Education Interim Committee Meeting – June 21, 2017
The meeting began with a proposal to recodify Title 53A, which governs the state’s public school system. It will be divided into three new titles. 53E guides state administration. 53F contains funding policy. 53G guides local school administration. This was primarily for organizational purposes. After representatives ensured that the content of Utah’s education policy was not to be changed, the motion passed.
Statewide Goals and Outcome Metrics for Education
Chair Ann Millner introduced the second item on the agenda, which is a compilation of goals and metrics of Utah’s three educational systems. Various levels of education are combined in order to create a statewide plan. She invited Commissioner Woolstenhulme from UCAT to speak regarding postsecondary technical education and career needs in Utah. He provided a document for suggested targets in technical education. 75% growth in graduates by 2028 and a 25% increase in “Custom Fit” training hours to better match students with employment are two highlights. Representative Noel expressed the need for business training of this type in rural areas of the state. Technical training seemed to be supported by several representatives during the session.
Chair Millner then called Allyson Goldstein, policy analyst, to share two documents that were created to express statewide goals and metrics. Goals and Outcomes for P-20 Education contains goals and metrics from the three educational systems: public education, higher education, and technical education. It also includes input from the department of workforce services. Ms. Goldstein also included a diagram that visually represents these plans. Using Florida as an example, she promotes a clear and concise format and an eventual online dashboard for easy access. These are in draft form, and thus open to input and change from representatives.
Technology in Schools
The first speaker was Sara Young, Digital Teaching and Learning Coordinator of the state board of education. She and the superintendents of Salt Lake and Washington school districts shared some of the benefits of technology in schools. For example, it allows for increased personalization of education. The history of an educational technology initiative was provided.
Representative Moss expressed some concern over the implementation of new technology systems in schools. Often, she said, the the infrastructure has to be in a certain shape in order to make the most of the technology. She gave an example of Skyline Highschool, which received a new computer lab but struggled with connecting to internet. There was a general consensus regarding the positive effects that technology can have in education, assuming it is cautiously implemented.