Education News Roundup: May 22, 2013

"Education Building" by Michael/CC/flickr

“Education Building” by Michael/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

Salt Lake Board meetings tense with tax increase vote coming up.
http://goo.gl/JmQxr (SLT)
and http://goo.gl/YkrEM (KUER)

You can see how yesterday’s Trib talk went on Utah’s Core Standards.
http://goo.gl/Uds6g (SLT)

Ogden District approves contracts with teachers.
http://goo.gl/bQhrs (OSE)

Part-timers in Alpine getting fewer hours.
http://goo.gl/gD2ON (PDH)

Wall Street Journal looks a little deeper into the latest Census report on school spending. It’s down for the first time in more than three decades.
http://goo.gl/pCfH5 (WSJ)
and http://goo.gl/sYUo5 (LAT)
and http://goo.gl/kHCfb (Governing)
or a copy of the report
http://goo.gl/sWqpx (Census)

Secretary Duncan discusses waivers and Common Core with the House education panel.
http://goo.gl/TGuiV (Ed Week)

AFT President Randi Weingarten fires back at state superintendents over core implementation schedule.
http://goo.gl/fKrOG (WaPo)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Tensions mount as Salt Lake school board talks tax hike
SLC school board » Member wants more clarity on tax-hike plan.

Trib Talk: Is Common Core an upgrade or ‘cookie-cutter’ education?
Education » Utah’s state school board adopted the standards in 2010, but critics want the state to change course.

Ogden board approves teachers’ contract

Part-time ASD employees angry over getting fewer hours

Salt Lake City School District Weighs Tax Hike

Graduation rates on the upswing in Ogden School District

Board confirms superintendent choice
Dulaney hiring unanimously approved

Study: Salt Lake City has highest rate of gay parents in U.S.

Utah governor: Grand bargain and state taking fed lands ‘complementary’

2 Utah high schools ranked among the best in the U.S. in financial education

CNA program giving Ogden grads a leg up

Four Davis County schools offer CNA programs

South Summit High School can’t pick one
12 honor students earn valedictorian like role

Parting honor: Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education goes to retiring Mountain Crest teacher

Arch Coal Golden Apple Awards

On Kid’s Day, a foul ball is priceless
PCL baseball » Giveaways keep elementary school kids on edge of seats.

Washington and Iron School Districts Winners of the Inaugural Sorenson Legacy Awards for Excellence in Arts Education

Syracuse Junior High Symphonic Band creates own composition for final concert

Midvale student advances to national essay contest

2013 Graduate Profile: West Side senior praised by teachers as artistic, driven, smart

Leadership Excellence in School Nutrition awarded to Hurricane schools’ kitchen manager

Salt Lake City School District to run Summer Kindergarten Readiness Program

Two Rivers High School a good alternative for some

There’s no argument, debate makes comeback at Morgan

Ogden school resounding with oohs, aahs, cuckoos on career day

Box Elder FFA students honored for tractor restoration

Peer tutors provide lasting memories

School’s reading goal ends with a splash

Bear River Head Start facing delays, cuts from sequestration

Former Utah school secretary gets probation for lying about sex investigation
Courts » Woman was acquitted of unlawful sexual conduct but convicted of lying.

Lehi High students senior prank puts parking at premium

Teacher starts ‘Click-it Club’ after losing son in car accident

Orem High Football Player Makes Big Comeback After Cardiac Arrest

Tired? Daydreaming about summer? You may have senioritis

Thrift shop clothes punishment for bullying tween gets mixed reviews

Midvale Elementary selling bricks of old school as fundraiser

Fundraiser play planned at DaVinci

Doctors say poverty is biggest risk faced by America’s children

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Congrats to grads!

District should slow down, change direction

If pool bond passes, will schools get priority?

The college ‘preparation gap’ in a single graphic

Can Parents Save American Education?

Do Charter Schools Work?
Yes, but not always and not for everyone.

Harrison Phillips, Student Athlete, Receives 115 Letters From Duke

NATION

Public Spending Per Student Drops

House Panel Presses Arne Duncan on Loans, Waivers, Common Core

Common Core clash: AFT president fires back at state education officials

Digital Trends Shifting the Role of Teachers
Digital content shifts educators into coaching, guiding modes

Safety experts say Okla. school was ready for tornado

Teachers Credited with Saving Students in Okla.

TN schools weigh cost vs. risk of storm safe rooms

GED testing enters the computer age in California
The state is the latest to offer the high school equivalency test in a modern form instead of paper and pencil. It’s a prelude to a revamping of the test in 2014.

Parent trigger law invoked to kick out L.A. school’s administrators

Ore. student in wheelchair can’t get in at prom

Chinese Students Adjust to American Education
When East meets West, differences abound

Texas lawmakers pass Merry Christmas bill

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UTAH NEWS
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Tensions mount as Salt Lake school board talks tax hike
SLC school board » Member wants more clarity on tax-hike plan.

Budget discussions got so contentious Tuesday night, one Salt Lake City School District board member left the meeting.
Tiffany Sandberg asked to be excused after board member Michael Clara continued to ask questions about the budget, yet none of the other members seemed to understand his point.
Clara said he wants greater transparency involving district business, especially as he considers a vote on whether to increase taxes.
The disagreement during Tuesday’s board meeting was the latest in a series of criticisms Clara has lodged since joining the board in January.
http://goo.gl/JmQxr (SLT)

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

Trib Talk: Is Common Core an upgrade or ‘cookie-cutter’ education?
Education » Utah’s state school board adopted the standards in 2010, but critics want the state to change course.

State Board of Education Chairwoman Debra Roberts on Tuesday urged opponents of Common Core educational standards and new computer testing to “let go of this political posturing and recognize what we can do to transform education here in Utah.”
“This is great stuff. Let’s work together to meet the needs of our children,” Roberts said during a live video Trib Talk with Dalane England of the Utah Eagle Forum, moderator Jennifer Napier-Pearce of The Salt Lake Tribune and Tribune education reporter Lisa Schencker.
The video chat included questions and comments from readers via Twitter and Facebook.
http://goo.gl/Uds6g (SLT)

Ogden board approves teachers’ contract

OGDEN — The Ogden School Board on Monday night approved a 2013-14 school-year contract with the Ogden Education Association, which represents teachers at the district’s three high schools, three junior highs and 14 elementary schools.
“I was very encouraged with the collaborative bargaining we did with the district,” said Matt Ogle, executive director of Ogden Weber UniServ, which helped represent OEA teachers during three months of negotiations.
“Everyone came to the table with the intent to negotiate a fair agreement. We’ve come a long way in two years.”
http://goo.gl/bQhrs (OSE)

