While they were sleeping • Aching teeth, infection and decay can cause health problems in children that go beyond the mouth. But thousands of Utah kids have no access to dental care because they are uninsured. To help children avoid the pain and complications of bad teeth, a compassionate nonprofit clinic, Salt Lake Donated Dental Services, taps the expertise and civic spirit of dentists who donate their time. Now the clinic has added sedation services one day per month specifically for children who have extensive, complicated dental problems. The kids can be anesthetized and get multiple procedures done in one visit. These are children in chronic pain who couldn't sit still for the time, and probably many visits, it would take to treat them. An anesthesiologist donates her time and equipment. These dentists and doctors are making a lot of children much happier and healthier.
It's public education • The Utah State Board of Education says it favors transparency, except when it comes to one measurement of a teacher's performance student test scores. The board voted to keep the public from seeing individual teachers' performance data, but will urge school principals to give the information to parents who request it. That's not transparency. That's giving in to teachers' fears that parents and the public who pay their salaries won't understand that student test scores are only part of the evidence for excellence that should be the norm in Utah classrooms. Those who favor privatizing education might use the data to go after teachers and schools or as ammunition to promote sending tax money to private schools. But parents and school patrons in Utah generally are staunch fans of public schools, and most of them understand that many elements go together to make a fine teacher. They deserve to know more about their teachers.
Vindicated braider • For a state run by Republicans who practically worship free-market economics and entrepreneurship, Utah made a surprising mistake when it tried to keep Jestina Clayton from practicing her craft of hair braiding. Clayton protested to the Utah cosmetology board in 2010 the state requirement that she have a cosmetology license to do hair braiding, which involves no cutting or use of chemicals, but the board ruled against her. She tried to find a legislator willing to sponsor an amendment to the nonsensical law, but she failed there, too. So she contacted the Institute for Justice and it filed a lawsuit on her behalf and won a ruling in federal court last week. Intrepid entrepreneur 1, Utah 0.