Utah officials, education leaders call for more personalization in schools

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has made progress in recent years when it comes to personalizing education and broadening opportunities for underserved students — but there’s still work to be done.

That was the central message at an education symposium Wednesday, where state officials, policy analysts, and educational leaders gathered to discuss reforms in Utah and elsewhere.

Speakers at the Sutherland Institute’s “Innovation in Education” symposium included BYU-Pathway Worldwide President Clark Gilbert, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Sydnee Dickson, Utah state Sen. Ann Millner, and David Buhler, commissioner of higher education for Utah.

Dickson and Millner, R-Ogden, called for more flexibility and personalization in Utah schools, while Gilbert highlighted some of the nontraditional approaches used by the BYU-Pathway system and other Utah-based colleges. A key component of making educational success more accessible, the speakers emphasized, is meeting students where they are, both literally and figuratively.

“Utah has some great innovation happening” in higher education, Gilbert said in his keynote remarks, citing the competency-based model of Western Governors University, an online school, as one example. “It’s amazing the flourishing that’s happening in the industry. But it tends to happen from people who are not afraid of doing something different than the system.”

Enrollment in the online BYU-Pathway Worldwide program has surpassed enrollment at Brigham Young University’s main campus as of 2019, with nearly 50,000 students around the world participating this year. The program, which offers a tuition that’s roughly half the typical community college tuition, doesn’t require entrants to have a GED or high school diploma. After completing a one-year program that teaches basic literacy and math skills by applying the concepts to practical life situations, students can go on to earn a certificate or degree online.

“We said we need to look at students who never come to campus, who never thought they could access a …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Top stories


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