Education News Roundup for March 20, 2012

Education News Roundup_"Blender" by bcmom/CC/flickr

Education News Roundup_"Blender" by bcmom/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

Trib asks questions about the timing of the sex ed veto.
http://bit.ly/GAElDr  (SLT)
While at the same time praising the decision.
http://bit.ly/GBavkF  (SLT)
Bagley has his own take.
http://bit.ly/GAHzpC  (SLT)
So does Sen. Urquhart.
http://www.steveu.com/blog/2012/03/sex-ed-2/

Students discuss blended learning (no, not that blended http://www.youtube.com/user/Blendtec/featured; that blended learning http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blended_learning).
http://bit.ly/GCtxJL  (Ed Week)

Hispanic students are now a majority in California public schools.
http://bit.ly/GEuM6j  (California Watch)

Mitt Romney discusses teachers unions and NCLB on Fox News Sunday.
http://fxn.ws/GB6hX3  (Fox)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Was Herbert’s sex-ed bill veto politically timed?
Politics » Guv accused of waiting until after the GOP caucuses.

High school students respond to veto of sex ed bill; online course could be compromise

Provo students protest coach’s suspension Finances » District will ask for another independent audit.

Bishop applauds Utah legislature’s public lands moves

Roy RDA approves land swap with Weber School District

Picking a preschool that fits your child’s needs Early education » Experts offer tips on finding the right program for your child.

‘World’s Most Embarrassing Dad’ still getting international attention

Murray schools honor five of its best

Students at Alta, Hillcrest win awards

Granite students to compete in state bee

SLC schools in spotlight for opera showcase

Time to apply for engineering scholarships

Civics Central

DECA renews plea for judges for national event in Salt Lake City

Students invited to compete in contest

Host an exchange student

OPINION & COMMENTARY

A real conservative
Herbert right to veto HB363

Timpview’s ruckus

God and Gary and Gayle

Caucus attendance a good sign

Why we should teach about religions in schools

Sex Ed

Timpview protesters do themselves credit

Stupidest political reaction ever

Carpe Diem: digital learning in action

Diane Ravitch: the promise and perils of online teaching

Osmond listens

Thank Herbert for veto

Coercive Eagle Forum

Teens call for veto

Sex-ed ‘types’

Electronic High School accelerated education

School Reform’s Establishment Turn
The Council on Foreign Relations endorses choice and competition.

Condi Rice-Joel Klein report: Not the new ‘A Nation at Risk’

The Lesson of Florida

Khan Academy: Good, Bad, or Ugly?

Make the Punishment Fit the Cyber-Crime

A School Improvement Grant Report Card from CEP

School Sports Opportunities Generally on the Rise, GAO Finds

NATION

Students Critique Blended Learning Experiences Students weigh benefits and drawbacks of blended learning

Calif. schools lead in Hispanic enrollment

Hostile takeover: Parents seek control of failing school in education reform

Book Argues for Economically Diverse Schools Schools still struggle to achieve diversity in their classrooms

Mitt Romney talks Afghanistan, Iran, 2012 race; George Clooney brings attention to war-torn Sudan

Free condoms for Springfield students 12 and over gets initial approval by School Committee

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UTAH NEWS
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Was Herbert’s sex-ed bill veto politically timed?
Politics » Guv accused of waiting until after the GOP caucuses.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert’s Republican opponents for governor disagree on whether he should have vetoed a sex education bill Friday.
But they are unified in their belief that the governor played politics with the timing of the veto, waiting until after the GOP caucuses — where delegates were chosen to help nominate the party’s nominee — to reject the measure.
“The governor takes a poll, he doesn’t take a stand,” said David Kirkham, one of the contenders for the Republican nomination.
“It’s clearly political,” said GOP challenger Morgan Philpot. “We just don’t need a governor who puts his finger in the wind and waits for the polls to tell him what to do.”
Ally Isom, the governor’s spokeswoman, said the governor acted on the bill in regular course and the caucuses on Thursday night didn’t play into the timing.
http://bit.ly/GAElDr  (SLT)

High school students respond to veto of sex ed bill; online course could be compromise

SOUTH JORDAN — Governor Herbert’s veto of that controversial abstinence-only sex education bill may not be the last word on the subject. There’s been talk of a veto override session, while one Utah lawmaker is looking for compromise with an online sex education course.
The course would allow parents to opt in to having their student to learn more about contraception and STD prevention.
Several Bingham High School students who spoke with KSL agreed with the governor’s decision to veto the bill.
http://bit.ly/GARLmO  (KSL)

Provo students protest coach’s suspension Finances » District will ask for another independent audit.

