Education News Roundup for August 19

Education News Roundup for August 19, 2011_"Homework - Math" by Marco Nedermeijer/flickr

"Homework - Math" by Marco Nedermeijer/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

ENR apologizes for being MIA yesterday. He had to finishing taking down an old oak tree next to his house that the weather began taking down earlier this week. No. It wasn’t fun. But as a reward for completing three hours of playing around with a chain saw, regular saw and loppers without losing a single appendage or window on the house, ENR attended the B.B. King concert last night, and ENR can testify that the thrill is not gone for seeing the 85-year-old bluesman extraordinaire and his guitar Lucille (http://www.bbking.com/player/default.aspx?meid=1640).

There’s more follow up about the seminary decision in Canyons.

http://bit.ly/qJsDjk (SLT)

and http://bit.ly/rgYir0 (DN)

And Sutherland’s Paul Mero weighs in: http://bit.ly/oW93SS

The Redistricting Committee looks at citizen maps.

http://bit.ly/prvq8r (PDH)

and http://bit.ly/ntzsIY (UPD)

and http://apne.ws/qlFYsA (CVD)

KSL looks at a new administrative program in Salt Lake.

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=16868602

A Davis teacher and administrator looks at the Common Core.

http://bit.ly/pUIaLR (OSE)

New Harvard/Ed Next study on math and language arts proficiency is out.

http://bit.ly/qieePN (CSM)

or a copy of the study

http://hvrd.me/nEVkws

Rhee and Ravitch square off on Martha’s Vineyard.

http://wapo.st/qaam7I (WaPo)

Will Wyoming lawmakers take that state out of the Common Core?

http://bit.ly/o1EOPI (Casper S-T)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

Decision about seminary land questioned by Summum attorney

Common practice: Schools often sell land to LDS Church.

Utahns with better educations fare better in jobs, life and family, new poll shows

Redistricting Committee to go over public maps

A different kind of principal leading Salt Lake District schools

Immersion programs expand through district

Taxes up for transportation costs

Logan ACT scores down

Iron County students, teachers and administrators begin school

Jazz great helps EHS ring in school year

New guidelines may help children of undocumented immigrants

New directive says children least likely to face deportation

Jon Huntsman turns to Twitter to criticize Texas governor

Parents approve of local schools, have negative perception of public education as a whole

Man found naked in girls locker room ordered to prison after 9th offense

Bullying presents problems but communication is key

Volunteers get vandalized playground back on track for Monday unveiling

Honoring those helping to bring new life to Ogden High auditorium

Centennial Junior High: New digs for new year

Moving day for a new West Jordan elementary school gets community excited

Springville student shares music, culture in U.S.-China exchange

Springville high schooler’s death saves lives through organ donation

Road Home gets children from homeless families ready for school

Swapping fashion for back-to-school shopping

WSU plans fundraiser for former athlete

Spirit Day at the Fair

DHHS students to dance at old airport

Deseret News reaches out to community writers

Inside our schools

OPINION & COMMENTARY

The back story

ACT is about more than numbers

Good news, bad news

Go Read Banned Books

‘Elementary, my dear Brigham’

A new mathematics core: A great opportunity for an educational shift

As expected, charter staff cut in half

New SpEd formula for charters

4th down and one inch – and Canyons School District punts

Alternative paths to teaching

Serious MomSense: Back-to-school survival guide for moms

Non-LDS seminary

No tax increases

The GOP’S New War on Schools

The rise of Michele Bachmann reflects a shift in the party’s education agenda.

Arne Duncan blasts Rick Perry and Texas schools

Arne Duncan Can’t Quite Explain Why He’s Dissing Texas

Should teachers visit student homes?

Teacher-Coaching Boosts Secondary Scores, Study Finds

Study: School Drug Testing Not Acting as Deterrent for Males

3 Tips for Teachers Using Social Media in the Classroom

Our digital natives are immigrating

Steve Brill’s Report Card on School Reform

NATION

Can the US compete if only 32 percent of its students are proficient in math?

Among the top-scoring places in the world that participated in a recent exam, math proficiency of 15-year-olds was well above 50 percent. One US state, Massachusetts, cleared that mark, barely.

Rhee and Ravitch, leading schools figures, square off in Martha’s Vineyard

Idaho will pay for SAT for high school juniors

Community voices concern over online education requirements

Lawmakers question Wyoming education standards, test

Book battles heat up over censorship vs. selection in school

Schools look at movies, restrictions in classroom

Idaho charter school loses 9th circuit appeal

Perry Claims Texas Teaches Creationism in Public Schools

Photographer Says ‘No’ To Senior Pictures For Bullying Students

Jennifer McKendrick Says Online Comments Were ‘Vicious’

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UTAH NEWS

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Decision about seminary land questioned by Summum attorney

Common practice: Schools often sell land to LDS Church.

                A lawyer for the Summum religion is questioning Canyons School District’s decision this week not to sell land for a seminary to anyone.

                And, more broadly, he’s questioning the practice of Utah school districts selling land to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to build seminaries.

                A Canyons official, however, said Wednesday the decision not to sell property that had previously been set aside for a seminary in plans for a new high school in Draper was purely practical. And education leaders throughout the state say it’s not uncommon or illegal for Utah school districts to sell land to the LDS Church so it can build seminaries near schools.

                The district’s board decided Tuesday in a closed-door meeting not to sell the land after Summum — a Salt Lake City-based religion that practices meditation and mummification — sent the district a letter this month asking to purchase the acre of property to build its own seminary.

http://bit.ly/qJsDjk (SLT)

http://bit.ly/rgYir0 (DN)

Utahns with better educations fare better in jobs, life and family, new poll shows

                LEHI — Utahns who have a higher education degree or certification have a better income level, feel happier, have a better family life and use less public assistance than those who do not have a post-secondary education.

