Education News Roundup: May 30, 2013

"Piano Student" by Jimmy Smith/CC/flickr

“Piano Student” by Jimmy Smith/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

Salt Lake Districts shifts some Title I money, threatening a music program.
http://goo.gl/tAKQ9 (SLT)

What did the schools and law enforcement learn from the north Davis County school shooter scare?
http://goo.gl/GCAYh (DN)
and http://goo.gl/K6fJ0 (OSE)
and http://goo.gl/Aj8De (KSL)

School bomb scares cost New Jersey $2.1 million this year.
http://goo.gl/o5k9E (Press of Atlantic City)

Alpine looks at the future of Lehi High.
http://goo.gl/7bptd (PDH)

Marshall Topham discusses Washington School District.
http://goo.gl/oegUQ (KCSG)

ACT takes a crack at defining work readiness standards.
http://goo.gl/eRctY (ACT)

Problem: Why is it seemingly easier to raise math scores for students than it is reading scores?
http://goo.gl/if9oY (NYT)

“I think there is a good momentum with school choice,” said former New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O’Brien, a Republican. “It really comes down to the fact that this breaks the government school monopoly, which is killing us. I think all the candidates ought to be talking about that because the education system is failing.”
http://goo.gl/pTrt  (Washington Times)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

With loss of Title I funds, Whittier Elementary’s treasured piano program at risk Piano program is at risk for SLC school that broke poverty threshold and lost $145K in Title I funds.

School, law enforcement hoping to learn from false gun scare at North Davis Junior High School

District officials will host a LHS open house to show options

WCSD featured by Community Window

Cities install ‘no texting’ signs
Project spearheaded by daughter of accident victim

Utah Proposes ‘Grand Bargain’ to Assume Management of Federal Lands

Cities install ‘no texting’ signs
Project spearheaded by daughter of accident victim

Veteran graduates high school 70 years later

Timpview graduates class of 2013

Sky View remembers ‘gentle giant’ who would have graduated with class today

Deseret News live streaming schedule for high school graduations

Davis educator earns Teacher of the Year Award

Funeral Arrangements Made for Beverley Taylor Sorenson

Salt Lake City’s Rowland Hall breaks ground on new athletic fields, rec area Education » Rowland Hall gets new soccer fields, makes way for new middle and high school buildings.

Lunch assistance still available
Summer program continues to grow in popularity

BYU writing camps aim to create local authors, programmers

Park Elementary students celebrate art, music during annual program in Richmond

Spelling bees: It’s more than memorizing strings of letters

Bingham High pulls off school-wide music video

Mountain Ridge Junior High students, teachers participate in 5k fun run

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Arts advocate
Thanks to Beverley Taylor Sorenson

Summer learning

Learning for All

Where does food come from?

Fewer public lands means more education funds

The Beginning of Common Core’s Trouble

A point-by-point rebuttal of today’s anti-Common Core op-ed in the Weekly Standard

Education is for parents too

The number of high-poverty schools increases by about 60 percent

Work Readiness Standards and Benchmarks
The Key to Differentiating America’s Workforce and Regaining Global Competitiveness

NATION

In Raising Scores, 1 2 3 Is Easier Than A B C

GOP talks up school choice as good policy and good politics

Jeb Bush: ‘We embrace school choice across the board’

Arne Duncan: Education is the best investment we can make

Some justices question requiring nurses to give shots in schools California Supreme Court hears nurses’ association argue state law requires licensed nurses to provide insulin and other injections. Foes say that is unnecessary.

Bomb scares will cost New Jersey schools $2.1 million this year

Not LOL: Service Allows Bully Reporting by Text

Lawsuit On Idaho’s Education Funding Gets Whittled Down

Louisiana voucher students score almost 30 points below average on LEAP tests

Public, charter schools team up in Cleveland

Sneak peek at new California standardized tests

Ein neuer Deal?
Germany’s vaunted dual-education system is its latest export hit

Bible Class in Texas Schools Faulted as Unconstitutional

Country Music Legend Dolly Parton’s New Role: ‘Book Lady’

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UTAH NEWS
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With loss of Title I funds, Whittier Elementary’s treasured piano program at risk Piano program is at risk for SLC school that broke poverty threshold and lost $145K in Title I funds.

