If you’re an educator—or a legislator—maybe you get it. But the public is just bewildered by all the assessment tools we have for K-12 students. Let’s see: The state just got a waiver on some parts of No Child Left Behind, meaning no more Adequate Yearly Progress, but a new Utah Comprehensive Accountability System. Of course, conservatives think it’s an evil plot to make them accept the Common Core—a federal plan to create educational standards, which states can opt into. Because there is no trust of the feds here, the Legislature—the one that believes in less government—has created a host of its own assessment tools: Utah Performance Assessment System for Students, Utah Basic Skills Competency Test, Core Curriculum criterion-referenced test … well, you get the idea.
Kicking the Habit
Thanks, Los Angeles, for trying to wean yourself—and us—from the coal habit. The city wants to move away from coal power to natural gas and renewables, and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wants to be done with coal entirely by 2020. Los Angeles’ decisions affect Utah through its ties to the Intermountain Power Project, which supplies a quarter of the city’s power and draws from the controversial Alton mine in Kane County. California, concerned about climate change, won’t allow Los Angeles to renew its contract with IPA when it expires in 2027. Despite Kane’s angst over all this, it looks like the mine will have to convert to natural gas. And better yet, Los Angeles is investing in Utah’s renewable energy sources.
Not the Man for the Job
Pay attention, Utah voters! Can you tell us what you’re thinking when, on one hand, you come out in force against House Bill 477, the bill that would have restricted public access to government records, except that it got repealed? Yes, that was way back in 2011, and we know your memory is failing. But hey, the guy who proposed that bill is Rep. John Dougall, R-American Fork, who decided to give up his District 27 seat and run for state auditor after causing all that public anguish. He has an MBA and no CPA, but what the heck? Republicans recently routed the Salt Lake County auditor, too, and replaced him with an attorney. The state auditor, Auston Johnson, had been around for 17 years, and had a track record of politically difficult, yet independent, audits. So, you kicked him out.