Education News Roundup: June 4, 2013

Education News Roundup_"Yao Lu First Grade Jenny P. Stewart 19" by UtahPublicEducation/flickr

Education News Roundup_”Yao Lu First Grade Jenny P. Stewart 19″ by UtahPublicEducation/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

Granite gets tough on fees. (SLT)

Utah Public Radio looks at Chinese classes in Utah schools. (UPR)

Standard-Examiner joins the Trib in supporting Common Core. (OSE)
or Cal Grondahl editorial cartoon (OSE)

Will NCLB be left behind? (NYT)
and (AP)
and (Ed Week)
and (Wash Times)

How well will you do on the financial literacy quiz? (CNBC)
or the financial literacy quiz



Late paying school fees? Granite considers hiring collection agency Education » Some Utah districts are already using agencies to chase down unpaid money.

Chinese classes becoming popular choice for Utah students

Teen Pregnancy Rates Down in Utah; Some Credit Access to Birth Control and Sex Ed

Arts, kids and parks — Hundreds focus on creativity as program starts

Lehi Jr. High student wins Pioneer Spirit scholarship

Local filmmaker looks to fund a Proper Education

Utah student graduates with perfect attendance record

7 Davis schools to offer free summer lunches

Students Plant Seeds, Help Community Blossom

Hundreds of Highland High students participate in day of service

Open house planned to discuss pools

Preschoolers in Utah’s UPSTART Program Using Technology from Waterford Institute Show Stronger Literacy Skills Than Peers State-level academic program for four-year-olds brings the benefits of individualized interactive instruction to the home through the use of technology.


Common Core merits support

EDCUtah Research: Plentiful, Skilled Labor Force Integral to Utah Competitiveness

No need for new school buildings

D.A.R.E. program not just about avoiding drugs

Justice Scalia Foresees DNA Sampling of Students

Child Poverty By the Numbers

Why We Ignore the Biggest Problem in Education

Vaccine Exemptions Could Help Make Whooping Cough a Thing Again


Senator Introduces Education Measure

Common Core Skeptics And Supporters Cut Across Political Boundaries

Miss. Gov: US Education Declined with Working Moms

Financial Literacy Education Efforts Get Failing Grade

Feds toss Michigan complaint to ban Indian mascots for sports teams

Court hears suspended DeKalb school member’s challenge

Va. NAACP calls for resignations
Racially offensive emails prompt demand

The Students That Keep Teachers Inspired

Sesame Workshop Project Urges Kids to Visit Parks


Late paying school fees? Granite considers hiring collection agency Education » Some Utah districts are already using agencies to chase down unpaid money.

Utahns who fall behind on their credit card bills, cable TV charges and other payments are accustomed to calls from collection agencies.
Soon, more parents who fail to pay school fees might also hear their phones ringing.
The Granite School District is considering contracting with a collection agency to track down unpaid student fees. During the past three years alone, the district estimated it has lost out on about $2 million in uncollected fees, said Ben Horsley, district spokesman. In Utah, high schools and junior highs often charge fees for textbooks, extracurricular activities and certain classes. (SLT)

Chinese classes becoming popular choice for Utah students

As the school year comes to an end, many students are signing up for next year’s classes. UPR’s Stephen Tanner tells us how one language class in Lehi is attracting the curious minds of middle school students.
“At Lehi Junior High School, your not-so-average school bell begins class. Students in this Chinese 1 class stand up and begin to recite Chinese. They then bow to each other and the teacher begins the lesson.
Chinese classes like this one are beginning to pop up across Utah. (UPR)

Teen Pregnancy Rates Down in Utah; Some Credit Access to Birth Control and Sex Ed

