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Education Choice Conference to Convene at Snowbird

News Release
August 09, 2005

Salt Lake City, Utah*The Huntsman Administration will join administrations from six states at Snowbird's Cliff Lodge, August 11 and 12 to talk about expanding choice options in education. The Conference is hosted by the National Governor's Association's Center for Best Practices to encourage dialogue among education stakeholders regarding school choice policy. Those options include open enrollment within and among school districts, increased charter schools and tuition vouchers (tuition tax credits for Utah). All are hotly debated topics among educations policy makers throughout the nation.

One goal of the conference is to ensure that all students, especially student in persistently low-performing schools, have many options for transferring to high-performing schools. Some states, like Florida, offer families a choice of schools with different programs, curricula, and instructional techniques to enable parents to select a school that best meets their children's needs. In Utah, a private school tuition reimbursement program for special education students was recently passed by the Legislature.

"Empowering parents to take a more proactive role in the education of their children is vital to the long term success of our families and our state," said Tim Bridgewater, Utah Deputy of Education. "Exploring education choice options will also carry the benefit of reducing class size from Utah's current average of twenty-two. National research shows that lower class size, especially in the early grades has a significant improvement on student achievement."

Governor Huntsman will also host an Education Summit on August 30, 2005, to discuss various education policies including funding and student achievement which has shown some troubling trends over the past ten years.

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