At Whittier Elementary, a treasured piano program shares the joy of music with students — from kindergartners who learn about rhythm to sixth graders who study composers and can play at weekly lessons.
But Whittier is losing its federal Title I funding, which supports low-income students, and the change has parents scrambling to save the Youth Enrichment Foundation Piano Program.
“The benefits of learning music at a young age are well known and include higher ACT and SAT scores,” said Mindy Tueller, Whittier PTA treasurer, in an email.
The program has been funded by the school’s discretionary funds and donations from the community, said Principal Margery Parker. But she told the parent-teacher organization that with the loss of $144,875in Title I funds, she can no longer provide the school’s usual share.
http://goo.gl/tAKQ9 (SLT)

School, law enforcement hoping to learn from false gun scare at North Davis Junior High School

CLEARFIELD — Davis County school officials say the faculty at North Davis Junior High School reacted quickly and responsibly to a false threat of a gunman Tuesday, and they’re planning to meet with law enforcement to review the incident.
North Davis Junior High was placed in lockdown Tuesday after a caller inside the school reported that a gunman was on the property. The call, which authorities believe to have been a prank, launched a massive police response as the school was searched room by room and eventually evacuated.
Nearby schools South Davis Elementary and Clearfield High were also placed on lockdown as a precaution.
Based on the tips of classmates, police arrested a 13-year-old boy in connection with the prank and booked him into the Farmington Bay Youth Detention Center. The boy faces possible felony charges.
http://goo.gl/GCAYh (DN)

http://goo.gl/K6fJ0 (OSE)

http://goo.gl/Aj8De (KSL)

District officials will host a LHS open house to show options

LEHI — Alpine School District representatives appear to have thought outside the box for Lehi High School, as well as inside the box and beyond the school’s current campus.
“The district has done good,” Lehi Councilman Steve Holbrook said. “In fact I’m surprised that you did so well.”
“There was a lot of discussion about bus routes, they had five options — four good options and one bad option,” Mayor Pro Tem Mark Johnson said. “They did a lot better than I had anticipated.”
Chuck Bearce, ASD director of physical facilities, and Rob Smith, business administrator to the superintendent, presented the school district’s solution at the May 28 Lehi pre-council meeting addressing the parking issue at the school.
http://goo.gl/7bptd (PDH)

WCSD featured by Community Window

ST. GEORGE, Utah – Marshall Topham, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education for the Washington County School District, shares with KCSG some issues and challenges facing our students, teachers and parents. He describes the role and impact WCSD has in the community pertaining to economics and opportunities for service. Topham addresses the challenges educators have in an ever changing world to prepare students for the future.
http://goo.gl/oegUQ (KCSG)

Utah Proposes ‘Grand Bargain’ to Assume Management of Federal Lands

For more than a quarter century, the Utah State Legislature has been in a contentious debate with the U.S. Department of the Interior and its maze of subsidiary land-management agencies over how to preserve wilderness and other environmentally sensitive areas while opening up other federal lands to oil and gas drilling.
Approximately 66 percent of Utah — 30 million acres — is “owned” by the federal government. About 12.7 million acres — 36 percent of the state — is set aside for national parks or monuments, conservation areas, wilderness, wild and scenic river corridors, and Forest Service roadless areas while only about 4.3 million acres — 12 percent of the state — can be leased for energy development.
The problem, according to Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah) is these public lands are tax-exempt, leaving the state and local governments struggling “to fund education and county services on limited revenues” while being forced by proximity to inadvertently subsidize management of federal lands.
http://goo.gl/I6GTs (Outdoor Life)

Cities install ‘no texting’ signs
Project spearheaded by daughter of accident victim

ST. GEORGE — Several schools and cities throughout Washington County are installing warning signs in an effort to prevent drivers from texting while driving.
The project is spearheaded by Haley Warner, the daughter of David Henson, who died in a pedestrian-car accident in March. The accident took place on Dixie Drive where Carla Lynn Brennan, who is suspected to have been texting while driving, struck the vehicle in front of her, which then pushed the car into Henson and his wife, Leslee. Leslee suffered horrific injuries that required reconstructive surgery, 5,000 stitches and staples, 15 days in the intensive care unit and several surgeries.
“I have to do it for my dad,” Warner said. “I have to, just to make it so he didn’t die for nothing.”
http://goo.gl/g1qnq (SGS)

http://goo.gl/3GMjI (OSE)

http://goo.gl/74wwe (PDH)

http://goo.gl/Ms5UX (KUTV)

