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Benjamin Wood

Education reporter, Health, education, environment

801-257-8715, bwood@sltrib.com


  • (Rick Egan  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)    candidates for state school board District 10, Gary Thompson speaks during a debate with Kathleen Riebe, at Channing Hall in Draper, Wednesday, September 28, 2016. Board of Education candidate pledges to quit campaign if Common Core was developed by Utah teachers
    Draper • Common Core, Gary Thompson said Wednesday, is “educational malpractice,” forcing an “agenda-based police system” on schools. The standards a...
    Updated Sep 28 2016 10:43 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Ethan Millard (center) moderates the debate between the Utah State Board of Education’s District 4 candidates, Dave Thomas, the incumbent school board vice-chairman, and Jennifer Graviet, an English teacher at Sandridge Junior High School in front of a dozen people in attendance at Syracuse Arts Academy, September 27, 2016.  The event was organized by the Utah Association of Public Charter Schools. Utah school board candidates debate over partisan, nonpartisan elections
    Syracuse • The District 4 candidates for state school board needed several rounds of rebuttals Tuesday evening as they faced off on the issue of parti...
    Updated Sep 27 2016 10:29 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune)   Ken Eliasen, vice president of operations at Edwards Lifesciences in Draper, gives Gov. Gary Herbert a tour of the heart rings sewing operation, which requires the precision of the human hand. A new Medical Innovations Pathways (MIP) program launched Tuesday will provide high school  students the opportunity to receive a certificate in medical manufacturing. Utah launches program to train high school students in medical manufacturing
    Skyline High School senior Kiera Teerlink hasn’t settled on a future career yet, but she’s leaning toward “medical stuff.” “I just want to help peopl...
    Updated Sep 27 2016 11:11 pm   |     |   Share

  • Utah school board candidate attacks opponent over campaign funds, singles out unions
    Richard Nelson took aim at teachers unions when responding to separate questions about school funding, Common Core and online learning Thursday evenin...
    Updated Sep 23 2016 07:51 am   |     |   Share

  • Utah school board candidates describe distrust, healthy tension between lawmakers and educators
    Park City • When Utah lawmakers don’t trust something, like the public education system, they start legislating, Shelly Teuscher said Wednesday. Teusc...
    Updated Sep 22 2016 11:12 am   |     |   Share

  • Utah schools doing better than public thinks, report shows
    Utah has seen its high school graduation rate steadily rise, including best-in-the-nation gains in 2014 for the percentage of Latino students who comp...
    Updated Sep 21 2016 10:33 pm   |     |   Share

  • Critical thinking or character? Utah school board candidates disagree on the primary goals of public education
    South Jordan • Human nature hasn’t changed since the time of Adam, state school board candidate Lisa Cummins said Tuesday, and it won’t change tomorro...
    Updated Sep 20 2016 10:34 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Wasatch Junior High teacher Ben McGowan runs his eighth-grade history class Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016.  Wasatch Junior High earned enough points to get an A in school grading this year, but the school actually received a B grade because changes to the law make the grades more difficult when too many schools get A’s or B’s. A legislative committee on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016, discussed changing that rule. ‘Why do we persist’ with school grading? Utah lawmaker asks
    Lawmakers signaled their intent to update Utah’s student testing and school grading laws on Tuesday. After nearly three hours of discussion on school ...
    Updated Sep 22 2016 12:26 am   |     |   Share

  • (Francisco Kjolseth  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Brigham Young statue at BYU in Provo. Blogger asks, ‘Why so few women professors at BYU?’
    A student in his first semester at Brigham Young University-Idaho this fall has yet to encounter a female professor on campus. When his father recent...
    Updated Sep 16 2016 08:40 pm   |     |   Share

  • State school board candidates spar over student guidance, self-determination at Provo debate
    Provo • When the television program CSI premiered, Stan Lockhart said Thursday, young fans were inspired to study forensic science, only to discover t...
    Updated Sep 17 2016 09:21 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Steve Griffin / The Salt Lake Tribune)     First grade teacher Heidi Baer works with Edie Wood on a story she had written during class at Howard Driggs Elementary in Holladay Thursday September 15, 2016. School grades down statewide after lawmakers raise the bar
    Utah’s public schools got further away from a straight-A report card this year. New school grades were released Thursday, showing a sharp uptick in t...
    Updated Sep 15 2016 10:00 pm   |     |   Share

