Education News Roundup: Feb. 7, 2013

"Scene from Romeo & Juliet" by Paul Morgan/CC/flickr

“Scene from Romeo & Juliet” by Paul Morgan/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

Bill allowing fees for concurrent enrollment advances.
http://goo.gl/JwkhD (SLT)

Bill upping the academic ante for Regents and New Century scholarships also advances.
http://goo.gl/JzmsT (OSE)

Ayn Rand makes a guest appearance in a show of force between the Idaho Legislature and State Board of Education.
http://goo.gl/WgC0m (Spokane S-R)

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Lawmakers advance bill to charge teens fees for concurrent enrollment Education » Colleges would be allowed to charge students up to $30 per credit hour.

Utah bill raises bar for scholarships

Bill to teach students leadership skills advances Education» SB122 would put $240,000 a year for three years toward grants to help schools establish student leadership programs.

Gov. Herbert Gives Testimony to Congress

More schools offer reading, writing and arithmetic in two languages at once

Canyons School District investigating hazing incidents

Magna Mother Accused Of Choking Daughter’s Rival

Dads patrol schools to stop bullying

Single act of kindness effects change in Utah teen’s life

Utah Shakespeare Festival brings ‘Romeo and Juliet’ to schools, general public

High school senior gives back to special needs students

Sky View senior wins award for relationship essay in state contest

Clinton students earn rewarding lunch with city, safety officials

Top-ranked Ranches Academy expands

W. Jordan students honor teacher who died of cancer

Health and education kits to arrive in impoverished area of Mali, thanks to Utah partnership

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Transparency and good governance

Some Worthy Public Education Bills

Where Uncle Sam can make a difference to education

Teachers and legislators

NATION

Families: Slain Newtown Educators Acted Bravely

White House allies produce preschool-for-all plan

Bill requires all Idaho kids to read ‘Atlas Shrugged’

Fairfax County parent wants ‘Beloved’ banned from school system

Education committee gives a nod to cursive bill

L.A. Unified misspent millions marked for school lunches At least eight California school districts misappropriated millions intended to pay for meals for low-income students, a state Senate watchdog group reports.

Ola High students: Food fight penalty too stiff

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UTAH NEWS
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Lawmakers advance bill to charge teens fees for concurrent enrollment Education » Colleges would be allowed to charge students up to $30 per credit hour.

High school students might soon have to cough up some cash to take concurrent enrollment classes as part of a possible change that lawmakers hope will keep the program strong.
The Senate Education Committee voted unanimously on Wednesday in favor of SB162, which modifies a law passed last year allowing colleges to charge high school students to take concurrent enrollment classes for college credit. Though last year’s bill became law, it was never actually implemented because the number of exemptions to students having to pay fees made administration of the law overly difficult, said sponsor Sen. Stephen Urquhart, R-St. George.
This year’s bill, SB162, seeks to correct that by narrowing the number of exemptions so colleges can actually start charging fees.
http://goo.gl/JwkhD (SLT)

Utah bill raises bar for scholarships

SALT LAKE CITY — State standards for recipients of Regents and New Century scholarships will be raised if a local lawmaker’s bill makes it into law.
Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, is sponsoring SB 100, which requires scholarship recipients to carry an active class load of at least 15 hours per semester and have a GPA of at least 3.33 in their second year in order maintain their Regents or New Century scholarship. The bill cleared a Senate committee Wednesday and now advances to the Senate for further consideration.
http://goo.gl/JzmsT (OSE)

Bill to teach students leadership skills advances Education» SB122 would put $240,000 a year for three years toward grants to help schools establish student leadership programs.