Part-time ASD employees angry over getting fewer hours

AMERICAN FORK — Alpine School District employees overflowed out of the conference room of the district’s transportation office on Tuesday, all there to express concern and frustration about a recent directive requiring hourly employees not work more than 27.5 hours a week. That will begin July 1.
With that cut, many said they will be forced to take on additional employment or suffer extreme consequences.
“I would have to look for another job or we would lose our house,” Bonnie Rieske, a driver, said. The single mother of three, ages 10, 12 and 18, said she wants to have some time to see her children and be a mother to them. She has a bachelor’s degree but was told she could make more of a contribution if she became a special needs driver for the district. She has been serving three schools and getting some extra hours fueling the buses on Friday evenings.
“I am barely scraping it as it is now,” she said. “I am just paying my bills. I feel heartsick about it.”
http://goo.gl/gD2ON (PDH)

Graduation rates on the upswing in Ogden School District

OGDEN ­— More students are graduating in the Ogden School District in 2013 than in any of the past 30 years. If things stay on track, Ogden High School will have about 100 more students graduate this year than last year, and Ben Lomond, which has a 90 percent graduate rate for seniors, will stay about the same.
Approximately 398 seniors will graduate from Ogden High this year, and 266 from Ben Lomond.
http://goo.gl/I5dNb (OSE)

Board confirms superintendent choice
Dulaney hiring unanimously approved

CEDAR CITY — The Iron County School District Board unanimously ratified its choice of Shannon Dulaney as its new superintendent during its Tuesday afternoon public meeting.
Dulaney, who previously served as a director of special programs in the district, has been teaching and conducting research for the past three years at Brigham Young University. She will be officially replacing retiring Superintendent Jim Johnson in July, and will become the first woman to serve in the position in Iron County.
Board president Stephen Allen said the search for the new superintendent began with a committee composed of 20 stakeholders from across the county. Committee members included teachers and other school staff, along with Southern Utah University representatives and parents.
http://goo.gl/52Mt1 (SGS)

Study: Salt Lake City has highest rate of gay parents in U.S.

Salt Lake City has the country’s highest percentage of gay or lesbian couples who are raising children among large cities, according to a new report.
Though it may not have the country’s largest gay community, Utah’s capital city and its suburbs boast the highest rate — 26 percent — of same-sex parenthood, according to an analysis of census data by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law.
Resident Weston Clark, whose adopted son is now 3 years old, said he’s been amazed at how quickly he’s found other same-sex parents.
“In Utah, especially those of us who are from Utah originally, it’s ingrained in our culture that family is important,” Clark said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re gay or straight, you still want that.”
Salt Lake City topped the list of cities with a population of 1 million or more, with Virginia Beach, Va.; Memphis, Tenn.; San Antonio, Texas and Detroit not far behind.
http://goo.gl/crCGL (SLT)

http://goo.gl/XAI8M (SLCW)

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

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

http://goo.gl/hge9x (LAT)

Utah governor: Grand bargain and state taking fed lands ‘complementary’

Washington • Gov. Gary Herbert backed the idea of a congressional “grand bargain” to solve the decades-old contentious public lands debate in Utah but he still says the federal government should hand over public lands to the state.
Herbert said the two viewpoints aren’t contradictory, but are “complementary,” and that the state would still want to preserve some land and open other parts up to oil and gas drilling.
“The only difference is that we’re suggesting the title of that property should be given to the state of Utah, which will further enable us to manage it correctly,” Herbert said after testifying before the House Natural Resources subcommittee over public lands.
Herbert said that he would like to work with federal land managers to solve the fight over how to manage public swaths that cover most of Utah, but that so far the effort isn’t working.
http://goo.gl/uUq5X (SLT)

http://goo.gl/INWF5 (DN)

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

http://goo.gl/nF5ff (PDH)

http://goo.gl/Dpo2e (KSL)

2 Utah high schools ranked among the best in the U.S. in financial education

Two Utah schools were ranked among the top five in the nation for excellence in financial literacy and eduaction.
The Itineris Early College High School in West Jordan was second, ranking only behind the High School for Math, Science & Engineering at City College in New York City.
Utah County Academy of Sciences in Orem was ranked fourth on the list, which was comprised primarily of high schools on the East Coast.
http://goo.gl/uIR73 (DN)

CNA program giving Ogden grads a leg up

OGDEN — Amanda Moore couldn’t stop smiling. The Ogden High School senior had just completed her clinical exams for her Certified Nursing Assistant certificate earlier in the day and said she enjoyed every minute of it. She felt her experience, in Brent Richardson’s CNA class at Ogden High School, was outstanding.
“It’s great to help people you know can’t do it by themselves,” she said of her clinical experience.
The class has been challenging, she said, but she has loved it. Moore plans to go to Weber State University this fall and to pursue a nursing degree.
Ogden High is one of the few high schools in the state that offers the CNA class right at the school.
http://goo.gl/z4Hcl (OSE)

Four Davis County schools offer CNA programs

BOUNTIFUL — Gaining real-world experience in the medical field is becoming easier for high school students in Davis School District as a result of a relatively new CNA certification program.
The Certified Nursing Assistant program is available at four high schools — Viewmont, Northridge, Davis and Syracuse. Viewmont is considered the magnet school for the semester-long program, as students from high schools without it are allowed to take the course there.
The program is currently in its second year of operation.
http://goo.gl/4pYVn (OSE)

South Summit High School can’t pick one
12 honor students earn valedictorian like role

Valedictorian is an anglicized derivation of the Latin, vale dicere, “to say farewell,” historically rooted to the traditional role of a student final speaker at a graduation ceremony.
The soft sound of graduating senior Maren Davis’s violin playing “Somewhere over the Rainbow,” is the closest the 96 students graduating from South Summit High School will get to a farewell speech Thursday night at least from a peer.
According to Principal Steve Camp, choosing a sole student to fill the role of highest academic achiever of a graduating class is not an easy challenge.
So they don’t.
Instead of selecting the student who has the highest grade point average from the senior class, 12 students were selected for high honors. The top students, who will be representing the SSHS Class of 2013 during the ceremony at the school, were required to maintain a GPA of 3.7 or higher, while taking extra steps to be selected.
http://goo.gl/IeEF3 (PR)

Parting honor: Huntsman Award for Excellence in Education goes to retiring Mountain Crest teacher

HYRUM — Every year, the Huntsman organization presents the Huntsman Awards for Excellence in Education, honoring outstanding teachers and administrators across the state.
This year, Margaret Obray, a teacher from Mountain Crest High School, was selected as one of just 10 recipients throughout Utah. Obray teaches AP history, AP government and AP comparative government at Mountain Crest High School, in addition to a class on how to teach history at Utah State University.
“It was an incredible honor to win this award because there are so many amazing teachers,” said Obray, who is retiring after this school year.
http://goo.gl/7JK6u (LHJ)

