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It's broken, so fix it
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Many supporters of Gov. Gary Herbert use a famous adage to justify their voting choice: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. They refer to Utah economic indicators that have remained strong through the national economic downturn.

However, these positive data points are lagging indicators. At best, they measure the impact of the decisions of past administrations. Predictive indicators, on the other hand, better indicate the current administration's efforts to take a long-term approach to policymaking.

Utah's most important predictive indicator is the state of our education system. The quality of Utah's graduates determines the quality of our future workforce.

Prior to Herbert taking office, Utah's fourth-graders scored above the national average in reading for 15 straight years. Since taking office, our national advantage on this predictive indicator has dissipated entirely.

I'm voting for Gen. Peter Cooke for reasons that align with an equally powerful adage: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Cooke represents a changing of the guard. He will bring much needed focus on retooling our education system. We need different results for our children, whose outcomes predict our future state.

It is broken, so let's fix it.

Trent E. Kaufman


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