Education News Roundup for April 1

Photo by Claudio Matsuoka/flickr

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Today’s Top Picks:

Those of you still wistful over the 2011 Legislative session can relive it, courtesy of the Hinckley Institute and Utah Policy Daily.
http://bit.ly/h4HIsy (UPD)

Horizonte Instruction and Training Center in Salt Lake City, Wendover High, Eagle View Elementary in Roosevelt and Tse’bii’nidzisgai Elementary in Monument Valley get federal improvement grants.
http://bit.ly/i9frLE (SLT)

“While Utah is often cited as having a high tax burden compared to other states, the burden seems reasonable when compared to Utah’s estimated need for government-funded services, especially education-related services. Utah’s burden for taxes and mandatory fees ranks 16th highest in the nation, but the burden is only 1.7% higher than the national average. Comparing that to the need for public and higher education shows such a tax burden is not excessive for this state.”
Utah Foundation.
http://www.utahfoundation.org/img/pdfs/rr699.pdf

WaPo looks at the Bush (that’d be Jeb, not George W) education reforms.
http://wapo.st/eQdAz4

In closing, ENR will go meta on you and note some tidbits from the latest Brookings study of education news. Here are the top five education topics upon which news is sought by poll respondents:
1. Teacher performance
2. Student academic performance
3. School crime or violence
4. School curricula
5. School finances (tie)
5. School reform initiatives (tie)
Top five sources of education news (sources from which respondent got a great deal or some information):
1. Family/friends
2. Daily newspaper
3. School publications
4. Local TV
5. Community groups
Top five most trusted sources of information (sources rated excellent and good) 1. Family/friends 2. School publications 3. Daily newspaper 4. Local TV 5. Community groups http://www.brookings.edu/reports/2011/0329_education_news.aspx
or a copy of the report
http://bit.ly/g0pM20
or a panel discussion of the report
http://www.brookings.edu/events/2011/0329_education_news.aspx

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Hinckley Institute Legislative Wrap-Up

Four schools get grants to make dramatic changes
Education: Some of the 4 struggling schools will replace principals and convert to charters

Alta High principal retires amid racism probe
Canyons: Mont Widerberg on leave during investigation

3 Alta High students cited in unlawful acts at school amid racial controversy

International Baccalaureate coming to Ogden High

Jordan selects 3 finalists for superintendent

Missing cash, cookies has janitor facing jail

Ogden High disciplines six for hazing

Ogden student earns choral tour of Europe

Utah Students Recognized For Perfect ACT Scores

Career Day held for students at Kaysville Junior High

Thinkers & creators: Sixth-graders solve real-world problems with inventions

‘Literacy Landings’ celebrate 2 Wasatch Front elementary schools

Eagle Mountain teen runs for reading

Book ownership an indicator of education levels

Lehi High School musical remembers lives of Titanic passengers

Star of iCarly, Miranda Cosgrove visits Utah school

Mother Teresa quote inspires Orem school to raise funds for Japan a penny at a time

Inside Our Schools

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Education choice

Alpine School District’s massive dip

Work option a great idea

Blame it on April

Tenure for teachers hurts quality of students’ education

Making Sense of Utah’s Tax and Fee Burdens

Fulfilling The Promise To Our Children: The Fiscal Fairness Act And The Student Bill Of Rights

Is Race to the Top Working?
One year after the first round of Obama’s education-reform program, it’s clear that there is no silver bullet for success. But the winners say their plans are worth a try.

What Jeb Bush doesn’t like to admit

Me and Jay Mathews: IT’S ON!

What does education research really tell us?

Video Games Can Educate, But Only With the Right Controls

Shakespeare and Verlander
Why are we so good at developing athletes and so lousy at developing writers?

NATION

Another brand of Bush school reform: Jeb’s

Ex-D.C. schools chief ’100%’ behind test scores probe

Minnesota losing its new teachers

New education push: 1 million volunteers to help struggling students Efforts to recruit 1 million new volunteers, announced Thursday by United Way Worldwide, hope to scale up successful programs to transform the lives of American students.