As the public school year comes to a close, there will be fewer teen mothers in Utah missing out on graduation. Teen pregnancy rates in Utah have plummeted in the last few years. A recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the rate of births to teen mothers across the country dropped by 25% from 2007 to 2011. The rate in Utah fell by almost 30 percent. Among Hispanic teens in the state – it dropped by 40 percent. The report did not address the reasons behind the decline, but some Salt Lake area adults and teens believe it has something to do with access to birth control and better sex education.
When the closing bell rings at West High School in Salt Lake City, teenagers cross the train tracks and head over to the Capitol West Boys and Girls Club. They pick up a basketball, shoot some pool, or sit on the couches and eat snacks. The Club’s Teen Center Director Jessica Hill could almost be mistaken for one of the kids – with her purple mohawk and jean shorts. Hill says teen pregnancy used to be a regular thing at the club. (KUER)

Arts, kids and parks — Hundreds focus on creativity as program starts

OGDEN — AmyLee Duersch examined the stack of brightly colored pipe cleaners, intent on choosing the best combination to twist into a headband.
Did the Ogden 6-year-old plan to wear the hair ornament someplace extra-special?
“Yes,” AmyLee answered, excitedly. “My head.”
Lorin Farr Park on Monday was packed with hundreds of children, school age or younger, who came for a free kid’s summer lunch offered each year by Ogden School District, and who stayed for the first day of Arts in the Parks.
Weber State University’s Arts in the Parks program spends the noon hour at a given park for five weekdays, then moves to the next Ogden park on its six-week tour. (OSE)

Lehi Jr. High student wins Pioneer Spirit scholarship

LEHI — Lehi Junior High School students had and will continue to have the opportunity to compete for a $1,000 collage scholarship created just for them, the Michelle Lee Conder Pioneering Spirit Award.
The Pioneering Spirit Award is one of the first scholarships open to junior high students at the school.
“Our mascot is the pioneer. We do hard things, and that means we sometimes do things earlier than others and we blaze trails for others,” LJHS counselor Bucky Holmstead said.
Named after Holmstead’s mother, the scholarship was created to encourage students to begin thinking about and filling out college scholarship applications earlier. (PDH)

Local filmmaker looks to fund a Proper Education

A proper education is widely believed to be the foundation of a successful life. But with public school budgets tightening, many schools are slowly losing a vital element of that education, with cuts to music and arts programs.
Utah-based filmmaker, Pietro D’Alessio, creator of the popular web series Proper Manors, is teaming with the MuzArt World Foundation to spotlight the need for music and arts in public schools. Using MuzArt World’s mission of making music and art programs more accessible in schools, D’Alessio and company developed the script for a spin off series, Proper Education.
“Proper Education was intended to be a spin off focused around the youth of Proper Manors,” D’Alessio says. “We pitched a concept of making the Proper High School a school that had its funding cut.”
The family-friendly show will initially include seven to 10 minute long episodes, each featuring narrative and a musical piece. (Salt Lake Magazine)

Utah student graduates with perfect attendance record

MAGNA, Utah — One Utah student made a decision at 4 years old to never miss a day of school after seeing an interview with a teen who had done the same, and now years later he has graduated with a perfect attendance record.
Jacob Vincent had to plan around surgeries and reschedule vacations to reach his goal of perfect attendance, but he made it all the way through. Vincent said his parents were supportive of these schedule changes. (KSTU)

7 Davis schools to offer free summer lunches

FARMINGTON — School may be out for the summer, but school lunch will still be served in seven Davis County schools. (DN)

Students Plant Seeds, Help Community Blossom

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Some students at Grace Lutheran Elementary School in Sandy got their hands dirty Monday.
Third graders planted fruits and vegetables in their school garden and in the fall some of what’s grown will be donated to the Utah Food Bank.’ (KTVX)

Hundreds of Highland High students participate in day of service

Hundreds of students from Highland High School participated in a day of service Monday. Some of the students made baby blankets for Primary Children’s Medical Center. Some assembled girls and boys hygiene kits, while others assembled art kits for children. Some students donated blood. While waiting to donate, some wrote letters to military personnel. Those who didn’t want to make blankets or kits, picked up trash on campus. (DN)

Open house planned to discuss pools

OGDEN — Ogden School District is inviting the community to attend an open house at 2 p.m. June 10 in the Board Room of Building No.1, District Office Campus, 1950 Monroe Blvd.
The topic will be the swimming pools at Ben Lomond and Ogden high schools. Information will be available to the community on the maintenance, operation and repairs necessary for both pools. (OSE)

Preschoolers in Utah’s UPSTART Program Using Technology from Waterford Institute Show Stronger Literacy Skills Than Peers State-level academic program for four-year-olds brings the benefits of individualized interactive instruction to the home through the use of technology.

