Education News Roundup: Aug. 21, 2012

"182_2631 fruit" by Kates Photo Diary/CC/flickr

“182_2631 fruit” by Kates Photo Diary/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

Spectrum looks at an after-school program at Desert Hill High

Education continues to heat up on the presidential trail (AP) and (WSJ)

Indiana public schools begin an ad campaign. (AP)

New Wisconsin educator license may do an end around education schools in favor of portfolios. (Milwaukee JS)





Students show academic improvement in School of Life

‘LiVe’ health program teaches importance of a proper diet

Utah abandons ‘No Child Left Behind’ for better program

The Road Home Shelter: Kids in need get new school supplies

Cedar High construction complete

Poll: No Child Left Behind has made American education worse or no different


Show support for education

The Compensation Question

Are public school teachers underpaid?

Teachers Stocking Up on Ayn Rand Books

The Competition that Really Matters

Comparing U.S., Chinese, and Indian Investments in the Next-Generation Workforce


Obama shifts to Ryan education plan

Indiana public schools wage unusual ad campaign

Federal court continues to block key immigration law elements, affirms others

State creates new path to teaching license

In filmmaker’s eyes, teenage mom from Des Moines is a ‘superhero’

Gallardo’s triumphs featured in dropout-prevention effort

Save Our Schools Group Shifts Course

ACLU Tells Public Schools It’s Monitoring School Prayer Complaints

Are Year-Round Enrichment Programs the Answer to Summer Learning Loss?

High School Daze: The Perils Of Sacrificing Sleep For Late-Night Studying

Feds Spar on NAEP Testing of ELLs, Special Ed. Students At issue is how many ELLs, Spec. Ed. students to test

Education Secretary Arne Duncan Names Six Members to National Assessment Governing Board




Students show academic improvement in School of Life

ST. GEORGE — Through the School of Life Foundation, a nonprofit organization, students at Desert Hills High School are showing an improvement in overall academic performance and attitude since the school’s participation in the program.

Jack Rolfe, president and founder of the School of Life, said the program has grown in many ways since it was first developed five years ago and one of the newest adaptations of the curriculum is being used at Desert Hills as a way to benefit students who have built up hours of restitution.

Instead of spending time after school in restitution, which is similar to a detention program, students at Desert Hills have the option to participate in the School of Life and learn how to “achieve the straight A’s in the School of Life,” Rolfe said.

“We want this to be a positive disruption in education,” he said.

Rolfe said an average success rate for GPA improvement among students is 2 percent, but the increase for Desert Hills students was an average of 16 percent,
according to data calculated at the end of the 2012 school year. (SGS)

‘LiVe’ health program teaches importance of a proper diet

SYRACUSE — Colby Larsen and Payson Payne learned in the fourth grade about the importance of eating healthfully and staying active.

Both boys, who attend Syracuse Arts Academy, participated in the Intermountain Healthcare “LiVe” program, which was provided free to select schools along the Wasatch Front during the 2011-12 school year. (OSE)

Utah abandons ‘No Child Left Behind’ for better program

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s Office of Education says it has better plans for students, parents and teachers than what was mandated under the federal “No Child Left Behind” program.

With the “Comprehensive Accountability System,” the state now has more control of how students learn.

Associate Superintendent Brenda Hales says the 10-year-old federal program wouldn’t allow Utah to better pinpoint struggling schools, or pull certain resources from schools that had too many. She said No Child Left Behind also misidentified real progress. (KSL)

The Road Home Shelter: Kids in need get new school supplies

150 schoolchildren living at The Road Home Shelter received back-to-school items thanks to the Apple Tree Program, a four-week campaign by the shelter to collect new clothing and school supplies. Apple trees with paper apples attached, featuring specific children’s needs, were set up at various businesses in the area and participants bought items for their chosen child. (SLT) (DN)

Cedar High construction complete

CEDAR CITY — After three and a half years of construction, Cedar High School’s refurbishment and addition is officially complete, said Paul Maggio, Iron County School District’s director of secondary education and construction.

