State of Utah Archives: on Education

Allen Glines: Gradually lower tuition, allow student loan forgiveness

Source: 2021 Utah Senate campaign website Jul 21, 2021

Spencer Cox: Change the way we fund schools, what's best for entire state

Education has always been called the great equalizer, but it can't be that way if our kids are not treated equally. It means changing the way we fund schools. It means challenging some of our long-held assumptions and setting aside what may be good for your own individual school and district to instead support the best interests of the entire state. The best way we can bring to life the American promise is to make sure that every single child has the same opportunity as every other child.
Source: 2021 State of the State Address to the Utah legislature Jan 21, 2021

Chris Peterson: Pre-K, K-12, and trade schools need more public investment

As a product of Utah public schools and universities, Chris believes in the importance of quality education. Due to a lack of education funding from state legislators, teachers and students have been stretched thin.ˇUtah's kids deserve dedicated teachers, smaller class sizes, and more mental health and career building services. Chris will also work to expand public pre-k programs, more affordable trade school and community college, and loan forgiveness for public school teachers and farmers.
Source: 2020 Utah governor website Oct 9, 2020

Greg Hughes: For charter schools, parental choice, more local control

Throughout his legislative career, Greg Hughes has been a leader for education reform, fighting for more local control, parental choice, charter schools and increased innovation in education delivery and education funding. He has also consistently fought back against federal encroachment in our education system.
Source: 2020 Utah gubernatorial campaign website Apr 15, 2020

Aimee Winder Newton: No one-size-fits-all program; let parents choose

Every child deserves a high quality education. Each student is different and there should never be a one-size-fits-all program for our kids. I will advocate for changes to how we measure schools, improve ways to track student growth, incentivize high-performing teachers, and focus on policies that bring in more quality teachers to fill the teacher shortage. I will continue to support the rights of parents to choose the best education for their child, whether they attend a school in a school district, charter school, private school, online school or homeschool. The federal government should not be involved in education decisions in Utah, and I oppose any efforts to usurp local control.
Source: on 2020 Utah gubernatorial race Apr 4, 2020

Jeff Burningham: Education should be free from federal influence

Parents and teachers know best what each child needs. It's time to empower parents to choose the best education path for their child and unshackle teachers from top-down mandates so they can do what they do best: teach. Education should be handled at the state and local level and should be free from federal influence.
Source: 2020 Utah gubernatorial campaign website Jan 6, 2020

Jeff Burningham: Old industrial age education not prepared for new economy

Burningham said, "We need to trust our teachers that they know and parents that they know what's best for their children. I fear that there's a mismatch between how we're educating our children and the jobs that actually exist and are coming. Like I said, we're in this old industrial age education complex, but we're in a new economy." Burningham said the current educational system tends to focus on things like checking boxes, memorizing facts and jumping through hoops.
Source: on 2020 Utah gubernatorial race Sep 16, 2019

Rebecca Holcombe: Resigned as secretary of education over voucher proposal

Holcombe suggested that one reason she left as secretary of education was Governor Scott's determination to "eliminate local control of our schools" and replace it with "a statewide voucher plan that would pull millions out of our public schools--and give that money to private schools that mostly benefit privileged Vermonters." She added, "That's not who I am. I don't think that's fair. And, you know, I had to leave."

Holcombe appeared to be referring to a draft policy memo completed nine months after her departure by her successor, Education Secretary Dan French. It envisioned breaking down the state's school districts into one and affording public and private school choice to all students. As soon as that document became public in January, Scott distanced himself from it. "I don't think we're ready for anything like that at this point," he told Vermont Public Radio at the time. According to a Scott spokesperson, the governor has never advocated a statewide voucher system.

Source: Seven Days e-zine on 2020 Utah Gubernatorial race Jul 16, 2019

Spencer Cox: Provide opportunities to attend technical schools

He described what he sees as a need to boost education for youngsters as well as people who are "not finding their place in the economy." He said there should be opportunities for young Utahns who are not attending universities to enroll in technical schools, giving them the chance to quickly become "retooled in their skills" to position themselves for the workforce.
Source: Summit County Park Record on 2020 Utah gubernatorial race Jun 4, 2019

Gary Herbert: Invest $1B in schools & $30M in counseling

There is no better investment we can make than in our students. That's why we set a five-year goal to invest an additional $1 billion into public education, and $275 million into post-secondary education by the year 2021. We can help students who are at risk of academic failure and keep our schools safe by investing $30 million into counseling and mental health services. We can also put over $100 million into upgrading facilities, two-thirds of which should go in to school safety improvements.
Source: 2019 State of the State address to the Utah legislature Jan 30, 2019

