Education News Roundup: April 11, 2012

child drawing with pastels at school desk

suzuki method art class/Lee Fenner/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

USOE owns up to a miscalculation in next year’s budget.
http://bit.ly/HL4HEU (SLT)
and http://bit.ly/HCDOSw (DN)
or http://1.usa.gov/IhiK3A (USOE)

Ed Week notes that the reports of the death of arts programs in schools are greatly exaggerated.
http://bit.ly/It7Tn0
or a copy of the report
http://1.usa.gov/HVg7Dg

ENR is going to have to look into getting a copy of “Inherit the Wind” to watch this weekend.
http://tnne.ws/IhbXXF (Nashville Tennessean) and http://apne.ws/Iu1Kte (AP)

How would you use Pinterest in the classroom?
http://on.mash.to/HxRMbM (Mashable)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Utah education office makes $25M school funding mistake Education » State leaders say error won’t affect schools

Students, chefs going all-Utah for food at summit Cooking » Goodies from around the state will highlight offerings for 1,200 at economic event.

Former Sen. Garn tells students to dream big to accomplish goals

Taylor Canyon Elementary students raise money for classmate’s heart transplant

Dare to Dream project provides prom dresses on tight budget

Two Bountiful High students arrested after home-made bombs explode

Washington County School District finalizes new fee schedule

Head start facility spruced up by volunteers

Employee of the year

School board meeting

Family/student night

Student body officers chosen

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Below last place
Facts about condoms scarce in Utah

Bipartisan support

The cost of a building

Congress stomps on teaching to the test

Spend more money on education than on prison system

Juan Diego’s example to other schools

Choosing Blindly: Instructional Materials, Teacher Effectiveness, and the Common Core

Is Administration Leaner in Charter Schools?
Resource Allocation in Charter and Traditional Public Schools

Is Choice a Panacea?
An Analysis of Black Secondary Student Attrition from KIPP, Other Private Charters, and Urban Districts

NATION

No Obituary Needed for Arts Education, Study Reveals

Should Teachers Be Disciplined For Online Lives?

Gov. Haslam allows evolution bill to become TN law Despite saying it will create confusion, Haslam doesn’t veto it

State in midst of curriculum transition

Schools’ start date is pushed back by House Tourism boosters hail move; bill’s fate uncertain in Senate

Bozeman couple pledge $4.6M to send Montana kids to private schools

Facebook Launches Groups for Schools

16 Ways Educators Can Use Pinterest

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UTAH NEWS
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Utah education office makes $25M school funding mistake Education » State leaders say error won’t affect schools

A miscalculation at the State Office of Education has led to a $25 million mistake in Utah’s education budget for next school year.
State leaders, however, say they don’t expect the error to affect schools or districts.
“The Legislature remains committed to fund the new students entering our system. This is Utah — when we find a problem we fix it,” said Senate budget chairman Sen. Lyle Hillyard on Wednesday in a press announcement. “I believe we can find a way to keep the schools whole and create better verification on enrollment numbers to prevent this from happening in the future.”
http://bit.ly/HL4HEU (SLT)

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

Students, chefs going all-Utah for food at summit Cooking » Goodies from around the state will highlight offerings for 1,200 at economic event.

The menu is as impressive as the smells wafting from kitchens at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City.
There’s Berkshire pulled pork sliders from Ballard Farms in Cache Valley, seasoned with Snap Daddy’s BBQ sauce. Colosimo’s mini-sausage corn dogs featuring Miller honey mustard. How about Summit County beef carpaccio atop Sevillo bruschetta, or say, a cheese table heaped with breads, crackers, dry cured meats and deli appetizers.
The goodies are for a big crowd, the 1,200 people who will be attending the Governor’s Economic Summit on Tuesday and munching on Utah foods that will be showcased to highlight the diversity and range of manufacturers and farmers in the state.
Hotel pastry sous chef Maren Arnell, for one, was stunned that all the menu items were grown or made in Utah because the recent Las Vegas transplant had no idea a desert state could produce such offerings.
On Monday, Arnell was helping culinary students from Murray and West High Schools prepare rolls and pastries — all with Utah ingredients, such as Lehi Mills brownies with Mrs. Call’s caramels and Redmond salt. Several other desserts include Utah truffles and Taffy Town treats, along with Howie’s Root Beer and Gossner milk.
http://bit.ly/HBSkdb (SLT)

