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A proposed update to how history and social studies are taught in Utah will get its first hearing by the state school board this week.

The board's Standards and Assessment Committee is scheduled to discuss the new standards on Thursday, followed by consideration by the full board on Friday.

If approved, the new standards will be released to the public for 90 days of review and feedback ahead of a final vote by the state school board.

"With public comment during the summer, we think it will really allow teachers and the public to give some thoughtful comments," said Robert Austin, a social studies specialist with the State Office of Education.

The new standards affect grades seven through 12, which include courses on world, U.S. and Utah history.

The update was written to emphasize discussion, debate and criticism, Austin said, with less focus on the memorization of historical dates, names and locations.

And Utah history classes would be broadened under the new standards, with content moving beyond the founding of the state by Mormon pioneers.

"These standards are pushing us to try to do new and different and, we hope, better things with students," Austin said.

The state school board was expected to take a preliminary vote on the new standards in December, but they were pulled from the agenda to give the writing team more time to fine-tune the language before a 90-day review period, Austin said.

Additional focus groups with Utah teachers were held in January and February, he said, leading to additional proposed changes.

"They gave us some great feedback," Austin said. "We made some adjustments based on that and now we're ready to put them out for public comment."

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