Education News Roundup: March 8, 2013

"IMG_1011 Nick Vujicic" by Ruth Benny/CC/flickr

“IMG_1011 Nick Vujicic” by Ruth Benny/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

We get a first look at the proposed budget.
http://goo.gl/4u2XQ (SLT)
and http://goo.gl/ye6BN (DN)
and http://goo.gl/6CvF6 (UP)
and http://goo.gl/xuGmq (OSE)
and http://goo.gl/et3Nw (PDH)
or a copy of the GOP budget proposal
http://goo.gl/uLPjy (Utah Senate Site)

Nick Vujicic speaks to Utah students on bullying.
http://goo.gl/QiALm (SLT)
and http://goo.gl/NAqtR (DN)
and http://goo.gl/oOD2S (KUTV)
and http://goo.gl/nHdo5 (KTVX)
and http://goo.gl/F1UzS (KSL)
Gov. Herbert’s comments http://goo.gl/RJYS1 (Gov’s blog)

Paul Rolly looks at the influence Sen. Stephenson has on public education in Utah.
http://goo.gl/pH1sa (SLT)

Senate President Niederhauser discusses the legislative task force on education policy.
http://goo.gl/E9BEy (Senate Site)

Diane Ravitch forms education reform watchdog group.
http://goo.gl/HQ41e (NYT)
and http://goo.gl/Pa4xz (Ed Week)

New York drops the GED.
http://goo.gl/ovE6Z (WSJ)

Every school bus in a Michigan district has its tires flattened on the day of state testing. Coincidence or causation?
http://goo.gl/3LuUO (WZZM)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Schools having growth funded; state employees to get small raise Budget » The preliminary numbers came from the talks between House and Senate leaders.

Competency-based education bill receives House approval

Plan to help fund schools with liquor money fails

Revised classroom-size bill advances

Guv, lawmakers promote exercise for kids

Born without limbs, Nick Vujicic urges students to stop bullying Nick Vujicic’s discussion of the challenges he has faced resonates with Utah students.

High school students may be charged sports insurance fees

St. Marguerite principal resigns following alcohol accusation

Demo of robotic surgical system blows minds of NUAMES students

Alta HS Senior invited to Jazz Band of America

Cottonwood Heights students tour Washington, D.C., as Sen. Mike Lee’s guests Constitution Bowl » Winners of competition saw Capitol, White House, Ford’s Theatre.

Constitution Bowl lets Davis, Salt Lake County elementary kids show off their knowledge

Pulling their strings: Marionettes teach Ogden kids about life

Students honored for music, art efforts
SUPAF recognizes 94 at ceremony

Cat in a hat visits Kearns’ Oquirrh Elementary to celebrate Dr. Seuss Dr. Seuss Day » Volunteers from JCPenney help United Way celebrate birthday of author Theodor Seuss Geisel.

Children’s author tells of importance of reading during visit to Canyon Elementary

Kids let loose to create ‘splash art’ at school

St. Vincent de Paul students sing about heart health

Child struck by car near elementary school in Saratoga Springs

Water leak closing Ogden High pool

Sky View High to raise funds for library in Ghana

Mountain Crest families needed for exchange students

OPINION & COMMENTARY

When Utah sets school priorities, one senator’s vote is biggest

Guns Trump Parents’ Rights

Time to build an Education Plan

Life Without Limbs, Anti-bullying Assembly

Teachers who pack

Evils of socialism

In praise of Big Bird

Ogden schools lack adequate soccer fields

Does Closing Underperforming Schools Help or Hurt Students?
Those on both sides of the debate believe they’re championing civil rights. But there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

Essential Steps for Charter School Authorizing Outlined

Don’t Tinker. Toss the SAT.

NATION

Advocacy Group to Monitor Reform Efforts in Public Schools

GED Test Out in New York

Kids need to step up physical activity, report says Children and teens should be more active in PE, the classroom and after-school programs.

Arizona House passes anti-federal education bill

News Corp. Education Tablet: For The Love Of Learning?

Whitehall school busses vandalized overnight

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UTAH NEWS
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Schools having growth funded; state employees to get small raise Budget » The preliminary numbers came from the talks between House and Senate leaders.

