Education News Roundup: March 6, 2012

Computing Sciences outreach program for high school students/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory/CC/flickr

Computing Sciences outreach program for high school students/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

House kills Rep.Dougall’s backpack funding.
http://bit.ly/xZqS23 (PDH)

Common core debate continues in Senate.
http://bit.ly/yd1RBB (SLT)

Sen. Urquhart’s college readiness bill advances.
http://bit.ly/wUhDGy (SLT)

As does his concurrent enrollment bill.
http://bit.ly/wrodaN (DN)

U.S. Department of Education’s Civil Rights Data Collection’s 2009-10 statistics are released.
http://nyti.ms/ABNQ9e (NYT)
and http://apne.ws/xYPNjC (AP)
and http://reut.rs/xNwVJA (Reuters)
and http://bit.ly/zp1aq2 (Ed Week)
or http://1.usa.gov/zb7Nqi (ED)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

House rejects Dougall’s education savings account bill

Utah to U.S. education secretary: State controls standards Education » State chief writes letter in wake of conservative controversy.

Bill to check college readiness advances
SB286 » Senators unanimous in support of a measure to set up online assessment.

Senate passes concurrent enrollment bill

Senator: Dual-immersion program in danger Education » Budget chairman warns that expansion in jeopardy.

Bill seeks transparency for charter school funding

Utahns who would give money to schools couldn’t play favorites

Early Education Asking For Funding To Help Kids

Autism funding becomes stumbling block in budget Health » Pilot program a priority for House, but the Senate doesn’t seem too willing to play ball.

Utah Senators kill resolution asking them to visit schools Education » Measure proposed that after visiting, lawmakers file report on public website.

Utah lawmakers mull legal options in federal lands debate

Prosperity 2020 Leaders Praise Legislature, Issue Call to Action

Utah Company Donates $150,000 To Math, Science

Videos asking ‘Am I pretty or ugly?’ alarm experts, school administrators

Judge Memorial’s alcohol incident becomes a teaching moment for girls basketball squad

Swim Team Admits Timing Mistake, Forfeits State

Neighborhood incident triggers lockdown at Franklin Elementary

Murray hosting early children ed programs

Civics Central

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Shameful vote
Class-size-reduction bill needed

Getting the facts
Alternative sex-ed filling gap

More federal land debate

Authentic accountability in education

Another bite at parents pulling the trigger on schools

Poor teachers should be dealt with in subtle way

Editorial undermined state’s rights to land

Federal properties in Utah

Utah surrendered lands when it became a state

Sex education

Romney, Santorum, Paul, Gingrich: Where they stand now on education

New AP Courses to Emphasize Critical Thinking and Research

An Open Letter From Undocumented Students

NATION

Schools Get Tough With Third-Graders: Read Or Flunk

Black Students Face More Discipline, Data Suggests

Parent trigger: School tests California law that allows takeover via petition

Minn. school district settles bullying lawsuits

Idaho public schools budget to fund laptop program

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UTAH NEWS
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House rejects Dougall’s education savings account bill

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah House members weren’t ready to adopt a new idea for public school funding that would have allowed students to choose where they take their high school classes.
Rep. John Dougall, R-Highland, got the idea for House Bill 123 in 2008, when a group of teachers in Alpine School District were looking at ways to fund public education.
“Imagine, if you will, a world where parents and students saw how the money in public education was actually spent,” Dougall said. “Imagine, if you will, if we tore down the barriers where, if students wanted to go to a neighboring school district they were told yes.”
Dougall’s proposal started as a statewide plan but was amended to become a pilot program in which 500 students could take part.
The plan called for students to have a savings account with $6,400 a year to spend at any public, charter or online school in the state, giving them options to take classes where students thought they could best succeed.
Some members in the House were concerned about the logistics of the plan.
http://bit.ly/xZqS23 (PDH)

Utah to U.S. education secretary: State controls standards Education » State chief writes letter in wake of conservative controversy.