Gary Herbert: Teach students the value of capitalism instead of socialism

I would like every student to have a better understanding of basic free market economics. I have been disturbed by some of the rising generation's fascination with socialism. I support [the] bill to strengthen the curriculum in our required financial literacy course to include instruction on the core economic principles that have given us our freedom and our prosperity. It is imperative that [they] understand the basic economic principles of free-market capitalism that have made America great.
Source: 2019 State of the State address to the Utah legislature Jan 30, 2019

Craig Bowden: Vouchers are a good step towardending public schools

Q: Do you agree or disagree with the statement, "Vouchers for school choice"?

A: My ultimate position is to end public schooling, but this would be an interim step toward greater choice.

Source: OnTheIssues interview of 2018 Utah Senate candidate Feb 28, 2018

Danny Drew: Public schools should meet unique needs of disabled kids

Drew explained that a DeVos-funded PACs emptied their pockets to support a voucher program in Utah. [Former Governor Jon] Huntsman then had no problem in 2007 signing into law in the Parent Choice in Education Act, which was overturned by voters.

Drew's son needed unique schooling opportunities, but private schools were not affordable. Drew was upset when DeVos, in her Senate confirmation hearings, didn't know what the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was.

Source: Good Men Project on 2018 Utah Senatorial race Jun 21, 2017

Jon Huntsman: 2007: signed the Parent Choice in Education Act

[Gubernatorial candidate Danny] Drew explained that a DeVos-funded PACs emptied their pockets to support a voucher program in Utah. Huntsman then had no problem in 2007 signing into law in the Parent Choice in Education Act, which was overturned by voter Drew's son needed unique schooling opportunities, but private schools were not affordable. Drew was upset when DeVos, in her Senate confirmation hearings, didn't know what the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was.
Source: Good Men Project on 2018 Utah Senatorial race Jun 21, 2017

Danny Drew: School choice means re-segregation in some states

In Utah, school choice means strengthening our public education options; in some areas of the country, it can serve as a means of re-segregation public institutions. Historically Black colleges were indeed founded as a work around against restrictive Jim-Crow laws. Lack of equal opportunity is still a sad fact in much of our great nation. pushing a nationwide school choice initiative takes away our local control. Secretary Devos' plan will result in a tiered system of various levels that will result in an inequity for our children.
Source: 2018 Utah Senatorial campaign website Feb 28, 2017

Danny Drew: Local school choice, free from corporate influence

As Utahns we should instead fight to preserve our meritocracy by showing a commitment to all children, and work to develop solutions that strengthen public education. This is why I support giving local municipalities the control to select educational options appropriate for their children, free from corporate influence. In Utah, that solution should include more flexibility of choice; in other areas their solutions should be locally appropriate.
Source: 2018 Utah Senatorial campaign website Feb 28, 2017

Mike Rounds: Voted for to confirm Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education

Senator Mike Rounds will not be swayed by Senate Democrats and constituents looking to derail the nomination of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education. Rounds' office released the following statement: "He intends to support the nomination of Betsy DeVos because she understands the need to keep education decisions at the local level: with parents, teachers, school boards and students."
Source: Argus Leader on 2020 Soutah Dakota Senate race Feb 6, 2017

Jon Huntsman: 2007: statewide vouchers, "Parent Choice in Education Act

In 2007, Jon Huntsman Jr., then the governor of Utah, signed a statewide school voucher program into law. The "Parent Choice in Education Act" enabled all children in the state to access a scholarship to attend any private school of their choosing.

Opponents of school choice decry the use of public money to fund private schools. There is a wrinkle: the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment and, more specifically for Missourians, the Blaine Amendment to the Missouri Constitution, which stipulates that "no money shall ever be taken from the public treasury, directly or indirectly, in aid of any church, sect or denomination of religion."

In 2002, the Supreme Court ruled that excluding religious institutions from school choice programs and funding amounted to discrimination. The court is currently weighing a challenge to Missouri's Blaine Amendment. Newly inaugurated Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley insists, "Blaine Amendments cannot be allowed to trump the First Amendment."

Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch on 2018 Utah Senate race Jan 20, 2017

Mike Weinholtz: Increase school funding for K-12, more than 3%

Education is the key to a stronger economy and a bright future for our children, but we are dead last in K-12 per-pupil funding. As governor, I will work to increase school funding for K-12 and higher education, better prepare our students for college and careers, and close the achievement gap. The governor and legislature will pat themselves on the back for a 3% bump in K-12 education funding this past session, but this is not nearly enough to give our students and educators the resources they need to succeed and still doesn't return funding to pre-recession levels. Our K-12 funds have been cut in two key ways. First, in 1996, the state constitution was amended to allow funds previously designated for K-12 education to also go to higher education. Second, the change from a progressive state income tax to a flat tax further cut funds for education. Now, Utah is dead last in the nation for per-pupil spending, putting our children at an unfair and harmful disadvantage.
Source: 2016 Utah gubernatorial campaign website Jun 17, 2016

Mike Weinholtz: Promote trade schools; more publicly-funded college

It is becoming harder for many to receive a post-high school education. Three out of every four high school graduates were not ready for entry-level college courses. Public funding has dropped, which has raised tuition to the point where many can't afford to go to college. Those that do are burdened with student debt and delay buying homes & starting families after graduation.
Source: 2016 Utah gubernatorial campaign website Jun 17, 2016

Vaughn Cook: Boost school funding & reduce class size

Vowing to boost school funding and reduce Republicans' clout, Utah County businessman Vaughn R. Cook has formally launched his Democratic bid for Utah governor.

Beyond more public spending, Cook called for greater involvement in public schools by the private sector and senior citizens, as well as innovative thinking on ways to improve the quality of education.

"We talk about reducing class size--and I believe there is an optimum class size--but it might be smarter to put two teachers in the class," Cook said. "It would save a lot of money if we don't have to build that added infrastructure."

Source: Salt Lake Tribune on 2016 Utah Gubernatorial race Mar 1, 2016

Jonathan Johnson: Common Core runs counter to family & local control

I oppose Common Core. It runs counter to the conservative principle that small government, local control and family based decisions work best. Currently, Utah has adopted the Common Core Standards. As governor I will work to end it and reverse the trend of giving up our decision making power to D.C. and return control to local districts and parents.
Source: 2016 Utah Gubernatorial campaign website, Dec 10, 2015

Jonathan Swinton: Reduce size of federal Dept. of Ed.; shift to local schools

Our children are the greatest future asset we have. Investing in them is key to their development and our future as a country. 74% of Utahns want us to provide more financial support to public education, yet, the Republican State legislature continues to balk at providing more support to our kids and teachers, and the Federal government provides insufficient support and is too involved in our schools. Here is how we can do it:
  1. Increase Education Funding Support From Federal Government: We need to shift the use of more Federal tax dollars toward supporting education.
  2. Let Local Educators Determine What To Do With Federal Dollars: The people that best know what is needed for our children is their teachers, schools, and districts.
  3. R
    Source: 2016 Utah Senate campaign website, Oct 9, 2015

    Gary Herbert: Collaborate to rewrite No Child Left Behind

    Utah's state school board will not call for federal legislation to identify state governors as key partners in education. In a split 7-7 vote, the board rejected a request from Herbert's office to sign a letter supporting amendments to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which would require the governor's signature on plans for spending federal education dollars in Utah. The letter and amendments are being pushed by the NGA as a means of strengthening collaboration between state leaders as federal legislators work to rewrite the controversial No Child Left Behind Act.

    The board Chairman suggested Utah's education governance is better managed through local legislation or a popular vote, rather than forced on the state from Washington. After the vote, Herbert's education adviser acknowledged the rewrite of ESEA and No Child Left Behind is a moving target, but said the governor's office would continue to push for strengthened relationships with or without the board.

    Source: Salt Lake Tribune on 2016 Utah gubernatorial race Jun 19, 2015

    Mia Love: Local & parental control over schools, not federal

    As a mother with three children enrolled in public schools, education is extremely important to me. American families want better quality education, lower education costs, and more local control over decisions related to education. In recent years the US Department of Education has expanded the federal role in education to unprecedented levels. Utah--not the federal government--knows what is best for Utah's student. I trust Utah teachers & parents over Washington bureaucrats. These are my proposals to address the problems surrounding education:
    Source: 2014 Utah House campaign website, Aug 8, 2014

    Gary Herbert: Increase funding for applied technology colleges

    Last year, we united behind a commitment to education. We provided for 12,500 new students, we increased per pupil spending, we covered the increased cost of healthcare for our teachers, we invested millions in enhanced individualized instruction and help for at-risk children, and we put millions more in higher education, including our applied technology colleges.

