Education News Roundup: March 4, 2013

"20111013-OC-UNK-0005" by USDAgov/CC/flickr

“Courtsey Photo by Arlington Public Schools”
USDAgov/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

Whither cohesive public education policy in the legislature?
http://goo.gl/PUzBd (DN)

Should classroom-level student data be available to everyone?
http://goo.gl/WdKF9 (SLT)

Standard looks at the costs of the federal land fight.
http://goo.gl/kfDHe (OSE)

Sen. Osmond’s preschool bill comes up for a hearing today.
http://goo.gl/XQuMN (SLT)

GED program will be changing.
http://goo.gl/fR6ha (KSL)

Standardized tests move to center stage in Seattle and L.A.
http://goo.gl/jXRXq (Reuters)
and http://goo.gl/D4iM0 (LAT)

Is it a cool new database or an invasion of student privacy?
http://goo.gl/3BBRm (Reuters)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Creating a legislative vision for education: Do Utah lawmakers’ bills advance overall goals?

Should Utah parents get to see teacher performance data?
Education » The Senate Education Committee backs an approach that would make data about classroom test scores widely available.

Utah lawmakers split over whether fight for federal lands worth costs

Utah preschool advocates show support before upcoming debate Education » SB71 would strengthen high quality preschool programs for at-risk children in Utah.

House committee supports bill calling for innovative charter schools

Bill to require college readiness testing Utah considers making juniors take admissions tests

Teen suicide, bullying notification bill advances to Utah Senate

Sex education training bill gets committee approval

Utah lawmaker wants parents to know which teachers are packing guns

Lawmakers won’t shift liquor sales to education

Utah’s budget, arts programs and concealed carry

Getting a GED? Hurry before changes hit, educators advise

Utah teens garner $30,000 for green projects Education » National competition encourages students to learn about the environment and take action to improve it.

Eco-friendly fashion show kicks off Salt Lake City’s anti-bullying campaign Prevention » Upcoming activities will spotlight local solutions to prevent bullying.

Youth compete in Utah Regional Braille Challenge Education » Utah winners may be invited to national competition.

Students with disabilities dance the night away at Best Buddies Ball

Reality Town event teaches Ogden students life on a budget

Study finds girls are math equals

Evangelist Nick Vujicic Takes Anti-Bullying Message to Utah Schools

Salt Lake City school board member’s complaint stirs controversy

Ex-coach guilty of sex with underage swimmer

Catholic School Staff Members Suspended For Drinking On Campus During School Hours

PETA mounts Got Zits? ad campaign near Utah schools PETA » Group links acne to consumption of dairy products.

Penny war declared between Davis institutions

Spanish Fork students raise money for homeless shelter

Students honor Dr. Seuss with school assemblies

Davis School District celebrates district-wide read-a-thon

Kiwanis donates e-books to Weber schools

Income disparity limits access to technology at school

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Guns in schools
Bill would protect parents’ rights

School plan imperfect but deserves yes vote

Up against reality

Thumbs up, thumbs down

Are school boards too insulated?

“Backpack” Budgeting: a way to reduce inequity in Utah’s schools?

Federal Lands and Funding Public Education

Teaching tutorial

Bullying hurts for a lifetime

Stop bullying by watching for warning signs

Capitalists for Preschool

Make Way for Transgender High School
‘Gender identity’ trumps any squeamishness girls might feel about sharing bathrooms with boys.

New Guide Offered to Help Schools Gauge Internet Needs

NATION

Teacher standoff stokes debate over standardized tests

K-12 student database jazzes tech startups, spooks parents

Teaching 2.0: Is Tech In The Classroom Worth The Cost?

Keeping an Eye on Online Test-Takers

Pentagon to Furlough Teachers, Cut Commissary Time

Education Secretary Arne Duncan says he misspoke concerning pink slips

Teacher-Evaluation Plans Bedevil Waiver States

Conservative groups lend support to withdrawing Georgia from national school standards

Financial Ed and the Common Core

State of the union: Teachers union grapples with change even as it remains a political powerhouse

Boy, who family says was bullied, dies

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UTAH NEWS
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Creating a legislative vision for education: Do Utah lawmakers’ bills advance overall goals?