State Superintendent Larry Shumway sent a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Education on Monday reaffirming Utah’s right to complete control over new Common Core academic standards.
It’s a letter that comes after months of criticism from conservative groups and lawmakers over the Common Core standards, which Utah has adopted. The standards were developed as part of a states-led initiative and outline the concepts students should learn in each grade.
Many educators and state education leaders say they’ll increase rigor in Utah schools. Opponents, however, worry that Utah is giving up local control over schools by implementing them.
“On behalf of the [state school board], I assert its right to complete control of Utah’s learning standards in all areas of our public education curriculum,” Shumway wrote in a letter addressed to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
He also asserted Utah’s right to withdraw at any time from a consortium of states that has banded together to develop new assessments based on the Common Core. And he said the state may make changes to, add or subtract from the Core.
http://bit.ly/yd1RBB (SLT)

Bill to check college readiness advances
SB286 » Senators unanimous in support of a measure to set up online assessment.

SB286 » Lawmakers want to know if high school students are truly ready for college, and if not, what they need to do to correct it.
The Senate voted 29-0 Monday to advance SB286 by Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, and sent it to the House.
It allows the State Board of Regents to spend $500,000 to set up an online assessment tool that high school students can use to see if they are ready for college.
If they are not, it would provide guidance on what classes and curriculum they should take to correct it.
http://bit.ly/wUhDGy (SLT)

Senate passes concurrent enrollment bill

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that would charge high school students for concurrent enrollment credit came one step closer to becoming law Tuesday after being passed with amendments by the State Senate.
Sen. Stephen Urquhart, R-St. George, sponsored SB284, which would permit charging students up to $30 per credit hour for college credit earned through concurrent enrollment courses. Students who qualify for free and reduced lunch would be exempt from the fee, as would credits earned from technology-intensive concurrent enrollment, or TICE, courses.
Urquhart introduced an additional amendment to the bill Tuesday that would require the per-credit fee established by the Board of Regents to be approved by the legislative executive appropriations committee. The amendment would also provide for a discounted fee for students that take multiple concurrent enrollment classes.
http://bit.ly/wrodaN (DN)

Senator: Dual-immersion program in danger Education » Budget chairman warns that expansion in jeopardy.

New dual-immersion programs scheduled to begin in the fall at 23 elementary schools are in danger of being cancelled under current plans for the state education budget, Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, said Monday night.
Stephenson, who was behind the law that put the program in place several years ago, said about 1,000 first-grade students could take those classes at the 23 schools in Chinese, French, Portuguese and Spanish in the fall.
The program was already in 57 Utah elementary schools as of this past fall, and Stephenson had been seeking an additional $800,000 this year to expand the program to the 23 additional schools next school year.
But so far the $800,000 has not been included in state budget plans, he said.
http://bit.ly/wUeTL3 (SLT)

Bill seeks transparency for charter school funding

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah House voted unanimously Monday to advance a bill that would add greater transparency to public funding for charter schools.
HB392, sponsored by Rep. Stephen Sandstrom, R-Orem, would require property tax notices to state the amount of an individual’s property taxes that is being distributed to charter schools.
http://bit.ly/Aktq9a (DN)

Utahns who would give money to schools couldn’t play favorites

Utahns soon might be able to give more money to schools when filing their income tax returns — but they likely won’t be able to choose any one school to get the cash.
The Senate on Monday considered two bills, both aimed at allowing Utahns to contribute money to schools when filing their tax returns, but in different ways.
SB59, sponsored by Sen. Ross Romero, D-Salt Lake City, would allow Utahns to designate specific elementary schools to receive contributions in the amounts of their choosing when filing their income tax returns. Principals would then work with school community councils or charter school boards to decide how to spend the money.
The other bill, SB285, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, would also allow Utahns to give to schools when filing tax returns. But under SB285, Utahns would give the cash to a special interest-bearing account for schools. Lawmakers would then be able to appropriate money from that account for schools.
Senators killed the first bill Monday, voting against it 15-14. But they passed the second bill 24-5.
http://bit.ly/w3AxJ6 (SLT)

http://bit.ly/zs9t62 (KCPW)

Early Education Asking For Funding To Help Kids

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah doesn’t have much money to educate little children, and there’s a fight at the capitol over how to spend it.
It’s a fight between teachers and computers, and also between traditional kindergarten, and an early learning computer program sponsored by a private non-profit company.
One child, 5-year old Eathan, learns on the computer. He’s in the Upstart Program for children the year before they go to kindergarten.
Eathan usually uses upstart at home.
He came to the Utah Capitol with some other kids to show legislators how the program works.
http://bit.ly/xpKSn0 (KUTV)

Autism funding becomes stumbling block in budget Health » Pilot program a priority for House, but the Senate doesn’t seem too willing to play ball.