A public open house is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday to allow people to inspect the newly constructed areas of the school. (SGS)

Poll: No Child Left Behind has made American education worse or no different

More Americans — 29 percent — believe education is worse because of the No Child Left Behind Act than those who believe it is better off (16 percent).

Another 38 percent said the act of Congress that changed the federal government’s role in public schools by focusing on student achievement has made no difference, according to a Gallup’s annual Work and Education poll. (DN)

A copy of the poll (Gallup)




Show support for education

(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Donna Marie Wagner

I want to thank all of the folks who have worked and supported my efforts in moving the North Logan City Library forward through programming and technology. I enjoyed my brief leadership as the director there, and I appreciate those who have put forth their best to improve community services.

However, I feel my greatest efforts can be achieved in teaching and have found a match that best suits my skills and talents. As a teacher I will have the opportunity to interact daily with students and teach them the art and love of reading and lifelong learning.

The Compensation Question

Are public school teachers underpaid?

Education Next commentary by Jason Richwine and Andrew Biggs, Lawrence Mishel and Joydeep Roy

Over the past few years, as cash-strapped states and school districts have faced tough budget decisions, spending on teacher compensation has come under the microscope. The underlying question is whether, when you take everything into account, today’s teachers are fairly paid, underpaid, or overpaid. In this forum, two pairs of respected economists offer very different answers. Andrew Biggs of American Enterprise Institute and Jason Richwine of the Heritage Foundation argue that, considering skills, workload, and benefits, today’s teachers are, on average, overpaid. Lawrence Mishel of the Economic Policy Institute and Joydeep Roy of Columbia University and New York City’s Independent Budget Office argue that Richwine and Biggs are off the mark, and that teachers deserve a raise. Read on, and decide for yourself.

Teachers Stocking Up on Ayn Rand Books

Teacher commentary by columnist Francesca Duffy

Teachers requested more than 400,000 copies of the novelist Ayn Rand’s books through the Ayn Rand Institute’s Books to Teachers program in the 2011-12 school year, a 30 percent increase in requests from the previous year, according to the institute. Ayn Rand, the late author who wrote the popular novels The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, and Anthem, has come up in the news recently because Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan at one time voiced an interest in Rand’s economic philosophy. Often labeled objectivism, Rand’s outlook centers on the idea that capitalism is the ideal economic system and that people should pursue their own rational self-interest in life. (Ryan recently disassociated himself from her ideals and called her philosophy “atheist.”)

The Ayn Rand Institute says it has given out more than 2.5 million copies of Rand’s novels and that an estimated 65,000 high school classrooms have taught Rand’s works since its Books to Teachers program began in 2002. Teachers receive the books for free if they agree to teach the novels in their classrooms. The institute also holds high school essay contests that challenge students to write about Rand’s philosophy and the themes in her novels. This past year, a record number of nearly 29,000 participated in the contests.

The Competition that Really Matters

Comparing U.S., Chinese, and Indian Investments in the Next-Generation Workforce Center for American Progress analysis

The U.S. economy is weakening relative to our global competitors. Recent economic growth is 40 percent below any other growth period since World War II as other economies around the globe draw in more investment, both foreign and domestic. In contrast, despite still being the world’s leading recipient of direct foreign investment, business investment overall in the United States between 2001 and 2007 was the slowest in U.S. history.

Meanwhile, competition is on the rise. From 1980 to 2011 China increased its share of world economic output from 2 percent to 14 percent. And India more than doubled its output during that period, from 2.5 percent of global production to 5.7 percent. The U.S. share of the world economy fell to 19 percent from 25 percent.

While increasing global competition is inevitable, lackluster U.S. performance need not be. Indeed, rising growth and incomes in other countries present potential new opportunities and markets for American workers and companies. But if the United States means to continue to lead the world and to share our prosperity with it, U.S. policymakers must deploy an American strategy that is responsive to modern economic challenges—a strategy that makes it possible for every American family to ensure that children entering adulthood are prepared to find a successful place in the global economy.

What should the strategy be?




Obama shifts to Ryan education plan

Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — It’s not just Medicare. President Barack Obama plans to start picking apart other sections of Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s sweeping budget proposals as he tries to paint the GOP ticket as too extreme for the nation.

