Education News Roundup: Dec. 18, 2012

"Forgotten Future" by Much0's/CC/flickr

“Forgotten Future” by Much0’s/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

Much of today’s roundup centers on the aftermath of the Connecticut school shooting and its effects nationally and in Utah. ENR will continue to track these stories but only so far as they touch on the hallmark of this news aggregation: schools and education policy.

Articles and commentary that are primarily directed solely at gun control or gun control and mental illness won’t be tracked (the exception is for today’s Washington Post piece (http://goo.gl/ehrHL) following up on Rep. Chaffetz and his comments on gun control.

It is included as a second-day piece to something carried in yesterday’s roundup. The gun control policy debate in today’s Education Week (http://goo.gl/CgZYm) is also included since Education Secretary Arne Duncan is part of the President’s team taking part in the discussion.

You will find reports and commentary dealing with reactions to the shooting including arming teachers or creating gun-free zones in schools. ENR deems these to be on-topic.

In other news …

Bon voyage to Utah’s dual immersion officials heading off to France.
http://goo.gl/sdNcp (DN)

Nevada Governor appoints casino mogul’s wife to State Board of Education.
http://goo.gl/DSAAk  (LV Review-Journal)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Pink ribbons blanket Ogden neighborhood in memory of Connecticut shooting victim

Courage of Ben Lomond grad who lost daughter in Conn. shooting no surprise to longtime friends

Lawmaker stirs up debate on gun laws in Utah
Rights vs. safety » Utah is one of two states allowing firearms on school campuses.

Utah lawmakers ready to look at ways to prevent another school tragedy

Utah’s New Attorney General Committed to Protecting Schools

Rep. Jason Chaffetz walks back comments on gun control and mental illness

Utah 6th-grader in custody after bringing gun to school
11-year-old in custody after classmates tell teacher about weapon.

No gun found at BEHS after text

Weber County high school searched for weapons after text threat
No gun found » Officials believe text message warning of a gun at school was a hoax.

Parent takes action toward ensuring school safety

Columbine survivor offers perspective on Conn. Shooting

Utah kids memorialize victims of Connecticut shooting
School colors » Utah teens dress up to remember the victims.

Local school districts revisit intruder policies in wake of Newtown shooting

‘Reflection mode’: Valley educators weigh in on Conn. school shooting tragedy

Connecticut shooting stirs emotions at Draper school

School counselor: keep conversations about school shooting simple, fact based

OHS to raise funds for shooting victims

Salt Lake Woman Organizes Fundraising Effort for Victims of Newtown Shooting

Principals headed to Paris for French instruction seminar

Teaching children and teens how to manage their money

Cache school board OKs land purchase for new high school

DHS marching band prepares for 2013 Rose Parade

State budget director to retire in January

Layton students make 1,000 cranes for kids at Primary Children’s
Parent involvement » Tomoko Hauck donated origami paper and taught classes how to fold the birds.

Butler Middle School students raise money for Therapy Animals of Utah
Surprise gift » Staff members didn’t know the school was making the donation.

Rowland Hall students fill baskets for needy families
Christmas dinner » Crossroads Urban Center partners up to help provide fresh food for the holidays.

Clinic gives $10,000 to EveryDay Learners

Kearns students create ornaments for national Christmas tree
Beehive state » Students’ work reflected Utah’s history and quirks.

Schoolchildren receive early Christmas gifts

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Massacre demands safety solutions

After the violence

Back to school after the Newtown shooting

Protecting our children from our fears

Fairy Tales and Fictions in the Wake of the Sandy Hook Shooting

The Top 10 Utah Political Stories of 2012 – #8

Ask a Cop: Are Utah schools safe?

Darwin at fault for massacre

Darwinism misrepresented

Disrespectful not to fly flag at half-staff

More parents should volunteer at schools

Children are the future

The Facts about Mass Shootings
It’s time to address mental health and gun-free zones.

Gun rights advocates: Arm our teachers to help stop school shootings
Gun rights activists have a wild solution for school shootings — and it’s gaining traction with state lawmakers

Should Principals Carry Guns on Campus?

The Irrational Fear of For-Profit Education
Government is biased against commercial school operators, despite often better results.

Should we care how much money charter school leaders make?

NATION

Seeking Comfort in Song Amid the Whiz of Bullets

For Teachers, Newtown Shootings Prompt Reflection, Outreach

Newtown Massacre Reignites Federal Gun-Policy Debate

McDonnell: It’s time to discuss arming school officials

Guns For Teachers Legislation On The Rise In States

Some of the deadliest school shootings in the US

In Idaho education reform talks, time and money are at issue

Governor appoints Elaine Wynn to state education board

Judge weighs Texas school’s tracking ID program

Jewish song dropped from concert
Musical directors opt to boycott after GTACS pulls music

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UTAH NEWS
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Pink ribbons blanket Ogden neighborhood in memory of Connecticut shooting victim

