Opinion

In our opinion: State needs to solve teacher pay, retention problem

Comments

Return To Article
  • Jeremiah S Fielding, UT
    April 22, 2017 6:22 p.m.

    Utah. This ship has sailed already. It sailed a decade ago. Utah has neglected the problem for so long that we will never be able to even catch up, let alone be competitive.

    Signed,

    A Former Educator

  • Hope & Faith give us strength Utah County, UT
    April 22, 2017 6:17 p.m.

    Teacher's starting pay was better than my starting pay in the software sector.
    Teacher's long term pay still better.
    Teacher's retirement is far and above what any company I've ever worked for offered.
    Teacher's get a consultation period of peace and quiet to grade.
    Teacher's get all summer off and still get a paycheck. They could even work part time in summer. Heaven forbid that luxurious 3 month vacation be too much of a burden on them.

    Teachers are often associated with the democratic party. I can see why now. They want more and more from the rest of us, cause they think they do more than the rest of us, when in fact they really don't. Everyone else has to work. Everyone else doesn't get the summer off. Everyone else doesn't even get half the holidays off or snow days. So yes, keep complaining...

    The Deseret News, of all newspapers, shouldn't be enabling people to want more hand outs. I can think of a lot more jobs that go with a lot less pay that shouldn't. The list is long before it gets down to teacher.

    I respect the profession. I admire it even. But the idea that we're unfair in Utah is a bold-faced lie.

  • Chuck E. Racer Lehi, UT
    April 22, 2017 1:57 p.m.

    Someone said, "Why does the legislature constantly butt in and micromanage education?" The answer? Because our humongous school districts along the Wasatch Front are so big that board members represent more people than state legislators do! So the people go to their legislator instead with their complaints, pressuring them to solve them.

    If the districts were smaller, people wouldn't be going to their legislators. They would go to their board members. The problems would be easier to solve at the local level, and legislators would be free to concentrate on other problems in the state rather than education! Compare salaries of local police, city and county, to state-based law enforcement, highway patrol and prison staff. You will see that local personnel are paid better by their locally elected officials than state personnel are by the legislature.

    Get education OUT of the legislature by dividing the big districts into community-sized districts.

  • Cheesecake Salt Lake City, UT
    April 21, 2017 1:03 p.m.

    Back when I was in a YSA ward, I was very good friends with several teachers in the Salt Lake area. I can tell you they worked more than full-time. After going to bed at 9pm, they would get up at 5am to get their classroom setup by by 7:30am, just to stay after school to help struggling student. And after they got home around 5:00pm, their time was spent grading assignments and working on lesson plans for the next day. And to make a little extra, many of them did summer school or other gigs with colleges in the area during the summer months. The idea that teachers work less than the rest of us is simply not true. That said, the breaks and holidays teachers get are a much needed perk of the job.

  • The Real Maverick Spanish Fork, UT
    April 21, 2017 12:53 p.m.

    I love how those who know the least about education are commenting the most about it. If you think teachers have it so easy, why don't you join the profession? If they work so little, why don't you come and teach? You can probably retain your other area of employment too, right? Cuz after all, teachers hardly work like some of you! Right???

    I want to know, what do you think is causing the teacher shortage? Be honest now! Don't lie. If not money, what is?

    Why does money have such a large impact on literally every other industry yet education has a shield around it preventing money from impacting education? It's so funny how little some of you know. Or want to admit!

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    April 21, 2017 12:50 p.m.

    Well Utah has no more money for education other than a state run lottery like Wyoming. A tax increase isn't going to fly either. I vote for the lottery!!

  • The Educator South Jordan, UT
    April 21, 2017 12:39 p.m.

    I'm an educator, a darn good one too. I know some of you probably wouldn't like me, I demand accountability from both students and parents. I challenge students. I want them to learn. I've won various awards from my teaching. I have students who write me every year.

    Yet, I'm looking at other options.

    As much "appreciation" as I get, it doesn't prevent me from working part time at Costco so my kids can have shoes and food.

    Here in Utah teachers starting out will make $15-20k less than their peers. Those entering the profession after 2010 will receive a fraction of the pension those received before 2010.

    How can we possibly claim that we value our children when we don't compensate educators? How can anyone with a even tiny understanding of economics deny the power of money? Money makes a difference in everything.

    If we have enough money to sue the Feds, build a new prison, and give various other handouts to business, we have plenty to invest in teachers.

    What are our priorities?

    Get Educated

  • The Real Maverick Spanish Fork, UT
    April 21, 2017 12:16 p.m.

    I'm surprised at some of the posts here. I mean, most of you get it. But some of you don't. It makes me wonder if you've even read the article you're commenting on?

    Utah is facing a massive teacher shortage directly caused by the legislature's actions. They've killed pensions, diverted public monies from public education, and have driven teachers out of the profession. Article after article and survey after survey has expressed why:

    The avg. Bachelors will net you around $50k. Here in Utah? $30k. Class sizes have skyrocketed, pensions have been slashed, and micromanaging from the legislature has been overwhelming.

    And yet some of you still can't understand why so many are leaving the profession and why so few are going into it? How do you not understand this problem? And the solution?

