Education News Roundup: Feb. 5, 2013

Touring the Utah Capitol by Utah Public Education

Touring the Utah Capitol by Utah Public Education

Today’s Top Picks:

Senate OKs education transparency bill.
http://goo.gl/CTz69 (PDH)
and http://goo.gl/qfFzl (SLT)
and http://goo.gl/QqmUJ (KUTV)

Gov. Herbert scheduled to testify before the House Education and Workforce Committee today on education in Utah.
http://goo.gl/WKK93 (SLT)
and http://goo.gl/z6CnQ (DN)
and http://goo.gl/xojBu (OSE)
and http://goo.gl/IzjZ  (PDH)
and http://goo.gl/WeFWJ (UP)
and http://goo.gl/w16X1 KUTV)
or http://goo.gl/voS77  (House Education & Workforce Committee)

Speaker Lockhart discusses the challenges of funding education.
http://goo.gl/lQnYs (OSE)

Sen. Hillyard discusses budget numbers.
http://goo.gl/K2P7J (CVD)

AG Swallow discusses Utah’s claims on federal lands and school safety.
http://goo.gl/ybTo0 (PDH)

States and local governments want an update of ESEA.
http://goo.gl/z32zt (Reuters)

House Majority Leader Cantor wants the GOP to focus on schools, among other things.
http://goo.gl/t1839 (AP)

“By raising academic standards and cutting school funding at the same time, Texas lawmakers have rendered the state’s method of financing public schools unconstitutional, a judge ruled on Monday.”
http://goo.gl/NmBtM (Austin American-Statesman) and http://goo.gl/zWoMM (AP)

Anyone interested in throwing their hat in the ring to be Wyoming school boss?
http://goo.gl/qyPvK (Casper Star-Tribune)

ENR recommends watching the Dodge Ram truck ad.
http://goo.gl/rnUsK (WRTV)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Senate unanimously passes transparency in education bill

Guv to testify before Congress about Utah education Education » Testimony part of a broader strategy to reach a goal that two-thirds of Utahns hold post-high school degrees or certificates by the year 2020.

Speaker looks at upcoming session and key issues

Utah AG promises to fulfill duties despite accusations

Sen. Hillyard confident in positive budget numbers

Bill to bar sex offenders from school boards advances
HB64 » Panel approves legislation after a man convicted of abuse ran for the Granite board.

Bill to create commission to study intergenerational poverty advances to Senate

Senate committee advances tuition waiver, charter school, degree attainment bills

Bill to deal with head injuries

Online education celebrated for expanding Digital learning » All high school students eligible for three, free online courses.

Designing champs: Local robotics team wins honors at event

Scholarship open to finance-savvy students
Scholarship: » Financial literacy is at the heart of high school award.

Notable Achievements: Prof. awarded for work with STEM students

Utah mother hopes son’s death will help put a stop to bullying

Mom of Cyprus High student charged with choking teen

Provo Teens death raises questions about the flu

UHSAA Sidelines Intermountain Christian School Soccer Player

Suspended from school: Road to nowhere

OPINION & COMMENTARY

New ideas for funding education need consideration

The boys on the bus

Charter School University

Michigan Union Tell-All
A memo shows how unions hope to keep coercing worker dues.

The Philosophy of Data

The Truth about Charters

Curbing gun violence after Newtown: Let’s arm teachers Critics worry that arming teachers will create ‘fortress’ schools and invite gun accidents. But a well-thought-out program can avoid these pitfalls, and take advantage of teachers and staff who are eager to act as trained protectors for our children.

Are iPads and Other Classroom Gadgets Really Helping Kids Learn?

Time to Take On Concentrated Poverty and Education

Education spending that isn’t smart
Education is important and necessary for a host of reasons. But there’s little evidence it drives growth.

Michelle Rhee

The reduction of school days in Japan increased educational inequality Japan switched to five-day weeks for its primary and junior high schools and saw an increase in educational inequality. This column discusses new evidence suggesting a loose tie between number of days at school and inequality. Importantly, this tie reflects the fact that homes with university-educated parents tend to offset the official reduction in hours with additional tuition.