SALT LAKE CITY — During a break in action on Capitol Hill recently Senate President Wayne Niederhauser described the frustration he’s felt over the past six years as a state lawmaker.
The Sandy Republican said that too often he is presented with a bill and tasked with voting “yea” or “nay” despite having little or no context on how the policy would contribute to a larger state plan.
“I would like to have, and I think a lot of the other members of our body would like to have, an idea of where we’re headed,” he said. “That way we can focus on bills and policy that get us to that target.”
His statement was similar to one made at the start of the Legislative session by the Utah Democratic Party on the subject of public education in the state. Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City and Utah Democratic Party chairman, described the state of education as “catastrophic” and said Democrats were more than willing to work with their colleagues in the majority party if there was some consensus on what they should be working toward.
“Give us a vision, that’s what we’re asking,” Dabakis said. “We’re ready to march.”
http://goo.gl/PUzBd (DN)

Should Utah parents get to see teacher performance data?
Education » The Senate Education Committee backs an approach that would make data about classroom test scores widely available.

Lawmakers wrestled with two education bills Friday advocating different answers to the same question: Should the public be allowed to view how individual teachers’ students perform?
The Senate Education Committee decided yes.
Members voted 4-3 in favor of SB133, which clarifies that school performance reports should include such data for public examination online. The average growth scores of a teacher’s students, which are based on state tests, would be available beginning next school year.
The idea is to help parents and the public see how individual teachers perform compared with others. Individual student data would still be private.
http://goo.gl/WdKF9 (SLT)

Utah lawmakers split over whether fight for federal lands worth costs

SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, calls it a fight the state needs to make.
Others say a looming struggle with the federal government over federal lands within the Beehive State is the only big solution for public funding of education. But to others, it is a silly effort that will cost the state millions to fight in court.
The showdown may be years down the road, but state lawmakers continue to put the pieces in place to mount the challenge.
http://goo.gl/kfDHe (OSE)

Utah preschool advocates show support before upcoming debate Education » SB71 would strengthen high quality preschool programs for at-risk children in Utah.

Parent, teacher and business groups support it, as do at least two Republican lawmakers.
Now, the question is whether the rest of the Utah Legislature will give a thumbs up to a bill to create a preschool program for at-risk kids in Utah.
The Senate may weigh in Monday afternoon when the bill, SB71, hits the floor for the first time.
Leaders of the Utah Education Association, Utah PTA, the United Way Salt Lake and Prosperity 2020, a business-led initiative to boost education, joined Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, and Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper, on Monday morning to show their support for SB71.
http://goo.gl/XQuMN (SLT)

House committee supports bill calling for innovative charter schools

SALT LAKE CITY — The House Education Committee showed support for new, innovative charter schools on Friday, passing HB344.
The bill requires the State Charter School Board to request applications to establish innovative charter schools, such as a military charter school, a charter school for students at risk of academic failure, and a charter school focused on career and technical education.
http://goo.gl/aCU25 (DN)

Bill to require college readiness testing Utah considers making juniors take admissions tests

SALT LAKE CITY — Sleeping in on Saturdays. Saving some cash. And hopefully, scoring higher on college admissions tests.
Those are among the perks for some Utah students who take exams like the ACT as part of their high school graduation requirements. For the second year, Utah lawmakers are considering a bill that would require all juniors at Utah high schools to take similar tests.
Last year, the measure died in the session’s final moments when lawmakers ran out of time, said Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper.
“Hopefully we’ve learned our lesson and this will get high priority” this year, Stephenson said.
The ACT or a similar exam, lawmakers say, would replace the state’s outdated standardized tests and better prepare students for college and working. The bill would also require schools to pay for online preparatory courses. But some worry that the measure does not set aside enough cash to pay for those online courses.
http://goo.gl/K362z (SGS)

Teen suicide, bullying notification bill advances to Utah Senate

Parents might soon be notified if their children are being bullied or threatening suicide if a bill advancing through the Legislature becomes law.
The House passed HB134 by 66-1 on Friday, meaning it will now move to the Senate for consideration. The bill would require schools to notify parents if their kids are involved in bullying or threatening suicide. It would also require schools to keep records of such parent notifications.
The bill follows several high profile cases of Utah kids committing suicide that have inspired a renewed focus on the issue. HB134 is one of nearly half a dozen bills addressing youth bullying and suicide this session.
http://goo.gl/znpxg (SLT)

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

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

Sex education training bill gets committee approval

SALT LAKE CITY — A sex education bill supported by Planned Parenthood, the Utah PTA, Utah Eagle Forum and the Sutherland Institute passed in the House Education Committee on Friday.
SB39 requires that the State Board of Education provide an online curriculum for parents on health and sexual education and notify parents that the information is available.
http://goo.gl/p1f0w (DN)

Utah lawmaker wants parents to know which teachers are packing guns

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah legislator alarmed over a gun lobby’s call for armed teachers says parents should know when their children’s teacher is packing.
Rep. Carol Spackman Moss has introduced a measure to require armed teachers to notify a principal that they’re packing. Parents could check with the principal on whether their children’s teacher is armed and request a different classroom if they don’t like it.
http://goo.gl/5oCnH (OSE)

