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Updates

March 10th
Districts to help fund charter school?
August 18th
Funding for New Century and Regents scholarships to be restored
July 1st
Applications for the Carson Smith Scholarship are due

Jun. 17, 9:00 AM
The Education Interim Committee of the State Legislature holds a public meeting.
learn more>>

Feb. 23 - Mar. 22
Comcast Newsmakers interviews Robyn Bagley about www.Utah-EducationFacts.com
watch the video>>

Mar. 12
The 2009 Legislative Session concluded on Thursday, March 12th at midnight
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Did You Know?

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the landmark report, A Nation at Risk.
learn more>>

In the 2007-08 school year, Utah spent $8,224 per public school student.
learn more>>

Charter schools are independent public schools run by parents or non-profits.
learn more>>

The average class size in Utah is 22.2
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High school students can graduate with an associate's degree and a scholarship worth 75% of college tuition.
learn more>>

 

News You Need Now!

Here you'll find TIME-SENSITIVE information related to important and often urgent K-12 matters like policy changes, deadlines for education options & programs, public input opportunities, decisions affecting your child's school, and so much more!

Knowledge is power.  With comprehensive information we can affect positive change as a community, state and most importantly for our children.  This empowering information has been assembled to alert you to opportunities to participate, engage and let your voice be heard on important education issues, now.  

To stay on top of the NEWS YOU NEED NOW visit this page regularly, add it as a bookmark, and share it with your online network of friends! (It's as simple as clicking on the "Share" button above.)

 SB55 Authorization of Charter Schools by Higher Education Institutions

  

Participating During the Session

{tab=Summary}Allows a board of trustees of a higher education institution to authorize the establishment and operation of a charter school and specifies the responsibilities of a board of trustees that authorizes a charter school.

Go HERE to see an overview and the benefits of this bill.STATUS:Bill received from Senate for enrolling

{tab=Act Now}1. Contact your Representative and ask them to VOTE YES on SB55

2. Contact all Representatives and ask them to vote yes on SB55

Go HERE to find your Representative and Senator

Go HERE to see Senate Education Committee Vote (2/2/10)

{tab=News}

Deseret News 2/2/10
Bill allowing universities to charter K-12 schools passes committee

{/tabs}MORE DETAILS>>

  

{tab=What You Can Do}Contact your Legislator

  • To find you legislator click HERE
  • Lean how to contact your legislator by clicking HERE
Attend a Committee Meeting
To find a committee meeting click HERE

Review PCE's Policy Principles
For a more information on these principles click HERE

 

{tab=Carson Smith Day.}We will be having our 2nd Annual Carson Smith Appreciation Day at the Capitol on February 26th.  Please join us for the day and communicate with your legislator about this phenomenal program!

Time: 10:00 am

Place: Rotunda of the Capitol

Lunch will be served at noon.

Please RSVP by contacting PCE.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (801) 532-1448

{/tabs}MORE DETAILS>>

    

SB 77 School District Leave Policies

  

Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship


{tab=Summary}Prohibits granting paid association leave. Requires reimbursement to a school district of the costs for certain employees, including benefits, for the time that the employee is on unpaid association leave.

Go HERE to see an overview and the benefits of this bill.STATUS: On Senate Third Reading Calendar

{tab=Act Now}1. Contact your Senator and ask them to VOTE YES on SB77

2. Contact all Senators and ask them to vote yes on SB77

3. Contact and ask those House members who voted against the bill in 2009 to support it this year

Go HERE to see last year's House Education Committee Vote (2/27/09)

Go HERE to find your Senator or Representative.

Go HERE to see the Senate Education Committee Vote (2/2/10) 

{tab=Reports & News}

PCE Press Release 2/2/10
Salt Lake Tribune 2/2/10

Deseret News 2/1/10
KSL Radio 11/16/09
Deseret News 11/13/09
Salt Lake Tribune 11/11/09

PCE Press Release 11/11/09

OLAG Report 11/11/09

 

{/tabs}

  

{tab=Summary}The Executive Appropriations Committee should not cut funding to this program to relieve budget shortfalls; it is counterintuitive. Policymakers should recognize that the cost of a scholarship to the taxpayer is significantly lower than the cost for the student to attend public school, saving the taxpayer dollars. Most importantly, the Carson Smith Scholarship allows Utah families to choose the best education option to fit their child’s unique needs. In fact, the recent legislative audit showed 100% satisfaction with the Carson Smith Program.
Go HERE to see how this program is impacting students in Utah.

