Utah Weighs Making Twelfth Grade Optional

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In an effort to trim the state deficit, Senator Chris Buttars of Utah has proposed giving high school students the option of skipping senior year if they've accumulated enough credits to graduate. Utah is running a $700 million debt, and Buttars estimates this move would save the state about $60 million. His plan, though, has attracted almost nothing but derision, with critics predicting dire fallout at the local, state, and national levels.

  • Just Crazy  Jim Moss at Firedoglake flatly declares, "It looks like the race to be the most whacked-out state is now a four state field. Joining Florida, South Carolina, and Texas is upstart Utah ... something is seriously wrong when it’s crunch-time for the budget, and the first thing put on the chopping block is education -- an entire year of a child’s education."
  • A Statewide Disadvantage  An unsigned editorial in the Utah newspaper Park Record imagines what life will be like for Utah locals forever explaining their irregular transcripts. "I know that the other high school graduates who are applying for this job are probably older and have more training than I do but our state couldn't afford to keep us in school any longer. Sincerely, A Utah student."
  • Every Year Counts  Reporting for Idaho's KIDK News, Ian Parker finds that Idaho students would have no interest in seeing Buttars's idea implemented in their state. One student describes a writing class he's taking as a senior: "I took an AP literature class and the first few essays we had to write were bad, then towards the end of it I finally got the flow of things."
  • But We Should at Least Have the Option  Some students are reportedly eager to get a head start on college or the working world. Gayle Ruzicka, president of the Utah Eagle Forum, a conservative public advocacy group, told Amy Stewart for Deseret News, "Those who don't want to be there their senior year shouldn't be there."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.