Utah lawmaker calls for end of compulsory education

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  • Rikitikitavi Cardston, Alberta
    Aug. 8, 2013 11:52 p.m.

    My children are very good readers because we would read to them and with them as parents just about every day(including reading scriptures).

  • Copper Catfish Newburgh, IN
    July 19, 2013 1:05 p.m.

    George Washington and Abraham Lincoln seemed to do all right without being forced to go to public school!
    As a retired public school teacher, I highly recommend homeschooling.

  • Vaughn J Kearns, UT
    July 18, 2013 5:46 p.m.

    Doing away with compulsory education is not an appropriate answer. The need is to get parents more involved in their children education. How about each parent being required to provide 1 day per year as a classroom aide? A second day should be required where the employer provides time, with pay, to assist in the educational experience.

    If a child is below grade level then parent and child should attend an evening class where they work together in improving the students skills, separate from above requirements. The idea is that a teacher that has 25-30 students for 6 hours of instruction per day can not provide sufficient one on one instruction (12-15 minute available per student if this is tried)time. Parents have to provide the additional support, insure that their children perform homework, and return it on time. My wife is a teacher and she spends 2-3 hours per day outside of contract hours preparing and grading assignment for the classroom.

    The idea that student performance is directly tied to teachers performance is absurd. It is more of a function of the parents involvement, their encouragement to provide additional time to study.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 18, 2013 10:06 a.m.

    The concept of public education itself is anathema to the right wing which sees it as a liberal gadfly in their anti-government strategy for restoring American greatness as they perceive it. But this is a step beyond voucher programs as a Trojan horse approach for what they wish to undo.

    Public education has done more than anything else to give the disadvantaged a leg up in a competitive world. I think the general public understands that well enough.

  • june Provo, UT
    July 18, 2013 9:31 a.m.

    As I retired teacher from here in Utah, I fully agree with this man. I would have liked to have had parents, all of them, accountable for the children they choose to bring into this world. Now that would mean that the parents would have a more equal hand in the education of their children. It does not mean the public schools would not be responsible for the educational plans. The schools with parents would share the stewardship of education. Think about it. Who is responsible for your children when it comes right down to it? Parents step up to the plate! Take your Heaven given rights seriously.

  • doobsdemons luling, LA
    July 18, 2013 8:38 a.m.

    I understand his sentiment about parents these days leaving the rearing of their children to the state run school system, however he is misguided. the fault lies not with the school system itself, but with the so called parents who neglect their children.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 18, 2013 8:05 a.m.

    Probably nowhere in America is the war on public education more evident than in Utah. It seems that the business community is no longer satisfied to just starve the school budgets and make the careers of teachers difficult, they now are attacking the concept of public education itself.

    The business community, including the churches and religion, do not need or even want an educated public. Education makes consumers hard to please and less susceptible to the indoctrination of advertisings. And when business needs educated employees, they are readily available from foreign sources at much less cost than American workers.

    Compulsory public education is a primary source of freedom for parents. It not only gives them time to rest from the obligations of children but frees them from the need to be expert in everything in the world.

    If Utah can force people to take the full responsibility for education of their children, can Utah also force people to take responsibility to grow their own food and carry their own water.

    If a person must spend all his/her time fighting for survival, what good is freedom if you don’t have any time to use it.

  • Bob K porland, OR
    July 18, 2013 4:05 a.m.

    OK, we need to let some wingnut tell us about mandatory schooling.

    Next, he can tell us about voting, or anything else his Wild West attitude dislikes

  • Cincinnatus Kearns, UT
    July 17, 2013 10:22 p.m.


    "we likely spend more money on education, than all countries combined, through out history." Likely? Great argument. We spend more $'s as a whole, but are only slightly above average when it comes to educational spending as % of GDP.

    "many of our engineers, chemists, medical people, etc, come from other countries" How many? Why? Possibly because we have more positions to fill in these areas that we have graduates for? We need more emphasis on STEM programs. Back up your statement.

    "a third of our college graduates are from other countries" Because, despite its flaws, we still have one of the top university systems in the world. Are our own students being turned away because of this? No- we have record numbers of people attending college and with degrees.

    "more than half our people live in poverty" Census Bureau in November 2012 said that 16.3% of people in the United States live in poverty. Not even close to half (perhaps you needed to pay more attention to math in school)

    I'm not sure what it says about compulsory education, because your statements were either false, questionable, or had no substance to back them up.

  • Heidi T. Farmington, UT
    July 17, 2013 10:14 p.m.

