Education News Roundup for January 4

Boy Skateboarding_Skate Park/CC/LightOnDude/flickr

Skate Park/CC/LightOnDude/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

Congratulations to Rowland Hall’s Sarah Young, who was named an Albert Einstein Distinguished fellow.
http://bit.ly/ytwtke (SLT)

“Some teachers, even though they may embrace classroom technology, feel policy makers are thrusting computers into classrooms without their input or proper training. And some say they are opposed to shifting money to online classes and other teaching methods whose benefits remain unproved.”
http://nyti.ms/wLBE4N (NYT)

Will iTextbooks be the next thing?
http://dthin.gs/wDJXJO (All Things D)

Despite this study, ENR stands by his old university president Robert Hutchins (OK, so Hutchins had been dead for four years before ENR ever got to Chicago) who said, “Whenever I feel the need to exercise, I lie down until it goes away.” http://www.goodreads.com/quotes/show/1958
And the new study: http://reut.rs/AbTYyP (Reuters)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Rowland Hall teacher receives prestigious Washington, D.C. fellowship Education » Teacher hopes to energize students – and especially girls – about careers in science.

East Elementary to offer dual immersion program for first-grade students

Huntsman hands out iPads in N.H., pitches Utah company Education » Former Utah governor praises what he says is ‘classroom of the future.’

Tooele High Band takes home Holiday Bowl awards

Bullies do long-term damage to themselves, as well as victims

Police officer used excessive force in handcuffing 9-year-old, lawsuit says

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Raising Standards for Head Start

States Expected to Focus on 3rd-Grade Retention

Let’s Focus on Chronic Absenteeism

Common Assessments: More Details Emerge

NATION

Teachers Resist High-Tech Push in Idaho Schools

Superintendents Push Dramatic Changes for Conn. Schools

Union Enters Conn. Debate

Demand there, but tech classes cut
Advocates for technical education in Minnesota blame rising costs and limited funding.

Traditional schools blurring district lines

Apple Event Could Spotlight Jobs’s iTextbook Vision

Want your kids to do better in school? Try exercise

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UTAH NEWS
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Rowland Hall teacher receives prestigious Washington, D.C. fellowship Education » Teacher hopes to energize students – and especially girls – about careers in science.

Sarah Young has encouraged eighth-graders to follow their dreams for the past six years. Now, the 30-year-old teacher at Salt Lake City’s Rowland Hall is going after her own.
Young is the first educator in Utah to receive the Albert Einstein Distinguished Fellowship, which gives teachers the opportunity to spend a school year in Washington, D.C., serving in a federal agency or on Capitol Hill.
Julie Barrett, the assistant head of school for Rowland Hall, said it’s not just a great opportunity for Young, but for Rowland Hall as well.
http://bit.ly/ytwtke (SLT)

East Elementary to offer dual immersion program for first-grade students

CEDAR CITY – East Elementary School in Cedar City is preparing to offer a new program teaching English and Spanish simultaneously beginning in the 2012-13 school year.
Steve Burton, principal of East Elementary, said the school has received a grant from the Utah State Office of Education to start the dual language immersion program in two of the first-grade classes in the coming academic year. East Elementary will receive $5,000 to implement the program in the first year and he said those funds will be used to purchase curriculum.
http://bit.ly/zZheBo (SGS)

Huntsman hands out iPads in N.H., pitches Utah company Education » Former Utah governor praises what he says is ‘classroom of the future.’

