Education News Roundup: Oct. 24, 2012

"Fourth Grade Spanish Books" by Kentucky Country Day/CC/flickr

“Fourth Grade Spanish Books” by Kentucky Country Day/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

Felicitaciones a Alta View Elementary for its inclusion among International Spanish Academies. (DN)

Herald looks at Chinese dual immersion at Alpine Elementary. (PDH)

Iron School Districts holds its annual data fair. (SGS)

Ed Week looks at computer-adaptive testing and the Common Core. (Ed Week)

Community colleges are rethinking placement tests. (Ed Week)

Ed Week also takes a look at state board of education races across the country. (Ed Week)





Alta View Elementary dual-immersion program gains Spanish Embassy recognition

Chinese immersion program up and running at Alpine Elementary

Accomplishment on display

Data Fair highlights schools’ achievements

Lt. Governor visits Sierra Bonita Elementary in Spanish Fork

Gunnison Elementary, North Sevier High to Accept Smart School Award

Charter school application on hold

Winter Sports School in limbo with school district

Two vie for Cache school board seat in only unopposed race

Hunt challenges Seegmiller in District Two Both name school district finances as a priority

Teen hit and killed by pickup in crosswalk on way to West High

Kearns High School shooter gets 2015 parole hearing

Facing sanction-riddled East in playoffs, Mountain View to honor two alumni who gave lives overseas

Animal skills taught in elementary school How to handle and spay discussed

Nonprofit helps kids get new school clothes

Less recess may cut out important part of school day

Doctors throw red flags at minimal safety rules for daring cheerleader stunts

Springville Jr. High presents ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’

Lehi FFA goes to nationals


Get the Facts

Improving our schools by reforming our health care

“Farewell to algebra” . . . for minority kids?

Ogden schools on right course with Shane Story

Bench the Bible verses

Schools Can Be the Difference in Preventing Suicide

New Report: Half of High Schoolers Own Smartphones

Why Parenting Is More Important Than Schools

The School Staffing Surge: Decades of Employment Growth in America’s Public Schools


Adaptive Testing Evolves to Assess Common-Core Skills The goal is to build better measures of student skills and knowledge

Community Colleges Rethink Placement Tests

States, Districts Require Online Ed for High School Graduation

Educating Hispanics crucial for state, demographer testifies in lawsuit

State Boards Could Feel Electoral Winds

Mitt Romney’s ‘I Love Teachers’ Remark Spurs Fake Valentine From Union

HP wins Idaho laptop contract

$180 million computer deal for students null if Prop 3 fails

In search of high-quality teachers, charter network trains its own

Voucher law being questioned in Tangipahoa desegregation case

Students Don’t Learn From Lectures

Campaign Tries to Help Defuse Bullying

A Town’s Passion for Football, a Retired Doctor’s Concern

Parents considering legal action over school yoga

Report: Woman attacks 2 boys

Police: Mother assaults children she says insulted daughter




Alta View Elementary dual-immersion program gains Spanish Embassy recognition

SANDY — A Canyons School District elementary school is being honored this week as a model for dual-immersion language education, further evidence of the growing popularity of teaching a second language to students when they’re young.

Students and faculty at Alta View Elementary bid “bienvenidos” on Tuesday to a group of dignitaries from the Spanish Embassy and education officials from the United States and Canada, who visited the school in recognition of its inclusion into the network of International Spanish Academies.

“It’s a great honor,” said Alta View Principal Valerie Shaw. “It means what we’ve been doing and working hard for is paying off.”

Alta View is one of 40 schools in the state that offer Spanish dual-immersion and the third Utah school to receive the ISA designation — after the North Davis Preparatory Academy and Eagle Bay Elementary School. Students in the programs spend half of their day being taught in an immersion language and typically enter the program during the first grade. (DN)

Chinese immersion program up and running at Alpine Elementary

ALPINE — This elementary school classroom looks like most other rooms in any school building: walls adorned with colorful posters, student artwork, class rules, assignments for the day, calendar with holiday reminders. But instead of “A, B, Cs” there are unrecognizable foreign characters around the room.

But the teacher is speaking to the students in Chinese, and the students are responding in the same language. And it’s happening at Alpine Elementary.

