Education News Roundup: Feb. 28, 2013

"Empty Classroom" by WzdsRule/CC/flickr

“Empty Classroom” by WzdsRule/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

Senate OKs parental sex ed bill.
http://goo.gl/1GzwU (SLT)
and http://goo.gl/eMGwf (DN)
and http://goo.gl/VWBAM (OSE)
and http://goo.gl/YdUqd (PDH)

Trib looks at Sen. Osmond’s new funding equalization bill.
http://goo.gl/zA27n (SLT)

ACT for all Utah students?
http://goo.gl/bpC5w (SLT)

Natalie Gochnour, Salt Lake Chamber executive vice president and chief economist, discusses STEM.
http://goo.gl/LI4fS (UP)

How much time do teachers spend on math and science instruction?
http://goo.gl/WwhsP (Ed Week)
or a copy of the report
http://goo.gl/wOmK7 (Horizon Research)

Are teachers ready for the Common Core?
http://goo.gl/W8d6w (Ed Week)
or a copy of the survey
http://goo.gl/994ap (Ed Week)
Is Alabama?
http://goo.gl/yzxJS (Birmingham News)

Anyone remember the digital divide?
http://goo.gl/HI8Yx (WaPo)
or a copy of the report
http://goo.gl/dPpJW (Pew Research Center)

What does legal pot portend — financially — for Colorado schools?
http://goo.gl/Qmjio (AP)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Sex ed training for Utah parents bill passes Senate

School funding bill could bump property taxes Education » Change in taxing aims to equalize funding between rich and poor areas of the state.

Utah Senate passes bill to test high school juniors for college readiness

Utah Senate OK’s bill banning child sex offenders from school boards

Suicide prevention programs may be coming to Utah schools Education » HB154 would fund state coordinators and require prevention sessions for junior high and high school students.

Anti-federal move marches through Utah House Politics » State sovereignty is a battle cry for many Utah lawmakers.

New West Valley City lawmaker calls education top issue Rep. Craig Hall replaces former lawmaker Neal Hendrickson in Utah’s House.

Response at hearing largely positive for Cache County School District’s latest bond proposal

Response at hearing largely positive for Cache County School District’s latest bond proposal

Logan district board discusses where voted levy funds would be spent

Jordan Education Foundation’s mini grants have a big impact Long-term planning » Projects have to be able to persist over several years.

Would-be Sterling Scholars showcase skills

New study shows teachers feel safe in schools, but not when it comes to gun violence

Utah teens facing new kind of Facebook bullying

Complaint charges inequality at Salt Lake schools

Ex-teacher admits sexually abusing 2 students in Pleasant Grove

Former Ogden swim coach’s sex abuse trial begins with objections

Parents gather to support Lone Peak’s McGeary

Provo Elementary school on lockdown

Community leaders celebrate Dr. Seuss Day by reading to students

BYU honors footballer who protected girl from bullies

Get Out and Walk for a Healthy Heart!

OPINION & COMMENTARY

The Utah village
SB53 supports government’s role

Impact of mentoring in education

Collaboration will Help Utah Become a STEM Top Ten Tech Center

Exec Approps & the Legislative Process

Some good education news from Florida

See? State retirement isn’t good for charters

4 Pinocchios for Arne Duncan’s false claim of ‘pink slips’ for teachers

Local school districts are new target of education reformers

Math, Science Instruction Probed in National Survey of Teachers

NATION

Teachers Say They Are Unprepared for Common Core

Bice asks Legislature to spare common core, critics call it a federal intrusion

Jeb Bush touts Florida’s education reforms as model for Texas Former Florida governor visits Texas Senate to bolster Sen. Dan Patrick’s policies for ‘choice.’

Sequester Spells Uncertainty For Many Public Schools

Survey finds gap in Internet access between rich, poor students

Teachers outnumbered in schools by administrators, support staff in many states, study shows

Idaho Legislature Considers Overhaul Of State’s Charter School Law

First Lady Announces Effort to Help Kids Exercise

Classroom Breakfast Policy Is Challenged

Van school worker shot during gun training class

Colo. Transgender Girl Can’t Use School Bathroom

Apple’s iTunes U surpasses 1 billion downloads as online education takes off

Posting Positives: Random Kindness group sparks students to compliment each other

Colorado Task Force Ponders How to Tax Legal Pot

Analysis: Mexico’s much-needed education reform faces hurdles

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UTAH NEWS
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Sex ed training for Utah parents bill passes Senate

A bill meant to help Utah parents teach their kids about sex is halfway through its journey to become law.
The Senate unanimously passed SB39 on Wednesday, meaning it now moves to the House for consideration. The bill would require the state school board to develop and offer optional online training to parents on how to educate their kids about sex. It would not change how sex education is taught in schools.
Bill sponsor Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, said the program would be a tool for parents. School districts would also have printed copies of the materials available for parents.
http://goo.gl/1GzwU (SLT)

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

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

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

School funding bill could bump property taxes Education » Change in taxing aims to equalize funding between rich and poor areas of the state.

