Education News Roundup: Aug. 30, 2012

"That's Hot'" by ex.libris/CC/flickr

“That’s Hot'” by ex.libris/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

Housekeeping note: ENR will again perform his amazing feat of prestidigitation and turn a three-day weekend into a four-day weekend before your very eyes. The roundup will return on Tuesday.

How hot is it? It’s so hot … that you’ll have to make up your own joke.
http://goo.gl/Mi1vC (DN)
and http://goo.gl/fTlcv (KSL)

KSL looks to expose the (pick one) mitos, mythes, 神话, mythen, or myths of dual immersion programs.
http://goo.gl/atwjC (KSL)

What’s unique about the Daggett School District, or, if you prefer, Daggett County? It’s the only district or county in Utah where there are roughly as many seniors (the 65+ kind, not the jerks who think they run the high school) as public school students. There are now more than 900 districts/counties across the country where seniors outnumber school kids and district are having to adjust.
http://goo.gl/mV9zz (Ed Week)

Ed Week takes a look at Digital Learning Plus.
http://goo.gl/pbHLh (Ed Week)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

School districts working to beat the heat

Myths about dual immersion programs cleared up

Jordan District changes policy after ‘Dead Man Walking’
Jordan District » Conservative group blasted school show.

Group aims to increase number of college-educated women in Utah Goal » Utah Women and Education Initiative launches effort.

U.S. Senate candidate Scott Howell criticizes Orrin Hatch on education issues

LHS enforcement of dress code rankles students

Hillcrest High graduate has chance to shine on Broadway Center stage » Malia Morley will study musical theater at the University of Utah this fall.

Schoolchildren kick off safe walking, biking campaign

Two Provo schools lift lock downs
Crime » Police questioning man who made “an indirect threat”

Fast 50 Driving Utah Economy

45 IPads Donated To Carmen B. Pingree School

2012 Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology Awards

KidSpace after-school program open for enrollment

Weber libraries plan after-school classes

Teaching children character may be more important than history or math according to new book

UHSAA and MaxPreps.com Sign Multi-Year Agreement The Utah High School Activities Association and MaxPreps.com, the online high school sports leader and a CBSSports.com site, have signed multi-year agreement.

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Voucher study should make us scrub off old assumptions

Vouchers confirmed, but will Utah get a clue?

The other Louisiana hurricane

How can I prepare my kid for college?

From the convention: Local control versus national standards

Who might be Romney’s education secretary?

Schooling Obama

Appeals Court Backs Student Religious Club

The American paradox: Schools stink, but only from a distance

States Fail to Meet Disaster-Preparedness Standards

The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Math Itself

NATION

On Education, GOP Distances Itself From Tea Party

In Districts Where Seniors Outnumber Children, Schools Adjust
Seniors now outnumber students in more than 900 counties across the U. S., Census data show

Digital Advocacy Group Wields Policy Influence
Bipartisan organization attracts attention, criticism

Bill to overhaul California teacher evaluations advances

Jeb Bush hosts Tampa event to raise funds for campaign to keep Idaho’s Students Come First laws

In U.S., Private Schools Get Top Marks for Educating Children
Public schools score lowest in terms of perceived education quality

Most U.S. Schools Unprepared for Pandemics: Study
Protective gear, medication stockpiles, staff disaster training all lacking

Steelers, Mike Tomlin trying to make football safer for kids

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UTAH NEWS
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School districts working to beat the heat

MAGNA — Water bottles were perched on the desk of nearly every student Wednesday at Cyprus High School, and teachers spoke over the buzz of portable air conditioning units.
In the hallway, students stopped intermittently to cool off in front of large fans placed to help air flow through the building.
Record August heat is providing a familiar but unwelcome challenge for several school districts as students and teachers returning to class try to keep cool.
http://goo.gl/Mi1vC (DN)

http://goo.gl/fTlcv (KSL)

Myths about dual immersion programs cleared up

SALT LAKE CITY — Even though the dual immersion language program is growing in Utah, some myths and misconceptions remain.
One myth about dual immersion schools is that they cost teachers jobs. Davis School District secondary world languages supervisor, Bonnie Flint, says no one has ever lost a job over this program in the entire state of Utah.
“Typically in Davis School District — and we have about 60 elementary schools — the attrition rate is about three to five teachers per school. We are only hiring about one new teacher a year as the program grows up a grade each year,” she said.
Flint says others believe students who are studying another language half the day fall behind in test scores.
“We track them from the beginning of the school year to the end. We track them from kindergarten on. Every year, every test they either meet or exceed their peers,” she said.
Flint also says the program doesn’t cost any extra money.
http://goo.gl/atwjC (KSL)

Jordan District changes policy after ‘Dead Man Walking’
Jordan District » Conservative group blasted school show.