Study Flags Drawbacks in Growth Models for AYP

Teaching Little Fingers New Math Tricks

Idaho House to debate cutting driver’s ed funding

In Broward schools, some grass cutters and stock clerks earn more than veteran teachers

White House Initiative Calls Upon AAPI Youth to Become Teachers Initiative Releases Video of Roundtable Discussion on the Importance of Teaching

Senior girl pushes back, allowed to get dressed up, in tux, for prom

Photos of girl’s hairdo on teacher’s Facebook page not so funny, parent says Educator faces discipline for posting pictures of student, officials say

Americans Want More Coverage of Teacher Performance and Student Achievement

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UTAH NEWS
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Hinckley Institute Legislative Wrap-Up

The Hinckley Institute of Politics hosts a panel discussion on the 2011 Legislature with legislative leadership.
http://bit.ly/h4HIsy (UPD)

Four schools get grants to make dramatic changes
Education: Some of the 4 struggling schools will replace principals and convert to charters

Four of Utah’s persistently lowest achieving schools will work to turn around their performance with nearly $6.2 million in federal grants, the State Office of Education announced Friday.
The money, however, means they have to make dramatic changes — replacing the principal, in some cases; extending the school day and/or school year; using educator evaluation systems that take student growth data into account; providing additional teacher training; rewarding educators who improve student achievement and removing those who ultimately don’t after receiving additional support.
The schools include Horizonte Instruction and Training Center in Salt Lake City, Wendover High, Eagle View Elementary in Roosevelt and Tse’bii’nidzisgai Elementary in Monument Valley. They’ll join seven Utah schools that received the grants last year and are already implementing changes. Schools will spend the money over three years.
http://bit.ly/i9frLE (SLT)

Alta High principal retires amid racism probe
Canyons: Mont Widerberg on leave during investigation

Alta High Principal Mont Widerberg has notified the school’s staff that he is retiring immediately.
Widerberg was placed on administrative leave earlier this week, along with Assistant Principal Mark Montague, while Canyons School District investigates evidence of “serious incidents” of racism at the Sandy school.
Widerberg had planned to leave Alta High at the end of the school year to take a facilities job at the district office. He has not returned several phone messages left this week seeking comment.
http://bit.ly/hSwyes (SLT)

http://bit.ly/f7vpO6 (DN)

http://bit.ly/iblH0g (SGS)

http://connect2utah.com/news-story/?nxd_id=138896

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=14960459

http://bit.ly/dUfcmv (KSTU)

3 Alta High students cited in unlawful acts at school amid racial controversy

SANDY — Three Alta High School students were issued misdemeanor citations Thursday following an investigation into alleged racial incidents at the school.
The charges came on the same day that the Alta High Principal Mont Widerberg announced his early retirement.
Controversy has swirled around the school this week since Widerberg was placed on unpaid leave in the wake of a Canyons School District investigation into an incident of a student wearing a white pillowcase on his head that resembled a Ku Klux Klan hood during a recent spirit assembly.
The three students were cited Thursday in connection with that incident for unlawful acts in school, all class B misdemeanors. Two of the students were cited for allegedly sending text pictures of burning crosses on their phones, according to officials. Police would not confirm whether the student who wore the pillowcase was one of the three.
http://bit.ly/h9JWAA (DN)

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=14967063

International Baccalaureate coming to Ogden High

Teachers are now being selected for the International Baccalaureate Program coming next year to Ogden High School. Teacher training is set to take place this spring, according to the Ogden School District.
The program offers students a two-year IB diploma, geared toward preparing them for college.
http://bit.ly/hROYF6 (SLT)

Jordan selects 3 finalists for superintendent

WEST JORDAN — Three finalists for the vacant superintendent position in the Jordan School District have been announced by the school board. None of the candidates come from within the district.
The finalists are:
* Gregory Hudnall, an associate superintendent in the Provo School District.
* Patrice Johnson, an associate superintendent in the Clark County School District in Las Vegas.
* Samuel Ray, a current principal of Provo High School in the Provo School District.
http://bit.ly/gApAf8 (DN)

http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=148&sid=14955546

http://bit.ly/eUklnY (JSD)

