The Senate Site Accountability for Parents + Respect for Teachers

Accountability for Parents + Respect for Teachers

Posted in 2013, Featured on Friday, July 12th, 2013 at 9:38 PM 150 Comments

A Practical Argument for Ending Compulsory Education in Utah
Renewing Accountability for Parents and Respect for Educators
By Senator Aaron Osmond

Before 1890, public education in America was viewed as an opportunity—not a legal obligation. Prior to that time, the parent was primarily responsible for the education of their children. The state provided access to a free education for those that wanted to pursue it. The local teacher was viewed with respect and admiration as a professional to assist a parent in the education of their child.

Then came compulsory education. Our State began requiring that all parents must send their children to public school for fear that some children would not be educated because of an irresponsible parent. Since that day, the proverbial pendulum has swung in the wrong direction.

Some parents completely disengage themselves from their obligation to oversee and ensure the successful education of their children. Some parents act as if the responsibility to educate, and even care for their child, is primarily the responsibility of the public school system. As a result, our teachers and schools have been forced to become surrogate parents, expected to do everything from behavioral counseling, to providing adequate nutrition, to teaching sex education, as well as ensuring full college and career readiness.

Unfortunately, in this system, teachers rarely receive meaningful support or engagement from parents and occasionally face retaliation when they attempt to hold a child accountable for bad behavior or poor academic performance.

On the other hand, actively engaged parents sometimes feel that the public school system, and even some teachers, are insensitive to the unique needs and challenges of their children and are unwilling or unable to give their child the academic attention they need because of an overburdened education system, obligated by law to be all things to all people.

I believe the time has come for us to re-evaluate what we expect of parents and the public education system, as follows:

First, we need to restore the expectation that parents are primarily responsible for the educational success of their own children. That begins with restoring the parental right to decide if and when a child will go to public school. In a country founded on the principles of personal freedom and unalienable rights, no parent should be forced by the government to send their child to school under threat of fines and jail time.

Second, we need to shift the public mindset to recognize that education is a not an obligation, but an opportunity to be treasured and respected. Utah’s constitution requires that we provide the opportunity for a free public education to every child. But public education is not free—it costs taxpayers billions each year. When a parent decides to enroll a child in public school, both the parent and child should agree to meet minimum standards of behavior and academic commitment or face real-life consequences such as repeating a class, a grade, or even expulsion.

Third, we need to stop dictating the number of hours a child must be present in a classroom. Instead of requiring that teachers and students must be in class for 990 hours a year, lets enable our local school boards to determine the best use of a teacher’s time and focus student and parent expectations on educational outcomes such as completing assignments and passage of exams as the measurement of success for the opportunity to progress in public school.

Finally, if a parent decides to keep their child home or to go on a family vacation, it’s the responsibility of that parent to ensure their child completes the assignments and stays current with their class. Similarly, if a child consistently misbehaves, it’s the teacher’s right to send that child home to their parent until he or she is ready to respect and appreciate their opportunity to be educated.

I believe it is time to change how we approach public education in Utah. In my view, we should take a close look at repealing compulsory education.

 

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Further reading: Ending Compulsory Education – A Freedom-based Argument, by Oak Norton (PDF)

 

Photo: Historic schoolhouse in Fruita, Utah, via Wikipedia

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150 Comments to “Accountability for Parents + Respect for Teachers”

  1. Devirl (Ed) Barfuss says:

    Proposing this kind of legislation takes great courage in a state where education is independent of the legislature and deeply entrenched. Ninty-five percent of the kids will still show up for school and be ready to learn. The disrupters will be gone and teaching and learning will once again be fun. The absent five percent will have to work with their parents to find the best option for them.

    • Isaac says:

      “Ninty” indeed!

    • RLHotchkiss says:

      So, what will happen to the 18 year old whose parents have decided that he didn’t need an education. Who will be ineligible for military service and entering an economy where wages for those without a high school diploma keep falling?

    • Lynn says:

      ABSOLUTELY –
      Not to mention that the “OUT-OF CONTROL” Davis County Schoolboard would then have much less power, thus, taxation power, and we as taxpayers JUST MIGHT have the chance to keep the out-of-control Dacis County Schoolboard from flushing our Hard-Earned Money (which THEY seem to believe that they have an unlimited RIGHT to) down the TOILET year after year! THAT is the REAL problem we are facing!

  2. Tammy Hulse says:

    This makes so much sense! I believe the quality of education in Utah will skyrocket if we allow parents to opt in instead of checking out of public schools. Families are also in the best position to choose the number of hours a child will participate in formal education. Most parents want to provide the best education for their children, and a team of caring parents, who are all seeking for the best education options for their children, will cause the finest programs and resources to rise to the top.

  3. Rhonda says:

    I agree wholeheartedly, and will help to spread this message. Thank you, Senator Osmond, for having the courage to stand up for the rights and responsibilities of the family.

    Here is what our own Utah law says in section 62A-4a-201
    (d) The state recognizes that:
    (i) a parent has the right, obligation, responsibility, and authority to raise, manage, train, educate, provide for, and reasonably discipline the parent’s children; and
    (ii) the state’s role is secondary and supportive to the primary role of a parent.
    (e) It is the public policy of this state that parents retain the fundamental right and duty to exercise primary control over the care, supervision, upbringing, and education of their children.

    • Robert R says:

      This sounds like opening the door wide to church indoctrination. It’ll be history and science taught with a heavy emphasis on God instead of physics chemistry and biology. The tides don’t go in an out because of the gravitational effect of the moon on the Earth, God does it.
      President don’t get elected by vote of the people and the electoral college, they’re anointed by God. Look out the religious medrossas of the Middle East are coming to Utah, Mormon style. Throw away Algebra Trigonometry and Calculus and open your Doctrine and Covenants books to understand how force vectors really work, IT’S GOD not kinetic or potential energy, magnetism or a chemical reaction. IT’s all God.

  4. Helen Anderson says:

    I think this would be great for public schools and families.

  5. Marie Morgan says:

    I think this is an idea whose time has come, and I am so happy to see it come up in the minds of our legislators. Parents should have greater responsibility for the education and training of their children. The schools and teachers do not need to have such a heavy load put on them by everyone. Education is an opportunity, and should be treated as such. The government should provide a supporting role in the education of our kids, not the primary role. In our society, we have left the teaching of values and morals to the public school systems. This is disastrous, because they teach the value of no values and the morals lessons of how to live without a moral compass. A child’s own parents can and should be most responsible for the care of their children. Thank you Senator Osmond!!

  6. Elizabeth Little says:

    Thank you Senator Osmond! I believe that if we follow the steps outlined above, our educational system will be greatly benefited. We have six young children and the principles of initiative, respect, invitation, and natural consequences consistently reap better results than compulsion. Thank you for taking a common sense stand! I hope that we can quickly pass this bill and move toward more freedom for parents and teachers in our educational system.

  7. Lynn Stoddard says:

    This is the single most important piece of legislation that could be passed in the next legislature.
    Please consider all of the significant things that would happen and lend your voice to support it.

  8. Reed Guymon says:

    I support this bill. Five of our grandchildren are presently being home schooled because two of those children’s needs could not be met at the public school. Much effort was made by the mother to work with the teachers. To home school them was so much better! The only way!

  9. “RIGHT ON’” Senator Osmond,.

    We Need to Eliminate Compulsory Education

    No one likes to be compelled to do anything. This has been true since before mankind came to be, and will always be true. The foundation of No Child Left Behind and the Common Core Curriculum is compulsion – The government compelling teachers who compel students to learn, is destined to fail or be ineffective from the outset because it is based on compulsion.

    If parents and students are given the freedom to choose education of not choose education, they will always (without exception) choose education; if not in a formal school setting then in an apprenticeship program to learn a trade after learning to read and do math. We need people to grow our food, manufacture and fix our machinery, repair our plumbing and build our homes as much as we need engineers and scientists.

    Education based on freedom instead of compulsion will eliminate school vandalism. Students will go to school because they or their parents want them to go to school not because the government compels them to do so.

    Freedom in education will make it possible for human beings to soar above the clouds of compulsory education and bring about a renaissance in learning. Then for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.

  10. Angela Johnson says:

    Thank you Aaron for bringing this issue to light. We certainly will benefit as a society as we try to focus on the family.

  11. Janet Summit says:

    I agree that ending compulsory education is the biggest problem in education. THe trouble, though, is that we are not prepared to deal with the issue of what that will mean. We do not have systems in place to manage all the new issues if we were to end compulsory education point blank.

    Compulsory education does need to be “phased out” as we gradually put into place programs and systems that students can use by choice. Allowing private schools is a great option – giving the tax dollars spent to the student — the student chooses where to attend school – that’s another great option.

    There must be somewhere for parents to turn for education before we just say “we are done.” Establishing community education centers where parents can get together to schedule a class for children is important, for example. If a parent does want to gather a group of children together for a “school class” of some sort, there is no place for them to meet unless they can afford to pay for that space. Then parents can begin to find solutions too.

    • Rhonda says:

      Are you saying that as parents, we are completely incapable of organizing and finding resources without governmental assistance?

