Education News Roundup: Dec. 5, 2012

"Teaching Spanish at Tomales High School" by Momboleum/CC/flickr

“Teaching Spanish at …” by Momboleum/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

Congratulations to all the schools on the Title I rewards school list.
http://goo.gl/c4yeh (LHJ)
or the whole list
http://goo.gl/9wEsG (USOE)

Park City teachers still negotiating contracts.
http://goo.gl/TqdYg (PR)

Trib offers its opinion on UCAS.
http://goo.gl/h6Hs2 (SLT)

If Utah has to be last in an education category, this is a good one to be last in: Mean number of teachers absent from the classroom for more than 10 days in a school year.
http://goo.gl/qhurq (Center for American Progress)

American Association of School Administrators takes a closer look at what the fiscal cliff means for districts.
http://goo.gl/2EUlw (AASA)

Secretary Duncan previews the next four years.
http://goo.gl/vHVdY (Ed Week)

How are the common core state standards working out in Chicago schools?
http://goo.gl/YAbJD (NewsHour)

Dallas School Board President offers up a unique plan for district executives: Take a voluntary 25 percent pay cut and earn the money back under a merit system.
http://goo.gl/KaRyz (DMN)

Joel Klein discusses NewsCorp’s next steps in the ed biz.
http://goo.gl/GeGnl (Publishers Weekly)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Eight Cache County schools recognized for performance or progress

New state system rates schools on performance

Title One schools talk funding
Parley’s Park and McPolin hope to continue efforts with low income students

Teacher contracts still work-in-progress School district and teachers have yet to reach agreement

Building enough engineers to meet future demand must start early, experts say

Fifth-graders take field trip to Mars

Lehi students pioneer program for preschoolers

School officer reportedly placed on leave

Investigators talking to other potential victims of ex-principal, FBI says

Teacher accused of sex relations with student

Are Utah schools protected from carbon monoxide poisoning?

Logan River Academy students aim to play for Logan

Mountain Ridge students raising money for kids with cancer

Utah nonprofits to receive grants

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Rating schools
Averaging could be harmful

Lunch money online

The blessing of shoes

Remembering Granite High

Educational Savings

Sanctioned student abuse by the UHSAA

To the Capitol!

Pearson blog starts heated debate about $1.7 billion for standardized testing

List: What Common Core authors suggest high schoolers should read

Was ‘Brown v. the Board’ a Failure?
A new study shows a steady but significant return of racial isolation to America’s schools.

Latest AASA Study Documents Unequal Sequester Pain, Poorer Districts to Suffer More

Teacher Absence as a Leading Indicator of Student Achievement New National Data Offer Opportunity to Examine Cost of Teacher Absence Relative to Learning Loss

NATION

Arne Duncan Sketches Out ‘Long Haul’ Agenda

Will school computers be able to handle new testing technology?

In Chicago, Public Schools and Teachers Work Towards a ‘Common Core’

For Young Latino Readers, an Image Is Missing

Dallas school board president wants top leaders to take 25% pay cut

News Corp.’s Joel Klein Outlines Plans for Amplify Education Unit

7 districts split $25M in Gates education grants

Schools lack alarms to warn of deadly carbon monoxide

Westwood High School students have ‘hand-holding event’

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UTAH NEWS
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Eight Cache County schools recognized for performance or progress

The Utah State Office of Education has identified the Title I Priority, Focus and Reward Schools for the 2012-13 school year, and eight local schools are on that list.
To make the list, schools must have showed high performance and/or progress in their end of level tests.
From Cache County School District, Birch Creek Elementary, Millville Elementary, Nibley Elementary, Park Elementary and Summit Elementary were named reward schools for being a “high performing school with high progress.” Lewiston Elementary was also named a reward school for being a “high performing school with above average growth.”
In the Logan City School District, one school was named a reward school. Bridger Elementary was identified as a reward school for being a “high progress school with above average achievement.”
InTech Collegiate High School, a charter school in North Logan, was also named for being a “high progress school with above average achievement.”
http://goo.gl/c4yeh (LHJ)

The whole list
http://goo.gl/9wEsG (USOE)

New state system rates schools on performance

Tooele County Schools can be found at the top and bottom of the new Utah Comprehensive Accountability System, which rates public schools by academic performance.
The Utah State Office of Education released UCAS scores on Friday. UCAS replaces the federal Adequate Yearly Progress Report and the state UPASS scoring system under a federal waiver for the AYP portion of the No Child Left Behind Act.
http://goo.gl/9WjDs (TTB)