Missing cash, cookies has janitor facing jail

A part-time school janitor in West Valley City admitted to stealing cash and cookies, according to court documents.
Staff at Whittier Elementary School, 3585 S. 6000 West, noticed cash and checks missing from a locked cabinet. A secretary also reported that $50 and three boxes of Girl Scout cookies was stolen from her desk and personal area, according to documents filed in state court in Salt Lake City.
http://bit.ly/dX9JOC (SLT)

Ogden High disciplines six for hazing

OGDEN — Six Ogden High School 12th-grade student-athletes have been disciplined following the March 23 hazing of a 9th grade student-athlete from Mount Ogden Junior High.
The incident took place in the high school’s weight room, and involved three seniors, one of whom is a student body officer, coercing the younger student to push a ball across the gym floor with his nose. The victim was not physically harmed. Three other senior class students played a more peripheral role in the hazing, said OHS Principal Trevor Wilson.
No charges were filed, said Wilson, adding the names of students involved would not be released. Wilson also declined to specify the punishment, but did say the students directly involved were treated differently from those peripherally involved.
http://bit.ly/hW9Klh (OSE)

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=14965943

Ogden student earns choral tour of Europe

Abel Benitez, son of Sebastian and Alicia Benitez, 3310 Taylor Ave., has been selected to perform with The Sound of America Honor Band and Chorus, a national performing organization.
Abel serves as a tenor-baritone in Ogden High School’s Chamber Choir and has participated both in the 2009 and 2010 All-State Choir and the 2011 State Men’s Honor Choir.
He will join other select students and musicians chosen from applicants representing nearly every state when The Sound of America begins its 2011 European Concert Tour this July. He is one of only two participants representing Utah.
http://bit.ly/ifaG6o (OSE)

Utah Students Recognized For Perfect ACT Scores

SANDY – Five Utah high school students earned perfect scores on their ACT college entrance exams.
For their attainment, they were honored with a luncheon at the South Towne Expo Center.
Each of the students earned the highest possible score, 36, by receiving the highest points possible in the categories of English, mathematics, reading and science.
http://bit.ly/hIYjSf (MUR)

Career Day held for students at Kaysville Junior High

KAYSVILLE — Some of the 1,300 students at Kaysville Junior High already have an idea of what they want to be as an adult. Other students continue to explore many fields.
Forty-five professionals from a variety of jobs gave those students insight on jobs during the school’s annual Career Day on Thursday.
http://bit.ly/g83HQ3 (OSE)

Thinkers & creators: Sixth-graders solve real-world problems with inventions

RIVERDALE — Drew Filer always hated the blare of an alarm clock on an early school morning.
So the 12-year-old Farr West boy, a sixth-grader at Good Foundations Academy, knew just what he wanted to create for his school’s Invention Convention.
http://bit.ly/fMPEWY (OSE)

‘Literacy Landings’ celebrate 2 Wasatch Front elementary schools

SALT LAKE CITY — Two Utah elementary schools dedicated this week to reading, so KSL gave them a High 5 via Chopper 5.
Our helicopter made a surprise visit to Woodstock Elementary. Students didn’t know they were on the playground to celebrate their reading efforts of 4,000 minutes this week until they heard the buzz of Chopper 5 making a “Literacy Landing.”

Next stop on our flight path, Bountiful’s Muir Elementary, home of the Leo Lions. Leo the mascot, cheerleaders and more enthusiastic students cheered again as the chopper landed.
http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=14964268

Eagle Mountain teen runs for reading

Mountain Trails Elementary School principal David Turner and Austin Brower. EAGLE MOUNTAIN — What started out as an Eagle Scout project turned into much more for kids at an Eagle Mountain elementary school.
High school freshman Austin Brower combined his love for reading and a love for running to raise money for the new Mountain Trails Elementary School — where his younger siblings attend. He noticed the school needed books, so he organized “Run for Reading,” where parents and students could run for prizes provided by local businesses.
http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=14964130

