Education News Roundup: March 6, 2013

"Steps" by RichardAlan/CC/flickr

“Steps” by RichardAlan/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

Bill to give the Governor and Senate some say in State Superintendent advances.
http://goo.gl/VLmqO (SLT)
and http://goo.gl/krdzl (DN)

Sex ed for parents bill dies in House.
http://goo.gl/TjPb3 (DN)

Sen. Osmond’s preschool bill dies in Senate.
http://goo.gl/XYcId (SLT)
and http://goo.gl/2rGXN (DN)
and http://goo.gl/rJuOs (OSE)
and http://goo.gl/3FBc1 (PDH)
and http://goo.gl/WcyOh (KUER)

Class size bill reworded and approved in committee.
http://goo.gl/vSBxV (SLT)
and http://goo.gl/okzkm (DN)
and http://goo.gl/zKkot (KSL)

Classroom competency bill advances.
http://goo.gl/5TRv6 (SLT)
and http://goo.gl/SSOHI (DN)

Sequester’s pinch felt in Davis, Weber school districts.
http://goo.gl/oZy1C (DN)

Uintah School Board member resigns.
http://goo.gl/OvUgs (Vernal Express)

Salt Lake’s westside teachers push back against school board member.
http://goo.gl/m1iwB (KUTV)

ENR keeps trying to tell his sons that old guys rule. Maybe now they’ll listen.
http://goo.gl/6DgHf (NPR)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Measure to give Utah guv, lawmakers more power over state superintendent advances Education » SJR5 calls for changing the Utah Constitution to give the governor and the Senate a role in the appointment of state superintendents.

At-home sex education bill falls flat in the House

Utah lawmakers kill preschool bill for at-risk children Education » Senators question whether this $10M would really help.

Gutted Utah class size bill passes committee Education » Rejected version would have limited class sizes in grades K-3; new version only adds reporting requirements.

Bill: Let competent Utah students skip classes or move faster Education » HB393 would allow new ways for students to gain credit based on their competency in a subject.

Electronic textbook bill gets cold reception from House committee

Bill creating state suicide prevention coordinators passes Senate committee

Layton lawmaker wants state online student performances

House committee rejects education tax change

Utah Teachers Unlikely To Receive Raise

Local educators oppose backpack tax

Weber, Davis schools to lose funds because of sequester

Oaks to resign Uintah school board seat
Residency complaint spurs resignation

Angry Salt Lake Teachers Demand Apology From School Board Member

Cache school district now seeking online feedback about school bond proposals

High school sponsorship contracts raise concerns, but also benefit programs

McGeary resignation: UA contract details, officers deny embezzlement

Could salary have been motive for financial scandal at Lone Peak High School?

Lone Peak HS Students March A Petition To the Alpine School District Office The students believe their football coach was ‘coerced’ to resign and they want Tony McGeary back on their sideline this fall.

Program allows parents, students to send anonymous tips to school officials

Company’s positive recess play aims to reducing bullying

Junior high students putting science knowledge to the test

Study shows boys subject to negative stereotypes in school

Logan High library purchases graphics novels with grant money

Catholic schools donate tool kits for refugees

Amy Mitchell is the New Principal of Red Mountain Elementary School

U.S. Education Department Releases New Graduation Rate Data for Schools in Utah

18-year-old accused of shooting pellet gun at boy walking to Clearfield school

Utah Catholic school employees may have consumed alcohol at work

Layton High’s murder mystery musical

Musical ‘Phantom’ to appear on school stage

Law office to support Head Start

Jazz Bear to visit St. George schools

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Minimum wage, investment in education and good news in housing

Let educators weigh in

School appreciative of story honoring retiring secretary

Plentiful School Gifts, But Unfocused
‘Literacy through yoga’? Maybe well-intentioned philanthropy in education needs better tracking.

Assessment Consortium Releases Testing Time Estimates

Time For An Education System Makeover

The Country That Stopped Reading

NATION

Old Triumph Over Young In Federal Spending, And Sequester Makes It Worse

Governors Take Varied Paths in Boosting K-12 Aid

GOP lawmaker seeks $550M grant to promote abstinence in teens

Complaint Targets Philanthropy in Public Education

SoFla Teenaged Girl Suspended for Protesting School Bullying

Schools sensitive to guns target child’s play Some argue that children’s innocence should not be taken away by school officials who don’t take into account age, intent and context.

Resource officer program put on hold in Highland Community reacts to officer’s gun discharge

Hispanics Get Help Giving Their Kids a Boost Program Teaches Hispanics Learning Techniques to Narrow Achievement Gap

Judge delays decision on private school tax credit bill

News Corp bids for education market with new classroom tablet

Can the iPad Rescue a Struggling American Education System?

Judge to Conn. School: Cheerleading Not a Sport

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UTAH NEWS
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Measure to give Utah guv, lawmakers more power over state superintendent advances Education » SJR5 calls for changing the Utah Constitution to give the governor and the Senate a role in the appointment of state superintendents.

