1.More on the Legacy Awards Banquet

It’s been a week and folks are still talking about the 2007 Legacy Awards Banquet hosted by Sutherland Institute.  To the 250 elected officials and community leaders who attended, Sutherland expresses appreciation for taking part in this memorable evening.


Stan Rasmussen, public affairs manager for the Institute, said, “The event confirmed that great things and great changes are certainly achievable.  The award recipients are truly inspiring.”  Mr. Stan and Mrs. Mary Ellen Smoot received the Legacy Award for their lifetime of service in promoting faith, family, and freedom.  The Charity Award was presented to Mr. Khosrow Semnani for his generosity in behalf of the Maliheh Free Clinic.  Members of the Conservative Caucus were recognized with the Family Award for their work at the Utah Legislature in support of families.


This banquet is part of ongoing Sutherland efforts to recognize individuals who have taken private initiative in bettering Utah based on Sutherland’s governing principles: personal responsibility, family, religion, private property, free markets, charity, and limited government.


A write-up of the event, Smoots honored by Sutherland Institute, by the Davis County Clipper is available on Sutherland’s homepage under “Sutherland in the News.

2.School Choice Has Saved $444 Million

As the issue of school vouchers goes to the ballots in Utah, a landmark new study finds that school choice programs throughout the country generated nearly $444 million in net savings to state and local budgets from 1990 to 2006.  Contrary to opponents’ predictions, the analysis also finds that instructional spending per student has consistently gone up in all affected public school districts and states.

“School choice saves.  It saves children, and now we have empirical evidence that it saves money,” said Robert Enlow, executive director and COO of the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation.  “In the face of $444 million in savings, another excuse to deny children a quality education has vanished before our eyes.”

Released by the Friedman Foundation, “Education by the Numbers: The Fiscal Effect of School Choice Programs, 1990-2006″ provides the first comprehensive analysis of how the nation’s school choice programs have affected state and public school districts.  Of the 12 voucher and tax-credit scholarship programs that began operations before 2006, every program is at least fiscally neutral, and most produce substantial savings.

“Opponents here in Utah claim that school vouchers will reduce spending in public schools.  Yet the study’s analysis of the states where school choice is available finds that this is not the case,” said Paul T. Mero, president of Sutherland Institute.  ”A recent study calculated that, if supported by the voters, school vouchers could save Utah about $700,000 each year, and save local public school districts $26 million each year.”

“Opponents of educational freedom will find it tougher to bend the truth.  Our research adheres to the highest standards of scientific rigor,” said Enlow.  “We’ve seen seven school choice programs start in just the last year because evidence of the benefits are growing just as rapidly.”

3.Sutherland Calls Voucher Referendum an Opportunity

“We welcome the opportunity for a statewide debate about school vouchers,” said Paul T. Mero, president of Sutherland Institute.  “As we move forward with this discussion, it is important for all of us to understand that Utah has a rich history of momentous education reforms.  In fact, no other single factor defines this state’s education identity better than the push and pull of significant reforms.  I think we’re in for a great few months of lively and healthy debate about one of the most critical issues facing us today.”

Known widely for its ability to both advocate persuasively and dialogue constructively, Sutherland looks to advance the cause of school vouchers while educating the public broadly about how vouchers and myriad other reforms are an integral part of Utah’s education identity.

“We need not be afraid of the dialogue that will occur over the next several months.  It is good for us.  It is healthy.  The goals for all of us should be to reclaim Utah’s education identity, find a statewide consensus on education policy, and constructively plan for our children’s future,” Mero added.


4.Sutherland Represented in Poland at World Congress of Families

The Sutherland Institute is well-represented this week at a worldwide gathering in Warsaw, Poland.  Paul Mero, Lyall Swim, and Liv Moffat have joined thousands of leaders, scholars and activists to take part in the World Congress of Families IV, the largest international pro-family conference of its kind.  “I think it’s important for people to understand that the family is under attack all over the world,” Swim said.  “What is unique about the World Congress of Families is that you have people from all walks of life and from all religious backgrounds joining together to fight back.  With respect to Utah, we have a real opportunity, and I believe a responsibility, to be a leader on issues of the family, particularly in finding ways to strengthen the family and to bolster parental rights.  I am looking forward to sharing ideas and getting a better understanding of what is working elsewhere in the world.”


Paul Mero is one of the featured speakers at the event.  In his presentation, he likened the structure of families to the structure of buildings.  “Family structure is similar to that of physical structures.  It has properties that keep it from falling down just like a building.  Families suffer from the effects of stress, strain, and tension, but they can weather the toughest storms.”  Mero declared that the natural family structure is vital for a healthy and sustainable society.


For more information on the event, go to www.worldcongress.org.