Education News Roundup: June 25, 2013

"Core Academy Break" by Utah Public Education

“Core Academy Break” by Utah Public Education

Today’s Top Picks:

D-News (locally) and a host of others (nationally) look at CREDO’s follow-up study on charter school performance across 26 states. (DN)
and (Reuters)
and (AP)
and (WSJ)
and (NYT)
and (CSM)
and (Ed Week)
and (Hechinger Report) or =A copy of the report (CREDO)

OECD annual education report is out. Media outlets here are focusing on cost of the U.S. system versus its performance. (Reuters)
and (AP)
or a copy of the report (OECD)

Louisiana state superintendent pushing for two types of diplomas: academic and career/technical. (Times-Picayune)



Study: Majority of U.S. charter schools perform equal or worse than traditional schools

Residents voting today on bonds for Weber libraries, Ogden pools

Sutherland Weighs School Board Selection Alternatives

Utah Drops In Child Wellbeing Rankings


Passing the buck
Districts take taxing responsibility

Few teachers well-trained

Morgan last in education funding; vote ‘yes’ for levy

Some thoughts on the initiatives

Big takeaways from CREDO’s 2013 charter study

America’s mayors leading on education reform

The solution to US public schools is not corporate America We’re slashing K-12 funding and teachers and then turning our schools over to private operators. This is hardly good ‘reform’

A-PLUS: A Conservative Alternative to NCLB

Pennsylvania Signals Departure From Test Consortia

Apple Scores in the Education Market


U.S. spends big on education, but results lag many nations: OECD

Among Conservatives, Concerns Grow Over New School Standards

Louisiana Education Superintendent John White pitches diploma revamp in Mandeville

Coding Camps for Kids Rise in Popularity

Teachers Don’t Need Convincing, They Need Training to Use Ed Tech, Idaho Researchers Say

As Demographics Shift, Kids’ Books Stay Stubbornly White

Use of athletic trainers on the rise in high schools Aided by athletic trainers, high schools are stepping up to limit sports concussions


Study: Majority of U.S. charter schools perform equal or worse than traditional schools

SALT LAKE CITY — A new study of 26 states, including Utah, suggests that charter schools have made modest gains in student performance but have not yet surpassed their traditional school counterparts en masse.
In the study, released Tuesday by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University, researchers found that charter schools had improved since a similar study in 2009, but noted that those gains were partly due to the closure of underperforming charter schools.
“The results reveal that the charter school sector is getting better on average and that charter schools are benefiting low-income, disadvantaged and special education students,” said Margaret Raymond, director of CREDO at Stanford University. “As welcome as these changes are, more work remains to be done to ensure that all charter schools provide their students high-quality education.” (DN) (Reuters) (AP) (WSJ) (NYT) (CSM) (Ed Week) (Hechinger Report)

A copy of the report (CREDO)

Residents voting today on bonds for Weber libraries, Ogden pools

OGDEN — Many Weber County voters may have already cast their ballots by mail for today’s bond elections, but officials want to emphasize that people who have not yet voted still have the opportunity to add their votes traditionally at the polls today.
Poll stations are set up in the North Ogden and Marriott-Slaterville city offices; the South Ogden and Roy municipal buildings; the Weber Center; and the Ogden Valley Branch Library, with the voting from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The issues are the $45 million library bond, which would make changes and improvements to Weber County library buildings, and the vote on the publicly used pools at Ogden and Ben Lomond high schools in need of maintenance.
The library bond election is countywide, and the pool vote is for Ogden voters only. (OSE)

Sutherland Weighs School Board Selection Alternatives

The conservative Sutherland Institute released a report today weighing Utah’s current method for selecting candidates to the state school board against possible alternatives. Some with the think tank say that despite widespread dissatisfaction with the current process, Utah lawmakers have been slow to agree on a new one.
Ranking the different methods based on simplicity, transparency and accountability to voters Sutherland focused on four systems; the status quo, in which Utah’s governor appoints a committee to recruit and vet potential candidates, a direct partisan election, a direct non-partisan election and a system in which the governor just appoints the state school board himself.
Derek Monson is Director of Public Policy for Sutherland Institute. He says lawmakers have considered all of these options. But based on the criteria, the current system is the worst. (KUER)

Utah Drops In Child Wellbeing Rankings

Utah is slipping when it comes to the wellbeing of children.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation released its “2013 Kids Count” report on Monday, ranking Utah 14th in the country for child wellbeing. That’s down from 11th last year.
The foundation looked at several categories, including education, health, economic wellbeing, and family and community. (KUTV) (KTVX)


Passing the buck
Districts take taxing responsibility
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

It’s an old refrain, but becoming more true with each passing year: Utah schools are underfunded, and the Legislature’s “solutions” only shift the burden of paying for education to school districts.
The Tooele School District, facing a shortfall of $1 million in this year’s budget after cutting nearly $12 million in recent years, might have to raise taxes or cut programs, close schools and lay off teachers and other employees to meet a $3 million projected deficit next year.
Education funding “reform” passed by the Legislature has shifted state funds from slower-growing districts such as Tooele to faster-growing areas.
Tooele School District received $2.4 million in 2011 from the state capital outlay fund, which helps districts pay off debt, add classrooms and adjust to enrollment surges. Tooele’s share shrank by half the following year and now is just $430,000.