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

http://goo.gl/y4gku (CVD)

http://goo.gl/e9sKN (SGS)

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

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

Lawmakers won’t shift liquor sales to education

SALT LAKE CITY — State lawmakers voted down a proposal to shift future profits from liquor sales to education, citing concerns the state shouldn’t be in the business of encouraging drinking — even if it profits education.
An initiative proposed by Rep. Jim Bird, R-West Jordan, would have diverted up to $7 million from liquor sales profits to education in 2014 and $14 million in 2015. The bill, HB 240, was defeated Thursday in the House on a vote of 24-47.
http://goo.gl/LkzLN (OSE)

Utah’s budget, arts programs and concealed carry

In this Sunday Edition: a nation sequestered. We’ll take a closer look at what that could mean for Utah’s economy. Plus, arts education funding in jeopardy. Why educators believe an innovative program is effective and are trying to persuade the legislature to continue funding for it. And, right to carry. See how easy it is to get a concealed carry permit in Utah.
http://goo.gl/5J69h (KSL)

Getting a GED? Hurry before changes hit, educators advise

SALT LAKE CITY — Educators in Utah are warning adults trying to get their GED equivalency to hurry. The tests are going to change dramatically beginning next year.
For now, people getting their GED have to take a battery of five tests. Starting in January of next year, applicants will only have to take four tests, but they will be more difficult.
http://goo.gl/fR6ha (KSL)

Utah teens garner $30,000 for green projects Education » National competition encourages students to learn about the environment and take action to improve it.

These teens could one day help solve the pollution woes and other environmental issues confronting Utah.
Three student projects from Olympus Junior High in Holladay recently won $30,000 and the chance to earn an even larger prize as part of the national Lexus Eco Challenge, which inspires youngsters to learn about the environment and take action to improve it. The challenge will award a total of $500,000 in grants and scholarships.
The Geothermal Awareness Team won $10,000 for researching and educating the community about geothermal energy.
http://goo.gl/DbBOh (SLT)

Eco-friendly fashion show kicks off Salt Lake City’s anti-bullying campaign Prevention » Upcoming activities will spotlight local solutions to prevent bullying.

An hour before the start of the “Every Body’s Different” Spring Fashion Show, runway coach Barbara Fegely was giving last-minute suggestions to the many first-time models.
“Just walk natural, this is not high fashion; it’s about the clothes,” said Fegely, a former Manhattan sportswear model who helped organize the unique eco-fashion event.
The fashion show, along with a musical performance set for Saturday, is expected to raise more than $5,000 for nonprofit groups focused on preventing bullying and suicide.
http://goo.gl/WQjvh (SLT)

Youth compete in Utah Regional Braille Challenge Education » Utah winners may be invited to national competition.

More than 40 Utah youth participated Friday in the Utah Regional Braille Challenge, which selected seven overall winners who may continue to national competition.
The challenge invites children ages 6 to 18 to compete in five categories, requiring them to transcribe, type and read braille using a Perkins Braille Writer. The categories test reading comprehension, braille spelling, chart and graph reading, proofreading and braille speed and accuracy.
After regional results are tallied, some Utah winners may be selected to advance to The Braille Challenge, the only national academic competition for blind students in the United States, held in June in California. Utah has had several students qualify and be invited in past years.
Utah’s level winners were:
http://goo.gl/KpYXy (SLT)

Students with disabilities dance the night away at Best Buddies Ball

LEHI, Utah – Over 200students with disabilities danced the night away at the annual Best Buddies Ball in Lehi.
The event was held at the XANGO Headquarters on 2889 W. Ashton Boulevard.
Best Buddies Utah plans the event each year with XANGO. The organization aims to provide friendship and support for people with disabilities by pairing adults with special needs students.
Best Buddies Utah serves 11 high schools and 4 universities across the Wasatch Front from Logan to Provo.
http://goo.gl/XCPH5 (KTVX)

Reality Town event teaches Ogden students life on a budget

OGDEN — Ricardo Marquez signed up for a basic phone and cable plan this week, not entirely sure he still could afford to support a family and make payments on a modest home on his photographer’s annual salary of $26,000.
“I think I’ll be OK,” said Ricardo, 14 and participating Thursday in a Reality Town event at Mount Ogden Junior High School. “I’ve still got $115 a month to spend, so that should be plenty.”
Reality Town is a program to help teens understand the financial realities of adult life, and to plan and prepare accordingly.
http://goo.gl/UB1Fb (OSE)

