Education News Roundup: April 13, 2012

American flag in elementary school classroom

American flag in elementary school classroom/Just some dust/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

There’s good news on the revenue front. OK, it’s better news for cities, who use sales tax, than for schools, which use income tax, but good news nonetheless.
http://goo.gl/hyysQ (SLT)
or a copy of the report
http://www.census.gov/govs/statetax/

KSL puts out a long piece on Canyons Superintendent Doty.
http://goo.gl/gDuQ0 (KSL)

Twin Falls paper looks at pre-K in Idaho.
http://goo.gl/ylHuF

Nebraska looks at the Pledge.
http://goo.gl/SvVF5 (Omaha)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Utah tax revenues grew 7.5% last year
Economy » Income tax collections grew less than other states, but sales taxes jumped.

Employees claim Canyons superintendent rules by intimidation

Granite Park students AVID about new school program

Principals swap elementary schools

Charter school geared toward Pacific Islanders to open in the fall

Play raises questions about bullying

Kids experience deployment process at Hill Air Force Base

Cache Valley art students exhibit pieces in local high school show

High schools take part in one-act play competition

Why suspects allegedly detonated bomb in Bountiful HS

School parking lots pose a danger to young students

American Fork Junior High School

Forbes Elementary School

Greenwood Elementary School

Shelley Elementary School

Inside Our Schools

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Your kid’s high school coach loves him and hates you Prep sports » Many parents of players fantastic, but some just don’t get it

School inspectors?

Sifting through prom(iscuous) dresses

Puny counties

Differential pay for teachers

The voucher animus

How Micromanaging Educators Stifles Reform We ask teachers for higher student achievement, but we don’t trust them with the authority to make meaningful changes.

Study Asks: Is There An Ideal Amount of Recess?

NATION

Lack of State-run Preschool Puts Idaho Students Behind

Tennessee teacher law could boost creationism, climate denial

SF school sparks online free-speech battle

PTA chapter in NY addresses needs of gay students

State ed board likes ‘Pledge’ rule

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UTAH NEWS
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Utah tax revenues grew 7.5% last year
Economy » Income tax collections grew less than other states, but sales taxes jumped.

As another sign that the recession’s effects are fading, Utah — like all states — saw its tax revenues increase last year. That means, in part, that people generally were earning and spending more.
But Utah’s increase was less than the average of other states, according to data released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau. The office of Gov. Gary Herbert says that is because many large states increased their tax rates, while Utah did not.
Census data said tax revenues of all types among states nationwide rose by 8.9 percent in 2011. In Utah, the increase was only 7.5 percent. The state government’s total tax receipts grew to $5.48 billion, up from $5.09 billion.
The Census said revenue from states’ individual income taxes nationwide rose by 9.8 percent, but by only 9.2 percent in Utah. It said states’ corporate income tax revenue was up 9.4 percent nationally, but only by a tiny 0.7 percent in Utah.
But Utah did far better than average on sales taxes. Its sales tax revenue rose by 12.5 percent, well above the average for all states of 7.5 percent.
http://goo.gl/hyysQ (SLT)

A copy of the report
http://www.census.gov/govs/statetax/

Employees claim Canyons superintendent rules by intimidation

SANDY — When the Canyons School District was created in 2009 there was a lot of talk of change. Three years later, some former and current administrators say the change is in the way the superintendent is treating people.
The employees told KSL News Superintendent David Doty has created an environment of intimidation, calling for loyalty and demanding public silence if they disagree with his moves.
http://goo.gl/gDuQ0 (KSL)

Granite Park students AVID about new school program

SOUTH SALT LAKE — Austin and Kyle Mangum, twin brothers and ninth-grade students at Granite Park Junior High School in Granite School District, aren’t afraid to step outside their comfort zone.
Kyle is a member of the school’s musical choir, one of just a handful of boys who participate in the program.
Austin is a member of the school’s dance team. And who’s the only other male member of the squad?
His brother Kyle.
Both boys credit their confidence to try new things to the school’s Advancement via Individual Determination program, an extracurricular class that encourages students to plan their academic futures while in middle school.
The program at Granite Park recently received certification as an AVID school from the national AVID board. The school was also deemed a demonstration school because of its successful and organized program.
http://goo.gl/xWHdS (DN)

Principals swap elementary schools

ST. GEORGE – Principals at several Washington County elementary schools will be saying their goodbyes today after the school district instituted an administrative mix-up that moves eight principals to new assignments on Monday.
Principals and parents were adjusting to the sudden news on Thursday, saying they understood the practice – districts commonly move principals around in order to encourage fresh ideas and fresh energy – but that it was still jarring.
http://goo.gl/1Q2AF (SGS)