A bill aimed at making school funding more equal across Utah earned committee approval Wednesday despite concerns that it could mean higher property taxes in most school districts.
SB81 seeks to address what many have said is an ongoing problem in Utah education: Some school districts aren’t able to spend as much money on students as others, despite higher local property tax rates, simply because they’re in poorer areas of the state. Utah schools are funded largely through income tax, which is already distributed equally per student across the state, but property taxes also make up part of the school funding pie.
The bill aims to help fix the disparity in property tax funding by essentially collecting more property tax revenue over time at the state level while potentially decreasing the amount collected at the district level.
SB81 would freeze a state property tax rate — known as the basic rate — that normally decreases as property values rise. That would mean more money collected by the state, and then equally distributed to schools, as property values rose over time. Meanwhile, school districts would be required to lower one of their local property tax rates by the same amount to keep taxpayers from paying more money overall.
School districts would, however, be allowed to hold truth-in-taxation hearings to keep their local property taxes steady if they felt the need.
http://goo.gl/zA27n (SLT)

Utah Senate passes bill to test high school juniors for college readiness

The Utah Senate passed a bill Wednesday that could mean ACT testing for all Utah high school students next school year.
SB175 would require schools to give a college readiness test, such as the ACT, to all high school juniors and could require schools to give other tests in earlier grades geared toward predicting success in higher education. The bill, which would cost the state $850,000, would also require schools to offer students access to an online program, to be selected by the State Office of Education, to help them prepare to take the readiness test.
http://goo.gl/bpC5w (SLT)

Utah Senate OK’s bill banning child sex offenders from school boards

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Senate has approved a bill that would bar anyone convicted of sexually abusing a child from serving on the State Board of Education or local school boards.
The Senate voted 19-5 to approve the measure on Thursday.
Democrat Rep. Carol Spackman Moss of Holladay sponsored the bill after a sex offender who spent five years in prison unsuccessfully ran for the Granite School Board last year.
http://goo.gl/0F8hj (OSE)

Suicide prevention programs may be coming to Utah schools Education » HB154 would fund state coordinators and require prevention sessions for junior high and high school students.

Following months of increased attention on teen suicide in Utah, a committee on Wednesday advanced a fourth bill addressing the issue.
HB154 would require school districts and charter schools to implement youth suicide prevention programs for junior high and high school students. It would also fund a suicide prevention coordinator at the State Office of Education and a state suicide prevention coordinator at the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. The bill would cost $250,000 a year.
http://goo.gl/jMA4D (SLT)

http://goo.gl/ex9rE (DN)

Anti-federal move marches through Utah House Politics » State sovereignty is a battle cry for many Utah lawmakers.

Utah lawmakers want to study the intricacies and economic impact of the state taking over and managing tens of millions of acres of public lands that it has demanded the federal government relinquish.
“Really we need to understand what is there,” said Rep. Roger Barrus, R-Centerville. “We’ll finally have an understanding of all the complexities and inter-relatedness of all of the public lands in Utah.”
The analysis Barrus wants performed in HB142 would cost $450,000 and, he said, serve to inform the discussion of how the state could manage the land currently in federal control.
http://goo.gl/p3STV (SLT)

http://goo.gl/GZdf1 (DN)

http://goo.gl/7LMuz (KUTV)

New West Valley City lawmaker calls education top issue Rep. Craig Hall replaces former lawmaker Neal Hendrickson in Utah’s House.