OGDEN — More than 300 people were on hand Monday night to blanket a neighborhood in pink ribbons, hoping to convey love and comfort to the family of a young girl tragically killed in the Connecticut elementary school shooting.
The family of 6-year-old Emilie Parker lived in Ogden before moving to Newtown, Conn., for a job. She was among those killed Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Emilie’s parents and relatives will be returning from Newtown starting Tuesday, preparing for funeral services tentatively scheduled for Saturday.
Brian Joy, a bishop for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who knows the Parkers, said members from at least three LDS Church wards gathered Monday night in Ogden to tie pink ribbons throughout the city in memory of the little girl and in anticipation of the family’s arrival, showing them they are “loved by many.”
http://goo.gl/bR4ZO  (DN)

http://goo.gl/KhVqi (SLT)

http://goo.gl/mZv4g (OSE)

http://goo.gl/0EDA8 (OSE)

http://goo.gl/y94bE (PDH)

http://goo.gl/NGWFJ (CVD)

http://goo.gl/Cx30Y (KUTV)

http://goo.gl/T3MmD (KTVX)

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

http://goo.gl/mXJDW (KSTU)

http://goo.gl/r0lHQ (KNRS)

http://goo.gl/7hrYF (MUR)

Courage of Ben Lomond grad who lost daughter in Conn. shooting no surprise to longtime friends

OGDEN — Close childhood friends of Robbie Parker aren’t surprised by his courage and refusal to harbor anger against the gunman who killed his 6-year-old daughter, Emilie, in a Connecticut school shooting Friday.
Drake Rasmussen, of Logan, who met Parker when the pair attended Horace Mann Elementary School in Ogden, said Sunday night that “(Robbie Parker) has always been a great person and willing to forgive others.”
Alan Prothero, of Ogden, and Brad Schultz, of North Salt Lake, also friends of Parker, said his membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has given him the strength to talk publicly about the death of Emilie in the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown.
http://goo.gl/jF4m7 (OSE)

http://goo.gl/5A84I (OSE)

Lawmaker stirs up debate on gun laws in Utah
Rights vs. safety » Utah is one of two states allowing firearms on school campuses.

Only two states allow permit holders to carry guns onto any K-12 public school campus — Utah and Kansas — and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder is considering signing a similar bill passed by that state’s Legislature last week.
But with the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., on Friday that left 26 dead, including 20 first-graders and the news Monday that an 11-year-old Utah student brought a gun to West Kearns Elementary out of fear of a similar rampage, some lawmakers would like to see the current Utah statute discussed leading up to the upcoming legislative session next month.
It appeared the first to tackle the existing law might be Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay, who began a dialogue on Facebook about it. Her post resulted in more than 200 responses since she posted it on Sunday.
http://goo.gl/uT0DE (SLT)

http://goo.gl/zNwe8 (MUR)

Utah lawmakers ready to look at ways to prevent another school tragedy

SALT LAKE CITY — Not enough is being done to keep the nation’s children safe, several Utah legislators and congressmen said Monday, agreeing with President Barack Obama that change is needed.
But while they supported the president’s call to look at what can be done to prevent another tragedy like the Connecticut elementary School shooting that left 27 dead, none of the Utah politicians were ready with specifics.
http://goo.gl/bjxz6 (DN)

Utah’s New Attorney General Committed to Protecting Schools

Utah’s attorney general-elect says he’s heartsick about last week’s school shooting in Connecticut. John Swallow tells KUER he’s committed to doing everything he can to protect kids in schools, short of turning schools into prisons.
Swallow says he’s already been talking to officials in other states, working on a plan to get together discuss what they can do to address mass shootings and gun violence. While he says the Constitution needs to be protected, Swallow says they need to take a close look at one area of the law.
http://goo.gl/L4rmf (KUER)

Rep. Jason Chaffetz walks back comments on gun control and mental illness

The Sunday morning comment sparked immediate questions about whether a conservative Republican’s position on gun-control issues had subtly changed in the 48 hours since 20 Connecticut children and six adults were killed with weapons that included two semiautomatic pistols and a military-style .223-caliber Bushmaster rifle.
“I think we should absolutely talk about the intersection of a lethal weapon and how it relates to mental health,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), a gun-rights advocate said earlier Sunday in Newtown, Conn., during an appearance on ABC’s “This Week.”
But by the early afternoon, in a reflection of the hurdles facing gun-control proponents, Chaffetz made clear in an interview with the Washington Post that he opposes any new federal legislation to restrict gun ownership, bar particular weapons or place new limits on rounds of ammunition people are allowed to purchase. Any effort to evaluate or monitor the mental health of prospective gun owners, he said, is a matter “best meant not the federal government but for families, churches and schools.”
http://goo.gl/ehrHL (WaPo)

Utah 6th-grader in custody after bringing gun to school
11-year-old in custody after classmates tell teacher about weapon.

A sixth-grade Utah boy was in police custody late Monday after bringing a handgun to school, reportedly so that he could defend himself in the event of an attack, Granite School District officials said.
“He has alluded in his defense that he brought it as a way to defend himself and his friends if there was a Connecticut-style incident at the school,” district spokesman Ben Horsley said.
Last Friday, a gunman shot and killed 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., before killing himself. Police say the suspect, Adam Lanza, 20, also killed his mother at his home. A motive for the mass shooting remains unclear.
The 11-year-old is a student at West Kearns Elementary School, 4800 S. 4620 West, and brought the gun to school in his backpack, Horsley said.
http://goo.gl/qPT5q (SLT)

http://goo.gl/TM4M2 (DN)

http://goo.gl/5AXo2 (OSE)

http://goo.gl/bU3Xo (PDH)

http://goo.gl/qu7HD (CVD)

http://goo.gl/NV05o (SGS)

http://goo.gl/3z2gJ (KUTV)

http://goo.gl/Sk0cr (KTVX)

http://goo.gl/JF4AT (KSL)

http://goo.gl/OWySR (KSTU)

http://goo.gl/eoyCZ (KUER)

http://goo.gl/RGr21 (KNRS)

http://goo.gl/8bYRT (MUR)

http://goo.gl/Vz33y (HuffPo)

http://goo.gl/PxjjC (NYDN)