Salt Lake City, UT — Can educational technology used at home measurably impact the school readiness of preschool children? According to a new independent report evaluating the results of the state-level UPSTART (Utah Preparing Students Today for A Rewarding Tomorrow) program, preschoolers using home-based educational technology and support from the Waterford Institute demonstrated better literacy skills and stronger literacy growth rates than children who did not participate in the program.
The report by the nonprofit Evaluation and Training Institute (ETI) documented the third year results of UPSTART, which was established as a pilot demonstration project by the Utah state legislature. (PRWeb)


Common Core merits support
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

The Common Core State Standards in education, of which Utah is a participant, is under attack. Egged on by Tea Party groups, Republican-dominated states, as well as the Republican National Committee, have condemned the educational standards. The RNC, in a resolution, calls Common Core “a nationwide straightjacket on academic freedom and achievement.”
But that’s nonsense, and the RNC members who OK’d such drivel should be ashamed. They are toadies cowed by ideologues whose rigid enforcement of what is “good” would be applauded by Leninists. Common Core standards, set by states, are tough, traditional educational goals that demand analytical studies of math, English and history. The standards, for example, include intensive study of the Constitution and historical speeches, such as the Gettysburg Address.

Cal Grondahl editorial cartoon

EDCUtah Research: Plentiful, Skilled Labor Force Integral to Utah Competitiveness Utah Policy commentary by Economic Development Corporation of Utah

Utah has one of the youngest, strongest and best-educated labor forces in the nation, and that labor force has been a foundational part of the state’s economic success. However, a study of the workforce within three of the state’s economic cluster areas by EDCUtah researcher Brigham Mellor reveals some weaknesses in that foundation.
As a whole, wages in Utah are 10% less than the national average. EDCUtah President & CEO Jeff Edwards says that scenario gives Utah a competitive advantage and makes the state more attractive to businesses looking to relocate or expand. However, based upon Mellor’s research, in certain economic cluster areas a labor force shortage is driving up wages and forcing businesses to compete with each other for skilled workers. That makes the state less competitive in those areas.

No need for new school buildings
(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Ralph Call

It has come to my attention I may have offended someone with my letters to the editor. I apologize for that. It is not my intention. It is my hope I may cause someone to leave the “talking points conversation about public schools” and actually do some thinking.
My letters always contain adult content. If you are not prepared for that, you should not be reading them. I suggest you protect yourself from exposure by scanning to the bottom of a letter, determining the author, and either reading or putting your hands over your eyes, whichever you determine to be appropriate.
We do have a very real crisis in our Cache County public schools. We spend way too much money and are getting way too little education. The persons we have entrusted with the education of our children are not delivering.
I received a much better education in a little country school, at a reasonable price, than my children have received at a much higher price. In fact, if it weren’t for teaching at home my kids would not be able to do ordinary math or write a thoughtful essay. The penmanship of all is horrific. Basic Mormon principles that I have always considered to be bedrock are regularly violated by our public school administrators.

D.A.R.E. program not just about avoiding drugs
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Dereck Ford

I am in sixth grade, and I just barely graduated from D.A.R.E. If you don’t know what DARE is, read well. D.A.R.E. is a program to help keep kids off drugs. Drugs are only one of the topics it covers. Representatives teach about stress, bullies, good communication, and more. I truly think that D.A.R.E. is one of the best classes I’ve attended. Because of this program, over 70 percent of D.A.R.E. graduates are drug free.