Utah lawmakers have hammered out a broad budget agreement that includes a 2 percent increase in the state’s per-pupil funding, pays for the new students entering public schools, and gives a raise for highway patrol troopers and other state employees.
In addition to bumping up Utah’s last-in-the-nation per-pupil funding, the budget blueprint would fully cover the 13,254 new pupils expected to enroll in public schools next year.
There would be $7.5 million spent for extended-day kindergarten classes, $5 million to reimburse teachers who buy classroom supplies and $6.6 million to help classrooms prepare to administer computerized testing.
“Overall, I think it’s reflective of our requests and gets us kind of where we need to be,” said State Superintendent Martell Menlove.
http://goo.gl/4u2XQ (SLT)

http://goo.gl/ye6BN (DN)

http://goo.gl/6CvF6 (UP)

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

http://goo.gl/et3Nw (PDH)

A copy of the GOP budget proposal
http://goo.gl/uLPjy (Utah Senate Site)

Competency-based education bill receives House approval

SALT LAKE CITY — Representatives in the House approved a bill Thursday that encourages educators to develop competency-based educational programs.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper, said HB393 does not require anything of school districts and is intended as a jumping-off point for discussion and planning for the implementation of competency-based funding models.
“What I’m trying to do with this bill is begin the discussion,” Hughes said.
Competency-based education is a system in which a student receives course credit after demonstrating appropriate mastery of a subject rather than at the end of an academic year or grade level.
http://goo.gl/04MN0 (DN)

Plan to help fund schools with liquor money fails

House lawmakers voted down a bill that would have earmarked a portion of Utah’s liquor sales to pay for public education, citing concerns about relying on alcohol consumption to teach Utah children.
“Do you really want [to say] ‘Not a drop. We don’t want our kids to drink,’ but now education funding depends on alcohol?” asked Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper. “The day we start taking money wherever we can find it and run it through a blender and say the ends justify the means is a huge compromise of principle.”
HB271, sponsored by Rep. Jim Bird, R-West Jordan, would have earmarked a quarter of the growth in liquor sales to public education — an estimated $7.5 million in 2014 and $14.5 million the following year.
http://goo.gl/3Yp6g (SLT)

http://goo.gl/z3cnl (OSE)

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

Revised classroom-size bill advances

SALT LAKE CITY — The House has revised and approved a local lawmaker’s initiative to shrink classroom sizes for grades K-3.
The House voted 53-9 to approve HB 318 and forward the measure to the Senate for further consideration after classroom caps were removed from the bill.
http://goo.gl/M2MEI (OSE)

Guv, lawmakers promote exercise for kids

Gov. Gary Herbert joined Rep. Eric Hutchings, R-Kearns, and Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, to highlight the importance of exercise on Wednesday. Hutchings and Ray have been working to spread the word to schools and others that even a few minutes of activity during the day can improve learning. “We find students are more alert, they’re more attentive, they do better on their testing,” Herbert said.
http://goo.gl/YkVEF (SLT)

http://goo.gl/kz6ka (DN)

http://goo.gl/KlBq2 (UP)

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

Born without limbs, Nick Vujicic urges students to stop bullying Nick Vujicic’s discussion of the challenges he has faced resonates with Utah students.

Speaking to thousands of Utah students in public schools, motivational speaker and evangelist Nick Vujicic on Thursday shared how he overcame bullying and other challenges in his life: “It’s my faith in Jesus Christ.”
Vujicic, who was born without limbs, also pointed out the only other item on his elevated stage at Bryant Middle School: “My favorite book is here, the Bible.”
The hourlong assembly was simulcast and streamed live, so that about 200 schools across Utah could watch. Sponsored by Standing Together, a group of evangelical Utah churches, it will be available on the Utah Education Network (uen.org) for other schools to watch later.
http://goo.gl/QiALm (SLT)

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

http://goo.gl/oOD2S (KUTV)

http://goo.gl/nHdo5 (KTVX)

http://goo.gl/F1UzS (KSL)

High school students may be charged sports insurance fees

The Utah High School Activities Association is considering charging students a fee for catastrophic insurance coverage.
“Most of the time students don’t need it, but in the last two years we’ve had two students in the state who used the maximum $1 million payout allowed,” Scott Carlson of the Alpine School District board said.
UHSAA now pays the insurance fee for all students in member schools statewide, but budgets being what they are, the group is looking at options. That could mean charging athletes $3 each per year, or asking each school to cough up the cash — an option that could put a burden on school budgets.
http://goo.gl/MID7b (PDH)