All of this is part of Utah’s Chinese dual immersion program, a product of collaboration from Startalk – Start Talking, Utah State Office of Education, Confucius Institute of the University of Utah and Brigham Young University’s Flagship Center. There are 25 Utah elementary schools participating in the program. (PDH)

Accomplishment on display

Data Fair highlights schools’ achievements

CEDAR CITY — The boardroom of the Iron County School District buzzed with conversation and enthusiasm Tuesday afternoon as principals, teachers and students talked about their schools’ accomplishments during the district’s annual Data Fair.

Jim Johnson, superintendent for the ICSD, said the district has been hosting the Data Fair for five or six years. He said the event gives each school’s leadership the opportunity to look at their schools’ successes and the areas in which they need to improve. However, he said, the schools also evaluate themselves on an regular basis.

He said the Data Fair is an opportunity for administrators and others to share that information with the public, the school board and with each other. (SGS)

Lt. Governor visits Sierra Bonita Elementary in Spanish Fork

It was an exciting day for the staff and students of Sierra Bonita Elementary School in Spanish Fork. They were anxious about the visit from Utah Lt. Gov. Greg Bell and his speech to them about civic and character education.

Bell began the assembly by making all the students giggle and smile.

“I didn’t know Spanish Fork had so many good-looking kids,” Bell said. “This is great.”

The focus of his visit was to teach students to treat others the way they want to be treated. He wanted to instill in the students how there are not two of us that are alike. (PDH)

Gunnison Elementary, North Sevier High to Accept Smart School Award

Both Gunnison Valley Elementary and North Sevier High School will be showing off
their newest technologies after each school received one of three Smart School Awards. A kickoff party will be held Wednesday, October 24th, starting at 1:00 at Gunnison Elementary, followed by a celebration at North Sevier High later in the afternoon. Governor Gary Herbert and other dignitaries involved with the Smart School Award will be in attendance. The public is also invited to attend. The grant will place a significant amount of new technology in both schools, including new laptops for teachers, new computer labs, and ipads for every student. The $3 million grant will be split between Gunnison, North Sevier, and Dixon Middle School in Provo. (MUR)

Charter school application on hold

Winter Sports School in limbo with school district

While the Winter Sports School in Park City (WSS) application to become a charter school may be on hold, it’s anything but dead. In a recent Park City Board of Education meeting, board members voted to table the talks to incorporate the private school into the district.

“I think it was the proper decision had to make at time,” said WSS Head of School Rob Clayton. “Given the level of information they had, they were right to follow the direction of the superintendent and the business administrator.”

WSS is a full-year high school for students in grades 9 through 12 with an academic calendar opposite from a typical school year. The school year runs from mid-April to mid-November, and the winter months are the equivalent of a summer break, a schedule that allows the student athletes to train and compete.

WSS is hoping to join the district and rent space in the Park City High School for its students. (PR)

Two vie for Cache school board seat in only unopposed race

The race for a spot on the Cache County School District Board of Education happens to be between two men with very similar backgrounds.

Both are fathers of five children, both were born and raised in the valley, and while both attended a university, neither of them graduated. Likewise, their approach to how the Board of Education should be run is also similar. (LHJ)

Hunt challenges Seegmiller in District Two Both name school district finances as a priority

ST. GEORGE — Both candidates for the Washington County School Board District Two spot identify the best interests of the students, teachers and district overall as their top priorities.

Incumbent Craig Seegmiller is challenged by Jill Hunt in the race. (SGS)

Teen hit and killed by pickup in crosswalk on way to West High

A Salt Lake City teen on his way to school was fatally struck by a pickup truck Wednesday morning.

Salt Lake City police Sgt. Shawn Josephson said initial reports that the 15-year-old boy had died at the scene of the accident were premature. The youth — believed to be a West High School student on his way to classes — was in “extremely critical condition” when rushed to the hospital just after 7 a.m.

However, police then confirmed at 8:40 a.m. that the boy had passed away from his extensive, traumatic injuries.

Josephson said the boy, whose name was not released pending family notification, was in a crosswalk heading north to south on 600 North when a pickup truck, turning left from 900 West to east on 600 North, struck the boy at 7:09 a.m. (SLT) (DN) (OSE) (PDH) (CVD) (KUTV) (KTVX) (KSL) (KSTU)

Kearns High School shooter gets 2015 parole hearing

Ricky Angilau, who was just 16 when he fired a gun during a fight and killed an onlooker, will wait three years to get a hearing before the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole.