Pembroke, N.H. • Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman handed out iPads on Tuesday morning, not to prospective voters in this crucial primary state but to prospective engineers, teachers and astronomers.
Huntsman, in a detour from the presidential race, greeted elementary school students on Tuesday to deliver the electronic devices as part of the Strong Foundations Charter School’s transition to an iSchool, a technology-centric curriculum that’s the brainchild of a Utah company.
The New Hampshire elementary became the seventh such iSchool in the nation, a move that the Park City company chairman, Tom Pitcher, credits to Huntsman’s effort as governor to help incubate high-tech progress in the state and push charter schools as an alternative to the typical education model.
http://bit.ly/xPTxmk (SLT)

Tooele High Band takes home Holiday Bowl awards

SAN DIEGO — The Tooele High School marching band performed Dec. 28 in front of a crowd of more than 56,000 at the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl.
The band traveled to San Diego to participate in a parade and field show competition. The Holiday Bowl halftime performance was the culmination of hundreds of hours of practice and came at the invitation of Holiday Bowl organizers, who contacted band director Marilyn Syra a year ago.
http://bit.ly/xkUAMR (KSL)

Bullies do long-term damage to themselves, as well as victims

MURRAY — In third grade, kids started taunting Tate Harris about his sexuality, “something I’m pretty sure I didn’t even have at the time,” says Harris, now 23. The bullying continued, sporadically, and usually limited to a fairly small group of thugs, through middle school.
In high school, when he joined a school choir, typed notes began to appear on his windshield and the outside of his locker. “You should drop out,” said one. “You should kill yourself,” said another.
He told the choir director he was quitting; he hoped that would end the torment. The choir director told him he couldn’t give in. That teacher talked to each of his classes about bullying and bigotry and being mean. The letters stopped and Harris, today, is grateful he stuck it out. But it wasn’t easy.
National data shows bullying, particularly in school settings, is common.
http://bit.ly/wUQoJT (DN)

Police officer used excessive force in handcuffing 9-year-old, lawsuit says

SALT LAKE CITY — A 9-year-old boy suffered a broken collarbone while being restrained and handcuffed by a Sandy police officer after an incident at school, his grandparents say in a federal lawsuit.
Craig and Britt Hawker claim officer Tina Marie Albrand used excessive force while attempting to get their grandson to stand up and answer questions about an iPad he stole from Bell View Elementary School last August.
Albrand grabbed the boy and placed him in a “lock twist” to get him to stand, according to the complaint filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court. When he began to kick and scream, she forced him against a wall and handcuffed him.
http://bit.ly/x0BTce (DN)

http://bit.ly/z7Irs8 (PDH)

http://bit.ly/zyLhT5 (OSE)

http://apne.ws/xaLm9t (CVD)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Raising Standards for Head Start
New York Times editorial

The Head Start program, which prepares disadvantaged 3- and 4-year-olds for school, has served nearly 30 million children since it was created in 1965. While there is little doubt that the federal program is critically important for these children and their parents, quality varies widely among programs.
Over the years, Congress has tried to strengthen oversight and improve the $8 billion program. In December, the Obama administration put into effect a sensible evaluation system that will allow federal officials to judge the effectiveness of individual Head Start centers and to shut down chronic low performers.
Last month, scores of Head Start grant recipients in about 40 states — including those in New York City, Los Angeles, Baltimore and New Haven — were informed that they will be required to reapply for their grants because they do not meet certain administrative requirements. Those programs will now have to compete with other potential providers, who will have a chance to show that they can do a better job.
These reforms are part of the Improving Head Start for School Readiness Act of 2007, which required programs to raise teacher qualifications, improve classroom offerings and broaden access to vulnerable groups, including children who are homeless.
http://nyti.ms/x88dNX

States Expected to Focus on 3rd-Grade Retention Education Week commentary by columnist Sean Cavanagh

Elected officials in a couple of states are expected to take on one of the trickiest issues affecting elementary schools: how high to set the bar for allowing students to move between grades 3 and 4.
Governors in Iowa and New Mexico have proposed setting a reading skill level for students to advance beyond 3rd grade, an idea they hope their legislatures will take up as they convene this winter.
It’s a proposal that a number of states have shown an interest in recently, though it’s also a controversial one. Critics say flunking 3rd graders risks derailing their education at a young age; but supporters say the policies are needed to prevent students from simply being shuffled on to the next grade without regard for whether they’re ready for the work—a practice they label “social promotion.”
Many state officials have credited former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who placed an emphasis on building students’ early reading skills, with having pioneered the concept.
http://bit.ly/AxITdY

