Education News Roundup: Aug. 15, 2012

"Colours in the Wind" by Glyn Lowe Photoworks/CC/flickr

“Colours in the Wind” by Glyn Lowe Photoworks/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

Boas notícias: Murray may yet get a Portuguese immersion school.
http://goo.gl/qqRTD (SLT)

San Juan is expecting a bump in enrollment this year.
http://goo.gl/CZiQo (SJR)

Transcript Bulletin looks at a proposed tax hike in the Tooele School District.
http://goo.gl/bkaWb (TTB)

Hybrid home schools are gaining traction.
http://goo.gl/RgFXs (Ed Week)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Murray district students may get another chance at Portuguese program Education » State Office of Education to try to secure program for 50 students affected by Murray district’s late cancellation

Native American Summit Focuses On Education

Students head back to school this week in the San Juan School District

Other school districts won’t raise taxes to offset funding drop Tooele County School District still seeks highest tax hike in Utah

Former Utah teacher explores in film why U.S. kids fail math Education » After teaching, Scott Laidlaw made math games, now turns to documentary.

Open High School of Utah

Cooke calls for end of land grab lawsuit

District sets goals for achievement

Seniors head back to school one last time

Duncan Announces 2012 Cross-Country Back-to-School Bus Tour “Education Drives America” to Spotlight Classroom Success, Link Education and the Economy

New principal Louise Herman

Utah teen ‘boot camp’ lawsuit can proceed

Undue influence not found with Kearns transfers Prep football • UHSAA rules that no recruiting occurred.

GPS to help efficiency of Jordan district busses

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Fighting fat
Junk-food limits can work

Back to school

Back to school – and new common standards?
So far, 47 states have signed on to the ‘common core state standards’ launched by the National Governors Association in 2009. The standards ensure uniformity in what’s taught in every classroom nationwide. But we need follow-through at the local level. Here’s what you can do.

An Ominous Political Trend for Common Core’ites

The World Is Moving Forward, but American Education Is Stagnant.
‘The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking’ author shares his thoughts on how America ‘can do better.’

L.A. formula: New schools = better student performance. But why?

A High-Tech Fix for Broken Schools
Digital learning gives young minds a shot at educational excellence.

Why Web Literacy Should Be Part of Every Education Teaching our kids to code will make them uniquely prepared to fully contribute to the world.

NATION

Judge: Detroit school board will maintain academic control over district

‘Hybrid’ Home Schools Gaining Traction

Camden paying $500K to settle suit with students

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UTAH NEWS
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Murray district students may get another chance at Portuguese program
Education » State Office of Education to try to secure program for 50 students affected by Murray district’s late cancellation

Families left in the lurch when the Murray School District abruptly canceled its Portuguese dual immersion program this month may get another chance to enroll their students for the 2013-14 school year.
The Utah State Office of Education has vowed to try to find a way to offer the program to some of the 50 first-graders who signed up for it at Parkside Elementary School in Murray this year, but were shut out when the district didn’t hire a qualified Portuguese teacher in time. School starts Aug. 24.
Gregg Roberts, world-language specialist and dual language-immersion specialist at the Utah State Office of Education, has told some disappointed families that a Portuguese dual immersion program for second-graders is being developed, said parent Wagner Oliveira. He was among the parents who protested when Murray axed its program two weeks before the start of school.
Three districts have shown interest in hosting such a program, but the details are still being worked out, said Oliveira. He said interested parents have been told they will receive more information later this fall.
http://goo.gl/qqRTD (SLT)

Native American Summit Focuses On Education

Utah’s Indian tribes are concerned about dropout rates and are working to develop stronger support systems for Native American youth. Those are a few items being discussed at the state’s 7th Annual Native American Summit.
http://goo.gl/zEqt1 (KCPW)

Students head back to school this week in the San Juan School District

Students return to school this week as the San Juan School District opens its doors on August 16.
Schools in Montezuma Creek are anticipating a large number of new students, as Utah students from the Red Mesa area will no longer be able to attend school at the Red Mesa schools in Arizona.
The Arizona schools have been sending buses into Utah for years, and more than 100 Utah students attended the Arizona schools. Several months ago, Arizona announced that Utah students could no longer attend the schools.
Since that time, the Red Mesa School District has tried and failed, to date, to find a way to welcome the Utah students.
http://goo.gl/CZiQo (SJR)

Other school districts won’t raise taxes to offset funding drop
Tooele County School District still seeks highest tax hike in Utah

While the Tooele County School District is proposing a 9.1 percent property tax increase to cover the loss of state capital outlay funds, other school districts in Utah that also had their capital outlay funding cut will not be raising taxes.
“We don’t rely on capital outlay funding, because it’s too unreliable,” said Ron Frandsen, business administrator for the Box Elder School District.
Box Elder School District received $2.2 million in capital outlay funds from the state in 2011 and $1.2 million in 2012, but is budgeting for only $100,000 in capital outlay funds this year.
http://goo.gl/bkaWb (TTB)

Former Utah teacher explores in film why U.S. kids fail math
Education » After teaching, Scott Laidlaw made math games, now turns to documentary.