House and Senate leaders were deadlocked Monday over whether to create a program insuring children with autism, how much to spend on roads and how much money to save.
Republican leaders huddled in closed-door meetings for long stretches, trying to hammer out the remaining, thorny issues.
House leadership has been clear that the autism pilot program is among the group’s top priorities. The program seeks to cover about 700 young children through the state’s insurance program, Medicaid and a voluntary contribution from insurance companies.
But Senate Republicans have little interest in the project, said Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville.
http://bit.ly/yFETXm (SLT)

Utah Senators kill resolution asking them to visit schools Education » Measure proposed that after visiting, lawmakers file report on public website.

A resolution that asked lawmakers to visit schools died in the Senate on Tuesday after many senators objected.
Senators voted 8-21 against SJR26, which would have encouraged legislators and state school board members to spend time in schools, reporting details of their visits on a public website. The resolution would have asked but not required the visits.
“It’s an opportunity for us to build and develop strong relationships in our education system and understand the impacts of the decisions we make because we’ve seen it first-hand,” said bill sponsor Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan.
But on Friday, senators attempted and, in some cases, succeeded in making a number of changes to the proposal.
http://bit.ly/xAJ4Jh (SLT)

http://bit.ly/y9JSnT (DN)

Utah lawmakers mull legal options in federal lands debate

SALT LAKE CITY — Legislators will learn from the mistakes of others before taking on the federal government over control of federal lands within the state, several local lawmakers say about current efforts to address the issue.
Local lawmakers suggest they have looked at a Supreme Court ruling against Nevada over federal land within its boundaries, as well as other issues, in trying to craft the right legal approach for potential litigation involving the 67 percent of land within the state that the federal government owns.
In a Monday morning briefing with members of the Davis Chamber of Commerce, Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, said he expects the Senate will approve several bills addressing federal lands before the session ends Thursday, including a focused legal approach on how to potentially litigate the issue.
The Senate has yet to vote on HB 148, which has already passed the House.
http://bit.ly/z1DoUC (OSE)

http://bit.ly/ybdbK4 (KUER)

Prosperity 2020 Leaders Praise Legislature, Issue Call to Action

As the end of the Utah Legislature’s 2012 session draws near, business leaders supporting the Prosperity 2020 movement are extolling praise on lawmakers for their support of education while also issuing a call to action on three additional legislative priorities.
So far in this session, Utah lawmakers have advanced education via several important bills:
• S.B. 10 sets clear goals by implementing ACT testing for 8th, 10th and 11th graders
• H.B. 15 and S.B. 97 implements computer adaptive testing to measure progress
• S.B. 64 provides new teacher evaluation tools to evaluate performance
“It is a business principle that you cannot improve anything unless you can measure it,” says Mark Bouchard, chair of the Prosperity 2020 movement and senior managing director of the commercial real estate brokerage firm CB Richard Ellis. “These measurement tools are critical first steps toward improving our educational performance.”
http://bit.ly/z8pQTn (UPD)

Utah Company Donates $150,000 To Math, Science

UTAH – IM Flash Technologies, a joint venture of micron technology and intel, donated $150,000 to further math and science education in Utah.
The flash memory producer has formed a partnership with the Alpine School District.
http://bit.ly/zypgse (KUTV)

Videos asking ‘Am I pretty or ugly?’ alarm experts, school administrators

SALT LAKE CITY — A troubling phenomenon is becoming more prevalent in which young teenagers post videos of themselves online that ask viewers “Am I pretty or am I ugly?”
The videos have become popular, with at least one getting more than 4 million views on YouTube. The harsh and sometimes degrading responses from commenters often serve to further damage these teens’ already vulnerable self-esteem.
“Putting all of your stock in that, ‘Oh ok, this is where I’m going to get my self-esteem is people telling me I’m pretty,’ and they don’t tell you that, then that’s a trap,” said Julie Hanks with Wasatch Family Therapy
School administrators say this kind of interaction has risks, and that bullying over the internet can happen even outside of school.
http://bit.ly/wvtSDu (KSL)

