Education News Roundup: Jan. 21, 2014

Utah State Board of Education Chairwoman Tami Pyfer.

Utah State Board of Education Chairwoman Tami Pyfer.

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

Gov. Herbert names Utah State Board of Education Chair Tami Pyfer as his new deputy for education.
http://goo.gl/5EgQjD  (OSE)
and http://goo.gl/zAVxDr  (UP)
or http://goo.gl/e3Bn30  (Governor’s Office)

You have a chance this week to speak up to the State Board of Education’s Graduation and Grading Taskforce.
http://goo.gl/ivK1pS  (SLT)
and http://goo.gl/3XY8rF  (USOE)

Alpine School District looks at the new SAGE tests this spring.
http://goo.gl/t8WgM5  (PDH)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Logan woman named governor’s education advisor

Utah parents: Weigh in on proposed changes to grading, graduation Education » Meetings are set for next week to hear from parents.

MLK Jr. Day speaker: Dismantle ‘school-to-prison pipeline’
NAACP » Minorities too often arrested, suspended for minor violations, speaker says.

Martin Luther King Jr. contest highlights standing for something

New ASD testing program intuitive to students’ answers

‘Deseret News Sunday Edition’ looks at religious freedom with Ravi Zacharias, persecuted Christians and Common Core

Opposition against Common Core is gaining steam

Utah conservative group meets to discuss social, political issues

Utah schools focus on prepping students for violent situations

Experts speculate on why Utah has zero school-related shootings

UPC Show: Episode 60 – One Week to the Session

Cache County School District and Nibley city discuss planned high school

Mt. Logan students explore future careers

Inner-city Ogden preschool helps kids get a better start

Mayor Ben McAdams Devises Program To Teach Poor Children To Read

Program brings students from around the world to Utah

Davis School District gets moving, saves lives

Charter school trail promotes wellness, activity

Teen returns to wrestling mat after gunshot injury

North Park Elementary music specialist wins grant to buy instrument

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Utah senator turns on iPad, tunes out audience

Governor taking positive steps to clean the air

New DOJ guidelines would hurt school discipline

Women bucking the notion that STEM is for men

Join ‘Idle Free Schools’ program

Obama’s Homework Assignment

Obama’s War on Poor Students

What Needs to Happen for More Women, Minorities to Get Into Computer Science

In the Quest to Improve Schools, Have Teachers Been Stripped of Their Autonomy?

Charter High Schools’ Effects on Long-Term Attainment and Earnings

NATION

Caution Flags Raised for Six Waiver States

Supreme Court to Take Up Public-Employee Speech, Cellphone Searches

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UTAH NEWS
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Logan woman named governor’s education advisor

SALT LAKE CITY – Gov. Gary Herbert has named Tami Pyfer as his education advisor.
“Education is my top budget priority and the key to our long-term economic strength,” said Gov. Herbert. “Tami has seen our education system at work from every angle and she will provide valuable perspective as we work to reach our goal to have 66 percent of Utah adults with a college degree or certificate by 2020.”
Pyfer has served as a member of the Utah State School Board representing District 1 since Feb. 2010. She will resign her seat as she takes on her new role in the Herbert Administration.
http://goo.gl/5EgQjD  (OSE)

http://goo.gl/zAVxDr  (UP)

http://goo.gl/e3Bn30  (Governor’s Office)

Utah parents: Weigh in on proposed changes to grading, graduation Education » Meetings are set for next week to hear from parents.

