Education News Roundup: May 20, 2013

Gov. Herbert signs suicide prevention bills.

Gov. Herbert signs suicide prevention bills.

Today’s Top Picks:

Poverty moves out from cities to suburbs.
http://goo.gl/yMNLj (SLT)
and http://goo.gl/TfQW2 (LAT)
or a copy of the study
http://goo.gl/3OSSI (Brookings)
Some perspective on free and reduced-price lunch rates at Wasatch Front school districts:
Alpine: 26.58%
Canyons: 28.46%
Davis: 25.82%
Granite: 50.74%
Jordan: 24.24%
Murray: 32.64%
Nebo: 36.54%
Ogden: 75.09%
Provo: 49.26%
Salt Lake: 63.14%
Weber: 37.31%
State: 37.33%
http://goo.gl/w5IeR (USOE)

Teachers who carry guns to school speak out.
http://goo.gl/VwLEQ (SLT)
or Q&A on guns and schools
http://goo.gl/81pwM (SLT)

Gov. Herbert signs suicide prevention bills.
http://goo.gl/JxLj  (SLT)
and http://goo.gl/HQHWB (KSTU)
and http://goo.gl/lu4mf (KUER)

Utah GOP votes opposition to Common Core.
http://goo.gl/T427L (SLT)
and http://goo.gl/XWPYS (DN)
and http://goo.gl/Qddxi (PDH)
and http://goo.gl/H6hSe (OSE)
and http://goo.gl/X7hSD (KSTU)

Rep. Brad Last, however, speaks up for it.
http://goo.gl/Z546A (SGS)
As does the Trib editorial board.
http://goo.gl/vPwRX (SLT)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Suburban Utah sees huge spike in poverty
Book » From 2000-11, number of U.S. poor in suburbs rose 64%, with Utah among hardest hit.

As Utah’s star rises after 2 recessions, lessons linger
Diverse economy has made Utah resilient, downturns have left it forever chastened.

Gun-toting Utah teachers to parents: Your kids safe with us
School safety » Utah teachers who carry give their perspective.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert talks teen suicide at Cyprus High School
Education » Students and parents offer advice.

Task force aims to end teen suicide in Utah
Community meeting » Provo School District’s open approach to topic is focus of Pleasant Grove discussion.

Scared in School
The growing problem of bullying in schools

Scared in School
How to make a difference in the fight against bullying

NUAMES student shares story of sex abuse, starting nationwide education movement

Utah GOP again rejects reforms to nomination process
Thousands of Republican faithful reject candidate-selection reforms, install first black leader in history.

State to parents: Common Core will not invade your privacy

Salt Lake City School Board considering property tax increase

$425 fine threatens OHS graduate’s place at ceremony

Utah schools receive $108M to reduce class sizes

Orem player responds well to being woken from coma, will undergo heart surgery

Timpanogos High places in math contestTimpanogos High places in math contest

Sixth annual film festival by Layton High School digital media students

Students blend learning, fun at annual physics day

High school students build all-American house

Myton students celebrate 100-percent increase in reading levels

Nodropouts Team Gears Up for “Running With Ed”

Best W!Se High Schools Teaching Personal Finance Rankings Announced
First National Personal Finance Education Rankings announced.

Raising funds for digital marquee brings Roy school together

West Jordan High Student Reaching New Heights

2 employees spend night on Enoch Elementary to raise money for cancer research

Davis District honors top employees

Fifth-graders graduate from NOVA, learn to be accountable, avoid destructive choices

Salem Elementary kindergartens hold patriotic graduation

Pay It Forward: Riverton, Herriman High Peer Leadership Teams

Two Utah Principals To Pedal Across America

Six Utah County students earn scholarships from Comcast

Deseret News wins awards for education, environment, family reporting

Bike to Work and Bike to School week raises awareness

School art grants

OPINION & COMMENTARY

The real world

A close watch

Thumbs up, thumbs down

Sort out truth of Common Core issue

Make a good memory: Leave a better impression than just writing ‘HAGS’ in friends’ yearbooks

Get the best out of your senior portraits

Ogden district should take care of its constituents

What Michigan’s Charter Schools Can Teach the Country
The secrets of reform success include liberal chartering rules and freedom from teacher tenure.

Forced union dues violate free speech
Free speech means that individuals get to decide for themselves which causes to support. Protecting the free speech rights of teachers is not an attack on collective bargaining.

Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Home Computers on Academic Achievement among Schoolchildren

NATION

New Secretary Lays Out Agenda for Native Americans

Home visiting programs are preschool in its earliest form

Children’s Spatial Skills Seen as Key to Math Learning

Common Core provision muddies Kansas budget talks

Teacher-training programs’ success under scrutiny

High Court to Weigh In on Legislative Prayers

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UTAH NEWS
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Suburban Utah sees huge spike in poverty
Book » From 2000-11, number of U.S. poor in suburbs rose 64%, with Utah among hardest hit.

