State Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-Utah, wants to scrap compulsory education, claiming that making kids go to school every day is outdated and that children should be able to choose whether they want to get an education.
"Some parents act as if the responsibility to educate, and even care for their child, is primarily the responsibility of the public school system," Osmond wrote on a state Senate blog on Friday. “As a result, our teachers and schools have been forced to become surrogate parents, expected to do everything from behavioral counseling, to providing adequate nutrition, to teaching sex education, as well as ensuring full college and career readiness.”
It appears Osmond wants to help parents divorce teachers. He claims teachers in public education are not getting enough meaningful support from parents, and parents believe the schools are not meeting the needs of their children.
"Let's let them choose it, let's not force them to do it," he told the Deseret News on Monday. "I think that's when you start seeing the shift."
Tuesday officials in the Davis School District responded to Osmond.
“The voluntary versus compulsory education is really not going to change anything," said Davis School District Superintendent Dr. Bryan Bowles to the Standard-Examiner. "There is nothing in the law that says if you don’t send your child to school, you will be fined or jailed. Parents are driven by their beliefs. If school is important, they will send their students to school, even if legislation is submitted that eliminates compulsory education.”
“Compulsory law is not the thing that is limiting parents’ opportunity to choose, with options like variances for boundaries, charter school options that are publicly funded, home schooling, or private schools,” said Logan Toone, Davis School District director of assessment. “I don’t think that parents wake up in the morning and send them to school because they are worried about getting a citation. They feel like that is what is best for their kids. They trust our school system and love their community schools, sending their kids in good faith that that is what is best for their kids.”
The public education system in Utah is currently the lowest-funded in the entire country in terms of per-pupil spending, according to Deseret News.