NATION

States, local governments plead for new “No Child Left Behind”

Cantor Urges GOP Focus on Schools, Health, Family

Judge: School finance system unconstitutional Appeal to Texas Supreme Court expected soon.

States Lack Data on Principals, Study Says Most states lack data on school leaders’ training, evaluation

A Checklist to Keep Good Teachers in the Classroom

Wyoming Board of Education decides on national search for director

Boy ‘unharmed’ after rescue that left captor dead Five-year-old Ethan is ‘laughing, joking, playing’ after being reunited with his mother for first time in seven days.

Pistol-packing pupils becoming an everyday occurrence

South El Monte High students lose fingers in game of tug-of-war

Future Farmers of America gets up to $1 million for Dodge Ram Super Bowl ad views

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UTAH NEWS
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Senate unanimously passes transparency in education bill

SALT LAKE CITY — With a unanimous vote the Senate forwarded a proposal to the House on Monday morning that would compel the state board of education to release the same financial information they receive from school districts throughout the state to the public.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, said Senate Bill 128 is a simple method to get information to the public and Legislature regarding how the education budget is spent. He stated that any financial information that the school board deems important enough to scrutinize should be important enough for the public to view.
http://goo.gl/CTz69 (PDH)

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

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

Guv to testify before Congress about Utah education Education » Testimony part of a broader strategy to reach a goal that two-thirds of Utahns hold post-high school degrees or certificates by the year 2020.

Gov. Gary Herbert plans to testify before Congress on Tuesday about Utah’s plan to better align schools with workforce needs — an initiative that could be complicated by budget indecisiveness in Washington, D.C.
Herbert is proposing lawmakers put much of the state’s new revenue this year toward schools, particularly a plan recommended by his Education Excellence Commission and Utah’s business community. That plan includes items such as expanding early childhood education, dual immersion language programs and giving the ACT to all Utah students, among other things.
It’s part of a broader strategy to reach a goal that two-thirds of Utahns hold post-high school degrees or certificates by 2020.
Herbert said he’d like to see the full list of recommendations — about 30 requests worth more than $250 million in all — gain approval from lawmakers this session.
But questions about federal funding remain.
http://goo.gl/WKK93 (SLT)

http://goo.gl/z6Cn (DN)

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

http://goo.gl/IzjZ  (PDH)

http://goo.gl/WeFW (UP)

http://goo.gl/w16X1  (KUTV)

http://goo.gl/voS77 (House Education & Workforce Committee)

Speaker looks at upcoming session and key issues

SALT LAKE — House Speaker Rebecca Lockhart, R-Provo, says uncertainty about how the federal government will address the debt ceiling and the fiscal cliff will cast the biggest shadow over the Utah Legislature this year.
In an interview with the Standard-Examiner, Lockhart said the way the federal government’s fiscal issues are addressed in Washington, D.C., could pose a major challenge in how state lawmakers address the fallout during the 45-day legislative session, which began Jan. 28.
Lockhart has been rumored to be a candidate for governor, but she tried to distance herself from that discussion during a recent briefing on the Hill with the media.
“I’m focused on my job as a legislator,” the Provo Republican said.
Lockhart said the biggest issue facing state officials every year is the budget, and she said funding for education is the biggest part of the challenge. Federal action on the debt could have a major impact on how state programs are funded, she said.
http://goo.gl/lQnYs (OSE)

Utah AG promises to fulfill duties despite accusations

PROVO — Newly sworn in attorney general John Swallow fielded questions about the bribery allegations surrounding him as he spoke to the Utah County Republican Women’s group Monday afternoon.
Swallow didn’t say much about the allegations against him, but he said he was shocked when a man charged with fraud came forward less than a week after Swallow took office and said Swallow was part of a bribery scheme. He also said he requested an FBI investigation into those accusations, which is ongoing.

Swallow spent most of the meeting talking about his goals for his time as attorney general. He said his top three priorities are keeping Utah’s children safe, reducing white collar crime and dealing with sovereignty issues plaguing Utah.

