Money Trouble 

Also: All Oiled Up, Education "Excellence"

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Money Trouble
Is Salt Lake City running out of money? You have to wonder as the government struggles with fees and more fees, for everything from landlords to dog parks. Well, we know the city lost a bundle on its nifty parking kiosks—the ones that have been keeping people from parking downtown. Now they must be in the red for the doggie poop bags they leave around public parks. OK, dog owners aren’t picking up after their pups, but what ever happened to fines for non-compliance? The city is even having trouble making ends meet for its public golf courses, which were supposed to be self-sustaining. Apparently, the disc golf contingent has come out in force, suggesting that troubled courses be converted for the Frisbee-like game. It doesn’t sound like there’s money in that proposition, and what self-respecting banker plays nine holes of disc golf?

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All Oiled Up
Hoo-boy. Two oil spills down south, one in Dixie National Forest and a larger, older one on the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. And it’s not like any oil company actually reported the spills—they were discovered by patrols and hikers in those areas. A recent report by the nonprofit Pipeline Safety Trust suggests that the state could do more than the minimum pipeline safety standards outlined by the federal government. But this is Utah, and we’re having trouble just deciding whether to adopt stricter air quality standards than the feds require. Given the reluctance to regulate, Utahns will have to rely on chance or good corporate citizenship.

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Education “Excellence”
Go figure how some parents can be so concerned about getting rid of “bad” teachers and yet are determined to undermine any systematic method of evaluation. That’s what’s happening as hundreds of parents opt their kids out of the Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence standardized tests. The SAGE tests are harder than others because they actually measure what a student knows, and ostensibly show teachers how they should be adapting to their students’ knowledge. But because some of it’s based on the Utah Common Core, conspiracy theorists think it’s a plot to socially engineer the young. Educators should continue to fight against ignorance and the unfounded fear of the consequences of critical thinking. 

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