John Florez: So which kids are worth saving?


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  • Rae M. Bountiful , UT
    July 29, 2013 12:23 a.m.

    Home-schooling is not always the best situation. I know of many negative experiences with students who were home-schooled. They don't learn social skills as well as in public schools.

  • Rae M. Bountiful , UT
    July 29, 2013 12:00 a.m.

    Is home schooling really the answer? Do students really learn social skills there? I wonder what studies would show, because a friend and I recently had to work with a child who was horribly unskilled socially. He was arrogant and discourteous and none of the other children liked him. When asked to speak in front of everyone he didn't stand for about a minute. Then he blew into the microphone before finally doing as asked.
    Years ago a family member, on finding she would teach a child who'd been home-schooled, would make specific preparation for the child.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    July 28, 2013 7:13 p.m.


    In Kentucky it is the parents who will be held responsible if kids are not attending school. I think it is the same in Utah (but I am no attorney). BTW - it can be public school, private school, home school - just school.


    Educational subject matter that was once “advanced” is now taught in the earlier grades. But only professions that do not advance get taken over by the amateurs.

    Your earlier points are quite correct - the central issues involved are money and who gets left out.


    I do not believe this is a federal issue but a state issue.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    July 28, 2013 10:55 a.m.

    Mark 1:

    I would say some parents know best. We all know many people that are "parents" but aren't fit to be parenting a gold fish let alone a child. Let's be real.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    July 28, 2013 10:52 a.m.

    I am not going to promote or attack Jefferson's opinions on compulsory education. If you do your research one will find that he believed in education and the concept of public education. However, he only wanted to include those with the aptitude (not even interest was good enough) in this public education. I do believe that Jefferson, seeing what our world is today, might have a different viewpoints on the matter but this only my supposition.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    July 27, 2013 11:53 p.m.

    The kids that aren't educated can start a singing career.

  • Oak Highland, UT
    July 27, 2013 10:07 p.m.

    Here's the *real* Jefferson.

    "It is better to tolerate the rare instance of a parent refusing to let his child be educated, than to shock the common feelings and ideas by the forcible asportation and education of the infant against the will of the father." -Thomas Jefferson: Note to Elementary School Act, 1817, ME 17:423

    Why do we as a society tolerate making children criminals by state law if they don't attend public schools? Finland has a near 0% dropout rate. Why? Watch Ken Robinson's 2013 TED talk on "how to escape education's death valley."

  • wrz Pheonix, AZ
    July 27, 2013 6:56 p.m.

    "'Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty.' - Thomas Jefferson"

    If this be true we need compulsory education for our political leaders including Obama, and most of the US Senate and House. These people are systematically tearing this country apart with Obamacare, unrestrained immigration, taxation gone amok, an obscene national debt, personal surveillance, and much more. I'd give us about another decade before our liberties are gone and we are finished as a sovereign nation when the vultures will descend to pick the bones clean.

  • davidmpark Salt Lake City, UT
    July 27, 2013 6:13 p.m.

    Compulsory or not; I've got another question: the old wisdom of what progress is, is that "what was once the work of Nobel scientists then is the work of tinkerers and tinsmiths today." Why hasn't that happened in the education industry?

    Shouldn't the work of professional educators of yesterday be the tasks of amateurs today? Has there been any discoveries and progress to allow a premium education in your spare time? If not, then what happened?

  • davidmpark Salt Lake City, UT
    July 27, 2013 6:05 p.m.

    I think both Sen. Osmond and Mr. Florez aren't getting to heart of this issue with education. Their viewpoints are valid: parents need to be involved, and there could be repercussions on the communities. Neither of them are hitting the bigger problem on head - there is no money for schools anymore. Using a majority of our State Taxes on education is a major drain when there is little industry allowed and many new businesses are being stifled right now to pay for it. We're looking at spending priorities for prosperous times in a time of uncertainty.

    As I see it, this idea of making education non-compulsory to only teach those children that will be there is a sign of financial hardship. The marketing is being done to keep it as a social issue rather than a financial one because it's easier to get re-elected on failing a social issue rather than on fiscal failures.

