Richard Davis: The State Board can do better than Lockhart, and should

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  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Aug. 29, 2014 8:24 a.m.

    We need someone that knows how to either run a business (a large one) or a very experienced educational administrator.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 4:53 p.m.

    Professional educators with high degrees have dropped the ball when it comes to education. With investigations math, which many professional educators support, mathematics has been made more complex than it needs to be. Students never do master the basics of understanding arithmetic, which is a foundation of understanding algebra. It took years for educators to give up the idea that phonics should no longer be used. This in spite of the fact that learning a few simple rules inspires initial confidence in reading simple words and sentences and significantly cuts down on the number of words that have to be learned by memorization alone.

    In short education needs an outsider with a lick of common sense to come in and stir things up. There is no reason why the teachers in the trenches need fear this. They will (hopefully) be given more autonomy and better curriculums to teach from. From my conversations with teachers in the trenches (educators who teach) they get it for the most part. Most parents get it. Its time to pass the baton of power to a new set of people, who hopefully will get it. Doing so is the only hope of making positive change.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 3:58 p.m.

    Conservatives on these blogs have been called out but haven't delivered.

    My favorite one is about electing the President.

    So I'll throw this one out there. I wasn't happy about Barack Obama being elected. However, I'm not happy about the prospect of Lockhart in this position.

    Again, conservatives, please bring forth some good defense rather than attacking the messenger and those that defend him with cogent points.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 12:32 p.m.

    @jed c,

    Re: "Those who oppose public education such, as "half the Utah Legislature" have consistently been shown to have financial ties to either private education, On-line education, or technology companies that sell to the schools"...

    Can you point out the ties half of the Utah Legislature have to private education? I'm calling your bluff.

    If you can give real evidence that backs up your accusation... I would be SUPER surprised.

    These accusations are usually based on rumors, innuendos, and what you heard from your anti-Utah-legislature friend (not something you can actually show anybody).

    But a rumor's as good as the truth... for some people.


    Re: "conservative white Male"...

    Why does race matter... are we being racist?
    Why does sex matter... are we being sexist?
    Why does conservative matter... are we being partisan?

    This isn't a partisan, sexist, OR racist thing... is it??

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 12:23 p.m.

    I don't like Lockhart (after her bitter personal comments when leading the Legislature, prematurely exposing her ambitions to be Governor some day). IMO she is the lesser of two evils here. Like somebody else pointed out... "Richard Davis is slightly to the left of Mao".

    State Board should not be a partisan battle... but I guess it is whether you like it or not.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Aug. 28, 2014 9:57 a.m.

    @regis, I think Obama has been a fine president. He pulled the economy out of free-fall and now our financial position is good. My own 401K is back where it was before Bush destroyed it. My own business is booming. People now have universal health care. We're not tangled up in a dozen stupid wars (which Romney would have done). I enjoy living in Obamerica much more than I did living in Bushland...or have you forgotten the apocalypse of 2008?

  • regis Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 9:16 a.m.

    According to Mr. Davis, "There are many good reasons not to hire Lockhart. One is that she lacks managerial experience. The superintendent supervises 41 school districts across the state and approximately 600,000 students. Lockhart was a nurse, but has never managed an agency, office or business before."

    That was also one of the reasons Barack Obama should never have been elected president. He had no experience running anything. And seeing how Mr. Obama has completely messed things up, I'd have to agree Becky Lockhart's lack of managerial experience disqualifies her from this job.

  • The Educator South Jordan , UT
    Aug. 28, 2014 5:40 a.m.

    Not one person has refuted Dr. Davis' points. He wrote up a well written article with some extremely strong facts. Pesky lil things sometimes! If you don't agree with Dr. Davis then please actually come up with rebuttals to his points. To merely attack the messenger and dismiss this article as "liberal professor" just seems lazy.

    We deserve better.

  • mhenshaw Leesburg, VA
    Aug. 28, 2014 5:38 a.m.

    >>Mr. practically a parrot of the Democratic Party. Of course he's going to argue for more of the same failed educational policies...

    Of course Democrats will advocate Democratic policies; but just saying "he's a Democrat" isn't an answer because Democrats aren't always wrong (I say that as a conservative).

