Education News Roundup: Sept. 20, 2013

Rocky Mountain Elementary artwork

Artwork from Rocky Mountain Elementary.

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

D-News previews UCAS scores, which will come out on Sept. 30.
http://goo.gl/BVvUrQ (DN)

UEA wants Utah’s surplus spent on education.
http://goo.gl/KbD5Lj (CVD)

Ogden School Board renews Supt. Smith’s contract.
http://goo.gl/6RZG9w (OSE)

Colin Powell suggests a military model for school renewal.
http://goo.gl/XcrZBI (Time)

Author of “The Smartest Kids in the World—and How They Got That Way” suggests the U.S. is overspending on high school sports.
http://goo.gl/Cv1K5k (Atlantic)
and http://goo.gl/aI0yPX (MSNBC Morning Joe)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Is your school a top school? New scores coming Sept. 30

Utah Education Assn: budget surplus should go to schools

Ogden School Board renews superintendent’s contract for two years

Davis school changes netbook policy to decrease damage

Local schools institute concussion protocols

Bonneville joins CAP program to teach technology

After-school program teaches medicine to Ogden students

Former Weber High students to honor innovative, movie-making teacher

Utahns encouraged to memorize the Gettysburg Address

Parowan Schools Locked Down on Wednesday

Mustang Stampede
Fiddlers Canyon students walk to raise money

Logan woman gives birth to boy in Cache High parking lot

A + Teacher

Papa Murphy’s offers free pizza to young Utah readers

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Local school boards work hard for education

Bernick and Schott on Politics

Schools already know their strengths, weaknesses

Oppose more school debt

Ogden High marching band still marches on!

No backtracking on Common Core
Instead of political games, Gov. Rick Scott should lead on stronger education standards

Parents play key role in Wyoming education standards

The Case Against High-School Sports
The United States routinely spends more tax dollars per high-school athlete than per high-school math student—unlike most countries worldwide. And we wonder why we lag in international education rankings?

Universal Preschool Increases Enrollment, But Crowds Out Private Preschool for the Well-Off Lower-income children’s test scores improved significantly; no increase in maternal labor force participation

NATION

Colin Powell: We Can Fix Education, But Congress Is Failing Us Powell recommends schools mimic the military to fix their problems.

U.S. Department of Education Awards $14 Million to Special Education Parent Technical Assistance Centers

Kansas education official responds to GOP resolution

Judge: Too Harsh to Fire NY Teacher Who Had Heroin

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UTAH NEWS
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Is your school a top school? New scores coming Sept. 30

SALT LAKE CITY — Earlier this month, Utah’s public schools received their first letter grades under a new system that evaluates a school’s performance and offers a letter grade, from A to F.
On Sept. 30, schools will be hit with new scores from the Utah Comprehensive Accountability System, the state’s other education performance evaluation system that is now in its second year.
“They’re based in the same data set, students taking the test,” John Jesse, director of assessments for the State Office of Education, said. “It’s the exact same (student) scores; however, we’ve done some different things with that data set.”
Letter grades are not assigned with this evaluation, but the results will be comparable to the grades released Sept 3, when 11 percent of schools received an A grade, 45 percent received a B, 30 percent received a C, 10 percent received a D and 4 percent received an F.
http://goo.gl/BVvUrQ  (DN)

Utah Education Assn: budget surplus should go to schools

SALT LAKE CITY – More income tax revenue for Utah means a state budget surplus.
And Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, president of the Utah Education Association, says the $242 million surplus should benefit schools on the local level.
Gov. Gary Herbert has announced that the surplus for the most recent fiscal year is all in Education Funds.
So, Gallagher-Fishbaugh says the money can make up for some of the serious budget cuts made to schools during the recession.
http://goo.gl/KbD5Lj  (CVD)

Ogden School Board renews superintendent’s contract for two years

OGDEN — The Ogden School Board has voted unanimously to renew Superintendent Brad Smith’s contract for two more years.
The Thursday announcement came near the end of a tense board meeting at which Smith’s performance was criticized by a spokeswoman for a local education caucus.
Board President Shane Story said with Smith’s revised contract, his base pay remains at $120,000, but his potential performance pay goes up. Before, Smith was assessed three times a year and got a $10,000 bonus each time he met the criteria.
Now, Smith will be assessed four times yearly, and get $9,000 each time he meets criteria, a potential increase of $6,000 per year.
The contract vote came minutes after Kim Irvine, Weber County Democratic Education Caucus chairwoman, spoke of serious concerns.
http://goo.gl/6RZG9w  (OSE)