Rep. Craig Hall, R-West Valley City, is a freshman legislator who doesn’t like to sit quietly on the sidelines.
Hall said it’s his children and his love for the neighborhood that finally pushed him to announce he was running in December 2011.
“My priorities are making sure that we have a top-notch education system,” said Hall, who attended Utah State University and later went to law school at Baylor. “I’m personally invested in making sure that we have a great education system. All of my school-age children are in west-side public schools.”
Hall, currently raising his family in the same home he grew up in, sends his children to Robert Frost Elementary, where he also once attended.
http://goo.gl/bPBg7 (SLT)

Response at hearing largely positive for Cache County School District’s latest bond proposal

SMITHFIELD — The Cache County School District received largely positive response from members of the public when presenting the newest bond election proposal during an information meeting Wednesday night.
The meeting, which took place in the Sky View High School auditorium in Smithfield, was attended by more than 100 nearby residents.
http://goo.gl/TmkuB (LHJ)

Logan district board discusses where voted levy funds would be spent

Members of the Logan City Board of Education have received a draft of how voted levy funds would be distributed throughout the district if the proposal is approved in November.
http://goo.gl/LuHJo (LHJ)

Jordan Education Foundation’s mini grants have a big impact Long-term planning » Projects have to be able to persist over several years.

This year, through its mini-grant program, the Jordan Education Foundation raised almost $77, 000 for the district’s schools.
The money will be divided into a series of $500 grants for which teachers can apply. Any teacher or groups of teachers who are working full-time in the Jordan School District are eligible. Last year, 87 percent of applicants received funding. Steven Hall, the foundation’s director, explained that when the board and volunteers sat down to rank and score the applications, their only guidelines were that the projects be sustainable.
“If it’s consumable, we don’t fund it,” Hall said.
Hall, along with teachers on the ground, have noticed a distinct shift in school culture that they attribute to the influx of technology and funding in classrooms. After all, a large part of the program is rewarding ambitious teachers with cutting-edge technology.
http://goo.gl/5VwvE (SLT)

Would-be Sterling Scholars showcase skills

WOODS CROSS — Sarah-Jane Hansen has danced her way through life since she was in kindergarten.
But the Brighton High School student still gets nervous when she’s called on to showcase her talents.
Hansen, 18, performed in front of a Sterling Scholar Award panel Wednesday, hoping to stand out from her peers and take home first place in Utah’s premier scholarship competition.
The nerves, she says, hit her like a brick wall in the hours leading up to her performance.
“I was especially nervous this morning,” Hansen said. “But it’s been a great day because I also had a chance to (practice) dance at school. So I was able to just get into the moves and … remember how much I love it.”
Hansen was one of 195 students who gathered at Woods Cross High School on Wednesday as candidates for the 52nd annual Sterling Scholar Awards.
http://goo.gl/ZqVQk (DN)

New study shows teachers feel safe in schools, but not when it comes to gun violence

MURRAY, Utah – The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School killed 20 children and six faculty members and sparked the debate of how to keep schools safe for children. The safety of students is the number one priority of all educators, but what do teachers really think about how safe they are in school?
The School Improvement Network surveyed more than 10,000 teachers, administrators and school staff about how safe they feel in light of the recent school shootings. While 92% said they feel very safe, a third said they were worried about gun violence.
Tracy Rose, Principal Twin Peaks Elementary School in Murray, believes her staff feels safe at school. “I think that they feel pretty secure,” said Rose. “I think that they feel like barring a machine gun, or whatever brut force coming in, I think we’re tucked away in this little neighborhood.”
http://goo.gl/pQT76 (KTVX)

Utah teens facing new kind of Facebook bullying

SALT LAKE CITY – A new form of cyber bullying is on the rise as photos of teens with embarrassing or crude captions are making their way to Facebook for others to ridicule.
Utah-based meme pages, from the University of Utah and BYU to high schools, are showing up on Facebook, featuring celebrities or local students with humorous captions. Some are harmless, while others can be downright cruel.
http://goo.gl/r5plB (KSTU)

Complaint charges inequality at Salt Lake schools

A school board member’s complaint about inexperienced teachers at schools in Salt Lake City’s working-class neighborhoods is raising a debate about perceived inequalities in public education.
Board member Michael Clara filed the federal civil rights complaint this week against his own school district, where administrators responded with a statement scolding him for ignoring protocols. Clara said he tried to bring up a discussion but was shut down at board meetings.
http://goo.gl/V2ctB (CVD)

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

Ex-teacher admits sexually abusing 2 students in Pleasant Grove

PROVO — A former private school instructor and coach accused of having sexual relationships with two female students has pleaded guilty to reduced charges.
Broch Clyde DeGraff, 28, pleaded guilty to six counts of attempted forcible sexual abuse, which was amended from a second-degree felony to a third-degree felony, in 4th District Court Tuesday. The man was originally facing a total of 10 charges, including forcible sodomy, a first-degree felony, and three counts of forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony.
Those four charges were dismissed in exchange for DeGraff’s plea.
http://goo.gl/KdJK4 (DN)

