Education – Bring it Closer to Home

April 6, 2018 pjohnson 0 Comments

Utah ranks 20th in education Pre-K-12, and 31% of our budget is spent on Public Education. More money has not led to better ranking.   Success starts in the home/community, and should be a factor in how we measure accountability. Why is parent/teacher participation not a part of the equation?

I see three issues related to improving education in our state.

  1. Find ways to get it closer to home.  We have become too dependent on the state for answers which leave our education to the whims of pie charts and bar charts, which haven’t always had a great track record.  Solutions can be determined better the closer to home they get.  Finding ways to allow the community and families themselves to play bigger roles should be a priority.  This would include accountability measurements and funding that is more focused on parent/community participation rather than just school districts, administrators, and test scores.
  2. That leads to the second issue, find ways to have teachers shine brighter than administrations.  It has been a slippery slope and the common disease of most governments that the larger they get and the more control they take, the smaller the folks start looking on the front lines.  While Utah has a decent track record for governance that is flaunted on political and government websites, I have yet to see a great stat about teacher or parent participation.  That means finding ways to highlight and reward good teachers, give school boards and communities more leeway to seek them out, and shrink the bureaucracies that tend to hold them back rather than let them flourish.
  3. Utah spends over 31% of its budget on education.  Because the state plays such a big role financially and administratively, it has become cumbersome and unwieldy.  Many programs are cast out to the wind in hopes they work without any accountability attached.  For example, a 3rd grade literacy program was launched 10 years ago with 20 million dollars with no visible results.  This last session they scrapped it and presented a new program.  Without accountability, we should not be wasting funds on things we can only hope for.

leave a comment