    Oh, btw, the dept of labor shows that public educators are among the most worked in hrs. Sorry, but you folks in the private sector need to stop whining about your jobs. You have a great deal. Educators do not, as indicated by the teacher shortage.

    Econ 101 folks! Some of you should leave your shaved ice stand and get educated.

  • The Real Maverick Spanish Fork, UT
    April 21, 2017 12:05 p.m.

    "When I was in school, my teachers mostly worked construction, ranching, or farming."

    I get it, when you were in school in 1900, you walked 10 miles to school in snow... Uphill both ways! But that's not how things work these days. Why should teachers work construction or farming to make ends meet? Why don't we treat them as professionals?

    "It's time for teachers to drop the victim mentality and return to acting like professionals."

    They already have. Notice the teacher shortage? Or did you fail to read the article? Lets treat teachers as professionals first, then we can call them out, shall we?

    "Why is it the responsibility of the State Legislature (Not the School Board) to solve the problems in your profession"

    Good question. Why does the legislature constantly butt in and micromanage education? The legislature does nothing but pass message bills, enrich themselves, and micromanage education. One reform that would be great is for the legislature to finally give up its quest to manage education. Give that responsibility to those who are actually in the trenches.

  • SurpriseCat Surprise, AZ
    April 21, 2017 12:02 p.m.

    BusStopRatBag wrote, "Hopefully polite discussions and disagreements don't get in the way of good teachers knowing they are appreciated beyond measure."

    As a teacher for 20+ years, my problem is not with the level of appreciation, but with the fact that appreciation doesn't pay for a kid's college tuition, put food on the table, pay the electric bill, etc.

    As for the (let's be generous and call them) misinformed folks who claim teachers work 1500 hours per year: you are incorrect. My contract is 190 days and 8 hours - that's just my teaching time. In addition, I am required to do unit and lesson plans and score student work. Almost all of that falls outside the 190/8. To put that into real-world numbers, let's take one assessment (of probably 8-10 over the course of the year): my seniors' (and I have 120 of them) 10-page research paper. Just for the final draft - not counting all the feedback given on draft one and draft two - it takes me 30 minutes to score and provide feedback for each one. That's one assessment, adding 60 hours not counting the feedback on drafts. Conservatively, scoring/feedback for each of the 8-10 units takes 80 hours. Do the math.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    April 21, 2017 11:46 a.m.

    @Husker1: "Do you know what kind of jobs teachers get in the summer?? "

    When I was in school, my teachers mostly worked construction, ranching, or farming. Some worked in a spouse's small business. Such work paid way better than minimum wage, while teaching provided the stability and benefits. In every case, private sector work kept teachers well grounded with the real world where results matter to income.

    @Chuck E. Racer: "Actually, despite what hours teachers are "contracted" to do, most teachers DO put in at least 2000 hours a year as they work unpaid many evenings, holidays, and during the summer on behalf of their class(es). "

    I doubt it. 2000 hours a year is 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year. That is not "many" evenings, holidays, and summer days. That is virtually all of them. First year teachers may need to do that to get lesson plans and bulletin boards set up. No seasoned teacher worth his salt should have to work that many hours. Teachers do work more than their contract hours, most professionals do.

    It's time for teachers to drop the victim mentality and return to acting like professionals.

  • The Real Maverick Spanish Fork, UT
    April 21, 2017 11:39 a.m.

    Many low information posts here. Some of you need to take basic economics.

    "The market is driving people away."

    Bingo! Demand for educators is high. Supply is low. Anyone who has taken a basic economics class knows what the solution is. It's pretty obvious.

    "When my health insurance was just under $20,000 a year, the Davis District apologized for charging teachers $100 a month for family coverage. "

    "I couldn't agree more although as a guy who finds parenting hard perhaps some teachers would find me in the 25-30%."

    Judging by your poorly informed posts, I have little fear that you've ever procreated. Besides, while you bash teachers the question remains, who best to educate our children that qualified and professional teachers?

    "I don't work for you. You work for me."

    Really? Display that attitude to a 4 star general. I dare you. It's funny how those who bash education the most know so little about civics.

    If you're upset at your compensation then maybe you should find another profession? Why bash teachers for your lack of initiative in improving your life?

  • Chuck E. Racer Lehi, UT
    April 21, 2017 10:17 a.m.

    @toosmartforyou,
    "Utah spends 100% of personal Income Tax Revenue on education and 62.5% of your property tax is earmarked for it. "

    The trouble is, though all STATE income tax goes to "education," that includes higher ed., which was allowed after the state constitutional amendment change in the 90's. Without that change there would be plenty for K-12 education. Legislators proposed this amendment, so they could pull sales tax that had funded higher ed. for other things, and use what had been going to K-12 in its place. They didn't want to be forced to increase funding to K-12 more as income tax began increasing! How sad is that!

  • 4601 Salt Lake City, UT
    April 21, 2017 9:20 a.m.

    Supply and demand, simple market economics. Theory and politics aside, which seems to be unpopular, if you want more and better teachers you will have to pay them more. UTA said they wanted better administrators so they raised salaries which is somewhat of an understatement.