      There are already places for parents to turn. Talk to other parents. Look into homeschool cooperatives and how they’ve set up their systems and classes. Read books on the subject- “The Well-Trained Mind” is a classic one. Look up information online, join an email group.

      The point is to have less programs and systems run and funded through the government, leaving more freedom and responsibility to the people it rightly belongs to, and, incidentally, reducing the state’s spending and debt. It’s a win-win.

      Giving tax dollars to the student wherever he goes opens up all kinds of new issues. The biggest one is “he who has the gold, makes the rules”; government leaders feel justified in making demands of anyone who uses public money. I don’t know what they’ll do about this one, or if it will even be included in the bill. That said, maybe a good option would be for school or community buildings to be open to parents wanting to use a room after regular school hours for education purposes. Meanwhile, we’ll continue to meet in the spaces we have- our homes.

    • Who says “we are done,” Janet? I think he means you don’t have to go, but school is there if you choose to attend.

  12. Debra Severn says:

    As a parent and past public school teacher, I agree that to have true freedom people must have the freedom to fail. One size does not fit all when it comes to education and parents need to make those decisions for their children. If we let government, corporations or anyone else decide the future or our children’s education we should not be surprised when the content, methods or outcomes are not to our liking. Please, if you are in a position to vote on any issue involving education, vote for parental choice.

  13. Jennifer Ford says:

    Thank you for so eloquently putting this legislation together. I whole heartedly agree. Public education needs to be a choice, individual freedoms and parental rights need to be restored. I LOVE the opt-in system…it puts much more value on the opportunity to “receive” an education. At times I have homeschooled my children and at times they have been enrolled at our local public school. I can see how this legislation could be SO wonderful for public school teachers who do often feel boxed in to such a rigid system. Thank you!

  14. Dana Slabaugh says:

    Dear Senator Osmond,

    I completely support the return f authority to parents. I thank you for having the courage to support and offer this bill.

  15. Michele Alder says:

    Unfortunately the Educational system in Utah runs politics in Utah, they are the most influential with the largest source of campaign donations to legislators. Vouchers were so close to being passed in Utah but the voters were influenced into voting against their freedom to choose with all the fear mongering that could be mustered to convince them that choice would destroy public education. If vouchers couldn’t pass, non-compulsion definitely won’t for the system will unleash all its forces to undo it. Needless to say I would love your idea to succeed, I just don’t see how it can, the voters are too easily influenced to fear liberty.

    • Toby Dillon says:

      *chuckle* That’s funny. I heard the LDS church runs politics in Utah. Are they in charge of public education, too, or are you saying that the church is merely a puppet for the powerful UEA lobby?

      Oh, the humanity!

  16. Joshua Choate says:

    Absolutely agree!

  17. Cami R says:

    Thank you for your courage in presenting this important issue! I hope the voters will have the courage to back it up. Communism doesn’t work because people can’t directly see the profit of their labors and whoever’s in charge can’t possibly be aware of, much less meet, everyone’s needs. The compulsory school system is failing because of similar reasons. Restoring people’s awareness of ownership and responsibility in their own education is one of the single most effective ways to empower our society. Also, people often fear that “someone will be left behind,” which may happen… but how many are currently KEPT behind because of the current system? People need to be in charge of their own lives. That kind of incentive is how miracles happen!

  18. Brett says:

    Congratulations Senator Osmond on telling the truth about how you and the Utah Republican Senate Caucus feel about our children: it’s time to give up on them.
    Our state’s founders were wrong when the guaranteed free, non-sectarian, compulsory education for all children. We’ve only proven how wrong they were when we have underfunded schools for the past three decades, with Utah’s children regressing on every conceivable score and standard.
    Time to just forgo the artifice and forget about our future.

    • Lewellan says:

      I’ve come to think of elementary and secondary education as more a means of socialization than an actual education. There were 560-some students in my class of ’68. I was number 519 with a ‘D’ average and no prospects for college. Since those days, I’ve proven my intelligence level to be a little higher than average, but what I didn’t learn in high school was the old adage, roughly, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know that gets one ahead in life.” My failure was in finding a place in social circles with the jocks, nerds and achievers, the popular, the sons and daughters of the upper-class. I may have unknowingly been classified with the losers, rejects and misfits, but my work helped bring light rail to Salt Lake City, daily taken for granted by those who looked down their noses at me years ago and who still look down on students who don’t fit their image of worthy upstanding Americans.
      I’ll never vote republican; their standards are too low and their self-image higher than they merit.

  19. Tessa Zundel says:

    Go get ‘em, Senator! We’ll spread the word…

  20. Lucinda Ewell says:

    I have only recently become aware as a parent how much more responsible I am as parent for my children’s education. As a consequence I am more involved and my children have greatly improved in attitude and emotional well-being. I love the opt in option! Children do not and should not all fit in the same box. We need individuality. Each child learns at their own pace. There is no behind or ahead. It’s called individuality! We should encourage this not discourage it.

  21. [...] is the text of the letter (also available at the Utah Senate Site or as a [...]

  22. Jesse says:

    As a recovering public school teacher, I can’t tell you how enthusiastically I endorse this proposal! Any honest teacher will have to admit that the learning of the entire class suffers from the distractions caused by the few students that don’t give a damn about their education and don’t want to be there.

    As teachers, we can’t kick them out because the school needs the money, so, everyone is unhappy, the student who hates school, the teacher who has to try to control them, and the other students who have to wait for the teacher to deal with the disruptions. Everyone would be better off if those who hate being in school were allowed to leave and go out into the real world and realize they NEED education.

    Compulsion kills incentive. The old Soviet Union’s economy PROVED that. Why do we think it will work in education?!

    • Laurella Desborough says:

      As a retired teacher, I do not agree with this proposal to make education voluntary. Here is why. When you have an uneducated public, you have a public who is unable to do so many things, from knowing how to handle a bank account, to being able to work at a decent job, to being able to understand the issues they are voting on at the ballot box.

      As far as the student “disruptors” they should be given a physical and mental assessment to determine if their problem is physical and then that problem addressed. If they are simply rowdies, then they should be removed from the class room and put into special classes that are as tough as boot camp is for soldiers. Sometimes the issue for boys is simple…the schools have removed those classes they enjoyed: wood shop, metal shop, etc. where they could have some hands-on challenges. These types of classes are removed by school boards to reduce the insurance liabilities without concern for the needs of the kids. I have seen kids that were having serious problems in all classes, but when they had a class they enjoyed and where they could excel, then they had a different attitude overall for their other classes.

      Whereas this “voluntary education” idea looks good on the surface, I cannot believe it will be good for the kids’ futures or good for the country.

      Problem students DO need to be addressed and seriously…but that is not happening. To fail to address the issue of the “disruptors” is to fail the entire student body in a school. Disruption must be addressed and the problems solved, both for the disrupting students and the other students;

      • Isaac says:

        Thank you for your teaching and worthy commentary.

      • L Smith says:

        A voice of reason, Laurella! Not every houshold has the opportunity to have a stay at home mom with a college degree in primary education. This would widen the gap between the haves and the have nots, not bridge it. Do we want our cities filled with a bunch of hopeless, uneducated people who cannot have a dream of a better life? That future is frightening.

        • Dr. Bill says:

          I cannot stay silent on this blog. I was raised by public school parents who reinforced the value of educational support at home. I became a public school teacher but some of my sisters chose to home school their children. Fortunately, their husbands provided them that option.
          I am now volunteering with children from The Road Home shelter for homeless families in SLC and see the results of those who were forced out for whatever reason. I reflect back on the Education Law classes that I took regarding Free and Appropriate Public Education for all students under age 18. Apparently, FAPE has not met the needs of all citizens, since so many are now raising their families on the streets.
          The social science question, then, is whether allowing more choice for public education will eventually increase or reduce the number of families living on the streets. Will society at large benefit from the decisions made at home?
          Does the public school system prepare students for a competitive global economy? Or, does it prepare them to be more dependent on the state? Keep asking those questions, Senator Osmond!

  23. Erin says:

    THANK YOU!! As a teacher of almost 15 years, earning awards such as teacher of the year, I love teaching. But am seriously contemplating leaving the profession (just spent the morning looking at other careers) because of the rudeness, lack of support, and disrespect of so many parents. There are GREAT ones out there as well, and I can tell you from experience that their children will be successful. But those that continue to propagate the idea of entitlement and reward for lack of effort, and shift in responsibility, well sadly, their children will pay a heavy price. In the meantime, they complicate and frustrate the efforts of so many good teachers.

    Unfortunately, something needs to be done quickly, in order to keep the great teachers in place. Without support, or some sort of shift, the good ones can’t stay, and US education as a whole will continue to decline.

    Thank you for having the courage to say what needs to be said, and for doing it so articulately!

  24. Aneladee Minle says:

    First of all, I think this would be too good to really happen. I don’t believe the unions will allow it to pass. They will spend their last penny fighting it. They will illegally send a barrage of negative messages to the public using the public schools to do it, just as they did with the voucher legislation. They will never surrender their power and control over the minds and hearts of children.

