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State School Board hears comment on middle school core requirements

SALT LAKE CITY — A standing-room-only crowd packed the offices of the State Board of Education Wednesday night to speak out on a recently passed state board rule that drops the arts, health, physical education, digital education and college and career readiness as core requirements for seventh- and eighth-graders.

Speakers who addressed a quorum of the State School Board alternately derided and cheered the policy change, which allows school districts or charter boards to offer the courses as electives or establish core requirements that exceed the remaining state core curriculum for grades 7-8: language arts, mathematics, integrated science, U.S. history and Utah history.

The new policy, approved by a 9-6 vote in August, says school 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.

The board accepted public comment for three hours in compliance with its rule-making procedures but took no action, which state education officials explained at the outset.
(information from The Deseret News)