State of the State Address (reported by Mike Kelley): In his final state-of-the-state address, Utah Governor Gary Herbert outlined the state’s accomplishments during his 10-plus years as governor. Regarding public education, he noted high school graduation rates improving by 11.4 percentage points and that Utah students score in the top 10 in almost every subject.
“All the energy and time we invest in supporting this economy will do very little if we do not put our children and their education first in every decision that we make,” said Gov. Herbert. “If want to plan for the future, if we want to plan for growth, we would be wise to invest directly in the people who will lead Utah in the future…our children. Throughout my time as governor, education has been my number one priority. I’ve often said that education is not all about the money, but it is some about the money.”
He went on to express appreciation for teachers. “I realize that providing the best possible education for our students is not only about the dollars spent but also about the people who are teaching our children. I have such deep respect for our teachers and for their dedication to our students. They have a hard job. They deserve our trust and support. They get the big picture.”
After recognizing Utah 2020 Teacher of the Year, Lauren Merkley, he said Utah must have a vision for an education system “that meets the individual needs of each and every student. A system unafraid of innovation, dedicated to equitable practices and filled with teachers expertly versed in both content and compassion.”
“We have everything it takes to achieve our goal of becoming the best education system in America,” he said. “We can achieve that goal by working together. By expressing gratitude and supporting the good work of our teachers and also by continuing to appropriately fund public and higher education. We also need to acknowledge the efforts of our parents, of our principals, of our superintendents, of our school board members and of our partners in the private sector. Let’s continue to commit right here and right now that as a state, when it comes to supporting education, we will settle for nothing less than an ‘A’ grade.”
House and Senate Floor (reported by Mike Kelley): The House and the Senate both found themselves in an unusual position when they met for scheduled floor time on Wednesday…no bills were available to discuss. Speaker Brad Wilson told the House that there are “large numbers” of bills in the process of being drafted, but the bill sponsors have not yet approved the them to be formally filed and numbered. In other words, despite what some are saying is a record number of bills to be considered this year, there was nothing for House and Senate members to do.