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How can HB212 do less than cause far more problems than it solves? Handing $5,000 to a few teachers in a few subjects in a few grades in a few schools isn't a good idea. It's a horrible one. All teachers in Utah need that kind of encouragement. All of them — for putting up with core problems like crowded classrooms, difficult mixes of students, inadequate classroom and career support, meager reward for job importance.

The chronic underfunding of K-12 has created a situation where experienced teachers are often discouraged enough to leave. Younger ones, in their first five years, are in fact doing so in droves. And as for getting enough of the best and brightest prospects into teacher training programs — well, fat chance of that with legislators who keep telegraphing disrespect in myriad ways, saying some teachers are more important than others.

The failure again this year to come up with a dedicated and annually reliable stream of revenue to add adequately to the usual sources for funding public education was a big mistake. HB212 is just a compounding of it.

Could it be that too many of our legislators are certain, down deep, that teachers should feel they have it good? You know, the long summer vacations kind of thinking. If so, it's thinking clearly tainted by ignorance of what goes on in the day-to-day and year-to-year of effective teachers' lives, the teachers all our children deserve.

Ron W. Smith


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