The Utah governor and legislature could soon have more power over the state’s top education official if a resolution that gained committee approval Wednesday continues to advance.
The Senate Education Committee voted 4-1 in favor of SJR5, which seeks to change the Utah Constitution to require the governor’s approval and the Senate’s consent for the appointment of state superintendents. It would also allow the governor to fire the state superintendent, in consultation with the state school board.
Now, the elected state school board alone has the power to hire and fire the state superintendent. If SJR5 were to pass the full legislature, a majority of Utah voters would then have to approve it in 2014 to change the state constitution.
http://goo.gl/VLmqO (SLT)

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

At-home sex education bill falls flat in the House

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill to create at-home resources for parents on the subject of sex education failed to clear its final hurdle Tuesday.
The bill, SB39, cleared the Senate unanimously on Wednesday but was decisively defeated in a 16-50 vote of the House after representatives questioned its value in an age where a wealth of information and resources are readily available online.
Rep. Jeremy Peterson, R-Ogden, the bill’s House sponsor, said SB39 would strike a balance between school and home education on sexual matters by instructing the state to create curriculum that could be used by parents. But many lawmakers questioned whether such an effort by the State Office of Education is a necessary use of the finite resources for education.
http://goo.gl/TjPb3 (DN)

Utah lawmakers kill preschool bill for at-risk children Education » Senators question whether this $10M would really help.

Republican senators killed a bill Tuesday that would have expanded preschool for at-risk Utah children — criticizing technical aspects of the proposal rather than focusing on the longtime conservative argument that young children belong at home.
The bill would have sought $10 million from private investors to strengthen and expand high quality preschool programs for at-risk children. The state would have set aside $1 million a year to eventually reimburse investors with interest, but only if the program succeeded in helping kids advance and saving Utah money.
Bill sponsor Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, argued the programs would have been a win for children and the state. He said that data from a similar high quality preschool program in the Granite District showed many children could avoid expensive special education services later by attending preschool.
http://goo.gl/XYcId (SLT)

http://goo.gl/2rGXN (DN)

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

http://goo.gl/3FBc1 (PDH)

http://goo.gl/WcyOh (KUER)

Gutted Utah class size bill passes committee Education » Rejected version would have limited class sizes in grades K-3; new version only adds reporting requirements.

A bill originally meant to reduce Utah’s large class sizes passed out of committee Tuesday — but only after it was gutted to no longer actually cut class sizes.
Rep. Rebecca Edwards, R-North Salt Lake, changed her bill, HB318, on Tuesday so that it would merely require school districts and charter schools to report how they’re using current money they receive from the state to reduce class sizes.
The original bill would have limited class sizes in grades K-3 over four years, or schools could have hired paraprofessionals to work with educators to drive down student-to-adult ratios.
But that measure ran into opposition from those who called it an unfunded mandate. They pointed out that it didn’t include any new funding, meaning schools might have had to cut other areas to slash class sizes in the early grades.
http://goo.gl/vSBxV (SLT)

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

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

Bill: Let competent Utah students skip classes or move faster Education » HB393 would allow new ways for students to gain credit based on their competency in a subject.

More students might soon be able to bypass traditional classes in subjects they’ve already mastered or move more quickly through them if a bill that gained committee support Tuesday becomes law.
The House Education Committee narrowly voted in favor of HB393, which would allow school districts and charter schools to create ways for students to gain credit based on their competency in a subject. Schools would still receive state funding for those students, based on a formula to be decided in the future.
The state already has ways for students to bypass traditional classes if they pass certain tests, but HB393 would allow school districts and charter schools to set paths as well.
http://goo.gl/5TRv6 (SLT)

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

Electronic textbook bill gets cold reception from House committee

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill to push schools away from paper textbooks lost steam Tuesday as lawmakers voted unanimously to hold the proposal in committee.
HB343 would require public schools to designate at least one classroom each year in which no paper textbooks would be used. The bill would allow local school boards to exempt individual schools from the paperless requirement, but each school district and charter school in the state would have to undergo an annual review of their textbook purchasing.
The bill originally sought to prohibit schools from purchasing any paper textbooks without a waiver from the State Office of Education, but was substituted due to concerns of the burden it would place on schools and whether students in the state have access to the Internet or e-book devices.
http://goo.gl/moxxd (DN)

Bill creating state suicide prevention coordinators passes Senate committee

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill creating suicide prevention coordinators for the state was passed Wednesday by the Senate Health and Human Services Committee despite concerns about funding the $250,000 cost.
The sponsor of HB154, Rep. Steven Eliason R-Sandy, told the committee he was aware of the concerns and was working on finding another way for the Utah State Office of Education and the Department of Human Services to pay for the prevention effort.
http://goo.gl/Mi9cY (DN)

http://goo.gl/2Ie7b (KUER)

