Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board: Threatening teachers is no way to build a strong educational system.
The Salt Lake Tribune editorial board addresses the Utah public school bills they can support–and those they can’t.
Too many members of the Utah Legislature fail to see that each new attack on the professionalism, independence and funding of the state’s educators can do nothing but harm the children who spend so much of their young lives in those teachers’ charge.
Or maybe they do see it, but they don’t care. The politicians and activists perhaps just have too much to gain from bashing teachers and giving undeserved credence to wild rumors about nefarious goings-on in classrooms, labs and libraries.
To hear some of our political class tell it, public schools are hotbeds of anti-Caucasian rebellion, communism and gay sex. Acting on these absurd beliefs is not just a waste of time and resources, it can only serve to undermine public faith in an institution that is at the core of a civilized society.
It’s not that the answer to the many woes of public education is just to throw more money at it. It isn’t. And it’s not that our schools do not, any less than any other human institution, have problems, weak links, poor performers and a need for oversight. They do.
But there is a huge gap between reasonable legislative oversight and the current wave of right-wing activism that serves no purpose other than to cause parents, taxpayers and employers to turn their backs on public education and start putting their faith and our money into alternatives. Alternatives that, at best, will draw resources away from schools that will always have the job of educating the vast majority of our children and that, at worst, will seek to shield coming generations from the understanding of the wider world they will not only live in, but be expected to run.