Arch Coal Golden Apple Awards

The Arch Coal Foundation honored eight teachers recently with Golden Apple Award Certificates. The awards are part of the Teacher Achievement Award program. Golden Apple recipients are teachers who earned finalist status in the program. Recipients include:
Paul Allred, of North Sanpete High School
Camille Carlson, of Carbon High School
Jessica Jones, of North Sevier Middle School
Robyn Lloyd, of Red Hills Middle School
Stephanie Johnson, of Richfield High School
James Nelson, of Ephraim Middle School
Anne Henrie, of Gunnison Valley Elementary
Wesley Torgerson, of Ashman Elementary
http://goo.gl/F5ift (MUR)

http://goo.gl/BxUO3 (Emery County Progress)

http://goo.gl/NoEdZ (Coal Valley News)

On Kid’s Day, a foul ball is priceless
PCL baseball » Giveaways keep elementary school kids on edge of seats.

On Kids’ Day at Spring Mobile Ballpark, the nearly 11,000 elementary school fans flooding the seats and spilling onto the concourse were seeking a great number of souvenirs.
It was easy to tell what had value to the preteen spectators. Hundreds, if not thousands were ambling around with miniature pink baseball bats, or floppy yellow fingers. Bumble, the team’s mascot, couldn’t walk a foot without stepping into a horde of autograph-seeking children. Dippin Dots has never been so popular at the ballpark as it was Tuesday afternoon.
But that most coveted of prizes — the foul ball — was also the hardest to find during the 10-3 win that the Bees (23-23) earned over Memphis (22-21). And that’s why Horizon Elementary fifth-grader Joshua Christiansen kept his close, cradled in his mother’s glove he had borrowed.
Right after an inning, Bees third baseman Luis Jimenez had tossed it to him in the front row by the team dugout. Christiansen was the envy of Ms. McNatt’s class.
http://goo.gl/GpxlJ (SLT)

http://goo.gl/5jKCe (DN)

http://goo.gl/tIuB7 (KTVX)

Washington and Iron School Districts Winners of the Inaugural Sorenson Legacy Awards for Excellence in Arts Education

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah State Office of Education today announced the winners of the inaugural Sorenson Legacy Awards for Excellence in Arts Education, honoring educators, administrators, and volunteers who have demonstrated a commitment to providing arts education in Utah public schools.
Both educators and the public were invited to nominate individuals for awards in several different categories relating to arts education. More than 100 nominations were received from across the state, and 19 winners in eight categories were honored for their efforts. Each individual award winner received a cash award of $2,500 along with an artistic award for display, and an additional $2,500 was awarded to each winner’s school to further support the arts program.
http://goo.gl/AOCCL (KCSG)

Syracuse Junior High Symphonic Band creates own composition for final concert

SYRACUSE — One junior high band in Top of Utah is doing something so unusual, band instructor Zach Poulter has heard of only one other school in the state that has tried it.
Members of Syracuse Junior High’s Symphonic Band, consisting of eighth- and ninth-graders, composed their own sound track to accompany the silent film, “One Week,” a short comedy starring comedian Buster Keaton that premiered in 1920.
http://goo.gl/caXjW (OSE)

Midvale student advances to national essay contest

MIDVALE — Midvale Middle School eighth-grader Timothy Hui has been selected to represent Utah at the National Do the Write Thing essay contest.
Hui’s essay about ending youth violence will be entered into the Library of Congress. The Do the Write Thing Challenge offers seventh- and eighth-grade students an opportunity to examine the impact of youth violence on their lives and write essays proposing prevention tactics to break the cycle of violence in their homes, schools and neighborhoods.
The national challenge is administered locally through the Utah Board of Juvenile Justice, which selects one boy and one girl to represent Utah at the national competition.
http://goo.gl/m9Sqk (DN)

2013 Graduate Profile: West Side senior praised by teachers as artistic, driven, smart

DAYTON — Zac Talbot is a talented piano player who practiced two years to take second place at a piano competition earlier this month against young virtuosos across Cache Valley.
Tonight, he’ll walk across the stage at the Dahle Performing Arts Center again, this time to receive his high school diploma in a big step to the rest of his life.
Talbot, an 18 year-old from Preston, is a self-described “shy kid” who humbly accepts praise with a quiet smile that never seems to leave his face.
http://goo.gl/pAk8y (LHJ)

Leadership Excellence in School Nutrition awarded to Hurricane schools’ kitchen manager

HURRICANE – The School Nutrition Association has awarded Pam Johnson of the Washington County School District the regional Louise Sublette Award of Leadership Excellence in School Nutrition, considered the highest honor a school nutrition manager can earn.
The award recognizes a manager who has demonstrated dedication and ingenuity by successfully implementing a project to improve his or her school meal program. Johnson is the kitchen manager of both Hurricane Middle School and Hurricane High School and worked as a lunch lady for over 20 years.
http://goo.gl/ZMySL (SGN)

http://goo.gl/H0pys (KUTV)

Salt Lake City School District to run Summer Kindergarten Readiness Program

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake City School District’s Summer Kindergarten Readiness Program is now open for registration through June 14.
The goals of the program are to assist children in achieving academic readiness, developing age-appropriate social skills, promoting self-help skills and enhancing creativity. The program operates from 8 a.m. to noon for 20 school days, from June 10 to July 11.
Participants must be 5 years old by Sept. 1 of the current year. Free breakfast and lunch are available.
http://goo.gl/0dPvy (DN)

Two Rivers High School a good alternative for some

OGDEN — Haylee Sorenson, London Bateman and Skye Reynolds weren’t too sure where they fit in a traditional high school setting. All three attended high schools in Weber School District, but were short on credits and felt a little lost in the shuffle.
When they heard about Two Rivers High School, the Weber School District’s alternative high school, they decided to give it a try.
“People say it’s a school for losers and druggies, but they are wrong,” Reynolds said. All three have earned their credits and will officially graduate May 23.
http://goo.gl/KblcW (OSE)

There’s no argument, debate makes comeback at Morgan

MORGAN — Debate is making a comeback at Morgan High School.
A vote from the Morgan County School Board three years ago got the ball rolling, allowing Morgan High to form a debate team. It started as an after-school team activity. Last school year, the team boasted 20 students.
For the 2012-2013 year, the after-school club was supplemented with a Debate I and Debate II class that officially became part of the academic year schedule. Now, the team is up to 35 members, with 21 actively competing at region and state competitions.
http://goo.gl/a8mNw (OSE)

