Deseret News: Business community needs to help fix Prosperity 2020

(Deseret News) Here’s the bad news: Utah’s highly touted Prosperity 2020 plan, which aims to have 66 percent of Utahns with college degrees, 90 percent of school kids proficient in reading and math, and Utah as a leader in science in technology, all by the year 2020, will fail as currently planned.

Here’s the good news: Prosperity 2020 can be turned around in time to get close to its lofty goals.

The current plan centers on massive amounts of new taxes streaming into the current public school system and hoping that more money will achieve big goals. It won’t work.

The current Prosperity 2020 vision is grounded in 20th-century methods and ideas that fail to effectively educate enough children in math and science. The rest of the world, including nearly every kid with a smartphone, has moved on — and so must Utah. I have grandchildren as young as 18 months old who can open an iPad, skip through the security panel and get into their favorite games. Using an iPad doesn’t mean you can build one, but it does mean youth today are more in tune with technology than any other generation in world history. In other words, this generation has a natural advantage on the road to technological proficiency.

To turn around Prosperity 2020, Utah’s business community needs to get serious about its objectives. If the goal is a well-educated future workforce in a high-tech age, Utah’s business community cannot command-and-control this political agenda from the top down — it needs to get its hands dirty in education.

Click here to read the rest of this op-ed by Sutherland’s Paul Mero at the Deseret News website.