                According to a new Dan Jones & Associates poll released Wednesday, Utahns with a degree or certification have an income level 75 percent higher than those who do not, and are also two-and-a-half times more likely to hold salaried positions.

                “Over the course of their work life, students who receive a baccalaureate degree earn about $650,000 more than high school graduates — a significant increase over those who end their education right after high school,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Bill Sederburg. “The benefits of a college degree extend beyond monetary value too, as individuals with college degrees experience increased career opportunities, better health care benefits and overall a deeper quality of life.”

http://bit.ly/q942Og (DN)

http://bit.ly/r8Rz20 (SLT)

Redistricting Committee to go over public maps

                After holding 17 public meetings around the state, the Legislature’s Redistricting Committee will return to Capitol Hill today to discuss and review plans submitted by the public through the online redistricting website.

                For the first time the public was able to have tools at their fingertips to allow them to draw their own maps for the state’s boundaries in the U.S. House of Representatives, state House and Senate seats and boundaries for state school board representatives. More than 200 maps were submitted, around 130 attempted to draw boundaries for Utah’s four U.S. House of Representatives seats, and now Utah’s lawmakers are set to evaluate what the public has come up with.

                The committee won’t be able to evaluate each map that was submitted, but legislative staff is expected to have come up with a review of the common themes found in maps. Legislative staff will then present those suggestions to the committee Friday morning.

http://bit.ly/prvq8r (PDH)

http://bit.ly/ntzsIY (UPD)

http://apne.ws/qlFYsA (CVD)

A different kind of principal leading Salt Lake District schools

                SALT LAKE CITY — Usually the words, ‘Go to the principal’s office,” instill fear. But a new type of principal is moving into many Salt Lake District schools that are very different from what is usual.

                The Salt Lake School district believes one of the best ways to help kids learn is to support their teachers. And that is the role of a new crop of principals now heading into schools.

                Take a classroom teacher, add in the administative principal, combined with a coach and you’ve got a pretty good idea of Nicole Warren’s new job.

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=16868602

Immersion programs expand through district

                DAVIS COUNTY — Some of the new kindergartners at Muir Elementary in Bountiful won’t only be learning their ABCs and 123s this year, they’ll be learning Chinese.

                And besides taking on beginning studies in the sciences and early reading, kindergartners and first graders at Foxboro will be parlez-vousing in francais.

                Muir and Foxboro are two of four district schools that will be adding language immersion programs to their curriculums this year, bringing a total of nine schools to Davis County that offer language immersion programs at the elementary level.

http://bit.ly/nGnxSE (DCC)

Taxes up for transportation costs

                MORGAN — With the cost of transporting students rising, Morgan County property taxes will increase this year.

                Since the valuation of Morgan County homes dipped over the past year, the state recommended increasing the tax rate to generate the same money for education as last year.

                Using the 0.006993 percent rate recommended by the state, property taxes on a $200,000 home would increase $69.85 for 2012.

                D’Lynn Poll, Morgan School District business administrator, recommended a higher rate of 0.007044 percent, or an additional $5.61 beyond the state’s recommendations. The school board unanimously voted to approve the higher rate, which will mean an increase of $75.46 on a $200,000 home. The increase will help the district avoid a $100,000 deficit in transportation budgets.

                Dwindling transportation money is the foremost reason Morgan School District officials consider raising tax rates.

http://bit.ly/mYZVa0 (OSE)

Logan ACT scores down

                While the two school districts in Cache Valley saw the highest number of high school seniors to take ACT exams in the 2011 testing year compared to the number of the test-takers in the last five years, the results varied in both districts.

                Cache County School District students scored higher than 21.8 points — the state average — with a 22.4 average composite score on all four areas of the test, while the Logan students scored an average of 21.3 on the college readiness test.

                Both districts scored higher than the national average of 21.1, information released by ACT on Wednesday.

http://bit.ly/nxNPMZ (LHJ)

http://bit.ly/nXQj8n (KSTU)

Iron County students, teachers and administrators begin school

                CEDAR CITY – As students throughout the Iron County School District began the new school year Thursday, Mike Moyle began his first year as the principal of Fiddlers Canyon Elementary School.

                “I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time,” he said.

http://bit.ly/nQSJZZ (SGS)

Jazz great helps EHS ring in school year

                ST. GEORGE – Students at Enterprise High School cheered in the new school year Wednesday with a pep rally, assembly and a little help from retired Utah Jazz player Thurl Bailey.

http://bit.ly/q36FLO (SGS)

New guidelines may help children of undocumented immigrants

New directive says children least likely to face deportation

                Young children brought to the United States by undocumented immigrants will be among those least likely to face deportation under new administrative guidelines announced Thursday by the Department of Homeland Security and the White House.

                In a letter addressed to Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano said the new direction is a way to lighten the load on law enforcement’s push to target dangerous, undocumented immigrants with criminal backgrounds living in the United States.

http://bit.ly/pmtfdn (SLT)

Jon Huntsman turns to Twitter to criticize Texas governor

                Salt Lake City – Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman on Thursday turned to Twitter to attack a rival, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, for his positions on evolution and climate change.

                “To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy,” Huntsman tweeted.

                Although Huntsman didn’t mention Perry by name, the tweet was sent within hours of a campaign stop by Perry in New Hampshire where he was asked by the crowd about both topics.

                While Perry dodged a question about climate change, he has previously said the theory is unproven. On Thursday, he defended the teaching of creationism in schools because evolution “has some gaps to it.”

                Perry spokesman Mark Miner said Huntsman, a former governor of Utah, was “entitled to his opinion” but that the Texas governor believes it’s important for students to get all pertinent information.

http://bit.ly/reZrbL (SLT)

Parents approve of local schools, have negative perception of public education as a whole

                Despite local and national lawmakers being concerned about where primary education is heading, parents today feel their local schools are doing quite well in educating their children compared to parents of the past, according to a new Phi Delta Kappa Gallup Poll, released this week.

