Education News Roundup: Feb. 14, 2013

"There are many.." by Kate Ter Haar/CC/flickr

“There are many..” by Kate Ter Haar/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

Rep. Handy’s proposed changes to the state’s voted and board levy program advances.
http://goo.gl/ixit9 (DN)

Rep. Moss’s CPR bill also advances.
http://goo.gl/ieFme (DN)
and http://goo.gl/nKyIR (KCPW)

Weber State’s GEAR UP program focuses on getting more women and minorities in STEM programs.
http://goo.gl/NOxRv (OSE)

More details emerge on President Obama’s pre-K proposal.
http://goo.gl/IdsND
and http://goo.gl/GyynU (WSJ)
and http://goo.gl/w2i9F (AP)
and http://goo.gl/YBYiR (CSM)
and http://goo.gl/V8Ow1 (NPR All Things Considered) and http://goo.gl/hxxJ  (DN) or http://goo.gl/Jhv26 (White House)

What happens when schools move to cloud computing?
http://goo.gl/EfC9h (Ed Week)

Kansas legislature aims to prohibit common core.
http://goo.gl/J6elq (Topeka Capital Journal)

Latest study on Milwaukee school choice shows little difference between choice schools and public schools.
http://goo.gl/EUVEp (WUWM)
and http://goo.gl/ICxur (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel) and http://goo.gl/P8Gqm (Ed Week) or a copy of the report http://goo.gl/WIxlf

Nurses join teacher union.
http://goo.gl/nM0Di (NYT)

And if you’re a student, be careful who you’re hanging out with this Valentine’s Day. It could affect your GPA.
http://goo.gl/icWVZ (Scientific American) and http://goo.gl/rn9WC (Ed Week) or a copy of the paper http://goo.gl/rJ0Ak

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Bill allowing school districts to access leftover funds clears Senate committee

Bill to fund CPR education in schools narrowly advances

College may cost high-schoolers more

Women, minorities encouraged to pursue jobs in STEM fields

Cache parents upset over new schools proposed at opposite ends of valley

Copper Hills High says gay students can receive singing Valentines LGBT » Officials say “no same-sex delivery” notes were a “mistake” and “miscommunication” that was corrected after protests.

Syracuse High students enjoy a ‘blind date with a book’

Fitch Upgrades Canyons School District, UT’s Underlying GO Rating to ‘AAA’

Canyon Rim Academy makes tribute video for Sandy Hook

Columbine HS survivor writes book for Sandy Hook survivors

Murray educators, volunteers honored

Utah Art Teacher 2013 – Another Star on the map for Delta

New member takes seat on Cache County School Board

Elementary school drug ring
An eighth grader from Centennial Middle School was arrested for allegedly operating a drug trafficking ring using sixth graders from Franklin Elementary School.

WSU charter school taking applications for kindergarten

Public meeting set for new charter school in Ogden

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Sex ed for parents
Schools should stick to teaching kids

We all must pay

Gasping in vain

Crossing guard’s action as hearse passed touched reader

Pre-K Government
The feds are going to educate your toddler no matter the evidence.

Universal preschool raises bar for all

All schools can become A and B schools

Changing the Debate on Charter Schools

Stop Saying That

Teacher, leave them kids alone
Financial education has had disappointing results in the past

Year-Round Learning: Continuity in Education Across Settings and Time Through Expanded Learning Opportunities

NATION

Details Emerge on Obama’s Call to Extend Preschool

Districts Move to the Cloud to Power Up, Save Money Schools need to be aware of the reality that putting a student-information system in a cloud environment means the cloud provider has access to personal information about students

Bill would force Kansas to write new math, English standards

Report: Choice Schools Perform at Same Level as MPS

L.A. school board approves parent trigger at 24th St. Elementary Vote will allow parents to proceed with the first such effort to overhaul an L.A. campus. Board also approves purchase of tablets for L.A. students and a downtown charter school.

High school graduation proposals prompt warning

Seeking Growth, Nurses’ Union Links to Teachers’ Union

Ohio town Latest Focus of Religion Legal Debate

The Homeschool Twist
Districts experiment with partial homeschooling for gifted students.