St. Marguerite principal resigns following alcohol accusation

TOOELE — The principal at St. Marguerite Catholic School in Tooele resigned Wednesday following an investigation into misconduct involving alcohol at the school.
Marcella Burden was suspended March 1 while the Catholic Schools Office of the Diocese of Salt Lake City investigated the allegations of misconduct from the day before. She was accused of drinking alcohol in the cafeteria where children were also having lunch.
Burden was cleared of any wrongdoing with the children and was reinstated. But less than 24 hours after the decision, she tendered her resignation.
http://goo.gl/ZYZfw (DN)

http://goo.gl/89h01 (KUTV)

http://goo.gl/HfpSb (KNRS)

Demo of robotic surgical system blows minds of NUAMES students

LAYTON — The teenage scholars from NUAMES knew a thing or two about robots before their Thursday field trip to Davis Hospital and Medical Center.
A course on robotics is taught at their charter school, the Northern Utah Academy for Math, Engineering & Science, and an after-school club is dedicated to designing and building mini robots for state and regional competitions.
And of course, NUAMES’ team did recently place second in a multistate competition.
But nothing the high school students had seen before could prepare them for their hands-on encounter with two robotic DaVinci Surgical Systems.
http://goo.gl/zYZsC (OSE)

Alta HS Senior invited to Jazz Band of America

SANDY, Utah – An Alta senior was chosen from hundreds of kids in America, to be a part of the Jazz Band of America next week. It is a very elite honor and Jacob White is the first Utahn to do this.
http://goo.gl/oPdKF (KTVX)

Cottonwood Heights students tour Washington, D.C., as Sen. Mike Lee’s guests Constitution Bowl » Winners of competition saw Capitol, White House, Ford’s Theatre.

A group of Cottonwood Heights youth capitalized on a chance to visit Washington, D.C., as special guests of Utah Sen. Mike Lee. As winners of last year’s Constitution Bowl, their grand prize included tours of the most historical places in the nation’s capital.
“We got to explore the awesome city, and it was the best feeling ever,” said Monica Kowalski, a junior at Hillcrest High. “We may never have that opportunity again.”
Kowalski and four other teens visited D.C. in mid-February. The group represented the Cottonwood Heights youth city council that competed against three other teams in the contest back in September.
http://goo.gl/MY7CX (SLT)

Constitution Bowl lets Davis, Salt Lake County elementary kids show off their knowledge Brain power » Students learn about the historical document and compete in teams to answer questions.

A group of fifth and sixth graders in Davis County know more about the U.S. Constitution than their parents.
These elementary students proved their knowledge at a U.S. Constitution Quiz Bowl hosted by Adelaide Elementary School in Bountiful on Feb. 19.
The event was sponsored by the Adelaide Elementary PTA and organized by founder Becky Paulson. Standing in front of flag-covered walls, teams participated in a double-elimination competition and progressed through multiple rounds. The first- and third-place teams were from Adelaide Elementary and the second-place team was from Valley View Elementary.
Eight schools participated in the event, seven from Davis County and the Dual Immersion Academy from Salt Lake County.
http://goo.gl/NFTRb (SLT)

Pulling their strings: Marionettes teach Ogden kids about life

OGDEN — Students from four elementary schools in Ogden School District got their eyes opened to an established art form — marionettes.
Students were entertained by Joseph Cashore and his presentation, Simple Gifts, showcasing marionettes in several vignettes on topics ranging from school work to homelessness to flying a kite. Students from James Madison, Odyssey, Taylor Canyon and Hillcrest elementary schools witnessed the shows Wednesday and Thursday.
This is the third time Cashore, who lives in Pennsylvania, has performed for students in Ogden. The Ogden School Foundation sponsored his visit each time.
http://goo.gl/SX9Sm (OSE)

Students honored for music, art efforts
SUPAF recognizes 94 at ceremony

The 25th Annual Southern Utah Performing Arts Festival honored 94 participants for solo and group performances at its awards ceremony Thursday evening.
The Southern Utah festival is the largest privately run music festival in Utah, festival committee member Mike Winslow said. The festival is a monthlong event that begins the first Monday in February each year, and this year the festival saw the largest number of entries it has ever received.
http://goo.gl/5fQX6 (SGS)

Cat in a hat visits Kearns’ Oquirrh Elementary to celebrate Dr. Seuss Dr. Seuss Day » Volunteers from JCPenney help United Way celebrate birthday of author Theodor Seuss Geisel.