No gun found at BEHS after text

BRIGHAM CITY — The Box Elder County Sheriff’s Office received a text Monday morning indicating a student may have brought a gun to school.
Local law enforcement sent several officers to Box Elder High School, said Jolynn Jex, Box Elder School District superintendent secretary, in a news release Monday afternoon. Preliminary investigation conducted by both school officials and law enforcement found no basis for the threat.
http://goo.gl/p3JFV (OSE)

Weber County high school searched for weapons after text threat
No gun found » Officials believe text message warning of a gun at school was a hoax.

Authorities searched a Weber County school Tuesday morning for weapons and increased their presence there after a text message started circulating warning that someone was going to bring a gun to school.
Authorities searched Bonneville High School as a precaution Monday morning but found nothing, said Weber County School District spokesman Nate Taggart.
He said investigators are looking into who started the apparent hoax. That person could face criminal charges.
http://goo.gl/9IVXw (SLT)

http://goo.gl/TUNId (OSE)

http://goo.gl/6GkFI (KTVX)

Parent takes action toward ensuring school safety

ST. GEORGE — Concerned parent and St. George resident Eric Young put on a bright orange vest over his jacket and, despite the low temperatures and drops of rain, stood guard outside Pine View Middle School on Monday morning.
In light of Friday’s school shooting at an elementary school that left 26 students and faculty dead, Young said he wanted to do something to help protect the school where his daughter attends seventh grade.
“I woke up (Monday) morning and knew I wanted to do something,” he said. “The idea that we are safer in (a smaller community) is a myth. Danger exists everywhere.”
As a professor at Dixie State College, Young said, he has a schedule that lends him free time in the morning, which is why he wanted to use that time to volunteer his services to stand guard at the middle school to help act as a “deterrent” to possible threats.
http://goo.gl/t70bZ (SGS)

Columbine survivor offers perspective on Conn. Shooting

SALT LAKE CITY — The deadly shooting in Newtown, Conn. hits very close to home for survivors of a similar crime at Columbine High School in Colorado 13 years ago.
A former Columbine student who now lives in Utah, Estee Carter, said preventing incidents like these depends not just on gun control. She said it’s about focusing on what’s happening in the home.
http://goo.gl/wLC0l (KSL)

Utah kids memorialize victims of Connecticut shooting
School colors » Utah teens dress up to remember the victims.

Something was different in Utah schools Monday — the first full day of classes after a gunman massacred children and teachers at a Connecticut school.
But it wasn’t fear or anxiety that filled Utah school hallways. Rather, children and teens dressed in their Sunday best or blue, green, white or yellow in honor of the victims of Friday’s killings.
“It’s such a tragedy,” said Alissa George, a ninth-grader at Mountain Ridge Junior High in Highland, dressed up in a black skirt. “We can’t do anything there, but we can honor them by doing stuff here. … They were innocent little kids.”
Across the country, and in Utah, students proudly wore the school colors of Sandy Hook Elementary, the school where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults Friday before ending his own life. In Utah, kids at some schools also wore their Sunday best, and other colors, in remembrance of the victims — in many cases no older than their younger brothers and sisters.
Utah teens spread the word over the weekend, largely through text messages and Facebook, to dress up in honor of those who died more than 2,000 miles away.
http://goo.gl/B2bh1 (SLT)

http://goo.gl/th5ok (KSTU)

Local school districts revisit intruder policies in wake of Newtown shooting

Local school districts feel confident about their emergency plans, but in light of Friday’s shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., are especially vigilant about making sure those plans are followed and everyone understands exactly how they work.
Ogden, Weber and Davis districts all hold regular drills, including fire, earthquake and intruder drills, according to officials from each district.
http://goo.gl/dnP7M (OSE)

‘Reflection mode’: Valley educators weigh in on Conn. school shooting tragedy


Steve Norton, superintendent of the Cache County School District, and Marshal Garrett, Logan City School District superintendent, spoke with The Herald Journal on Monday. Norton noted that local schools are in “reflection mode” about what can be done to make them more secure. Both superintendents said they are thinking about reforms for all of their schools — not just elementary.
When talking about the first day of school after the Connecticut shooting, Norton took a few seconds to compose himself.
“I sent an email out to all of my employees because I felt like I needed to communicate with them,” Norton said. “I just wanted to thank them for what they do every day and make sure those kids are protected and cared for. If those kids know how much they are protected and cared for, that will get them through the day.”
The advice he gave to teachers in that email — given to the newspaper by Norton — included the following: “Acknowledge that it happened and that there are some bad people in this world who do bad things to others. Remain calm in that explanation.”
http://goo.gl/ywuN3 (LHJ)