He said 66 percent of Utah’s lands are federally owned, which is creating a dependence on the federal government and encroaching on Utah’s rights as a state.
“If we can’t afford to say no to the federal government, we can’t say no,” Swallow said. “There is no way we can fund things like education when two-thirds of our lands aren’t taxable.”
Swallow said if you compare North Dakota to Utah, that state spends $2,300 more per student than the national average, while Utah spends $2,300 less per student than the national average. The difference is North Dakota controls 95 percent of its land on the state level.
Swallow answered questions on everything from health care reform to gay marriage to gun control during the question and answer portion of the meeting.
He said he supports the Second Amendment and the right of people to defend themselves, but said steps must be taken to protect schools and children. He said he wants to create a task force to look a ways to make schools safer including adding second exits to classrooms, making it so classrooms can be locked down if there is an intruder in the school and doing drills that prepare teachers and students for crisis situations.
http://goo.gl/ybTo0 (PDH)

Sen. Hillyard confident in positive budget numbers

After one week into the 2013 session of the Utah legislature, state lawmakers say it looks like a sizable share of the budget this year will go to Medicaid reform.
State Senator Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, is chairman of the Executive Appropriations Committee and during a Utah Senate mid-day media briefing on Thursday, Jan. 31 said the final budget figures will not be released until February 19.
“One of the things that we are going to have to come to a basic decision is what, if any, salary increase we’ll have for state employees and teachers,” Sen. Hillyard said. “That’s always a very important concern for us as we look at these figures.”
Sen. Hillyard said about half of all the state’s budget goes to education.
http://goo.gl/K2P7J (CVD)

Bill to bar sex offenders from school boards advances
HB64 » Panel approves legislation after a man convicted of abuse ran for the Granite board.

A bill that would prohibit sex offenders who commit crimes against children from running for school board gained committee approval Monday.
The House Judiciary Committee voted in favor of HB64 on Monday, with only one lawmaker voting against it. The bill would prohibit sex offenders, convicted of egregious acts against children, from seeking seats on local school boards and the state school board.
Bill sponsor Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay, decided to run the bill after Richard Wagner Jones unsuccessfully campaigned against incumbent Dan Lofgren for a term on the Granite Board of Education. Jones spent five years in prison and 10 years on probation after a 1990 second-degree felony conviction of sexual abuse of a child.
http://goo.gl/EXROn (SLT)

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

Bill to create commission to study intergenerational poverty advances to Senate

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill to create a state commission to develop policy recommendations to end intergenerational poverty has been forwarded to the Utah Senate.
The Senate Economic Development and Workforce Development Committee voted unanimously Monday to give the bill a favorable recommendation.
The proposed commission would be made up of the executive directors of the state departments of health, human services and workforce services, as well as the state superintendent of instruction and the juvenile court administrator.
The commission would collaborate on policy recommendations to “help children escape the consequences of intergenerational poverty,” said Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, sponsor of SB53.
http://goo.gl/GdEVf (DN)

Senate committee advances tuition waiver, charter school, degree attainment bills

SALT LAKE CITY — Bills to combat enrollment woes, remove charter school oversight and endorse a statewide goal of increasing the number of adults with post-high school education received unanimous support Monday from the Senate Education Committee.

With SB151, the committee advanced a bill that would modify the approval oversight for college- and university-partnered charter schools. Specifically, the bill would remove the requirement for an applied technology campus to gain approval from the Utah College of Applied Technology Board of Trustees to create a new charter school.
Last year, a charter school created in partnership between the Davis School District and the Davis Applied Technology Center was delayed by the board due to funding concerns.

The committee also discussed SCR5, a resolution sponsored by Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, that would formally endorse and express support for the state’s goal of 66 percent of Utah adults holding a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2020.
http://goo.gl/4IOmL (DN)

Bill to deal with head injuries

SALT LAKE CITY — A local lawmaker’s bill to protect athletes with head injuries has cleared a House committee and will now go to the House for further consideration.
The House Health and Human Services Standing Committee gave unanimous approval to move HB 58, sponsored by Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clinton, to the House for review.
http://goo.gl/ChpDg (OSE)

Online education celebrated for expanding Digital learning » All high school students eligible for three, free online courses.