    And Mr. Florez does ask a good question, "Who will be left out." To expand his question; will the severely disabled be left out?

    July 27, 2013 3:59 p.m.

    Education happens in spite of government, not because of it.

    Parents are the key to teaching children. We should do all that we can to support parents. They know what is best.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    July 27, 2013 3:53 p.m.

    If anyone thinks that our schools represent 'education' in the manner Thomas Jefferson had in mind must be living in another universe. Thomas Jefferson would be appalled at 'compulsory' education today. If the 'only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty' is what is being taught today, heaven help us. Yet, to truly educate the public requires a defense of not only the Constitution, but an expectation that the student to come prepared to learn. Anyone been in a public school lately? To demand that students come prepared is not only met with contempt, but a passivity that would make Thomas Jefferson walk out the door and never return.

  • Mister J Salt Lake City, UT
    July 27, 2013 3:33 p.m.

    In another article on the same topic, it was postulated that this is all about Utah's far right trying to save a buck or 2 by not having to fund education.

    Osmond's attempt is nothing more IMO then eugenics. Ironically, it puts Darwins theory into play and we know how much right wingers love evolution.

    p.s. As always, I'm 'impressed' at Mike R's ability to filter an issue into his subjective views so he can lecture us.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    July 27, 2013 3:04 p.m.

    Re "ThomasJefferson" at 10:37 AM:

    Lets look again at the _real_ Jefferson, OK?

    Thomas Jefferson, 1786 August 13, letter to George Wythe: "I think by far the most important bill in our whole code is that for the diffusion of knowledge among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised, for the preservation of freedom and happiness...Preach, my dear Sir, a crusade against ignorance; establish & improve the law for educating the common people. Let our countrymen know that the people alone can protect us against these evils [tyranny, oppression, etc.] and that the tax which will be paid for this purpose is not more than the thousandth part of what will be paid to kings, priests and nobles who will rise up among us if we leave the people in ignorance."

    The idea that the genuine, historical Jefferson would in any way endorse your rightwing homeschooling fantasies is beyond ridiculous.

  • MGB Saint George, UT
    July 27, 2013 3:03 p.m.

    Senator Osmond is not against education. Just against federal CUMPOLSARY education controlled by the federal government. Federal controlled education no long educates and informs on how to think and reason. Only what to think and how to become little human resources for the state. Read the Communist Manifesto. Cumpolsary government controlled schools is one of the 10 tenets of Marxist communism. Wake up people and stop drinking the communist (in sheep's clothing) kool-aide.

  • Government Man Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 27, 2013 2:53 p.m.

    Thomas Jefferson from Wellsville: You are wrong in your assumption about Home Schoolers being better educated than Public School Students. A few home schooled students may do exceptionally well, but the majority are behind traditional school students. Plus, the Public School Students learn to interact and deal with social issues.

  • SuziQ Springville, UT
    July 27, 2013 2:50 p.m.

    Also, my experience in the school system is that I really do have an opportunity to impact my children's learning for good if I am involved. I also get the opportunity to impact another child's learning opportunity by letting him or her get away from a difficult home situation and be able to be with other adults and children that do care about education. The real solution is to have better interventions in the elementary grades so that we don't have discouraged learners in the high school. We also need intervention in the higher grades if we still have problems. "Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he can feed himself." Are we really so selfish and self centered that we want to remove an opportunity for many children and teenagers to succeed because it might be more work? PS- I'm a counselor. I don't believe in giving up on the kids just because their parents don't care. In fact, I believe that is the time to get more involved, rather than less. Can you really imagine a society being full of the uneducated?

  • SuziQ Springville, UT
    July 27, 2013 2:38 p.m.

    I personally cannot figure out what the up side of not requiring children to be at school somewhere is. As an educator, I can see that it is difficult to try to teach children who do not have parental support and are not well socialized. No doubt it is difficult to have such children or teenagers in the classroom. However, is the solution to say that these kids, who already have a strike against them in life, ought to be opted out of the one thing that might help them succeed in life. Are we really saying that we want to cut off the very means that can get them to be productive members of society by not requiring them to attend school? I have a hard time believing that Utah is in such dire straits that it needs to cast off the less fortunate. What will be the cost down the road? More welfare, less employment, more teenage pregnancy, more drug use? That is just the economic cost. How about the social and emotional cost? How can we be so ignorant? Do we really think that the haves are more worthy of education than the have nots? Really?

