Legislators and the governor again have claimed public education is their No. 1 priority. False. Their No. 1 priority is to not raise taxes. The nation’s highest birth rate and tax aversion paraded as necessity continue to be a toxic mix in Utah.
Public education, perennially underfunded when compared with other states and an increasing number of foreign countries, has suffered and will continue to do so as long as Republicans are happy to rely on provably false conclusions.
A few too many of our elected people are sure teachers are not undercompensated, undersupported, underappreciated as true professionals, or endlessly micromanaged into discouragement. Wherever do they get those notions?
They’re also sure that in Utah there is no problem in failing to encourage the very best and brightest to train to become teachers or to retain them once they’re in the classroom.
No problem? With Utah’s population set to double again in 35 years, long-term planning for the funding of public education should be a priority. A dedicated, annually reliable and adequate stream of new revenue is necessary. Economic development alone has not been and won’t be enough.
What can our legislators and governor be thinking?
Ron W. Smith
Utah State University professor emeritus
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