4:10 p.m.

    Getting Utah's schools out of the FEDERAL education system is THE most important thing we can do. We've had our taxes raised over and over and yet we hear this same song again. Make Utah's parents poorer—that's the answer. And don't forget these taxes will be applied to our kids without their say. So this is taxation without representation for generations. There are freedom-based solutions. I wish Mr. Anderson was brave enough to argue for [real] change.

  • What in Tucket Provo, UT
    July 28, 2018 8:03 a.m.

    In Baltimore it is $15,000 per pupil and 16 high schools with mostly black students can barely read at the third grade level. So it is more than money. I have read that students should be taught cursive and phonetics. I like the idea of school choice as that improves a competitive spirit.
    As for low salaries I have two family members who would love to become school teachers do as well as they do.

  • bluecollar Kearns, UT
    July 28, 2018 7:45 a.m.

    To anyone who claims "throwing more money at it" won't solve the problems: throwing less money hasn't worked.
    That's what Utah has been doing for the last thirty years; progressively throwing less and less money at public elementary, middle and high schools. And that's not working.
    Using income tax to pay for public schools is flawed because then funding is less reliable. As the state economy is stressed funding is cut, as the state economy is robust, instead of increasing funding our tax dollars are given back the the "people who know how to spend it better than government".
    Property taxes are a more stable form of funding. (gasp!)
    Larger families require larger homes, right? If larger homes have higher property taxes to pay for local schools, then those larger families pay their fair share; doesn't that seem logical? And business property tax can help pay for educating the employees they need to hire.
    Worried about tax increases? You've been paying a tax "decrease" for far too long and it's time to catch up.
    Want to privatize schools? And you think that will result in lower taxes? Scoff. What a joke. Think competition is the answer? Public schools are not for-profit.

  • RedShirtCalTech Pasedena, CA
    July 27, 2018 7:42 a.m.

    Can any of the liberals out there tell me why we need to spend more on Education? Right now the US spends more per pupil than any other nation, and we get some of the lowest international test score. If spending more on healthcare is so bad, why is it so right for Education?

    Some of you complain about class size, but in places like Korea they have equally large classrooms yet outperform their US counterparts.

    When you look at the educational outcome predictors, things that can be fixed by spending more on education are low on that list. The best predictor of educational outcome is parent involvement. So tell us, how does raising taxes improve parent involvement?

    To "Husker2" here is a great example. In Utah we spend nearly as much per child as what it costs to send a child to Challenger School. The kids that go to Challenger score higher on their ACT scores than the public school ones.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    July 26, 2018 7:28 p.m.

    Vouchers are a great idea. Parents could select the school for their child and the school would get the money. The competition would weed out the schools which are doing a poor job.

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    July 26, 2018 3:56 p.m.

    I suggest the money go to rewarding students who do well. But, rather than money, make it credits to pay costs of further education or skills training, such as apprenticeships in a trade.

  • Holy-Schamoly-What Baloney Kaysville, UT
    July 26, 2018 3:45 p.m.

    I would feel better about this proposal if BUSINESSES that need these trained and educated workers would, instead of demanding tax breaks, actually start to fund education themselves. It's awfully easy to spend someone else's money for your private agenda. (A wonderful example of that is recycling where people furnish all the raw goods and then pay Company "X" to pick up the goods at their street-side containers after all the stuff has been sorted by "those who are responsible stewards over the environment" so Company "X" doesn't have to do that, and then any profits go straight into the pockets of the owners of Company "X". If there aren't any profits, Company "X" tells the city they need to charge and collect more for recycling. It's a scam.

    The per-pupil-funding argument is at least 50 years stale. Let's talk about the 100% State Income Tax funding, highest in the nation, and see how more money hasn't been the answer in places like Washington, DC.

    Banks and business need to put up funds too when trying to get into everyone else's pockets. Banks are used to making all the rules to benefit themselves. Vote against this proposal.