                Nearly seven out of 10 parents gave their local teachers an A or B grade on performance, the highest approval in the last 27 years. And an even higher number, 79 percent, gave their oldest child’s school as a whole an A or B rating.

http://bit.ly/n97Y9r (DN)

Man found naked in girls locker room ordered to prison after 9th offense

                OGDEN — A man who police say has been arrested nine times since 1992 for sneaking into girls locker rooms has been sentenced to prison.

                Brian Richard Lee, 47, was arrested most recently in April after being found naked in the girls locker room at Sandridge Junior High in Roy. Due to new legislation police said was made specifically with Lee in mind, the man was charged with a felony.

                Second District Judge Scott Hadley on Tuesday sentenced Lee to concurrent terms of up to five years in prison for one count each of lewdness and burglary, both third-degree felonies. Lee was given credit for time served and ordered to pay $716 in restitution to the Weber School District.

http://bit.ly/nQkJP8 (DN)

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=960&sid=16866901

Bullying presents problems but communication is key

                SALT LAKE CITY — For many kids, the excitement of a new year awaits them as school starts back up. But for those who are the victims of bullying, it’s a terrifying prospect to go back to school.

                Sherry, whose son will be a freshman in high school this year, is hoping for the best. Her son had had problems with bullies through sixth grade into middle school. The family has since switched schools. With a new school, she hopes the bullying this year will stop.

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=148&sid=16870504

Volunteers get vandalized playground back on track for Monday unveiling

                SALT LAKE CITY — What was a negative event at Salt Lake City’s Jean Masseau School for the blind earlier this week became a rallying cry for community members Wednesday.

                Taggers covered the school’s playground destructive and obscene graffiti Monday night. After hearing of the vandalism in local news reports, dozens of community volunteers arrived at the school Wednesday to lend a hand and graffiti-removing expertise.

                Greg Fatzinger, a graffiti removal specialist for the Utah Department of Transportation, came with cleaning equipment in hand, ready to restore the playground’s shine.

http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=148&sid=16851949

Honoring those helping to bring new life to Ogden High auditorium

                OGDEN — Donors and dignitaries gathered Wednesday night for a reception to honor those who helped fund the restoration of Ogden High School’s ornate Art Deco auditorium.

                About 1,000 people and groups donated the $8.8 million raised so far for the room’s historic preservation, seismic upgrade and technical modernization.

                Alan Hall, OHS class of ’63, cochair of the fundraising committee and a major donor himself, joked that he was sealing the doors until the audience of 400 or so coughed up the final $200,000 needed for the project.

                In thanks for one generous donation, the space will now be called the Spencer F. Eccles Auditorium, named for the Ogden High alumnus, Wells Fargo chairman emeritus and chairman and CEO of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation.

http://bit.ly/r5FaVE (OSE)

Centennial Junior High: New digs for new year

                KAYSVILLE — Eighth-graders Lauren Hayes and Meagan Kendall opted out of touring Centennial Junior High School in order to spend quality time decorating their locker.

                “I didn’t want to walk through the whole thing tonight,” Lauren said as she pulled out another piece of tape for her locker partner.

                The two figure they will spend enough time walking the halls of the brand-new school at 740 S. Sunset Drive, Kaysville, when it opens for classes — they will know it inside and out before too long.

http://bit.ly/pdZK0o (OSE)

Moving day for a new West Jordan elementary school gets community excited

                WEST JORDAN — The classrooms of Fox Hollow Elementary will soon be full of students for the first time. The school in West Jordan is brand new and Thursday was moving day.

                Fox Hollow faculty and volunteers spent the day unloading new books, desks, supplies and just about everything else into the new school.

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=1080&sid=16866318

Springville student shares music, culture in U.S.-China exchange

                When Springville High School left guard Benjamin Krutsch tore his ACL at the beginning of football season, he had no idea the injury would lead him to China.

                “I couldn’t do anything for six months — no football, no wrestling,” Krutsch said of the 2010 injury. “So I thought, ‘what would happen if I took voice lessons?’ ”

http://bit.ly/nMYv5e (PDH)

Springville high schooler’s death saves lives through organ donation

                SPRINGVILLE, Utah — Brandon Curtis was 18 when he was killed in a rollover crash at the Springville High parking lot. His death impacted an entire community. His death continues to make an impression, this time saving people’s lives.

                “When he first got his driver’s license he asked both of us what it meant to be an organ donor. And we explained it to him and he said ‘gosh, well if I’m dead and they can use parts of my body, then why not,’” said Brandon’s father Jesse Curtis.

                But Brandon’s parents never imagined that their son’s organs would someday save lives. His eyes now belong to a 40-year-old Orem woman. His heart is now beating again within a 66-year-old man’s chest. And his bones, used in an operation to help a 15-year-old Centerville boy, once wheelchair bound, is now able to walk again.

http://bit.ly/ncD5jx (KSTU) 

Road Home gets children from homeless families ready for school

                SALT LAKE CITY — More than 80 children from homeless families are ready to start school, thanks to the Road Home’s Apple Tree program.

                For the past four weeks, The Road Home has been collecting new shirts, pants, shoes, backpacks and school supplies for children whose families have recently moved into the shelter.

                On Thursday, the children received those gifts, along with free haircuts from Sanctuary Day Spa. Some of children even got their nails done.

                Katrina Sturgeon called the program a “stress reliever.”

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

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=960&sid=16867066

Swapping fashion for back-to-school shopping

                SALT LAKE CITY — Like the saying goes, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure!” That’s especially true if you’re a teenage girl and the “junk” is actually a closet full of somebody else’s clothes.

