I had a conversation recently with a man who was raised in the khmer rouge
concentration camps. He made his way out and is now teaching in a California
school. He says the reason foreign schools do so much better is the motivation
the families and the students have because they know that if they don't
make it in school they are going to the rice patty or something equal to it. We
throw so much money towards education and we take little account into the
motivation of the students. Parents tend to put all the blame on the schools
and take little responsibility on themselves. Another problem is the
administrators that we choose to manage teachers. Little of them rarely know how
to teach themselves... So when they are the ones evaluating teachers THAT IS A
I don't disagree that Utah does a better job with their per pupil spending.
We do. My concern with this editorial is that it talks about our failures
without listing possible solutions. If you are going to complain about
something, give a solution of how to make it better.
Do you really want to throw more money at charter schools? The sad truth is that
very few of them have been effective, and they are proving to have the same or
even worse results than the regular public schools. Instead of throwing more
money away by creating these faux private schools for parents who seem to move
their children from one school to another each year, let's find ways to
encourage our neighborhood schools to be innovative, find specialties, and get
the community involved in improving the education of their children.Why is it that we want to continue to pull money from existing schools to
build new buildings for new charter schools that have no guarantee of solving
our current problems? Yes, we need to find new solutions, but those solutions
should be to help improve the schools that already exist.
More spending may not always yield better education, but this editorial is so
flawed that little can be concluded from it.For some reason, the
article singles out high school graduation rates as a measure of success. Aside
from the fact that this is a questionable metric for assessing how school
funding impacts quality of education, the facts presented are misleading at
best.The article claims that Utah "has one of the country's
highest graduation rates". But the Deseret News reported in Nov. 2012 that
Utah lags behind 31 other states in its high school graduation rate.The article goes on to compare Utah's per pupil spending to
Alaska's. Having lived in both of those states, I can tell you that it
costs considerably less to heat a school in Ogden than it does to heat one in
Fairbanks, and a teacher in a remote Alaskan village would need to earn two to
three times as much as a teacher in Springville in order to have a comparable
standard of living.School funding is an important issue. It deserves
a more rigorous examination than the editorial board has given it here.
The world has changed much in the past 60 years, yet our K-16 educational system
remains fundamentally unchanged. Even charter schools, the supposed bastion of
innovation, remain mired in mediocrity. I know of only one school who is doing
something fundamentally different: the Wasatch Institute of Technology.
Childen don't excel at subjects by going to school, learning with a bunch
of money thrown at the system, then clocking out and coming home in the
afternoon. The excellence forms when their parents sit at home with them and
work alongside them in study and homework, instilling a sense of importance and
pride in learning. Like so many problems, this is fixed with stronger
communities, not more expensive government.
Yesterday, we had family over for dinner. Three grandchildren, told us about
their favorite subjects. One 3rd grade granddaughter likes math. She
especially likes "times tables". I asked her what 12 X 11 was. She
thought. Her lips moved. Her eyes moved back and forth. Then she said
"132". I asked her how she knew and she explained the process of
multiplication. She understood the foundation that makes multiplication
possible. Another granddaughter likes "reading". I asked
her to tell me what makes a book "good". She told me that it has to
have a good story, then she added, "the sentences have to be just
right". I asked her what made a good sentence. And she said,
"sentences are tools and good writers know how to use their tools".I am proud of those granddaughters. They are learning how to learn.
They are learning why we learn. They are learning the tools that should be
taught in the classroom.I learned those same tools in the
1950's when I was a student. Core courses taught in secondary schools
remain basically stable. Why does the "system" tell us that students
can't learn unless funding is increased?
Isn't it interesting Israel ranks about 49th yet probably has the highest
innovation and inventive rate. INtellectual prowess to understand quadratic
equations is not necessary in many jobs that pay well, auto mechanics,
electricians, brick layers, etc. But employees do like people like "good
old boys" that are willing to work, do not spend all their time protesting
and trying to unionize, get along with their peers, and don't take drugs.
In Canada today a brick layer can make $130,000 a year.
IMO it's about more than $$$. But there are some who will not acknowledge
ANY success... until they win the $$$ battle.We can try to help the
UEA win the $$$ battle (and we do every year). But I fear they will never be
happy (no matter how much $$$ we give them). They will always want more.Think about it... when would YOU say "Stop sending us more
money"?===I say they need to set a goal, and then we
can work towards that goal. Right now we have no idea what would
make the UEA happy.And the goal should be based on the $$$ amount it
would take to do the job right (not fix where we stand compared to other
States). If our goal is... "not be last in per-pupil
spending"... we have a moving target and no control over our target. If we
dump money into the bucket so we are not last... whoever becomes last will dump
money into their bucket so we are last again. So it just escalates spending
(but no way to see if it is actually improving education).Tell us
the $$ amount you need to do your job...
