Education News Roundup: July 31, 2013

"RFHK -- Pendleton..." by USDAgov/CC/flickr

“RFHK — Pendleton…” by USDAgov/CC/flickr

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

School lunch in Jordan District? There’s an app for that.
http://goo.gl/aXnhvx (DN)
and http://goo.gl/aTj1jj (KUTV)
and http://goo.gl/YxNemq (KSL)

The leggings controversy makes its way to Utah.
http://goo.gl/1obstB (SLT)

U.S. Department of Education announces new district Race to the Top program.
http://goo.gl/ycevWx (LAT)
and http://goo.gl/I0gyZe (ED)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Jordan School District using technology, local produce to beef up school lunch

Utah school lunch evolves with new healthy food rules

Are leggings too sexy for Utah schools?
Dress code » Comfort, style — and maybe a trip to the principal’s office for a dressing down.

GEAR UP Conference prepares students for college life

OPINION & COMMENTARY

The benefits of voluntary schooling

Arne Duncan: Fewer Layoffs Than Expected, But Sequestration Still ‘Heartbreaking’

NATION

School districts invited to apply for Race to the Top funds

ObamaCare Dropping Full-Timers at Schools, Local Governments

Review, Resignation Urged in Indiana Grading Flap

Bill urges schools to stock anti-allergy drug

Rosetta Stone Steps Squarely Into Literacy, and Ed-Tech

Chobani awarded USDA school lunch Greek yogurt contract

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UTAH NEWS
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Jordan School District using technology, local produce to beef up school lunch

WEST JORDAN — Just before 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, the first students at Fox Hollow Elementary began trickling into the school cafeteria.
Within minutes, tables were filled with the din of frenzied conversation and plastic lunch trays sporting a feast of corn dog bites, french fries, milk and assorted fruits and vegetables.
Amidst the hubbub, sixth-grade students Jason Holgate and Haden Bishop flicked through the pages of an iPad app breaking down Tuesday’s menu options at Fox Hollow and checking what the rest of the week had in store.
“Just the touch of a button and it tells you how many carbs, fat, protein and sodium,” Holgate said while browsing the menu items.
The app, produced by developer Nutrislice and rolling out this year at all Jordan District schools, is the first of its kind in Utah and provides detailed school-by-school information to parents and students on the month’s lunch and breakfast offerings.
http://goo.gl/aXnhvx (DN)

http://goo.gl/aTj1jj (KUTV)

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

Utah school lunch evolves with new healthy food rules

SALT LAKE CITY – Right now schools across Utah are gearing up for year two of the school lunch overhaul required by the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act of 2010. There has been a change in what schools are preparing and a change in the business of food in public schools.
Classic school lunch changed two years ago; whole grain, more fruits and veggies, fryers were removed from kitchen and students were required to take food.
http://goo.gl/nAJWRK (KTVX)

Are leggings too sexy for Utah schools?
Dress code » Comfort, style — and maybe a trip to the principal’s office for a dressing down.

Soft, sleek — and too sexy for your school?
Leggings make for a cozy day in class without the schlubby look of sweatpants, teenage girls say. But the tight style chafes some teachers and school officials who contend they reveal too much.
Salt Lake City’s Highland High School has taken to Facebook and Twitter to caution back-to-school shoppers that without a longer shirt, skirt or shorts providing cover, leggings don’t fit school dress code.
Highland is not banning them outright, said Assistant Principal Scott Richard Nelson. But students must add a layer that covers the crotch and butt.
http://goo.gl/1obstB (SLT)

GEAR UP Conference prepares students for college life

OGDEN — Jessi Short worked hard until her senior year at Ben Lomond High School, finishing almost all her credits early.
Then, she basically took a year off.
“I showed up 22 days of my senior year,” said Short, now 21, of Ogden. “Then I took some time off before college, and I worked as a housekeeper at a hospital. Now, I am back in school, studying radiology. I’m here today to help these students learn from my mistakes.”
Short was one of several Weber State University students, mostly sophomores, who gathered Tuesday to offer personal insights at a GEAR UP Conference, attended by 20 Ogden School District seniors.
GEAR UP is an acronym for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. Funded by a federal grant, the program is aimed at helping low-income students successfully graduate from high school and prepare for college.
http://goo.gl/XjCfGJ (OSE)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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The benefits of voluntary schooling
Deseret News op-ed by Lynn Stoddard, a retired educator who writes about the need to reinvent public education

After years of government-imposed, failed reforms of public education, we now have a chance for genuine school improvement. Here are some of the good things that could happen if Sen. Aaron Osmond’s, R-South Jordan, bill to repeal compulsory education is passed:
We could adopt a better goal and purpose for education.
The main purpose of compulsory education is standardized student achievement in a fixed, narrow curriculum. It could be replaced with a purpose such as this: Help students aspire and learn how to be unique contributors to society. This will reduce the jail population, end dropouts, bullying, suicides and school vandalism.
http://goo.gl/LXsdpm

Arne Duncan: Fewer Layoffs Than Expected, But Sequestration Still ‘Heartbreaking’
Education Week commentary by columnist Alyson Klein