Kearns • The works of Dr. Seuss have inspired countless children to pick up a book and read.
Third grade students at Oquirrh Hills Elementary in Kearns celebrated Dr. Seuss Day on Friday by performing at an assembly.
Aside from the assembly, all students at the school kicked off a month of reading with the help of the United Way of Salt Lake City and JCPenney. Volunteers from JCPenney took time to read to students at Oquirrh Hills as part of the National Education Association’s Read Across America initiative.
http://goo.gl/62C2F (SLT)

Children’s author tells of importance of reading during visit to Canyon Elementary

HYRUM — Dozens of fourth- and fifth-graders at Canyon Elementary shouted “splish, splash, rumba, rumba, bim, bam boom” Thursday, reacting to Kristyn Crow, a children’s book author, leading them through her book “Bedtime at the Swamp.”
Crow visited the student of Canyon Elementary on Thursday during an assembly to get the kids excited about books, writing and reading.
http://goo.gl/VICXc (LHJ)

Kids let loose to create ‘splash art’ at school

WEST JORDAN — Students got a chance to splatter paint on Wednesday.
Every year, Fox Hollow Elementary School principal Kevin Pullan uses his talent as a garage splash artist, to teach children how to come together and create something good.
http://goo.gl/BCm1r (KSL)

St. Vincent de Paul students sing about heart health

The elementary school choir at St Vincent de Paul School share some important, heart-healthy messages in a fun and contagious way through song.
The “Be Heart Smart” song stresses the importance of exercising, eating right, not smoking, and taking care of your body.
http://goo.gl/E12Mh (KSTU)

Child struck by car near elementary school in Saratoga Springs

SARATOGA SPRINGS — A child was taken to an area hospital with minor injuries after being injured in an accident in Saratoga Springs.
She was struck at the lower roundabout at Harvest Hills Elementary School, according to Saratoga Springs Police Chief Gary Hicken. The vehicle left the scene, but has since been located.
http://goo.gl/VwCj0 (PDH)

Water leak closing Ogden High pool

OGDEN — The Ogden High School pool is closing for an indefinite length of time because of a water leak.
According to a news release, the pool will be open as regularly scheduled Saturday from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The pool will then be closed because of the leak.
http://goo.gl/JfC8n (OSE)

Sky View High to raise funds for library in Ghana

Sky View High School students and faculty are trying raise money to build a library in Ghana and will conduct two events in the next week to help their cause.
http://goo.gl/ghCKM (LHJ)

Mountain Crest families needed for exchange students

Families with students attending Mountain Crest High School will have a chance to host an exchange student for the 2013-14 school year.
The exchange students will come from Europe, Asia and South America and will stay with the family from the middle of August 2013 until the first week of June 2014. The student can share a room, but there needs to be enough room for an extra bed.
http://goo.gl/twsCX (LHJ)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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When Utah sets school priorities, one senator’s vote is biggest Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist PAUL ROLLY

If you are going to serve on a legislative committee and want to exert influence, it’s good to be chairman, especially if you are 20-year veteran Sen. Howard Stephenson, and the committee you lead recommends spending priorities for public education.
Stephenson, R-Draper, is co-chairman of the Joint Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee with Rep. Bradley Last, R-Hurricane, and the funding priorities the committee recently adopted are top heavy with Stephenson-backed initiatives that cause chagrin among some in the education community.
The committee is composed of 11 House members and eight Senate members. But unlike other joint appropriations subcommittees, it tallies up the Senate priorities and the House priorities separately, then gives equal weight to each of the chambers. The result is that individual senators, because they are fewer in number, carry more weight when listing priorities than individual House members.
Stephenson says it is the most equitable way to compile priorities because it gives equal treatment to each of the two bodies representing the committee.
And even critics who say that gives Stephenson more power in selecting priorities concede that the process has been transparent.
The reason Stephenson’s own priorities are controversial among educators is that over the years he has been arguably the most vocal critic in the Legislature of the way public schools deliver education to their students, and he has voiced deep distrust in what he calls the “union” influence in how decisions are made.
http://goo.gl/pH1sa