Leadership training for kids in Utah schools could improve academics, behavior and children’s futures, said lawmakers who supported a bill Wednesday to implement such programs.
The Senate Education Committee unanimously approved SB122, which would put $240,000 a year for three years toward grants to help schools put student leadership programs in place. Up to 240 schools could receive $10,000 each — an amount they would then have to match as part of the pilot program. Schools serving low-income students or facing academic challenges would be given preference.
Bill sponsor Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, said schools that have adopted such programs, typically offered by various providers, have seen improved learning environments, student attitudes, enthusiasm and attendance.
http://goo.gl/IJ0Gt (SLT)

Gov. Herbert Gives Testimony to Congress

WASHINGTON — Governor Gary Herbert spoke on the Hill in front of the U.S. House Education and Workforce Committee on Wednesday. In his speech, Herbert highlighted three major initiatives that are helping to improve Utah.
The first initiative is called 66% by 2020, where he would like 66% of the state’s workforce to have received a post-secondary education by 2020. The second initiative is that Utah implements more STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education programs across the state. The third initiative is to expand their dual immersion education in languages like Spanish, French and Chinese.
Herbert concluded in his testimony by saying, “If states are to optimize alignment between our future educational outcomes and the labor demands of the market, it is essential that Congress now provide states maximum flexibility to implement programs and tailor solutions in the way we see fit.”
http://goo.gl/QaM69 (KKAT)

More schools offer reading, writing and arithmetic in two languages at once

A lot of local students will soon be learning second languages through the Dual Immersion Program which is coming to both the Logan and Cache County School Districts this next school year. The program is coming to four schools in the Cache County School District: Sunrise in Smithfield, Heritage in Nibley, North Park in North Logan and Providence Elementary.
Both Bridger and Hillcrest elementaries are offering the program in the Logan School District.
http://goo.gl/jkhDw (CVD)

Canyons School District investigating hazing incidents

After receiving reports of alleged hazing incidents regarding the Jordan High School wrestling team, the Canyons School District is in the midst of an ongoing investigation, according to Jennifer Toomer-Cook, director of communications for the Canyons School District.
Toomer-Cook said Canyons received the report late last week, adding the investigation began immediately.
http://goo.gl/mwM9h (SLT)

Magna Mother Accused Of Choking Daughter’s Rival

A Magna mother is in trouble after being accused of choking a rival of her daughter.
The case happened last year, but has taken police some time to sort through all the details. The incident started as a fight among a group of teenagers, then, according to charging documents, the mom of one of the girls decided to step in.
The fight broke out at the end of a football game at Cyprus high. Several teenagers in the fight turned their attention towards a 16-year-old girl.
http://goo.gl/fducA (KUTV)

Dads patrol schools to stop bullying

SANDY — A father is doing his part to stop bullying and secure his children’s school.
Jeff Jaramillo has helped Altara Elementary School in Sandy get involved with the national Watch DOGS (Dads of Great Students) program. He volunteers his time at the school reading and playing with kids, as well as recognizing their good behavior. The program aims to “engage men, inspire children, reduce bullying and enhance the educational environment” at schools.
Fathers, grandfathers, uncles and community members are invited to participate in the program at Altara Elementary School or their own schools.
http://goo.gl/kFUEc (KSL)

Single act of kindness effects change in Utah teen’s life

SALT LAKE CITY — All week, KSL News has been highlighting the serious problem of bullying in our schools and community.
We’ve received dozens of heartbreaking emails, but we also had one mother write to tell us about a simple act of kindness that had a huge impact on her son’s life.
Wendee Russon’s son Marcus loved playing sports, but his favorite high school memories involve his friends.
“They were really nice. They loved me,” he said.
Marcus is autistic, and his mother feared that would make him an easy target for bullies. In fact, there was one incident in gym class Wendee and Marcus remember distinctly.
“He pushed me over … he was being rough to me,” Marcus said, referring to a bullying classmate.
But then another student came to the rescue.
http://goo.gl/n0wO0 (KSL)

