SALT LAKE CITY — Senate President Wayne Niederhauser admits lawmakers too often micromanage educators in their efforts to improve the quality of education in the Beehive State.
He and other key state lawmakers said decisions about the future of education in Utah are too often made on the fly, without a solid vision of what they should systematically do.
A local lawmaker’s legislation could change that.
SB 169, sponsored by Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, would establish a 14-member Education Task Force, charged with the task of setting standards and creating a vision for the future of education in Utah.
The bill passed the Senate on Tuesday and is headed to the House for further review.
The task force would be made up of political leaders with the Senate president and speaker of the House serving as co-chairs.
“I wouldn’t say we don’t have a long-term view. What we struggle with is how to reach that goal,” said House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart, R-Provo.
She said the task force has the potential to make it much easier to outline potential goals, taking out the ups and downs of each session.
“What is the end goal, and how do we reach that goal? What are the steps to focus on? Hopefully that will cut down on ‘How about this?’ or ‘How about that?’ ” Lockhart said.
Niederhauser said even the smallest change of course can make a big impact, given time. In his six years in the Legislature, he said, most of the decisions about education have lacked the context of a focused goal and vision.
“What should education look like five to 10 years from now? What do we want it to look like?”
The task force can help lawmakers get the accountability system in place, based on student outcomes, he said.
“Having the accountability system right hopefully will simplify our teachers’ lives.”