Education News Roundup: June 7, 2013

Graduation ceremony photo by Granite School District

Graduation ceremony photo by Granite School District

Today’s Top Picks:

Congratulations to Joel Coleman, new superintendent at USDB. (SLT)

And to Ember Conley, new superintendent in Park City. (PR)

Will teachers see a pay cut? (DCC)

Washington’s Post and Times looks at the dueling bills to replace NCLB. (WaPo)
and (Wash Times)



New superintendent named for Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind Education » State Board of Education member Joel Coleman selected.

Park City School District names Ember Conley as new superintendent Arizonan has Experience as a teacher, principal and administrator

Some teachers likely to see pay cut

Davis ATC prepares to open charter school for career seekers

Lehi City Council holds community meeting at LHS

Woman Encouraged to Enter STEM Fields

When it comes to finance, Skyline students score big Life lessons » One cashes big in stocks game as she and classmates sweep awards.

It’s raining eggshells at Clearfield elementary school

Minidoka County School Superintendent Resigns

Poverty in the Suburbs Rampant in Two Utah Locations


Don’t rely on Utah’s ‘best run state’ accolades

How to raise smart children in the wrong zip code

Kids need play

Common Core supporters back moratorium on new tests’ high stakes

Teachers, What Are Your Thoughts on the Common Core Standards?

An Open Letter to Pearson

The Corporate Takeover of Public Education


Plans to replace ‘No Child’ law bring dueling visions of federal role in education

Tea Party groups make gains against ‘ObamaCore’ education program

When school’s out for summer, many kids are at risk of going hungry

Superintendent says yearbook caption errors were ‘non-intentional, honest mistakes’


New superintendent named for Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind Education » State Board of Education member Joel Coleman selected.

Joel Coleman will become the next superintendent of Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind.
Coleman, who is a State Board of Education member, will resign that post July 1 so that he can begin his new job, which pays a base annual salary of $130,000.
Board members unanimously voted Friday for Coleman, who recused himself from the vote. (SLT)

Park City School District names Ember Conley as new superintendent Arizonan has Experience as a teacher, principal and administrator

According to a press release from the Park City School District, Dr. Ember Conley has been unanimously selected as its new superintendent beginning July 1, 2013. She is currently Deputy Superintendent of the Maricopa Unified School District in Maricopa, Arizona.
“Dr. Conley has the experience that will benefit students, teachers and administrators of our district. Her student-centered focus on academic excellence and experience implementing the common core standards, teacher evaluation systems, data-driven decision making, along with her work on closing the achievement gap with diverse student populations, are precisely the attributes we sought in our comprehensive nation-wide search process,” the release stated. (PR)

Some teachers likely to see pay cut

FARMINGTON — Teachers are being asked to give up one day’s pay as part of a settlement being voted on this week.
The change would drop the take-home pay for teachers who are in what is known as the “dead zone,” the years when they aren’t earning step increases. Insurance premiums will also go up for those teachers, having a further negative impact.
The changes still leave the district with a $2.1 million shortfall in a budget of more than $539 million, money that would be made up out of the district’s fund balance. (DCC)

Davis ATC prepares to open charter school for career seekers

KAYSVILLE — Davis Applied Technology College this fall will open a charter school for high school students seeking not only a diploma, but technical training likely to lead directly to a job with a good paycheck.
Career Path High opens Sept. 3 on the DATC campus. Learning will take place in the school’s two DATC classrooms, at students homes as they work on computers, and at home on computers that are linked to the classroom or to groups of other students studying similar topics. (OSE)

Lehi City Council holds community meeting at LHS

Representatives from the Lehi City Council and Alpine School District held a community meeting at Lehi High School Thursday night to address citizen questions and concerns regarding proposed new satellite classroom placement, class size and plans to revamp Lehi High School’s currently inadequate parking lot.
Built in 1959, Lehi High School has seen a great deal of growth in the last 54 years. Karen Ashman, chair of the Lehi High School Community Council, said last year the school had 2,063 students but projections for the 2013-14 school year are for more than 2,200 students.
In order to accommodate the projected long term increase in student population a permanent 17 classroom three-story addition is planned, with construction beginning this summer. As a short term fix for the additional 200-plus new students expected in the 2013-14 school year some satellite classes will be added. (PDH)