Connecticut shooting stirs emotions at Draper school

DRAPER Utah – A mass school killing is rekindling emotions at Juan Diego High School
School officials say the school year has been exceptionally difficult.
“It’s been a tough year for everyone,” says Chris Williamson who is a senior at JDHS.
The death of a fellow student and another lying in a coma was already weighing heavy on the students.
http://goo.gl/OsHsY (KTVX)

School counselor: keep conversations about school shooting simple, fact based

There is a new challenge facing parents and school teachers across the country as they face frightened children looking for reassurance and answers following Friday’s shooting that left 20 children dead at a Connecticut elementary school.
Launie Evans, a counselor in the Cache County School District. says children need to talk but she says it is best to keep the conversation simple and fact-based.
http://goo.gl/BLWOf (CVD)

OHS to raise funds for shooting victims

OGDEN — A fundraiser for the victims of the Sandy Hook shooting will be at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Ogden High School gym, 2828 Harrison Blvd., at the basketball season opener against Morgan.
http://goo.gl/oOpKH (OSE)

Salt Lake Woman Organizes Fundraising Effort for Victims of Newtown Shooting

As people around the country come to terms with the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, a Salt Lake City woman is organizing a fund raising effort to help the victims’ families. Jane Hoffman is a mother of two children and a former teacher. She has set up a website to raise money so that the families will not have to pay for funeral services themselves.
http://goo.gl/CGwY6 (KUER)

http://goo.gl/JU6bX (MUR)

Principals headed to Paris for French instruction seminar

SOUTH SALT LAKE — Two Granite School District principals are headed to France to attend a seminar on French language education.
Morningside Elementary Principal Joan Bramble and Diamond Ridge Elementary Principal Debbie Koji have been invited by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs to attend the seminar in Paris, where they will meet with other administrators from around the world to gain insight and share ideas about French language education.
Morningside and Diamond Ridge house two of 10 French dual-immersion programs in Utah. The principal from Edgemont Elementary in Provo, Dennis Pratt, was also invited to the Paris seminar.
http://goo.gl/sdNcp (DN)

Teaching children and teens how to manage their money

SALT LAKE CITY — Learning how to manage money is an acquired skill that many adults have a difficult time achieving. That makes it even more difficult for the children who follow to grasp money lessons they’ll need to succeed.
But savvy young people, with the help of school programs and parents willing to make a sacrifice, are learning how to avoid letting money manage them.
“My parents taught me from a young age that you only buy what you need,” said Brighton High School junior Hayley Hadfield. She has had a checking account for two years and it has allowed her to learn valuable lessons about how to manage her personal finances.
http://goo.gl/v7RnE (DN)

Cache school board OKs land purchase for new high school

MILLVILLE — Make room for a new high school.
Alfalfa fields, on State Road 165 in between 2450 South and 2700 South, was approved for purchase by the Cache County Board of Education Thursday for the construction of the school. The property, which spans 48 acres, will cost about $830,000, and the school board will purchase it using money left over from a 2004 bond that set aside money specifically for the purchasing of property.
The decision was made in a unanimous vote; the only concern raised was potential negative effects the school might have on the community.
http://goo.gl/UGvtN (CVD)

DHS marching band prepares for 2013 Rose Parade

KAYSVILLE, Utah – In just two weeks, Davis High School’s marching band will perform in the Tournament of Roses Parade. ABC4 had the special invitation to one of the final rehearsals to see their preparation for their moment in the National spotlight.
http://goo.gl/r6UwW (KTVX)

State budget director to retire in January

SALT LAKE CITY — State Budget Director Ron Bigelow recently announced he will retire in January. Bigelow had also served in the Utah Legislature as a Republican representative from West Valley City.
http://goo.gl/p0SI7 (DN)

Layton students make 1,000 cranes for kids at Primary Children’s
Parent involvement » Tomoko Hauck donated origami paper and taught classes how to fold the birds.

Layton • Children are talking, fingers are fumbling and paper is folding as second graders struggle to create origami cranes in April Moss’ second grade class.
Students are learning about the Japanese legend of a thousand origami cranes. The legend says if a person makes 1,000 origami paper cranes and strings them together, the creator will be granted a wish. Because of this legend, origami cranes are a popular gift in Japan.
Tomoko Hauck, a mother of students at Ellison Park Elementary in Layton, is sharing her origami skills with the students. Hauck offered to teach participating classes how to make origami cranes. Hauck’s goal is to make 1,000 cranes and present them to children at Primary Children’s Medical Center during the holiday season.
http://goo.gl/Mgdcq (SLT)

Butler Middle School students raise money for Therapy Animals of Utah
Surprise gift » Staff members didn’t know the school was making the donation.

Students at Butler Middle School embarked on a fundraiser to support an organization that seeks healing through animal companionship.
In just a week and a half, students raised $1,752 for Therapy Animals of Utah (TAU), a nonprofit that sends volunteers out with animals to spend time and bond with patients, rest home residents and anyone whose days might be improved by the presence of animals.
http://goo.gl/LC66u (SLT)

Rowland Hall students fill baskets for needy families
Christmas dinner » Crossroads Urban Center partners up to help provide fresh food for the holidays.