Nearly 100 students walked out of class Monday morning at Timpview High to show support for suspended football coach Louis Wong. They marched around the school grounds and chanted their support for Wong, who has been accused of mismanaging school funds.
Braydon Galland, a junior, joined in the protest even though students were warned they would get an unexcused absence and could not make up missed work.
“I personally care more about Coach Wong than half a geology class,” said Galland, who plays on the varsity football team. “When you see someone you love who has helped you in so many positive ways, and you see [him] being treated poorly, it gets you really fired up.”
Last week, Provo School District suspended Wong without pay following an investigation into financial practices at Timpview High. Wong was given 30 days to successfully appeal the suspension or be fired. His attorney, Elizabeth Dunning, said she plans to file a formal notice this week.
http://bit.ly/GCILwJ  (SLT)

http://bit.ly/GBjYZx  (MUR)

Bishop applauds Utah legislature’s public lands moves

Republican First District Congressman Rob Bishop says he likes what the Utah legislature did during its latest session by way of pushing the concept of federalism, especially with the public lands issue. On KVNU’s For the People program Thursday, Rep. Bishop said he feels the legislature took the right approach.
“By talking about what having 70% of the state owned by the federal government, or by government, showing what that means to our inability to adequately fund our education system,” Bishop said. “Thirty-eight eastern states have, over the last decades, had twice the amount of money they’ve been able to put into their education system than the 12 public land states in the west.
“And there’s almost a correlation of the states that have a hard time funding education with those states that have the most amount of federal lands.”
http://bit.ly/GDcMKt  (CVD)

Roy RDA approves land swap with Weber School District

ROY — The city Redevelopment Agency has agreed to a land swap with the Weber School District that will allow for the construction of a new North Park Elementary School.
The site for the new school is at approximately 4000 S. 2175 West, just east of the school’s current location.
In return, the RDA will get the land where the school currently stands.
Because of the land swap, students will be able to stay in the old school while the new school is built across the street.
http://bit.ly/GANdGW  (OSE)

Picking a preschool that fits your child’s needs Early education » Experts offer tips on finding the right program for your child.

Want your toddler to study modern dance? There’s a preschool for that. How about learn Spanish, or celebrate the Jewish High Holy days? There are preschools for those, too.
Utah parents have a dizzying array of options for early childhood education, but what criteria should they use to choose?
“It will certainly vary depending on the needs of the family and what they are looking to achieve,” said Janis Dubno, early childhood education policy analyst for Voices for Utah Children.
http://bit.ly/GCLzrg  (SLT)

‘World’s Most Embarrassing Dad’ still getting international attention

AMERICAN FORK — Just when Dale Price thought his 15 minutes of fame had finally ended, he got a call from a Japanese TV network.
“Apparently it has gone to 16 minutes, I don’t know, it just keeps going,” said Price.
Dale Price became known as the “World’s Most Embarrassing Dad” after a story about him waving at the bus during the entire school year, went viral around the world.
This week, a crew from TV-Asahi, a Japanese network, is spending time with Dale Price and his family.
http://bit.ly/GBo6bJ  (DN)

http://bit.ly/GBcnbK  (KSL)

http://bit.ly/GB3qPd  (MUR)

Murray schools honor five of its best

Murray School District has announced its 2012 Pinnacle Awards: Trudy Burton, Horizon Elementary reading coordinator; Barbara Haun, McMillan Elementary sixth grade teacher; Kay Morgan, Murray High CTE teacher; Alan Scott, Murray High music teacher; Kathie Webster, Riverview Junior High music teacher; Karen Peterson, secretary, Liberty Elementary; and Traci Black, volunteer, Viewmont Elementary and Riverview.
http://bit.ly/GB8C8F  (SLT)