In response to criticism over high school performances of “Dead Man Walking,” the Jordan School Board has changed its policy on drama productions.
The board voted unanimously Tuesday night to revise the policy in several areas. Parents will now have to sign consent forms before their students may participate in plays. Also, more parents will now serve on the school and district committees that select which plays to produce. And drama teachers will now have to fill out forms about the shows they plan to stage and submit those forms to the district’s curriculum department two months before productions, said Sandy Riesgraf, a district spokeswoman.
http://goo.gl/VGOmG (SLT)

http://goo.gl/GgXbH (DN)

Group aims to increase number of college-educated women in Utah
Goal » Utah Women and Education Initiative launches effort.

The Utah Women and Education Initiative, which aims to increase the number of women who graduate from college, was launched this week.
The group is an outgrowth of the Utah Women’s College Task Force that was convened by Gov. Gary Herbert in 2011.
In 2012, the Utah Legislature appropriated $100,000 in funding for the Utah State Board of Regents to implement the task force recommendations, which included establishing the UWEI.
http://goo.gl/FOcaX (SLT)

http://goo.gl/BEfm8 (OSE)

http://goo.gl/i9mRp (PDH)

http://goo.gl/mrkaH (CVD)

http://goo.gl/OvMpi (UP)

http://goo.gl/kkCds (KUTV)

U.S. Senate candidate Scott Howell criticizes Orrin Hatch on education issues

SALT LAKE CITY — U.S. Senate candidate Scott Howell says a vote for him is a vote to ensure quality education for young people who then could compete in a global economy.
And the former Democratic state Senate minority leader said that is best accomplished through collaboration.
“Education is not Democrat versus Republican,” he said Wednesday at a news conference at the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics. “It’s about doing the right things for the right reason for our kids.”
http://goo.gl/iJtXm (DN)

http://goo.gl/XKn8Y (SLCW)

LHS enforcement of dress code rankles students

Although there’s a new administration at Logan High School, it’s actually the upholding of an old dress code that’s created a stir among the student body so far this school year.
And in many cases, LHS students have turned to social media to vent their complaints.
“What kind of a nazi school is Logan high turning into?” one Grizzly tweeted.
“Feels like I now go to byu! This dress code is a freaking joke,” wrote another.
“Dress code: turtle necks and long pants only. Have a great year,” another student tweeted sarcastically.
However, new Logan High Principal Shane Ogden made it clear that there has been “no change in the dress code” since he and new assistant principals Jim Peacock and Jill Lowe took over.
http://goo.gl/MZeub (LHJ)

Hillcrest High graduate has chance to shine on Broadway
Center stage » Malia Morley will study musical theater at the University of Utah this fall.

Performing on a Broadway stage meant the chance of a lifetime for a theater enthusiast like Malia Morley.
Morley, who graduated from Hillcrest High School this year, won best performance in an ensemble at the National High School Musical Theater Awards in New York City in late June. Also known as the Jimmy Awards, the annual event is in its fourth year.
http://goo.gl/X88x4 (SLT)

Schoolchildren kick off safe walking, biking campaign

SALT LAKE CITY — Students, parents, school officials and UDOT on Wednesday kicked off “Walk More in Four,” an annual statewide safe walking and biking to school challenge.
This year the competition, which encourages all Utah students to walk or bike safely to school at least three days each week during the four weeks in September, offers a $500 prize and the Golden Tennis Shoe trophy for the school with the most participation. Additionally, students chart their progress for a chance to win prizes including helmets, scooters and bikes.
http://goo.gl/mf5l7 (DN)

http://goo.gl/g0H9e (KUTV)

http://goo.gl/mS5pq (KSL)