In an administrative review of the case, the board set Angilau’s original hearing for Sept. 1, 2015. It also denied him credit for time served.

In September, a 3rd District Court judge sentenced Angilau, now 19, to serve up to five years in prison. Angilau was initially charged as a juvenile and then as an adult in the shooting death, which occurred on Jan. 21, 2009. (SLT)

Facing sanction-riddled East in playoffs, Mountain View to honor two alumni who gave lives overseas

Mountain View high school principal Blaine Edman was tired of the football politics, tired of the state-wide scrutiny of UHSAA sanctions heading into the state playoffs. Edman wanted those attending tonight’s unlikely play-in game against state power East to know that something besides controversy mattered.

He called Kim Olsen, mother of former Mountain View student Nigel Olsen. The Bruin alumnus had chosen a military career after high school, one that saw his life – along with that of fellow Mountain View product Carlos Aragon – come to a premature end in combat overseas.

Edman’s request: let’s make this game matter about something more.

All proceeds from ticket and concession sales at tonight’s will be donated to the Freedom Memorial Scholarship fund, a financial windfall set up by Olsen and others to help one Mountain View student every year afford an education beyond high school. (PDH)

Animal skills taught in elementary school How to handle and spay discussed

Hands shot into the air, a roomful of second graders at Jeremy Ranch Elementary School anxiously waiting to be called on. Laurie Holbrook-Jorgensen, a Friends of Animals Utah volunteer and former Park City School District teacher, stood at the front of the class, preparing to teach the class all about animal safety, pet responsibility, spaying and neutering and animal cruelty.

Holbrook started teaching the hour-long lesson last spring and is carrying it into a new year, speaking with new students. During the 2011-12 school year, Friends of Animals Utah visited Jeremy Ranch and McPolin Elementary Schools, as well as the Weilenmann School of Discovery, where more than 600 students were reached through 22 separate classroom visits. (PR)

Nonprofit helps kids get new school clothes

HURRICANE — Children in need at Coral Canyon Elementary had the opportunity go on a miniature shopping spree Tuesday at the Hurricane Wal-Mart to purchase needed clothing items for school.

Assistance League of the Southern Utah Chapter President Jillene Landen said the nonprofit is working with the Hurricane Wal-Mart to help children in need get essential clothing items they need for school. (SGS)

Less recess may cut out important part of school day

SALT LAKE CITY — There is growing concern that kids in school are not getting enough recess time, which has been cut back as schools focus on testing. But experts say it is a critical part of the school day.

Some schools are focused on teaching more, preparing for tests or taking tests. Utah PTA health commissioner Jeana Stockdale says research shows recess and physical activity help boost academic performance, and as a substitute teacher, she has some personal experience teaching in schools where recess has been cut back. (KSL)

Doctors throw red flags at minimal safety rules for daring cheerleader stunts

Nowadays, it’s not uncommon to see high school cheerleaders throwing each other for flips in the air and making gaspingly tall pyramids. The more breathtaking the better, seems to be the thought process. However, these stunts are increasingly sending many young high school girls to the emergency room.

“The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) reports that since 2007, 26,000 injuries related to cheerleading have occurred in the U.S. every year,” wrote Connie K. Ho, for RedOrbit. “As well, over the past 25 years, cheerleading has caused 66 percent of all ‘catastrophic injuries’ for female high school athletes.”

