College and career readiness

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The implementation of the Common Core State Standards a set of benchmarks designed to better prepare students for college coursework have set up a debate in the Utah Legislature regarding things like expanding Utah's higher education degree offerings, funding career and technical education, and increasing student performance at the high school level.

The need for improved college readiness and degree completion has become a key issues for Utah leaders, and one that is likely to be addressed in the Utah Legislature 2013 session.

Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, said he intends to sponsor a bill that would mandate and provide funding for all high school students to take a college readiness exam. The proposal is similar to a bill that failed to pass before last year's legislative session ended.

Sen. John Valentine, R-Orem, has sponsored a bill to fund an additional 40 students annually at the University of Utah. The bill cleared the Senate Education standing Committee during the opening day of the session.

The legislature will also get a chance to weigh in on university status for Dixie State College after the Utah State Board of Regents approved the change Friday, Jan. 25.

Utah education officials want two-thirds of the state's adults to hold a post-secondary degree or certificate by the year 2020, up from the 43 percent of adults who currently have a degree. The goal is being driven by Prosperity 2020, a public/private partnership that aims to improve education performance in Utah, and has set goals such as a 90 percent benchmark for students testing proficient in math and English, and for the state's overall graduation rate.

Legislative actions in the education realm can be seen as an investment into strategies toward achieving the goal of improved education, and Utah's leaders are showing signs of putting forth those legislative actions they deem necessary in the 2013 session.

Follow the Deseret News' ongoing legislative coverage to learn more about education and other issues that matter to Utah families.

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