Education News Roundup: Feb. 4, 2013

"Teach Yourself Algebra" by Ben Clinch/CC/flickr

“Teach Yourself Algebra” by Ben Clinch/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

Standard looks at education funding at this year legislative session.
http://goo.gl/74MjJ (OSE)

Spectrum looks at the Education First PAC, which is after more funding for education.
http://goo.gl/p2csl (SGS)

And Bob Bernick analyzes what happening on our hill light of what’s happening on Washington D.C.’s hill.
http://goo.gl/szFZC (UP)

KCPW looks at education choice week.
http://goo.gl/KrHzg (KCPW)

Ed Week takes a long look at the Common Core backlash.
http://goo.gl/TbupZ (Ed Week)

California drops eighth grade algebra requirement.
http://goo.gl/RcaZp (SJ Mercury News)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

It’s all about the money for state schools at Utah Legislature

PAC strives for more spending on education

School finance transparency bill advances
Education » Measure would put more spending data online.

Parents Push for More Choice in Education

Utah youth discuss bullying, legislative process, the rewards of curiosity

Netbooks and iPhones part of ‘digital revolution’ in Utah classrooms
Education» Three year pilot program in the Davis School District has armed students with netbooks and digital tools.

3rd grade increasingly important to students’ success

Anti-bullying program in Utah deals with weight issues
Education » Body-image concerns can be real problem for middle school-aged children

Utah teen organizes anti-bullying gathering

Donation makes expansion of school-based sealant program a reality

22 Murray homes being demolished to make way for new junior high

Spanish Fork High’s Dave McKee named Principal of the Year

South Sanpete Superintendent Survey

Third-grade teacher arrested for heroin possession, police say

Tragedy strikes Timpview football program

School on lock down as swat surrounds nearby home

Clearfield High School holds Harley-Davidson clinics for the younger crowd

Seventh-graders spend day job shadowing

CHS students prepare for Souper Bowl Monday

Saratoga Springs kids compete in ‘reading playoffs’ before Super Bowl

First-grade class gets really old at Polk Elementary

A dance to remember for Braiden

Timberline PTSA promotes ‘Random Act of Kindness ‘ day

Energy directed into building snow sculptures, social skills at Kaysville school

USU hosting world-qualifying robotics competition

‘Beauty and the Beast’ opens on Pleasant Grove High School stage

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Utah’s future
Herbert doesn’t see big picture

The winners and the losers

Beehives and Buffalo Chips

Utah Government Planning for Fiscal Earthquake

Let’s build a new education model

What politicos are saying and what they really mean

The arts leave no child behind

Utah has come long way in education (backwards)

Aim for average

Keep Common Core

Time to take action and protect our children

School folks get bad rap

Consider dual immersion

More Lessons About Charter Schools

The Boys at the Back

A ‘Macbeth’ Mash-Up

How to Tie Super Bowl Sunday to the Classroom

NATION

Pressure Mounts in Some States Against Common Core
Opponents of common core redouble legislative efforts

California abandons algebra requirement for eighth-graders

School Turnarounds Prompt Community Backlash

Rhee wary of stressing on testing
Ex-D.C. chief: Balance needed to go with standardized exams

Education Secretary, College Chiefs Urge Gun Laws

Timing Tips for the ACT and SAT

Court documents: Harrison student considered ‘shooting up the school’

Student commits suicide at Coweta school

Police Sending Food, Medicine to Child Hostage

Bullying Study: It Does Get Better For Gay Teens

Educator Pleads Guilty in Teacher Testing Fraud

NYC schools giving out tens of thousands of doses of the ‘morning-after pill’

Say Yes to Education’s Manhattan gala aims at high-rollers

Israeli, Palestinian Schoolbooks Flawed: Study

Girls at North Arlington school swear not to swear as part of lesson in civility

Second Graders Correct NFL Players’ Tweets

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UTAH NEWS
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It’s all about the money for state schools at Utah Legislature

SALT LAKE CITY — The future of Utah’s schools comes down to one simple thing this year: money.
How much money will state lawmakers have to pump into Utah schools is always the dominant issue each legislative session, but this year there is an added element of uncertainty. Fiscal issues in Washington, D.C., including the pending fiscal cliff, caused projected state revenues to go from black to red in a hurry.
Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, is currently in his 33rd year in the Legislature and is chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which oversees funding for all of the key Senate committees, including education.
He makes no bones about the challenges and said money will drive the discussion.
“How much money will we have? What are the priorities of the education subcommittee? Those are two extremes. Hopefully, we’ll let education come back and say ‘these are our priorities,’ and we’ll see how much money we have at the end,” Hillyard said.
http://goo.gl/74MjJ (OSE)

PAC strives for more spending on education

ST. GEORGE — With the start of the 2013 Utah legislative session, political action committee Education First and its sister group Prosperity 2020 are encouraging lawmakers to consider spending more on education.
In Gov. Gary Herbert’s budget proposal, public education, from kindergarten to college, was given a high priority, said Bob Marquardt, one of the co-chairs of Education First. He added that the state is considering using surplus it could have, depending on what results from federal mandates, toward education.
“We are encouraged by the governor’s pro-education approach,” he said. “He has really gotten behind using revenues for education.”
Education First is a citizens group that was formed to help leaders in the business community help make education an important consideration among lawmakers and politicians, Marquardt said.
Nolan Karras, Education First co-chair, said it is important to consider the effect spending more money on education can have on the entire future of the state’s economy.
http://goo.gl/p2csl (SGS)

School finance transparency bill advances
Education » Measure would put more spending data online.

