Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert has quietly raised, once again, what may be the most important question concerning public schools in Utah — one that goes directly to what one former Democratic lawmaker once told me was the state’s “dirty little secret.”

It is: Who controls education in Utah?

I’ve asked this before — to candidates for governor, the Legislature and the State School Board. I’ve asked it of state school superintendents.

The answer I generally get adds up to everybody and nobody. They all make promises about education when running for office. Some of them control a piece of it. But the overall vision? Cue the crickets.

But now the governor has made a stab at changing that, although you have to look hard to find it.

Hidden in his budget proposal for 2021, on page 10 at the end of his recommendation to add $292 million more to public education, he proposes changing everything about how schools are governed.

Herbert “recommends that future governors receive the constitutional authority to appoint the State Board of Education so that the governor can both more directly influence student outcomes and be held accountable for achieving results in the largest state-funded program.”

Did you catch that? Right now, you get to pick your board representative on Election Day. Herbert wants the governor to do this for you. He also would like to appoint the state superintendent of education.

I asked him about this when he came to the Deseret News and KSL editorial boards to discuss his budget.

“I get asked about education wherever I go,” he said. “It is the No. 1 topic. ‘What are you doing about education?’ And I can say, ‘a lot,’ when it comes to higher education. I appoint the board of regents. I appoint the board …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News


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