Education News Roundup: May 29, 2013

"120601-F-ZY202" by Artic Warrior/CC/flickr

“120601-F-ZY202” by Artic Warrior/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

GOP activist Cherilyn Eagar hopes to make Utah GOP vote on Common Core a rallying point.
http://goo.gl/azqtD (PDH)

On the other hand, Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush stands up for Common Core at a Michigan education policy meeting.
http://goo.gl/7hkFm (Detroit News)

Rep. Chris Stewart stands up for local control in education.
http://goo.gl/rJRnH (DN)

Federal budget cuts hit junior ROTC.
http://goo.gl/twT8W (KUTV)

Research answers the question: Will teenage Jimmy jump off the bridge just because all of his friends are? The answer, according to a peer pressure study, is yes.
http://goo.gl/9HG6K (Ed Week)
or a copy of the study
http://cdp.sagepub.com/content/22/2/114

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Eagar: GOP rejection of Common Core a ‘rallying point’

Rep. Chris Stewart says school improvement best handled at local level

Federal Budget Cuts Affect Jr. ROTC Program In So. Utah

Retiring third-grade teacher gets visit from his third-grade teacher

Teen arrested after false gun threat puts Davis schools on lockdown

Former Principal Sentenced For Child Sex Abuse

Convicted agent for Weber schools left web of deception, theft

Advocate for arts education dies

Sisters to graduate Mountain Crest after only 3 years in U.S.

Fast Forward Charter School senior urges classmates to finish strong, respect others

Juan Diego Catholic High School Class of 2013 graduates

Ogden School Foundation honors teachers

Arch Coal commends eight more Utah teachers

Magna teacher OK after apparent ‘proximity’ lightning strike

Canyons School District’s food service program available throughout summer

WSU science in Parks to start June 10

Pressure valve malfunction forces temporary evacuation of Logan High areas

New flagpole installed on Ogden High School’s front lawn

Fitch Rates Salt Lake City School District, UT’s GO Rfdg Bonds ‘AAA’; Outlook Stable

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Beverley Sorenson set in motion a legacy of arts

Lawmakers Grapple with Unequal School Funding

Saving a life, returning a coin, and other good deeds

Put me in, Coach — or I’ll sue

Keep discussing the issue

Lands coalition hysterical

School yearbook ignored Science Olympiad

Is K–12 Blended Learning Disruptive?
An introduction of the theory of hybrids

Do you want your classroom disrupted?

How school reform preserves the ‘status quo’ — and what real change would look like

Technology and the classroom: Girls face greater challenges balancing digital learning with social lives

As Adobe customers howl, Corel offers education discount
CorelDraw, VideoStudio, and PaintShop Pro are available at a deep discount for schools. Honest, it’s a coincidence the program arrived as customers fume over Adobe’s move to subscriptions.

Most Likely to Succeed
The school yearbook business is a scandal. Here’s how to fix it.

NATION

Jeb Bush urges Michigan lawmakers to approve education reform

State Chiefs: Common Core Requires Flexibility, Not a Pause

District Leaders Urge More Time to Implement Common Core Standards

Duncan: More Hispanic children need to enroll in preschool

Purcell’s new method of teaching math

Evaluating Quality in Digital Reading Products
Academic experts say teachers and parents are often left to determine educational value

Science education is failing to inspire students, says physicist Brian Greene

Teenagers Are Wired for Peer Approval, Study Says
Risk-taking rises with an audience

Emotions run high after Colorado Supreme Court rules in school case

Gates foundation funds group to help charter schools
In November, Washington became the 42nd state to allow the independent public schools. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has now pledged nearly $800,000 to start a charter-school incubator for help with planning.

$1M to boost AP course program

Kountze ISD files appeal in Bible banner case

One and done for some at Scripps National Spelling Bee

Private High Schools Banking On International Students

Pearson agrees $75 mln settlement in U.S. e-books case

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UTAH NEWS
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Eagar: GOP rejection of Common Core a ‘rallying point’

After 65 percent of state Republican delegates approved a resolution denouncing the Common Core earlier this month, the sponsor of the resolution is preparing for a major push at the legislative interim session.
“Common Core was financed with private foundation funds, replacing the influence of our votes with wealth and influence to bypass our state Legislature and impose control over Utah’s education standards and tests,” the 2-page resolution read. “Common Core violates Utah state and federal privacy laws by requiring the storage and sharing of private student and family data without consent.”
Before the vote, the resolution was endorsed by 11 Utah County delegates and Congressman Jason Chaffetz as well as state Reps. Mike Kennedy and David Lifferth, state Sens. Margaret Dayton and Mark Madsen and Alpine School Board members Brian Halladay, Wendy Hart and Paula Hill.
Cherilyn Eagar, who sponsored the resolution, told the Daily Herald on Tuesday that the vote has become a rallying point.
http://goo.gl/azqtD (PDH)

Rep. Chris Stewart says school improvement best handled at local level

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Chris Stewart, the newest addition to Utah’s federal delegation, said he believes in state’s rights, has concerns with Common Core and is optimistic that Congress can reach an agreement on immigration reform and the budget, despite the sequester being here to stay for 2013.
“I just think, politically, it’s impossible to go back and address sequestration for this year,” he said. “What we’re hoping is that we have a budget process that works for the next year and that we can eliminate some of that pressure.”
Stewart was in Bountiful and Salt Lake City on Tuesday visiting with elementary school students in his district. At Franklin Elementary, students welcomed Stewart by singing patriotic songs and reciting the preamble to the United States Constitution before receiving a brief civics lesson on the Bill of Rights and the proper role of government from the first-term congressman.