Few teachers well-trained
Salt Lake Tribune op-edby Marti Watson Garlett, founding dean of the Teachers College at Western Governors University

More than 100 years ago, an examination of American medical schools led to a sea change in how they educated aspiring doctors. It called on them to enact higher admission and graduation standards and to adhere to the protocols of mainstream science in their teaching and research.
Now we come to the preparation of classroom teachers for pre-kindergarten through 12 education. How do we know institutions of teacher training are preparing our children’s teachers for accountability in instruction and improvement in student learning?
Sadly, now we know.

Morgan last in education funding; vote ‘yes’ for levy
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Carl Keith Hipwell

Utah is dead last in general (instructional) fund spending per student; $648 behind Idaho that is next to last and $4,617 below the national average.
According to the USOE report for fiscal year 2012, Morgan was last in all districts and all 80 charter schools with the exception of Maria Montessori academy which was $58 lower. Our instructional spending is basically the lowest in the country even thought we have the second highest median income in the state.

Some thoughts on the initiatives
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from John H. Thompson

I agree and support the second view, vote ‘no’ on the library bond. I have different reasons to strongly consider a ‘no’ vote but I also would require a deeper understanding of how and why the main library got in the condition it’s in to need those repairs.
I would ask voters to consider the following before voting ‘yes’ on the pools. First, the Ogden School District (OSD) took over the pools in 1990. They didn’t spend a dime to build, construct, or purchase them. They were given to the OSD by Ogden City.
That’s having the responsibility for 23 years. When the OSD took over ownership, they inherited the operation and maintenance of the pools. It appears to me, for whatever reason(s) they made the conscience decision to avoid or ignore the maintenance requirements.

Big takeaways from CREDO’s 2013 charter study Fordham Institute commentary by senior policy fellow Andy Smarick

In 2009, CREDO released an expansive study of charters that, let us just say, made some waves. It showed that among the 16 states studied, there was wide variation in charter quality, and that while lots of charters were doing well, lots were doing worse than local district schools. Ever since, charter antagonists have gleefully used this report to make all types of unflattering claims about chartering.
They, I suspect, are less buoyant today.
Four years after the first report’s release, CREDO is out with an update. It includes all of the previous participating states and a slate of new ones. In total, the states covered by the new report educate over 95 percent of charter students nationwide.
There are lots of articles out today about the study. But many miss some of the most important findings—both in terms of the sector’s basic descriptive statistics and the quality of its schools.
I encourage you to read the full report, not just the executive summary, because some of the most interesting and important findings are lost in the shortening process.
Here are my big takeaways in no particular order:

America’s mayors leading on education reform Politico op-ed by Sacramento, CA, Mayor KEVIN JOHNSON, Los Angeles Mayor ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA and Oklahoma City Mayor MICK CORNETT

There’s been a sea change in the education landscape over the past two years, but you won’t see it if you’re looking toward D.C. Instead, look toward our nation’s mayors.
In 2011, when two of us, as mayors of Sacramento and Los Angeles, respectively, joined together to launch a national conversation on how to support great teachers in our schools, we felt pushback. Union leaders protested our effort. Some fellow elected officials refused to join our cause. Our goal then was modest: to permanently end the practice known as “last in, first out,” which mandates that teachers be laid off based on how many years they’ve been in a classroom rather than how effective they are with their students.
In 2012, a palpable, seismic shift happened: All three of us joined with hundreds of mayors across the country to pass resolutions within the U.S. Conference of Mayors that called for teacher performance pay, meaningful evaluations of principals and teachers based in part on student outcomes and a more varied approach to teacher credentialing. A momentum was building.
Fast-forward to this month and now the U.S. Conference of Mayors isn’t championing just one education reform policy but an entire bipartisan platform advocating everything from improved preschool access for low-income kids to increased transparency in education spending, to competitive, professional salaries for teachers.
That’s because as mayors, no matter our political ideology, we are united in the belief that improving education is not just an economic issue, nor just a quality-of-life issue, but that it is the civil rights issue of our time.