Next up: education.

On Tuesday, Obama planned to tell voters in sharply contested Ohio that Ryan’s budget proposal would cut $115 billion from the Education Department, remove 2 million children from Head Start programs and cost 1 million college students their Pell Grants over the next decade. The line of criticism will be coupled with television ads. (WSJ)

Indiana public schools wage unusual ad campaign Associated Press

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Struggling Indiana public school districts are buying billboard space, airing radio ads and even sending principals door-to-door in an unusual marketing campaign aimed at persuading parents not to move their children to private schools as the nation’s largest voucher program doubles in size.

The promotional efforts are an attempt to prevent the kind of student exodus that administrators have long feared might result from allowing students to attend private school using public money. If a large number of families abandon local districts, millions of dollars could be drained from the state’s public education system.

“If we don’t tell people the great things that are happening in our schools, no one else will, especially not now,” said Renee Albright, a teacher in Fort Wayne. “There are private enterprises that stand to benefit if they can portray us as failed schools.”

Federal court continues to block key immigration law elements, affirms others Montgomery (AL) Advertiser

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals Monday blocked a provision of Alabama’s immigration law requiring schools to determine the immigration status of school children at time of enrollment, saying it violated the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause.

The court said the provision “significantly interferes” with the right to a public education, saying it “targets the population of undocumented school children in Alabama.”

Sections requiring aliens to carry identification and banning contracts with the unlawfully present were also blocked. On the contracts provision — originally labeled Section 27 — the court wrote that the end goal of the section was “forcing undocumented individuals out of Alabama.” (Fox News Latino)

State creates new path to teaching license Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Aspiring public-school teachers who have a college degree and some nontraditional K-12 teaching experience may pursue a new track to become a licensed educator in Wisconsin, the Department of Public Instruction announced Monday in a move praised by Gov. Scott Walker but questioned by some leaders of the state’s formal education schools.

The new pathway allows an individual with three years of teaching experience – such as in a private school, workplace training center, child care center or postsecondary institution – to apply for a teaching license by submitting a portfolio of work to the DPI for review.

Unlike other licensure options in the state, the new License Based on Equivalency cuts out the involvement of traditional education schools, which could mean a diversion of potential students and tuition money from the institutions that produce the majority of public K-12 educators in Wisconsin.

In filmmaker’s eyes, teenage mom from Des Moines is a ‘superhero’

Gallardo’s triumphs featured in dropout-prevention effort Des Moines (IA) Register

Cynthia Gallardo, by almost any measure, never should have made it.

The 18-year-old Des Moines woman grew up in poverty. As a child, she saw her father arrested on drug charges. And like her three older sisters, she became a teen mom.

But Gallardo beat the odds. She graduated from East High School in May and started taking classes this week at Des Moines Area Community College.

Thanks to documentary filmmaker Jason Pollock, her triumphs have gone viral. Gallardo is one of a handful of young people to be featured in “Undroppable,” a social media campaign that will culminate in the national release of a 95-minute film in mid-2013.

“I wanted better; I wanted that diploma,” said Gallardo, whose initial “Undroppable” interview has been viewed more than 71,000 times on YouTube and was tweeted by pop sensation Justin Bieber. “I had a baby. I went through all this bad stuff when I was little, but I didn’t let that affect me.”

Like “Bully” and “Waiting for Superman,” the movie seeks to ignite a national conversation about the state of the nation’s education system. An estimated 1.2 million American high school students fail to graduate each year. Stories like Gallardo’s show that all children can graduate, with the right support, Pollock said.

Save Our Schools Group Shifts Course

Education Week

Washington – A grassroots movement of classroom teachers, parents, and educators protesting test-based education policies is facing the first true test of its mettle: whether it can make the leap from loosely affiliated network to coordinated political body.

Last summer, the Save Our Schools organization held a conference and march in Washington that attracted some 3,000 people. Its second major event, a convention held here Aug. 3-5, attracted far fewer attendees—about 150—a step organizers said was deliberate as they make plans to ensure the group’s long-term stability.