Layton lawmaker wants state online student performances

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah legislators are moving to create online reports for student performance in public schools.
The Deseret News reports that setting up consolidated reports on student performance would cost the state $450,000.
The sponsor, Sen. Jerry Stevenson of Layton, says his so-called Student Achievement Backpack adds transparency to the education system.
http://goo.gl/xiN81 (OSE)

House committee rejects education tax change

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill changing the personal exemption component of state tax returns from a fixed percentage of the federal exemption to a fixed dollar amount has died in a House committee.
HB 55 was geared toward making changes to tax and educational provisions to find a long-term solution to funding for public education in Utah, said Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake City, the bill sponsor.
http://goo.gl/f1OAL

Utah Teachers Unlikely To Receive Raise

It’s looking like a bad year for teachers at the Utah legislature. There probably won’t be enough money to give teachers a raise.
Utah has enough for a small raise, but both the governor and legislators seem likely to use that money for new education programs.
In Utah’s complicated school finance system, teacher raises come from the basic program—educators called it the WPU.
http://goo.gl/JdB9U (KUTV)

Local educators oppose backpack tax

CACHE COUNTY – There are only a few days to go before the Utah legislature concludes its 2013 session and so far things have been pretty quiet. On KVNU’s Crosstalk program Monday, Cache County School District Deputy Superintendent Mike Liechty said there is one bill, however, that educators are opposing: Senate Bill 110, nicknamed the “Backpack Tax” bill.
“Funding for each student would travel, would go directly to our schools rather than have it reside at the district level,” Liechty explained, “where we’re accountable for it with our accounting and everything.
“Principals do not want that responsibility. They’re our instructional leaders. They want to be the instructional leaders, not the accountants, not the business managers, nothing else. They want to deal with academics.”
http://goo.gl/zxNMF (CVD)

Weber, Davis schools to lose funds because of sequester

OGDEN — The sequester’s automatic budget cuts will have some major impacts on public schools tied to the military, but Top of Utah districts will be relatively unharmed.
All over the nation, school districts with military ties are bracing for increased class sizes and delayed building repairs. Some of the schools have even axed sports teams and eliminated teaching positions, and the schools still may have to tap into savings just to make it through the year.
The schools’ losses will come from cuts to a federal program known as “Impact Aid.”
The aid is designed to assist school districts that have lost property tax revenue because of the presence of tax-exempt federal property or that have experienced increased expenditures resulting from the enrollment of federally connected children, including children living on Indian lands.
Because of their proximity to Hill Air Force Base, Weber and Davis school districts receive yearly funding from the program. Both districts will face cuts to their Impact Aid fund, but they don’t expect the cuts to be dramatic.
http://goo.gl/oZy1C (DN)

Oaks to resign Uintah school board seat
Residency complaint spurs resignation

In the wake of a complaint filed to the Uintah School District board of directors, Shane Oaks, winner of the most recent election, will be resigning his position on the board.
The complaint, filed by Amy Farnsworth of Vernal, called into question Oaks’ eligibility to remain on the board because he and his family have a residence in St. George. Oaks has five school-age children who are now enrolled in the Washington County School District.
http://goo.gl/OvUgs (Vernal Express)

Angry Salt Lake Teachers Demand Apology From School Board Member

Teacher Becky Bisegger spoke for dozens of teachers who showed up at the meeting of the Salt Lake City School Board Tuesday night.
“We are appalled at the suggestion that west side teachers are ineffective and too inexperienced,” said Bisegger.
The “ineffective” remark was made by new school board member Michael Clara in recent comments to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Clara recently filed a complaint with the U.S. Office of Civil Rights, concerned that the high turnover rate of teachers in west side schools, left student at the hands of “ineffective” teachers.
http://goo.gl/m1iwB (KUTV)

Cache school district now seeking online feedback about school bond proposals

CACHE COUNTY – Ten public meetings have been held to gather input on Cache County School District building bond proposals. One proposal involves a new high school in Millville and Proposal 2 calls for two new high schools: one in Millville and one in North Logan.
On KVNU’s Crosstalk program Monday, District Deputy Superintendent Michael Liechty said further input will be gathered now from an online survey.
http://goo.gl/He5OT (CVD)

High school sponsorship contracts raise concerns, but also benefit programs

Finding ways to pay for high school athletics, while money for academic needs seems to be in short supply, has caused parents and coaches to become creative about raising money.
After all, supporters only want (or need) so much cookie dough.
So when Nike called Bingham head coach Dave Peck several years ago and asked about sponsoring his football team, the coach listened.
http://goo.gl/VwoXY (DN)

McGeary resignation: UA contract details, officers deny embezzlement

As detailed in the Herald article published on March 1, a group of parents submitted a 42-page document to Alpine School District officials specifying 28 counts of alleged misconduct by McGeary.
In addition to the camp-related compensation issues that were the focus of the previous article, another significant dispute involved the existence and administration of an apparel contract with Universal Athletics, doing business as UnderArmour.
“Having a contract is not against the law,” said Alpine School District spokesman Rhonda Bromley.
However, after last year’s investigation of Louis Wong and the Timpview football program, ASD officials decided to review all existing contracts and to consider revising their policies about handling them.
http://goo.gl/T5c7H (PDH)

Could salary have been motive for financial scandal at Lone Peak High School?