  • BusStopRatBag Layton, UT
    April 21, 2017 7:51 a.m.

    @Husker1 - "As a teacher, I feel the same way about parents. In fact, the lowest group (that should never have had kids) is probably closer to 25-30%."

    I couldn't agree more although as a guy who finds parenting hard perhaps some teachers would find me in the 25-30%.

    Here's the difference though. Teachers are public employees and parents are not. I don't work for you. You work for me. I'm a free market sort of guy. In my profession, software development, the best make tons of money - without a doubt far more than double what I make. Those at the bottom don't last very long. If you can't hack it in this business you're going to be forced to find a new profession. I would like, as the customer, direct influence in getting substantially more for the best teachers and an ability to help send the worst packing. It'll never work that way given how the business of education is currently conducted and perhaps it shouldn't for reasons I haven't considered.

    Thanks for your service to the kids. Hopefully polite discussions and disagreements don't get in the way of good teachers knowing they are appreciated beyond measure.

  • Husker1 Northern Utah County, UT
    April 21, 2017 7:35 a.m.

    @NoNames ""School used to run from Labor to Memorial Day and teachers had time to get a summer job if they wanted/needed more income."

    Do you know what kind of jobs teachers get in the summer?? Mostly retail or working for a park and rec department. It's temporary minimum wage work that brings down their average hourly income.

  • Husker1 Northern Utah County, UT
    April 21, 2017 7:30 a.m.

    @NoNames "The problem is not that teachers make too little per hour, but that they work too few hours per year. I'd love to work 1500 a year. In reality, I work over 2000 hours a year even after taking vacation and holidays. That is what it takes for most of us to provide a solid middle class lifestyle to our families."

    I disagree. The problem is that teachers aren't contracted for enough hours to really do their job and they aren't paid for all of the hours they work. I'm a high school teacher. Yesterday, I worked from 7 am until almost 8 pm. Two weekends ago, I took my students on a field trip on a Saturday that took about 8 hours. I'm not paid for any of those extra hours. If I take work home with me, such as assignments that need grading, I am not paid for those hours but there is no way I have time during the school day to grade them. My typical week is about a 60 hr week but I only get paid for 35 hours.

  • Lifelong Republican Orem, UT
    April 21, 2017 2:20 a.m.

    LDS Aerospace,

    I just now looked up on salary.com and found 10 engineer jobs in Utah starting at $50,000+ with several significantly more than that.

    Maybe they aren't paying you well enough for your work.

    Now the real money appears to be in software engineer where many are making $70,000+ right out of college.

    There is a reason housing prices keep rising. It isn't because of teacher salaries!

  • Zina Young Sandy, UT
    April 21, 2017 12:08 a.m.

    The market is driving people away.

    I was a teacher for several years and loved it. I left because I could make better money elsewhere. At the point that I started teaching there was no longer this golden retirement/healthcare package that compensated for all of the hard parts of being a teacher. All that is left now is a very low paycheck in an environment where you get told how to do your job by people who have never set foot in a classroom.

    1. We have to make teaching attractive again
    2. We need smaller class sizes in Utah
    3. We need more support (aides, after school programs, nurses, counselors and social workers) because the school is increasingly becoming the first line against poverty.

  • toosmartforyou Kaysville, UT
    April 21, 2017 12:06 a.m.

    What no one has addressed, at least from comments that seem to come from educators, is what education reform would be helpful (other than getting rid of standardized tests) and how do those solutions get implemented? Why is it the responsibility of the State Legislature (Not the School Board) to solve the problems in your profession, except that the only solution proffered is increased funding and of course that comes from them? Utah spends 100% of personal Income Tax Revenue on education and 62.5% of your property tax is earmarked for it. Every bleeding heart that says we should "raise taxes to support education" usually means that they want you and your money to pay for it. We see that some of those who are pushing for a ballot initiative regarding increased taxes have themselves benefited from "tax breaks" and yet they are screaming for more money (from others). I've heard the old per-pupil funding line for 50 years; get a new talking point, that one is decades past being worn out. When my health insurance was just under $20,000 a year, the Davis District apologized for charging teachers $100 a month for family coverage. Money isn't the answer--look at Washington DC.

  • Chuck E. Racer Lehi, UT
    April 20, 2017 11:16 p.m.

    @Fitness Freak
    "...she told me she didn't know what in the world the district administrators were referring to because, she had, on her desk, hundreds, (perhaps thousands)of qualified applicants."

    #1-That was then. Now it is different. It is much more difficult now, with greatly reduced benefits.
    #2-Even back then however many applicants principals might get, were the same applicants in each of many other schools. So that meant for 30 schools, each with 30 applications, but most of them were the same people, that left about 1 for each of those schools.

  • Chuck E. Racer Lehi, UT
    April 20, 2017 10:49 p.m.