                Riley Haycock is an energetic 16-year-old girl with a love of fashion. Ideally, she’d love to shop ’til she drops. But with four other siblings, Riley’s family abides by a budget. With a struggling economy and many parents unemployed, back-to-school shopping isn’t what it used to be.

                Teenage girls love to raid each other’s closets and with that in mind, Riley planned a “style swap” to collect gently-used clothing. After gathering hundreds of items, the clothes were laid out for the swap in a church building where young women were invited to come and choose from donated items for free!

http://www.ksl.com/index.php?nid=1009&sid=16845229

WSU plans fundraiser for former athlete

                OGDEN — Weber State Athletics and WSU Student Involvement are teaming up to help out a former Wildcat student-athlete who is in need. We are hoping you can join us for a fun benefit event and contribute to his cause.

                Former WSU football player Dewey Crayton, who is now a football coach at Northridge High School, recently lost his home and all of his possessions to a fire. Many people have stepped up to help Dewey out with clothing, furniture, etc., but he still has a great financial need to get back on his feet.

                On Tuesday, August 23rd, a Dunk n’ Donuts for Dewey event will be held at Waterfall Plaza by the Bell Tower on campus. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

http://bit.ly/oX3D24 (OSE)

Spirit Day at the Fair

                High school students rallied Thursday afternoon to showcase their school spirit during Horizon Credit Union’s three hour Spirit Day competition at the Davis County fair grounds.

                Students from six schools — Davis, Layton, Northridge, Clearfield, Bountiful and Syracuse — competed for the Spirit Day trophy and recognition of their school spirit, but it was Layton who pulled out a victory with winning score of 109.

http://bit.ly/pvogBq (DN)  

DHHS students to dance at old airport

                ST. GEORGE – Desert Hills High School will have an unforgettable homecoming dance next month, thanks to a decision by the St. George City Council.

                After approaching the council for permission to hold the dance at the city’s old airport property, students on the school’s Executive Council left Thursday’s City Council meeting delighted to have the city’s approval.

http://bit.ly/qxyCj1 (SGS)

Deseret News reaches out to community writers

                SALT LAKE CITY — Already recognized as a go-to source for high school coverage, the Deseret News is stretching its technology and journalism resources to include more prep coverage this year — but not on its own.

                The news organization is welcoming student and community involvement like never before, urging citizens to participate in its news production by submitting stories and photographs about events in their community.

http://bit.ly/pH6UXO (DN)

Inside our schools

                Washington County Online School

                Dixie Middle School

                Desert Hills High School

                Pine View High School

                Washington Elementary School

                Pine View Middle School

                Arrowhead Elementary School

                North Elementary

                Canyon View Middle School

http://bit.ly/nFTHRV (SGS)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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The back story

ACT is about more than numbers

Salt Lake Tribune editorial

                If you consider just the numbers, Utah high school students are holding their own on one standardized college entrance exam, compared to the national average. But that quick assessment of this year’s ACT scores doesn’t provide a complete picture of Utah students’ preparedness for college.

                Average Utah ACT scores were above the national average this year at 21.8 out of 36 possible points. Nationally, the average was 21.1.

                We can be proud of beating the average despite spending less per pupil than any other state and well below the national spending average. Utah ranked ninth among all states in which at least half of all students took the test.

                But if we congratulate ourselves too much over that one statistic, we might miss the deeper message in this year’s test results.

                Utah is competing with states that require all students nearing graduation to take the test; Utah does not. If all Utah students, not only those planning on enrolling in college, took the test, the average score might be lower.

http://bit.ly/nPu7BZ

Good news, bad news

Deseret News editorial

                Bad news first: ACT scores are in, and national results indicate that just one quarter of all ACT-tested high school graduates may be ready for college. English scores are the most encouraging, with two thirds of graduates meeting the English benchmark for college readiness; scores in reading, math and especially science are much lower.

                But the good news is that this year’s scores are a slight improvement over last year’s and represent the third consecutive year of improvement. To boot, more students than ever took the ACT this year: 49 percent, up from 42 percent in 2007.

                More bad news: the race gap in achievement may be widening. African-American students are least prepared for college, with only 4 percent meeting all four benchmarks for college readiness. Hispanics are doing slightly better at 11 percent, but this is a far cry from white students (31 percent) and Asian students (41 percent).

                But again, there is a silver lining of good news. More black and Hispanic students are taking the test than in previous years, so the fact that scores among these groups are holding steady is in fact a very good sign.

http://bit.ly/nBVREZ

Go Read Banned Books

Salt Lake City Weekly commentary by columnist Katharine Biele

                There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned book banning to drive avid readers to their local library shelves. The Albemarle County (Virginia) School District recently took Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet off its sixth-graders’ reading lists. For those who love mysteries, this is the one where Doyle introduces Sherlock Holmes and, yes, portrays the Mormons as frighteningly steamy polygamists. Egad, polygamy was church-approved in 1887 when the book was released and, as Adherents.com notes, it shouldn’t be surprising “because the genre is focused on the dark side of every culture and character.” The Mormons aren’t the only ones who’ve been depicted badly in literature. Fu Manchu was not your mother’s Chinese buddy. And The Adventures of Tin Tin—a favorite sixth-grade read—depicts just about every culture and religion in a bad and erroneous light. So, go read.

http://bit.ly/o4ycVQ

‘Elementary, my dear Brigham’

Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Michael W. Homer, a member of The Baker Street Irregulars

                It has been widely reported in the United States and in the international press that a parent in Virginia complained that her daughter was required to read Arthur Conan Doyle’s A Study in Scarlet in her sixth-grade class. The complainant apparently felt that the book is a transparent 19th century anti-Mormon piece of pulp and insisted that it be removed from the curriculum.