The solution to US public schools is not corporate America We’re slashing K-12 funding and teachers and then turning our schools over to private operators. This is hardly good ‘reform’
(Manchester) Guardian op-ed by Daniel Denvir, staff writer for the Philadelphia City Paper

America’s K-12 schools are being hollowed out, dismantled and converted to private management. It’s the ultimate outsourcing of our children’s futures.
In Philadelphia, one of America’s largest school districts, layoff notices were recently delivered to 3,859 teachers, aides, administrators and other staff. In Chicago, 850 teachers and staff are being let go. Nationwide, a staggering 335,100 teachers and other local public school jobs have been lost from June 2009 to May 2013, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.
It’s easy to blame those layoffs on the sour economy, but that’s only part of the story. The education “reform” movement, a code for privatizing schools, has been using the economic crisis to push its agenda. After the public schools have their budgets and staff cut, private management companies offer to come in and save the day.

A-PLUS: A Conservative Alternative to NCLB Heritage Foundation commentary by columnist Lindsey Burke

On Thursday, lawmakers in both the House and the Senate introduced a conservative alternative to No Child Left Behind (NCLB).
The Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success Act (A-PLUS) would allow states to completely opt out of the programs that fall under NCLB and empower state and local leaders to direct funding to their most pressing education needs.
Specifically, A-PLUS would send funding under NCLB back to states in the form of block grants, and states would then be able to direct that funding to any education purpose under state law.

Pennsylvania Signals Departure From Test Consortia Education Week commentary by columnist Catherine Gewertz

Those of you who are wonky enough to like keeping super-close track of who’s dating whom in the assessment-consortium world will be interested to know that Pennsylvania has decided to withdraw from both groups.
We heard this news last week while attending the Council of Chief State School Officers’ annual assessment conference. Senior officials in both the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, told me that Pennsylvania has notified them by email that it plans to withdraw. Assessment folks attending another gathering recently also reported that top Keystone State officials had mentioned the state’s withdrawal there, as well.

Apple Scores in the Education Market
Motley Fool commentary by columnist Steve Heller

Little by little, the Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) iPad continues to make headway in the education market. Last week, the company announced that it will supply the Los Angeles Unified School District with $30 million worth of iPads. Starting this fall, the country’s second-largest school district will begin to outfit each student with their very own iPad, which it expects will be completed in 2014. Upon completion, the LA School District will become the largest school district in the nation to give all of its students the iPad.
According to Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, nearly 10 million iPads are already in the education system. Based on the iPad’s average selling price of $449 during its fiscal second quarter, Apple has cumulatively raked in nearly $4.5 billion from education alone.
According to IDC, annual tablet shipments to the education sector grew by 103% in 2012. As a result, the share of tablets in the education client device market grew from 19.4% in 2011 to 35.4% in 2012. Going forward, IDC expects this is just the beginning of a trend where tablets make up a greater share of education client devices. A key growth driver will be government mandates to digitize education coupled with the relatively low cost of tablets.


U.S. spends big on education, but results lag many nations: OECD Reuters

The United States is one of the world’s biggest spenders when it comes to education, but with much of the money flowing to the wealthiest students, the country is losing ground to other nations from pre-school through college, according to a report released on Tuesday on educational progress around the world.
The United States spends 7.3 percent of its gross domestic product on education from pre-kindergarten through the university level, according to the report, by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The rate, which encompasses both public and private spending, is the fifth highest in the world. But the results don’t match the spending.
America used to have one of the highest college completion rates for young adults in the world. It has now dropped to 14th place, behind countries including Korea, Russia, Ireland and Canada, according to the OECD report .
The United States also falls behind in early childhood education. Just half of 3-year-olds were enrolled in preschool in 2011 compared with more than 90 percent in nations such as France, Italy and Norway, according to the report.
In kindergarten through 12th grade, meanwhile, the U.S. posts middling test scores, dragged down by the high numbers of children living in poverty whose schools tend to receive lower revenues from property taxes. Teacher salaries also have not risen in real terms, holding steady between 2000 and 2011, according to the report. (AP)

A copy of the report (OECD)

Among Conservatives, Concerns Grow Over New School Standards NPR All Things Considered

“Common Core” is one of the biggest phrases in education today. To many educators and policymakers, it’s a big, exciting idea that will ensure that America’s students have the tools to succeed after graduation.
But a growing number of conservatives see things differently.
For years, states used their own, state-specific standards to lay out what K-12 students should be learning, for everything from punctuation to algebra. But those standards varied wildly, so the Common Core replaces them with one set of national standards for math and English language arts.
Forty-six states and the District of Columbia have signed on to the Common Core. But with those states now beginning to implement them, the core standards have become a rallying cry for some conservatives. Opponents have levied several arguments against the common standards.