Lawmakers advanced a bill Friday that would allow Utahns to look up how much their schools spend online on specific programs, supplies and other expenses.
The Senate unanimously approved SB128 on second reading Friday, meaning it must be read one more time in the Senate before it moves to the House.
http://goo.gl/ySnEj (SLT)

Parents Push for More Choice in Education

Several students and parents looking for more choices in education made their voices heard on Utah’s Capitol Hill Friday. This week marks ‘Utah School Choice Week’ and Kim Frank; Executive Director of the Utah Charter School Network says there is still more that can be done.
“We have so many different needs in Utah,” Frank said. “We have students we are trying to serve with aspergers syndrome, students that we’re trying to serve with dual immersion programs, and those kind of programs need to grow in Utah and across the country so, we’re looking forward to even more choice in Utah.”
Senate President Wayne Niederhauser told KCPW he believes choice is always better and says things have been tried in recent years to make choice more possible.
http://goo.gl/KrHzg (KCPW)

Utah youth discuss bullying, legislative process, the rewards of curiosity

SALT LAKE CITY — Students from throughout the state braved the snowy roads to converge on the state capitol early Wednesday morning to learn first-hand how state laws are made. They all participated in the Utah League of Cities and Towns’ Local Officials Day at the Legislature.
In the lower level of the capitol building, the Hall of Governors, the students participated in a mock debate over the issue of bullying. They analyzed current state code and discussed potential changes to the measure. Then they received a surprise visit from a Utah Representative who will actually be presenting a bullying bill in the House this session, Utah Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Salt Lake.
http://goo.gl/462VD (DN)

Netbooks and iPhones part of ‘digital revolution’ in Utah classrooms
Education» Three year pilot program in the Davis School District has armed students with netbooks and digital tools.

Kaysville» The Centennial Junior High library looks strangely spacious as seventh-grader Catherine Kettle picks up a postcard among the stacks.
It’s an e-book, one of 4,500.
Like most school libraries, it’s eerily silent among the more than 20 teens gathered inside. But unlike most, Catherine is reading a ghost story, All the Lovely Bad Ones, on her palm-size computer called a netbook, an inexpensive lightweight laptop given to all of the school’s 1,100 students.
Besides library e-books, students use their netbooks constantly, not only to read their textbooks, but to research class projects, communicate with teachers and to turn in assignments.
The Davis School District installed digital devices such at netbooks at four of its schools as part of an initiative called the 1:1 Project that is finishing its third year. The goal is to connect students with technology in the classroom to better prepare them for an increasingly digital world in the future.
http://goo.gl/KET5H (SLT)

3rd grade increasingly important to students’ success

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah educators and officials are focusing much more on the third grade. It’s seen as a crucial year for literacy and development.
One study found that 88 percent of the students who failed to graduate high school, tested below proficient in reading in the third grade. More studies show kids who are behind after third grade are more likely to drop out of high school.
Third grade is the year in which they start reading to learn instead of learning to read.
http://goo.gl/2Di87 (KSL)

Anti-bullying program in Utah deals with weight issues
Education » Body-image concerns can be real problem for middle school-aged children

A new anti-bullying program combats an ever increasing issue among Utah schoolchildren: bullied because of body-size issues, either being overweight or underweight, a University of Utah study released Sunday concluded.
Maya Miyairi, a College of Health doctorate-candidate student, said that a survey found a 7 percent decrease in reports of students being bullied after the new, eight-week anti-bullying program.
Miyairi said that now is more important than ever for kids to understand body-image and racial issues related to bullying, citing a recent suicide by a Taylorsville teen.
http://goo.gl/o675u (SLT)

Utah teen organizes anti-bullying gathering

SYRACUSE, Utah — Family and friends gathered around the flag pole at Syracuse Junior High School Friday to address the issue of bullying.
In January, two Utah boys committed suicide within a day of each other. Both claimed they were bullied.
“By doing this, I’m hoping as much people will come and try to stop bullying,” said junior high student Robert Nyland.
Nyland, 14, helped organize the gathering and said he knows what bullying feels like first hand. Dylan Aranda, 12, a Syracuse Junior High student took his own life last month because of bullying.
http://goo.gl/rd98H (KSTU)

Donation makes expansion of school-based sealant program a reality

SALT LAKE CITY — Candace Haws wipes down the portable dental chair between each patient. She readies her equipment and calls her next school-age patient to sit down.
Each child approaches the chair nervously but leaves about 10 minutes later — with a cleaner, healthier smile.
“Some of their parents can’t afford regular cleanings and checkups for them,” said Haws, a dental hygienist with Utah’s only school-based preventive dental program Sealants for Smiles. “This is actually a great way to do preventive dental work, provide education and get ahead of the game for some of them.”
http://goo.gl/ZjeF8 (DN)

22 Murray homes being demolished to make way for new junior high

MURRAY — It was an exceptional day for some homeowners on Hillside Drive this week when they had to say goodbye to old neighbors and their homes.
Twenty-two homes are being demolished to make way for a new Hillcrest Junior High near 5300 South and 200 East. Owners had to be out of their homes no later than Jan. 31.
http://goo.gl/8EP06 (DN)