On the subject of education, Stewart said management and governance is best handled at the state and local district level rather than by him and his colleagues in Washington. That contributes to his skepticism of the Common Core State Standards – a series of educational benchmarks adopted by all but four states and recently opposed by both the national and Utah Republican parties.
“Other than someone who is a father of six kids and wants to have great schools, my interest shouldn’t be more than that,” he said. “Keep the federal government out of education, let the states and the local districts take care of that.”
Speaking as a resident of Utah, Stewart said the state doesn’t face the same level of inner-city poverty and challenges seen by more densely populated areas of the country. But he said Utah’s schools are not without their concerns, chief among them being adequately funded.
http://goo.gl/rJRnH (DN)

Federal Budget Cuts Affect Jr. ROTC Program In So. Utah

The mandatory federal budget cuts known as sequestration are hitting close to home for high school students in Southern Utah who’ve learned their Air Force Junior ROTC program will be losing some of its federal funding.
“I was shocked,” said booster club co-president Linda Elwell. “I didn’t think it would be that large of an amount.”
The Dixie Wing of the Air Force’s Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps was recently notified that it will not be reimbursed for over $12,000 in travel expenses it has already incurred from the last school year.
“This is a HUGE impact on our program and eliminates our ability to do further travel,” Dixie Wing AFJROTC senior instructor Glenn Whicker, Colonel, USAF (Ret.) wrote in a fundraising letter. “It may also curtail any summer camp activity.”
http://goo.gl/twT8W (KUTV)

Retiring third-grade teacher gets visit from his third-grade teacher

AMERICAN FORK — Third-grade teacher Ross Durrant will retire Thursday after 30 years at Shelley Elementary School.
On Tuesday, his own third-grade teacher 49 years ago, Gwen Richards, visited the school to wish him well in his retirement.
Richards, 102, taught Durrant during the 1964-65 school year at Forbes Elementary in American Fork. She advanced him to the fourth grade on May 28, 1965, and after all these years, still gives him a glowing report card.
http://goo.gl/5V8cH (DN)

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

Teen arrested after false gun threat puts Davis schools on lockdown

A 13-year-old boy was arrested after police tied him to a Tuesday afternoon threat that placed three Davis County schools and their surrounding neighborhoods on lockdown.
Clearfield police Sgt. Kyle Jeffries said a youth called 911 from a phone inside North Davis Junior High and reported a shooter was at the school.
As a precaution, the school was placed on lockdown and officers converged on the campus, although it was later determined that there was no credible threat.
Jeffries said in a media release that no firearm was found after police searched the school. Police did find one person who witnessed the call and led them to the suspect.
Police arrested a 13-year-old on suspicion of terroristic threats, a third-degree felony. Police do not believe there were any other suspects in the case.
http://goo.gl/FMKD3 (SLT)

http://goo.gl/v4eiP (DN)

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

http://goo.gl/L7Op7 (PDH)

http://goo.gl/K8Z3m (KUTV)

http://goo.gl/0zaJy (KSTU)

Former Principal Sentenced For Child Sex Abuse

A former principal has been sentenced for child sex abuse.
66-year-old Charles Edward Weber was sentenced to two consecutive terms of five years to life.
Prosecutors say Weber assaulted a teenage student who attended the Heber charter school where he worked.
http://goo.gl/7v7ad (KUTV)

http://goo.gl/3TrR  (KTVX)

Convicted agent for Weber schools left web of deception, theft

OGDEN — Hoping to hide revelations of a $20,000-a-month lifestyle built on other people’s money, including that of a man who is paraplegic, Russell Charles Maughan had kept Weber School District officials at bay for six months.
A look back at Maughan’s case illuminates a web of deception and theft.
Following a mid-October 2011 closing date for the sale of the former Huntsville Elementary School site, Maughan, the escrow agent, told the district staff they’d get their $306,923 check “in a few days.”
Eventually, Maughan said he dropped off the check around Thanksgiving, leaving it on a receptionist’s desk, although no one was around.
The district couldn’t find the check.
http://goo.gl/7VR5E (OSE)

Advocate for arts education dies

Utah lost a passionate advocate arts education when philanthropist Beverley Taylor Sorenson, 89, died Monday of natural causes at her home in Holladay.
http://goo.gl/QPqQ1 (SGS)

http://goo.gl/Urfkb KUTV)

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

http://goo.gl/okMM0 (KUER)

Sisters to graduate Mountain Crest after only 3 years in U.S.

