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Friday, September 07, 2007

Education in Utah: Historic Context for the Voucher Discussion

If you know your history,
Then you will know where you're coming from

- Bob Marley, Buffalo Soldier

The Sutherland Institute just published a striking analysis of education systems, reforms, and battles from early Utah settlement to now -- offering historic context for the voucher discussion. The Sutherland Institute has come down in favor of Utah's Voucher Program, as have we, but hasn't lost sight of the need to build community and work together.

This is most interesting forty pages I've read all month.

Here's the PDF.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Extremely interesting. As well as divisive and polarizing. The Sutherland Institute does a disturbingly subtle job of telling Utahns (read LDS) of their past of being persecuted and oppressed as a minority group by "outsiders" (read the rest of us.) Then after raising the emotion of righteous indignation, this tract refers to public education as a tool to "culturally cleanse" minority people. Voila, instant vote in favor of vouchers.
Very creepy and definitely not community building.

9/08/2007 12:36 PM  
Anonymous Voice of Utah said...

I'm leery of the objectivity / reliability of anything with which Paul Mero is associated, but this sounds interesting. I'll read it.

9/11/2007 9:18 AM  
Blogger The Senate Site said...

I'd like to hear your thoughts. My initial reaction is that this is an academic piece, not a religious statement or even necessarily pro-voucher (though that is the conclusion the author reaches).

I liked the nuggets mined from the past. No state in the union has lived through as wild and unique a history as Utah; I appreciate the perspective.

What I found most relevant, however, is how the essay highlights points of agreement and how humanity shines through the battle lines. We're reminded that divisiveness is nothing new to our state, but through the crucible of our history we have settled on some common values (see the "eight points of Agreement on page five and the part about Frances Burke on pages 38 & 39).

One of the core hopes of the Senate is that the voucher debate will be a policy discussion and not a silly bloody civil war. This essay reminds us not to lose the humanity in the midst of all the contention. That's helpful.


9/11/2007 7:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Republican Party is losing members because they confuse Mormonism with Republicanism. As a Gentile Republican in Utah for the past 35 years, it is hard for me to see the Mormons as an oppressed minority. What an insult to minorities in Utah who are oppressed.

Neither do I appreciate being told "No honest person who has studied the historical record of
Utahns prior to statehood could conclude anything other than
that they would have embraced what we now call vouchers".

Powerful and arrogant the Utah Republicans might be. Associating with arguments by assertion and historical presentism like this essay is just one more forecast of your weakening position. Utah is changing and the Republican party looks backward when we need the opposite.

9/17/2007 1:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice post Anon 1:36. Maybe its time for moderates to take back the Republican Party in Utah.

Please, moderates, if any of you are reading this, your constituents need you. Please stand firm against the Conservative Caucus, they're doing no one good but themselves.

Don't make us go Democrat.

9/17/2007 8:29 PM  
Anonymous Keep Private Schools Private said...

Dear friends, please vote NO on school vouchers!

The voucher system on the surface sounds like a good idea. Parents
would get money from the state of Utah to use on the school of their
choice. Sounds good right? After all shouldn't parents have the right
to choose which school to send their children to.

Of course parents should have this choice, but not at the expense of
the taxpayers. Many private schools discriminate against atheists and
homosexuals. Public schools are not allowed to, although it still happens. Sometimes students are kicked out of private schools
because of their beliefs or sexual orientation. Would you want to
fund a school that discriminates against Jews or Blacks? Me either.

Some religious schools teach that all non-Christians will burn and
suffer for eternity just because they do not believe in the right
religion. Some religious schools teach that evolution is a lie and
that creationism is science. People will argue that the school is
private therefore it is their right to teach such things. I agree,
but then don't make me and the countless other Utahans who don't want
to promote these messages fund it! It doesn't make sense to call a
school private and then give it public funding.

This voucher system that has been proposed is also contrary to Utah
's Constitution:

Article X,
Section 9. [Public aid to church schools forbidden.

Neither the state of Utah nor its political subdivisions may make any
appropriation for the direct support of any school or educational
institution controlled by any religious organization. .

Article X,
Section 1. [Free nonsectarian schools.]

The Legislature shall provide for the establishment and maintenance
of the state's education systems including: (a) a public education
system, which shall be open to all children of the state; and (b) a
higher education system. Both systems shall be free from sectarian
control. - my emphasis

Please vote NO on Vouchers and pass this message on to all your
friends in Utah. Thank you for taking the time to read this message.

9/27/2007 3:30 PM  

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