    Second, even though we all know it is logical, it makes perfect sense based on what we have learned from following the historical evidences, our personal experience with the current compulsory system doesn’t sit well with freedom lovers and many of the members of Utah’s prevailing religion have been warned about the bad effects of force and compulsion and the current compulsory education laws are a violation of unalienable rights, I just don’t believe that the minds of the majority are free enough to not be influence by the power seeking unions. This is not a fight between good and bad, right and wrong or even true and false, which would make this legislation a no brainier; this is a fight for power and influence. If we want to win this war we have a huge battle to fight before January rolls around. We happy few. We band of brothers need to join our voice and proclaim the truth. “We have a right to teach our children the values we want them to have. We have a right to teach our children what we feel is necessary for the success of their future. Parents love their children, who better to take charge of their education than parents.” Abolishing compulsory education will not undermine the public schools at all. It will relieve an overburdened system and it will allow public schools to choose how they will serve the parents who don’t care.

    Just some thoughts! I’m not afraid to put my shoulder to wheel. Let me know how I can help.

  25. Kathy Nelson says:

    I really like the idea of parents buying whole-heartedly into their children’s education. It doesn’t take long, as a teacher, to figure out which parent is really concerned about their child’s education. As a teacher, I can do so much more when a parent is in my corner and we can work together. It makes all of the difference in the world. This also sounds a lot like personal responsibility for parents and children. The hardest part of teaching public school is that it can be almost impossible to hold children responsible for their own actions. That causes problems for everyone else in the room.

  26. Sandra Mountcastle says:

    I hope we can get this bill passed! It’s time to make some major changes in education and put the responsibility back on the shoulders of parents where it belongs. Way to go Senator Osmond!

  27. Kory Holdaway says:

    This is an interesting idea and one that needs greater discussion. For 80% of the families or parents of children this would be a great approach to take. However there is a segment of our population who would not accept the proper responsibility for their children and thus the choices that are spoken of and necessary are absent for the children of these parents. Do we as a society allow the parents of these children to negatively affect the opportunities and potential of that child’s future. I for one would be concerned about the effects this would have for generations to come. We talk about intergenerational poverty and the need to break that cycle, it is the education of the individual child that can have a influence on that challenge.

    • Deb says:

      Our society is being destroyed in the supposed effort to save the few who are unfortunately growing up in undesirable environments. This is the very excuse that has been used to grow over 180 welfare programs, and now almost half of our people are being born into single parent families: because we thought it was the responsibility of the government to take over when people are dysfunctional, or make choices that are destructive. The fantastic increase in the numbers of children growing up in these horrific environments is because of this erroneous idea that government is the answer to all ills. Obviously, it is the cause of most of our ills. It is the responsibility of family and neighbors to help out when difficulties arise. This bill is long overdue. I wholeheartedly support it and will spread the word.

    • Oak Norton says:

      Kori, I think the figure is probably much higher than 80%. I think almost every parent wants their child to be educated and successful. For those few that don’t know how to use their responsibility wisely, I don’t think it’s the purview of the state to enforce it. We should discuss ways to support the family as the central unit, not strip away their responsibilities. State law recognizes that families have a “fundamental liberty interest” in the education of their children. Most of the families you refer to probably won’t even realize the law has changed because they aren’t involved anyway and they’ll just send their children to school. Where a few families may decide to not send their children to school, is it right to force them under a belief that we know what’s better for them? How will they ever become responsible people if we usurp responsibility from them and take away their choices and consequences? Education can break generational poverty. Lets make it an opportunity instead of a requirement. Lets teach youth the value of an education and help them make a good choice, while respecting teachers and parents in their proper roles.

  28. Amy Edwards says:

    Interesting points, but there are a few red flags for me, personally. I agree that our view of education has shifted, and I agree that it was better before. But I’m not convinced this is the course of action to correct that.

    I don’t believe that most parents want to abdicate their rights or responsibilities to educate or raise their children. I believe that the government has spent years sending parents the message that “trained teachers” should take over education. I’ve witnessed too many parents who want to be involved who are turned away, “because they lack training”. I’ve heard from students whose teachers actually told them that their parents were wrong about a topic and that children should listen to the teachers, “because we are more educated and trained”.

    Parents are criticized for wanting to teach sex ed at home and infuse their own values. The schools (or the gov’t) want social issues taught by their certified teachers, not by parents. They want to include “tolerance” and “alternative life styles”. Some schools don’t even notify parents before engaging in “social lessons”.

    This problem is cultural and it has been fostered for over 50 years. It will take a culture shift to correct, not more regulations about education. And the idea that parents are responsible for doing all the assignments if they take their child on a trip is very disturbing to me. Most homework offered in public schools today is busy work. A child does not miss out on much learning by skipping it, especially if they are out in the real world instead. A child would learn much more if they were to simply engage in their trip and time with family, but that learning is more challenging to measure.

    • Toby Dillon says:

      Amy,

      As a parent, I don’t feel pressured to force my kids to take sex ed or to accept any other behavior advocated in the classroom aside from the niceties of raising one’s hand and waiting one’s turn, so I’m not sure where that argument comes from. I teach my children about sex from an early age, and I fully expect that when they take sex ed, the only potentially interesting point will be the names of various anatomical bits because the titillating nature of the beast will have been addressed already.

      I’ve been an outspoken critic of the culture of “expertise” in the past, and I’m chagrined to admit that now that I am an expert in my career field, it is easy to identify that while experts can and do make mistakes, they are often more empowered to correct those mistakes than the common man. The fact is, teachers have trained for years to be able to teach and they ought to have more current knowledge and a better understanding of the process than the rest of us.

  29. Toby Dillon says:

    Where to begin?

    I think we agree that the point of education is to prepare our children for adulthood, including college and/or career readiness and a general understanding of pro-social behavior such as is necessary to continue our civilization. To this end, no one I’ve spoken to in Utah doubts that parents are primarily responsible for the education of their children. “Some parents” is a straw man argument. Give me numbers and names: let them speak for themselves. Vague references to “some” perceived problem are nothing more than a desperate attempt to hide the fact that this is a solution without a problem. Senator, please provide us with a study, a poll perhaps, or better yet, actual quotes from named Utahns that we can respond to that necessitates this “reevaluation.”

    Teachers in China receive meaningful support through tax-free pay. Would you run a bill offering to pay the income tax of our educators through increased sales taxes?

    As an “actively engaged parent,” I concur that I often feel that my academically successful children are not being accelerated and they tell me that it makes them not want to go to school. This is a problem that needs addressing. Encouraging my children to stay home and play video games by not requiring them to attend school is not the solution. Providing more resources for teachers is. Again, where is the bill calling for an increase in taxes to pay for a better education system?

    To address your first main point: no one I’ve spoken with about this topic over the last month disagrees that it is a parental responsibility to educate one’s child. We do not need to “restore” the expectation: it is inherited the first time you hold the child in your arms and imagine them an adult. We have public education because most of us realize our inadequacies in various fields of learning and appreciate the usefulness of a centrally-managed, expert-driven, high-value education center such as a school provides. Furthermore, current laws already provide for homeschooling in our state that allow parents to withdraw their children from the public system at any time for any reason without fear of fine or jail time, nor even testing to confirm that such parents are, in fact, educating their children at all. As I associate with a number of homeschoolers, I have grave concerns about this lack of oversight, but, as we agree, it’s up to the parents to prepare their children for adulthood and existing law provides that privacy and freedom to do so. You make no argument that the current law is ineffective in that respect.

    Your second point: that education should be viewed as an opportunity rather than an obligation gets my full support. However, such a shift in mindset cannot be achieved through policy. As you point out, our Constitution requires “free” education for all students. “Free” in this case, meaning no child can be denied that education based on his poverty. How does voluntary education save taxpayers money, exactly? Reject poor students, who traditionally score below your arbitrarily determined “standards of academic commitment”? What does academic commitment mean, anyway? And who are you to judge me and my child’s commitment to learning? Current law already provides for repeating grades (almost never done), repeating classes (done more frequently) and expulsion in extreme cases of antisocial behavior (and the requisite “alternative schools” for those expelled to try to be more than just a future burden on society). In all, again, a solution in need of a problem.

    Your third point: lifting state-wide restrictions on classroom hours holds promise. My oldest would spend all day at school, given his druthers. I believe that requiring public schools to be staffed 24/7 would be amenable to his wishes. A back-of-the-hand calculation suggests this will significantly increase the cost (and liability) of schools. Are you planning a bill to increase our taxes accordingly? Alternatively, do you suggest that our children will learn more by spending even less time than their peers in other first-world countries–except, of course, those children who would rather stay home and play video games anyway? But, again, local districts are already given the freedom to determine how they will meet this required number of hours–whether through longer school days, shorter weeks, urban-friendly year-round education, or simply the traditional rural approach. As previously stated, current law already provides both the flexibility and expectations, based on years of research. Colleges may adopt a pass-fail approach, but historically, students who attend high schools with pass/fail grading systems struggle to get into the best colleges for lack of a way to quantify their achievement. Your suggestion would doom nearly all of our children to in-state colleges, save those wealthy families who can afford otherwise.

    As with previous points, your final point is a reflection of the current state of affairs. Children who currently miss class are already expected to make up the work on their own time. If your argument is that we should fine parents whose children do not, I’m willing to hear your defense of such a punitive policy. For misbehaving children in classes, we already have an extensive and multi-tiered approach for handing that behavior, up to and including ejection from the classroom and expulsion from the school. How would voluntary education handle it differently?