Title One schools talk funding
Parley’s Park and McPolin hope to continue efforts with low income students

Parley’s Park Elementary School and McPolin Elementary School, the two Title One targeted assistance schools in the Park City School District, recently held federally-mandated annual meetings to discuss how the schools used funding.
Schools such as Parley’s Park and McPolin have a larger number of low-income students. A Title One designation is given to any school that serves a certain percentage of low-income students, determined by the number of free and reduced price lunch waivers.
“The annual meeting is a time to share how the budget is being employed,” said McPolin Principal Greg Proffit. “We used on federal dollars primarily on staffing, professionals in classrooms supporting literacy and helping struggling students with mathematics.”
http://goo.gl/1TVAY (PR)

Teacher contracts still work-in-progress School district and teachers have yet to reach agreement

Two trailers full of nonperishable food items, an item for each hour of overtime, were parked in…«1»More than six months have now passed since negotiations first began, but the Park City School District administrators and the local teachers union have yet to come to an agreement on teacher contracts.
Despite an elusive resolution, teachers in every school recently attempted to make a symbolic point illustrating the amount of time they put into creating a Park City education.
In November, teachers collected their own data, counting every hour of overtime over a two-week period. In two weeks, 196 participating teachers estimated they gave a combined total of 4,638 overtime hours to the school district. For every hour of overtime, teachers donated an item on nonperishable food, creating stacks of cans and boxes in the lobbies of Park City schools.
http://goo.gl/TqdYg (PR)

Building enough engineers to meet future demand must start early, experts say

Joshua Peterson’s home is east of the small Utah town of Monticello, among the pinto bean farms that stretch toward the Colorado border. Thanks to an educational hobby — robotics — the lanky 18-year-old has already seen a bit of the world, though, and the skills he’s learning are likely to take him much further.
A robotics competition is like a sports event, Peterson said, but for brains instead of bodies. Working with a robot his team designed, built and programmed as it overwhelms other robots at competitions in California or Florida is as exciting as any hard-fought sports matchup, he said.
http://goo.gl/cTif2 (DN)

Fifth-graders take field trip to Mars

OGDEN — Stephanie Baltazar looked at the labeled, premeasured sheets of plastic she and her mission teammates had pieced together with duct tape.
The fifth-graders awaited the command decision that it was time to connect their plastic structures to box fans, to inflate their habitats for the Mission to Mars activity.
“I think this could work on Mars,” said Stephanie, 11, from Clearfield’s Holt Elementary School. “We built a habitat, and I think we’ll be able to fit our team into it. It would work as shelter.”
Stephanie was one of 160 fifth-graders to attend Mission to Mars, an educational event held Tuesday in the Shepherd Union Ballrooms at Weber State University. Weber State students and troops from Hill Air Force Base volunteered to guide and assist the students, from Holt and from Ogden’s St. Joseph Catholic and South Weber elementary schools.
http://goo.gl/b3crp (OSE)

Lehi students pioneer program for preschoolers

LEHI — Braden Seaton, a preschooler on a class field trip, squealed with joy as Dallon Mckinney, a 17-year-old student at Lehi High School, pulled him in an old Radio Flyer wagon.
The two boys, a despite the vast age difference, have become fast friends. Seaton attends the Utah School for the Blind preschool in Orem and Mckinney is a student in Lehi High’s plant and soil science class.
Mckinney said for an hour he goes where Braden wants to go and explores with him.
“He’s the boss but I’m kind of adventurous like him. Maybe that’s why we get along,” Mckinney said.
The unlikely friends came together this year in a new program, spearheaded by Lehi High senior Tommy Smith, to enrich the lives of children who are deaf and blind and to increase high school students’ awareness and understanding of people with disabilities.
Susan Patten, who works for the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind, said Smith approached when he wanted to do a science project for Lehi’s FFA program in the social sciences. He initially approached Patten about starting a program that brought adults with disabilities into Lehi High School’s greenhouse.
http://goo.gl/vWoap (PDH)

