Comments about ‘Utah lawmaker calls for end of compulsory education’

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Published: Tuesday, July 16 2013 10:45 a.m. MDT

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West Jordan, UT

This is an interesting topic and the proposal by the senator prompts some thoughtful discussion (by some)

It is clear that we are failing to equate education with success. This failure exists on many levels but most obviously at the personal level.

I grew up in a family that felt like education was a waste of time and not a pathway to success in life. It took a couple of years on the end of a shovel and flipping burgers for me to seek a better way. I was fortunate to have a mentor in my church that was willing to confront my ignorance and show me a better way. I remember well the time I asked him what he did to be successful and the first thing he mentioned was education. The timing was right for me to hear that and a GED, 2 Bachelor degrees, and a MBA later I was able to find my path.

The point is - I needed the experience of struggling before I could value the opportunities I was being given.

I think the senator is speaking to this point.

That said, I disagree with his proposal but appreciate the sentiment.


This would in no way remove the "rights" that any child has to education. The state would still be dedicated to educating all comers for free. Forcing a student to be in school generally backfires. They simply learn to hate education more and more, and most schools and teachers with their unbending "no child left behind" attitudes do not help. If you think that a state bureaucracy has any charms to convince a child to get an education, I believe that you have misjudged what education is. Some students will say they hate school, but the expectation of parents and their community, plus the looming realities of adulthood, keep them there. The only thing that would change is the illusion that state force helps anything, and that would be a good move in the right direction.

Craig Clark
Boulder, CO

Proposing to end compulsory education in Utah makes the Salem witch trials seem like cosmopolitan thinking by comparison. I can’t think of a surer way to create a permanent underclass with social problems mounting and multiplying by leaps and bounds. If this cow bell lawmaker thinks the present system has its defects, wait till he sees the situations that follow if he gets his way.

Salt Lake City, UT

So, what does Mr. Osmond propose we do with all of the drug addicted parents, illiterate parents, non-English speaking parents, and others with various issues that do not value an education? There are a lot of parents who only send their kids to school because they have to. Is it better to let them keep their kids home and become the next generation of welfare recipients?

Mr. Osmond does not understand that responsible parents will make sure their children are educated regardless of what the law says. It is the irresponsible and/or ignorant ones that need compulsory education laws to make sure their kids have a decent chance in life.

Orem, UT

You already have this with home school, which is allowed...

Salt Lake City, UT

I assume the provocative statement is hyperbole and I hope it stirs enough debate to address some of the issues. Somethings needs to move us off dead center. More money? Certainly, but only if it is linked to performance and better outcomes. NYC has lots of money and much of it is wasted on non-productive union demands.

JD Tractor
Iowa City, IA

Nobody is really courageous enough to allow the consequences of no education to come into play.

However accountability is a great idea. The State should worry about education and the welfare of its citizens, but education and welfare should not be the same program or administered by the same people (i.e. educators). Public schools should be independent and separated from the extra programs that have become intertwined with education.

In all fairness non-compulsory education is as detrimental as nanny-state education. Both are expensive and non-productive.

Washington, UT

Some of you are missing the whole point. Osmond is right on with this and I agree 100% that compulsory education should be eliminated. When education is not compulsory, teachers and administrators are no longer to force kids to attend school who are discipline problems, who don't want to be there, who abuse teachers, other students, and the system itself. Remove the compulsory aspect and students will soon realize they either get an education, better themselves, or they decline into poverty, drugs, incarceration, or death--but it is their choice. It is likely that the dropout rate would probably tick up for a few years until those who drop out realize they have been very stupid, and the younger kids see the consequences, and again, they will choose school, but gone will be the discipline problems.

And just because some kids need help, need the school lunch, need counseling, doesn't mean the schools have to deliver it, there are always options. The other thing this does is de-politicize education. Hallelujah, it's about time.

Pleasanton, CA

I sometimes think that public education as we have known it reflects a societal consensus that no longer exists, but I'm not sure I's be ready to go this far.

Brave Sir Robin
San Diego, CA

And once these children who aren't "forced" to be there drop out, what does the good senator think will happen to them? Does he think they're going to just die? Or move out of state? No, they become drains on society - panhandlers, welfare recipients, drug abusers, criminals, and prisoners. If you think it costs a lot of money to keep an unwilling kid in school, wait until you see how much it costs to keep him in jail.

Sometimes kids (and parents) don't have the mental strength to make it through those tough times. Sometimes it's good to "force" a kid to stick it out through 6th grade algebra - in my case I'm glad I had to go back the next day. Now I have two math degrees.

This proposal is a special kind of stupid.