Ogden school resounding with oohs, aahs, cuckoos on career day

OGDEN — Preston Hadley and his friends wriggled excitedly at the chain-link fence leading to the playground at Polk Elementary School.
Preston pointed to the incoming helicopter, while other students cheered and screamed with excitement as it landed in the middle of the playground Monday.
The Whirlybird Helicopter Flight School capped a day filled with visits from several local professionals participating in the school’s first career day.
http://goo.gl/t1nCs (OSE)

Box Elder FFA students honored for tractor restoration

BRIGHAM CITY — It started out as a 1948 Allis-Chalmers W Speed Patrol tractor, on the job maintaining and grading roads in rural Idaho.
After being rotated out of the county’s fleet, an Idaho farmer used it to grade his roads and do other miscellaneous jobs before consigning it.
That’s when a Utahn bought it off a used-equipment lot near Preston, Idaho. It could have ended with a rat’s nest in the front, gooey oil and water in the rear, and a body of rust.
But it didn’t.
Instead, a group of Box Elder High School FFA students lovingly transformed the tractor to its former glory, becoming the first Utah high school to not only compete in, but win the video portion of the national Chevron Delo Tractor Restoration Competition at the FFA National Convention.
http://goo.gl/BkwHH (OSE)

Peer tutors provide lasting memories

BEAR RIVER—At Bear River High School this year, six seniors had hot dates for the junior prom. In this neck of the woods, the junior prom is the biggest high school dance of the year, and the seniors weren’t going to let anyone miss it.
Their dates were students with severe disabilities, from the school’s functional skills class.
“For some of the special-needs students, this may be their only date in life,” said Brenda de Haan, functional skills special education teacher at Bear River High.
http://goo.gl/JseId (OSE)

School’s reading goal ends with a splash

EAGLE MOUNTAIN — Filling the playground of their school, students, faculty and PTA members from Eagle Valley Elementary enjoyed a carnival to celebrate beating their reading goal in the Ken Garff Road to Success program.
At the beginning of the school year, principal Keith Conley offered his students a reward they couldn’t resist.
“If you meet your reading goals you’ll be able to dunk your principal,” he said.
On Tuesday Conley’s students got to do just that, dropping him into a dunk tank again and again and again.
http://goo.gl/HBl3W (PDH)

Bear River Head Start facing delays, cuts from sequestration

Many people consider Head Start to be the flagship federal program because its purpose is to help disadvantaged children and families. But Head Start has been hit hard by the federal sequester plan, according to Kami Christensen, community relations specialist with Bear River Head Start.
Christensen says among the many changes is the starting time for Head Start which will be two weeks later than normal this year.
http://goo.gl/cMwr5 (CVD)

Former Utah school secretary gets probation for lying about sex investigation
Courts » Woman was acquitted of unlawful sexual conduct but convicted of lying.

American Fork • Montreia Barney was found not guilty last month of unlawful sexual conduct with a former Mt. Nebo Junior High School student.
But the former school finance secretary was sentenced Tuesday for a related conviction: lying to police during their investigation of the sex allegations.
Barney, 50, was sentenced to 12 months probation and 120 hours of community service. Fourth District Judge Thomas Low also ordered the woman to pay a $760 fine.
http://goo.gl/7QVms (SLT)

http://goo.gl/TI2Lr (KSL)

Lehi High students senior prank puts parking at premium

LEHI — Amanda Nielsen’s voice quivered as, with tears in her eyes, she told Lehi council members about her 2-year-old boy getting streptococc… Read more
Members of the community have spoken out about parking issues at Lehi High School (read more about this here) and seniors inadvertently spoke out as well for their annual senior prank.
The senior humor got several chuckles and comments from adults when the students monopolized the campus parking lot this morning by parking their cars haphazardly with as many cars as they could.
http://goo.gl/u3mUO (PDH)

Teacher starts ‘Click-it Club’ after losing son in car accident

NORTH LOGAN — A Utah teacher who lost his son in a car crash is sharing a message of safety with his students.
“You just can’t explain that loss, that void that’s there when you lose a child,” said Chad Hawkes, a fifth grade teacher at North Park Elementary School. “If I can help another family avoid that kind of feeling, I’m going to do it.”
His son, Jake, died in a car accident in 2009 — he was texting while driving and not wearing a seat belt. Hawkes initially was reluctant to share the story, but he changed his mind and discovered just how important the message could be.
http://goo.gl/PSno5 (KSL)

Orem High Football Player Makes Big Comeback After Cardiac Arrest

When 16 year-old Ben White woke up in a hospital room and saw his father next to him, he had no idea how he got there. “It scared me. I was terrified,” he said in his hospital room at Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. When Ben woke up, it had been two days since he collapsed on the football field while doing sprints with his teammates at Orem High and went into cardiac arrest. Doctors cooled his brain and put him in a medically induced coma and prepared him for treatment that would save his life. Ben’s coach, Tyler Anderson, had already completed the first part of the life-saving work by giving him immediate CPR after he passed out.
“I couldn’t be happier,” said Dr. David Wong, the heart rhythm specialist who treated Ben. Wong said as soon as doctors got to work, they diagnosed him with Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome (WPW)—a condition where extra fibers are present in the heart.
http://goo.gl/fb94I (KUTV)

Tired? Daydreaming about summer? You may have senioritis

CEDAR HILLS — Students at Lone Peak High School are walking to find a cure for a highly contagious, debilitating disease that strikes many seniors just before graduation.
“We would love to spread our ideas about combating senioritis to students in Utah,” Lone Peak senior class president Zack Bradshaw said.
He said since their first walk on Monday, the participation has grown. The walk initially was his idea, but his friend Grant Rowberry had the idea to use the walks to combat senioritis.
http://goo.gl/CwvL6 (PDH)

Thrift shop clothes punishment for bullying tween gets mixed reviews

MURRAY, Utah – A punishment given to a fourth grade bully by her parents has garnered international attention, and the unique parenting method has received mixed reviews.
For several weeks, 10-year-old Kaylee had been teasing a classmate at Viewmont Elementary about the way she dressed.
When Kaylee’s dad’s fiancée Ally learned about the bullying, she asked Kaylee about it, and Kaylee didn’t show any remorse.
So Ally and Mark, Kaylee’s dad, decided to give the girl a taste of her own medicine. They went to a local thrift shop and picked out a “new” wardrobe for Kaylee to wear to school.
http://goo.gl/Wrh2Q (KSTU)

Midvale Elementary selling bricks of old school as fundraiser

MIDVALE — The new Midvale Elementary School stands to benefit from pieces of the old one.
People can help build up programs at the new school by buying bricks from the old, now-demolished school on Center Street.
Midvale Elementary supporters can now buy a brick of the six-decade-old building for $10, or $15 with an engraved plate. For those who order more than 10 bricks, they will cost $5 per brick, or $10 per brick with an engraved plate.
http://goo.gl/00noF (DN)

