Tuesday, July 13, 2010

UEA Leadership Academy

"Speak for Tomorrow Today" was the theme of the two day UEA Leadership Academy held in Midway in June. Dennis Van Roekel, NEA President (pictured), was the keynote speaker. We also heard from a couple of NEA economists about the TEF/EDX messages. TEF stands for Taxes, Economic development, and Funding for education. EDX stands for EDucational eXcellence.

The link to the right (Speak for Tomorrow Today Presentations) will take you to presentations given by Dr. Pamela Perlich of the University of Utah, Mr. Stephen Kroes of the Utah Foundation, Dr. Richard Simms of NEA, and Dr. Dwight Holmes of NEA. Some of the presentations were made at the "Speak for Tomorrow Today" Economic Summit held in May. Others were from UEA Leadership Academy.

The message is that not adequately funding public education will have long term economic consequences. The presentations show how tax breaks to bring businesses to an area don't work. The key characteristic businesses look for is an educated work force. To determine if an area has an educated work force, 75% of businesses look at the quality of the public schools. Only 4% of businesses look at the tax incentives.

The cities comprising Jordan School District should want new businesses for their tax base. In order to attract those businesses, Jordan District schools need to maintain quality standards. In order to maintain quality standards, the School Board needs to raise taxes to keep programs and positions that help students. This cycle is positive.

If the School Board does not raise taxes, the quality of education in Jordan District could be compromised. Once that happens, businesses will not want to establish a site within District boundaries. If the schools are lower quality and there are not businesses in the area to service the residents, home values will decline, and people will not want to live in Jordan School District any longer. This cycle will be negative. I worry the negative impact won't be felt for many years, and by the time it is felt, salvaging Jordan District schools and communities will be much more difficult.

I encourage you to read through these presentations and think about the information presented. I believe this message needs to go to all stakeholders, from the School Board to parents to city councils to business owners.

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