    Senator Osmond: I am an educator of thirty eight years and sincerely applaud and support your proposal, "Let’s let them choose it, let’s not force them to do it," he said. I definitely believe a "shift" will take place when parents qualify their children to participate in a free education by showing up at their neighborhood schools and actually signing a request for enrollment. It's called responsibility and really is a simple yet powerful procedure. Parents will actually walk into their children's schools and connect with teachers and administrators. Positive action is good.

  • Twin Lights Louisville, KY
    July 17, 2013 9:20 p.m.

    Many have addressed the problems with giving those who, by definition lack mature judgement, the ability to decide their long term fate (which will largely be determined by their education).

    Here is another point. If education is no longer compulsory, does the state then have an obligation to pay for it? Does it become a choice on both sides (kids decide if they will go and the state decides if they will pay)?

  • Beaver Native Garland, UT
    July 17, 2013 9:20 p.m.

    As a former teacher and staunch Republican, I think implementation of this idea would be disastrous and put us in the class of third-world countries. Instead, we need to find ways to get the kids wanting to learn and concentrate on their strengths at an early age.

  • sergio Phoenix, AZ
    July 17, 2013 8:54 p.m.

    It seems the GOP wants to take the nation back to the good old days of the Stone Age with non compulsory education in Utah and compulsory pregnancy in Texas, what next: the good old times of the robber Barron's . The Tea Party is just to much fun, and it would be funny if it didn't hurt so much.

  • Sophie 62 spring city, UT
    July 17, 2013 7:50 p.m.

    Children are not qualified to be the deciders of whether they should stay in school and Mr Osmond isn't either, apparently.
    Children often don't want to eat their vegetables or brush their teeth, go to bed at a reasonable hour, clean their rooms or other tasks.
    Do we say - "Sure, stay up all night playing video games, sleep till 2 in the afternoon, eat junk, and don't worry about school?"
    Unfortunately, some parents do exactly that, but is it in the best interest of the kids? Of course it isn't.
    And neither is doing away with compulsory education. It's foolish, short-sighted, silly.

  • Instereo Eureka, UT
    July 17, 2013 7:48 p.m.

    Massachusetts instituted compulsory education in 1852. It wasn't a radical idea then because many towns and cities had similar laws in place there from the 1690's. Utah instituted it in 1890 when we became a state. The last state, Mississippi, instituted it in 1918. It was done in each of these places because states had a compelling interest in education because with education crime was lowered and economics and commerce was enhanced. Sen. Osmond's proposal is irresponsible in spite of his best intentions and rhetoric about the responsibilities of families. While I can agree the family should be a primary place for education, sharing that responsibility helps not only families but communities and even the state. Allowing families to opt out of education would hurt our state immensely. If his argument is about choice in education, then he's missed the mark again because Utah has the most open choice options for parents in education. Besides the public schools, there are charter schools, different public schools, private schools and home schooling options. Bottom line, children need to attend school in the interests of our families, communities and state.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    July 17, 2013 7:40 p.m.

    Look at it folks:

    * we likely spend more money on education, than all countries combined, through out history.
    * many of our engineers, chemists, medical people, etc, come from other countries.
    * a third of our college graduates are from other countries. Deseret News-2013
    * more than half our people live in poverty.

    What does this say of compulsory education?

    What kind of wreck would our country be if government could no longer supply benefits? A debt equal to $186,000 for every second of three years, tells us it's possible.

  • Denverite Centennial, CO
    July 17, 2013 7:29 p.m.

    Perhaps we should go the other way: make the 20% of kids stay in public school who either really want to go or are being raised by wolves (which is the group everyone seems most concerned about) --and make the parents of the other 80% find their own educational solution of some kind that doesn't involve a public school.


  • 3Boys Taylorsville, UT
    July 17, 2013 6:57 p.m.

    As a former teacher, I agree that many parents are totally disengaged from their children's learning. I thought that parents should be required to spend one hour per month per child in volunteer work at the school. Of course employers would need to allow the time off, but once a month doesn't seem like that big of a requirement for what the children are receiving. Many other issues would need to be straightened out, but this would be one tax-free way to get parents more involved.

  • kimnprovo Orem, UT
    July 17, 2013 6:55 p.m.

    I don't know how it is in all of Utah, but I can tell you about Alpine SD. The children in elementary school are all tested (for reading) before school starts each year. They are then purposefully put into classes based on how they performed, but not in a logical way that most agree with. If, for example, there are three first grade classes you would expect the highest performing children in one class, the mid-level children in another and those needing the most attention in the third. Not in Alpine SD. They put one third of each of the groups into each classroom. The thought behind this is that the overachieving and achieving students will drive those needing more attention. Guess what? It doesn't work, yet no one is brave enough to stand up and change it. They don't want the kids to think they are in the "dumb class", so instead the children learn quickly to not ask questions or they will be the "dumb one" in the class. So the overachievers are held back and those needing more direction don't get enough of it. Who wins?