    @NoNamesAccepted,
    "The problem is not that teachers make too little per hour, but that they work too few hours per year. I'd love to work 1500 a year. In reality, I work over 2000 hours a year even after taking vacation and holidays. That is what it takes for most of us to provide a solid middle class lifestyle to our families."
    Unfortunately too many people believe this falsehood. Actually, despite what hours teachers are "contracted" to do, most teachers DO put in at least 2000 hours a year as they work unpaid many evenings, holidays, and during the summer on behalf of their class(es). I know I did. That's what it takes to do a good job. But for all that, they are not making a "solid middle class lifestyle."

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    April 20, 2017 9:50 p.m.

    @no names accepted.

    If the feds own seventy percent of the land that means the other 30 percent is privately owned.

    Which means the 30 percent owned is still a bigger than Massachusetts by 2.5.

    The problem isn't land the problem is there are too many kids for the education budget. However, the education budget percentage wise to the state budget is larger than other states that provide higher per-pupil spending.

    Either fewer kids or a way bigger budget is needed. In Utah both of those scenarios are not going to happen.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    April 20, 2017 8:00 p.m.

    airnaut:
    "Utah Teacher:
    MASTER'S Degree - $17 an hour
    vs
    Article Circle burger flipper - $15 an hour"

    It appears you've divided the annual salary of a Utah teacher by a full 12 months of work rather than by the contracted work hours. When you divide the average starting salary for a teacher with a masters degree by the roughly 1500 hours they are contracted to work (~185 days), you get almost $24 an hour, plus very competitive benefits including health insurance and retirement plans.

    I hope ignorance rather than deceit.

    The problem is not that teachers make too little per hour, but that they work too few hours per year. I'd love to work 1500 a year. In reality, I work over 2000 hours a year even after taking vacation and holidays. That is what it takes for most of us to provide a solid middle class lifestyle to our families.

    School used to run from Labor to Memorial Day and teachers had time to get a summer job if they wanted/needed more income. Today, prep days and excessive holidays during the school year make such a short summer vacation the summer job is no longer possible.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    April 20, 2017 7:50 p.m.

    @Shaun: "Federal ownership has nothing to do with it. Massachusetts is tenth of the size of Utah but has higher per pupil spending."

    Really? What is the total taxable value of taxable land in Massachusetts on a per capita basis compared to the total taxable value of land in Utah on the same, per capita basis?

    Most States derive a lot of their education funding from property taxes. Utah has almost 70% of our land owned by the feds and off the tax rolls. That land is also not available for economic development meaning its value doesn't go up to contribute to higher property tax revenue, nor do we enjoy the multiplier effect of economic development on this land that would result in increased payroll and sales taxes.

    In contrast, less than 2% of Massachusetts' land area is under federal control. Imagine if port cities like Boston or Los Angeles suddenly lost revenue by having half their ports closed.

    Utah doesn't have ports. It has land and the natural resources associated with that land. When 70% is off limits to any development, it most certainly affects our property, income, and sales tax revenue, and that affects education funding.

  • Miss Bay Hyrum, UT
    April 20, 2017 6:09 p.m.

    It does not actually matter what anyone who posts on this thread thinks about teacher compensation. It doesn't matter whether teachers deserve more money, time, respect, or benefits. What matters is that Utah districts are struggling to hire and retain good teachers. That means that changes need to be made. The profession is not currently attractive to college students.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    April 20, 2017 5:52 p.m.

    @no names accepted.

    Federal ownership has nothing to do with it. Massachusetts is tenth of the size of Utah but has higher per pupil spending.

    There really is only two solutions to increase per pupil spending. Decrease the amount of school children or increase the budget. Utah does spend a higher percentage of its budget compared to other states with higher per pupil spending.

  • LDS Aerospace Engineer Farmington, UT
    April 20, 2017 5:47 p.m.

    @Lifelong Republican - Orem, UT
    April 20, 2017 1:19 p.m.

    Blue you need to come out of the dark ages.

    Engineers start a lot higher than $50,000. Many make double that right out of college.

    =====

    Lifelong Republican you need to come out of Trump Fake News and lies ages.

    Been in the industry 35 years.
    I'm gonna have to call you on that --
    NO!

    Genetic Engineers - barely.
    Petroleum Engineers - maybe.
    All other Engineers - no.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    April 20, 2017 4:08 p.m.

    Any article or commenter demanding more money for schools that doesn't address federal ownership of land in Utah isn't dealing reality.

    If the feds are not going to turn over land to the States, they need to dramatically increase their PILT (payments in lieu of taxes) payments.

    Utah loses out on both property taxes and on economic development on these lands. If the rest of the nation wants to lock up these lands, they need to reimburse Utah's schools for what we are missing.

  • worf McAllen, TX
    April 20, 2017 3:47 p.m.

    @UtahTroutStalker ,

    IMO, parents who can't afford a small tuition shouldn't have children. A small tuition would be a hundred dollars a year.

    In Mexico, many children don't go to schools because parents can't afford it. The ones who do go, get a very good education.

    Many Mexican folks sneak into the US for free school, meals, and medical care. IMO, why have children if you can't afford to care for them.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    April 20, 2017 3:40 p.m.

    Median household income in Utah is over $60,000/year. Perhaps that’s a good target for our teachers. I would support an increase in my property tax to help meet that.