    Having just re-evaluated public education according to your criteria, I find the process unsupported by a extremist legislative body who “draw near” to education “with their mouths but whose hearts are far from” it, evidenced by the utter unwillingness to raise taxes to support education. I see an administration forced to make cuts year after year to fit inside the legislature’s narrow budget confines. I see great educators forced to retire because they simply cannot afford to live on subpar wages and inexperienced educators hired cheaply and held to unrealistically high standards, dissuaded from continuing in the profession that they have spent four years in college earning a degree in. I see teachers paying for supplies out of pocket every year because the state-mandated budget can’t afford pencils and paper. I see parents frustrated by the lack of resources that Utah offers their children and the lowered future prospects accorded compared to other, more affluent states. Finally, I see my children excited to learn but held back because of the aforementioned lack of resources. In none of these scenarios does making education more voluntary than it already is help.

    Throwing money at a problem doesn’t always solve it, but when the problem is a lack of money, it’s amazing how effective the true solution can be. Senator, it is in your power to propose legislation that actually makes a difference. Making education voluntary won’t solve these problems until we make education more attractive than staying home playing video games. What was the point of your bill again?

    • Grant Vaughn says:

      Excellent points, Toby. You help restore my faith in an educated Utah electorate.

      • Toby Dillon says:

        Thanks, Grant. But I always found it easier in debate to play the negative side. I don’t need to prove a prima facie case, merely poke holes in Sen. Osmond’s idea. Hopefully, this will inspire more thought and discussion.

    • Andrew Pfaff says:

      First sane comment I’ve seen on this outrageous proposal. I have a feeling, or maybe it’s a hope, that every comment above Toby’s is a plant. It costs a lot less to educate people than to jail them. Compulsory public education is a step forward for civilization. Can it really be that so many people think we should undo it?

      • Andrew Pfaff says:

        Watch everyone from Toby on down get “moderated” right off the thread.

        • Toby Dillon says:

          There seems to be a lot of suspicion lately that all comments and commenters are plants. As it happens, I emailed Lynn Stoddard just this past week regarding the Common Core curriculum. I got a very nice response from him and while we might not agree on this particular item, I hold his experience and previous service in high regard. He is definitely not a vegetable. I don’t mind seeing this idea brought to the table, but for such an overhaul, I expect to see facts, figures, and studies supporting the change, which are missing here. The momentum of 150 years of public education does not change on a few whims.

          I am gratified to find that at least a few people agree with my concerns, but I’m equally gratified to find that others do not.

    • NTodd says:

      Of course, the real purpose of this of this bill is to make sure there is a steady stream of uneducated Utahns ripe for recruitment as Republican voters.

    • ilya lehrman says:

      Toby, well said! i’m saving your reply for future reference, and in case it gets ‘moderated’.

    • Susan says:

      Dear Toby,
      Some of the home schooled children I have worked with are ahead of those who participate in schools. When I taught ESL I found that the European children were usually way ahead of our kids in all subjects. Many went to school 6 days a week. The South Americans who went to school half a day and played soccer in the afternoon were ahead of our students.
      We have given money to the educators for years in ever greater amounts. I hear the same story about teachers dipping into their own pockets. I must conclude that the people on the top are wasting our funds. If you realize that many pioneer children had a better education on considerably less money and no gadgetry, we must realize that much that is done is wasteful and that the people on the top are paid excessive salaries.
      If you read history you can find many whose school time was short but effectively used like Thomas Jefferson. He did not spend much time in school. Look to Laura Ingalls Wilder who received a great education between ages 7-16. We do not all have the same dreams. Education should come from the family and from less invasive educational systems.

  30. [...] points are among a arguments done by Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, in an article posted Friday on a blog of a Utah State Senate, in that Osmond called for a finish of mandatory preparation in a [...]

  31. Grant Vaughn says:

    After initially being dumbfounded seeing the article in the D-News, I was able to put some thoughts together on my own blog. I just don’t understand Utah politics, especially the Utah Republican Party.

    http://www.moderatebutpassionate.com/2013/07/one-bad-apple.html

    I hope you can overlook my poor attempts at a little humor and understand what I am trying to say . . .

  32. [...] TPM, a Utah state senator wants to get the education out of the state, or the state out of education, or [...]

  33. Seth Bailey says:

    Blah blah blah. All I hear here is a bunch of dumb white people who are terrified that their kids will be taught evolution. Guess what? Evolution is a fact. Deal with it.

  34. Ron W. Smith says:

    Exactly the bold kind of thinking we expect of legislators but too seldom get. The responses to Senator Osmond’s post are encouraging, too–for the most part civil, informed, interested (and interesting). This should be the start of real dialogue around the state, not the usual negative ranting from the electorate and from Capitol Hill. Our children are far too important to be left to the whims and fancies of special interests and to tax-averse legislators.

    Having said that, let me roll out a couple of thoughts.

    First, there’s the real question of how much we can rely on some parents to do the best for their children. Being progenitors is only step one of many until a child reaches maturity. Leaving children’s futures in the hands of incompetent, ill-trained, indifferent, irresponsible, or, potentially as bad as all of these, part-time parents has at least had some limiting of effect in the form of compulsory education. Most parents are excellent in their roles. It’s the too many who aren’t that concern me. Our children, to repeat, are too important.

    Second, for all the good points Aaron Osmond makes, he skips perhaps the most obvious reason the subject of K-12 in Utah even needs talking about–woefully poor funding. That problem won’t be changed much, if at all, by going non-compulsory in K-12 public education. Osmond’s suggestions are not exactly like rearranging the deck chairs on a sinking boat, but without REAL change in the way the funding of public education in Utah is planned for, managed, and carried out in light of geometric population growth, the results could well be same-old, same-old–the training, recruitment and retention of the very best, brightest and classroom-worthy teachers for K-12 classrooms an impossibility. Our children are far too important for continuance of annualized patch, patch, patch as the way funding happens (or doesn’t happen). Far too important.

    There’s no question the recession set some states back in their commitment to public education. In Utah we’ve been at the bottom of the bottom in financial commitment for so long, the recession has been but a new stage in that saga. We’ve too-long relied on “getting more for less” and worn that horse out. Putting a new saddle on it won’t help us recruit the very best and certainly won’t change the state’s ability to retain them once they’re in the classroom and overburdened with too many students and ever-newer demands from on high. Until,we’re ready to fund for excellence, we’ll continue to get what we pay for–not much and, for certain, further year-to-year slippage in national and international rankings. Our children are far too important for that.

    • Toby Dillon says:

      “Rearranging deck chairs on a sinking boat.” That is so true! I’m glad I’m not the only one who sees that the real legislative change is an increase in funding. After talking with some of my more conservative neighbors, I emailed my Senator about it and passed along the insight that conservatives are willing to pay higher taxes if they know what it’s for. In order to increase funding for education, a tax increase must be approved.

  35. [...] teaching sex education, as well as ensuring full college and career readiness,” he wrote in a post on the state senate’s blog.    Osmond told the Deseret News that he wants the public to [...]

  36. brs says:

    Can we at least have some honesty? You guys don’t wanna pay taxes. It’s got nothing to do with this high-minded business. Enough already. You don’t want to pay taxes.

    You want to live in some Ayn Rand fantasy world. But you know that most people understand this be untenable in reality, so you know you’ll lose that debate. So we have to sit through all of this nonsense as you end-around play.

    Just tell the truth.

  37. Marcus says:

    Senator,

    Your plan to repeal mandatory public education has several benefits:

    1. Increase ignorance;

    2. Increase the power of the LDS;

    3. Increase LDS campaign contributions to you and your allies;

    4. Improve your political standing and perhaps vault to you D.C. on LDS Airlines;

    5. Decrease school taxes;

    6. Increase state costs for incarceration;

    7. Decrease the power of teachers’ unions;

    8. Increase the power of corrections’ and police unions;

    9. Increase the number of LDS members singing “Freedom, Oh Freedom!” as they walk down the streets of Salt Lake City and Provo; and,

    10. Introduce you to the viewers and the bosses at Fox News.

    • Robert Kohutek says:

      Marcus, your bigotry and ignorance are astounding.

      • Marcus says:

        Robert,

        And you base your assertion on what exactly?

        • Toby Dillon says:

          On the assertion that this has something to do with a particular religion. If the LDS religion benefitted from ignorance, it would be running North Korea. However, as the latest information from Pew Research shows, the LDS faith is one of few that gain spirituality as its adherence learn more. Given that data, one could suggest that not only are all your points wrong, they are completely wrong.

          The LDS church doesn’t need ignorant members living in poverty. It needs educated leaders who have money to spare. You don’t get there with policies like Osmond proposes.

          • Marcus says:

            Mr. Dillon,

            The LDS also benefits by enhancing the ignorance of non-LDS members in the state of Utah, as said members overwhelmingly support Conservative and Tea Party candidates, organizations, and policies financially supported by the LDS.

            As such, the proposal in question directly benefits the LDS and the political sponsor aforementioned throughout this thread.

  38. Teresa says:

    I wish Oklahoma where I teach would do this! It would be an excellent way to improve education!