Salt Lake Tribune 1/20/10
Education officials: Cuts are hitting bone
Deseret News 2/8/10
School programs at risk as budget decisions draw near

Go HERE to view the Legislative Audit

{tab=Act Now}1. Contact all members of the Executive Appropriations Committee and ask them NOT to cut Carson Smith Scholarship funding.

2. Contact all members of the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee and ask them NOT to cut Carson Smith Scholarship funding.

3. Become a volunteer during the session and help us lobby for this amazing program.  Contact us and let us know that you'd be willing to come to the Capitol.

4. Contact your Senator and Representative and ask them to continue to support the Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship.

Go HERE to see contact information for members of the appropriation subcommittees{tab=Carson Smith Day}We will be having our 2nd Annual Carson Smith Appreciation Day at the Capitol on February 26th.  Please join us for the day and communicate with your legislator about this phenomenal program!

Time: 10:00 am

Place: Rotunda of the Capitol

Lunch will be served at noon.

Please RSVP by contacting PCE.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (801) 532-1448

{/tabs}

    

HB268 Public School Innovations

  

PCE's Policy Principles

{tab=Summary}Allows a school or group of schools in a school district to create an innovation plan and adopt the plan upon approval by the local school board and State Board of Education. Encourages innovation in education by providing local school communities and principals with autonomy and greater control over levels of staffing, personnel selection and evaluation scheduling, and educational programming with the goal of achieving improved student achievement. Provides a means to gain waivers from district policies, state policies, and collective bargaining agreements.

Go HERE to see an overview and the benefits of this bill.STATUS: Assigned to House Education Committee

{tab=Act Now}1. Contact all members of the House Education Committee and ask them to support HB268.Go HERE to find your Representative.

{/tabs}MORE DETAILS>>

  

{tab=Overview}Increasing choice- We support any policy that increases choice. Choice in education increases accountability and improves the overall quality of our education system.

Empowering parents-Parents have the right and responsibility to steer the direction of their child's education. We support any policy that empowers parents with a voice in the decisions that impacts their child's education.

Transparency-Transparency is necessary for democratic accountability, and enables policy makers, voters and parents to make informed decisions regarding k-12 education.

Efficiency in funding-The most efficient funding happens when the education dollars stay in the classroom, and follow the student.

Quality Instructors-Teachers are one of the most important factors influencing student achievement. They should be compensated as professionals with salaries based on their effectiveness and the demand for their individual expertise.


For more information click here

{tab=Our Bills}2010 PCE 's initiated bills

  • HB0268-Public School Innovations

click here to read the bill

  • SB0055-Authorization of Charter Schools by Higher Education Institutions

click here to read the bill

  • SB0077-School District Leave Policies 
click here to read the bill

{/tabs}MORE DETAILS>>

    

Charter School Funding

  

 Legislative Calendar

{tab=Summary}Charter schools are a critical part of K-12 education. They provide parents and students with a choice, bringing new options to underserved communities and introducing competition and innovation into the education system. Here in Utah, charter schools are popular, successful and in high demand. Currently there are 15,000 students on waiting lists for just 25 of the state's 72 charter schools. Charter school students already receive less funding than traditional district school students and are doing an excellent job meeting the needs of the students they serve despite the funding inequity. Policymakers need to give charter schools the same respect that they give to the traditional public schools. They need to embrace not reject or stunt the growth of those avenues of education where innovation and a focus on meeting the individual needs of students is thriving.

{tab=Act Now}1. Contact all members of the Executive Appropriations Committee and ask them to continue to support Charter Schools and Charter School funding.

2. Contact all members of the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee and ask them to continue to support Charter Schools and Charter School funding.

3. Become a volunteer during the session and help us lobby for Charter Schools.  Contact us and let us know that you'd be willing to come to the Capitol.

4. Contact your Senator and Representative and ask them to continue to support Charter Schools

{tab=News}In recent News:

Deseret News 1/12/10
Charter schools to get funding fix?

