For Utah, which has more kids as a percentage of its population than any other state, the end of August is much more like the beginning of a new year than is Jan. 1. It's the time when those kids, or most of them, head back to classrooms, starting a new school year in a new grade, with new teachers and courses and, for some, different physical surroundings.
Back-to-school is a bittersweet time for parents. It's fulfilling to see our children advance, but it's also frightening to understand that they will encounter new challenges and daunting to know what a huge part parents play in everything children do.
Utah parents and their children face unique challenges: the largest class sizes and smallest per-pupil expenditure of state funds in the nation. The continually growing number of children in the system, and the increasing percentage of children from minority groups, puts additional pressure on teachers and school administrators.