Students at Alta, Hillcrest win awards

Tanner Jones, of Alta High School in Sandy, and Nikolaos Liodakis, a student at Midvale’s Hillcrest High are among 252 high school seniors selected nationwide to receive a scholarship from the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. In April, they will travel to Atlanta to compete for 52 four-year college scholarships of $20,000 and 200 four-year scholarships of $10,000. Jones and Liodakis were chosen from more than 84,000 applicants.
http://bit.ly/GBTB7O  (SLT)

Granite students to compete in state bee

Nine students from the Granite School District are gearing up to compete in the state geographic bee on March 30 in Lehi: Hannah Carlson, Howard R. Driggs Elementary; Caroline Esparza, Hillside; Noah Miller, Westbrook; James Corcoran, Bonneville; Steven Blodgett, Morningside; Joshua Cantonwine, Fox Hills; Andrew Dickert, Oakridge; Guinevere Eastes, Copper Hills; and Brandon Gallegos, Wasatch Junior High.
http://bit.ly/GBfVrF  (SLT)

SLC schools in spotlight for opera showcase

Students from three Salt Lake elementary schools will perform during the annual Children’s Opera Showcase at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, 138 W. 300 South. The students, who wrote original operas with the help of Utah Opera, are from Dilworth Elementary, Highland Park Elementary and Bonneville Elementary. Admission is free but seating is limited.
http://bit.ly/GBCkbM  (SLT)

Time to apply for engineering scholarships

Applications are being accepted through March 31 for Northrop Grumman Corp.’s annual Engineering Scholars competition. Two individual scholarships of $10,000, payable in $2,500 installments over four years, will be given to qualified high school seniors in Davis, Salt Lake, Utah or Weber counties. Candidates must have a minimum composite SAT score of 1700 or ACT score of 27, as well as a minimum GPA of 3.5. To apply, visit http://bit.ly/wEQB3C .
http://bit.ly/GBgAJD  (SLT)

Civics Central

Murray City Council » Holds hearings on proposed adjustments to council district boundaries and Murray School Board District boundaries; 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, at City Hall, 5025 S. State St. See the agenda at http://bit.ly/AhL6oK and meeting documents at http://bit.ly/ACGviM.
Davis Board of Education » Considers new boundaries for Wasatch and Holt elementary schools; 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 20, at North Layton Junior High, 1100 West Antelope Drive, Layton.
http://bit.ly/GDxtXl  (SLT)

DECA renews plea for judges for national event in Salt Lake City

Judges are still needed for the 66th annual DECA International Career Development Conference that will be held April 28 through May 1 in Salt Lake City.
The conference will bring together 11,000 high school and colleges students from all 50 states and several countries for career-focused competition in finance, hospitality and tourism, marketing, management and entrepreneurship.
http://bit.ly/GC4YHM  (SLT)

Students invited to compete in contest

SALT LAKE CITY – It’s never too early to learn about sun safety, says a group of concerned Utah physicians. That’s why they’ve partnered with the SHADE Foundation and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to bring a national poster contest to Utah students from kindergarten to eighth grade.
http://bit.ly/GDoCFO  (SGS)

Host an exchange student

The World Heritage Student Exchange Program is seeking local host families for high school students from Scandinavia, France, Germany, Italy, Thailand, China, South Korea and the former Soviet republics. Host families are needed for the 2012-13 school year. Hosts are responsible for providing room, board and guidance for students. All types of families are encouraged to apply. Interested families should contact Heidi Suess at 801-953-7391, or visit www.whhosts.com .
http://bit.ly/GCQ19v  (SLT)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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A real conservative
Herbert right to veto HB363
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

Gov. Gary Herbert was faced with a choice between a workable status quo and a radical departure from long-established practice and law and, like the good conservative he wants us to think he is, he wisely chose not to fix something that wasn’t broken.
Late Friday, only hours after the bill officially landed on his desk, Herbert vetoed HB363. That’s the recent act of the Utah Legislature that would have eviscerated the state’s moderate, abstinence-first sex education curriculum and replaced it with a particularly prudish abstinence-only plan that nobody, other than a few members of the Legislature and some radical-right pressure groups, thought necessary.
http://bit.ly/GBavkF