The number of Utah high school students taking online courses more than doubled this school year to 475.
Educators said Monday they expect even greater participation this fall when students can enroll in up to three free, online courses. Also, home-school and private-school students will be eligible for the first time.
http://goo.gl/4OTTt (SLT)

Designing champs: Local robotics team wins honors at event

Students from all over Utah and parts of Idaho competed at the Utah and Mountain Region VEX Robotics Competition in Logan on Saturday, with teams from Davis High School and the Utah State University Design Academy walking away with the top honors.
The tournament took place at USU, and 29 high school and middle school teams represented participated.
While Davis High School was named tournament champions, the Design Academy won the Excellence Award, a prize awarded for the best all around program.
http://goo.gl/NY0ec (LHJ)

Scholarship open to finance-savvy students
Scholarship: » Financial literacy is at the heart of high school award.

High school students with money management know-how could earn funds for college.
Four $1,000 scholarships will be awarded to high school seniors who excel in financial literacy, a subject which, as of this year, is required for high school graduation.
In a news release, America First President and Chief Executive John Lund said the Jump$tart scholarships aim to recognize students who have passed a financial literacy class and plan to further their education.
http://goo.gl/937WG (SLT)

Notable Achievements: Prof. awarded for work with STEM students

Holly Godsey, a program manager at the Center for Science & Mathematics Education, was awarded the 2013 Utah Science Teacher Association’s Higher Education Award.
The award is given to teachers in higher education who work to elevate K-12 science education. Godsey was given the award for the support she gives to teachers who are earning their master’s degrees and her work with current U graduate students to support local classrooms.
http://goo.gl/rQSRt (Chrony)

Utah mother hopes son’s death will help put a stop to bullying

MAGNA – Bullying — it’s a problem with lasting effects, and yet it continues to grow in our schools. A Utah mother says bullying drove her young son to end his life rather than face it another day.
Buddy Peterson was always a happy child, according to his parents, Bud and Karen.
The seventh-grader was an athlete who loved everybody, most at home on the football field. He was a big kid who loved to learn. But behind his big smile and sweet nature was unimaginable suffering.
http://goo.gl/LkIgd (KSL)

Mom of Cyprus High student charged with choking teen

MAGNA — The mother of a Cyprus High student has been charged with aggravated assault after a school official said she strangled a student following an October football game.
Fetu Solovi, 37, of Magna, was charged Monday with the second-degree felony.
Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley said the Oct. 17 incident occurred when a fight broke out on campus between a group of female students. A mother of one of the students got involved, strangling one of the girls, he said.
http://goo.gl/zj0pJ (DN)

http://goo.gl/5BfbQ (KSL)

Provo Teens death raises questions about the flu

PROVO, Utah – Monday students at Timpview High School remembered sophomore Parker Allred. Parker died after complications surrounding the flu.
Monday morning the school was covered in blue ribbons, the flag in front of the school lowered and students dressed in their Sunday best for Parker Allred.
http://goo.gl/Ik7tB (KTVX)

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

http://goo.gl/35EDK (KSTU)

UHSAA Sidelines Intermountain Christian School Soccer Player

Heather Kanz has been playing soccer since she was nine year’s old. But Heather will not be playing this year. She has been forbidden from doing so by the Utah High School Activities Association. The UHSAA says Heather is ineligible because she transferred schools after having played at her previous High School.
According to UHSAA bylaws, “Any student transferring from one high school to another shall lose eligibility for participation in association sponsored athletic activities for twelve months.”
Heather’s mom says she applied for a waiver but the waiver request was denied because the UHSAA said Heather did not have a good enough reason for transferring schools.
http://goo.gl/yArPd (KUTV)

Suspended from school: Road to nowhere

More than three million schoolchildren lost instruction time at school in 2009-10 because they were suspended from school, according to a report by the Civil Rights Project at University of California/Los Angeles. A preponderance of those children were members of ethnic minorities or had disabilities, the report showed.
http://goo.gl/xkXO4 (DN)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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New ideas for funding education need consideration
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner op-ed by Ron Smith, who taught English at Utah State University from 1965 through 1989

