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Competency-measured education as put forth in the Utah Board of Education’s Performance Plus proposal is a valid idea. But the more it becomes discussed, the greater the realization it likely can’t be fully and quickly implemented.
The stumbling block will be cost, especially when combined with the performance standards dictated by the federal No Child Left Behind Act.
For example, the state’s largest school district, Jordan, says it would take $59 million to implement all of the mandated reforms. At the state level, the Utah Office of Education has placed a price tag of at least $393 million on the reforms.
That’s a hunk of change, especially in view of Utah’s history of seeing public education barely squeaking by financially.
It’s one thing to envision Utah’s public school students achieving higher standards and advancing only after demonstrating competency in core subjects. It’s quite another to provide the remedial programs, tutorial efforts and teacher training needed to help challenged students make it through the system.
Before Performance Plus is adopted, KSL believes there must be solid legislative and citizen commitment to adequately fund such a profound overhaul of the state’s education system. Without total commitment, Performance Plus would likely become a performance bust.