Timpview’s ruckus
Deseret News editorial

Football, and especially winning football, speaks loudly in American public schools. So it is perhaps not surprising that the Provo School District’s decision to suspend Timpview High School’s football coach with the intent to terminate him has met with loud resistance.
Many parents packed a public meeting late last year in support of coach Louis Wong when rumors first circulated that he may be disciplined. On Monday, about 150 students walked out of class in protest of the suspension.
In this country, winning often conflicts with the ideals of American public education, which have to do with equal opportunities and fairness. Wong led his teams to four state championships. But his subsequent fundraising efforts for a weight-training facility caught the eyes of state auditors, as have a number of other unusual practices involving the coach and others at the school.
http://bit.ly/GAW2TU

God and Gary and Gayle
Salt Lake Tribune editorial cartoon by Pat Bagley

http://bit.ly/GAHzpC

Caucus attendance a good sign
Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Morgan Lyon Cotti and Steve Kroes, research director and president, respectively, of Utah Foundation

Utahns turned out in large numbers at last week’s Democratic and Republican caucuses. There were reports of party workers being overwhelmed by the turnout. The Republican chair said attendance at GOP caucuses may have reached 200,000.
For this we would like to congratulate the parties on creating a much more inclusive political process for this important election year. The boost in attendance is surely due in part to the interest GOP voters have in whether Sen. Orrin Hatch gets re-elected, or if he is “Bennettized” by delegates to the state GOP convention, a reference to incumbent Sen. Bob Bennett’s ouster by delegates to the 2010 convention.
However, the increased interest in Utah’s caucus-convention system has been building for quite some time.
Since 2004, Utah Foundation has performed its Utah Priorities Project in each major election year, in which it surveys voters to assess what the most important issues are in the upcoming election. In 2010, we also completed a survey of party delegates in order to compare their priorities to those of other registered voters.
We found that the top priorities of Republican delegates were quite dissimilar to those of registered Republicans. While both groups thought states’ rights and a business-friendly economy were important, registered Republicans prioritized education, jobs and reducing crime, while delegates focused on gun rights, federal lands and illegal immigration.
http://bit.ly/GAHocx

Why we should teach about religions in schools Deseret News op-ed by Richard Schiffman, author of two religious biographies and a journalist

Religion ranks as one of the most divisive factors in the world today. Yet it has also brought billions of people together forging a sense of shared belief and unity of purpose across wide racial and geographical divides. The word itself comes from the Latin re-ligare, which means “to bind back together.” So how has the power which binds become a force which divides us?
The answer is complex, but if we had to boil it down to one word, that word would be ignorance — a condition shared by believers and nonbelievers alike. America today is a nation of religious illiterates. Even many who attend worship services and profess to be devout may never have thought deeply about the tenets of their faith, still less wrestled with God, as the Jewish tradition exhorts its followers to do.
Leaving aside the question of God-wrestling for the moment, most religious believers have only a cursory knowledge of their own faith and know next to nothing about the beliefs of other religions.
http://bit.ly/GCea44

Sex Ed
Commentary by Sen. Steve Urquhart

It has been interesting to listen to the conversation about Governor Herbert’s veto of Rep. Wright’s bill that would have outlawed discussion of contraceptives in sex ed courses. Much of that conversation has been factually incorrect.
For example, people have said that the veto will lead to advocacy of homosexuality in schools and to condom and zucchini enactments. Well, in a word, no. The veto simply leaves us with our current law. So, the relevant question is whether those activities are happening under our current law. The answer is “no.”
Sex ed is taught in our high schools every year. Out of all those classrooms and all that instruction, where are the examples of promotion of homosexuality and risqué theater? They don’t exist. Current law has served us well. From a factual standpoint, then, this bill was a solution in search of a problem.
http://www.steveu.com/blog/2012/03/sex-ed-2/

Timpview protesters do themselves credit
(Provo) Daily Herald commentary by columnist Randy Wright

About 100 or so students at Timpview High School walked out of class on Monday morning in what was supposed to be a show of solidarity for embattled football coach Louis Wong. One can question whether they did the right thing, or whether the demonstration will have any effect on the outcome. In truth, the students’ show will likely change nothing for Wong.
But it will change the students. They learned what it’s like to stand up for what you believe. They put what they’ve been taught about America into action. Right or wrong, they demonstrated this nation’s first value — the freedom to express one’s self without fear. And for that they should be applauded.
http://bit.ly/GAO80j