State education leaders want to hear what parents think about possible changes to Utah’s high school graduation requirements — from giving students the flexibility to use more electives to get a diploma to changing how grades are calculated.
The State Board of Education Graduation Task Force will hold parent meetings this month in Utah, Weber and Salt Lake counties to get parents’ opinions on the group’s recommendations.
The group is considering recommending students be given two options for earning regular high school diplomas:
http://goo.gl/ivK1pS  (SLT)

http://goo.gl/3XY8rF  (USOE)

MLK Jr. Day speaker: Dismantle ‘school-to-prison pipeline’
NAACP » Minorities too often arrested, suspended for minor violations, speaker says.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day can do more than commemorate a great man. It can also act as a rallying cry for needs still unmet, said NAACP attorney Monique Lin-Luse Monday.
She asked a Martin Luther King Jr. Day luncheon audience at the Grand America Hotel to take on “one of the greatest civil rights challenges today.”
Too many students, especially African-Americans, are being suspended, expelled and arrested for relatively minor offenses, making them more likely to become disaffected, drop out of school and end up in prison, said Lin-Luse who is the special counsel for the Education Group of the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
http://goo.gl/eegnFW (SLT)

Martin Luther King Jr. contest highlights standing for something

SALT LAKE CITY — In anticipation of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, students in Utah wrote essays and created videos prompted by a quote from the civil rights leader: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
Eighteen junior high and high school students were recognized Wednesday for winning the 30th annual essay and video contest put on by the Utah State Office of Education.
Winners read their essays and presented their videos after the Rev. France Davis, pastor at Salt Lake Calvary Baptist Church, gave the keynote address.
http://goo.gl/kmzhr1  (KSL)

New ASD testing program intuitive to students’ answers

LEHI — Say goodbye to end of the year fixed form tests at school and hello to interactive testing.
The Alpine School District has pilot tested and adopted a new end of the school year computerized program that intuitively adapts to a student’s knowledge level during a test, giving more breadth to assessment results.
David Smith, director of research and evaluation for the district, introduced SAGE — Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence — a test program that will measure student success based on the new curriculum developed for the Common Core standards.
http://goo.gl/t8WgM5  (PDH)

‘Deseret News Sunday Edition’ looks at religious freedom with Ravi Zacharias, persecuted Christians and Common Core


Common Core state standards are one of the most politicized and misunderstood changes in grade-school education. Teachers in most states are now using them in the classroom. Critics of the new standards believe there are few things more dangerous happening in the country. The standards were created by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to improve academic achievement and increase accountability. In a four-part series, the Deseret News explores how teachers are incorporating Common Core. Reporter Celia Baker gives a preview and explains some of the misconceptions.
http://goo.gl/apik4B  (DN)

Opposition against Common Core is gaining steam

Opposition to the Common Core State Standards Initiative is garnering more attention, highlighted in a recent column by George F. Will in the Washington Post that also ran in the Deseret News on Jan. 16, 2014.
According to the mission statement on the Common Core State Standards Initiative home page, the goal is to provide a clear path to success for both teachers and students. “With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy,” the mission statement says on the website.
However great the goal of Common Core may seem, both proponents and critics are signaling trouble for the centralized education program.
http://goo.gl/aw6Tz8  (DN)

Utah conservative group meets to discuss social, political issues

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah conservative group meets before the start of each Utah legislative session, and Saturday they expressed their position on several hot button social issues.

At the event, members said they also oppose the Common Core State Standards Initiative, which is a set of standards students are expected to meet in math and English. The initiative is sponsored by the National Governors Association.
http://goo.gl/v0LiJQ  (KSTU)

Utah schools focus on prepping students for violent situations

SALT LAKE CITY – The state of Utah is updating the rules governing how public schools prepare for emergency situations such as a shooting.
Martell Menlove, the state superintendent of Public Instruction, says the State Board of Education has approved a rule requiring schools to have more drills preparing for violent situations.
“Part of what we’re asking schools to do is to have drills on active shooter drills, violence drills, lockdown drills, those type of things,” he explains.
Menlove says under the previous rule, schools could choose to have half of their fire drills dedicated to preparing for an earthquake or a violent situation.
He points out the new rule, expected to go into effect by spring, mandates that half of all school drills must focus on preparing for something other than a fire.
http://goo.gl/6cuqSu  (CVD)