School officer reportedly placed on leave

ST. GEORGE — Pine View High School students were informed Tuesday that a new resource officer had been assigned to the school.
Reports on social media websites said the former resource officer had been placed on administrative leave, but the St. George Police Department would not confirm that on Tuesday.
St. George Police Officer Derek Lewis said in cases when an officer has been placed on administrative leave, an internal investigation takes place regarding the officer in question. However, Lewis said he is unable to confirm if a school resource officer at Pine View has been placed on administrative leave because the case is ongoing.
http://goo.gl/80nBq (SGS)

Investigators talking to other potential victims of ex-principal, FBI says

MIDWAY — As the probe continued Tuesday into a former teacher and principal who allegedly told police he molested children for more than 35 years, investigators are wondering how many other potential victims are out there.
The FBI confirmed that it received phone calls Tuesday from others who may have been victims of Charles Edward Weber, spokeswoman Debbie Bertram said. Agents are investigating those new allegations.
Weber, 65, of South Jordan, was arrested Monday after being charged in 4th District Court with six counts of forcible sodomy, a first-degree felony. He had been an educator for more than 40 years, most recently as principal of the award-winning Soldier Hollow Charter School in Midway.
http://goo.gl/7RfEl (DN)

http://goo.gl/RAOdG (PDH)

http://goo.gl/jD1DA (KUTV)

http://goo.gl/zgu1Y (KSL)

http://goo.gl/KBvjT (SF Chronicle)

Teacher accused of sex relations with student

BOUNTIFUL Utah – A science teacher was arrested after being accused of having sex relations with one of his students.
Steve Niedzwiecki taught science and helped with the school’s basketball team at Jefferson Academy in Kaysville.
He no longer teachers there according to school officials at Jefferson Academy.
http://goo.gl/YXCG4 (KTVX)

Are Utah schools protected from carbon monoxide poisoning?

SALT LAKE CITY, – With the news of kids and teachers getting carbon monoxide poisoning in Atlanta, it poses the question: Are schools here in Utah safe?
Are there carbon monoxide detectors to alert people before it’s too late?
ABC 4 News went checking for the answers.
http://goo.gl/JwHb2 (KTVX)

Logan River Academy students aim to play for Logan

Members of the Utah High School Activities Association convened Tuesday morning to hear five cases regarding different appeals for different transfer and eligibility issues. But one case in particular stood out among the handful.
Two students at the Logan River Academy, a residential treatment center based in Cache Valley for at-risk youths, tried out for the Logan High School boys’ basketball team prior to the start of the season and made the team. Despite being under supervision 24 hours a day, seven days a week at the center, the two students took a leap in faith in trying out after meeting with coach Logan Brown prior to tryouts.
However, under Article 1 Section 14 of the UHSAA rulebook, it states, “the charter, home or private school student may only participate in extracurricular activities at the school within whose boundaries the student’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s) resides (neither a power of attorney nor a district or school guardianship will suffice) or at the public school from which the student withdrew for the purpose of home schooling or attending a charter or private school.”
But the two students at Logan River Academy — which isn’t classified as a charter or private school — currently don’t have parents or legal guardians residing within the Logan High School boundaries, thus creating a situation that the two students, along with the support of their parents, as well as both staffs at Logan River Academy and Logan, appealed the rule to a group of three UHSAA panel members Tuesday morning.
http://goo.gl/MWNcd (SLT)

Mountain Ridge students raising money for kids with cancer

HIGHLAND — There is a happy little war going on at Mountain Ridge Jr. High School, one in which there will be no losers.
The students are participating in the student council sponsored Penny Wars, in which the seventh-, eighth-, ninth-graders compete to see who can raise the most money for the Children with Cancer Christmas Foundation event next week. They are bringing in their pennies, and during lunch depositing those coins in their class jugs. This is the third year they have participated in this fundraiser.
http://goo.gl/6owpn (PDH)

Utah nonprofits to receive grants

SALT LAKE CITY — The Daniels Fund has announced that four Utah nonprofits will receive $175,000 in grants.
Grant recipients include Children’s Service Society of Utah; Grandfamilies Kinship Care Services; The Children’s Center; Autism Spectrum Disorder Early Identification and Intervention Services; Utah International Charter School; and YMCA of Salt Lake City, Residential and Supportive Services.
http://goo.gl/wqiZJ (DN)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Rating schools
Averaging could be harmful
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

