Re "Democratic guv candidate decries Utah's school funding levels" (Tribune, July 18):
I'm for Democrat Peter Cooke's promise to reduce class sizes. Utah's large classes impede the ability of teachers to be effective. Utah's many average teachers may be competent with a class of 20, but incompetent with 30 or 35.
But reducing class size alone will not solve the problem that two-thirds of Utah's fourth-graders don't read at grade level a pivotal moment that dooms many students to the back of the class for the next eight grades. It is a disgrace that we can't even achieve that crucial task for a majority of Utah's students.
Why aren't we seriously addressing this problem. If two-thirds of children had a disease, there would be massive intervention. Why not for reading deficiency?
For grades 1-4, the Utah Legislature should prohibit grade advancement for students whose math and reading scores aren't at grade level. Then the state should pay for tutors to get these students up to grade.
If all Utah fourth-graders read at grade level, the downstream payoff in learning, reduced discipline problems and graduation rates would be well worth the money.
Salt Lake City