Scott Laidlaw’s math students just weren’t getting it.
While teaching sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders at the private Realms of Inquiry school in Salt Lake City three years ago, Laidlaw wracked his brain for ways to improve his students’ competency in math. Only 21 percent were testing proficient in the subject.
He joined forces with Utahn Jennifer Lightwood and launched Imagine Education, a company that designs learning games. Titles such as “Ko’s Journey” and “Empires” have helped middle-school math concepts — ratios, graphing and geometry — click with students through interactive games.
But Laidlaw hasn’t stopped creating new tools to help bolster student achievement in math. His and Lightwood’s new documentary, “The Biggest Story Problem: Why America’s Students Are Failing at Math,” will premiere 7 p.m. Thursday at the Fort Douglas Post Theatre in Salt Lake City.
http://goo.gl/G9s6A (SLT)

Open High School of Utah

Back To (a new type of) School
Some students struggle with traditional brick-and-mortar high schools.
Whether students are accelerated, travel frequently, pursuing a career, like to learn at their own pace or, for any other reason, traditional high school just doesn’t work for them.
Sometimes just as students begin to understand concepts in class, the bell rings and they have to move on to the next class and a different subject. Then when they get home that night, they have no idea how to do their homework.
Open High School of Utah is a solution.
http://goo.gl/3QrHE (KTVX)

Cooke calls for end of land grab lawsuit

BIG COTTONWOOD CANYON – Peter Cooke, Utah’s Democratic gubernatorial candidate, spoke about his policies on Utah’s wilderness on Utah.
Cooke, who spoke at the mouth of Big Cottonwood Canyon on Tuesday, says he will work to preserve Utah’s natural resources and would pursue alternative energies like solar and wind power.
Cooke called Governor Herbert to stop his lawsuit challenging the federal government over public lands in Utah.
“Stop telling the people of Utah that this land grab is necessary so that Utah public schools can be adequately funded. The lawsuit is senseless if litigated,” Cooke said.
http://goo.gl/a60E2 (KSTU)

http://goo.gl/Vt7bu (KUER)

http://goo.gl/Al8IE (SLT)

District sets goals for achievement

CEDAR CITY — The Iron County School District is busily preparing for the beginning of the new academic year Thursday with the administration and teachers prepared to live by a new motto developed during the summer, “Excellence is an attitude; pass it on.”
Jim Johnson, superintendent for the district, said he presented his idea of making excellence this year’s theme and portraying the message that it is an attitude, to principals, teachers and other district employees during the summer.
http://goo.gl/SDkYm (SGS)

Seniors head back to school one last time

ST. GEORGE — Dixie High School senior Tanner Hafen isn’t a typical student.
A prominent member of the student government — he was Junior class president last year and this year is the student body president — Hafen is a hopeful to represent the school as a Sterling Scholar and Valedictorian. He has starred in numerous school plays as a prominent member of Dixie High School Drama, and having had three older siblings who graduated from DHS, the school has been a part of his life for years.
But like any other student, the first day of school came Wednesday with a mix of emotions and a little bit of an odd feeling.
http://goo.gl/8XgrG (SGS)

Duncan Announces 2012 Cross-Country Back-to-School Bus Tour
“Education Drives America” to Spotlight Classroom Success, Link Education and the Economy

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and senior leaders from the U.S. Department of Education will push the message that “Education Drives America” in its third annual back-to-school bus tour this fall. In a series of events from coast-to-coast, Department officials will highlight education successes across the country and engage communities in conversations about school reform (P-12), college affordability and completion, and the link between education and jobs.
“America’s future is directly linked to the quality of education that we provide our children, young people and adults,” Duncan said. “It is the key to a vibrant middle class, strong national security and our global economic competitiveness.”
The bus tour will begin on Sept. 12 in Redwood City, California, and conclude at the Department of Education’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., on the evening of Sept. 21. Additional stops include, Sacramento, California; Reno and Elko, Nevada; Salt Lake City, Utah; Rawlins, Rock Springs, and Cheyenne, Wyoming; Denver and Limon, Colorado; Topeka and Emporia, Kansas; Kansas City and Columbia, Missouri; Mt. Vernon, Illinois; Evansville, Indiana; Lexington, Kentucky; Charleston and McDowell County, West Virginia; Roanoke and Richmond, Virginia.
http://goo.gl/Dh34i (ED)