Graduating high school is a milestone celebrated by all who achieve it. But for Dibabe and Chaltu Newman, the accomplishment is extra sweet, since graduating on time was an especially difficult prospect.
Dibabe, who at school goes by her American middle name, Hope, and Chaltu were adopted by Cherish and Kelly Newman along with five other children from an orphanage in Ethiopia three and a half years ago. Dibabe, then 16, and Chaltu, then 15, both entered the ninth grade at Westlake High School in Utah County.
Neither girl knew English, and Chaltu had only completed formal education through the third grade. Because of that, Cherish said, the family planned to use the fifth-year “super senior” option at Westlake if necessary. When the family moved to Wellsville, however, and the girls transferred to Mountain Crest, that option was no longer available.
http://goo.gl/Qaewb (LHJ)

Fast Forward Charter School senior urges classmates to finish strong, respect others

NORTH LOGAN — Damien Bowen is not the tallest student at Fast Forward Charter School, but his big hair — and even bigger personality — seem to make up for it.
His pleasant demeanor shines through every Tuesday in the front office, where he gives morning announcements through the school’s PA system.
“Good day, Fast Forward, today is Tuesday. It is a rainy day — unusual from all the bright sunshine we’ve had. But you know what? We could really use the rain because that’s what will keep the valley and the mountains here from burning up this summer,” said Bowen, one of dozens of seniors set to walk across the stage in a cap and gown Thursday as a Fast Forward graduate.
http://goo.gl/KlxaY (LHJ)

Juan Diego Catholic High School Class of 2013 graduates

DRAPER – Juan Diego Catholic High School’s Class of 2013 had their graduation ceremony May 25 in the school auditorium. Presiding were Holy Cross Sister Catherine Kamphaus, superintendent of Utah Catholic Schools; and Monsignor Colin F. Bircumshaw, vicar general of the Diocese of Salt Lake City.
http://goo.gl/JgFbz (IC)

Ogden School Foundation honors teachers

OGDEN — Several teachers received a little extra cash for the summer, thanks to their peers and the Ogden School Foundation.
A teacher from each school in Ogden School District received a check for $250 from the foundation to spend on anything they wanted — no stipulations. The idea for the awards came in the spring, when foundation board members wanted to show their appreciation to teachers, said Foundation Director Janis Vause.
The board emailed a survey to the teachers and principal at each school, asking specific questions about any teacher they thought was the best at the school.
http://goo.gl/lsMBk (OSE)

Arch Coal commends eight more Utah teachers

Eight teachers in Utah’s coal country received “Golden Teacher” awards recently from the Arch Coal Foundation.
The foundation presented certificates to Paul Allred, North Sanpete High School, Mt. Pleasant; Camille Carlson, Carbon High School, Price; Jessica Jones, North Sevier Middle School, Salina; James Nelson, Ephraim Middle School, Ephraim; and Anne Henrie, Gunnison Valley Elementary School, Gunnison. Three Richfield teachers also were cited: Robyn Lloyd, Red Hills Middle School; Stephanie Johnson, Richfield High School; and Wesley Torgersen, Ashman Elementary School.
http://goo.gl/tnUkA (SLT)

Magna teacher OK after apparent ‘proximity’ lightning strike

A Magna playground aide was transported to a hospital but appeared to have sustained no serious injuries after a possible near-miss lightning strike.
Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley said the 41-year-old woman had just helped clear children from the playground area of Copper Hills Elementary School about 12:15 p.m. Tuesday, as a thunderstorm moved through the region, when lighting was thought to have struck the grounds.
http://goo.gl/QcRzP (SLT)

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

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

http://goo.gl/h5BQ1 (KSL)

http://goo.gl/3mEax (KSTU)

Canyons School District’s food service program available throughout summer

SANDY — The Canyons School District’s food service program will be available throughout the summer.
Meals will be available from June 10 to Aug. 9 at Copperview, East Midvale, Midvale and Sandy elementary schools, as well as Union Park.
Breakfast will be served from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.; lunch will run from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Cost is $2 for breakfast and $3 for lunch.
The program is open to children 18 years or younger.
http://goo.gl/Qet7D (DN)

WSU science in Parks to start June 10

OGDEN — Weber State University on June 10 begins its annual Science in the Parks, a weeklong science program for kids.
The first week will be at Lorin Farr Park, 769 Canyon Road. Science volunteers will help children do projects and experiments from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday.
http://goo.gl/8U1Wv (OSE)

Pressure valve malfunction forces temporary evacuation of Logan High areas

During an already hectic day of yearbook signing and student checkout Tuesday, a major water pressure valve malfunctioned in a restroom on the third floor of Logan High School.
The malfunction caused a pipe to burst, causing water damage in all three floors of the high school.
http://goo.gl/V3Yke (LHJ)

New flagpole installed on Ogden High School’s front lawn

OGDEN ­— Students at Ogden High School have been enjoying a completely renovated building for most of the school year, except for one part — the flagpole. But now, everything is complete, right down to a large Old Glory waving in front of the school.
The old flagpole took a beating in the huge windstorm 1 1/2 years ago, and the director of athletics and support services for the district, Ken Crawford, has been waiting to use the remaining funds from the school renovations budget to buy the pole and flag. The cost was approximately $20,000.
http://goo.gl/uiHy6 (OSE)

Fitch Rates Salt Lake City School District, UT’s GO Rfdg Bonds ‘AAA’; Outlook Stable