It’s become an annual tradition at Rowland Hall before Christmas Break.
Students line up, one by one, from the curb to the cafeteria. Trucks pull up from Crossroads Urban Center’s Emergency Food Pantry and start unloading, first dry goods, then, the next morning, turkeys and hams.
http://goo.gl/Qlgn3 (SLT)

Clinic gives $10,000 to EveryDay Learners

PROVO — On Monday, the Central Utah Clinic donated $10,000 to EveryDay Learners, United Way’s initiative to help children read.
The money from the contribution will be used to purchase books, bookshelves and other materials for Utah Valley University’s tutoring project at the South Franklin Community Center.
http://goo.gl/52GL0 (PDH)

Kearns students create ornaments for national Christmas tree
Beehive state » Students’ work reflected Utah’s history and quirks.

Kearns • Most student artwork made in class doesn’t get recognized, but Christmas ornaments made by Kearns High School students played a big part in a national celebration.
Students at Kearns had the opportunity to represent their school and the state of Utah by creating ornaments for the National Christmas Tree in Washington D.C. All 50 states were represented in the lighting ceremony at the nation’s capitol on Dec. 6.
http://goo.gl/CZKpD (SLT)

Schoolchildren receive early Christmas gifts

MIDVALE — Midvale Elementary students Monday received new shoes and other holiday gifts sponsored by America First Credit Union.
Annually, America First provides new shoes to children throughout Utah and greater Las Vegas.
http://goo.gl/DF6zX (DN)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Massacre demands safety solutions
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

It’s difficult for us to understand why evil occurs. Trying to even think of a criminally insane young man killing 20 first-graders in their classroom, and several educators who tried to protect the children, our imaginations resist visualizing the horror. Yet it happened, and it must be analyzed to find ways to prevent similar occurrences.
In what is usually the case in these tragedies, there is a local angle. One of the victims was Emilie Parker, 6, daughter of Randy and Alyssa Parker, Ben Lomond High graduates.
The most important objective is protecting children in schools. We can’t have schools become a location where we fear for our children’s lives. And they are not as safe as they once were.
http://goo.gl/ltzSb

Grondahl editorial cartoon
http://goo.gl/OVXkQ

After the violence
(St. George) Spectrum editorial

The first two funerals for the 26 elementary-age school children and adults killed in a massacre in Newtown, Conn., took place Monday. But the debate over gun violence in the United States is just getting started.
Some lawmakers have renewed vigor for a push to outlaw guns, with some challenging the idea behind the Second Amendment. Others are urging for calm and point to the Constitutional right for people to own weapons.
http://goo.gl/iHcNj

Back to school after the Newtown shooting
Deseret News commentary by columnist Erin Stewart

When my daughter ran to me from the bus on Friday afternoon, I held her a little longer and tighter than usual. And this morning, I tried to memorize her face and the feel of her tiny hand in mine as we walked to her kindergarten classroom.
This morning was not simply another day back to school. I’m sure every parent in the nation lingered a little longer with their goodbye after the deaths of 20 children in Newtown, CT.
http://goo.gl/D0LkS

Protecting our children from our fears
St. George News commentary by Geoff Steurer, a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice in St. George, Utah

After I learned about the horrific tragedy that befell innocent students and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14, the first thing I did was call my wife and discuss how we would discuss it with our children. I worried it would be difficult to help them make sense of the senseless violence that shocked an entire nation. I couldn’t even make sense of it. I knew the rumors and speculation would grow over the weekend, so we decided to discuss the events with them before they went back to school on Monday.
Our boys showed sadness and concern for the victims and their families, but they didn’t express fear for their own safety. It was too far removed for them to feel unsafe in their own school.
http://goo.gl/ZsvAB

Fairy Tales and Fictions in the Wake of the Sandy Hook Shooting
Utah Policy commentary by columnist Bryan Schott

I’m tired of lying to my kids.
After another mass shooting that left 26 people dead, 20 of them children, I am tired of answering the questions that come from my 11-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter in a way I know to be untrue.
“Are we safe?” they ask.
“Could someone come to my school and do the same thing? Will they?”
“Why did this happen?”
I look at the fear in their eyes, swallow hard, and I lie to them.
I tell them they’re going to be safe. I tell them it’s highly unlikely that something like this could happen at their school.
What I want to say is “I don’t know.” But I don’t, because that false sense of security is easier for me to maintain than telling them the truth. It’s the path of least resistance.
http://goo.gl/etpiv

The Top 10 Utah Political Stories of 2012 – #8
Utah Policy commentary by columnists Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick

Gov. Gary Herbert stood up to conservative lawmakers after the 2012 Legislative Session and vetoed a controversial sex education bill that would have taught abstinence only in public schools.
Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick discuss why this is the #8 political news story in Utah for 2012.
http://goo.gl/kluZk

Ask a Cop: Are Utah schools safe?
KSL commentary by Officer Anonymous

SALT LAKE CITY — Are Utah schools safe?
This is a hard question to answer without knowing the details of every school’s security plans and responses to threats. Unfortunately, most school response plans I have seen involve notifications from police and then to lock down the school. What if an assailant is already in the school?
I remember going to a few schools and offering to assist in setting up a plan and evaluating their grounds to better defend against a possible mass shooter. I was told that they didn’t want to do that as it could cause alarm or make students feel less safe. They would advise that they had plans in place but did not want to convey them to police or involve us so we could coordinate responses. Don’t ask me why.
http://goo.gl/h1gSY

