Education News Roundup: April 25, 2014

SAGE2Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

Standard-Examiner looks at out outs from this spring’s SAGE exams.
http://go.uen.org/Sq  (OSE)

And looks into whether or not SAGE is actually … a federal plot.
http://go.uen.org/Sp  (OSE)

Overstock.com Chairman Jonathan Johnson considers a gubernatorial run.
http://go.uen.org/Sa  (UP)

Congratulations to Utah’s Presidential Scholars semifinalists.
http://go.uen.org/Sj  (SLT)
and http://go.uen.org/SA  (MUR)
or http://www2.ed.gov/programs/psp/index.html

Obama Administration takes aim at teacher training.
http://go.uen.org/Sd  (Politico)
and http://go.uen.org/Se (NYT)
and http://go.uen.org/SC  (WaPo)
and http://go.uen.org/Sf  (USAT)
and http://go.uen.org/Sg  (Ed Week)
or http://go.uen.org/Sh  (White House)

What effect will the net neutrality decision have on schools?
http://go.uen.org/SF  (Ed Week)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Area teachers treading gingerly around SAGE opt-out issue

Some Davis parents fear SAGE school testing is a federal plot

Jonathan Johnson: Idea Guy is Considering 2016 Run for Governor

Concerns raised over Jordan School District’s land purchase

Six Utahns are semifinalists for Presidential Scholars program

Ogden high schools host literacy night

Shelby Mustang, other muscle cars at Roy High auto show

Big musical productions are back at Ben Lomond High

Utah Valley Chamber sponsoring Education Forum

Joining Comcast Cares projects on Saturday? #CCDayUtah Volunteering » Thousands of Utahns expected to pitch in at schools and parks.

Young students celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday

Logan City School District selects new logo

Canyon Elementary teacher takes a pie in the face as part of fundraiser

After parent complaint, changes for junior high crosswalk

Jazz Bear visits Layton school to promote health

Inside Our Schools

OPINION & COMMENTARY

School elections shouldn’t be R vs D
Don’t make school boards partisan.

Annual Queer Prom Fosters Safe Alternative For Utah’s Gay Youth

Allow teachers to have guns in schools

How Brown v. Board of Education Changed—and Didn’t Change—American Education
50 years after the Supreme Court decision struck down “separate but equal,” scholastic opportunities for African-Americans have expanded. But inequality remains a major problem.

Common Core promotes student success

Why Are We Expanding the Federal Role in Early-Childhood Education?
Attempts to replicate successful early-childhood education programs have not worked. We can’t afford that kind of failure on a national scale.

Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School

NATION

Barack Obama cracks down on poor teacher training

More help needed to expand tech education

Common Core Standards Initiative

Large NC school districts back keeping Common Core

Schools Could Be on Internet ‘Slow Track’ Under Proposed FCC Rules

Student Killed At Jonathan Law High School In Milford

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UTAH NEWS
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Area teachers treading gingerly around SAGE opt-out issue

OGDEN – Test anxiety is nothing new for students, but a new state assessment test is giving some parents anxiety — and the result is a new reason for anxiety among teachers.
SAGE (Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence) is the state’s latest testing program, which replaces the CRTs (Criterion-Referenced Tests) administered at the end of the last school year. SAGE tests, for students in third grade and up, cover various aspects of language arts, math and science. The tests are taken on computers or tablets, allowing students to zoom in or out on graphics, highlight passages, mark questions for review or even access text-to-speech options. The computerized tests are adaptive, adjusting the difficulty of test questions based on previous answers.
Some parents are asking that their children be allowed to skip the SAGE tests, but at least a few teachers are afraid that they’ll be fired if they let parents know that opting out is an option.
Parents have long had the right to request that their children not be required to take certain tests, but a few more than usual are asking this year.
http://go.uen.org/Sq  (OSE)

