2022 Bills

HB 386 & SB 191: Enabling Innovation in Education

HB 386 passed the House 70-1 and passed the Senate 26-0. SB 191 passed the House 61-11 and passed the Senate 25-0.

Libertas Institute supports these bills

Staff review of this legislation finds that it aligns with our principles and should therefore be passed into law.

Education funds typically come with restrictions on how they can and cannot be spent. Most education bills give money for specific projects like the Beverly Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program or the Digital Teaching and Learning Grant Program. The bill sponsors and programs mean well, but the money comes with heavy bureaucratic rules for its use. It prescribes the method for improvement in schools without taking into account what the individual classrooms and schools need.

House Bill 386 from Representative Douglas Welton and Senate Bill 191 from Senator Lincoln Fillmore free schools from the unnecessary rules and allow teachers, schools, and districts to innovate. They can think outside of the regulatory box. 

Education Innovation Program (HB 386) from Representative Welton provides a way for teachers to innovate right in their classrooms. Teachers can be awarded a $5,000 grant for an innovative educational plan that they submit to the Utah State Board of Education. Teachers have the most accurate and up-to-date information about what is and is not working in education. This allows the creators of programs to implement the program, something we rarely see in public schools.

Senate Bill 191, Regulatory Sandbox in Education, allows schools to apply to the local education authority or charter authorizer for a temporary (one to three years) waiver of the regulatory rules attached to restricted education funds. This does not add more spending to public education, but it frees the charter schools and school districts to use up to 35% of the already-allocated funds to implement an innovative program that the school has created.

Both bills require parental permission and involvement.

Innovation in any industry comes from people closest to the problem, not a bureaucrat multiple levels away. These two bills give teachers and schools the means to address their most pressing problems. We support freeing teachers and individual schools to create new and exciting programs throughout our education system.