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Gov. Herbert threatens veto of House speaker's education initiative if price tag not slashed

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  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    March 6, 2014 7:20 p.m.

    Gov. Herbert is right on this one.

    Speaker Lockhart is a good person with lots of good ideas, but this is not one of them.

    Go with the Governor's plans on this issue. Do it for the children.... and the taxpayers.

  • Kristjhn Bountiful, UT
    March 6, 2014 7:26 p.m.

    What I have yet to see is any solid data that tablet computers lead to increased learning outcomes. Why spend $200 million on something that is a guess. It seems fiscally irresponsible. This feels more like a desperation tactic to get attention than a serious approach to improving education.

  • birder Salt Lake City, UT
    March 6, 2014 7:56 p.m.

    Lockhart's bill is way over the top. Technology does not automatically guarantee a better education. Two hundred million is ridiculous in today's economy. It would be much better to maintain the technology the schools already have and to provide professional development for the teachers and aides to assist in computer labs. Currently, elementary teachers are expected to keep 30 computers going with a classroom full of kids. It's pretty tough duty when there are technology glitches and there is no help.

  • DNEWS Rocks Heber City, UT
    March 6, 2014 9:22 p.m.

    Siding with the Governor and Senate on this one. Speaker Lockhart's posturing to run for Governor in two years is getting in the way of smart fiscal policy. The house leadership has taken a wrong turn. Time to get back on the right track Speaker Lockhart.

  • RRB SLC, UT
    March 6, 2014 9:27 p.m.

    For once I agree with the Governor. 25 million seems right, then fund medicaid. Utah has been known for decades as a state that under funds medical care for the poor.

  • dansimp Layton, UT
    March 6, 2014 9:48 p.m.

    This proposal is such a bad waste of money. I love technology in the school, and what a great thing it is to have so many computers available for students. But tablets are a horrendous idea. They are more expensive than desktops, easier to break, fall behind in tech quicker, are harder to find programs for, and less useful overall. All of the benefits they have, portability, stylishness, cutting edge, are all completely useless in the classroom.

  • bradleyc Layton, UT
    March 6, 2014 9:54 p.m.

    To do this right we need to spend the cash. If you cheap out you get a crappy initiative. I have been involved in these types of initiatives, when done correctly they are amazing with significant outcomes. Done poorly and ..,,

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    March 6, 2014 10:18 p.m.

    If we are going to spend $200 million on anything why not use it on the teachers? Hire more teachers and aides. Get the class sizes down and allow for more individual attention for students with special needs and language skills?

    To me, this just seems like a $200 million dollar handout to Lockhart's friends/statement to the governor than an actual idea that would help education.

  • CP Tooele, UT
    March 7, 2014 4:34 a.m.

    I totally agree with the governor on this call. I am glad he's got the tax payers back on this one. Lockhart really does need to rethink. Why fund schools so kids can have what I call new tech "toys" in the classroom. My son-in-law in a school teacher and I think if anything teachers need it more, not spending it on new tech stuff. Good call Governor Herbert.

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    March 7, 2014 7:27 a.m.

    Part of the problem with tablets is that they are limited in usefulness for academic work. Word processing is extremely difficult on them due to the lack of a tactile keyboard. Thus, any writing assignments turn into a major chore for students or they have to use other computers. My wife purchased Chromebooks for her department, and they're far more practical as well as being less costly. They're easy for the students to use, easy to maintain, and can be easily reset as needed.

    The biggest problem with technology in the classroom is rapid obsolescence. Today's cutting edge technology is tomorrow's door stop. Students do need access to computers, however, and there needs to be a solution somewhere. Part of it might lie in the use of hardware which can be easily upgraded -- something impossible with tablets and difficult with notebook computers.

  • sayswho Hurricane, UT
    March 7, 2014 7:59 a.m.

    I stand with the governor. Tablets are ineffective toys when it comes to education, and their cost would put us along with California in buying things that are too expensive for our budget. The teachers have waited years for adequate compensation, if there is money to be distrubuted in the education fund, I would say to give part to them and part to needed supplies for the school so that the teachers don't have to purchase them out of their own pockets. Let's also cut the state funding of the Medicade expansion as Lockhart also has suggested and accept the federal help for the working poor. Does she really want to cut off all federal help for the State of Utah? If Utah is so flush that it can do everything on its own and buy expensive toys then maybe I should put in to the legislature to buy me a flat screen TV that I haven't been able to afford.

  • 4. Conscientiously informed Provo, UT
    March 7, 2014 8:02 a.m.

    I encourage concerned citizens to read the bill before making your mind up. Don't rely on what someone else has said. I have read it and am convinced it is an excellent proposal to improve education in the state of Utah. Yes, technology alone will not improve education. The bill is about much more than putting a computer into students hands. The cost will be phased in over time. It will make a real difference in the lives of our students.