Stupidest political reaction ever
(Provo) Daily Herald commentary by columnist Randy Wright

Sometimes partisanship is so utterly, clearly, tortuously absurd that one is honor-bound to make fun of it. Warning: What you’re about to read has got to be the most idiotic reaction ever given by an opposing party to a governor’s veto. (If you’re a Democrat, you might want to skip to the next item.)
After Gov. Gary Herbert vetoed the “abstinence-only” sex education bill on Friday, the formal state Democratic Party response was both swift and screwball. Here is the headline: “Herbert fails leadership test on H.B. 363 with dead of night veto.”
“The Utah State Democratic Party supports the veto,” said Jim Dabakis, the state Democratic Party chair, “but wishes Governor Herbert would have shown the leadership to do it in the sunlight. The veto was the right choice, and Utah Democrats support it. But the attempt to hush up the veto by doing it late on a Friday night was not the way to handle this.”
http://bit.ly/GAO80j

Carpe Diem: digital learning in action
Sutherland Institute commentary by Matthew Piccolo, policy analyst

The Legislature passed a bill this year that will encourage the growth of digital learning in Utah’s public schools and help improve the quality of digital courses. You can learn more about this bill here.
As the Statewide Online Education Program moves forward and grows, it’s important to understand how valuable digital learning can be to children when designed well. For example, this video shows how a public school in Arizona has helped 92 percent of its students perform at or above proficiency, compared with a state average of 65 percent:
http://bit.ly/GCqOQu

Diane Ravitch: the promise and perils of online teaching Deseret News commentary by columnist Mary McConnell

Diane Ravitch used to be my favorite educational historian (her 2000 book Left Back is still probably the best single account of a century of school reform run amok.) In recent years she’s undergone a conversion to the status quo, which disappoints me. If you want to know why, here’s a link to my review of her later book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System, which was published in the journal First Things. http://www.firstthings.com/article/2010/05/apostasy-sells
Last week Ms. Ravitch gave the keynote address at a conference of Computer-Using Educators.
http://bit.ly/GDOgcG

Osmond listens
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Randy Ockey

Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, really needs a course in Utah politics. What’s with the compromising, listening and bringing people together?
According to ” On education: Legislature fails children ” (Our View, March 9), the “bill mandating evaluations for teachers and administrators and tying a portion of any potential pay raise to the results of those evaluations … was rightly called a landmark because it was written with input from legislators, parents and educators across the state. Sen. Osmond spent months collecting feedback from all parties. Osmond appears to be genuinely interested in hearing what in-the-trenches educators have to say about education.”
Doesn’t Osmond know that “R” by his name stands for rigid? If he keeps this up, he’ll probably end up solving more problems than he creates. How’s that going to get him re-elected in a state where stubbornness, paternalism and wrongheadedness govern?
http://bit.ly/GCNnAB

Thank Herbert for veto
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Edward Bennett

Across the board, Democratic legislators voted against HB363, which would have allowed schools to drop sex education and limited any remaining to abstinence-only instruction, because it is a terrible piece of legislation. Republicans, with the backing of Utah Eagle Forum President Gayle Ruzicka, fought for it and passed this bad bill through both houses.
Gov. Gary Herbert, a staunchly conservative Mormon dude, who, ideologically, probably agrees with the morality behind the bill, vetoed it. In essence, he said, “I agree with the Democrats — this is bad legislation.”
Now, the Dems are upset? Seriously?
http://bit.ly/GBAA2h

Coercive Eagle Forum
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Jim Pedler

Re ” Herbert vetoes sex-ed bill, says it constricts parental choice ” (Tribune, March 17):
I would never even consider eliminating the option for any parent to keep their children out of sex education in public schools. I don’t have any interest in forcing my moral code onto anyone.
Obviously. Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem; Utah Eagle Forum President Gayle Ruzicka, et al., wouldn’t hesitate to take that option away and try to force their moral code on me and my family. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Taliban in Afghanistan or the Eagle Forum in Utah, I’ll never understand the coercive mind-set.
http://bit.ly/GBAKXu