Judge Memorial’s alcohol incident becomes a teaching moment for girls basketball squad

SALT LAKE CITY — The choice that two members of the Judge Memorial High girls basketball team made to drink during last week’s state playoffs has had repercussions for many of their teammates.
“A couple of girls made a mistake,” said Judge athletic director Dan Quinn. “And other kids either found out, knew about it or watched it happen and they didn’t do anything, so they’re being held accountable as well.”
http://bit.ly/wKiDkQ (DN)

Swim Team Admits Timing Mistake, Forfeits State

HERRIMAN – The race was over and the team was going to state!
But the girls on the Herriman High School swim team knew their time was not correct.
However, the judges had no idea, so what do they do?
http://bit.ly/yM8uLz (KUTV)

Neighborhood incident triggers lockdown at Franklin Elementary

Franklin Elementary School in Provo experienced a 45-minute lockdown Monday afternoon in response to a nearby police incident.
School district spokesman Greg Hudnall said the lockdown occurred between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. as police served a search warrant at a nearby apartment complex. Hudnall explained that police suspected the man being subjected to the warrant may have had weapons.
http://bit.ly/z38iW5 (PDH)

Murray hosting early children ed programs

Murray Schools Early Childhood Education Center, 73 W. 6100 South is hosting a fall preschool open house and registration on March 12. Families may visit from 9:15-11:15 a.m., 12:45-2:45 p.m.; or 5:30-7 p.m. Preschool begins the week of Sept. 4. Morning classes are from 9 11:30 a.m., and afternoon classes are from 12:30-3 p.m. Registration fee is $50. For more information, contact Debi Evans at 801-264-7404.
http://bit.ly/zpa2Ev (SLT)

Civics Central

Here’s your weekly roundup of what local city councils, school boards and other government entities are tackling during regularly scheduled meetings. All meetings are open to the public, and citizens are welcome to voice their opinions during designated times. If you do wish to speak at a particular meeting, you may need to sign up in advance.
Canyons Board of Education • Scheduled to vote on new boundaries for middle schools, including a plan to move Crescent View Middle from Sandy to Draper; Tuesday, March 6, 7 p.m., 9631 S. 300 East, Sandy.
Davis Board of Education • Holds a public hearing on proposed boundary changes for Holt and Wasatch elementaries in Clearfield; Tuesday, March 6, 6 p.m., 45 E. State Street, Farmington.
http://bit.ly/wFsXdv (SLT)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Shameful vote
Class-size-reduction bill needed
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

The Legislature should have passed SB31, a much-needed bill to shrink class sizes in kindergarten through third grade. Instead, a coterie of Republicans in the Utah House derailed the bill with a lame excuse about fitting it into the budget.
The Senate passed Sen. Karen Morgan’s bill 19-9, a substantial margin. Even Sen. Howard Stephenson, a perennial critic of new education spending on targeted programs, spoke in favor of the bill in committee. Still, voices like that of Rep. John Dougall, R-Highland, who obviously fails to see the connection between academic success and more one-on-one classroom instruction, carried the day. The committee killed SB31, not even allowing it to be debated on the House floor. That’s a shameful display of partisan politics, and made worse by the desperate need for this legislation.
And this isn’t the first year Morgan has been railroaded by rightist Republicans, although the bill this year had bipartisan support.
http://bit.ly/zLiJMS

Getting the facts
Alternative sex-ed filling gap
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

If some über-conservative Utah legislators had their way, no public school child would learn anything about sexual health in the classroom. But, thanks to the Utah Department of Health and community groups from Brigham City to Moab, parents who want their children to learn accurate information from a professional have an alternative.
Comprehensive sex-ed classes are being funded by federal grants through health department officials, who see the results of ignorance about sex, contraception and sexually transmitted diseases. The program is especially needed in Utah, as public schools are prohibited from providing detailed information.
Schools now focus on abstinence from sex before marriage. Teachers may include some basic information about the effectiveness of contraception and can answer questions about sexually transmitted diseases. But they cannot advocate for or demonstrate the use of contraception. If they overstep their strict bounds, they could be in trouble. The private classes help fill the gap.
http://bit.ly/zcT59D

