By Margaret Dayton
Utah State Senator
In 1896 Congress passed the Enabling Act
that legally created the State of Utah. The wording included these words:
"The schools, colleges, and university provided for in this act shall forever remain under the exclusive control of said State . . . " (italics added).
There is wisdom in that concept and I've taken it to heart. These words were part of the justification used in the bills I filed resisting No Child Left Behind when it was first imposed on our state.
Exhaustive research from multitudinous organizations has documented the significant decrease in state and local control of public education under the provisions of NCLB. In response, Utah enacted legislation that acknowledges state provisions can supersede federal provision when the two are in conflict.
I believe old-fashioned federalism and governance are serious stewardships. Sometimes it's not what
we do but how
we do it and who
makes the decisions that make the long-term impact.
This urgency to maintain state and local control of education has given me some personal concern regarding the International Baccalaureate program which has been implemented in seven Utah high schools. While the IB program seems to answer an urgent need for rigor and challenge in high school curriculum, it also creates a concern with implementation of a program that is not administered in the state or even in the nation.
One of the questions the legislature needs to address is that of governance; are the benefits of a rigorous program justification for further loss of state control of public education? Can we do it better locally? Is the practice of routine international contracts in other areas of our culture justification for the public education system to enter in to such contractual agreements?
The Education Interim Committee
will take some time for this issue on Wednesday and I'll discuss it further here on the Senate Site.