Members of the public addressed the Morgan County School Board Tuesday on issues related to the state common core and budgetary matters.
“If Morgan is one of the wealthiest counties and putting so much into the system, why are we getting so little for our budget?” local businessman John Barber asked the school board. “I ask the board to look at nontraditional ways of funding.”
Barber said that since the economy slowed, many businesses have had to “reinvent themselves,” reducing costs and readjusting things. “The world has changed,” he said. “Schools need expense control.”
“According to the school budget, the downturn appears to be delayed,” he said. “I don’t want to delay the inevitable. It’s like kicking the can down the road.”
He said schools should work more like retail businesses with products to sell.
As the board strictly kept each public comment to two minutes each, Barber asked the school board to participate in more dialogue with county residents, rather than just one-way statements.
Jennie Earl expressed her concern of keeping student data confidential, especially that data used by Utah Futures. Earl said millions of dollars have been set aside to help provide public school data to the Utah Department of Workforce Services to direct students to proper career choices.
“You are not getting those dollars,” Earl told the school board. “Our teachers are not getting those dollars. It is going to entities to collect our data and decide our children’s careers.”
Tami Slipsager said common core is “encouraging teachers to teach to the test.”
Having taught previously in Nebraska, a state that does not “embrace” common core, she said test scores are becoming more important than teaching life skills.
“The results on standardized testing has taken priority over teaching,” she said. “Many of these standards are not developmentally appropriate. It leaves little room for flexibility in a classroom anymore. We need to allow teachers to do what they do best: teach.”
While preparing her Forgotten American Stories for publication, Nuttall wished to determine what form of government America operates under. She asked if it was a democracy, republic, representative democracy, constitutional democracy, constitutional republic, democratic republic, or a combination. So, she turned to the state educational system to see what it teaches students. However, since Utah has elected not to adopt social studies common core, she is still left wondering.
“What are we? It is a concern of mine,” Nuttall said. “It is critical we understand what we are so we can teach it to our youth.”
Each of those who spoke during the school board meeting had anticipated three state legislators to be in attendance during the meeting. However, only Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, who arrived late, made it to the meeting. The school board regularly invites representatives to meetings, at least annually, to keep them informed of the unique circumstances the county faces in educating its students.