  • The Hammer lehi, utah
    July 27, 2013 2:13 p.m.

    Parent already have the right to opt out of public Ed. I home school my child and all I had to do was sign a form at the district office. It was a peice of cake. Osmonds ammendment doesn't make sense and all of his shiftyness seems so odd. He talks to Educators and says one thing and listens, then he goes to other stakeholders and he listens. Then he grabs the worst ideas from both sides and tries to implement them.

    Osmond is the last person on the planet making education reform in the state. He should go and be a teacher for a couple of years and then come back and tell what he has learned. Then and only then would I trust him to actually make proposals for education reform.

  • junkgeek Agua Dulce, TX
    July 27, 2013 2:04 p.m.

    God might hold parents responsible, but in the meantime, society has to deal with problems as they exist right here.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    July 27, 2013 1:13 p.m.

    It looks like the other posters here have beaten me to most of what I was going to say. Democracy requires we educate the masses. If you think that is expensive, see what ignorance costs.

  • MapleDon Springville, UT
    July 27, 2013 1:10 p.m.

    I'm not at all surprised that Florez (and other radical leftists) are wringing their hands over this issue. He and his comrades have been successful in the indoctrination (and dumbing down) of our children. Of course they want this indoctrination to be forced upon all children and they fear that even just one child might become wise. Education should be a matter of choice.

  • RWSmith6 Providence, UT
    July 27, 2013 1:01 p.m.

    Florez makes some excellent points. I, too have difficulty figuring out why Osmond would say what he did when up until fairly recently he's been an advocate of reform in the way education, K-12, is funded in Utah. His about face came at about the time he abandoned a fairly public stance regarding K-12 in favor of one advocating pre-school. Then the pre-school advocacy came to a screeching halt when Eagle Forum and Sutherland Institute (at least ostensibly) came out opposed. Now, Osmond has proposed non-mandatory public education.

    If you haven't seen Osmond's blog, it's still up at the state senate site, www.utahsenate.org under Majority Site. It and the 130+ comments it has generated are well worth your time. I've said elsewhere that his proposal should generate statewide discussion and debate, and I keep hoping that's why he wrote the blog piece. Otherwise all the shifty flip-flopping makes little sense and reflects poorly on Senator Osmond.

  • IQ92 hi, UT
    July 27, 2013 12:47 p.m.

    Two words: Gonzo journalism.

  • srw Riverton, UT
    July 27, 2013 12:26 p.m.

    I agree with Mr. Florez. I think it's pretty obvious that for every parent that takes a greater interest in their student's education (as a result of this initiative) there will be five students that skip their education and cause trouble and expense for all of us.

    Many of the comments posted here are *completely* out of line. The senator's proposal is *not* to return to parents the right to educate their children. You already have that right, remember? If you think you are competent to teach them calculus, physics, history, art, etc., then go right ahead. The senator's proposal is to give you the right to *prevent* your children from being educated by *anyone*.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 27, 2013 12:19 p.m.

    I think Mr. Flores slipped up here, "[p]arents have always had a choice in the education of their children, but without the resources, what's the choice?". I think vouchers would solve a lot of problems. And give the parents the choice that Mr. Flores advocates.

    Private schools funded by parents and partially by, say 50% of the WPU funding would permit parents to have a choice in sending their children to a private company that would educate the child as the parents choose, Mr. Flores' words not mine. The balance could be enrolled in a public funded education system that could focus on the needs of the recalcitrant child or for the the children whose parents really don't care. The WPU funding could be increased per child enrolled.

    A modest proposal in my not so humble opinion.

    To further increase academic funding, atheletic could be curtailed or private donors solicited to support the extracurricular sports events. Or, better yet, make all sports extra curricular entirely and avoid the recent dog and pony show that the UHSAA goes through every so often over eligibility of students.

  • Rational Salt Lake City, UT
    July 27, 2013 12:15 p.m.