Teens call for veto
Salt Lake Tribune letter from SVUUS High School Youth Group

The South Valley Unitarian Universalist Society provides comprehensive sex education for youth. We, the high schoolers of SVUUS, have followed the debate over HB363, which restricts public school sex-ed classes. Teens need sex education to make informed decisions about our bodies.
There should be a separation of church and state. Schools are for giving us education; parents and church are for giving us morals. Thus, schools should provide sex education, including safer sex practices and contraception choices.
http://bit.ly/GCvm7I

Sex-ed ‘types’
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Lew Hitchner

There are three types of people in Utah: those who believe they should be free to choose that their children receive sex education in public schools, those who believe they should be free to choose that their children not receive sex education in public schools, and those who believe that there should be no such freedom.
Type 1 includes more than 90 percent of Utah parents.
Type 2 includes less than 10 percent of Utah parents.
Type 3 includes Gayle Ruzicka of The Eagle Forum, 19 senators and 48 representatives.
http://bit.ly/GCW54r

Electronic High School accelerated education Deseret News letter from Hannah Waddel

I was glad to hear that the Legislature voted to keep Utah’s Electronic High School. EHS has been valuable for my education. It allowed me to take required courses, such as financial literacy and health, outside of school. This made room in my schedule for classes that I am interested in but would not usually have had time for.
http://bit.ly/GCJoRJ

School Reform’s Establishment Turn
The Council on Foreign Relations endorses choice and competition.
Wall Street Journal editorial

The Council on Foreign Relations is the clubhouse of America’s establishment, a land of pinstripe suits and typically polite, status-quo thinking. Yet today CFR will publish a report that examines the national-security impact of America’s broken education system—and prescribes school choice as a primary antidote. Do you believe in miracles?
American schools have several national-security duties, the report notes. First is educating workers who can keep the U.S. economy strong and innovative amid global competition, which requires skills in reading, math and science, as well as foreign languages and cultures. The U.S. also needs to produce sharp intelligence officers, soldiers and diplomats, as well as techies who can guard corporate and governmental cyber networks. And don’t forget a citizenry that understands how democracy works.
http://on.wsj.com/GCOnpM

Condi Rice-Joel Klein report: Not the new ‘A Nation at Risk’
Washington Post commentary by columnist Valerie Strauss

A new report being officially released today — by a Council of Foreign Relations task force chaired by Joel Klein and Condoleezza Rice — seems to want very much to be seen as the new “A Nation at Risk,” the seminal 1983 report that warned that America’s future was threatened by a “rising tide of mediocrity” in the country’s public schools.
It’s a pale imitation.
The U.S. Education Reform and National Security report, to be sure, has some similar language and themes of a Nation at Risk. It says (over and over) that America’s national security is threatened because America’s public schools aren’t adequately preparing young people to “fill the ranks of the Foreign Service, the intelligence community, and the armed forces” (or diplomats, spies and soldiers).
But it takes a very different view of the public education system than the authors of “A Nation at Risk,” who sought to find ways to improve public schools and treat the system as a civic institution. The new report seems to look at public schools as if they are the bad guys that need to be put out of business, with a new business taking over, funded with public dollars.
http://wapo.st/GBzosR

The Lesson of Florida
Education Week commentary by Diane Ravitch, an historian of education, an educational policy analyst, and a research professor at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development

Let us now praise the public school parents of Florida.
They organized to oppose a bill known as the “Parent Trigger” or “Parent Empowerment.” Under this proposed law, if 51 percent of the parents in a public school signed a petition, they could take over the school and decide whether to close it or turn it over to a charter management organization. The bill was wrapped in a deceptive and alluring packaging. Who could resist the bold idea of giving parents the power to take control of their public school?
Well, it turned out that Florida parents had become savvy after watching their elected officials endorse one bill after another to advance the interests of charter schools and for-profit entrepreneurs. They figured out that the real beneficiaries of this legislation would be charter management corporations, not parents or children.
http://bit.ly/GD4a3O

Khan Academy: Good, Bad, or Ugly?
Huffington Post commentary by Keith Devlin, Stanford University mathematician

