Utah Legislator Proposes To Deal With Budget Shortfall By Eliminating The 12th Grade

While the Obama Administration and Congress continue to spend hundreds of billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan, legislators continue to dismantle our public services, parks, and educational programs due to budget shortfalls. In Utah, state Sen. Chris Buttars proposed one way of dealing with a budget shortfall: just eliminate the 12th grade. It is not clear why legislators have decided to keep public education at all. If we simply eliminate education, we can send children directly into military training or to work for foreign companies from countries that are expanding their research and educational budgets at the same rate of our decline.

Buttars suggested that 12th grade is really not that important and most kids are ready for the workforce or life at 17. The move would save $60 million out of the $700 million shortfall in the state’s budget.

Buttars appears to be backing off a bit under criticism from educators, but the proposal captures our self-destructive path. While nations like China are massively increasing research and educational budgets (here), we are selling off public lands and buildings, (here), while pouring money into Iraq and Afghanistan. What do we think is going to happen? Because few of our politicians have the courage to demand a withdrawal from these countries, we are raising our debt limits, destroying our public programs, and undercutting our ability to compete in the future marketplace.

Buttars is a Republican on the Education Subcommittee of the powerful Appropriations Committee in the Senate. He represents a district in Salt Lake and lists his occupation as retired. He holds Bachelor of Science, Marketing/Economics, Utah State University.

For the story, click here.

65 thoughts on “Utah Legislator Proposes To Deal With Budget Shortfall By Eliminating The 12th Grade”

  1. To get this back on topic–I left school at the end of the 11th grade because I had all of the credits I needed to graduate. When I received my High School Diploma the next year, I had all ready completed my first year of college. That was back in the mid 50s. In the late 70s my two daughters graduated from High School at the completion of the 11th grade and went on to college–both with academic scholarships. Both graduated from college and one went on to garner an advanced degree.

    There are a number of places in this country where students can graduate at the end of the 11th grade. They cannot just say, ” I’m leaving now,” they have to meet certain qualifications of grades and credits.

    It really depends on the student. For a lot of kids, That 12th year is a waste. For many others that 12th year is going to make the difference in whether or not they will be successful in life.

    I know that for many, a nice rigidly structured school system is carved in stone and carried down from the mountain. It’s that old “if it was good enough for me when I was in school, it’s good enough for you.” We forget that in addition to being a convenient baby sitting service the principle purpose of school is to educate children. And just like adults, children are not all the same and a little flexibility in the system just may help to provide a better education.

    As far as Utah Sen. Chris Butters proposal is concerned, I know enough about him to know that anything he proposes should be dismissed out hand.

  2. Mike A.,

    I have a friend that does nothing but Defense. One day over drinks he stated you know what. I have to be the stupidest attorney out there, but it won’t affect me in my life but once the Pl attorneys are gone there will be nothing left adjusters.

  3. Mike A:

    I guess I should source the sources. 🙂

    I do agree that insurance companies are a problem and something needs to be done. I think the solution is more competition and less involvement by government, which allows some of the outrageous practices by insurance companies.

  4. Byron, I’m not a PI lawyer, so I don’t have a personal axe to grind on personal injury litigation. My practice is business, commercial, corporate and consumer litigation. However, the PRI is basically a front for the insurance industry. I don’t have time to go into great detail, but their numbers are way off for a lot of reasons. You can begin with their analysis of “indirect costs,” a category virtually begging to be gamed. Most independent studies have agreed that so-called “tort reform” proposals are smoke and mirrors which will save costs on the backs of people who have been seriously injured through the fault of others. And medical malpractice reforms adopted in a number of states, while harming people already victimized by malpractice, have barely put a dent in med mal insurance rates. Tort reform is basically a scam to improve profitability in the insurance industry.

  5. I think if they have proof that they purchased it from the Police Auction then the Police have an up hill battle.

  6. Mike A:

    I believe I read that it is almost impossible to find an Ob in Mississippi due to lawsuits. They all left because they could not afford the insurance rates.