Veteran graduates high school 70 years later

OREM — A Provo man can now add high school graduation to his list of accomplishments, 70 years after dropping out to join the Navy.
Jackson Howard, an 86-year-old father of six, received a standing ovation from fellow Provo High School graduates and audience members Wednesday as he walked across the stage at the UCCU Events Center, his diploma in hand.
Howard dropped out of high school in November 1943, just six months shy of graduation.
“The war was on — the big one,” he said. “So young men had to go when they were 18.”
http://goo.gl/UG1i5 (DN)

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

Timpview graduates class of 2013

Gathered around in caps and gowns, Timpview’s volleyball coach Kristen Bailey opened a box of leis to give to her nine graduating senior players prior to the class of 2013’s commencement ceremony at UVU. After putting them on, the players posed for pictures with Bailey and gave hugs of appreciation.
“That meant a lot,” said graduating volleyball player Lennon Mangum. “It was very sweet of her.”
http://goo.gl/sIEsN (PDH)

Sky View remembers ‘gentle giant’ who would have graduated with class today

As the seniors of Sky View High School walk across the stage to receive their diplomas today, one person will be noticeably absent.
Aaron Jacob “Jake” Griggs died March 24 after a battle with cancer. The Sky View administration will present an honorary diploma to his family in Jake’s honor.
Jake was the son of Aaron and Leisa Griggs. At 6 foot 3, he is remembered by his mother as a gentle giant.
http://goo.gl/OltVD (LHJ)

Deseret News live streaming schedule for high school graduations

Want to see your son or daughter receive their high school degree but can’t make it to the graduation ceremony? DeseretNews.com has it covered.
This year, the Deseret News will be live streaming Utah high school graduation ceremonies, including several this weekend.
http://goo.gl/ERQ5w (DN)

Davis educator earns Teacher of the Year Award

NORTH SALT LAKE — For fifth-grade teacher Allison Riddle, teaching has become an art and a science that demands a balance of knowledge, practice, and self-reflection.
The veteran teacher of 25 years was recently awarded the Teacher of the Year Award for Davis School District.
http://goo.gl/6fiLs (OSE)

Funeral Arrangements Made for Beverley Taylor Sorenson

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Funeral arrangements have been made for Utah Philanthropist Beverly Taylor Sorenson, who died Monday. Sorenson was 89.
A viewing will be held Thursday, May 30, 2013 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Wasatch Lawn Mortuary (3401 Highland Dr. in Salt Lake City). A second viewing will be held Friday, May 31 from 10:30 p.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Big Cottonwood Stake Center (1750 Spring Lane, Salt Lake City). Funeral services will follow at noon at the Big Cottonwood Stake Center.
http://goo.gl/j4N4k

Salt Lake City’s Rowland Hall breaks ground on new athletic fields, rec area Education » Rowland Hall gets new soccer fields, makes way for new middle and high school buildings.

Student athletes at private college-preparatory school Rowland Hall are getting their own soccer fields in the first phase of a $75 million school expansion project.
The school broke ground Wednesday on new turf fields and a recreation area that will be built on a vacant lot purchased from Mount Olivet Cemetery, an acquisition that required an act of Congress.
Rowland Hall trustees in January signed off on plans to build a new campus for their high school and middle school on the 13-acre former cemetery lot, which borders the school’s east-bench elementary school at 720 S. Guardsman Way. School officials plan to first raze the lot and build two turf fields, a parking lot and a garden, among other outdoor areas.
They plan to later sell the 800 South property where the existing middle and high schools are located — about a mile from the elementary school — to help cover the cost of the new school buildings.
http://goo.gl/O1zNC (SLT)

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

Lunch assistance still available
Summer program continues to grow in popularity

CEDAR CITY – The end of school for the summer would generally mark the end of free or reduced-price lunches for children receiving that benefit, but for the last four years, free sack lunches have been available to youth 18 and under at Main Street Park as an extension of the program.
Megan McGuire, program director for the Cedar City summer lunch program, said the federal government provides the funding for lunches during the summer months through a grant to Community Presbyterian Church. Food for the lunches is purchased with the grant money and they are prepared at the church.
Shanae Osguthorpe said she has a child receiving the reduced-price lunches at school and she likes having the free lunches available during the summer because that is one less meal for which she has to worry about buying food.
http://goo.gl/PZUMJ (SGS)