Deseret News 11/6/09
Educators grapple with funding, test issues

 

{/tabs}MORE DETAILS>>

  

{tab=This week}

Monday, March 8

8:00AM- House and Senate Floor Time 

4:10PM- Executive Appropriations Committee AGENDA

5:00PM- House and Senate Floor Time

Tuesday, March 9

8:00AM- House and Senate Floor Time 

4:10PM- Executive Appropriations Committee AGENDA

5:00PM- House and Senate Floor Time

Wednesday, March10

8:00AM- House and Senate Floor Time 

4:10PM- Executive Appropriations Committee AGENDA

5:00PM- House and Senate Floor Time

Thursday, March11-Last day of 2010 Session

8:00AM- House and Senate Floor Time

2:00PM- House and Senate Floor Time

7:00PM- House and Senate Floor Time

{tab=Bills to Watch}2010 PCE 's initiated bills

  • HB0268-Public School Innovations

click here to read the bill

  • SB0055-Authorization of Charter Schools by Higher Education Institutions

click here to read the bill

  • SB0077-School District Leave Policies 
click here to read the bill


{/tabs}MORE DETAILS>>

   

 

Additional News You Need Now

Weigh in on Sex-Education in Public Schools
UPDATE: 8/25/09 Planned Parenthood continues to hold community meetings to discuss expanding sex ed curriculum in public schools.  Learn about the upcoming meetings HERE.

Watch Fox 13's report.

Planned Parenthood is the organization behind proposed changes to the sex education curriculum in Utah's public schools.  On June 17 the Health and Human Services Interim Committee heard testimony on this topic. Listen to Audio HERE.  Bill sponsor, Representative Lynn Hemingway, and Melissa Bird, Executive Director of Planned Parenthood spoke in favor of amending state statute to expand upon what the law currently allows to be taught. They are proposing the addition of "comprehensive" information to Utah's current sex education curriculum

A bill has not yet been drafted; however, proponents plan to pattern and model the Utah bill after a recently revised North Carolina statute.  To review this brief statute and learn more about what is being proposed for the public school children of our state go HERE.  

During the 2009 legislative session, Representative Lynn Hemingway introduced House Bill 189. According to the Deseret News article, "Lawmaker debates sex-ed with teens" (May 20, 2009), "The bill proposed to amend Utah law to emphasize educators be allowed to instruct students on birth control options 'without fear of reprimand'."

The bill failed in committee.  It has now been assigned to the Health and Human Services Interim Committee for further discussion and recommendation for possible policy changes in the 2010 General Session.  The changes proposed by Representative Hemingway will affect ALL secondary health education classes in Utah public schools. 

 Take Action

  • Attend a Town Hall Meeting sponsored by Planned Parenthood to voice your opinion on the proposed changes.
  • Contact members of the committee and express your thoughts about this proposed change in curriculum.
  • Contact your State Representative and Senator.  GO HERE>> to find out who your legislators are, their contact info, and tips on communicating with them.
  • Visit the Committee's Webpage>>
    For a complete schedule, meetings agendas and minutes, live audio feeds, a list of committee members and more.

New Century Scholarship/Regent Scholarship and Concurrent Enrollment Updates
UPDATE: 8/18/09 Today at the Capitol House Speaker Clark announced "Earlier today, the majority legislative leadership and Governor Herbert instructed the Utah Board of Regents to fully fund the New Century Scholarship,”  Click on the News tab to see the media coverage.

Due to economic downturn and increased numbers of qualified applicants, the award amount for the New Century Scholarship and the Regents' Scholarship have changed.

New Century Scholarship: 75% of a Utah college tution for this year with next year's amount still be to determined.

Regents' Scholarship: 75% of a Utah college tutition for this year with next year's amount still be to determined.

See the legislative briefing written by Chris Bleak, the Utah House Speaker's Chief of Staff

Utah's Concurrent Enrollment program continues to be one of the best public education bargains!  It allows High School students to obtain an Associates Degree by taking courses that grant college credit.  The program has been recently updated to better represent college coursework and is available to Juniors and Seniors.

Hundreds of Concurrent Enrollment courses are offered each year across the state. The Utah State Office of Education posts all of the courses offered each school year. Your local High School should be able to provide you with comprehensive information as well.

In 2009, the State Legislature passed Senate Bill 81, which discontinues Concurrent Enrollment classes offered in 9th and 10th grade and strengthens the courses offered to better reflect the rigor of college coursework.

