American governments may have botched many things in the pandemic, but communist China’s oppressive methods reveal what a truly horrifying pandemic response looks like.
Last week’s Supreme Court decisions in two vaccine mandate cases demonstrate how relevant foundational civic questions are to current controversies.
Is there a constitutional right to a mask mandate? That’s the question raised by a lawsuit recently filed in Utah.
The experience of Indiana University suggests that courts are likely to be especially sympathetic to mandates when they include exemptions. Where those affected by the mandate are given the opportunity to show medical or other reasons why they should be exempt, other courts will presumably also find the legal resolution of a challenge easy.
Clearly, curriculum transparency can provide a useful tool for parents who want to ensure that their children are getting the best education possible. But it can also be done in ways that help make teachers’ jobs easier as well.
The evidence suggests a mental health landscape picture more nuanced than we might have expected during the pandemic. Examining those nuances could aid our understanding of how to best address mental health problems.
Can the federal government discourage tax relief in this way under the Constitution? Possibly. If it can, should it? No.
Elected officials are the ultimate decisionmakers on vaccine education efforts, but when politicians are the face of the effort, it fails.
If we can learn the lessons of the COVID pandemic to improve public health regarding respiratory diseases and become better prepared for the next pandemic, we will ensure that those whom COVID-19 has taken will not have died completely in vain. What has been a dark time for many can light the path toward a better future. We all could use that right now.
These justices noted the state’s interest in reducing the risk of infection was “compelling” but faulted it for failing to “explain why it cannot address its legitimate concerns with rules short of a total ban” and “to explain why narrower options it finds sufficient in secular contexts do not satisfy its legitimate interests.”
Many were hoping that the change in administration would lead to an improved federal response to the pandemic. Yet reports of federal pandemic failures continue. This could simply be because the Biden administration is so new that it hasn’t had time to get a handle on things – but that’s not the only reasonable interpretation.
During this first full week of 2021, many feel relieved that 2020 is behind us: We’ve concluded a tumultuous year of pandemic lockdowns, economic hardship and election controversy. Beyond that relief, however, it is critical that we ask ourselves how to make 2021 (and beyond) better.
As political physics generates similar boosts to momentum for opposing causes, we can be grateful that the Christmas and New Year’s holidays bring not only the kind of hope that we are used to feeling at this time of year, but also a hope that post-pandemic life is in sight.
Christmastime brings feelings of hope and a desire to help those in need – sentiments that are greatly needed in 2020. Developments in the fight against COVID-19 offer additional reason for optimism and cheer this holiday season.
Utah’s new plan creates a COVID-19 Transmission Index that is transparent and data-driven. Will it be effective?
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, public charter schools like Canyon Grove Academy may soon become the norm for public schooling: creative and flexible, with individualized offerings that allow the creation of a school day as unique as the family and student.
Candidates tackled topics including the coronavirus pandemic, projected growth in the state, job loss, and plenty about education.
Google’s Career Certificate will likely compound the forces of change already at work in higher education.
Should Utah allow funds to follow the student rather than the school? With parent demand for school options growing rapidly and student needs becoming clearer, the answer is yes.
The index offers clues into how countries, and by extension states in the U.S., can create market-driven systems that increase the value of healthcare; that is, produce higher quality results for less cost.
ICYMI: The following is an unedited transcription of remarks delivered by Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) during Q&A: Senate Updates & 2020 Priorities.
Sutherland Institute has long been committed to parents having the freedom to make educational decisions for their family – even more so during this time of uncertainty.
This uncertainty is causing our civic institutions to question whether they can properly function during the pandemic, leading to major cancellations. This psychological infection runs deeper than just college football: the American institution of free elections is being questioned due to uncertainty from the pandemic.
The following is an unedited transcription of remarks delivered by Rep. Ben McAdams (D-Utah) during Fiscal Responsibility, Transparency and Accountability During COVID-19.
2020 is bringing us to a fork in the road for the future of American healthcare. Will the healthcare sector change itself, or will public policy force it to change?
A unanimous vote in a public meeting of the Utah Board of Pharmacy this week moved to add “COVID-19 (SARS-CoV2)” to the list of vaccines approved for pharmacies to offer on the state’s Vaccine Administration Protocol.
Education expert Karla Phillips-Krivickas says a redesign for public schools in the wake of COVID-19 has implications for competency-based education (CBE), an approach which allows students to progress through learning as quickly or as slowly as they demonstrate competency in a topic.