Study finds girls are math equals

Put away the stereotypes that girls are not good in math.
A recently published Brigham Young University study debunks that myth, proving that girls are equal to, or even better than, their male counterparts, after an initial period. They tested students in third, fourth and sixth grades.
http://goo.gl/BBIQH (PDH)

http://goo.gl/HXW9L (KUTV)

Evangelist Nick Vujicic Takes Anti-Bullying Message to Utah Schools

“Limbless evangelist” Nick Vujicic will kick off his national anti-bullying and suicide prevention campaign this week with junior high, middle school and high school students in Utah. Vujicic, who recently welcomed his first child, will also share a faith-oriented message during three special events facilitated by Standing Together and a coalition of 66 local evangelical churches.
http://goo.gl/V5J0h (Christian Post)

Salt Lake City school board member’s complaint stirs controversy

SALT LAKE CITY — Is Salt Lake City’s east side better than the west side?
A school board member says it is when it comes to elementary school teachers, and he has filed a federal complaint because he says the board and superintendent are shirking the discussion.
Michael Clara said there are too many inexperienced and ineffective teachers at west side elementary schools, due to attrition.
http://goo.gl/Cf7S6 (DN)

Ex-coach guilty of sex with underage swimmer

OGDEN — A jury Friday deliberated just under 90 minutes before finding a former Ben Lomond High School swim coach guilty of a 3-month sexual entanglement with one of her swimmers.
Jamie Waite, 37, will be sentenced on April 2 on four counts of forcible sexual abuse by 2nd District Judge Scott Hadley. She faces a possible prison term.
http://goo.gl/IY6CU (OSE)

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

http://goo.gl/Xj1EO (KUTV)

Catholic School Staff Members Suspended For Drinking On Campus During School Hours

Several members of the faculty and staff at a Catholic school in Tooele have been suspended for drinking while on the job.
In a statement, Catholic Schools Superintendent Sr. Catherine Kamphaus said Monday that the Catholic Schools Office of the Diocese of Salt Lake City received information regarding an incident involved parish and school personnel at Saint Marguerite School in Tooele.
The statement said that the alleged misconduct involved the personal consumption of alcohol on school grounds by several faculty and staff members while school was in session.
http://goo.gl/7jVTR (KUTV)

PETA mounts Got Zits? ad campaign near Utah schools PETA » Group links acne to consumption of dairy products.

A new billboard campaign coming soon to Salt Lake City will feature a young woman with blemishes and the now iconic milk mustache.
“Got Zits?” the sign asks in large letters.
Sponsored by the worldwide animal-rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the new advertising push aims to get teens to “ditch dairy” — not only to help clear their skin but also to ease the suffering of cows and their offspring.
http://goo.gl/c4bI1 (SLT)

Penny war declared between Davis institutions

FARMINGTON — Bring it!
A penny war has been declared between cross-street rivals the Davis School District and heavy underdog Davis County government offices, all in the name of raising funds in support of the American Cancer Society.
And to the victor — in this case the winning agency — will go the spoils, which in addition to bragging rights, will include a guided tour of the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City.
The district declared the penny war on the Davis County government agencies to educate students and raise awareness of the incidence of cancer within the county.
http://goo.gl/9rpOG (OSE)

Spanish Fork students raise money for homeless shelter

SPANISH FORK — It was a night and early morning full of fun activities for junior high and high school students in the Nebo School District.
Students came together with Tabitha’s Way, a thrift store and food pantry, to help raise money for a homeless shelter that will eventually be built in the south valley. By attending the event, Homeless for One Night, students agreed to walk continuously, relay-style, throughout the night Friday and into this morning.
http://goo.gl/64x3l (PDH)

Students honor Dr. Seuss with school assemblies

KEARNS — Hundreds of elementary students were heard rhyming in unison this Friday as they participated in Dr. Seuss Day, part of the National Education Association’s Read Across America initiative.
Organized by United Way of Salt Lake, volunteers from J.C. Penney read with students at Oquirrh Hills Elementary School and participated in a number of other activities, including a school-wide assembly and a number of engaging educational games. Some volunteers have even tapped into the spirit of the event and came dressed in Dr. Seuss-themed outfits, including a full Cat In The Hat costume.
http://goo.gl/ju9xY (DN)

Davis School District celebrates district-wide read-a-thon

CLINTON — With students reading nearly 4.2 million pages a year ago, Davis School District basked in the success of the district-wide read-a-thon.
So much so, that the district planned a celebration again this year for students, parents, district employees, even community members, to join in the reading event. And this year, the event held Friday also happened to coincide with Dr. Seuss Day.
http://goo.gl/EV1HX (OSE)