CBS’s 60 Minutes segment on Khan Academy recently, opened with former hedge fund manager turned world-educator Salman Khan riding home on a bicycle, evoking (I suspect deliberately on the part of 60 Minutes) one of America’s most cherished images: the lone stranger who rides into town and fixes what needs to be fixed.
Whereas John Wayne or Clint Eastwood would dismount and walk into the saloon with guns at the ready, Sal Khan got off his bike and walked into his tiny home office to record a math lesson on his computer, to upload onto YouTube. But the message was the same: The outsider who rides into town to save us is a part of our mythology.
Like most mythologies, when you analyze it you find many reflections of ourselves and the society we have built. In particular, it captures that “can do” attitude that attracted me, like many before me and since, to emigrate here. But it does so in a way that is totally unrealistic. There are no such lone heroes, and real life’s problems are never so simple that one individual can fix them.
http://huff.to/GB2yHr

Make the Punishment Fit the Cyber-Crime
New York Times op-ed by EMILY BAZELON, a senior editor at Slate

New Haven – LAST week, a New Jersey jury convicted Dharun Ravi of invasion of privacy, and for good reason. Mr. Ravi activated the webcam in his room at Rutgers so he could watch his roommate, Tyler Clementi, meet up with a male date. Worse, he broadcast his plans to do it again over Twitter, inviting his friends to watch. That kind of spying should be out of bounds on a college campus.
What’s out of whack about Mr. Ravi’s case is the harsh punishment he now faces: as much as 10 years in prison, for a 20-year-old who’d never been in legal trouble before.
Mr. Ravi could go away for years because, on top of spying, he was convicted of a hate crime: bias intimidation, a conviction probably influenced by Mr. Clementi’s subsequent suicide. According to New Jersey’s civil rights law, you are subject to a much higher penalty if the jury finds that you committed one of a broad range of underlying offenses for the purpose of targeting someone because of his race, ethnicity, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation.
The idea of shielding vulnerable groups is well intentioned. But with the nation on high alert over bullying — especially when it intersects with computer technology and the Internet — these civil rights statutes are being stretched to go after teenagers who acted meanly, but not violently. This isn’t what civil rights laws should be for.
http://nyti.ms/GB5s4Z

A School Improvement Grant Report Card from CEP Education Week commentary by columnist Alyson Klein

Two years into the implementation of the federal School Improvement Grant program, state officials are generally optimistic about its potential, but have a lot of ideas for perfecting it, according to a pair of reports released today by the Center on Education Policy, a research and advocacy organization in Washington.
A note on methodology: CEP already has done some of the best research available on the SIG program, which aims to help states turn around some of their lowest-performing schools. For this study, CEP surveyed 46 state Title I directors from November 2011 through January 2012.
The group also did some close “case-studies” of three very different states that are using a variety of school turnaround approaches: Idaho, Maryland, and Michigan. CEP interviewed 14 state and district officials and 21 principals, teachers, and other school staff.
Together, the reports provide some of the best insight yet into a program a very smart researcher once described to me as “a black hole.”
http://bit.ly/GB1QLW

A copy of the report
http://bit.ly/GCt4qU

School Sports Opportunities Generally on the Rise, GAO Finds Education Week commentary by columnist Bryan Toporek

The percentage of schools that offer students regular physical education classes declined over the past decade, but school sports opportunities appear to be increasing nationwide, according to a report released today by the Government Accountability Office.
With more than one-third of U.S. children between ages 10-17 now considered obese, the federal government is looking at ways to make childhood-obesity prevention even more of a priority. After sparing the federal Carol M. White Physical Education Program in the fiscal 2012 budget, Congress is now considering a slew of proposals aimed at increasing physical activity for children—particularly in schools.
http://bit.ly/GBnRyy

A copy of the report
http://www.gao.gov/assets/590/588944.pdf

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Students Critique Blended Learning Experiences Students weigh benefits and drawbacks of blended learning Education Week

Learning partly online and partly in a face-to-face environment helps students move through the curriculum at their own pace, but also requires them to take more responsibility for their own learning, students in hybrid schools say.
http://bit.ly/GCtxJL