Hanging with Smarties Ups GPA
High-school students whose friends get higher marks tend to raise their own grade point averages over time.

KCS plans Internet on school buses
District spending nearly $200,000 on bus upgrades

Guns in America: Keeping Schools Safe

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UTAH NEWS
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Bill allowing school districts to access leftover funds clears Senate committee

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill to help school districts more quickly and accurately receive the money appropriated to them was unanimously advanced Thursday by the Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee.
HB49, sponsored by Rep. Stephen Handy, R-Layton, makes amendments to the state’s voted and board levy program, which distributes supplemental funding to school districts whose property tax revenues fall short of a state-guaranteed minimum.
Because of a timing mechanism in statute related to the voted and board levy distributions, there is often an “appropriations orphan” left on the books that should be, but is unable to be, distributed to school districts, Handy said. These leftover money total between $20 million and $30 million, which remains in account at the Utah State Office of Education, he said.
http://goo.gl/ixit  (DN)

Bill to fund CPR education in schools narrowly advances

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill to ensure students receive instruction on CPR and other lifesaving emergency procedures split the House Education Committee on Wednesday, drawing discussion on the proper role of government and the earmarking of funds.
HB307 ultimately passed the committee by a single vote, 7-6. The bill calls for $200,000 of the state education budget to be set aside for CPR and lifesaving training, and mandates that such training be a component of the state’s health education curriculum.
http://goo.gl/ieFme (DN)

http://goo.gl/nKyIR (KCPW)

College may cost high-schoolers more

SALT LAKE CITY — Students earning college credits while attending high school will pay more for those credits if a legislative measure that passed the Senate becomes law.
SB 162, sponsored by Sen. Stephen Urquhart, R-St. George, will shift some of the costs of concurrent enrollment classes to high school students. Urquhart said the costs for the classes have become greater and high school students need to help defray some of those costs.
http://goo.gl/bsiDN (OSE)

Women, minorities encouraged to pursue jobs in STEM fields

OGDEN — Area high school students on Wednesday got some hands-on experience with science at Weber State University.
The students used ordinary objects and toys to sample scientific principles and learn about static electricity, basic structural engineering, near-perpetual motion, and how looking through clear lenses can alter the view. The students were there as part of a GEAR UP activity, aimed at motivating low-income students to graduate from high school and prepare for college.
Another goal of the gathering was to promote study in STEM fields, which are science, technology, engineering and math. Sharing insights on the topic was Mona Humphries Bailey, a Seattle science educator and administrator, and a former national president of Delta Sigma Theta, a sorority that supports black women in achieving academic excellence.
http://goo.gl/NOxRv (OSE)

Cache parents upset over new schools proposed at opposite ends of valley

NORTH LOGAN — Parents in the Cache Valley School District are concerned over a proposal that would put a middle school and a high school on opposite ends of the community, separated by the Logan City School District in the middle.
The parents say the current proposal would not only split up the community, but create a long commute and put more teens on the area’s busiest roads. The school district said high schools are at at least 93-percent capacity and need relief, though.
http://goo.gl/TRktn (KSL)

Copper Hills High says gay students can receive singing Valentines LGBT » Officials say “no same-sex delivery” notes were a “mistake” and “miscommunication” that was corrected after protests.

Copper Hills High will allow “Singing Valentines” to same-sex students on Thursday.
Students were handed fliers last week about the school’s annual choir fundraiser —in which students make a donation and choir students in turn deliver songs to other students — with these words on it: “Sorry, no same-sex delivery.”
Students and others sent protests to the school administration about the statement that seemed to single out gay students and was interpreted by some as bullying.
The flier seemed all the more curious since the school recently started a new gay-straight student alliance.
But it depends on who you talk to about whether it was an issue or not.
http://goo.gl/YEgLo (SLT)

Syracuse High students enjoy a ‘blind date with a book’