  • peter Alpine, UT
    July 17, 2013 6:54 p.m.

    Mr. Osmond is right, and too many people are missing the point, not only about education, but about life itself. The responsibility of raising children lies on the parents, and government has continually tried to shift that responsibility onto itself. This not only creates a huge tax burden, but it empowers government over people, enslaving people to a bunch of unqualified politicians. Drop property tax that supports education. Then, allow parents a choice regarding how they want to spend their money on educating their kids.

  • adamgale La Verkin, UT
    July 17, 2013 6:51 p.m.

    Just because education is very important, doesn't mean it should be compulsory. We as a people, have handed over parenting to the schools and teachers, and frankly, that's irresponsible. It's an abrogation of your parenting responsibilities. How about this? If you want your kid to have an education, then you get involved, and ensure he has that education. Stop blaming educators and the school system for your failures as parents.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    July 17, 2013 6:30 p.m.

    There was a post that said they were against the concept but supported the sentiment. I am actually the opposite. While the concept might actually be good and positive in some ways for the educational system, especially in regards to the students who want to go to school, I think the sentiment comes from another Republican effort to continue down the path of destroying public education in Utah. It comes from the sentiment that perhaps this could allow for less funding. Let's say 20% of students chose not to attend school next year. This doesn't necessarily mean class sizes will be smaller. Instead, 20% of the teachers will be likely laid off and other sources will cease to exist or be cut. Again, perhaps the students present might benefit from being away from unmotivated students, but as asked in previous posts, where are these students going to go? The job market isn't exactly hiring too many people, let alone HS dropouts. And like it or not for many parents, schools have become daycare centers or the morning/early afternoon version of the Boy's/Girl's Club.

  • athought Salt Lake City, UT
    July 17, 2013 6:28 p.m.

    Gordon, I agree with you. I think a lot of parents both work outside the home, and thus the parenting is left where it falls. I work in law enforcement, and we have calls out to the home because the kid isn't answering the phone, isn't home when they're supposed to be, is being unruly, isn't getting up to go to school, etc. Calls from mom saying she's at work and can't get kid to answer phone, wants to do a welfare check to be sure kid is home -- no friends. And on and on. I am asked continually what I am going to do to "fix" their kid. I remind them it isn't my position to "fix" what they should have been working on for years. I've talked to teachers who express the sentiment that they feel like a parent, some have a supply of clothing to let kids who are in dirty clothes change. They supply them with school supplies so the kid can learn. Maybe we should do something compulsory for parents to have to parent. A lot don't seem to care.

  • eastcoastcoug Danbury, CT
    July 17, 2013 6:26 p.m.

    What a doofus. Let's see if the people of his district have enough sense to vote him out for wasting your Legislature's time.

  • Heidi T. Farmington, UT
    July 17, 2013 6:26 p.m.

    "Let’s let them choose it, let’s not force them to do it." As an educator of 38 years, I can't think of more positive action by the State of Utah. Parents would show up, register their children, more fully recognize their part in educating their children because they will make the choice to take advantage of a free education. I think this is a wonderful idea and would turn parents thinking to, "I've made a decision on what is best for my child," rather than "school is a place for my child to go to each day and it is the school's fault if he/she doesn't try, distracts from the learning of classmates, and refuses to see the opportunity and importance of getting an education because that concept isn't taught in our home." Many parents never show up at their schools, talk to teachers, volunteer in classrooms. So much of the education dollar goes to tracking down kids with low attendance, drop outs, and parents who don't care if their children are home or at school.

  • Gordon Wilson SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 17, 2013 6:02 p.m.

    I can see both sides, but at the end of the day, I believe in choice for all people. Compulsory education is an attempt to force the schools to displace the failures of the family and that bothers me. I'd much rather see us do away with compulsory education and focus our efforts on strengthening families. Let's take the pressure off the schools to be surrogate families.

  • storymom APPOMATTOX, VA
    July 17, 2013 6:01 p.m.

    Too many people are making the false assumption that if you take away the compulsory aspect, students will choose to not attend school. It may be of interest to note that in England in the first half of the 19th century, when the state involvement in education was basically zero, the student population rose from 675,000 to 2,500,000, with an annual increase in the number of pupils attending school that was double the annual growth of population. (1965, E.G. West, Education and the State). In our own country's infancy, without compulsion, we had a literacy rate we have never since seen. It would take time to shift our way of thinking, but it's a good direction to head. I applaud Mr. Osmond's courage to make such a proposal. History proves that compulsion has never achieved what freedom has. Are we or are we not the land of the free anymore?

  • rfpeterlin Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 17, 2013 5:42 p.m.