Woman Encouraged to Enter STEM Fields

Salt Lake City, Utah – If you’re looking for a job in science, technology, engineering, or math reports show more than a 100,000 of those jobs will be right here in Utah in the next 10 years.
MaryAnn Holladay the Director of the Utah Women and Education Initiative says we need women to go into those fields. Holladay says there is a real lack of female presence in careers in science, technology engineering, and mathematics. (KTVX)

When it comes to finance, Skyline students score big Life lessons » One cashes big in stocks game as she and classmates sweep awards.

Some schools boast a strong swim team. Others embrace a versatile theater program. Skyline High School is emerging as a place to learn money smarts.
This spring, Skyline of the Granite School District clinched all the top prizes in Utah in both the InvestWrite financial essay contest and The Stock Market Game, an investment simulation using real-time numbers from the S&P 500 index.
Using a strategy of investing in $5 stocks, volatile stocks and short selling (a way for investors to profit when a stock’s value goes down), Skyline sophomore Cassidy Hoff — who took first place in Utah — turned her hypothetical $100,000 into $206,000 in just 10 weeks, a 109 percent return. (SLT)

It’s raining eggshells at Clearfield elementary school

CLEARFIELD — Carefully enshrouded eggs were the center of attention Thursday morning at Wasatch Elementary School.
Students anxiously watched capsules being flung over the side of the school, testing which devices would protect an egg from breaking.
Small groups consisting of fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders spent a month creating protective capsules for their eggs. No one knew how the devices would work — not even the teachers; this was the first time Wasatch Elementary had held the event. (OSE)

Utah County police hold school shooter drill

SPANISH FORK, Utah – Police and students at the American Leadership Academy in Spanish Fork practiced what to do if there is an active shooter in a school.
The American Leadership Academy says they decided to put on the drill because of several school shootings across the country in recent years.
The drill played out four different scenarios with active shooters. (KSTU)

Minidoka County School Superintendent Resigns

RUPERT • Scott Rogers, nine-year superintendent of the Minidoka County School District, is resigning.
He will start work July 1 as superintendent of the Tooele County School District in Utah.
“We will miss Idaho and the wonderful people and communities,” he said, but the move will allow him to be closer to family in Utah.  Twin Falls (ID) Times-News

Poverty in the Suburbs Rampant in Two Utah Locations

Two Utah cities are in the top 10 of a national survey — though they’d prefer not to be.
Provo is number 8…and Salt Lake, number 3…on a list of cities where poverty — in the suburbs — is skyrocketing. (KNRS)


Don’t rely on Utah’s ‘best run state’ accolades Deseret News op-ed by Natalie Gochnour, associate dean in the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah

We are fortunate in Utah to have had great governors through the years. I’ve had the pleasure of working directly with three of them — Norm Bangerter, Mike Leavitt and Olene Walker — and advising two of them — Jon Huntsman Jr., and Gary Herbert. I grew up admiring the service of Govs. Cal Rampton and Scott Matheson. To a person, Utah’s governors protect the public trust and serve as remarkable stewards of our state.
This stands in sharp contrast to a major state like Illinois where four of the past seven governors have served prison time. Leadership matters, and Utah is well led.
I worry in recent years, governors, legislators and other elected officials rely too much upon the claim that Utah is the “best-managed” or “best-run” state. They proclaim it in congressional testimony, veto letters, floor debates, political mailers, campaign ads and news stories. It’s used in economic development ads, highlighted in speeches and glorified in public decision making. It’s repeated so frequently we start to believe we really are incredible, like a performer who only hears accolades from his or her traveling posse. We start to think we are better than we are.
Like any claim, there’s a story behind it, and the best-managed rankings have a long history in this state. Here’s what you need to know.
Utah is not the best managed state; it is among the best-managed states.

