Utah State Board of Education Meetings – September 8-9

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Utah State Board of Education Meetings – September 8-9

The Utah State Board of Education (USBE) and its standing committees meet regularly to discuss changes to administrative rules. UEA staff monitor and participate in these meetings on behalf of UEA members.

Utah State Board of Education Meeting (reported by Jay Blain): UEA Policy and Research Director Jay Blain spoke in favor of the Board passing R277-609: Standards for Local Education Agency Discipline Plans and Emergency Safety Interventions as is. He noted that the UEA supported House Bill 428 that underlies the rule. He added that the bill had strong support in the Legislature, passing 65-9 in the House and 19-10 in the Senate. There was a lot of collaboration in creating the bill. Every student deserves a safe, harassment-free and discrimination-free environment in which to learn, he said. Also, every education employee deserves the same type of environment in which to work.

The Board accepted a hearing report on rule R277-609, notice of the hearing, and all the written comments that were submitted. The Board moved to amend the rule to add definitions for harassment and discrimination-free learning, with references to 277-328. All amendments were referred to a future committee and the rule will be filed as is.

The Board then heard reports from the Finance Committee, the Standards and Assessment Committee and the Law and Licensing Committee.

Standards and Assessment Committee (reported by Sara Jones): The Standards and Assessment Committee spent considerable time debating a new rule R277-630 Child Sex Abuse and Human Trafficking Prevention Training and Instruction. The rule requires the Board to coordinate with the Department of Health and Human Services to approve instructional materials for training teachers and parents as well as approve curriculum for optional instruction to students.

The Committee is also close to finalizing the multi-year process begun in August 2019 to revise elementary social studies standards. The Board has previously adopted a 12-step process used to revise all core standards. However, the Committee took the unusual step in their last meeting to request Board staff develop an “expedited process” for reviewing and adopting additional US and Utah History strands proposed by Board member Jennie Earl. Because the committee ran out of time today, they will hold a special meeting to consider both the additional strand and remaining Board member revisions to the proposed social studies standards.

Finance Committee (reported by Jay Blain): The Finance Committee discussed and passed one rule today, R277-419 Pupil Accounting. The change was minor to say that a student can have more than 180 days of ADM if the parent or guardian signs the form that the student is going to graduate early. The committee approved draft 2 on 1st reading and forwarded it to the full board for 2nd and final reading.

Law and Licensing Committee (reported by Tracey M. Watson): The Law and Licensing Committee approved draft rules R277-925: Effective Teachers in High Poverty Schools Incentive Program and R277-911, Secondary Career and Technical Education. Committee Chair Carol Lear and USBE staff made several compliments regarding the work performed by the task force around the creation of Board Rule R277-217: Educator Standards and LEA Reporting. While no specific mention was made to acknowledge UEA’s involvement in that work, the taskforce that created R277-217 originated from a settlement agreement stemming from UEA’s lawsuit(s) against USBE: first, our lawsuit that alleged USBE failed to properly consider stakeholder input in the creation of regulations which we prevailed and the original R277-200 series was repealed and UEA sat down with USBE staff to create new regulations regarding educator conduct standards and discipline; and thereafter, on behalf of two specific plaintiffs, which resulted in a settlement and the taskforce that created the current R277-217. Chair Lear and USBE staff also acknowledged how widely used and relied upon this regulation is and therefore were reluctant to consider Board member Natalie Cline’s numerous amendments without further input from Board Leadership, data to be produced by USBE staff, and possible legal review and opinion.