SAN FRANCISCO–Fitch Ratings has assigned its ‘AAA’ rating to the following Salt Lake City School District (the district), UT’s general obligation (GO) refunding bonds.
–$23.1 million GO refunding bonds, series 2013.
In addition, Fitch applies an ‘AAA’ enhanced long-term rating to the bonds based on the guaranty provided by the Utah School Bond Debt Default Avoidance Program.
The bonds are scheduled to sell competitively during the week of June 10. Bond proceeds will be used to advance refund some of the district’s outstanding GO bonds and pay the costs of issuance.
http://goo.gl/FVrrL (Business Wire)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Beverley Sorenson set in motion a legacy of arts
Deseret News editorial

In 2008, while speaking of her formative years, Beverley Taylor Sorenson recalled that “music was going all the time in our home.” She grew up during the Great Depression, where money for lessons was scarce. She relied on her older sisters to provide her the piano training that later earned her 50 cents a week as she accompanied dance classes in Salt Lake City.
It seems likely that her own childhood challenges contributed to her lifetime love and support of the arts, as well as her tireless efforts to make sure that children everywhere would have the opportunity to develop their talents, regardless of their personal circumstances.
As a result, Sorenson, who died Monday at age 89, set in motion a legacy of arts that will carry on for generations to come.
The Sorenson Legacy Foundation, founded by Beverly Sorenson and her late husband James LeVoy Sorenson, has donated tens of millions of dollars to a wide range of charitable causes, including scientific research, health care and community development. But it was the foundation’s lasting contributions to arts education that was particularly meaningful to Mrs. Sorenson, and she devoted a great deal of time and attention to expanding its reach, both in public and in private.
http://goo.gl/ik359

Lawmakers Grapple with Unequal School Funding
Utah Policy commentary by columnist Bryan Schott

Utah has long been praised as having one of the more equal public education funding plans in the nation.
That’s because years ago the Legislature set up the Weighted Pupil Unit, a formula giving each student a certain amount of funding across all the school districts, and distributed the corporate and personal income taxes according to that formula.
So, at least on the state level, no matter where a child lives or goes to school, he or she gets the same amount of per student funding.
That is called equalization.
And across the U.S., especially in the South before the end of Jim Crow laws, certain students in certain school districts got a lot less funding than did other students in other school districts.
State and federal courts were busy over the years trying to adjudicate equal funding for students within a state.
Utah escaped all those costly and divisive lawsuits.
One can just get a taste of the bitterness by looking at how the “well off” in the newly-created Canyons School District were seen by the “less well off” Jordan School District patrons.
http://goo.gl/tNKEu

Saving a life, returning a coin, and other good deeds
Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist PAUL ROLLY


Here are some other feel-good stories:
• Earlier this month, Papa Murphy’s Pizza, in honor of Teacher Appreciation Day, offered a free pizza to any teacher in Utah who showed their teacher I.D. The company gave away 7,000 pizzas to say, “Thank You, Teachers.”
http://goo.gl/EUqSa

Put me in, Coach — or I’ll sue
Deseret News commentary by columnist Brad Rock

SALT LAKE CITY — I was standing in the dark with my brother, waiting for our ride home after basketball tryouts during my eighth-grade year. We had both been cut from our junior high teams.
As a light snow began, the coach passed on the way to his car and sarcastically said, “Looks like the Rock boys got the ax tonight.”
I said nothing, but what I should have said was, “Not a problem. I’m suing your pants off.”
Back then, getting cut from a team was a “growing experience.” Turns out it’s grounds for litigation, too.
In New Jersey, Ervin Mears Jr. has filed a lawsuit seeking $40 million and two varsity letters and championship jackets, after his son Mawusimensah was cut from the school track team. In 2012, an Arkansas woman sued her son’s school for cutting him from the varsity basketball team, saying he was shortchanged in the selection process and deprived of his right to a complete education.
For buttinsky parents who meddle in their kids’ affairs — whether it’s drama, dance, cheer, choir, academics or sports — this is good news. The door is wide open.
http://goo.gl/IuqrG

Keep discussing the issue
(Provo) Daily Herald letter from Shauna DeBuck

I read with appreciation the opposing opinions of the Common Core in the Saturday, May 18th, Daily Herald. I see the enthusiasm each contributor has for his/her side of this discussion. But the discussion statewide has gone beyond the discussion into an ideological battlefield. I’d sincerely hope that concerned citizens could take a deep breath, a step back and return to the discussion of this issue.
The current state of our public education is one that deserves enthusiasm and efforts and energy of all our citizenry. Our kids are worth nothing less. However, are opponents of the Common Core Standards Initiative directing their efforts and energies to the solution of this problem?
The concerned conservatives who see the CCSI as a federal conspiracy, who quote a myriad of experts and implore us to “follow the money” have yet to propose an alternative solution.
http://goo.gl/qq0Pq

