Education: Looking Toward our Future

We can’t draw a sharp line between education and economic development, and we can’t have one without the other. I am convinced there are only two ways for Utah to compete in today’s global economy: we can either be cheaper, or smarter. We must choose smarter. That is why education has to be job one.

I know Utahns care deeply about education – it is always one of our top priorities. But we know we will never have “enough” money. When it comes to our kids, there is never enough. At one time our state, while always low in per pupil spending because we have large families, spent a larger percentage of its total revenue on education than most other states, but we can no longer say that. My question is, “Why?” Have our priorities slowly changed? I hope not.

We must focus on improving student achievement and outcomes. We know that if we lose students academically by the third grade, we seldom get them back. Today, one out of five students is not reading at third grade level. It doesn’t get better! Right now, ONE OUT OF FIVE high school freshmen in Utah fail to graduate from high school. Are we okay with that? I know I am not. That is why education – efficient, innovative, and outcome-oriented education – will be one of my top priorities as your senator.

Education is truly the key toward economic prosperity and creating a career ready workforce. Through innovation and through investment we have an opportunity to prepare an educated workforce that creates enduring prosperity for our state.

Utah’s education challenges will be solved through innovative and disciplined planning and policy. We can encourage student achievement by engaging family involvement, strengthening professional development, empowering our students with technological and academic innovation, and supporting STEM (Science, Technology, Education and Math) initiatives.

As an advocate of education, I will continue to support higher education in this district. We must help more people complete certificate, associate and baccalaureate  programs at our colleges and universities. This is our key to developing a skilled, educated workforce that will drive the growth of our businesses and create higher paid job oppportunities to support our families and keep them in Utah.