Our Mission on Education

“Education is the best investment in Utah’s future. That is why education funding remains my highest budget priority. A quality K-16 educational experience is critical for success in our global economy. We need to ensure that our students receive the best possible education for the world they will inherit and shape. Supporting our students means supporting our teachers. And, we must strive to create a system with clear accountability for results.” - Governor Gary R. Herbert


The Story:

     Governor Herbert is committed to ensuring that Utah provides its rising generation the best education system in the nation. The governor is a staunch supporter of education despite the limited constitutional role the governor plays in Utah’s education system.

     Governor Herbert leads in education and inspires change through his principled influence. 


Governor Herbert’s Statement of Principles:

1. Adequate Funding – “Our schools and teachers must have the funding and other resources they need to provide students with a first-rate education, which is why education will continue to be my number one budget priority.” – Governor Herbert

     Going into the 2018 General Legislative Session, Governor Herbert included a $382 million increase in education spending in his 2019 Fiscal Year Budget Proposal. This amounted to 72 percent of all new state revenue for the fiscal year.

     Substantial increases in education funding are necessary in Utah to just keep up with natural growth. Utah is the youngest state in the nation and the fastest growing state, primarily due to natural growth. In fact, Utah’s population is growing at nearly 3 times the average rate in this country.

     And if Utah hopes to provide its ever-growing rising generation with the best possible education it will require increased investment in education. But, money isn’t the answer to everything. Utah has the lowest Weighted Pupil Unit (WPU) spending in the nation, and yet, our students are performing better than most. Utah has been ranked the 3rd best state for education (Higher Ed. and Pre K-12) in the nation. But we are not settling for 3rd place. 

2. Local Control of Curriculum – “Utah, not the federal government, must be in control of what we teach and how we teach it.” – Governor Herbert

     How does a state that spends the least per student on education produce such remarkable results? For one, the Governor firmly believes in local control. A one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t end up fitting anyone. Our students need a curriculum that speaks to them, taught by teachers who understand the needs of the students they teach. Politicians, and especially those in D.C. are ill equipped to lead on education. Instead, we must follow the wisdom and direction of our local educators. We can create policies to assist our educators, but we can never replace their expertise.

3. Local Control of Resources – “As champions for local control, we should not only ensure that school administrators and boards have the resources they need, but we should empower them to apply the dollars they receive where they are needed the most.” – Governor Herbert

     Governor Herbert believes that local control of resources is instrumental to the success of education in Utah. School Administrations know what their needs are and how to address them financially so we should let them.

4. Accountability – “Benchmarks and other appropriate accountability measures are necessary to evaluate the quality of our education system and ensure that students are mastering key academic concepts.” – Governor Herbert

     Governor Herbert believes in holding accountable public institutions for their successes and failures. We need to ensure our children receive a competitive, world-class education, and if our public schools aren’t succeeding they be held accountable for their failures. Thankfully, our public schools perform very well, but Utah also provides families numerous options for school choice should they choose to go a different direction.

Here is a snapshot of Public Schools by Grade Level in Utah (2015 Data)

Pre-K: 3

Elementary: 575

Middle/Junior High: 169

High Schools: 149

K-12: 11

Alternative: 27

Special Education: 69

Virtual Schools: 17

Vocational Schools: 69

Alternative “School Choice” Programs include:

Charter Schools: 127

Magnet Schools: 22

Private Schools: 112

Special/Alternative Schools: 58

Now more than ever it is important that our students are provided an education that sets them up for employment and success in the workforce. Our world is developing more quickly each day and it is often challenging to stay on top of evolving technologies, shifting geopolitical landscapes, growing economies, and recent developments in countless fields. That is why it is important to prepare our youth from a young age.

5. Workforce Alignment – “Students must be prepared to be civically engaged citizens with the knowledge, creativity and technical skills necessary to succeed in an ever-changing marketplace.” – Governor Herbert

     Governor Herbert is addressing a changing global marketplace by developing partnerships with educational institutions and private industries.  

Talent Ready Utah focuses and optimizes the efforts businesses make to enhance education. Talent Ready Utah support businesses as they become involved with education in activities such as job shadows, internships, donations, industry tours and in-classroom presentations.

      Ultimately, Talent Ready Utah will build industry specific talent pipelines for years to come – bettering the future of industry and the future of our young people.

6. Innovation – “Innovative approaches and partnerships between education, industry and other community partners are key to bettering our education system and will improve outcomes for all.” – Governor Herbert

      If we hope to be the greatest state in the nation for education we must continue to provide innovative solutions, to challenge the status quo and work towards a brighter future.

To learn more, please see Governor Herbert’s Education Roadmap.

Utah Education Roadmap


Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What is the most critical thing the Utah Government can do to help with education?

A: Our schools and teachers must have the funding and other resources they need to provide students with a first-rate education, which is why education will continue to be the governor’s number one budget priority.

Q: Why is it essential for the state and local government to provide resources to our schools and not the federal government?

A: Utah, not the federal government, must be in control of what we teach and how we teach it. It is paramount that school administrators and boards have the resources they need and the freedom to apply the dollars they receive where they are needed most.

Q: How do we hold our teachers accountable and make sure our students meet the benchmarks they need for success?

A: Benchmarks and other appropriate accountability measures are necessary to evaluate the quality of our education system and ensure that students are mastering key academic concepts.

Q: In what ways is Utah preparing our students to find a job after their schooling?

A: Students must be prepared to be civically engaged citizens with the knowledge, creativity, and technical skills necessary to succeed in an ever-changing marketplace. Innovative approaches and partnerships between education, industry and other community partners are key to bettering our education system and will improve outcomes for all.


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