                When the Albemarle School Board granted the request, it failed to consider other, more practical and educational alternatives.

http://bit.ly/nG9EhM

A new mathematics core: A great opportunity for an educational shift

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner op-ed by Kami Merchant, a teacher and district administrator with the Davis School District

                States across the country have opted into a new set of content standards for mathematics, known as the Common Core State Standards. Since the adoption of the standards by the Utah State Board of Education in August 2010 districts and schools across the state have been preparing for implementation.

                If you’re like most people, you likely classify your mathematics experiences in school as something akin to an episode of “Survivor.” The eerie similarities of being on a deserted island, struggling to survive only to be voted off the island one by one may even evoke some of the most unpleasant memories of your life.

                In a recent survey, 64 percent of respondents between the ages of 21 and 30 identified memorization of facts or regurgitation of information as the focus of their mathematics experience. Only 36 percent of respondents felt the focus was on understanding connections or applying mathematics to the real world. When two-thirds of the general populace seems to feel they were engaged solely in memorization and repetitive endeavors, we have to ask ourselves what is mathematics really about?

                Any efforts to reform mathematics instruction in this country must first change the perception of mathematics so it is seen as a means of making sense of the world in which we live. The new mathematics standards were written with this in mind.

http://bit.ly/pUIaLR

As expected, charter staff cut in half

Commentary by Charter Solutions President Lincoln Fillmore

                In an announcement that wasn’t a surprise after Utah lost the federal startup grant, positions funded by that grant at USOE have been eliminated, and the state’s charter school section staff will be reduced by half.

                In an email from Director Marlies Burns yesterday:

http://bit.ly/nUxWn8

New SpEd formula for charters

Commentary by Charter Solutions President Lincoln Fillmore

                Since their inception, charter schools have been funded differently than districts when it comes to special education students. That’s changing this year.

                Districts are funded based on a rolling average of the most recent five years of special education enrollment, with growth taken into account. That creates some predictability and protects districts from massive immediate drops in funding if there are decreases in special education enrollment. On the other hand, it also reduces the rate of funding growth if there is a large increase in such enrollment. In short, it’s a predictable fairly stable funding formula.

                Charters have been funded based on actual special education enrollment each year, with the student count taken on December 1. This is unpredictable for charters. Where districts know in advance what their funding will be, charters haven’t known until January. This can also create wild swings in the funding amount as schools regularly cycle students in and out of the special education program based on need and progress.

                Beginning this year, charters will be funded much more like districts, using an average of the previous five years’ enrollment (or whatever years the school has been open, if less than five).

http://bit.ly/pHL5gX

4th down and one inch – and Canyons School District punts

Sutherland Institute commentary by Paul Mero, president

                The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the Canyons School District has decided not to sell a one-acre parcel to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for a seminary building. Instead, the school district has decided to keep the land for its own purposes.

                An LDS Church seminary building located next to a public high school is a common sight in Utah. Utah law allows for “release time,” which permits LDS students (the vast majority of public school students in the state) to take one hour a day in their school schedule for religious instruction. This inclusion incentivizes LDS families to stay in the public school system despite negative and secular socialization. The compromise seems to work in that respect.

                Now enter a new religion, Summum, a “Salt Lake City-based faith that practices meditation.” Summum has inquired into purchasing the school district land that was set aside for a “seminary.” (You can smell the ACLU all over this already, can’t you?)

http://bit.ly/oW93SS

Alternative paths to teaching

Deseret News commentary by columnist Mary McConnell

                I haven’t made a secret of my view that traditional teacher preparation discourages many talented would-be teachers, not least because it requires undergraduates to give up meaty college courses for often (at least in my experience) more vacuous required education courses.

                Yet while more and more teachers are “alternatively certified,” some states are holding out . . . and some school districts are hiring non-traditional teachers at the expense of more experienced traditionally-certified teachers.

http://bit.ly/nsm9TZ

Serious MomSense: Back-to-school survival guide for moms

KSL commentary by columnist Susie Boyce

                DALLAS, Texas — Congratulations, moms! You made it through another summer.

                Give yourself 10 points for every vacation, day trip, swim lesson, movie or game party, family reunion (20 points if yours was particularly taxing), and any other summer happening you deem point-worthy.

                Add 50 points for each of your kids and 25 points for each of your kids’ friends or cousins if they inhabited your house more than 41 percent of the time. Take off one point for each time you wished your kids, kids’ friends or their cousins inhabited a different planet.

                If your point balance is negative, creatively recalculate. All moms deserve a high number.

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=1009&sid=16859444

Non-LDS seminary

Salt Lake Tribune letter from Wendy Copier Vawdrey

                Re “Non-LDS faith wants high school land for its own seminary” (Tribune, Aug. 9):

                When it comes to secular and religious education, the Draper community thinks outside of the box. Our children enjoy the choice of attending well-supported public, parochial and several thriving charter schools, many of which were created and are directed by Draper citizens.

http://bit.ly/rnfWRH

No tax increases

Deseret News letter from Randall Roberts

                My concern is the education component of my property tax bill. I see that the proposed budget contains a 9.29 percent increase in the Davis School District assessment. This is to me an emphatic “no” in this economy given the situation in our nation and state.

                I am sure that the district officials have all kinds of justification and facts to show that this is an essential use of the taxpayers’ money. We cannot increase taxes; we must stop spending more, and cut our expenses to meet the budgets we have. I am sure they swear they have cut to the bone, and there is no more room to cut.

http://bit.ly/qY5JkX

The GOP’S New War on Schools

The rise of Michele Bachmann reflects a shift in the party’s education agenda.

Slate commentary by Dana Goldstein, Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation and a Puffin Fellow at the Nation Institute

                Michele Bachmann’s victory in the Iowa straw poll Saturday represents many obvious things: the mainstreaming of the Tea Party, the overnight ordinariness of female presidential candidates, the increasing irrelevance of also-ran moderates like Jon Huntsman. But her growing popularity among the Republican base also signals something that’s been less widely acknowledged: a sea change in the party’s education agenda. It’s safe to say that the political era of George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind is now officially over, even as the law’s testing mandates continue to reverberate in classrooms across the country.