Book ownership an indicator of education levels

SALT LAKE CITY — If you want your children to be smart, look around your house. The more books you have, the more likely they are to go to school longer.
Children with as few as 25 books in the family household completed on average two more years of schooling than children raised in homes without any books. -Research in Social Stratification and MobilityA child growing up in a house with even just 25 books will get, on average, two more years of schooling than a child with no books. Five hundred books or more is equivalent to having university-educated parents.
http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=148&sid=14955737

Lehi High School musical remembers lives of Titanic passengers

The unimaginable grandeur and tragedy of the RMS Titanic’s historic maiden voyage comes to life through the interwoven stories of the superliner’s real passengers in the Lehi High School production of “Titanic: The Musical.”
http://bit.ly/eNwCtU (PDH)

Star of iCarly, Miranda Cosgrove visits Utah school

SALT LAKE CITY – Miranda Cosgrove, one of the stars of iCarly visited Crescent Elementary School, in Sandy Wednesday.
Cosgrove visited the school because over 93 fourth graders signed an anti-bullying pledge.
http://bit.ly/gETbMQ (KTVX)

Mother Teresa quote inspires Orem school to raise funds for Japan a penny at a time

OREM — When Shellie Dean, first grade teacher at Vineyard Elementary School in Orem read a Mother Teresa quote to her class, they didn’t just get inspired, they got moving. The quote, “We can do no great thing. Only small things with great love,” catapulted the children into action.
They came up with the idea to raise money to help other children in Japan. With the support of Dean and Principal Sylvia Allan they challenged the entire school to a week-long competition to see which class could raise the most money. They even taped a commercial to “sell” the idea to their classmates.
The competition began Monday, March 28, and four days later the children had raised $700, which includes 16,000 pennies.
http://bit.ly/hGeruT (OSE)

Inside Our Schools

Vista Charter
Sunset Elementary
Arrowhead Elementary
Dixie Middle
Lava Ridge Intermediate
Desert Hills Middle
Pine View Middle
Tuacahn High
Millcreek High
Pine View High
Desert Hills High
Snow Canyon High
Enoch Elementary
Fiddlers Elementary
Iron Springs Elementary
North Elementary
Parowan Elementary
South Elementary
Three Peaks Elementary
Canyon View Middle
Cedar Middle
Cedar High
Success Academy
http://bit.ly/hLHnmY (SGS)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Education choice
Deseret News editorial

Few systems, it seems, are as impervious to competition as the nation’s public school establishment. The U.S. House this week passed a bill that would reauthorize a competitive voucher program known as the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, but the president already has indicated he doesn’t support this.
He stopped short of threatening a veto, probably because the bill has little chance of passing the Democratically controlled Senate.
http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700123312/Education-choice.html

Alpine School District’s massive dip
(Provo) Daily Herald editorial

The Alpine School District is slowly rolling out plans for a proposed $210 million bond.
District officials stress the most recent version is just a “draft.” That’s good because this is such a major project that the plan must be thoroughly vetted.
They say they are intent on getting lots of public input. That’s also good. The people must be persuaded. Their money will be used to pay the debt.
http://bit.ly/hMHQCE

Work option a great idea
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

Group wants work option for Ogden High Count us as strong supporters of an idea that comes from a group of Ogden High School parents to implement a work option for students to pay for school fees such as uniforms, equipment or instruments for football and drill team.
Having students work to pay for what they receive is not only a sound idea, it reinforces the value of hard work and the respect one feels for earning what he or she has.
http://bit.ly/eFZzUI

Cartoon
http://bit.ly/f6oqak

Blame it on April
(Logan) Herald Journal editorial

In an effort to cope with large budget cuts, Sky View High School plans to convert some restrooms into small classrooms next year, then use the last remaining girls’ restroom as a coed lavatory – girls in the morning and boys in the afternoon.
That was the news this morning on the front page of the Sky View student newspaper, The Catonian. If you just choked on your Rice Crispies at reading this, take a deep breath and check the date on today’s newspaper. It’s April Fools Day, of course.
http://bit.ly/eOMoZz