Two Provo schools lift lock downs
Crime » Police questioning man who made “an indirect threat”

Lock downs at two Provo schools are over now that a suspect is in custody.
Police became aware of “an indirect threat” against children who were at Franklin Elementary School and Dixon Middle School about 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, said Provo Police Lt. Mathew Suifanua.
The schools brought the children who were outside at recess inside and kept them in the buildings until police found the suspect about 1 p.m., Suifanua said.
Once the man was in custody, the schools lifted the lock downs.
http://goo.gl/BnMyK (SLT)

http://goo.gl/0x0n9 (PDH)

http://goo.gl/jWDAu (KSTU)

Fast 50 Driving Utah Economy

Utah’s fastest growing companies “have demonstrated an irrepressible entrepreneurial spirit,” said Lorin Barker, Kirton McConkie president.
Utah Business magazine honored their Fast 50 and Emerging 8 companies at a luncheon Wednesday. The Fast 50 are ranked using a combination of revenue growth and total revenue, while the Emerging 8 are selected using the same criteria, but have not been in business at least five years.

The Fast 50 and Emerging 8 will be in the September issue of Utah Business magazine.
Full Fast 50 List

17.School Improvement Network
http://goo.gl/UpHAn (Utah Business)

http://goo.gl/O0zTU (PRWeb)

45 IPads Donated To Carmen B. Pingree School

Teachers at the Carmen B. Pingree School have some new tools to help their autistic students.
Apartment management consultants donated 45 iPads to the school on Wednesday.
The company was planning to purchase iPads for their managers, but decided to donate them to the school instead.
http://goo.gl/ZDi4L (KUTV)

http://goo.gl/V7MHh (KSL)

2012 Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology Awards

For 25 years, the Governor has awarded the Medal for Science and Technology as a symbol of achievement to those individuals who have provided distinguished service to the state of Utah in science and technology.
Governor Gary R. Herbert and the Utah State Advisory Council on Science and Technology are accepting nominations for the twenty fifth anniversary awards to be presented for 2012. The Governor will present the awards at a dinner in January, following the final selection of the awardees.
http://goo.gl/TCn9d (UP)

KidSpace after-school program open for enrollment

ST. GEORGE — For parents looking for an additional activity for their children after school, the KidSpace program is an available option for all students in the first through fifth grades at schools throughout Washington County.
Sponsored by grant money through the Dixie State Community Education program, KidSpace is available at Riverside, Hurricane, Sandstone, Red Mountain and Sunset elementary schools. The program offers students a chance to receive homework assistance and participate in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program.
http://goo.gl/k0NH4 (SGS)

Weber libraries plan after-school classes

Weber County Library will offer an after-school program beginning Sept. 4 and Sept. 5.
http://goo.gl/hv3Qd (OSE)

Teaching children character may be more important than history or math according to new book

SALT LAKE CITY — What if it’s character, rather than intelligence, that determines success? Character, molded by confronting and prevailing over failure, is just what a child needs to thrive in today’s world. That’s the concept author Paul Tough argues in his new book, “How Children Succeed.”
Tough explains in his book that most people assume “success today depends primarily on cognitive skills — the kind of intelligence that gets measured on IQ tests, including the abilities to recognize letters and words, to calculate, to detect patterns — and that the best way to develop these skills is to practice them as much as possible, beginning as early as possible.”
However, Tough argues that noncognitive skills, such as self-control, curiosity, self-confidence, conscientiousness and grit, are more vital to achieving success.
http://goo.gl/drnDR (DN)

Gallup poll shows conflicting results about education in the United States

Gallup’s annual work and education poll shows that a majority of Americans say they are dissatisfied with public education but respond more positively when rating the schools their children attend.
The poll asked Americans to rate the quality of education students receive. According to the results, 78 percent believe private schools provide a good or excellent education. More than 60 percent said parochial or charter schools are good or excellent.
Although public schools are attended by 83 percent of American children, more than half of those responding said they are dissatisfied with K-12 education. However, when parents were asked to rate the schools their children attend, the response was different. Seventy-five percent said they are satisfied.
http://goo.gl/cEJ6d (DN)

UHSAA and MaxPreps.com Sign Multi-Year Agreement
The Utah High School Activities Association and MaxPreps.com, the online high school sports leader and a CBSSports.com site, have signed multi-year agreement.