                As recently as a decade ago, Republicans like George W. Bush, John McCain, and John Boehner embraced bipartisan, standards-and-accountability education reform as a pro-business venture, a way to make American workers and firms more competitive in the global marketplace. Now we are seeing the GOP acquiesce to the anti-government, Christian-right view of education epitomized by Bachmann, in which public schools are regarded not as engines for economic growth or academic achievement, but as potential moral corrupters of the nation’s youth.

                Against a backdrop of Tea Party calls to abolish the Department of Education and drastically cut the federal government’s role in local public schools, Rep. John Kline, the moderate chairman of the House education and workforce committee, has refused to engage in productive negotiations with the Obama administration on how to update and reauthorize the troubled No Child Left Behind law.

http://www.slate.com/id/2301852/pagenum/all/

Arne Duncan blasts Rick Perry and Texas schools

Washington Post commentary by columnist Valerie Strauss

                Education Secretary Arne Duncan, coming out early and tough against Texas Gov. Rick Perry, said he feels “very, very badly for the children” in Texas who go to public schools under Perry’s administration.

                It was entirely predictable that Duncan would blast Perry, who just entered the race for the Republican presidential nomination and who has made it something of a sport to attack the president.

                Just the other day, I wrote that no U.S. governor has been at public odds with Obama’s education policies more than Perry, and that tensions would only escalate. It’s safe to say they have.

http://wapo.st/rnqwUS

http://on.wsj.com/mYM2lD (WSJ)

Arne Duncan Can’t Quite Explain Why He’s Dissing Texas

Time commentary by columnist Andrew J. Rotherham

                Why is Arne Duncan messing with Texas? I asked the Secretary of Education about this a few hours after he injected himself into the presidential-election scrum. Policy wonks like me had woken up to baffling reports that Duncan told Bloomberg Television’s Al Hunt that the Texas school system “has really struggled” under Rick Perry, the GOP governor who just announced he is running for President. “Far too few of their high school graduates are actually prepared to go on to college,” Duncan said in the TV interview, which is scheduled to air this weekend, telling Hunt that he feels “very, very badly for the children there.”

                When I asked Duncan about this dire assessment in an interview I had scheduled today for my next School of Thought column, the former head of the Chicago school system was light on specifics:

http://ti.me/nDTkNt

Should teachers visit student homes?

Washington Post commentary by columnist Jay Mathews

                The new chief of the Chicago public schools, Jean-Claude Brizard, suggested recently that teachers visit the homes of their students. Many people reacted to that badly, as math teacher Jason Kamras’s principal did when Kamras dropped in on his students’ apartments near Sousa Middle School in Southeast Washington.

                The Sousa principal feared for his young teacher’s safety in a high-crime area. Kamras, however, found the visits invaluable. He understood his students better. Parents were more supportive. Now a D.C. schools official, Kamras is one of many educators who think unannounced visits can be worth the risk.

http://wapo.st/qsH173

Teacher-Coaching Boosts Secondary Scores, Study Finds

Education Week commentary by columnist Stephen Sawchuk

                Teacher-coaching linked to a well-known teaching framework paid dividends for student achievement in the secondary grades, according to a study published today in Science magazine.

                In all, the study found a 0.22 standard deviation increase in the scores of students taught by teachers who received a special form of teacher-coaching—roughly the equivalent of an increase from the 50th to the 59th percentile—relative to the students taught by teachers in a control group.

                “This study shows dramatically, clearly, when you implement a [teacher] measure rigorously and couple it closely to a PD system, you get dramatic improvements in student achievement,” said Robert C. Pianta, a professor at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia.

http://bit.ly/qtdiUy

A copy of the study

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/333/6045/1034.full

Study: School Drug Testing Not Acting as Deterrent for Males

Education Week commentary by columnist Bryan Toporek

                Supporters of student drug-testing programs often claim that they maintain value as a deterrent, even if the programs uncover few (or no) positive results. (In this instance, we’re talking about drugs such as alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana, not steroids.)

                Thanks to a study recently published online in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, those drug-testing supporters may need to develop a new party line.

                Male students reported no less recent use of alcohol, marijuana, or cigarettes, regardless of whether their schools conducted drug testing, according to the study. It examined 943 high school students (48 percent female) ranging from 14 to 19 years of age, through telephone interviews conducted in 2007 and 2008. Twenty-seven percent of the students reported that their schools, at least at that time, conducted drug testing.

http://bit.ly/oFxaAl

A copy of the study

http://www.springerlink.com/content/40182687327vg7w2/ 

3 Tips for Teachers Using Social Media in the Classroom

Mashable commentary Dan Klamm Marketing & Communications Coordinator at Syracuse University Career Services

                Social media opens up all new avenues of communication for college students, their classmates and their professors. A typical class may only take a few hours a week, but now with social media, the classroom can be a lively, 24/7 experience. Professors are more accessible, often clarifying assignments via Twitter or sharing content on their blogs.

                Students benefit from these extra communication channels. They can process information and contribute to class discussions at their own pace. They can more easily ask questions of their peers and professors.

                This new layer of conversation also raises questions about appropriate boundaries, such as whether students and teachers can connect online as “friends.” The state of Missouri recently took a stand, declaring Facebook friendships between students and teachers illegal.

                But that shouldn’t discourage the opportunities presented by social media in the classroom. Here are some guidelines for educators using social media effectively while maintaining professional boundaries.

http://mashable.com/2011/08/18/social-media-students/

Our digital natives are immigrating

eSchool News commentary by columnist Karl Ochsner

                Marc Prensky eloquently coined the metaphor of the “digital immigrant” to define an adult who has “immigrated” into the use of technology. This is opposed to a “digital native” who has grown up with and surrounded by technology from their conception.  According to Prensky, these digital natives are more fluent and more accepting of technology than older generations who, from old habits, use technology less frequently and less eloquently than our younger successors.