BYU writing camps aim to create local authors, programmers

For kids, summer is a time to ride bikes, swim and read. But for kids who love to write, there has never been a better summer. Brigham Young University and the Central Utah Writing Project have joined forces to provide 12 different youth writer camps for children entering third grade next year all the way up to high school seniors. Topics vary from graphic novel writing and illustrating to writing HTML code.
All camps are run by fellows of the Central Utah Writing Project who are certified teachers in Utah.
http://goo.gl/R9WMF (PDH)

Park Elementary students celebrate art, music during annual program in Richmond

RICHMOND — During an evening of singing, dancing and musical instruments, students of Park Elementary showed off what they had learned throughout the year in music and arts classes.
http://goo.gl/Sgtlh (LHJ)

Spelling bees: It’s more than memorizing strings of letters

This week, a large group of people have converged upon the nation’s capital for an intense competition while hemming and hawing over the meaning of words.
But Congress does that every week; it’s someone else’s turn in the spotlight.
The best of the best spellers are taking the big stage in Washington, D.C., to see who will be crowned winner of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
http://goo.gl/4PosO (DN)

Bingham High pulls off school-wide music video

The Bingham High School yearbook club wasn’t content with just a book or slide show. They corralled almost the entire school into a music video.
About 2,200 students and faculty line the halls of the South Jordan school and lip dub to “This is Bingham (I Love It),” a cover of Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” as the camera tracks by them in a single shot from start to finish. Thanks to a chopper from Utah Helicopter, the video even takes to the air for the finale.
http://goo.gl/So1la (SLT)

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

Mountain Ridge Junior High students, teachers participate in 5k fun run

Students and faculty at Mountain Ridge Junior High participate in a 5k fun run in Highland on Wednesday, May 29, 2013. School administrators have been emphasizing health and fitness all year long. To keep the kids energized, the school focuses on good nutrition and doesn’t have soda pop or candy vending machines. The final day of school is Thursday.
http://goo.gl/eFRBx (DN)

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

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Arts advocate
Thanks to Beverley Taylor Sorenson
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

In one corner, science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the so-called STEM subjects that increasingly command the public education landscape. In the other, Beverley Taylor Sorenson, patron extaordinaire and champion for teaching Utah’s young people about the arts and their capacity not only to enrich their own and others’ lives, but to enhance the pursuit of knowledge in any subject.
Central to Sorenson’s philanthropic genius was the notion that the teaching of arts and sciences need not be a boxing match at all, but a congenial integration of the two to the advantage of both. For example, using the arts to more easily explain difficult-to-understand mathematical concepts. Her Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program combines arts and core subjects in grade schools under teachers specially trained at Utah colleges and universities. With help from the Legislature, the program will reach 130 schools next year.
http://goo.gl/iE8aP

Summer learning
(St. George) Spectrum editorial

Children across Southern Utah already have had the chance to enjoy summer vacation. They’ve had several days of sleeping in, going outside to play and basically enjoying time away from studies.
While that may sound like a lot of fun, it may also be wasting the knowledge they gained during the recently completed school year. Some educators refer to it as the “summer slide,” and it’s a very real challenge. All school year long, kids have been exercising their brains and absorbing more information while honing their reading and math skills.
And while it’s good to give kids a break, many educators agree that one week is probably enough time before getting children back into some sort of routine so they don’t regress over the summer months.
http://goo.gl/fCMcP

Learning for All
Salt Lake City Weekly commentary by columnist Katharine Biele

Charter schools are a mixed blessing in Utah and the United States, but with 81 schools packed with 50,785 kids, there’s no turning back. That’s why you need to focus on the good news: accountability and diversity. This year, the charter-school board created evaluation standards for academics, finances and governance—a way to systematically compare these schools that enroll 9 percent of the state’s K-12 population. The state also approved the Utah International Charter School, to open this August. Its aim is to serve newly arrived immigrants, refugees and others from grades seven through 10, with an emphasis on mastering English. “It’s really about teachers understanding cultural differences … and not expecting every student to act the same way,” says Angela Rowland, a former high school principal and director of the Utah International Charter School.
http://goo.gl/jF7kL

Where does food come from?
Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist Tom Wharton