Lands coalition hysterical
Deseret News letter from Milton Dalley

An education coalition criticized Utah and Gov. Gary Herbert’s efforts to wrest control of some federal lands and public rights of way within the state of Utah, proclaiming the effort “misguided” and “arrogant,” further stating it will result in “marred” and “scarred” landscapes for years to come and will “harm the education of our children” (“Education coalition attacks Utah’s efforts to get federal lands,” May 22). This type of emotional and hysterical rhetoric smacks of something you would expect from organizations like SUWA and the Sierra Club. To realize this coalition is made up of people who are educating our children is truly frightening.
If this coalition thinks the feds can better manage our public lands than Utah, read an article published the next day (“Questions swirl around spending cuts to national parks, lax controls in travel spending,” May 24).
http://goo.gl/qI5RA

School yearbook ignored Science Olympiad
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Tami Johnson

Several students at Orion Jr, High School participated in the Science Olympiad this past school year. This was an amazing opportunity for students to learn about science, while competing and building foundational skills—not to mention the chance to make new friends. This was a great extracurricular activity to be involved in——just like the school play or the Spanish club.
So, when my daughter came home on the last day of school and we had the chance to scroll through her yearbook together we were both extremely disappointed to find absolutely no mention of the Science Olympiad events or its participants anywhere in the book! What is this saying? I just shook my head and wondered why there was nothing regarding this!
http://goo.gl/J1fQW

Is K–12 Blended Learning Disruptive?
An introduction of the theory of hybrids
Clayton M. Christensen Institute analysis by Clayton M. Christensen, Michael B. Horn and Heather Staker


Education leaders can use the disruptive innovation lens to anticipate the effects of their efforts. Strategies that sustain the traditional model could benefit students for years to come. This path is the best fit for most classroom teachers, school leaders who have limited budgetary or architectural control over their schools, and those who want to improve upon the classrooms in which most students receive their formal education today. Other strategies that accelerate the deployment of disruptive blended-learning models will have a greater impact on replacing the classroom with a student-centric design. !is path is a viable fit for school principals—often in charters but also within districts, especially in those that have moved to portfolio models—that have some autonomy with respect to budget and school architecture. Furthermore, district leaders with authority to contract with online providers, state policy leaders, philanthropists, and entrepreneurs all are in the position to play a role in bolstering disruptive innovation.
Education leaders can foster disruptive innovation in several ways, including by following these five steps:
1. Create a team within the school that is autonomous from all aspects of the traditional classroom.
2. Focus disruptive blended-learning models initially on areas of nonconsumption.
3. When ready to expand beyond areas of nonconsumption, look for the students with less demanding performance requirements.
4. Commit to protecting the fledgling disruptive project.
5. Push innovation-friendly policy.
http://goo.gl/qdRly

Do you want your classroom disrupted?
Hechinger Report commentary by columnist Anya Kamenetz

A new paper out last week from the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation (formerly the Innosight Institute) sets out some theories and provocative predictions about the likely direction that innovation will take in K-12 classrooms.
Christensen, a business expert, professor at Harvard Business School, bestselling author, and a devout Mormon, coined the term “disruptive innovation” about 20 years ago. In recent years Christensen has been increasingly interested in education. Disruptive innovation has become a huge buzzword in the world of higher ed, where it’s usually taken to refer to online, open-access, and low-cost or even free learning options. But K-12 school has never quite fit his theories.
This new report could be read as an attempt to boost the reputation of disruptive innovation as it applies to the K-12 space, by reframing “disruption”. I don’t think it’s entirely successful.
http://goo.gl/N2YnP

How school reform preserves the ‘status quo’ — and what real change would look like
Washington Post commentary by Arthur H. Camins, director of the Center for Innovation in Engineering and Science Education at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey

A moment after my train pulled to a final stop in Hoboken this morning, another train on my left pulled away provoking the perception that I was rolling forward. Had I not glanced to my right to see the stationary platform I might have been fooled into thinking I was actually moving. So it is with the current education reform strategies — the illusion of movement without looking around at the evidence.
There are two pillars of Department of Education policy: increased numbers of charter schools and consequential use of standards-based assessment for promotion and employment decisions. Rather than citing evidence of causal connections to substantive changes in educational inequity, supporters claim state and local adoption of these reforms as progress and accuse critics of defending the status quo.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan has declared many times that he believes in using data. I do too. Several features of that status quo are unarguable. Evidence suggests two conditions that contribute to lower average levels of achievement of poor and lower-middle class students. First, on average the conditions of their lives mean that compared to their more well off peers, they enter and continue through school with fewer supports for learning and greater stress that impedes learning. Parents’ socioeconomic status and educational attainment level — in other words poverty — explain a very substantial portion of the variation in students’ level of achievement and predicts future employment and income. Second, teacher experience and expertise are not equally distributed across schools.
I will argue that the pillars of current education reform are more likely to preserve rather than change the status quo. Further, there are alternative policies that are more likely to mediate educational inequity, creating real rather than illusory movement.
http://goo.gl/8xYPl

Technology and the classroom: Girls face greater challenges balancing digital learning with social lives
San Jose (CA) Mercury News commentary by Ana Homayoun, author of “The Myth of the Perfect Girl: Helping Our Daughters Find Authentic Success and Happiness in School and Life.”