A new school assessment system designed to replace the federal No Child Left Behind eliminates some of the onerous weaknesses of the Bush-era NCLB. But Utah’s education officials must be careful that it does not also throw out the federal program’s strength — forcing schools to focus on underachieving students.
Prior to NCLB, schools averaged all test scores, and districts and the state focused mainly on the averages. Truly left behind were students of minority ethnic and racial groups, those from low-income and non-English-speaking families and those with disabilities.
Using averages too often meant that struggling children at the low end were balanced by the high achievers at the other end, and many of the former merely slipped through the cracks. They were promoted beyond their ability, and many never learned to read well or do basic math.
http://goo.gl/h6Hs2

Lunch money online
(St. George) Spectrum editorial

Unfortunately, for some children the only fully nutritious meal of the day comes during lunch at school. Parents either can’t afford to feed their children balanced meals at home or are too bogged down with the busy aspects of life to cook such meals.
Schools are first and foremost in the business of preparing our children for adulthood. But over the years, an additional task has been feeding kids so they are in the right frame of mind to learn later in the day. In the Washington County School District, for only $1.60 per day, elementary school kids can eat lunch. An additional 80 cents allows them to eat breakfast. For children in intermediate, middle and high schools, the cost is $2.25 per day for lunch and 80 cents for breakfast.
http://goo.gl/W3JkK

The blessing of shoes
(Provo) Daily Herald editorial

What is a teacher to do when a child comes to school in winter wearing flip-flops because his or her family can’t afford better?
We congratulate the many teachers in Alpine School District who have signed up for payroll deductions to buy shoes through the Alpine Foundation.
While a pair of shoes doesn’t end poverty, they do make a difference right here, right now. And that has immense value.
http://goo.gl/NwEIn

Remembering Granite High
Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist Tom Wharton

South Salt Lake • Without the people in it, a high school is little more than an empty building.
As a proud alumni of Granite High, class of 1969, I have thought about the old school a great deal the past few years.
As an institution, the school struggled in its latter life. It did away with sports teams, ending a long tradition that produced pro athletes such as Gordon Jolley and Golden Richards, two guys I went to school with, and gave BYU’s great LaVell Edwards one of his first head coaching jobs.
When I wandered the crowded halls, the school had almost 2,400 students and, at the time, was among the state’s largest. We had trouble jamming the entire student body into the little bandbox of a gymnasium that became so loud on game night that it shook. I still can sing the words to our school anthem, “The Song of the G.”
http://goo.gl/3s0DV

Educational Savings
Salt Lake City Weekly commentary by Katharine Biele

Neither the past, the present nor the future looks good for Utah schoolchildren. While the Legislature has long prided itself on producing well-educated kids at low cost, the truth is that the cost is to kids’ education. A report from the U.S. Department of Education puts the rate of high school graduation in Utah in the bottom half of the country. And for Latinos, it’s the fourth lowest, at 56 percent. The school population is rising dramatically, with minorities and English-language learners falling behind. Not so good, either, especially for Salt Lake District with its high minority population. It’s time to stop blaming teachers and throw some old-fashioned money at the problem.
http://goo.gl/Nd5yx

Sanctioned student abuse by the UHSAA
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner op-ed by Tim Bridgewater, a former Utah K-12 education deputy and is the proud parent of a student athlete on Timpview’s 2012 Regional and State Championship football team

Recently, the UHSAA administrators misused their discretionary authority to abuse and punish innocent students, schools and sports programs across the state in order to correct administrative paperwork errors.
In the case of Timpview, understand that an underclass student athlete who played in only two games in the last few minutes of blowout victories incorrectly filled out a transfer form.
Had he filled it out correctly, he would have been instructed to request a waiver via a second form. A waiver would likely have been granted in his type of case.
The student in question does not speak English as his primary language. Timpview was stripped of their 2012 Region Championship and forced to forfeit four games.
The school lost over $100,000 in gate receipts and concessions income and then it got worse.
http://goo.gl/qPyzP

To the Capitol!
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Paul West

Re “Utah ranks in bottom half of country for high school grad rate” (Tribune, Nov. 27):
Instead of starting from what we can “afford,” which means the cheapest education system in the nation (at $6,064 per pupil, 51st Utah is $1,000 below No. 50!), let’s design a system where two out of three students read at grade level (instead of one out of three), figure what it will cost, and then find a way to pay for it.
It’s clear our state leaders will not lead us out of this problem. They’re more enthusiastic about designating an official state gun and suing the feds than teaching our children.
We need a sustained grass-roots movement. We need throngs chanting every day at the Legislature and the governor’s mansion.
http://goo.gl/fy3Fs