“There was no intention this year to have a march or rally,” said Bess Altwerger, a Maryland-based teacher-educator, one of the initial organizers of the march last year who now advises the group’s 13-member steering committee. “The intention was to kind of start building an organization that can be more long-lasting, with longer-term goals, and really have an influence on the public dialogue.”

The transition hasn’t necessarily been easy, according to sources who cited financial worries and philosophical disagreements among the group’s volunteers.

ACLU Tells Public Schools It’s Monitoring School Prayer Complaints Wall Street Journal

As the new school year begins, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of South Carolina are hoping to educate the educators – as well as students and parents — about religious liberty through a new campaign encouraging schools to protect students’ rights to remain free from governmental promotion of religion.

“It’s important that all students know that they’re going back to school to a place where they will be welcome no matter what they believe,” said Victoria Middleton, executive director of the ACLU of South Carolina, in a statement Monday. The group claims to have received numerous reports of religious freedom violations, including complaints that many South Carolina schools impose religion on students.

In a letter sent to all public schools in the state, the ACLU of South Carolina said the campaign is trying to ensure that schools do not impose or promote religion, and adds that, “based on complaints received by the ACLU, many school districts are failing to honor this vital constitutional mandate.”

Are Year-Round Enrichment Programs the Answer to Summer Learning Loss?


Few things conjure up childhood nostalgia like summer vacation. Yet the long period away from school is often cited by education experts as a crucial factor in explaining why some students fall behind in subjects like math, reading and science every year.

Recent studies like the one conducted last year by the RAND Corporation and Wallace Foundation show that “summer learning loss” (what kids forget while on vacation) has a greater impact on low-income students.

The NewsHour’s American Graduate team recently traveled to Seattle to profile an organization called “Rainier Scholars,” a non-profit that accepts 60 to 65 low-income, minority students annually, selecting from over 600 applications. The 11-year program, which lasts through college graduation, was designed to not only stem loss but also to move students forward during the summer months.

High School Daze: The Perils Of Sacrificing Sleep For Late-Night Studying NPR Morning Edition

High school students with heavy academic course loads often find the demands of homework colliding with the need for adequate sleep. And a new study published in the journal Child Development finds that when teens don’t get the sleep they need on a given night, the next day all kinds of things can go poorly.

“What we learned is that when kids cram, particularly at the expense of sleep, the next day they’re more likely to have academic problems even though they spent more time studying that night,” explains researcher Andrew Fuligni of UCLA.

“These findings may come as a surprise to many researchers, educators, parents and teens who assume that more studying will surely lead to better grades,” says Amy Wolfson, a professor of psychology at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass.

Feds Spar on NAEP Testing of ELLs, Special Ed. Students At issue is how many ELLs, Spec. Ed. students to test Education Week

Despite a pending policy change aimed at including more students with disabilities and English-language learners in the “nation’s report card,” the federal agency that administers the national testing program appears to be softening the penalty for states that fail to improve inclusion rates.

The disagreement underscores the uneasy relationship between the National Center for Education Statistics, the federal agency that administers the national tests, and the National Assessment Governing Board, the independent body that sets policy for the exams. And it reflects an intensifying debate about how to ensure that the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a congressionally mandated set of tests designed to take the national pulse on student achievement, accurately allows for state-by-state comparisons of student achievement.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan Names Six Members to National Assessment Governing Board U.S. Department of Education

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today the appointment of six education leaders from across the country to the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) for four-year terms. Two appointees were reappointed for a second term. The appointees include a school board director, former governor, state senator, education foundation president and CEO, testing expert, and non-public school representative.

Terms for all members officially begin October 1, 2012, and end September 30, 2016. The appointees will help set policy for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as The Nation’s Report Card. NAEP makes objective information on student performance available to policymakers and the public at the national, state, and local levels.




USOE Calendar

UEN News

September 6-7
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City”>

September 13:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City

September 18
Executive Appropriations Interim Committee meeting
1 p.m., 445 State Capitol

September 19
Education Interim Committee meeting
2 p.m., 30 House Building


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