These days, prom season seems to be on steroids.
Each spring, high school girls search for the perfect prom dress. Instead of debuting it on prom night, girls create Facebook “prom dress page” groups to avoid the potential embarrassment of discovering someone else is wearing the same dress on prom night. The dress choices elicit a range of responses from supportive to just plain mean. Body image issues surface. It doesn’t take long for the groups to morph into nuanced, drama-filled competitions filled with exclusionary tactics (“Please don’t add any freshman or sophomores unless you know they are being asked!”) and manipulations that would make politicians squirm.
It might be tolerable if online drama only played out after school. Now, the already complex dynamics of girls’ friendships are even more complicated by increased technology in the classroom.
http://goo.gl/lwhPV

As Adobe customers howl, Corel offers education discount
CorelDraw, VideoStudio, and PaintShop Pro are available at a deep discount for schools. Honest, it’s a coincidence the program arrived as customers fume over Adobe’s move to subscriptions.
c/net commentary by columnist Stephen Shankland

As Adobe Systems tries to ride out a storm of customer criticism over its move to subscription-only pricing, rival Corel is swooping in with a new discounted pricing plan for customers at schools and universities.
The company said the revised education discount plan was already in planning before Adobe changed its sales approach. But the company clearly is trying to capitalize on its rival’s woes: last week, it announced Corel software discounts of up to 60 percent for Adobe customers making the switch.
The education discount covers all Corel’s graphics-related software, including the CorelDraw Graphics Suite, PaintShop Pro, VideoStudio, AfterShot Pro, MotionStudio, and CorelCAD.
Educational discounts are common as companies seek a foothold in the up-and-coming generation of computer users.
http://goo.gl/e6NFU

Most Likely to Succeed
The school yearbook business is a scandal. Here’s how to fix it.
Slate commentary by columnist Farhad Manjoo

You wouldn’t know it to look at the products, but the school yearbook business is kind of shady. There’s a good chance you and your kid’s school are paying way too much for yearbooks—sometimes thousands or tens of thousands a year too much.
Here’s how the traditional yearbook business works: When big yearbook providers sign up with a school, they ask the school to predict how many books it will need for the year. These estimates are due months before graduation. Because class sizes and demographics shift from year to year—and because some kids have stopped buying yearbooks altogether, thanks perhaps to Facebook—yearbook advisers don’t have much to go on when they’re making their guesses.
For schools and for parents, there are big costs to guessing wrong. If a school orders too few yearbooks, some kids who want a book will go without. That’s why schools tend to err on the side of guessing high—and then get stuck with unsold yearbooks, and a huge bill to the yearbook company. To cover costs of overprinting, some schools add an extra fee to the yearbooks—$10 or $20 per copy that you, the parent, must pay. Even so, lots of schools end up in hock to their yearbook providers.
http://goo.gl/KOWti

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Jeb Bush urges Michigan lawmakers to approve education reform
Detroit News

Mackinac Island — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush met privately Tuesday with Michigan Republican lawmakers to urge them to approve higher K-12 education standards that face hurdles from conservatives who fear it’s an attempt to nationalize classroom teaching.
Bush said Wednesday he met with the state House and Senate’s Republican majority caucuses on the same day the House passed a budget bill prohibiting the Department of Education from spending tax dollars implementing Common Core standards until the Legislature votes on whether to allow the higher standards.
Bush, the son and brother of two former presidents, has become a national leader in education reform since leaving the Florida governor’s office in January 2007 and has urged states to adopt Common Core standards in the face of opposition from tea party conservatives and some teacher unions.
“What I first do is tell people: ‘Go read what the standards are.’ They’re not saying how you teach social studies, that’s going to be driven just how it is today,” Bush said Wednesday in an interview with The Detroit News from the presidential suite of Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel, where he is speaking Wednesday at the annual Mackinac Policy Conference. “Common Core standards are standards, they’re not curriculum.”
http://goo.gl/7hkFm

State Chiefs: Common Core Requires Flexibility, Not a Pause
Education Week

The Council of Chief State School Officers is rejecting calls for a moratorium on any high stakes tied to the Common Core State Standards, and is instead suggesting that states have almost all of the power they need to smooth the way for what could be a rocky transition.
What the chiefs do want, however, is some flexibility from the U.S. Department of Education and from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan—from No Child Left Behind itself or the waivers already granted—during these next couple of tricky years as the common core is fully implemented and common tests come on line. In fact, about three-dozen chiefs or their representatives met with three high-level federal department officials last week in Chicago to talk about these issues. Specifically, they say they need some wiggle room in three areas, according to a document CCSSO has drafted:
http://goo.gl/4mVqm

A copy of the document
http://goo.gl/GfQSJ (CCSSO)

District Leaders Urge More Time to Implement Common Core Standards
Education Week

Four organizations representing school district leaders today called for “adequate” time to manage the tricky transition to the Common Core State Standards and tests.
“Adequate” isn’t defined in the joint statement, however.
“We must make adequate time for a thoughtful conversation about how assessments can be used to provide instructionally useful information to schools in a timely manner,” say the American Association of School Administrators, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, and the National School Boards Association.
“The prudent course is to avoid over-reliance on the assessments for federal accountability purposes until the [common standards] are fully implemented, instructional materials and professional supports have been offered, schools have the technical capacity to implement the assessments, and communities are informed,” the statement says. “Failure to consider this reality will result in the test-and-punish cycle being repeated, with the same disappointing results of NCLB-era accountability.”
This comes a day after the Council of Chief State School Officers rejected calls for a moratorium on high stakes attached to the new standards, but said some flexibility during the transition years of common core implementation is needed
http://goo.gl/nx7eQ