Midvale, UT – The Utah High School Activities Association and MaxPreps.com, the online high school sports leader and a CBSSports.com site, have signed a partnership agreement for the next five years, UHSAA officials have announced. The selection of MaxPreps.com as the Associations “Official Statistician and Digital Media Partner” will give UHSAA member schools a single location to report all Box Score information.
MaxPreps.com provides schools with a publishing platform for managing and promoting their sports information. The platform includes mobile extensities that allow schools to keep their statistics in real time. The UHSAA will use the data collected from the MaxPreps.com platform to power post-season qualifications, the state record book, statewide statistical leaderboards, UHSAA awards, UHSAA media guides, and much more. Schools will be directed to post their Box Score information to MaxPreps.com after each contest. This information will then be shared will all media outlets for distribution.
http://goo.gl/GFvfY (MaxPreps)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Voucher study should make us scrub off old assumptions
Deseret News commentary by columnist Jay Evensen

We’ve been down this road before, you and I. Many times.
Private school vouchers is one of those immovable subjects, like religion or a discussion on whether auto racing really is a sport. People tend to stake out positions and dig in against whatever evidence may blow their way. In Utah, we even had a referendum on the subject, and vouchers lost.
Well … It may not be convincing to preface this with a quote from an actor, but Alan Alda is attributed with saying, “Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in awhile, or the light won’t come in.”
So let’s get out the paper towels.
http://goo.gl/VWvQC

Vouchers confirmed, but will Utah get a clue?
(Provo) Daily Herald commentary by columnist Randy Wright

Too bad so many Utahns stuck their heads in the sand in 2007 during the debate over school vouchers. New data from a study by Harvard University and the Brookings Institution released Wednesday conclusively show that school choice makes a huge, positive difference. Legislators take notice.
The study, covering a 15-year span, was one of the longest-term measurements of education outcomes for the recipients of vouchers. As the first study to use a randomized experiment to measure the effect of school vouchers on college enrollments, it represents the scientific gold standard. Vouchers had “large, statistically significant impacts” on students. For example, college enrollment jumped by 24 percent for black students, confirming earlier data showing improved graduation rates and academic achievement among voucher students.
http://goo.gl/YKQPQ

The other Louisiana hurricane
Deseret News commentary by columnist Mary McConnell

Since Louisiana is in the news right now, as it braces for Hurricane Isaac, I thought this might be an opportune moment to feature Louisiana’s dramatic – and controversial – education reform initiatives.
Here’s a summary, from the Wall Street Journal:
http://goo.gl/JNYyI

How can I prepare my kid for college?
KSL commentary by Valerie Steimle, author “Of One Heart: Being Single in the LDS World”

SALT LAKE CITY — Preparing children for college is much the same for parents preparing children for adulthood. It’s a step towards independence. Teens’ preparing to move away from life at home into a dorm room has its challenges, and parents can help their children by including certain tasks as they grow to adults. Prepping children should start early, but if time has gotten away parents can still help their teens prepare for school and independence.
http://goo.gl/HNB49

From the convention: Local control versus national standards
Hechinger Report commentary by columnist Sarah Butrymowicz

One of the starkest differences between Republican and Democratic education platforms came to light in a series of panels that focused on two issues that presumably concern the millennial generation most: jobs and education.
At “Conversations with the Next Generation,’’ Republican voices clamored for more local control of schools and less federal government mandates, while Democrats and former D.C. public schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee argued the opposite. The event was sponsored by The Atlantic and National Journal, and underwritten by Microsoft.
Rhee said it’s impossible to really know how students are doing, with each state having different standards and tests.
“We have to have – I think – national standards, a national assessment, so we can have an apples-to-apples comparison,” Rhee said.
But before Rhee spoke, Josh Romney, one of Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s five sons, promised his dad would give “as much power as he can back to the states” while George P. Bush, the son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, noted that “education is best managed at the local level.”
http://goo.gl/9MfKA

Who might be Romney’s education secretary?
Washington Post commentary by columnist Valerie Strauss