Let’s Focus on Chronic Absenteeism
Education Week op-ed by Hedy Chang and Robert Balfanz (Hedy Chang is the director of Attendance Works, a national initiative based in San Francisco that addresses policy and practice around attendance, and an expert on early chronic absenteeism. Robert Balfanz directs the Everybody Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, and has conducted seminal research on dropout prevention.)

As states and Congress rethink how to judge a successful school—whether by measuring graduation rates, using standardized-test scores, or judging teacher effectiveness—they should make sure to track another critical piece of information: the number of students missing 20 days or more of school each year.
Obviously, missing so much school is a problem for the absent students: By 3rd grade, the children who missed too much of kindergarten and 1st grade are falling behind in reading, research shows. By 6th grade, chronic absence becomes an early-warning sign that students will drop out of high school.
But these absences also affect other students, when teachers have to slow their instruction to accommodate students who missed lessons the first time they were taught.
http://bit.ly/zaTzSD

Common Assessments: More Details Emerge
Education Week commentary by columnist Catherine Gewertz

Happy New Year, and welcome to the Year of the Common Assessments. Or at least the year of common-assessment procurements.
I know; what a nerdy way to usher in a new year, right? Sorry; we can’t help it. It’s part of our job here at EdWeek. One of our ongoing resolutions is to keep you informed about the activities of the two big groups of states that are designing tests for the common standards. And we have some updates for you.
The two consortia—which, you probably recall, are working with federal Race to the Top money—have released documents that shed a bit more light on what the tests might look like when they’re fully operational in 2014-15. We say “might” because there is a very long road to travel between these documents and the final tests—lots of tweaking, field-testing, revising, reviewing. But the accumulating stack of documents offers interesting glimpses.
So what do we have here?
http://bit.ly/wJIRFk

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Teachers Resist High-Tech Push in Idaho Schools New York Times

POST FALLS, Idaho — Ann Rosenbaum, a former military police officer in the Marines, does not shrink from a fight, having even survived a close encounter with a car bomb in Iraq. Her latest conflict is quite different: she is now a high school teacher, and she and many of her peers in Idaho are resisting a statewide plan that dictates how computers should be used in classrooms.
Last year, the state legislature overwhelmingly passed a law that requires all high school students to take some online classes to graduate, and that the students and their teachers be given laptops or tablets. The idea was to establish Idaho’s schools as a high-tech vanguard.
To help pay for these programs, the state may have to shift tens of millions of dollars away from salaries for teachers and administrators. And the plan envisions a fundamental change in the role of teachers, making them less a lecturer at the front of the room and more of a guide helping students through lessons delivered on computers.
This change is part of a broader shift that is creating tension — a tension that is especially visible in Idaho but is playing out across the country. Some teachers, even though they may embrace classroom technology, feel policy makers are thrusting computers into classrooms without their input or proper training. And some say they are opposed to shifting money to online classes and other teaching methods whose benefits remain unproved.
http://nyti.ms/wLBE4N

Superintendents Push Dramatic Changes for Conn. Schools Education Week

The Connecticut classroom of the future may not be limited by a traditional school year, the four walls of a classroom, or even the standard progression of grades, based on a proposed package of unusually bold changes that are being advanced by the state’s school superintendents.
Instead, the current system would be replaced by a “learner-centered” education program that would begin at age 3; offer parents a menu of options, including charter schools and magnet schools; and provide assessments when an individual child is ready to be tested, rather than having all children tested in a class at the same time.
http://bit.ly/Aqpjv4