Darwin at fault for massacre
(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Geoff Vongermeten

Tragedy upon tragedy — more multiple shootings. And of course the libs are going to blame the NRA/conservatives for liberal gun laws (oxymoron!), but let’s look at the why, not the how of it.
Ever since Darwin stated that humanity is an accidental aberration, that people are only a form of advanced amoeba, we’ve had Hitler and Sebelius all the others who believe in survival of the fittest. So abortion, genocide have all become relevant and acceptable forms of population control. Roe vs. Wade only fully institutionalized Darwin. As Harry Lime said in “The Third Man,” “What does it matter if a few of those dots stop moving?”
So when we teach evolution from K-12-plus, how can we be surprised when less stable people take up efficient means to stop some of those dots? It’s no different than stepping on ants or gargling with Listerine!
http://goo.gl/GWTxa

Darwinism misrepresented
(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Michael Gerbec

I am writing in response to a letter written by Geoff Vongermeten (“Darwin at fault for massacre,” 12/16/12). I believe there are two extremely large misconceptions of Vongermeten’s that are deserving of response.
First is his description of Darwin’s philosophy, presumably referring to “On the Origin of Species” published in 1859. Vongermeten describes Darwinian humanity as “a form of advanced amoeba,” the idea that we started not as a divine creation but a random conglomerate of cells that happened to be more effective at survival than some other random conglomerate of cells. However, this is a misrepresentation of Darwin’s theories. Rather, he puts forth the idea that species can change and alter themselves to better adapt over time. The “Origin of Species” does not refer to the beginning of life on Earth but rather to the beginning of the differentiation of types of life, the reason why we all don’t have fangs or spines or chloroplasts. Ultimately, Vongermeten misinterprets Darwin.
However, the correction of this scientific misrepresentation does not correct the larger philosophical and historical errors underlying Vongermeten’s argument. He suggests it is the teaching of this Darwinian philosophy, this survival of the fittest forced into our school system from kindergarten through 12th grade, that has led to the recent massacre and violence in Connecticut.
http://goo.gl/tXl37

Disrespectful not to fly flag at half-staff
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Kate Johnson

When Governor Herbert heard about the school shootings in Connecticut last Friday, he ordered flags to be flown at half staff from that day through next Tuesday. As more information became available, we learned that one of the little children killed in the shooting was actually from Ogden. That made it all the more startling to see flags flying at full staff in front of two Ogden schools over the weekend; one at Bonneville Elementary, and one at Mound Fort Jr. High.
http://goo.gl/oBCtm

More parents should volunteer at schools
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Mary Grace H. Miner

I would suggest a New Year’s resolution for Utah’s parents and grandparents who entrust their children to local schools. Help these schools and the teachers within.
Day in and day out, teachers work to meet the highly individualized needs of each student. Whether it is devising a remedial math lesson, modifying a presentation for ESL students, implementing structured behavior management plans for troubled class members, or adapting to the ever-changing requirements of core standards, teachers face daunting challenges. As was horribly demonstrated last week, we even know that our educators are prepared to die protecting students – our children. Help them.
http://goo.gl/Dzbfw

Children are the future
Deseret News letter from VerLynn Brink

I was appalled as I read the article “Fourth-graders who flunked goal had faces marked,” (Nov. 17). According to the story, students could “choose” their own punishment — either stay in at recess or have their faces marked.
Six children had their faces marked by students who had met the goals. They had to wear the marks all day and were ridiculed by other students. The teacher insisted they had to wash the marks off before they went home. She held these children up to ridicule and yet didn’t want parents to see it.
I hope these children can recover from this atrocious behavior and not think this is the new normal.
http://goo.gl/8H26n

The Facts about Mass Shootings
It’s time to address mental health and gun-free zones.
National Review commentary by columnist John Fund

A few things you won’t hear about from the saturation coverage of the Newtown, Conn., school massacre:
Mass shootings are no more common than they have been in past decades, despite the impression given by the media.
In fact, the high point for mass killings in the U.S. was 1929, according to criminologist Grant Duwe of the Minnesota Department of Corrections.
Incidents of mass murder in the U.S. declined from 42 in the 1990s to 26 in the first decade of this century.
The chances of being killed in a mass shooting are about what they are for being struck by lightning.
Until the Newtown horror, the three worst K–12 school shootings ever had taken place in either Britain or Germany.
Almost all of the public-policy discussion about Newtown has focused on a debate over the need for more gun control. In reality, gun control in a country that already has 200 million privately owned firearms is likely to do little to keep weapons out of the hands of criminals. We would be better off debating two taboo subjects — the laws that make it difficult to control people with mental illness and the growing body of evidence that “gun-free” zones, which ban the carrying of firearms by law-abiding individuals, don’t work.
http://goo.gl/i4dlx

Gun rights advocates: Arm our teachers to help stop school shootings
Gun rights activists have a wild solution for school shootings — and it’s gaining traction with state lawmakers
Salon.com commentary by columnist Jillian Rayfield

