Utah Legislature weighing classroom instruction bills

Published: Thursday, Feb. 16 2012 3:34 p.m. MST

Oquirrh Mountain Charter School students Sam Browning, left, and Luke Hansen recite the Pledge of Allegiance at the school in Kaysville on Sept. 29.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — From the Pledge of Allegiance to capitalism curriculum, classroom instruction is at the center of a handful of recently introduced bills at the Utah Legislature.

• Rep. Keith Grover, R-Provo, would like to see all high school students take a class on free enterprise systems as part of their high school curriculum.

Though HB370 mandates a "stand alone" course, Grover said he's open to the idea of amending it so students could take free enterprise courses as an elective or as part of an existing course.

"I'm trying to start a conversation," Grover said, adding he is hoping to encourage students to pursue their entrepreneurial ideas even before going to college. "You never know, there could be a Steve Jobs in the classroom," he said, describing that goal as especially important in today's economy.

HB370 was introduced on the House floor but has yet to be heard by a House committee.

• Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, is looking to change state law to require all public school students across to the state to recite the Pledge of Allegiance daily.

SB223 would also require that the pledge be led by a student. Currently, elementary schools are required to have students recite the pledge once a day, and junior high and high school students are required to recite the pledge once a week.

SB223 was introduced in the Senate but has not yet been heard by a Senate committee.

• Rep. Stewart Barlow, R-Fruit Heights, is sponsoring legislation that changes current civic and character education curriculum to include instruction about federal, state and county elections.

HB417 specifies that civics curriculum should include instruction on how party caucuses work and the process of selecting delegates to party conventions as well as how candidates from both registered political parties are nominated, and how unaffiliated candidates qualify for the ballot.

HB417 was introduced on the House floor Thursday but has yet to be heard by a House committee.

Contributing: Lisa Riley Roche

E-mail: mfarmer@desnews.com

Twitter: mollyfarmer

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