2013 Legislature: Testimony in favor of student-centered learning pilot program

Testimony written by Derek Monson and given by Stan Rasmussen Wednesday, Feb. 27, before the Senate Education Committee in support of Sen. Howard Stephenson’s Student-Centered Learning Pilot Program (SB 79):

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

Sutherland Institute supports SB 79 because it empowers the pursuit of an excellent education by children, parents, and teachers rather than protecting systems, power structures, and the status quo from innovation and reform.

By encouraging district and charter schools to pursue blended learning models, SB 79 taps into the power of digital learning which, if done right, can empower children to guide their education and thereby nurture the love of learning; can empower parents to increase their involvement with their child’s education by giving them greater influence over it; and can empower teachers to become the best in the nation by using technology to take care of mundane tasks such as grading while they focus their time on actually teaching children one-on-one. A program with such potential is worth the investment of time and resources.

Further, as a pilot program, SB 79 undertakes this endeavor in a prudent and responsible way – testing it first to see what can be learned before making any attempt to roll things out more generally across the state. It is likely that this “test run” of blended learning will produce valuable lessons for all public schools whether it ultimately succeeds or fails in its broader objective.

Given both its potential and its prudence, SB 79 is a bill that deserves your vote, and we encourage you to pass it out favorably.  Thank you.

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  • Andy Swapp

    I do not understand the involvement of the legislature in education.  I do know that school boards are locally elected governing bodies.  Why are we getting into such detail with state elected officials?

    I want my local school board to hear my concerns and act in my behalf.

    The more laws we petition for at the state level, the more out of control we get. Education is a local issue with local needs. Urban, Suburban, and rural schools all differ in what they offer and how they approach education of our youth. 

    State run education has never been a model for success.  We have in the state of UT state mandated curriculum. We have state authored tests. We have state certifications that are administered in all schools. Some schools can afford the teachers, tools, and other needful things to achieve high levels on the certification tests others can not. 

    The conformity that is forced is not a good thing for our economy or society.  The common core has crept into our state via the state office of education.  This should be looked at like a cancer.  The beginning curriculum looks wonderful and meaningful but the deeper we look the more history is being re-written. A communistic or social agenda is slowly working its way deeper into our children’s lives.

    As a teacher I would like to write my own tests, just like my teachers did.  I can formulate a rigorous program that makes sense for the situation of my school and students. I do answer to the parents of my students and the school board. I do take responsibility for the education of my students.

    If an engineer after four years of school can put his stamp on a plan and society accepts that as a project worthy to build, why then does a teacher not sit down with a student and parent and plan an education that will work for that individual or at least take charge of the class and run it in an acceptable manner according to the particular local community?  We may market to a global economy but we should govern as local as possible! 

    As a teacher I am embarrassed of the profession that hides behind a union or an association and refuses to take responsibility for their own actions.

    As a retired Infantry Sergeant I have seen how state mandated anything leads to failure.

    Sutherland Institute please push for less government – not more – even in education.  

    Thank You