HIGHLAND, Utah – There is a lot of unanswered questions about a financial scandal going on at Lone Peak High School. Former Head Football Coach, Tony McGeary is accused of illegally pocketing money from the team. But, why would he allegedly have done it? Could salary have been a motivation? ABC 4’s Brian Carlson investigates.
The man screaming fans call “Touchdown Tony” is struggling to shake off a financial scandal.
Lone Peak High School’s former championship Football Coach Tony McGeary is accused of illegally pocketing thousands of dollars from his players, including $5,735 from money leftover from a 2012 high school football camp at Utah State University Eastern. Last week it all came out in a 42 page complaint and McGeary was later forced to resign. If the allegations are true – why would the championship coach risk his job? Did he need the money?
http://goo.gl/RypWC (KTVX)

Lone Peak HS Students March A Petition To the Alpine School District Office The students believe their football coach was ‘coerced’ to resign and they want Tony McGeary back on their sideline this fall.

About fifty football players — and other students — hand-delivered the petition they’ve been working on for a week, to Alpine School District officials.
The students — and many parents, as well — believe successful football coach Tony McGeary was pressured to resign, after allegations of financial impropriety arose.
http://goo.gl/wfV6G (KNRS)

Program allows parents, students to send anonymous tips to school officials

SALT LAKE CITY — Educators in the Salt Lake City School District hope a new program will get students and parents to send anonymous tips about everything from a weapon at school to bullying.
The idea behind Safe to Talk is to give kids an easy way to talk, said Kevin Santiago, director of the campaign. The program allows students and parents to anonymously send text messages to school and district officials.
“If we can get the kids to feel like they’re safe to have that initial talk, the counselors can then walk them through all the difficulty of, ‘Should I talk about this?'” Santiago said.
Santiago said Safe to Talk is in more than 100 Utah schools, including all Salt Lake City School District schools. The Safe to Talk Foundation donated the system.
http://goo.gl/K4IAi (DN)

Company’s positive recess play aims to reducing bullying

SALT LAKE CITY — Dressed in a black suit and a light blue, button-up shirt with cufflinks, Salt Lake City Councilman Charlie Luke high-fived community members during a rousing game of foursquare shortly before a workshop aimed at making recess safe, fun and inclusive Tuesday at Meadowlark Elementary.
The workshop was run by Playworks, a nonprofit company, in an attempt to teach community members games and tips to help students learn socially acceptable behavior. The company partners with schools to teach children recess games that will show them how to resolve conflicts, include others in their play and become more physically active.
http://goo.gl/5x2bU (DN)

Junior high students putting science knowledge to the test

MAPLETON — Brian Frankowski’s seventh-grade enriched science class at Mapleton Junior High took flight Tuesday morning without their feet leaving the ground. The class used a propane burner to fill tissue-paper hot air balloons they have been building for weeks and let them loose in the sky above the school and surrounding homes.
“We’ve learned about density and how convection currents form, and we’re taking advantage of density differences between the hot air and the cold air,” Frankowski said.
http://goo.gl/ulfne (PDH)

Study shows boys subject to negative stereotypes in school

OREM — Are boys being treated differently at school than girls in school? In the early formative years, different treatment can lead to long term consequences.
A recent study published by the Journal of Human Resources found that stereotypes might come into play in classroom treatment of boys and girls.
http://goo.gl/gQEvP (KSL)

Logan High library purchases graphics novels with grant money

Who says great books can’t have pictures? Definitely not those behind obtaining new graphic novels for Logan High School.
The school has received two grants totaling $750 to purchase the books for its library.
“I applied for two grants toward the beginning of the school year,” said Shay Woodruff-Walton, the library media specialist at Logan High. “I got one from Logan Schools Foundation for $250 then I got one from 100% For Kids for $500.”
http://goo.gl/4k1t5 (LHJ)

Catholic schools donate tool kits for refugees

HOLLADAY — On Feb. 28 Utah Catholic elementary school students gathered at Saint Vincent de Paul Elementary to deliver their “Operation Tool-Kit” tools. Student ambassadors from the nine participating schools: Saint Vincent de Paul, Saint Ann, Saint Olaf, Our Lady of Lourdes, Saint Andrew, Blessed Sacrament, Saint Marguerite, J.E. Cosgriff Memorial and Saint Francis, brought the tools their classmates collected to help refugees in need.
http://goo.gl/shwQ5 (IC)

