I need to add my thoughts to Utah Sen. Aaron Osmond's comments about education in Utah becoming elective (July 17, "Davis District: ending compulsory education won't change anything," July 21 editorial, "Keep education compulsory"). Before I retired as a high school teacher, I asked some of my senior students, "Why are you here?" Those students often wandered the halls, took classes that did not require much effort and pretty-much wasted a whole school year. So, I can see where Sen. Osmond is headed on this debate.
Our family spent a semester in Australia which models the European school system. Compulsory education in Australia is only through year 10 (age 15). Years 11 and 12 were focused on preparation for university for those planning on going on to higher education. Students prepared themselves to take the tests which placed them in a particular university and in their choice of a major. The students who were not going to a "uni" were directed to the many vocational education and training schools where they received further education in a career that did not require a university degree. There wasn't any stigma to the vocational schools. They were just considered another option.
Schools were also year-round, team sports were club sports, therefore the cost was borne by the parents and students used public transportation to get to school.
With tight budgets and lack of an educated society, maybe it is time to ask, "Why are we doing what we are doing and is there a compromise?"