    WOW the discussion surrounding this has missed the mark ... why fund unnecessary programs, and the politicians are hiding behind having to debate programs they dont want while that may have political repercussions with some of their constituents. BOO HOO! A parent's right to parent ought never to be truncated by the State or the Board of Ed. And unless I have missed something, I can homeschool and it seems to me that the State has an interest to ensure that all of the children receive a basic education. So how does removing compulsory education further any of this?

  • athought Salt Lake City, UT
    July 17, 2013 5:36 p.m.

    I never asked my kids or grandkids if they wanted to go to school -- I told them they were expected to go to 16 years of school (1st thru 4 years of college). After that they could decide if they were through or if they wanted to go more. I have two with Masters and a third working on Bachelors.

    With that said, the schools need to look at their programs. A teacher in my g-kids school once told us in confidence the schools don't teach anymore, they're in it for the test scores which motivate the funding. Kids only learn what's going to be tested.

    We make it a point to supplement their education. We arrange a history vacation every year. We just came back from GoldRush country and history of establishment of port cities on the west coast, pioneer struggles over the Serra-Nevada's, etc. We've done D.C., Native American Cultures, Black Struggles (they were the only ones in school who knew what a Buffalo Soldier was). Education is lacking, and I don't know if schools are turning out kids who ARE educated anymore.

  • GD Syracuse, UT
    July 17, 2013 5:31 p.m.

    Another brilliant comment from our wonderous legislators.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 17, 2013 5:28 p.m.

    Utah Proud for this guy!

  • byufootballrocks Herndon, VA
    July 17, 2013 5:27 p.m.

    It's a fascinating idea and Senator Osmond is to be commended for putting forward this proposal. It is good to have this discussion.

    Facts are facts and there's no question public schools have become personal and family counseling and welfare agencies. They are supposed to be educational institutions.

    What an incredible idea to have families, even single parent or guardian-led families, take personal responsibility for the school decision. Public school offered to all, but not compulsory.

    By forcing (and it is force) young people to be in school, you do not in the long run help that individual. Look at the high dropout rates as it is under the current rules!

    So schools become willing (and in some cases, for our exhausted teachers and administrators, unwilling) enablers, attempting to help some who simply will not be helped.

    Life itself is a great teacher and so is consequence. Let's consider these points with our educational system in general.

  • Osgrath Provo, UT
    July 17, 2013 5:08 p.m.

    This is not important so much for the individual children that might or might not be affected, but for society as a whole. The U.S. has moved away from an industrial-based economy to an information-based. This economic model requires a well educated workforce. My parents generation could go get a job at Geneva Steel or in construction if they did not follow the path of education and it worked well for them.

    That won't work today. Unless you are a contractor (requiring education) you will be competing with people willing to get paid minimally because it is still better than what they get back home. Geneva Steel hasn't been around for over a decade. One of the reasons that the economy of Utah has remained reasonably strong is because of a well-educated workforce. It is not to our benefit to jeopardize that, as a wholesale change would do. Yes, education should be a privilege and an opportunity and not an obligation, but sometimes ideals don't hold up in the real world.

    On a personal level, those who suffer would be the innocents who don't know any better.

  • mcrowley SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    July 17, 2013 5:07 p.m.

    The following is a quote from the Congressional Enabling Act for Utah Statehood:

    " Enabling Act ENABLING ACT, Approved, July 16, 1894.

    AN ACT to enable the People of Utah to form a Constitution and State Government, and to be admitted into the Union on an equal footing with the original States.
    Enabling Act ENABLING ACT, Approved, July 16, 1894.

    Sec. 3
    Fourth. That provision shall be made for the establishment and maintenance of a system of public schools, which shall be open to all the children of said State and free from sectarian control."

    To my knowledge, Utah is the only state that was required by Congressional By-law to provide public education for their children. This because of the large number of children due to polygamy. Utah has traditionally provided opportunity for a good education for their children, despite the lower financial investment. Studies have shown that a teacher has often made the difference in the life of a child -- despite the family situations.

  • yarrlydarb Ogden, UT
    July 17, 2013 5:05 p.m.

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

    July 17, 2013 4:57 p.m.

    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?

  • Eliot Santaquin, UT
    July 17, 2013 4:57 p.m.

    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.

  • CF Milford, UT
    July 17, 2013 4:53 p.m.

    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.

  • Kristjhn Bountiful, UT
    July 17, 2013 4:51 p.m.

    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.

  • Shawnm750 West Jordan, UT
    July 17, 2013 4:42 p.m.

    "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...

  • Kristjhn Bountiful, UT
    July 17, 2013 4:42 p.m.

    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.

  • vangroovin West Jordan, UT
    July 17, 2013 4:27 p.m.

    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?