SYRACUSE — Students at Syracuse High School are risking blind dates this month in hopes of finding their true love — that is, a book they truly love.
The Titan Library Advisory Board, a volunteer group of 11 students, came up with the idea to offer blind dates with a book through the school’s library.
“I thought it would be unique and something that everyone would enjoy for a Valentine’s Day theme. Even if you’re single, or if you have someone, you can have fun with it,” said Paige Eaton, 17, co-president of the board.
Teacher Librarian Cathleen Edwards selected books she thought would appeal to a broad range of students, wrapped them in brown paper, and added a heart with a few ribbons for decoration. She created a template description to provide potential readers with a vague understanding of the type of book within the wrapping.
http://goo.gl/4Eiuu (OSE)

Fitch Upgrades Canyons School District, UT’s Underlying GO Rating to ‘AAA’

SAN FRANCISCO — Fitch Ratings has upgraded the underlying rating for the following Canyons School District Board of Education (the district), Utah general obligation (GO) bonds:
–$134 million series 2011 and 2012 to ‘AAA’ from ‘AA+’.
The Rating Outlook is revised to Stable from Positive.
http://goo.gl/xOck9 (Business Wire)

http://goo.gl/TcauS (Reuters)

Canyon Rim Academy makes tribute video for Sandy Hook

SALT LAKE CITY – Canyon Rim Academy students made a tribute video for Sandy Hook Elementary School students after the shooting tragedy there in December. The video’s message is “Circle the Earth with Peace.” In the video CRA 1st graders explain what peace means to them http://goo.gl/OB7uI (KTVX)

Columbine HS survivor writes book for Sandy Hook survivors

AMERICAN FORK, Utah – A Columbine High School survivor who now lives in Utah is writing a book to help Sandy Hook shooting survivors cope.
Amber Huntington-Wright says she cried as she wrote the 24 page children’s book called It Gets Better. It’s her very personal journey of heartbreak and healing.
http://goo.gl/Lqqy8 (KTVX)

Murray educators, volunteers honored

MURRAY — The Murray Education Foundation has announced six recipients of the 10th annual Pinnacle Awards, a recognition that honors outstanding efforts of excellence in education in the Murray School District.
The award recipients are: Cal Beck, Parkside Elementary third-grade teacher; Jill Burnside, Liberty Elementary literacy specialist; Karen Emery, McMillan Elementary third-grade teacher; Jennifer Mackay, Riverview Junior High math and science teacher; Kathy Chappell, Murray High School financial secretary; and Carol Flannery, volunteer at Viewmont Elementary.
http://goo.gl/WHbyL (DN)

Utah Art Teacher 2013 – Another Star on the map for Delta

Delta High School’s art teacher, Craig Hansen, has been named Utah Art Teacher of the Year for 2013 by the Springville Museum of Art, in conjunction with BYU’s David O. McKay Department of Education.
http://goo.gl/1AcOq (Millard County Chronicle Progress)

New member takes seat on Cache County School Board

As the newest member on the Cache County School District Board of Education, Kathy Christiansen brings not only 25 years of teaching experience but also a passion for the arts.
She represents Smithfield District #6 where she has spent most of her life.
http://goo.gl/pUKOI (LHJ)

Elementary school drug ring
An eighth grader from Centennial Middle School was arrested for allegedly operating a drug trafficking ring using sixth graders from Franklin Elementary School.

The 14-year-old suspect would meet the elementary children in front of Franklin Elementary School and give them enough money to buy drugs from an unknown location. The children would then bring the drugs back to the eighth grader who would sell them to others.
“The eighth grader wanted to buy dope but he didn’t want to get caught so he went to Franklin Elementary School because he thought if the sixth graders got caught the police wouldn’t be as harsh on the sixth graders,” Lt. Siufanua, public information officer for the Provo Police said. “He would pay them by getting them high. It was very disconcerting to us because drug houses are filled with shady people and weapons and are no place for a sixth grader to go into.”
The kids were buying, selling and using marijuana and spice.
http://goo.gl/nevFi (Universe)