Spanish Fork High’s Dave McKee named Principal of the Year

SPANISH FORK — Here, we learn for life.
It isn’t just a vision statement for one local school; rather, it is a way of life implemented by a principal and his staff to make their school a great place to be. Principal Dave McKee has been the principal of Spanish Fork High School for eight years. McKee’s vision and love for his students also helped earn him the Utah Association of Secondary School Principals Principal of the Year Award, which was recently presented to him.
McKee was nominated by his peers and chosen by the association. There is specific criteria required to be selected for the award, including: providing direction and focus by involving teachers, staff, parents and the community in achieving the goals of the school; establishing and maintaining a positive school climate and utilizing effective problem-solving techniques; and acknowledging achievement or accomplishments of students, teachers and the school community.
http://goo.gl/esx1M (PDH)

South Sanpete Superintendent Survey

Manti — South Sanpete School District Superintendent Don Hill has announced his retirement effective June 30th of this year. In response, the district has put together a survey to take public input regarding the leadership qualities desired in the new superintendent. The survey can be found on the district web page at ssanpete.org. Results from the survey will be used in the selection process for Hill’s replacement. The survey will be available until February 12th.
http://goo.gl/WUqJC (MUR)

Third-grade teacher arrested for heroin possession, police say

SYRACUSE — A third-grade teacher was arrested Thursday after police said they found heroin in her car and in her purse.
Syracuse police were tipped off that someone at the school may have been in possession of drugs at Buffalo Point Elementary School in Syracuse. An officer took a drug dog to the school Thursday and the K-9 “hit” on a vehicle that was parked in front of the building that belongs to Claudia Reaney, according to a Davis County Jail report.
Reaney, 49, taught her students in a portable classroom at the elementary school.
http://goo.gl/yD04n (DN)

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

http://goo.gl/1Szya (KUTV)

http://goo.gl/F3v3c (KTVX)

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

Tragedy strikes Timpview football program

In November, Timpview High School’s football team celebrated a dramatic 38-31 overtime win over Mountain Crest in the state 4A title game.
In January, MaxPreps honored the Thunderbirds as one of the top 50 football programs in the nation during halftime of Timpview’s basketball game with Orem.
There were simply no words to describe how good it felt to be part of Timpview’s football program and now there are no words to describe the emotions that surfaced when the team learned that they have lost one of their own.
On Saturday, Parker Allred, a member of the sophomore team, passed away from the combination of a staph infection and the flu. When Timpview students learned of the news many of them showed up at school to decorate the high school with blue ribbons.
http://goo.gl/qYiws (PDH)

http://goo.gl/f1uDX (DN)

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

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

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

http://goo.gl/w26f1 (KSTU)

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

School on lock down as swat surrounds nearby home

Kearns, Utah – School officials made the determination to place Western Hills Elementary school on a soft lock down as swat teams move in to a neighboring home.
The incident is taking place at a home at 5294 south heath avenue in Kearns. Swat teams from the Unified Police Department have the home surrounded. School administration put the school on lock down a precautionary measure adding there is no direct threat to the school or any student at the school.
http://goo.gl/G9s22 (KTVX)

http://goo.gl/6AnOO (KSL)

http://goo.gl/AK8yM (KSTU)

Clearfield High School holds Harley-Davidson clinics for the younger crowd

CLEARFIELD — Golden Spike Harley-Davidson of Ogden has noticed that its customer base is aging, so it’s looking for ways to attract the younger generation.
The parent company, Harley-Davidson Corporation, has come out with specialized motorbikes to attract the younger crowd, but Golden Spike is taking it one step further by sending its expertise into the classroom. The first students getting to bask in its knowledge were the advanced automotive technology students at Clearfield High School.
http://goo.gl/VXrwa (OSE)

Seventh-graders spend day job shadowing

It isn’t every day that students have the opportunity to go on a job site and see what it’s like to be an adult for a day, but seventh-graders at Mt. Nebo Junior High in Payson did just that. Students were all over Utah County on Friday learning what it is like to spend their day working instead of being in school. Students were given the choice to job shadow with parents, family members or someone who had an occupation that they found interesting and they wanted to learn more about.
Wilson Elementary in Payson had nine students job shadowing teachers for the whole school day.
http://goo.gl/5Imh6 (PDH)

CHS students prepare for Souper Bowl Monday

CEDAR CITY — Now that the confetti has settled after Sunday’s Super Bowl in New Orleans, Cedar High School students are presenting Souper Bowl Monday to raise money for charitable purposes.
Souper Bowl Monday, a dinner event taking place today, is prepared by culinary arts students at CHS as well as ceramics students, who created ceramic bowls for the soup served at the dinner. Members of Future Business Leaders of America and Family Career and Community Leaders of America also help organize the event.
http://goo.gl/J7De3 (SGS)

http://goo.gl/UM7PR (KUTV)

Saratoga Springs kids compete in ‘reading playoffs’ before Super Bowl

SARATOGA SPRINGS — For the more than 800 students at Thunder Ridge Elementary School, reading is the game that matters. For a month, students have competed against teachers in “reading playoffs,” earning small footballs for each hour they read.
They set a goal of reading 5000 hours, but the super readers went for extra yards.
“This year we’re at 5500, so that was great to see,” said one student.
A celebration Saturday was the culmination of all their hard work.
http://goo.gl/R9umi (KSL)

First-grade class gets really old at Polk Elementary

OGDEN — Lots of moaning and groaning was going on Friday in the hallways at Polk Elementary School.
Several students were complaining about their backs, knees, hips and feet. Others said they couldn’t see well, and a few said they could use a nap.
The student body celebrated the 100th day of the school year with some fun activities.
“We wanted to celebrate 100 days in school, so we thought it would be fun to do something a little bit different,” said first-grade teacher Claire Maciejewski. “We told the students they could come to school today dressed like a 100-year-old person.”
http://goo.gl/fZzhi (OSE)