  39. John says:

    I think this is a great idea. Let the parents and the child determine what and if they want to learn. Get rid of the mandated coursework and eliminate the liberal teachings if the parent does not want their child exposed to such dangerous ideas. This would save so much money for the state by cutting the budget required for education.

  40. Patricia says:

    This is just another way to increase the size of the Republican voter base by appealing to the masses to cut taxes, to stop the spread of “athiest” or “liberal” ideas, and create more Republicans by increasing the outright ignorance across the board and get those ignorant people to procreate even faster by eliminating any form or sex education, birth control and *gasp* abortion services. Only those top 1%ers who don’t need education for their kids, who can leave the state/country to get any sort of medical procedures/drugs they want and who already are not paying taxes should be the only ones who support this, the rest of you should not be voting away any chances for you or your children to have a better life by giving in to this twaddle.

  41. [...] Sen. Aaron Osmond (R-South Jordan) wrote on a state Senate blog Friday that imperative preparation in a state has forced teachers and schools to take on parenting [...]

  42. [...] “In a nation founded on a beliefs of personal leisure and unalienable rights, no primogenitor should be forced by a supervision to send their child to propagandize underneath hazard of fines and jail time,” a South Jordan Republican wrote on a state Senate blog Friday. [...]

  43. Ray Pierre says:

    Senator Osmond’s bill could spare your kids the horror my 3 children experienced. To this day, they still struggle with the aftermath of our state’s compulsory education system–degrees, good jobs, beautiful homes and financial security. Don’t let any of these happen to your family! Don’t leave your children’s’ education to those pointy-headed bureaucrats bumbling around with their Master’s Degrees and PhDs. Are they going to show your children how to apply for Food Stamps? Are they lovingly going to teach your precious little ones which aluminum cans fetch five cents per pound more at the recycling center? Are they going to explain the nuances of payday loans to your innocent offspring? No. That’s your job. And Senator Osmond will see to it you get the opportunity to do it.

  44. Cynthia Clark says:

    Is this Senator so out-of-touch with reality that he is completely UNAWARE that parents ALREADY have parental right to decide if and when a child will go to public school.

    I suggest Senator Osmond educate HIMSELF on the “Home Schooling Laws” that enable parents the rightt to decide if and when a child will go to public school.

  45. Cynthia Clark says:

    If you eliminate education and thereby eliminate education funding, does that mean this Senator is going to ELIMINATE the school tax .. OR .. is this Senator just wanting to get his greedy paws on the school tax money?

  46. Robert Kohutek says:

    As a conservative policy analyst, having spent to last 3 years researching public education policy, I could not endorse Mr. Osmond’s proposal. Clearly social engineering needs to be removed from our curriculum as much as possible– i.e. schools should teach how to think, not what to think; and parents ought to parent. No matter how much social engineering is removed, schooling is still a paradigmatic indoctrination in western ideology. Method, pedagogy, and ontology are fundamental components of effectively transmitting knowledge systematically, and each cannot be separated their developing schools of thought. The problem with public education is that we fail to teach epistemology, which is to ask how we know what we know. Teaching children to ask “why?” is dangerous because it undermines authority, but it is also precisely the way to deal with social engineering (e.g. who benefits from social engineering in public education and why?). It’s scary because of unpredictability, but adequately equipping kids with the ability to think for themselves will resolve the problems of indoctrination on its own.

    What is unforgivable is robbing a child of the opportunity to learn to think for him or herself. Sadly, Mr. Osmond’s proposal ignores negligence. Negligence is the realization that not all humans are rational–i.e. they lack the ability or information necessary to weigh costs and benefits–and consequently do not take adequate precaution. In the real world, we purchase insurance to guard against the negligence of others. How does a child, who lacks sufficient prefrontal cortex development purchase adequate insurance against their own parent’s negligence? Which has the least cost and greater benefit to the public, 8% of children relegated to subsistence living because their parents failed to see the benefits of an education, or 100% of children who have no excuse for the lives they choose once they’ve adults.

    If you have to make a budgetary cut, cut higher education funding before public education funding (although that is NOT my preference). Rational adults can and will make an informed decision on whether higher education when they see that is in their self interest.

  47. CW says:

    Plato must be rolling in his grave. The end of civilization as we know it is in our sights and we are steamrolling towards it, gathering ever increasing momentum.

  48. Kim says:

    Since when do parent’s not have a choice in regards to education? It’s called home schooling, private schooling, alternative schooling, and even board schooling. And why would we want to return to the dark ages of education?? Politicians and citizens that support this law are out of touch with reality and unaware of how this will impact children who come from dysfunctional and impoverished home. Lets not forget the reasons education became obligatory in the first place…mostly because these children were not getting the opportunities that privileged children were receiving. There are other ways of shifting the primary responsibility of education back onto parents and passing this kind of legislation is not one of them.

    • Robert Kohutek says:

      States independently adopted mandatory education laws, with Massachusetts being the first and Mississippi being the last. States realized that states with compulsory education were economically better off than those without. There continues to be a strong correlation between the average level of education in a given population and it’s prosperity. This phenomenon has been observed, described, and modeled in such detail so as to be a causal relationship.

  49. Susan Williams says:

    As a retired educator I must ask: Aren’t there some states without compulsory education? I think Michigan may be one. Is the parent situation rectified or any better in those? What happens to children without any education because that will happen? Won’t the government still have to take care of them somehow? For some children it will not be their fault that they are kept home and on the streets. They may want very much to be in school and be very cooperative at school but have no parental support to get there. What can be done for them?

  50. [...] Sen. Aaron Osmond (R-South Jordan) wrote on the state Senate blog Friday that mandatory education in the state has forced teachers and schools to take on parenting [...]

  51. [...] states that Utah “should take a close look at repealing compulsory education.” See HERE for more [...]

  52. [...] points are among the arguments made by Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, in an article posted Friday on the blog of the Utah State Senate, in which Osmond called for the end of compulsory education in [...]

  53. Nathaniel Long says:

    It is nice to see a politician seriously discussing a review of compulsory education. So long as you have compulsory education, you have a lesser degree of protection of the three inalienable rights elucidated in the U.S. Declaration of Independence. The bigger issue, of course, is the moral one. How can a state claim a moral right to force parents to educate their children?

    Government has no blank slate. Romans 13 gives government (no particular kind stipulated) a mandate to punish evil and praise good. Attempts to “do good” cannot fit the label of “praising,” no matter how much you stretch it.

    And for what it’s worth, legally, it gets to be quite a stretch to call it a public good and have just compensation when you take property (taxes and whatnot) from a citizen who has no children, and use that to pay for his co-worker’s (same job, same pay) ten children, financing a “free education” against his will. The first fellow is directly deprived of his ability to act as a moral agent for God, deciding how to use his money. It is perfunctorily taken and decided for him.

  54. Dustin Lovett says:

    Wow. I’m sorry to be blunt, but anyone who thinks this legislation would benefit Utah, or anywhere else for that matter, is a moron. It is certainly true that the education system does not work as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ structure and that different children learn in different ways, but just making public education optional is an act of ignorance.

  55. J Smith says:

    Holy tap dancing Christ! You finally revealed your plan to create more ignorant voters for Republicans!

  56. [...] Sen. Aaron Osmond (R-South Jordan) wrote on the state Senate blogFriday that mandatory education in the state has forced teachers and schools to take on parenting [...]

  57. Shaun says:

    This…this is insane. Let’s stop compulsory education, because what could *possibly* go wrong by ending it?

  58. Beth says:

    Three points:

    1) I believe one of the reason for compulsory education has nothing to do with education but more to do with keeping juveniles off the street during the day and out of prisons. Schools are giant babysitters.

    2) Free school should be eliminated. If you give something for free, it is not appreciated. Charge for it and it has value.

    3) Stop insisting that all kids need to attend school until the 12th grade. Let them test into 11th and 12th grade. Many, many, many kids are not college material. They are not academically inclined. They might be masterful at wood working, tile laying, car repairs, air conditioning, plumbing, hair cutting, etc. Kids should be given the option to quit school at 10th grade. We should add more work shops for these kids that have no inclination to go to college. If they can’t cut the academics, teach them to run a business.

  59. George Stancliffe says:

    Aaron Osmond’s idea is one of the best I’ve seen in recent years. Get rid of the compulsion element, and REAL learning will improve.

    2000 years ago in Rome, literacy was nearly 100%. And that was with no compulsory education.

    • Toby Dillon says:

      They also had rampant homosexuality and threw Christians into rings with lions for sport. Not a model of civility that Utah wants to follow, methinks.

    • what says:

      ’2000 years ago in Rome, literacy was nearly 100%. And that was with no compulsory education.’

      Pretty sure the only group you’re referring to are the citizens….. you know the wealthy. Who in no way made up 100% of the people living in Rome. How did you come up with that number I wonder?

      • Oak Norton says:

        Google “John Taylor Gatto acceptance speech” and read his 1990 talk for receiving the NY City teacher of the year award. He was an amazing teacher who won this award 3 times, and he resigned because of the education system. Here is a quote from his speech.