    Airnaut
    Your math is wrong. $41,000/2080 hours = $19.71/hour. That’s just for starters in the Granite district. Master’s degree holders would get more. And AC is NOT paying $15/hour here.

    Humbug
    The legislature funded a 3% increase.

    Imperial7
    Never waste an opportunity to complain about our legislature

    Dan Smith
    And what are teachers doing the other months? Continuing education, preparing for the coming year, etc. Or would you rather they compete with teenagers for summer jobs?

    Kent, educanto
    The GOP controlled legislature increased per pupil spending and allocated 80% of all increased revenue to education, including a 3% pay increase.

    JSB
    Finland is a more homogeneous country. Different things keep different groups of kids interested in school – athletic programs for some, arts for others, etc. They all have value.

  • Woodworker Highland, UT
    April 20, 2017 3:25 p.m.

    I taught for about 30 yrs. and worked with high school, jr. high, and elementary aged students. I'm thankful for DN covering this issue, and I have a suggestion for them.
    1. Don't go to a district administrator or lawmaker to find out what the real problems are. Go directly to veteran teachers.
    2. The best companies have satisfied employees. State, Federal and district regulations, along with increased testing, expectations, and more unmotivated/problematic students may have more to do with teachers leaving than even the low pay.
    3. Simplify. Teachers are not allowed the time or means to accomplish what is expected of them. That spells s-t-r-e-s-s, i-l-l-n-e-s-s, and b-u-r-n-o-u-t. Also, the younger the students, the more prep. time is needed. Sadly, elementary teachers are given the least amount of time.
    4. Quit changing the curriculum every other year! Our state wastes millions of dollars every year on new curriculum. P.S. Some of the best curriculum can be found in the home schooling programs. Not in all cases.
    5. Pay administrators the same amount as teachers based on yrs. of service. Why should they make more?
    6. Listen to the teachers. Thank you.

  • Husker1 Northern Utah County, UT
    April 20, 2017 2:57 p.m.

    @Busstop "Here's how I look at teachers. About 20% of them are fabulous and deserve to have their salary doubled. About 60% are decent to good and deserve pretty much what they make plus or minus 10-20%. About 20% should be fired on the spot and never allowed to teach again."

    As a teacher, I feel the same way about parents. In fact, the lowest group (that should never have had kids) is probably closer to 25-30%.

    One thing to consider about your daughters English teacher: you have no idea how much work she does outside of her contract hours and over "breaks". For example, say she only teaches sophomore English and has 200 students. She gives them an assignment to write a 3-page paper. Grading those papers will be done during her free time because her prep time at work will be used to prepare for future classes. If it take 15 minutes to thoroughly grade each paper, then it will take 50 hours to grade them all. That would take up an entire Spring Break or a couple weekends. And that's just one assignment.

  • No One Of Consequence West Jordan, UT
    April 20, 2017 2:04 p.m.

    Lack of teacher retention is not a problem, it is a strategy. School districts prefer high teacher turnover to prevent having too many teachers reach the highest pay levels. Teachers in Utah used to receive a significant pension, but that changed a few years back, reducing the motivation to enter and remain in the profession.

    The problem is about more than just what we pay teachers. Teachers are expected to prepare all their students to pass standardized tests, even though their classes include students who don't speak, read or write English. They are scrutinized, often on camera, for every word that comes out of their mouths. There are discipline problems without adequate support from administrators. And the personal risk of having a disgruntled student claim inappropriate behaviors by the teacher makes the classroom a minefield.

    Teaching has never been easy but it is not as attractive a profession as it once was.

  • BusStopRatBag Layton, UT
    April 20, 2017 1:59 p.m.

    I looked up my daughter's high school English teacher on UtahsRight dot com. Total compensation of $82,312 with about 25% of that in benefits. She's a good teacher and I don't begrudge her a penny but that's pretty decent money given (reducing by half to avoid argument) six or seven weeks off in the summer and some decent breaks throughout the rest of the year. There's another teacher at that school who is, for me, a superhero. He has saved a bunch of kids from flunking out or otherwise going backwards/sideways. He makes less. He's worth a lot more when it comes down to what really matters.

    Here's how I look at teachers. About 20% of them are fabulous and deserve to have their salary doubled. About 60% are decent to good and deserve pretty much what they make plus or minus 10-20%. About 20% should be fired on the spot and never allowed to teach again. We can quibble over the percentages but the concept is hard to argue.

  • UtahTroutStalker Draper, UT
    April 20, 2017 1:40 p.m.

    Great schools will raise property values. So invest in teachers and curriculum.

    I have friends in California and houses near silicon valley can be $250K more in value just across the street because they are in a better school district.

    Good schools benefit all. A better educated public is less likely to continue to be fooled by extremist views on the left or right. Maybe then we can start working together as fellow citizens to have the best country in the world again.

  • UtahTroutStalker Draper, UT
    April 20, 2017 1:37 p.m.

    @worf - McAllen, TX

    "Shouldn't parents supplement the education their children are getting at school?

    Why force others to pay more property taxes when parents can take more responsibility for their children? And yes, a small tuition would motivate parents to take a more active role with their child's education."