Experts speculate on why Utah has zero school-related shootings

SALT LAKE CITY — The Newtown school tragedy claimed 26 innocent lives and gave America a somber pause. Or did it?
There have been at least 30 more school-related shootings around the country since Dec. 2012. But here in Utah, there have been zero.
http://goo.gl/sJPqPU  (KSL)

UPC Show: Episode 60 – One Week to the Session

Welcome to this weeks episode of the UPC show!
This week, Curtis welcomes UPC contributing editor Michael Iverson and UPC writer Alex Cragun into the studio.
In this week’s episode, we recap some of the latest bills to be analyzed by Utah Political Capitol, including Senator Jones’ (Democrat – Salt Lake City) plan to inject a large amount of money into public education, Senator Osmond’s (Republican – South Jordan) bill to remove requirements that home and private school students be held to state board of education standards, Senator Dayton’s (Republican – Orem) and Representative Powell’s (Republican – Heber City) various election reforms, and Senator Jenkins’ (Republican – Plain City) idea to improve air quality.
http://goo.gl/j4WgK0  (UPC)

Cache County School District and Nibley city discuss planned high school

Representatives from the Cache County School District and Nibley city are meeting to discuss a memorandum of understanding regarding plans that will affect the city when a new high school is built in Millville.
Deputy Superintendent Mike Liechty talked to the Cache County School District Board of Education on Thursday to explain the details of the MOU.
“In that memorandum of understanding, we were trying to address issues so Nibley feels comfortable with what Cache School District is going to do,” Liechty said.
http://goo.gl/ObKMMm  (LHJ)

Mt. Logan students explore future careers

Students at Mount Logan Middle School got a chance to explore their future career options on Friday morning during the school’s career day. Twenty-six local professionals came and presented to the students, talking about their jobs and the education required to work in their fields.
Terri Painter, a counselor at Mount Logan, said the aim of career day was to get students thinking about their future careers earlier.
“The state has started the idea that the earlier kids start thinking about what their career might be and starting to explore it, the more likely they are to start picking the right classes to take and the right job,” Painter said. “We started this because when they asked high school students what was their greatest fear, it was that they didn’t know what to do next. That seems ridiculous. Coming out of high school, surely they should know what to do next.”
Students had a chance to meet with a chef, doctor, dentist, carpenter and many other and ask them questions. Painter said finding volunteers was easier than she had anticipated.
http://goo.gl/zT4dND  (LHJ)

Inner-city Ogden preschool helps kids get a better start

OGDEN — A small file of 4-year-olds carefully balanced papers with round cereals and letter “Os” as they tried to form a line to walk out of their new preschool room at James Madison Elementary.
“It’s only our third day, so our friends are just getting the hang of things,” said preschool teacher Heather Shaffer.
The students are in a group of about 27 so far in a pilot program launched by Ogden School District, YMCA, Ogden City and United Way to create a chance for underprivileged, inner-city Ogden kids to attend preschool to get a leg up for kindergarten.
http://goo.gl/JXBhih  (OSE)

Mayor Ben McAdams Devises Program To Teach Poor Children To Read

Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams says in his new program to teach poor children to read, taxpayers won’t pay if it doesn’t – instead, McAdams wants the legislature to put up money.
“We take a child who statistically has a grim future and give him a chance in life,” said McAdams.
Salt Lake County, United Way, and Granite School District will take kids who are poor and score low on tests and put them in preschool. A private sector would pay for the preschool – Goldman Sachs will pay the upfront costs.
http://goo.gl/B10wl0  (KUTV)

Program brings students from around the world to Utah

SYRACUSE, Utah – A non-profit organization works to give students around the world a chance to live in the United States, and several of those students are in Utah.
Education First has been around for more than 30 years, and last year they sent more than 2,600 students all over the U.S.
About 13 of those students are in Utah, and those who spoke with FOX 13 News said they are enjoying their time in the Beehive State.
http://goo.gl/pZiljQ  (KSTU)