Half a century ago, those who could moved to the suburbs to escape concentrated poverty in America’s urban cores. But a new book released today shows that between 2000 to 2011, the rise in suburban poverty rose 64 percent, more than twice the growth rate of poverty in cities.
By 2011, almost 16.4 million suburban residents nationwide lived below the federal poverty level — now surpassing the number of impoverished city dwellers by 3 million, according to Confronting Suburban Poverty in America, which was written by Elizabeth Kneebone and Alan Berube of the Brookings Institution Metropolitan Program.
Surprisingly, the suburban areas of three Utah cities ranked among the book’s top 15 in terms of fastest-growing poverty: Salt Lake City came in third with a 142 percent jump, the Provo-Orem area ranked eighth with a 129 percent increase and Ogden-Clearfield came in 14th with a bump of 105 percent.
http://goo.gl/yMNLj (SLT)

http://goo.gl/TfQW  (LAT)

A copy of the study
http://goo.gl/3OSSI (Brookings)

As Utah’s star rises after 2 recessions, lessons linger
Diverse economy has made Utah resilient, downturns have left it forever chastened.

With few exceptions, the pattern of jobs distributed across Utah is largely unchanged after two recessions since the turn of the new century.
That underscores not only the unusual diversity of the state’s economy, but it increases the likelihood employment in the state will grow faster than in the U.S. for some time.
It’s true the Great Recession gave construction a good drubbing , manufacturing employment ebbed and flowed between 2000 and 2012, and the information sector seems in permanent decline. But the other industries that make up the Utah economy have in total added tens of thousands of jobs — many with high-paying salaries — during the 13-year period that saw one of the wildest boom and bust cycles since the 1930s.

A Salt Lake Tribune analysis of employment data shows that eight of the state’s 11 industrial sectors added almost 190,000 jobs during the 2000-2012 period. At the head of the list was the education, health and social services sector, which accounted for close to one of every three new jobs. Its share of total employment rose to 13.1 percent of all jobs in the state from 9.5 percent at the start of the millennium.
Given that the state’s population jumped 24 percent, to 2.8 million people, that’s not surprising, economists say. Demand for private education services, health care and other social services was driven by rising numbers of young families with children, as well as by migrants from other parts of the U.S. and foreign countries. (Public education falls in a different sector — government. It was the No. 2 job generator, although its share of total employment barely budged.)
http://goo.gl/urGHE (SLT)

Gun-toting Utah teachers to parents: Your kids safe with us
School safety » Utah teachers who carry give their perspective.

One Utah teacher’s worst nightmare goes something like this: A gunman slips into his school, draws weapons, aims and fires at his kids.
“I can think of nothing worse than having to witness my students being killed or maimed without me being able to at least attempt some sort of intervention,” the teacher said. “I might even die in the process, but, in my opinion, going down shooting would be better than standing in front of them helplessly.”
Every day, the Davis School District teacher carries a concealed handgun and about 25 rounds to his junior high school in hopes of helping to defend it should such an attack occur.
http://goo.gl/VwLEQ (SLT)

Q&A on guns and schools
http://goo.gl/81pwM (SLT)

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert talks teen suicide at Cyprus High School
Education » Students and parents offer advice.

Magna • A string of suicides at Cyprus High in recent years has taken a toll on students and the community, senior Jane Burns told Utah’s governor Friday.
“Events like this greatly affect Cyprus High School and the Magna community,” Burns tearfully told Gov. Gary Herbert. Burns, senior class secretary, called the death of one of her friends earlier this school year “the worst day of my life.”
Burns was one of a couple of dozen students who spoke to Herbert on Friday about teen suicide, offering suggestions about how to deal with the issue. Herbert, along with lawmakers and the parents of several students who killed themselves in recent years, visited Cyprus to discuss solutions and ceremonially sign a handful of bills, including three aimed at helping to prevent teen bullying and suicide.
HB134 would require schools to notify parents if their children are bullied or threaten suicide; HB298 would ask school districts to hold annual seminars for parents on bullying, mental health, substance abuse and Internet safety; and HB154 would require school districts and charter schools to implement youth suicide prevention programs for junior high and high school students, among other things.
http://goo.gl/JxLjU (SLT)

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

http://goo.gl/lu4mf (KUER)

Task force aims to end teen suicide in Utah
Community meeting » Provo School District’s open approach to topic is focus of Pleasant Grove discussion.