The Legislature has convened for its 2013 session. For public education, that’s either good news or bad. It’s good that anything is possible, bad that the same-old, same old could again prevail: too little money, too many students and K-12 inadequately funded.
Our legislators once again have the opportunity to pay more than lip service to the importance of children in Utah by devising ways to bring the state up from dead-last in per-pupil funding. And, also, they have the opportunity to go long — to put in place measures to assure its sufficient funding for years ahead, years during which the state’s school-age population will continue to grow almost exponentially.
First, of course, legislators will have to realize there is and has long been a problem that teachers in this state, based on available national and international date, are under-compensated, under-supported and under-appreciated.
http://goo.gl/AHdWs

The boys on the bus
Deseret News commentary by columnist Mary McConnell

Several years ago my son – who was then a student in my AP Government class – informed me that I was a “boy teacher.”
Since his very existence suggested that he’d gotten my gender wrong, I asked him what he could possibly mean. As I suspected, his appellation had nothing to do with the gender of the teacher; indeed, he argued that lots of male teachers were “girl teachers.” What my son was trying to say, instead, was that some teachers felt much more comfortable with what he considered “girl” behaviors. These included sitting still, knowing when to shut up, staying focused, and complying with the rules. “Boy teachers”, apparently, tolerate more disorder and maybe encourage more activity.
http://goo.gl/wdtx0

Charter School University
Commentary by Charter Solutions President Lincoln Fillmore

Notes from the Charter School University training on Communication Strategies:
http://goo.gl/KMqIN

Michigan Union Tell-All
A memo shows how unions hope to keep coercing worker dues.
Wall Street Journal editorial

When Michigan became the 24th right-to-work state late last year, everyone knew unions would try to overturn or otherwise neuter the law. Less expected was that they would do so at the expense of their own members.
That’s the message from a December 27-28 memo to local union presidents and board members from Michigan Education Association President Steven Cook, which recommends tactics that unions can use to dilute the impact of the right-to-work law. One bright idea is to renegotiate contracts now to lock teachers into paying union dues after the right-to-work law goes into effect in March. Another is to sue their own members who try to leave.
“Members who indicate they wish to resign membership in March, or whenever, will be told they can only do so in August,” Mr. Cook writes in the three-page memo obtained by the West Michigan Policy Forum. “We will use any legal means at our disposal to collect the dues owed under signed membership forms from any members who withhold dues prior to terminating their membership in August for the following fiscal year.” Got that, comrade?
http://goo.gl/8NXNN

The Philosophy of Data
New York Times commentary by columnist DAVID BROOKS

If you asked me to describe the rising philosophy of the day, I’d say it is data-ism. We now have the ability to gather huge amounts of data. This ability seems to carry with it certain cultural assumptions — that everything that can be measured should be measured; that data is a transparent and reliable lens that allows us to filter out emotionalism and ideology; that data will help us do remarkable things — like foretell the future.
Over the next year, I’m hoping to get a better grip on some of the questions raised by the data revolution: In what situations should we rely on intuitive pattern recognition and in which situations should we ignore intuition and follow the data? What kinds of events are predictable using statistical analysis and what sorts of events are not?
I confess I enter this in a skeptical frame of mind, believing that we tend to get carried away in our desire to reduce everything to the quantifiable. But at the outset let me celebrate two things data does really well.
http://goo.gl/hgSeh

The Truth about Charters
Wall Street Journal commentary by columnist David Feith

Assistant features editor David Feith on a New York Times editorial that disputes charter schools’ effectiveness.
http://goo.gl/3JX0h

Curbing gun violence after Newtown: Let’s arm teachers Critics worry that arming teachers will create ‘fortress’ schools and invite gun accidents. But a well-thought-out program can avoid these pitfalls, and take advantage of teachers and staff who are eager to act as trained protectors for our children.
Christian Science Monitor op-ed by Michael Brown, a member of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership

VANCOUVER, WASH. — In the wake of the Sandy Hook school attack in Newtown, Conn., President Obama is taking his gun control ideas on the road, and politicians, school administrators, and parents across the country are reviewing school safety. Many are discussing how to better protect schoolhouse doors and update safety drills, whether to add armed guards as the National Rifle Association proposes, and even whether to arm teachers.
That last idea is not as far-fetched as it may sound to some people. America’s banks, courts, top elected officials, and super celebrities are protected by armed guards. Armed pilots and air marshals protect us in the skies. So why not armed teachers protecting our children?
State lawmakers in Arizona, California, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Tennessee have introduced or plan to propose legislation that would allow teachers and/or other school employees to have guns at school. Utah already allows concealed weapons at schools and at least 200 teachers have volunteered for firearms training since the Newtown massacre left 20 children and six adult women dead at the school in December.
http://goo.gl/0JQwt