Davis School District gets moving, saves lives

BOUNTIFUL — When the Davis School District implemented its wellness program in October, officials thought it would make a difference to some employees.
They had no idea it would mean the difference between life and death for at least one employee.
http://goo.gl/NaSTvD  (DN)

Charter school trail promotes wellness, activity

HURRICANE — With a mission to encourage students to be healthy and active, Valley Academy Charter School in Hurricane is taking part of the Move It program by building a running and walking trail for students and faculty outside the school.
http://goo.gl/LnCknn  (SGS)

Teen returns to wrestling mat after gunshot injury

WEST JORDAN — A high school wrestler will return to the ring after a paralyzing gunshot wound had doctors questioning if he’d ever walk again.
It’s been a long road back to the wrestling mat for Chance Sackett, but the 17-year-old’s story is one of tragedy and triumph.
“He’s a fighter, he really is – he doesn’t quit,” said Jeff Humphreys, Copper Hill High School wrestling coach.
http://goo.gl/NiC5wE  (KSTU)

North Park Elementary music specialist wins grant to buy instrument

Diana Kline, the music specialist at North Park Elementary School, received a late holiday surprise after receiving a $1,500 grant from the 100% for Kids Utah Credit Union Education Foundation to purchase a bass metallophone.
http://goo.gl/9EOavh  (LHJ)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Utah senator turns on iPad, tunes out audience Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist Paul Rolly

Sen. Howard Stephenson is passionate about digital learning and is a leader in the Legislature in promoting computer education programs in public schools.
Perhaps, though, Stephenson might be too passionate about electronic devices.

It’s not the first time Stephenson has appeared a bit awkward when facing a group or a representative of a group he might disagree with.
He caused a stir last legislative session when a Utah PTA official expressed that organization’s position on an issue before the Senate Education Committee. Stephenson began grilling her about the PTA’s legitimacy in representing parents and teachers.
When appearing a few years ago on a panel, which included me, at the conservative Sutherland Institute, Stephenson described his willingness to listen to all sides of an issue and mentioned separate meetings he recently had conducted with private-school voucher advocates and Utah Education Association allies.
He was surprised when it was pointed out to him by another panelist, John Saltas of Salt Lake City Weekly, that he had described the first group as “concerned citizens” and the second group as a “mob.”
http://goo.gl/2Cxn43

Governor taking positive steps to clean the air Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Alan Matheson, Gov. Gary Herbert’s senior environmental adviser

We all feel frustration when pollution builds during our winter inversions, threatening our health, trapping us indoors and bruising the pride we feel in our state. That we have cut emissions along the Wasatch Front almost in half since the 1990s provides faint comfort on bleak inversion days.
If there’s a silver lining in the gray inversion cloud, it’s that our collective awareness of the impacts of air pollution and our commitment to action have increased. Under Gov. Gary Herbert’s leadership, the state is taking unprecedented steps to improve air quality.

Gov. Herbert made air quality a priority in his budget, proposing $18 million to replace old school buses with cleaner versions, provide incentives for small businesses to reduce emissions, improve research and enforcement, and make state buildings more energy efficient.
http://goo.gl/VggAOg

New DOJ guidelines would hurt school discipline Deseret News op-ed by Dan Liljenquist, a former state senator and U.S. Senate candidate

British political publicist Ernest Benn famously quipped that “politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy.” Unfortunately, this seems to be the exact process U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and his staff used to create new federal guidelines on the “Nondiscriminatory Administration of School Discipline.”
Should the Department of Justice choose to aggressively enforce these guidelines, it would have a profoundly negative impact on school discipline in Utah and across the country.
http://goo.gl/WwXXOe

Women bucking the notion that STEM is for men
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner commentaryby Elle Gossner, a sophomore at Weber High School