In Recent News:

 Graduation Rates-Utah Students Falling Behind
In 2004, we were number one.  A year later we were number 8.  Now, in Education Week’s most recent report on U.S. high school graduation rates, Utah ranked 26th at 72.2%, just three percentage points above the national average.  In fact, Utah’s graduation rate has fallen more than any other state, save one, since 1996.

In 2006, the Utah State Office of Education reported a graduation rate of 83%, eleven points higher than Education Week’s figure, still meaning that nearly 1 out of 5 students didn’t finish high school.
 
In 2007 the USOE began calculating graduation rates by tracking individual student through high school.  Since implementing the new system, they have reported a graduation rate of 88% in both 2007 and 2008. 
 
The USOE’s new graduation formula only tracks students from 10th through 12th grade.  Those who drop out before 10th grade are excluded completely from the calculation.  The definition of “graduation” is broad and students who are expelled, suspended, or simply on the 12th grade rolls on the last day of class are counted as graduates (see here).
 
Education Week is the only source using a national standard allowing us to compare Utah to the rest of the U.S.   And in this regard, we’re not doing well. 

Minority students in Utah fare worse than the national average.  According to last year’s Education Week report, Utah Hispanics had a graduation rate of 53.6% while the national average for Hispanics was 57.8%.  Utah’s 30-point difference in graduation rates between whites and Hispanics was 50% larger than the national average.  In fact, Black and Hispanic males in Utah were more likely to drop out than graduate.
 
The current report did not include a breakdown of graduation rate by race and ethnicityUtah Education Facts>>The Achievement Gap

In Recent News:

Quoting a Deseret News editorial, “The Utah State Office of Education can quibble all it wants with the numbers in the latest Education Week Diplomas Count report. The truth is, whether the number for the state's graduation rates in 2006 was [83] percent, as state officials say, or 72.2 percent, as the report says, it's far too low.”
 
In an article covering the graduation report, Brenda Hales of the USOE stated that "We will not be totally satisfied until we have 100 percent of our students graduate." 

Follow New Canyons District
 The new Canyons School District provides a unique opportunity for parents and taxpayers to observe the creation and development of a school district from the ground up. In the 2009-10 school year the District will begin serving 33,000 students in 44 schools. The split of one district into two provides a lesson in per pupil funding as comparisons are being highlighted between Jordan and the Canyons District.  We learn that the local revenue portion of  per pupil funding varies greatly, meaning total per pupil spending is not equal district by district.   A recent Salt Lake Tribune article (June 28, 2009) reported, "The district [Canyons] generates about $3,545 in property taxes per student (compared with Jordan's $2,164)."  Property taxes account for only 29% of total per pupil funding.

Click here on http://www.utahsright.com/ to review the Canyons' recently posted information about who’s been hired, their position, department, as well as their hourly and annual salary (not including benefits).

You can also use UtahsRight.com to check out the same information on your own school district.www.UtahsRight.com provides “data that Utahns have a ‘right to know,’ and brings to one central location a host of public information that had previously been scattered on various government and private Web sites or unavailable online-- all of it easily searchable.

In Recent News:

Performance-Pay Pilot Program
 An innovative Performance Pay pilot program for elementary teachers was approved in the 2009 legislative session!
Great public school teachers will now be recognized and rewarded based on student gains and other criteria. Those criteria are:
 - 40% Student Learning Gains
 - 40% Instructional Quality
 - 20% Must Include Parent, Student, or
   Community Satisfaction

Public schools had to submit their proposals by May 22. Out of the 19 schools that applied, 5 have been selected to participate in the two-year pilot.
Ashman Elementary
Canyon Rim Academy (charter)
Manila Elementary
Midway Elementary
Wasatch Peak Academy (charter)

To learn more about how the pilot program will work use these links:

Follow the progress of this innovative new performance pay pilot program.

In Recent News:

New Law brings Greater Transparency to tax-payers on education spending
Collective Bargaining Agreements will now be available online! A new law passed by the 2009 legislature provides accountability to taxpayers by requiring school districts and public schools who have collective bargaining agreements with the teacher's union to post these agreements on their websites effective May 12th.  In the past this type of disclosure was at the sole discretion of the public school governing boards.