Utah Shakespeare Festival brings ‘Romeo and Juliet’ to schools, general public

With great power comes great responsibility.
Those words to live by don’t apply to Spider-Man alone.
Just ask those responsible for the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s annual Shakespeare-in-the-Schools tour.
The three-month, 14-week tour – which presents “Romeo & Juliet” to more than 25,000 students in Nevada, Utah and Arizona – began its 12-day College of Southern Nevada residency Monday after stops in, among other places, Logandale and Henderson.
More than 3,600 area high school students are scheduled to see a 75-minute version of “Romeo & Juliet” this week and next. (Discussions and workshops follow the school performances.) http://goo.gl/aEb4h (Las Vegas Review Journal)

High school senior gives back to special needs students

SPANISH FORK — It is not every day that you come across a senior in high school who has such a love for and devotes so much time to the special needs class at her high school. But Paige Stodtmeister, a senior at Spanish Fork High School, does just that.
She began peer tutoring with special needs students when she was attending Spanish Fork Junior High in ninth grade and still tutors each day at Spanish Fork High School. She developed a bond with the students and now heads The Youth Activity Group, which is made up of many of the special needs students.
“I wasn’t searching for a project when this all came about,” Stodtmeister said. “But these special people have needs and goals just like the rest of us, and I wanted to help them be able to fulfill those goals.”
Stodtmeister organized The Youth Activity Group on her own. Within this group she celebrates the other students’ birthdays, takes them to school activities such as sporting events and dances, and more than anything makes them feel special and included.
http://goo.gl/isx6s (PDH)

Sky View senior wins award for relationship essay in state contest

SMITHFIELD — A Sky View High School senior was named the winner of a statewide essay contest about healthy relationships.
Adele Schuman’s essay was slected from among dozens of entries in the contest sponsored by the Utah Department of Health Violence and Injury Prevention.
http://goo.gl/ofsvJ (LHJ)

Clinton students earn rewarding lunch with city, safety officials

CLINTON — As 30 important guests pulled into the parking lot of the Clinton Fire Department on Tuesday, firefighters and police officers announced their arrival with lights flashing and sirens blaring.
The elementary school-aged guests arrived in police cars, ambulances and fire trucks, all part of Clinton city’s monthly “Lunch with the Mayor and Chiefs” day.
“It was awesome,” said Breann Miles, a Parkside Elementary School third-grader, about her short ride from her school.
Even though her school is across the street from the fire station, she rode with three other students in a police car.
http://goo.gl/LdgQH (OSE)

Top-ranked Ranches Academy expands

EAGLE MOUNTAIN — An expansion to The Ranches Academy in Eagle Mountain is on track to be completed by April 15.
The $417,000 addition will add 3,800 square feet to the 26,700-square-foot school building, giving the school a cafeteria, warming kitchen, stage, additional rest rooms, teachers’ lounge and conference room in a multi-use setting.
http://goo.gl/9wrhh (PDH)

W. Jordan students honor teacher who died of cancer

WEST JORDAN, Utah – West Jordan Middle School students and faculty gathered on Wednesday to celebrate the life of a teacher who recently lost his battle with cancer.
Students say Bien Flores, a computer teacher at the middle school, was one of their favorite teachers.
“He was always there, he was always willing to help you out with anything,” said Kaylee Kilpatrick. “He was always happy and he always made us laugh. His laugh will stay with us forever because it was just so funny.”
Students wanted to create something showing their appreciation for Flores, so they wore purple, red and pink on Wednesday and created a giant heart that was photographed and given to his family.
http://goo.gl/Kv9U9 (KSTU)

Health and education kits to arrive in impoverished area of Mali, thanks to Utah partnership

A little-known region of Mali in northwestern Africa has been receiving help from both a Utah nonprofit group and a high school, and despite the news of violence and upheaval in the country, more help is expected to arrive unimpeded.
The help comes in the form of 8,700 health and education kits assembled by nearly 2,000 LDS missionaries on Thanksgiving Day at the LDS Provo Missionary Training Center.
http://goo.gl/lrPCl (DN)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Transparency and good governance
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner op-ed by Rep. Brad Wilson

The Dalai Lama once said that, “A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.” This is particularly true of governments. When information is withheld, it is very difficult to trust that the government is acting in our best interest.