In 1766, Mary Goddard became the first woman publisher in America. In 1872, Victoria Claflin Woodhull became the first female presidential candidate in the United States.
Women have slowly been making their way into the working world for centuries. In the past 50 years, support for gender equality has progressed by leaps and bounds. Part of this movement involves encouragement for girls to try STEM careers. STEM is a commonly used abbreviation that stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Educators, counselors and administrators are pushing for high-school girls to explore careers that used to be limited to men. Fields like chemistry, physics, computer science and mechanical engineering have often been considered boys-only clubs. These days, females are not only allowed but encouraged to try out these paths.
http://goo.gl/XnDs4B

Join ‘Idle Free Schools’ program
(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Jacqueline Lowry

USA Today reported on a recent study regarding the dangers of idling vehicles outside of schools.
“When children walk into their school building, they may pass through some of the dirtiest air on their travel from home to class. A recently published study by a researcher at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and three other community organizations not only proves this is the case, it also points the way to reduce the exposure – simply turn off the engines of idling buses and cars.”
What can be done? Utah Clean Cities is starting its Idle Free Schools program again mid-January.
http://goo.gl/P7l2Ky

Obama’s Homework Assignment
New York Times commentary by columnist Thomas L. Friedman

PRESIDENT OBAMA will deliver his State of the Union address on Jan. 28, but, for my money, his secretary of education, Arne Duncan, already gave it. Just not enough people heard it.
So instead of Obama fishing around for contrived ideas to put in his speech — the usual laundry list that wins applause but no action — the president should steal Duncan’s speech and claim it as his own (I won’t
tell) because it was not a laundry list and wasn’t a feel-good speech. In fact, it was a feel-bad speech, asking one big question. Are we falling behind as a country in education not just because we fail to recruit the smartest college students to become teachers or reform-resistant teachers’ unions, but because of our culture today: too many parents and too many kids just don’t take education seriously enough and don’t want to put in the work needed today to really excel?
Is this the key cause of income inequality and persistent poverty? No. But it is surely part of their solutions, and it is a subject that Obama has not used his bully pulpit to address in any sustained way. Nothing could spark a national discussion of this more than a State of the Union address.
http://goo.gl/HyCWHW

A copy of the speech
http://goo.gl/UGd8fV  (ED)

Obama’s War on Poor Students
Wall Street Journal commentary by columnist JASON L. RILEY

President Obama wants more low-income kids to go to college, yet his approach to K-12 education often undermines that goal.
“More than ever, a college degree is the surest path to a stable, middle-class life,” Mr. Obama said Thursday at a White House summit on higher education. “So over the last five years, we’ve worked hard in a variety of ways to improve these mechanisms to get young people where they need to be and to knock down barriers that are preventing them from getting better prepared for the economies that they’re going to face.”
In fact, the Obama administration has also spent the past five years fighting school reform efforts—such as means-tested voucher programs—that have a proven track record of producing more high school and college graduates. At the urging of teachers unions, Mr. Obama tried to shutter one such program in Washington, D.C., but was unsuccessful thanks to the efforts of House Speaker John Boehner, among others. Now the Obama Justice Department has gone to war against a state-wide voucher program in Louisiana that is also aimed at helping underprivileged kids with limited schooling options.
Mr. Obama’s approach to school discipline is also at cross-purposes with his stated goal of helping more poor kids make it to college.
http://goo.gl/3yLH5X

What Needs to Happen for More Women, Minorities to Get Into Computer Science Entrepreneur commentary by columnist Tanya Benedicto Klich

A PayScale report ranked computer science careers among some of the most in-demand and lucrative professions in the United States. But recent figures on high-school students who took the College Board’s Advanced Placement Computer Science exam last year paint a picture of a field is failing to progress with the times.
For one, there were two states – Mississippi and Montana – where not a single female, African American or Hispanic student took the AP Computer Science exam. In fact, in Montana, only 11 students total took the exam, as not one high school in the state offered courses in AP computer science. Perhaps most alarming: In Wyoming, no students took the Computer Science exam at all.
http://goo.gl/KE9mT4