Provo school officials have not lost one youngster to suicide in the past seven years, a remarkable fact given suicide’s prevalence in other parts of the Beehive State.
Greg Hudnall would like the entire state to share that Provo statistic, and he thinks he knows how to do it.
“It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a community to save one,” said Hudnall, an associate superintendent at Prove School District. “Parents shouldn’t avoid talking about suicide.”
http://goo.gl/ljZkh (SLT)

Scared in School
The growing problem of bullying in schools

When Jim was a third-grader, he was half nerd and half athlete.
“Neither group would really accept me,” he said. “They didn’t really understand how I worked. It got to the point where there were a lot of degrading comments. People would throw stuff at me if I tried to get on the playground.”
He knew what the kids were calling him. He also knew one way to make it stop.
“I had a large vocabulary. I knew what suicide was. I almost got to that point. No one knew. I didn’t tell anybody.”
Jim, a Karl G. Maeser Preparatory Academy student who asked that his real name not be used, is not alone in feeling left out, teased and bullied by his peers. The National Education Association reports that six of 10 American teenagers witness bullying in school every day. An estimated 160,000 students stay home each day out of fear of being bullied. About 71 percent of students report bullying as an ongoing problem.
Utah students are not immune.
http://goo.gl/3CuHU (PDH)

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

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

http://goo.gl/Mt99w (PDH)

http://goo.gl/6mQI1 (PDH)

Scared in School
How to make a difference in the fight against bullying

Hunter Rasmussen of Lehi learned to stand up for himself and others against bullies — by studying martial arts.
“I tell others to leave kids alone or walk away. I give them one look in the face,” he said. “I hope they don’t challenge me ’cause it won’t end well. When I see bullying happening I always tell them to knock it off.”
Bullying continues to be a concern for many students in Utah, with some reluctant to attend school for fear of being bullied. A relatively new form of bullying, called cyberbullying, affects its victims through today’s technology, often anonymously.
Educators, students, parents and others have made strides in adapting to the issues, teaching the victims and bystanders to respond to lessen the impact of the bully. Many schools are implementing awareness and prevention programs and are seeing results.
Perhaps nothing, though, can replace the impact of a friend.
http://goo.gl/Mn2nj (PDH)

NUAMES student shares story of sex abuse, starting nationwide education movement

LAYTON — Jaime Heiner remembers well the day her life felt like it was turning back around. She had arrived at her Kaysville home to find a bouquet of flowers on her doorstep.
When Jaime discovered the flowers were actually for her, she felt a warm embrace from the person who had sent them. And that person was a stranger.
“I said to myself: ‘Someone actually cares. I’m not alone. I’m not worthless,’ ” she said.
That stranger was Lauren Wilko, who is now the Backyard Broadcast station chief for Davis High School.
Backyard Broadcast is a teen movement that started in Davis County and is spreading across the country. The effort is designed to stomp out child sexual abuse and especially human trafficking through advertising — broadcasting — about the problem in ways that help victims and educate potential victims about staying safe.
http://goo.gl/3lH1s (OSE)

Utah GOP again rejects reforms to nomination process
Thousands of Republican faithful reject candidate-selection reforms, install first black leader in history.

The Utah Republican Party again rejected a series of reforms to the party’s nominating process in a move that could trigger a threatened ballot initiative to overhaul the system for picking candidates.
Count My Vote, a group made up of several prominent Republicans, including former Gov. Mike Leavitt, argued the current system puts too much power in the hands of a small group of delegates, depresses turnout and leads to radicalization of Utah politics.
The group had said if changes weren’t made, it would push for a ballot initiative — likely by gathering signatures on a petition — that would give candidates an alternative to going through the delegate process to get into a primary election.
At the Utah Republican Party State Convention on Saturday, GOP loyalists once again rejected any reform proposals, in particular a measure that would have required a candidate to get more than two-thirds of the delegate vote to avoid a primary.
The nearly 2,600 convention delegates also elected James Evans as the new state party chairman — the first African-American to serve in the position — replacing outgoing chairman Thomas Wright.
Republicans also approved a resolution opposing the Common Core, a set of education standards that conservatives believe are “un-American and inferior” and is an attempt by Washington to control Utah’s education system.
Opponents argued the resolution was misleading and unnecessary, while supporters blasted the federal government for meddling in a state responsibility.
http://goo.gl/T427L (SLT)

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

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

http://goo.gl/H6hSe (OSE)

http://goo.gl/X7hSD (KSTU)

State to parents: Common Core will not invade your privacy

Parents opposed to the Common Core are protesting as the state is spending millions of dollars to collect student test data. They foresee Utah schools being forced to use the database to collect personal information, according to published federal guidelines, about students and families to share with researchers.
Not a chance, state officials say.
http://goo.gl/fRrII (PDH)

Salt Lake City School Board considering property tax increase

SALT LAKE CITY — With the bulk of new state school funding absorbed by growing retirement costs, the Salt Lake City School Board is considering a property tax increase that would cost homeowners an additional $12.65 per year on a $100,000 home.
District business administrator Janet Roberts presented the proposal to members of the board during its meeting last week. The tax increase would raise $3.6 million for the district, which would be used in part to offset $450,000 in lost federal funding. It also would provide $275,000 for a cost-of-living salary increase for teachers, according to district documents.
http://goo.gl/FzAjg (DN)

$425 fine threatens OHS graduate’s place at ceremony

OGDEN — Yolanda Valdez said daughter Annissia was excited about her May 22 graduation ceremony from Ogden High School until late last month, when she was presented with a bill.
Valdez said she got a letter April 28 informing her that Annissia needed to pay $425 in “attendance credit loss” fees in order to receive her diploma at graduation. Valdez said the other option given was that Annissia could work off fees through community service, but Valdez said there’s not enough time to do that before the ceremony.
All graduating students get diplomas, Valdez was told, but only those whose fees have been cleared can walk at commencement.
http://goo.gl/vEnz2 (OSE)