The lives of so many of Utah’s pioneers are a testament that sometimes maintaining our freedom and enjoying our rights requires uncomfortable sacrifices and life changes for us all. As we celebrate and honor the sacrifices made on our behalf, let’s choose – like they did – to be optimistic in the face of hardship.
The more time goes on, the more we are learning that the pandemic presents a fluid and changing economic and public health landscape.
Hybrid homeschooling allows for students to spend part of the week learning in a traditional public school classroom and part of it learning at home.
With COVID-19 spiking again across the state, parents and other education leaders are asking: What’s next? Sutherland Institute connected with Rick Hess, a former high school teacher, current lecturer, and leading education policy scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), to discuss the future of education given the continuing pandemic.
Utah leaders should focus on finding a policy response to the COVID-19 surge that is calibrated toward widescale public compliance. If they do, they will have a better chance to effectively gain control over the pandemic before the fall.
Even as the disease spikes, we now have enough data to know more – and do better – in our public health response. We also have enough evidence to recognize that disease and a strong economy can, and regularly do, go together.
“We may have to just do the right thing, and know that God sees.”
The most encouraging sign from the court is shared by both sides of Friday’s decision: Religious practice must not be singled out for disfavored treatment.
Politics and public health should be like sick people and healthy people: kept apart as much as possible. Politics erodes everything that it touches, especially in a public health crisis.
Part of that equation will be the budget, and part of it will be higher education’s ability to adapt to a new reality in upcoming years.
Agree or disagree, it is good for all of us that many of our fellow citizens are motivated by a higher cause.
If and when a safe and effective vaccine is found, it will be private drug manufacturing companies that produce the billions of doses necessary to defeat the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“It is none of the state’s business to decide that religious worship is not important, it is the state’s business to decide whether particular forms the religious worship might take may be dangerous to public health.”
If Utah policymakers take action today to prepare for a COVID-19 vaccine – whenever it is found to be safe and effective – they will prime Utah for a strong and sustainable economic and public health recovery from the pandemic.
There appear to be three factors at work: a decline in formal legal protection of religious freedom; an increase in general regulations that impact religious practice; and a decline in religiosity among Americans generally.
A recent national poll from the American Federation for Children conducted by RealClear Opinion Research shows that 40 percent of families say they are more likely to home-school or enroll in virtual schools even after the lockdowns end.
In such a unique, life-changing moment like the one we are living right now, Utahns – and history – should be quick to extend grace, rather than condemnation, toward both fellow Utahns and elected leaders.
U.S. History of Civics part 2: School reforms for COVID-19 point us to successful ed reformers in American history
The following essay is part 2 in a series that discusses the history of civics education in America. U.S. History of Civics part 1: The Founders’ vision — ‘What species of knowledge can be equally important?’ State education leaders are looking toward adaptations in...
Sutherland encourages all members of Utah’s delegation to analyze this critical legislation, which is already supported by a wide bipartisan coalition and several members of Congress.
The downturn driving Utah’s budget shortfall has been caused by the pandemic, so common sense would argue that states should have great flexibility to address pandemic tax revenue impacts with CARES Act funding. But that’s not the case.
Fifty percent of Americans feel their freedoms have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research from State Policy Network conducted by Heart + Mind Strategies.
In a system where change can be inordinately difficult due to multi-layered administration and interest group politics, Utah’s education leaders should be commended for being forward-thinking about the need to change and adapt to the current realities schools face.
The shuttering of universities has been predicted by some scholars for a while now due to changes to society, technological advances and flexibility in employment. But now, the individual choices being made in response to the coronavirus have accelerated this process.
Teacher Appreciation Week is a well-deserved moment of reflection on the important work that educators do – but it’s especially important this year. To educators across the nation, happy Teacher Appreciation Week.
While a quick recovery is possible, the evidence for a slower economic rebound in Utah is mounting.
If a safe and effective vaccine is developed in 2020, we should all want our state vaccine policies and regulations primed and ready to encourage the quickest and broadest possible public access to the vaccine – especially given how fast the novel coronavirus spreads.
Much of what we are learning through the pandemic experience can be positive, but we must also let these kinds of lessons sink in and change how the government functions going forward.
The pandemic is revealing that there may be ways to increase the return on investment of state tax dollars, especially in big-ticket areas like education, transportation and building construction.