This is a very poor article supported with weak facts and comparisons. To use
Alaska as a comparative on per student spending is ridiculous. My family has
taught and supervised in Alaska for over 25 years. The cost to educate a
population spread out over a land mass as big as our United States is enormous.
Additionally, there is a lot of challenges with educating the native Alaskan
that Utahns don't have.It's ironic that arguments like this
always surface when the legislature is in session. It will take funding to
reduce our classroom sizes to a point where our educators can spend their time
teaching instead of baby sitting. Utahns are not dedicated to reducing
classroom size and because of that fact alone are not serious about solving our
educational challenges. It's time to admit we should consider us hypocrites
more than educators.
This article brings up excellent points to consider. There is a huge amount of
waste of resources in our schools, at least in the three states where I have
taught at some time. As someone else mentioned, administrators are often a joke,
except that their pay is not a joke. I agree that throwing Alaska in the picture
didn't make sense, but the concept of using money better instead of wanting
more is certainly valid.
The overall point, anecdotes aside, is that the US has the highest funding and
yet lags terribly in performance. My wife, who is foreign born, is constantly
amazed at how little school demands here. In her native country, you either
pass the test or you do not move on - and eventually you are pushed out of the
system. Here we bend over backward to push kids through high school so it takes
effort not to graduate. When parents take education seriously, their children
will as well and we will have ample funds. Expectations are key - and we do
not expect much from our students.
From my mission to Japan in the 70's... Compulsory school was just the
beginning of a child's school day in Japan. They would stay after school
for clubs or study groups they were interested in, or they would go directly
from school to expensive tutors where they would spend the rest of the day
(until late into the evening). Or they would go home and study all night.That may have changed since then. Japan seems to have gotten caught up
in pop-culture a lot more since then. So just playing and watching TV after
school may be the norm now.===This was good for the
child's education (IF the family could afford it). But it brought about a
huge disparity in education (between the haves and the have-nots).People who could afford the top pre-schools got accepted to the top
elementary, and if they did well... to the top college-prep high-schools (the
rest go to vocational high-schools which had a totally different vibe learning
basics and a trade).This was good for the winners. But the loosers
often commit suicide very young (If they don't get into the right school).
Money does matter in education, it just depends on how it's spent. Private
schools spend a ton of money per student so money does make a difference if used
correctly. Schools are not to blame on the spending of money either. When
legislators, who are paid lobbyists of software and online companies, mandate
education money be spent on Pet Projects then the money is misspent. If you want
to see legislators in action attend any Education Appropriations Committee
meeting, you'll see money misspent that counts against "education
funds."Money spent on class size reduction does matter. International
schools do not even come close to Utah's huge class sizes; neither do most
US states that outscore us. Money spent on teacher development makes a big
difference. When nations that outscore us attract the top 1/3 of college
graduates or require master's degrees, we must train and continue the
education of teachers. Money spent on technology devices and technology
infrastructure (not specific software) helps.Charter schools without
accountability or vouchers for homeschooling or private schools without any
accountability further exacerbates the money problem in education. Utah
needs to accept the legislature is the single greatest problem in Public
@Try Something DifferentCharter Schools often innovate simply by
going back to the basics of RRR and Direct Instruction. There are quite a few
different Charters that emphasize Special Education (Spectrum) or the Arts
(DaVinci, Hollywood High and others). There are so many Charter Schools out
there serving around 45K students its easy to loose track of who does what.@ReallyProve your point. There are countless studies that
have proven just the opposite of what you have said, but none so far done in
Utah. Charter Schools do not "pull money" from the Districts, and the
State pays much less for a child to be educated in a Charter than at a District.
Compare ANY school in your hometown of Kearns to a Charter school in the area.
The scores in Kearns are extremely disappointing and are not getting any better
despite all the extra funding from programs like title one propping them up.
Add in the gang and bully problems and its plainly evident why people look for
Throwing money at the situation will not help. The only reason Utah does fairly
well with little money is the predominant culture that knows of the importance
of education and strong families. Without these Utah would probably be among
the bottom in school performance.