Members of the AAP wrote a new policy statement released Tuesday, saying that cheerleading should be recognized as an official sport. (DN)

Springville Jr. High presents ‘Thoroughly Modern Millie’

For the past six weeks, students at Springville Junior High School have been practicing lines, singing and dancing to prepare for their upcoming production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie, Jr.” The production will take place Oct. 25, 26, 27 and Nov. 2 and 3. (PDH)

Lehi FFA goes to nationals

The Lehi FFA Chapter leaves for the National Convention as one of Utah’s best. The Lehi FFA Chapter competed at State Convention this year in April. During the convention, many students competed in speaking contests, agri-science fair, star state chapter display, and proficiency. Lehi dominated the convention with a winning chapter display, having four proficiency finalists, and 15 science fair winners and star state winners. During the summer those that won state sent in their applications to nationals to be judged. They only recognize the top four in proficiency and top 15 in agri-science. Our chapter did very well, having one proficiency finalist, 10 agri-science finalists. Our chapter was the chapter with the most finalists in the state. (PDH)




Get the Facts

Salt Lake City Weekly commentary by columnist Katharine Biele

Information is power, and that’s why there’s so much garbage being thrown at you by competing interests. It’s no different in Utah’s federal-lands battle, as the governor and his conservative base try to convince the public that the state could be a better steward of public lands than the federal government. So, it’s good news that the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance (SUWA) sponsored a brainstorming session about why 30 million acres of public lands should be left alone. Gov. Gary Herbert is saying that taking these lands will benefit education. SUWA says it won’t help. The right-wing Sutherland Institute has been blogging about all the jobs that come from the energy industry. (It’s 17,500, or 1.4 percent of all Utah jobs.) And the wages are high, too. Most of the oil and natural-gas wells are on federal land, and Utah wants total control.

Improving our schools by reforming our health care Deseret News commentary by columnist Joseph Cramer, M.D.

Recently, I had the privilege to sit at a round table of experts on K-12 education in the state of Utah. There were educators from teachers to principals to academics and parents to PTA members. There were advocates for children, refugees and the under-served populations.

Deseret News sponsored the event with dozens of good, smart people. I suspect they needed a token individual who was neither smart nor good — my qualification is I have done thousands of school physicals. My place at the table, and more importantly in the food line, may have also been because I had been the Medical Director for Utah Medicaid.

Some of the items stressed were the overwhelming number of students with various needs, anticipated growth and having the lowest dollar per student in the nation. While Utah has done much with little, there was this ever-present tension that if we want to educate our children, we will have to make some major changes and commitments.

“Farewell to algebra” . . . for minority kids?

Deseret News commentary by columnist Mary McConnell

I seem to have touched a raw nerve with my posts about (government-approved) lower educational standards for minority kids. Is it possible that the common core standards will similarly lower the bar, this time for math performance?

Common core critics have noted that California’s new law on math standards will roll back California’s decade long effort to move as many eighth graders as possible into Algebra. As Bill Evers and Ze’ev Wurman (both former Department of Education officials) note, the algebra reform dramatically increased the number of minority kids who took Algebra 1 and beyond . . . and raised their test scores.

Ogden schools on right course with Shane Story

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Sue Ann Burton

Our family is deeply involved in Ogden City Schools. Our daughter graduated from Ogden High and attends the U of U. We have sons in 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, 10th, 12th grades, and our youngest two will be starting kindergarten in a few years. The recent improvements such as Singapore Math and the push in language arts have us excited for better opportunities for our children. The teachers are working hard to prepare students at a younger age. They truly want students to succeed by embracing proven methods to teach them.

Bench the Bible verses

Washington Post editorial

IMAGINE YOU ARE in the stands at a high school football game, and the cheerleaders hoist a paper banner painted with the Bible verse “I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me.” The football team then runs through the sign to start play. With whom would you think that religious message was associated? The school-sponsored cheerleading squad holding the sign and lined up around it, obviously. The school-sponsored football team, probably. The school administrators who allow the banner prime space in a pregame ritual, maybe. Surely not just the individual cheerleaders who painted the sign.

Yet that is what the parents of 15 Kountze High School cheerleaders in Kountze, Tex., claim you should think. They argue that their daughters are simply expressing their private views on the football field when the school’s cheerleading squad raises its run-through banners, others of which read, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” or “But thanks be to God, which gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” After school-district administrators banned the religiously themed banners, the cheerleaders’ parents sued in state court, and a judge granted an injunction last week that allows the girls to continue displaying the signs.

The dispute is turning national.

Schools Can Be the Difference in Preventing Suicide Education Week op-ed by Genevieve LaFleur and Scott Poland, both of whom work in the Suicide and Violence Prevention Office at Nova Southeastern University

As increasing attention has—rightly—been paid to the issue of school-related bullying, growing attention, too, has come to the relationship between bullying and suicide. We’re doing more to address bullying with our nation’s youths, but we’re not yet doing enough to address the problem of child and adolescent suicide.