Former Sen. Garn tells students to dream big to accomplish goals

KAYSVILLE — Third- and sixth-grade students from 27 schools across the state got a rare chance to catch a glimpse at the life of an astronaut.
On Tuesday at Davis High School, as a part of Utah Space Week, students heard from former Utah Sen. Jake Garn, 79, who talked about his experience as a payload specialist on the space shuttle Discovery in 1985.
The most exciting aspect for one of the students was learning that the astronaut was from Utah.
http://bit.ly/IsdR7H (OSE)

Taylor Canyon Elementary students raise money for classmate’s heart transplant

OGDEN — Before lunch Tuesday, Jennae Cameron’s sixth-grade class split into groups, practicing skits.
One group practiced a skit with a talking jar, and another set up a pretend TV news desk.
“I fight for Abby, do you?” asked Valerie Frazer, 11, at the end of her group’s skit.
The students’ presentations will be filmed and shown during morning announcements at Taylor Canyon Elementary to raise awareness and money for their classmate, Abby Wardell, who needs a heart transplant.
http://bit.ly/HKYky3 (DN)

http://bit.ly/HyckQX (KSL)

Dare to Dream project provides prom dresses on tight budget

Now that April is in full swing, the minds of many parents and teen girls are consumed with thoughts of formalwear.
In this economy, families are struggling to afford prom dresses for their daughters, but Liz Smith came up with a solution: a local prom dress project called Dare to Dream Dresses. Smith collects donated dresses of various styles and sizes for teenage girls to borrow for their formal dance. Smith started collecting dresses last year during prom season in hopes of helping members of her community with this problem.
“We have all gone through a time when things are tight, or you need a dress last minute,” said Smith, who has three young adult daughters. “This project is designed for all of us in the community to help each other. So whether you need to borrow a dress or you have dresses sitting in a closet collecting dust that could be donated, this project is for you.”
The Dare to Dream Dresses project has more than 60 dresses available, including short and long dresses and prom gowns, but Smith says they are in need of dresses size 8 and up http://bit.ly/IGmfSY (PDH)

Two Bountiful High students arrested after home-made bombs explode

Two students were arrested Wednesday after Bountiful police said they detonated four small home-made bombs around the city, including one inside their high school.
Bountiful police St. Gary Koehn said the detonation of the small chemical bomb at Bountiful High School was one of four that occurred about 8:20 a.m.
Koehn said the other three bombs, one of which went off in a church parking lot about a block away, exploded in the neighborhoods surrounding the high school.
He said the students — a 16-year-old girl and an 18-year-old boy — said they tossed the bombs at random because they wanted to “hear the loud boom.” He said the teens didn’t intend to hurt anyone.
The bombs were constructed from several household items combined in a plastic water bottle, Koehn said.
http://bit.ly/HC1ZRq (SLT)

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

http://bit.ly/Hs1l8m (OSE)

http://bit.ly/HC2gnF (KUTV)

http://bit.ly/ImmjtK (KTVX)

http://bit.ly/HyuLF3 (KSL)

http://bit.ly/I4Ypw7 (KSTU)

Washington County School District finalizes new fee schedule

ST. GEORGE – Some parents can expect new student fees next year as the Washington County School District Board of Education voted Tuesday to approve a new fee schedule for the 2012-13 school year.
Explaining there is a need to balance the demand for school programs with the continuing strains of the economy, board members approved two new fees to help fund a middle school language arts program and a music program at Desert Hills High School.
http://bit.ly/HHBwn0 (SGS)

Head start facility spruced up by volunteers

The James R. Russell head start facility got a facelift thanks to some volunteers from Utah businesses.
It’s part of the America First Credit Union beautification project. Employees from difference branches pulled weeds, planted flowers, cleaned and organized the facility.
http://bit.ly/Hyg4lF (KSTU)