        “Our form of compulsory schooling is an invention of the state of Massachusetts around 1850. It was resisted — sometimes with guns — by an estimated 80% of the Massachusetts population, the last outpost in Barnstable on Cape Cod not surrendering its children until the 1880′s when the area was seized by militia and children marched to school under guard.
        Now here is a curious idea to ponder. Senator Ted Kennedy’s office released a paper not too long ago claiming that prior to compulsory education the state literacy rate was 98% and after it the figure never again reached above 91% where it stands in 1990. I hope that interests you.”

  60. Gary Dunaway says:

    Pass this and then abolish child labor laws. You’ll be all set!

  61. Heather says:

    Bravo! Wow. I love that you can step outside the box and look at other options to something that is so deeply ingrained in our society. As a teacher, I am tired of raising other people’s children. Parents need to parent, so that teachers can teach. I don’t have time to teach your child math, science and history if I am constantly trying to keep him (or her) from being an asshole. Teach your child not to be an asshole and then I will be able to teach him all of the other stuff.

  62. Charles Chesterfield says:

    I disagree. If education becomes non-mandatory it will become a privilege of people with money. Those working two low-wage jobs to make ends meet have to rely on the expertise of their teachers. What other choice do they have? There is not enough time in the day and in some cases they do not have a housing situation conducive to good study habits. This is not always the fault of the parents but the results of poverty. As much as we dislike the fact that some children are unprepared for school we need to recognize that poverty is the root of this problem, Taking away a mandatory system with a robust number of hours will create a two-tier system and we know exactly what the results of that system will be.

    One of the strengths of America is that we jumped on the Common School movement in the 1830s with such advocates as Horace Mann and before him, Thomas Jefferson and Noah Webster. These leaders recognized that America needs a common school system where children of all kinds of backgrounds would grow up together and learn what it takes to be Americans. This call to end the Common School system is a blow to that calling and it is divisive and backward.

    • Toby Dillon says:

      Hear, hear! Even Brigham Young, who is quoted as being a nonbeliever in public education (didn’t want to pay taxes) recognized that something had to be done and organized the Sunday School. It was been religiously biased, but it was free and public and taught kids to read.

  63. [...] Senator Aaron Osmond of Utah recently wrote on the Utah Senate blog that he wants to end compulsory education, saying that instead parents should decide whether or not [...]

  64. Tammy Molloy says:

    So let me get this straight. The United States places 17th in the world for education. Findland is number one. You think that LESS education is the best way to go?

    Mr. Osmond, you come from a privileged, wealthy family with plenty of access to tutors and home educators. I’m positive that your wife doesn’t work and has lots of time to spend with your children on homework and school studies. How dare you.

    Your suggestion of less school for children is absurd, ignorant and delusional.

  65. Kristine says:

    If you think the cost of education is expensive…try the cost of ignorance!!!!
    There is still a lot of work to do with improving education, but lets me real here. Going back is not an option. Our whole US economy and society is totally different that it was in the 1800s. Back then we were an agricultural society that was changing over to an industrial society. If you make mandatory education “optional” even in one state you are weakening the whole country by setting a dangerous example. People do have options already…there is private and home schooling.
    I respect that he recognizes that the school system is dealing with all sorts of social and emotional issues that should be a family responsibility. However, some families are not equipped to handle this and the school system, even with its flaws, is better. Children need to learn to function in society outside the nuclear family.
    As for the argument that taking tax dollars from those who have no children to pay for education is wrong…well, think long and hard about the people you want in your community and running things in the future. I know this is a secular view and probably will not be popular with those who have posted so far.

  66. Earl Warren says:

    Democracy requires an educated people. Ignoring the needs of children’s education is neither democratic or moral. The Founding Fathers would laugh at his proposal and label him a philistine.

  67. Rex says:

    Mr. Osmond,

    I read with interest your ideas regarding mandatory public education and would like to offer a suggestion. I spent the last 4 years teaching Science at a charter school for at-risk kids in GA – not quite an alternative school but, rather, a school for kids who were too disruptive, disobedient, etc in the regular classes. Our main concern was to help these kids make it through high school, but we quickly learned that one of the greatest benefits for the county was providing a solution for the other 3 high schools with regards to discipline. The Science teachers at other schools would often tell me at meetings that their students’ classwork improved greatly after “Johnny” was removed.

    Our charter school closed in June because of budget issues (I’m off to teach in another county next month) but the local teachers are again concerned about having little or no options regarding problem students. One of my fellow teachers and I came up with the following idea -

    Why not allow the school to drop a student who is causing problems while not passing classes, but allow him/her access to a government fund set up to help him get a GED. In our county a school receives about $8,300 a year (I think) for each student. When a student is dropped, he and his parents will be told the total amount the county would have been expected to pay for his high school education. This amount would be paid into the fund and would be available to help the student get a GED. A system would need to be developed to make sure any expenses were actually going towards books, tutors, software, etc., but this should be fairly easy to set up. The student would also be told that he/she has until their 20th birthday (or 21st, 22nd, whatever) to obtain their GED, after which the money that was earmarked for him/her would be returned to the county or state.

    In the current system, it seems like we’re literally paying problem students to ruin the education environment for their classmates. Why not remove the students WITHOUT taking away their chance for an education? I’m sure that a great deal of the money would eventually be returned to the county anyway, so this would also help out with education funding.

    Also, I see from your bio that you’re a Republican. I have a reputation as a far-left Democrat/border-line Socialist. I think this idea would get a lot of bipartisan support, something we would all like to see these days.

    Rex Randolph
    rexrand1970@aol.com

    • Oak Norton says:

      Fascinating idea Rex. I would love to see children who are ready to graduate from high school early because they’ve mastered the content needed to go to college by 10th or 11th grade, be able to leave high school with an automatic scholarship from a portion of funds that would have been spent on them remaining in high school. This incentive would create a desire for families and students to make education a priority to be able to receive such a bonus.

      • Andrea says:

        There is already a program in place like that. In Utah, if you graduate half a year early you get $500 and if you graduate a whole year early you get $1000.

  68. Matt says:

    It is ridiculous to suggest that mandatory education is detrimental to our youth. I don’t care how you rationalize the good ol’ days. This is a completely nonsensical argument. Our population is huge, our challenges in a technologically advanced country are immense, and to suggest that people be able to ‘opt out’ of getting an education in the country that needs it MOST (by MANY standards!) is absolutely crackpot. You need to FIX the education system, not make it ‘optional’. Two generations in and you would have the blind leading the blind, and “Idiocracy” would become a reality. Honestly, name one kid that would have gone to school voluntarily instead of hunting frogs in a pond. This kind of thinking is not only dangerous, it is destructive. Shame on you Senator for promoting stupidity as an option.

  69. Derpy McDerp says:

    YEAH!
    The freedom to be even more ignorant!
    How dare they impose ANY level of ability or knowledge on us!

    Anti-intellectualism reaches its logical peak.

    • JK Harding says:

      Exactly. Ignorance is apparently now desirable. Public education has been on of the pillars of American society that has made our country great. And this guy — with a degree from an online college — thinks that it should be dismantled. Shame on him!!

  70. Ellen A says:

    The problem with dropping compulsory education to increase respect for teachers and parent accountability is that those parents who place an emphasis on education already respect teachers, and help with homework, etc… This idea belongs with all the other misguided Republican legislation that assumes we would all live in a perfect world where they can get everyone to magically think the way they ought if only they can get some legislation passed. But what happens is that in our imperfect society, people who don’t fall into line get hurt.

    It’s very difficult to instill attitudes into people without engaging them in the process. You won’t earn the respect you desire by pushing families away from school. Certain parents are never going to have the perfect attitude, because they can’t because they’re working all the time, or they just don’t care, or they’ve never received a quality education themselves so they don’t understand it. A better approach may be for schools to do more outreach to involve parents of high risk kids.

    Government has a vested interest in making sure the population is educated so they can function in society and not become a drain on government programs down the line. Sometimes the only thing keeping a kid in school is the fact that their parents would get into trouble if they didn’t show. Dropping compulsory education will make it more likely that those kids whose parents who can’t or won’t take responsibility for their education will slip through the cracks.

    Most states have homeschooling legislation so that parents can work with school districts to create programs that satisfy parents’ goals while ensuring that kids are receiving a basic education, so in that respect, there is already an alternative to compulsory education for involved, committed parents.

  71. [...] doesn’t specify in his proposal whether or not compulsory, state-sanctioned home schooling or other educational alternatives would [...]

  72. [...] wrote on the Utah State Senate blog, “Some parents act as if the responsibility to educate, and even care for their child, is [...]

  73. [...] about a self-defeating argument: On Tuesday, Deseret News flagged a post on Utah’s Republican State Sen. Aaron Osmond’s blog Friday where he says that Utah “should take a close look at repealing [...]

  74. State Sen. Aaron Osmond of Utah believes that the responsibility of educating children should fall to the parents and not the State. On his State Senate BLOG he writes what he considers A Practical Argument for Ending Compulsory Education in Utah. I counter those points with reality :

    “Before 1890, public education in America was viewed as an opportunity—not a legal obligation. Prior to that time, the parent was primarily responsible for the education of their children. The state provided access to a free education for those that wanted to pursue it. The local teacher was viewed with respect and admiration as a professional to assist a parent in the education of their child.”