Kiwanis donates e-books to Weber schools

HARRISVILLE — The North Ogden Kiwanis Club has been donating books to elementary students in Weber County for years. This year no different, except the donations went high-tech.
Six schools, with the help of the Kiwanis members and the Weber School Foundation, will receive e-books downloaded to their school’s iPads.
The Kiwanis Club donated $3,000 toward the books, and the Weber School Foundation added $2,000. The idea came from Majestic Elementary second-grade teacher Becky Strebel, who has worked for several years with the club to pick out the donated books.
http://goo.gl/4kqCd (OSE)

Income disparity limits access to technology at school

Teachers across the nation say they are increasingly relying on digital technologies like laptops, tablets and cellphones in middle and high school classrooms, but they note a “striking” disparity in access to the latest technology between affluent and disadvantaged schools, according to a new survey conducted by Kristen Purcell from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project.
Ninety two percent of the 2,462 teachers surveyed say the internet has a major impact on their ability to access content, resources and material for their teaching. Laptops, tablets and cellphones are used by students and teachers to look up information, take pictures for assignments and for text messaging in class as part of an assignment.
http://goo.gl/PN4sF (DN)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Guns in schools
Bill would protect parents’ rights
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

Most Utah legislators are great champions of parental rights: the right to teach your children about sex or, indeed, hold school in your home; the right to decide what medical treatment your children will receive; the right to at least be notified when your child wants an abortion.
But a bill being written by Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay, will test lawmakers’ commitment to protecting parents’ rights to decide what is an appropriate — and safe — environment for their children. It boldly pits the revered right to carry firearms against the mostly sacrosanct right of parents to make decisions about their children.
Moss says her pending legislation would allow parents to find out whether a gun is present in their children’s classrooms. And, if a teacher does carry a weapon or keep one in the room, they rightly could request their children be placed in another classroom.
It is a sensible and necessary way to accommodate the various beliefs parents have about guns.
http://goo.gl/EnWJn

School plan imperfect but deserves yes vote
(Logan) Herald Journal editorial

Kudos to the Cache County School District for coming up with increasingly workable proposals for future school configuration.
http://goo.gl/pTsfe

Up against reality
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

HB318, a bill that died in committee the other day, would have capped class sizes in kindergarten at 20 students starting next school year; first-grade classes to 22 students the next year; second-grade classes to 22 the year after that; and third-grade classes to 24 starting in the 2016-2017 school year. It was an excellent idea, since Utah teachers in the early grades are struggling to teach basic reading and math skills to 30 or 40 children in a class. But the bill had a fatal flaw: It would have provided no new funding for the change. Shrinking early-grade classes would mean severe cuts in other areas or much larger classes in higher grades, despite the sponsor’s belief that districts already have money for class-size reduction. Money now designated for class-size reduction is used, as it must be, just to keep schools operating as enrollments increase by many thousands every year. Shifting money from one pot to another doesn’t solve the root problem: insufficient education funding. That should be the Legislature’s focus.
http://goo.gl/IHpak

Thumbs up, thumbs down
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

Thumbs up: To Ogden’s GOAL Foundation, which tries to help local youth succeed in life. GOAL has plans to extend its impact in the community by reaching more schools in the Ogden and Weber school districts.
http://goo.gl/TiUUc

Are school boards too insulated?
Deseret News commentary by columnist John Florez

Sometimes the cover up is worse than the problem. School boards often appear to avoid dealing with serious policy matters.
At Salt Lake school district meeting last week, board members were listening to a presentation by their staff regarding the district’s Student Achievement Plan. One of the presenters noted a correlation between student achievement and teacher effectiveness, which prompted newly-elected board member, Michael Clara, to ask why schools in the west side area he represents have a disproportionate number of “ineffective” teachers. The presenter replied that it was, “One of our big problems with our distribution system for teachers, is that we have a lot of new teachers in west side schools every single year … ” She went on to point out that the west side students may not be “ … with the most effective teachers … we need to do something to turn around that very pattern that you can see … as a district, I really hope we have the will and resources to carry this process forward.”
Later in the discussion, the cover up seemed to start.
http://goo.gl/jvQfD

“Backpack” Budgeting: a way to reduce inequity in Utah’s schools?
Deseret News commentary by columnist Mary McConnell

From time to time I’ve hosted guest bloggers (and I’m very willing to host more.) Today I am posting an article from Lisa Snell, who is the director of education and child welfare at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank with a strong libertarian bent. And let me note again that I am not myself a libertarian, although I share a tendency to think that market competition often promotes better outcomes.
So here’s her take on an issue now before the Utah legislature.
http://goo.gl/a9Gpn