  • tqseal Liberal Central (Sugarhouse), UT
    July 26, 2018 2:18 p.m.

    The biggest problem to education in Utah? Parental apathy. Way too many people are quick to blame state and local government leaders for the failings of public education when people should be taking a hard look at themselves. Where are each of you after your child comes home from school? Who is ensuring that your child completes their school work? How distracted are you from your child?

  • UtahEngineer Sandy, UT
    July 26, 2018 2:07 p.m.

    Proponents of the diversion of hundreds of millions of dollars from highway funding to schools don't even vaguely understand transportation funding.

    This, [car users don't pay all their costs],. ruse has been used many times in order force higher costs on drivers while under funding the roads that the overwhelming majority of travelers use. The usual beneficiary is not mass-transit that will never break even; the real gainers are the folks who want to reshape our economy and our culture into progressive channels... make that progressive future visions.

    If billions of dollars of federal transportation aid had not been wasted on poorly performing rail projects, our highways would have received that much and more to build a long overdue freeways along the Wasatch Front.

    Northern Utah has for decades had the best and most productive urban freeways in America, ranking number ONE in annuals of statistical data by Congressional Quarterly . That has pointed the way to increased freeway investment to benefit the 99% solution. Instead, in 1995 our Mayors chose to build upon the 1% mass transit solution,

    UTA spends $400+ million yearly with little benefit. Target them!

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    July 26, 2018 1:18 p.m.

    the BIG drop off in public education occurs at the Jr High level on up. The education is horrible. Teachers aren't motivated because they make so little. Maybe the only solution is to re-think education and turn to private and charter schools. The US can't compete with Japan or India or China in education scores. It's getting worse not better. One thing is certain -- throwing more money at a failed system isn't going to solve anything.

  • Husker2 Aurora, MN
    July 26, 2018 1:05 p.m.


    When you say “lowered quality”, can you give some examples?

    I’m a high school teacher so I’ve seen hundreds of teachers doing their job, and I would estimate that 98% of them do a terrific job. Definitely high quality. The problem I see is a) high turnover because teachers leave Utah or leave the profession altogether and b) students do not do the assignments and studying necessary to be successful. They play sports and perform in plays and go to their weeknight church meetings, but they don’t do the work the teacher asks them to do. Then, when the student does poorly on standardized tests, the teacher gets the blame.

  • WonderBoy Salt Lake City, UT
    July 26, 2018 11:57 a.m.

    The main problem with schools is not lack of funding.

    The main problem with schools is that they are a government/union monopoly devoid of any competition.

    Like other monopolies, they suffer from 2 problems: High costs and lowered quality.

    High costs. Lowered Quality.


    This is the world you chose, Utah, when you rejected vouchers. Now you're paying for it--and you'll continue to pay for it.

    Public education is a money pit and that will never change.

    If you want better results, privatization and market dynamics is the way to go.

  • sgallen Salt Lake City, UT
    July 26, 2018 11:26 a.m.

    Rick has some great ideas. I'm lucky because I can afford private school and tutors for my 2 kids. Large families should pay their fair share.

  • Susan Quinton Draper, UT
    July 26, 2018 11:04 a.m.

    Carman, we completely agree with you. And overseas is so much better than eastern states schools as well. Sadly, Utah is a bottom-feeder. However, more and more we are seeing people who believe the education isn’t necessary and isn’t serving our children well, k-12 AND university. That we are just babysitting children through grade 12 and then for-profit universities are benefiting from teaching nothing of value for future jobs....somehow we will need to have a complete revolution along the lines of Elon Musk, Uber, Homie, Southwest, Venmo, etc.

  • Seldom Seen Smith Orcutt, CA
    July 26, 2018 10:10 a.m.

    Nothing lasts forever. Public elementary and secondary schools are done, cooked, stick a fork in them. Implement a voucher system as soon as possible.

  • Rick for Truth Provo, UT
    July 26, 2018 10:03 a.m.