Two starkly different events occurred in the southern part of Salt Lake County recently that served as a stark reminder that most urban residents have little idea about how their food is produced.
The first involved 25-year-old Amy Meyer, who was charged in late April with video recording what was happening at a Draper slaughterhouse co-owned by the city’s mayor, Darrell Smith. The misdemeanor charges under Utah’s relatively new agricultural-operation interference law ended up being dropped, likely because it was determined Meyer was standing on public property when shooting the video.
In a written statement sent to The Salt Lake Tribune, Meyer explained that she went to the slaughterhouse because she heard bystanders on public property could “witness the horror of cows struggling for their lives as they were led to their violent deaths.”
About the same time in late April and early May, about 2,100 Salt Lake Valley fourth-graders visited the Butterfield Farm in Herriman, where farming and ranching organizations were sponsoring a more benign introduction to agriculture.
Kids went from booth to booth learning about things such as pig farming, milk, root vegetables and the West Nile Virus and viewing farm animals such as horses, sheep, llamas and pigs.
Vernon Parent, a Utah State extension agent who specializes in youth agriculture, explained that kids often learn about farm animals in school, but have no real experience on the farm.
http://goo.gl/q6fSO

Fewer public lands means more education funds
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Rep. Rob Bishop

The letter of May 20, “Sequester the cause of Ogden district cuts?” suggested that the Ogden City School District’s recent changes to staffing were a result of sequestration.
To be clear, I voted against sequestration for many reasons, especially due to the detrimental impact on our national defense that unfairly penalizes those working to support our military.
As a teacher for 28 years, I appreciate the concern and emotions associated with staffing changes. Sequestration alone is not what’s causing the changes. The district’s proposed cuts are the result of fewer funds at many levels, including federal, state, and local funding, and the obvious need for the district to eliminate a local budget deficit.
http://goo.gl/GcVQz

The Beginning of Common Core’s Trouble
The Weekly Standard op-ed by JAMIE GASS, director of the Pioneer Institute’s Center for School Reform, AND JIM STERGIOS, executive director of the Pioneer Institute

When President Obama unveiled his Race to the Top initiative in 2009, the idea was to award $4.35 billion in federal grant money to states to replicate policies that boosted student achievement. That quickly changed and the federal money was instead used to persuade states to adopt administration-backed nationalized K-12 English and math standards and tests. By last year, most states had adopted the standards, known as Common Core, and it seemed a foregone conclusion that the United States would join countries like France in having a uniform curriculum.
But what a difference a year makes. Today, a full-blown epidemic of buyer’s remorse has taken hold. Popular resistance is rampant and bills to pull out of Common Core are making their way through multiple state legislatures.
Had the Obama administration been interested in policies with a proven record of improving students’ academic performance, it would have looked to Massachusetts.
http://goo.gl/XEJQ9

A point-by-point rebuttal of today’s anti-Common Core op-ed in the Weekly Standard Fordham Institute Commentary by Institute Executive Vice President Michael J. Petrilli

Note: If you read my post from Tuesday, “A point-by-point rebuttal of today’s anti-Common Core op-ed in the Wall Street Journal,” you can probably skip this one. You’ll be shocked to know that the folks at the Pioneer Institute used many of the same lies, half-truths, and misinformation in both articles. Yet, debunk I must. So here goes.
http://goo.gl/E2ni2

Education is for parents too
Washington Post commentary by columnist Esther J. Cepeda

When I saw a recent Pew Hispanic Center report with the sunny title, “Hispanic High School Graduates Pass Whites in Rate of College Enrollment,” I thought, “What’s the catch?”
There was none on this exact point. A record 69 percent of Hispanic high school graduates in the class of 2012 enrolled in college that fall. But this was the only bright spot in the Pew survey.
The high school dropout rate is falling, but it is still far above the rate for whites. In 2011, 14 percent of Hispanics ages 16 to 24 were dropouts. This was half the level in 2000. White students, in comparison, had a 5 percent dropout rate in 2011.
And all those college-going Latinos don’t have such great prospects for earning a degree. According to Pew, Hispanic students are much less likely than their white counterparts to enroll in a four-year college (56 percent versus 72 percent). They are less likely to attend a selective college, less likely to be enrolled in college full time, and less likely to complete a bachelor’s degree.
http://goo.gl/My5wS

The number of high-poverty schools increases by about 60 percent Hechinger Report commentary by columnist Jill Barshay

Poverty is getting so concentrated in America that one out of five public schools was classified as as a “high-poverty” school in 2011 by the U.S. Department of Education. To win this unwelcome designation, 75 percent or more of an elementary, middle or high school’s students qualified for free or reduced-price lunch. About a decade earlier, in 2000, only one in eight public schools was deemed to be high poverty. That’s about a 60 percent increase in the number of very poor schools!
This figure was part of a large data report, The Condition of Education 2013, released by the National Center for Education Statistics on May 23, 2013. There’s a lot to chew on in it. But school poverty jumped out at me as a really depressing data point showing the growing income inequality in America.
http://goo.gl/vS3CV

