Monday, June 25, 2012

Unimpressive email #1

This email was sent on May 31, 2012

Recently the Deseret News ran an article, “Can US schools adopt education practices of top-performing nations?”  Some of the highlights include current performance statistics compared to Finland, China, Korea, and Canada where US kids score 23rd in science, 17th in reading and 31st in math.  Saddly, Utah ranks 42nd in the US in terms education outcomes. And what of the last federal solution to our ailing education system, No Child Left Behind? NCLB has amounted to little more than a total failure since we have dropped from 41st a year ago and 38th in 2010.
Our children’s education is extremely important to me.
The answer to our education problems that I hear over and over: spend more money. Utah spends the least per student of any state in the nation on education, yet our statistics show we are doing better than other states.  Perhaps the most shocking statistic from the article: the US spends on average approximately TWICE as much per student on education as do Finland, Canada, China and Korea. Yet we are slipping further behind.
What’s the solution?
Unfortunately, we have not given teachers what they need to perform to their full capability.  If there were a clear correlation with spending more money and improving outcomes in education, I would be leading the band for more money.   Let’s quit wasting money on mindless federal mandates like No Child Left Behind and start spending it in the classroom
We need more good teachers in the classroom who are willing to stand accountable.  We have some great teachers now, but we need more. You can argue all day about class size, curriculum, parental support and etc, but a good teacher in the classroom will do more to educate our kids than any other single thing we can do.  We need to start there, in the classroom and work out to see what is preventing us from retaining more good teachers.  
I’m prepared to be a leader in education. I firmly believe that with better management, cutting wasteful spending, giving teachers the tools they need, and targeting our precious dollars wisely we can solidify something we all hold near and dear to our hearts—our children’s future.
Taz Murray

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