More federal land debate
(Ogden Standard-Examiner commentary by columnist Charles F. Trentelman

Rep. Steve Handy, R-Layton, had a very good editorial Friday calling me a naysayer for my skepticism about the Utah Legislature’s effort to take control of all the federal land in Utah.
But I wish our lawmakers were more skeptical. Handy ignored critical questions that could make the Legislature’s effort a very expensive exercise in futility.
Handy said the Utah Constitution disclaimed title to federal lands only so the federal government could sell them. However, he doesn’t show where there’s a deadline for that supposedly promised sale to take place.
http://bit.ly/AoDVSa

Authentic accountability in education
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner op-ed by Lynn Stoddard, Founder of the Educating for Greatness Alliance

Should teachers be held accountable for things that are impossible to do? Teachers know it’s impossible to make students alike in knowledge and skills. It’s like requiring everyone to run a mile in four minutes, punishing those who can’t do it, and requiring remediation classes for the slow ones even though they may be gifted in other areas.
Ever since the Nation At Risk Report in 1983, when the federal government started to exert excessive power over public education, teachers have been asked to standardize and make students alike in reading and math. What all students should know and be able to do is specified for each grade level. Standardized tests have been used to enforce this mandate. As a result, because it’s impossible to do, teachers are demoralized, student achievement remains flat, bullying, gangs, disruptive behavior, suicides and drop outs have increased. Many good teachers have also dropped out. Students, teachers and parents report that school has lost some very important things — things that make teaching and learning exciting, challenging and fun. Teachers can no longer practice as professionals who interact with individual students and make decisions, but are now subordinate workers who must follow required and often scripted behaviors that don’t fit the needs of students in their classes.
What if we hold teachers, parents and students jointly accountable for things that are possible to do?
http://bit.ly/xnfd1F

Another bite at parents pulling the trigger on schools Deseret News commentary by columnist Mary McConnell

Those of you following the “trigger law” story should take a look at an article from today’s Washington Post, which describes the fight at Desert Trails Elementary school in Adelanto, California in more detail than I’ve seen before.
http://bit.ly/x1HgnG

Poor teachers should be dealt with in subtle way
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Kent L. Yates

This is in regards to Rep. Brad Wilson’s Guest commentary of Feb 23, 2012 (Education reform, including merit pay a priority this year”). After I read and reread it to make sure I understood what it was about, I decided to hit on a couple items that troubled me. First, Sen. Osmond said he spent 40 hours in classrooms observing. Before he went, did he get graded on a scale of one to four to make sure he was qualified to do that? I think if he is grading a teacher, I would challenge him to teach the class and show the teacher how it’s done. Then he’d see how it felt to have someone staring at him. Another item in Rep Wilson’s article that needs addressing is that parents and students also bear the responsibility for ensuring the student comes to the school prepared to learn and be successful. Are the parents going to be graded to make sure they do their part? Of course not, so it falls on the teacher. So, even good teachers will be working and worrying how they will be graded at the year’s end. They don’t need that. I firmly believe poor teachers need to be dealt with in a more subtle way that doesn’t keep the whole faculty on edge. If SB64 works, great. If it doesn’t, some years down the road, as the district needs a new teacher, I dare say it will have to buy one, if there are any available.
http://bit.ly/y25fwA

Editorial undermined state’s rights to land
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from R. Royce Carter

The editorial of Mar. 4, “Ditch the federal lands fight,” was unpatriotic and tended to undermine the efforts to reduce the gross domination of the federal government over states rights. If you are a supporter of the present administration that can be understood. Never has there been a disregard for constitutional law like the present administration has done I wonder if I am prescribing to the wrong published philosophy.
http://bit.ly/ymM1dk

Federal properties in Utah
(Provo) Daily Herald letter from Henry Todd

Does the Constitution of the United States allow our central government to own large portions of Utah land? Here is all our Constitution allows: “The Congress shall have power … to exercise exclusive … Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful Buildings” [Article I, Section 8].
Noticed that federal control of lands, parks and reserves are not authorized by our supreme law of the land. The state of Utah should therefore proceed to take control of all unauthorized Utah properties that are currently under the control of our central government in Washington.
http://bit.ly/zWesWm