A copy of the report
http://www.ctnexted.org/pdfs/CAPSS_0101-FullReport.pdf

Union Enters Conn. Debate
Wall Street Journal

As Connecticut lawmakers head into a February session devoted to education, the state’s largest teachers union on Tuesday issued a policy agenda, stepping squarely into the looming debate over public schools.
The Connecticut Education Association, which represents more than 41,000 public school teachers, presented its ideas at a Hartford press conference featuring one of its historical adversaries, the state education commissioner.
The CEA’s report in some cases overlapped with the broad education policy agenda outlined by Gov. Dannel Malloy last month. The union called for expanding early-childhood programs, crafting a mandatory yearly teacher evaluation process, and making changes to current tenure and dismissal rules.
http://on.wsj.com/yLaAdI

Demand there, but tech classes cut
Advocates for technical education in Minnesota blame rising costs and limited funding.
Minneapolis (MN) Star Tribune

Nicollette Spooner has known since she was a little girl that she wanted to be a beautician, but her long-term plan has met some near-term challenges.
Space is much more limited today in Minnesota’s career and technical education classes because the state has slashed more than half of its course offerings in recent years. Demand, meantime, remains strong.
Although it’s what she wants to do when she graduates, Spooner was able to squeeze in only two hours a week of cosmetology at Northeast Metro Intermediate School District last semester.
“It’s what really interests me, so I’ll do what I can,” Spooner said recently while putting relaxer into a classroom mannequin’s hair.
With the climbing price of college, high school students are enrolling in career and technical classes at an unprecedented rate, administrators say.
That demand puts the state’s Department of Education in an unusual dilemma: Despite the growing demand, the number of career and technical classes has fallen from about 2,750 to 1,200 between 2008 and 2011. The cuts are because of flat state and federal funding as well as changing priorities that have school districts focusing on core classes in an effort to meet No Child Left Behind standards.
http://www.startribune.com/local/east/136631848.html

Traditional schools blurring district lines Washington Post

Soon after principal Kevin Lowndes welcomes new students to Wheaton High School each fall, he begins recruiting the next freshman class.
Seven years ago, Montgomery County’s school board placed Wheaton in a group of five public high schools known as the “Down County Consortium.” The board approved specialty themes for each, then invited families in the area to choose the school and program they like best.
The aging brick building in a working-class neighborhood of Silver Spring now showcases its engineering and bioscience programs during open houses and information sessions, in an online video, and during visits to middle schools and informal meetings with neighborhood parents.
“You need to get out there and sell your school and sell your programs and recruit your students,” Lowndes said.
As school choice becomes a mantra of 21st century education reform, especially for the growing charter school movement, traditional public schools also are embracing free-market competition.
http://wapo.st/z4crau

Apple Event Could Spotlight Jobs’s iTextbook Vision All Things D

Apple’s first media event of the year will not see the debut of a new iPad or the long-rumored Apple Television, though it will showcase something equally close to the late co-founder Steve Jobs’s heart: Textbooks.
Sources close to the company tell AllThingsD that the event will involve an initiative related to iBooks in education, presumably with some sort of tie-in to iTunes U.
Details beyond that are slim, though we’re told that this is an effort in which Jobs had been involved with in the months prior to his death. That could mean that it’s the textbooks-on-iPads plan that Jobs famously discussed with biographer Walter Isaacson. Fox’s Clayton Morris is hearing something similar.
The textbook market is certainly ripe for digital disruption, but the players that have emerged so far are pumping in a lot of cash with little to show for it.
http://dthin.gs/wDJXJO

Want your kids to do better in school? Try exercise Reuters

Children who get more exercise also tend to do better in school, whether the exercise comes as recess, physical education classes or getting exercise on the way to school, according to an international study.
The findings, published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, come as U.S. schools in general cut physical activity time in favor of more academic test preparation.
Amika Singh, who worked on the study, said the findings meant that schools should prioritize both academics and exercise and that families could have the same attitude at home.
http://reut.rs/AbTYyP

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