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Commission's Efforts Already Endorsed by Education Leaders
 
SALT LAKE CITY - The Governor's Education Excellence Commission on Tuesday will consider specific action items and priorities to achieve its overall vision of increasing Utahns participation in postsecondary education and training over the next 10 years.
 
The 31-member Commission will discuss the final section of the Action Plan at its meeting, which begins at 9 a.m. in the Capitol Board Room. These are specific steps to reach the ultimate goal of ensuring that 66 percent of all Utahns ages 20 to 64 will have a postsecondary degree, certification or advanced training by the year 2020.
 
The full plan - including a previously adopted vision statement and five "imperatives" for education in Utah - has been endorsed by the State Board of Regents, the State Board of Education and the Utah College of Applied Technology Board of Trustees.
 
"Improving education in Utah, and thus ensuring a quality workforce and continued prosperity in the State, requires all of us to work together. I value the unwavering support of these three entities," Governor Gary R. Herbert said. "Our next step is to put the meat on the bones of our plan and outline the clear steps that will allow us to reach our goal."
 
At its Oct. 29 meeting, the State Board of Regents adopted a resolution in support of the Commission's work, noting, "the State Board of Regents, with the concurrence of the Commissioner of Higher Education, expresses its support for the work of the Commission, the Governor's leadership and the recommendations presently under consideration ... and pledges its continued support in working with the Governor, State Board of Education, Utah State Legislature, and other stakeholders, to further education attainment and quality in the State of Utah."
 
The State Board of Education also verbally adopted the Education Excellence Commission's Action Plan last week, as did the UCAT Board of Trustees.
 
In a letter to Governor Herbert, the UCAT Board said it is in "complete support of the 2020 Vision Statement" and pledged to strengthen the content and value of its certificates, while bolstering retention strategies and increase focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) certificates.
 
"Thank you, Governor Herbert, for your leadership and dedication to developing a sufficient and well-educated Utah workforce. The UCAT Board of Trustees endorses 2020 Vision and looks forward to working with you in this very important challenge," the letter states.
 
Governor Herbert created the Education Excellence Commission earlier this year to create a "blueprint" for educational success in Utah. The Governor serves as chairman for the group, which has met at least monthly since March.
 
In early October, the Commission adopted its vision statement - 2020 Vision - and five strategic imperatives to achieve the goal: bolster early childhood education; improve instructional quality and curricular alignments; strengthen postsecondary education; align educational attainment and vocational training with economic development; and, utilize technology to effectively and efficiently accomplish strategic imperatives.
 
On Tuesday, the group will discuss specific action items to achieve its goals and outline its priorities for the upcoming year, including:
 

  1. Restoring optional extended-day kindergarten.
  2. Supporting the State Board's plan to achieve 90% proficiency in 3rd grade reading and 6th grade math.
  3. Implementing the Common Core Standards.
  4. Expanding computer-adaptive, formative assessments based on the Common Core and implementing college- and career- ready assessments such as the ACT cadre of tests.
  5. Finalizing and implementing a mission-based funding system for all Utah institutions of higher education.
  6. Encouraging continued collaboration with the State Board of Education, the Board of Regents, the UCAT Board of Trustees, and the Department of Workforce Services and extending alignments to Utah's economic clusters and workforce needs, particularly in STEM-related subject areas.
  7. Encouraging the State Board of Education, the Board of Regents, the UCAT Board of Trustees, and the Department of Workforce Services to produce plans to build upon and expand private industry/public education partnerships such as the Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership.
  8. Creating and funding an initiative to provide high school seniors with the opportunity to complete college general education requirements built on Common Core Standards.

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