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

Former Ogden swim coach’s sex abuse trial begins with objections

OGDEN — A 2nd District Court jury was treated to a rousing start Wednesday in the three-day trial of a former Ben Lomond High School swim coach accused of sexual relations with one of her swimmers.
The prosecution objected three times in the first two minutes of the opening arguments of the defense as Jamie Waite’s lawyer Randall Marshall opined, “The state doesn’t care about the truth. The state just wants a conviction.”
Deputy Weber County Attorney Teral Tree objected to Marshall’s disparagement. The judge sustained the objection.
http://goo.gl/9gNdx (OSE)

Parents gather to support Lone Peak’s McGeary

HIGHLAND — About three dozen people gathered Wednesday night to discuss how they might persuade the Alpine School District to reconsider its decision not to renew the coaching contract of head football coach Tony McGeary.
McGeary resigned his coaching position on Monday morning after principal Chip Koop told him last week that he would not renew his coaching contract next year.
“Coaching is an honor and a privilege and a thankless job,” McGeary wrote in a statement he sent to the Deseret News Wednesday. “It has been my life’s work and I love the boys and feel like Lone Peak football is about more than winning. … My decision to resign is because I did not want to cause any strain or hurt to the Lone Peak football program. I wanted to make sure our team, students and this program continues to be successful and to assure that Lone Peak students and team are not harmed.”
Parents who gathered at the home of Howard Hannemann said they were frustrated that a few parents could persuade the school that McGeary was in some way unethical or dishonest.
http://goo.gl/97lGR (DN)

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

http://goo.gl/sI9Dx (KTVX)

http://goo.gl/j9feB (KSTU)

Provo Elementary school on lockdown

Provo, Utah- Edgemont Elementary School is currently on lock down as a result of a bomb threat. Assistant Superintendent Greg Hudnell tells ABC 4 that the threat was called into Provo police 911 at 9:45am this morning. Police and fire responded to the school with bomb sniffing dogs. So far the three Dogs have not hinted on any type of bomb.
http://goo.gl/kw2Nh (KTVX)

http://goo.gl/xS64k (KSL)

Community leaders celebrate Dr. Seuss Day by reading to students

PAYSON — Students at Spring Lake Elementary School in Payson received some surprise visits from members of the Payson community to help them celebrate Dr. Seuss this week. On Monday, Tuesday and again Wednesday, Payson Mayor Rick Moore, city council members and city staff visited the school to read students their favorite Dr. Seuss book.
“We want students to know that reading is an important part of their schooling,” Moore said. “Maybe by seeing new people and having us read to the students they will see that reading is fun.”
Literacy is important to Moore, who implemented a mayor’s literacy initiative in 2011 and has held a variety of events, including a storytelling festival and silent auction.
http://goo.gl/d0fdz (PDH)

BYU honors footballer who protected girl from bullies

PROVO — An Arizona high school quarterback who protected a fellow student from bullies was in Provo Wednesday to be honored for his actions.
After witnessing Chy Johnson, a student with special needs, be bullied day after day, Carson Jones got the entire Queen Creek High School football team to rally behind the girl. Johnson’s brain works at a third-grade level due to a genetic birth defect, and fellow students regularly pushed her in the halls or threw trash at her.
“She’d come home crying, saying that she really didn’t have any friends, and that people were bullying her,” Jones said.
Liz Johnson, Chy’s mother, said she got nowhere with teachers and administrators, so she decided to turn to Jones, who once escorted Chy to the special Olympics. Johnson asked Jones to simply get her the names of some of the bullies. Instead, he asked Chy to sit with him every day at lunch.
http://goo.gl/pxPlo (KSL)

Get Out and Walk for a Healthy Heart!

Getting out of your office for a few minutes to go walking is a great heart healthy activity. Principal John Erlacher walks laps around the schoolyard with his students before lunch.
http://goo.gl/jSoK4 (KSTU)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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The Utah village
SB53 supports government’s role
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

It takes a village to raise a child.
— Attributed to paraphrasing of several African proverbs
As first lady back in 1996, Hillary Clinton wrote a best-selling book with the title It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us with the premise that the family alone cannot meet all the needs of a child, especially when the family lives in poverty.
The book, not surprisingly, was criticized by conservatives who saw it as propaganda for big-government liberalism. Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole said that same year: “… with all due respect, I am here to tell you, it does not take a village to raise a child. It takes a family to raise a child.” Former Sen. Rick Santorum in 2005 wrote a book titled, It Takes a Family: Conservatism and the Common Good.
But Clinton’s idea was nothing new. Her title was taken from ancient African proverbs that postulated in different words the same beliefs — that communities must be involved in providing for the needs of children.
Now, it seems, the Utah Legislature, one of the most conservative elected bodies in the country, is also seeing the truth in Clinton’s thesis, although it’s unlikely that legislators in the Beehive State would ever admit it. But they should be proud of lending support to legislation sponsored by Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, who has seen firsthand how dependence on welfare programs can ruin lives.
http://goo.gl/Kl5YI