Pearson blog starts heated debate about $1.7 billion for standardized testing Washington Post commentary by columnist Valerie Strauss

A blog post written by a Pearson psychometrician under the headline “Is $1.7 billion a lot or a little to spend on testing?” has sparked a heated online debate about the costs of standardized testing — monetarily and otherwise.
The $1.7 billion refers to a figure in a new Brookings Institution report on state spending on K-12 assessment systems. Author Matthew Chingos, looking at data from state contracts with testing vendors, concluded that 45 states spend a total of $669 million a year for these assessments, with “a rough estimate” state-level spending $1.7 billion annually across the nation. That, he says, is “one-quarter of one percent of annual K-12 education spending in the United States each year, raising the question of whether the amount is too much, just right or not enough. (The report unfortunately looks at the District as if it were a state, which it isn’t; it says per-pupil testing costs range from $7 in New York to $114 in Washington, D.C., as if a state and a city are comparable.)
Pearson is the largest for-profit education company in the world. Pearson psychometrician Steve Ferrara wrote in part on the Pearson Web site, referring to the $1.7 billion estimate for nationwide state spending on annual standardized assessments:
“That’s a big number. By his [Chingos’s] calculation, that represents only ‘one-quarter of one percent of annual K-12 education spending.’ Is it too much?”
http://goo.gl/3NcQm

List: What Common Core authors suggest high schoolers should read Washington Post commentary by columnist Valerie Strauss

A Post story by my colleague Lyndsey Layton about controversy surrounding the Common Core English Language Arts standards — or, more specifically, the call for reading by high school seniors to be 70 percent non-fiction — has generated a lot of online interest. A number of the hundreds of comments on the story mention some of the reading recommendations from the Common Core authors that Layton mentioned in the story, including “the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco (2009) and “Executive Order 13423: Strengthening Federal Environmental, Energy, and Transportation Management,” published by the General Services Administration.” Here is the full list of reading “exemplars” for high school.
http://goo.gl/YoJWc

Was ‘Brown v. the Board’ a Failure?
A new study shows a steady but significant return of racial isolation to America’s schools.
The Atlantic commentary by Sarah Garland, author of the forthcoming book Divided We Fail: The Story of an African American Community that Ended the Era of School Desegregation

After half a century, America’s efforts to end segregation seem to be winding down. In the years after Brown v. Board of Education, 755 school districts were under desegregation orders. A new Stanford study reports that as of 2009, that number had dropped to as few as 268.
The study is the first to take a comprehensive look at whether court-ordered busing successfully ended the legacy of Jim Crow in public education, and it suggests a mission that is far from accomplished. On average, those districts that stopped forcing schools to mix students by race have seen a gradual but steady–and significant–return of racial isolation, especially at the elementary level.
It’s unclear what effect school “re-segregation” will have on minority achievement, though a large body of research suggests it certainly won’t help efforts to improve test scores, graduation rates, and college entry levels for blacks and Hispanics, a growing share of the U.S. population. But the retreat from desegregation also suggests the policy had significant flaws–problems current education reformers should pay attention to.
http://goo.gl/AP8iW

A copy of the study
http://goo.gl/Empl2 (Wiley)

Latest AASA Study Documents Unequal Sequester Pain, Poorer Districts to Suffer More American Association of School Administrators analysis

Today, AASA released a new report entitled Federal Public Education Revenues and the Sequester. The report, fourteenth in AASA’s Economic Impact Series, examines a comprehensive dataset detailing education revenues for every school district in the nation. In partnership with ProximityOne, AASA was able to analyze total education revenues—split between federal, state and local share—to see what districts and states are disproportionately reliant on federal revenues and to explore the extremely dire situation this creates for schools as the nation braces for the looming ‘fiscal cliff’ and cuts of sequestration.
Looking at the share of federal revenues within school’s operating budgets for FY10 (the 2010-11 school year), AASA found that federal dollars represented—on average—12.3 percent of schools’ revenues. Further:
• More than a quarter of schools (28.7%) had an operating budget where federal revenues represented more than 15% of total budget revenues.
• Fourteen percent of schools (13.7%) had an operating budget where federal funds represented one-fifth (20%) or more of total budget revenues.
• In 23 states, more than half of the LEAs had operating budgets where the federal share was above the national average (12.3%)
• In 15 states, more than half of the LEAs had operating budgets where the federal share was over 15%.
• In those districts and states where federal revenues represent larger portions of overall operating budgets, the cuts of sequestration will be deeper and more damaging.
http://goo.gl/2EUlw

