Sutherland Newsletter – July 10, 2008

1.Blogger Briefing: Mayor Joe Thomas

Government is too focused on the status quo and needs to change the way it operates according to Mayor Joe Thomas of Spanish Fork, Utah.  Thomas addressed Sutherland’s monthly Blogger Briefing on Wednesday, July 9.  The first-term mayor said healthy individuals and organizations operate by letting the results of their actions influence future ideas.



“I’ve got an idea that works: capitalism,” Thomas said.  “Market forces tend to annihilate things that don’t work.”


Thomas said much of government has gotten into the business of building barriers to competition and innovation rather than encouraging more of it.  These actions are the result of too much management and not enough leadership.


2.Featured Book: The Constitutional Convention

Sutherland’s suggested reading list has been well received by friends of the Institute.  This week, Matthew Piccolo, a Sutherland policy analyst, writes of the book, The Constitutional Convention:

“This historical report of James Madison’s meticulous notes taken during the Constitutional Convention (1787) gives Americans today a unique perspective on America’s founding.  A careful study of Madison’s notes reveals what the Founders intended to do when drafting the U.S. Constitution and helps clear up many popular misconceptions about specific constitutional provisions.  This book is a must-read for any scholar or American citizen who wants to deepen his or her understanding of the principles and history that have made America what it is today.”

The works included on the list have been recommended by Sutherland’s staff and board of trustees.  A brief synopsis of each recommendation is available on the website.  A new book will be featured and reviewed periodically.


3.Sutherland Institute Explores New Dimension in Utah’s Education Choice Debate

The Sutherland Institute recently published a peer-reviewed article in the 2008 BYU Law Reviewthat traces modern compulsory public school attendance in Utah back to its historical origins.  The new publication, “Removing Classrooms from the Battlefield: Liberty, Paternalism, and the Redemptive Promise of Educational Choice,” serves as a companion piece to Sutherland’sVouchers, Vows, and Vexations: The Historical Dilemma Over Utah’s Education Identity released in September 2007.

The recently-published article describes a federal policy of dissolving polygamous Native American households, rounding up Native American children into military forts, and then relocating the children to government schools and work programs modeled after Richard Henry Pratt’s innovations for “civilizing” minority populations at Fort Marion in Florida.

“At the time we first presented the findings,” Sutherland Institute President Paul T. Mero observes, “no one could have imagined that there would be a 2008 Texas polygamy raid by social workers involving an en mass confinement of minors at historic Fort Concho.”

Because the final edited version of the article was published in 2008, the authors, Mero and Daniel E. Witte, attorney and trustee of the Sutherland Institute, were able to analyze In re Rachel L., a controversial California Second District Court of Appeals opinion that borrowed from Pratt’s ideas to conclude that all home educators in California can be fined, imprisoned, subjected to mandatory counseling, and have their parental rights terminated.  Sutherland has also filed an amicus brief in connection with the Court’s pending reconsideration of that vacated opinion.

“Removing Classrooms from the Battlefield” also notes that some Utah public schools illegally used statistical “averaging” and other manipulations to avoid mandatory closures and bad publicity under the federal No Child Left Behind law.  These actions deprived Utah voters of accurate information during the campaign about the legalization of vouchers.

“Liberty and transparency are keys to solving Utah’s very serious educational problems,” says Witte.

Copies of the complete issue Number 2 of the 2008 BYU Law Review, containing all of the articles from the Fall 2007 J. Reuben Clark Law School academic Symposium on “Educational Choice: Emerging Legal And Policy Issues,” may be ordered through the Sutherland Institute or through the Brigham Young University Law Review, The same is true for single slip hardcopies of “Removing Classrooms from the Battlefield: Liberty, Paternalism, and the Redemptive Promise of Educational Choice,” 2008 BYU Law Review 377.