  • Niederhauser and Hughes ask business leaders to help defeat UEA-backed school board candidates
    State school board races too often fly under the public radar, according to Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, creating the potential for big-money ...
    Updated Sep 14 2016 09:55 pm   |     |   Share

  • Courtesy  |  Utah College of Applied Technology  Dave Woolstenhulme was announced as a finalist for the Utah commissioner of technical education. USU administrator David Woolstenhulme picked to lead Utah’s tech education system, UCAT
    Utah’s technical education network has chosen a new commissioner in David Woolstenhulme, a Utah State University vice provost and former president of ...
    Updated Sep 14 2016 11:06 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Lennie Mahler  |  Tribune file photo)   University of Utah students walk around campus in April. Lawsuit accuses University of Utah of firing whistleblowers over wasted public funds
    Two former University of Utah employees are suing the state’s flagship university, saying they were fired in retaliation for discovering policy violat...
    Updated Sep 14 2016 08:37 pm   |     |   Share

  • Southern Utah state school board candidates find common ground on testing, home school, federal overreach
    Hurricane resident and state school board candidate Wesley Christiansen favors the elimination of the federal Department of Education. But he stresse...
    Updated Sep 13 2016 11:15 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Wasatch Junior High math teacher Katie Newtzman helps her seventh graders with a math excercise Tuesday September 13.   The school earned enough points to get an ’A’ in school grading this year. But the school will actually receive a ’B’ grade because changes to the law make the grades more difficult when too many schools get ’A’s or ’B’s. Your Utah school’s grade may drop even if its test scores improve
    Kent Larsen was ready to celebrate last week after checking the new school grades for South Sanpete School District, where he works as superintendent....
    Updated Sep 15 2016 08:11 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   First graders in Jackie Marquwez’ class learn a new  dance called ’GoNoodle’ to get their wiggles out to help break up their study at the brand new Butler Elementary in Cotonwood Heights Wenesday March 25.  It is one of hundreds of schools that opened Wednesday as students gear up for the 2016-2017 school year.   Utah school board candidates sound off on teacher retention, Common Core and charters
    This year’s state school board election is both the first and the last of its kind. For years, candidates were blocked from ballot access — chosen in...
    Updated Sep 22 2016 09:40 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Rick Egan  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)    West High teacher Valerie Gates works with Francisco Ortiz, in class at West High School on Monday, Sept. 5, 2016. Gates is the 2016 Utah Teacher of the Year. West High’s Valerie Gates named Utah Teacher of the Year
    Valerie Gates traces the beginning of her teaching career to a story she read as young girl in Montreal. She was in second or third grade, she said, ...
    Updated Sep 10 2016 10:37 am   |     |   Share

  • (Chris Detrick  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Members of the football team practice at Skyridge High School Tuesday August 16, 2016. School board drops challenge to athlete transfer rules, tells UHSAA to fix problems
    Utah High school athletes won’t be allowed to transfer teams at will. Nor will the state school board have final say on athletic conference classifica...
    Updated Sep 09 2016 10:26 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Rick Egan  |  Tribune file photo)   Stevens-Henager College, with a campus in Murray, is challenging the federal Department of Education’s denial of nonprofit status for the school. Stevens-Henager owner offers enrollment aid to students from now-defunct ITT Tech
    ITT Technical Institute shuttered its national chain of for-profit colleges on Tuesday, blaming the schools’ demise on restrictions levied by the U.S....
    Updated Sep 09 2016 08:00 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Francisco Kjolseth  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Kearns football coach Matt Rickards works with his team during practice on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2016. Coaches across the state, including Rickards, are vehemently criticizing a proposal to eliminate restrictions on prep athletes transferring between schools, saying it would create a free-for-all that encourages athletes focus on winning and entitlement, rather than than character development and overcoming adversity. Deadlock on athlete-transfer rule means no recommendation for Utah school board
    The fight over prep-sports transfer rules was pushed into overtime after a committee of the state school board failed to take action Thursday evening....

