It’s all over and Utah Governor Gary Herbert said once again it was a frustrating process for 104 strong personalities to come together during the 45-day session of the Utah legislature to learn and then do what the people of Utah want them to do.
During his monthly “Let Me Speak to the Governor” statewide radio broadcast, Herbert said during the recent session legislators spent a great deal of time prioritizing, determining education to be a top priority and then funding education.
“We allocated $345 million, which is not a record, but it’s a pretty large number,” Herbert said. “That took care of funding the growth in public education, it took care of the opportunity to increase the weighted pupil unit which also helps with teacher salaries.”
Besides funding priorities in primary and secondary education, Herbert said the legislature was able to set aside funds for higher education as well.
“We put money into our higher education system with what they call equity funding to make sure that we’re being funded equally and equitably across the different colleges and universities.”
He said the session ended on a high note with an emphasis on education and a determination to make sure our economy continues to expand and grow.
Continuing on the theme of education, Herbert also said that he believes some Utahns are confused about the phrase “common core.” Herbert said Common Core is not some kind of federal over-reach program where the government comes in and tells you how to do things. He said instead it is a way to “raise the bar” put together by state and local school boards to improve language arts, math and reading.
“I think the standards are not the problem. And don’t be confused with the standards versus the curriculum,” Herbert admonished. “That’s a different issue.
“The standards, I think, are common to other states, about 45 of them. But our curriculum, our methodology of how we reach those standards is our own and will continue to be our own. We will reject any kind of federalization or dictation to us from outside sources.”
The governor said, unfortunately, we have been falling behind some other countries and this is an effort to change and improve outcomes in education.