Democrats held a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday decrying the state of education in Utah. The executive committee of the party in Utah released what it said was a call for urgent action, and a report titled “Utah’s Faltering Education System.”
State Senator Jim Dabakis, chair of the Utah Democratic Party says that its time for Utahns to take a hard look at education in our state.
“It’s not that our public schools are failing our kids, we are failing our public schools," Dabakis said. "Its time that we started to talk to the parents and to the people of the state of Utah and point out just how catastrophic the fall in Utah’s public education has been. The statistics are sobering and staggering.”
2012 US Census Bureau figures list Utah as last in the country in education spending. Dabakis cited the Census and said, "We have the largest classrooms in America. We are behind Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama in education funding by over a thousand dollars per student.”
Josie Valdez, Vice Chair of the Democratic Party in Utah said that minority and low-income students suffer especially because of this funding gap.
“Minority students make up more than one half of our enrollment; and yet Utah is one of the 5 states where the achievement gap is larger than the national average," Valdez said. "We are failing our students and something must be done. We cannot continue to sweep this issue under the rug and pretend it doesn’t happen.”