Calif. schools lead in Hispanic enrollment California Watch

California enrolls the most Hispanics in K-12 schools in the country: nearly 3.4 million in 2010, according to an analysis of census data released yesterday by the Pew Hispanic Center.
Hispanics made up 51 percent of all K-12 students in the state – the second-highest proportion of overall enrollment in the nation, behind New Mexico’s 57 percent.
The analysis, based on data from the 2010 American Community Survey, also found that Hispanics attained lower levels of education than their non-Hispanic white and black peers.
http://bit.ly/GEuM6j

Hostile takeover: Parents seek control of failing school in education reform Reuters

Desert Trails Elementary School in the impoverished town of Adelanto, California, has been failing local kids for years. More than half the students can’t pass state math or reading tests.
On Tuesday, the school board will discuss a radical fix: a parent takeover of the school.
For the moms and dads, it’s a local, and intensely personal, debate. But their little school at the edge of the Mojave Desert has also become a flash point in a high-stakes national struggle over the future of public education, one that pits powerful teachers unions against some of world’s wealthiest philanthropies.
Desert Trails, with children in kindergarten through 6th grades or roughly aged 5-12, could be the first school in the country to invoke the concept known as “parent trigger.”
http://reut.rs/GBAkBo

Book Argues for Economically Diverse Schools Schools still struggle to achieve diversity in their classrooms Education Week

Washington – At a time when research is highlighting growing achievement gaps between rich and poor students, one group of researchers, educators, and advocates met here last week to present evidence for a strategy they hope will ultimately narrow such gaps: socioeconomic integration.
The event marked the publication of The Future of School Integration: Socioeconomic Diversity as an Education Reform Strategy , a compilation of new and recent research released by the Washington-based Century Foundation.
http://bit.ly/GEqUSH

A copy of the book
http://bit.ly/GBVU7Q

Mitt Romney talks Afghanistan, Iran, 2012 race; George Clooney brings attention to war-torn Sudan Fox News Sunday


BAIER: Governor, one of the standard lines in your stump speech is on spending and the test that you would apply in a Romney administration is a program so critical that it’s worth borrowing money from China to pay for it. At the FOX/Google debate in September, you said without qualification, quote, we need to get the federal government out of education. Does this mean eliminating the Department of Education?
ROMNEY: Not necessarily. It may be combined with other agencies. There will be a rule, meaning that, for instance, the federal government provides funding to local school districts for care of disabled children, that will be maintained.
But the reach of the Department of Education into the states has to be pulled back. Education has to be managed at the state level, not at the federal level. Will there be any flow through of funds to the states? Yes. But the role I see that ought to remain in the president’s agenda with regards to education is to push back against the federal teachers unions. Those federal teachers unions have too much power, in some cases, they overwhelm the states, they overwhelm the local school districts. We have got to put the kids first and put these teacher’s unions behind.
BAIER: Do you still support No Child Left Behind?
ROMNEY: I support the principle of having states test their kids, and one of the things President Bush did that I supported, and I did support No Child Left Behind and do support continuing to test our kids. I want to know which school districts are succeeding and which ones are failing and where they are failing. I want there to be action taken to get the teacher union’s out and to get the kids once again receiving the education they need.
So, I like the idea of testing our kids. No Child Left Behind needs to be changed, I think in some pretty significant ways before it’s reauthorized. But I do support the testing that’s been associated with that program, and I’m glad that President Bush pushed for that.
http://fxn.ws/GB6hX3

Free condoms for Springfield students 12 and over gets initial approval by School Committee Springfield (MA) Republican

SPRINGFIELD – The School Committee on Thursday gave first-step approval to a policy that would provide students, ages 12 and older, with access to free condoms, aimed at helping to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy.
The committee voted 5-1 in favor of the “Comprehensive Reproductive Health Policy.” The policy, which also includes a provision for counseling for the students, still needs a second vote of approval before it is final.
Under the draft policy, parents “will be notified of condom availability in the schools and will have the opportunity to deny permission (opt out) for access to condoms for their student(s).”
http://bit.ly/GBqHkA

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CALENDAR
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USOE Calendar
http://tinyurl.com/5x9oh9

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

April 12:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://1.usa.gov/Axtt5K

Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspx

April 13:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspx

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