Utah schools receive $108M to reduce class sizes

SALT LAKE CITY — Public school officials on Wednesday presented the first of what is expected to be an annual report on the use of state class size reduction funding to members of the Education Interim Committee.
The reporting follows the passage of HB318 during the most recent legislative session, which requires school districts and charter schools to report on and create plans for how certain funds are being used to reduce class size.
http://goo.gl/tO6DZ (KSL)

Orem player responds well to being woken from coma, will undergo heart surgery

PROVO — Orem High sophomore football player Ben Smith responded positively to being woken up from a medically induced coma Saturday afternoon, and he will next undergo surgery for an underlying heart condition that was discovered after he collapsed during conditioning practice last Thursday.
“They did bring him out of the medically induced coma this afternoon,” Alpine School District spokeswoman Rhonda Bromley said, “and were able to do some tests on him and are feeling very good about the results.”
Details about Smith’s specific heart condition have not been released, but based on a conversation with Smith’s parents, Bromley believes the surgery has a high success rate.
http://goo.gl/I9khP (DN)

http://goo.gl/ZqE0y (PDH)

http://goo.gl/h44oc (KTVX)

http://goo.gl/UuY4p (KSL)

Timpanogos High places in math contest

Timpanogos High School has some of the best high-school mathematicians in the country, as demonstrated by their 5th-place finish in the 2013 Collaborative Problem-Solving Contest, a national mathematics contest administered by National Assessment & Testing. While most math competitions encourage rote memorization, familiar problems and quick mental reflexes, the CPSC presents schools with 15 unique, intricate problems to be solved over the course of a week. Under the guidance of coach Mandy Richardson, students worked together using brainstorming, collaboration, research and technology to solve the problems, gaining experience with skills that will be critical in college and their careers.
http://goo.gl/LryLf (PDH)

Sixth annual film festival by Layton High School digital media students

LAYTON — Digital media students at Layton High School were literally paid for a job well-done at their sixth annual film festival Wednesday night.
The end-of-the-year videos designed by digital media students were submitted to a panel of judges prior to the festival, and the best videos were put on display during the festival, with winners from each category receiving cash awards and gifts donated by local businesses.
The night is the highlight of the year, according to their digital media and video instructor, Eric Scholer, who started the film festival when he began teaching at Layton High School six years ago.
http://goo.gl/VJida (OSE)

Students blend learning, fun at annual physics day

FARMINGTON — More than 5,000 middle and high school students visited Lagoon on Friday for a day of physics experiments and demonstrations.
The annual event, which sees the Davis County amusement park transformed into a laboratory to explore concepts like gravity, motion, centrifugal force and energy, drew students from Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Nevada.
http://goo.gl/Pk5fS (DN)

http://goo.gl/8CuL8 (OSE)

High school students build all-American house

Fourteen area high school student built a house — and their own skills and confidence — and in the process helped out their country.
The students are from Westlake, Lehi, American Fork and Lone Peak high schools and worked together in a building construction class to learn skills that they will probably use the rest of their lives. Alpine School District students construct two homes a year in their class. This year they were in Lehi and Pleasant Grove. The homes are listed for sale — at fair market value so as to not unfairly compete with private enterprise — and the funds received go back to the schools’ Career and Technical Education departments. The home in Lehi, which has been made with entirely American materials, has been listed for $229,000.
http://goo.gl/mWC3p (PDH)

Myton students celebrate 100-percent increase in reading levels

MYTON — In the small Eastern Utah town of Myton, they like to go big, and the community staged a Myton-style celebration for the elementary school students for their reading progress on Friday night.
The Mighty Myton readers have worked hard this school year. A few dozen struggling students worked one-on-one with volunteer tutors, many of whom drive 20 miles to get to the school.
However, the efforts paid off, according to principal Jennifer Wall.
http://goo.gl/1fkC8 (KSL)

Nodropouts Team Gears Up for “Running With Ed”

SALT LAKE CITY – Teams of runners of all levels will be lacing up their shoes Saturday for the annual “Running with Ed”, a relay race that raises money for Park City schools.
One of those teams is focused on students year-round, particularly those who drop out of high school.
NoDropouts, located on the 11th floor of Salt Lake City’s Walker Center, works with more than 3,500 students in school districts across the country.
http://goo.gl/xzHEx (KTVX)

Best W!Se High Schools Teaching Personal Finance Rankings Announced
First National Personal Finance Education Rankings announced.