Justice Scalia Foresees DNA Sampling of Students Education Week commentary by columnist Mark Walsh

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia warned in a dissent on Monday that the upholding of police taking the DNA of criminal suspects may one day lead to the universal collection of such samples in non-criminal contexts, including from children entering school.
The court ruled 5 to 4 in Maryland v. King (Case No. 12-207) to uphold a state law authorizing DNA swabs of suspects arrested for serious crimes such as murder, rape, kidnapping, and arson.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority, said that DNA collection is an important advance in law enforcement techniques and that under the proper circumstances, is a legitimate police booking procedure, like fingerprinting and photographing of suspects, that is reasonable under the Fourth Amendment. The court upheld the conviction of a Maryland man, Alonzo Jay King Jr., whose DNA sample taken when he was arrested for one crime led to his conviction for an unsolved rape.
Justice Scalia, joined by three of his more liberal colleagues—Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan—issued a blistering dissent that compared such warrantless DNA swabs of arrestees to the sweeping searches carried out by British authorities on the American colonists.

A copy of the ruling (U.S. Supreme Court)

Child Poverty By the Numbers
The American Prospect commentary by CURTIS SKINNER, director of the Family Economic Security program at the National Center for Children in Poverty, at Columbia University

The recession and its lingering aftermath helped drive an estimated 2.8 million additional American children into poverty, raising the nation’s share of poor children to one of the highest recorded in nearly 50 years. The increase in the child-poverty rate of four percentage points between 2007 and 2011 to 22 percent was the second largest four-year increase since modern recordkeeping began in 1959. The percentage of children living in low-income families—with incomes less than twice the federal poverty line—increased even more rapidly, from 39 percent to 45 percent. Strikingly, almost half of all children are poor or near poor in a nation boasting one of the world’s highest per-capita incomes. The child-poverty rate was unchanged in 2011, the latest year for which data are available, despite the fact that the recession nominally ended in 2009. In numbers, 16.1 million American children live in poor families, and 32.4 million live in low-income families.
Child-poverty rates rose for children in all major ethnic groups—white, black, Latino, and Asian—with the Latino rate rising the fastest at nearly six percentage points. The stubbornly high child-poverty rate is partly explained by persistently high unemployment during the weak and protracted economic recovery. Child-poverty rates closely track unemployment rates, and similar peaks in poverty occurred during the recessions of the early 1980s and 1990s. Conversely, following periods of strong economic growth and historically low unemployment rates, child poverty in the United States fell to historically low rates of 14 percent to 15 percent during the late 1960s and early 1970s and again to 16 percent in 2000.
The close association between child poverty and unemployment is also observed in recent trends in state-level poverty rates. States whose economies were among the hardest hit during the recession experienced some of the largest increases in child poverty during the 2007–2011 period. In Florida, the child-poverty rate jumped a staggering 7.8 percentage points to 25 percent—the largest increase in the nation. Thirteen additional states—including Arizona, California, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, and Ohio—and the District of Columbia saw child–poverty rates rise by five percentage points or higher. Overall, child-poverty rates rose by statistically significant margins in 39 states and fell in no state during the course of the recession. As has long been the case, states with the highest child–poverty rates tend to be in the South and West.
Many Americans, including policymakers, remain unaware of the scale and scope of child poverty in the United States and are apt to think of it as a marginal phenomenon: a problem confined to inner cities and isolated rural communities. This inaccurate perception is further belied by evidence from the recession.

Why We Ignore the Biggest Problem in Education Huffington Post commentary by Duke University social scientist Troy Campbell

It is an indisputable fact that if children showed up on day one of first grade smarter, better behaved, and with stable mental health, schools would function better. It would be better for these kids, the other kids in their classroom, and the teachers.
Lifetime success is greatly influenced by the first five years of life. Schools can help children improve themselves, but schools cannot be expected to save children who have poor home lives or lack adequate mental health services.
To improve American education, we need to fix the general social climate. We must not exclusively focus on what happens in schools, but what happens before and outside of school. We must acknowledge that much of the education problem comes from bigger social problems such as poor parenting, and limited, misguided, or recklessly ignored social services.
We won’t solve the education problem till we solve the “Day One Problem” and acknowledge the simple fact: on day one of first grade, we need better kids, not just better teachers.
So why don’t we recognize the Day One Problem?