Tenure for teachers hurts quality of students’ education (St. George) Spectrum op-ed by Tom Garrison of St. George

A major founding tenet of our country is that merit – not birthright, caste systems or hereditary titles – ought to determine one’s fortunes. Judging, criticizing and evaluating are all key attributes of any open-minded, merit-based democratic society.
How does this belief play out in our K-12 education system? Among other tasks, the education system is a crucial component for inculcating societal values in our youth – and merit-based judgments are a mainstay in education. Grades are simply shorthand evaluations of merit.
http://bit.ly/hBON4K

Making Sense of Utah’s Tax and Fee Burdens Utah Foundation analysis

Utah’s tax burden is fairly high when compared to other states. The Fiscal Year 2008 data show Utah’s tax burden ranks 16th highest in the country and fourth highest among western states. For a more complete understanding of Utah’s tax burden, however, it is important to also compare it to the need that exists in Utah for government services paid for through taxes and fees. Estimating Utah’s demand for the state’s six-largest government-funded services shows Utah’s demand for elementary, secondary, and higher education services is well above the national average. The state’s demand for public welfare services and hospitals and health-related services is below the national average. The demand for highway-related services and police protection/corrections is slightly below or roughly equal to the national average.
The fact that the largest portion of Utah’s state and local direct government expenditures is for education-related services—services Utah has the highest demand for in the country—places Utah’s comparatively high tax burden in perspective. Utah’s burden for taxes and mandatory fees is 1.7% higher than the national average, while the state’s demand for education services is 20% higher than the national average.
http://www.utahfoundation.org/img/pdfs/rr699.pdf

Fulfilling The Promise To Our Children: The Fiscal Fairness Act And The Student Bill Of Rights Huffington Post commentary by Rep. Chaka Fattah

Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, has been vocal that education is the civil rights issue of our time. I couldn’t agree more. Our country was predicated upon the fundamental idea of equality, yet in every state in the country we provide poor children less of everything we know they need to be successful.
Our ongoing attempts at closing the proverbial achievement gap through various policies and practices, while necessary and generally well intentioned, have not adequately addressed vast gaps in opportunity and resources. Left unaddressed, these gaps will continue the disparate academic outcomes we witness along racial, economic, language, and ability lines.
I will be introducing the Fiscal Fairness Act and the Student Bill of Rights Act, both of which are designed to amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to address this.
http://huff.to/gbDrLv

Is Race to the Top Working?
One year after the first round of Obama’s education-reform program, it’s clear that there is no silver bullet for success. But the winners say their plans are worth a try.
The Root commentary by columnist Cynthia Gordy

There’s a new conversation bubbling up these days at Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington, Delaware.
“We’ve been researching best practices, visiting other schools to learn about programs that have worked for them, and we are constantly talking about what’s best for our students,” says assistant principal Clifton Hayes. “Vice President Biden coming by last week to celebrate was just the icing on the cake.”
http://www.theroot.com/views/race-top

What Jeb Bush doesn’t like to admit
Washington Post commentary by columnist Valerie Strauss

There is a big hole in the story Jeb Bush tells when he talks about school reforms he implemented in Florida during the eight years he was governor.
It matters because, as my colleague Nick Anderson wrote in this Post story, Bush has become something of a guru to a number of governors across the country who see his program as a model for reforming their own state’s education system.
http://wapo.st/eb5N39

Me and Jay Mathews: IT’S ON!
Commentary by Greg Forster, senior fellow at the Foundation for Educational Choice

