Less bureacracy, more creativity and more responsibility are the three pillars upon which Utah's educational system should be founded.
That's an assessment of a legislative study committee, made up of teachers, school administrators, legislators, business leaders and representatives of other interest groups.The intriguing plan was drafted by a 30-member Legislative Strategic Planning Committee for Education,
Long on rhetoric and eloquence, the panel concluded that public education in Utah must be structured to emphasize creativity, and parents and teachers must become more involved in the process.
No one could argue with their statement that the mission of the education system "is to assure Utah the best-educated citizenry in the world and each individual the training to succeed in a global society."
The panel suggested that the goals can be reached by "providing students learning and occupational skills, character development, literacy and basic knowledge through a responsive statewide system that guarantees local school communities autonomy, flexibility and client choice, while holding them accountable for results."
As Lily Eskelsen, UEA president and a committee member, put it, "The words are beautiful."
Unfortunately, there are no specifics about how to achieve such a lofty result. The details, such as funding, and the methods teachers and parents will use to share accountability, are still to be worked out.
The motivation to involve the public much more in the education process is a particularly desirable one, but the broad outline of the study gives no impression as to how that can be done.
So, eloquence aside, this is little more than a beginning - a limited first step toward a responsible renovation of our educational system.
Utahns anxiously await the second step - a set of specific proposals that will put the meat on the bones.