Vaccine Exemptions Could Help Make Whooping Cough a Thing Again The Atlantic commentary by columnist ABBY OHLHEISER

The rising percentage of parents opting out of at least one mandatory vaccination could be a major factor in the recent increase in whooping cough cases. That’s according to a study, published in Pediatrics today, based on data from New York state, where religious exemptions to vaccination requirements are enforced loosely enough to allow parents to opt out based on personal or philosophical beliefs about the drugs, Reuters explains.
Researchers tracked data from the state’s Department of Health. They noticed that the proportion of religiously exempt kids, while still very small, had nearly doubled in the state: 23 in 10,000 to 45 in 10,000. And in counties with more than 1 percent of children under a religious exemption, whooping cough cases were higher: 33 out of every 100,000 kids, compared to 20 per 100,000 kids in counties with an exemption rate under 1 percent.
But there’s more: because the current whooping cough vaccine is less effective than the original, even vaccinated kids in counties with more exemptions are more susceptible to the illness.


Senator Introduces Education Measure
New York Times

Nearly half a century after President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a sweeping federal education act and promised to “bridge the gap between helplessness and hope” for disadvantaged children in the nation’s public schools, Congress is still trying to fine-tune the law to achieve its original goals.
On Tuesday, Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, introduced the Strengthening America’s Schools Act of 2013. It is an updated version of the 48-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the law that governs all public schools that receive federal money to support the most vulnerable students among the poor, racial minorities, learners of the English language and the disabled.
Mr. Harkin’s bill seeks to update No Child Left Behind, President George W. Bush’s version of the law, which passed in 2001 and has been up for reauthorization since 2007. Congress has repeatedly tried, but failed, to pass a new edition.
Mr. Harkin, who is the chairman of the Senate education committee and has announced plans to retire next year, has a long climb ahead of him. (AP) (Ed Week) (Wash Times)

Common Core Skeptics And Supporters Cut Across Political Boundaries New Hampshire Public Radio

The Common Core State Standards, a set of goal posts for public school students that have been adopted by 45 states, are well on their way to being implemented in New Hampshire. But those same standards are at the center of a widening backlash in other states that hasn’t really caught on in New Hampshire.
Support and opposition to the Common Core does not break down cleanly along party lines. On the one hand, Florida’s Republican governor Jeb Bush is a big supporter of the standards, as are many liberal politicians.
On the other hand, many educators are skeptical of the entire “education reform” movement, and while their reasons different they find that they have some strange bedfellows. Folks like conservative talk-show host Glenn Beck have been hammering away at the Common Core and its associated testing for some time. “You are going to be data-mined; your kid is going to be monitored; their brains are going to be scanned by FMRIs!” Beck declared on a recent show
With this type of talk, you can see why some are agitated.
Last week, a Manchester Curriculum and Instruction Committee heard from about a dozen concerned citizens. Most of those in attendance were concerned that during standardized tests students would be asked invasive questions; that’s the data-mining that Beck has latched onto.
Manchester resident, Lisa Gravel turned to address a group of students who came to protest the cutting of AP classes. She told them “they’re going to be asking you information about your parents like what kind of political signs do you put in their yard. You know, that’s none of their business.”
That statement, by-the-way, is not true in New Hampshire.

