Wednesday, April 04, 2007

North Salt Lake Easter Egg Dash

The North Salt Lake Youth City Council is holding their annual
Easter Egg Dash
on Saturday, April 7th
10 am at Hatch Park in North Salt Lake (corner of Main and Center)
Free for children ages 2-12
Come with easter baskets ready!

Don't be late, because it only takes a few minutes for the kids to pick the fields clean. It's like the Swarm. I hope to see everyone there! The NSL Youth Council has put a lot of time into getting ready for the event. We have around 4000 easter eggs filled with candy and prizes.

Utah PTA President Carmen Snow on Vouchers

I saw this over the weekend and thought it was very well done. I know Carmen Snow, and I admire her passion and intensity. Take a read. It was originally published in the Sunday edition of the Salt Lake Tribune.

Voters deserve a voice in the voucher debate

Carmen Snow

People may have different opinions about the value of vouchers, but Utahns are clear about wanting to be heard. People have said they want a chance to vote on this private school voucher experiment, but a few politicians - with their megaphones and media buys - are working overtime to try to dissuade people from participating in the democratic system. From the moment a group of concerned parents began to try to put the brakes on this misguided idea, some lawyers have been scuttling to find the loophole that says that voters don't really get a chance to question the judgment of "the political class."

I hope no one is discouraged from signing the referendum petition to repeal vouchers because they think it won't matter. It always matters when the voters make their voices heard.

Voucher advocates say the law can't be repealed. They say only parts of the bill can be repealed (elements such as funding and accountability). They say the only ones who will be hurt by the repeal would be the public schools.

The opinions of lawyers, even attorneys general, can be wrong. I know lawyers with arguments and evidence just as compelling who say an act of the people can overturn a law. They also tell me that amendments to a law can't stand alone when the law itself has been repealed, and that seems to make common sense.

The attorney general is right when he says this matter will end up in court. Hopefully this legal wrangle will help us determine whether or not the people of Utah have the right to be heard when the Legislature has made a mistake. Already the referendum petition process calls for an extraordinarily short amount of time to gather an extraordinarily large number of signatures. It would be a shame if the politicians win because the petition effort falls short.

I agree with the vast majority of Utahns: We ought to have a full and open debate about whether or not subsidies for private school tuition are right for Utah. We ought to have a chance to examine whether vouchers have fulfilled their promise in the places they exist. We ought to look more closely at the long-term consequences for public schools and families and communities across the state, and always keep the children's best interest in mind.

It's important to people living outside the state that Utah has a voucher system. Many believe it would help restore momentum to a "movement" that has seen voucher systems in Colorado and Florida rejected by state courts. They hope it helps people forget that despite vast amounts of money spent to promote them, vouchers or tuition tax credits have been defeated every time they've been on the ballot nationwide in the past 30 years. The national voucher movement has expended enormous capital over the past three decades, and has to show something for its money.

They need this voucher experiment to go forward in Utah. Some are afraid that a vote of the people will stop vouchers from happening. After all, in 1988, when Utah citizens had a chance to vote on income-tax credits for tuition paid by students already in private schools, they rejected the subsidies by 70 percent to 30 percent. Utahns for Public Schools believe there ought to be a counterforce to out-of-state money and interests. We believe that parents and others who care about the future of Utah's public schools and our children are that counterforce, and we believe we ought to be heard.

CARMEN SNOW is president of the Utah PTA.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License.