Fundraiser play planned at DaVinci

OGDEN — The DaVinci Academy charter school tonight will open its fundraising production of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).”
The show, with a three-student cast, will run at 7:30 p.m. today through Saturday, and May 29 and May 30 at the school, 2050 Grant Ave.
http://goo.gl/NGzwZ (OSE)

Doctors say poverty is biggest risk faced by America’s children

The Academic Pediatric Association and American Academy of Pediatrics considers poverty to be the biggest risk facing American children, according to a Washington Post report. These doctors, however, say lack of sustained focus on childhood poverty, or a unified pediatric voice speaking about the poverty, has been an impediment to actually solving the problem.
Twenty-two percent of American children are growing up in poverty, according to the National Poverty Center. A growing body of research shows the negative consequences of poverty on children’s health and well-being. For example, childhood poverty is linked with negative conditions such as substandard housing, homelessness, inadequate nutrition and food insecurity and unsafe neighborhoods, according to the American Psychological Association.
Poor children and teens are also more likely to struggle academically, drop out of school, suffer from abuse, neglect, behavioral emotional problems, physical health issues and developmental delays.
http://goo.gl/yVM3i (DN)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Congrats to grads!
(St. George) Spectrum editorial

Today starts a flurry of activities centered on a grand moment in the life of any high school student: graduation.
Ceremonies will be conducted today for graduating seniors at Pine View, Desert Hills, Dixie, Snow Canyon and Tuacahn high schools. Over the next few days, students will graduate from Cedar, Canyon View, Hurricane, Millcreek, Parowan and Enterprise high schools, among others.
In each case, the students who cross the stages to receive their diplomas have put in the effort necessary to earn this honor. Certainly, some have achieved more than others in terms of grades, accolades and scholarships. But all have met the requirements for graduation.
To all of these students, we say “congratulations” and wish you the best of luck as you enter a new phase in life.
http://goo.gl/UJCP7

District should slow down, change direction
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Kerry Brethouwer Conrad, Tim Conrad

In the May 18 letter, “Deficit means Ogden district must make cuts,” the writer defended how Superintendent Brad Smith has been handling the finances and leadership of Ogden School District. The writer asked, “Think about it letter writer, what would you do in his place?”
The writer’s question has already been answered in detail at the standing-room-only school board meeting on Wednesday, May 15, when 20 articulate parents, teachers, students, professors, and business people gave moving, insightful answers. They asked the superintendent to listen, collaborate, slow down, reverse his proposed cuts, and change direction. Visionary education and community members volunteered to serve as decision-makers in the coming year to work on meaningful, informed solutions.
http://goo.gl/6GL15

If pool bond passes, will schools get priority?
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Dave Maltby

I have a child who swims on a recreational, competitive swim team in the Ogden area. The team used to hold practices at the Ogden High School pool, but now practice is held at another facility because of the closing of the two school-operated pools. While practicing at the high school, the team was always having to rearrange their schedules to accommodate the high school teams. With the pool being operated by the school, it got “first dibs” on practice times, swim meets, etc.
My question now, with the school board not supporting the pool and having that responsibility falling on the citizens, will those schools (Ogden High and Ben Lomond) still get scheduling preference over any and all other organization wanting to use the pool? Or, will it become the highest bidder that gets the best times?
http://goo.gl/6FoNr

The college ‘preparation gap’ in a single graphic
Washington Post commentary by columnist Valerie Strauss

An annual national survey of school curriculum concludes that there is a “large gap” between how high school teachers perceive their graduating students’ readiness for college and what professors expect freshmen to know.
While a vast majority of high school teachers believe their students are ready for college work, most postsecondary teachers don’t, as shown in the following graphic from the report called “ACT National Curriculum Survey® 2012: Policy Implications on Preparing for Higher Standards.”
The gap in perception about college readiness “suggests a continuing lack of curricular alignment between the K–12 and post-secondary education systems that may be hampering the efforts of K–12 to prepare students for life after high school,” the report says.
http://goo.gl/lrGDj

A copy of the report
http://www.act.org/research-policy/national-curriculum-survey/

Can Parents Save American Education?
Huffington Post commentary by Jean Johnson, senior fellow, Public Agenda

Research suggests that students whose parents are involved in their schooling make better grades and are more likely to go to college, and some states — with California leading the way of course — are passing parent trigger laws that give parents much more power to intervene when local schools are failing. President Obama has weighed in as well. He is one of many leaders calling on parents to step up to the plate when it comes to education. “We all know that we can have the best schools and the most dedicated teachers in the world,” Obama said in a public service announcement taped in 2010. “But it won’t be enough unless we fill our responsibilities as parents. ”
Most American parents readily agree with the premise that parents are a crucial ingredient in a child’s educational success. A few years ago, when the Gallup/Phi Delta Kappa survey asked parents which is more important in helping a child learn — parents or the school — the results weren’t even close: 78 percent of parents said “the student’s parents” and only 21 percent said “the school.” And an analysis of opinion research conducted by my organization, Public Agenda, and the Kettering Foundation shows that most parents view participating in their child’s education as a fundamental responsibility and see stronger parent and community involvement as a critical factor in improving neighborhood schools. As a DC dad in one of our focus groups put it: ” I think [good schools] depend on the parent participation… Some schools have a lot of parents… in the PTA. They come to the school. They advocate for the school regularly.”
But what exactly do we mean by “parental involvement”?
http://goo.gl/oXy5b

Do Charter Schools Work?
Yes, but not always and not for everyone.
Slate commentary by Ray Fisman, Lambert Family professor of social enterprise and director of the Social Enterprise Program at the Columbia Business School

On June 4, 1991, Minnesota Gov. Arne Carlson signed into law a bill that set in motion one of the most significant—and controversial—education reform movements in modern history. Minnesota’s charter school law allowed educators and other concerned individuals to apply to the state for permission to operate a government-funded school outside of the public education system. In order to obtain and keep their licenses, these new schools needed to show they were serving their students effectively, based on goals laid out in the school’s “charter.” City Academy, America’s first charter school, opened in St. Paul the following year. Its mission was to get high-school dropouts on track to vocational careers, and it is still operating today. One early enrollee, Demetrice Norris, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in 1992 that he had spent years, “being lazy – not doing nothing” before he “got a life back here in school” and “got a chance to be something.”
Whether charter schools have actually lived up to their initial promise is a hotly contested topic in the education reform debate. An entire field of education research aims to assess whether students are better off at charter schools than in the public system. The latest findings, based on six well-regarded charter schools in Boston, released Wednesday by the Boston Foundation and MIT’s School Effectiveness and Inequality Initiative, adds to the accumulating evidence that at least a subset of high-performing charters are measuring up to the movement’s early aspirations of giving disadvantaged kids a shot at a better life. The study shows that the Boston schools’ students did better on SAT and Advanced Placement tests and are vastly more likely to enroll at four year colleges—and to do so on scholarship—than otherwise identical students in the Boston public school system.
What makes a charter school different from other public schools?
http://goo.gl/goUnQ

