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Many people agree that there are problems with our education system. The big question is - what do we do about it? It's the question we're asking in our series "Improving Utah Schools." We'll look at the world of ideas for creating better education for our kids and ask what can be done to make those ideas a reality.Image by Derek Baird/Creative Commons via flickr

Improving Utah Schools: Student Motivation

Image by Richard Phillip Rucker/Creative Commons via flickr

For all the debate around improving education, researcher Maria Ferguson says there's a critical piece that's often overlooked: how do you motivate students?  It's a big problem: according to some studies, nearly 40% of high schoolers are disengaged and inattentive when it comes to school work. So what's a parent or teacher to do? Wednesday, we're starting a series on education reform with a look at what works and what doesn't in motivating students – from cash and prizes to alternative teaching methods and technology.


Maria Ferguson is Executive Director of the Center on Education Policy, an education research group at George Washington University. Last year, the group authored a 6-part report called Student Motivation - An Overlooked Piece of School Reform.

Rick Folkerson is Vice President of Marketing and Executive Director of Community Relations for Ken Garff Automotive Group. He’s also a board member of Success in Education Foundation which manages the Utah education incentive programs Keys to Success and Road to Success.

Josh Coates is CEO of the Salt Lake City based Instructure, a technology company focused on education. Follow the link to learn more about the class Society, Science and Survival: Lessons from the AMC's The Walking Dead

Doug Fabrizio has been reporting for KUER News since 1987, and became News Director in 1993. In 2001, he became host and executive producer of KUER's RadioWest, a one hour conversation/call-in show on KUER 90.1 in Salt Lake City. He has gained a reputation for his thoughtful style. He has interviewed everyone from Isabel Allende to the Dalai Lama, and from Madeleine Albright to Desmond Tutu. His interview skills landed him a spot as a guest host of the national NPR program, "Talk of the Nation." He has won numerous awards for his reporting and for his work with RadioWest and KUED's Utah NOW from such organizations as the Society of Professional Journalists, the Utah Broadcasters Association, the Public Radio News Directors Association and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.