In August, a divided Utah School Board decided to eliminate the credit requirement for arts, health, careers and PE in Utah middle schools. They initially made this decision without hearing any public testimony and, according to opponents on the board, without real consideration about why these programs have been required in the past or what the value these curricula bring to Utah students. Due to requests from community members, the Board will hold a public hearing on their decision tomorrow.
CALL TO ACTION
- Attend the public hearing TOMORROW (9/20) at 5:00p to ask the Utah School Board to reinstate the arts, health and PE credit requirements in Utah middle schools. Come advocate for the board to reinstate valuable curriculum requirements for middle school students. Let board members know what value these programs give to our children and why making them required instead of optional is important. The public hearing will be held at the Utah State Board of Education Building, 250 East 500 South, SLC, UT.
- Can’t attend the hearing? Contact State School Superintendent Sydnee Dickson to let her know you are opposed to the middle school curriculum changes that eliminate health, PE, careers and arts requirements.
- Sign this Utah Cultural Alliance petition BY TOMORROW. The petition is listed on our Petitions, Petitions! page, which we update daily.
- Many Utah families can afford to address these curricular areas outside of school. This is less true for students at Title 1 Schools in our city center and even more true in rural districts where extracurricular offerings are fewer. All areas of learning should be available to all students, regardless of socioeconomic status.
- State leaders, including Orrin Hatch, have worked toward national measures to address teen suicide. A reduction in health education across Utah school districts is out of step with what Utah voters have claimed is necessary including not only suicide prevention but also more boundary education to address sexual abuse.
- We are a state that values choice at every turn — we want our state, school districts, and families to make their own choices. As Carol Lear suggested in the vote, we are forgetting students also need to make choices, and removing these options from core curriculum limits their ability to do so.
- We shouldn’t accept the standards in the arts have to be the bare minimum and instead could find ways to support co-curricular partners (like Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet in PA) so students of all abilities have access to high quality courses rather than only students with high median income families who can afford certain arts programs
- It is HIGH ACHIEVING kids in suburban and rural districts who are most likely to commit suicide. To eliminate health is to harm the very group of children proponents of these cuts are claiming to support because the cuts give kids no space for mental health support and eliminate critical reprieve from the demands of high achievement via imaginative, physical and creative outlets.
Find more talking points in this SL Trib op-ed, “Changes in curriculum are harmful to Utah’s children.”