Miss. Gov: US Education Declined with Working Moms Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. — Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant says American education declined in quality when mothers started working outside the home.
Republican Bryant made his initial remarks Tuesday in Washington during an education forum hosted by The Washington Post, and he elaborated on them later in an interview with The Associated Press
The newspaper reports that Bryant and two other governors were asked how America became “so mediocre” in education results.
Bryant said: “I think both parents started working. The mom got in the work place.”
In a phone interview with The Associated Press, Bryant said having both parents working outside the home puts pressure on families, and that affects education. (WaPo)

Financial Literacy Education Efforts Get Failing Grade CNBC

We are a nation of illiterates. Financial illiterates, that is.
Despite a proliferation of games and apps, and efforts by many schools to teach the subject, financial literacy actually declined between 2009 and 2012, according to a survey.
“Directionally, it was discouraging,” said Gerri Walsh, president of the Investor Education Foundation at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, which conducted the survey. “We haven’t seen great improvement, and that’s where we want to go.”
The foundation asked a series of questions about respondents’ financial habits and condition, and gave them a quiz to measure their capability. A majority of respondents, 61 percent, were unable to answer three of the five questions correctly. In 2009, that number was just 58 percent.

The financial literacy quiz

Feds toss Michigan complaint to ban Indian mascots for sports teams Detroit Free Press

American Indian mascots, names and imagery will stay in Michigan schools for now.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has dismissed a complaint filed against 35 Michigan school districts that alleged that the use of such imagery is discriminatory.
The complaint, filed earlier this year by the Michigan Department of Civil Rights, could have had national implications and would have forced schools to choose new mascots, names or imagery. The department can appeal the ruling.

Court hears suspended DeKalb school member’s challenge Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Georgia’s highest court on Monday considered the constitutionality of a law used by Gov. Nathan Deal to suspend six members of the DeKalb County school board.
Tom Cox, a lawyer representing suspended board member Eugene Walker, said the 2010 law should be struck down on several grounds.
“It violates the local control of an elected school board,” Cox said. It also allows the suspension and removal of a school board member without the member “ever having been charged with wrongdoing, much less proven to have committed wrongdoing.”
But Stefan Ritter, a state attorney representing Deal and the state Board of Education, told the court’s justices that the General Assembly has enormous power. Unless the statute is arbitrary or has no rational basis, it must stand, he said.
“The statute is about protecting the schools and the children in those schools,” Ritter said.
The court must issue its decision by the end of November.

Va. NAACP calls for resignations
Racially offensive emails prompt demand
Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch

The state NAACP has called for the resignation of two Isle of Wight County officials who are under fire for circulating racially charged emails about first lady Michelle Obama to other county officials.
“This should be a wake-up call to citizens throughout the commonwealth of Virginia that may have been in denial about the sentiments of some elected officials,” said King Salim Khalfani, the group’s executive director.
“Citizens must participate with those that are elected and appointed to represent us. We must hold them all accountable. No participation, no right to complain,” Khalfani said in a statement released Monday.
Board of Supervisors member Byron Bailey and county School Board member Herbert DeGroft forwarded the controversial emails but didn’t create them.
One email claimed National Geographic offered the first lady $50 to pose nude, while the other displayed a photograph of topless women in tribal garb, with a caption saying it was the first lady’s “high school reunion,” The Associated Press reported.
Bailey and DeGroft, who are white, have apologized for the emails. But Bailey said he won’t resign.

The Students That Keep Teachers Inspired NPR Talk of the Nation

Teachers endure bored, misbehaving, or totally tuned out students, often with little recognition. In a commentary in The Chronicle of Higher Education, professor Charles Rinehimer pays tribute to the completely engaged students who gave him the strength to deal with tough cases.

Sesame Workshop Project Urges Kids to Visit Parks Associated Press

NEW YORK — “Sesame Street” wants kids to take a break from parking it indoors, and head out to a park instead.
A new project has recruited Muppet monsters Elmo and Murray to visit national parks in six short videos that encourage children ages 3-5 to experience the great outdoors, wherever it might be, and to apply scientific skills of inquiry to learn about these natural settings.
The product of a partnership between Sesame Workshop, the U.S. National Park Service and its philanthropic offshoot, the National Park Foundation, “Sesame Street Explores National Parks” aims to promote science learning by kids through their experiences in national parks as well as local parks and their own backyards.


USOE Calendar

UEN News

June 6-7:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

June 18:
Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
1 p.m., 445 State Capitol

June 19:
Education Interim Committee meeting
9 a.m., 30 House Building

July 11:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City

Related posts:

Comments are closed.