  • Instereo Eureka, UT
    March 7, 2014 8:16 a.m.

    It's good the governor can stand up on this bill. I just wonder if the money is there like the Speaker says why it doesn't go to the WPU to let districts spend on the programs they've had to cut when money was cut from them because of the recession. Are they ever going to have the money to provide basic services like so many other states are able to provide. Things like smaller class sizes, counselors, nurses in each school, and even textbooks.

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    March 7, 2014 8:30 a.m.

    @ Instereo:

    "and even textbooks."

    Are you aware of how expensive textbooks have become in recent years? One of the reasons for increasing the use of technology is that it can replace conventional textbooks with the electronic version for significantly less. K-12 texts aren't much cheaper than the ones our college students have to buy for hundreds of dollars. Additionally, the electronic texts have interactive features that are impossible in printed texts and can be easily and quickly updated.

    The question is not whether we need technology in the classrooms, but, rather, which technology gives the biggest bang for the buck. And the answer is not tablets.

  • Deserthiker SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    March 7, 2014 8:57 a.m.

    Technology is great. I have little doubt that a generation from now our students will be using something like tablets. If we had unlimited funding I would say go for it! In the short term, for the kind of money Lockhart wants to throw around, there are many more pressing priorities in education funding that will yield more bang for the buck in improving schools. I think this initiative is more about attracting attention and furthering Lockhart's political ambitions than about education. Maybe its time we found a Speaker who is more interested truly helping the people of Utah and less interested in just using Medicaid and Education as levers to play political power games and to satisfy ambition. I become less and less impressed with Lockhart the more I listen to her.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    March 7, 2014 10:24 a.m.

    Ah, the State of Utah, and it's inbuilt contradictions.

    On the one hand, Utah is overwhelmingly Republican, guided by FOX "NEWS" and Right Wing Radio Entertainment heroes. In that sense, it's anti-education, because as all good Right Wingers know, the lefties control education, and there's no sense exposing impressionable young minds to that. And all that education makes it harder to inculcate a (ridiculous and unworkable) Right Wing ideology in those young minds.

    On the other hand, Utah is predominantly Mormon. Practicality, pragmatism, and education have always been valued in Mormon culture.

    So we have Mormon practicality and an appreciation for education on the one hand . . . And Right Wing Extremism and willful ignorance on the other.

    It's a battle of Good against Evil.

    I hope the good guys win.

  • stuff Provo, UT
    March 7, 2014 10:34 a.m.

    $200 Million for short-lived technology? That cannot be a serious consideration. It's flat-out laughable.

    Is she really holding up the entire budget bill over this absurd proposal? That would be very arrogant of her and would be detrimental to so many individuals in this state, directly and indirectly.

    I won't be quite as nice as I think Lockhart has plainly lost her marbles. She's way more than a half bubble off plumb. She's not even in the ball park.

    She's lost any future votes, if she ever runs again, as I have lost any confidence I once had in her.

  • wecandobetter logan, UT
    March 7, 2014 10:43 a.m.

    I love the concept of a legacy bill,
    is this really about the children's education
    or is it about you Speaker Lockhart?
    Don't plan on my vote in 2016!

  • docport1 ,
    March 7, 2014 10:47 a.m.

    Having the highest class sizes in the United States and some of the lowest paid teachers the Governor seems to have low expectations for his state's future and some pretty mixed up priorities.

  • John Brown 1000 Laketown, UT
    March 7, 2014 11:44 a.m.

    Data, data, data, data, data!

    I work for a billion dollar technology company, and Lockhart's reasoning is laughable.

    Lockhart needs to show DATA that going to tablets significantly increases education outcomes above PCs, laptops, and plain old paper books in all key areas--language arts, math, science, etc.

    Show. Us. The. Data.

    Getting something because it's a shiny new technology ("it's time to take us out of the 19th century") is one of the WORST reasons for making a change. Because when it doesn't make a hill of beans worth of of difference, we waste all the money AND time invested. Especially the time of kids who could have had something better.

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    March 7, 2014 11:49 a.m.

    Tablets are a HORRIBLE idea. I teach high school and have never understood some individuals' infatuation with the ipad. There is NO reliable data that tablets help in ANY discipline. They are difficult to write essays on, they are fragile and they don't have the apps we need at this time. Work on maintaining and extending existing computer labs. Provide technological support for educators. Increase teacher salaries so we can recruit tech-savvy individuals into our profession. But this bill is extremely misguided.

  • Two Cents Springville, Utah
    March 7, 2014 12:58 p.m.

    "Teacher, Billy bumped me and broke my tablet/ipad."

    Call me old-fashioned, but I like books and paper.

    Spend the $30 million on teacher salaries and reducing class size.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    March 7, 2014 1:25 p.m.

    Tablets are fantastic tools. Why would any sensible person be adverse to tablets for students?

    A whole library at one's fingertips.