Harrison Phillips, Student Athlete, Receives 115 Letters From Duke
Huffington Post commentary by columnist Rebecca Klein

Is Duke University the creepy guy who is coming on too strong? Or the romantic pursuer who takes the time to show he cares?
Either way, the university certainly knows how to court ’em.
Duke proved that Harrison Phillips is the apple of its eye this past weekend, when it sent the high school junior 115 handwritten letters in an effort to recruit the football star for the Duke Blue Devils.
http://goo.gl/vdygC

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Public Spending Per Student Drops
Wall Street Journal

U.S. public-education spending per student fell in 2011 for the first time in more than three decades, according to new U.S. Census Bureau data issued Tuesday.
Spending for elementary and high schools across the 50 states and Washington, D.C. averaged $10,560 per pupil in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2011. That was down 0.4% from 2010, the first drop since the bureau began collecting the data on an annual basis in 1977, the agency said Tuesday. However, when you adjust the figures for inflation, this isn’t the first drop on record. By that measure, spending per pupil dropped once in 1995 and hit its highest level in 2009. In inflation-adjusted terms, spending per pupil was down 4% in 2011 from the peak.
Overall, the nation’s pre-kindergarten-through-12th grade schools spent $595.1 billion on about 48 million students in 2011, with $522.1 billion going toward daily operating expenses, the data show. That was a decline of 1.1% from 2010, the second year in a row that total spending dropped.
http://goo.gl/pCfH5

http://goo.gl/sYUo5 (LAT)

http://goo.gl/kHCfb (Governing)

A copy of the report
http://goo.gl/sWqpx (Census)

House Panel Presses Arne Duncan on Loans, Waivers, Common Core
Education Week

Student loans are at the top of Congress’ agenda this summer—and they were the number one topic when U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan testified today before the House Education and the Workforce Committee on President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2014 budget.

The administration’s plan to offer states flexibility from the mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act, which are in place in 37 states and the District of Columbia, took some bipartisan heat. Kline said he has made his concerns about the process “abundantly clear” and added that he doesn’t think the law should be renewed by “executive fiat.”
Miller, who is typically an administration ally on K-12 issues, was even more fiery. He is really worried that the administration’s waivers shortchange students in particular subgroups (such as English-language learners) and allow states to water down requirements (for instance, by giving credit for GEDs). He’s already let the administration know about these concerns, and today he said he wants the education secretary to keep them in mind when deciding whether to renew waivers.
http://goo.gl/TGuiV

Common Core clash: AFT president fires back at state education officials
Washington Post

The head of a major teachers union fired back Tuesday at state education officials who had dismissed her call for a moratorium on stakes associated with new standardized state tests in public schools.
Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said Chiefs for Change, a small group of state education officials, was distorting her call for a moratorium on the use of new standardized tests based on Common Core standards to evaluate teachers and students.
The Common Core standards in math and reading are rolling out across the country and will be in place in 45 states and the District by next school year. Next spring, students in grades three through 12 will be tested on the standards, which will significantly change the way the two subjects are taught.
While a majority of teachers polled by the AFT support the new standards, most said they were not being adequately prepared by their school districts.
http://goo.gl/fKrOG

Digital Trends Shifting the Role of Teachers
Digital content shifts educators into coaching, guiding modes
Education Week

Chris Merkert, a veteran teacher who has spent nearly two decades in the classroom, is constantly tweaking his lesson plans. It’s become a kind of obsession.
One recent evening, he sat watching TV with his wife when the news broke that an infrared camera had helped capture Dzhokar Tsarnaev, the man charged with setting off explosives during the Boston Marathon.
Mr. Merkert’s response? He began retooling the following week’s lesson on the electromagnetic spectrum, using a YouTube clip of the news broadcast as a hook to lure in his middle school science class.
http://goo.gl/ybvIn

Safety experts say Okla. school was ready for tornado
USA Today

The teachers and students in Moore, Okla., were as prepared as anyone could have been to respond to the devastating tornado that struck Monday, several school safety experts say.
The Oklahoma City suburb had been through it before. In May 1999, tornadoes ripped through the community, killing 36 people. This week’s tornado left at least 24 dead, including nine children, and destroyed two elementary schools. But teachers and other school officials are being hailed as heroes for responding just as they had during untold numbers of routine disaster drills over the years.
When Monday’s storm loomed, school officials “knew to treat it seriously,” says Ken Trump, a Cleveland-based national school-safety consultant. “When you have any loss of life, especially children, it rips our hearts out. But had the community not had that history, the preparedness lessons learned right in their own back yard, the losses could have been even worse.”
http://goo.gl/fEkZA

Teachers Credited with Saving Students in Okla.
Associated Press

MOORE, Okla. — The principal’s voice came on over the intercom at Plaza Towers Elementary School: A severe storm was approaching and students were to go to the cafeteria and wait for their parents to pick them up.
But before all of the youngsters could get there, the tornado alarm sounded.
The plan changed quickly.
“All the teachers started screaming into the room and saying, `Get into the hallway! We don’t want you to die!’ and stuff like that,” said sixth-grader Phaedra Dunn. “We just took off running.”
http://goo.gl/kJoIg

TN schools weigh cost vs. risk of storm safe rooms
Nashville Tennessean

Beside Joplin’s temporary high school sits a field of concrete boxes with steel doors — bunkers trusted to guard students against 200-plus-mph winds like those that ripped their Missouri school apart two years ago today.
At the new Joplin High, a 16,000-square-foot music room will serve as a better version of the same thing. After tornadoes leveled the same school twice — the first time in 1971 — district leaders accelerated plans to include safe rooms in all new school construction, Superintendent C.J. Huff said.
Classes were out when the Sunday tornadoes decimated Joplin in 2011, but on Monday, the schools in Moore, Okla., were in. Seven children died at Plaza Towers Elementary School, some of them drowning, according to early reports, after a pipe burst in the basement where they hid.
In both cases, the nation’s eyes turned to the schools, and their safety in the face of a tornado.
http://goo.gl/lbyil

http://goo.gl/fuol3 (NYT)

GED testing enters the computer age in California
The state is the latest to offer the high school equivalency test in a modern form instead of paper and pencil. It’s a prelude to a revamping of the test in 2014.
Los Angeles Times