    Education is the largest and most important investment Utah makes. While we recognize that money isn't everything, we should still take note--that while so many states face shrinking budgets and bleak forecasts, Utah has the means, the vision, and the commitment to rank education as its top priority. The proof of that investment is unmistakable. The national average Advanced Placement test score is 2.84. Utah's is 3.1. More than 27,000 students prepare for college through concurrent enrollment, and compared to other states with a high percentage of students taking the ACT, Utah ranks second in our test scores.

    Source: 2013 State of the State Address to Utah Legislature Jan 30, 2013

    Gary Herbert: Fervently committed $40M to STEM education

    We must remain fervently committed to STEM--science, technology, engineering and math education. As we discuss the future of STEM, the watchword is alignment--workforce alignment. Nothing matters more than preparing our children to face the new, interdependent global economy. So this year I propose we invest $20 million for STEM education. Eight state institutions of higher learning are reprioritizing their budgets to match that funding dollar for dollar. That's a full $40 million for STEM programs to make Utah's future workforce the smartest, most skilled, and most innovative workforce this nation has ever seen.
    Source: 2013 State of the State Address to Utah Legislature Jan 30, 2013

    Mia Love: Disbanding the federal Department of Education

    Love's proposed budget cuts would sap more than $100 million in federal funds to public education in Utah, including more than $38 million in special-education grants; nearly $21 million in grants to low-income Title I schools; and millions more for other programs.

    Love has previously proposed disbanding the U.S. Department of Education and turning programs over to the states. How much would Mia Love's budget save?

    Source: Robert Gehrke in Salt Lake Tribune (Utah), "Million/billion" Sep 6, 2012

    Dan Liljenquist: Let parents pick home, private, charter, or public

    There is no role for the federal government in education. When the federal Department of Education was created in 1979, it took education out of the hands of families and the states and moved it to Washington, attempting to create a one-size-fits-all program.

    Parents should have the right to decide which educational option is best for them. Parents should have the ability to select how and where their child is educated, whether that be home, private, neighborhood charter schools or public schools.

    Source: 2012 Senate campaign website, May 24, 2012

    Gary Herbert: Continue to increase funding for public schools

    Utah has long been committed to funding our public schools, our colleges and universities, and our technical institutions. In fact, few states in the country spend as much of their overall budgets on education as we do. Our unique demographics--which is a way of saying we have larger families--mean we must continue to increase funding to maintain and enhance the solid education and training our students receive. I cannot say enough about the importance of supporting public education.
    Source: Utah 2010 State of the State Address Jan 26, 2010

    Jon Huntsman: UCAT system: technical college for industry needs

    Workforce demands in quantitative skills continue to increase; yet, our workforce preparation is inadequate. We can and must do better in embracing our knowledge-based economy.

    The Utah College of Applied Technology was created to be responsive to industry and meet the demands of a growing technical workforce. While there are still issues to be ironed out, but we all agree on the goal: a UCAT system that is more responsive to real-time business needs and is more accessible to Utah's students.

    Source: Utah 2009 State of the State address Jan 27, 2009

    Jon Huntsman: Early learning is critical; so are languages & math

    Early childhood learning is critical for their long-term success, quality of life and our state's competitive edge in attracting world-class jobs. Early results indicate kindergarten students are 6 times better prepared for a successful first grade experience if they attended full-day kindergarten.

    We are leading the nation in educating our kids in 21st century languages like Chinese and Arabic. So, to the thousands of students studying Mandarin Chinese I say: Gongx gongx. "Congratulations!"

    Yet, our kids' literacy in these critical foreign languages must be matched by their mastery of numbers, an area that is in need of strengthening. We must keep pace. Through additional emphasis and reprioritizing, I have asked both public and higher ed to make this year the "Year of Math."

    Source: Utah 2009 State of the State address Jan 27, 2009

    Jon Huntsman: To produce first-rate students, pay for first-rate teachers

    Our strong economy now allows us the opportunity to fortify our foundations for the future. These foundations--which include education, the economy, quality of life, and governance--each has a set of reinforcing fundamentals. The first foundation is education.

    When I speak of focusing on our fundamentals, I speak of teacher compensation. Teaching must be reinforced as being among the most noble of pursuits. We must compensate fairly those who inspire our next generation of Utahns. If we hope to produce first-rate students, we must have first-rate teachers.

    Educational excellence begins with the recruitment, retention and commitment of teachers who are passionate about educating our youth--the only future we have. I refuse to stand by idly as we lose good educators to other states in our region. Together with my colleagues in the legislature, we have made significant strides in bolstering education the last two years. We can do more. We must do more.

