My parents were both school teachers in Utah. I know what it is like to be raised on a school teacher salary. I know of the frustrations that come with underfunded programs and large class sizes. That said, Utah has a higher per capita primary education demographic than any state, with 29.9% of its residents under the age of 18. Of course our per capita spending will be behind other states!
As a technology professional, I believe that I can promote quality legislation that will help Utah maximize its education resources. I will not purchase technology for the sake of technology (like buying iPads for every student in Utah…) but I will find ways to leverage technology that can reduce the cost of education and provide viable instruction enhancements.
I spoke to a school teacher in my district recently who expressed concern about the poor facility infrastructure in his building. His computer lab flooded and the water started a fire. Instead of proposing $200 Million to buy iPads for everyone, I would propose upgrades to facilities and find ways to reduce class sizes. My son’s elementary class has 33 children. Can you imagine how difficult it is to reach out to individuals in that classroom setting? We can and should be doing more.
I am a proponent of the educational philosophy put forth by Clayton Christensen (Disrupting Class) and would work to increase educational efficiency by promoting the principles of educational diversity that Dr. Christensen outlines. If elected, I will be a great advocate of primary and secondary education in our state. I believe that educating our rising generation is the greatest investment that our state government can make.
Many people wonder about public vs. charter schools. Research indicates that there are 7-10 distinct intelligence types and public school may not be conducive to everyone. In the event that a charter school can better cater to the specific educational or vocational needs of a student I am supportive. However, I am not supportive of creating elitist or competing charter schools that divert funding from the public school system. Let’s work on ways to improve education without draining and dividing it.
I would also like to explore ways to shift the cost of education to parents who choose to have large families. Perhaps an education tax can be applied to the number of dependents claimed on the income tax form that will be earmarked for education. I’ve spoken about this to people who don’t have children in the home who are very willing to support education but I think we should do more to encourage parents with large families (like mine, I have 5 children) to bear the burden of educational expenses.