Millions of 10- to 24-year-olds will attempt suicide this year. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide is the third-leading cause of death among young people in that age range.

Research from Yale University’s school of medicine suggests that victims of bullying are between two and nine times more likely to consider suicide than nonvictims. Furthermore, according to the 2008 Washington state healthy youth survey, which involved nearly 200,000 students, nearly one-quarter of 10th graders reported a history of being bullied while half of 12th graders reported feeling sad and hopeless almost every day for the previous two weeks.

More than 45 states have passed legislation requiring bullying-prevention programs in schools serving grades K-12, but legislation requiring suicide prevention in schools has been enacted in only a few states.

New Report: Half of High Schoolers Own Smartphones Education Week commentary by columnist Ian Quillen

Smartphones are now the most commonly owned handheld computing devices among high school-aged students, with about 50 percent of those surveyed claiming ownership, according to a new report released Monday by Project Tomorrow here at the Virtual School Symposium in New Orleans.

Further, more than three in five parents surveyed said they would be likely to buy a mobile device for their child’s education, a ratio which shifted downward only slightly when the question was asked to rural and/or low-income parents.

A copy of the report

Why Parenting Is More Important Than Schools Time op-ed by Annie Murphy Paul, author of “Origins: How the Nine Months Before Birth Shape the Rest of Our Lives”

Given all the roiling debates about how America’s children should be taught, it may come as a surprise to learn that students spend less than 15% of their time in school. While there’s no doubt that school is important, a clutch of recent studies reminds us that parents are even more so. A study published earlier this month by researchers at North Carolina State University, Brigham Young University and the University of California-Irvine, for example, finds that parental involvement — checking homework, attending school meetings and events, discussing school activities at home — has a more powerful influence on students’ academic performance than anything about the school the students attend. Another study, published in the Review of Economics and Statistics, reports that the effort put forth by parents (reading stories aloud, meeting with teachers) has a bigger impact on their children’s educational achievement than the effort expended by either teachers or the students themselves. And a third study concludes that schools would have to increase their spending by more than $1,000 per pupil in order to achieve the same results that are gained with parental involvement (not likely in this stretched economic era).

So parents matter — a point made clear by decades of research showing that a major part of the academic advantage held by children from affluent families comes from the “concerted cultivation of children” as compared to the more laissez-faire style of parenting common in working-class families. But this research also reveals something else: that parents, of all backgrounds, don’t need to buy expensive educational toys or digital devices for their kids in order to give them an edge. They don’t need to chauffeur their offspring to enrichment classes or test-prep courses. What they need to do with their children is much simpler: talk.

But not just any talk.

The School Staffing Surge: Decades of Employment Growth in America’s Public Schools Friedman Foundation analysis by Benjamin Scafidi

America’s K-12 public education system has experienced tremendous historical growth in employment, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. Between fiscal year (FY) 1950 and FY 2009, the number of K-12 public school students in the United States increased by 96 percent while the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) school employees grew 386 percent. Public schools grew staffing at a rate four times faster than the increase in students over that time period. Of those personnel, teachers’ numbers increased 252 percent while administrators and other staff experienced growth of 702 percent, more than seven times the increase in students.

In a recent Heritage Foundation Backgrounder, Lindsey Burke (2012) reports that since 1970, the number of students in American public schools increased by 8 percent while the number of teachers increased 60 percent and the number of non-teaching personnel increased 138 percent.

That hiring pattern has persisted in more recent years as well. This report analyzes the rise in public school personnel relative to the increase in students since FY 1992. Analyses are provided for the nation as a whole and for each state.

Between FY 1992 and FY 2009, the number of K-12 public school students nationwide grew 17 percent while the number of full-time equivalent school employees increased 39 percent, 2.3 times greater than the increase in students over that 18-year period. Among school personnel, teachers’ staffing numbers rose 32 percent while administrators and other staff experienced growth of 46 percent; the growth in the number of administrators and other staff was 2.7 times that of students.




