Resolutions for a new year


Photo credit: Billy Alexander

We asked Sutherland scholars what their goals or resolutions are for 2012. Here’s what they had to say:

Derek Monson, The Center for Community and Economy

Utah’s economy is recovering well from the latest recession, but for continued, stable growth the state should develop more policies that allow and encourage entrepreneurs to expand their businesses.

For example, in 2012, we hope the state will begin a pilot project as part of an economic gardening initiative. Economic gardening helps connect entrepreneurs with the tools and resources they need to grow. In other states, it has led to thousands of new jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in new economic growth. Economic gardening would be a step in the right direction toward making Utah’s economic development approach more entrepreneur-centered while also growing the state economy. 

Daniel E. Witte, The Center for Educational Progress

In 2012, we would like to enhance modularity in Utah’s education system by reducing barriers faced by students who wish to transfer from one government school to another, or to utilize a combination of academic credits and specialized extracurricular activities offered at government schools and various forms of alternative education. Without limitation, this includes elimination of any barriers designed to artificially prevent Utah student athletes at all levels from participating in any educational programs and/or athletic programs of their choice that they are objectively qualified to utilize.

For example, student athletes should not be ineligible or be penalized a year of athletic eligibility simply because they wish to transfer to another academic institution or play for another athletic program, provided that they are otherwise objectively qualified on the merits for participation as evaluated by the relevant principal and coach. Sutherland Institute rejects any notion that any student or athlete is a serf subject to a feudal system of education, or that a person’s destiny should be based upon the whims of local government education officials rather than one’s own talent, ambition and hard work.

William C. Duncan, The Center for Family and Society

In 2012, we would like to see the conversation around family policy in Utah shift from its current preoccupation with the desires of adults and the convenience of attorneys toward a new focus on ensuring our laws reflect (1) that marriage is a core social institution; (2) that the decision to marry or to end a marriage is morally serious; (3) that children, who are the chief victims of family breakdown, should be the particular concern in family policy decisions; and (4) that handing down to future generations a pro-child, pro-marriage and pro-family culture is the most important thing we will do.

Practically, this will mean inaugurating an effort to strengthen marriage in Utah by removing current incentives in the law for quick divorces in which the state helps the person who wants out of a marriage regardless of his or her actions that may have led to the destruction of a marriage. This will involve, at a minimum, reintroducing waiting limits before divorces are finalized and making sure victimized spouses are not victimized a second time by the state by being forced to pay for a former spouse’s misdeeds.

Ed Robinson, The Center for Limited Government

I would hope that Utah citizens would continue their leadership by example, making their political decisions by applying a conservative philosophy to the world as it really is, and then judging the wisdom of those decisions by carefully and accurately observing their real world effects. This is the opposite of what happens many other places, where things are judged by what they are hoped to be, not by what they really are.

Enacting the proposed government spending amendment this year would be a further expression of this leadership, since it would curtail the well-intended but ill-advised tendencies of elected officials to spend whatever money is on hand, regardless of appropriateness, effectiveness and sustainability.

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  • JBT

    Who elected the Southerland Institute to decide what is right for everyone else? I know I didn’t.

    • Stan R.

      Thanks for your interest, JBT. As a gentle reminder, the preface to this post is “We asked Sutherland scholars what their goals or resolutions are for 2012.” What might your public policy goals be for the new year?

  • JBT

    Asking me what public policy goals I have presupposes that I have the need to impose my beliefs, values, and ideas on others. Unlike the so called “scholars” of the Southerland Institute I do not. I repeat my question, “Who elected the Southerland Institute to decide what is right for everyone else?”

    • Paul Mero

      I guess we should start to answer your question by asking who first decided that murder, stealing, rape, child molestation, slavery, etc are wrong…and then pushed for laws to prevent them?

  • DRS

    Two comments actually: 1) The issue of students who play UHS sports transferring to another/out of area school being penalized demonstrates the focus we as a society place on athletics as opposed to scholarship. No one gets upset if a musician or physics student transfers out of area, nor is the student forced to sit out one year with the new school’s orchestra/marching band or lab. Some high schools have programs, or coaches that attract student athletes. I agree that keeping a student at a geographically assigned school is a form of serfdom that needs some careful attention in changing.

    I suggest a broader solution, not just for the student athlete but for students, period. Why not let the WPU follow each student? Out of geographical area students would apply to enroll to a chosen high school by a set late Spring date. Acceptance could be based upon space available in the new school, and include a review of the student’s whole record. The reason for transfer need not be just athletics but programs or teacher(s) available at the new school. Within geographical area students are considered returning members of the student body unless they apply to attend another school. All associated costs of transportation and ancillary fees must be borne by the transferring student, he/she could ride a bus if available but pay the per capita fee identified for in area students. The Spring enrollment date (a firm date) would permit the new school to assess faculty needs and with the incoming WPU money consider additional staff, etc. Another focus might be to let each principal and school administer more of the funds assigned to the school but controlled by the school board. Maintenance and janitorial services could be controlled by the principal and managed as he/she best can. That would include hire/fire. Faculty and parent/”patron” input could be organized in support of the principal. This might lead to a lessening or downsizing of the district monolithic administration in large districts freeing up more money for the front-line people. In reality we say “it is all for the children” but in our hearts we know it is all about control, control of other people’s lives and money for our own aggrandizement or interest.

    2) I agree that no fault divorce has problems, but unless you have experienced growing up in a verbally and sometimes physically violent marriage/family your argument is based on theory and long term armchair strategy. It is the tactical, day to day events that do the damage. Your concept of restricting the “easy dissolution” of marriage or requiring remedial actions prior to or in lieu of a divorce first cost money that the participants/victims have little of to navigate the legal system. Attorneys, “rights” protection, etc., all are expensive and take time. The problems lie in our society which grants majority at 18 instead of 21; a legislature that permits marriage at 16 (presumably to cover mid-teen pregnancies); and a society that relies increasingly upon government support directly or indirectly for the unprepared married couple. Restricting divorce is trying to plug the wrong side of the leaking dam.

    Raise the age of marriage to at least 18, as well as the age of consent to sexual activity. Prosecute violators in juvenile court – privacy is maintained, serial offenders of either sex can be made to register as a form of sexual offenders if egregious. Make marriage a goal to be prepared for in public policy. Make adoption of teen births more attractive, many teens see babies as a sort of “human puppy” and not an eighteen year (at least) financial and emotional and time consuming commitment.