As Democrats in Congress push for a change to national gun laws, another solution is gaining momentum among gun rights activists and state lawmakers: Arm all of the teachers.
It began with Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, who said that he wished principal Dawn Hochsprung had been armed during the shooting. ”I wish to God she had had an M-4 in her office, locked up so when she heard gunfire, she pulls it out … and takes him out and takes his head off before he can kill those precious kids.” This is nothing new for Gohmert: He floated a similar idea after the shootings in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.: “Well, it does make me wonder, you know with all those people in the theater, was there nobody that was carrying that could’ve stopped this guy more quickly?”
Gun rights activists (and Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who said at a Tea Party meeting: “You should be able to carry your handgun anywhere in this state” if you have a permit) quickly reiterated Gohmert’s point.
“The problem we have is a gun-free zone,” said Richard Pearson, executive of the Illinois State Rifle Association, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. ”We have a gun-free zone around a school. Every crazy person knows that. And so, the gun-free zone is like a magnet for the lunatics. He or she knows there won’t be any resistance there.”
http://goo.gl/I0OQw

Should Principals Carry Guns on Campus?
Education Writers Association commentary by public editor Emily Richmond

Would arming teachers and administrators improve safety at public schools, and potentially even mitigate tragedies like the Sandy Hook shootings, as a Texas congressman has suggested?
I asked Michael Foran, principal of New Britain High School in Connecticut – located about 50 miles from Newtown – whether he would accept an offer of a gun, training and a permit that would allow him to come armed to campus.
“I would absolutely decline,” said Foran, who was named the METLife 2012 principal of the year by the National Association of Secondary School Principals. “I think there’s a whole lot of other ways to make both schools and our communities safer, and more guns is not one of them.”
http://goo.gl/2mGtf

The Irrational Fear of For-Profit Education
Government is biased against commercial school operators, despite often better results.
Wall Street Journal op-ed by FREDERICK M. HESS, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute

McGraw-Hill recently announced plans to sell its education publishing division to Apollo Global Management for $2.5 billion. The deal is a reminder that K-12 schooling is a $600 billion-a-year business. In 2008, schools and systems spent $22 billion on transportation, $20 billion on food services and even $1 billion on pencils.
These transactions typically elicit only yawns. Yet angry cries of “privatization” greet the relatively modest number of reform-minded, for-profit providers that offer tutoring or charter-school options to kids trapped in lousy schools. Gallup surveys show that more than 75% of Americans are comfortable with for-profit provision of transportation and facilities. Barely a third are fine with for-profits running schools.
This bias shows up in federal legislation that bans for-profit ventures from competing in the U.S. Department of Education’s Investing in Innovation Fund. When New York legislators lifted the state’s charter-school cap in 2010, they placated unions by banning for-profit charters. Most recently, the reform-minded group Parent Revolution has pushed for legislation prohibiting parents who have invoked the “parent trigger”—through which they can vote to reconstitute a failing school—from joining with for-profit charter-school operators.
http://goo.gl/2OB88

Should we care how much money charter school leaders make?
Fordham Institute commentary by Terry Ryan, Vice President for Ohio Programs & Policy

How much is too much when it comes to compensation of district superintendents and charter school administrators?
In the last couple of months I have been asked by reporters about the compensation being paid school administrators in Ohio. In late September, the Cincinnati Enquirer ran a series of stories on what superintendents and treasurers in southwest Ohio and northern Kentucky were making, while just this past weekend the Dayton Daily News ran a story on the overall compensation paid a charter school administrator and her family to run seven schools in Ohio and three in Florida. I’m also on the business advisory council to my local school district and one of the biggest issues they grapple with is compensation of top school administrators. This is a very sensitive issue politically, especially since the economic downturn of 2008.
My basic view on matters of compensation is pretty straightforward: Highly effective superintendents and charter school operators deserve to be paid well as they work long hours and deal with myriad and complicated human, fiscal, academic, and political issues.
http://goo.gl/lBjtC

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Seeking Comfort in Song Amid the Whiz of Bullets
New York Times

The second graders had just finished their yoga poses and jumping jacks when the gunshots began.
Their teacher, Carol Wexler, herded the children — 18 of them — into a corner of the room, near their coat hooks, away from the hallway and the spasm of violence there.
She hurried back to the classroom door, but was unable to lock it. She shut off the lights.
She had been trained for an emergency. Yet had she known the truth, she may well have frozen in fear.
The principal and the school psychologist lay dead in the corridor, killed by bullets fired by Adam Lanza, a troubled 20-year-old who lived nearby.
He had entered a classroom filled with first graders and opened fire. And then he began heading to other rooms. Mrs. Wexler’s was just across the hall.
The first accounts of the massacre at the school in Newtown, Conn., were terrifying: 26 dead, including 20 young children. But new disclosures about how much ammunition Mr. Lanza was carrying have cast the events Friday in an even grimmer light.
http://goo.gl/xKK3G

For Teachers, Newtown Shootings Prompt Reflection, Outreach
Education Week

Teachers do plenty of things for students that are not in their job descriptions. They bandage scraped knees, remember birthdays, give out their cell phone numbers, purchase classroom supplies, attend athletic events, and organize school festivals. But Victoria Soto, a 27-year-old 1st grade teacher in Newtown, Conn., went as far as a teacher could possibly go, putting her body between her students and a spray of bullets.
Soto was one of the 26 victims of the Dec. 14 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Her picture and the accounts of her heroics—in which she reportedly hid students in closets before the shooter entered her classroom and shot her—have spread widely and become central components of the nation’s mental and emotional understanding of what happened that day in Newtown.
And Soto wasn’t the only educator at Sandy Hook to sacrifice her life for her students. Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung, the principal, and Mary Sherlach, the school psychologist, ran into the hallway from a meeting upon hearing gunshots. Both were killed. Three other faculty members at the school were also gunned down as they tried to protect their students.
For teachers, the events of Dec. 14—and the actions of the Sandy Hook educators—have had an especially strong impact.
http://goo.gl/dokvE

