Utah education news

State Charter School Board member resigns

A member of Utah’s State Charter School Board has stepped down, citing time constraints and difficulty attending meetings. Greg Haws, who joined the charter board last year, resigned his seat on July 24 during a personal conversation with board chairwoman Kristen Elinkowski. Haws said he has missed board meetings because of the commute to Salt Lake City from St. George — where he resides for roughly half the year — and expected more absences due to an upcoming surgery. “I talked to them and s...

Utah’s Our Schools Now initiative trims its proposed tax hikes

Backers of a proposed ballot initiative to raise more money for Utah public schools have reduced the amount of extra taxes they want voters to approve next year. Our Schools Now organizers announced Monday that the initiative’s Teacher and Student Success Act has been amended to call for income and sales tax hikes of 0.45 percentage points, down from an earlier proposal of 0.5-point increases. The change follows 14 regional meetings hosted by the initiative in July and a cost analysis by the Gov...

Utah Board of Education to hear appeal by closed West Valley charter for teen mothers

A West Valley City charter school for pregnant teens and young mothers has one last chance to keep its doors open. Members of the Utah Board of Education will hear an appeal by Kairos Academy, board spokeswoman Emilie Wheeler said Monday, following the termination of the charter school in July by the State Charter School Board. Wheeler said state school board chairman Mark Huntsman is currently in the process of selecting a panel of board members to hear the school’s appeal and that a hearing d...

Support grows for ballot item angling for more school money

A new poll shows the Our Schools Now ballot initiative is maintaining — and possibly expanding — its base of support as organizers prepare to gather signatures to qualify for the November 2018 ballot. A majority of registered Utah voters — 57 percent — said they either “somewhat” or “strongly” support a proposal to raise roughly $700 million for public education through a combination of income and sales tax hikes. Forty percent opposed the initiative to some degree, with 3 percent undecided. T...

Utah labor unions, teachers rally for public schools

Utah’s largest unions joined Saturday with political advocates in a march in downtown Salt Lake City in support of public education. The demonstration began at the downtown City Library before moving across the street to the City and County Building. The march was in response to the school-related policies and budget proposals of President Donald Trump and his Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, according to Brad Asay, president of the Utah chapter of the American Federation of Teachers. “Budget c...

Lawmaker: Utah’s veteran educators may need to ‘die off’ before technology fills classrooms

Public school teachers are too slow to embrace classroom technology purchased by the state, according to some Utah lawmakers. They voiced that concern Wednesday as members of the state Legislature’s Public Education Appropriations Committee met to discuss software “fidelity,” or the rate of students achieving a minimum number of hours using software programs. Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, said too many teachers are unwilling to abandon their traditional lesson plans in favor of computer-enha...

University of Utah, other Utah colleges not ranked among top U.S. colleges to work for

For the second time in recent years, the University of Utah was not ranked among the top 79 U.S. colleges and universities considered great to work for by employees, but school officials say they do not find the omission too concerning. The Chronicle of Higher Education released the results last week of its 10th annual Great Colleges to Work For study, which is based on employee surveys conducted at 232 higher education institutions across the country. The survey, administered this spring, asks ... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Utah unions, education advocates organizing march in response to Trump, DeVos policies

Utah’s largest unions will join with political advocates this weekend to stage a march in downtown Salt Lake City in support of public education. The demonstration is in response to the school-related policies and budget proposals of President Donald Trump and his Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, according to Brad Asay, president of the Utah chapter of the American Federation of Teachers. “Our purpose for the march is to invite the public to rally in support of our public schools,” Asay said ... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

This school bus-size telescope — possibly the biggest of its kind — captures all the right details

Utah’s amateur astronomers will soon have access to one of the largest public telescopes anywhere — for free. The new instrument, roughly the size of a school bus, will be opened to public use Saturday with a dedication ceremony and open house at its new locale at the Stansbury Park Observatory Complex (SPOC), about 30 miles west of Salt Lake City in Tooele County. The Salt Lake Astronomical Society is seeking official verification with Guinness World Records, but society members believe their n...