Federal Lands and Funding Public Education Utah Policy commentary by Utah State Board of Education Member Kim Burningham

Utah’s land (and consequently much potential revenue production) is wrapped up in large sections federally owned. For years, many observers have argued that our ability to fund education and meet other state financial needs would be greatly enhanced if those lands were not locked up.
My experience convinces me the issue is used by many for political posturing. The Apple Initiative, popular for many years, argued that federal legislation could be passed to resolve the issue. Progress in the avenue appears highly unlikely and has proved futile. Now, some policymakers are recommending that legal avenues be used to force federal reimbursement for available land.
The issue is highly important and deserves examination.
http://goo.gl/99cp4

Teaching tutorial
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Bob Halloran

I recently began a post-retirement career as a substitute teacher. I did this partly because I have been married to a schoolteacher for 32 years and felt I needed to see what a typical day in a public school was like.
I filled in for a fourth-grade teacher with a class of 28 kids. After only one day on the job, I was the one in the classroom who was educated the most.
During my career with a local arson and bomb squad unit, I found myself in some pretty stressful situations, but nothing compares to the stress teachers must face each day. There are a lot of pretty good kids out there who want to learn, but they get held back by a few bad apples.
I am now absolutely convinced that teachers are underpaid, underappreciated and overworked!
http://goo.gl/VtPsc

http://goo.gl/83YTF (DN)

Bullying hurts for a lifetime
(Provo) Daily Herald letter from Chandler Higley

My name is Chandler Higley and I am working on a scout merit badge.
I want to talk to you about how I think that kids should not be bullied at school. Because you hear principals say that “school is a safe place” and all that. But bullying really makes kids not believe that and it gives them no desire to go to school and learn because their afraid that they’ll get picked on and have no where to go to or someone to talk to. I’ve heard teachers say,”What do you want me to do about it?” I just want bullying to stop!
http://goo.gl/PR21T

Stop bullying by watching for warning signs (St. George) Spectrum letter from M. Evans

There is being a lot said about bullying in the schools. This is a serious problem. Poor little Joey is being bullied at school, so he must get counseling. Why is little Joey allowed to be bullied so many times that he needs counseling? Surely there are signs that something is amiss — withdrawn, stays in room, may be mean to siblings. With 200 or 300 kids in school, someone knows this is happening.
Then there is big bad bully Billy. Billy is the person we should be concerned about. Why is he doing this unacceptable act? Is he an abused child? Maybe he needs counseling. Bullying is not a normal way to act. Also it is illegal (assault and battery). Bad Billy should be in jail.
http://goo.gl/CIZX6

Capitalists for Preschool
New York Times op-ed by JOHN E. PEPPER Jr. and JAMES M. ZIMMERMAN (John E. Pepper Jr. is a former chairman and chief executive of Procter & Gamble and a former chairman of the Walt Disney Company. James M. Zimmerman is a former chairman and chief executive of Macy’s.)

IN his State of the Union address, President Obama called for making preschool available to every 4-year-old in America, opening a welcome discussion on whether and how to make the investments needed to realize this vision.
As two longtime corporate executives who have been engaged in education for decades, we have no doubt about the answer to this question. Children who attend high-quality preschool do much better when they arrive in kindergarten, and this makes an enormous difference for their later success. The data on preschool is overwhelmingly positive. Although some studies suggest that the positive impact decreases over time, this is mainly attributable to differences in the quality of preschool and of the schooling that follows — not a deficiency in preschool itself.
http://goo.gl/3t4Ox

Make Way for Transgender High School
‘Gender identity’ trumps any squeamishness girls might feel about sharing bathrooms with boys.
Wall Street Journal op-ed by JAMES P. EHRHARD, owner of the law firm Ehrhard & Associates, P.C., in Worcester, Mass.

On July 1, 2012, a law went into effect in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts titled “An Act Relative to Gender Identity.” The law added the term “gender identity” to the state’s antidiscrimination statute, joining far better known terms like “race,” “religion,” “sex” and “national origin.” The statute now also applies to “gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance, or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s physiology or assigned sex at birth.” The common term these days is “transgender.”
The need for this addition to the antidiscrimination law was never clear. The existing statute appeared to apply to every citizen of Massachusetts who could conceivably be the object of discrimination. “Sexual orientation” was already on the menu.
http://goo.gl/33GSN

New Guide Offered to Help Schools Gauge Internet Needs Education Week commentary by columnist Sean Cavanagh

Many of the nation’s school districts seem certain of one thing: They want faster, and more reliable Internet service. But how can district officials know just how much connectivity is enough to meet the needs of their students and staff members, schools and individual classrooms?
A new guide, published by the State Educational Technology Directors Assocation, attempts to help school officials get the answers they need.
http://goo.gl/JOAXu

