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Benjamin Wood

Education reporter, Health, education, environment

801-257-8715, bwood@sltrib.com


  • Alliance for a Better Utah criticizes tech group for opposing UEA-backed school board candidates
    A Utah advocacy group is calling foul after an association of technology business leaders threw its support behind of slate of candidates for state sc...
    Updated Oct 25 2016 07:54 pm   |     |   Share

  • More Utah students earning college credit as AP participation expands
    More than 25,000 public school students took a combined 38,685 Advanced Placement exams this year, a 6 percent increase in the number of participating...
    Updated Oct 24 2016 08:56 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Kindergartners at Midvale Elementary School play a spirited word-matching game in April 2014. The Title 1 school in Salt Lake County caters to a growing population of immigrants. Teachers say changes in school grading hurts the Utah schools that are already struggling
    After it was named a Title 1 Priority School in 2014 and received a federal School Improvement Grant, half of the teachers at Roosevelt Elementary lef...
    Updated Oct 25 2016 02:19 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)     NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia speaks during the opening of the National Education Association Convention, Thursday, October 20, 2016. NEA president tells Utah teachers to ‘proceed until apprehended,’ calls school board elections the most important in the state
    Sandy • By passing the Every Student Succeeds Act last year, National Education Association (NEA) President Lily Eskelsen Garcia said Thursday, federa...
    Updated Oct 20 2016 11:04 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Scott Sommerdorf   |  The Salt Lake Tribune)     Utah Governor Gary Herbert meets with the editorial board of the Salt Lake Tribune, Thursday, September 29, 2016. Gov. Herbert endorses four Utah school board candidates
    Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is throwing his support behind four candidates for the state school board. In a statement posted to Herbert’s campaign website ...
    Updated Oct 20 2016 10:42 am   |     |   Share

  • Courtesy of Utah System of Higher Education Noelle Cockett was announced as one of four finalists for the position of Utah State University president. Four finalists announced for position of USU president
    The final four candidates in the running for president of Utah State University were announced Wednesday by the Utah System of Higher Education. The m...
    Updated Oct 19 2016 09:38 pm   |     |   Share

  • Utah GOP chairman, NAACP and lawmakers call for audit of SLC schools
    Democratic lawmakers joined Utah Republican Party Chairman James Evans and NAACP Salt Lake President Jeanetta Williams in calling for an audit of the ...
    Updated Oct 18 2016 10:47 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   First year teacher Jane Hart goes over some basic rules for her first graders 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 tech industry group splits school board races into two camps
    With less than a month before Election Day, the battle lines for the Utah Board of Education have been drawn. In an email to its members Thursday nig...
    Updated Oct 16 2016 10:58 pm   |     |   Share

  • FILE - In this Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016, file photo, a Pepsi truck delivers products to vendors at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, Ill. PepsiCo reports financial results Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File) Pepsi replaces Coke as official beverage provider for University of Utah
    Hey, University of Utah fans, is Pepsi OK? After 10 years with Coca-Cola, the university announced Wednesday that PepsiCo will soon be the official b...
    Updated Oct 12 2016 07:26 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Students at Utah Valley University crowd into the Sorenson Student Center midday Wednesday, Oct. 12, 2016. Orem’s Utah Valley University retained its status as the state’s largest school with 34,978 students, a 5.32 percent increase over last year. Enrollment up at all but one of Utah’s public colleges
    Utah’s public colleges and universities enrolled an additional 4,739 students this year, an increase of 2.78 percent compared with the total head coun...
    Updated Oct 12 2016 10:34 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Scott Sommerdorf  l  The Salt Lake Tribune)   A portrait of Leonard J. Arrington hangs in USU’s Merrill-Cazier Library where the writings of the former LDS Church historian are kept. An early 1935 Arrington diary  is in the foreground. LDS Church gives $1 million to Utah State University to boost Mormon studies program
    Utah State University’s endowed faculty position for the study of Mormon culture and history got a $1 million boost from The Church of Jesus Christ of...
    Updated Oct 11 2016 07:54 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Canyons School District board members take a ’selfie’ picture to post on twitter during their meeting Tuesday, April 29, 2014 to name James Briscoe, superintendent of DeKalb Community Unit School District No. 428 in DeKalb, Ill. to lead the district as the new Canyons superintendent.  Survey shows misplaced mistrust in Utah schools, administrators
    Utahns estimate that roughly a quarter of public education funding is spent on school administration, according to a new survey, and would prefer that...
    Updated Oct 09 2016 09:25 am   |     |   Share

  • State board endorses proposal to send more money to schools from Utah lands fund
    Members of the Utah Board of Education voted on Friday to support Utah Constitutional Amendment B, which will go before voters for approval in Novembe...
    Updated Oct 07 2016 08:31 pm   |     |   Share

  • (Steve Griffin / The Salt Lake Tribune)     The Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind host a grand opening and ribbon cutting celebration for the new C. Mark Openshaw Education Center, in honor of the late member of the Utah State Board of Education, in Salt Lake City Thursday October 6, 2016. Education center named for late school board member opens in Salt Lake County
    Porter and Max Openshaw, two of the surviving children of late state school board member Mark Openshaw, cut the ceremonial red ribbon on Thursday for ...
    Updated Oct 08 2016 03:27 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. Campaign checks roll in for Utah school board races, including donation from a Mormon apostle’s son
    The summer months were a fundraising boom for state school board candidates, new disclosure reports show. All but two of the 16 school board candidat...
    Updated Oct 07 2016 08:50 am   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Panelists Justin Sorenson archive creator,  left, Preston Truman, lifelong downwinder activist, playwright Mary Dickson and former Utah congressman Jim Matheson speak at launch event for “Downwinders of Utah Archive” at the J. Willard Marriott Libray at the University of Utah Monday October 3.  This interactive, geospatial archive depicts the story of Utah radioactive fallout related to atmospheric nuclear testing at the Nevada Test Site.  ‘They said it was safe when they knew it wasn’t’: Utah downwinders archive scrutinizes fallout from nuclear testing
    Growing up in the Canyon Rim area of Salt Lake County, Mary Dickson and her sister kept a list of their friends and neighbors who died of leukemia, ly...
    Updated Oct 03 2016 08:06 pm   |     |   Share

  • Courtesy image  A screen shot from a leaked video shows Mormon apostles Dallin H. Oaks and M. Russell Ballard discussing WikiLeaks and Chelsea Manning’s sexuality. A brief look at what’s in leaked Mormon videos
    Church and Islam Date: Feb. 15, 2012 Summary: Leaders discuss a working group that will focus on preparing to spread the Mormon message to the Isla...
    Updated Oct 04 2016 08:47 am   |     |   Share

  • Utahns are concerned about education but split on letting untrained educators teach, poll shows
    Utahns are concerned about education, according to a new poll, but are divided on whether untrained educators should be allowed to teach. A plurality...
    Updated Sep 30 2016 08:18 am   |     |   Share

  • (Al Hartmann  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)   Fearless: Portraits of LGBT Student Athletes photo exhibit was set up in the Shepherd Student Union Building at the University of Utah Wednesday September 28. University of Utah launches Pride Week
    The University of Utah launched its annual Pride Week on Wednesday, kicking off nine days of events that feature photographer Jeff Sheng and fashion d...
    Updated Sep 30 2016 07:06 pm   |     |   Share

  • Two Utah schools earn National Blue Ribbon designation
    This year’s list of National Blue Ribbon Schools includes two northern Utah honorees, U.S. Secretary of Education John King announced Wednesday. Thos...
    Updated Sep 29 2016 06:33 pm   |     |   Share

  • (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 Oct 06 2016 07:00 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