Utah education news

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>

In Salt Lake and Utah counties, varying receptions for Our Schools Now initiative’s $700M tax increase

Orem • When school starts for her three children each fall, Marci LeMonnier said Tuesday, she is asked by administrators to donate supplies like copy paper to compensate for strained budgets. It’s a shame, the Provo resident said, that Utah’s last-in-the-nation school spending doesn’t allow for even basic office supplies. “We claim to love and cherish our children,” she said, “but we are not willing to fund their education.” LeMonnier was among about 50 Utahns who met at Orem Elementary School t... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Union sues to block online access to Utah teacher discipline cases

Utah’s largest teachers union is suing the state school board over a new website that allows the public to search a database of disciplinary actions taken against educators. The lawsuit was filed Friday in 3rd District Court by the Utah Education Association, but has not yet been formally served to the Utah Board of Education. Kass Harstad, an attorney representing the union, said the key issue is the retroactive nature of the website, which launched in February after a November vote of the boa... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>

Our Schools Now to hold public meetings across Utah Tuesday on $700M tax hike initiative

Utahns unsure whether to add their signature to — and potentially vote for — a $700 million tax hike to fund education will have a chance to ask questions and submit comments at a series of public meetings next week. Our Schools Now, which is prepping a 2018 ballot initiative that would raise Utah’s sales and income taxes by one-half of 1 percent, announced Wednesday a list of regional meetings scheduled for July 11, ahead of a signature drive in August. The Tuesday meetings will be held simulta...

West Valley City charter school for teen moms will replace administrators in bid to fight forced closure

At age 20, Esmeralda Huerta is four academic credits away from earning her high school diploma. After dropping out of Hillcrest High School and being homeless for roughly a year, the Midvale resident enrolled at Kairos Academy and is working toward a career in nursing. “I’m definitely going to college,” Huerta said. “I’ve never seen my grades be as good as they are now.” But now Huerta’s future at Kairos Academy is unclear, as students, parents and school community members push back against ...

Utah flight programs increase fleets, partner with airlines to meet ‘insatiable’ demand for pilots

Bracing for a potential surge of aviation students, Southern Utah University this year spent about $3.8 million on 10 new Cirrus airplanes. Utah State University officials, feeling the strain of burgeoning flight enrollment a year earlier, paid about $806,000 for four gently used planes. The investments are examples of how Utah universities are responding to the growing demand for pilot training — a positive trend in an industry that anticipates needing 617,000 commercial airline pilots by 2035...

What happens to Utah schools when the district next door can pay its teachers more?

Logan City School Superintendent Frank Schofield is sweating, and not because of the summer heat. His district’s board recently approved a $2,000 increase in salary for first-year teachers — boosting it to $37,643 — and a corresponding 4.2 percent raise for veteran educators. But Logan is surrounded on all sides by the Cache County School District, which adopted a salary schedule that pays a beginning teacher more than $40,000. “We’re perspiring,” Schofield said. “We’re not drenched, but we’ve g...

Dixie State becomes fourth Utah school under federal investigation for sexual misconduct allegations

The federal government is investigating Dixie State University for allegedly mishandling graduate Victoria Willard’s sexual harassment complaint — making it the fourth Utah school to find itself under scrutiny for potential Title IX violations. Willard, who graduated last year with an art degree, says she faced gender-based discrimination in the form of lewd comments and unwanted sexual touching from faculty for about a year beginning in 2014. But when she made a report in January 2016 to the s... <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>