Impact of mentoring in education
Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Pamela Atkinson, a community advocate and adviser to the governor

Every day in Utah, nearly 30,000 teachers strive to open the minds of their students to the power of education. Teachers yearn for that moment when the student is inspired, that moment when the light turns on in a child’s mind, when their countenance changes and they realize the full value of what they learned.
I have seen the power of education in my own life. Education, coupled with caring mentors, enabled me to break free from poverty and abuse and reach for my full potential.
http://goo.gl/Cbw0o

Collaboration will Help Utah Become a STEM Top Ten Tech Center Utah Policy commentary by Natalie Gochnour, Salt Lake Chamber executive vice president and chief economist

Collaboration breeds success in our hyper-connected, fast-paced and complex world. Many believe collaboration represents the next frontier of human productivity as technology combines with people skills to break down barriers, solve problems and improve efficiencies. For these and other reasons I am enthused about a recently signed memorandum of agreement between the Salt Lake Chamber – Utah’s largest business association – and the Utah Technology Council – Utah’s premier high tech and clean tech industry association. In the agreement, both entities commit to collaborate on common priorities such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning opportunities in Utah schools.
The Utah Technology Council (UTC) does amazing things in this state. Utah is home to 5,500 tech companies and technology jobs are growing at a clip more than twice the state average. Tech companies pay wages 65 percent higher than the status quo. Better yet, tech companies bring all sorts of interesting and talented people to our state. Look no further than the extraordinary Adobe building in Lehi. A diverse group of long-time Utah residents and newcomers work in this iconic structure, which serves as a symbol of Utah’s recent tech accomplishments. The UTC played a pivotal role in supporting the funding, workforce development and innovative spirit that attracted Adobe to expand in our state.
http://goo.gl/LI4fS

Exec Approps & the Legislative Process
Utah Senate Site commentary

Right now, the Utah Senate’s Executive Appropriations Committee is meeting for the first time this session.
Here’s a 77 second clip of Executive Appropriations Chair Lyle Hillyard talking about the who’s, what’s, and what next’s of the EAC:
http://goo.gl/2SNU9

Some good education news from Florida
Deseret News commentary by columnist Mary McConnell

From time to time I’ve highlighted states that have pursued education reforms especially aggressively. One of these states – and a state that Utah legislators have looked to as a model – is Florida.
Here’s a quick summary from The Washington Post:
http://goo.gl/eBpag

See? State retirement isn’t good for charters Commentary by Charter Solutions President Lincoln Fillmore

I’m so glad that charter schools have the choice of whether or not to participate in the Utah Retirement System (URS), the pension program for state employees.
Government employee pensions are going bankrupt across the country. Utah hasn’t been on that list because our system isn’t quite as upside down as Illinois or California, and because a few years ago, we took steps to reform the system.
But that doesn’t mean that Utah can meet its pension obligations, just that it won’t be unable to meet them as early as California.
http://goo.gl/acg9a

4 Pinocchios for Arne Duncan’s false claim of ‘pink slips’ for teachers Washington Post commentary by columnist Glenn Kessler

Duncan’s claim, on one of the Sunday morning shows, that teachers were already getting pink slips because of the looming sequester was actually the second time he had made this assertion.
“I was on a call yesterday, people are starting to give RIF [reduction in force] notes,” Duncan said in a meeting with reporters Feb. 21, three days before his appearance on CBS. “Schools are already starting to give teachers notices.”
Oddly, however, the Education Department for days was unable to cough up the name of a single school district where these notices had been delivered. Then, on Wednesday, Duncan appeared before the White House press corps and produced a name — Kanawha County in West Virginia — with a major league caveat. “Whether it’s all sequester-related, I don’t know,” he said.
http://goo.gl/Yf4TT

Local school districts are new target of education reformers Hechinger Report commentary by columnist Sarah Garland

