Early Learners and Families Need Us Now More than Ever! What’s Working
While every school district in the US closed and 50 million children were out of school, preschoolers were essentially left behind. Most were sent home without any learning options. Yet, 30,000 preschool age children nationwide had full continuity of their learning by being part of the most powerful and effective kindergarten readiness project in the US that began with Utah legislation. As a former Utah State Senator, the most important work in my 26 year career was proven during the COVID-19 pandemic. This work, recognized by TED Global in 2019 as one of 8 Projects that Can Change the World, by the US Department of Education through an Education, Innovation, and Research Grant, and the states of South Carolina, Utah, and Indiana – had the youngest learners not miss a beat to begin their school careers ready to learn.
Senator Howard A. Stephenson served as a state senator for over 26 years, retiring in 2019. He served as the National Education Coordinator for the State of Utah. He was a member of the Senate Education Committee, both the Higher Education and Public Education Appropriation Subcommittees and Chair of the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee. Nationally, he has served as the chair of the NCSL Education Task Force and was the chair of the Digital Learning Sub-committee of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and as a Commissioner on Education for the Commission of the States. Senator Stephenson is nationally recognized as a legislative expert on digital learning. He has addressed hundreds of state legislators and school administrators regarding the power of digital learning tools and how effective implementation of those tools can significantly increase student learning and retention. He received a B.S. degree in psychology and aerospace studies and a Master of Public Administration degree, all from Brigham Young University and currently serves as president of the Utah Taxpayers Association. In addition to his duties as a Senator, he co-hosts a radio show, Red Meat Radio-Inside Utah Politics (860 AM Utah’s Big Talker), every Saturday morning from 8am to 10am. Senator Stephenson resides in St George, Utah with his wife Julie. They have five children and 10 grandchildren. He and his family love exploring Utah’s backcountry on mountain bikes and their two Missouri Foxtrotter horses.