Innovation in Education

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When Sutherland Institute embarked on creating a publication about educational innovation, we knew we’d have to start by answering the question, “What do you mean by innovation?”

It’s a fair question. And we intend for it to be answered as one reads this work.

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“Ultimately, Sutherland Institute is calling for a willingness to innovate and for better outcomes for students as individuals.

Observers of Utah education policymaking might understandably push back on the comments about a needed willingness to accept change. When it comes to making changes in education policy in Utah, we are relentless – perhaps even merciless. Each legislative session, hundreds of education bills are introduced, many of which are passed. There’s an annual rush of tedious changes that keeps everyone busy with compliance, but with little opportunity to make positive innovative changes. No matter where anyone sits on the political spectrum, we’d all like to see some sort of pause on education legislation so we can get our statutory bearings.

For anyone who knows what Sutherland Institute stands for, what we’ve described in our state and what we’re calling for is not a contradiction. We believe that the best solutions emerge when our laws assume the competence of those on the ground closest to the issues, and then let them lead the way. We don’t need more legislative changes – we need the freedom to allow innovative and sensible changes by those working with students: parents and teachers.”

-Christine Cooke, director of education policy at Sutherland Institute

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