The large amounts of outside money flowing into the Los Angeles Unified school board election represent a new front in the reform battles that have shaken up education politics over the last decade. Donations of $1 million by Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City and $250,000 by former District of Columbia Public Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee, in particular, have sparked controversy.
But the involvement of national school reform players in local district politics is a trend likely to accelerate now that would-be reformers have won major policy victories at the state and federal levels, experts and advocates say. Upcoming races in Denver and Newark, N.J., may be the next target for national groups like Rhee’s advocacy organization, StudentsFirst, and major donors like Bloomberg and his former school chancellor, Joel Klein, who has also contributed money to the Los Angeles race.
http://goo.gl/RQPjt

Math, Science Instruction Probed in National Survey of Teachers Education Week commentary by columnist Erik Robelen

Science is taught daily at just one in five classrooms at the K-3 level, new national data indicate, and less than half of all elementary teachers surveyed feel very well-prepared to teach it. By contrast, almost all elementary classrooms focus daily on mathematics. Even so, students get substantially less classroom time for math than reading/language arts.
Teachers, on average, spend 35 minutes more each day on reading than math at grades K-3, the survey results show. Math makes slight headway in grades 4-6, where it trails reading by 22 minutes. Combined over an entire school year, that’s a lot of minutes.
In fact, across a typical week, students spend more classroom time on reading than math and science combined, the data indicate.
These are just a few findings in a rich set of results from a nationally representative survey of nearly 7,800 math and science teachers, released this month. Conducted last year with support from the National Science Foundation, the report on math and science education provides a host of data on the background of teachers, curriculum and instruction, and the availability of instructional resources.
http://goo.gl/WwhsP

A copy of the report
http://goo.gl/wOmK7 (Horizon Research)

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Teachers Say They Are Unprepared for Common Core Education Week

Even as the Common Core State Standards are being put into practice across most of the country, nearly half of teachers feel unprepared to teach them, especially to disadvantaged students, according to a new survey.
The study by the EPE Research Center, an arm of Editorial Projects in Education, the publisher of Education Week, found deep wells of concern among teachers about their readiness to meet the challenges posed by the common core in English/language arts and mathematics.
“Teachers are under tremendous pressure,” said Lisa Dickinson, an assistant director of educational issues for the American Federation of Teachers, which conducts several common-core training programs in school districts each month. “The new standards do require a major shift in instruction. And the needed supports really aren’t there.”
Teachers in adopting states were asked to rate their preparedness on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being “very prepared” and 1 “not at all prepared.” When asked how prepared they were to teach the common core to their own students as a whole, 49 percent rated themselves a 1, 2, or 3.
http://goo.gl/W8d6w

A copy of the survey
http://goo.gl/994ap (Ed Week)

Bice asks Legislature to spare common core, critics call it a federal intrusion Birmingham (AL) News

MONTGOMERY, Alabama — State Superintendent Thomas Bice rebuffed the concerns of Republican legislators today, telling a joint House-Senate committee that he has complete confidence Alabama retains “total authority” over its academic standards.
“I ask that you embrace the work of Alabama educators and support them in what has been a three-year journey of improvement,” he said.
His comments come in response to identical House and Senate bills that would wrest control of the state’s curriculum standards from the state board of education and overrule the board’s 2010 adoption the Common Core State Standards for curriculum.
http://goo.gl/yzxJS

Jeb Bush touts Florida’s education reforms as model for Texas Former Florida governor visits Texas Senate to bolster Sen. Dan Patrick’s policies for ‘choice.’
Austin (TX) American-Statesman

Key Republican state leaders long ago bought into the brand of education reform that former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was selling during a quick trip through Austin this week.
Other Texas lawmakers, however, are not convinced Bush’s “school choice” reforms are worth emulation because they have not produced lasting results.
At the invitation of Senate Education Committee Chairman Dan Patrick, Bush visited the committee Wednesday and urged senators to aim for big and bold changes to public education rather than cautious tweaks. He delivered a similar message Tuesday night to an Austin gathering of top business executives.
“I’m so excited that you’re embarking on this bigger journey for reform,” Bush said, referring to Patrick’s policy proposals that include expanding charter schools, creating a private school scholarship program and using letter grades to rank entire schools.
http://goo.gl/ordem

Sequester Spells Uncertainty For Many Public Schools NPR All Things Considered

If Congress and the Obama administration can’t agree on a budget deal by Friday, the federal government will be forced to cut $85 billion from just about every federally funded program. Every state could lose federal aid, and a myriad of government programs could shut down or curtail services — and that includes the nation’s public schools.
There is one bit of good news for schools: Because most federal aid to schools is forward-funded, the cuts triggered by sequestration would not hit classrooms until September at the earliest. But once they do hit, federal funding for education in some places will drop considerably.
http://goo.gl/GwhUP