Some Davis parents fear SAGE school testing is a federal plot

FARMINGTON – There is a new word going around schools across Top of Utah: SAGE. Parents and students know that end-of-level testing begins at the end of April and into May, but there is a completely new system in place this year.
Gone are the No. 2 pencils students used for filling in the appropriate multiple-choice bubbles. Now, with SAGE – Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence – students in Utah have a computer-based, adaptive test that is aligned to the state’s core standards.
“The purpose of the assessment is to determine whether kids know and understand the things they should at the end of their course of study,” said Davis School District Assessment, Research and Evaluation Director Logan Toone. “There is no other motive, and no underlying hidden agenda to the test.”
Toone refers to one of the common concerns that the test is run by the federal administration, and that is simply not the case, Toone clarifies. “It is a Utah-developed test with funding from the state Legislature, free of federal influence and control.”
http://go.uen.org/Sp  (OSE)

Jonathan Johnson: Idea Guy is Considering 2016 Run for Governor

While it’s still very early in the 2016 election cycle, Utah political observers should keep an eye on Jonathan Johnson, a Utah business leader and possible 2016 gubernatorial candidate.
Johnson, the chairman of Overstock.com (a sponsor of Utah Policy Daily), continues to raise his profile in political and business circles. On Friday, he will participate in the Western Republican Leadership Conference as part of a three-person round table luncheon discussion at the Grand America Hotel that also includes prominent anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist and Javier Palomarez, president and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
The three will discuss the importance of fighting for a limited government that keeps taxes low, minimizes regulations, and allows individuals to compete in a fair marketplace.
Johnson is emerging as a credible candidate for the 2016 Republican gubernatorial nomination. He says he hasn’t made a final decision, but he is inclined to run, and expects to run, even if Gov. Gary Herbert seeks re-election.

Johnson has high interest in educational improvement. Overstock.com has supported two of the state’s high schools facing the most challenges, Monument Valley and Whitehorse, with a reading incentive program that awards free tablet computers to students who achieve goals. “It’s better than just giving everyone a computer,” he said. “They appreciate it more and take better care of it. Providing the right incentives, challenges and rewards can work wonders in education.”
http://go.uen.org/Sa  (UP)

Concerns raised over Jordan School District’s land purchase

SOUTH JORDAN — A land deal betwen the Jordan School District and Kennecott Land is being scrutinized. Critics say the board paid too much for the 32 acres that will someday be home to an elementary school and junior high school.
The land near 10200 South and about 5000 West currently has arsenic levels that are too high, and the deal still gives too much control to Kennecott, according to critics.
http://go.uen.org/Sc  (DN)

Six Utahns are semifinalists for Presidential Scholars program

Six graduating Utah students have been chosen as semifinalists for the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program.
• Park City High School: Zachary R. Laufer of Park City.
• Judge Memorial High School: Allyson I. Dugan of Salt Lake City.
• West High School: Sarah R. Silcox of Salt Lake City and Mirae L. Parker of Tooele.
• Skyline High School: Rajdeep Trilokekar of Salt Lake City.
• The Waterford School: Maxwell Xiong of Sandy.
http://go.uen.org/Sj  (SLT)

http://go.uen.org/SA  (MUR)

http://www2.ed.gov/programs/psp/index.html

Ogden high schools host literacy night

OGDEN – Parents and children slowly trickled into the auditorium at Ben Lomond High School earlier this week to watch a portion of the school’s dress rehearsal to Beauty and the Beast. After loud claps and cheers, district teacher librarian Amy Jamison asked, “Are you ready for high school?” After more claps and cheers, students were directed through the school for a literacy night.
District teacher librarian Shelly Ripplinger said the literacy night is a new idea the district is trying. The idea is to invite students from at least three elementary schools that feed into the high school to get the students excited to come to high school.
http://go.uen.org/Ss  (OSE)

Shelby Mustang, other muscle cars at Roy High auto show

ROY — Loud noises, high speed and the vibration of the powerful engines caused a lot of salivating among Roy High School students recently.
That’s because some of the best looking cars were sitting inside the school’s auto shop for them not only to look at, but to sit inside and turn the key to the ignition.
“Oh, it’s so awesome,” said Roy High School senior Skylar Hoover. “There’s no feeling like the one you get when you turn the car on and you feel that vibration.”
Hoover is an advanced auto student in automotive instructor Clay Bushell’s class. The class recently held an auto show for the school and the general public.
http://go.uen.org/St (OSE)