A dance to remember for Braiden

SYRACUSE — Bailee Singleton and Keileigh Reid will probably attend many high school dances in their lives, but the night when they accompanied Braiden Singleton will be one they will never forget.
The two good friends escorted Braiden to Syracuse High School’s Preference Dance on Jan. 26.
Braiden, who is Bailee’s older brother by 11 months, has several physical and cognitive challenges.
Their mother, Kendra Hansen Nilsen, said Braiden was born blind. He also has cerebral palsy, autism and several cognitive disabilities.
His verbal communication is limited, but that does not stop the 17-year-old high school junior from sharing his zest for life with those around him.
http://goo.gl/3Yskc (OSE)

Timberline PTSA promotes ‘Random Act of Kindness ‘ day

ALPINE — The 1,200-plus students at Timberline Middle School in Alpine were recently inspired by efforts of the Parent/Teacher/Student Association to move out of their comfort zones and make the day better for someone else.
It’s not typical for 12- to 15-year-olds to think beyond their own needs, but the school’s PTSA board members know the children, so they took a chance and promoted a Random Acts of Kindness Week that drew crowds of students into the effort.
http://goo.gl/NY7tR (PDH)

Energy directed into building snow sculptures, social skills at Kaysville school

KAYSVILLE — After weeks of bitterly cold temperatures and falling snow, students and teachers at Burton Elementary took advantage of the warmer weather and sunshine Friday morning by turning their playground into a gallery of snow sculptures.
When they were finished, the school grounds were covered with mythical creatures, buildings, vehicles and animals — all made of snow.
“The kids are so tired of the snow, which we have no control over, we decided that when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade,” said Principal Denece Johnson. “This is a great time to rejoice and to work on our social skills.”
http://goo.gl/aZem9 (OSE)

USU hosting world-qualifying robotics competition

The 2013 Utah and Mountain Region VEX Robotics Championship will be held at Utah State University on Saturday, Feb. 2. VEX Robotics competitions are robotic design tournaments for children between 6th and 12th grade.
http://goo.gl/IM4rQ (CVD)

‘Beauty and the Beast’ opens on Pleasant Grove High School stage

The beloved Disney film-turned-musical “Beauty and the Beast” will be performed at Pleasant Grove High School on Friday at 7 p.m. The production runs through Feb. 16.
http://goo.gl/tpGBO (PDH)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Utah’s future
Herbert doesn’t see big picture
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

Gov. Gary Herbert said Wednesday that he “has never been more optimistic” about the future of the Beehive State.
We wouldn’t like to call Utah’s chief executive a Pollyanna, but that might be a kinder description than the one he deserves. The governor has blinders on when it comes to some of the state’s biggest problems: air pollution, downward-spiraling public education, threats to Utah’s reputation as a beautiful, welcoming, health-conscious state — the reputation that is a primary driver of our economy.
Herbert talks well about improving education, but, although the numbers he cites in his budget proposal for schools are large, they come nowhere near adequate. Indeed, the infusion of revenue increases he wants to direct to public education does little except to maintain the status quo.
He would fund this year’s growth in enrollment but would do nothing to replace the loss in funding during the recession when the 10,000-plus annual enrollment increases were not funded. It would provide a little boost for STEM education — science, technology, engineering and math — but would not boost Utah’s tumbling graduation rate or help the growing numbers of minority and low-income children who are not served by Utah’s education system.
These are Utah children, too.
http://goo.gl/qmkWU

The winners and the losers
Deseret News editorial

Winner: Weber State University enrolled its youngest student ever last fall, 15-year-old Jessica Brooke. As profiled in the Deseret News this week, Brooke has her sights set on a career in medicine, and she doesn’t let her young age deter her from learning and competing with classmates. Her success is an example of how public school systems should allow students to move on when ready, not requiring them to sit through a certain amount of class time. A native of Arizona, Brooke skipped the eighth grade and all of high school, enrolling in a community college at age 12. She came to Weber State because the school offered her a scholarship. It seems the only thing her age has kept her from obtaining is a driver’s license.
http://goo.gl/NExp4

Beehives and Buffalo Chips
(Provo) Daily Herald editorial

Beehive and Buffalo Chip to the creators of the strict laws against sexting. Alpine School District board members were warned about the severity of sexting laws in a recent meeting. While it is a disturbing trend that definitely requires curbing and elimination, it seems ridiculous that a U.S. school official, upon receiving a sext as part of a school sexting investigation, was out of a job for two years and had to pay $250,000 in legal fees. Yes, this really happened. Though he was eventually acquitted, it is mind-boggling that the law not only punishes the doer, but also the investigator.
Beehive to Meghan Taylor, Sierra Davis and Brittany Messerly, three Nebo students who have placed in the National Center for Women’s Information & Technology Aspirations in Computing award. Davis and Messerly were named state winners, 2 out of 10 and Taylor a runner-up, 1 out of 10 in the state. Recipients of this award in the past have gone on to college, visiting the White House, working for Disney, Windows and other lofty accomplishments. Davis is interested in digital photography while Taylor wants to use technology as a veterinarian.
http://goo.gl/0YHi7

Utah Government Planning for Fiscal Earthquake
Utah Policy commentary by columnist Bob Bernick