  • riverofsun St.George, Utah
    July 17, 2013 4:22 p.m.

    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?

  • Petra Sanpete County, UT
    July 17, 2013 4:19 p.m.

    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.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    July 17, 2013 4:15 p.m.

    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.

  • hermounts Pleasanton, CA
    July 17, 2013 4:13 p.m.

    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.

  • dumprake Washington, UT
    July 17, 2013 4:09 p.m.

    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.

  • JD Tractor Iowa City, IA
    July 17, 2013 4:06 p.m.

    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.

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    July 17, 2013 4:01 p.m.

    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.

  • rogerdpack2 Orem, UT
    July 17, 2013 3:56 p.m.

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

  • DrGroovey Salt Lake City, UT
    July 17, 2013 3:56 p.m.

    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.

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 17, 2013 3:50 p.m.

    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.

  • steverb LEHI, UT
    July 17, 2013 3:42 p.m.

    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.

  • Grundle West Jordan, UT
    July 17, 2013 3:35 p.m.

    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.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    July 17, 2013 3:30 p.m.

    if UT becomes the first state to do away with compulsory education my guess is, it will no longer be rated positively as a good state for setting up businesses.

    Good grief!

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    July 17, 2013 3:26 p.m.

    Anybody who thinks that this is a bizarre proposal hasn't thought much about education the last 30 years. Education happens when people want to learn; School is what we have. The federal control of Education has been an unmitigated disaster, especially for the those who are 'compelled' to be there, mostly the poor. The rich, the educated, the believers, use education to their advantage, whereas the poor don't even understand why they are there, except they know that its a place they 'should' be. The most important principle to teach kids in America today is that you not only have a choice, but you must make the right one, including a real choice about being 'educated'. The only thing that should be compulsory about education is a parent telling their kids to get their rear ends out of bed and off somewhere to work and learn.

  • Lane Myer Salt Lake City, UT
    July 17, 2013 3:19 p.m.

    All I can say is don't get rid of the prison - and build a few more.

    We are going to need them if we have an uneducated population in the next generation!

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    July 17, 2013 3:17 p.m.

    "Now let us see what the present primary schools cost us, on the supposition that all the children of 10. 11. & 12. years old are, as they ought to be, at school: and, if they are not, so much the work is the system; for they will be untaught, and their ignorance & vices will, in future life cost us much dearer in their consequences, than it would have done, in their correction, by a good education."

    Thomas Jefferson, January 14, 1818

  • Craig Clark Boulder, CO
    July 17, 2013 3:13 p.m.

    Ending compulsory eduction would make the job market less competitive for kids with who do get a diploma. They are the main ones such a system change will benefit. Is that the intent of this lawmaker?

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 17, 2013 3:06 p.m.

    "Just how successfully are you educating the kids who do not want to be there?"

    Probably better than them not showing up at all would educate them...

    "where the teacher has to teach to the slowest in the class"

    At the schools I went to in Maryland we had tiers of classes starting in middle school: honors, merit, and directed (there was some level of this in elementary school as well). The ones who were the slowest for one reason or another went in directed classes and ones who were the fastest were in honors or AP classes. It took care of things rather easily. Is that not something that's done here?

  • Democrat Provo, UT
    July 17, 2013 3:05 p.m.

    Compulsory property tax to pay for schools that my kids are not required to attend? Doesn't sound like fiscal conservatism to me.

    The parents who are engaged (be it as parents of public/private/ or home schooled) will continue to be engaged and those who are not will have truants on their hands. Our pioneer forefathers were wise in requiring education. Let's not reinvent the wheel.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    July 17, 2013 2:24 p.m.

    Why in a free country, are our children forced into compulsory education?

    Let's be creative, and positive. Believe these words:

    We can educate our children. We can figure out what to teach. We can find knowledgeable teachers.

    Words like mandate, and compulsory, are not American.

    July 17, 2013 2:19 p.m.

    Public schools are failing to educate our children. Yet the educators ask for more money every year, while complaining about all forms of accountability. Education happens in spite of public schools not because of it. Most home schooled children perform far better than their public school counterparts. Parents have a greater incentive to do whats best for their children because they love them and want them to succeed.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    July 17, 2013 1:47 p.m.

    This is the best idea I've heard in a long time. Some people have come to the idea of compulsory education as being the only way. Not true!!

    The educational level of our people is pathetic, and a tremendous waste of tax money.

    Thomas Edison, Ben Franklin, Mark Twain, the Wright Brothers, etc,-would never have accomplished what they did, if educated in today's schools.

  • FPrefect Tempe, AZ
    July 17, 2013 1:36 p.m.

    This is a political stunt to keep the state voting red. If the next generation isn't educated, they'll be more likely to vote for Republicans. Once a person learns basic critical thinking skills, they no longer consider libertarian philosophies and any form of supernaturalism as reasonable.

