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Utah State School Board District 8

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    Janet A. Cannon

Biographical Information

How do your background and skills prepare you to become a member of the State Board of Education?

What will be your priorities in addressing Utah’s education system?

A proposed constitutional amendment to allow income tax revenue to be used for pur-poses other than education. Does the proposed change provide for adequate funding for K-12 and higher education?

Do Utah schools spend too much time testing? Are there other methods of evaluation that might work better?

What difference will it make now that state school board candidates will run in partisan elections? Should local school board elections also be partisan?

Education BA and Masters Degree in Speech Pathology - U of U Certificate of Clinical Competency from American Association of Speech & Hearing
Campaign Website
I have a vast amount of experience in public education. I am an incumbent running for re-election. I have chaired State Board standing committees. I served four years on the State Board of Regents overseeing higher education, In 2006, I received a Distinguished Service Awad from National State Boards of Education; one of three in the nation. I am currently serving as the Area Director for the Western States on National State Boards of Education. For many years, I chaired the School Trust lands Nominating Committee. Before my involvement at the state level, I spent 19 years as a volunteer in PTA at the elementary, junior high, high school, and in Region 5.  
1. Bring equity to disparities in online learning. 2. Personalize learning for every student. 3. Support fine arts in all elementary schools. 4. Maintain guaranteed funding for public education through dedicated use of income tax. 5. Provide social and emotional learning support for students with parental approval.
Back in January 2020, before the pandemic, this was brought to the State Board. At that time, a majority of the Board voted in favor of Amendment G. It is my responsibility to state that the Board has a position in favor of this amendment that was voted upon last January. My vote at that time was in opposition. I can express that my position as an individual, is not in favor of the constitutional change. The language of the amendment does not clarify that it would eliminate income tax being earmarked solely for public education. I believe having those taxes devoted to public education is a funding guarantee I don’t want to give up. It does attempt to lump funding for public education and all services for the disabled into one funding source. In my opinion, it will lead to a more acutely underfunded public education system and will underfund the needs of disabled patrons and students as well.  

The federal government requires state testing of students as an accountability measure. These are summative, end-of-year tests. Another type of testing that is done is formative testing. This type of testing informs the teacher of student strengths and weaknesses. Most teachers see a great benefit to formative testing.   I would like to see Utah follow the example of Nevada. Nevada did an inventory of all testing done in the state; at the state level, at the district level, and at the school level. They took the knowledge of who was testing what when and used it to eliminate non-essential testing throughout the state. Does a district need to have its own summative tests or will the state summative test be sufficient? I believe a lot of time spent testing could be reduced by creating a state inventory of tests and just keeping those that are essential.
. I favor a non-partisan board. Having interacted at National State Boards, I have some experience seeing how a non-partisan board versus a partisan board works. Partisan boards I have observed spend a lot of time jockeying for position and power. Political interests enter into Board discussions and actions. Utah’s Board was non-partisan for many, many years. I found that everyone on the Board was concerned about what was best for Utah schoolkids and politics were not very relevant.  In two years, the Board members not involved in the current election cycle will be forced to run as partisan. I suspect at that time, the Board will have a significantly more political flavor, to my dismay. I currently do not even know the political party of many of my state board colleagues. It is never an issue; Utah kids are the issue. I do NOT favor local school board elections becoming partisan. Education is an issue where the best interest of children should be above partisan political interests.