Nothing in education in the United States will change unless we quit blaming
teachers for the shortfall of our students. Are there poor teachers out there,
sure, but you will find that in almost every profession. What is needed is
accountability of teachers, students, AND PARENTS! If your child falls behind
they should not be allowed to move forward....period! What hurts teachers the
most is trying to accommodate every learning style, and level of child. When
you teach a class of 3rd graders who are on a Kindergarten reading level, as a
teacher you focus on those who are terribly behind. The same thing goes with
6th grade teachers trying to teach students who do not know how to read beyond a
2nd grade level and don't know their times tables. This happens so often it
is ridiculous! Focusing on our weakest makes everyone's learning fall
behind. As a parent YOU should be held responsible if your child can't read
or do basic math. It is time PARENTS step up to the plate too....blaming
teachers for everything will make our society stagnant.
Once the word "money" was used, the same arguments appeared.Here is the problem. Other countries spend less on education per pupil, yet
get better outcomes. Why are we not asking what is the difference?Here is why most do no ask what the difference is. Typically, the nations
that do better than the US do a couple of things that we either no longer do or
else won't do.First, we no longer have the emphasis coming from
the homes of the children to get a good education. The parents don't care,
so the children don't either. Just look at Korea and Japan, in Highschool
they have between 35 and 45 kids per classroom, yet are able to do better than
their US conterparts. This is because their parents demand that their kids work
hard in school.The other problem is that we educate all kids through
the end of Highschool. If we did like many other nations do, by age 16 we could
send the kids with no motivation or desire to learn to trade schools or turn
them out to the labor force.If the US wants to improve their
schools, improve the attitudes of parents first.
This is a poorly reasoned editorial. Yes, AK spends a lot of money and gets weak
results, but Alaska is a huge economic outlier. Everything costs a lot more
there. The states that lead the nation in education all spend twice as much per
pupil as Utah does. With our last-in-the-nation spending, we manage to get up in
the middle ranks on educational performance. We could lead the nation if we
spent what is necessary to get great results. But Utah is unwilling to pay the
Mom of Six,I haven't read all the comments yet. But I haven't
seen people blaming teachers.But we need to get away from the false
assumption that money will fix the problem also.Teachers are doing
what they can with the constraints they are given (what they can/can't
teach, can/cant discipline, can't push johnny or it may hurt his
self-esteem, etc).Like you pointed out... it's not the
teacher's fault. My kids have proven that IF you WANT a good education...
you can find one. But if you want to AVOID getting a good education... you can
do that too (in the same school).We all know you can't force a
horse to drink. And you can't force a kid to learn. But that
doesn't mean you quit giving the horse water, or quit trying to teach the
kid.But a bucket load of money for education will NOT make Johnny
want to learn more. And THAT is what is needed (for Johnny to want to learn
more and look for every opportunity to learn more (not look for every
opportunity to get out of class).
Why are we comparing Utah to Alaska instead of Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, and
Nevada?Ah yes. Because those findings wouldn't support the
pro-voucher argument.Got it.
Maverick,Nobody said anything about vouchers... don't be so
paranoid.This is about improving public education (not vouchers).
We don't need to bring vouchers into it. Vouchers are a different topic.
I've heard that Washington DC has one of the highest, if not the highest,
rate of spending on education, but has one of the lowest, if not the lowest,
results. Maybe this would have made a better comparison than Alaska.
It's about family, emphasis on family, expectations and support, a
curriculum that teaches real academics rather than a experiential education and
an educational system that demands excellence from student and teacher. It is
not about schools that pass incompetent students on to the next grade, aim at
the lowest common denominator or parents that expect the schools to teach
honesty, manners, hard work and ethics.
Money used for education in the United States is not a good tool for measuring
educations. The reason is that too much of the money goes for things that have
little to do with education, like fancy new buildings, computers, too many
administrative employees and non educational activities like sports. I think the reason for better educational performance if foreign lands is
mainly due to the incentive of living. In foreign lands, education is more
important to success in their lives. Americans are having the problem with the
local world where education doesn't have much effect on whether they will
succeed or fail. Not only due they have to compete with automation and
technology, they need more money than the cheaper foreign person with the same
or better education.
From the article: “More money doesn’t seem to correlate with better
student performance.” Then the article goes on to compare Utah with
Alaska. That’s not comparing apples and oranges, it’s comparing
apples and pumpkins. Try comparing similar states.Nice that Utah
has high graduation rates. But I have read other articles in this paper noting
a slippage in Utah’s performance.No business, no enterprise
succeeds without resources. That means man-hours, equipment, and facilities.