Guns Trump Parents’ Rights
Salt Lake Tribune editorial cartoon by Pat Bagley

http://goo.gl/tQVLB

Time to build an Education Plan
Utah Senate Site commentary by Sen. Wayne Niederhauser

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” – Henry David Thoreau
Utah is fully committed – by our Constitution and by our nature – to lofty education goals. Groups like Prosperity 20/20 and Education First – plus countless concerned citizens – continue to remind us where education should be. In essence, we’ve built a vision of a castle in the air – and we now need to work out the foundation.
In addition, we are constantly asked to vote on a wide array of education policy ideas with little or no context or overall vision of our state education goals.
I want a plan.
I want to work with the right people (including you, gentle reader) to create the long term plan that will give us a yardstick whereby we can evaluate individual policy initiatives and funding proposals.
SB 169 creates a task force on education that will meet during the coming year, to create long-term steering recommendations for education in Utah.
The task force will scrutinize programs and look at how those programs align and feed into other programs as well as the overall goals. The task force will need to analyze the disparate recommendations from groups like Prosperity 20/20, Education First, the Governor’s Excellence in Education Comission the USBOE and others. We applaud the vision and work of these organizations, and we intend to bring their ideas together to work out a plan to meet common goals.
http://goo.gl/E9BEy

Life Without Limbs, Anti-bullying Assembly Commentary by Gov. Gary R. Herbert

This week I had to the opportunity to introduce a remarkable young man to Utah’s school children. This man is a motivational speaker, has degrees in accounting and financial planning, and is a renowned author.
He plays soccer and golf, and he surfs. He is a husband, and a father to a beautiful baby boy. But it is how he achieved these dreams that makes him remarkable—because this young man has no limbs.
Nick Vujicic was born with tetramelia syndrome, a rare condition in which all four limbs are missing. Nick was bullied as a youth, and he even contemplated suicide. But he overcame his trials and has developed a spirit of faith and optimism that is truly awe-inspiring.
Nick spoke to our schools on Thursday, March 07, 2013, about the damage caused by teen bullying.
http://goo.gl/RJYS1

Teachers who pack
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Dan Olympia

I commend Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay, for introducing a bill to require armed teachers to notify a principal that they carry a concealed weapon while teaching (“Utah bill would let parents know if kids’ teacher was packing gun,” Tribune, March 1).
Under Spackman’s proposal, parents could find out if their child’s teacher is armed and request reassignment if the teacher is carrying.
Given the brief training and lack of proven ability to actually shoot and handle a weapon that is required under current law, and the minimal requirements of the concealed-carry law, parents have good reason to be concerned and object.
http://goo.gl/PP5vJ

Evils of socialism
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Wade Marshall Miller

A letter to the editor once asked: What is wrong with a little socialism? Are not our post office and schools socialistic? Why, yes, they are. And they are a disaster.

And our schools? Simply compare the record of a private school and a socialistic-run public school. Private schools produce a high-quality education that surpasses their socialistic counterparts.
http://goo.gl/VIBPX

In praise of Big Bird
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Michael A. Dunn, General Manager, KUED

One can’t argue with Pamela Atkinson’s reasoned plea for the necessity of pre-school education in Utah (“Impact of mentoring in education,” Opinion, Feb. 28). The case she makes for Utah’s kids is irrefutable.
However, her list of “essential elements” who make this happen — committed teachers, dedicated parents and passionate volunteers — had one glaring omission. By broadcasting the best educational resources into every Utah home and classroom, KUED and PBS play a proud and essential role in the education of our state’s youngest citizenry.
And we provide this every day, free of charge, as we have for more than a half-century.
http://goo.gl/LBw5a

Ogden schools lack adequate soccer fields
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Kyra Hudson

March means spring sports. Spring sports include outdoor soccer. I would like to address the lack of decent outdoor soccer facilities for Ogden city schools, specifically Mt. Ogden Jr. High and Ogden High. Both my children attend or have attended these schools, so I won’t speak for the other junior high or high schools in the district.
The “beautiful sport” of soccer is the great equalizer as far as numbers and participation for girls, boys and diversity. Also to be mentioned are winning records and scholarship potential the high school program offers its players. Why, then, does this sport neither school not have a decent playing field in either school. It’s an embarrassment when we host visiting teams because neither team has a proper field to play on. Instead, coaches, players, and parents are at the mercy of Ogden City Recreation Department as to whether it will allow the schools to play on a substandard field at Mt. Ogden Park.
Furthermore, Ogden High has completed its incredible renovations —what happened to the funds for a turf field?
http://goo.gl/aoSPH