New York, NY • Inaugural event marks the 10th anniversary of the national Working in Support of Education (w!se) Financial Literacy Certification Program
High School for Math, Science & Engineering at City College in New York City ranked No.1
Students from the top ranked schools attend ceremony hosted by the New York Stock Exchange.
Certification Program offered in 28 states; 75 percent of participating students graduate with w!se Certification in Financial Literacy (CFL™)
Working in Support of Education (w!se), a leading New York City based educational not-for-profit, today announced the winners of the inaugural “100 Best w!se High Schools Teaching Personal Finance” during a ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange.
The release of the rankings marks the 10th anniversary of the w!se Financial Literacy Certification Program, which provides teachers with a curriculum and instructional resources to teach personal finance and to measure student knowledge through the w!se standardized Certification Test. Students passing the test are designated Certified Financially Literate™, which shows that they are financially capable when they graduate. Since its introduction, the program has become integral to personal finance instruction in thousands of classrooms across the United States and is now offered in 28 states.
The 100 Best w!se High Schools Teaching Personal Finance recognizes the top performing high schools in w!se’s national network.
The No.1 ranked school is High School for Math, Science & Engineering at City College in New York City. Other high schools among the top 25 are situated in Utah, Indiana, Tennessee, Nebraska, Virginia, New Jersey, Illinois, South Carolina and New York State.
http://goo.gl/Fps2O (PR Web)

Raising funds for digital marquee brings Roy school together

ROY — When Payton Flint heard his school was raising money for a new digital marquee, he dived in and started earning money.
Since the beginning of the school year, the Midland Elementary School sixth-grader collected nearly 4,000 box tops to go toward the marquee.
“We had a lot of fundraisers too and I went to a lot of them,” he said. “We would go to McDonald’s and keep our receipts and they would give us back 20 percent of the cost of the meal to go toward the marquee.”
The new $12,000 marquee was unveiled Friday during a special celebration.
http://goo.gl/R37rD (OSE)

West Jordan High Student Reaching New Heights

Just a small amount of kindness is making a big difference in one Utah student’s life. Bryan Gilchrist suffers from dozens of strokes every day but he never thought he’d have the chance to be part of a high school team.
The West Jordan High sophomore is a new member of the school’s track and field team, but it’s not so much about the thrill of competition, as it is about the confidence Bryan’s gained from being part of a team.
http://goo.gl/hu9VB (KUTV)

Raising awareness on the roof
2 employees spend night on Enoch Elementary to raise money for cancer research

ENOCH — The students of Enoch Elementary School pooled their spare change during the past school year into a collective contribution of approximately $3,000 to assist in the work of Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which funds blood cancer research.
Shelley Cleveland, speech therapy aide at Enoch Elementary, said the fundraising effort included the entire school. She said DeAnn Graff, a school counselor for the Iron County School District, initiated the fundraising effort for blood cancer research.
http://goo.gl/NrY4M (SGS)

Davis District honors top employees

FARMINGTON — The Davis School District recently honored its top 10 employees during the annual CARE Awards dinner.
CARE winners are picked by a committee from hundreds of nominations received from school employees, parents and students. District officials said each honoree has demonstrated achievement and excellence in their field, achieved superior results through innovation or creativity, and contributed to improving and sustaining quality education.
http://goo.gl/EBRvY (DN)

Fifth-graders graduate from NOVA, learn to be accountable, avoid destructive choices

HYRUM — After participating in a 14-week program, fifth-grade students at Lincoln Elementary were among those throughout the area who graduated from the state NOVA program this week.
http://goo.gl/BSd8d (LHJ)

Salem Elementary kindergartens hold patriotic graduation

SALEM — Kindergarten teacher Rita Tischner is one of the most patriotic people you will ever meet and when she became aware of the Central Utah Veterans Home’s need for twin size quilts for the 108-bed facility, she knew she wanted to include her students at Salem Elementary in helping give back.
“I put in the school newsletter that if anyone was interested in taking this quilt project on, to contact me,” Tischner said. “Within 12 hours, I received a phone call from a mother of a child in my class willing to help. Within the next few weeks, room mother Angela Johnson made contact with parents through a letter home and the response was unbelievable.”
http://goo.gl/WgMG4 (PDH)

Pay It Forward: Riverton, Herriman High Peer Leadership Teams

It was a special night for the students at the Kauri Sue Hamilton school in West Jordan. Students at the special needs school were treated to a beautiful prom night, all thanks to the Peer Leadership Teams from Riverton and Herriman High Schools. They are this week’s Pay It Forward recipients
http://goo.gl/YS6wX (KUTV)

Two Utah Principals To Pedal Across America

Two Southern Utah principals are preparing for a month-long physical challenge of riding their bikes across the country.
“Just over 3,000 miles from San Diego to St. Augustine, Florida,” said Dr. Roy Hoyt, principal of Hurricane Middle School. “We’re planning on doing just over 100 miles a day.”
Longtime friends Dr. Hoyt, 53, and Hurricane High School Principal Jody Rich, 50, decided to pedal from sea to shining sea as part of a “bucket list” adventure to celebrate Rich’s 50th birthday.
http://goo.gl/XHwl5 (KUTV)