    “To put the annual social cost of the U.S. tort system in perspective, it is equivalent to an eight-percent tax on consumption, a 13-percent tax on wages, the combined annual output of all six New England states (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont), or the total annual sales of the U.S. restaurant industry.” (KRC: Pacific Research Institute, “JACKPOT JUSTICE…” p. 28)

    “The annual price tag, or “tort tax,” for a family of four in terms of costs and forgone benefits is $9,827. “(KRC: Pacific Research Institute, “JACKPOT JUSTICE…” p. 28) Note: Includes both direct AND indirect costs.

  7. Off Topic but though it worthwhile to pass on:

    Grand Jury to Hear Case of Drug Car Purchased at Police Auction

    Police arrested Manuel Coronado on drug charges following an accident on January 21. Coronado said his car tire blew causing him to crash into a truck along state Highway 121. The collision ruptured the dashboard and, Coronado said, much to his surprise, out popped 21 individually-wrapped bags of heroin.


  8. Mike A:

    “Surely you don’t believe that consumer contracts are “negotiated.””

    No but I can choose to buy or not buy the product based on research to see if it is a good product.
    Consumer reports and other similar services are available.

    In my mind it all goes back to the individual and his interactions. The freer an individual is the better things work. No, I am not an advocate of anarchy.

  9. ” Third, the issue of “frivolous lawsuits” is a myth.”

    That might be true where you’re from Mike, but that it sure isn’t where I’m from. (Missouri)

    “Doesn’t everybody deserve their day in court?” That’s what I hear. And, as it turns out, if an attorney is getting paid to represent them, it is rarely considered to be frivilous.

    I’ve seen common-law liens ignored by the court, and I’ve seen lower courts ignore binding precedent. I’ve seen appellate courts refuse to address the error of the trial court by changing the argument presented to suit their needs (even when the argument was clarified in the reply brief). All of this is hidden by permitting the appellate court to issue a memorandum opinion.

    I could tell you stories that would make your head spin.

    You want a good one? A few years ago, a lady contacted me after the trial court assisted her brother in stealing (that’s the correct word) her father’s property in probate. When she appealed (represented by council), the appellate court sanctioned not only her attorney, but her too.

  10. Byron, corporations should be held accountable for negligent, as well as intentional, wrongdoing. Second, mandatory arbitration clauses are typically inserted in contracts of adhesion, meaning contracts concerning which there is no bargaining. Surely you don’t believe that consumer contracts are “negotiated.” Third, the issue of “frivolous lawsuits” is a myth. State and federal rules of procedure impose severe sanctions on lawyers (and their clients) who pursue claims (or defenses) that do not have an arguable factual or legal foundation. I have successfully asserted sanctions claims in my practice. If you actually reviewed studies of jury verdicts, you would realize that juries are generally conservative and award modest sums in the vast majority of cases. The occasional huge awards typically result from particularly egregious conduct which is seldom accurately reported. In addition, judges can, and do, reduce jury awards in those rare instances in which there has been a “runaway” jury.

  11. Elaine:

    I don’t think we ought to have mercenaries fighting our wars. Bad idea, Rome tried it and it worked well for them didn’t it. How about paying American service men and women more money.

    I believe the federal government caused that problem and exacerbated it with the TARP bailout.
    Government should not be involved in business, it is called Fascism not Capitalism.

    Dead wood in the private sector is not paid for by tax payer dollars it is paid for by private individuals. They have a choice apparently tax payers must support the idle and lazy in government service.

    Maybe they did not want it done and fought it behind the scenes. One data point does not indicate a trend.

  12. Mike A:

    I have no problem with corporations being held accountable for their actions and believe the remedy to a wrong done by a corporation is the court system.

    A corporation or anyone for that matter has a right to have whatever they want in a contract. If I don’t like the terms and conditions I don’t have to do business with that company or person.

    We also need an objective standard of law in dealing with corporate wrong doing. Multi billion dollar awards to lawyers need to be done away with. As should frivolous law suits, people need to take responsibility for sticking screw drivers into electrical outlets.