    And Dr. Davis' point is actually apolitical--if Utah wants a first-rate education system, candidates for Superintendent of Public Instruction should bring considerable relevant experience as both an educator and a manager to the table. The consequences for children are too serious to consider candidates who've rarely run anything bigger than their own re-election campaigns and whose "relevant experience" often amounts attending committee meetings, giving speeches, and voting on funding bills.

    If Dr. Davis is wrong about Ms Lockhart's qualifications, she should be able to provide solid evidence in rebuttal. If she dissembles, deflects, or otherwise tries to shift the focus away from herself, take it as a sign that Dr. Davis likely is correct about her qualifications and her priorities.

  • Lifelong Republican Orem, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 11:31 p.m.

    The Utah Retirement system is in better shape than any other in the country. It continues to make more than it pays out and now that the legislature has killed teacher pensions, it is in fine shape.

    No Lockhart.

  • let's roll LEHI, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 7:35 p.m.

    The Professor puts the ball squarely in Ms. Lockhart's court.

    When should we expect to see her reasoned point by point rebuttal?

  • The Educator South Jordan , UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 6:47 p.m.

    Nurses should stick to hospitals.

    Educators should stick to education.

    Why even specialize in anything anymore if nurses can become superintendents? Can teachers run hospitals?

  • mufasta American Fork, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 4:57 p.m.

    It seems that the author is biased towards republicans. That evidence alone makes me suspect of his motivation in recommending against Lockhart. Davis states that "Lockhart, like so many of her Republican colleagues..." I don't have any allegiances in this battle but I will not be swayed by anyone that categorically disqualifies republicans merely because they are republicans. I am in support of vouchers for private schools as I think we would get much better education if I had a choice where to spend my money. It seems that Davis is in favor of the status quo when it comes to education in Utah and I just cannot support that position. I think his article was incredibly biased and short sighted.

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 12:02 p.m.

    By the way, for all the liberals out there decrying the Deseret News as a Conservative bastion, I'd point to this article as clear evidence otherwise.

    I'm not sure I'd pick Lockhart myself, to be honest. But to argue that we should oppose her because she won't shovel money hand over fist to the UEA is just partisan Democratic politics. Union = Democratic slush fund. The union chiefs get rich, the union rank and file get the shaft, and all discretionary money goes to Democrat politicians--at least, all the money that survives the union chiefs limo and lobster fund.

    Mr. Davis, the author here, is practically a parrot of the Democratic Party. Of course he's going to argue for more of the same failed educational policies: "Oh, if only we spent thousands more per student, THEN we could achieve!" Achieve what? Mandatory tolerance, "diversity," and deviant sexual acts being taught our students, like Secretary Anne Duncan promotes? No thanks, we don't need to promote any of that, despite liberals desires.

  • SharpHooks Lake Sammamish, WA
    Aug. 27, 2014 11:56 a.m.

    She is qualified to be a nurse. She should not be considered for the Education position for one minute.

  • Shawnm750 West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 11:17 a.m.

    While I think Utah needs a new approach to education I don't think Lockhart is the answer. What SO many people fail to see is that Utah actually commits quite a bit of money to education, but the dollars don't make it down to the classroom. If people bothered to research the salaries of some school administrators they'd see where their tax dollars are actually going. There are administrators in this state making well over $250K. We need someone at the state level who is keeping a watchful eye over these districts to ensure that taxpayer dollars are being used to best serve students.

    While we do need to evaluate how we educate our students, which in my opinion does include greater integration of new technology, our priority to be to first ensure that we have an efficient and effective system of funding.

  • Eli Tesecular PhD Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 11:17 a.m.

    Edumkashun in Utah and elsewear in the untied states is dooin jest fine with are currant leaderships. We donut need no new, non-teacher gumming things up.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 11:07 a.m.


    I like your reasoned response. I hope you know I was being sarcastic about the Ward Churchill part. As for vanceone, I can't speak for him...

  • netsrik Draper, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 10:48 a.m.