Survey finds gap in Internet access between rich, poor students Washington Post

Technology has become essential to middle school and high school learning, but a gap in access to the Internet between the rich and poor is leading to troubling disparities in education, according to a survey of teachers.
Students depend strongly on the Web to find information and complete their assignments. The vast majority of teachers say they also rely on sites such as Wikipedia and social media to find teaching resources and materials, connect with other teachers and interact with parents, according to a survey released Thursday by the Pew Research Center.
The findings come as educators debate the role of technology in classrooms, which pose great advantages for students to research and find information. But three-quarters of teachers surveyed also said Google and other search engines have conditioned students to expect to find information quickly and easily and discourage children from using a wide range of sources for research, according to the report.
But even as many schools race to adopt tablets, e-readers and cell phones for their course work, those technologies are more widely available to middle- and higher-income students and schools.
http://goo.gl/HI8Yx

A copy of the report
http://goo.gl/dPpJW (Pew Research Center)

Teachers outnumbered in schools by administrators, support staff in many states, study shows Washington Times

Each day, students in 21 states will see more librarians, bus drivers, coaches and cafeteria workers than teachers, according to a new study that examined school hiring patterns over the past two decades.
The report, released Thursday by the Friedman Foundation For Educational Choice, found that Virginia, Ohio, Oregon, Maine, Indiana and a number of states — and the District of Columbia — employ more non-classroom personnel than teachers, some by a wide margin.
http://goo.gl/BJX4O

A copy of the report
http://goo.gl/6YgJC

Idaho Legislature Considers Overhaul Of State’s Charter School Law (Boise, ID) KBSX

Idaho lawmakers are considering a re-write of the state’s charter school law. Thursday they’ll hear from the public.
Idaho was an early adopter of charter schools. Fifteen years ago, the state passed a law to allow the publicly funded, privately run schools to be created. Since then the only major change has been the formation of a commission to oversee charter schools. In recent years, though, Idaho has slipped from being one of the charter-friendliest states in the country to one of the least.
“We think that with what we’re trying to do. We’ll move up to somewhere in the top ten, and provide greater opportunities for charter students across Idaho,” says Alan Millar, head of the Idaho Charter School Network.
His group backs the overhaul of the law. The changes include allowing universities and nonprofits to authorize charter schools, something only school districts and the charter commission can do now. The bill also increases standards for charter performance and accountability and requires them to renew their charters periodically.
http://goo.gl/NbQSn

First Lady Announces Effort to Help Kids Exercise Associated Press

CHICAGO — Imagine students learning their ABCs while dancing, or memorizing multiplication tables while doing jumping jacks.
Some schools are using both methods of instruction, and Michelle Obama would like to see more of them use other creative ways to help students get the recommended hour of daily exercise.
In Chicago Thursday, the first lady announced a new public-private partnership to help schools do just that. “Let’s Move Active Schools” starts with a website, www.letsmoveschools.org, where school officials and others can sign up to get started.
http://goo.gl/hf8bD

Classroom Breakfast Policy Is Challenged Wall Street Journal

The push for free breakfast inside New York City classrooms has gained a powerful ally in U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who came to Manhattan Wednesday in support of a policy Mayor Michael Bloomberg has resisted.
Mr. Vilsack said he wasn’t criticizing Mr. Bloomberg but contended that forcing children to walk to the cafeteria for free breakfast marked them as poor and caused some students to skip the day’s first meal. The Bloomberg administration provides free breakfast at all schools but doesn’t require breakfast in the actual classroom, saying it contributes to obesity.
“There’s good rationale for having breakfast in the classroom to reduce the stigma,” Mr. Vilsack said in an interview before a forum on childhood hunger in Manhattan on Wednesday. “If you have breakfast in the cafeteria and only a limited number of students are utilizing that program, it creates some issues of sort of stigmatizing those youngsters.”
Free-breakfast advocates have begun pressing their case more urgently in recent years, as it becomes likely that Mr. Bloomberg’s successor will change the policy. Schools in Los Angeles, Newark and Maryland now offer breakfast in class.
http://goo.gl/kNfgy

Van school worker shot during gun training class Tyler (TX) Morning Telegraph

The Tyler Morning Telegraph has learned that a Van Independent School District employee accidentally was shot during a district-sponsored concealed handgun license class on Wednesday.
The class was part of an effort to permit teachers to carry firearms on VISD campuses.
Leslie Goode, a Van ISD school board member, confirmed that “there was an accident involving one of the employees today.”
Goode would not disclose the identity of the employee or the nature of the injury, but did say the accident would not change his mind about a recent decision by the board to arm some teachers.
http://goo.gl/6D5nO

http://goo.gl/l6JrG (Tyler, TX, KLTV)

