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Bill Designed to Strengthen Students' Language Skills Narrowly Passes Utah House

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Brian Grimmett
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Utah House Chamber - File Photo

Utah House lawmakers narrowly passed a bill on Tuesday that would fund software designed to help students build language arts skills. 

The legislation would appropriate one million dollars to seek out and purchase the best software available to help students build their skills in reading and writing. Salt Lake Democrat Carol Spackman Moss is the sponsor of the bill.  She recalled some of her personal frustrations as a former high school teacher trying to demonstrate basic English language skills to students.

“What if students already knew how to use a semi colon by the time they got to high school? What if they could identify a complete sentence and know when they had a run on? What if they already knew those basic mechanical things and you didn’t have to go over the proper use of punctuation?” said Moss.

But a large group of lawmakers opposed the bill.  Coalville Republican Melvin Brown said that local school districts should decide what educational tools to purchase.

“I think the program is a good one and I would hope that the local school districts would look at this program and decide if it is worth priortying with the funds we send them, but I don’t think we ought to fund it,” said Brown.

Moss emphasized that her bill would cover the costs of outfitting about half of the state’s students in grades four through twelve. HB69 narrowly passed on a vote of 39-33. It now heads to the Senate for consideration.  

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