Sex and the State

“Sex alleviates tension. Love causes it.” —from Woody Allen’s film, “A Midsummer’s Night Sex Comedy.” Sex seemed to dominate the past week, both in Utah and nationally. I do not want to choose only one sordid story to cast my snarky polemic towards, so I will address the three more prevalent. — An article on cachevalleydaily.com that caught my eye about a lawsuit regarding how homosexuality is discussed in Utah raised my ire and set me into a frothy rage about the Beehive State. The article states there has been agreement struck removing a…

Give them what they want

Okay, let me sound like the conservative heretic I am often accused of being: Conservatives should let the Our Schools Now initiative run its course. Don’t oppose it. To publicly and vociferously oppose the Our Schools Now initiative, Utah conservatives will look stupid, sound stupid and most certainly act stupid. The reason is simple: Utah conservatives, by and large, don’t understand the playing field in Utah education. They emphasize what doesn’t matter at the expense of what really does. We ignore the most important lesson of the 2007 voucher fight:…

School financing should focus on struggling students

Should we raise taxes to provide more money for our public school system? Utah has one of the lowest per-pupil spending rates in the nation, if not the lowest at times, and yet we seem to do pretty well with what we have. In fact, we seem to do rather exceptionally with what resources we invest. Our per-pupil spending might be low but the overall investment in education is the largest part of our state budget, by far. But would more money make a difference? The backers of the new…

Our Schools Now is a bum deal

Can anyone recall a legislative session where there wasn’t someone demanding more education spending? It’s about as predictable as the punchline from a Pat Bagley cartoon. I’m not automatically opposed to any spending increases, but I do expect to have an idea of what the money is going to be spent on and hold someone accountable for it. In this regard, the proponents of Our Schools Now are often failing miserably to make the case. Let’s get this out of the way right now: yes, I know that Utah has…

Education versus UHSAA

For a good five or six years over the past decade I have encouraged the state Legislature to reign in the power of the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA).  Recently, and surprisingly, the State Board of Education had the same thought. The State Board proposed to end the control UHSAA has over school athletics by controlling the transfer process. UHSAA has purview over all extracurricular activities in Utah schools – music, science, vocational programs and, of course, high school sports. For every other extracurricular activity a student is free…

Jeff Moss: Amendment B represents good policy, would be a win for schools

I would like to voice my support for an important measure that will be on the ballot in the November election. Utah Constitutional Amendment B represents a small change that would make a big difference to our public schools. As you may know, the State of Utah invests a $2.15 billion permanent State School Fund, comprised of the profits earned on the 3.5 million acres of school trust lands. Amendment B would modernize and update the distribution formula on that permanent school fund. It would increase the amount of money…

Kim Burningham: Legal action needed to avoid partisan State School Board elections

Tragically, Utah will–if something isn’t changed—select the State School Board through an unconstitutionally partisan election starting in 2018. Some may be surprised by this statement.  This year, the election is proceeding in an orderly non-partisan fashion to select members of the State School Board, but in a weird compromise fashioned by the State Legislature in the waning hours of the 2016 session, this is the last time the election will be non-partisan. The Legislature could remedy the ill-advised move, but I believe this is highly improbable.   The most certain and appropriate…

The Mero Moment: A Revolution in Education – June 23, 2016

It is time for a revolution in education in Utah. Yes, I know. Every few years a bunch of do-gooders comes along determined to fix everything that is wrong with education. When I talk about a revolution in education, I’m not talking about fleeting movements or technical fixes. I’m talking about fundamental changes to how we view education built upon truths we’ve already learned. The kind of revolution in education I’m talking about is like the American Revolution, not the Russian or French revolutions. I’m not talking about destroying all…