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Letter: With our national scores falling, it is about time we fix education

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 16 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

Prior to Herbert taking office, Utah's fourth graders scored above the national average for 15 straight years. Since taking office, our national advantage on this predictive indicator has dissipated entirely.

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Many Gov. Gary Herbert supporters are using a famous adage to justify their voting choice: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." They refer to economic indicators that have remained strong through the economic downturn.

However positive, we should consider these data points as lagging indicators, because they are best at measuring the impact of the decisions of past administrations. Predictive indicators, on the other hand, are much more indicative of a current administration's efforts to take a long-term approach to policy making.

Utah's most important predictive indicator is the state of our education system; the quality of Utah's graduates will determine the quality of our future workforce. Prior to Herbert taking office, Utah's fourth graders scored above the national average for 15 straight years. Since taking office, our national advantage on this predictive indicator has dissipated entirely.

I'm voting for Peter Cooke for reasons that align with an equally powerful adage: "Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results." Cooke represents a changing of the guard and will bring much needed focus on retooling our education system.

We need different results for our children — in other words, it is broken, so let's fix it.

Trent E. Kaufman

Murray

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