The whirlwind passage of HB215 through the Utah House with a veto-proof majority is a clear sign that many conservative lawmakers support this newest iteration of school vouchers. But it’s also a sign that they don’t know how to support public schools with the myriad problems that they face. 

The idea that school vouchers will spur greater educational innovation by encouraging healthy competition among public and private schools is not only backwards but also condescending. Do public school teachers and administrators really just need a little “encouragement” to do better, or could it be that real solutions to challenges facing our public education system are more complex and require a lot more work?

Utah lawmakers denounce comments claiming they're trying to 'destroy public education'

Labeling the problem as a lack of motivation is the easy way out, and pursuing school vouchers only kicks the can down the road. At some point we’ll need to do the real work in solving the complex challenges that beset our public school system. After all, public schools aren’t going anywhere. They’re constitutionally guaranteed, and chasing school vouchers isn’t just procrastination of fixing the real problem. It’s also constitutional neglect. 

A rising tide raises all ships. School vouchers don’t do that. Supporting public schools does. 

Jordan K. Mangum

West Valley City