    My answer would be no. Mexico uses this method. I don't think we want to follow the Mexican model of education.

    Society benefits from public education. Our market economy and employers specifically benefit from public education. If anything we should eliminate property tax exemptions for Churches and other non-profits. They benefit from public education and should help pay for the schools that help support the communities the own property in.

  • Joe Schmoe Orem, UT
    April 20, 2017 1:19 p.m.

    Is the Dnews going to step up and own some of this problem? They weren't too high on public education a few years back. They had opinion piece after opinion piece about vouchers, school grading, etc.

    That got into the public's mindset along with the legislature's.

    Hard to take back harmful comments that fueled the downfall of our schools.

    At least they are now seeing the need for change and realizing it is a serious situation.

  • Lifelong Republican Orem, UT
    April 20, 2017 1:19 p.m.

    Blue you need to come out of the dark ages.

    Engineers start a lot higher than $50,000. Many make double that right out of college.

    Also, HowDoYouDo, Teachers no longer get a pension. The legislature did away with that in 2011. Most districts provide health insurance with the average teacher paying 20% of the premiums and having a good size deductible ($5,000 per family, $2,000 per individual).

    There are no retirement benefits anymore. No health care or pension. That is big reason we are facing the current crisis.

    In old times teachers would suffer with the low pay because they had a great pension and great retirement benefits. Those days are gone and now they are just stuck with low pay and NO benefits. The old timers on these message boards don't realize that so they often post ignorant comments about teachers. They remember what it USED to be like but those days are long gone.

    Something has to be done, and soon.

  • Utah Teacher Orem, UT
    April 20, 2017 1:11 p.m.

    I've been teaching in Utah for 25 years and this current problem isn't like we have seen in the past.

    First I have to laugh at the people posting statistics of work hours for teachers vs. pay for their own sector. That is all irrelevant (and mostly false statistics). The fact of the matter is that the market forces are at work. The DEMAND outweighs the SUPPLY. When that happens you have to boost pay to attract qualified applicants. Simple economics.

    For those claiming there are hundreds of applicants out there waiting for a job, that simply isn't true. We've had 4 openings at our school posted for the last 4 weeks. We've had 3 qualified applicants but qualified doesn't mean quality. We hired one but just found out she is leaving to greener pastures before even working one day at our school.

    We are in crisis mode.

    Don't even get me started on substitute teachers. We can't find them.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    April 20, 2017 12:45 p.m.

    I have the solution. Cut all district level jobs with the title "specialist". They do nothing to teach yet make 4 times what an average teacher makes.

    To "airnaut" maybe that says a lot about the condition of education these days. It shows that with minimal training, even a burger flipper can do the same job that an educator does.

    FYI, your numbers are wrong. According to the UEA the average salary for a teacher with a Master's Degree is $58,000/yr, which is $30/hr assuming they work the US average number of hours for teachers.

    It would appear that teachers make more than you think.

    To "JSB" but according to multiple surveys, teachers leave primarily because of administrators and legislators that make it difficult to do their jobs. Pay is low on the reasons why teachers leave.

  • JMHO Kanab, UT
    April 20, 2017 12:28 p.m.

    Blue:
    You sure missed math class a lot.
    Teacher days are based off 7:00 AM to 3:00 PM. They are told they have lunch, but only 20 minutes at most schools and many teachers have rotating lunch duties.
    In addition, since they are considered salaried employees, they have other duties they must perform outside the school day. These duties increase in secondary schools, but most teachers put in a lot of overtime with no pay.
    Teachers also get no paid vacation or comp time. They can accrue sick days, but these are strictly regulated--unlike in private companies.
    They can accrue personal days--up to 4 a year if they keep them. If they do not use them, they max at 4 in most districts, some give up to 5, but no districts allow you to build up personal days to take a vacation during the school year.
    You can not miss on certain days-beginning and ending of school-after holidays, etc. If you do you lose the pay and have to pay for the sub.
    Yes, it is a good job. You get time with your family--unless you live in one district and teach in another-then the calendars rarely match.
    Oh well, I knew what I was getting into when I chose it.

  • worf McAllen, TX
    April 20, 2017 12:24 p.m.

    Shouldn't parents supplement the education their children are getting at school?

    Why force others to pay more property taxes when parents can take more responsibility for their children? And yes, a small tuition would motivate parents to take a more active role with their child's education.

  • Husker1 Northern Utah County, UT
    April 20, 2017 12:22 p.m.

    @blue2 "Teachers sign a contract to work 182 days at 7 hours per day. That's 1274 hours. Full time jobs are considered to be 2080 hours (52 weeks times 40 hours). If a starting teacher in Granite district gets $40,000, that equates to $31.40 per hour."

    Teachers are contracted for 7 hrs a day but they work far more than that. That's the predicament they are in. Teachers have to go way above and beyond their contracted hours to meet the goals and expectations that are set for them. If teachers only put in their 7 hrs a day and did no work before or after those hours, most kids wouldn't even be close to grade level in reading, math, etc. If your kid is on grade level and scores well on the ACT, you can thank his/her teachers for all the extra hours they put in to develop excellent lesson plans, tutor your student, grade assignments in a timely manner even on weekends and over "breaks" (200 5-page papers don't grade themselves), and still do all the paperwork that is required by the district and state.