At age 59, Rita Kowalski decided she wanted to use the computer for more than emailing her kids and looking up salmon recipes.
Forty-two years after she dropped out of high school to start a family, Kowalski, now a grandmother of 12, is using it to get her high school equivalency credential.
“I perked up because I can look straight at the computer,” Kowalski said. “My attention span is shorter with books for some reason, but I can look at the screen for hours and it doesn’t seem to bother me.”
After decades of pencil-to-paper test sheets, California this year became the latest state to launch the General Educational Development test, known as the GED, in a computer format. The GED Testing Service, the private organization that administers the exam, rolled out the computer-based format in 2012 to help more adults earn a GED credential and to prepare for the launch of the new test in 2014.
The newest iteration of the 71-year-old test will focus more on job readiness than high school equivalency, and the new test-taking format will also support that initiative. It will measure “career and college-readiness skills” with fewer multiple-choice questions and more content-based answers.
http://goo.gl/npfFY

Parent trigger law invoked to kick out L.A. school’s administrators
San Bernardino (CA) Sun

LOS ANGELES — A group of parents appear ready to force the Los Angeles Unified School District to enact sweeping changes at their elementary school.
Monday in Watts, the Weigand Parents Union announced LAUSD officials had confirmed they had gathered enough signatures to invoke California’s 2010 parent-trigger law. The law enables parents to force schools to make dramatic changes if they can gather signatures equal to 50 percent plus one of the families enrolled. The group reportedly gathered signatures from 61 percent of eligible families.
The law has been successfully invoked twice this year, first in Adelanto in the High Desert and later at 24th Street Elementary in the West Adams district of Los Angeles. Unlike those efforts, the Weigand Elementary parents are not looking for a charter school to take over or manage the school. Instead, they seek to oust the school’s administrators.
http://goo.gl/n8PXw

Chinese Students Adjust to American Education
When East meets West, differences abound
Boston University Today

Lili Gu recalls his initial trepidation at the flood of white faces in his Massachusetts high school when he came to America for 10th grade. There was the hulking football player who noticed that Gu was lost one day and said—here, Gu speaks in a guttural half-grunt—“‘Hey, you want to go to the gym?’ And I’m like, dude, is this guy going to rob me?” He struggled with English, too. The writing skills he arrived with, he says, would be at home in the fourth grade. But an English-as-second-language program made him comfortable after a semester. Then his formidable Chinese secondary education kicked in.
Gu (ENG’13) says he breezed through high school, especially math, sprinting through the curriculum and into Harvard night school for advanced calculus. The easy ride ended at BU, however. If Chinese high schools are more rigorous than those in the United States, the reverse is true for universities, Gu says.
http://goo.gl/K4W6F

Ore. student in wheelchair can’t get in at prom
(Portland) Oregonian

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. — Adam Goeken had the date, the boutonniere and the new suit when he arrived for Lake Oswego High School’s prom Saturday night at the Bossanova Ballroom in Portland.
But he couldn’t get in.
Goeken, who uses a mechanized wheelchair, found a steep, narrow stairway between him and the second-story dancehall — and no elevator. Friends and school officials tried to find a solution but eventually decided it would be too dangerous to try to carry him upstairs.
So Goeken, who in January was crowned king of the winter formal dance, had no choice but to leave.
http://goo.gl/DMjNS

Texas lawmakers pass Merry Christmas bill
(Austin, TX) KTBC

Texas lawmakers have just made it politically correct for teachers to say Merry Christmas in the classroom.
It may be have been a hot 94 degrees outside the capitol, but inside it felt like Christmas for State Representative Dwayne Bohac of Houston. House Bill 308, what Bohac has dubbed the Merry Christmas bill, is now on the way to Governor Rick Perry’s desk.
“It allows school districts to say Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah,” Bohac said.
http://goo.gl/SD0Ss

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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

Related posts:

5 comments to Education News Roundup: May 22, 2013

  • Matt McCarty

    RE: Common Core Standards
    It’s not enough for the State Office of Education (USOE) proclaim that the standards are in effect and tell the districts to comply. In order to be successful, the USOE has to present a vision and plan to implement these standards. If USOE is going to leave curriculum development up to the districts, it still has a responsibility to review the new curricula to determine whether they comply to standards.

    USOE must also take responsibility for communicating the impact of the new standards to the general public. In other words, USOE must educate the public on this fundamental shift in educational goals. It should have conducted (and still must do so) a communications campaign to help the public understand that education was going to change. As it was USOE left this task up to the districts. This should have been done PRIOR to implementation. Now, there is a lot of confusion and misinformation circulating through the public over Common Core Standards.

    As part of the communication/education campaign, USOE should have revised its website to provide easy to follow information on Common Core Standards implementation. Currently, the website is little more than a document archive that contains informational files that appear to have been aquired from outside sources. I have tried to use the website to inform myself, but I can’t afford to spend the hours required to wade through the electronic files, gleaning bits of useful information that I then try to compare to the implementation activity I see in my own district. Why doesn’t the website contain an explanation as to why UTAH (not the rest of the country) signed on to Common Core Standards, what outcomes it hopes to achieve through their implementation, and how it will determine if it’s successful???? This must all be presented at an 8th-grade reading level so that 95% of the population can easily understand it.

    These points would be a good start but only a start.

    • Utah Public Education

      You raise excellent points – some which we feel have been addressed, others which need increased attention.

      The Utah State Board of Education has been clear about the reason for adoption of updated standards in English language arts and math from the beginning. They are to better prepare Utah students for college and careers. This is explained on the landing page for Utah’s Core Standards (http://www.schools.utah.gov/core/default.aspx) which is directly linked to the homepage under the top popular link “Utah Core and Resources.”

      The Board conducted a series of publicly-noticed meetings throughout the state prior to adoption and has just finished a series of publicly-noticed meetings throughout the state updating the public on the testing piece of the updated core. The Board continues to hold Core Academy for teachers and administrators on implementing the core. You’ll find a link to the academy under the “Educator Resources” on the Utah’s Core Standards page, http://www.schools.utah.gov/core/Educators.aspx. Implementation is not as large an issue as many may think. Utah has had core standards for generations and many updates have taken place in the past. This latest iteration is an update to the English language arts and math standards.

      Through the public meetings and Core Academy thousands of Utahns have had a personal introduction to the standards and teachers and administrators given the tools to implement the Core.

      That our website is unsuccessful at directing people to helpful information is a problem. We are working on it, but the Utah State Office of Education is not a large agency in relation to population we serve (Utah’s schoolchildren), which amounts to more than 20 percent of Utah’s population. The State Board of Education has also recognized this problem and has been reaching out through its own website (utahpublicschools.org) along with websites/blogs of various board members (joelcoleman.com and tamipyfer.com).