Just call him a modern day Utah Nostradamus.
And like the 14th Century French apothecary and seer, state Rep. Ken Ivory’s fiscal predictions may be seen by some as catastrophic.
Actually, Ivory, R-West Jordan, is being praised by his GOP House colleagues as one reason Utah still has a AAA bond rating and is more prepared than most other states in facing the federal “fiscal cliff,” and the loss of tens to hundreds of millions of dollars in Washington, D.C., financial help.
In fact, GOP Gov. Gary Herbert and lawmakers from both political parties are saying that while the 2013 Legislature will adopt a balanced budget at adjournment March 14, Herbert will have to call the Legislature back into a special session sometime late spring or early summer to re-balance the $13 billion spending plan for next fiscal year after Congress decides how much money to give the states.
http://goo.gl/szFZC

Let’s build a new education model
Deseret News commentary by columnist John Florez

Stop trying to spend more money to fix an old education system. Remember the old days when we’d keep pouring money in an old jalopy and finally had to get rid of it and get a new one?
Well that’s where we are with education. No matter how much money we pour into it, just like my old jalopy, it doesn’t get us where we need to be. And just like my buddies who had good intentions to help me fix it, we have well-intentioned lawmakers doing the same with public education.
We need a new model for education that will prepare us to compete in the global economy. That will require leaders who understand how our world has changed and create a vision to meet the challenges our nation and children will face.
http://goo.gl/I6LCM

What politicos are saying and what they really mean
Deseret News commentary by columnists Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb


Education groups: “We deeply appreciate what the governor is doing for education.” (We didn’t hear the words “tax increase” in his proposal, and we’ll never be happy until that happens.)
http://goo.gl/AFFQ9

The arts leave no child behind
Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Lori Wrankle, an elementary visual arts specialist in two elementary schools in southern Utah

As state lawmakers settle into their general session, they must come to understand how important is arts education to the children of Utah. As a teacher “in the trenches,” I want my and my students’ collective voices to be heard.
Arts and humanities are not fluff. They are not extras. The arts are academic, an inseparable part of a comprehensive education. Arts are deeply connected disciplines and all learning is strengthened through them. In arts learning, there’s not just one way to solve a problem, or one right answer, but many possibilities. And it requires personal judgment and responsibility to resolve an artistic challenge and stand by it.
It is about connecting — to ideas, other disciplines and the world at large, and it takes an integrated approach to reach every student and leave not one behind.
http://goo.gl/yh0Uj

Utah has come long way in education (backwards)
(Logan) Herald Journal op-ed by Jay Monson, a former professor

Benjamin Franklin once stated: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” And Nelson Mandela said,”Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
As reported recently in the media, “Utah has the lowest funded education system in the United States.” “Utah teachers are among the lowest paid and have not had a cost of living increase for the past four years.” “Utah currently spends the least dollars per-pupil in the country and is in the bottom half of the nation on percentage of income spent on education.” Sadly, “Utah is also among the highest in terms of large class size.”
Also concerning is that “fewer qualified college students are selecting careers in teaching.” It is not hard to figure out why this last statement is true when one considers the facts above.
A recent Dan Jones poll shows that the majority of Utahns would support a tax increase to help schools. The same poll found that education is the issue voters think is the most important for the state to focus on this year. Gov. Herbert has education as his top priority. What about the Legislature? Will they do more than fund for growth, or in other words, keep things basically as they are now? Our elected state senators and representatives are the key to solving these problems noted above.
http://goo.gl/UYYnn

Aim for average
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Douglas Meredith

In light of the Utah Legislature’s annual return to craft meaningful policies, I have a suggestion for education funding.
Utah is at the bottom of education funding, and performance is now showing that we must improve the entire K-12 system. I don’t expect that Utah can be at the top of funding and performance — I would settle for average.
Settling for average is a sad goal, but it would be a big improvement. So how to pay for that?
http://goo.gl/9SGx0

Keep Common Core
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Marilyn O’Dell

The League of Women Voters of Utah supports the Common Core Standards. We are concerned that a recent fundraising letter from the Sutherland Institute indicates that one of its goals for the 2013 session of the Utah Legislature is to “Complete Utah’s withdrawal from the federal ‘Common Core’ education standards by passing our own educational standards.”
The Common Core Standards were not imposed by the federal government. They represent an initiative from the National Governors’ Association and the Council of Chief School Officers. They were developed by teachers and other education experts and accepted by all states except Alaska and Texas.
Standards don’t dictate curriculum. They are goals.
http://goo.gl/f9omg

Time to take action and protect our children
Deseret News letter from Darrell K. Paskett

Our politicians pass laws for gun-free school zones. They issue press releases bragging about protecting our children. And in so doing, they tell every insane killer that our schools are a safe place to inflict maximum damage with minimum risk.
We care about our money so we protect our banks with armed guards. Airports, courthouses and power plants are protected with armed security. We protect our president with armed Secret Service agents. We protect our important government officials with armed guards.
http://goo.gl/q8jBw

School folks get bad rap
(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Julie Olsen

After reading the recent articles in the paper about the upcoming bond proposal, I am more than a little frustrated with how the public seems to view the school board, the building task force, and the whole process of arriving at this current proposal.
Many months ago when I learned about the proposed changes for our school district, I started following the Building Task Force and the Cache Valley School Board’s meetings. Throughout the process, I have felt that the Task Force and School Board have done nothing self-serving.
http://goo.gl/u6xSN

Consider dual immersion
(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Sarah Kerley-Weeks