Davis school changes netbook policy to decrease damage

KAYSVILLE — Overall damage to netbooks given to each student at Centennial Junior High School is declining, thanks to changes in how the school allows the students to use the devices.
No longer are students able to take the netbooks home, which is dramatically decreasing the damage that occurs while the units are transported between home and school in backpacks, stored in students’ lockers and in the typical accidents that can happen while away from school premises.
One netbook had been run over by a car last year, school officials said.
Any damage to the netbooks was previously paid for by the students.
http://goo.gl/5Fku4k  (OSE)

Local schools institute concussion protocols

Dillon Smith, a senior football player at Sky View High School, has had his share of bumps on the head. It’s not unusual, he said, to get a headache after being tackled during a game. But last year, when the headache was accompanied by white spots in front of his eyes and darkened vision, Smith knew something was wrong.
After being evaluated by Sky View High School Athletic Trainer Travis Jackson, Smith learned he had sustained a concussion, the most minor type of traumatic brain injury.
Any bump, jolt or fall can cause a concussion, because the brain collides suddenly with the skull, Jackson said. Concussion awareness has become more important as former NFL players have reported mental illness they believe to be caused by repeated concussions.
“Used to be, with concussions, you just played through your headache,” Jackson said. “You’d talk to the football players and they say, ‘oh yeah, you just play with a headache — that’s football, everyone has a headache after practice.’”
http://goo.gl/j6xQJE  (LHJ)

Bonneville joins CAP program to teach technology

What do you get when you put together a leaf blower, a plastic bag and a piece of plywood? It’s a homemade hovercraft, able to carry a teacher around the stage at Bonneville Elementary School in Orem.
Bonneville has chosen to become an ACE school, part of a program from the Civil Air Patrol. With the move, it is joining about 50 schools throughout the country in the program.
The CAP members provide lessons for kindergarten through sixth grade students to help them have fun while learning principles in science, technology, engineering and math.
http://goo.gl/NT4pMm (PDH)

After-school program teaches medicine to Ogden students

OGDEN — Mynor Duque stood in surgical cap, mask and gloves, before a table of medical tools. He grasped for one that had a concave surface and attached handle. He raised the abdominal retractor up, for closer examination.
“It’s a scoop,” the 14-year-old said. “Scoop it.”
Mynor was one of 26 teens in Highland Junior High’s after-school YMCA program to get a glimpse into the career of a surgical technologist. Four surgical tech students, studying at Stevens-Henegar College, came by with their teacher to preview a career path for the seventh-, eighth- and ninth-graders.
http://goo.gl/r1r7eA  (OSE)

Former Weber High students to honor innovative, movie-making teacher

OGDEN — In 1967 not many high school students were making movies, but they were at Weber High School.
Bill Higley’s former students plan to spend Saturday honoring him and watching some of those old movies with family and friends at the Weber County Library.
Higley started teaching at the “old” Weber High School on 12th Street and Washington Boulevard in 1966. The old building wasn’t really conducive to grand theatrical productions, so Higley decided to go a different route and start making movies with his students.
Earlier this week, some of his former students laughed as they reminisced with Higley about those movie-making days.
“He was truly ahead of his time,” said former student James Elmer, who starred as Tarzan in a spoof of the original Tarzan movie. “No high school was doing movies around the region. He was so different and innovative.”
http://goo.gl/9yuTZO  (OSE)

Utahns encouraged to memorize the Gettysburg Address

Students from American Preparatory Academy charter schools recited the Gettysburg Address from memory on the steps of the state capitol Sept. 17.
This event was part of the launching of GettyReady. GettyReady is a nonprofit organization inspired by Ken Burns’ PBS documentary “The Address.” The documentary is about students at a Vermont school memorizing the Gettysburg Address. According to its website, GettyReady encourages everyone to “memorize, study and apply the Gettysburg Address on its anniversary and beyond.”
http://goo.gl/D6m3I0  (Universe)