Are iPads and Other Classroom Gadgets Really Helping Kids Learn?
Take Part commentary by Peg Tyre, author of two bestselling books on education, The Trouble With Boys and The Good School

For the last six years, the buzz about educational technology has grown deafening.
Schools across the nation are scrambling to figure out just how a new generation of technology—software and devices both in the marketplace and still to be developed—might better educate kids.
The experiments are far-reaching. Currently, there are roughly 275,000 K-12 students from 31 states who are taking classes online. School administrators all over the nation are handing out iPads and asking teachers and students to come up with new ways to learn with them. Some schools are experimenting with flipped classrooms, in which kids read or watch videos of a lecture for homework and work through problems or questions with an instructor during class time.

Many teachers are embracing ed tech—blackboards and worksheets seem so last century. They are finding that using technology is altering, sometimes subtly, sometimes dramatically, the way they do their jobs. Others are finding their jobs eliminated altogether. Language classes, for instance, can go from flesh and blood interactions between student and teacher to online.
All that enthusiasm among school administrators and school board members has reverberated on Wall Street, which is pouring money into the sector. In 2005, investors put about $13 million of venture and growth capital in the K-12 market. In 2011, venture capitalists poured $389 million into companies focused on K-12 education, according to industry analysts GSV Advisors, a Chicago-based education firm that tracks the K-12 market.
“Is it a bubble?” asks industry analyst Frank Catalano. “No, but there are signs it’s getting to be a bubble.”
Those who study education history called for caution as well. Every new wave of technology that has been tried in classrooms—radio, television, videocassettes, desktop computers and smartboards—has ridden a wave of enthusiasm, rapid adoption and, then, brutally dashed expectations.
http://goo.gl/AZezp

Time to Take On Concentrated Poverty and Education The Nation commentary by columnists Greg Kaufmann and Elaine Weiss

Researchers know a lot about how various factors associated with income level affect a child’s learning: parents’ educational attainment; how parents read to, play with and respond to their children; the quality of early care and early education; access to consistent physical and mental health services and healthy food. Poor children’s limited access to these fundamentals accounts for a good chunk of the achievement gap, which is why conceiving of it instead as an opportunity gap makes a lot more sense.
But we rarely discuss the impact of concentrated poverty—and of racial and socioeconomic segregation—on student achievement. James Coleman’s widely cited 1966 report Equality of Educational Opportunity has drawn substantial attention to the influence of family socioeconomic status on a child’s academic achievement. However, as Richard Kahlenberg, Senior Fellow at the Century Foundation, notes: “Until very recently, the second finding, about the importance of reducing concentrations of school poverty, has been consciously ignored by policymakers, despite publication of study after study that confirmed Coleman’s findings.”
It’s time that we stop ignoring it
http://goo.gl/uYb3K

Education spending that isn’t smart
Education is important and necessary for a host of reasons. But there’s little evidence it drives growth.
Los Angeles Times commentary by columnist Jonah Goldberg

Not long after President Obama proclaimed in his second inaugural that “an economic recovery has begun,” we learned that the U.S. economy actually shrank in the last quarter. Many economists believe this is a temporary setback. This recovery may be the weakest in American history, but the economy isn’t cratering either.
Still, you can bet that if the economy continues to contract, Obama will propose the same remedy he always has: more “investments” in education, infrastructure and various industries of the future. It seems that whatever the ailment, Dr. Obama always writes the same prescription.
This is hardly shocking: Building roads and schools is a big reason why God created Democrats in the first place. And identifying the Next Big Thing — and taking credit for it — is something of a vocation for many liberal policymakers.
But are these really the drivers of economic growth?
http://goo.gl/jHU9P

Michelle Rhee
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Former Washington DC public schools chancellor Michelle Rhee discusses her controversial positions and the shifting metrics of education assessment.
http://goo.gl/ldMxC