    I weep for education in this state as it is. If Lockhart gets this, I think I'll have a full on temper tantrum. For a state that claims to be for children, Utah has a really bizarre way of showing it.

  • Jim Cobabe Provo, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 10:41 a.m.

    For a traditional Republican to be so soundly condemned by a Democrat in Utah should probably be considered as a high mark of distinction.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 10:30 a.m.

    If Becky gets the job it clearly shows how our leaders prioritize education. She has no managerial or educational experience but is well connected to the political elite and the right wing radicals in the State. Wanting, coveting, craving power are not a qualifications for the job. Those are attributes in a politican not an educator.

  • jed c Payson, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 9:47 a.m.

    Those who oppose public education such, as "half the Utah Legislature" have consistently been shown to have financial ties to either private education, On-line education, or technology companies that sell to the schools.
    The push by the legislature and many citizens to denigrate teachers and De-professionalize the teaching profession is hurtful to Utah Education. Too many people think they are educators or know about education because "hey I attended school once". Read some research, practice critical thinking, and actually become involved in our schools before you claim to know how to manage or fix the system.
    Also, the idea that all who oppose the privatization for profit of education, and allowing an antagonistic politician to head the state school board are somehow liberal, leftist, radicals is ridiculous.
    Furthermore what exactly is with the push that somehow business people or business models would do better? Yes if education is about a profit. (Well maybe, lots of businesses fail). Has not Enron, the economic crash, scandal after scandal taught us about the pitfalls of business. Yea, that's who I want running my schools. (From a conservative white Male, Not that it should matter)

  • jed c Payson, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 9:46 a.m.

    The article is not a political attack.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Aug. 27, 2014 9:46 a.m.

    Public education needs to be led by someone with experience, not someone whose aspirations to be Governor got derailed and treats the position as a consolation prize.

  • mhenshaw Leesburg, VA
    Aug. 27, 2014 9:34 a.m.

    >>Or maybe he's just Ward Churchill...

    He's neither a Ward Churchill nor a radical "to the left of Mao"; and even if that were true, ad hominum attacks are logical fallacies and therefore not an effective rebuttal to his arguments.

    I took several classes from Dr. Davis when I was a student at the Y some years ago. He's calm, thoughtful, rational, and an excellent analyst and instructor. While our political philosophies differ, my experiences with him in and out of the classroom have shown me that his positions and opinions are always well-reasoned and worth serious consideration.

  • Tuffy Parker Salem, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 9:29 a.m.

    Very surprised the the Deseret News would run this piece and give it "front page" status on its online version. Personal attacks are not allowed in the comments section - not sure why it's allowed in an article that one could reasonably assume is endorsed by the Deseret News.

    To be clear, I'm no fan of Ms. Lockhart and believe she consistently demonstrates a politics first attitude. But it seems disingenuous to vilify her specifically for the school board position in the fear that she might aspire to a higher office.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 9:29 a.m.

    Every reason Davis gives opposing Ms. Lockhart is actually a reason to support her. The education establishment is saddled with a "group think" paradigm based on education concepts from a century ago. Many are certainly still valid, but many are no longer applicable.

    More importantly, the education industry in the country and in Utah is dominated by left leaning unions who seem to be more interested in their own welfare and tenure than in education of children. (Although our classroom teachers mostly do a superb job, despite the dubious benefits of layers of bureaucracy.)

    Lockhart's experience in the legislature, especially as Speaker, is actually superb management background, as well as demonstrated leadership, budgetary expertise, and understanding of how all the pieces of the state bureaucracy, business and education mesh. These are skills not learned in academia, or in education courses.

    Lockhart will ask "why" and "why not" and "how can this be better" instead of insisting "we have always done it this way."

    Our kids deserve innovative leadership, not cronyism of career educators.

    Go Becky!

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Aug. 27, 2014 9:03 a.m.

    How many sane boards of directors would hire as CEO a person with no qualifications and demonstrated hostility to their organization?

    But then the state board just hired as interim CEO a Seminary teacher whose wife is suing the organization.

    Sounds like Ms. Lockhart has a lock on the job. Irony of the week.

  • Howard Beal Provo, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 8:47 a.m.