Newtown Massacre Reignites Federal Gun-Policy Debate
Education Week

The shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut last week have reopened the debate in Washington over gun policy as lawmakers ponder how the federal government can help head off similar, future tragedies, despite a polarized political climate and a tight rein on spending.
Earlier today, President Barack Obama had discussions with White House staff members, Vice President Joe Biden, and some members of the presidential cabinet to begin looking at ways the country can respond to the massacre in Newtown. Among those attending were U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. The White House did not release any information about specific next steps.
So far, President Obama has not directly called for changes to gun laws. However, in addressing a memorial service for the Sandy Hook victims Dec. 16, he said that the country needs to do more to keep children safe.
http://goo.gl/CgZYm

McDonnell: It’s time to discuss arming school officials
(Washington, DC) WTOP

WASHINGTON – Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell says it’s time to discuss allowing school officials to carry firearms on campus.
“If people were armed, not just a police officer, but other school officials that were trained and chose to have a weapon, certainly there would be an opportunity to stop an individual trying to get into the school,” McDonnell said on WTOP’s “Ask the Governor” show Tuesday.
“I know there is a knee-jerk reaction against that, but I think we should have a discussion about it.”
http://goo.gl/3K9C4

Guns For Teachers Legislation On The Rise In States

State lawmakers across the country are in the process of introducing legislation to allow the arming of teachers, in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut.
Lawmakers in at least six states have outlined plans to introduce legislation in 2013 to allow teachers to carry guns into schools or require several teachers to be armed in school buildings. Proponents say that by arming teachers, school shootings would decrease, since teachers could fight back.
http://goo.gl/AXJzX  (HuffPo)

Some of the deadliest school shootings in the US
Associated Press via Education Week

A gunman at a Connecticut elementary school killed more than two dozen people, including children, on Friday. Here is a look at some other recent school shootings:
http://goo.gl/HC2QW

In Idaho education reform talks, time and money are at issue
(Boise) Idaho Statesman

As Idaho lawmakers prepare to convene in January, questions loom about what comes next for education reform, after voters rejected the state’s Students Come First laws.
Will the Legislature follow the suggestion of Gov. Butch Otter and others to try to salvage some of the laws’ more popular ideas?
What will become of the more than $22 million set aside for implementation this year, then placed in limbo after the repeal vote Nov. 6?
As with most aspects of the short-lived overhaul that the Idaho Legislature approved in early 2011, opinions vary.
http://goo.gl/vqaRd

Governor appoints Elaine Wynn to state education board
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Gov. Brian Sandoval appointed billionaire education advocate Elaine Wynn to the State Board of Education on Monday, enacting lawmaker-approved changes to the board that sets education policy.
Historically, Nevada voters chose the board’s 10 members. But the Legislature changed that last session, passing a bill that took much of that responsibility away from voters starting in 2013.
Voters now elect four board members to join three appointed members and four nonvoting members. And, for the first time in state history, the governor has the authority to not only appoint members of the board but also the state superintendent of public schools, who was previously appointed by the board.
http://goo.gl/DSAAk

Judge weighs Texas school’s tracking ID program
Associated Press

SAN ANTONIO — A federal judge is mulling whether a Texas high school that requires students to wear tracking badges can remove students who refuse to comply.
U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia on Monday didn’t immediately decide whether San Antonio’s Northside school district has the right to transfer 15-year-old Andrea Hernandez to another campus. The sophomore is refusing to join 4,200 other students wearing mandatory student IDs implanted with tracking chips.
Administrators say the chips make students safer and will help boost attendance records that are used to calculate badly needed state funding.
Hernandez is suing to stop the district from forcing her to change schools. Her family says the badge is a “mark of the beast” that goes against their religion.
http://goo.gl/8x9UG

http://goo.gl/qqgJl (SA Express-News)

Jewish song dropped from concert
Musical directors opt to boycott after GTACS pulls music
Traverse City (MI) Record Eagle

TRAVERSE CITY — Local Catholic school officials dropped a Hanukkah song from a Christmas concert scheduled for tonight, prompting public school chorale and band directors to boycott the show they arranged.
Normally a Catholic school’s song selection doesn’t hit the public school radar, but in this case chorale students at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Middle School were led by Traverse City Area Public Schools instructors.
A traditional Jewish song, “Festival of Lights,” was to be among musical selections tonight at Interlochen Arts Academy, but officials at Grand Traverse Area Catholic Schools balked. After days of discussions with TCAPS officials, the Catholic leaders decided the show must go on — without TCAPS chorale director Jamie Geurkink and band director Cress Smith.
“I don’t have a problem with Jewish music,” GTACS Superintendent Mike Buell. “But this is a Christmas festival, and that’s what we’ve traditionally done. It’s a Christ-focused time of our advent season.”
http://goo.gl/UsF7V

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

January 10:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspx

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