Collective bargaining agreements are the contracts between public schools and the teacher's union. They dictate how a large portion of K-12 funding is spent at the local level and regulate such things as salary schedules, instruction time and school calendars. As parents and taxpayers, you have both the right and responsibility to monitor these agreements to ensure not only that your tax dollars are being spent properly and prudently but also that the best decisions are being made concerning instruction time for students.

In 2009, the State Legislature passed House Bill 210 requiring school districts and charters who have entered into collective bargaining agreements to post the entire agreement on their websites.
In Recent News:

Free Online, At-Home Preschool Program 
UPSTART is a new Utah state–funded, computer–based preschool program that prepares 4 and 5 year-olds for school with a start in reading, math, and science. The Utah legislature provided the funds for this free, at-home pilot program as a way to help Utah’s children better prepare for kindergarten. Children are required to use it 15 minutes a day, five days a week. The program monitors each child's online time and progress. Tests are administered before, during and after using UPSTART to evaluate their progress. The program uses award-winning software developed by the Waterford Institute. The curriculum, which has been used across the nation in schools and preschools, has been offered in Utah only for home use. Due to immediate demand and interest in the program, the 1,300 available spots have already been filled. Pre-registration for next year is now taking place.  Waterford's contract with the state stipulates that 30 percent of the UPSTART student population must be from families with incomes up to 200 percent of the poverty level. Waterford provides computers and high-speed Internet connections at no charge for families that can't afford them.

 To learn more about the program, eligibility, and how to apply call 1-800-669-4533 or click the link below.

In recent News:

Education Interim Committee-Utah State Legislature
Although the majority of K-12 state education policy happens during the 45-day General Legislative Session, the Education Interim Committee studies key education issues facing the state and recommends legislation for the upcoming session.

Offering valuable information and opinions regarding issues being considered in the interim committees is an excellent way for citizens to participate in the lawmaking process.

Next Meeting:
Sept 16 - 9:00 AM -State Capitol, RM 445
Visit the Committee's Webpage>>
For a complete schedule, meeting agendas, minutes, and more.

These committees, comprised of State Senators and Representatives, meet jointly on the 3rd Wednesday of every month between sessions from April - November and serve as an opportunity for the public to speak and give their input to the legislature concerning matters being considered. 

Committee meetings are open to the public and your input is welcome. They provide a great opportunity for you to participate and voice your views on education issues that matter to you. You can attend the meetings or easily listen to the live feed online to stay engaged in key policy decisions.

Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship
The Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship is a school choice option for children with special needs.  This state funded program provides scholarships to K-12 students who qualify for an IEP to attend one of nearly 50 eligible private schools in Utah. In order to receive a full year's scholarship for the 2009-10 school year, applications must be received no later than July 1.

A 2009 amendment to state law requires public schools to notify parents of children with an IEP about the Carson Smith Scholarship annually. Students receiving an IEP for the first time are to be notified within 30 days. Parents are encouraged to learn more about the scholarship to determine if it is a good option for their child. 
 

New State Superintendent
The search for a new Utah State Superintendent of Public Instruction has come to an end. Earlier this year, Superintendent Patti Harrington announced she would be retiring as of July 1st.  Over the last couple months the State Board of Education interviewed several qualified applicants, and on Friday, May 29th, the Utah State Office of Education announced Dr. Larry Shumway as the new State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Charter School Enrollment
Some charter schools are still accepting enrollment for the 2009-10 school year. CLICK HERE for a complete list of charter schools in Utah.  Once there, click on the individual charter schools you are interested in to find out if they are accepting enrollment and how to apply.  Charter schools are public schools and enrollment is done by lottery.  LEARN MORE>>

Financial Transparency Website - May 15, 2009
This new website (www.transparent.utah.gov) shows all financial transactions made by Utah government.  Currently, it only includes data from state-level agencies, but by May 15, 2010, it will include school districts & charter schools.  LEARN MORE>>

Parent Task Force on School Boundaries
Parent input is a crucial part of the Canyons School Districts' newly formed Enrollment and Facilities Task Force.  The Task Force will provide recommendations on boundaries, facilities, and more to the Superintendent and School Board.  Visit the Task Force webpage for a list of meeting schedules, agendas, minutes, and school enrollment data.  Visit the Task Force webpage>>

 

    
    
    
    

  
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