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Front Page » February 26, 2002 » Opinion » 'smooth Stones' Challenge Uea Goliath
Published 4,651 days ago

'smooth Stones' Challenge Uea Goliath


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By PAUL MERO
Sutherland Institute

The Utah Education Association is the Goliath of Utah politics. Arrogant and ill-tempered, belligerent and battle entrenched as the leader of an army of government education warriors and seemingly invulnerable. Seemingly.

As fate would have it, no one is invulnerable in the world of politics, including the UEA. Reeling on its heels from passage of last year's Voluntary Contributions Act, the UEA is in court now anxiously and wildly trying to prevent its enactment.

Certainly, losing its lawsuit would be a political deathblow to the UEA. Its political power would wane over time in exact proportion to its declining political action committee (PAC) contributions.

Without the taxpayer-provided mechanism of the state payroll system to collect automatic deductions from among its partisans, the UEA would have to convince its members to write a check to its PAC. Given time to think about it, many teachers may choose not to contribute.

Perhaps the Goliath-like arrogance of its current leaders has brought the UEA to the brink of disaster. All that it might take now to alter its future is one carefully placed blow to its body politic.

What fell Goliath of old? One of David's five smooth stones. And any one of the following five smooth stones of educational truth might eventually be the downfall of the UEA Goliath.

•Smooth stone number one - True education is much more than factory schooling. Any government can throw its youth into factory schools and indoctrinate them, ignore them or manipulate them.

True education is lifelong. People learn best from people they love and admire and who also have definite skills to share. Each of those three qualities is often lacking in factory schools.

Factory schools, like the outdated models idealized and defended by UEA leaders, are very poor pedagogical models.

•Smooth stone number two - In defense of government schooling, the UEA insists that public education is the highest public good and that an other concerns are secondary.

Actually, the moral basis of government schooling is to provide equal opportunity for all American children to grow up to become independent, self-reliant, productive citizens.

The greater public good is self-reliant people, not some system that shamelessly claims to produce them.

And yet the restrictive and monopolistic nature of our current government schooling system penalizes families who attempt to be self-reliant.

•Smooth stone number three - Parents are the engine of good education. Ask anyone, including the UEA leadership, what is the most important factor in producing educated chil-

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February 26, 2002
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