A copy of the statement
http://goo.gl/M1i7b (Ed Week)

Duncan: More Hispanic children need to enroll in preschool
Washington Post

Record numbers of Hispanic students are staying in high school, graduating and enrolling in college, but they lag behind other groups in preschool attendance, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Wednesday morning.
“Less than half of Hispanic children attend any kind of preschool – that’s kind of staggering,” Duncan told reporters at a breakfast meeting. “This is the fastest-growing population and a lower-than-average participation rate.”
In the past decade, Hispanics have made significant gains in later grades. In 2010, 78 percent of Hispanics graduated from high school, compared to 64 percent in 2000. During the same period, the high school dropout rate for Hispanics was cut in half from 28 percent to 14 percent.
And, for the first time, Hispanics enrolled in college in 2012 at higher rates than white students. According to a Pew Research Center analysis released this month, 69 percent of Hispanic high school graduates in the class of 2012 enrolled in college that fall compared to 67 percent of white students.
While all of that is cause for celebration, Duncan said, policymakers, community leaders and educators need to increase the rates of Hispanic children who attend preschool.
http://goo.gl/GFuet

Purcell’s new method of teaching math
Cincinnati Enquirer

With today’s education technology, it’s now possible to pause, replay or fast-forward your teacher.
Students can work at their own speed and get help on homework at all hours. They can tell almost instantly how they did on tests and quizzes and, if they didn’t do well, in most cases retake them. It’s all thanks to blended learning, which marries computer-based, online education with face-to-face teaching.
Purcell Marian High in East Walnut Hills plans to try it in a big way next year. It will be one of the few traditional high schools in Greater Cincinnati mandating that every math class – from algebra to calculus – become a blended-learning class.
“We’re calling it blended learning on steroids,” said Natalie Mullholand, math department chair at the coed high school. “We’re going to blow up our entire math curriculum.”
Blended learning as a trend in K-12 schools is several years old. Generally it refers to classes in which at least 50 percent of the learning is done via computer.
http://goo.gl/QMWy1

Evaluating Quality in Digital Reading Products
Academic experts say teachers and parents are often left to determine educational value
Education Week

Apps, digital games, and other technology products that promise to build early literacy skills through mobile devices and other platforms are everywhere these days. But are those products any good?
At first glance, the evolving digital world would seem to offer abundant opportunities for educators and parents seeking to put students on the path to becoming capable readers. Many of those products are easy to access—as easy as downloading an app from iTunes, or visiting a website. Many of them are free, or low-cost. And their claim is that they can engage students as they educate them.
But academic experts and children’s advocates say teachers and parents are often left on their own to decide whether various products have any educational value. One recent report compared the current environment for judging the myriad apps, games, and other tools to a digital “Wild West”—a descriptor used by other observers, too.
http://goo.gl/m9S5D

Science education is failing to inspire students, says physicist Brian Greene
Minnesota Public Radio

It’s not easy to popularize theoretical physics, but Brian Greene, one of the world’s best-known scientists, has managed to do just that. Greene, a best-selling author, co-founded the World Science Festival, an annual event to inspire and engage the public in scientific research.
Kerri Miller joined Greene in his laboratory in New York City at the start of the festival.
For Greene, increasing public excitement for science starts with a child’s first experiences with the subject in school.
“For many students, science is a burden,” he said. “They’re made to solve problems; they’re made to memorize parts of a cell or a chemical reaction so they can give some response on an exam. And I gotta tell you, that’s not something that inspires anybody. Any kid does not get fired up by that process.”
Science in schools should help students think about the bigger questions, like how the universe formed, and show how we can answer some of those questions.
http://goo.gl/2ZwiC

Teenagers Are Wired for Peer Approval, Study Says
Risk-taking rises with an audience
Education Week

It’s true: Adolescents really do want to jump off a bridge just because their friends are doing it. But new research suggests changes in how teenagers view risks and rewards around their peers are not only a critical part of their development, but may also provide a key to motivating them.
From the DARE anti-drug program to abstinence-only curricula, education has been full of high-profile attempts to curtail risky behavior that have met with mixed success at best. The emerging evidence suggests, however, that changing teenagers’ behavior demands accounting for their social circles, not just asking them to stand up to their peers.
In an ongoing series of studies, Temple University researchers Laurence Steinberg and Jason M. Chein and their colleagues have found that teenagers take more risks and are more sensitive to potential rewards when they think peers are watching them—even if they consciously believe they aren’t affected by peer pressure.
http://goo.gl/9HG6K

