SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Board of Education on Thursday voted to put on hold a board rule that changed state requirements for seventh- and eighth-graders and return it to a committee for further study.

Earlier this year, the State School Board adopted changes to a rule that dropped the arts, health, physical education, digital education and college and career readiness as core requirements for seventh- and eighth-graders.

The rule change, approved by a 9-6 vote in August, said districts or charter schools “shall offer” the following courses aligned with core standards in seventh and eighth grades: at least two of five arts courses, including visual arts, music, dance, theater or media arts; physical education; health education; college and career awareness; and as of the 2018-19 school year, digital literacy, and at least one of the world languages.

But after a three-hour public meeting in September during which dozens of students, parents and school administrators urged the board to reverse course, the board directed state education officials to hold off reporting the rule’s effective date to the Utah Office of Administrative Rules, which would have been the final step in the rule-making process.

The board further directed that the rule be returned to its Standards and Assessment Committee for further consideration of issues raised at the public hearing and in written remarks submitted to the board.

After an identical motion failed early on in the discussion, board member Brittney Cummins introduced amended language, which she said provided flexibility for school districts and public charter schools but established “guardrails” that ensure all students continue to have opportunities to access arts, health and PE instruction, not just ones with more resources might be able to access outside of the school setting.

Board member Kathleen Riebe said she believed the alternative struck a nice compromise between the …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News

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