    If a corporation deliberately harms someone then the directors should be held responsible to the fullest extent of the law without being able to hide behind corporate charters.

  13. “Privatize government services to the extent possible…”

    As we have with companies like Blackwater/Xe that have charged the government for prostitutes and double billed for some other services?

    “Privatize social security and allow people to provide for their own retirement.”

    You suggest this after the debacle on Wall Street that led to the loss of many people’s life savings and pensions?

    “Get rid of the dead wood in government service that are there because of unions.”

    There’s a lot of dead wood in the private sector too. Some of the “dead wood” screw up big time and still get millions of dollars to leave their corporate positions.


    Years ago, one of my good friends taught in a community that decided to privatize school custodial services. It didn’t work out very well for that city.

  14. Byron, I appreciate your consistent defense of capitalism, but the conservative position is seldom balanced because of the constant efforts to weaken the ability of ordinary citizens to protect themselves from the excesses of the free enterprise system. The increase in the power of corporations during the past fifty years has been accompanied by the slow, painful death of the common law. To the extent that government gets out of the business of regulating business behavior, we should restore the jury system. If you believe in free enterprise, let’s end the enforceability of mandatory arbitration and waiver of jury clauses in contracts. Let’s end legislative interference with damages awards. Let’s eliminate federal pre-emption of state law on consumer matters. Let’s apply standards of responsibility for personal actions to corporate actions as well. I believe that it is the duty of judges to preserve the law, but it is the duty of juries to preserve justice.

  15. Wayne Jarvis:

    the solution is quite simple. Let capitalism actually work and leave markets alone. Privatize government services to the extent possible and sell a good bit of the land the government owns to developers and oil, gas and coal companies.

    Reduce taxes across the board and get rid of zoning regulations that prohibit subdividing parcels of land. Eliminate the capital gains tax, cut property taxes in half or more. Privatize school systems, eliminate public sector union pensions and make them pay into a private system. Privatize social security and allow people to provide for their own retirement.

    Allow industry to depreciate equipment immediately and reduce payroll taxes by say 1/3.
    Get rid of the dead wood in government service that are there because of unions.

    How is that for a start?

    “The only thing wrong with socialism is that eventually you run out of other peoples money”

    Baroness Margret Thatcher

    We seem to be learning that lesson the hard way. More of the same will not lead to prosperity.

  16. Predatory Lending is a major contributor to the economic turmoil we are currently experiencing.

    Here is an example of what I am talking about:
    Scott Veerkamp / Predatory Lending (Franklin Township School Board Member.)

    Please review this information from U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley regarding deceptive lending practices:
    “Steering payments were made to brokers who enticed unsuspecting homeowners into deceptive and expensive mortgages. These secret bonus payments, often called Yield Spread Premiums, turned home mortgages into a SCAM.”

    The Center for Responsible Lending says YSP “steals equity from struggling families.”
    1. Scott collected nearly $10,000 on two separate mortgages using YSP and junk fees. 2. This is an average of $5,000 per loan. 3. The median value of the properties was $135,000. 4. Clearly, this type of lending represents a major ripoff for consumers.


  17. This post assumes that government spends money like a household. Have the wars slowed down spending at the federal level at all?

    At the state and mucipal level, pensions are crippling budgets right now. Whats the solution, here? Stiff retirees? There doesn’t seem to be any really good options. It’s really easy to snark, its harder to come up with a solution.

  18. Wikipedia? When I taught at the university level, I told my students they couldn’t use it as a reference on course papers.

    Both my husband and I have traveled in China. (My husband was there just a couple of weeks ago.) I went to the People’s Republic of China with an educational delegation in 1994. We visited elementary schools, kindergartens, and universities. We had roundtable discussions with teachers and professors. In the schools we visited, children were being taught English at an early age.

    Of course, I don’t feel that I’m an expert on the Chinese educational system because I visited some schools there. Neither would I consider myself knowlegdeable on the subject because I read a Wikipedia article about it. Remember what Alexander Pope said: “A little learning is a dangerous thing…”

    Many things have been changing and progressing in that country at a rapid pace in the last decade or two.

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