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…

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…

What an education savings account can do for your student

By Christine Cooke Each student has unique educational needs. Students, parents and teachers know this, but our school system doesn’t always reflect it. Wouldn’t it be nice if parents could customize education to fit the unique needs of each student? Starting in 2011, some states have implemented a funding mechanism to help customize education—these are called education savings accounts. Education savings accounts are publicly funded accounts that parents can access in order to pay for a variety of educational choices. For instance, based on the needs or interest of their…

Transgender trash talk

The Obama Administration’s obsession with social engineering combined with federal intrusiveness in local affairs has reached epic proportions. In a letter to school districts across the country the administration issued guidance this past Friday directing public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms matching their gender identity. A joint letter from the Departments of Education and Justice went to schools with guidelines to ensure that “transgender students enjoy a supportive and nondiscriminatory school environment.” The sweeping declaration — which also said that school districts must integrate transgender students into…

The Liberals’ American makeover

It seems that the liberal transformation of America is almost complete. Conservatism is under attack at every turn. The powerful combination of political office, media control and domination of educational institutions is now bearing fruit on a new and impressionable generation of Sanders loving socialists. This is most clearly manifest at this pleasant time of year when college graduates line up to toss their caps in various convocations across the country. In a recent New York Times article by Nicolas Kristof we discover that liberal speakers at convocations outnumber conservative…

Why the silence on education?

By Christine Cooke Have you noticed what’s missing from this presidential election cycle? It’s not social media wars, parody, physical assaults, or other drama. It’s a substantial discussion of education. In January one Slate writer wrote, “None of the [2016 presidential] candidates are talking about education. Like, at all.” The head of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools noted, “Candidates on both sides of the aisle have said distressingly little about K-12 education.” The observation seems to be a fair characterization. Education doesn’t seem to be the biggest issue…

Out with the baby, or just with the bathwater? Now that Governor Herbert won’t assemble a USBE nomination committee, what next?

Due to a 2014 court case, Governor Gary Herbert won’t be putting together a state board of education recruiting and nomination committee this year, even though it’s required by law. Under Utah law, the governor is required to assemble a committee for the purpose of recruiting and preparing a list of candidates for the Utah State Board of Education (USBE). The committee narrows down the candidates (after recruiting and reviewing applications), then, sends to the governor a list of at least three of the candidates for the USBE, along with pertinent…

The end of an era: George Wythe University finds a safe landing

George Wythe University is a school that used to operate out of Cedar City, made claims of moving to Monticello and now has a Salt Lake City home. Although I was never a student there, we toyed with having our son attend – until he interviewed with Shanon Brooks and Oliver DeMille. We quickly realized he would not be considered a “cool kid,” the school was way more of a “good old boys club” than we were comfortable with and there were some academic questions we could not get answered.…

Polling on the professionalization of public education and the end of tenure

Updated 9.30.2015 at 2:40 PM. Since originally posting this, Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, president of the Utah Education Association, has noted that Utah teachers don’t have tenure. This piece does not say that Utah teachers have tenure, does not mention Utah education policy, is categorized as “national interest” and is based on a national poll. However, in the interest of clarity–Utah teachers do not have tenure. As one comment notes below, they “have due process rights after completing a three year probationary status. In other words, they are not at will employees…

Rep. Jeremy Peterson: Spending your tax dollars on education

The Utah Taxpayer Association recently published data on Utah’s 41 school districts and how they spent tax dollars for the last fiscal year. Here is their report: 2015 Utah School Spending Report – Utah Taxpayer Association There is some really interesting information in this report.  I wanted to take a look at Ogden and Weber School Districts specifically to see how they compared to the state average.  Here are some charts I created from the data:   Let’s take a look at spending per student in various categories.  Instruction costs…