To: Brad Last, Lowry Snow, LaVar Christensen, Kim Coleman, Justin Fawson, Francis Gibson, Greg Hughes, Eric Hutchings, David Lifferth, Daniel McCay, Carol Moss, mnoel, Steve Eliason, Marie Poulson, Patrice Arent, Earl Tanner,
Date: Mon Feb 29 01:42:51 MST 2016
As an educator with 45 years experience, I am deeply concerned about SB 45 submitted by Senator Jackman and sponsored by Representative Anderegg. My concerns center on what the bill appears to ignore or disrupt in the educational process of our children. Those concerns follow:
· Does a parent have the right to deny a child’s right to a free public education? Thomas Jefferson said, “Education is the equalizer of a democracy.” Compulsory education is a child’s chance for this equality. Educational success breaks the culture of poverty.
· The Constitution guarantees citizen rights - those rights are protected by the social contract (give up some degree for the common good). It appears this bill speaks only to individual rights and not the responsibility to the common good.
· Very rarely do consequences of non-compliance with court orders result from the specific issue of the current compulsory education law, but from other actions concurrent with that law. In addition, schools have already intervened extensively prior to any court referral. This is why I would urge further committee research so that the vote on this bill is based on accurate information.
· Currently many educational options are available for parents to educate their children. All the current law requires is that the child be enrolled and participating in an educational program. Parents who choose not to educate or support the education of their child are denying the child’s right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
· I would refer the committee to the article by Hedy Chang – “Attendance Works” which shows that improving attendance is the most cost effective method of improving test scores and graduation rates.
· A Clemson University publication reports that for every child that does not graduate from high school the tax payers will pay $800,000 over the life of a non-graduated student. I would also refer you to the University of Utah Research Brief: Chronic Absenteeism which supports outcomes such as this.
· A high percentage of state prison inmates reflect no graduation diploma and report significant patterns of chronic absenteeism as youth.
· Law enforcement also reports increase in delinquency when students are not in school.
I fear disruptive educational consequences and hope that you will all consider these concerns and do further research before you support this bill.