  • bigDave57 corydon, IN
    July 17, 2013 1:33 p.m.

    I think many of you are forgetting the children of abuse. I don't personally know of any abused children, but I could imagine an abusive parent would love to keep their victims at home all day. That way they wouldn't be interrupted by state officials, while beating their kids, or worse, raping them. Often times, schools are keeping some kids safe. Try to think of the children and their safety, before advocating something as asinine as keeping them away from school, where they may gain some semblance of safety.

  • Cincinnatus Kearns, UT
    July 17, 2013 12:30 p.m.

    Look, folks. Senator Osmond did not come up with this harebrained idea on his own. Go to the original post on the Senate blog and note the "Further Reading" link below the post.

    It's an article written by Oak Norton who has a lot of opinions (and blogs) on topics ranging from politics and government to education and religion. On a YouTube video he calls compulsory education, "unconstitutional and immoral."

    Norton, who is a staunch supporter of 10th Amendment rights, doesn't seem to understand that it was the states themselves that created compulsory education laws, beginning with Massachusetts in 1852. If the Federal Government is not allowed to regulate anything outside of what is explicitly stated in the Constitution, and states created compulsory education laws, his "unconstitutional" argument falls flat.

    What is "immoral" is allowing CHILDREN to decide if they want to go to school or not, or allowing parents to harm the future of their children by not sending them to school (public, private, home, etc.). It's immoral to force the consequences of this poorly thought out argument on society- higher crime, more welfare, further class division, etc.

  • JGug1 Mission, KS
    July 17, 2013 11:47 a.m.

    It is impossible for me to believe that this individual does not have some hidden agenda. Removing the obligation for children to go to school would mean that the less affluent children would tend to drop out so to bring more income into their families. It would also lead to more free reign of private schools to teach religious based doctrine instead of science based. Mr. Osmond should be removed from office for his odious proposal. Another thought: Since education is the foundation of democracy, perhaps Mr. Osmond is a "Manchurian Candidate?" He intends to undermine our democracy by increasing the numbers of uneducated citizens.

  • firefly Salt Lake City, UT
    July 17, 2013 11:26 a.m.

    Good way to create more Republicans.

  • Shimlau SAINT GEORGE, UT
    July 17, 2013 11:24 a.m.

    Million; "Since all of income tax goes to pay for education in Utah then there should be a limit on dependent deductions to four or three or two. It is almost a no-brainer." what about the current ponzi scheme that the government call "social security". If there are not sufficent wage earners to support this system in the future, then who will pay your social security, or if you don't depend on the government, then who will buy the products that will keep the economy afloat and your retirement solvent? I have more than 2 kids, all of them grown, and all of them employed, all of them pay taxes and all of them 'consume' I'm grateful for them.

  • Turtles Run Missouri City, TX
    July 17, 2013 11:04 a.m.

    While the rest of the world is working harder to improve their education systems and expand education into more of the population,the good Senator believes we should take the opposite approach.

    We must compete with the rest of the world to remain on top economically. That takes hard work. It is too easy to say lets discard problem and challenging students. Throwing children to the side is a horrible waste of resources and talent.

    These discarded children are not going away. They would become a drain on social services and increase crime rates. It taught they will be an asset for communities and the nation.

    Hard work not throwing away children is the choice we need to make.

  • renatastar Pittsburgh, PA
    July 17, 2013 10:38 a.m.

    I don't understand what the representative point is. Children need to be educated, if they want it or not. Some children are born into bad families. Some have fled their homes to live on the street. Not every family values education. As a society, we need to ensure our citizens are educated and productive to compete with the brightest and the smartest kids from all over the world. That is something we can't forget: we are in a global competition.
    There are some students who are bored at school and I think we need to change the way schools function. My mother sent me to the community college when high school became too easy for me. Other parents steered their children towards vocational education because they weren't interested in the classes offered at school. It would be much better to address how we can teach these "problem" children than to shut the entire system down. Real educators would try to find out how they can improve the system. It helps to remind everybody that the competition is biting at our heels.

  • freedomworks Provo, UT
    July 17, 2013 10:13 a.m.

    I'm a former public school teacher, so I speak from first-hand experience. Compulsory education has some very detrimental results:
    1. The students are spending twelve of their most formative years in a rigid top-down hierarchy where they sit powerless at the bottom - they are compelled what, where, and how to learn. They get zero practice exercising or defending the rights they are expected to responsibly wield when they turn 18. And this is supposed to help them be good citizens of a free society?! Right.
    2. I've seen with my own eyes how students respond to compulsion. They either play along (become yes-men), subvert the system by disrupting the learning of others, rebel, or withdraw. None of these responses are truly beneficial to a free society!
    3. Compulsion Destroys Incentive to learn. Google it yourself and see the horrific stats about the total lack of interest the vast majority of Americans have in even reading books after they graduate! And it gets WORSE if they go to college! Compulsion turns learning into a drudge and a bore - why would anyone want to do that on their own after they graduate?

