With all the developments dealing with the immigration bill etc, I’ve let go of the voucher issue. I though it might not be a bad time for some catch up:
Court sets date to hear challenges on vouchers – The Utah Supreme Court will hear arguments from both sides of the school voucher debate on June 8.
Voucher mess: Even a referendum may not answer all questions – But what that referendum means and how it will impact schools remains shrouded under intense politics and the intricacies of making laws…The practical options boil down to two, and each has its drawbacks – leave it to the courts or come up with some legislative fix.
The Utah State Board of Education on Tuesday refused to implement a school voucher program using an incomplete version of state law creating the program, a move that could speed a Utah Supreme Court decision on vouchers but leave the board without legal counsel.State school board members ignored the advice of Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff in issuing an emergency order saying they cannot and should not implement a voucher program. Shurtleff says it means he can’t defend the board’s decision if someone challenges it in court.
Republican Rep. Sheryl Allen of Bountiful joined two other anti-voucher lawmakers [Republican Reps. Kory Holdaway and Steven Mascaro] in petitioning board members to approve the emergency order…
Opponents of the decision repeated Shurtleff’s concern that the board couldn’t issue an emergency order because it couldn’t prove that ”an immediate and significant danger to the public health, safety, or welfare exists,” as required in Utah code.
“When the Legislature passes a law, you obey the law even when it’s difficult,” said Bill Colbert, a board member from Draper. “I hope the people doing this can quantify who will be harmed that we need to take immediate action.”
Not overly shocking, really. They will not give up power without a fight. This is reminiscent of the U of U implementing it’s own gun ban despite the law (willfully ignored the law about concealed carry permits). The U of U lost. I’m hoping for a similar outcome here.
It should be noted that Kim Burningham (chairman) is a spokesman and founder for the voucher opposition group (see also here). No, he did not declare a conflict of interest and recuse himself, he voted for the measure to block voucher issuance.
I firmly believe parents are much more competent in deciding on the best educational resources for their children. I still remember the UEA (teacher’s union) and the government educational establishment opposing vouchers for autistic children (Carson-Smith bill) to go to specialized schools. I also feel that the referendum (if it goes ahead) will fail – believe it or not, I think the Utahns will want to give parents (especially mid to low income) full choice in their child’s education (and, yes, most will choose public ed) . That hangs on the assumption that voucher proponents do a half decent job of informing the public on the opportunity and sound principles of freedom and self-governance this rests.
I’ll stop there. I’ve previously talked about this in my response to an opinion by Burningham: Education: Nanny State Knows Best? (Note: a special fund was established that leaves ALL, not just half, the money with the school if a student is placed in a private school).
Here’s how the board voted:
Yes: Teresa Theurer of Logan (District 1), Greg Haws of Hooper (District 2), Kim Burningham of Bountiful (District 5), Michael Jensen of West Valley City (District 6), Randall Mackey of Salt Lake City (District 7), Janet Cannon of Salt Lake City (District 8), Denis Morrill of Taylorsville (District 9), Laurel Brown of Murray (District 10), Dixie Allen of Vernal (District 14), Debra Roberts of Beaver (District 15)
No: Richard Moss of Santaquin (District 3), Bill Colbert of Draper (District 11), Mark Cluff of Alpine (District 12), Tom Gregory of Provo (District 13)
Absent:Richard Sadler of Ogden (District 4)