Work Readiness Standards and Benchmarks
The Key to Differentiating America’s Workforce and Regaining Global Competitiveness ACT analysis

Understanding what individuals need to effectively navigate various transitional points along the k–Career continuum is critical to maintaining the steady talent pipeline that America requires to be competitive in a rapidly changing global economy. While substantial evidence exists about the types and levels of skills that an individual needs to successfully transition from secondary to postsecondary education, less is known about what an individual needs to transition from postsecondary programs to employment and to achieve work readiness.
There are many dimensions in preparing an individual for success throughout a lifetime. The path to success becomes more complex as individuals leave formal education systems and enter the workforce, where they must apply their knowledge and skills. College readiness standards and benchmarks, which outline the types of skills and achievement levels needed to succeed in first-year credit-bearing courses without remediation, are well established. On the other hand, comparable standards and benchmarks for work readiness—the skills and levels needed to succeed in the workplace—are less documented and not as well understood.
In this report, ACT presents a definition of “work readiness” along with empirically driven ACT Work Readiness Standards and Benchmarks. The introduction of standards and benchmarks for workplace success provides a more complete picture of the factors that are important in establishing readiness for success throughout a lifetime. We outline what individuals must achieve to secure jobs currently in demand and to build the necessary foundation for multiple job transitions throughout a working career. We also provide a framework for aligning education and training programs to current job skill requirements http://goo.gl/eRctY   (ACT)

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NATIONAL NEWS
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In Raising Scores, 1 2 3 Is Easier Than A B C New York Times

TROY, N.Y. — David Javsicas, a popular seventh-grade reading teacher known for urging students to act out dialogue in the books they read in class, sometimes feels wistful for the days when he taught math.
A quiz, he recalls, could quickly determine which concepts students had not yet learned. Then, “you teach the kids how to do it, and within a week or two you can usually fix it,” he said.
Helping students to puzzle through different narrative perspectives or subtext or character motivation, though, can be much more challenging. “It could take months to see if what I’m teaching is effective,” he said.
Educators, policy makers and business leaders often fret about the state of math education, particularly in comparison with other countries. But reading comprehension may be a larger stumbling block.
Here at Troy Prep Middle School, a charter school near Albany that caters mostly to low-income students, teachers are finding it easier to help students hit academic targets in math than in reading, an experience repeated in schools across the country.
http://goo.gl/if9oY

GOP talks up school choice as good policy and good politics Washington Times

MANCHESTER, N.H. — A Republican Party still reeling from the November elections is hoping that advocating for school choice can help the GOP recapture moderate voters, arguing that the issue provides a natural link between their limited-government philosophy and the average voter’s desire for good local schools.
Sen. Rand Paul, a Kentucky Republican speaking to grass-roots activists in Concord last week, said the party can bolster its national image by making school choice — giving parents the ability and the funds to choose between competing public and private schools for their children — a more prominent part of its message.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal hit a similar note two weeks earlier, saying at a fundraiser in Manchester that the issue is a political winner because it saves money and produces better results.
The national push echoes what Republican governors have been trying to do at the state level for the past decade.
In New Hampshire, the Republican-led legislature last year muscled through a tax credit to help low-income families that home-school their children or send them to private schools.
“I think there is a good momentum with school choice,” said former New Hampshire House Speaker Bill O’Brien, a Republican. “It really comes down to the fact that this breaks the government school monopoly, which is killing us. I think all the candidates ought to be talking about that because the education system is failing.”
http://goo.gl/pTrtb

Jeb Bush: ‘We embrace school choice across the board’
Detroit Free Press

MACKINAC ISLAND — It was a speech that hit many of the right notes for a potential Republican presidential candidate.
Kicking off the Mackinac Policy Conference today, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush talked about the need for education reform free of the constraints imposed by teachers unions.
“We must give parents a choice on where they send their kids to school,” Bush said. “We embrace school choice across the board.”
He also praised Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder for appointing an emergency manager for Detroit, calling the city “a looming fiscal calamity” that makes it hard for businesses to move to the city.
He heralded Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for taking on unions, and Snyder for signing right-to-work laws last year that dealt a serious blow to organized labor.
“He wasn’t reading the polls when he signed right-to-work into law,” Bush said. “He knew the payoff would come over the long haul.”
But Bush diverged from many Republicans when he talked about Common Core standards for education, which the Republican-led majority in the state Legislature refused to fund in the 2013-14 budget, and immigration reform.
“Common Core state standards are clear and straightforward,” he said. “Do not pull back from these high, lofty standards.”
http://goo.gl/4paas