Mustang Stampede
Fiddlers Canyon students walk to raise money

CEDAR CITY — From kindergarten to fifth grade, students at Fiddlers Canyon Elementary walked all day Thursday to raise money for their school.
http://goo.gl/l26DLq  (SGS)

Parowan Schools Locked Down on Wednesday

The Iron County School District officials had to lock down the Parowan High School and the Elementary school on Wednesday because a man that was in the area allegedly threatened the local law enforcement. According to the Iron County Sheriff Mark Gower, Erin Tilley, 33, made a verbal threat to “pick a fight” with the police when a citizen overheard him and immediately told the deputies that were at the high school for another issue. The concern came when the deputies learned that Tilley had armed himself. The sheriff’s department and the Parowan police department notified the high school and then issued an attempt to find Tilley. Other nearby law enforcements were also notified about Tilley. Law enforcement then tracked Tilley down to his home in Paragonah. He was barricaded in there for hours before his brother was able to help the police talk him into surrendering his weapons and come out. The police then apprehended him.
http://goo.gl/3q3Mmm  (MUR)

http://goo.gl/jnBf2E  (UPR)

Logan woman gives birth to boy in Cache High parking lot

LOGAN — The Cache High School parking lot became a makeshift delivery room earlier this week.
The Herald Journal reports Jaxon Jay Martin was born there just before 3 a.m. Wednesday, after his parents couldn’t make it to nearby Logan Regional Hospital in time.
http://goo.gl/mvaV27  (OSE)

http://goo.gl/n2JQPq  (PDH)

http://goo.gl/j9ORas  (KSTU)

http://goo.gl/exYyjm  (KNRS)

A + Teacher

Mrs. Shauna Waters of John C. Fremont Elementary is FOX 13 News’ A + Teacher of the Week.
Waters teaches a class of 32, but despite the large classroom size parents and teachers said she makes each child feel important.
http://goo.gl/WcBN64  (KSTU)

Papa Murphy’s offers free pizza to young Utah readers

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah parents can start the school year off right by reading each day with their children. And now there is extra incentive — free dinner.
KSL TV’s Read Today initiative has teamed up with Papa Murphy’s to provide a free pizza for every Utah family that reads.
http://goo.gl/mZbJqr  (KSL)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Local school boards work hard for education Deseret News op-ed by JoDee Sundberg, a local board member of the Alpine School District

In a Saturday, Sept. 14 Deseret News article titled, “Utah school boards get an F grade,” John Florez made accusations about local school board members and school grading. As a local board member, I would like to respond.
“Noticeably absent were the voices of local school board members …”
On Sept. 3, the day grades were announced, The Utah Public Education Coalition held a press conference in the Utah School Board Association building. The association president, a local board member, representing hundreds of local board members, hosted this meeting. Also in attendance were other local school board members.
http://goo.gl/yklFp9

Bernick and Schott on Politics
Utah Policy commentary by columnist Bryan Schott

Utah Lt. Gov. Greg Bell steps down. “Count My Vote” decides to push for open primaries in Utah and the state ends the fiscal year with a $240 million surplus.
Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott discuss the week in Utah politics.
http://goo.gl/Fg9apj

Schools already know their strengths, weaknesses
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Alexis Wheeler

I am responding to an article printed on September 4 (“Utah Critics: Grading system flawed, school misrepresented”) regarding the new grading of the school system. I agree with the statements that were made.
Being a student myself, I wonder how these grades are going to affect my school. I don’t think a school needs a grade to determine if the quality of education being given is up to the standards.
Every school is different and I think it is highly unfair to categorize public, private, charter and alternative schools into one.
http://goo.gl/LPfDTn

Oppose more school debt
(Logan) Herald-Journal letter from Ralph Call

It has been said that the only things that are inevitable are death and taxes. In our time we could also add to that diabolical duo, debt. Debt is out of control at all levels of government and for that matter in most households. Since the very beginning of the Mormon church, the members have been warned by the leaders repeatedly to avoid the bondage of debt.
http://goo.gl/ZW4jnP

Ogden High marching band still marches on!
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Krista Modula-Liljenquist

As a band mom I know the members work hard every year in putting their show together. Sadly, this year has been more difficult because they battle just to exist. After losing their beloved instructors last year, the program was basically dismissed. The children believed in themselves and kept it going. They and their parents held meetings with the Ogden High School principal and the Ogden City School District superintendent. The kids showed up for practices ready to learn——no matter what. They prepared for and participated in summer parades.
http://goo.gl/8iSQql