UVU student wins national chef contest, putting Orem school ‘on the culinary map to stay’

Madeline Black peered into the oven to see her potatoes gratin simmering golden brown. And while other chefs might have smiled or patted themselves on the back, that moment filled Black with anxiety, over what could have been a huge miscalculation. The kitchen timer showed that her slightly crunchy and creamy dish — meant as a complement to duck in a meticulously crafted meal — had reached perfection 10 minutes ahead of schedule. Though flustered, the 19-year-old Utah Valley University student ... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Utes pull out of Utah governor’s Native American Summit, citing frustration over unequal treatment

Orem • Leaders of the Ute Indian Tribe say they will no longer participate in Gov. Gary Herbert’s annual summit on Native American issues — until state officials treat them as a fellow sovereign government. Tribal representatives hand-delivered a letter outlining their position to Herbert during a morning session of the annual summit, held Thursday at Utah Valley University. In it, the Utes’ Tribal Business Committee requested that Herbert direct the state Division of Indian Affairs to maintain ... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

West Valley charter school for teen moms fails to fend off forced closure

A shake-up of school leadership and impassioned testimony by current and former students have failed to stave off closure of a West Valley charter school for pregnant and mothering teens. Members of the Utah State Charter School Board voted 4-2 on Thursday to formally shut down Kairos Academy, effective immediately. The vote came one month after the charter board unanimously began closure proceedings for the school, and following a three-hour hearing that saw students, alumni, parents and admini... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Alumni of demolished Granite High School can take home a piece of history

Deanna Nielsen drove into a parking lot Tuesday afternoon to a massive pile of bricks as workers continued to demolish Granite High School The Sandy woman joined a stream of visitors looking to take home a piece from the historic school, which has sat vacant for almost a decade. Nielsen took a brick for her mother, Ruth Lehman Johnson, who graduated from the school in 1935 and is now 100 years old. While she did not attend the school herself, Nielsen said her mother told stories, fondly rememb...

Legal error prompts Our Schools Now to set more public meetings on proposed tax hike for Utah education

Our Schools Now is taking its ballot initiative on the road — again — after failing to comply with public notice laws during its first round of legally required town halls. Backers of the initiative, which seeks voter support to boost Utah’s income and sales tax rates by 0.5 percentage points, will host seven regional meetings simultaneously throughout Utah on Thursday to receive questions and comments from the public. “The legal notice for the first round of hearings was deficient and to be ... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Scholars ask BYU to probe prof’s ties to Hobby Lobby in wake of smuggling scandal

An anonymous group of “scholars of archaeology” is calling on Brigham Young University to investigate ties between an assistant professor of ancient scripture and Hobby Lobby, which recently become ensnared in allegations of antiquities smuggling. In a letter sent to The Salt Lake Tribune and to BYU’s administration and Office of the General Counsel, faculty member Lincoln Blumell is accused of violating professional standards by preparing to publish documents obtained through Hobby Lobby Presid... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Utah’s Westminster College wants to know students’ thoughts on sex assault — but it’s not getting many answers

For the second year in a row, Westminster College will not publish the results of a campus survey about sexual assault — even as the federal government is investigating the school for potentially mishandling such a case. In 2016, school officials said few students participated. This year, they said participants did not represent the diversity on campus. Student leaders told The Salt Lake Tribune their peers were not taking the survey seriously: it was too long, administered too late in spring se... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

School board braces for a battle over sex education in Utah classrooms

Members of Utah Board of Education took the first step Friday to updating the state’s health education standards, a minimum 12-month process that could result in major revisions, minor updates, or no change at all to the lessons taught in public schools. And the school board’s 14-2 vote begin a review and revision hinted at a looming debate, as health standards include statewide guidelines on teaching human sexuality, a flashpoint for controversy in the majority-conservative Beehive State. Pro...

Rural Box Elder school wants a 4-day week to free students for family ranch work

A small, rural school in northwest Utah is hoping to boost attendance by keeping students home on Fridays. The Utah Board of Education will vote Friday on whether to allow Park Valley Elementary and Secondary School to operate on a four-day schedule this fall. Park Valley enrolls roughly 30 students in kindergarten through 10th grade. But most students at the school in Box Elder County miss between one-fourth and one-third of their classes due to family ranching obligations, teacher Hallie Kunz...

New Utah medical school opens in Ivins, doubling state’s ability to train new doctors

Ivins • Utah’s second medical school is set to open Friday morning, effectively doubling the number of future doctors that can train in the state. Rocky Vista University, a for-profit osteopathic medical school, accepted 135 students this year who will walk onto the 30-acre Ivins campus July 25 to begin their four-year medical education. There are 125 incoming first-year med students at the University of Utah, 300 miles to the northeast in Salt Lake City. Utah health officials hope the new medic... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Want to replace the Common Core? It’ll cost Utah $100M, school board member warns

Utah opponents of the Common Core State Standards may need to foot a $100 million bill if they’re committed to replacing the controversial education benchmarks, according to state school board member Spencer Stokes. During a Thursday meeting of the school board’s Standards and Assessment Committee, Stokes said it is simply too expensive for Utah to start from scratch on a new set of grade-level standards for mathematics and English education. “There’s no way on God’s green Earth that the Legis... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>