Sutherland Newsletter – July 29, 2010


On Thursday, September 2, 2010, Sutherland Institute will begin publishing newly-designed and repurposed newsletters to better serve civic leaders and responsible citizens with an interest in public policy and culture in Utah.


Much of the work of Sutherland is conducted through four policy centers:


• The Center for Community and Economy,
• The Center for Educational Progress,
• The Center for Family and Society, and
• The Center for Limited Government


Sutherland employs adjunct scholars to direct the research and work of each of its four policy centers.  Beginning in September, one newsletter each month will focus on a specific policy center and the work in which it is engaged.


The revised newsletter format will consist of a short article from one of the scholars and links to other work being pursued by the Institute.


Current subscribers will receive all four newsletters.  Previous and new subscribers will also have the option of subscribing only to the newsletter or newsletters that match their interests.  Our goal is to provide meaningful information, and this new format will allow us to more effectively tailor that information to your needs.


Click here to learn more about each Sutherland Institute policy center.



On August 18, 2010, Susan Patrick presented an overview of online education to members of the Utah Legislature’s Education interim Committee.  Ms. Patrick is president and CEO of the International Association of K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) and the former director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education under President George W. Bush.  iNACOL is an international nonprofit organization representing online learning practitioners, providers, and students.


Following an introduction by Stan Rasmussen, Sutherland director of public affairs, Susan began by describing the current national online-learning landscape.  She reported that U.S. enrollment in K-12 online courses is expanding by 30 percent every year, having grown from 50,000 in 2000 to more than two million in 2008.  Further, online learning is growing not only in K-12 education, but at the university-level as well and even as a method of job training.  Currently, 30 percent of employers use online-learning tools to deliver employee training.  Within five years it is expected that 50 percent of employers will do so.


Ms. Patrick described the benefits of online learning, based on both experience and scholarly research.  These include: 1) a customized educational experience that is tailored to a child’s needs, 2) a flexible learning schedule that allows children to learn at their own pace, 3)expanded educational options as isolated or low-income areas access high-quality educational resources online, and 4) lower costs of providing education as the construction and transportation costs of traditional brick-and-mortar school settings diminish.  Ms. Patrick also met with Sutherland representatives on camera to discuss the many benefits of online learning.


To take advantage of this significant innovation, Susan encouraged legislators to remove any legal and financial barriers to the ability of Utah families to access online learning.  She also encouraged them to enact rigorous, high-quality standards to ensure that online schools are providing the best education possible to children in Utah.


To see the interview Sutherland Institute conducted with Ms. Patrick, click here.


To listen to the audio recording of Susan Patrick’s August 18 presentation, click here and then select the second reference to Agenda Item 2 – Online Learning.


We also invite you to view her PowerPoint presentation.