Amy Mitchell is the New Principal of Red Mountain Elementary School

ST. GEORGE, Utah – The Washington County School District is pleased to announce the selection of Amy Mitchell as the Principal of Red Mountain Elementary School. Amy will replace Principal Betty Barnum who plans to retire at the end of this school year.
Amy Mitchell, a native of Colorado, has spent 19 years working in the Washington County School District as a classroom teacher, Reading Recovery Teacher Leader, and Staff Developer.
http://goo.gl/OYJsv (KCSG)

U.S. Education Department Releases New Graduation Rate Data for Schools in Utah

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Education released provisional school-level graduation rates for Utah’s high schools in 2010-11 – the first school year for which all states used a common, rigorous measure for reporting high school graduates. The data release furthers the Department’s efforts to provide transparent information to parents and students about their schools and ensure all schools are preparing students for college and careers.
http://goo.gl/EU9PG (KCSG)

18-year-old accused of shooting pellet gun at boy walking to Clearfield school

CLEARFIELD — A 10-year-old boy was shot in the ear with a pellet gun Tuesday morning on his way to Holt Elementary School, police say.
Police arrested Johnathon Barringer, 18, of Clearfield, and booked him into Davis County Jail on one count of child abuse, two counts of discharging a firearm within city limits and one count of possession of tobacco, Clearfield Police Lt. Adam Malan said.
http://goo.gl/VtUzt (OSE)

Utah Catholic school employees may have consumed alcohol at work

SALT LAKE CITY — The Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City says several employees from a Catholic school in Tooele are now on administrative leave because of allegations that they drank alcohol during the school day.
The diocese says in a statement that it learned of the drinking on Friday and that no minors were involved. The incident occurred at St. Marguerite’s Catholic School in Tooele.
http://goo.gl/LiixT (OSE)

Layton High’s murder mystery musical

Layton High School was highlighted as this week’s Cool School and Big Budah was there to learn all the details.
http://goo.gl/vPUFG (KSTU)

Musical ‘Phantom’ to appear on school stage

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Phantom of the Opera” burst onto the theater scene 27 years ago and continues to play to full houses nightly in New York, London and around the world.
The love-struck phantom will make his eastern Utah premier at Uintah High School starting Friday. The Phantom of the Opera will be performed at 7 p.m. March 8 and 9 and March 11 to the 15 in the Unitah High School Main auditorium.
http://goo.gl/bDj9Q (Vernal Express)

Law office to support Head Start

A Salt Lake City law office has selected a federally-funded early childhood education program to support with a three-year grant. Snell & Wilmer, a law firm with nine locations throughout the West, announced it is awarding $25,000 each year for the next three years to Head Start, a program administered by Salt Lake Community Action Program (CAP). Salt Lake CAP’s Head Start program serves over 2,400 children from low-income families in 84 classrooms throughout Salt Lake and Tooele counties. The grant begins this summer.
http://goo.gl/xoc9V (SLT)

Jazz Bear to visit St. George schools

As part of a statewide tour, Dr. Cleo and Jazz Bear will be visiting two elementary schools in St. George on Thursday — East Elementary from 9:15 a.m. to 10 a.m. and Coral Cliffs Elementary from 10:30 a.m. until 11:15 a.m. — to encourage healthy choices.
Dr. Cleo — Molina Healthcare’s cat doctor mascot — teams up with the Utah Jazz Bear to teach children about the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
The two kid-friendly mascots will encourage hundreds of kids to make healthy choices including healthy eating and saying no to drugs http://goo.gl/RSgiO (SGS)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Minimum wage, investment in education and good news in housing KSL commentary by Marty Carpenter, executive vice president for communication, Salt Lake Chamber

SALT LAKE CITY — If there is one problem with writing a monthly business column it is that there are often several topics you want to cover that come and go during those weeks in between publishing dates. So, today, I want to cover a few that didn’t quite line-up just right on the editorial calendar.

Speaking of enhancing skills, education continues to be the big issue on Capitol Hill as we head into crunch time in the appropriations process. For those who don’t speak the language of the Legislature, appropriations is the process by which the House and Senate decide who gets the money and just how much.
Last Sunday, Utah’s business community ran a full-page ad in both major daily newspapers thanking the members of the Legislature for their service and calling for three unifying elements of a bold, multi-year agenda:
http://goo.gl/Rxp4T

Let educators weigh in
Deseret News letter from Karen Longmore

I give kudos to Sens. Jim Dubakas, Wayne Niederhauser, Stuart Reid and others who are working to create an education task force (SB169) to determine the long-term solutions to Utah’s education problems. However, as I read about the proposed makeup of this new task force, I see a glaring lack of any voices from the actual education community — the professionals who have an actual working knowledge of how state policies affect the students, teachers, administrators and others working in the bull’s eye of the target this task force aims to create.
Isn’t it about time you ask the troops in the trenches how these education battles can best be fought? Give educators a voice in creating education policy.
http://goo.gl/8IHiK