Six Utah County students earn scholarships from Comcast

The Comcast Foundation awarded $60,000 in scholarships to 36 Utah students at its annual Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Ceremony on Wednesday.
Recipients from Utah County were Isaac Litster, American Fork High School; Dallin Farrell, Lone Peak High School; Heather Shipp, Timpanogos High School; Katelyn Hannifin, Payson High School; Jonathan Engle, Timpview High School; and William Snell, Spanish Fork High School. Five of the Utah County students earned $1,000 scholarships; while Litster was given a $5,000 scholarship.
http://goo.gl/8n7B1 (PDH)

Deseret News wins awards for education, environment, family reporting

SALT LAKE CITY — When it comes to meaningful reporting on education, the environment and the family, Deseret News reporters stand out in the Rocky Mountain region.
Celia Baker swept the education enterprise reporting category in the annual Top of the Rockies regional journalism contest, claiming first, second and third place for her stories on “Crushing debt: Students finding solutions to avoid or survive loans,” “Credit hours vs. competency debate continues for classes,” and “Flipped classrooms: Turning learning upside down.”
http://goo.gl/C2Vy9 (DN)

Bike to Work and Bike to School week raises awareness

This is “Bike to School and Bike to Work” week and several activities have been going on which promote riding a bike as a healthy and enjoyable exercise. Ferron Wiesse, Safe Kids Coalition Coordinator for the Bear River Health Department said it’s not enough just to wear a helmet, you must make sure it fits properly.
http://goo.gl/00brK (CVD)

School art grants

Utah Arts & Museums has granted $65,100 in Arts Education Grants for Schools and School Districts to 22 schools across the state representing 12 counties. Utah County schools that earned arts education project grants are:
http://goo.gl/gJ2Hn (PDH)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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The real world
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

The latest boogeyman striking fear and loathing in the hearts of Utah conservative Republicans is the Common Core educational standards. According to news reports, they were planning to consider a resolution at today’s party convention to oppose using the standards in Utah public schools. This is ridiculous. Utah’s education officials, along with those in most other states, adopted the standards in 2010 in a reasonable and good-faith effort to better prepare students for college and careers. The standards were developed as part of an initiative supported by the states, with no coercion from the federal government, to outline the concepts and skills students should learn in each grade in math and language arts. The standards are higher than Utah’s previous standards. The initiative rightly leaves decisions about curriculum, or how the standards should be implemented, to local districts, schools and teachers. No matter how often these facts are explained to Eagle Forum members and other ultraconservatives in Utah, they cling to the provincial notion that Utah should isolate itself and its children from “outside influences.” It’s time they quit finding evil around every corner and moved into our 21st century world, where Utah schoolchildren will have to compete.
http://goo.gl/vPwRX

A close watch
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

The State Charter School Board, for the first time, has evaluated Utah’s 81 charter schools in academics, finances and governance to create a baseline for comparing the schools next year. Charter schools in the Beehive State need this kind of oversight, and Utah schoolchildren deserve it. The concern of charter advocates that these non-traditional public schools are getting more scrutiny than regular public schools is not warranted. Charter schools have a checkered history in Utah — some have failed financially, others’ scores are low — and they are allowed to use criteria for hiring teachers and adopting curriculum that differ from public schools. For those reasons, the Charter School Board has a responsibility to keep a close watch on charters, just as the state board does on traditional schools.
http://goo.gl/vPwRX

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

Thumbs up: To Bonneville High School soccer coach and student-athlete Hayden White. Both are excellent examples of individuals overcoming the challenges brought on by having Type I diabetes.
Thumbs up: To second-graders at Shirlene Miller’s class at North Park Elementary in Roy. The class, with the help of the national organization, Trucker Buddies, has gathered postcards from around the world. It helps the young students learn more about the nation and world.
http://goo.gl/rZYYs

Sort out truth of Common Core issue
(St. George) Spectrum op-ed by Rep. Brad Last

As the co-chair of the House Education Appropriations Committee, I have spent quite a bit of time on efforts to improve education standards. Lately, much of the discussion has focused on a nationwide effort known as the Common Core. I am supportive of this effort, but have become increasingly concerned about some of the misinformation about the Common Core standards that is being circulated.
The Common Core standards are designed to ensure students have the skills and knowledge they need to be successful by providing clear goals for student learning. The standards lay out the skills a student needs to master at the end of each grade so he or she can build on that for the skills that will be mastered in the next grade. The goal is that graduating students have a skill set that will ensure their readiness to enter college or the workforce. Obviously by collaborating with other states, we are ensuring that the skills a Utah third-grader is mastering are the same as third-graders in other states are learning. The idea is we are all on the same team. All of the participating states will enhance their standards, and collectively we will better prepare the workforce of the next generation.
To set the record straight, the Common Core is a project created by the states and controlled by the states. Neither the U.S. Department of Education nor Congress nor President Obama are driving or requiring this standard.
http://goo.gl/Z546A

Make a good memory: Leave a better impression than just writing ‘HAGS’ in friends’ yearbooks
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner commentary by Krystal Ruiz, a sophomore at Weber High School