    Public Education is STILL an opportunity. However, opportunities need to be afforded to ALL if we are to level the playing field in the Country we claim is the ‘Land of Opportunity and Freedom’. The average parent back in the 1800’s consisted of a father who worked from sunup ‘til sundown (not the 16 to 18 hours a day he must work now in order to make ends meet). It consisted of a mother who did not work outside the home at all and was more readily available to assist in the educational needs of a child. Nowadays a single income home is not possible in the middle class and lower income households, so a parent’s responsibility in educating their child needs the support of your local school teacher. Whose position of authority and respect must be returned in order for the system to change.

    “Some parents completely disengage themselves from their obligation to oversee and ensure the successful education of their children. Some parents act as if the responsibility to educate, and even care for their child, is primarily the responsibility of the public school system. As a result, our teachers and schools have been forced to become surrogate parents, expected to do everything from behavioral counseling, to providing adequate nutrition, to teaching sex education, as well as ensuring full college and career readiness.”

    Realizing that a large portion of parents completely disengage themselves from their obligations to educate their children, we are now going to ask them to be totally responsible to decide their children’s future and whether or not they even need an education? We are going to assume that the very same parents who can’t be bothered to help their children with their homework are going to make the proper decision as to whether or not to educate their children at all?

    “Unfortunately, in this system, teachers rarely receive meaningful support or engagement from parents and occasionally face retaliation when they attempt to hold a child accountable for bad behavior or poor academic performance.”

    If you agree that authority needs to be placed back in the hands of teachers, Principals and Administration staff at schools, then you need to stop the fear of lawsuits against those very same individuals, stop the fear of physical violence and retaliation by holding not only the child responsible for their behavior, but the parent also. If a minor child is not responsible in the eyes of the law to make accountable decisions, then the parent is responsible for any and all actions the child commits. This will force many inattentive parents to be more involved in actually raising their children and not merely having them.

    “That begins with restoring the parental right to decide if and when a child will go to public school. In a country founded on the principles of personal freedom and unalienable rights, no parent should be forced by the government to send their child to school under threat of fines and jail time.”

    If you honestly believe that all parents will behave responsibly and either send their children to school or educate them on their own, then you haven’t been living in reality. This will effectively weed out those who will not do the right thing by their children, agreed. However, it will also leave this Country in a state of mayhem before you know it; a status of chaos that may not be recoverable. You are saying that not enough parents are responsible now, how do you propose that will change? The only difference will be that we will be inundated with a Country full of ignorant, illiterates whose only hope to survive will be animalistic. They will not be able to procure employment, they will not be able to effectively communicate and in essence, they will survive the only way an untrained creature can – by force. As has become evident over the past few decades, a parent who does not value an education will raise a child who does not value an education. As sad as it sounds, the only way to rectify that is to force a basic education on them.

    “When a parent decides to enroll a child in public school, both the parent and child should agree to meet minimum standards of behavior and academic commitment or face real-life consequences such as repeating a class, a grade, or even expulsion.”

    This needs to be put into effect, but not make it an “IF” the parent decides to enroll their child into school, but rather “WHEN” the parent “DOES” enroll the child. This again requires shifting the balance of power back to the school, the teachers and staff. The only way to do this is to alter many laws regarding frivolous lawsuits, and parental responsibility.

    Repealing compulsory education is NOT the answer. The answer is in actuality a tighter grip on the lack of education and parenting we have allowed to become commonplace in this Country. If people were allowed to do as they please and expected to behave in a decent, moral and responsible way then we wouldn’t need laws or rules. However, human nature is not such that without regulations we will do what is right. In reality, there would be anarchy and that is not conducive to a civilized society. Now the first step to making a civilization, is education.

    • Susan says:

      There are some families who are selfish. There are many families who love their children and would rise to the occasion. Much of the established routine of the educational establishment could be cut and the basics should be addressed. I believe that education today is in a hole and is working more to generally inform, meet test questions, control thinking and covering areas that parents should address. A real education calls for complex thinking, resolving problems. making good decisions and using wisdom. In other words teaching people how to learn and resolve complex issues. Neither common core or the current systems offer the higher road.
      It is true that some parents are derelict. This will always be true. We can always try to help those who want more.

  75. [...] a recent blog post the senator outlined his reasons for “a close look at repealing compulsory education” [...]

  76. ユタ州の議員は、義務教育の終わりのための呼び出し | 青山交際クラブタウン says:

    [...] 出典: http://www.senatesite.com/home/compulsory-education/ [...]

  77. Jack Crevalle says:

    Sen. Osmond,

    Everything you propose is already the case. Parents are not required to send their children to public schools as you suggest. There is no such law. Parents are free to send their children to private schools of which there are many different kinds to choose from. Parents can also opt to educate their children themselves. What is required is that parents provide a minimum education for their children so that they can pass a standardized set of tests in order that they do not become a burden on the rest of society.
    The public school option is available to everyone so that every child has an opportunity to better themselves no matter their family’s finances.
    The problems in the public school system that you pointed out are very true and very real. That parents need to support teachers instead of undermining them is also true. I agree that the public schools and their teachers are overburdened with the responsibilities that should be taken on by parents instead of the state. However, nothing in your proposal to end compulsory education addresses those issues.
    What you propose is the removal of responsibility from parents to provide their children with one of the most important things required in today’s modern society; an education. Without a basic education, a person will not be able to perform well in even the lowest menial jobs available.
    What you propose, in fact, would be the legalization of parental neglect. No longer would parents be required to care for their children in mind and body. A parent’s responsibility would end at feeding and clothing their offspring, and during the day when those parents are at work or running errands or otherwise engaged, that child, instead of being in school, could just be let free to roam the streets, doing whatever he/she feels like doing.
    Mr. Senator, have you really thought this through? Do you really want to see packs of feral, unwashed children roaming the streets unsupervised?
    Or is it that what you are really after is blinding you to the obvious result of such an unwise suggestion? It seems that what you are actually proposing is the ending of taxpayer funding of education. With the ending of the State’s mandate to educate children would end the State’s obligation to provide funding for that education. The state would be free to insist that those parents who chose to take part in the public education option pay for that education themselves. Before long the state would be out of the education business altogether leading to the privatization of all educational facilities.
    But the reality of such a radical step would be the breakdown of many of the systems that keep our society prosperous and civil. What you propose would lead to an overabundance of poor, uneducated young people with few opportunities. Gang violence would skyrocket, burdens on police forces would increase, public places would become too dangerous to visit leading to the separation of this “lowest” class of people into slums with little or no hope of ever leaving. The only way to escape the crushing poverty would be to enter the servant class and accept room and board in exchange for service to wealthier families.
    In the last 123 years, America has advanced into a civil, prosperous and free society where even children born to the poorest parents have the opportunity to succeed. If it is your goal to roll that progress back to the Upper / Servant class system of the 1800′s then I could think of no more logical first step towards that goal. It is unfortunate that this is your grand vision for the state of Utah.

    • Victoria Zunitch says:

      You state: “What is required is that parents provide a minimum education for their children so that they can pass a standardized set of tests in order that they do not become a burden on the rest of society.”

      Fortunately, you’re wrong. Home-schooled, private-schooled and parochial-schooled children are not required in every state to pass a standardized set of tests. They are free to pursue the education they determine to be optimal, with or without standardized.

      May it ever be so under the First Amendment.

  78. Robert Oldham says:

    Thank you Senator Osmond for writing this article. It is well past time to consider the irony of a society that considers itself based upon the tenets of freedom, even sings freedom’s praise as a national anthem, yet enforces is ideological promotion through compulsion. Can a civilization built on mandatory education refer to “free thinking” or “liberality” without self contradiction? This is another great opportunity for an irony of our age to be demonstrated, wherein people that dogmaticly revere their rights, pounce on an opportunity to criticise someone for expressing one of them to state a merely consistent conclusion.

  79. [...] Sen. Aaron Osmond (R-South Jordan) wrote on the state Senate blog Friday that mandatory education in the state has forced teachers and schools to take on parenting [...]

  80. Kate says:

    Yes, absolutely, let’s go back to a time when uneducated people had to work like slaves in factories, mines, and on railroads until their death at 30. More money for us educated ones who happen to know that. Teachers made a few bucks a month and died in poverty. Seriously good idea you have here. Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower just rolled over in their graves listening to you. You need to go to some third world countries where what you want is the way it is and PAY ATTENTION to what actually happens, not the stories in your head. You are no patriot, sir. Nor are you educated, Not in history anyway. C student? Terrible school? Rich daddy? Something.

  81. Steven Lockwood says:

    Im glad to see there will be at least 1 state we can rely on for cheap uneducated labor deserving of little pay.. without even a basic education , we can use them for all jobs that dont require reading or basic math. digging ditches, pumping out septic tanks, picking crops.. forget convenience store clerks.. that requires math, but a big yes to fast food cooks! Thanks Utah for volunteering to fill the lowest rungs of society and making it impractical for immigrants to come, because all those jobs are filled by Utah-ions!!

  82. [...] State Senator Aaron Osmond of Utah proposed to repeal mandatory schooling on his blog last week, arguing that public education has led parents to become apathetic and [...]