      That our outreach did not reach more people is unfortunate. We rely heavily on our local schools, local media, and the internet to get the word out. Advertising is very expensive and we do not have an advertising budget. We walk a fine line between allocating resources directly to schools and classrooms, versus things like public relations or information campaigns.

  • Matt McCarty

    Utah Public Education (You know my name. I don’t know yours),

    Thank you for your response. I can appreciate USOE’s efforts. I hope that this thread will evolve into a conversation that drives a productive path forward. I will address each paragraph of your post in order.

    1. I agree that USOE has stated the goal of new Common Core standards as stated. What is lacking is “how we’re going to get there” and “how we’re going to measure our progress/success”. These elements are important aspects of the strategic vision. I don’t see that information in text on the page that you link to.

    2. I recognize the effort behind publicly-noticed meetings. However, the current controversy surrounding common core standards implementation indicates that this communication strategy has been ineffective. If USOE depends heavily on local school districts to help get the word out, do the local districts have funds budgeted to execute this expectation? Was there a coordinated effort between USOE and each local district for each of these meetings to help make it a success and reach a maximum number of people? Since the communication strategy to date has been unsuccessful, what is USOE’s plan to improve communication on this issue going forward?

    3. You make the point that core standard implementation isn’t as large an issue as people may think. When I spoke to State School Board President Debra Roberts on Tuesday, she stated that implementation of Common Core Standards represents a fundamental shift in how teachers teach students. I agree with her. Any time there is a “fundamental shift”, this is an indication of a “large issue” because it signals a change in process, practice, and culture.

    4. Thank you for recognizing that the USOE website is ineffective. Rather than setting up parallel efforts such as this blog and individual state school board member blogs, why not direct USOE to make improvements to its website? That website should be the single source for official information about the Utah education system–not this blog, not state school board member’s blogs. It seems to me that the State School Board can require the State Superintendant to produce a plan to improve the quality of the USOE website to include setting aside funding from its current budget to fund those changes. The State School Board can make improved communication a priority if it has the will. If communicating to the taxpayers (i.e. demonstrating that USOE is providing good value for tax dollars) is a high priority, then USOE will make it happen.

    The people of Utah, to include parents of schoolchildre, are looking to the State School Board and State Office of Education to drive public education to success. I’m not asking for radio commercials and television advertisments, but how about a series of op-eds in local papers and, of course, an improved website?

    We’ve talked about what you have done. What is the plan going forward???

    Again, you have my name and email. I don’t know who you are. I don’t really like interfacing with an anonymous person.

    • Utah Public Education

      Thank you again for your interest in this. I hope the public posting of this conversation will help others. I will also send an e-mail to you directly so you have accountability.

      1. Utah is working with teachers and administrators to help them understand the standards and to share best practices for how to implement them in the classroom. That’s what the Core Academy is all about. Classroom instruction, however, remains a local issue. What works best in San Juan County may not work as well in Cache County and vice versa. While the Utah State Board expects every student to meet the standards, the Board also understands that students are individuals with academic needs that are best met at the local level. How are we going to measure progress or success? That’s part of what the new computer-adaptive assessment is all about. You can learn more about SAGE (the new computer-adaptive testing system which is replacing the old bubble test sheets) here: http://www.schools.utah.gov/assessment/Adaptive-Assessment-System.aspx. We expect to see, over time, growth in proficiency scores in year-end language arts and math tests. We expect to see improved ACT scores. We expect to see higher graduation rates. We expect to see more students going on to earn post-secondary credentials whether in college or in applied technology settings. That is how we will measure success.

      2. The Utah State Office of Education and many other states were, quite frankly, very recently taken by surprise on this issue. Communication and implementation were seemingly both going along relatively smoothly for two years. Somehow issues utterly unrelated to the standards were introduced into the debate. The Common Core has somehow become entangled into a debate on federal intrusion versus local control in education, into a debate on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and into a debate on big data what data is being or should be collected on students. We were prepared to discuss the expansion of the use of, for example, informational texts in language arts and introduction of fractions in math, but weren’t prepared for a debate on the chimera of collecting DNA samples from 600,000 Utah students. We are assessing what we can do to disentangle the standards debate from unrelated and fictitious issues and move forward a plan on what the standards are and how we believe they will help. This public dialogue is part of that. We are also working with other states to see what works and hasn’t worked there.

      3. The most recent updates to Utah’s Core Standards are a fundamental shift in that the standards are now internationally benchmarked (that is aimed at moving Utah students up on international testing like TIMMS, PIRLS and PISA http://nces.ed.gov/surveys/international/ide/), and make use of the best practices from other states. Also brought in on creation of the standards were the likes of ACT. The standards also align to ACT. That is, indeed, a big shift. But it is not as if this is an introduction of standards to the state, we’ve had them for years. The Board views this update as adding rigor and depth to the existing core.

      4. Changes will be made to USOE’s website. There are multiple audiences with different information needs (teachers, parents, general public, legislators, local education agencies, etc.) and representatives from the Board, teaching and learning, assessment (testing), and communication are working on getting the best information for each of these audiences. Again, our apologies for not having this better to begin with, but the debate has changed.

      Mark Peterson, USOE public relations director

  • Matt McCarty

    I think we’re making progress in this exchange. Like you, I hope that this will benefit all who read it.

    1. This is a good effort. I would also include review of district curricula and review of district selected texts. I was aware of SAGE, but all parents should familiarize themselves with it. I agree with the metrics you identify. Interestingly, ACT scores are not a factor in UCAS, but that’s another conversation.

    2. I understand that the nature of the public discussion on Common Core Standards has changed. Glenn Beck featured discussion on this subject on at least one of his shows. I think that the State Board of Education and USOE still have to take responsibility for the controversy, though. A more effective communication campaign and better websites would have better informed citizens before these other phonomena arose. This could have rendered these new factors irrelevant.

    3. I concur that state core standards have always existed. I still stand by my assertion that Common Core Standards are a paradigm shift because the teaching method is significantly different from what most parents experienced growing up. In my case, I could do my seventh-grade daughter’s math but I couldn’t discern the goal of the assignment. There were no directions on the assignment worksheet and no education resource reference (textbook, website, or other). I strongly recommend that each teacher create a syllabus and distribute it to parents.

    4. It’s true that designing and maintaining these websites is a complex task. Due to this complexity website improvement should have been an integral part of the Common Core implementation because the internet is so vital to USOE’s communication with the public, as you previously stated. Since the USOE website wasn’t integrated into the communication strategy, I hope that the state school board and USOE will quickly formulate a plan to rapidly make improvements. I recommend making quick improvements and then improving on the improvements rather than planning everything before taking any action.

    Does anyone else in the blogosphere have anything to add?