Let me be forthright:
- Governing in the dark is always nefarious governing.
- Denying the public a public debate is perverse and (in Utah) illegal governing.
- Denying a representative voice is odious governing.
On May 4, 2023, many members of the elected USBE engaged in heinous governance.
On May 4, 2023, at or about 11 pm, Board Member Strate put forth a final moment omnibus motion re: Standards.
It was a massive omnibus motion containing nine items. I did vote “no” on this omnibus motion; however, let’s be clear. The press and public dialogue surrounding the recent standards vote are built upon a deeply flawed and inherently false presupposition.
The reasoning behind my vote on this issue is manifold.
In Utah, omnibus bills are unconstitutional, and omnibus motions are just bad governance no matter where you live. I have made this a clear stance many times during my short time on the board. It is common to hear me state things such as “each item should be debated, judged, and votes cast based upon individual merit.” As a general statement, I move to divide often and, regardless of the content, vote no on most omnibus motions. It is a matter of principle.
I believe each set of standards should have been reviewed and debated on their individual strengths and weaknesses. The public should have been allowed to watch and see the debates. The fact that members of the board engaged in a vote essentially denying the public this opportunity is deeply concerning, in my opinion. Good governance doesn’t happen in the dark.
Good governance happens in the light of day
with open dialogue and spirited discourse.
To be clear, had each set of standards been voted on individually, I would’ve judged them on their individual merits…amended or not. I had spent many hours watching the committee meetings and had a few amendments that some professors and teachers encouraged me to put forward. I was denied the opportunity to do so, and my colleagues denied District 8, their representative voice.
I did not have the opportunity to debate, amend or engage in dialogue about the nine sets of standards being referenced.
As such it should be known that, as a general statement, I will not offer an affirmative vote on any issue in which I, as a representative, am not allowed an opportunity to discuss, debate or offer amendments on behalf of my constituents.
All my best.
Utah State Board of Education, District 8