    Updated Sep 09 2016 12:19 am   |     |   Share

  • (Trent Nelson  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Stan Lockhart smiles at a press conference where Governor Gary Herbert and Prosperity 2020 (business and education partners) announced a partnership to make Salt Lake a top ten location for technology jobs and businesses. The press conference was held at the World Trade Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, Thursday, September 6, 2012. Four finalists named for top job at Utah’s applied technology colleges
    The search for Utah’s next commissioner of technical education is down to four names, the board of trustees for the Utah College of Applied Technology...
    Updated Sep 14 2016 09:24 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Trent Nelson  | Tribune file photo)   In this 2013 photo, students play during recess at Butterfield Canyon Elementary in Herriman, which had 14 portable classrooms. Jordan School District voters that year rejected a $495 million bond that would have eased overcrowding, and the district is now trying again with a slimmer request. Utah Taxpayers Association won’t oppose Jordan School District bond
    A frequent critic of Utah bonding efforts is standing down as voters consider a $245 million proposal by Jordan School District. After meeting with d...
    Updated Sep 02 2016 04:48 am   |     |   Share

  • (Rick Egan  |  Tribune file photo)   Stevens-Henager College, with a campus in Murray, is challenging the federal Department of Education’s denial of nonprofit status for the school. Owner of Stevens-Henager College sues U.S. Department of Education over for-profit status
    A chain of private colleges is taking the federal Department of Education to court over the recent denial of nonprofit status for Utah’s Stevens-Henag...
    Updated Sep 06 2016 07:03 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   BYU freshman James Bernier places his pledge with other during BYU’s ’Start by Believing’ campaign, Tuesday, April 12, 2016 as part of Sexual Assault Awareness month on campus.  Brigham Young University is under scrutiny amidst allegations that students who are victims of sex crimes are routinely investigated, under the auspices of the school’s famously-strict code of conduct, known as the ’honor code,’ and face disciplinary action as a result of reporting their abuse. BYU advisory council preparing final recommendations on campus sexual assault
    An advisory council formed to review Brigham Young University’s response to reports of sexual assault is nearing completion of its final recommendatio...
    Updated Aug 30 2016 10:50 am   |     |   Share

  • (Rick Egan  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)    Maria Olsen and Josh Graham, attended West Ridge Academy, a youth residential treatment center based in West Jordan. Friday, February 12, 2016. Eagle Summit Academy abandons effort to create charter school for troubled youths
    A proposed charter school catering to trauma-sensitive youths and affiliated with an adjacent residential treatment center nixed its plans Friday. In...
    Updated Aug 29 2016 09:08 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Francisco Kjolseth  |  Tribune file photo)    Brigham Young statue at BYU in Provo. BYU, BYU-Idaho named to ‘Shame List’ over LGBT policies
    Provo’s Brigham Young University and its Idaho counterpart were among 102 schools included on the “Shame List” on Monday by the advocacy group Campus ...
    Updated Aug 29 2016 09:07 pm   |     |   Share

  • Multiple cases of viral meningitis identified in Utah County
    The Utah County Health Department is investigating several cases of viral meningitis involving Lone Peak High School students, according to a departme...
    Updated Aug 27 2016 07:31 pm   |     |   Share

  • President Barack Obama awards journalist, Tom Brokaw, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington.  President Obama is presenting the nation’s highest civilian honor to 19 artists, activists, public servants and others. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) McCarthey Family offering Tom Brokaw lecture, essay competition with $2,500 prize
    Utah college and university students are invited to submit original essays for a competition held in conjunction with the McCarthey Family Foundation ...
    Updated Aug 27 2016 10:17 pm   |     |   Share

  • This chart shows how students in Utah performed, on average, on the ACT test, organized by race. The ACT is graded on a 36-point scale. Utah’s ACT scores hold steady as national average slips
    That gap in ACT scores between Utah and the nation tightened this year as thousands of new test-takers drove down performance across the country, acco...
    Updated Aug 24 2016 02:31 pm   |     |   Share