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Teacher standoff stokes debate over standardized tests Reuters

SEATTLE – A boycott by Seattle teachers of a widely used standardized test has attracted national attention and given new momentum to a growing protest movement that seeks to limit standardized testing in U.S. public schools.
The revolt by Seattle public school teachers, joining educators and students elsewhere, comes at a time of bitter political wrangling over how best to reinvigorate a $525 billion public school system that leaves American children lagging their counterparts in countries like Finland and South Korea.
Standardized tests have played an ever-more prominent role in public schools over the past decade.
Yearly testing in reading and math for elementary school students required by former President George W. Bush’s 2002 landmark testing law, known as “No Child Left Behind,” exposed stark achievement gaps in many schools, mainly along racial and economic lines, and spurred interventions to help struggling kids.
http://goo.gl/jXRXq

http://goo.gl/D4iM0 (LAT)

K-12 student database jazzes tech startups, spooks parents Reuters

An education technology conference this week in Austin, Texas, will clang with bells and whistles as startups eagerly show off their latest wares.
But the most influential new product may be the least flashy: a $100 million database built to chart the academic paths of public school students from kindergarten through high school.
In operation just three months, the database already holds files on millions of children identified by name, address and sometimes social security number. Learning disabilities are documented, test scores recorded, attendance noted. In some cases, the database tracks student hobbies, career goals, attitudes toward school – even homework completion.
Local education officials retain legal control over their students’ information. But federal law allows them to share files in their portion of the database with private companies selling educational products and services.
Entrepreneurs can’t wait.
http://goo.gl/3BBRm

Teaching 2.0: Is Tech In The Classroom Worth The Cost?
NPR All Things Considered

The hallways at Westlake High School in Maryland are just like thousands of other school hallways around the country: kids milling around, laughing and chatting on their way to class.
On a recent morning, about 30 kids took their seats in a classroom that initially seems like any other. The major difference here is that instead of a chalkboard and a lectern at the head of the class, there are two enormous flat-panel screens and thin, white microphones hanging in four rows across the ceiling.
Greeting the students via Skype this morning is a dapper, bearded man in a brown vest. But it’s not their history teacher, it’s Kenneth C. Davis, author of Don’t Know Much About History, who was invited to talk to the students about America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
This type of teaching is a novel approach, but it can be an expensive one. That has some asking whether the billions being spent on educational technology is worth the cost.
http://goo.gl/mtnkr

Keeping an Eye on Online Test-Takers
New York Times

MILLIONS of students worldwide have signed up in the last year for MOOCs, short for massive open online courses — those free, Web-based classes available to one and all and taught by professors at Harvard, Duke, M.I.T. and other universities.
But when those students take the final exam in calculus or genetics, how will their professors know that the test-takers on their distant laptops are doing their own work, and not asking Mr. Google for help?
The issue of online cheating concerns many educators, particularly as more students take MOOCs for college credit, and not just for personal enrichment. Already, five classes from Coursera, a major MOOC provider, offer the possibility of credit, and many more are expected.
One option is for students to travel to regional testing centers at exam time. But reaching such centers is next to impossible for many students, whether working adults who can’t take time off to travel, or others in far-flung places who can’t afford the trip.
But now eavesdropping technologies worthy of the C.I.A. can remotely track every mouse click and keystroke of test-taking students. Squads of eagle-eyed humans at computers can monitor faraway students via webcams, screen sharing and high-speed Internet connections, checking out their photo IDs, signatures and even their typing styles to be sure the test-taker is the student who registered for the class.
http://goo.gl/13p6W

Pentagon to Furlough Teachers, Cut Commissary Time Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon says it will be forced to furlough about 15,000 military school teachers and staff around the world because of the automatic budget cuts that took effect last Friday, but the department will manage the process so that the schools don’t lose their accreditation.
Pentagon press secretary George Little says the military will also close all of the commissaries on bases around the world for one extra day each week. They are currently open six days a week.
Teachers will likely have to take a day off each week, since the school day can’t legally be shortened.
http://goo.gl/4QwuG

Education Secretary Arne Duncan says he misspoke concerning pink slips Washington Post

Education Secretary Arne Duncan offered a mea culpa of sorts Monday, saying that he misspoke on national television last week when he said that teachers were already losing jobs as a result of the budget sequester.
“When I said ‘pink slips’ that was probably the wrong word,” Duncan told reporters at a news conference related to the sequester. “Language matters, and I need to be very, very clear.”
In discussing the cuts to federal aid to schools on “Face the Nation” last Sunday, Duncan said “there are literally teachers now who are getting pink slips, who are getting notices that they can’t come back this fall.”
Most of the country’s 15,000 school districts will not feel the effects of the cuts, which took effect in March, until next school year.
http://goo.gl/lsfIz

http://goo.gl/5qYlf (Ed Week)