Employee of the year

Jan Gordon was awarded the Foothills Elementary’s Classified Employee of the Year.
http://bit.ly/ImdGiV (PDH)

School board meeting

The Rockwell Charter High School board will meet on April 18 at 6:30 p.m.
http://bit.ly/HAp36T (PDH)

Family/student night

The Rockwell Charter High School Family/Student Organization will sponsor a family food night for students and their families at Culver’s in Lehi on April 16 from 5 to 8 p.m.
http://bit.ly/HBIWqG (PDH)

Student body officers chosen

The new Payson High School student body officers for 2012-13 have been chosen.
http://bit.ly/HHAo2I (PDH)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Below last place
Facts about condoms scarce in Utah
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

Utah high school students aren’t learning even the tiny bit about condoms that is allowed under state law.
A report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that in 2010 just 11.3 percent of secondary schools in the Beehive State taught students that condoms work well to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. And only that few provided instruction in where to get condoms and how to use them.
So it’s not surprising that Utah was at the bottom among 45 states surveyed. What is a surprise is that such a large percentage (for Utah) of schools admitted teaching anything about condoms, given Utah’s strict abstinence mandate.
For it’s sadly true that many legislators follow the mantra of Gayle Ruzicka and her Eagle Forum: Keep Utah secondary-school students ignorant of the facts that could keep them healthy and help prevent their becoming parents in their teen years.
http://bit.ly/HKVqtf

Bipartisan support
Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist Paul Rolly

I mentioned in Monday’s column that the Utah County Republican Party will hold its convention Saturday at Salem Hills High School at the same time students will be taking the rigorous ACT exams that will count toward their college entrance eligibility.
School officials assured me they are keeping the test takers and the political party revelers as far away from each other as possible so the teens will not be distracted.
Well, not to be outdone, the Salt Lake County Democratic Party is having its convention Saturday at Murray High School — at the same time high school students will be taking the ACT at that school.
http://bit.ly/HBQQ2v

The cost of a building
Commentary by Charter Solutions President Lincoln Fillmore

This is the third in a series of posts analyzing school finance data. The first dealt with efficiency, defined as how much schools spent on the administration of their program on a per student basis. The second was about the results of that efficiency–schools that spend the most in classrooms on the education of students. This post is related to that, as it analyzes the schools spend the most on their buildings. Rent is typically the second largest line item (after employees, if they are counted as a single category) in any school’s budget. Schools that spend more per student on buildings have less money for teacher salaries, curriculum, classroom technology and additional instructional staff like teachers’ aides.
I take it as a given that while a building is necessary for educating students (no argument from virtual schools, please–that’t not the point of this post) in a traditional setting, very little about that building has any impact on what students learn. If the building is safe and functional, nothing else matters to the education of the students. A school could theoretically spend its entire budget on the building, gold-plating the walls, and whatnot, and in fact the impact on students would be negative, as less money is available for things that actually do make a difference in the achievement of students.
http://bit.ly/HvuONt

Congress stomps on teaching to the test
Deseret News commentary by columnist Mary McConnell

I’ve mentioned more than once that my own somewhat positive attitude toward “teaching to the test” is driven, in part, by my experience teaching Advanced Placement courses.
All successful AP teachers – and by that I mean not only teachers whose students earn decent scores, but also teachers who inspire real learning – teach to the test. We also all grouse about the tests, and the College Board test writers. They require us to cover too much material. They surprise us with what seem to be peripheral or ambiguous questions. They are too politically correct, or too oblivious to urgent social issues.
Still, as tests go the AP tests are pretty good.
http://bit.ly/HAwNpl

Spend more money on education than on prison system (St. George) Spectrum letter from Parker J. Clarke

