Utah should go big

 

Barack Obama
The President could not have been more wrong in his remarks yesterday to the nation's governors on the subject of school teachers.
Photo by jamesomalley.

The Utah
legislature is considering a big move toward student-based
state funding of secondary education
, allowing students to apply public
dollars not only to a variety of public secondary options, but to college
courses as well.

Students could
choose to spend that money to attend public schools, including charter schools;
take public school online classes; and/or pay for courses offered by public and
certain private, nonprofit Utah
colleges. School districts and other providers would determine how much to
charge for classes and that amount would be deducted from student accounts.
Students could use any money left in their accounts after high school to
continue their educations.

Providing secondary education services is becoming an
increasingly complex proposition, as students add community college courses to
their workload, explore virtual education options for foreign languages and
advanced math and science content, and often try to take advantage of work or
vocational ed opportunities.

The bill is currently in committee, and lawmakers may scale
the program back to a pilot. Utah
has quietly done some very bold things to stretch the education dollar in
recent years. Sen. Dan Liljenquist's 2010 pension reform plan
set the stage for proposals in a number of other states. We here at Fordham
think Utah
should keep going big: Give parents statewide the opportunity to spend their
high-school dollars effectively to prepare their kids for work or college.

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