Sanpete County, UT

Just as I am now glad that my parents made me take piano lessons beyond the point when I wanted to quit, I am also very glad that there are rules requiring our children to remain in school up to a certain age. Many children and even some parents are not smart enough to know what wiser minds with greater experience know. - education is vital not only for individual growth but also for society as a whole, even for those who will be reluctant to learn.

St.George, Utah

Following the footsteps of other Republicans for an award for the most outrageous comment, is he?
Is this suppose to make Utahns quit thinking about such things as the ACA, immigration reform, taxes, Jobs, genetically engineered food, NSA, pipelines, abortion, pornography, racism, gun control, world conflicts, poverty, judicial decisions, global warming, space exploration, gerrymandered districts, obstruction in Washington, DC?
Why can't this Senator and his cohorts just get down to business and try to pass legislation that really means something Utah and our country?

West Jordan, UT

I think this proposal is ignorant of other social issues. I think if this legislation passes we will see a huge dichotomy of kids who are either studious or severely lacking any intellectual capacity. How will this help our state's economy in the future? I'm not sure it's a good move to make education a choice. How will those children function in society who opt (or their parents opt) to not participate in education? I believe this is a set up for more poverty, more criminal activity among the youth (extending to adults over time), and an increase in negative and harmful social behaviors. Putting the burden on parents who have limitations on their ability to support their children in their education from work, illness, disability or something else, or who simply don't care about their child's education is short-sighted. Is "value" something we "value" in education?

Bountiful, UT

Osmond is incorrect that the challenges facing schools and teachers are a result of compulsory education. There is a long tradition of compulsory education in this country. In fact John Adams, one of the Founding Father giants, believed the State had a vested interest in educating its populace.

The challenges facing schools has nothing to do with compulsory education. In fact, education in Utah is only compulsory to the age of 14. After 14 parents choose to send their children to school. Yet the challenges schools are facing don't magically disappear between the 8th and 9th grade. According to Osmonds logic they should.

The challenges facing schools today are a direct result of the erosion of the family. There are a lot of reasons for this erosion. And it is going to be hard to reverse.

If Osmond is serious about improving education he needs to propose ideas on how to encourage traditional family values. Research is very clear that children raised in a two parent home are far more likely to succeed and stay out of trouble than a child of a single parent home. We need to stop with band-aid ideas and address the real problems.

West Jordan, UT

"Engaged parents frustrated with public schooling also have several options aside from their neighborhood school, she said, such as charter schools, private schools or home schooling." --Leslie Csstle, State School Board

True, parents have other options, but even if they opt to send their kids to better schools, they still end up paying taxes that don't go towards their children's education on top of the additional money they pay to these other schools.

I don't agree 100% with every Sen.Osmond is saying, but he raises some valid points. But I think that the deeper issue affecting education in not so much funding, but allocation of those funds. There are school administrators in this state earning close to 7 figures...

Bountiful, UT

Steverb says "Forcing a student to be in school generally backfires".

I am a bit mystified by this comment. Right now the State requires parents to send their kids to school. According to Steverb this is likely to backfire because students feel like the are forced to be in school.

Yet, even according to Osmond, if the compulsory requirement were removed most parents would sill send their kids to school. Or put another way, force their kids to go to school.

My question to Steverb is "should parents sit down with their 6 year old explain the pros and cons of school and let them decide if they are going to go or not? I mean that is just plain silly. Kids are going to be forced to go to school one way or another. Whether by the state or by the parent, or more often than not, both.

I'll bet 90% of kids have not even heard the term compulsory education. So the fact that the state requires them to go has nothing to do with their attitudes toward their education.

Milford, UT

What this senator says is mostly true. I cannot comprehend how the selection of who goes to school and who doesn't would be made. Does the child make the choice or does the parent? Some parents would not be able to make that choice. A young child would not be able to either. Would the jobs listed need to remove "must have a High School diploma" requirement? Our education system is not what is needed in today's times. Maybe we should look at what works and move towards a better system. What a thought he has provoked, but I do not think its the answer.

Santaquin, UT

I thought it was the liberals who were free thinkers. I guess not. Heaven forbid that a legislator use the Senate blog site to toss out an idea to gauge public response before actually attempting to craft legislation. How many of you commenting here actually took the time to read the senator's blog before angrily responding to the newspaper article? I appreciate Senator Osmond for be willing to express his thoughts and put his name to them.


In one family I know, 2 daughters and their husbands graduated from college while another daughter got a 2 year "Associate" degree and her husband did not graduate from high school.

Is it an accident that the oldest child of the man who did not graduate from high school also dropped out of high school while the oldest child of the 2 college graduate husbands received scholarships to help them attend college? The man who did not graduate from high school has worked at low paying jobs his entire life while the 2 college graduates have good, secure employment as professionals.

How much success will the high school drop out have?

Ogden, UT

Just another blatant example of shortsighted, self-centered, special-interest republicanism.

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