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Salt Lake Area
Northern Utah Area
The governor and the Legislature are tackling both of these issues and putting significant resources into evaluating the options to expand Medicaid and what is the best way to do this and has shown its commitment to education. I think we have made great progress but we must keep the momentum going to make decisions and continue support.
Harris H. Simmons
Chairman, President and CEO, Zions Bancorporation
Disproportionate to any other priority we should be focused on in order to ensure Utah’s long-term prosperity, educational achievement tops the list. Unfortunately—and alarmingly—it’s also an area where we’re falling behind many other states. Increasing both high school and college graduation rates and encouraging higher levels of attainment of post-graduate degrees will ensure an abundant supply of high paying jobs, and will pay added social dividends, including lower incarceration rates, lower unemployment costs and an increased ability to pay for education and other public needs. I hope that the legislature will continue to support Gov. Herbert’s goal of seeing that two-thirds of Utahns are completing some type of post-secondary education by the year 2020. We also need to raise the bar in our elementary schools, with the goal of ensuring that 90 percent of students are achieving proficiency in math and reading. There is much that government and our schools can do, but more fundamentally, parents could be doing much more in preparing their children to enter our public schools. We could do a far better job in providing parents with resources, suggestions and teaching aids to help them teach their children rudimentary reading and math skills before their first day of kindergarten. Parents also have a critical role to play in encouraging their kids to excel academically throughout their school years.
Utah has an abundance of resources, including a business environment conducive to creating new jobs, a younger population than is found nationally, and an enormous abundance of natural and recreational resources. But unless we have a well-educated workforce, the relative prosperity we are currently experiencing will not endure.