So who might Mitt Romney pick as his education secretary should he win the November presidential election?
Here’s a list of some of the probable candidates, based on the people that Romney chose to be on his Education Policy Advisory Group, or that his campaign has used as “surrogates” to speak on education, or that are beloved by Republicans as important education reformers. In the latter category would be people such as Michelle Rhee and former Florida governor Jeb Bush and even Joel Klein.
According to campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul, the four people who the campaign has used most often as education surrogates are, in the order she sent them:
http://goo.gl/K5riL

Schooling Obama
Wall Street Journal commentary by Jeanne Allen, president, Center for Education Reform

President of the Center for Education Reform Jeanne Allen on the film “Won’t Back Down,” which was screened at the convention yesterday, and how Republicans can use the issue of education reform to their advantage.
http://goo.gl/UIsgp

Appeals Court Backs Student Religious Club
Education Week commentary by columnist Mark Walsh

A federal appeals court has ruled that the Minneapolis school district likely engaged in impermissible viewpoint discrimination when it barred a religious club for elementary students from an after-school program open to other community groups.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, in St. Louis, ruled unanimously in favor of the Child Evangelism Fellowship of Minnesota, a chapter of a Warrenton, Mo.-based Christian organization that sponsors after-school Good News Clubs, in which Bible lessons are delivered to club participants at public elementary schools across the country.
The Minnesota chapter operated such an after-school club for about eight years at Lind Elementary School in Minneapolis, first under a permit and later as a recognized “community partner,” a designation for groups that have access to school facilities and to the district’s flier-distribution system for communicating with students and families. Some community partners, including the Good News Club, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts, and Boys & Girls Clubs, operated after-school programs at public school facilities.
http://goo.gl/38pwB

A copy of the ruling
http://www.ca8.uscourts.gov/opndir/12/08/113225P.pdf

The American paradox: Schools stink, but only from a distance
Los Angeles Times commentary by columnist Karin Klein

According to the most recent Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll on education, Americans are split over a lot of things about schools — whether teachers should be evaluated in part on standardized test scores and the degree to which that should happen, whether private-school vouchers are a good idea, whether the children of illegal immigrants should be entitled to a free public education.
One thing that Americans have been fairly consistent about in polls for many years, though, is that overall, they don’t think very highly of public schools. Except the ones their children attend. The same sentiments held true this year — but more so.
Asked to grade the nation’s schools, only 19% were willing to confer an A or B. They were more positive, but evenly split, about the schools in their communities — 48% would give those schools an A or B, and an equal number would give them a lower grade. But when parents were asked to rate their oldest child’s school, 77% went for an A or B.
Further, respondents were somewhat more negative about the nation’s schools than in previous polls — and at the same time far more positive about their own schools. Five years ago, 67% of parents were willing to give their oldest child’s school an A or B; that’s gone up by 10 percentage points.
What does all this mean? Depending on their school politics, analysts are putting decidedly different spins on the figures.
http://goo.gl/9GFrd

States Fail to Meet Disaster-Preparedness Standards
Education Week commentary by columnist Gina Cairney

When a parent drops off a child at a school or child-care facility, there’s a reasonable expectation that he or she will be safe and cared for, especially in times of emergency. But a new report by the international child-advocacy group Save the Children raises concerns that many U.S. institutions entrusted to protect children are not fully prepared to do so.
In its “National Report Card on Protecting Children During Disasters,” the Wesport, Conn.-based organization found that 33 states and the District of Columbia do not meet at least one of four disaster-preparedness standards, which include having several different plans in the event of an emergency: for evacuating children during an emergency; for assisting children with disabilities, for reuniting families after a disaster, and multi-hazard plans for K-12 schools. Five states—Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, and Montana—failed to meet any of the standards. Only 17 states have plans in place to help children in times of emergency, the report found.
Some state officials find mandated fire and tornado drills sufficient preparation for emergencies, but as recent school shootings and other unpredictable events have shown, emergency situations can arise without notice and all schools need to have emergency plans that address multiple types of situations, not just severe weather, according to a press release.
http://goo.gl/q8u6S

A copy of the report
http://goo.gl/oTBya

The Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Math Itself
The Atlantic commentary by columnist Jen Doll