Arne Duncan: Education is the best investment we can make MSNBC

During an interview with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell at Tuesday’s Education Nation Summit, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan reaffirmed his belief that “education is the best investment we can make.”
“I think if you think education is expensive, try ignorance,” Duncan said. “I never say we should invest in the status quo, we have to invest in a vision of reform. But when you see art and dance and drama being eliminated…when those opportunities don’t exist—we’re cutting off our nose to spite the face.”
The secretary of education made it clear his goal was to “increase public confidence in education.” He repeatedly stated that the country is fighting a battle and that battle is education.
http://goo.gl/UtLAA

Some justices question requiring nurses to give shots in schools California Supreme Court hears nurses’ association argue state law requires licensed nurses to provide insulin and other injections. Foes say that is unnecessary.
Los Angeles Times

SAN FRANCISCO — Several members of the California Supreme Court appeared wary Wednesday of requiring public schools to provide licensed nurses to administer insulin injections and other medications to schoolchildren.
The powerful California Nurses Assn. has argued that state law requires licensed nurses to provide insulin injections and other medicines, and two lower courts have agreed. The American Diabetes Assn. appealed. During a hearing, some justices on the state high court appeared skeptical of the nurses’ arguments.
Justice Ming W. Chin, noting that few schools have full-time nurses, questioned why districts should have to call in a licensed practitioner to administer a shot that a child’s parents and physician have agreed could be given by an unlicensed but trained employee.
http://goo.gl/AdNBY

Bomb scares will cost New Jersey schools $2.1 million this year Press of Atlantic City (NJ)

Bomb scares will cost New Jersey schools about $2.1 million this year, according to an analysis this month of school bomb threats.
But school officials say they are acting prudently in the face of unknown danger.
“School bomb threats are an issue for school communities throughout the state of New Jersey,” Edward Dickson, director of the state Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, wrote in a May 17 letter to the State Police, prosecutors, police chiefs and school superintendents. The analysis was prepared by Dickson’s agency.
“Although the majority of school bomb threats turn out to be pranks, school districts and law enforcement agencies must take each threat seriously because of the potential for injury and loss of life,” Dickson wrote.
There were 61 bomb threats between Sept. 1 and May 17, an increase of 27 percent from the previous school year, which saw 44 threats.
http://goo.gl/o5k9E

Not LOL: Service Allows Bully Reporting by Text Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Students are getting a new weapon to fight back against bullies: their cell phones.
A leading education technology company on Wednesday announced it would give schools a free and confidential way for students to tell school officials via text that they are being bullied or are witnessing bullying. Blackboard’s TipTxt program could change the school climate – or reveal just how pervasive student-on-student harassment has become.
http://goo.gl/rvu3s

Lawsuit On Idaho’s Education Funding Gets Whittled Down Boise State Public Radio

What had been a sweeping lawsuit against Idaho over the constitutionality of its support for public schools is now much smaller.
A judge has ruled that retired educator Russell Joki and a group of parents cannot sue every school district in the state over charging fees for things like science classes or school registration.
District judge Richard Greenwood says Joki can only sue the Meridian School District where he paid his grandchildren’s fees. Joki says charging fees for classes violates Idaho’s constitutional requirement for free and uniform education.
Greenwood also denied the case class action status that would have allowed parents around the state to join in. He said parents could sue schools on their own to get fees returned.
“A school patron is free to sue in small claims for a modest fee. The nature of the claim is not beyond the ken of the local magistrate judges,” Greenwood wrote.
http://goo.gl/HsNjq

Louisiana voucher students score almost 30 points below average on LEAP tests New Orleans (LA) Times-Picayune