  • Palmetto Bug Columbia, SC
    April 20, 2017 12:19 p.m.

    re: Blue2

    I don't know any teachers that only work 7-hour days. It takes more time to teach, prep lessons, grade, attend school events, and meet with parents than can fit into a 7 hour day, even with time allotted for prep. The teachers I know also work more than 182 days per year preparing their classrooms, faculty meetings/training, etc. Anecdotal observations but I've known a lot of teachers.
    Also, I don't know any full time jobs that work 52 weeks per year. There's typically at least 2 weeks paid vacation for new employees (and many companies give 3), with the number of weeks increasing with tenure. There are also 5-10 paid holidays per year depending on the company. Some companies also give an annual bonus or overtime pay which aren't available to K12 teachers. Full-time work still involves more hours but the gap isn't as large as you suggest.

    I don't think a teacher's annual (9-month) salary should be identical to other full-time jobs (summers off matters) but I do believe teachers' salaries should be increased (good paying summer work is hard to find). If this editorial is accurate, it seems the market supports this position.

  • worf McAllen, TX
    April 20, 2017 12:09 p.m.

    Research say increasing pay will not solve our education retention problems.

    Less micromanaging, and more class management support would increase retention.

  • Spalding55 Placentia, CA
    April 20, 2017 11:59 a.m.

    This issue has been a problem for decades in states across the country. In My first month of teaching I met a teacher with 10 years of experience at my school who was leaving the profession. I asked him why. He said that while he enjoyed teaching, he had to take care of his family. He was taking a job that almost doubled his salary (he was almost at the top of the salary scale). He was taking a job driving a milk truck.

    The comments about teacher working 182 days and 7 hours a day paints an incomplete picture. Teachers put in countless hours of unpaid time in planning lessons, grading papers, preparing classrooms, and tutoring students. Many pay over $1,000 in supplies and materials out their own pocket. Private sector jobs in engineering don't work 52 weeks a year. They get paid vacation time, usually 2 weeks, and up to 2 weeks in holiday.

    To hire and retain quality teachers, the entire salary scale needs to be raised. While raising beginning salaries helps, teachers need to see some earning potential down the road.

  • HowDoYouDo Salt Lake City, UT
    April 20, 2017 10:52 a.m.

    I am not trying to be argumentative here, but would really like to know what the teacher benefits are while working and after retirement. Could someone tell me about their pensions and other benefits? I make more per hour than a teacher, but do not get any benefits whatsoever and pay for my insurance. I will also have to support myself when I cannot work anymore.

    There is also something to be said for having a job that mimics the schedule of your children. A teacher would not have to pay as often for someone to watch their children.

  • Blue2 Richfield, UT
    April 20, 2017 10:40 a.m.

    Teachers sign a contract to work 182 days at 7 hours per day. That's 1274 hours. Full time jobs are considered to be 2080 hours (52 weeks times 40 hours). If a starting teacher in Granite district gets $40,000, that equates to $31.40 per hour. A brand new engineer starts at about $24 per hour ($50,000 per year). How much more should starting teachers be paid? Maybe we should just have year round schooling.

  • Fitness Freak Salt Lake City, UT
    April 20, 2017 10:24 a.m.

    I related this story once before on the issue of "not being able to attract quality teachers".

    Some 20 yrs. ago when this issue was also in the news, I knew a person who worked in Jordan Districts's personnel dept. quite well.

    We were discussing that latest news story about "attracting teachers" (the story has been around at least 30 yrs. that I know of), and she told me she didn't know what in the world the district administrators were referring to because, she had, on her desk, hundreds, (perhaps thousands)of qualified applicants.

    Readers do realize (I hope) that if STARTING teachers salaries' are raised then experienced teachers also have their pay raised.

    Has ANYONE actually "hands on" investigated the computers of school district recruiters, or are they just receiving the talking points of the district administrators - who ALWAYS have and always will be asking for more, and more, and more.....

    I'm NOT saying teachers don't deserve more, I'm simply saying that there may be a little more to the story.

    Also, state legislators could possibly toughen up laws that allow problem kids to continually disrupt classrooms. At no charge to the public.

  • educanto north salt lake, UT
    April 20, 2017 10:11 a.m.

    This a classic case of the Utah Legislature " kicking the can down the road" refusing to address the critical needs of education year after year. More plans ---Yes. More speeches--yes. But no serious effort to solve real problems. By the way, next year is an election year so Utah will have another year of excuses, to wit, the Legislature cannot make important changes during an election year. Keeping incumbents in place is a big priority.

  • educanto north salt lake, UT
    April 20, 2017 10:11 a.m.

    This a classic case of the Utah Legislature " kicking the can down the road" refusing to address the critical needs of education year after year. More plans ---Yes. More speeches--yes. But no serious effort to solve real problems. By the way, next year is an election year so Utah will have another year of excuses, to wit, the Legislature cannot make important changes during an election year. Keeping incumbents in place is a big priority.