WSU charter school taking applications for kindergarten

OGDEN — Weber State University is accepting applications for 2013-14 year kindergartners to attend WSU’s Charter Academy.
The charter school will open in the McKay Education Building, next to the Melba S. Lehner Children’s School. WSU Charter Academy in its first year will be limited to kindergartners. The school will focus on educating children as a whole, using developmentally appropriate and research-supported curriculum and instruction, organizers have said.
http://goo.gl/6wXIa (OSE)

Public meeting set for new charter school in Ogden

OGDEN — A new charter school, tentatively called GreenWood Academy, is planned to serve area K-6 students.
Organizers will hold a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday to adopt bylaws and purchasing policies and procedures.
The meeting will be at the offices of Red Apple Finance, 1920 W. 250 North, Suite 17.
http://goo.gl/c8Mqw (OSE)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Sex ed for parents
Schools should stick to teaching kids
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

Many Utah legislators rightly believe that probably the first, and certainly the most important, explanation children get about human sexuality should come from their parents. So it’s understandable that some of them may see it as a duty of government to help mom and dad take the initiative.
But putting an obligation to educate parents on the backs of Utah’s already burdened educators and education officials with no financial backing is unrealistic and unfair.
http://goo.gl/nFB7Z

We all must pay
Salt Lake Tribune letter from M. Donald Thomas

In “More kids, pay less” (Forum, Feb. 10), Kelly Francis criticizes the Utah personal-exemption tax credit that “dictates that the more children you have, the less you pay to educate them.”
Public education is a public good that we all support. Education is similar to all public services: police, fire 9-1-1 and public health. Support from all of us (whether or not we use the services) creates a better society for all of us. The child that we all educate may someday be the one that saves a Francis Kelly’s diabetes.
The shopworn refrain that we should pay for public education based on the number of children in a family is totally illogical and irresponsible.
http://goo.gl/s4LZK

Gasping in vain
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Rosemary Baron

Bills before this year’s Utah Legislature include speed zones, bullying, school boards, seat belts, tuition waivers, organ donation, clock resetting — all important, but our governor and legislators have missed the big boat.
As thousands are literally gasping for air, our elected officials fail to address critical legislation for a clean-air policy that would have the most effect on the greatest number of citizens.
I foolishly thought we elected officials to take on the big issues that would have lasting, positive effect on us.
But for 35 years, another big issue — public education — has received only a Band Aid approach. So why would I ever think that something of the magnitude of clean air would inspire passage of meaningful legislation?
http://goo.gl/GMkkC

Crossing guard’s action as hearse passed touched reader
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Scott R. Andersen

Sometimes in this life of only seeing the bad in this world, it is nice to give a compliment for the good. Not all things have to be large to make a difference in life, or even our days. They can be as small as the actions of a crossing guard at 12th Street and Grammercy Ave. who waves a greeting and a thank you to the cars as they slow down to honor the 20 miles-per-hour speed limit there.
In a hustle and bustle, late-for-work world, it can be an annoyance to have to slow down. Don’t get me wrong, I do honor and understand the need to slow down for the safety of our children, but nevertheless, it would help if I happened to pass by there before the lights are signaling for me to slow my speed. But not here! I enjoy my small moment of “feel good” as I see this unknown crossing guard waving the “thank you” to as many cars as he can. His sincerity is felt and his love and care for the children is displayed.
http://goo.gl/YMx0F

Pre-K Government
The feds are going to educate your toddler no matter the evidence.
Wall Street Journal editorial

President Obama and his technocrats like to claim they’re guided by “the science,” but then what to make of his State of the Union call for taxpayer-funded preschool for “every child in America”?
A threshold cost-benefit question: If the regular public schools aren’t working—the President also proposed a new program “to redesign America’s high schools so they better equip graduates for the demands of a high-tech economy”—does it make sense to layer on another defective education level, except earlier in life? But never mind.
Mr. Obama claimed that “study after study” showed every dollar of pre-Kindergarten “investment” saves seven dollars later on, through better student performance, graduation rates and the like. Keep this man away from a stock portfolio, let alone the social sciences. In December, Mr. Obama’s own Health and Human Services Department released an evaluation of Head Start, the 47-year-old program for low-income toddlers, and concluded that any cognitive gains disappeared by the third grade. HHS had sat on the legally mandated study for more than a year.
Most other academic studies have also found early educational intervention “fade out” and that these programs rarely achieve what they promise.
http://goo.gl/N2CdV