Charter school geared toward Pacific Islanders to open in the fall

A new public charter school is opening this fall in Rose Park.
Pacific Heritage Academy is the first public charter school of its kind in the nation targeting students of Pacific Island heritage.
The school is the brain child of a group of mothers who wanted their children to learn more about their heritage.
Their idea is now taking shape as construction is underway for what school administrators say will serve as a haven for Pacific Islander students who need extra help and want to feel immersed in their own culture. The school will be located at 1071 North Redwood Road.
http://goo.gl/whrSQ (KSTU)

Play raises questions about bullying

Davis School District officials have learned through the years that every effort — both big and small — helps in the fight to stop bullying in schools.
One of the district’s recent efforts includes a live play performed by students from the Theatre Arts Conservatory in Salt Lake City, which is working to bring the message about bullying to nearly 30 schools in Davis School District.
The play, titled “Amukis and the Donkleberry Suitcase,” is no ordinary play. It has a beginning and middle, but no ending — a first for the group, which has been creating different plays for schools for several years.
http://goo.gl/rLTMC (OSE)

Kids experience deployment process at Hill Air Force Base

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — Elementary school students had the opportunity to learn about military deployment during an event Thursday.
The event, called Kids Deployment Day, gave children age 12 and younger an opportunity to experience a mock deployment processing line with dog tag issues, gas mask fittings, military working dog demos, entomology exhibits, among other things.
http://goo.gl/EVYu3 (DN)

http://goo.gl/Elvkn (OSE)

http://goo.gl/u5lAE (KSL)

Cache Valley art students exhibit pieces in local high school show

While taking a break between classes at Stevens-Henager College on Wednesday night, Katie Veslebahl and Jessica Lawes had a little more to look at than normal.
“We’d stand out in the hallway a lot more if this was always here,” Veslebahl said.
The Stevens-Henager College 2012 High School Art Show opened Wednesday, featuring 50 pieces of artwork created by students from Logan, Mountain Crest, Sky View and Fast Forward Charter high schools. Displayed in three different hallways on the ground floor, the drawings, paintings, sculptures, photographs and mixed-media pieces will remain on display through Friday.
http://goo.gl/IWPcc (LHJ)

High schools take part in one-act play competition

TAYLORSVILLE — Teen thespians are participating in the 5A State One Act Plays Competition at Taylorsville High School.
The competition continues on Friday.
http://goo.gl/AEGXB (DN)

Why suspects allegedly detonated bomb in Bountiful HS

SALT LAKE CITY – Police are learning more about why two teenagers allegedly placed a bomb inside Bountiful High School.
They told police in an interview that they wanted to hear an explosion for fun.
http://goo.gl/QH0O1 (KTVX)

School parking lots pose a danger to young students

SALT LAKE CITY — Excited students, hurried parents, cars and kids often don’t mix.
Katie Fehr’s son was the third in a row to almost get hit in the crosswalk in the parking lot of Highland Park Elementary School in Salt Lake City.
“It’s just unacceptable to me that one child is almost hit in a parking lot,” she said. “People would pull in and say, ‘Kids jump out wherever,’ is what it felt like.”
She became the PTA’s co-chair for safety.
http://goo.gl/LTXVE (KSL)

American Fork Junior High School

Testing planned — Core year end testing ( CRT or Criterion-Reference Test) wil be held from April 19-25. Subjects to be tested will be math, English and science.
http://goo.gl/H2bnO (PDH)

Forbes Elementary School

Birthday table — Students with April birthdays will celebrate in the lunchroom on April 20.
http://goo.gl/8qEly (PDH)

Greenwood Elementary School

Shake Out — Greenwood will participate in the “Great Utah Shake Out,” an earthquake drill, on April 17.
http://goo.gl/vo0E1 (PDH)

Shelley Elementary School

Field trip — Second graders will go to the Bean Museum and the Orem City Library on April 20, from 9:15 a.m. to 2:15 p.m.
http://goo.gl/gTNIe (PDH)

Inside Our Schools

Millcreek High
Arrowhead Elementary
Fossil Ridge Intermediate
Vista Charter
Pine View High
Fiddlers Elementary
South Elementary
Three Peaks Elementary
Canyon View Middle
Cedar Middle
http://goo.gl/Tn9WD (SGS)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Your kid’s high school coach loves him and hates you Prep sports » Many parents of players fantastic, but some just don’t get it Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist Gordon Monson

