Sutherland Newsletter – March 15, 2007

1.Civility and Chivalry

A recent edition of the Utah Bar Journal includes an essay addressing the need for “Civility and Chivalry.”  While written with attorneys in mind, the message has relevance and application for the makers and influencers of public policy, as well.  In the essay, Sutherland Adjunct Fellow and director of the Marriage Law Foundation, William C. Duncan, observes, “The willingness to take on obligations higher than those required of the average person is…a hallmark of professionalism…Like chivalry, the idea of civility helps us understand that even in a heated contest…opponents have a claim on our courtesy.”  He adds, “A resurgence of the ethic of civility…will take a series of individual commitments and a resulting collective shift in attitude and aims.  The shift could re-introduce…the valuable idea that, no matter the goal, some things ought not be done and that there are things we ought to do even if we can’t see that they will help us win.”

To read the essay, click this link and scroll to pages 18 and 19: a Valuable Tool for Parents in Choosing Best Education

The Sutherland Institute has launched a new and improved version of its, the largest independent clearinghouse of Utah school information.  The website ranks all public and private schools in the state empowering parents to choose the school which best fits their child’s education needs.

“Utah has taken a giant leap in behalf of parental control of education,” said Paul T. Mero, president of Sutherland Institute.  “Sutherland believes parents are responsible for their children’s education and that the state’s role in education is primarily as a support to parents.”

While some may argue that the current voucher program lacks sufficient state oversight, is an example of the market providing transparency and accountability by supplying parents with the information they need to assess the performance of both public and private schools. Some of the accountability measures and information available on include:

  • Academic rankings based on a school’s standardized test scores
  • College prep rankings based on the number of students that take the ACT, the average ACT scores, and graduation rates for the school
  • Environment rankings based on the extra services a school offers as well as its advantages, such as class size, tutoring services, parent organizations, and extra curricular activities
  • Tips on becoming more self-reliant in education and why it’s important
  • School Locator, which allows parents to search for the schools nearest them

“The site has been a popular website for years and with the passage of the voucher legislation, will only become more valuable and critical,” said Lyall Swim, Sutherland director of operations. “We believe the new format provides parents an intuitive tool that equips them to make an informed decision about where they send their child to school.”

3.Why Families Don’t Fall Down

Thousands of leaders, scholars and activists will assemble in Warsaw, Poland, on May 11-13, 2007 for World Congress of Families IV, the largest international pro-family conference of its kind.  Sutherland Institute President Paul T. Mero is one of the featured speakers at the event.  Mero says he will liken 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.  My remarks will focus on these parallels and show, hopefully conclusively to even the most progressive critic, that the natural family structure is vital for a healthy and sustainable society.”

For more information on the event, go to