Universal preschool raises bar for all
Politico op-ed by NEERA TANDEN, president of the Center for American Progress

Consider some of the toughest long-term challenges we face today — growing inequality, parents struggling to balance work and family — and an education system in which too many children are falling behind before they even start school. Though these challenges seem daunting, there’s one policy that addresses all of them: universal high-quality preschool. That’s why, though other issues may get more attention, President Barack Obama’s proposal in the State of the Union and his speech Thursday at a Georgia pre-K center are game changers.
Scores of studies demonstrate that early education can have an enormous impact on a child’s cognitive and emotional development, dramatically improving school readiness and academic achievement. And high-quality preschool is a key reason why Finland now scores at the top in international student assessments.
But the benefits of preschool extend well beyond test scores. Research shows that an at-risk child who doesn’t receive high-quality early childhood intervention is 25 percent more likely to drop out of school; 40 percent more likely to become a teen parent; 50 percent more likely to be placed in special education; 60 percent more likely not to attend college; and 70 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime.
http://goo.gl/WsXJy

All schools can become A and B schools
Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch op-ed by JEB BUSH AND JOHN PODESTA (Jeb Bush was governor of Florida from 1999-2007 and is chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education. John Podesta is chair and counselor of the Center for American Progress.)

How do you know how your child is doing in school? He brings home his report card and there you find the unvarnished truth. Biology: A. History: C. Geometry: D (!)
He understands. You understand. And the admissions department at the University of Virginia will understand.
Advertisement
Corrective action is taken immediately to raise the D to a B and the C to an A.
That is the simple power and beauty of the A-F grading system. Everybody gets it with no explanation required. That is why we use it to grade everything from NFL drafts to 30-year bonds.
It also is why using it to grade schools has proven so effective. Every parent wants an A school. No school district can allow an F school to fester.
http://goo.gl/eLnQw

Changing the Debate on Charter Schools
Education Week op-ed by Meghan Carton, a master’s candidate at Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute

As charter schools have dominated public discussion on education in the past several years, the debate at times has appeared to be between charter schools for the whole country or no charter schools at all. This black-and-white take on charter schools (and many other programs) does a disservice to the complex, multifaceted problems that face our education system. Trying to frame the research that has emerged about charter schools as completely positive or completely negative misses the nuanced approach that most research attempts to take. The problem with charter schools lies not in the research, but in the structure of the argument itself. The argument should instead be about where and when charter schools can make a positive difference.
There needs to be a national shift in the way we examine, address, and resolve issues on education. We need to understand that there is a difference between rural and urban, between poor and rich, between blue-ribbon and turnaround. And, most important, we need to emphasize that within these differences, states and schools must maximize opportunities to provide equitable educations for their students. Instead of wasting time debating whether charter schools should be launched across the entire country, we should instead be examining how to use them well and which communities would benefit from them most.
Not all areas are right for charter schools. Research has shown that charter schools can be successful, particularly in low-income or historically low-performing areas. A number of factors must be considered in identifying where, when, and how the role of charter schools should be expanded.
http://goo.gl/QWAEd

Stop Saying That
Form for Education and Democracy commentary by George Wood, executive director

When the governor of my state announced his plan for a new school funding formula, he said, “this is not about teachers, this is about the students.” I wish he, and others, would quit saying that.
We hear this refrain almost every time there is an announcement about school reform or funding. It is meant to send a message: teachers do not care about kids.
I had hoped that after Newtown, with teachers selflessly giving their lives for their students, the ‘teachers don’t care’ mantra would stop. Wrong again.
But here is the deal: this type of rhetoric is not only unhelpful, it is just plain wrong.
http://goo.gl/3yDQ2

