SALT LAKE CITY — After the public pushed back against changes to the state middle school requirements that made arts, physical education, health and other courses as electives instead of requirements, a committee of the State School Board made another attempt Friday to amend the board rule.
Essentially, the committee agreed to language that would largely undo its previous action and clarify parents' ability to seek course waivers.
Arts, physical education and health courses will once again be considered as requirements, although new language approved by the committee attached no credit requirements to the courses. The changes would have to be adopted by the full Utah State Board of Education.
After a 3½-hour public hearing in September, where the changes were largely derided by attendees, "I think we have a clear message we can't keep what we have," said board member Jennifer Graviet.
Graviet said she had received some 50 emails in the past few days asking the board to restore the language to its original state and "maybe strengthening the parent waiver process."
Middle school core requirements include language arts, mathematics, integrated science, U.S. history and Utah history.1 comment on this story
Middle school students also would be required to take at least one course in the arts, physical education, health, college and career awareness, and digital literacy under the new language. The draft language drops specific types of art classes as a nod to local control over course offerings.
Board member Spencer Stokes said he voted to change the rule last summer but he has since had a “complete conversion" on the issue.
"See when the public speaks how much better the policy turns out," Stokes said.