  • Larry Chandler CEDAR CITY, UT
    July 17, 2013 9:20 a.m.

    It is definitely an obligation on the part of society to educate its children. This is not specifically a benefit or favor to the child, but to society as a whole to have an educated workforce and electorate. If the schools are failing in this, then fix the schools. If there are kids who don't want to be in school, then educate the parents who allow this, rather than indulge them and the children.

  • Ya Buddy Spanish Fork, Utah
    July 17, 2013 8:38 a.m.

    This proposal would solve the any graduation rate concerns. Only students that wanted to be at school would count, so presto, 100% graduation rate.
    Just make sure we invest in more prisons. . .

    There is no question that parents should be engaged in their student's learning. This is not the way to get parents engaged. Negligence by the parent is quite complicated, with no easy fix. I would hate to have a neighbor who did not send their kids to school and there would be no consequence.

    For the sake of the poor neglected child, protect their right to an education.

  • sgarvey morristown, NJ
    July 17, 2013 8:31 a.m.

    Those of you objecting to "removing" kids from schools fail to understand the Senator's point. Whether or not the child is in school would be left up to the parents and the child. In other words, families would need to make an active choice. This is about being responsible for your choices and actions instead of passively accepting what authority tells you. Being responsible for your own choices? Frightening, isn't it? But, so many people would rather have a big brother tell what they must do, and so many folks have a financial interest in maintain the status quo that it seems likely little will change until we descend further into crisis.

  • Million Bluffdale, UT
    July 17, 2013 7:06 a.m.

    The main reason Utah expenditures for education are so low is because the large families don't pay for the cost because the larger the family the more deductions they have. Since all of income tax goes to pay for education in Utah then there should be a limit on dependent deductions to four or three or two. It is almost a no-brainer.

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    July 17, 2013 4:39 a.m.

    At first I felt an outrage but on 2nd thought I am more outraged at how government is exploiting eduction for its own propaganda agenda.

    We Americans want our history and culture with unregulated free thought education where no subject is banned.

    I am inclined to agree with this concept as the only way to shut down corruption in education by governemnt mandates and propaganda. Let the parents teach their own home education programs and drop educaiton taxes for sales tax and property tax and let parents take care of and provide for their families.

    Its the only way to shut down the governemnt socialist machine and eduction is a privilege and not a right or mandate of governemnt policies. Education is free and parents are better able to teach children about the land they own. Board of education was created to provided materials and books for education, not be empowered as a governemnt agency.

    I am for starting over, shut down the system, hit reset and hard reboot, and give educaiton in the home a priority without any other services.

  • bamball Mesa, AZ
    July 17, 2013 2:53 a.m.

    Thank you, Utah State Legislature, for making sure Arizona is not on the very bottom of the Public Embarrassment Scale.

  • metisophia Ogden, UT
    July 16, 2013 4:22 p.m.

    Since parents can already choose to "home school" when they don't really (and I'm not talking about the dedicated parents who appear to at least try) why would it be necessary to change the compulsory education laws?

  • Wonderpus Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, UT
    July 16, 2013 1:51 p.m.

    Senator Osmond: You are naive, misguided and will not be re-elected... For those who are calling for the children who are not interested in learning to be removed from school: these children do not simply disappear once removed from elementary school, they become uneducated adults and cost the tax payer much more in the end. True, there are problems with our education system. Making learning optional is not the answer. Don't like the public education? Send your kid to private school or home school them, as the law currently allows. Reading Osmond proposal on his own website, gives me the indication that he has not given this much thought and has no real plan. It's scatterbrained and offers no clear argument. Read it for yourself...

  • Cincinnatus Kearns, UT
    July 16, 2013 1:32 p.m.

    I went to the Senate blog and read the entire post from Senator Osmond. While I understand what he is trying to achieve, I think that there are better ways of going about it.

    The world (and the state) were a much different place in the 1890's than they are today. In 1890, 35.1% of the population of the United States was urban- most people lived and worked on farms (large or subsistence) and ranches (of varying size). By 1990, we were 75.2% urban. Jobs have changed, challenges are different, and education is much more important for countries competing on the world stage.

    While the premise of giving more time, attention and resources to students who "want" to be in school may sound appealing, think for a moment about those children and parents who opt out of education. What's that going to do to society in 20, 40, 80 or 100 years? What kind of new class division is that going to create? What will happen to the welfare system? The longer term prospects are frightening.