Teacher, leave them kids alone
Financial education has had disappointing results in the past The Economist commentary

HERE is a test. Suppose you had $100 in a savings account that paid an interest rate of 2% a year. If you leave the money in the account, how much would you have accumulated after five years: more than $102, exactly $102, or less than $102?
This test might seem a little simple for readers of The Economist. But a survey found that only half of Americans aged over 50 gave the correct answer. If so many people are mathematically challenged, it is hardly surprising that they struggle to deal with the small print of mortgage and insurance contracts.
The solution seems obvious: provide more financial education. The British government just added financial literacy to the national school curriculum, to general acclaim. But is it possible to teach people to be more financially savvy? A survey by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland (see sources below) reported that: “Unfortunately, we do not find conclusive evidence that, in general, financial education programmes do lead to greater financial knowledge and ultimately to better financial behaviour.”
This is especially the case when children are taught the subject at school, often well before they have to deal with the issues personally.
http://goo.gl/B0EIz

Year-Round Learning: Continuity in Education Across Settings and Time Through Expanded Learning Opportunities Harvard Family Research Project analysis by Erin Harris, Ashley Wallace

Year-round learning is one of the most promising approaches to addressing the full range of youth’s educational needs. In this approach, community-based initiatives connect school, afterschool, and summer learning to ensure that educational opportunities reinforce and build upon each other across settings, are seamless throughout the year, and address a broad and diverse set of needs.
In Year-Round Learning: Continuity in Education Across Settings and Time Through Expanded Learning, the third brief in our series with the National Conference of State Legislatures, we explore four benefits of year-round learning. In particular, continuity across time and settings allows:
* Shared resources among educational partners,
* Family and youth engagement in learning,
* Prevention of summer learning loss, and
* Coordinated systems to track and use data.
This brief provides examples of year-round learning programs along with the following recommendations for policymakers looking for ways to increase youth engagement in learning.
http://goo.gl/lJl5N

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Details Emerge on Obama’s Call to Extend Preschool New York Times

President Obama’s call in his State of the Union address to “make high-quality preschool available to every single child in America” rallied advocates across the country who have long argued that inequity in education begins at a very young age.
In details that emerged early Thursday, the administration proposed that the federal government work with states to provide preschool for every 4-year-old from low- and moderate-income families. The president’s plan also calls for expanding Early Head Start, the federal program designed to prepare children from low-income families for school, to broaden quality childcare for infants and toddlers.
While supporters herald the plans as a way to help level the playing field for children who do not have the advantages of daily bedtime stories, music lessons and counting games at home, critics argue that federal money could be squandered on ineffective programs.
http://goo.gl/IdsND

http://goo.gl/GyynU (WSJ)

http://goo.gl/w2i9F (AP)

http://goo.gl/YBYiR (CSM)

http://goo.gl/V8Ow1 (NPR All Things Considered)

http://goo.gl/hxxJ  (DN)

http://goo.gl/Jhv26 (White House)

Districts Move to the Cloud to Power Up, Save Money Schools need to be aware of the reality that putting a student-information system in a cloud environment means the cloud provider has access to personal information about students Education Week

Over the past several months, Lachlan Tidmarsh has presided over the first phase of using Google’s cloud-based education apps in schools and central administrative offices in the Chicago school system. The 400,000-student district expects to save $6 million over the next three years by switching to Google’s free, cloud-based email services.
But Tidmarsh, the district’s chief information officer, says he is more impressed with Google’s reliability than its low cost point. “It’s Google. Google doesn’t go down,” Tidmarsh says, then adding, “Famous last words, right?”
The Chicago system is one of many districts around the country that are opting to use cloud-based computing services to improve the performance of their technologies and to save significant amounts of money. Cloud computing typically refers to software or a service that is accessible online and stored off-site. Rather than having a software program that has to be physically downloaded to every computer, and takes up space on a computer’s hard drive or on a CD, users can simply dial in and access the program online.
http://goo.gl/EfC9h

Bill would force Kansas to write new math, English standards Topeka (KS) Capital-Journal

