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Divided We Fall 

Also: Oh My Heck, Learning for All

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Divided We Fall
We knew the decision on gay Boy Scouts would be controversial, but most interesting is where the controversy divides—and how. As the LDS Church speaks out for conditional inclusion, church members return their badges and vow to pull support from Boy Scouts of America. Former Utah lawmaker Carl Wimmer called it a sad day. Tea Party-er David Kirkham praised this example of equality, while GOP politico Morgan Philpot was “puzzled” because the BSA welcomes boys with “an inclination,” but requires they be “morally straight.” The BSA recently denied the Utah Pride Center’s application to sponsor a gay Boy Scout troop, even with straight leaders. And the Sutherland Institute is disappointed because families should be heterosexual, even though Salt Lake City has the highest number of gay parents raising kids—successfully.

Oh My Heck
You know it’s bad when prolific conservative blogger and former Utah Rep. Holly Richardson proclaims “Oh.My.Freaking.Heck.” That was her reaction to the media revelation that former Attorney General Mark Shurtleff had offered $2 million for someone’s silence. Richardson calls this “one more in an ever-widening sludge pond—a stinking, oozing, sticky mess. ... The arrogant, narcissistic and, by the looks of it, criminal behavior of these men is truly astounding.” Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, has called for Swallow’s resignation. And while the Attorney General’s Office maintains that the news is full of lies, there may be a legal reason why Swallow hasn’t resigned. It’s difficult at best to prosecute a sitting office-holder.

Learning for All
Charter schools are a mixed blessing in Utah and the United States, but with 81 schools packed with 50,785 kids, there’s no turning back. That’s why you need to focus on the good news: accountability and diversity. This year, the charter-school board created evaluation standards for academics, finances and governance—a way to systematically compare these schools that enroll 9 percent of the state’s K-12 population. The state also approved the Utah International Charter School, to open this August. Its aim is to serve newly arrived immigrants, refugees and others from grades seven through 10, with an emphasis on mastering English. “It’s really about teachers understanding cultural differences ... and not expecting every student to act the same way,” says Angela Rowland, a former high school principal and director of the Utah International Charter School.

Twitter: @KathyBiele 

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