On average, an increase in education contributes to a larger income, longer lives and more contributions to society. Time spent behind bars is consistent with more unemployment, higher costs to the state, and increased crime rates. Which lifestyle are our taxpayers’ dollars being used to support?
Each year, the state of Utah spends an average of $29,349 per prisoner. When it comes to funding education, Utah is ranked last in the nation, providing $6,365 per student – only half of the national average. There is a direct correlation showing that the higher one’s education level, the less likely is his/her probability of incarceration. On the other hand, more than 40 percent of prisoners who are let out wind up back behind bars within three years.
http://bit.ly/HBKMaS

Juan Diego’s example to other schools
Deseret News letter from Earl V. Elmont

As a state delegate, I attended the debate at Juan Diego Catholic High School. I must say how impressed I was with the school.
We were greeted by friendly well-dressed students in attractive uniforms. The school was spotlessly clean. There was no graffiti to be seen anywhere. There were no smashed lockers, and the bathrooms were clean and undamaged. The buildings and campus layout were wonderful. I felt as if I were visiting the campus of a small university.
http://bit.ly/IFUE4d

Choosing Blindly: Instructional Materials, Teacher Effectiveness, and the Common Core Brookings Institution, Brown Center on Education Policy analysis

Evidence shows that instructional materials have large effects on student learning. However, little research exists on the effectiveness of most instructional materials, and very little systematic information has been collected on which materials are being used in which schools.
In this new report, Russ Whitehurst and Fellow Matthew Chingos argue that this problem can be efficiently and easily fixed by states, with support from the federal government, non-profit organizations, and private philanthropy. Here are highlights from their recommendations:
http://bit.ly/HBngfF

Is Administration Leaner in Charter Schools?
Resource Allocation in Charter and Traditional Public Schools National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education analysis by David Arsen, Michigan State University, and Yongmei Ni, University of Utah

There is widespread concern that administration consumes too much of the educational dollar in traditional public schools, diverting needed resources from classroom instruction and hampering efforts to improve student outcomes. By contrast, charter schools are predicted to have leaner administration and allocate resources more intensively to instruction. This study analyzes resource allocation in charter and district schools in Michigan, where charter and tradition public schools receive approximately the same operational funding. Holding constant other determinants of school resource allocation, we find that compared to traditional public schools, charter schools on average spend nearly $800 more per pupil per year on administration and $1100 less on instruction.
http://bit.ly/I5soUz

Is Choice a Panacea?
An Analysis of Black Secondary Student Attrition from KIPP, Other Private Charters, and Urban Districts Berkeley Review of Education analysis by Julian Vasquez Heilig, Amy Williams, Linda McSpadden McNeil, Christoper Lee

Public concern about pervasive inequalities in traditional public schools, combined with growing political, parental, and corporate support, has created the expectation that charter schools are the solution for educating minorities, particularly Black youth. There is a paucity of research on the educational attainment of Black youth in privately operated charters, particularly on the issue of attrition. This paper finds that on average peer urban districts in Texas show lower incidence of Black student dropouts and leavers relative to charters. The data also show that despite the claims that 88-90% of the children attending KIPP charters go on to college, their attrition rate for Black secondary students surpasses that of their peer urban districts. And this is in spite of KIPP spending 30–60% more per pupil than comparable urban districts. The analyses also show that the vast majority of privately operated charter districts in Texas serve very few Black students.
http://escholarship.org/uc/item/0vs9d4fr

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NATIONAL NEWS
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No Obituary Needed for Arts Education, Study Reveals Education Week

Rumors of the death of arts education in public schools have been greatly exaggerated, new data suggest.
Over the past decade, the availability of music and visual-arts instruction—on average—has changed little, and remains high, when compared with a decade ago, according to a major federal report on arts education issued this month.
But that’s not the whole story. The data offer a complicated—and sometimes conflicting—narrative of the changes in arts access in public schools, with some ups, some downs, and some maintenance of the status quo.
http://bit.ly/It7Tn0

A copy of the report
http://1.usa.gov/HVg7Dg

Should Teachers Be Disciplined For Online Lives?
NPR Talk of the Nation

Several teachers have been disciplined, and even fired, for their online activities. A Philadelphia teacher was suspended after posting that students acted like “rude, disengaged, lazy whiners.” And a Georgia teacher was forced to resign over a Facebook photo that showed her drinking alcohol.
http://n.pr/HxNCAo