Last week I challenged Jay Mathews of the Washington Post to a bet:
“Tell you what, Jay. Let’s make a bet. You say there won’t be “a wave of pro-voucher votes across the country”…[W]e’ll set a mutually agreed on bar for the number of voucher bills passing chambers this year. If we hit the bar, you have to buy me dinner at a Milwaukee restaurant of my choice. But if we don’t hit the bar, I buy you dinner at a DC restaurant of your choice. That’s pretty lopsided in your favor, dollar-wise. How about it?”
Today I’m proud to announce that Jay has accepted the bet!
The terms, exactly as I offered them to Jay over e-mail:
“Here’s what I propose. I win the bet if at least ten legislative chambers pass bills in 2011 that either create or expand a private school choice program. Otherwise you win. Just based on my experience in the movement, I think if we got that many chamber passages, it would mark 2011 as a banner year for choice.”
http://jaypgreene.com/2011/04/01/me-and-jay-mathews-its-on/

What does education research really tell us?
Washington Post commentary by Alfie Kohn, author of 12 books about education and human behavior, including “The Schools Our Children Deserve,” “The Homework Myth,” and “Feel-Bad Education . . . And Other Contrarian Essays on Children & Schooling”

It’s not unusual to read that a new study has failed to replicate — or has even reversed — the findings of an earlier study. The effect can be disconcerting, particularly when medical research announces that what was supposed to be good for us turns out to be dangerous, or vice versa.
Qualifications and reversals also show up in investigations of education and human behavior, but here an interesting pattern seems to emerge. At first a study seems to validate traditional practices, but then subsequent studies — those that follow subjects for longer periods of time or use more sophisticated outcome measures — call that result into question.
That’s not really surprising when you stop to think about it. Traditional practices (with respect to teaching students but also to raising children and managing employees) often consist of what might be called a “doing to” — as opposed to a “working with” — approach, the point being to act on people to achieve a specific goal.
These strategies sometimes succeed in producing an effect in the short term.
http://wapo.st/exZeh6

Video Games Can Educate, But Only With the Right Controls Wired commentary by Tom Luce, CEO of the National Math and Science Initiative and a former assistant secretary of Education

Trading in text books for game consoles may sound like a childhood fantasy, but it’s turning into reality in some U.S. classrooms. Leaving their flashcards in a drawer, some educators are pulling out Wiis to teach statistics, laptops to engage students in game design, and other video games to instruct our children in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
On one level, there’s an inspired sense of symmetry in using today’s technology to teach the next generation of programmers, engineers, innovators, and designers who will create tomorrow’s advancements. (It’s akin to Hemingway using Poe’s work when learning to write.)
Though video games can play a helpful role in advancing STEM programs, they are not a silver bullet. The quality of education, especially in the sciences, hinges on content training for teachers. Even good ideas and the best intentions can crumble without solid math and science content to support them — a concept the White House has embraced.
http://bit.ly/fbd1eC

Shakespeare and Verlander
Why are we so good at developing athletes and so lousy at developing writers?
Slate commentary by Bill James, author of The Bill James Gold Mine 2009


American society could and should take lessons from the world of sports as to how to develop talent. How is it that we have become so phenomenally good, in our society, at developing athletes?
First, we give them the opportunity to compete at a young age.
Second, we recognize and identify ability at a young age.
Third, we celebrate athletes’ success constantly. We show up at their games and cheer. We give them trophies. When they get to be teenagers, if they’re still good, we put their names in the newspaper once in a while.
Fourth, we pay them for potential, rather than simply paying them once they get to be among the best in the world.
http://www.slate.com/id/2289380/pagenum/all/#p2

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Another brand of Bush school reform: Jeb’s Washington Post

The president who turned No Child Left Behind from slogan into statute is gone from Washington, and the influence of his signature education law is fading. But another brand of Bush school reform is on the rise.
The salesman is not the 43rd president, George W. Bush, but the 43rd governor of Florida, his brother Jeb.
At the core of the Jeb Bush agenda are ideas drawn from his Florida playbook: Give every public school a grade from A to F. Offer students vouchers to help pay for private school. Don’t let them move into fourth grade unless they know how to read.
Through two foundations he leads in Florida and his vast political connections, Jeb Bush is advancing such policies in states where Republicans have sought his advice on improving schools. His stature in the party and widening role in state-level legislation make him one of the foremost GOP voices on education.
http://wapo.st/eQdAz4