In the fluid pandemic situation, religious freedom is being tossed around both as an excuse for continuing public gatherings and as a focus of derision from those who are using the crisis to argue that religious people are the problem.
Sutherland signs coalition letter urging expansion of 529s (education savings accounts) for COVID-19 home learning
Congress should help families with homeschooling expenses due to COVID-19 by expanding 529 education savings accounts.
The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to conduct oral arguments by phone next month. This effort to adjust to ongoing pandemic conditions will be a first for the court.
How we get food, shop, travel, work and entertain ourselves have all changed. Where and how could the pandemic permanently change economic life for families?
In a time of crisis, such as the present pandemic, we are often reminded of fundamental realities that can be easy to forget or take for granted during better times.
Salt Lake Community College, Utah Valley University and the University of Utah are delaying tuition hikes in an effort to keep education affordable during the coronavirus outbreak.
Sutherland signs coalition letter urging Congress to fix Federal CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid Relief & Economic Security)
Sutherland believes that with this flexibility, the federal funding would better complement the state’s current economic relief efforts and more effectively position state and local economies for a rapid recovery once the novel coronavirus pandemic is under control.
As hundreds of thousands of Utah’s youth enter week five of these restrictive measures and social isolation, we should be particularly wary of the impact of this new reality on their mental health.
Passion during a crisis is not political – it is human nature. However, exploitation of a crisis is political, and we should be aware of an existing structural imbalance at the federal level that enables the leveraging of passion and avoidance of responsibility.
Minimizing the damage as we balance public health and economic concern during a crisis should be the policy goal for legislators, the governor, and local elected officials.
Silicon Slopes, in collaboration with medical care providers, the state Department of Health and the state COVID-19 Task Force, recently launched TestUtah.com to assess Utahns online to determine if they need to be tested for COVID-19.
The public education system is likely to be permanently changed by the response to the coronavirus pandemic – or more precisely, by the knowledge gained by principals, teachers, parents and children during the response to the pandemic.
It’s difficult to compare experiences because everyone’s circumstances are so different: the number and personalities of children, employment and financial status, familiarity with homeschooling, and a host of other issues.
The plan’s success requires that those who administer it recognize the fact that governments “deriv[e] their just powers from the consent of the governed,” in the words of the Declaration of Independence.
Effectively, the lawsuit is asking the courts to decide whether New York’s coronavirus pandemic response strikes the right balance between the compelling interest of public health in a pandemic and the constitutional requirement to protect religious freedom.
During this window of change in higher education – primarily the expansion of online coursework – Snow Online is also normalizing other innovative changes like generously offering credit for prior learning and catering to the atypical student.
The coronavirus aid bill recently passed by Congress and signed by President Trump includes some important provisions that reflect the importance of religious and other private charitable endeavors at times of great need.
If the pandemic leads states and the federal government to embrace more market-driven health care policies — removing barriers to telemedicine, encouraging drive-up testing and home delivery of prescription drugs where such delivery is reasonable — then innovations can be better for everyone.
On Friday, Congress passed a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill, also described as an economic stimulus package, that will impact various aspects of family life – immediately and over the long term. President Trump has said he intends to quickly sign the bill into law.
Crisis does not sideline an organization like Sutherland – it increases the importance and urgency of our work.
Questions are being asked, however, about the extent of the state’s ability to direct churches to close in the event of an emergency like the current worldwide pandemic.
Sutherland joins KSL’s Lee Lonsberry to talk coronavirus and whether the government can force you to stay at home
Our system is set up to look at situations like this, empower the government to take action when it’s urgent in the case of coronavirus, but still work with people rather than imposing our will upon them.
Civics education is defined as the study of our rights and responsibilities as citizens. And nothing forces us to think through our rights and responsibilities like a public health crisis.
The postponement of oral arguments may slow up some cases, but the justices still have plenty to do in the absence of these arguments, and there is no reason to believe that this appropriate concession to public health will create long-term problems.
By promoting a free market for prescription drugs through market transparency and restrained anti-competitive practices, this law will offer financial relief to patients by encouraging more affordable prescription drugs. That is something Utah families sorely need.
As power moves from federal to state to local agencies, we see the true importance of local leadership – as well as the irreplaceable role communities must play in addressing their own needs.
Despite the understandable anxiety and worry caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic, the public response from Utahns and Americans should give us cause to hope for the future.
Utah state leaders are wisely asking questions and taking steps early to prepare for the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. We should do likewise in preparing for its effects in public and higher education.