Colo. Transgender Girl Can’t Use School Bathroom Associated Press

FOUNTAIN, Colo. — At first, Jeremy and Kathryn Mathis didn’t think much of their son’s behavior. Coy took his sister’s pink blanket, and shunned the car they gave him for Christmas.
Then, Coy told them he only wanted to wear girls’ clothes. At school, he became upset when his teacher insisted he line up with the boys. All the while, he was becoming depressed and withdrawn, telling his parents at one point he wanted to get “fixed” by doctors.
When the Mathises learned he had gender identity disorder – a condition in which someone identifies as the opposite gender – they decided to help Coy live as a girl. And suddenly, she came out of her shell.
“We could force her to be somebody she wasn’t, but it would end up being more damaging to her emotionally and to us because we would lose the relationship with her,” Kathryn Mathis said. “She was discussing things like surgery and things like that before and she’s not now, so obviously we’ve done something positive.”
Now, her family is locked in a legal battle with the school district in Fountain, a town 82 miles south of Denver, over where Coy, 6, should go to use the bathroom – the girls’ or, as school officials suggest, one in the teachers’ lounge or another in the nurse’s office. Her parents say using anything other than the girls’ bathroom could stigmatize her, and open her up to bullying.
http://goo.gl/Aj5el

Apple’s iTunes U surpasses 1 billion downloads as online education takes off San Jose (CA) Mercury-News

CUPERTINO — Apple announced Thursday that its iTunes U offering has surpassed 1 billion downloads, as online education becomes more accepted at schools in the United States and more popular worldwide.
iTunes U offers free educational content from colleges, libraries, museums and more that can help professors create materials for their courses, which can be offered to students using the same platform.
http://goo.gl/6oPqi

Posting Positives: Random Kindness group sparks students to compliment each other Terre Haute (IN) Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Kids love receiving positive feedback, and a group calling itself Special People Performing Random Acts of Kindness — SPPRAK for short — is helping them get plenty of it.
SPPRAK, a local not-for-profit, unveiled a new program Wednesday at Dixie Bee Elementary School that literally “notes” random acts of kindness by students, teachers and staff.
By placing sticky notes on a large banner, students at Dixie Bee Wednesday joined the “SPPRAK Pack” campaign. Similar banners and SPPRAK-provided sticky notes are expected to be in all 28 Vigo County schools within the next couple of weeks, SPPRAK officials said.
Each sticky note represented something kind a student at the school had done.
http://goo.gl/0rYlo

Colorado Task Force Ponders How to Tax Legal Pot Associated Press

DENVER — Pot smokers in Colorado were the biggest winners in the vote that legalized the drug. Now state regulators are working out the details of exactly how to tax it, so the benefits are shared statewide in the form of increased revenue.
A state panel meets Thursday to draft final recommendations based on the voter-approved marijuana legalization question that asked for excise taxes up to 15 percent to fund school construction.
Colorado lawmakers could set a lower tax, or they could add sales taxes beyond the current statewide 2.9 percent. Legislators could even create a special new “marijuana tax” for consumers, plus a series of required licensing fees for growers and sellers. Besides schools, the taxes must fund marijuana safety enforcement and drug education measures.
http://goo.gl/Qmjio

Analysis: Mexico’s much-needed education reform faces hurdles Reuters

MEXICO CITY – The biggest shake-up in decades of Mexico’s failing school system aims to tame a powerful teachers’ union, lift woefully poor standards and help boost economic growth.
The overhaul, if successful, will wrest oversight of teacher hiring and competency exams away from a powerful union, and make all promotions based on merit.
It would also help address some of the scams that are rife in Mexico’s public education system. Some teachers often skip class themselves, while final year students doing social service are sent in as substitutes for teachers who take jobs within the union and continue to receive their wages.
Teaching positions can be passed down through families even in the absence of qualifications, or are simply sold under the table or bartered for cars or other assets.
A new law, signed by President Enrique Pena Nieto on Monday, aims to clean up the mess and is one of a wider raft of economic reforms that he is seeking to push through.
http://goo.gl/p4HGT

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

February 28:
Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee meeting
8:08 a.m., 415 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/SGOP0228.ag.htm

Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee meeting
8 a.m., 250 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/SREV0228.ag.htm

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

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
5:10 p.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2013/html/00001476.htm

March 1:
Senate Education Committee meeting
8 a.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/SEDU0301.ag.htm

March 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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