This is where the “best-managed” claim gets dangerous. If we are not careful it gets confused with leadership, creates complacency and stands in the way of needed improvements. Utah’s education system is the perfect example.
Are we comfortable having one in four Utahns drop out of high school? Are we pleased that our investment in public education as a percentage of our income has fallen from seventh to 29th among states in just 15 years? Of course not.

How to raise smart children in the wrong zip code Deseret News commentary by columnist Heather Staker

Experts predict the housing market to heat up this summer. But house shopping can be frustrating for parents, who sometimes feel limited in their selection because of the spotty quality of public schools. A house nearby a top quality public school generally commands a premium.
The good news is that parents have new options for patching together a truly superior education plan for their kids, regardless of neighborhood. These ideas require legwork, but they are all becoming affordable possibilities for K-12 students. Here are four suggestions—two that work within the public school system and two outside the system:

Kids need play
Deseret News letter from Stephen Krashen

Professor Harold Kohl points out that there is less time for P.E. because of increased academic pressure (“Physical activity at school might boost grades, study shows,” June 2). Instead of squeezing P.E. into academics, how about relieving the academic pressure, allowing more time for students to do physical activities they choose themselves and that they really like, including old-fashioned “playing”?

Common Core supporters back moratorium on new tests’ high stakes Washington Post commentary by columnist Valerie Strauss

A coalition of education organizations and unions that support the Common Core State Standards issued an open letter on Thursday backing a moratorium of at least one year on the high stakes associated with new standardized tests being given to students that are aligned with the Core.
The letter was issued by the Learning First Alliance, whose members include the American Association of School Administrators, the American School Counselor Association, the International Society for Technology in Education, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, the National School Boards Association and the National Parent Teacher Association.

Teachers, What Are Your Thoughts on the Common Core Standards?
New York Times commentary by columnist Katherine Schulten

The work of this blog is to suggest ideas for teaching and learning with The New York Times. We don’t do original reporting, and we don’t offer opinions on education issues. Instead, like teachers everywhere, we strive to facilitate discussion on issues of the day rather than imparting our own points of view.
But as we have experimented with the new Common Core Standards over the last two years, we have also been aware of how politically charged their implementation has become.

An Open Letter to Pearson
Education Week op-ed by Jacob Tanenbaum, who teaches 4th and 5th grade science and computer technology in the South Orangetown Central School District in New York

Dear Pearson and, by extension, McGraw-Hill, and the rest of the companies that produce standardized tests for our classrooms:
Schools all over New York state just finished giving the tests you designed for us. I read that you got $32 million for those. Wow.
Recently, my colleagues and I sat in a meeting at our school learning how to score the tests using your materials. I hear these products are really helpful, and lots of teachers I know who use your grading software to track tests say it’s really easy to work with, so thanks for selling all of it to us. New York state and its districts paid a lot of money to buy those tests and the accompanying resources we need to prepare our students and process the scores. You guys made a bundle, but I have one question for you: Can I have a little of that money back for my classroom?
See, I used to have a teaching assistant, but we can’t afford her anymore. Our librarian was laid off, and we don’t know who will maintain our collection in the years to come. The prekindergarten program was eliminated last year. Class sizes have been going up everywhere I look, and we hardly go on field trips anymore. Music and art are being cut in a neighboring district, and I’m worried about what else is in store for us. School budgets are not keeping up with rising operating costs as state aid and property taxes continue to shrink. So as the cost of testing mounts, cuts are made to classrooms like mine.
I know you have everyone convinced that we, teachers, should be held more accountable for student performance, but in trying to raise standards, you’ve managed to make a lot of money on testing, all of which has come out of classrooms like mine.