                When I first heard Prensky speak about the digital immigrants and digital natives, it hit home as an easy framework for my mind to wrap around. Back then, my five-year-old daughter could play Freddy Fish on the computer and read and listen along on an Arthur CD-ROM disk, while I, as a digital immigrant, carried a “digital accent” from my first technology language, such as looking up answers to questions in books rather than searching online for the answers. Worse yet, I might call a person I just eMailed to make sure they got my eMail.  We all have those little stories on how our digital accents permeate technology use today.

                Prensky warned us that it is not “cute” or “a joke” that our digital natives speak a technology-based language that is immersed in their learning, while teachers and society speak a different language.  In the 10 years since Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants was published, educators have struggled to interpret and translate this digital language into an effective curriculum using a potpourri of hardware, software, and Web 2.0 tools.

http://bit.ly/oakVYQ

Steve Brill’s Report Card on School Reform

New York Times Sunday Book Review by SARA MOSLE

CLASS WARFARE

Inside the Fight to Fix America’s Schools

By Steven Brill

478 pp. Simon & Schuster. $28.

                Steven Brill is a graduate of Yale Law School and the founder of Court TV, and in his new book, “Class Warfare,” he brings a sharp legal mind to the world of education reform. Like a dogged prosecutor, he mounts a zealous case against America’s teachers’ unions. From more than 200 interviews, he collects the testimony of idealistic educators, charter school founders, policy gurus, crusading school superintendents and billionaire philanthropists. Through their vivid vignettes, which he pieces together in short chapters with titles like “ ‘Colorado Says Half of You Won’t Graduate’ ” and “A Shriek on Park Avenue,” Brill conveys the epiphanies, setbacks and triumphs of a national reform movement.

                Some of his subjects, like Wendy Kopp of Teach for America, are by now household names; others, like Jon Schnur, an adviser to the Clinton and Obama administrations, are more obscure. But in Brill’s telling, they have all come, over some two decades, to distrust or denounce the unions and to promote the same small set of reforms: increasing the number of charter schools and evaluating and improving teacher quality through merit pay and other measures that rely heavily on student test scores.

                Throughout, Brill reminds us he’s just an objective reporter. Disinterested, however, is not how he comes across. He recounts an educator’s motto to “teach like your hair’s on fire.” For most of the book, Brill writes like his hair is on fire. His sympathies clearly lie with the unions’ most adamant critics, like Michelle Rhee, the controversial former superintendent of the District of Columbia public schools, and Joel Klein, the combative ex-chancellor of the New York City system.

                I say this as someone whom Brill might pick for a jury pool.

http://nyti.ms/rany5x

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NATIONAL NEWS

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Can the US compete if only 32 percent of its students are proficient in math?

Among the top-scoring places in the world that participated in a recent exam, math proficiency of 15-year-olds was well above 50 percent. One US state, Massachusetts, cleared that mark, barely.

Christian Science Monitor

                What do Massachusetts, Switzerland, and Singapore have in common? Their students are among the top performers in the world when it comes to mathematical proficiency.

                As for the rest of the United States, the comparison is more bleak, according to a new report: The US ranked 32nd out of 65 countries (or cities such as Shanghai and Hong Kong) that participated in the latest international PISA, an exam administered to representative samples of 15-year-old students by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

                To researchers who authored Wednesday’s report – “Globally Challenged: Are U.S. Students Ready to Compete?” – it’s yet another cause for alarm about the ability of the United States to compete on the global economic scene.

                “This is an urgent problem…. We cannot continue to ignore the mathematical education of the next generation if we expect to be a … highly productive society,” said Paul Peterson, a professor of government at Harvard and co-author of the report, in a live webinar Wednesday morning.

http://bit.ly/qieePN

A copy of the study

http://hvrd.me/nEVkws

Rhee and Ravitch, leading schools figures, square off in Martha’s Vineyard

Washington Post

                EDGARTOWN, MASS. — It wasn’t quite the Smackdown in Edgartown, but two leading figures in the national education debate politely collided here Thursday over the causes of failing schools and the best ways to rescue them.

                Michelle A. Rhee, the former D.C. schools chancellor whose take-no-prisoners stance shook up the city and transformed her into a leader of the school reform movement, parried with Diane Ravitch, an education historian whose criticisms of charter schools and high stakes testing has made her a hero to teachers’ unions and many defenders of traditional public education.

                The Martha’s Vineyard encounter was the pair’s first faceoff in person, after months of dueling opinion pieces and Twitter feeds. They appeared at a panel discussion about the racial and ethnic achievement gaps, which was organized by Henry Louis Gates Jr., who runs the W.E.B DuBois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University.

                Rhee and Ravitch quickly staked out opposing ground.

http://wapo.st/qaam7I

Idaho will pay for SAT for high school juniors

Spokane (WA) Spokesman-Review

                BOISE – Idaho high school juniors can now take the SAT for free, state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna announced Wednesday.

                State lawmakers in 2007 required completion of a college entrance exam by the end of the junior year as a graduation requirement, starting with the class of 2013. This year, at Luna’s urging, they appropriated $963,500 for a statewide contract to pay for the tests. After a competitive bid process, the State Department of Education selected the SAT and signed a one-year contract with the College Board.

                A College Board spokeswoman said just two other states, Maine and Delaware, have similar contracts with the firm to pay for all high school juniors’ tests.

