Implementation Cornerstone 4:
People PREPARED FOR THE FUTURE
Utahns believe everyone deserves an opportunity to receive a high-quality education that prepares them to participate in the workforce and in society and that maximizes their individual potential. To provide a good education to Utah’s growing population, we need to accomplish the following:
A statewide plan
Adopt a long-range plan that is adaptable to local needs and consistently implement proven, effective strategies to accomplish Utah’s education goals. Dedicate significant and stable investments to public and postsecondary educational opportunities sufficient to implement the strategies in the plan.
Attract, train, and retain high-quality teachers, administrators, and counselors. Offer competitive compensation for teachers and staff. Expand mentorship programs for teachers and provide opportunities for ongoing professional development.
Early Childhood Education
Ensure access to high-quality early childhood education for every child by offering publicly funded pre-kindergarten programs, particularly for at-risk children, and by providing voluntary all-day kindergarten.
Assessment and Assistance
Ensure every student gets the help they need by implementing rigorous standards and ongoing assessment of progress. Use assessments to provide individual assistance to students at risk of falling behind and to help all students progress faster as they are ready.
Participation and Collaboration
Increase collaboration among families, schools, educators, businesses, and faith-based and community partners. Empower parents and families to actively participate in their children’s education. Use schools as community centers, where community members can go to receive other services (e.g., adult education, health services, job or language skill development, and afterschool programs). Foster partnerships with businesses to develop internships and technical training for both students and teachers.
Access to Opportunities Beyond High School
Help more students enter into and complete high-quality certificate, licensure, or degree programs. Increase staff and provide more physical and virtual infrastructure to handle growing numbers of students. Provide resources to students, especially nontraditional students (older students, ESL students, etc.), to help them prepare for and complete higher education or other training beyond high school.
Affordable Postsecondary Education
Ensure affordability of higher education and other educational opportunities beyond high school. Maintain affordable tuition through continued state investment and expand financial assistance for students in need.
Fostering a highly educated population is a robust strategy with significant benefits for jobs and the economy, cost of living, health, communities, and other topics. Specifically, benefits include the following:
- A strong economy, with more jobs for everyone and higher tax revenue
- Increased abilities of Utahns to find good jobs, experience personal economic stability, and save money
- Greater likelihood that Utahns will vote and volunteer in their communities
- Reduction in crime and need for social services (food stamps, unemployment benefits, etc.)
- Improved chances for low-income children to break the cycle of poverty, as they complete school, find good jobs, and increase lifetime earnings
- Fewer health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity
The Utah Economic Council and the Jobs and Economy Action Team stated that Utah’s economy is impacted by education more than by any other issue.