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News » Hits & Misses

Test Questions

Also: Construction Quarrel, Health Progress



Test Questions
Maybe Paul Rolly was looking for another reason to hit the Legislature about their admittedly obsessive and sometimes obstructive interest in public education. Too bad he chose the wrong issue. Rolly railed against the state’s use of the Acuity test, and specifically against Granite District’s disciplinary actions against one teacher who refused to administer the test. Oh yeah, and the teacher took her gripes to her classroom, involving both students and parents. Here’s the thing: Acuity does just what many parents want. It looks at students individually, shows where they need help and moves away from cookie-cutter multiple choice questions. “Students need to be able to find, evaluate, synthesize and use knowledge in new contexts, frame and solve non-routine problems, and produce research findings and solutions,” Acuity states. Yes, this makes it more difficult to grade the tests. Duh. But the job is to teach—and help kids learn.

Construction Quarrel

You’ve got to wonder why Sugar House—Salt Lake City’s Little Engine that Could—gets so little respect. First, the area had to deal with the “sugar hole” for years before developer Craig Mecham finally began construction on the block. Then there’s the ongoing controversy over the proposed 1100 East streetcar route, which has come to be known as the “ghost train,” even though UTA insists that it carries 1,000 riders per day. Now, Mayor Ralph Becker not only wants to develop the little open space by the Boys & Girls Club, but also wants zoning changes for higher density and taller buildings along the streetcar line. While the public will weigh in on the proposal, history shows that the little guy tends to lose out in the Sugar House development frenzy. So much for the walkable-community model.

Health Progress

Finally, good news on the health front. Researchers at Intermountain Medical Center believe they have identified a genetic marker that could predict heart attacks, and ostensibly prevent them. Midvale saw the opening of the Mid-Valley Health Clinic, which serves needy populations—up to 5,000 different clients. The nonprofit Utah Partners for Health secured funding from, ahem, Obamacare to operate the clinic, and the county helped out by discounting its charge for space. Speaking of the ACA, the deadline has passed, despite all the waivers, and people should be signed up. Now, if only Gov. Gary Herbert would see fit to fully implement Medicaid, Utah would be a healthier state.