  • Dan Smith Phoenix, AZ
    April 20, 2017 10:02 a.m.

    Shaun,

    I concede that in Utah, the market is saying otherwise. In Arizona, the average median salary is much higher.

    raqueb,

    "...they don't have to deal with your kids..."

    Cute. When did you meet my livestock? Or did you mean my children? either way, you hardly know me and my family situation so your comment is probably out of bounds. But I digress.

    The question then remains: Are the teachers leaving their "$30,000 for higher paying private sector jobs?" I'm pretty sure teachers get an elementary education degree and I'm not sure how many Engineering, Accounting, and other firms who are going to hire an education degree holder to do work for them. If so, then good on them. However, if you're just fine with increased taxation to pay for higher teacher salary, then I wish you and the Beehive State the very best of luck.

  • dansimp Layton, UT
    April 20, 2017 9:47 a.m.

    This question is difficult, and complex. It doesn't do anyone any good to use misleading stats, which at least 2 of the commenters here are doing. First, there are 180 days of school, which makes for 9 months of teaching (not 8). Second, there are many days that teachers are required to be at the school that the children are not, so while there are 180 days of classroom instruction, there are more days of 'work' for a teacher. Second, you don't need a master's to teach, merely a bachelors. None of these issues change the underlying issue, but it sure works better when you want to convince people, if you use the truth. The undeniable truth is this, we have a teacher shortage, which means the pay is too low to get people to do the job. When that happens, you either pay more, or you eliminate the job. Seeing as how we can't (and shouldn't) eliminate the job, even ignoring all the other good reasons to raise the pay, we have to raise the pay if we want to have schools.

  • raqueb Provo, UT
    April 20, 2017 9:35 a.m.

    @ Dan Smith

    The problem is not about current teachers. The problem is that smart, qualified people are realizing that they can make twice as much in the private sector, plus they don't have to deal with your kids, therefore, they DON'T go into teaching (This is especially true in science and math. If I can make $80,000 a year as an engineer, why would I settle for $30,000 as a teacher, even with the time off?) The low pay has created a teacher shortage. A teacher shortage means that schools are willing to hire unqualified or low performing teachers, and your children end up with a very low quality education. To fix this, the economic rewards of teaching, especially science and math, should be comparable to other jobs that require the same qualifications.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    April 20, 2017 9:29 a.m.

    If we really want Utah's children to get a good education, here are the facts of life:

    1-It's a proven fact that over crowded classrooms (more than 18 students per class), especially in the primary grades significantly diminish the quality of education the children receive. Utah has big problems with over crowding.

    2-Poorly paid teachers. Over time, better teachers tend to leave the profession and incompetent teachers tend to stay. If we want good teachers, we need to pay well and keep paying well.

    3-Schools need to spend their limited funds more wisely. The best schools in the world are in Finland. And, they do not have an expensive competitive school athletic program. Is there a message here? Spending money on a football team is money that is not being spent on education.

    I have heard Utah parents express with tear-filled eyes their love and gratitude for their children. But, often these are the same parents who hypocritically refuse to support a tax levy to help their children get a good education.

    Right now, the best option in Utah is home schooling. There are some wonderful on-line programs available now.

  • Shaun Sandy, UT
    April 20, 2017 9:18 a.m.

    @dan smith. It really doesn't matter if any one thinks teachers are paid adequately. The market is saying otherwise.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    April 20, 2017 8:51 a.m.

    The only way to save our education system and hire sufficient good teachers (and retain them) is to vote the Republicans out of the state legislature. Anything short of that will give us the same results we have seen for the past 30 years.

    If we keep doing the same thing and expecting different results, then we are, by definition, insane.

  • Dan Smith Phoenix, AZ
    April 20, 2017 8:39 a.m.

    The one thing this article didn't do was annualize the pay. Teachers teach for approximately 8 months a year. One month off with Christmas Break, Spring Break, and Fall Break. Then, the students get out in May and don't come back until August.

    Annualized, that pay doesn't look so bad. Either way, I wonder who it was that took away their freedom and forced them into teaching. Did they think they would be different or somehow get more money than the industry provided when they graduated?

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    April 20, 2017 8:34 a.m.

    "​In a perfect world, there would be more guidance from state lawmakers on how to deal with a legitimate crisis in recruiting and retaining a sufficient number of qualified educators"

    Since when has the state Legislature done anything meaningful or complex? Their 45 days are all about message bills, exerting their authority over local entities, taking public lands and making alcohol laws even more convoluted. They're about enriching themselves and their friends, not about meaningful governing.

  • humbug Syracuse/Davis, UT
    April 20, 2017 8:25 a.m.

    I'm grateful the DN is continuing to bring this issue to us. This problem needs to be addressed. It appalls me that our Legislature is so unwilling to pay teachers a decent wage. At some point, companies will not want to move to Utah, if we don't have educated workers.

  • airnaut Everett, 00
    April 20, 2017 8:17 a.m.

    Utah Teacher:
    MASTER'S Degree - $17 an hour
    vs
    Article Circle burger flipper - $15 an hour

    Apparently - the Utah State legislature feels a cheap hamburger and fries is valued equal to our children's education.