School appreciative of story honoring retiring secretary
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Phyllis Savage

Friends of school secretary, Marianne Hernandez were so happy to see her so vividly featured in the Standard-Examiner on Feb. 21, “‘My heart is full’: Longtime elementary secretary retires.”
http://goo.gl/s8YUD

Plentiful School Gifts, But Unfocused
‘Literacy through yoga’? Maybe well-intentioned philanthropy in education needs better tracking.
Wall Street Journal op-ed by ROSS DANIS, president and CEO of the Newark Trust for Education

When Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg hosted a fundraising event at his home in Palo Alto, Calif., last month for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the event set tongues wagging. The billionaire’s interest in the New Jersey politician was thoroughly dissected by the chattering class. Too bad there hasn’t been as much interest in analyzing Mr. Zuckerberg’s $100 million commitment to support the struggling public schools in Newark, N.J., or in studying the effectiveness of the many other education grants made by foundations to help in Newark.
To be fair, it is difficult to judge how well the philanthropy in Newark is working because precious few data have been collected. Truly useful metrics, therefore, haven’t been developed. The gap between good intentions and measurable results will be familiar anywhere in the country where philanthropies join efforts to improve education.
To address the shortfall in Newark, our organization, the Newark Trust for Education, has undertaken an effort to collect information about the foundations’ work that will help clarify for school administrators, principals, teachers, parents and students how best to improve K-12 public education.
Our primary objective: follow the money. Which philanthropies are spending how much, to do what, in which schools?
http://goo.gl/qu7Mo

Assessment Consortium Releases Testing Time Estimates Education Week commentary by columnist Catherine Gewertz

New tests being designed for students in nearly half the states in the country will take eight to 10 hours, depending on grade level, and schools will have a testing window of up to 20 days to administer them, according to guidance released today.
The new information comes from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, one of the two big groups of states that are building tests in mathematics and English/language arts for the common standards. It answers one of the big, dangling questions that’s attended the process of making these new tests: Given their promises to measure students’ skills in a deeper, more nuanced way, partly through the use of extended performance tasks, just how long will these tests take?
The other group of states designing tests, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, has already come out with time estimates for its tests, as we reported to you in December.
http://goo.gl/rAsaM

Time For An Education System Makeover
Forbes commentary by columnist Holly Green

Education budgets at the national, state, and local levels have all taken huge hits over the past few years. And while we all want our schools to have sufficient funding to educate our children, more money is not the magic bullet solution for what our educational system needs.
The truth is, our educational system is badly broken, and not just because the systems, structures, and philosophies that guide it are woefully out of date. Our educational system is grossly ineffective because the way we teach our children doesn’t align with what we know about how the brain learns.
In fact, the current system is the worst learning environment we could put our children into. And that’s not just my opinion. It also belongs to John Medina, noted molecular biologist and author of Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home and School.
http://goo.gl/dwylu

The Country That Stopped Reading
New York Times op-ed by DAVID TOSCANA,

EARLIER this week, I spotted, among the job listings in the newspaper Reforma, an ad from a restaurant in Mexico City looking to hire dishwashers. The requirement: a secondary school diploma.
Years ago, school was not for everyone. Classrooms were places for discipline, study. Teachers were respected figures. Parents actually gave them permission to punish their children by slapping them or tugging their ears. But at least in those days, schools aimed to offer a more dignified life.
Nowadays more children attend school than ever before, but they learn much less. They learn almost nothing. The proportion of the Mexican population that is literate is going up, but in absolute numbers, there are more illiterate people in Mexico now than there were 12 years ago. Even if baseline literacy, the ability to read a street sign or news bulletin, is rising, the practice of reading an actual book is not. Once a reasonably well-educated country, Mexico took the penultimate spot, out of 108 countries, in a Unesco assessment of reading habits a few years ago.
One cannot help but ask the Mexican educational system, “How is it possible that I hand over a child for six hours every day, five days a week, and you give me back someone who is basically illiterate?”
http://goo.gl/3zm2z

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Old Triumph Over Young In Federal Spending, And Sequester Makes It Worse NPR

For years, federal programs for seniors and those that help kids have been on a collision course.
Now, given the automatic spending cuts taking place under sequestration, the moment for real competition may have arrived.
While Medicare and Social Security will come through the sequester mostly unscathed, a broad swath of programs targeted toward children — Head Start, education, nutrition assistance, child welfare — stand to lose hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars.
“There’s a conflict between parts of the budget that go to younger people and that part that goes to older people,” says Neil Howe, a demographer and consultant. “Up to this point, young people are on the losing side.”
Groups that advocate for seniors say that this sort of “generational equity” argument is a misleading attempt to divide and conquer.
http://goo.gl/6DgHf