Adaptive Testing Evolves to Assess Common-Core Skills The goal is to build better measures of student skills and knowledge Education Week

When Delaware switched to computer-adaptive testing for its state assessments three years ago, officials found the results were available more quickly, the amount of time students spent taking tests decreased, and the tests provided more reliable information about what students knew—especially those at the very low and high ends of the spectrum.

But the path to launching those tests involved a significant education of students, parents, and teachers, a sizeable technology investment by the state, and the development of hundreds of test items for every exam.

As many states move to put in place online testing tied to the Common Core State Standards in 2014-15, at least 20 states have indicated they plan to use new computer-adaptive versions of the tests, and they’re looking at states like Delaware to learn some lessons.

“Adaptive testing is really beneficial and can pinpoint a student’s learning level more closely,” says Gerri Marshall, the supervisor of research and evaluation for the 15,000-student Red Clay Consolidated School District in Wilmington, Del., which piloted such tests.

Community Colleges Rethink Placement Tests Education Week

College-placement tests can make or break a student’s career. Yet few students prepare for them, and there’s little evidence to suggest the tests even do what they’re designed to do.

Now, some community colleges are looking for alternatives. Some are switching to high school grades or revamping assessments, while others are working with high schools to figure out students’ college readiness early so they have time to catch up if necessary.

“Our concern is that placement tests are really used to keep students out of credit-bearing courses, and they really are not reliable enough to make those decisions,” said Stan Jones, the president of Complete College America, a Washington-based nonprofit organization. Despite those concerns, he said, colleges use the tests because “they are inexpensive. They don’t take long, and there is a common belief that the tests will provide better information than they do.”

States, Districts Require Online Ed for High School Graduation U.S. News & World Report

Five states have laws requiring students to complete an online course before graduating from high school.

While adult interest in online courses at the college level appears to be waning, enrollment in virtual classes at the K-12 level is on the rise.

Nearly 620,000 students took an online course during the 2011-2012 school year, up 16 percent from the previous year, according to an annual report released this week by the Evergreen Education Group, which works with schools to implement online and blended learning programs.

The number of states and school districts requiring online courses for high school graduation also grew, as states aim to teach students how to operate in a an increasingly digital world. Lawmakers in Virginia and Idaho signed legislation in the past year requiring students to take at least one online course in order to earn a high school diploma, and the governor of Minnesota signed a law in May that “strongly encourages,” but does not require, students to take an online course before graduating from high school.

Educating Hispanics crucial for state, demographer testifies in lawsuit Houston Chronicle

AUSTIN – Whether Texas prospers or gets pulled down by poverty hinges on educating the state’s fastest-growing population – Hispanics – demographer Steve Murdock said Tuesday during opening testimony of a school funding lawsuit.

By 2050, Texas will be home for 12 million non-Hispanic whites and 31 million Hispanics, Murdock said. Hispanic children will make up nearly two-thirds of the state’s public school enrollment while the percentage of white children, now about 30 percent, will have dropped to 15.5 percent, said Murdock, Texas’ first official state demographer.

Murdock’s testimony highlights the importance of all Texas children receiving an adequate education and to show the consequences if Texas fails to deliver, lawyer Richard Gray told state District Judge John Dietz.

State Boards Could Feel Electoral Winds

Education Week

With scores of state school board seats nationwide hanging on the results of next month’s elections, the results could have a quiet but significant impact on education policy at a time when board members’ influence and relationships with other state political leaders are in transition.

Nine states are holding direct elections this cycle for some or all the seats on their state boards of education, including Colorado, Ohio, and Texas. (New Mexico’s elected Public Education Commission—also up for grabs—serves only in an advisory role to the state superintendent.)

Four of the board elections, in Nebraska, Nevada, Ohio, and Utah, are nonpartisan.

In addition, eight states in which governors appoint board members—Delaware, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Vermont, and West Virginia—have gubernatorial contests this year, further raising the stakes.

Mitt Romney’s ‘I Love Teachers’ Remark Spurs Fake Valentine From Union

Just how much does Mitt Romney love teachers?

“I love teachers,” he said repeatedly during a spirited exchange in Monday night’s foreign policy debate that went off topic, to the annoyance of moderator Bob Schieffer, and delved into teacher hiring policies. But Romney also said he doesn’t think the federal government should pay to hire teachers, even at a time when so many school systems have cut payrolls due to the recession.