The reduction of school days in Japan increased educational inequality Japan switched to five-day weeks for its primary and junior high schools and saw an increase in educational inequality. This column discusses new evidence suggesting a loose tie between number of days at school and inequality. Importantly, this tie reflects the fact that homes with university-educated parents tend to offset the official reduction in hours with additional tuition.
Vox analysis by Daiji Kawaguchi, Hitotsubashi University

One of the major objectives of compulsory education is to assure uniform educational opportunities for all children regardless of their socioeconomic background. For that reason, most advanced countries provide compulsory education as well as textbooks free of charge. Getting education policy right for those at an early age is also important for competitiveness in the global knowledge economy (Murtin and Viarengo 2013).
It has also been widely observed that children’s educational attainment is closely linked to the educational attainment of their parents, giving rise to intergenerational persistence in educational attainment. As a result, one would expect that an increase in the number of years of compulsory education will raise the years of schooling mainly of children born to parents with low educational attainment and hence weaken the link between parents’ and children’s educational attainment. Empirical studies using data for Sweden and Norway suggest that this indeed appears to be the case.
However, the total amount of compulsory education children receive depends not only on the number of years of compulsory education, but also on the amount of lessons within a year. Intergenerational persistence in educational attainment may also be influenced by the number of school days a year that a country adopts.
http://goo.gl/YTL9O

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NATIONAL NEWS
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States, local governments plead for new “No Child Left Behind”
Reuters

WASHINGTON – State and local officials again called on Congress to pass renewed “No Child Left Behind” education legislation, writing in a letter on Tuesday that it must become “a top priority for every member of the House and Senate.”
Nearly a year ago – on February 6, 2012 – the same groups, including the National Governors Association, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National School Boards Association, made a similar plea to re-authorize the federal education funding law.
No Child Left Behind tied funding to students’ performance on standardized tests, and penalized schools for “failing” – measures that educators and lawmakers, including current Education Secretary Arne Duncan, have said were too restrictive.
The law nominally expired five years ago and states have operated under funding extensions, as well as President Barack Obama’s smaller grants such as “Race to the Top.”
http://goo.gl/z32zt

Cantor Urges GOP Focus on Schools, Health, Family Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A top Republican lawmaker is urging his party to place more emphasis on education, health care and other kitchen-table issues as the GOP tries to recover from its November setbacks.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said Republicans must show they have better solutions for families who struggle to pay their bills and who worry about their children’s education and future.
Cantor proposed few new initiatives in a Washington speech Tuesday. But he endorsed a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children.
He said federal aid should be available for those moving to charter or private schools to escape poorly performing public schools.
http://goo.gl/t1839

Judge: School finance system unconstitutional Appeal to Texas Supreme Court expected soon.
Austin (TX) American-Statesman

By raising academic standards and cutting school funding at the same time, Texas lawmakers have rendered the state’s method of financing public schools unconstitutional, a judge ruled on Monday.
“As the economists put it: There is no free lunch. We either want increased standards and are willing to pay the price, or we don’t,” state District Judge John Dietz said, ruling immediately from the bench at the close of a 12-week trial.
Dietz also found that wide disparities have emerged between school districts that are considered property poor and their wealthier peers. And he said the Legislature has effectively imposed a statewide property tax in violation of the Texas Constitution because school districts have limited taxing capacity left, effectively eliminating local discretion.
Announcing his decision to a packed courtroom, Dietz upheld all major claims by the school districts who sued to overturn the finance system. An appeal to the Texas Supreme Court is guaranteed.
http://goo.gl/NmBtM

http://goo.gl/zWoMM (AP)

States Lack Data on Principals, Study Says Most states lack data on school leaders’ training, evaluation Education Week

While principals increasingly are moving to center stage in national debates over school improvement, a new study finds most states have little or no information about how their principals are prepared, licensed, supported, and evaluated.
The Dallas-based George W. Bush Institute was expected to release an analysis of all 50 states’ principal policies and related data collections in Washington this week. It finds that even states with otherwise comprehensive longitudinal-data systems collect limited information about principals, particularly on their preparation.
“Despite the growing body of research, most states are not requiring the use of evidence on principal quality in policy,” said Kerry Ann Moll, a co-author of the report and the program director for the Bush Institute’s Alliance to Reform Education Leadership.
http://goo.gl/jAG4B