No backtracking on Common Core
Instead of political games, Gov. Rick Scott should lead on stronger education standards Miami Herald editorial

After spending this year trying to reform his image and become the “Education Governor” by pushing the Legislature to approve money for raises for teachers, Gov. Rick Scott has started to spin in another direction when it comes to the fundamentals of education: high standards.
He now says that he’s considering an executive order to undo work that has taken years to achieve: the Common Core State Standards for subjects and the use of exams created by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, known as PARCC. Mr. Scott told Herald/Times reporters that he believes “PARCC is too expensive and it takes too long” and that he’s concerned about “too much federal involvement.”
Whoa. The Common Core standards already are being used for end of year exams to replace the FCAT. They were developed by Florida educators, backed by the state Board of Education and have the blessing of Florida’s former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, who made education standards and accountability a trademark of his eight years in office.
Unfortunately, tea party elements of the Republican Party have twisted Common Core and PARCC into some kind of federal assault on states’ rights, arguing that it’s another federal government “mandate.”
http://goo.gl/2WakHE

Parents play key role in Wyoming education standards Casper (WY) Star-Tribune editorial

So parents don’t like No Child Left Behind. They don’t like Common Core. They don’t like their children’s sagging test scores. They don’t like Wyoming’s mediocre graduation rate.
And so what is it, Wyoming?
It seems like every standard proposed by the state or federal departments of education is met with fierce resistance and talk of conspiracy.
Some in Wyoming believe education is slowly being turned over to a monolithic federal government. Others fear a United Nations plot.
Yet it’s troubling that every time standards are proposed and measurements (read: tests) required, Wyoming balks.
It’s easy to blame federal programs. To blame teaching to test. To blame teachers themselves.
But the truth is: Wyoming students are not performing.
More pointedly: Wyoming students are not performing in line with the fact that the state is among the biggest spenders per pupil in the nation.
http://goo.gl/t0lQ6Y

The Case Against High-School Sports
The United States routinely spends more tax dollars per high-school athlete than per high-school math student—unlike most countries worldwide. And we wonder why we lag in international education rankings?
Atlantic commentary by AMANDA RIPLEY, author of the new book The Smartest Kids in the World—and How They Got That Way

Every year, thousands of teenagers move to the United States from all over the world, for all kinds of reasons. They observe everything in their new country with fresh eyes, including basic features of American life that most of us never stop to consider.
One element of our education system consistently surprises them: “Sports are a big deal here,” says Jenny, who moved to America from South Korea with her family in 2011. Shawnee High, her public school in southern New Jersey, fields teams in 18 sports over the course of the school year, including golf and bowling. Its campus has lush grass fields, six tennis courts, and an athletic Hall of Fame. “They have days when teams dress up in Hawaiian clothes or pajamas just because—‘We’re the soccer team!,’ ” Jenny says. (To protect the privacy of Jenny and other students in this story, only their first names are used.)
By contrast, in South Korea, whose 15-year-olds rank fourth in the world (behind Shanghai, Singapore, and Hong Kong) on a test of critical thinking in math, Jenny’s classmates played pickup soccer on a dirt field at lunchtime. They brought badminton rackets from home and pretended there was a net. If they made it into the newspaper, it was usually for their academic accomplishments.
Sports are embedded in American schools in a way they are not almost anywhere else. Yet this difference hardly ever comes up in domestic debates about America’s international mediocrity in education.
http://goo.gl/Cv1K5k

http://goo.gl/aI0yPX  (MSNBC Morning Joe)

Universal Preschool Increases Enrollment, But Crowds Out Private Preschool for the Well-Off Lower-income children’s test scores improved significantly; no increase in maternal labor force participation Brookings Institute analysis by Elizabeth Cascio and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach

