"Until we, the parents, taxpayers, business and community leaders, and policymakers demand comprehensive solutions nothing will change." -Robyn Bagley, PCE Board Chair
The ACTION ALERTS listed below are things you should do RIGHT NOW to have a positive impact on K-12 education in Utah. Check this page regularly or join PCE's email list to stay on top of issues that require your immediate action.
School Grading Policy Bill
School District Leave Policies
Statewide Online Learning Bill
Carson Smith Special Needs Scholarship
Salt Lake Tribune 1/18/11
"'We need to stop limiting innovation because we are worried about who gets to keep their money, and we need to really put the emphasis on funding the solutions that work for our high school students today, tomorrow and in the future,' Clark said."
“I urge you to set our children free. Allow them to take more online courses and serve their needs rather than serving the needs of institutions.”- Sen. Stephenson, bill sponsor
"Utah's legislators have a historic opportunity before them right now to transform the state's education system by prioritizing the success of each individual student, which will catapult the state ahead of the rest of the nation."- Michael Horn
“Right now students are not able to take courses a la carte from anybody except the monopoly at the State Office of Education ”Sen. Howard Stephenson
"If our goal is to educate every student to the highest potential, then schools need to move away from this monolithic classroom model and toward a student-centric educational one with a modular design that enables mass customization." Clayton Christensen
Go HERE to see how this program is impacting students in Utah.
Salt Lake Tribune 1/20/10
Go HERE to view the Legislative Audit
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
Please contact Laura Anderson to join us (801)634-4821
Student Based Budgeting
PCE's Policy Principles
Ensures that schools have the necessary tools to achieve their unique academic goals and meet the needs of their specific communities.
Stay tuned for more details about this student focused funding approach.
Efficiency in funding
For more information click here
Always Stay Connect
Bookmark the @ the Legislature page of our website.
New Century Scholorship/Regent Scholarship and Concurrent Enrollment
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.
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.
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.
The current report did not include a breakdown of graduation rate by race and ethnicity
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  percent, as state officials say, or 72.2 percent, as the report says, it's far too low.”
Follow New Canyon 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.
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.
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
Follow the progress of this innovative new performance pay pilot program.
New Law Brings Greater Transparency to Taxpayers 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.
Free Online. A-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.
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.
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.