A copy of the study
http://www.edweek.org/media/gwbi-20principals.pdf

A Checklist to Keep Good Teachers in the Classroom NewsHour

Good teachers can help students stay in school and keep them from dropping out. But what must schools do to keep top teachers from burning out and leaving the field? Hari Sreenivasan has the story of a Connecticut school that uses a checklist to evaluate and keep the best teachers in the classroom.
http://goo.gl/0c5fZ

Wyoming Board of Education decides on national search for director Casper (WY) Star-Tribune

CHEYENNE — The State Board of Education has decided to conduct a national search for a permanent director to oversee the Wyoming Department of Education.
Gov. Matt Mead suggested the board “move with urgency” during a special meeting Monday morning.
Board members plan to prepare a bid for proposal to select the search firm by their next meeting, Monday, when they will further discuss the process.
Mead told the board at the start of the meeting that a national search was his preference because it demonstrates a complete, competitive process. He said there was a cost to the process, but allowing public perception that the process wasn’t complete would be of greater cost.
On Jan. 29, Mead signed into a law Senate File 104, which removed State Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill as administrator of the department and replaced her with a director appointed by the governor. The board is required to compile a list of three candidates from which Mead will choose by Dec. 1.
http://goo.gl/qyPvK

Boy ‘unharmed’ after rescue that left captor dead Five-year-old Ethan is ‘laughing, joking, playing’ after being reunited with his mother for first time in seven days.
USA Today

MIDLAND CITY, Ala. — Five-year-old Ethan woke up in his mother’s care Tuesday for the first time in seven days after FBI agents burst into an underground bunker Monday afternoon and killed a 65-year-old man who was holding him hostage.
The boy, identified only as Ethan, was “physically unharmed” and taken to a hospital in nearby Dothan. Republican Rep. Steve Clouse, who represents the Midland City area, has told reporters that Ethan has Asperger’s, an autism-spectrum disorder, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. People with Asperger’s are high-functioning.
FBI special agent-in-charge Steve Richardson said the boy is “laughing, joking, playing, eating” with his family. “He’s very brave. He’s very lucky.”
http://goo.gl/Z64bs

Pistol-packing pupils becoming an everyday occurrence NBC News

The case of a Virginia second-grader caught with a gun on his school bus this week may be shocking but it’s by no means uncommon.
Across the country, children are being suspended or arrested for having weapons on campus or buses on a daily basis.
http://goo.gl/w0Fmj

South El Monte High students lose fingers in game of tug-of-war San Gabriel Valley (CA) Tribune

SOUTH EL MONTE – An innocent game of tug-of-war turned tragic Monday afternoon when two South El Monte High School students had their fingers severed.
Tug-of-war is a competitive game in which two teams pull, or tug, on a rope in opposite directions in a show of strength.
The students, a boy and a girl, were participating in the lunchtime Spirit Week activity celebrating homecoming when they were injured, El Monte Union High School District Assistant Superintendent Edward Zuniga said. Neither he nor other district officials would release the students’ names or ages.
The girl is a senior and varsity soccer player, while the boy is a football player.
http://goo.gl/ePKqu

Future Farmers of America gets up to $1 million for Dodge Ram Super Bowl ad views (Indianapolis, IN) WRTV

INDIANAPOLIS – The Super Bowl commercials scored big with viewers, and one very memorable ad is helping the Future Farmers of America, headquartered in Indianapolis, generate a million dollars.
The Dodge Ram commercial spotlighting American farmers received a lot of attention, especially on social media platforms.
For every view of the commercial on the Ram Trucks website , Dodge will make a donation to the FFA, up to a million dollars.
http://goo.gl/rnUsK

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

February 5:
House Education Committee meeting
2 p.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/HEDU0205.ag.htm

House Business & Labor Committee meeting
2 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/HBUS0205.ag.htm

February 6:
Senate Education Committee meeting
8 a.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/SEDU0206.ag.htm

Senate Retirement and Independent Entities Standing Committee meeting
12:10 p.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/SRIE0206.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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