The Utah Legislature has finished its first week of the 2016 session and Prosperity 2020 is tracking several House and Senate bills that we believe are crucial to our cause.   These bills range from the annual push to adequately fund growth in Utah schools to support for additional opportunities for teacher development and early childhood education.

Each week during the session, we will feature a few of this session’s key bills in this newsletter to give you a better idea of the specific legislation that is crucial to our objectives.

House Bill 42:  Optional Enhanced Kindergarten Amendments sponsored by Representative V. Lowry Snow. 

This bill would require the State Board of Education to develop kindergarten entry and exit assessments as well as create a grant program to support a kindergarten academic improvement program. This bill directs  $17,500,000  to be allocated to qualifying school districts.

Exhaustive research has shown that Kindergarten has a heavy impact on the life-long learning ability of students.  If student fall behind in the basic learning skills taught in kindergarten, how will they catch up as the curriculum gets increasingly difficult?

This bill will use enhanced kindergarten programs to target at-risk students who don’t learn at an appropriate reading level and follow up with them until grade 3. It will also identify and advance students who are beyond grade level and provide consistant support for those students at grade level. This program will also use an evidence-based early intervention model that will focus on academically improving the literacy and numeracy skills of kindergartners.

The assessment tests that will be developed will be evaluated by an independent consultants that the State Board of Education chooses.    They will gauge performance by the program participants and  report the results annually to the Education Interim Committee as well as the Governor.