Teacher Absence as a Leading Indicator of Student Achievement New National Data Offer Opportunity to Examine Cost of Teacher Absence Relative to Learning Loss Center for American Progress analysis

On any given school day, up to 40 percent of teachers in New Jersey’s Camden City Public Schools are absent from their classrooms. Such a high figure probably would not stand out in parts of the developing world, but it contrasts sharply with the 3 percent national rate of absence for full-time wage and salaried American workers, and the 5.3 percent rate of absence for American teachers overall. Certainly, it isn’t unreasonable for Camden residents to expect lower rates of teacher absence, particularly when the district annually spends top dollar—more than $22,000 per pupil—to educate its students. And advocates for students of color, who constitute 99.5 percent of the district’s enrollment, could potentially use these new data from the Department of Education to support a civil rights complaint.
Beginning in 2009 the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education included a new item on its biennial Civil Rights Data Collection survey—teacher absences. Notwithstanding concerns about equity, attention to this issue is appropriate for two reasons:
• First, teachers are the most important school-based determinant of students’ academic success. It’s no surprise researchers find that teacher absence lowers student achievement.
• Second, resources are scarce, and any excess of funds tied up in teacher absence, which costs at least $4 billion annually, should be put to better use.
http://goo.gl/qhurq

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Arne Duncan Sketches Out ‘Long Haul’ Agenda Education Week

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who says he plans to serve in the Obama Cabinet for the “long haul,” has begun sketching out his priorities for the next four years. They include using competitive levers to improve teacher and principal quality and holding the line on initiatives he started during the president’s first term.
The secretary is also making clear what he won’t do: devote a lot of energy to a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act if Congress doesn’t get serious about rewriting the current version, the No Child Left Behind Act.
“We will lead, we will help, we will push, but Congress has to want to do it,” Mr. Duncan said in remarks last month to the Council of Chief State School Officers.
Mr. Duncan sees a tough road ahead for many critical state efforts—all of which are encouraged and financed by his department—to put new common academic standards, common tests, and teacher evaluations in place.
http://goo.gl/vHVdY

For Young Latino Readers, an Image Is Missing New York Times

PHILADELPHIA — Like many of his third-grade classmates, Mario Cortez-Pacheco likes reading the “Magic Tree House” series, about a brother and a sister who take adventurous trips back in time. He also loves the popular “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” graphic novels.
But Mario, 8, has noticed something about these and many of the other books he encounters in his classroom at Bayard Taylor Elementary here: most of the main characters are white. “I see a lot of people that don’t have a lot of color,” he said.
Hispanic students now make up nearly a quarter of the nation’s public school enrollment, according to an analysis of census data by the Pew Hispanic Center, and are the fastest-growing segment of the school population. Yet nonwhite Latino children seldom see themselves in books written for young readers. (Dora the Explorer, who began as a cartoon character, is an outlier.)
Education experts and teachers who work with large Latino populations say that the lack of familiar images could be an obstacle as young readers work to build stamina and deepen their understanding of story elements like character motivation.
http://goo.gl/Fa9vg

Will school computers be able to handle new testing technology?
Hechinger Report

Schools in about 25 states set to roll out new online standardized tests in the next two years can now find out whether the computers they have on hand will be able to handle the new technology. The state-led Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium released guidelines on Tuesday with specific requirements for devices.
The consortium, which is one of two groups receiving federal funding to develop tests that match the Common Core State Standards, said that in addition to computers, iPads, Android tablets, and Chromebooks running on newer operating systems will be able to be used for testing. All devices must have a 10” screen, a keyboard, internet access, and the ability to disable features that could be used to cheat during the test.
Some school officials have worried about whether current technology will be enough to handle new tests, or if schools will be forced to find the means to upgrade.
http://goo.gl/O0dtD

In Chicago, Public Schools and Teachers Work Towards a ‘Common Core’
NewsHour

Some states, including Illinois, have recently adopted new public school curriculum guidelines called the Common Core State Standards. While some teachers feel relief at having clear guidelines, Elizabeth Brackett of WTTW reports from Chicago on a more contentious aspect of the new implementation: student and teacher evaluation.
http://goo.gl/YAbJD