Does Closing Underperforming Schools Help or Hurt Students?
Those on both sides of the debate believe they’re championing civil rights. But there’s no one-size-fits-all solution.
The Atlantic commentary by Sarah Carr, author of the book Hope Against Hope

For better or for worse, today’s school superintendents have become CEOs. Corporate principles and the lexicon of business are pervasive throughout American schools. Teachers work to shore up a bottom line defined by test scores. And if numbers fail to improve, the district drops the school from its portfolio.
In some communities, the record numbers of public school closures have set off a fiery backlash among activists and educators. Philadelphia school officials voted yesterday to shutter nearly 10 percent of their schools next fall. Chicago leaders are weighing the closures of dozens of possible schools. And the New York City Department of Education, which eliminated 140 schools between 2003 and 2012, is eyeing another round. Detroit, Washington, D.C., and Oakland have also tried to close large numbers of schools in the past few years.
Recently, at hearing before federal Department of Education officials, a coalition of residents from 18 cities called for a moratorium on the closures. “This is part of a national epidemic that we’re seeing … in communities of color around the nation,” said Zakiyah Ansari, advocacy director at the Alliance for Quality Education, in an interview before the hearing. “We need to be pushing back against the so-called reformers that say closures are successful.”
Some of the closings are particularly controversial because they stem not merely from tight budgets or declining enrollment: They are the direct result of a changed philosophy about education in general, and struggling city schools in particular.
http://goo.gl/T0Y2W

Essential Steps for Charter School Authorizing Outlined Education Week commentary by columnist Katie Ash

The National Association of Charter School Authorizers has released its 2012 Index of Essential Practices for charter school authorizers.
The organization surveyed 157 active authorizers to see how many of the 12 essential practices for charter school authorizers have been implemented. The report found that only a small percentage of those who responded have all 12 practices in place, but the majority are using at least nine.
What entities are allowed to authorize charter schools vary from state to state and can include statewide boards, school districts, universities, nonprofit organizations, state education agencies, and non-educational government entities.
The 12 essential practices are as follows:
http://goo.gl/SlMzW

Don’t Tinker. Toss the SAT.
Inside Higher Ed op-ed by Joseph Soares, professor of sociology at Wake Forest University

The new president of the College Board, David Coleman, has written a letter to College Board members proposing to redesign the SAT. He wants to fix it so the test will “focus on the core knowledge and skills that … are most important to prepare students for the rigors of college.” The shift may seem unremarkable but it represents a paradigm revolution in relation to the original test. The old SAT, introduced in 1926, was supposed to be an IQ test, measuring innate ability, not hard-earned subject-specific knowledge of anything. For eugenicists, the IQ argument was a winner; for private colleges, it gave them bragging rights for selecting students with a nationally normed device that coincidentally had a powerful linear relation with family income. Administrative complacency, faculty ignorance, and business office economics have kept the test in play. Why fiddle with a winner?
Between 1926 and today, the test was “redesigned” only once, in 2005. When the University of California threatened to dump the old SAT because it was statistically weak and socially biased, the College Board kept them hanging on by promising a better test – one that would be predictively more powerful and without the social disparities of the old test.
Instead, the 2005 SAT has been a failure on all counts.
http://goo.gl/c4v63

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Advocacy Group to Monitor Reform Efforts in Public Schools New York Times

Diane Ravitch, the historian and former assistant education secretary who has become an outspoken critic of those who favor high-stakes testing, tenure reforms and other controversial measures aimed at the public schools, has joined with other education advocates to form a group that will grade and endorse political candidates.
The group will be called the Network for Public Education and is co-founded by Anthony Cody, a former teacher and now a blogger on education issues. It will try to bring together parents, teachers and other local interest groups from across the country through social networking.
Ms. Ravitch said the network was calling for broad-minded public school curriculums that included arts, sciences, foreign languages and physical education; better financing for schools; more respect for teachers; and the “appropriate use of testing to help students and teachers, not to punish or reward students, teachers, principals, or to close schools,” she wrote in an e-mail.
With wealthy individuals like Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg as well as groups like Students First (the organization created by Michelle A. Rhee, the former schools chancellor in Washington) donating large sums to individual campaigns and ballot measures in support of test-based teacher evaluations and charter schools, Ms. Ravitch said that her group would help foment a grass-roots movement to oppose them.
http://goo.gl/HQ41e

http://goo.gl/Pa4xz (Ed Week)