    Frankly, I see this as just another backdoor attempt to force the voucher issue by throwing out something much scarier.

  • OlderGreg USA, CA
    July 16, 2013 1:25 p.m.

    In today's "enlightened" educational world, where we do not put kids on a track, where inclusion is paramount, where the teacher has to teach to the slowest in the class, where there are kids who (for a multitude of reasons) just don't give a hoot, you are *not* going to be able to teach those who are able and wanting to learn.

    Removing those who just don't want to be there is a darned good start----

  • JayTee Sandy, UT
    July 16, 2013 1:20 p.m.

    One of the biggest problems we have in this country is Super Nanny making sure everyone does what someone else thinks is vital and appropriate. We have more than proven that public school fails to educate the unmotivated, but costs astronomical amounts of money in the process. The people who want the government to "ensure" everything conveniently ignore little things like the nearly $17,000,000,000,000 official Federal deficit we have now. They somehow forget the children and grandchildren when it comes to things like that.

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    July 16, 2013 1:13 p.m.


    "I am not sure the Senator's detractors are on solid ground. Just how successfully are you educating the kids who do not want to be there?"

    Successfully enough that many will graduate, get jobs, go to college, the military, etc. Believe me, many children who graduate do so kicking screaming as their parents and the law force them to do so. Their diplomas as just as valuable as the valedictorian.

    Not everyone comes from a family that is highly educated, highly supportive, or even highly successful. Those children, above all others, need the leg up that "forcing" them to be there will give them.

  • LiveNLetLive Bakersfield, CA
    July 16, 2013 12:51 p.m.

    I am not sure the Senator's detractors are on solid ground. Just how successfully are you educating the kids who do not want to be there?

    If the only kids in school were the one's whose parents wanted them there, school performance might sky rocket. At least the schools would be able to concentrate on teaching rather than just warehousing bodies for 8 to 12 years.

  • Ed Firmage, Jr. Salt Lake City, UT
    July 16, 2013 12:47 p.m.

    Just when you think you've seen Utah at its silliest, Utah surprises you once again. The inanity of the state's leadership is infinite.

  • Reasonable Person Layton, UT
    July 16, 2013 12:31 p.m.

    Welfare good for beetdiggingcougar.
    Education bad for the kids who need it the most.

  • beetdiggingcougar Vancouver, WA
    July 16, 2013 12:16 p.m.

    I'm guessing most people haven't been inside a public school lately, you might be amazed at the amount of resources are spent (both money and teachers' emotions) on students who don't want to learn and are there only because they are legally required to be there. You can't force anyone to learn or have motivation to be better. I think this is what Sen. Osmond is going for.

    When I was in such a public school I thought that perhaps 1/3rd of the students actually wanted to learn, 1/3rd were there for the social aspect, and 1/3rd were there because they had to be. I might be incorrect in my ratios, but the fact is that if people don't want to be there, why waste money that could be put to better use?

    By the way, before I get destroyed by other readers, I was raised by a single mom (on welfare) who eventually put himself through university (BS & Masters). I'm all about helping the poor rise up, but if someone doesn't want it, let's move on to someone who does care.

    July 16, 2013 11:52 a.m.

    It is not the primary job of the government to educate people. It is primarily the job of parents to educate their children. Teachers like to complain that one of the problems they face is that they have to teach everyone. This would free up a teachers time dealing with students who don't want to learn.

    It is a waste of time to force students to attend school if they don't want to learn.

  • Fitz Murray, UT
    July 16, 2013 11:19 a.m.

    I am not sure what Sen. Osmond is trying to accomplish here. It is clear that education is vital. Everyone should know how to read, write and have basic math skills. If not a school, where? Home education is already allowed, as long as it meets certain criteria.

    Section 10 of the State Constitution requires that public education be offered for free. Is he trying to change the State Constitution? If so, I am a no vote.

    If the issue is an overload of responsibilities for schools(superintendents and teachers), then the Legislature, along with the various Boards of Education, need to find a better path.

    From my perspective, the path Sen. Osmond is trying to lay out is unclear, with no clear goal, but if it is to allow kids to op out of any form of education, then it is a dead end path, for both the child and society.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    July 16, 2013 11:08 a.m.

    I thought Osmond was starting to change the Republican view of education. Not any more. What a bizarre proposal--by all means, let's make even more sure that we have a permanent underclass of uneducated poor. Why are Republicans always coming up with these catastrophic notions?

  • CHS 85 Sandy, UT
    July 16, 2013 11:01 a.m.

    Yes, what we need is less educashun!

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 16, 2013 10:52 a.m.

    How in the world is eliminating compulsory education supposed to help with that?