Dallas school board president wants top leaders to take 25% pay cut Dallas Morning News

Dallas ISD board President Lew Blackburn has a proposal for top-level district executives: Take a voluntary 25 percent pay cut and earn the money back under a merit system.
Amid public criticism for the high salaries of some district administrators, Blackburn is suggesting they work under a pay-for-performance system, similar to what is in the works for teachers and principals. It would begin next school year.
Executives who opt out of the plan would have their current salaries frozen and receive no raises.
Blackburn plans to gauge trustee interest for his idea next week during a board discussion on principal evaluations, which will include a performance pay component. He stressed that his plan, aimed at employees who are in the two levels directly under Superintendent Mike Miles, is in the early stages and not set in stone.
http://goo.gl/KaRyz

News Corp.’s Joel Klein Outlines Plans for Amplify Education Unit Publishers Weekly

Asserting that the K-12 education market is “ripe for disruption,’ Joel Klein, former New York City Schools Chancellor, now executive v-p at News Corp. and director of Amplify, its education unit, offered a presentation of Amplify’s business model and plans to release hardware and software solutions optimized for a new generation of digitally savvy students and teachers. Klein outlined plans to release an open source tablet device, specialized teaching software tied to it and common core standards and data analytics, all in an effort to transform the basic model of American education.
In a presentation at the UBS Global Media and Communication Conference, Klein outlined an American educational system—one teacher in a room of 25 kids, using minimal, if any, new technology—that he said not only fails students but “is a national security issue,” emphasizing that “if we don’t see a dramatic change to using technology in classes, the country won’t go forward.”
Klein’s point is that U.S. K-12 education is a “broken model,” with shockingly low graduation rates, “we spend a lot on education and do not see the results.” To change all this, Klein said, “the private sector’ has to be involved and that “technology will forever change how we teach students.” Klein said, “kids use media and technology of all kinds but they’re told they have to turn them all off when they get to school.”
http://goo.gl/GeGnl

7 districts split $25M in Gates education grants Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Seven school districts will split $25 million in education funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Philadelphia; Boston; Denver; New Orleans; New York; Hartford, Conn.; and Spring Branch, Texas, are recipients of the grants announced Wednesday.
The communities are among 16 that signed a collaboration compact designed to reduce tension between district and charter schools. The agreement entails sharing resources and best practices.
By signing the compact, each district received $100,000 and became eligible for further funding.
http://goo.gl/K5Yv3

http://goo.gl/40k5Z (NYT)

Schools lack alarms to warn of deadly carbon monoxide USA Today

Most schools — like the Atlanta elementary school where at least 49 people were treated Monday for carbon monoxide poisoning — are not equipped with alarms to detect the deadly gas.
Only Connecticut and Maryland have laws that require CO alarms in schools, despite the evacuations of more than 3,000 students in at least 19 incidents of high levels of CO at schools since 2007, USA TODAY has found.
Many school administrators say they’re unaware of the dangers. But doctors with expertise in carbon monoxide poisoning say the alarms — which the National Fire Protection Association says should be near bedrooms in every home — should be installed in classrooms or hallways.
“The safest solution is CO monitoring in every classroom or, minimally in the hallways and pool areas,” says Lindell Weaver, a University of Utah professor of medicine who’s written studies on the subject and evaluated more than 1,000 patients with CO poisoning.
http://goo.gl/CWRCj

Westwood High School students have ‘hand-holding event’
(Phoenix) Arizona Republic

About 200 Mesa students participated in a “hand-holding event” Monday in Westwood High School’s courtyard in support of the principal and a punishment he administered last week.
“It was a peaceful event,” district spokeswoman Helen Hollands said.
Two boys who had been fighting last week were told by Principal Tim Richard that they could hold hands in front of their fellow students as a punishment. Mesa Public Schools officials later said the punishment violated district policy. More typical penalties for fighting include suspension or detention.
An image of the students, whose names are being withheld by the school district, was posted on Facebook by another student, generating a discussion about whether the punishment was acceptable. Several voiced favorable opinions.
http://goo.gl/dcNW1

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December 3:
Executive Appropriations Interim Committee meeting
2 p.m., 445 State Capitol
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December 7:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
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December 11:
Public Education Appropriations Committee meeting
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December 13:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
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