So when you think of Mormons, I'm betting at least some of you think of the Osmonds. Oh yes, the LDS royalty, the long-since faded away singing clan that now seems to only consist of Donny and Marie! A few of you may know that they've dabbled into right-wing politics a bit, but did you know they've got an elected Republican politician from within their family? Guess where?
If you guessed Utah, you are correct! Say hello to State Senator Aaron Osmond, son of one of the lesser known Osmonds (one of the two deaf brothers, so understandable why you haven't heard of them).
Aaron Osmond was appointed to Senate District 10 (a mix of mainly South Jordan, a little of West Jordan, and Herriman) in 2011, replacing the incredibly odious Chris Buttars (enemy of LGBT equality beyond even normal Utah GOPers, said that a school funding bill was "[This baby is] black, I'll tell you. This is a dark, ugly thing.", and also said that "Brown v. Board of Education is wrong to begin with").
Everybody thought Aaron Osmond was going to be better at first (what with his fight to end the practice of keeping bills intentionally secret until the end of the session), but he's turned out to be pretty bad, with a focus on schools. For example, he voted in favor of (and pushed pretty hard for) banning sex ed (other than abstinence) in schools. Thankfully, this was vetoed by the governor. Not school-related, he voted to prohibit the recording of agricultural operations in Utah (passed after an animal-rights wrong found and recorded massive amounts of animal abuse from a couple of Utah farms). He also voted to authorize the carrying of a concealed weapon without a permit, this bill also thankfully vetoed by Governor Herbert. And Senator Osmond might be connected to the laughably corrupt state Attorney General, John Swallow.
But Osmond isn't done yet; just today, he called for the end of complusory education. Let's take a look at what he posted on the Utah State Senate website and which the Deseret News found, shall we?
"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. "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."But wait, there's more:
Osmond wrote further that in the current state of public education, teachers do not receive meaningful support from parents, while at the same time parents become frustrated that schools are not able to meet the individual needs of their children. Osmond told the Deseret News that there is a need to shift the public mindset to viewing learning as an opportunity as opposed to an obligation, while also reinforcing the idea of liberty and choice.
"Let’s let them choose it, let’s not force them to do it," he said. "I think that’s when you start seeing the shift."
Osmond said he is not advocating that students stop attending school, but instead that the culture be changed from an obligation to a choice. He gave the example of kindergarten, which nearly all children attend despite no requirement to do so.
"When the choice is available to them, they’re choosing kindergarten 92 percent of the time," he said. "We have to shift the culture more than just the process."
State School Board member Leslie Castle said she agrees that schools have become burdened with nonacademic responsibilities, like daily nutrition, basic health screenings and behavioral counseling. But the reality of Utah's increasingly diverse population is that many children require those services.(Ellipses and bolding mine, to indicate skipping around the article and emphasis respectively)
"We live in a society where some children require help beyond the ability of their parents," she said. "Those students don’t deserve to be punished, they don’t deserve to be disqualified."
But Castle said ending compulsory education would affect far more than just culture. She also worried the tone of Osmond's article was indicative of the general sentiment in Utah's Legislature, which she said has continued to place responsibility for student success on teachers and schools while failing to provide adequate support or funding.
Utah's public education system is currently the lowest-funded in the nation in terms of per-pupil spending.
So yeah, Aaron Osmond is a moron and even the usually spineless school education system leaders are implying it. I hate to be so acerbic (a word I learned in public school, no less), but Osmond is not fit to be a legislator, even in a state like Utah.
Sadly, he faced no opposition whatsoever in 2012, and considering he's both an Osmond (as I mentioned in the beginning, basically royalty here), and in a very conservative part of the state, the prospects don't look good for us. Here's hoping that his actions can mobilize enough people to build up a coalition to eventually oust him out of office.