Utah’s state commitment to K-12 Education had declined from top priority from pioneer times to utter and disgraceful abandonment over the last couple of generations.
Utah children are crammed into the largest classrooms in America, with the lowest spending per student, helped by the smallest number of administrators, counselors and nurses. Test scores are declining, state officials are cheating to make the state test results look better and our beloved teachers are the lowest paid per student in America!
What they won’t tell you: Terrified by the far right extremist in their party (and frankly unchallenged by the gutless broader engaged community), Utah GOP leaders refuse to initiate a ‘Manhattan-style’ project to save Utah’s next generation! They too often put pleasing the fringe of their party ahead of making changes necessary to allow Utah’s education system competitive. Like Nero, they concentrate on petty issues. High-fiving small changes around the fringes as the school bus of Utah education goes off the cliff.
We have become Donald Trump. Where Utah once aspired to intelligence (we didn’t belittle it—it didn’t make us feel inferior), we now fill it with saddle schools with vendors, profiteers and useless ideological legislative regulations. Education made Utah great. The price we are paying – the loss of a generation to appease the ideological fringe of the right – will hurt our state for many, many years to come.
Be bold. Accept that there is a cataclysmic problem in Utah education. Accept that it IS mostly about money. Bring the billions back to education. In 1996 Utah changed its constitution and in 2006 Utah created a flat tax. The results of those two moves have crippled Utah’s K-12 education. To fix this crisis, I would increase the state income tax to those making 500 thousand dollars and above from 5% to 7%. That's what their tax rate was in 2006. That alone would bring in 322 million dollars for Utah's besieged schools.