Utah Education | KUER 90.1

Utah Education

Phot of a boy playing a handheld video game in front of an old camper trailer. The desert stretches out in the background.
David Fuchs / KUER

St. George — It’s back to school night at Diamond Valley Elementary, and the auditorium is filled with the usual suspects: tired, young parents and restless, wriggling children. But near the back of the room, seated at the edge of the aisle, is a 47-year-old woman with a blue streak in her hair. She’s equal parts exhausted, anxious and out of place. 

Photo of advisor and student.
Utah System of High Education

The Utah System of Higher Education has kicked off an effort to put college advisors in the state’s approximately 150 public high schools by the 2021-22 school year. 

Photo of teacher aide and student.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

The level of excitement and fun was unmistakable on a recent Tuesday in Jeremy Reynoso’s kindergarten class at Meadowlark Elementary School in Salt Lake City. 

Mona Elementary School, sixth grade class.
Krystle Bassett, Juab School District

Today, Juab School District in rural central Utah has a 97% graduation rate, among the highest in the state.

Photo of classroom.
iStock.com / Ridofranz

As Utah faces an ongoing teacher shortage, a growing number of school districts are looking to bump up salaries as a way to recruit and retain educators.

Photo of Weber State commencement.
Weber State University

Almost 29,000 students are graduating this year from Utah’s eight public colleges and universities. The graduating classes for nearly all of these public institutions have grown since last year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean all have seen improvement in their graduation rates.

Photo of West Jordan school groundbreaking.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

The Jordan School District is projected to gain almost 10,000 new students between 2016 and 2022, making it one of the fastest growing school districts in the state.

Photo of Utah Community Action Grant.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

In 2012, when Cindy Taufa moved her family to Utah to escape the growing cost of living in California, she never expected her large family to end up homeless.

Rocio Hernandez / KUER

As student enrollment has increased in Utah, the Salt Lake City School District has seen thousands of students leave its schools in the past three years, Superintendent Lexi Cunningham said Thursday.

Photo of Kunz.
Rocio Hernandez / KUER

Along with the state’s expanding population, Utah’s student enrollment continues to grow. But K-12 education funding is not keeping up with that growth or inflation, according to a report from a children’s advocacy organization.

Photo of lab.
iStock.com / Davizro

The Utah State Board of Education has released a draft of new science education standards for elementary and high school students. KUER’s Rocio Hernandez spoke with Ricky Scott, the board’s science specialist, who explained that for some of these standards, it will be their first update in 17 years.

Photo of capitol facade.
Brian Albers / KUER

Of the 88 education-related bills the Utah Legislature is considering this session to address an array of concerns, student and school safety is one of the most anticipated issues.

iStock.com

The new report cards for Utah schools are out and they’re getting good grades from both teachers and administrators.

iStock.com / Ridofranz

Last month, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert made a plea to former public school teachers to return to the profession but a new survey shows it will take more than a call to service to entice them back.

Photo of U of U campus.
iStock.com / desertsolitaire

Utah’s Board of Regents is being asked by state auditors to be more rigorous in the way its members approve tuition increases at colleges statewide.

Drawing of students in front of chalkboard that reads "refusal skills."
Renee Bright / KUER

 

On back-to-school night recently at Oak Canyon Junior High School in Utah County, eighth grade health teacher Staisha Sheffield was waiting for parents to arrive, and ready to explain — carefully — what she teaches their 12 and 13-year-olds about sex. In Utah, that’s an all-around challenge.

Kelsie Moore / KUER


Teacher turnover is a struggle for a lot of schools. A new teacher is hired, they teach for a year or two and then *poof* they’re gone. It’s often the worst at schools where poverty is high and student achievement is low, but an elementary school in the heart of Utah’s Monument Valley might have a solution.

Austin Diamond/KUER

The Utah Legislature passed a last-minute deal to let voters decide on a gas tax hike. The 10-cents-per-gallon increase would funnel additional money into education and roads.

The Telegram

A student-led newspaper at Herriman High School was shut down briefly over the weekend following a controversial post. School administration has since assumed full publishing control of The Telegraph, causing the students to launch a new website.

Lee Hale / KUER


The pay gap between Utah’s teachers and school administrators is significant. Which means educators hoping to advance their career often leave the classroom behind.