New principal Louise Herman

RIVERTON — Louise Herman became the new principal this year at Saint Andrew Catholic School in Riverton, replacing Holy Cross Sister Karla McKinnie, who transferred to the Utah Catholic Schools office in the Special Needs Program.
Herman comes to St. Andrew from Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Salt Lake City, where she was the principal for four years.
http://goo.gl/CHGuP (IC)

Utah teen ‘boot camp’ lawsuit can proceed

ST. GEORGE — Abuse charges in a lawsuit against a Utah company that ran a network of domestic and international schools for troubled teens will be heard in St. George, a judge has ruled.
Fifth District Judge James Shumate ruled Tuesday the case should remain in southern Utah because most of the companies named as defendants — and the people operating them — call Washington County home.
An attorney representing more than 350 former students and family members had argued the case should be moved to Salt Lake City to avoid prejudice and travel costs for his clients. The students are from more than three dozen states, England and Canada and attended the residential school programs between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s.
The suit claims the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools, based in St. George, subjected the students to systematic abuse. The students claim they were denied food and medical care, lived in filth and suffered extreme emotional, physical and sexual abuse.
Named as defendants are World Wide and its three principals, Robert B. Lichfield of Toquerville, and Brent M. Facer and Ken Kay, both of St. George.
http://goo.gl/LfV5g (OSE)

http://goo.gl/NM1Wq (SGS)

http://goo.gl/AwTz6 (SLT)

http://goo.gl/Buaru (KTVX)

Undue influence not found with Kearns transfers
Prep football • UHSAA rules that no recruiting occurred.

Midvale • A rash of transfers, including seniors and multi-year starters, from the Kearns football program drew out emotional scars and torrent of accusations on Tuesday afternoon.
The departure of players maybe have been painful for the school and families involved, but it wasn’t caused by the coaching staffs of their eventual destinations — Bingham and Woods Cross — a UHSAA panel ruled in three separate cases.
http://goo.gl/0VJdl (SLT)

http://goo.gl/Tve6x (DN)

GPS to help efficiency of Jordan district busses

SALT LAKE CITY — The Jordan School District is taking big steps to make sure its school busses run more efficiently.
Starting in the fall, busses in the district will have a GPS tracking system attached.
http://goo.gl/dNJRj (KSL)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Fighting fat
Junk-food limits can work
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

For those parents who are at their wits’ end, trying to deal with their children’s obesity, new research shows part of the answer could lie at school.
Children who live in states with strong, consistent laws limiting availability of unhealthy snacks at schools gained less weight from fifth through eighth grades than did children in states with no such limitations. Also, children who were overweight or obese in fifth grade were more likely to reach a healthy weight by eighth grade if they lived in states with the toughest laws.
Results of the three-year national study indicate tough laws that outlaw or strictly limit sugary, high-fat food and beverages in school vending machines, stores and lunchrooms can have a long-term effect on childhood obesity. The study isn’t proof, but it is real evidence that such laws can have a positive effect.
Utah education officials have mostly left the decision about junk food in school vending machines up to individual districts and schools.
http://goo.gl/n9S37

Back to school
(St. George) Spectrum editorial

After a break for summer vacation filled with swimming, days of roaming neighborhoods and relaxation, thousands of kids are preparing to head back to class this week.
School starts today in Washington County and Thursday in Iron County. And with the return to classes come the safety concerns of each school year. School buses will be on the roads. Kids on bicycles will be pedaling themselves to school. And little feet — some headed to school for the first time — will excitedly dart from between cars across streets.
In short, a return to school means everyone needs a return to good safety practices.
http://goo.gl/RnsGs

Back to school – and new common standards?
So far, 47 states have signed on to the ‘common core state standards’ launched by the National Governors Association in 2009. The standards ensure uniformity in what’s taught in every classroom nationwide. But we need follow-through at the local level. Here’s what you can do.
Christian Science Monitor commentary by Rick Dalton, president and CEO of College For Every Student

Essex, NY — Democracy is like herding cats – and so is education reform. As America’s public schools consider new common standards in subjects such as math and language arts, it’s time to act on these standards while the cats are all in the same room.
So far, 47 states have signed on to the “common core state standards” launched in 2009 by the National Governors Association. The standards would ensure uniformity in what’s taught in every classroom and what’s expected of every student nationwide. Each grade level would work toward the same goals, instead of experiencing educational chaos – thousands of different goals and curricula.
But even an extraordinary commitment such as this – which also has the backing of the two main teachers unions as well as Republicans and Democrats from Main St. to Pennsylvania Ave. – can disappear when the chalk hits the chalkboard. It can face resistance, indifference, or simply fall beneath other priorities.
That’s why we need to turn our attention to teachers, parents, and other community leaders and get the buy-in needed at the micro level.
Without clear, consistent standards, America’s schools will remain adrift and many of its students lost at sea.
http://goo.gl/0ZVHp

