State School Superintendent Martel Menlove describes the current state of education in Utah as amazingly successful, but with ever-present needs for improvement. Menlove delivered his State of Education Address last night at M. Lynn Bennion Elementary School in Salt Lake City.
Menlove calls public education in Utah the most effective and efficient system in the world. Public Schools in Utah operate with the lowest funding per student in the nation.
Menlove says Utah education continues to be a success story and these are some reasons why…
“One is I think we have students who feel safe in what they’re doing,” Menlove says. “I think we have students who are actively engaged in learning. We have parents and grandparents who are engaged in what’s happening in the lives of their young people. We have community leaders and business leaders who are committed to assisting us in what we’re doing.”
Menlove cited a number of recent accomplishments. Utah’s latest ACT scores are the highest in the nation among states with high participation and the state leads the nation on advanced placement tests.
“And yet as we continue to do that, all is not well. All is not perfect,” Menlove says.“There are things we continue to need to address.”
Menlove says he’s concerned about Utah’s 19 percent dropout rate and according to the latest data, students aren’t doing as well on Criterion Referenced Tests, or CRT’s as they have in the past. This comes as Utah rolls out a brand new computer-based adaptive test this spring. Menlove is asking for patience with that new system.
“The caution I would ask is that we not make judgments,” Menlove says. “That we not make judgments about individual students who historically have done better than they may do in this testing, that we not make judgments about teachers, about schools and about programs.”
The state board of education is requesting the state legislature fully fund growth in public education next year and provide additional funding for 3rd grade reading, middle school math and for addressing dropout rates.