Ex-D.C. schools chief ’100%’ behind test scores probe USA Today

Former District of Columbia Public Schools chancellor Michelle Rhee says she is “100% supportive” of a broader investigation into standardized test scores in the school district she used to oversee, just days after she dismissed a USA TODAY investigation that showed high rates of corrected answers on student test sheets.
In a taped interview to air this weekend on Bloomberg Radio, Rhee, a national figure in education reform, said she “absolutely” supports the decision to investigate high rates of answer changes on standardized tests during her tenure. “If there were isolated instances of this, those should be dealt with properly and we should actually discount those scores in those classrooms,” Rhee said in the interview, according to a press release issued by Bloomberg.
http://usat.ly/eJF4mk

Minnesota losing its new teachers
Minneapolis Star Tribune

Introducing Minnesota’s latest school dropouts: new teachers. As baby boomer-age teachers postpone retirement and schools’ battered budgets force annual layoffs, the number of new teaching hires in the state has dropped by more than half in the past 11 years, according to state data.
Some leaders fear that heightened public scrutiny of teachers will discourage even more prospective teachers from entering K-12 schools.
“We’re losing teachers faster than we’re losing students, and we’re getting bashed all the time,” Anoka-Hennepin union President Julie Blaha said.
The question she’s hearing more often: “Is this a good time to go into teaching?”
http://www.startribune.com/local/119034519.html

New education push: 1 million volunteers to help struggling students Efforts to recruit 1 million new volunteers, announced Thursday by United Way Worldwide, hope to scale up successful programs to transform the lives of American students.
Christian Science Monitor

Community organizers want you. Whether it’s helping out in a classroom, tutoring after school, or mentoring a teenage church group, they’re hoping to galvanize more on-the-ground service to bring up early reading skills and graduation rates.
United Way Worldwide (UWW) announced Thursday an effort to recruit 1 million volunteers over the next three years to improve education.
People believe communities can’t be strong without strong schools – and vice versa – according to a new UWW report based on dozens of community conversations, focus groups, and polling data in urban and rural settings.
http://bit.ly/i9IhQ4

Study Flags Drawbacks in Growth Models for AYP Education Week

Amid battles over teacher quality and school restructuring, there’s one thing everyone seems to want in the next version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act: an accountability system that measures student growth.
Yet the results of the U.S. Department of Education’s growth-model pilot program, whose final evaluation was released earlier this year, suggest lawmakers may have to do some heavy lifting to include growth in accountability. Not only do state growth models vary considerably, but they also play out in ways that can run counter to the aims of providing greater transparency and better accountability for all students, not just those “on the bubble,” or just below passing rates for their state exams.
http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2011/04/01/27growth.h30.html

A copy of the study
http://www.edweek.org/media/27growth_gmpp-final.pdf

Teaching Little Fingers New Math Tricks
New York Times

Gabi Bagley, 5, dug through a box of Kid K’Nex toys, bypassing rods and cylinders until she found a purple, teardrop-shaped object about four inches long. “Does that fit your hand just right?” said Cyndi Lopardo, her Preschool for All teacher. “Bring it over.”
Gabi was one of four children at Onahan Elementary School learning a mathematical concept — measurement — by searching for items the same length as their hands.
The lesson was developed by coaches from the Erikson Institute to hone the children’s ability to compare and predict size — skills that researchers from Erikson say provide a foundation for success in elementary math but are often neglected in preschool.
Ms. Lopardo has been teaching preschoolers for 17 years at Onahan Elementary. But she said the Erikson coach has helped her create more engaging and effective math lessons.
http://nyti.ms/fxb7Ep

Idaho House to debate cutting driver’s ed funding Associated Press via (Boise) Idaho Statesman

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho would no longer help cover the cost of driver’s education classes at public schools, under a bill before the 2011 Legislature.
Republican lawmakers advanced legislation Thursday to strip state funding from driver’s ed classes, essentially ending the $125-per student subsidy for programs that have been offered through Idaho’s public schools since 1948. The bulk of the money would be redirected into a public school rainy day account.
The changes would leave either students or schools to pick up the slack. Idaho’s wannabe teen drivers already pay $180 to $200 of the total $325 cost of driver’s ed classes, according to lawmakers behind the measure.
http://bit.ly/eIbAy6