    Yes, when I think democrat liberal activist, I think BYU. For sure.

    But chances are Mr. Davis is a conservative, perhaps a moderate conservative with some common sense who is looking out for our children in a sincere way.

    Or maybe he's just Ward Churchill...

  • amigo sandy, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 8:45 a.m.

    Dear Play by the Rules... I'm a republican and couldn't agree more with this op-ed piece. Hallelujah Amen

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 8:37 a.m.

    Seeing the byline here makes me want to support Lockhart more, just because Davis is to the left of Mao.

    The real reason Davis opposes Lockhart is found in the latter part of the column: she's not UEA friendly, and she probably won't jack taxes through the roof to dump ever increasing amounts of cash on unionized teachers that don't really teach. The last thing we need to do is throw more cash down the rabbit hole.

    The US spends more money on education than any other country. And what do we get for it? Failing schools, students, and incredibly wealthy liberal interest groups.
    Until Education is split from the Democratic Party slush fund, there's no point in spending more cash. It all goes to protect pedophiles anyway. Just ask New York and California, who have teachers they pay to sit in a room all day, because they are too dangerous to be around kids, yet they cannot be fired because of unions.

  • freedom in 2017 SLC, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 8:31 a.m.

    The reason that Utah Schools have a $500 MM underfunded Other Post Employment Benefit is because "educators" have pretended to have business backgrounds. This is a staggering amount and UEA is ignoring it. Wake up Utahns. This is the same reason dozens of school districts around the country have declared bankruptcy. Utah Retirement System is also in bad shape.

  • Furry1993 Ogden, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 7:59 a.m.

    The state board should be headed by an educator, not by a politician.

  • stevo123 slc, ut
    Aug. 27, 2014 7:54 a.m.

    Becky Lockhart has no qualifications for the job. One should not use a leadership position in the legislature to gain another state job.

  • 10CC Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 7:46 a.m.

    Great column by Richard Davis.

    Lockhart's husband has been a lobbyist for technology firms, which is part of the reason Lockhart pushed a half-baked idea to flood our schools with technology, while leaving other parts of education - such as class size and support for teachers - to atrophy.

    With her husband's role in pushing technology, the size of this conflict of interest is far too large to ignore. It would be like the Superintendent's spouse being a building contractor specializing in the construction of schools, or maybe being the sales representative for portable classrooms.

    After Lockhart's speech slamming Governor (and fellow Republican) Herbert as an "Inaction Figure", her bombastic style reveals unbridled political ambition.

    The very last thing we need is more politicization in education.

  • Tulip West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 7:39 a.m.

    Brick and mortar schoolhouses are going to become a thing of the past in the not so distant future. The Superintendent needs to be someone who can think outside the box and bring innovation to education. Whether that be Lockhart or someone else...the writing is on the wall. The internet is changing the way of everything including education. We should accept it with an attitude of excitement!

  • U-tar Woodland Hills, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 7:33 a.m.

    Those liberal political science professors really have all the answers don't they!

  • TilleySue South Weber, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 7:33 a.m.

    The author's strong opposition makes me wonder if Lockhart would actually do a good job.

  • G-Day-M8 Where is Waldo, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 7:23 a.m.

    The Deseret News can do better than political hacks, and should'

    I have just been convinced that Becky Lockhart is an Ideal candidate for State School Superintendent. I'm persuaded we need to separate the statist UEA/NEA stranglehold of institutional secular education and replace it with people who care about more than themselves and the extorted money they receive from the legislature.

  • E Sam Provo, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 7:17 a.m.

    Completely agree. She's not, in any sense, qualified for the position. Which means, she'll probably get the job.

  • play by the rules SOUTH JORDAN, UT
    Aug. 27, 2014 7:00 a.m.

    Typical hit piece by a democrat activist.

    Aug. 27, 2014 6:28 a.m.

    An issue well addressed by Mr. Davis! He is correct; Lockhart is one of the last that should hold that position! Lockhart being just another oportunistic politician, looking for a well paying stepping stone, with minimum qulifications required of a Superintendent of Education.
    IMO there are literally hundreds more qualified living in the state!