The Right to Ignorance
Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, is a comedian. There’s no other good explanation for wanting to end compulsory education in the state unless you also want to reinstate child labor and sweatshops. Those abysmal conditions were part of what prompted the first state compulsory-education law in 1852. We understand that it’s frustrating when parents don’t take an interest in their children’s education, but it’s no easy task to force their involvement. Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that there may not be two parents, or that they’re drug addicts, or simply trying to hold down two or three jobs. Let’s say they rely on public transportation and can’t cart their kids to a school on the other side of town. It does no one any good to send the kids home to an empty apartment or to wander the streets. And 134 countries call education a “fundamental right” for children.
Good try, Sen. Kraig Powell and Rep. Brian King, even if your legislative colleagues just didn’t get it. The bipartisan duo (Powell’s a Heber Republican and King is a Salt Lake City Democrat) are trying—again—to effect campaign reform by limiting, ever so delicately, the amount of money that people and organizations can give to candidates. They were trying to disperse the influence that money has on public officials. Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, feared for the loss of First Amendment rights, and Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, ponderously saw a connection to the feds “debasing” currency by printing lots of money. Powell likened his “Governing Under the Influence” bill to regulating alcohol, but in the end, legislators settled for a “discussion” rather than a vote.
Talk about getting a run on possible malfeasance! Utah’s state auditor, John Dougall, has announced a query of local education agencies (LEAs) even before their compliance deadline. In April, the state school board approved a new rule requiring school districts to adopt and implement policies on the management and use of public funds by September. The idea is to ensure accountability after recent football fundraising problems. But it’s apparently not enough that the state school board is requiring it. The state auditor has put LEAs on notice that the hunt will begin around April 2014. Utah has many other problems, not the least of which emanate from the Attorney General’s Office. That might be a good place for Dougall to focus his enthusiasm.