In the op-ed “To save the university, we must go ‘back to the future,’” Sen. John Johnson suggests that we must deconstruct the general education curriculum at the University of Utah by returning to the past. How far back shall we go?

In 1970, the Office of Civil Rights suggested that Ogden School District implement a desegregation plan. The district aimed to address the widespread lack of sensitivity towards minority students by increasing diversity in curriculum and across educators, and by providing training in multicultural sensitivity, via Weber State University. 

Ogden’s multicultural efforts were synonymous to Utah’s educational equity rule that was ultimately erased. The district’s intention to be more inclusive and representative is what Johnson refers to as “woke dogma.” Therefore, “back to the future” must imply pre-1970, which is not the direction for Utah.

Rather than looking at troubled history for inspiration, where Utah neighborhoods were shaped by racial covenants and redlining, we should build on progress and inspire students to move forward.

Johnson’s bill (SB226) is not forward thinking. SB226 mimics the national push to embed conservative ideology in core curriculum and to suppress diverse viewpoints. This attempt contradicts the Legislature’s rhetoric on removing politics from education.

Kevin M. Korous, PhD, Millcreek

Darlene McDonald, South Salt Lake