Back in February, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan went on CBS’ “Face the Nation” and warned that school districts could be forced to cut 40,000 teacher jobs, thanks to a series of across-the-board federal budget cuts known as sequestration.
At the time, Duncan got his head handed to him by the national media, including the White House press corps. Reporters pointed out that there were no massive layoffs in the offing—and the department explained that school districts typically don’t begin their budgets for the next school year until the spring. The cuts, which were slated to hit at the start of the next school year, would likely be bad for districts, the administration argued, but February was too early to know the full impact on K-12 education.
Well, now it is nearly August and students around the country are starting their back-to-school shopping. Most school districts have finished their budgets for the 2013-14 school year—and there still aren’t many stories of massive layoffs or even major programmatic cuts due to the sequestration.
A major exception: The 1,200 districts that rely on Impact Aid, which helps districts make up for tax revenue lost thanks to a federal presence, such as a military base or Native American reservation, as well as the tiny fraction of schools that are run by the Pentagon, and therefore rely heavily on federal funding. Head Start programs, which are funded through the Department of Health and Human Services, also, have had to make tough choices.
But many K-12 schools appear to have weathered the cuts. The reason? In part, state budgets are actually in pretty good shape this year.
http://goo.gl/D7vuBb

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NATIONAL NEWS
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School districts invited to apply for Race to the Top funds Los Angeles Times

The U.S. Department of Education on Tuesday invited districts nationwide to begin applying for the latest batch of high-profile federal school-reform grants.
Individual school districts will be able to seek about $120 million in “Race to the Top” federal funds. The four-year awards will range from $4 million to $30 million, depending on the population of students served. The Department of Education is expecting to make 15 to 25 awards.
“The Race to the Top-District competition is an opportunity for trailblazing districts across the country to implement models of personalized learning so that every child graduates college- and career-ready,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a statement.
The grants have attracted attention since their inception because they represented, in effect, a federal seal of approval on a state’s efforts to improve its schools. Critics, however, have faulted the program for promoting reforms they say are not supported by research and for providing too little funding for the measures to be fully realized.
Last year, the department awarded about $383 million to 16 districts, with grants ranging from $10 million to $40 million.
http://goo.gl/ycevWx

and
http://goo.gl/I0gyZe (ED)

ObamaCare Dropping Full-Timers at Schools, Local Governments
FoxBusiness

Health reform is now causing job turmoil across the country in three key groups that the White House has depended on for support—local government, school workers and unions.
School districts in states like Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Utah, Nebraska, and Indiana are dropping to part-time status school workers such as teacher aides, administrators, secretaries, bus drivers, gym teachers, coaches and cafeteria workers. Cities or counties in states like California, Indiana, Kansas, Texas, Michigan and Iowa are dropping to part-time status government workers such as librarians, secretaries, administrators, parks and recreation officials and public works officials.
This growing trend comes as three major unions have written to Democratic Congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid warning that, because health reform is helping to push the work week to below 30 hours, it will “destroy the foundation of the 40-hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.”
http://goo.gl/2xzbO0

Review, Resignation Urged in Indiana Grading Flap
Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana education leaders on Tuesday pledged a thorough review of the state’s system for evaluating schools after The Associated Press reported a former official who now serves as Florida’s education commissioner worked to alter a grade for a school founded by a top Republican donor.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz said the Department of Education is examining the current A-F grade calculations “to ensure that every school has the grade they earned in 2012; nothing more, nothing less.”
Tony Bennett, who was appointed Florida’s top education official in December, denies any wrongdoing. He says the changes to Indiana’s grading formula weren’t solely directed at Christel House Academy. But emails obtained by The Associated Press show Bennett and his staff scrambled last fall to ensure influential donor Christel DeHaan’s school received an “A,” despite poor 10th grade algebra scores that initially earned it a “C.”
Jim Stergios, executive director of the conservative-leaning Pioneer Institute in Boston, said Bennett needs to resign his Florida position for violating the trust of Indiana students and parents.
http://goo.gl/ZoWhth

http://goo.gl/PqEMsD (Politico)

Bill urges schools to stock anti-allergy drug
Associated Press via Education Week

WASHINGTON — The House on Tuesday passed legislation aimed at helping schools better prepare for severe, sometimes life-threatening, allergic reactions caused by eating peanuts or other food products.
The measure would give grant preferences to states that come up with policies to make epinephrine, a drug used to treat anaphylactic shock, available in schools. It would also encourage schools to permit trained administrators to administer epinephrine to students believed to be having an anaphylactic reaction and require states to review their liability laws to ensure that administrators have adequate legal protections when they come to the aid of students.
The bill, passed by voice vote, was sponsored by Rep. Phil Roe, a Tennessee Republican and doctor, and Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the House’s second-ranked Democrat.
http://goo.gl/27QS9J

Rosetta Stone Steps Squarely Into Literacy, and Ed-Tech
Education Week

The list of companies seeking to build a presence in the educational technology market isn’t limited to startups and established textbook-turned-online publishers.
It also includes players like Rosetta Stone, widely known as a major provider of language-learning products, which recently announced its latest foray into ed-tech by acquiring a company that provides online English reading and literacy instructional tools. Rosetta Stone paid $22.5 million for Lexia Learning Systems Inc., of Concord, Mass., which says its reading-proficiency products are being used by one million students.
Earlier this year, Rosetta Stone bought Livemocha, which describes itself as the world’s largest online language community, for $8.5 million.
http://goo.gl/8nw1LT

Chobani awarded USDA school lunch Greek yogurt contract
Dairy Reporter

Chobani has been selected as the product of choice for the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Greek yogurt pilot program, after successfully undercutting bids from a number of rival Greek yogurt manufacturers.
http://goo.gl/K0fEO2

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

August 1-2:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspxpr

August 8:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://goo.gl/Mu36l

August 28:
Public Education Appropriations Committee meeting
8 a.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2013&com=APPPED

September 17:
Executive Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
1 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2013&com=APPEXE

September 18:
Education Interim Committee meeting
9 a.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2013&Com=INTEDU

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