    Why is it, the only answer for improving education is to spend more and more money, continuously raising my taxes, spending more, taxing more, on and on. This crazy drum beat is never ever ending. Try something else, throwing endless dollars at this bottomless pit will not do anything. Stop giving tax breaks to large families that create this financial disaster. Hold students to a higher standard, require competence to receive a diploma and graduate. Stop social age promotion. Stop cumbaya inclusion of students in core classes who cannot and will not ever perform. Remove student that have behaviors that destroy the classroom learning environment. I know, these solutions are not politically correct, we might hurt the feelings of the non performers.

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    July 26, 2018 8:00 a.m.

    State-mandated testing will not fix schools.
    A state level union will not fix them.
    Nor will state directives.
    ...or state funding.

    Lower state taxes and allow local school districts to get their funding from property taxes.

    The time has come to admit that the grand experiment to have the state fund education has failed. It hasn't resulted in parity. It hasn't aided performance. It hasn't managed the labor problem.

    It has failed. Give the matter back to the local school boards. Trust the people of Panguich and Rose Park to use property tax funds to educate their own kids.

    The state can't pick winners and losers. That didn't work.

    But this will only work if the state gets out of the business altogether and gives the money back to the people.

  • PeakBagger1 Heber City, UT
    July 26, 2018 6:29 a.m.

    Wow! A lot of time and energy has already been spent by the Governor and legislators showing the flaws in the gas tax; electic vehicles don’t pay any, etc. The debate is what to replace it with. Scott and Gail should catch up a little before they throw out a proposal.

  • Diligent Dave Logan, UT
    July 26, 2018 5:57 a.m.

    How much (or little) of the proposed additional $150/pupil funding will get into the classroom, raising what schools now pay teachers?

    I doubt if much will. It seldom has before. School districts have often channeled funds elsewhdte in the past. I'm sure they will, yet again.

  • El Gringo Mesa, AZ
    July 26, 2018 1:41 a.m.

    Former teacher. Fixing he schools doesn’t come from increase in funds. We need to get better teacher training programs. Parents need to help their kids. Teachers in some subjects need to give less homework.

    We need to make it play for kids to get b’s and c’s. Too many teachers let kids make up work for full credit or give so much extra credit that the grades mean nothing. Parents don’t care about their child learning, they just want the A so they big you about extra credit.

  • Strider303 American Fork, UT
    July 25, 2018 10:20 p.m.

    Not everyone can be president of a bank, an airline pilot or a skilled craftsman. So why do we think all people who attend public education are the same, and a one size/program fits them all?

    I do not favor throwing money at education as if the problem was solved by increasing the numbers on a teacher’s W-2 form.

    In my opinion, education has suffered from decades of social experimentation in the hiring of adults from various academic and cultural backgrounds to “teach” or “administer” without due regard for ability. Format and content of subject matter have changed based upon legislative whim, political correctness and a focus on “rights” over responsibilities of those receiving the education program content.

    Give me a clear vision of what you want accomplished with a plan that is objective, measurable and verifiable and maybe I’ll be in favor of another tax, otherwise forget about it.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    July 25, 2018 10:05 p.m.

    There would be an immediate increase in funding for real education if state funds could not be used for inter school sports. If a district wants inter school sports, the district would have to pay for it by a voter approved bond. Then all the dollars that are currently being wasted in inter school sports could be used to increase teacher pay, hire more teachers, etc.

  • 1Observer Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 25, 2018 8:33 p.m.

    While I have the utmost respect for Mr. Anderson and Ms. Miller, simply giving education more money will not achieve better results. Education funding has nearly tripled over the last 20 years and test scores have remained flat. Without some level of accountability and reward for performance nothing will change. Until the bureaucracy gets out of the way of the teachers, nothing will change. Our teachers are hamstrung by a top-heavy, top-down model and are discouraged from and sometimes punished for introducing any innovation into classrooms. Independent individual thought by teachers is not welcome. More decisions need to be made at the classroom level where the teachers and parents who know the children best can decide on strategies to achieve better results. As long as education is centrally controlled by the State Office of Education with little autonomy given to districts, almost no autonomy given to the local school and zero autonomy given to teachers, results in education will remain stagnant as the bureaucracy will suck up every new dollar while only pennies make it into the classroom, and those only with a host of strings attached unrelated to improvement.

