“It won’t be a giant bureaucracy or a federal department. Nope. The answer isn’t bigger government. The answer is local control.”  -Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos, Michigan, 2016

I believe what was stated by the US Education Secretary, that local control is the best solution for a bloated federal education bureaucracy, is true. Utah knows how to run its own education system. Utah should be left to itself to provide a system of education delivery based on its own, already high standards. Washington is far removed from the needs of our children.

The US Constitution has no provision in it that allows the federal government to provide for a national department of education that sets onerous compliance standards, and unfunded mandates. It is a State’s right to provide the oversight necessary to educate our 654,565+ students K-12, and a parent’s right to make sure their child has access to the best possible educational system for their child’s needs.

Educational options work for my family. We choose to have our children educated in the public school arena. Alia and I have used traditional public schools to provide the best fit for each of our children’s learning style, but I recognize that public schools may not work for everyone and parents should have other choices. For a number of years now, Dale, our 12-year old, has been at Wasatch Elementary School in Provo, involved in its Chinese Immersion program—it’s a perfect fit for him.  We applaud charter schoolers, homeschoolers and private schoolers. And, we applaud and respect our hardworking educators. Recently, I received the “Legislator of the Year Award” from one of Utah’s charter school associations.

Common Core. Common Core standards hurt our children, and that is why I have been a leader in 10th Amendment and state sovereignty movements here in Utah.  Common Core undervalues parental and local control. Centralized educational programs are a bad idea and no data shows that there is a benefit to having national standards, in-lieu of state standards. Decisions of its implementation were made without proper procedural input from state legislatures and the States’ offices of education. There is no Constitutional authority for the U.S. Department of Education to be implementing a federal program for education. In fact, the U.S. Department of Education in and of itself was unconstitutionally created. Most Common Core standards are weaker than Utah’s already existent core standards. “Instruction-based” standards of Common Core have no track record of effectiveness in raising student achievement. In fact, studies show the opposite. Common Core standards “dumb down” students, by removing English class literature requirements, proven to boost all English learning skills. Through Common Core assessments, personal student data collected may be used to compromise personal privacy rights. Common Core costs big money. Implementation costs of Common Core hit the taxpayer hard—up to $15 billion across the U.S. Some states have seen a decline in student achievement since implementation of Common Core standards. Common Core teaching and assessment has encumbered the classroom with technical problems, reducing the amount of effective instructional time for teachers and students. And, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Sex Education. Sex education is primarily the responsibility of a student’s parent or guardian. If permission from a parent is obtained, students may receive parentally approved sex education instruction in the classroom. Public schools should not teach promiscuity in any form.

School Trust Lands (SITLA). Trust lands should be managed wisely and provide revenue for the direct use of our school children for academic programs and purposes. That being said, all trust lands should be under the management of our state, and not under the detached bureaucracy of Washington DC. (Payment In-Lieu of Taxes [PILT] monies remitted to the state, are not commensurate with the revenues we could be getting if public land was under the management of Utah.).