The ability to efficiently package and share data via computers and the Internet has brought new meaning to the term “truth in taxation.” If you want to parse through a local government budget or the facts on a department’s rule making decision, the data is now available with a few clicks. There are several bills this year to add new facets to the ability for the public to gain data that will allow for more informed decision-making.
For instance, HJR 005 would provide the ability for citizens to monitor the state budget as it evolves during the legislative session. SB 128 provides for additional transparency into how education dollars are spent. It would require individual schools to break down their spending for specific programs, supplies and other expenses and post the data to the state’s transparency website.
http://goo.gl/LV5cU

Some Worthy Public Education Bills
Utah Policy and Utah Public Education.org commentary by Kim Burningham, Utah State Board of Education Member

Here are four education bills currently being considered by legislators. I think they are all positive and deserve your consideration and support. If you agree, it would be a useful thing to contact your legislator.
http://goo.gl/KwZ0U (UP)

http://goo.gl/5v1TT (UPE.org)

Where Uncle Sam can make a difference to education Deseret News commentary by columnist Mary McConnell

One of my small frustrations as a blogger is that I can’t link to books. One of the best books I’ve read on education reform is Carrots, Sticks and the Bully Pulpit: Lessons from a Half-Century of Federal Efforts to Improve America’s Schools (Harvard Education Press, 2011). AEI’s Rick Hess and Andrew Kelly edited this compilation of essays, and wrote an intriguing summary chapter. But again, I can’t link to a book.
So I was pleased to see that the same two authors have written a shorter summary of their arguments, timed to coincide with the onset of President Obama’s second term and another reform push by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
http://goo.gl/fjBQH

Teachers and legislators
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Lowell A. Nelson

In “Raises for legislators” (Forum, Feb. 4), Virginia Riley thinks Utah’s legislators make too much because their average weekday pay when the Legislature is in session far exceeds the average weekday pay of teachers.
As a former legislator, I have deep concerns for our teachers; two are in my family. Service in the Legislature is difficult. Due to the large amount of time they spend on the job, legislators have lost their full-time jobs and diminished their businesses.
It is unfair to divide the amount a member receives by the 33 legislative weekdays and compare that to teachers’ average weekday pay. Most of those days require legislators to work 12-14 hours, and their weekends are not free.
http://goo.gl/DRL2Y

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Families: Slain Newtown Educators Acted Bravely Associated Press

DANBURY, Conn. — As a little girl, Lauren Rousseau would create make-believe classrooms with dolls and a small blackboard. And when a gunman invaded Sandy Hook Elementary School, the substitute with a life-long dream of being a teacher died doing her best to keep the children calm.
She read to them, her father said.
Rousseau and the other five educators slain in the Dec. 14 massacre will be honored next week with the 2012 Presidential Citizens Medal, one of the nation’s highest civilian awards, for their efforts to protect the children of Sandy Hook.
President Barack Obama will present the awards in a White House ceremony on Feb. 15 to the families of Rousseau, principal Dawn Hochsprung, school psychologist Mary Sherlach and teachers Rachel D’Avino, Anne Marie Murphy and Victoria Soto.
http://goo.gl/254De

White House allies produce preschool-for-all plan Associated Press via Education Week

WASHINGTON — Days before President Barack Obama outlines his agenda for the coming year, a think tank with close ties to the White House is outlining a plan that would provide preschool for all children within five years.
The Center for American Progress proposal, released Thursday, provides a road map for how the Obama administration could move forward with pre-kindergarten programs for all 3- and 4-year-olds. For families with younger children, federal subsidies for child care would increase to an average $7,200 per child and the number of students in Early Head Start programs would double.
“We’re trying to ensure all children are ready to learn when they get to school,” said Neera Tanden, the president and CEO of the think tank and a former top policy official in the Obama administration. “Investing in early learning and pre-K is the best investment that we can make. The return on investment is significant.”
http://goo.gl/7cL6N