    I guess some people just can't accept constructive change.

    Let's see now . . . What do they call those kinds of people who react with outrage to good new ideas and who want to conserve the status quo ?

    Are they Reactionaries or just Conservatives?

  • Eliyahu Pleasant Grove, UT
    March 7, 2014 1:57 p.m.

    @GaryO:
    "Tablets are fantastic tools. Why would any sensible person be adverse to tablets for students?"

    Because while they are great tools, they're not the right tool for the job. They lack keyboards, which means type/data entry is going to be slow and tedious. They are limited in their ability to handle educational software or productivity software. It's like buying a Ferrari Enzo when what you need is something to transport your family and carry two weeks worth of groceries home from the store. It's a great car, but it's the wrong car for the job. Same thing here.

  • dlw7 LOGAN, UT
    March 7, 2014 2:49 p.m.

    Ms Lockhart must not have children. The Schools Districts would have huge replacement costs for tablets as children have a hard time keeping track of anything, not to mention how suceptible tablets would be to theft. There is much more wrong with public education and that needs fixing than every child having their own personal table. Waste of money!!!

  • RWSmith6 Providence, UT
    March 7, 2014 3:08 p.m.

    It's good to see the governor on top of this and to see many of those who have added comments to the article seeing through Speaker Lockhart's clear lack of perspective. Playing to a VERY conservative prospective base for her as yet unannounced candidacy for the soon-to-be-open position of Governor of Utah, Lockhart is gambling that Utah's voters don't know the depth and breadth of Utah's underfunding of public education. She sees hope in the base's fear of "what's going on in the schools."
    Well, the facts coming in daily from states and other nations make Lockhart look like a lightweight. Money into instruction and reducing class size first, then tech gimmickry. PISA scores are not dependent upon wireless upgrading, they're dependent upon great teachers in every class. Great teachers who are treated as professionals and rewarded accordingly.
    Cost-cutting shortcuts to K-12, so evident in Utah year after year, are a problem beyond Lockhart's comprehension, sadly.

  • DANL Broken Arrow, OK
    March 7, 2014 4:49 p.m.

    My kids all have smart phones. They use them for everything, school, social media, to ask a question on Google about our conversations, face book, twitter, like I said everything. Tablets, no don't do that. Computers for spread sheets, power point design, graphics, science instruction, and other educational instructions. They need the free software to allow them to do the work, not the tablets. Tablets don't have the ability to work offline, save projects, and work from anywhere give them the instruction to operate the software and allow them to load on a computer so they can do it. They are smarter than most educators. Most rural students don't have access to the internet. We are a world of not knowing everything but knowing where to find it and learn about it. Windows is the first tablet that will allow someone to actually have a true operating system with HD space to load software.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    March 8, 2014 1:18 a.m.

    Elyiahu - You say tablets are difficult to write with. I am using a tablet to reply to you. It is slower, but if you are looking for a replacement for textbooks, you are not supposed to write in textbooks anyway. And you can carry a thousand books inside of it, highlight sentences, and make notations without getting into trouble.

    DANL - A tablet can do everything you just said it cannot do. But when it comes to typing, a laptop would be the way to go. Although I am using a tablet right now, and it gets the job done.

  • Mont Pugmire Fairview, UT
    March 8, 2014 3:39 a.m.

    Raise the gas tax? Wow, with oil and gas prices already very high, all we need is to burden the people with more unnecessary taxes. We are serving a mission for the LDS Church in a south American country with gas taxes so high that fuel costs here are about $8.00 per gallon. Does that help their economy? No! It makes it so that most people can't afford to drive cars period! Talk about a backwards approach, let's see, if we price the gas so high that many won't be able to drive, will the resulting increase in taxes offset the lower overall revenue from fewer people being able to afford to drive? Ultra liberal, Al Gore would be cheering that move.

  • Paul8777 Brigham City, UT
    March 8, 2014 11:26 a.m.

    Kudos to Gov. Herbert for standing up to Speaker Lockhart. Ms. Lockhart needs a signature accomplishment to which she can attach her ambition. The concept of transitioning to a better use of technology in our schools is laudable, but in any other year but one in which the Speaker of the House is preparing to take on a popular governor for the office he holds, the legislature would recognize the merits of exploring the concept, would assign a task force to spend a year studying various options and implications, and would then consider their recommendations in the next session. Unfortunately, that approach doesn't generate the kind of splash that the speaker needs right now. How convenient it must be to wield the kind of power Ms. Lockhart has in order to generate content for your campaign ads.

  • perspicacious Salt lake city, Utah
    March 8, 2014 1:33 p.m.

    Hey, Gov, let Becky have some tribute. Let her play with the money you would blow for insurance commissions with your ill-conceived plant to provide medical benefits for the poor. She could then get i-pads for a few students with her picture on them----and maybe they can be manufactured by the company which employs her husband.