Louisiana Education Superintendent John White pitches diploma revamp in Mandeville New Orleans Times-Picayune

State Education Superintendent John White discussed his proposal to revamp high school diplomas at a gathering of north shore educators in Mandeville on Monday, saying the current system of three diplomas must be simplified to better prepare students for college or the workforce.
White, who is conducting similar sessions across the state to gauge the feelings of educators, business people and parents, said the revamp is needed to ensure that “students leave with the credentials that will lead directly to college success and career success.”
The group assembled at the St. Tammany school district’s David Treen Instructional Technology Center, generally seemed to agree, but some audience members urged White to include their voices in the debate.
White said the current system offers three types of diplomas: The “core four,” which seeks to prepare students for college; “basic diploma,” which doesn’t meet the requirement for the TOPs college program; and the “career diploma,” which prepares students for basic business and customer service jobs and has proven unpopular.
White is pushing to replace those three with a single diploma that offers two tracks: one for college bound students and the other a technical career path.
But unlike the current career diploma, students opting for the technical career path would face a curriculum whose goal it is to qualify them for jobs based on their region, White said. Such a program should include two years of traditional academics, as well as two years of industry-defined training, classes at area technical colleges and life and career counseling, he said.

Coding Camps for Kids Rise in Popularity Associated Press

ATLANTA — The video game Jacob Asofsky is creating is simple: “Someone who is trying to take over the world and you try to stop them.”
The 12-year-old from Florida is spending two weeks at a summer camp in a program that teaches programming skills to young people.
“It’s about having fun, but it also gives them the tools to be able to do this at home because they don’t have this in school,” said Taylor Jones, director of the iD Tech Camp at Atlanta’s Emory University.
So-called coding camps for children are becoming more popular amid a growing effort to expand access to computer programming and inspire more youths to seek computer science degrees and careers in technology. Their rise underscores a seeming mismatch in the U.S. economy: people like Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Tumblr founder David Karp illustrate the opportunities programming skills can create, yet universities are not graduating enough code-savvy students to meet employers’ demands.

Teachers Don’t Need Convincing, They Need Training to Use Ed Tech, Idaho Researchers Say Education Week

San Antonio — States and school districts should stop trying to convince teachers to employ educational technology and start helping them overcome barriers to using it well, say a husband-and-wife research team.
“We don’t give teachers enough credit,” said Loredana Werth, an assistant professor at Idaho’s Northwest Nazarene University.”Most understand the benefits and impact of technology. What folks want is training and access.”
That conclusion is based on findings from a survey of 200 Idaho teachers about how they use and perceive more than 30 different kinds of tech in the classroom. Loredana and Eric Werth presented their as-yet unpublished findings at the International Society for Technology in Education’s 2013 conference here.

As Demographics Shift, Kids’ Books Stay Stubbornly White NPR Morning Edition

When it comes to diversity, children’s books are sorely lacking; instead of presenting a representative range of faces, they’re overwhelmingly white. How bad is the disconnect? A report by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that only 3 percent of children’s books are by or about Latinos — even though nearly a quarter of all public school children today are Latino.
When kids are presented with bookshelves that unbalanced, parents can have a powerful influence. Take 8-year-old Havana Machado, who likes Dr. Seuss and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. At her mothers’ insistence, Havana also has lots of books featuring strong Latinas, like Josefina and Marisol from the American Girl Doll books. She says she likes these characters because, with their long, dark hair and olive skin, they look a lot like her.
Havana’s mother, Melinda Machado, grew up in San Antonio, and her family is from Cuba and Mexico. She says she didn’t see Latino characters in books when she was a little girl, so she makes sure her daughter does.
“But you do have to look,” she explains. “I think children today are told, ‘You can be anything.’ But if they don’t see themselves in the story, I think, as they get older, they’re going to question, ‘Can I really?’ ”

Use of athletic trainers on the rise in high schools Aided by athletic trainers, high schools are stepping up to limit sports concussions USA Today

LAS VEGAS — Chatting with a co-passenger on her flight here, Diana Miller mentioned she was a high school athletic trainer. Professional experience prepared her for the response.
“Gym teacher?” said the guy in the window seat.
Miller, who is responsible for about 700 student athletes every year at Robert E. Lee High School in Springfield, Va., took it in stride. She also gets mistaken for a personal fitness trainer and a physical therapist.
Her associate, Justin Blankenbecler, says, “We get, ‘Oh, you work in the weight room.’ … If I didn’t know anything about it, and I heard ‘athletic trainer,’ I would think somebody that trains an athlete. And it’s not really what we’re doing.”
In all but two states, California and Alaska, athletic trainers are licensed as health care professionals.
Their actual jobs are injury prevention, treatment and rehabilitation in sports — all prime topics this week at the annual meeting of the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA).


USOE Calendar

UEN News

June 26:
Education Task Force meeting
9 a.m., 210 Senate Building

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

July 16:
Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
1 p.m., 445 State Capitol

July 17:
Education Interim Committee meeting
9 a.m., 30 House Building

August 2:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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