When was the last time you did a bit of math? Perhaps, like this writer, when splitting a check with some friends at a restaurant you (admittedly lazily) simply throw your credit card onto the pile, allowing the server to take care of the division on a computer tucked away from sight. When you pay for a taxi home, you dutifully click on the 20 percent key to add your tip, and the multiplication and addition is done for you. You regularly have in your possession a device that calculates whatever you need to calculate, but you never think about the actual process of all those calculations. You have a vague, vestigial memory of carrying “the 1s,” and maybe deep in your brain there’s something called a sine or a cosine, but when you think about that for too long you fear you’ve gone off on a tangent. So you shake your head to clear it of those cobwebs and get back to the business of what it does, which is, mostly, not doing any math for itself.
This, you might not know, is the scourge we have to face. An increasingly math-disabled society. Except it’s not that the society doesn’t have math—societies are made of math, they have math in their veins, in the cities and the highways and the industries and businesses and even the books and newspapers and candy bars and computers—it’s just that people don’t know how to do math anymore. Or they’re too scared to try.
In this writer’s case, I don’t have a math phobia, per se. Instead I’m just overly coddled by my devices and a surrounding world in which math is not necessary, at least, superficially, for my day to day life.
http://goo.gl/L6yjK

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NATIONAL NEWS
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On Education, GOP Distances Itself From Tea Party
National Journal

The Republican National Committee’s platform on education contains a lot of tea party buzzwords: abstinence, English-first, homeschooling, vouchers, local control. But the document also shows signs that the GOP is willing to embrace some type of benchmarking (that is, regulation) for public schools. The platform talks about “accountability,” “higher expectations for all students,” and options for students in failing schools. It’s a far cry from eliminating the Education Department.
Prominent education-reform advocates are hobnobbing in Tampa. They are the type of people who doggedly defend standards for student achievement and shun a hands-off approach. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and Michelle Rhee, the former District of Columbia Public Schools chancellor, led a panel discussion on Tuesday at a screening of Won’t Back Down, a movie about two mothers who take on a failing inner-city public school. The event drew 1,000 delegates and guests.
Rhee’s grassroots-education group, StudentsFirst, will also be screening the film in Charlotte next week at the Democratic National Convention.
http://goo.gl/64oqh

In Districts Where Seniors Outnumber Children, Schools Adjust
Seniors now outnumber students in more than 900 counties across the U. S., Census data show

The 1,000-student Allegheny Valley district in Pennsylvania boasts generations of alumni and a community so involved with the schools that high school graduation becomes an open celebration in downtown Springdale Borough. Yet the district hasn’t asked for a tax increase in three years, and it is pushing out a message to older residents about energy conservation, equipment reuse, and other cost savings.
Allegheny Valley is located in one of more than 900 counties where residents 65 and older now edge out school-age children. Out of more than 3,000 counties and county equivalents nationwide, seniors outnumber schoolchildren by more than 2-to-1 in 33 counties, recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau show. Educators in such counties are grappling with ways to keep the older community engaged in and supportive of their schools, from bringing older residents into classes to reframing education issues to address safety and economic concerns.
“We’re conscious of the fact that our population is more skewed to the senior population,” said Allegheny Valley Superintendent Cheryl A. Griffith, “and countywide, we’re probably in the lower third of income; many of our seniors are on fixed income.”
The combination of rising life expectancy and falling overall fertility in the United States means that, by the middle of this century, the nation will join Europe, Japan, and other areas across the globe where people 65 and older outnumber those 17 and under, according to the Census Bureau.
http://goo.gl/mV9zz

Digital Advocacy Group Wields Policy Influence
Bipartisan organization attracts attention, criticism
Education Week

When the educational technology advocacy group Digital Learning Now! revealed its first state report cards gauging where states stand in supporting online learning, it was in part applying the adage that what gets measured gets done.
Observers say the report cards, which were released in 2011 to rate states according to 10 elements of what the group considers high-quality digital learning, have already had an impact on state policy and are likely to help guide future decisions about online learning.
“Without question, [the organization’s goals] are showing up in the legislation,” said Douglas Levin, the executive director of the State Educational Technology Directors Association, based in Glen Burnie, Md. “A vast majority of states have put this on their agenda in one way or another.”
http://goo.gl/pbHLh