Governors Take Varied Paths in Boosting K-12 Aid Education Week

As states consider increases to K-12 spending amid better economic conditions, governors on opposite sides of the partisan divide are proposing significantly different plans and arguments for the best ways to use new education aid.
Two prime examples: Minnesota and Ohio, a pair of Midwestern states with chief executives intent on pumping more money into education—and sharply contrasting visions of how to do it.
In Minnesota, Gov. Mark Dayton, a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, is urging an expansion of early-education services such as all-day kindergarten, as well as a $118 million hike in the standard per-pupil funding system. The total price tag for his plan: $344 million over two years.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, is proposing $1.3 billion in new education spending, a new approach to local property taxes, and one-time funds for districts. The increase would include new revenues his administration says are for low-wealth districts, a broad expansion of the state’s tuition-voucher plan, and a one-time fund for districts to use on new instructional methods.
http://goo.gl/mrju5

GOP lawmaker seeks $550M grant to promote abstinence in teens The Hill

Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-Ill.) on Monday called for the creation of a new federal grant program that would spend half a billion dollars to educate teenagers about why they should not have sex before marriage.
In a speech on the House floor, Hultgren cited a Centers for Disease Control report from mid-February that said young adults account for 50 percent of all sexually transmitted disease infections.
“This caught my attention because as a father, with two of my four kids in their late teens, I want them to avoid such risks,” he said. He called for more federal funding for “risk avoidance education,” otherwise known as abstinence education.
“However, currently there is a troubling 16-1 federal funding disparity between contraceptive-centered education and risk avoidance education,” he said.
To fix this problem, Hultgren has introduced the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act, H.R. 718, along with Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-Ill.). The bill would spend $110 million a year for the next five years on grants to abstinence programs around the country.
http://goo.gl/UvPx3

Complaint Targets Philanthropy in Public Education Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — School activists are using unusual tactics to fight a contested proposal to overhaul the nearly bankrupt Philadelphia school district: They’ve gone to the city ethics board.
Their ethics complaint says the two private groups that helped fund and develop the plan should have registered as lobbyists, which would have compelled public disclosure of donors and meetings with public officials.
And while nothing illegal is alleged, the complaint highlights an issue that has become increasingly relevant as cash-strapped schools nationwide seek money from nonpublic sources to offset budget cuts. Supporters say private money funds badly needed innovations, yet critics say there is not enough transparency.
“Is it fair for a small number of really rich people to take over educational policy-making?” said Kenneth Saltman, an education professor at DePaul University in Chicago. “Who are the lobbyists really working for? Who’s funding them?”
http://goo.gl/MfCOI

SoFla Teenaged Girl Suspended for Protesting School Bullying Broward Palm Beach (FL) New Times

At DeSoto County High School in Arcadia, freedom of speech doesn’t extend to silence.
Amber Hatch, 15, sued its principal, its dean of student, and the local school board last week in Fort Myers federal court, claiming she was suspended last year after school administrators tried to coerce her from participating in the national “Day of Silence” — and then suspended her when she did.
http://goo.gl/nQF3n

Schools sensitive to guns target child’s play Some argue that children’s innocence should not be taken away by school officials who don’t take into account age, intent and context.
USA Today

In Maryland, two 6-year-olds are suspended for using their fingers as imaginary guns. The parents of a Baltimore 7-year-old boy say he was suspended for nibbling his pastry into the shape of a gun. In South Carolina, a kindergartner is expelled for bringing a toy gun to school.
Those incidents, recounted in media reports across the country, signal a growing sensitivity to potential violence in schools — and how seriously school administrators are reacting.
Critics say it is an overreaction to children who are just kidding. But after shootings like the Newtown, Conn., massacre, school leaders are taking tougher approaches.
Parents and some experts argue that children’s innocence should not be taken away by adults who don’t take into account age, intent, and the context in which actions take place.
http://goo.gl/dVQld

Resource officer program put on hold in Highland Community reacts to officer’s gun discharge Poughkeepsie (NY) Journal

HIGHLAND — The Highland Central School District school resource officer program is on hold while an investigation is conducted into a Lloyd police officer’s gun being fired in the high school Tuesday.
Highland Superintendent of Schools Deborah Haab told parents, staff and community members at a school board meeting Tuesday night that the program, begun after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings that left 20 students and six adults dead in December, would be put on hold until further notice.
“The SRO program has currently been put on pause until we learn the results of the investigation,” said Haab.
Town of Lloyd Police Officer Sean McCutcheon “accidentally discharged” his gun in the hallway of the high school at 1:38 p.m. Tuesday, the district said. No one was injured and no students or staff were nearby when the gun went off, according to a district statement.
http://goo.gl/uPKEo

Hispanics Get Help Giving Their Kids a Boost Program Teaches Hispanics Learning Techniques to Narrow Achievement Gap Wall Street Journal