  83. [...] Sen. Aaron Osmond (R-South Jordan) wrote on a state Senate blogFriday that imperative preparation in a state has forced teachers and schools to take on parenting [...]

  84. [...] pen Osmond laid down was a courteous essay, posted on a The Senate Site. Entitled “A Practical Argument for Ending Compulsory Education in Utah,” it creates a box that a K-12 open preparation complement in Utah has turn so overloaded [...]

  85. Malin Williams says:

    Many comments imply a concern for the student that disrupts educational opportunities. Perhaps the current system is failing them by enabling them to fail without significant consequence. Senator Osmond’s ideas could very possibly be the dose of reality they need. We can force them to sit in a seat, but we can’t learn for them. Great proposals. As a teacher, I am totally in favor.

  86. Andrea says:

    I think several commenters are assuming that without compulsory education the entire education system would change. That is not what I read. Public schools would still be there, still funded, still staffed exactly as before–only without the compulsion.

    I understand the argument that there are irresponsible parents who would allow their children to not be educated. Those parents already exist. Current compulsion laws aren’t effective in preventing poor parenting and sad situations but they are effective in taking away the liberty of all.

    I also understand the argument that we already have liberal homeschooling laws in Utah so there is an opt-out valve available. However, homeschool law requires homeschoolers to teach what is in the core for their children’s grade level. How is that following Utah law providing parents the right to make educational decisions for their children?

    In Texas, my sister received a warning from the police because her kindergartner missed 8 days of school. How is that parental freedom?

    For those who are concerned that the quality of the workforce will decrease, look to history. It says otherwise. For those who are concerned that massive amounts of parents will choose to forgo education for their children–that is absurd.

    I wil always stand firmly in favor of parental rights and compulsory education has long been an infringement on those rights. In the past it didn’t matter much as society as a whole recognized parental rights. As our government is currently undermining as many parental rights as possible, I see any law that restores rights to parents as a positive.

    Bravo, Senator.

  87. [...] Earlier this week, Utah State Senator Aaron Osmond offered up a blog post under the title “Accountability for Parents + Respect for Teachers.”  A great title and a great premise we should all get behind. But the headline is a [...]

  88. Victoria Zunitch says:

    Well, I suppose it would create a class of children whose parents don’t care to educate them or to send them to school.

    This would result in a larger group of uneducated, unskilled laborers and labor would become a cheap commodity.

    If that’s what you’re after.

  89. [...] pen Osmond laid down was a courteous essay, posted on a The Senate Site. Entitled “A Practical Argument for Ending Compulsory Education in Utah,” it creates a box that a K-12 open preparation complement in Utah has turn so overloaded [...]

  90. Dan Gann says:

    This is the best thinking I’ve heard for a long time from a public servant on education! It seems likely to me that repealing compulsory ed. laws would indeed change the paradigm. Whether the laws change or not it is true that individuals and their families are primarily responsible for the development of one’s potential. This is an inalienable responsibility alongside the rights we have as humans. Currently the focus is all wrong in our society as described by Sen. Osmond. The schools and teachers are blamed for poor performance. When we (I am a 5th grade teacher) talk to parents about their children’s disruptive or non-engaged behavior more often than not the parents are angry with us. I’ve never understood it! I see any move attempting to refocus society on the proper roles of the various players in education as a good thing.
    When I report a failing grade, rarely do the parents turn to the child for an explanation though it is his or her choices that have resulted in the poor mark. When I talked to a parent about their child’s theft the parent called the principal, complained, and demanded that the child be removed from my class! Our relationships, roles, and responsibilities are all mixed up.
    The formula ought to be very simple: Come voluntarily to this neighborhood resource (the school) to develop one’s abilities and understanding. Teachers provide solid instruction, help, and clear reports to learners and parents. One progresses as competence is displayed. If one resists or avoids the regimen or is destructive or disruptive; he or she is invited to leave until such time as he or she demonstrates readiness to participate constructively in the academic endeavor. Simple. But it’s all based on the premise that education is an opportunity rather than an imposed obligation. So I say, with the Senator, rearrange the fundamentals of the formula to set up this simpler and more straightforward relationship.

  91. [...] a buzz about ending compulsory education. Utah Senator Aaron Osmond propelled the idea when he wrote a piece on this subject at the Utah Senate blog. Osmond pointed out that it is a “parental right to [...]

  92. Joe Cox says:

    Home schooling and private schools are already options, the only people who would have anything to gain under Senator Osmond’s proposal are those who want to raise children who can’t read.

  93. Scott Smith says:

    Wow, not one negative comment. You’re shills and censors must be working overtime.

    • Sorry, dude. In eight years of running the Senate Site, we’ve only deleted a handful of posts. When that happens we immediately make a note of it on the site and invite the poster to rephrase.

      These comments are unedited. They appear to be spontaneous.

  94. [...] Osmond complains that compulsory education has produced indifferent parents who have thoroughly disengaged from [...]

  95. [...] An even more brazen example comes from Utah, where a state senator wants to do away with all compulsory public education, because “we need to restore the expectation that parents are primarily responsible for the educational success of their own children.” Source. [...]

  96. [...] – Utah state Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, recently made a proposition, in an article he wrote for The Senate Site, that might cause a few high school students to momentarily remove their earbuds, roll their eyes, [...]

  97. Scott says:

    Apparently you want people to be as stupid as you are.

  98. Izumi says:

    I do not live in Utah, but saw a small news article about this senator’s education proposition. I imagine it could be made to work as long as those educated within the state of Utah, by whatever means or none at all as they decided, were inclined to stay in Utah. Those wishing to attend a school of higher learning might find themselves necessarily needing to stay in Utah, too, unless their parents or educators made sure they knew how to successfully pass SAT’s or ACT’s, a skill usually gained over the course of years. Employers outside of Utah, when faced with a pile of resumes for only a few positions may not want to attempt to define whether or not a Utah candidate is considered a high school graduate or not, as evidenced by a list stating completion of curricula from this source or that. With no standardized resource references, everyone in Utah would reach age 18 by a hodge-podge of means that may well be virtually unintelligible to people outside the state. Another thing to consider is: can Utah taxpayers support its own private system of educating (or not) its children alone? It’s highly doubtful that any federal funds will find their way into the Utah educational coffers if Utah decides to turn its back on a public education system obliged to meet certain federal standards in order to receive financial support. If you folks believe you can fund your own system, and feel certain that your children will always want to live in Utah, I say, Go for it. The rest of us will watch with interest.

    • @Izumi: About 70% of Utah’s land is either owned, managed or controlled by the federal government. We need to get that land back so that the revenue can be used directly to offset the cost of federal funding. But Washington won’t cut the apron strings because then we wouldn’t need them any more and they would have no control over Utah. That would be a great day for all Utah students because government closest to the people typically works best. Also… It doesn’t take years in a public or formal school setting to be able to take an ACT or SAT. Many are home schooled in this state and out-score their public school counterparts and get into college simply by taking the GED. Remember also: A test does not an educated person make.

  99. Kari says:

    Excellent idea, Senator Osmond! I support you 100%!

  100. Kari says:

    And for all those claiming our kids’ education will not be viewed as viable by people outside the state or the military, I say hogwash! Youth can serve in the military without a diploma. Also, I’ve had two children attend college with scholarships without any high school diploma at all. The high school diploma is as obsolete as the bureaucratic public education system.

    We owe it to all children to end compulsory public education and allow each child to pursue their own educational goals with the direction of their parents. Children will truly learn to think and education will be much more meaningful.

  101. Matthew C. says:

    Taking away the compulsory is a way to give people an incentive to think. If someone is already signed up for something, then they are less likely to make an effort to understand it. If someone has to make a conscious decision to opt in to something, then usually people take some time to research what they, or in this case their child are getting into. Liberals who have commented, when you are ready to debate, and not stick to ad hominem attacks, let me know. And to those who have been saying that Republicans are trying to create a lower class, check yourselves. Public education was designed to make everyone think the same way so that the politicians could control the people. And if you think that that is a conspiracy theory, read about John Dewey, who designed the system. And explain to me why pretty much every liberal politician on Capitol hill has their children in private school. For example, the Clintons and their daughter Chelsea. It should never, ever have been the government’s job to educate. Because, when the government controls schools, kids only learn what the government wants them to learn.

  102. Daniel says:

    I’m glad finally a legislator wants to end compulsory education. Compulsory education is bad on so many levels but for sake of time I’m only going to name a few. It takes away your right to free will, takes away your time, indoctrinates you to be a mindless laborer, and exposes you to bullies.

    We SHOULDN’T have that kind of system people! Education should be optional no matter what the age! Hope full people such as me and Senator Osmond can make this a reality for not only Utah but the whole country.

  103. […] few months ago Sen. Aaron Osmond wrote a post on the Utah Senate’s blog entitled Accountability for Parents + Respect for Teachers, which argued for the end of compulsory education in Utah. This post caused a firestorm of […]

  104. […] few months ago Sen. Aaron Osmond wrote a post on the Utah Senate’s blog entitled Accountability for Parents + Respect for Teachers, which argued for the end of compulsory education in Utah.  This post caused a firestorm of […]

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