Big musical productions are back at Ben Lomond High

OGDEN – Music is filling the halls and auditorium at Ben Lomond High School this week as the school is putting on one of the biggest musicals to date in the last few years.
“Beauty and the Beast” with a cast and crew of about 62 has brought a little musical theater back to Ben Lomond.
http://go.uen.org/Sr  (OSE)

Utah Valley Chamber sponsoring Education Forum

PROVO — The Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce will sponsor an Education Forum in conjunction with its regular Friday Forum. The forum is on May 2 at 8 a.m. in the Utah Valley Convention Center.
Superintendents from the Alpine, Provo and Nebo School Districts will be on hand, as well as representatives from Brigham Young University, Utah Valley University and Mountainland Applied Technology College. The representatives will introduce businesses that have partnered with their respective institutions to make a significant difference in their mission and effectiveness.
http://go.uen.org/So  (DN)

Joining Comcast Cares projects on Saturday? #CCDayUtah Volunteering » Thousands of Utahns expected to pitch in at schools and parks.

Thousands of community volunteers are expected to join Comcast employees and their families Saturday to spruce up 11 Utah parks, schools and housing for the homeless.
Show your work! Post your photos with the hashtag #CCDayUtah and we may include you in our coverage.
http://go.uen.org/SK  (SLT)

http://utahcomcast.com/tag/comcast-cares-day/

Young students celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday

CEDAR CITY — Elementary school students throughout Iron County are celebrating William Shakespeare’s 450th birthday Thursday and Friday during the 15th annual Bard’s Birthday Bash on the Southern Utah University campus.
The students are spending their days either performing in scenes from Shakespeare plays or learning to recite lines from them, jousting, dancing around a maypole and enjoying a piece of birthday cake with Queen Elizabeth I.
Michael Bahr, education director for the Utah Shakespeare Festival, said the birthday bash is a gift from the USF to the Iron County community — in celebration of Shakespeare’s birthday. However, he said the event has much more meaning than merely the birthday celebration.
http://go.uen.org/Sw  (SGS)

Logan City School District selects new logo

The Logan City School District has a new logo and brand chosen from four potential designs to better convey the district’s mission.
http://go.uen.org/Sv  (LHJ)

Canyon Elementary teacher takes a pie in the face as part of fundraiser

HYRUM — Fourth-grade teacher Jeremy Ralphs received three chocolate cream pies to the face Thursday as a reward to the students at Canyon Elementary School. Through a week-long “Penny Wars” competition, the students earned just less than $2,300 for two families in Hyrum who have children with cancer.
http://go.uen.org/Su  (LHJ)

After parent complaint, changes for junior high crosswalk

MURRAY, Utah- A busy intersection could see changes to make it safer for kids walking to school. Murray’s Riverview Junior High sits under the spotlight after one parent claims getting to school grounds is too dangerous for students. Now the city’s police department is taking action at 700 W 5750 S.
http://go.uen.org/Sz  (KTVX)

Jazz Bear visits Layton school to promote health

LAYTON – The Utah Jazz Bear made a visit to Layton’s Lincoln Elementary School on Tuesday to promote good health.
The Bear appeared with Molina Healthcare’s cat doctor mascot, Dr. Cleo to teach the children about the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
http://go.uen.org/SM  (DCC)

Inside Our Schools

http://go.uen.org/Sx  (SGS)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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School elections shouldn’t be R vs D
Don’t make school boards partisan.
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

Partisan politics have done enough damage to American democracy. The last thing we need to do now is impose that increasingly tribal divisiveness — a system seemingly designed to make sure that no one listens to anyone else and nothing ever gets done — on Utah school boards.
Yet some leaders in the Utah Republican Party, apparently unsatisfied with their control of just about everything else, are pushing a resolution to urge the state Legislature to shift local school district elections, as well as the state board of education, to partisan contests.
It’s a really bad idea.
http://go.uen.org/Sb

