Saving Middle Schools Arts Ed: School Board Rule 277-700

State School Board Rule 277-700

History: Rule 277-700 was passed back in August by the 15 member state school board. and in its original version, eliminated credit requirements for arts, health, and PE for middle school students. They did it with zero public hearings on the change. We fought back big time! UEA, UCA, and a few other groups combined forces and called for a special public hearing to which hundreds showed up. We included performances from three children’s groups as part of our presentation. Our petition also had over 3,500 signatures. The School Board sent the rule back to the Standards and Assessment committee at their October board meeting and they emerged with a compromise from their November committee meeting that we support. It was supposed to be voted on at the December full board meeting, but the full board decided to send it back to Standards and Assessment one more time to tweak it a bit more. The standards and assessment committee met Friday December 8th and emerged with version 2, which includes edits that we asked for.

Details of compromise version 1 (emerged from November standards and assessment committee meeting):

  • All of the details below applies to only middle schoolers btw
  • Parents and LEA (Local Education Authorities aka schools) can exempt a child from requirements if the change is still consistent with the child’s college and career plans.
  • Numbered credit requirements are removed from all subjects and replaced by requiring a least a course in each subject.
  • Students are required to take two courses in language arts, math, science, and history, meaning they take those subjects in seventh and eighth grades
  • All other subjects have a single course requirement meaning they have take it in seventh or eighth grade (or half a semester each year)
  • Arts and PE were listed kind of weird. All the other subjects are listed in a row and then arts and PE are listed separately: ([4]) The following are the Grades 7-8 General Core Requirements (a) Grade 7 Language Arts, (b) Grade 8 Language Arts, (c) Grade 7 Mathematics, (d) Grade 8 Mathematics; (e) Grade 7 Integrated Science, (f) Grade 8 Integrated Science; (g) United States History;  (h) Utah History[.]; (i) Physical Education (j) Health Education, (k) College and Career Awareness and beginning no later than the 2018-2019 school year, Digital Literacy and at least one course in: (A) the Arts; and (B) Physical Education.
  • We don’t like how the Arts are listed separately at the end (makes it seem secondary), but were willing to live with it. 

 

Details of compromise version 2 (emerged from December standards and assessment committee meeting):

  • Much of the above although they did some revising to the language allowing parents  to exempt their children from classes. 
  • They decided it primarily needed some guardrails around the allowance. If a parent or LEA wants to exempt a child from a course, they have to replace the dropped requirement with a similar course or demonstrate that it fits a child’s career and college plan. Spencer Stokes and Jennifer Graviet wanted it to say similar course AND demonstrate that it first the child’s college/career plan, but they ended up letting that go and living with “or.”
  • We didn’t like how arts and PE are listed separately and at our request, the Standards and Assessment Committee voted to delete the language that lists the arts and PE separately and integrate it into the list with the rest of the subjects. Jennifer Graviet and Spencer Stokes led the charge to make this edit for us. If you see them, thank them!
  • There’s a slim chance that arts gets listed first in alphabetical order but I couldn’t tell if they were joking or not. :) I told the committee that we were absolutely ok with being listed first.

 

Compromise 2 should be voted on by the full board at their January board meeting. 

 

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.