  • Husker2 Aurora, MN
    July 25, 2018 8:30 p.m.

    Proper school funding is certainly important and we need to do a lot better in Utah. However, what about the parent and student responsibilities for educational success? As a teacher, I present information in the most effective way I can. The burden then falls on the student (under the supervision of a parent/guardian) to show up to class prepared, do assignments, and study for tests. When I give homework, I’m lucky if 20% of my students turn it in, let alone by the due date. That’s on the students and parents.

  • 1covey Salt Lake City, UT
    July 25, 2018 7:50 p.m.

    People were educated better back when funding was a lot less. I know, this was many years ago probably 50-60 years or so. What is really needed is more effort on the part of students and their parents. Some already put out effort. You can see it in their school work. Turn off the TV; put away cell phones and video games until grades improve. Parents may have to do the same to spend time with their children. I'm beginning to get the impression most of these folks put education towards the bottom of their list. If educators are unwilling to put the responsibility where it belongs, then those educators are failing, too.

  • Beagle2 Sandy, UT
    July 25, 2018 7:21 p.m.

    The best approach to increasing school funding would have been to get it on the ballot based on the tax changes included in the voter initiative. The gas tax just seems like another scheme by the legislature to bait and switch on the voters, with the funds to be routed to their favorite road projects after a few years. After all, gas taxes are for roads aren't they. The other take away from this situation should be, don't trust the legislature and start an initiative only to bargain it away. If voters support an initiative they do not want you to trade it away in a back room.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    July 25, 2018 6:53 p.m.

    The tax increase doesn't specify where the money will go, offers no metrics for improvement, and provides no recourse if there are no improvements. Not even an assurance there won't be demands for even more money next year.

    No bank or banker would lend its money to such a flimsy proposition. But since it is other peoples money, I guess our local elites are ok with not having any real plan.

    With the dishonest way the vote on Prop 1 tax increase is being ignored and higher train taxes imposed on so many, no more taxes.

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    July 25, 2018 6:51 p.m.

    Yawn - Yet ANOTHER article trying to convince us to willingly pay more tax dollars.

    Education? Yes, we ALL want the kids better educated; however -- how much is enough??

    How much of an increase in public education funds will go to administrators, or worse yet, more state "overseers"? That is a valid question, and is NEVER answered when public education receives yet another increase.

    Why does the writer believe that if people vote for a gas tax increase that the money not used by the Utah Highway Commission will go to education?

    WHY wouldn't the highway commission NOT want all the tax increase??

    The better question is: why can't government stick to a budget just like the rest of us?

  • carman Wasatch Front, UT
    July 25, 2018 6:35 p.m.

    We need to stop pretending that our schools are good in Utah. We moved from back east into some of the best schools here in Utah (according to various rankings). We found our Utah schools to be mediocre at best and a big step down from our schools back east. The biggest differences in Utah schools from our prior schools?

    1. Too many students in each classroom!
    2. Too many young and inexperienced teachers (probably due to low pay).
    3. Too few resources available for students and teachers (books/workbooks, computers, musical instruments, library resources, aids, etc.)
    4. Too low of expectations for student performance by students, parents and teachers.
    5. Too much grade inflation and too much extra credit.
    6. Complacency about the need for continual improvement.
    7. Too much focus on sports and other extra-curricular activities.
    8. Not enough focus on STEM subjects, grammar and literature/reading.

    We need to get serious about preparing our young people to be competitive in an intensely competitive global job market and need to get serious about properly preparing them for life. Additional resources are clearly needed. But so is a change in our perceptions and attitudes.