An Ominous Political Trend for Common Core’ites
Commentary by Frederick M. Hess, executive editor of Education Next

When it comes to the Common Core, I see great potential value in states choosing to embrace common, high-caliber reading and math standards, if these are implemented with conviction and attention to how they will interact with current reforms. That said, seems to me there’s a huge chance that the whole exercise will go south, with many states implementing the Common Core half-heartedly, while screwing with existing reforms and standards. Such an outcome would ultimately do more harm than good. After all, the easiest course for states that have adopted Common Core standards but have second thoughts is to leave ’em be, and then simply not follow through (especially since most state legislators would probably rather put money into salaries than Common Core’ish obligations for new tests, p.d., or instructional materials.)
This is where the Obama administration’s ham-handed machinations have been especially unhelpful, given that it’s easy for skeptics to argue that lots of states have essentially adopted the Common Core under duress. In particular, the Obama administration’s push in Race to the Top, it’s ESEA “blueprint,” NCLB waivers, and the rest has gradually turned the Common Core into a partisan issue that may enjoy enthusiastic backing from elite edu-Republicans like Jeb Bush and Mitch Daniels, but that is now seen by a growing swath of conservatives as just another facet of Obamaesque federal overreach.
http://goo.gl/YiVDo

The World Is Moving Forward, but American Education Is Stagnant.
‘The Art of Being Unreasonable: Lessons in Unconventional Thinking’ author shares his thoughts on how America ‘can do better.’
Takepart commentary by Eli Broad, founder of KB Home and SunAmerica

I am old enough to remember when America’s K-12 public schools were the best in the world. I am a proud graduate of them, and I credit much of my success to what I learned in Detroit Public Schools and at Michigan State University.
When I was in high school, not long after World War II, the United States had the top graduation rate. Since then, we have dropped behind 20 other industrialized nations. In less time than you just spent reading the last few sentences, another American student has dropped out of school. American students today rank 31st in the world in mathematics and 23rd in science. If the academic rankings of our most precious resource—our young people—were the rankings of our Olympic athletes, it would be a source of major national embarrassment.
The most shameful part of the picture—the one that, by my count, is the civil rights issue of our time—is the dramatically lower graduation rates for poor and minority students. These students are far less likely to have access to the best teachers.
By any measure, America’s schools are in the grip of a profound crisis.
http://goo.gl/efFTx

L.A. formula: New schools = better student performance. But why?
Los Angeles Times commentary by columnist Karin Klein

The Los Angeles Unified School District has been carrying out one of the biggest construction projects in U.S. history — second only, as a public works project, to the creation of the nation’s interstate highway system — using billions of dollars in bond funds to build well over 100 new schools and relieve cramped, aging campuses. Twenty new schools are opening this week with the start of the school year. Now a study out of UC Berkeley finds that this massive effort is yielding (pardon the pun) concrete results, at least for children in elementary school.
Students in the new schools showed achievement gains equivalent to 35 extra days of schooling each year. But such gains eluded students at the new high schools, just as over the years, scores on the state’s annual standards tests have risen markedly for elementary students and much less for teenagers. Students in new high schools saw modest gains in English language and none in math. The study didn’t examine middle schools.
But clear answers about the magic at new elementary schools are hard to come by. What about a new school makes the difference? Not just the lack of crowding; the students at the new schools fared better than students who remained at the older campuses, even though both were uncrowded after the switch. To some extent, the size of the student population overall made a difference. Smaller new schools did better than bigger ones, but new and old schools of the same size still showed higher achievement for the former.
http://goo.gl/lg0ow

A High-Tech Fix for Broken Schools
Digital learning gives young minds a shot at educational excellence.
Wall Street Journal op-ed by JUAN WILLIAMS, political analyst for Fox News