In the Quest to Improve Schools, Have Teachers Been Stripped of Their Autonomy?
Center for American Progress analysis

Over the past few years, there has been an ever-growing chorus of pundits who argue that teachers have grown to deeply dislike their jobs. They argue that teachers are unhappy with their lack of control and freedom. These pundits believe that discouraged educators have been fleeing the profession in droves.
Take, for instance, teacher and education blogger Vicki Davis who recently argued in The Washington Post that many educators are leaving schools because of cookie-cutter approaches to teaching and learning. “Many U.S. teachers don’t even have the authority to upgrade their web browser or fix a printer,” Davis wrote. Or consider UCLA education management expert Samuel Culbert who wrote in a New York Times article last year that teachers need far more space to try new things. “If [teachers] are allowed to search for the best answers, they’ll find them.” And then there is Furman University education professor Paul Thomas, who argues that educators today are “teaching in a time of tyranny.”
But do teachers really lack autonomy and freedom? And more importantly: As a nation, have we reached the right balance of accountability and autonomy that is necessary for workplace innovation, career satisfaction, and overall results?
http://goo.gl/VM5RnY

Charter High Schools’ Effects on Long-Term Attainment and Earnings University of Southern California Center for Economic and Social Research analysis

Since their inception in 1992, the number of charter schools has grown to more than 6,000 in 40 states, serving more than 2 million students. Various studies have examined charter schools’ impacts on test scores, and a few have begun to examine longer-term outcomes including graduation and college attendance. This paper is the first to estimate charter schools’ effects on student earnings, alongside effects on educational attainment. Using data from Chicago and Florida, we find evidence that charter high schools may have substantial positive effects on persistence in college as well as high-school graduation and college entry. In Florida, where we can link students to workforce data in adulthood, we also find evidence that charter high schools produce large positive effects on subsequent earnings.
http://goo.gl/O6KMNB

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Caution Flags Raised for Six Waiver States Education Week

More than a year after the U.S. Department of Education awarded the first No Child Left Behind Act waivers, some states are struggling to intervene in schools with the biggest achievement gaps and ensure that the worst schools implement the right improvement strategies.
That’s according to new, intensive monitoring reports Education Department officials released last week for six states. The reports likely foreshadow implementation challenges facing the 45 states plus the District of Columbia that are remaking their school accountability systems as part of new flexibility offered by the department.
Federal officials found success, but also raised red flags, in each of the states: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Mississippi, and New York.
But by far the biggest problems, based on the reports, are found in Mississippi and Idaho, which seem to be struggling most with how to help the 15 percent of their schools with the lowest test scores and the largest achievement gaps.
And across states, fixing low-performing schools is an area of great challenge, many education policy experts say.
http://goo.gl/XnEAS2

http://goo.gl/kVb5jV  (Wichita [KS] Eagle)

Supreme Court to Take Up Public-Employee Speech, Cellphone Searches Education Week

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday added two issues to its docket with potential implications for education. One involves whether government agencies may retaliate against public employees for certain testimony under oath. The other is a pair of cases about whether the police need a warrant to search the contents of a criminal suspect’s cellphone.
The cellphone cases may be relevant for school discipline because there have been a growing number of cases in which school administrators searched students’ phones. At least two courts have ruled against such searches even under the lower standard school officials must meet—reasonable suspicion versus probable cause—for a warrantless search of students in school.
http://goo.gl/mPElnM

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CALENDAR
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USOE Calendar
http://tinyurl.com/5x9oh9

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

January 27:
Opening Day of the Utah Legislature
10 a.m., State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/

January 28:
Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2014&com=APPPED

January 29:
Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2014&com=APPPED

January 30:
Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2014&com=APPPED

Utah State Board of Education meeting
Noon, 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspxpr

January 31:
Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2014&com=APPPED

February 7:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspxpr

Feb. 12-13:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://goo.gl/IaQntl

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