Bill requires all Idaho kids to read ‘Atlas Shrugged’
Spokane (WA) Spokesman-Review

BOISE – Coeur d’Alene Sen. John Goedde, chairman of the Idaho Senate’s Education Committee, introduced legislation Tuesday to require every Idaho high school student to read Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” and pass a test on it to graduate from high school.
When Sen. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, asked Goedde why he chose that particular book, Goedde said to laughter, “That book made my son a Republican.”
Goedde said he doesn’t plan to press forward with the bill, but it was formally introduced in his committee Tuesday on a voice vote. He said he was sending a message to the State Board of Education, because he’s unhappy with its recent move to repeal a rule requiring two online courses to graduate from high school, and with its decision to back off on another planned rule regarding principal evaluations.
“It was a shot over their bow just to let them know that there’s another way to adopt high school graduation requirements,” Goedde said after the meeting. “I don’t intend to schedule a hearing on it.”
http://goo.gl/WgC0m

Fairfax County parent wants ‘Beloved’ banned from school system Washington Post

The book Laura Murphy wants removed from Fairfax County classrooms is considered a modern American classic. It is a Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller and a masterpiece of fiction, whose author’s 1993 Nobel Prize in literature citation said she, “in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality.”
But Toni Morrison’s “Beloved,” Murphy said, depicts scenes of bestiality, gang rape and an infant’s gruesome murder, content she believes could be too intense for teenage readers.
“It’s not about the author or the awards,” said Murphy, a mother of four, whose eldest son had nightmares after reading “Beloved” for his senior year Advanced Placement English class. “It’s about the content.”
Murphy, who has challenged “Beloved” and has asked the county school system to ban it, is awaiting a ruling from the school board this week after a six-month appeals process, during which members of the school board have been reading the novel to assess it. She argues that the book’s critical acclaim should not grant it blanket acceptance in school classrooms.
http://goo.gl/UZsJR

Education committee gives a nod to cursive bill Associated Press via (Boise) Idaho Statesman

BOISE, IDAHO — A measure directing the State Board of Education to require cursive handwriting in Idaho schools is headed for a full House vote after unanimously passing the chamber’s Education Committee.
Bill sponsor Rep. Linden Bateman made an impassioned case for his resolution on Wednesday, citing tradition – and numerous handwritten letters supporting the legislation.
http://goo.gl/1Y4Bb

L.A. Unified misspent millions marked for school lunches At least eight California school districts misappropriated millions intended to pay for meals for low-income students, a state Senate watchdog group reports.
Los Angeles Times

The California Department of Education has ordered districts to repay more than $170 million in misused funds to their student meal programs, the California Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes said in a report issued Wednesday. L.A. Unified has been forced to pay back more than $158 million in misappropriations and unrelated charges that the district made over six years ending in 2011.
State officials suspect the alleged misuse of funds could be more widespread across California school districts.
In most cases, school systems attempted to use cafeteria funds to pay for personnel, utilities and other expenses.
http://goo.gl/OHscJ

Ola High students: Food fight penalty too stiff
(Atlanta) WGCL

HENRY COUNTY, GA – Several Henry County students were expelled Wednesday for the remainder of the school year for their involvement in a food fight. More suspensions could follow Thursday and Friday.
Students said the food fight in the cafeteria at Ola High School in McDonough was part of a senior prank. It happened during Career Day on Feb. 1.
At least three students named in the incident were expelled for the remainder of the school year during hearings that started on Wednesday.
The students and their parents said the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.
http://goo.gl/7TSM4

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

February 7:
Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8 a.m., State Capitol 445
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2013/html/00000653.htm

House Revenue and Taxation Committee meeting
2 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/HREV0207.ag.htm

House Education Committee meeting
4 p.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/HEDU0207.ag.htm

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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