Dual language immersion programs are coming to the Cache Valley for the 2013-2014 school year. First grade students will have the option of learning Spanish (Bridger and Heritage), Mandarin (North Park), French (Providence), or Portuguese (Hillcrest and Sunrise) as part of their regular curriculum. The students will learn their reading and writing skills during the half of the day that they are with an English speaking teacher. Then they will learn math, science, and social studies in another language when they are with their target language teacher. Students who are part of the program will learn the regular Utah core curriculum but they will learn for half of the day in English and half of the day in a different language. The program is starting next school year with first graders (and also second graders in the case of Portuguese.) The program will grow by one grade level each year and will continue with the same language until the students reach middle school. Students who are enrolled in the program as first graders next year will enter 6th grade with approximately 2,500 hours of instruction in the target language. The students will be able to speak, read, and write in two languages.
http://goo.gl/6KSCO

More Lessons About Charter Schools
New York Times editorial

The charter school movement gained a foothold in American education two decades ago partly by asserting that independently run, publicly financed schools would outperform traditional public schools if they were exempted from onerous regulations. The charter advocates also promised that unlike traditional schools, which were allowed to fail without consequence, charter schools would be rigorously reviewed and shut down when they failed to perform.
With thousands of charter schools now operating in 40 states, and more coming online every day, neither of these promises has been kept. Despite a growing number of studies showing that charter schools are generally no better — and often are worse — than their traditional counterparts, the state and local agencies and organizations that grant the charters have been increasingly hesitant to shut down schools, even those that continue to perform abysmally for years on end.
If the movement is to maintain its credibility, the charter authorizers must shut down failed schools quickly and limit new charters to the most credible applicants, including operators who have a demonstrated record of success.
http://goo.gl/Z9Y8j

The Boys at the Back
New York Times commentary by CHRISTINA HOFF SOMMERS, author of “The War Against Boys”

Boys score as well as or better than girls on most standardized tests, yet they are far less likely to get good grades, take advanced classes or attend college. Why? A study coming out this week in The Journal of Human Resources gives an important answer. Teachers of classes as early as kindergarten factor good behavior into grades — and girls, as a rule, comport themselves far better than boys.
The study’s authors analyzed data from more than 5,800 students from kindergarten through fifth grade and found that boys across all racial groups and in all major subject areas received lower grades than their test scores would have predicted.
The scholars attributed this “misalignment” to differences in “noncognitive skills”: attentiveness, persistence, eagerness to learn, the ability to sit still and work independently. As most parents know, girls tend to develop these skills earlier and more naturally than boys.
http://goo.gl/1j385

A copy of the study
http://goo.gl/DsaBm

A ‘Macbeth’ Mash-Up
New York Times commentary by CLAIRE NEEDELL HOLLANDER, an English teacher at a public middle school in Manhattan

TEACHERS and education experts often ask what a particular reform or innovation looks like in the classroom. We say the classroom, as if an ideal classroom exists that somehow resembles every other classroom in America. In reality, every classroom has its own dynamic, and every class I’ve ever taught looks different from every other class. Perhaps more important, they also sound different.
Middle school students engage with text the way they engage with the world; they search for signs of weakness, and prepare to feel contempt. Sometimes the opposite happens, and they are genuinely moved. I’ve had to remind kids it’s not the Super Bowl; there’s no cheering in reading.
http://goo.gl/UKWJX

How to Tie Super Bowl Sunday to the Classroom
Education Week commentary by columnist Bryan Toporek

As the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers prepare to clash in Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday in New Orleans, a number of resources have been popping up for educators looking to tie aspects of the game back to their classrooms.
A Jan. 29 article on Edutopia highlighted seven Super Bowl lesson plans gathered over the years, ranging from the New York Times’ advice on teaching the Super Bowl to Larry Ferlazzo’s 2009 compilation of websites where English-language learners can learn about the game.
http://goo.gl/EYjCs

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Pressure Mounts in Some States Against Common Core
Opponents of common core redouble legislative efforts
Education Week

Opponents of the Common Core State Standards are ramping up legislative pressure and public relations efforts aimed at getting states to scale back—or even abandon—the high-profile initiative, even as implementation proceeds and tests aligned with the standards loom.
Critics of the common core have focused recent lobbying and media efforts on Colorado, Idaho, and Indiana, all of which have signed on to the standards. Forty-six states have adopted the standards in English/language arts, and 45 have done so in math.
And just last week, Alabama announced it was withdrawing from the two consortia developing tests aligned with the common core.
Opinion on the common core does not break down neatly along party lines, and critics cite a variety of reasons for their views.
http://goo.gl/TbupZ

California abandons algebra requirement for eighth-graders
San Jose (CA) Mercury News

By falling in line with other states, California is abandoning its push for all eighth-graders to take algebra.
Last month, the State Board of Education unanimously shifted away from a 15-year policy of expecting eighth-graders to take Algebra I. The state will allow them to take either Algebra I or an alternate course that includes some algebra. New state standardized tests will focus on the alternate course — the same one adopted by most states under the Common Core curriculum being rolled out across the nation.
Supporters welcome the change as more in line with current practice, of schools offering two tracks of math for eighth-graders. But critics fear that the new standard will let schools avoid offering rigorous courses for all. They point to a report released last week showing that some schools are not placing black and Latino students in advanced math courses even when they’re prepared.
The change is controversial because success in Algebra I is the single best predictor of college graduation.
http://goo.gl/RcaZp