                “Our goal is for every Idaho child to be college- and career-ready,” Luna said. “For the first time, every Idaho student will have the opportunity to take a college entrance exam, paid for by the state, and to know whether they are prepared for the rigors of postsecondary education.”

http://bit.ly/o5zuoh

Community voices concern over online education requirements

(Nampa) Idaho Press-Tribune

                Residents of Ada and Canyon counties had an opportunity to voice their opinions regarding a controversial proposal that would require Idaho high school students to take two online courses to graduate.

                A public hearing, the sixth of seven held across the state over the past two weeks, was held at the College of Western Idaho in Nampa. Tracy Bent and Mark Browning, representatives from the Office of the State Board of Education, took input and answered questions from concerned educators and parents.

                The proposed rule, scheduled to take effect at the start of the 2012-13 school year, would require students to take two online course credits to graduate high school. That’s down from the eight required credits initially proposed by Idaho public schools superintendent Tom Luna.

                Among the needs cited is a growing demand for technological literacy in the workforce and in higher education, which officials hope this requirement will address.

                Parents and educators alike expressed doubts, however, that this proposal is a good way to serve the state’s high school students. Among concerns raised were the potential lack of immediate availability of online instructors to their students and lack of flexibility to address the needs of individual students.

http://bit.ly/oOTeF2

Lawmakers question Wyoming education standards, test

Casper (WY) Star-Tribune

                Wyoming lawmakers questioned the future of the state assessment and content standards Wednesday during the third meeting of the committee investigating a statewide education accountability system.

                A new state law ordered creation of a system to examine myriad indicators of student, teacher and school achievement, one being the state assessment based on state content standards.

                Lawmakers on the panel took issue with the state Board of Education’s June 2010 decision to adopt national Common Core State Standards as part of new Wyoming standards because they were not vetted by legislative committees. The new Wyoming standards will undergo a second public review period this fall and are expected to be adopted by the board in November.

                State law defines the board’s duty as to “implement and enforce the uniform standards for educational programs.” The Joint Education Committee, along with the Management Committee, will decide whether to challenge the state board’s process.

http://bit.ly/o1EOPI

Book battles heat up over censorship vs. selection in school

USA Today

                U.S. schools have banned more than 20 books and faced more than 50 other challenges this year, the American Library Association reports, and many more are expected this fall.

                “By far our busiest time is the early fall,” says Angela Maycock of the association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. “When students go back to school, we see a real upswing in complaints.”

                There is intense debate over whether those challenges involve censorship or are just parents seeking age-appropriate reading material.

                “It is not a banning when some school decides to remove a book,” says Dan Kleinman, who in 2004 started the website SafeLibraries.org . “They are just following their selection policy.”

http://usat.ly/qb9Q60

Schools look at movies, restrictions in classroom

USA Today

                The superintendent of the Missouri school district that recently banned two books —Slaughterhouse-Five and Twenty Boy Summer, could next be focusing on movies.

                Vern Minor, who heads the Republic, Mo., district, has suggested it take a look at the appropriateness of movies shown in classrooms.

                “The day may come when we have the discussion,” says Minor, who thinks the school district might be able to use standards set by the motion picture industry in deciding which movies to show at schools.

                Though there has been no formal board discussion, Minor has suggested G-rated movies be shown to elementary students, PG to middle-school students and PG-13 to high school students.

                Public schools have long wrestled with the issue of which films are proper for their students.

http://usat.ly/nEVtcF

Idaho charter school loses 9th circuit appeal

Deseret News

                BOISE, Idaho — A federal appeals court has upheld the dismissal of an Idaho charter school’s lawsuit against state officials who barred use of the Bible and other religious texts as a teaching tool in the classroom.

                The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the previous ruling against the now-defunct Nampa Classical Academy, in a decision earlier this week. The Idaho Public Charter School Commission closed the academy last year citing troubled finances.

                The founders of the charter school tangled with Idaho officials over the use of the Bible and other religious texts shortly after opening in August 2009 with more than 500 students in southwestern Idaho. The academy filed a federal lawsuit against Idaho officials in September 2009.

                U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge dismissed that lawsuit, determining the ban did not violate the school’s rights. The academy challenged that ruling in the 9th circuit, which issued a decision against the charter school on Monday.

http://bit.ly/n6ZggR

A copy of the ruling

http://1.usa.gov/pi1e3u

Perry Claims Texas Teaches Creationism in Public Schools

Texas Tribune

                Gov. Rick Perry told a child questioner in New Hampshire today that Texas public schools teach creationism alongside evolution — a statement that state education experts are refuting in varying degrees.

                “No, it is not true,” said Kathy Miller, president of the Texas Freedom Network, an interest group that has lobbied the State Board of Education to keep religion out of public schools. “Texas science standards do not call for teaching creationism in the classroom.”

                David Bradley, a social conservative member of the State Board of Education, said he hadn’t heard the governor’s comments. But when asked if Texas schools teach creationism alongside evolution, Bradley responded, “Not specifically.”

                Still, Bradley said that in Texas nothing prevents a teacher from discussing creationism, or a student from bringing it up in the classroom. “It is not specifically in the Texas curriculum,” Bradley said. But “in Texas, the students are directed to investigate and evaluate all theories.” 

                Catherine Frazier, a spokeswoman for the governor’s office, also said creationism could be discussed in the classroom as students are taught about evolution.

http://bit.ly/ov6Anf

Photographer Says ‘No’ To Senior Pictures For Bullying Students

Jennifer McKendrick Says Online Comments Were ‘Vicious’

WTAE

                INDIANA COUNTY, Pa. — An Indiana County photographer has decided not to shoot senior pictures for a group of high school girls she saw bullying and harassing other students online.

                “I don’t want to photograph them, I don’t want them to be a part of my business image and I don’t want them on my blog,” Jennifer McKendrick told Channel 4 Action News’ Ashlie Hardway.

                McKendrick said she saw four high school seniors bullying other kids on an anonymous Facebook page that went beyond just name-calling.

http://www.wtae.com/r/28907376/detail.html

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