With the end of the school year now arriving, every student gets excited to have their own yearbook full of pictures of friends and good memories.
But some Top of Utah students may wonder, what’s proper yearbook signing etiquette? What are the right and wrong things to say?
Well, ask no more! Here are some do’s and don’ts plus a few overall suggestions about signing those 2013 yearbooks.
http://goo.gl/f6WeI

Get the best out of your senior portraits
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner commentary by Minna Wang, senior at NUAMES

Graduation means tons of things to do but what’s one of the easier things to get out of the way? Senior pictures.
You’ll need them for your graduation announcements, not to mention replacing your outdated Facebook profile picture, but the shoot is relatively simple to plan and you’ll have fun doing it.
The senior picture process can be broken down into three steps: choosing a photographer, planning the shoot and doing the shoot.
http://goo.gl/99qWq

Ogden district should take care of its constituents
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Julieann Cherry

What makes a school great? I have read that: 1) Relationships do. Whether the focus is on students, or teachers or families or administrators or the greater community, relationships make a great school or school district a strong entity. 2) Communication does. To achieve greatness a school and a school district must have excellent communication among all constituents. 3) Values do. Whatever the values are for a particular school or district everyone involved the values need to be purposeful in its endeavors and have that work shaped by its values.
The Ogden City School District used to be run this way. It needs to get back to it and take care of all its constituents.
http://goo.gl/9gZtt

What Michigan’s Charter Schools Can Teach the Country
The secrets of reform success include liberal chartering rules and freedom from teacher tenure.
Wall Street Journal op-ed by MICHAEL VAN BEEK, director of education policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy

Public charter schools now serve 2.3 million children nationwide and enjoy growing bipartisan support. But they are still loathed by teachers unions and traditional public-school officials more interested in protecting their piece of the school-funding pie than in providing students trapped in failing schools with a chance at a decent education.
Those familiar with the controversy over charters have probably heard of the 2009 study by Stanford University’s Center for Research on Education Outcomes. The Credo study, routinely cited by groups opposed to school choice, analyzed charter schools in 16 states and found that, on average, only 17% were outperforming conventional public schools while 37% were doing worse.
However, Credo noted that the study’s results “vary strongly by state and are shown to be influenced in significant ways by several characteristics of state charter school policies.” These include laws determining how many charters can operate in a state, who can authorize them, and the level of autonomy these schools will have from certain state regulations.
Although largely ignored, this finding is especially relevant in light of a more recent Credo study focusing solely on the performance of Michigan’s charter schools. The findings, released in January, portray Michigan’s charter schools as a clear-cut success story and provide lessons for other states.
http://goo.gl/t2fBa

Forced union dues violate free speech
Free speech means that individuals get to decide for themselves which causes to support. Protecting the free speech rights of teachers is not an attack on collective bargaining.
USA Today op-ed by Michael Carvin, James Burnham and Terence Pell, who are representing the plaintiffs

Just as the government cannot stop you from supporting a political candidate, it cannot make you pay to support a candidate. The First Amendment protects both the right to support political causes and the right to not support them. But in California, that right is denied to hundreds of thousands of public school teachers who currently must pay exorbitant fees to bankroll the agenda of powerful teachers’ unions. A lawsuit filed April 30 in Los Angeles federal court, on behalf of teachers who sometimes dissent from the union line, seeks to end this compelled contribution to political speech.
Like most states without “right to work” laws, California requires public school teachers to pay fees to their school’s local union. Even if a teacher disagrees with everything the unions stand for that teacher is still forced to make these payments. For California public school teachers, the fees are typically about $1,000 per year. That translates into big dollars for the unions.
http://goo.gl/AujcU

Experimental Evidence on the Effects of Home Computers on Academic Achievement among Schoolchildren
National Bureau of Economic Research analysis by Robert W. Fairlie, Jonathan Robinson

Computers are an important part of modern education, yet many schoolchildren lack access to a computer at home. We test whether this impedes educational achievement by conducting the largest-ever field experiment that randomly provides free home computers to students. Although computer ownership and use increased substantially, we find no effects on any educational outcomes, including grades, test scores, credits earned, attendance and disciplinary actions. Our estimates are precise enough to rule out even modestly-sized positive or negative impacts. The estimated null effect is consistent with survey evidence showing no change in homework time or other “intermediate” inputs in education.
http://goo.gl/HxjQZ

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NATIONAL NEWS
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New Secretary Lays Out Agenda for Native Americans
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Interior Secretary Sally Jewell told a Senate panel Wednesday that “Indian education is embarrassing” as she laid out her priorities on issues affecting Native Americans and Alaska Natives.
Jewell made her first appearance as Interior secretary before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, chaired by Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. The Interior Department includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which oversees a school system for Native Americans.
http://goo.gl/x2bnc