Annual Queer Prom Fosters Safe Alternative For Utah’s Gay Youth Salt Lake City Weekly commentary by columnist Deann Armes

I didn’t go to my senior prom. After a long, awkward night at my junior prom feeling remorseful about my appearance–a Cinderella-blue sequin dress designed to help me fit in–I decided to write off school dances. But if there had been a Queer Prom in 1993 I’m sure I would have been there with my friends- probably in moccasins and a hippie dress.
Twenty-one years later, working for Utah Pride Center I had the chance to attend a prom where the only dress code is, “Be You.” And that’s exactly what I saw: everything from jeans and ripped t-shirts to big ball gowns to hair every color of the rainbow. In that sea of diversity on the dance floor there was one commonality–the feeling of joy, safety, and acceptance among all.
Around 500 attended the 9th annual Queer Prom in Utah, the most anticipated event of the year for LGBTQ youth and allies ages 14-20. The dance, run by Utah Pride Center staff and about 50 volunteers, was held Saturday night, April 19, at the Salt Lake City Library–with the theme, When Love Takes Over.
http://go.uen.org/SL

Allow teachers to have guns in schools
(St. George) Spectrum letter from William Petty

There is a reason why criminals prowl on young, innocent victims. When was the last time the news followed a police station shooting? This hardly, if ever, happens, and the reason is obvious. While these perpetrators may be crazy, they are not stupid.
They attack individuals who less likely to fight back. Teachers and students are the perfect victims of these sadistic, criminal acts because they are helpless to fully protect themselves, and by the time that law enforcement could arrive it would be too late for the handful of innocent individuals whose lives have been taken. Something clearly needs to be done.
http://go.uen.org/Sy

How Brown v. Board of Education Changed—and Didn’t Change—American Education
50 years after the Supreme Court decision struck down “separate but equal,” scholastic opportunities for African-Americans have expanded. But inequality remains a major problem.
Atlantic commentary by RONALD BROWNSTEIN, editorial director of National Journal

Two milestones in the history of American education are converging this spring. The second is reshaping the legacy of the first.
The first landmark moment will arrive May 17, with the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision striking down “separate but equal” segregation in public education. The second watershed will follow in June, with the completion of what is likely to be the last school year ever in which a majority of America’s K-12 public-school students are white.
That demographic transformation is both reinvigorating and reframing Brown’s fundamental goal of ensuring educational opportunity for all Americans. The unanimous 1954 Brown decision was a genuine hinge in American history. Although its mandate to dismantle segregated public schools initially faced “massive resistance” across the South, the ruling provided irresistible moral authority to the drive for legal equality that culminated in the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts a decade later.
Coming nearly 60 years after the Supreme Court had upheld segregation in the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision, Chief Justice Earl Warren’s ringing opinion in Brown was the belated midcourse correction that began America’s transformation into a truly multiracial world nation.
But a distinct note of disenchantment is surfacing as scholars and advocates assess Brown’s legacy.
http://go.uen.org/SI

Common Core promotes student success
CNN op-ed by Kathleen Porter-Magee, a Bernard Lee Schwartz Policy Fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute

As the drumbeat to roll back the Common Core State Standards gets louder, some people are starting to question the value and purpose of academic standards in the first place. Do states really need to set expectations for what all students should learn? Are state standardized tests necessary? Why not return to an age when Americans simply trusted their children’s teachers to craft curricula and appraise student progress?
Good questions, but perhaps more wishful than informed. Teachers should indeed be in charge of classroom instruction, but quality standards are an important piece of a comprehensive effort to boost student achievement. That effort also depends on quality assessments, clear information for parents and teachers to find out whether students have mastered the knowledge and skills they need, and some way to hold schools accountable for meeting the needs of the students they serve.
The move by states to set academic standards — which broadly define what students should know and be able to do in subjects like reading and math — arose from the conviction that all children, regardless of race or socioeconomic status, should have an equal opportunity to learn what they need for college and beyond.
http://go.uen.org/SH

Why Are We Expanding the Federal Role in Early-Childhood Education?
Attempts to replicate successful early-childhood education programs have not worked. We can’t afford that kind of failure on a national scale.
National Journal op-ed by David B. Muhlhausen, author of Do Federal Social Programs Work?