As Gov. Bobby Jindal tries again to fund his controversial school voucher program, new test scores indicate that many of the current students educated with public money in private schools are not thriving. Or at least they aren’t yet.
Released Wednesday, LEAP scores for third- through eighth-graders show only 40 percent of voucher students scored at or above grade level this past spring. The state average for all students was 69 percent.
For accountability purposes, students attending private schools at taxpayer expense take the same standardized tests as their peers in public schools. In 2011, when the voucher program operated only in New Orleans, students averaged 33 percent proficiency.
Now seven schools in Jefferson and Orleans parishes have results so low — less than 25 percent of voucher students proficient for three years running — that they have been barred from accepting new voucher students in the fall, as per state policy.
http://goo.gl/EpuZf

Public, charter schools team up in Cleveland CBS Evening News

CLEVELAND – For years, public schools in Cleveland had some of the worst test scores in America; only 7 percent of their students went on to college.
But a unique partnership between traditional schools and high-performing charter schools is turning that around.
Cleveland police officer Charmin Leon wanted only the best for her 10-year-old son, Roberto, who had failing grades and discipline problems in class.
So finding the right school was imperative.
“As a parent you realize if you are hearing about these behavior issues, then where’s the learning taking place?” said Leon.
She found what she was looking for here at the Near West Inter-generational Charter School, one of nine new charter schools in Cleveland transforming the educational landscape.
http://goo.gl/NwdKp

Sneak peek at new California standardized tests Southern California Public Radio

California’s STAR tests, the state’s standardized tests for public school students, are being scrapped after 16 years.
A new slate of tests are slated to be fully implemented in the spring of 2015. The new tests, administered on computers, allow for more than multiple-choice bubbles. They include boxes where students will write out answers for reading comprehension and math problems in full sentences and paragraphs. The point is to measure critical thinking and writing skills.
“This marks another step forward in the effort to help schools prepare to replace outdated assessments with tests that gauge the kind of critical thinking and deeper learning that comes with a world-class education,” state schools chief Tom Torlakson said in a written statement.
State officials on Wednesday unveiled a sneak peek of practice problems online. The problems are sample math and English questions for the 3rd through 11th grades.
http://goo.gl/nLtz9

Ein neuer Deal?
Germany’s vaunted dual-education system is its latest export hit The Economist

BERLIN | URSULA VON DER LEYEN, Germany’s labour minister, likes to point out that the two European Union countries with the lowest unemployment, especially among the young, have dual-education systems: Austria and Germany. Like Switzerland, they have a tradition of combining apprenticeships with formal schooling for the young “so that education is always tied to demand,” she says. When youths graduate, they often have jobs to walk into.
With youth unemployment in Germany and Austria below 8% against 56% in Spain and 38% in Italy, Mrs von der Leyen has won Europe’s attention. Germany recently signed memoranda with Greece, Italy, Latvia, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain to help set up vocational-education systems. Mrs von der Leyen discussed the topic in visits to Madrid in May and to Paris this week. There is even talk of a “new deal” for Europe, including bringing youths from crisis-hit countries to work in Germany and making more loans.
Germany is best known in euro-zone countries for its macroeconomic prescriptions of austerity and structural reform. So it helps politically that it should now be seen assisting people in those countries into jobs. But does its dual-education system deserve so much credit, and should other countries adopt it?
http://goo.gl/97VQY

Bible Class in Texas Schools Faulted as Unconstitutional Bloomberg

In a Sonora, Texas, public high-school classroom usually used to teach computer programming and physics, four students are getting Bible lessons from a teacher who doubles as a pastor.
“What change shall be made in our bodies at the resurrection?” teacher Clyde Dukes asked, reading from a textbook. “How does God keep our hearts and minds?”
Classes like the one at Sonora High were singled out in a January report by Mark Chancey, a religious-studies professor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, as an example of how Texas schools provide unconstitutional Bible instruction. Chancey and civil-liberties groups say the class suggests students apply the Bible to their lives and doesn’t provide perspective on other faiths, violating the First Amendment ban on government establishment of religion.
“These classes too often promote religious values that aren’t appropriate academically,” Chancey said. “Public funds are being used to promote some religious views over others.”
Religion’s place in public schools is a decades-old debate, often focused on prayers at athletic events or other extracurricular activities. The for-credit Bible classes inject the question into the middle of the school day.
http://goo.gl/9uVQE

Country Music Legend Dolly Parton’s New Role: ‘Book Lady’
NewsHour

Country music legend Dolly Parton has delivered nearly 50 million free books to children’s homes. Called Imagination Library, the program started in 1996 in one rural Tennessee county and has spread to 1,400 communities across the United States, England and Canada.
http://goo.gl/UNqi1

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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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