BELL, Calif.—The chart projected on a screen painted a grim reality for the Hispanic parents in the classroom: Latino children nationally lag behind white and African-American children in reading and math; only 42 out of 100 Hispanic students complete high school; Hispanic children have the highest obesity rate.
“Look at these statistics and think about what role you can play in changing them,” instructor Angie Cantu, speaking in Spanish, told the mainly immigrant mothers at Woodlawn Elementary School in this working-class Los Angeles suburb.
The women had gathered for a session of Abriendo Puertas (Opening Doors), a nationwide course that helps Latino parents improve the educational outcome of their children. Lesson 1: “I am my child’s first teacher; our home, my child’s first school.”
http://goo.gl/QDOly

Judge delays decision on private school tax credit bill Montgomery (AL) Advertiser

A Montgomery County Circuit judge Wednesday morning delayed a ruling on a bill extending tax credits to students who transfer from designated failing public schools to non-failing ones or private schools after attorneys representing Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey filed a motion to dismiss.
Judge Charles Price said he had been prepared to rule on a lawsuit brought by the Alabama Education Association to block the law, but that he needed time to consider the new motion, filed this morning.
The AEA argues in its suit that the passage of the legislation, known as HB84, violated the Open Meetings Act. Republican lawmakers introduced a drastically rewritten version of the legislation in a conference committee Thursday, which included the tax credits. Lawmakers passed the bill amid angry scenes in the Senate. The AEA asserts Reublican lawmakers violated the Joint Rules of Legislature in introducing what they consider an appropriation to a bill in conference, and in meeting prior to the committee to discuss issues of legislation, in violation of the Open Meetings Act.
http://goo.gl/SxMY7

News Corp bids for education market with new classroom tablet Reuters

News Corp’s education division, Amplify, on Wednesday introduced the first tablet computer built specifically for the classroom, in a bid to capture a slice of the billions of dollars spent in U.S. public schools.
The Amplify Tablet hits the market at a time of soaring interest in digital learning. Global textbook companies and scrappy startups alike are flooding the market with products that let students dissect a virtual frog, manipulate fractions on a touch screen or learn about the Constitution through an interactive game.
Amplify is betting that school districts will be willing to spend several hundred dollars per student, even at a time of steep budget cuts, to run all that software on a custom tablet. Among the features: A kill switch that lets teachers disable applications on her students’ tablets so she can be sure they aren’t playing Angry Birds when they should be working. Another feature lets teachers send frequent multiple-choice quizzes to student tablets to check their comprehension mid-class.
http://goo.gl/Lr2ga

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

Can the iPad Rescue a Struggling American Education System?
Wired

Matthew Stoltzfus could never get his students to see chemistry like he sees chemistry until he added a digital component to his lesson plan.
Stoltzfus, a chemistry lecturer at Ohio State University, struggled for years to bring complex chemical equations to life on the blackboard, but always saw students’ eyes glaze over. Then he added animations and interactive media to his general chemistry curriculum. Suddenly, he saw students’ faces light up in understanding.
“When I see a chemical reaction on a piece of paper, I don’t see coefficients and symbols, I see a bucket of molecules reacting,” Stoltzfus said. “But I don’t think our students see that big bucket of molecules. We can give students a better idea of what’s happening at a molecular level with animations and interactive elements.”
And many such students are getting this multi-faceted education on tablets. Tablets are reinventing how students access and interact with educational material, and how teachers assess and monitor students’ performance at a time when many schools are understaffed and many classrooms overcrowded. Millions of grade school and university students worldwide are using iPads to visualize difficult concepts, revisit lectures on their own time and augment lessons with videos, interactive widgets and animations.
http://goo.gl/VtWPm

Judge to Conn. School: Cheerleading Not a Sport Associated Press

HARTFORD, Conn. — A U.S. District Court judge in Connecticut has again ruled that competitive cheerleading, despite some upgrades, is not a sport, and says Quinnipiac University must remain under an injunction that requires the school to keep its women’s volleyball team.
Several volleyball players and their coach successfully sued the university in 2009 after it announced it would eliminate volleyball for budgetary reasons and replace it with a competitive cheer squad.
U.S. District Court Judge Stefan R. Underhill ruled in their favor, saying that competitive cheerleading had not developed enough to be considered a college sport for Title IX purposes, and he ordered the school to keep the volleyball team and come up with a compliance plan.
http://goo.gl/TypHz

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

March 6:
Senate Education Committee meeting
8 a.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/SEDU0306.ag.htm

Senate Business and Labor Committee meeting
8 a.m., 215 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/SBUS0306.ag.htm

House Government Operations Committee meeting
8 a.m., 20 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/HGOC0306.ag.htm

House Revenue and Taxation Committee meeting
8:30 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/HREV0306.ag.htm

Senate Transportation & Public Utilities & Technology Committee meeting
4 p.m., 215 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/STPT0306.ag.htm

House Education Committee meeting
4:10 p.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2013/agenda/HEDU0306.ag.htm

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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