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Utah State School Board District 4

The Utah State Board of Education is an elected executive agency of the Utah state government, responsible for managing the state's public K-12 education. The board is composed of 15 members elected to four-year terms to represent one of the state's 15 education districts. The 2020 election is the first time board members are being elected in partisan races.

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    Brent Strate

Biographical Information

How do your background and skills prepare you to become a member of the State Board of Education?

What will be your priorities in addressing Utah’s education system?

A proposed constitutional amendment to allow income tax revenue to be used for pur-poses other than education. Does the proposed change provide for adequate funding for K-12 and higher education?

Do Utah schools spend too much time testing? Are there other methods of evaluation that might work better?

What difference will it make now that state school board candidates will run in partisan elections? Should local school board elections also be partisan?

Campaign Email Address
Campaign Phone (801) 660-9432
Current Employment U.S. History Teacher, Bonneville H.S. South Ogden City Council
Education Associates of Science - Snow College Bachelor of Science - Utah State University MAED - University of Phoenix
Campaign Website
There are three main areas that have prepared me to become a member of the State Board of Education.

Teacher- I have spent 29 years in the classroom, at both the junior high and high school level. This has given me a rich educational background, and more importantly the desire to improve my craft has kept me energized and willing to grow and change.

AAPAC- Over the past 2 years I have also had the opportunity to impact the broader educational community by serving on AAPAC. AAPAC is an acronym for Assessment and Accountability Policy Advisory Committee. AAPAC is an advisory body that provides recommendations to the State Board regarding the various state assessments.

Community- I have served on the South Ogden City Council for 9 years. Through this position, I have developed the skills of seeking feedback from stakeholders and effective consensus building. Most importantly, I have worked as a bridge builder between opposing viewpoints.
My priorities in addressing Utah’s education system are student learning, curriculum standards, profession of teaching and control of resources.

Student Learning- Schools exist to prepare students to become productive members of society and good citizens. All students deserve the best education that the State of Utah can provide.

Curriculum Standards- Champion our home grown Utah Core Standards as the basis of quality instruction. Involve all stakeholders in standards development. Provide resources to districts to further develop personalized and blended learning.

Profession of Teaching- Provide resources to districts to further invest in our teachers through paid professional learning, collaboration, and curriculum development.

Control of Resources- Promote the WPU (Weighted Pupil Unit) as the fundamental pillar of education funding in Utah. Support school district strategic plans through local control of funding and curriculum. Respect the taxpayers' dollars.
I am hopeful that the proposed constitutional amendment will be good for education. One of the major linchpins of the original agreement was a 6% increase in the WPU. The legislature engaged multiple education stakeholders to craft legislation that in the end was endorsed widely. This is a welcome step that will serve education well over the long run. The general consensus that has been voiced by many is that this constitutional amendment will guarantee both funding and revenue for education. I always have some hesitancy whenever the term guarantee is used regarding money and government, but I like that a coalition was established. This all occurred before Covid-19 took its toll on the Utah economy. I am again hopeful that legislative leaders will once again engage education stakeholders in the inevitable discussions regarding the fiscal impact of Covid-19 on education. Leadership that can build consensus during difficult times is absolutely essential.
No Utah schools don't spend too much time testing. State mandated summative tests take less than a combined eight hours of administration time. The real issue is not the test itself, but how the data is used. More focus needs to be on student learning and growth. As a classroom teacher I assess everything, especially myself. It keeps me sharp and always improving. I also assess student learning in every class, every day. I need to know as a teacher if my students are making connections with the curriculum. I strive diligently to assist my students in being proficient in the Utah Core Standards. There are two types of assessment, one is formative which is the type of assessment described above. It happens every day and is often informal in nature. Summative assessments are tests given at the the end of a learning period. They provide valuable data on student growth and proficency, but have often been misused and focused too much on single letter school grades.
The majority of Utahns are not in favor of partisan elections for either local or state school boards. In addition, all municipal mayors and councils are elected as non-partisan representatives of their cities. As a member of the South Ogden City Council I have never had a reason to declare myself as a Republican on any issue. I am proud to be a Republican and under the current rules running as a Republican for the State School Board. I believe however that it would be best for our schools and society in general if all local and state school boards remain non-partisan. Solution - have the governor appoint the State School Board. Utah is one of only 11 states that currently elect state school boards. In most states it is an appointed office by the governor. When resignations have occurred on the board, Governor Herbert has made excellent choices on mid-term appointments.