Sen. Lincoln Fillmore calls it the secret to success in life.
“If a person graduates from high school, gets a job, gets married, and then has children, in that order, they’ve got a 97% chance in their life of not living in poverty. If you fail to follow that sequence of your life events, your chances of living in poverty increase by like 1,000 fold. The success sequence is really the secret to success in life,” Fillmore, R-South Jordan, told members of the Utah Senate Education Committee on Friday.
With that, Fillmore urged the committee’s support of SJR3, which acknowledges the value of instructing students on the “success sequence” and encourages the public school system to review academic standards and curriculum in grades 6-12 to identify areas where instruction on the sequence could be incorporated.
Aimee Winder Newton, senior adviser to Utah Gov. Spencer Cox and director of the Office of Families, spoke in support of the resolution.
“Anything we can do to better support families, have them have financial success so that kids get better outcomes is very, very critical,” she said.
The office has been working with school districts to pilot an education program on the “success sequence,” Winder Newton said.
“We believe it’s important for students to understand what the ‘success sequence’ is and the rates that are associated with it,” she said.
According to research by Mathematica Policy Research for the Department of Health and Human Services, groups of young adults with the lowest poverty rates are those who have completed some combination of high school, employment and marriage.
“The groups with higher poverty rates are those who have completed only a single milestone or have had children in combination with only one other milestone,” according to the findings.
Jennie Earl, a vice chairwoman of the Utah State Board of Education, also spoke in favor of the resolution.
“We look forward to working with the Legislature and working with our education partners to help promote these things that are helpful for families and communities,” she said.
The committee voted unanimously in support of the resolution, sending it to the Utah Senate for further consideration.