Royce Van Tassell of the Utah Taxpayers Association aired his frustrations in a post on Facebook. “I so tire of those who cite statistical problems with studies showing positive correlation between choice and student achievement, but who ignore the obvious and well-known dearth of statistical evidence for a relationship between class size and student achievement.” By “choice,” he means public money for private schools. Reacting to a Deseret News op-ed, he was also dissing the idea that money equals success. Points well taken—few studies show class size makes a difference, and money spent in Utah has yielded almost no results. If it’s intuitive that fewer students help teachers teach, Utah needs to make it count.
Partisan Musical Chairs
There will be no more legislative tweeting from Holly on the Hill, since she’ll be tweeting from campaign headquarters instead. Holly Richardson was the latest of a slew of 10 Utah legislators to resign—or die—mid-term, leaving vacancies to be filled by the governor after the political party weighs in. While that’s just un-democratic, it’s also unavoidable, since the law prohibits legislators from raising funds during the session. Richardson, though, resigned to help former Republican Sen. Dan Liljenquist to take on U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch. This gives former Republican Rep. Craig Frank, who needs a good-paying job, a chance to regain his old seat. It’s all just partisan musical chairs with little public participation. The alternatives are to let lawmakers raise funds while in office—ouch—or change the law on vacancies to add expensive special elections. Or maybe we could expect some commitment from our legislators.
Who Represents You?
We have lots of commitment from candidates for Congress this year. That’s because we have a fourth congressional district now, and lots of politicians wanting to serve their country. But do they really want to serve their district, too? Rep. Jason Chaffetz started a trend in which candidates run in districts where they don’t live. Rep. Jim Matheson is doing it, too—running in the 4th District but living, we think, in the 2nd. At least six congressional candidates have announced for districts outside their residences. In this white, monotheistic state, it probably doesn’t matter who you represent—they all look like you. But the confusion over redistricting is widespread—the citizens don’t know where they are, and frankly, neither do the candidates, according to polls. So redistricting was basically a political sham.