Expanding access to preschool programs, as advocated in President Obama’s “Preschool for All” initiative, would have positive effects on the preschool enrollment of all 4-year olds, but if access is free regardless of income, it could lead many children to switch out of the private system and into the public program, according to a new paper presented at the Fall 2013 Conference on the Brookings Papers on Economic Activity (BPEA). This “crowd-out” should be an important consideration as states would have to decide on the level of cost-sharing for middle-class families under the Obama plan should it pass Congress, the paper suggests.
In “The Impacts of Expanding Access to High-Quality Preschool Education,” Elizabeth Cascio of Dartmouth College and Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach of Northwestern University examine the effects of the introduction of universal preschool programs in the states of Georgia and Oklahoma in the 1990s, comparing the children and families in those states to children and families elsewhere in the country. They find stark differences in preschool enrollment patterns by family background, with children whose mothers have no more than a high school diploma being much more likely to enroll in preschool at age 4 – experiencing an 18-20 percentage-point enrollment gain, versus a 12-15 percentage-point gain in preschool enrollment rates for children whose mothers have more education. The authors also find that about half of the enrollees (4 or 5 out of every 10 participants) with more-educated mothers would have otherwise enrolled in private preschool, with this crowd-out causing costs of the program to taxpayers to increase overall as much as 19 percent.
http://goo.gl/ANKl2r

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Colin Powell: We Can Fix Education, But Congress Is Failing Us Powell recommends schools mimic the military to fix their problems.
Time

To Colin Powell, solving America’s education woes doesn’t have to be that complicated. “We can afford it if we can fix this congress that’s totally polarized and not serving our country well right now,” the former secretary of state said pointedly during a discussion with TIME political columnist Joe Klein at the TIME Summit on Higher Education Friday.
“I’m sorry, I just think we have no greater obligation than to educate our kids,” Powell said. He went on to warn voters, “Don’t wait for Superman or Superwoman to come and fix this. We’ve got to vote these people out if they don’t reach across the aisle.”
Powell’s own proposed solutions to our educational problems stem from his experience in the army. “In my 35 years in the United States Army, I had six years worth of school. There are very few institutions that will make that sort of investment in leadership.” The retired four-star general explained that the military, unlike most organizations, must promote from within and therefore necessarily must invest in the education and growth of its soldiers. Though schools don’t have this same obligation, he said, they ought to follow the same model—looking at education of students as a long-term investment for the country.
He suggested schools also take lessons from the military in terms of structure. “When drill sergeants yell at youngsters, it’s all for a purpose,” he said. “We have too many youngsters growing up without structures of their life—the structures of being in a good family or good team or good tribe in your neighborhood.”
http://goo.gl/XcrZBI

U.S. Department of Education Awards $14 Million to Special Education Parent Technical Assistance Centers U.S. Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education announced today more than $14 million in five-year grants to operate eight special education parent technical assistance centers that work to assist families of children with disability. The eight centers set to receive funding include one Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR); six Regional Parent Technical Assistance Centers (RPTACs); and one Native American Parent Technical Assistance Center (NAPTAC).
The centers will use the funding to improve the information they provide parents on laws, policies, and evidence-based education practices affecting children with disabilities. The centers will also use the funding to explore how data can be used to inform instruction; how to interpret results from evaluations and assessments; and ways to effectively engage in school reform activities, including how to interpret and use the data that informs those activities.
http://goo.gl/ohW656

Kansas education official responds to GOP resolution Associated Press via Kansas City Star

LAWRENCE — A top Kansas educator said she’s sending a “friendly” letter to the state Republican Party to correct what she and other education leaders believe is misinformation about the Common Core standards for reading and math.
The letter from Education Commissioner Diane DeBacker will be in response to a resolution adopted by the Kansas GOP state committee last weekend calling for the state to withdraw from the standards.
http://goo.gl/G9Sju5

Judge: Too Harsh to Fire NY Teacher Who Had Heroin Associated Press

NEW YORK — A high school teacher who was fired earlier this year for showing up for jury duty with heroin in his backpack could get his job back.
A judge found that Damian Esteban’s firing was “unduly harsh” and ordered the Department of Education to impose a lesser punishment. City officials blasted the decision on Thursday, saying they would appeal.
“We cannot fathom how a teacher who took 20 bags of heroin into a courthouse is fit to stand in front of a classroom and teach the city’s school children,” Michael A. Cardozo, the city’s top lawyer, said in a statement.
http://goo.gl/kPt513

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

September 26:
Education Task Force meeting
1 p.m., 445State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2013&com=TSKEDU

October 4:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspxpr

October 10:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://goo.gl/Mu36l

October 15:
Executive Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
1 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2013&com=APPEXE

October 16:
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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