School Turnarounds Prompt Community Backlash
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — The federal government’s push for drastic reforms at chronically low achieving schools has led to takeovers by charter operators, overhauls of staff and curriculum, and even school shutdowns across the country.
It’s also generated a growing backlash among the mostly low-income, minority communities where some see the reforms as not only disruptive in struggling neighborhoods, but also as civil rights violations since turnaround efforts primarily affect black and Latino students.
“Our concern is that these reforms have further destabilized our communities,” said Jitu Brown, education organizer of Chicago’s Kenwood-Oakwood Community Organization. “It’s clear there’s a different set of rules for African-American and Latino children than for their white counterparts.”
The U.S. Department of Education’s civil rights office has opened investigations into 33 complaints from parents and community members, representing 29 school districts ranging from big city systems such as Chicago, Detroit and Washington D.C. to smaller cities including Wichita and Ambler, Penn., said spokesman Daren Briscoe.
http://goo.gl/bjiWR

Rhee wary of stressing on testing
Ex-D.C. chief: Balance needed to go with standardized exams
Washington Times

As organized opposition to standardized testing grows, one of the nation’s most outspoken and controversial education activists said Sunday that such assessments have a place in public schools but cautioned against an “overemphasis” on them.
“We have to strike the balance between making sure that we’re not overemphasizing the test, but yet also making sure that we’re holding kids and schools accountable for what kids know and are able to do,” said Michelle A. Rhee, the former chief of D.C. Public Schools who now heads the education advocacy group StudentsFirst.
Speaking on ABC’s “This Week” and plugging her new book, “Radical,” Ms. Rhee said standardized tests have played in important role over the past decade, putting in place accountability systems for schools that previously had been “graduating kids who didn’t have basic skills and knowledge. They couldn’t read and do math appropriately.”
But there’s a growing sentiment that the focus on standardized assessments has become too great, primarily because of the requirements and achievement benchmarks put in place by President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind education law.
http://goo.gl/CElI3

Education Secretary, College Chiefs Urge Gun Laws
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The nation’s schools chief says more needs to be done to make sure children live long enough to attend college. He is joining more than 350 university presidents in urging Congress to take action to protect students from gun violence.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan told reporters Monday that guns have no place in schools or on college campuses, other than in the hands of law enforcement. Standing with members of College Presidents for Gun Safety, Duncan also said pressure from outside Washington is needed to force Congress to act on proposals to reduce gun violence.
http://goo.gl/9LRjI

http://goo.gl/RLW3B (WaPo)

Timing Tips for the ACT and SAT
New York Times

HOW do you pace yourself during standardized tests? Jordan Liss, a sophomore at the University of Michigan, faced this question each time he took the ACT, which was five times. “The last thing a student wants to do is a math problem trying to figure out how much time they have,” Mr. Liss said. He thought a timer would help, but “every time I brought a watch on the test day it was declined for its own reason,” like being capable of beeping or browsing the Web.
Mr. Liss and his father bought a digital Timex sports watch with a countdown mechanism and then disconnected the speaker so the alarm wouldn’t go off. “But there was definitely a lot of room for improvement,” he said. So he came up with the idea of programming watches specifically for the ACT and the SAT. By the end of freshman year, he had written a 30-page manual describing how it would function. Say you’re taking the ACT reading test, which has 40 questions. The watch tells the total testing time — 35 minutes — and time remaining, as well as where you should be at any given point.
Testing Timers, which he sells online for $40, can also be used as regular watches, though they’re not all that fashionable. And they don’t take into account the personal strengths and weaknesses that dictate pacing. So here are some of the more conventional strategies suggested by test-prep expert:
http://goo.gl/I3eAK

Court documents: Harrison student considered ‘shooting up the school’
(Bozeman, MT) KTVM

BOZEMAN, Mont. – According to court documents, a 14-year-old boy accused of bringing two guns to Harrison High School last week said he considered using them in a school shooting “for political reasons.”
“[He] stated that he wanted to prove to people that you don’t need an assault rifle to shoot up a school,” the court documents say. “[He] was going to show people that it could be done with a couple of handguns.”
Officers say the boy’s backpack held an unloaded .22 caliber handgun, 10 rounds of .22 ammunition, a loaded .357 Magnum and 37 rounds of .357 ammunition. The boy reportedly had the weapons with him all day at school. He was arrested after hours on Friday, January 28.
According to prosecutors, the boy said he had decided not to fire the guns at school, and was instead planning to run away and live in the mountains, using the weapons to hunt food.
http://goo.gl/iPCBC

Student commits suicide at Coweta school
Tulsa (OK) World

COWETA — Police have secured Coweta Intermediate High School after a shooting incident Monday morning, authorities said.
Tulsa-area school officials confirmed a freshman shot himself in a school bathroom.
http://goo.gl/QT525

Police Sending Food, Medicine to Child Hostage
Associated Press

MIDLAND CITY, Ala. — This town of 2,400 nestled amid peanut farms and cotton fields has long relied on a strong Christian faith, a policy of “love thy neighbor,” and the power of group prayer.
Those beliefs have been strongly in evidence in the six days since a gunman killed a school bus driver, snatched a 5-year-old boy off a bus full of youngsters and fled with his hostage to an underground bunker.
Police say 65-year-old Jim Dykes killed 66-year-old Charles Albert Poland Jr. before escaping with the kindergartener, who has Asperger’s syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to a state lawmaker who has spent time with his mother.
Dale County Sheriff Wally Olson said Monday that officers have been speaking with 65-year-old Jim Dykes around the clock and continue to send food, medicine and other items into the bunker. He would not say if authorities have spoken with the child or if they can hear the boy, but Olson said it is believed the boy is doing OK.
http://goo.gl/R84ri