Over the past 50 years, there has been a tremendous amount of research into the plight of the nation’s poor children. Compared with children raised in more fortunate circumstances, we know that many disadvantaged children have social and academic skills deficits when they formally enter school.
Commenting on the creation of Head Start in 1965—a Great Society preschool program intended to help disadvantaged children catch up to children living in more fortunate circumstances—President Lyndon Johnson asserted, “I believe this response reflects a realistic and a wholesome awakening in America. It shows that we are recognizing that poverty perpetuates itself.” Ever since, the federal government has been actively devoted to helping the nation’s poor children catch up—spending more than $202.5 billion on Head Start.
Early-childhood educations programs, such as Head Start, are automatically assumed by advocates to level the playing field by helping disadvantaged children arrive at school without learning deficits. From time to time, an early-childhood education program will appear to work. When a particular innovative early-childhood education program seems to produce compelling evidence of success, policymakers and advocates of government social programs around the country appropriately take notice.
http://go.uen.org/SJ

Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School American Association of University Women analysis

Sexual harassment has long been an unfortunate part of the climate in middle and high schools in the United States. Often considered a kind of bullying, sexual harassment by definition involves sex and gender and therefore warrants separate attention. The legal definition of sexual harassment also differentiates it from bullying.
Based on a nationally representative survey of 1,965 students in grades 7-12 conducted in May and June 2011, Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School provides fresh evidence about students’ experiences with sexual harassment, including being harassed, harassing someone else, or witnessing harassment. The survey asked students to share their reactions to their experience with sexual harassment and its impact on them. It also asked them about their ideas for how schools can respond to and prevent sexual harassment.
http://go.uen.org/Sk

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Barack Obama cracks down on poor teacher training Politico

The Obama administration plans to use tens of millions in federal financial aid as leverage to reward teacher training programs that produce teachers who routinely raise student test scores — and to drive the rest out of business.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan will announce the revival of a push to regulate hundreds of teacher preparation programs Friday at a town hall meeting with White House policy director Cecilia Muñoz. He plans to release a draft regulation by summer and aims to enact it within a year.
The goal: To ensure that every state evaluates its teacher education programs by several key metrics, such as how many graduates land teaching jobs, how long they stay in the profession and whether they boost their students’ scores on standardized tests. The administration will then steer financial aid, including nearly $100 million a year in federal grants to aspiring teachers, to those programs that score the highest. The rest, Duncan said, will need to improve or “go out of business.”
http://go.uen.org/Sd

http://go.uen.org/Se  (NYT)

http://go.uen.org/SC  (WaPo)

http://go.uen.org/Sf  (USAT)

http://go.uen.org/Sg (Ed Week)

http://go.uen.org/Sh  (White House)

More help needed to expand tech education Boston Globe

CAMBRIDGE — Ariela Schear is a high school student who loves math and is as tech savvy as they come, texting and e-mailing all the time.
But this Rindge & Latin senior didn’t think about taking a course in computer programming — until her mother suggested it. “I honestly had no idea what computer science was all about,” said the 17-year-old, who will be going to Yale.
Schear took an AP computer science course last fall, the first time Cambridge’s public high school has offered the class in about 15 years, thanks to a partnership in which Microsoft software engineers come every morning before work to teach programming to two dozen students.
To adults, the drumbeat of learning computer science is deafening. Technology infuses everything, and companies can’t hire enough programmers. One Cambridge outfit, HubSpot, has famously offered bonuses — most recently $10,000 — to anyone whose referral leads to the hiring of a software engineer.
College graduates who code can start out making close to six figures. If we were all 17 again, wouldn’t we all grow up to become programmers?
Schear’s story highlights the challenge of not only teaching computer science but getting kids excited about it. There aren’t enough schools offering programming, and kids don’t connect how their iPhones, Facebook, and YouTube all depend on it.
Last summer tech rivals Microsoft and Google joined forces to change all that but ran into real-world technical glitches. They formed MassCan, a coalition of businesses and nonprofits to expand computer science education in Massachusetts, and they marched onto Beacon Hill to boldly propose making computer science a mandatory requirement in public schools.
MassCan had to retreat after education leaders publicly derided the idea, saying another mandatory requirement would not only be onerous, but also outrageously expensive.
http://go.uen.org/Sm