Now, the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, has created a “love letter” for Romney. The graphic, which the NEA is distributing widely to reporters and on its blog, is titled “My Funny Valentine” and features pictures of the former Massachusetts governor framed in hearts.

“Mitt Romney has a strange way of showing ‘love,'” it says. (HuffPo)

HP wins Idaho laptop contract

$180 million computer deal for students null if Prop 3 fails Spokane (WA) Spokesman-Review

BOISE – Two weeks before the November election, in which Idaho voters could cancel the whole program, the state of Idaho on Tuesday signed a $180 million, eight-year contract with Hewlett-Packard Co. to supply laptop computers to every Idaho high school student.

Von Hansen, vice president and general manager at HP Boise, who joined dignitaries including Idaho Gov. Butch Otter and state schools Superintendent Tom Luna at the HP plant in Boise to announce the contract, said, “We’re proud to open this new chapter in our relationship with the state. … This is a great honor for HP.”

If voters turn thumbs down on Proposition 3 in two weeks, the contract will be canceled. (AP)

In search of high-quality teachers, charter network trains its own Hechinger Report

OAKLAND, Calif. — Amy Youngman’s seventh- and eighth-grade humanities students had left for the day. Other than some shouts from the after-school program in the courtyard, all was quiet in her second-floor classroom here.

Youngman’s day of teaching at ERES Academy—part of the Aspire charter school network—wasn’t over, though.

Nor was Danny Shapiro’s day of learning. Shapiro, not 13 but 30, is learning to be a teacher. Youngman, three years younger than Shapiro but with six years of teaching already under her belt, is his mentor.

“Highs and lows?” Youngman asked Shapiro across the wide table that served as her desk.

Shapiro sighed deeply as he considered the ups and downs of his second week in the classroom. He is one of 34 new teachers in Aspire’s three-year-old intensive residency program, aimed at training incoming teachers like him for positions in one of the network’s nearly three dozen schools.

Voucher law being questioned in Tangipahoa desegregation case Associated Press via New Orleans Times-Picayune

Louisiana’s education chief has been summoned to federal court in a case involving the state’s new school voucher law and a 47-year-old desegregation case. U.S. District Judge Ivan Lemelle has ordered John White and the state education board to come to federal court in New Orleans next Tuesday.

The Tangipahoa school system argues that the voucher law, which pays private school tuition for some lower-income students from low-performing schools, diverts state money from the local school district. And they say that affects the system’s ability to comply with orders in the desegregation case. Those orders include construction of four elementary schools and the continuation of magnet school programs.

The new statewide voucher program provides state-funded private school tuition for students from low- to moderate-income families who would otherwise attend a public school graded with a C, D or F by the state. More than 4,900 students are taking advantage of it in the current school year.

But some in the education establishment are unhappy because the money going to private schools would ordinarily go to local public school districts.

Students Don’t Learn From Lectures

NPR Talk of the Nation

Classroom lectures can be long, boring and ineffective, and Khan Academy founder Salman Khan says they have no place in the education. He points to research that shows that most students get bored and distracted after about 15 minutes, and suggests alternative methods of instruction.

Khan op-ed for Time

Campaign Tries to Help Defuse Bullying

New York Times

TAUNTING and aggressive teasing have long been seen as disagreeable rites of adolescence, until a string of suicides by bullied students raised awareness of the destructive consequences. A new campaign by a coalition of organizations is aiming to eliminate, or at least curb, bullying by urging parents to teach their children to face down such behavior.

The “Be More Than a Bystander” campaign, orchestrated by the nonprofit Advertising Council, underscores the problem with a series of television, print and online ads and a Web site promoting the idea that if witnesses know what to do, they can take various steps, such as moving the victim away from the situation or reporting the treatment to an adult, to defuse the bullying.

“Parents talk to their kids about drugs, sex, drinking and driving,” said Peggy Conlon, president and chief executive of the Ad Council, a nonprofit group that addresses social issues like teenage dating violence and high school dropout rates. “But they are not always proactive about bullying.”Eighty percent of high school students see bullying behavior firsthand at least weekly, according to research by, a national nonprofit group that involves teenagers with civic activities and social change. But parents are less aware of the frequency, with only about 50 percent realizing that bullying occurs routinely, according to the organization’s findings.