Gov. Haslam allows evolution bill to become TN law Despite saying it will create confusion, Haslam doesn’t veto it Nashville Tennessean

A bill that encourages classroom debate over evolution will become law in Tennessee, despite a veto campaign mounted by scientists and civil libertarians who say it will reopen a decades-old controversy over teaching creationism to the state’s schoolchildren.
Gov. Bill Haslam said Tuesday that he will allow House Bill 368/Senate Bill 893 to become law without his signature, a symbolic move that signals his opposition but allows the measure to be added to the state code.
The bill will create confusion over the state’s science curriculum, Haslam said. But he also acknowledged that he lacks the votes to prevent the measure from becoming state law.
http://tnne.ws/IhbXXF

http://apne.ws/Iu1Kte (AP)

State in midst of curriculum transition
Santa Fe New Mexican

In an effort to ensure that Johnny can not only read by the third grade, but be ready later on for college, New Mexico is implementing the Common Core Standards in kindergarten through grade three in school year 2012-13. The standards, which focus on English-language arts and math, will be implemented in grades four to 12 in 2013-14.
Developed by the public-policy driven National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers, the 36 standards are designed to encourage critical thinking among students via a set of vertically aligned lessons — that is, lessons that build on one another year after year. Some 46 states, as well as the District of Columbia, have adopted Common Core to ensure consistency in education across the nation.
http://bit.ly/IR6YLM

Schools’ start date is pushed back by House Tourism boosters hail move; bill’s fate uncertain in Senate Des Moines (IA) Register

Iowa schools could open their doors to students no earlier than the fourth Monday in August under legislation approved Tuesday in the state House.
In addition to setting the start date, the measure also removes a waiver process widely used by school districts to move the first day of classes earlier into August.
Supporters said the move would boost tourism in the state and give students further opportunities for learning experiences outside the classroom — such as competing at the Iowa State Fair or visiting the state’s historic and cultural attractions.
http://dmreg.co/HxyK0n

Bozeman couple pledge $4.6M to send Montana kids to private schools Missoulian

HELENA – Bozeman businessman Greg Gianforte and his wife, Susan, pledged Tuesday to donate $4.6 million to provide hundreds of scholarships to low- and moderate-income Montana children to attend private K-12 schools of their choice here over the next four years.
Gianforte, founder and former CEO of RightNow Technologies Inc. of Bozeman, and his wife made a four-year pledge to ACE Scholarship, a Colorado nonprofit group that has provided partial tuition scholarships there for a dozen years. The group will begin providing scholarships in Montana this fall.
The partial scholarships in Montana provide up to 500 kids with $2,000 a year for K-8 grade students, and $3,000 annually for grades 9-12. The scholarships will be need-based and available at 35 private schools and more as they are added.
http://bit.ly/Hypi19

Facebook Launches Groups for Schools
Mashable

In a throwback to its college-only days, Facebook has launched a new type of group for schools that requires an active “.edu” email address to join.
Within individual schools’ Groups for Schools pages, students and faculty members at the same school can exchange files, create events and message other students who are also members of the group.
Aside from creating school-based online communities, the pages mainly serve as hubs for school-related subgroups. As the only current member of the Northwestern University group, there were no groups for me to join. But when I typed in my interests, my (former) dorm and my major, the platform prompted me to start related groups and invite friends. Eventually, I’ll be able to search groups by those that my friends have joined http://on.mash.to/ItZO3T

16 Ways Educators Can Use Pinterest
Mashable

Teachers are known for their organizational skills, so chances are they’ll love Pinterest‘s intuitive and logical design.
The social network’s user experience has helped it earn a top spot among today’s most popular social networks. Therefore, we predict that teachers will give it a gold star, too.
Our friends at OnlineUniversities.com have put together the following infographic, which details how teachers can use Pinterest to organize lesson plans, distribute curricula, collaborate with other faculty, and even encourage student participation.
http://on.mash.to/HxRMbM

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