Utah surrendered lands when it became a state
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from R. Jefre Hicks

Imagine my surprise when I read another article concerning the federal land holdings within Utah (Mar. 3, “GOP: Impact of lands can’t be ignored”). Our legislators apparently want us to ignore the fact that the state agreed to “forever disclaim all right and title” to these federal lands when we became a state. We also agreed, in the same document, to “forever” prohibit plural and polygamous marriages, but I don’t see legislators whining about having to adhere to that portion of our state’s promise.
Our legislators want us to believe the federal government set a timetable to extinguish title to these lands and have now backed out on that specific date. While it might be nice to have some more lands available for development and to add to the tax base, the true fact is that the feds have no legal duty to turn them over on anyone’s timeline but their own.
http://bit.ly/AiSmDD

Sex education
Deseret News letter from Jacob Newman

Recently, the Utah House approved a bill which would ban all discussion of contraception and require schools to teach “abstinence only” sex education. Proponents of the bill have claimed that the role of sex education should be shifted to parents.
This bill is not an adequate solution. Many parents already fail to educate their children about human sexuality. Without proper education in schools, many children will not receive essential education about this topic.
http://bit.ly/Aldm6r

Romney, Santorum, Paul, Gingrich: Where they stand now on education Washington Post commentary by columnist Valerie Strauss

The American public education system is going through historic changes but you couldn’t tell that if you have been following the Republican campaign to tap a candidate to take on President Obama in the fall.
Education questions were infrequent during the 20 Republican debates of the campaign season, and the candidates haven’t signaled an abiding interest in it either.
The Web sites of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney and former U.S. senator Rick Santorum don’t discuss school reform; Rep. Ron Paul’s deals with education only with a section called “Standing Up for Home-schooling.”
Only former House speaker Newt Gingrich’s Web site spells out a plan, (called, not surprisingly, “The Gingrich Education Plan”) which is a call, in part, for more focus on science and technology and increased parental choice.
Here’s where the four Republican presidential candidates competing on Super Tuesday stand when it comes to education:
http://wapo.st/xG7Fe4

New AP Courses to Emphasize Critical Thinking and Research Education Week commentary by columnist Caralee Adams

The College Board is piloting two new Advanced Placement courses designed to focus on research skills that admissions counselors say are too often missing in high school graduates.
The new program for juniors and seniors, developed in collaboration with Cambridge International Examinations, will be tested over three years in 15 to 18 high schools starting this fall, the College Board announced today.
The AP/Cambridge Interdisciplinary Investigations and Critical Reasoning Seminar will be offered in 11th grade. Students will work in teams to research and write topics of global relevance. Each school can choose its own topic and pair different disciplines, such as history and English.
The AP/Cambridge Capstone Research Project taken in 12th grade involves writing a 4,500 to 5,000-word paper that will be evaluated on the students’ ability to design, plan, and manage a research project, analyze information, and communicate their findings.
http://bit.ly/xco40l

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

An Open Letter From Undocumented Students Education Week op-ed by Mary Jewell, a teacher at Mira Mesa High School in San Diego

In this election year, the dysfunctional immigration system in the United States is back in the spotlight. While presidential candidates debate how to solve its problems, and state and local governments pass reactionary legislation, it is estimated that more than 1 million undocumented-immigrant children attend our schools every day. Yet we are failing these vulnerable children. Their achievement levels and school success are among the lowest of any demographic group, and their high school dropout rate among the highest. Regardless of the political wrangling on this issue, or anyone’s personal politics, it’s time that we acknowledge these young people, their needs, and their potential.
Most undocumented students are also English-language learners, and often come from families in extreme poverty. Though the education community doesn’t yet have all the answers to these difficult issues, we are at the very least comfortable discussing them. But students who are undocumented immigrants face unique challenges which often go unnoticed, and unaddressed. It’s almost as if we are afraid to bring it up at school, and in the classroom
http://bit.ly/xCd4Bj

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Schools Get Tough With Third-Graders: Read Or Flunk NPR All Things Considered