Unless you are in a volunteer organization, you have to pay for those.Do more resources translate to better results? Not unless they are properly
allocated and aligned.But, when you have an organization that is
(more or less) properly aligned with the resources available and you want to now
improve your results that will VERY likely mean more resources will be needed.
At least it has in every organization I have ever been a part of.Seriously, you don’t budge an organization based on what money is there
now. You do a realistic review of the needs balanced against the revenue
streams available. Then to blend and balance these into the best available mix.
Each country and in this country each state, each school district and even each
school to a degree determines what "education" looks like. It is
ridiculous to create oversimplified comparisons using test scores. I am very
confident that if we want the same test scores that other countries are getting,
we can achieve that if we use a model that is the same or similar to those used
in the "good" countries. But as Redshirt pointed out, we need to be
ready for not only the positives that come with that method, but the negatives.
We need to be ready to create competition in elementary schools, because not
every student will be advanced to the academic oriented jr. high schools, and
high schools. We need to be ready in the eight grade to tell our kids sorry but
you can't be a doctor or an engineer. We need to be prepared to "weed
out" those little 6th graders who are not serious themselves nor are their
parents about their education. If those test scores are that important, we can
get them, but there will be plenty of carnage along the way.
Money will help if used in the right places. One would be higher teacher
salaries so we could once again attract graduates from the upper third of the
class, not the middle. Many men who would consider teaching as a profession go
elsewhere because they can't support their families. Secondly,
besides good teachers, we need to emphasize good teaching methods. Updated
methodology workshops could be funded on a regular basis (every 2-5 years?) to
keep instructors on their toes. Research indicates that these two things would
greatly improve our schools. Also, comparing our students with
foreign students is not comparing apples with apples in many cases because
European schools weed out slow or unmotivated students (who usually cause all
the problems) by testing them at 14 and sending them to vocational schools. It
greatly improves the high school scores.
@Really - Charter schools do not take money from neighborhood schools for their
construction. On the contrary, charter schools must miraculously come up with
their own funding to build their building well in advance of receiving any money
from the state. Sadly, nearly every charter school ends up turning to a
developer, which quite literally charges an arm and a leg for the "risk"
of building and leasing back to the charter school a building. "Risk"
is a misnomer, since charter schools have been in Utah since 1999 and have a
100% success rate (success meaning one has not failed financially). What impact
does this have on the children? A $4M construction project ends up costing the
school $5.2M to buy the building, let alone the years of money wasted in paying
property tax and leases (with annual 2-4% escalators). Welcome to the reality
of charter school construction!
We lag behind when compared with international students because they only score
their college-bound students. We score all students! We aren't really
behind; we are ahead.
"Prove your point."A review of CREDO Charter School study by
the National Policy Center shows that there are no significant differences
between the performance of students at charter schools and those at traditional
public schools. In fact, the study showed that there is less than 1/100th of a
percent difference in test performances between the two types of schools.Also, while charter schools deny the practice, many have discovered ways
to cherry pick the best students to remain in their schools. Each fall, students
leave their neighborhood schools for the greener grass of the new charter
school. The parents and students soon discover that the new school isn't
better, and, in fact, the neighborhood school offers more programs. The charter
director convinces the parents to keep their children enrolled in their schools
until the WPU is distributed in October, and then they release them to go back
to their neighborhood school. Unfortunately, that funding for the child remains
at the charter school--it doesn't follow them when they transfer back to
the school that offers the child more options.
"Sadly, nearly every charter school ends up turning to a developer, which
quite literally charges an arm and a leg for the 'risk' of building
and leasing back to the charter school a building."Oh, and who
are those big developers? Oh yeah, they happen to be our legislators or have
close ties to our legislators who continually push for more charter schools. "Charter schools have been in Utah since 1999 and have a 100%
success rate (success meaning one has not failed financially)."Is that why many charter schools ask to be allowed to increase enrollment to
meet their building finance needs? Is that why many charter schools find
themselves underwater when they can't meet their facility needs based on
the recommended 22% budget expenditure on building costs and maintenance? Let's be honest here; if we allowed every public school to set up
charters and work in the same way, we would solve our educational problems and
not find the need to spend this additional money opening new schools that have
not made a significant difference on the overall education of the children in
What we really need are alternative schools at the middle/junior high level to
separate those kids who require teachers to spend too much time on discipline
matters that should be spent actually teaching.