The Ad Council is working with groups like Facebook; AOL; the federal education and health departments; and the Free to Be Foundation, which includes the entertainers Marlo Thomas and Alan Alda, to kick off the public service advertising campaign this month. It will run for more than one year.

A Town’s Passion for Football, a Retired Doctor’s Concern New York Times

DOVER, N.H. — The agenda for the Oct. 1 school board meeting did not call for anything particularly exciting. But during a segment called “Matters of Interest,” Paul Butler, a retired doctor and relative newcomer to the board, floated an idea: end the football program at Dover High School.

Speaking in his soothing, deliberative tone, Butler said, “I’m beginning to believe, from what I’ve read of the literature, that as governors of the school district, we have a moral imperative to at least begin the process of ending this game in Dover.”

Butler is a retired surgeon, with no specialty in neurology. But he had followed the growing evidence of the peril football poses to the brains of the people who play it. Butler had no beef with football, for he had played it in high school and in college.

He was, he said, just trying to frame the question of the future of football in the most practical of terms, drawing upon the implications of the class-action lawsuit filed in June against the N.F.L. on behalf of more than 2,000 former players alleging that the league did not adequately warn them of the evidence about the dangers of repeated head trauma and concussions.

Butler warned his fellow board members that if city officials did not end football at Dover High, “the lawyers will do it for us” someday.

The next morning, Butler said, he attended a weekly 7:30 a.m. medical conference at Wentworth-Douglas Hospital, where he was a general surgeon until retiring in June 2011. By the time he and his wife had made the drive down to Arlington, Mass., to baby-sit grandchildren, he was being sought for television interviews. His comments to the board, it turned out, had been reported in the local newspaper, Foster’s Daily Democrat.

By day’s end, Dover’s school board chairman was forced to issue a statement denying the city had any plans to end football at Dover High. Even so, Peter Wotton, the school’s athletic director, had a news truck parked outside his house.

Parents considering legal action over school yoga Associated Press

ENCINITAS, Calif. — A group of parents is bent out of shape by free yoga classes at schools in this San Diego County beachside community, fearing they are indoctrinating youngsters in eastern religion.

“There’s a deep concern that the Encinitas Union School District is using taxpayer resources to promote Ashtanga yoga and Hinduism, a religion system of beliefs and practices,” the parents’ attorney, Dean Broyles, told the North County Times ( ).

In an Oct. 12 email to district Superintendent Tim Baird, Broyles called the yoga program unconstitutional and said he may take unspecified legal action unless the classes stop.

The lessons are funded by a $533,000, three-year grant from the Jois Foundation, a nonprofit group that promotes Asthanga yoga. Some schools began classes last month and others will begin holding them in January.

Report: Woman attacks 2 boys

Police: Mother assaults children she says insulted daughter Asbury Park (NJ) Press

TOMS RIVER — An irate mother boarded a school bus Friday morning and assaulted two 9-year-old boys whom she believed had insulted her daughter, police said.

Rebecca Sardoni, 28, boarded the bus during a stop at Martin Road and First Avenue, while the vehicle was on its morning pick-up route of East Dover Elementary School students, said Toms River Police Chief Michael G. Mastronardy.

“Who is Vinny?” Sardoni called out to the students on the bus after she stepped aboard.

When a student in the rear of the bus raised his hand, Sardoni approached the fourth-grader, cursed at him and then slapped the child in the face. She then slapped another boy who happened to be seated beside the first victim, the police chief said.

Sardoni, who lives on Martin Road, was joined by her mother, Stephanie Sardoni, 51, of Spray Avenue in Beachwood, who also boarded the bus. The grandmother also proceeded to yell and scream at the boys, Mastronardy said.

Rebecca Sardoni was arrested and charged with simple assault, criminal trespass and making terroristic threats, the police chief said. Stephanie Sardoni was charged with criminal trespass. The criminal trespass charges are for boarding the bus.




USOE Calendar

UEN News

November 1-2:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City

November 8:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City

November 13:

Executive Appropriations Interim Committee meeting

1 p.m., 445 State Capitol

November 14:

Education Interim Committee meeting

2 p.m., 30 House Building

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