Teacher-Evaluation Plans Bedevil Waiver States Education Week

Even though 34 states and the District of Columbia have No Child Left Behind Act waivers in hand, many of them are still negotiating with the U.S. Department of Education over their teacher-evaluation systems—a crucial component if they want to keep their newfound flexibility.
More than six months after waiver recipients turned in their guidelines to the department, only 12 waiver states have gotten the green light for their evaluation systems. Education Department officials expect to start sending more approval letters soon, along with notices on which plans need more work.
The slow approval process comes as states continue to pilot their evaluation systems, grapple with issues such as evaluating teachers in nontested subjects, and figure out how to make student growth a significant factor in teacher ratings—all on a tight timeline dictated for the most part by the federal department.
In fact, 11 states had to change their planned teacher-evaluation systems, or create them anew, to qualify for a federal waiver, according to a new report by the Center on Education Policy, a Washington-based research group.
http://goo.gl/RPZJC

A copy of the report
http://goo.gl/t1XU3 (CEP)

Conservative groups lend support to withdrawing Georgia from national school standards Morris News Service via Athens (GA) Banner-Herald

ATLANTA — A coalition of state and national conservative groups is backing legislation that would withdraw Georgia from national school standards adopted last year, arguing they are too costly and not rigorous enough.
The groups met last week with reporters before they and various parents testified to the Georgia Senate Education and Youth Committee on behalf of Senate Bill 167, which would mandate withdrawal.
The bill’s sponsor, Sen. William Ligon, R-Brunswick, opposes the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards because they were drafted, he said, by a small group of special interests in Washington meeting behind closed doors without regard for taxpayers, teachers or parents. And national standards prevent individual states from innovating or excelling, he said.
http://goo.gl/Cr9vU

Financial Ed and the Common Core
American RadioWorks

If students learn about personal finance in grade school, they’ll be more responsible spenders as adults. So goes the thinking behind a move to embed personal finance lessons into classes kids already take, like English and math.
http://goo.gl/1J4oI

State of the union: Teachers union grapples with change even as it remains a political powerhouse Hechinger Report

For decades, the United Federation of Teachers, the largest teachers union local in the nation, held New York City in its sway. The UFT’s powerful get-out-the-vote efforts influenced mayoral elections. Its political power kept state legislators on a tight leash. And New York City’s education policies sometimes mirrored the union’s agenda.
But in recent years, that power has been under threat, both locally and nationally.
Across the country, local teachers unions have been fending off attacks—such as laws that repeal collective bargaining— on basic labor rights, and trying to defeat or water down scores of state-level bills that would tie teacher evaluations to student test scores, establish merit pay, or abolish tenure.
And in New York City, a billionaire mayor with no need for union dollars or endorsement has reshaped the city school system and picked fights with the union over its top priorities, including teacher tenure and job protections based on seniority.
Together, the attacks have cut into the formidable might that the UFT has wielded since it began representing all city teachers in 1962.
http://goo.gl/nbXGo

Boy, who family says was bullied, dies
Philadelphia Inquirer

A boy in a medically induced coma shortly after being punched on the schoolyard in what his family called a bullying incident has died, officials confirmed.
Bailey O’Neill, had just turned 12 Saturday. He was taken off life support Sunday.
“Late yesterday, we were informed about the death of Bailey O’Neill,” Stephen Butz, superintendent of the Southeast Delco School District wrote in a statement this morning.
“Our school community is deeply saddened by this loss. Our condolences are with Bailey’s family and friends during this very difficult time.”
O’Neill, a sixth-grader at Darby Township School, was put in a medically induced coma after he began having seizures. The seizures began after another student allegedly punched him on the schoolyard on Jan. 10.
http://goo.gl/vfBp6

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

March 4:
Senate Government Operations Committee meeting
8:02 a.m., 415 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/SGOP0304.ag.htm

Senate Education Committee meeting
4 p.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/SEDU0304.ag.htm

House Revenue and Taxation Committee meeting
4 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/HREV0304.ag.htm

House Political Subdivisions Committee meeting
4 p.m., 450 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/HPOL0304.ag.htm

March 5:
House Education Committee meeting
8 a.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/HEDU0305.ag.htm

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
6 p.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2013&Com=APPEXE

March 8:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
8:15 a.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspx

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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