The Corporate Takeover of Public Education Huffington Post commentary by Diann Woodard, President, American Federation of School Administrators

Independent research in recent months has documented that the nation’s wealthiest philanthropic foundations are steering funding away from public school systems, attended by 90 percent of American students, and toward “challengers” to public education, especially charter schools.
Education Week recently reported that at the start of the decade, less than a quarter of K-12 giving from top foundations was given to groups supporting charter schools and privatization, about $90 million in all.
By 2010, $540 million — fully 64 percent of major foundation giving — was directed to these private groups, including KIPP, Teach for America, the NewSchools Venture Fund, the Charter School Growth Fund, and the D.C. Public Education Fund.
The best-known alumni of groups now getting the lion’s share of funding from the nation’s eight largest foundations are Michelle Rhee, John White of Louisiana, and Kevin Huffman of Tennessee, all of whom support vouchers and charters.
The extent to which these groups will go to supplant the public school system is deeply disturbing.


Plans to replace ‘No Child’ law bring dueling visions of federal role in education Washington Post

Republicans in Congress have rolled out legislation that would sharply limit the power of the executive branch and shrink the role of the federal government in public education in a rebuke to the Obama administration’s influence over education from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Meanwhile, Senate Democrats have unveiled their own K-12 plan, which would cede more control to states but still maintain some federal oversight, especially of the worst-performing schools.
This is the latest attempt by members of Congress to rewrite No Child Left Behind, the main education law that sets conditions and requirements for every public school receiving federal funds to educate poor students and those with special needs.
No Child Left Behind was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2002 and expired in 2007.
But despite several attempts — including one a little more than a year ago — and broad dissatisfaction among school leaders, teachers and parents with No Child Left Behind, Democrats and Republicans in Congress have been unable to agree on a new law. (Wash Times)

Tea Party groups make gains against ‘ObamaCore’ education program Fox News

Tea Party groups are barnstorming state capitals across the country to stop an Obama administration-backed initiative to impose federal math and English education standards on public schools.
Though conservatives have long argued that state and local officials can best make decisions on K-12 education, the Tea Party’s opposition to the federal program — Common Core State Standards — represents a pivot for the movement, which started in 2009 to promote lower taxes and smaller government. And they are making gains, as some states consider putting the program on hold.
“We have a renewed sense of vigor,” Lee Ann Burkholder, founder of the 9/12 Patriots in York, Pa., told “And when it comes to your kids or grandkids, people really get fired up.”
The Tea Party is already riled up following revelations that the IRS had been singling out its groups over the past few years.
On the education issue, Burkholder said her group held a meeting this spring that attracted 400 people, double the usual number. The meeting was followed by a bus trip to the state capital in which members wore matching T-shirts and pressed their case to lawmakers.

When school’s out for summer, many kids are at risk of going hungry NBC News

Across the country, schools are getting out for the summer. And while most students will leave their classrooms happy for the break, some parents will be fretting about how to feed their children without meals provided through schools.
The hot summer months bring a fresh challenge for food banks in the nation’s poorest and hungriest counties: How to make sure millions of children get regular, healthy meals when they aren’t in school.
“The time of year in the United States (that) an American child is most likely to go hungry is the summertime, and the principal reason for that is school is out,” said Kevin Concannon, undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services with the USDA.

Superintendent says yearbook caption errors were ‘non-intentional, honest mistakes’
Troy (NY) Record

SCHAGHTICOKE — A yearbook is used by graduating students to remember their time in school, their friends, teachers, and fellow classmates. But for some students in Hoosic Valley, the latest edition of the school’s yearbook won’t bring back such good memories.
A “non-intentional, honest mistake” resulted in some student-athletes being labeled in a high school yearbook caption as “Creepy smile kid” and “Some tall guy” in the Hoosic Valley Central School District, said acting superintendent Amy Goodell.
“The yearbook editor and staff are devastated. Apologies are being made,” she said about the yearbook known as the “Totem Pole” in the small rural district in Rensselaer County.
The track and field page of the 2012-13 yearbook included a caption that names students as “Isolation kid”, “Creepy smile kid”, “Some tall guy”, and the word “Someone” is used multiple times to label those pictured.


USOE Calendar

UEN News

June 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

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