UT educator: budget cuts = lower student performance

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Source: CVDaily Feed
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SALT LAKE CITY – Utah’s student performance likely would improve if state lawmakers stopped underfunding education, according to the Utah Education Association.

UEA president Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh pointed to the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress – also known as “The Nation’s Report Card” – which shows only about half of Utah’s fourth- and eighth-grade students are proficient in math and reading. Gallagher-Fishbaugh said budget cuts made during the recession are taking a toll now.

“We left three years of student growth out of funding, so we’ve never caught up to pre-recession levels,” she said. “And we won’t at the rate that we are intending to fund public education, at least in Utah.”

The national assessment shows Utah’s student scores in math and reading are up from a decade ago, and now are in line with national averages. But Gallagher-Fishbaugh said national educational standards have increased dramatically in recent years while education funding has diminished.

“We have massive amounts of changes and expectations,” she said, “which are absolutely putting a tremendous burden upon educators to do a massive amount with very little.”

She said class size continues to be a big challenge in Utah schools, with some classrooms packed with as many as 50 students.

The full report is online at nces.ed.gov.