    Source: Utah 2007 State of the State address Jan 16, 2007

    Jon Huntsman: School choice & competition is healthy for public schools

    School choice is a top priority. The Special Needs Scholarship Bill should be passed, including broader student categories & participation. This legislation will provide a marketplace test for tuition tax credits to assess the impact of education choice on Utah schools.

    We must be mindful that 97% of Utahís students are enrolled in public schools. Itís imperative that we keep them strong. Competition is healthy and certainly does not exclude mutually beneficial dialogue that shares ideas, techniques % problem solving tools to improve our childrenís education. Failure to attempt improvement in education through market forces means that we are not striving to improve our childrenís opportunities for learning.

    Partnerships between public education and the business community are beneficial and should be strengthened as a potential source of revenue. The private sector has developed and continues to develop practices and methods applicable to education, which can be shared with educators and parents.

    Source: Gubernatorial website, Nov 11, 2006

    Mike Leavitt: Emphasize market relevance in state colleges

    Our education emphasis can not stop in our primary grades. All Utahns need access to higher education. We are expanding our system of branch campuses, and increasing the velocity of our entire system. I have challenged the Board of Regents to reduce the time students take to get a 4-year degree to 4-years. We also need to double in five years and triple in eight years the number of engineering, computer science and tech graduates in Utah universities, colleges and applied technology centers.

    Let this be the beginning of a new emphasis on market relevance in the allocation of resources at our colleges and universities. I have proposed an aggressive building program to add the physical capacity on our campuses, and funding to assure we have qualified faculty and up-to-date equipment. We need 15,000 engineering and computer science students by 2005.Our economic future depends on it.

    Source: 2001 State of the State address to the Utah legislature Jan 16, 2001

    Mike Leavitt: 14.8% increase in funding for public education

    Education and economic expansion have never been closer allies. For that reason, I have proposed a four-year education improvement plan starting this year with a giant step forward in funding, 14.8%. The plan calls for more textbooks, class size reduction and paying teachers equivalent with other professionals.
    Source: 2001 State of the State address to the Utah legislature Jan 16, 2001

    Mike Leavitt: U-PASS: Accountability and skills testing in every grade

    By the end of next year, we will have put into operation our accountability system, U-PASS. Students will be tested continually to assure they are learning the necessary skills, especially in reading. Every child will read at grade level, or we will provide extra help until they do. Special consideration needs to be given to the progress of our ethnic minority students. We are losing too many of them.
    Source: 2001 State of the State address to the Utah legislature Jan 16, 2001

    • The above quotations are from State of Utah Politicians: Archives.
    • Click here for definitions & background information on Education.
    • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
    2020 Presidential contenders on Education:
      Democrats running for President:
    Sen.Michael Bennet (D-CO)
    V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
    Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I-NYC)
    Gov.Steve Bullock (D-MT)
    Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-IN)
    Sen.Cory Booker (D-NJ)
    Secy.Julian Castro (D-TX)
    Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
    Rep.John Delaney (D-MD)
    Rep.Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI)
    Sen.Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
    Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA)
    Sen.Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
    CEO Tom Steyer (D-CA)
    Sen.Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
    Marianne Williamson (D-CA)
    CEO Andrew Yang (D-NY)

    2020 Third Party Candidates:
    Rep.Justin Amash (L-MI)
    CEO Don Blankenship (C-WV)
    Gov.Lincoln Chafee (L-RI)
    Howie Hawkins (G-NY)
    Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
    Howard Schultz(I-WA)
    Gov.Jesse Ventura (I-MN)
    Republicans running for President:
    Sen.Ted Cruz(R-TX)
    Gov.Larry Hogan (R-MD)
    Gov.John Kasich(R-OH)
    V.P.Mike Pence(R-IN)
    Gov.Mark Sanford (R-SC)
    Pres.Donald Trump(R-NY)
    Rep.Joe Walsh (R-IL)
    Gov.Bill Weld(R-MA & L-NY)

    2020 Withdrawn Democratic Candidates:
    Sen.Stacey Abrams (D-GA)
    Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-NYC)
    Sen.Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
    Sen.Mike Gravel (D-AK)
    Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
    Gov.John Hickenlooper (D-CO)
    Gov.Jay Inslee (D-WA)
    Mayor Wayne Messam (D-FL)
    Rep.Seth Moulton (D-MA)
    Rep.Beto O`Rourke (D-TX)
    Rep.Tim Ryan (D-CA)
    Adm.Joe Sestak (D-PA)
    Rep.Eric Swalwell (D-CA)
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    Page last updated: Oct 14, 2021