Bill to overhaul California teacher evaluations advances
San Jose (CA) Mercury News

In a showdown pitting unions against education reformers and school districts, a bill to overhaul teacher evaluations passed a major legislative hurdle late Wednesday when it was approved by the Senate Education Committee.
If passed by the legislature, AB 5 would revamp teacher evaluations and would force each district to negotiate how they review teachers. It would add one performance level — excellent — to the current satisfactory and unsatisfactory categories. And instead of being required, state standardized test scores would be optional in measuring teachers.
Proponents hail the bill as progress. “I think it’s an extremely positive step in the right direction,” state schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson said. By making reviews more rigorous, comprehensive and frequent, the bill would improve education, he said. For instance, school boards would have to evaluate teachers on a continuing basis, measuring how well they accomplish specific objectives based on multiple observations by trained evaluators.
Opponents include the California State PTA, reformers such as Education Trust-West and EdVoice, plus the organizations representing school administrators, districts and trustees.
http://goo.gl/RSnm2

Jeb Bush hosts Tampa event to raise funds for campaign to keep Idaho’s Students Come First laws
(Boise) Idaho Statesman

Yes for Idaho Education, the political action committee that aims to help Idaho’s new education laws withstand repeal efforts, was one of three beneficiaries of a fund-raising reception held Wednesday morning in conjunction with the Republican National Convention.
The Idaho group got checks for at least $100,000, with commitments for a similar amount, said Ken Burgess, who heads the “Yes” campaign.
The event was co-hosted by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, an enthusiastic supporter of Idaho Schools Superintendent Tom Luna’s embattled education laws, and former U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige. Luna and Idaho Gov. Butch Otter were panelists for a roundtable discussion of education reform at the fund-raising event, Burgess said.
http://goo.gl/4UJQI

In U.S., Private Schools Get Top Marks for Educating Children
Public schools score lowest in terms of perceived education quality
Gallup

PRINCETON, NJ — Seventy-eight percent of Americans say children educated in private schools receive an excellent or good education, more than say that about four other types of U.S. schooling. At least 6 in 10 say parochial schools or charter schools provide a quality education, while far fewer say that about home schooling or public schools.
http://goo.gl/9T8VU

Most U.S. Schools Unprepared for Pandemics: Study
Protective gear, medication stockpiles, staff disaster training all lacking
HealthDay News via U.S. News & World Report

Many U.S. schools are not prepared for another pandemic, according to a new study.
Saint Louis University researchers analyzed survey responses from about 2,000 school nurses at primary, elementary, middle and high schools in 26 states and found that less than half of the schools include pandemic preparedness in their school plan and only 40 percent have updated their school plan since the deadly 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic.
Only about 30 percent of schools stockpile any personal protective equipment, 1.5 percent stockpile medication in anticipation of another pandemic, about 23 percent of schools have no staff members trained on the school’s disaster plan, and nearly 34 percent of schools train students on infection prevention less than once a year.
However, while slightly over 2 percent of schools require school nurses to receive the annual flu vaccine, nearly 74 percent of school nurses said they were vaccinated for the 2010-2011 flu season, according to the study in the September issue of the American Journal of Infection Control.
http://goo.gl/blLZT

Steelers, Mike Tomlin trying to make football safer for kids
Associated Press via USA Today

PITTSBURGH — Mike Tomlin wasn’t trying to invent a catchphrase, just something his players would remember when getting into the murky waters of what is and what isn’t a legal — not to mention safe — hit.
The Steelers coach came up with one anyway.
Now the team and one of the nation’s leading concussion experts hope Tomlin’s “don’t hit the head, don’t use the head” will help educate young players on how to avoid dangerous collisions that lead to significant injury.
“This campaign has the possibility of tremendous change for our youth and high school football players,” said Dr. Micky Collins, the clinical and executive director of UPMC’s sports medicine concussion program.
The initiative, considered the first of its kind by an NFL team, will include a packet sent to various middle school, high school and youth football programs throughout Western Pennsylvania.
http://goo.gl/RqnhV

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