GED Test Out in New York
Wall Street Journal

New York became the first state in the nation Thursday to drop the GED test, replacing what has been for decades the most common and well-known high-school equivalency exam with a less expensive competitor.
Education Department officials said they offered an $8.4 million, three-year contract to CTB/McGraw-Hill, MHP -0.36% which plans to start offering its new exam in January 2014. The state Board of Regents, which oversees education policy in New York, began hunting a year ago for an alternative.
Dozens of other states also are considering substitutes for the GED, a word so embedded in popular culture that most people are unaware it is a trademark, like Kleenex or Dumpster.
The change has prompted some educators to worry that colleges or potential employers won’t recognize a diploma earned through a test called something other than “GED.”
http://goo.gl/ovE6Z

Kids need to step up physical activity, report says Children and teens should be more active in PE, the classroom and after-school programs.
USA Today

Despite years of prodding from their parents, teachers and doctors, kids and teens still aren’t doing nearly enough physical activity, and changes need to be made in schools to help kids step it up, says a report released Friday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
A recent government survey found that only 29% of high school students participated in 60 or more minutes a day of physical activity on each of the seven days prior to the survey. That’s the amount recommended for kids and teens by the government’s physical activity guidelines. Boys (38%) were more likely than girls (19%) to meet the guidelines.
“Dramatic action needs to be taken to increase physical activity in American kids,” says Russell Pate, a member of the committee for the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, which produced the new report. He’s a professor of exercise science at the University of South Carolina.
Schools are the best place to start because kids are there for six to seven hours a day, he says. “Kids love to move when they are exposed to creative, well-designed programs during physical education, class exercise breaks, recess and before- and after-school programs.
http://goo.gl/92vnE

Arizona House passes anti-federal education bill Associated Press via (Phoenix, AZ) KSAZ

PHOENIX – The Arizona House of Representatives has passed a measure that would allow dozens of public schools to ignore federal education policy.
The House voted 36-23 Thursday to advance legislation that exempts charter schools and district schools that do not accept federal funding from certain state and federal regulations.
The exemptions include regulations on academic standards, state or federal assessments, teacher and principal evaluation requirements and student tracking systems.
http://goo.gl/OHS1i

News Corp. Education Tablet: For The Love Of Learning?
NPR Morning Edition

The educational division of the media conglomerate News Corp, called Amplify, unveiled a new digital tablet this week at the SXSW tech conference in Austin, Texas, intended to serve millions of schoolchildren and their teachers across the country.
Amplify promises the tablet will simplify administrative chores for teachers, enable shy children to participate more readily in discussions, and allow students to complete coursework at their own pace while drawing upon carefully selected online research resources.
News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch views the digital tablet as part of a push to modernize the educational system. But he has another goal in mind as well. The media mogul is counting on future revenues from his educational branch to help shore up the finances of his newspaper and publishing division as it is split off later this year from the conglomerate’s vast holdings in television and entertainment.
And as a result, News Corp.’s initiative is stirring both interest and controversy.
http://goo.gl/CDZjG

Whitehall school busses vandalized overnight (Grand Rapids, MI) WZZM

WHITEHALL, Mich. – Whitehall Schools are having a day off from school after the district’s school busses were vandalized overnight.
All the district’s busses had at least some of their tires deflated overnight. The district tells us that it would have been too time consuming to get all the tires refilled in time to get everyone to school.
WZZM 13 has learned that today was the last alotted “snow day” for the district. Any future days off will have to be made up in the summer.
Today was also a scheduled day for MEAP testing.
http://goo.gl/3LuUO

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

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

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
5:10 p.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2013/html/00001630.htm

March 14:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
9 a.m., 250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://goo.gl/Mu36l

March 28:
Utah Foundation’s 1013 Annual Meeting
11:30 a.m., 500 South Main, Salt Lake City
http://www.utahfoundation.org/reports/?page_id=665

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