Bullying Study: It Does Get Better For Gay Teens
Associated Press

CHICAGO — It really does get better for gay and bisexual teens when it comes to being bullied, although young gay men have it worse than their lesbian peers, according to the first long-term scientific evidence on how the problem changes over time.
The seven-year study involved more than 4,000 teens in England who were questioned yearly through 2010, until they were 19 and 20 years old. At the start, just over half of the 187 gay, lesbian and bisexual teens said they had been bullied; by 2010 that dropped to 9 percent of gay and bisexual boys and 6 percent of lesbian and bisexual girls.
The researchers said the same results likely would be found in the United States.
http://goo.gl/P7o3m

Educator Pleads Guilty in Teacher Testing Fraud
Associated Press

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A longtime Memphis educator accused of leading a 15-year scheme to help teachers cheat on qualification exams changed his plea to guilty on Friday, a week after he rejected a deal from prosecutors.
Clarence Mumford Sr., 59, agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail, wire, identification and Social Security fraud and one charge of aggravated identity theft. Prosecutors said the two counts can carry seven years in prison when Mumford is sentenced May 13.
Prosecutors say teachers in Tennessee, Mississippi and Arkansas paid Mumford $1,500 to more than $3,000 to have ringers take the Praxis certification tests for them. That fee included fake driver’s licenses Mumford made for the test-takers, who showed them to proctors at examination centers.
The passing test scores were then used to help people get jobs in public schools.
http://goo.gl/qEtrp

NYC schools giving out tens of thousands of doses of the ‘morning-after pill’
New York Post

Plan B has become Plan A in the Bloomberg administration’s stealth war on teen pregnancy.
Handouts of the “morning-after pill” to sexually active students have skyrocketed under an unpublicized project in which health centers in public schools offer girls a full menu of free birth-control drugs and devices, records obtained by The Post show.
Last September, the city revealed it had started giving out Plan B and other birth control in the nurses’ offices of 13 high schools. At the time, officials said 567 girls had gotten Plan B.
But the birth-control blitz was much bigger than the city had acknowledged. About 40 separate “school-based health centers” doled out 12,721 doses of Plan B in 2011-12, up from 10,720 in 2010-11 and 5,039 in 2009-10, according to the newly released data.
http://goo.gl/jmxO8

Say Yes to Education’s Manhattan gala aims at high-rollers
Syracuse (NY) Post-Standard

Say Yes to Education is having its 25th anniversary gala in Manhattan next month, but if you’re planning to go you better bring your wallet.
The top-price ticket, for a table of 10, is $250,000. The ticket prices then descend through five more price points, bottoming out at $1,250 for a single seat.
http://goo.gl/msn2G

Israeli, Palestinian Schoolbooks Flawed: Study
Associated Press

JERUSALEM — A new study weighed in on one of the hot-button subplots of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict Monday, saying schoolbooks of both sides largely present one-sided narratives but rarely resort to demonization.
Palestinians embraced the findings as a rejection of Israeli claims that their schoolbooks incite hatred of Israel, while Israel’s Education Ministry denounced the three-year U.S. State Department-funded review of 20,000 textbook pages as politically motivated “libel.”
Israeli, Palestinian and American academics who conducted the study said it set a new standard for objective textbook analysis. However, some Israeli textbook scholars said the interpretation of the data was skewed, letting Palestinian books off lightly.
http://goo.gl/qT3Xn

Girls at North Arlington school swear not to swear as part of lesson in civility
Woodland Park (NJ) Record

Catholic school girls think it’s just plain sexist that they were asked to take a no-cursing pledge on Friday — and the boys weren’t.
What the hell is up with that?
Lori Flynn, a teacher who launched the civility campaign at Queen of Peace High School in North Arlington, said the rationale was simple: “We want ladies to act like ladies.”
And besides, the principal, Brother Larry Lavallee, added, the girls have the foulest language.
That’s bull, according to an unscientific sampling of students of both genders who were hanging out in the hallways before the morning ceremony. Research by psychologist Timothy Jay, a professor at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and author of “Why We Curse,” backs the view that men are typically more profane. In general, people who are more extroverted, dominant and hostile tend to swear more.
Yet, despite their annoyance at what they said was a clear double standard, many girls were game.
http://goo.gl/Y6srD

Second Graders Correct NFL Players’ Tweets
Mashable

In the battle between elementary school students and pro football players, second graders reign supreme. When it comes to grammar, that is.
Second graders at a New York school had some help from Twitter for their grammar lessons, using the tweets of NFL players to correct spelling, punctuation and sentence structure.
While working in groups, the students “found several mistakes in these tweets, including the incorrect spelling of ‘a lot,'” explains a post on Elmwood Franklin School’s Facebook page.
http://goo.gl/Bh6gC

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

February 4:
Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8 a.m., State Capitol 445
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2013&com=APPPED

House Judiciary Committee meeting
2 p.m., 20 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/HJUD0204.ag.htm

Senate Education Committee meeting
4 p.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/SEDU0204.ag.htm

February 7:
Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8 a.m., State Capitol 445
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2013&com=APPPED

February 7-8:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspx

February 13-14:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
9 a.m., 250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://goo.gl/Mu36l

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