Two successful Utah high school head coaches were recently asked about the major challenges they face in coaching their sports — football and basketball. Their responses spanned from winning games to being father figures, from disciplining players to dealing with prep politics, from keeping their athletes academically eligible to shoving them away from drugs and alcohol, from controlling soaring expectations to finding enough personal time to save their marriages.
And, on a good day, if they’re lucky, they said they get to actually teach their kids transition offense and how to tackle properly.
The coaches spoke in unison about one of their biggest hardships: parents.
http://goo.gl/z0nXN

School inspectors?
Deseret News commentary by columnist Mary McConnell

Here’s an interesting contribution from an education reformer who thinks more accountability can make – indeed has made – a big difference, but who also worries about a narrow focus on testing.
http://goo.gl/Pe6uk

Sifting through prom(iscuous) dresses
KSL commentary by columnist Susie Boyce

DALLAS — My 6-year-old son answered a knock at the door to find a large wrapped box with my 16-year-old oldest daughter’s name on it. Inside, along with several bags of candy and the question “PROM?” that had been meticulously cut out in large letters, was a small box containing a single fortune cookie. The original fortune had been removed and replaced with a slip of paper that read, “Will you go to Prom with Tom?”
And so it began.
The most logical dress solution — for my daughter to wear the dress that she had just worn to her basketball banquet — was naturally out of the question (not for me, of course). So after much negotiation and some squabbling, we settled on a budget that my daughter insisted was absolutely, positively too low.
http://goo.gl/axzQe

Puny counties
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Andrew Beckett

Re “Provo-Orem, Heber in nation’s top 10 in growth” (Tribune, April 5)
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, these Utah counties, each with a population well under 10,000, lost people last year: Beaver (6,594), Garfield (5,144), Piute (1,497) and Wayne (2,737). And these similarly small counties each gained fewer than 100 people: Daggett (1,156), Rich (2,303) and Kane (7,257).
How in the hell can those dinky counties pay for their administration, including courts, elected officials, police, libraries and assorted bureaucrats? Puny Daggett County even has its own school district — one elementary, one junior high and one high school! That’s an awful lot for a superintendent and board of education to oversee.
This is no way to run a state, with so many small counties. Each of those counties should be dissolved and combined with a neighb from oring county.
http://goo.gl/y5YWj

Differential pay for teachers
Deseret News letter from Macklin Johnson

Teachers should receive differential pay based on which subject they teach. One of the most compelling arguments for differential pay is that professionals in the fields of math and science make significantly more than teachers in those same subject areas. If we want math and science majors to become teachers, we have to pay them what they’re worth.
http://goo.gl/eLZRS

The voucher animus
Commentary by Thomas Fordham Institute President Chester E. Finn, Jr.

Rumor has it that we will soon see an actual education plan from Mitt Romney, his team having been loath to wade into this debate during the primaries. I predict that it’ll include a strong push for vouchers, if only because this remains the clearest divide between the GOP view of education and the reform agenda of Arne Duncan and the Obama administration.
Most other distinctions are grayer today, involving degrees of difference about things like teacher evaluations, “common core” standards, and just how much discretion Washington should return to states.
Short of plain goofiness (as in “abolish the Department of Education”), vouchers are where bright lines get drawn. The conventional explanation is that Democrats don’t dare cross this threshold lest the teacher unions (already antsy about charters, merit pay, test-based accountability, etc.) forsake their traditional party—or simply sit on their hands come campaign season and election day, while Republicans tend to take the side of parents and don’t much care what the unions—or other parts of the education establishment—think or do.
http://goo.gl/XAaBO

How Micromanaging Educators Stifles Reform We ask teachers for higher student achievement, but we don’t trust them with the authority to make meaningful changes.
The Atlantic commentary by Wendy Kopp, chief executive officer and founder of Teach For America

First, the good news. Over the past 10 years, our country has experienced a sea change in the way we talk about education. We’ve embraced the need for accountability and high expectations as the true magnitude of educational inequality and its devastating effects have become clear. To close the vast gap in achievement between rich and poor students, political leaders have called for standards, assessments, and holding educators responsible for their students’ performance. For all its flaws, No Child Left Behind, which was passed in 2002, shifted the conversation about education to focus on demonstrable student achievement rather than on inputs like class size and spending on technology.
Now the bad news. We’ve tried to hold educators accountable for student performance without addressing the morass of process requirements that prevents them from doing what it takes to get great results for kids. We’re asking educators to deliver better outcomes, but we haven’t given them the flexibility and authority they need to meet high standards.
The problem is that we’ve built an education system based on our distrust of educators, and we didn’t rethink it when we embraced accountability. For years, well-intentioned policy makers have attempted to safeguard children by micromanaging principals and teachers through mandates and process requirements. Our education policies are a patchwork of thousands of top-down regulations that tie educators’ hands rather than empowering them with the freedom over how they run their schools and classrooms.
http://goo.gl/LCa5L