There’s little dispute among educators that kids are not reading as well as they should be, but there’s endless debate over what to do about it. Now, a growing number of states are taking a hard-line approach through mandatory retentions — meaning third-graders who can’t read at grade level will automatically get held back.
To those pushing the idea, it’s equal doses of tough and love: You are not doing kids any favors, they say, by waiving them on to fourth grade if they aren’t up to snuff on their reading.
“It’s essentially just lying to the kid to say that, ‘You are there,'” says Tim Taylor, president of Colorado Succeeds, which is pushing the mandatory-retention approach in that state. “I think what we need to do is to draw a line in the sand and have the fortitude to step up and say this is the right thing for kids.”
Educators like to say third grade is when kids move from learning to read, to reading to learn. So if they don’t yet have basic reading skills, they need to stay back.
http://n.pr/wPckwa

Black Students Face More Discipline, Data Suggests New York Times

Black students, especially boys, face much harsher discipline in public schools than other students, according to new data from the Department of Education.
Although black students made up only 18 percent of those enrolled in the schools sampled, they accounted for 35 percent of those suspended once, 46 percent of those suspended more than once and 39 percent of all expulsions, according to the Civil Rights Data Collection’s 2009-10 statistics from 72,000 schools in 7,000 districts, serving about 85 percent of the nation’s students. The data covered students from kindergarten age through high school.
One in five black boys and more than one in 10 black girls received an out-of-school suspension. Over all, black students were three and a half times as likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers.
And in districts that reported expulsions under zero-tolerance policies, Hispanic and black students represent 45 percent of the student body, but 56 percent of those expelled under such policies.
http://nyti.ms/ABNQ9e

http://apne.ws/xYPNjC (AP)

http://reut.rs/xNwVJA (Reuters)

http://bit.ly/zp1aq2 (Ed Week)

http://1.usa.gov/zb7Nqi (ED)

Parent trigger: School tests California law that allows takeover via petition Washington Post

ADELANTO, Calif. — The national battle over the best way to fix failing schools is ripping through this desert town like a sandstorm, tearing apart a community that is testing a radical new approach: the parent takeover.
Parents here are trying to become the first in the country to use a trigger law, which allows a majority of families at a struggling school to force major changes, from firing the principal to closing the school and reopening it as an independent charter. All they need to do to wrest control is sign a petition.
The idea behind the 2010 California law — placing ultimate power in parents’ hands — resonates with any parent who has felt frustrated by school bureaucracy.
http://wapo.st/wjukD0

Minn. school district settles bullying lawsuits Associated Press

COON RAPIDS, Minn. — Minnesota’s largest school district on Monday voted to settle a pair of lawsuits over a policy that was criticized for failing to protect gay students from bullying.
The Anoka-Hennepin School Board approved the settlement 5-1 at its meeting Monday evening. The district agreed to a long list of measures to help prevent and address sex-based harassment at its middle and high schools, including hiring consultants and working with federal authorities to ensure the district complies with the terms. The district’s insurance carrier will pay the six current and former students named in the lawsuits a total of $270,000, and the district will tap about $500,000 of its own funds to implement the agreement.
Superintendent Dennis Carlson told reporters the agreement “helps us move forward as a district to a better day for all students. When we have finished this process, we believe we will have developed a model that all school districts can follow.”
The students sued the district last summer over a policy requiring staff to remain neutral when the topic of sexual orientation came up in the classroom. The plaintiffs claimed the policy was a gag order that prevented teachers from effectively protecting gay and lesbian students.
http://apne.ws/wRxoDq

http://www.startribune.com/local/north/141427303.html

Idaho public schools budget to fund laptop program Associated Press via (Boise) Idaho Statesman

BOISE, Idaho — Legislative budget writers voted Monday to increase state support for public schools by 4.6 percent in 2013, bumping up the minimum teacher salary by $500 a year and funding education reforms approved during last year’s session, including a statewide laptop program.
The plan would more than offset a nearly $50 million cut to public schools in the current fiscal year while restructuring how Idaho’s education money is spent to fund the reforms, which will go before voters in November.
The public education budget for next year totals more than $1.56 billion, when including both state and federal funding. The plan includes $1.27 billion in state general funding, for an increase of about $56 million over this fiscal year, when schools took a $47 million hit.
While the budget includes a 4.6 percent jump in state general funding, the overall increase is much smaller, at 0.4 percent, which Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna attributed to a loss in federal stimulus funds.
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