In Broward schools, some grass cutters and stock clerks earn more than veteran teachers (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Sun Sentinel

The Broward County School District last year paid about 34 of its painters and 24 of its roofers at least $59,000 – more per day than it paid teachers with 16 years of experience.
Seventeen stock clerks earned $52,000 or more, while 18 grass cutters and three pest-sprayers were paid about $50,000 – each making more per day than most 10-year teachers.
Taxpayers also paid two mail clerks about $49,000, more per day than many 7-year teachers.
For years, the district refused calls from school activists to reconsider what it pays for services. But faced with possible state budget cuts of between $90 million to $205 million, some board members are saying such a review is necessary.
http://bit.ly/gujLOZ

White House Initiative Calls Upon AAPI Youth to Become Teachers Initiative Releases Video of Roundtable Discussion on the Importance of Teaching U.S. Department of Education

WASHINGTON — The White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders issued a call to action today encouraging AAPI community members to consider making a difference in the lives of children by becoming teachers. As the baby boomer generation retires, the U.S. anticipates losing more than a million teachers. Today, AAPIs make up less than 1 percent of all teachers.
In his 2011 State of the Union, President Obama highlighted the importance of teachers stating, “If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation, if you want to make a difference in the life of a child, become a teacher. Your country needs you.”
http://1.usa.gov/fWYki5

The video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVJ0IPE5yac

Senior girl pushes back, allowed to get dressed up, in tux, for prom Chicago Tribune

A senior at Proviso East High School, Belinda Sanchez hopes to one day become a civil rights attorney. On Thursday, the 18-year-old got her first taste of victory, winning the right to wear a tuxedo to her upcoming senior prom.
Sanchez was initially told by the Maywood school’s principal, Milton Patch, that she could not wear a tuxedo to her prom and needed to wear a dress.
“I was just shocked,” Sanchez said.
Sanchez, a lesbian, said has been open about her sexuality since freshman year. She said the school has an active gay-straight alliance and it is very supportive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.
She wound up contacting the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois over the prom situation. On Wednesday, the group sent a letter to the school district backing her position.
http://bit.ly/frHcLI

Photos of girl’s hairdo on teacher’s Facebook page not so funny, parent says Educator faces discipline for posting pictures of student, officials say Chicago Tribune

It began with a 7-year-old asking her mother to tie colorful Jolly Rancher candies to the ends of her braids, copying a hairstyle she had admired in a magazine, for school picture day.
But the girl’s mother said a teacher posted pictures of the second-grader on Facebook, then led online friends in mocking the hairdo. Now Chicago Public Schools said it’s investigating.
The Overton Elementary School principal “said this was a good teacher, but this was a case of poor judgment,” said CPS spokeswoman Monique Bond. “It will warrant disciplinary action.”
Lucinda Williams said that after she complained to the principal, the teacher apologized and told her she had taken down the page.
But, “what bothers me is that (the teacher) still hasn’t apologized to my baby,” she said. “No child should have to go to school to be bullied by their teacher.”
http://bit.ly/dZuddm

Americans Want More Coverage of Teacher Performance and Student Achievement Brookings Institution

Americans want more media coverage of their local schools. In particular, they want more information than they now receive about teacher performance, student academic achievement, crime, and violence in their schools – and more as well about curricula, finances and reform efforts. While there is a great interest in receiving this information through new technological sources more so than ever before (http://pewresearch.org/pubs/1924/state-of-the-news-media-2011), Americans however, continue to rely on traditional media, particularly newspapers, for information on their schools. There is an imperative to improve both education journalism and the ways in which schools communicate directly to parents, students, and citizens.
http://www.brookings.edu/reports/2011/0329_education_news.aspx

A copy of the report
http://bit.ly/g0pM20

A panel discussion of the report
http://www.brookings.edu/events/2011/0329_education_news.aspx

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