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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Editorials: Put textbooks online, keep farmland off the market ...

Above: A walkthrough of an online textbook.

Who says the folks who run state government in Utah don't have any good ideas:

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- Online textbooks: State education office's great idea - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

As any parent of a Utah secondary-school student knows, "free" public education is far from free, despite a constitutional mandate to the contrary. There are fees and extra costs for everything from athletics to music to science.

And one of the biggest and constantly rising costs paid by taxpayers is for materials and supplies, especially textbooks.

So the Utah State Office of Education deserves to be commended for its forward-thinking initiative to provide free online textbooks. Although book publishers will squawk, the switch to online texts developed by the state office will mean a huge savings for Utahns, whether or not they have children in school. ...

[One quibble: Some of us wish the USOE would put more news on its website, make it easier to find and post it in HTLM instead of requiring the extra step of opening a .pdf. But, hey, we're all still learning here.]

Related:

- Digital textbooks way of the future - Sheboygan (Wis.) Press Editorial

- Don't say goodbye to traditional textbooks just yet - Crookston (Minn.) Times Editorial

- iPads Won’t Make Textbooks More Affordable - Bloomberg View Editorial

- Saving farmland: SB46 would create easements - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

Much of the Wasatch Front was once farmland. In fact, Davis County, wedged between the Great Salt Lake and the Wasatch Mountains, has some of the most fertile soil in the country. The trouble is, most of that rich farmland is now under concrete and asphalt.

Utah has lost farm acreage equal to the area of the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined over the past 40 years to housing and commercial development. That’s a sad situation that poor planning over the decades has allowed to happen. Urban sprawl should have been restricted and controlled, but such a vision has only recently received any attention at all. And for many counties in Utah’s urban megalopolis of the Wasatch Front, it’s nearly too late.

That’s why the Legislature should pass SB46, which Sen. Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, calls the Agriculture Sustainability Act. ...

Related:

- Need remains for Suffolk land preservation - Newsday Editorial



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