    Vouchers would meet the objectives of both sides.

    Motivated parents could afford to send their kids to a school they could be involved in.

    The monetary difference between the actual cost of public education and the value of the voucher would give public schools enough funding-per-student to reduce class sizes.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 27, 2013 11:40 a.m.

    God sent children to a family, not to the government. God charged the parents to teach, nurture and care for those children, not the government. God expects accountability from the parents for those children, not from government.

    Regardless of how Mr. Florez twists things, surely he does not believe that God has charged the State with the welfare of God's children. Surely he knows that there is no one better able to help a child than that child's parent. Social workers come and go. They return home to their own families every night. Teachers come and go. They don't sleep in the classroom. A family is different. The parents must never, under any circumstances, deny their obligation to their children and they must never ever allow government to dictate to them how to raise those children or how to train them.

    We are not Russia or East Germany. We do not believe that the State "owns" children and that parents are just the means to produce those children - for the State's benefit.

  • sshoaf indianapolis, IN
    July 27, 2013 11:18 a.m.

    Without compulsory education some children will never get any education and never be able to support themselves, which just leads to society supporting them. We need to require that all students graduate from high school and require parental involvement. Parents, especially those receiving assistance through free/reduced lunch and all its perks, should be required to attend parent-teacher conferences, volunteer in the school, etc... And parents whose children are continually in trouble, don't turn in assignments, fight in school, etc... should be fined for the extra work their child creates, as well as the disruption other students. Once parents start losing some dollars they'll get engaged in making sure their children behave and act responsibly.

    Further, let's stop bringing children into the world whose parents can not or will not support them financially and educationally by requiring tubal ligation after the first child born to a welfare mother, and the same or a vasectomy for felons, drug dealers, and other criminals. In a generation or two, most children would have parents who want them, and are willingly to support them and ensure that they get an education.

  • el steve o Herriman, UT
    July 27, 2013 10:48 a.m.

    This article tells one side of the story and was a waste of time to read. Why doesn't Florez share any of Osmonds own words about why he wants to pursue this legislation? Instead, this article just emotionally manipulates throughout. I don't like to be emotionally manipulated.

  • riverofsun St.George, Utah
    July 27, 2013 10:36 a.m.

    Has Osmond ever mentioned if any of this famous clad attended anything but private schools?

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    July 27, 2013 9:55 a.m.

    Mr. Florez forgets some important steps, most notably the funding to make this happens. Instead secondary high school teachers often face classes with 40 or more students with many unmotivated students. In fact, some of these unmotivated students can be extremely destructive to the learning of the whole. I agree we should not give up on these students but smaller classes and classes to help these unmotivated students are needed. Many of these students would thrive in service-based, hands-on learning environments but little attention or funding is given for these concepts. Just reducing class size would give teachers a fighting chance to help these students (and all students). I don't think schools are struggling, if we accept this premise, because teachers are failing, it is because of the structure we expect our teachers, especially in Utah, to deal with makes our schools struggle. Schools need the mechanisms to help these students and give them a reason to come to school.

    Ultimately, Osmond is right unless we can change what we are doing and do it better. Schools need to be more than day care centers and teachers need to be more than babysitters.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    July 27, 2013 9:21 a.m.

    I agree with Mr. Florez.

    Anyone familiar with the movie/book Matilda? Obviously it is fantasy. But the concept of a child who wants to learn hitched to parents who are not invested in education is a reality.

    Also, so many kids go through a period where they do no want to be in school. If the parents are not fully committed, might they just give in?

    I don't dismiss the idea that there are difficulties in the current classroom. Letting some kids out of the system would glean out some problems and make it easier for those who remain. But, as Mr. Florez points out, there will be a heavy price to pay later.

  • Blue Salt Lake City, UT
    July 27, 2013 7:08 a.m.

    "Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."

    - Thomas Jefferson

    Get that, Sen. Osmond? "The whole mass of the people."

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    July 27, 2013 12:38 a.m.

    As usual, Mr. Florez is right on.

    Mr. Osmond is so out in left field... He's nothing more than a spokesperson for the Sutherland Institute.