A copy of the study
http://cdp.sagepub.com/content/22/2/114

Emotions run high after Colorado Supreme Court rules in school case
Denver Post

Taylor Lobato choked back tears Tuesday after losing an eight-year legal battle that argued the state needs to invest more money in public education and spread the funding equitably among rich and poor districts.
“The door was slammed in the face of all the children of Colorado,” Lobato said. “It makes me sad. It makes me upset. I’m mad. This is important.”
Lobato, now a junior at University of Denver, joined a lawsuit to fight the state’s system for financing schools when she was in the eighth grade in the town of Center in the San Luis Valley. She gathered with more than a dozen other supporters of the lawsuit in Adams County to talk about the outcome.
In a 4-2 decision, the Colorado Supreme Court determined that the state’s system for financing schools was constitutional.
http://goo.gl/bs0Y9

A copy of the ruling
http://goo.gl/n2fYH (Colorado Supreme Court)

Gates foundation funds group to help charter schools
In November, Washington became the 42nd state to allow the independent public schools. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has now pledged nearly $800,000 to start a charter-school incubator for help with planning.
Associated Press via Seattle Times

With the opening of Washington’s first charter school likely 15 months away, more dollars from Seattle’s tech economy are flowing toward groups that want to change the way the state thinks about public schools.
In November, Washington became the 42nd state to allow the independent public schools. The initiative campaign succeeded in part because of money from Seattle’s tech economy — Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates donated $3 million, outside his charitable foundation, first for the signature-gathering effort and later to promote the initiative. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen donated $1.5 million.
The voter-approved plan would open as many as 40 charter schools over five years.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has now pledged nearly $800,000 to start a new charter-school incubator to give charter schools extra help with startup planning. Run by the League of Education Voters, the Charter Schools Association will begin by helping groups that want to start a charter school write their applications.
http://goo.gl/myTSq

$1M to boost AP course program
Albuquerque (NM) Journal

New Mexico’s Advanced Placement program is getting a cash infusion in hopes of recruiting more Hispanic and American Indian high school students to enroll in AP courses.
Gov. Susana Martinez announced Tuesday afternoon at Bernalillo High School that the nonprofit College Board, which administers the AP program, was giving New Mexico $1 million to expand its AP program, and the state has allocated $750,000, which is $250,000 more than it allocated each of the past two years.
http://goo.gl/owCnW

Kountze ISD files appeal in Bible banner case
Beaumont (TX) Enterprise

The Kountze school district on Tuesday asked the Texas appeals court to clarify a recent ruling in a case involving high school cheerleaders using religious themes on banners at football games, starting a legal back-and-forth that could take up to a year to play out, according to one attorney.
Attorney Tom Brandt, who represents the district, said in a statement that the district filed an appeal asking for a clarification to prevent additional litigation. The district wants the court to clarify if the cheerleaders have a free speech right to use the Scripture signs at games.
“The school board’s decision to appeal was not made lightly, particularly given the fact that the district court’s order actually granted some of the relief the school district sought, namely, that Kountze ISD is not required to prohibit religious-themed banners at school sporting events,” said Brandt, of Fanning Harper Martinson Brandt & Kutchin in Dallas.
Beaumont attorney David Starnes, who represents the cheerleaders, said the appeal proves the district does not want the girls to use Bible banners at football games.
http://goo.gl/nN2ty

One and done for some at Scripps National Spelling Bee
USA Today

FORT WASHINGTON, Md. — Ding!
The bell means Emma Parrish has misspelled the word voortrekker. And with that, early in the morning of the first day of elimination rounds, the 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee is over for the 14-year-old from Naples, Fla.
Devastated, head down, Emma walks from the spotlight off the stage to the couch where a supporter clad in a “Bee On” shirt comforts her as the video camera tries to get a peek.
After a day of spelling and vocabulary testing on a computer, the spellers for the first time assembled Wednesday on a stage, in public, to take their cracks at some of the language’s most obscure words. Last year’s winner, Snigdha Nadipati, then 14, correctly spelled guetapens, meaning ambush, snare or trap.
Tensions are particularly high this year: For the first time, spellers get no second chance. One misspelling and they are out.
http://goo.gl/ibGqu

National Spelling Bee homepage
http://www.spellingbee.com/

More on Utah’s three spellers
http://public.spellingbee.com/public/spellers/speller_roster

Private High Schools Banking On International Students
(Minneapolis, MN) WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS – There are teenagers who move half way around the world to Minnesota…for high school.
Nearly 24,000 Chinese students study in private American high schools. Hundreds of them are here in Minnesota with the goal of competing in a global world.
Sheen Chen is from Shanghai. She is one of 15 students from overseas studying at the Academy of Holy Angels in Richfield this year.
The school wants that number to double by fall. Currently, the school charges around $13,000 for tuition. International students pay about $5,000 more.
http://goo.gl/RVnR5

Pearson agrees $75 mln settlement in U.S. e-books case
Reuters

British publisher Pearson’s Penguin unit said on Wednesday it would pay $75 million in damages plus costs to U.S. states and consumers as part of an agreement over alleged price-fixing in the e-book market.
Pearson, which will take an extra provision on its accounts this year after setting aside $40 million in 2012, had already reached an agreement with the U.S. Justice Department in the e-book pricing case.
The latest deal resolves claims by the attorneys general of 33 states, as well as with consumers who had filed a class-action lawsuit against the British publisher. The settlement is subject to approval by U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in New York.
http://goo.gl/CFwRJ

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

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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