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History of Education in Utah

Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia (Links Added)
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Over the years a variety of legislative measures had been adopted to promote equalization in the distribution of state education funds, resulting in a patchwork quilt approach to the problem of equality of educational opportunity. In 1946-47, under the leadership of the Utah Education Association, efforts by a coalition of educational, civic, and business groups succeeded in passing amendments to the Utah constitution and in consolidating the many funding measures so that the quality of the equalization formulas was improved. The object was to establish a state-wide standard which would provide equal educational opportunity for all students and at the same time spread the financial sacrifice more equitably among the state's taxpayers. As a result, Utah was put in the forefront of the national movement to provide equal opportunity and tax equity.

From the mid-twentieth century concerns over such national priorities as defense, veteran's training and equal opportunity led to increased federal involvement in Utah schools. As teachers throughout the nation became more aggressive in the 1960s in their demands for increased compensation, Utah's teachers captured national headlines with a state wide strike and the National Education Association placed the state under a sanction to keep teachers outside of Utah from breaking the strike. With the return to the traditional curriculum emphasis in the 1980s, Utah adopted a structural approach to its reform focusing on graduation requirements, curriculum control and teacher incentives such as career ladders. During much of the twentieth century the focus in Utah's public schools has been upon the way schools can help fit students to the economic and social needs of American civilization. At the same time, and somewhat paradoxically, the schools are expected to meet the individual needs of the students. Utah schools have followed these national patterns.


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