A bill in the House Committee on Education would force the Kansas State Department of Education to scrap and replace newly adopted mathematics and English standards and develop tests to match them — something the department says would cost millions of dollars.
The bill targets the Common Core math and English curriculum standards adopted in 2010. The standards aren’t federal but are being implemented in nearly all states.
Under current law, the Kansas State Board of Education decides matters pertaining to curriculum. However, House Bill 2289 would add a clause specifically prohibiting the Common Core standards. It would bar districts, the state board and the Kansas State Department of Education from spending any money on Common Core.
Deputy education commissioner Brad Neuenswander briefed the Kansas State Board of Education on the bill Wednesday, saying it would cost millions of dollars.
http://goo.gl/J6elq

Report: Choice Schools Perform at Same Level as MPS (Milwaukee, WI) WUWM

A new report says Milwaukee’s taxpayer-funded voucher school students are similar in exam outcomes and demographic make-up compared with their public school counterparts.
The Milwaukee-based nonpartisan Public Policy Forum’s data compares the state’s districts with the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program as a whole.
Research director Anneliese Dickman says though MPCP has existed for more than two decades, this is only the second year student performance measures can be compared. As a result, it is difficult to read any trends.
That said, she says performance levels are comparable – and actually, a little lower – to those at MPS schools.
http://goo.gl/EUVEp

http://goo.gl/ICxur (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

http://goo.gl/P8Gqm (Ed Week)

A copy of the report
http://goo.gl/WIxlf

L.A. school board approves parent trigger at 24th St. Elementary Vote will allow parents to proceed with the first such effort to overhaul an L.A. campus. Board also approves purchase of tablets for L.A. students and a downtown charter school.
Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles Board of Education approved the first use of the controversial parent trigger law in the city Tuesday, clearing the way for sweeping changes at 24th Street Elementary School in the West Adams neighborhood.
The board also moved to purchase tablet computers for 31,000 students in the first phase of an ambitious effort to improve technology in schools. And the board approved the first charter for a group of downtown Los Angeles parents seeking to open a new campus for their children in the growing neighborhood.
Parents at 24th Street Elementary are the first to use the trigger law, which allows parents to petition to overhaul a campus with new staff and curriculum, close the campus or convert it to an independent, publicly financed charter.
http://goo.gl/YiIM5

High school graduation proposals prompt warning Austin (TX) American-Statesman

A surge of bills seeking to loosen high school graduation requirements could end up leaving many Texas students ill-prepared for college and life beyond high school, state Higher Education Commissioner Raymund Paredes warned Wednesday.
Under some of the proposed changes, students could graduate from high school without a solid academic foundation, Paredes warned. He specifically urged legislators not to roll back certain science and math requirements.
“We need to work out differences of opinion about appropriate levels of rigor, and I think we will,” Paredes said in an interview.
Support has swelled for several bills that would reduce required courses and give high school students more flexibility in choosing a course of study. Industry and trade groups, in particular, are pushing for changes to graduation requirements allowing students not bound for college to pursue more career-related training in high school.
http://goo.gl/pAa7j

Seeking Growth, Nurses’ Union Links to Teachers’ Union New York Times

One of the nation’s largest nurses’ unions — the National Federation of Nurses — plans to announce on Thursday that it will affiliate with the far larger American Federation of Teachers.
Barbara Crane, the president of the nurses’ federation, said her group’s national board voted to join forces with the teachers’ union to give the nurses more political clout and money to try to unionize more nurses.
“We were not going to be able to achieve some of our goals unless we found a partner,” said Ms. Crane, whose union represents 34,000 nurses in Montana, Ohio, Oregon and Washington. “We wanted a professional union that believes in growth through organizing.”
Competition has been growing among various labor groups wanting to expand the unionization of the nation’s three million nurses, including the Service Employees International Union, which represents 90,000 nurses, and National Nurses United, a union that represents only nurses, 185,000 of them.
Officials with National Nurses United asserted that it would have been smarter for the nurses’ federation to join an all-nurses union instead of a union dominated by teachers.
But the National Federation of Nurses decided, effectively, to merge with the teachers union after considering and then rejecting affiliation with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Office and Professional Employees International Union.
http://goo.gl/nM0Di