Common Core Standards Initiative
C-SPAN Washington Journal

Michael Petrilli talked about the Common Core Standards Initiative. He explained their role in overall U.S. education policy and the ongoing debate over the adoption of the standards in states.
http://go.uen.org/SG

Large NC school districts back keeping Common Core Raleigh (NC) News & Observer

As North Carolina legislators move to drop Common Core, it’s a step that goes against the wishes of the state’s biggest school districts.
The superintendents of North Carolina’s 10 largest districts, including Wake County, put together a joint position paper earlier this year on Common Core, the new voucher program and teacher pay. On the issue of Common Core, the superintendents said that they wanted “assurance that North Carolina is committed to CCSS (Common Core State Standards) and that there will not be another change in standards for at least seven years.”
The North Carolina Large District Superintendent Consortium wrote that Common Core State Standards “provide clearer, more focused standards that allow for vertical planning because the standards are aligned from grade level to grade level.”
“As a common set of learning standards, there are consistent expectations across the nation to ensure students are prepared for college and career, as well as ensuring success in high transient areas,” the superintendents say.
Contrast that with the talk today from a state legislative commission that’s recommending that North Carolina “replace” the Common Core with its own education standards for public schools. The commission presented draft legislation today.
http://go.uen.org/Sl

Schools Could Be on Internet ‘Slow Track’ Under Proposed FCC Rules Education Week

Questions arose today about whether schools will have to stand in line for acceptable speeds of Internet access under proposed new rules floated by the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.
FCC commissioners received the rules Thursday, in advance of a May 15 vote. As written, the proposed rules would impact “net neutrality,” which refers to the open and free flow of content on the internet, regardless of where it originates. The new rules would leave an opening for broadband internet providers like Verizon Communications, Comcast Corp., and Time Warner Cable, to give preferential treatment to content providers that pay for the privilege of higher priority service, as the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.
Creating a “fast lane” online is seen as a plus for large companies like Apple, Netflix, Google, and YouTube, which could enter into agreements to get speedier service for the content they deliver. The FCC would rule on whether each of these arrangements between an Internet service provider and a content company is “commercially reasonable,” using a series of questions to test whether such an agreement meets their standards.
For schools, the issue is more problematic.
http://go.uen.org/SF

Student Killed At Jonathan Law High School In Milford Hartford (CT) Courant

MILFORD, Conn. —— A 16-year junior at Jonathan Law High School has died and another student is in custody after a stabbing on campus Friday morning, officials said.
The victim has been identified as Maren Sanchez.
The suspect, also 16, is in custody. His name is being withheld because he is a minor.
Police Chief Keith Mello said the two students were involved in an altercation in a hallway, near a stairwell around 7:15 a.m.
A staff member came upon the assault. School staff discovered Sanchez had life-threatening injuries and tried life-saving measures, Mello said.
Paramedics were called. Sanchez was transported to Bridgeport Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 7:43 a.m.
Staff detained the student and the school resource officer took him into custody.
http://go.uen.org/SD

http://go.uen.org/SE  (AP)

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

April 29:
Utah State Board of Education Superintendent Search Committee meeting
7 p.m., 250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/main/CALENDAR.aspx

May 8:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://goo.gl/IaQntl

May 9:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspx

May 20:
Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
1 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2014&Com=APPEXE

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