Home visiting programs are preschool in its earliest form
Washington Post

Caleb Cantres-Maldonado was all of 6 weeks old and just stirring from a nap when his mother propped him up and pointed him in the direction of a picture book.
“Look what I have! See the book?” said Milenka St. Clair, a family support worker who visits Caleb’s Manassas home once a week. “It’s a drum! What else do you see?”
Caleb’s head flopped to one side. St. Clair tapped the page loudly, then moved it left and right and up and down. The baby’s eyes, still cloudy and a little crossed, followed her movements.
“He’s looking at it!” she said. “See? He’s ready to learn!”
Home visits such as St. Clair’s are preschool in its earliest form. Through programs across the country, nurses, social workers or trained mentors offer support to new or expectant parents and impart skills to help them become better teachers for their children.
http://goo.gl/ybTaW

Children’s Spatial Skills Seen as Key to Math Learning
Education Week

Arlington, Va. — Preschools and kindergartens long have taught children “task skills,” such as cutting paper and coloring inside the lines. But new research suggests the spatial and fine-motor skills learned in kindergarten and preschool not only prepare students to write their mathematics homework neatly, but also prime them to learn math and abstract reasoning.
“We think of early-childhood classrooms as being really high in executive-function demands, but what children are being asked to exercise [executive function] on end up being visual-motor and fine-motor tasks,” said Claire E. Cameron, a research scientist at the University of Virginia’s Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning, in Charlottesville. She spoke at a forum held here last week by the Needham, Mass.-based Learning and the Brain Society.
Put yourself in the mind of a 4- or 5-year-old, and copying a shape on the blackboard onto a piece of paper is a much more cognitively complex task than it is for an adult: Understanding the design, then holding that shape in your mind and deciding how to start copying, requires working memory, one of the brain’s executive functions. Gripping the pencil properly, applying the right pressure to avoid tearing the paper, and keeping the paper oriented on the desk all need fine-motor skills that also, at such ages, require focus and self-control.
http://goo.gl/I7DFB

Common Core provision muddies Kansas budget talks
Associated Press via Kansas City Star

TOPEKA — Kansas education advocates say they were surprised by a provision added to the 2014 state budget banning the spending of any money to implement the national Common Core standards for math and reading.
The provision, introduced last week by Senate Ways and Means Chairman Ty Masterson, says no money could be spent to implement the new standards, which have been adopted by more than 40 states. The provision also covers the Next Generation Science Standards which Kansas educators helped develop but the State Board of Education has yet to adopt.
“There is a general resistance to the federal government imposing on our schools,” said Masterson, a Republican from Andover.
The provision, which also applies to the 2015 budget, mirrors language of a bill that failed to get out of the House Education Committee earlier in the session. Several conservative legislators have argued that Kansas can’t afford the price of implementing the standards, or the strings that may be associated with following them, such as reporting student data to the U.S. Department of Education.
http://goo.gl/ZPR0R

Teacher-training programs’ success under scrutiny
Miami Herald

ORLANDO — Lee-Anne Spalding’s Elementary School Social Studies class at the University of Central Florida had spread out over the room in small groups. One group of sophomores huddled over a set of poetry books, picking out ones they liked. Others gathered around the white board as Spalding demonstrated how to embed sounds in presentations. Spalding had cut into strips a timeline of the civil rights movement and a third group, sitting on the floor, was putting the events back into chronological order.
In part, Spalding was providing content to her students by introducing them to materials they might use – like National Geographic magazines and the poetry books. But she was also modeling teaching strategies, like small group learning, and introducing activities, like the timeline exercise, that she hoped her students would someday mimic.
“You are more likely to use the instructional strategies I’m proposing to you if you actually do it,” she told her students.
UCF is the largest producers of teachers in the state; the university’s education school enrolls more than 2,000 students. It prides itself on being one of the strongest teacher training program in Florida, a position it has gained, school officials say, by nimbly responding to changes in the profession.
There is no real way to test that claim. The university, like many education schools across the country, must rely on anecdotal evidence from principals and graduates to determine that its programs are working, rather than hard data showing students are performing better.
Nationally, education schools have been criticized for being too easy – taking in some of the lowest-performing students – and pumping ill-equipped teachers into the system, harming student achievement. Schools across the country are trying to mitigate the criticism by changing curriculum or increasing the amount of field experience.
http://goo.gl/58N1I

High Court to Weigh In on Legislative Prayers
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court said Monday it will hear a new case on the intersection of religion and government in a dispute over prayers used to open public meetings.
The justices said they will review an appeals court ruling that held that the upstate New York town of Greece, a Rochester suburb, violated the Constitution by opening nearly every meeting over an 11-year span with prayers that stressed Christianity.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the town should have made a greater effort to invite people from other faiths to open its monthly board meetings.
The town says the high court already has upheld prayers at the start of legislative meetings and that private citizens offered invocations of their own choosing. The town said in court papers that the opening prayers should be found to be constitutional, “so long as the government does not act with improper motive in selecting prayer-givers.”
http://goo.gl/UBrbh

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

May 22:
Education Task Force meeting
9 a.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2013/html/00001990.htm

June 6-7:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspxpr

June 18:
Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
1 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2013&Com=APPEXE

June 19:
Education Interim Committee meeting
9 a.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2013&Com=INTEDU

July 11:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://goo.gl/Mu36l

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