Mooresville, N.C., is best known as “Race City, U.S.A.,” home of Nascar. But these days Mooresville is leading the nation in a different way—by using digital technology to improve public education.
“Fixing Our Schools,” a documentary I am hosting for the Fox News Channel this Sunday, looks at how digital learning is being used by schools like those in Mooresville to help fix our broken education system.
Our schools are undoubtedly in crisis. Prize-winning documentaries such as “Waiting for ‘Superman'” have revealed the terrible cost of losing young minds to failing schools. Dropout rates are particularly high among minority children in urban schools. But even parents in the best suburban schools are alarmed by the fact that the U.S. now ranks 30th world-wide in math, 23rd in science, and 17th in literacy.
This is why the modestly funded schools in Mooresville are drawing national attention. The school district ranks 100th out of 115 school districts in North Carolina on per-pupil spending. But in the last 10 years, its test scores have pushed it from a middling rank among North Carolina’s school districts to a tie for second place.
Three years ago, 73% of Mooresville’s students tested as proficient in math, reading and science. Today, 89% are proficient in those subjects.
The big change in Mooresville began when Superintendent Mark Edwards took the radical step of cutting back on teachers and using the money to give every student from third grade through high school a laptop computer.
http://goo.gl/v2MnH

Why Web Literacy Should Be Part of Every Education
Teaching our kids to code will make them uniquely prepared to fully contribute to the world.
Fast Company commentary by Cathy Davidson and Mark Surman (Cathy N. Davidson is a professor at Duke University, where she co-directs the Ph.D. Lab in Digital Knowledge. Mark Surman is the executive director of Mozilla.)

Like reading, writing, and arithmetic, web literacy is both content and activity. You don’t just learn “about” reading: you learn to read. You don’t just learn “about” arithmetic: you learn to count and calculate. You don’t just learn “about” the web: you learn to make your own website. As with these other three literacies, web literacy begins simply, with basics you can build upon. For some it can lead to a profession (i.e. becoming a computer programmer) while for most it becomes part of the conceptual DNA that helps you to understand and negotiate the world you live in.
Our Information Age began, for all intents and purposes, in April of 1993 when the Mosaic 1.0 browser made the World Wide Web available–for free–not just for use but for contribution and participation by anyone with access to the Internet. Its decentralization, its open architecture, and its lack of a “director” or “owner” or even central switching point made the potential for worldwide co-creation of knowledge, art, science, literature, animation, and all the rest possible.
“Web literacy explains the world we live in and gives us the tools to contribute to that world.”
http://goo.gl/DYb1I

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Judge: Detroit school board will maintain academic control over district
Detroit Free Press

A judge decided today that the Detroit school board will have academic control over the Detroit Public Schools until voters decide in November whether to keep or toss a controversial law that gives state appointees sweeping control over troubled cities and schools.
Wayne County Circuit Court Judge John A. Murphy agreed with state Attorney General Bill Schuette’s opinion last week that Public Act 72 – which allows state appointees to operate as emergency financial managers – remains in effect until Nov. 6.
That means the school board has academic control, and state-appointee Roy Roberts has financial control over DPS until the vote.
http://goo.gl/fcBXZ

‘Hybrid’ Home Schools Gaining Traction
Education Week

Emmy Elkin’s school day starts with a cooking show.
The 10-year-old and her mom, Jill Elkin of Peachtree City, Ga., are up at 8 a.m., making breakfast along with “Iron Chef America” and chatting about algebra. Last week, Emmy left home after breakfast to meet a new Japanese tutor, around the time her sister Kayla, 14, dragged herself awake to get her independent mathematics study done before a friend came over for a joint British literature course. The sisters spent the afternoon working through a chemistry course online, with Jill Elkin giving more individual coaching to her younger daughter.
Kayla and Emmy are part of the modern generation of home-schooled students, piecing together their education from their mother, a former Fayette County math teacher, other district and university teachers, parent co-ops, and online providers.
http://goo.gl/RgFXs

Camden paying $500K to settle suit with students
Associated Press

CAMDEN, N.J. — The Camden Board of Education has agreed to pay $500,000 to seven students who were made to eat their lunch on the floor as punishment.
The February 2008 incident sparked racial tensions in the city because of the way a class of 15 Puerto Rican fifth-graders was punished for spilling a jug of water.
State education officials ruled that the punishment was improper, but was not racially motivated.
Under the settlement, which was first reported by the Courier-Post the seven students will split $280,000. Their lawyer will get $220,000.
http://goo.gl/HcKwv

http://goo.gl/wvwWI (Camden, NJ, Courrier-Post)

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

August 15:
Retirement and Independent Entities Interim Committee meeting
7:30 a.m., Room 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2012/html/00001027.htm

Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Interim Committee meeting
9 a.m., Room 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2012/html/00001013.htm

Education Interim Committee meeting
2 p.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2012/html/00001020.htm

September 6-7:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspx

September 13:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://1.usa.gov/Axtt5K

September 18:
Executive Appropriations Interim Committee meeting
1 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://goo.gl/E0hoC

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