Study Asks: Is There An Ideal Amount of Recess?
Education Week commentary by columnist Jaclyn Zubrzycki

The amount of recess students have varies widely from school to school, and how much time students should spend playing and socializing during school hours has been the subject of some debate. New research in Arizona State University’s Education Policy Analysis Archives hopes to determine whether there is a most-effective way to schedule recess.
In “Recess and Reading Achievement of Early Childhood Students in Public Schools,” researcher Ummuhan Yesil Dagli of Yildiz Technical University in Turkey describes how much time kindergartners around the United States spend in recess and in reading class, and whether that is connected to students’ scores on a reading assessment.
http://goo.gl/5Ukbc

A copy of the study
http://epaa.asu.edu/ojs/article/view/898/969

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Lack of State-run Preschool Puts Idaho Students Behind Twin Falls (ID) Times-News

TWIN FALLS • Preschool used to be a place to play and learn how to get along with others.
But now, children are also learning skills — such as counting — to help them prepare for a more rigorous kindergarten experience.
I.B. Perrine Elementary School Principal Bill Brulotte said many kindergarten teachers can tell within the first week of school which students went to preschool.
“They have an advantage and they’re more likely to be successful in school,” he said.
While other options are available, Idaho is one of 11 states without a state-funded preschool program. Plus, children in the Gem State aren’t required to go to preschool or kindergarten.
“It’s up to parents to decide whether they want students to attend,” said Melissa McGrath, spokeswoman for the Idaho State Department of Education.
But the lack of a state program puts Idaho’s youth at an educational disadvantage compared to their peers in other states, according to a new report by the National Institute of Early Education Research.
http://goo.gl/ylHuF

Tennessee teacher law could boost creationism, climate denial Reuters

A new Tennessee law protects teachers who explore the “scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses” of evolution and climate change, a move science education advocates say could make it easier for creationism and global warming denial to enter U.S. classrooms.
The measure, which became law Tuesday, made Tennessee the second state, after Louisiana, to enable teachers to more easily teach alternative theories to the widely accepted scientific concepts of evolution and human-caused climate change. At least five other states considered similar legislation this year.
The heart of the law is protection for teachers who “help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.”
Science education advocates say this leaves latitude for teachers to bring in material on creationism or climate change denial, which they consider unsound science.
http://goo.gl/KSaAX

SF school sparks online free-speech battle California Watch

Civil rights groups recently intervened in a free-speech controversy at the San Francisco Unified School District after a school suspended three high school seniors and banned them from graduation and prom over comments they made online.
The students were suspended from George Washington High School after a teacher learned about postings on a Tumblr page called “Scumbag Teachers.” Some of the comments allegedly linked to the students included: “Teaches Pink Floyd for 3 Weeks; Makes Final Project Due In 3 Days” and “Nags Student Govt About Being On Task; Lags On Everything.”
The school principal accused the students of cyberbullying. They were suspended from school for three days, banned from prom and told they couldn’t walk with their classmates during graduation. One of the students was kicked off the student council.
http://goo.gl/032Iz

PTA chapter in NY addresses needs of gay students Associated Press

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. — Rachael Scheinman hears anti-gay slurs all the time.
The senior at the Portledge School in Locust Valley, N.Y., says many of her peers use hateful vocabulary as generic putdowns without realizing the harm.
“These slurs are used very cruelly, and when I ask people about it they say they are not being anti-gay; they are just substituting the slur to mean `stupid’ or something like that,”" said the 18-year-old, who identifies herself as gay.
Scheinman was among those celebrating Thursday at the approval of a Parent-Teacher Association chapter designed specifically for the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.
http://goo.gl/vFSJ8

State ed board likes ‘Pledge’ rule
Omaha (NE) World-Herald

LINCOLN — A majority on the Nebraska State Board of Education expressed support Thursday for requiring public schools — from kindergarten through high school — to set aside time each day for the Pledge of Allegiance.
“I think you can teach patriotism and that it is part of the job of schools to do that,” board member Bob Evnen of Lincoln said.
Rebecca Valdez, an Omaha board member, said she struggles with giving schools another mandate but supports the proposed rule.
America is a melting pot of races and ethnicities, Valdez said, and “the common thread is we’re Americans.”
Under the measure, student participation in reciting the pledge would be voluntary. Students would be led in the pledge in the presence of the American flag.
Students objecting to the pledge could sit or stand silently while the pledge is recited but “shall be required to respect the rights of those pupils electing to participate.”
http://goo.gl/SvVF5

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