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Included in Governor Jon Huntsman's recently released budget is an intriguing $11 million proposal for what he calls "extended instruction in math and science, involving USTAR centers."
USTAR, of course, is the Utah Science Technology and Research initiative that is already paying hefty dividends at the higher education level. Huntsman recommends extending the concept to the state's high schools.
In short, talented teachers in math and science would be given extended annual contracts and receive higher compensation for working with students beyond the traditional 180 day school year. The students would experience accelerated learning, while teachers in this strategic area would be compensated more generously.
In KSL's view, the concept appropriately takes public education in the direction of an extended school year. It helps address the issue of teacher shortages, and provides focus on a critical area of academic concern.
This bold, innovative idea warrants the support of Utah lawmakers during the upcoming session of the legislature.