Letter: Save legislative surplus for public schools

By and

Editor:Recent trends in Utah’s education system are discouraging at best. We consistently score low on national aptitude tests, enormous class sizes are continuing to inflate and teachers are fleeing Utah for better-paying jobs elsewhere. The obvious answer is an increase in public funding, and what better opportunity could we have than a $1.6-billion state surplus? Unfortunately, many legislators have to be dragged kicking and screaming into allotting any amount of that money toward anything at all?sadly, even public education. Many believe that providing private school vouchers is a solution to some of our education woes. In fact, this fallacy will only exacerbate the problem. When our public education is in such crisis, why spend money to send just a few students to private school? We could be funneling the same dough to public education, ultimately benefiting more children. Perhaps these vouchers would be viable if our public education system were top-notch and teachers were adequately paid, but if we do attain such goals, what would be the point of providing private school vouchers, anyway? Education could very well be the silver bullet in our society. Ideally, public schools should be among the finest choices for parents. Considering Utah’s enormous legislative surplus this year, not to mention that Utah’s youth population is among the largest in the country, increasing the financing of public education should be a no-brainer. We need to find ways to keep teachers in Utah, keep kids in school and motivate them to succeed. Without first accomplishing these goals, lofty ideas for spending the surplus — such as building new roads — fall nothing short of irresponsible.

Becky WebsterSenior, Speech Communication