Ohio town Latest Focus of Religion Legal Debate Associated Press

JACKSON, Ohio — Since just after World War II, a portrait of Jesus has hung in a Jackson City Schools building, attracting little discussion and no controversy that anyone seems to recall.
But that changed recently after a complaint, and this small city in mostly rural Appalachian Ohio has now found itself as the latest battleground in a national debate over what displays of religion are constitutional.
Facing a federal lawsuit charging that the middle school portrait illegally promotes religion in a public school, school officials dug in their heels Tuesday night at a board meeting. They declared that the portrait belongs to the Christian-based student club that presented it in 1947 and is part of a “limited public forum” in which other student groups can hang portraits of “inspirational figures central to the club’s meaning and purpose.” Taking it down would censor students’ private speech, it said.
http://goo.gl/tjULA

http://goo.gl/31piJ (Columbus Dispatch)

The Homeschool Twist
Districts experiment with partial homeschooling for gifted students.
Scholastic Administr@tor

Gifted children are the fastest-growing group to leave traditional institutions for homeschooling, according to Kathi Kearney of the Gifted Development Center. In many cases, she says, school districts can’t afford the resources necessary to meet these students’ highly individualized needs.
Rather than losing these children altogether, some districts have become more flexible, allowing for partial homeschooling. The students attend school for part of the day and then learn at home or at a tutoring center or other approved site for the rest of the day.
http://goo.gl/Zduvk

Hanging with Smarties Ups GPA
High-school students whose friends get higher marks tend to raise their own grade point averages over time.
Scientific American

Schools are well-known reservoirs of contagion where students share all sorts of communicable conditions: coughs, colds, flu, you name it. But germs aren’t the only things kids can catch from their friends. If they’re lucky, they could come down with a 4.0. Because a new study shows that high-schoolers whose friends get higher marks tend to raise their own grade point averages over time. The findings are in the journal PLOS One. [Deanna Blansky et al., Spread of Academic Success in a High School Social Network]
That our social circles influence us is not news. For example, studies have shown that the fatter your friends, the more likely you’re also overweight.
In the grade point study, researchers took to the classroom to see whether academic achievement might be as contagious as obesity. They asked 158 eleventh-graders to go down a class roster and point out their pals. Then they checked everyone’s report cards at the time of the survey, and again a year later.
The researchers found that those students whose friends were outshining them academically tended to improve their grades over the year. Whereas those who were hanging out with academic underachievers let their grades slide. So, go ahead. Befriend a brainiac. You might just learn something.
http://goo.gl/icWVZ

http://goo.gl/rn9WC (Ed Week)

A copy of the paper
http://goo.gl/rJ0Ak

KCS plans Internet on school buses
District spending nearly $200,000 on bus upgrades Kokomo (IN) Tribune

Kokomo-Center Schools will install wireless Internet on all of its 65 buses by the end of this year — perhaps making it the first district in the state to do so, officials said.
The Internet access is part of nearly $200,000 in transportation upgrades planned. Those plans also call for a GPS tracking system in all buses.
http://goo.gl/U8wQw

Guns in America: Keeping Schools Safe
Fox News Radio

Since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, discussions have been taking place across the country over how to best keep our schools safe.
http://goo.gl/ylj28

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

February 14:
Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2013/html/00001027.htm

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

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

Senate Education Committee meeting
2:10 p.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/SEDU0214.ag.htm

House Revenue and Taxation Committee meeting
2 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/HREV0214.ag.htm

Senate Health and Human Services Committee meeting
2 p.m., 250 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/SHHS0214.ag.htm

House Education Committee meeting
4 p.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/HEDU0214.ag.htm

Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee meeting
4 p.m., 250 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/SJLC0214.ag.htm

February 15:
Retirement and Independent Entities Appropriations Committee meeting
Noon, 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2013/html/00000094.htm

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