Education News Roundup: Sept. 30, 2013

 

Scantron tests

ScanTRON/wuperruper/CC/flickr

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

UCAS, the other school accountability system in Utah, results are released.
http://goo.gl/FuU5So  (SLT)
and http://goo.gl/FpauMR  (KCSG)

SITLA and Anadarko come to an agreement.
http://goo.gl/t1exCa  (SLT)
and http://goo.gl/NLbj8 i (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Trib touts Utah’s performance on AP exams.
http://goo.gl/xOHZGU  (SLT)

Pignanelli & Webb discuss school grades.
http://goo.gl/hzZnok  (DN)

Politico and Reuters look at what a government shutdown might mean for education. (Short term: Not too bad because of forward funding.) http://goo.gl/41I6JE  (Politico) and http://goo.gl/2vkEFT  (Reuters)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Check your Utah school: Round 2 of assessments released Education » Alternative schools, slammed in school grades released earlier this month, don’t fare better under the Utah Comprehensive Accountability System.

SITLA puts some Books Cliffs lease areas on hold Agreement with Anadarko Petroleum was amended and an advisory committee will address natural resource impacts.

Davis School District reviews year’s goals

Future of technology in Davis School District

Utah’s Per-Pupil Spending Fell Nearly 6% During the Great Recession

Davis parent seminars address suicide

‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ author hopes to bring out best in people

District pitches new high school

District explores renovations

Logan school district: New energy program saved $1.2M in five years

Union coaches hoped to help their players and became an inspiration to people they’ve never met

3 Herriman football players kicked off team for violating rules

Long transport time leads administrators to discuss ambulances at football games

More accusers come forward in sexually explicit photos case

Lone Peak Jazz Band invited to JEN conference

Science meets real life

Weber Moves: Program sets goal to get students moving

Canyons School District to accept dual immersion applications

Officials address healthy living at elementary school level

Utah YWCA gives awards to athlete, businesswoman, peace activist Organization notes accomplishments, bestows first-ever Heart & Soul award.

Program seeks to honor students for volunteer service

Should more Ph.D.’s try their hand at teaching school?

OPINION & COMMENTARY

AP high point
Utah students exceed averages

Will the new grading system help or hurt Utah schools?

Union football story is required reading

Why I am optimistic about education in America During the past 4-1/2 years, and on my recent bus tour of the Southwest, I saw great principals and teachers; courageous leaders from the business, faith, and nonprofit sectors; engaged parents; and communities pulling together to serve students. Education is a shared responsibility.

Laura Bush on Women’s Rights, African Health & Education Reforms

Why I support the Common Core (and conservatives should too)

The Glass-Floor Problem

Bill Gates: ‘It would be great if our education stuff worked but…’

NATION

What the Shutdown Means for Education

Culture Warrior, Gaining Ground
E. D. Hirsch Sees His Education Theories Taking Hold

Arne Duncan: Beating Up on Common Core Is ‘Political Silliness’

Inside the Nation’s Biggest Experiment in School Choice

What High-Scoring Countries Do Right in Math, Reading, and Science

Guns at School? If There’s a Will, There Are Ways

Game on!
Video games inspire learning

Students Speak Out on the Biggest Issues in Education

Small Number of Schools Drop Out of Lunch Program

Fees pile up for parents in Colorado public schools

Ill. Lawmaker Calls For Elimination of State Board of Education

Creationists on Texas Panel for Biology Textbooks

Arlington art teacher loses in claim of retaliation Scolding principal’s daughter led to firing, lawsuit alleged

‘American Graduate Day’ Addresses Dropout Issue

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UTAH NEWS
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Check your Utah school: Round 2 of assessments released Education » Alternative schools, slammed in school grades released earlier this month, don’t fare better under the Utah Comprehensive Accountability System.

Mountain High students were incredulous to learn that their school got an “F” when Utah school grades came out in early September.
“That’s so crazy,” said one teen in a double-hour English class last week, echoing the sentiments of educators and students up and down the state.
But perhaps no one was more pointed in her criticism of the Utah Legislature’s new grading system than Mountain High Principal Kathleen Chronister.
“It kind of feels like a kick in the face,” says Chronister, whose 244 students struggle with issues that include depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, attention deficit disorder and addiction. Thirty-five students are parents; 17 percent are homeless.
Results were released Monday from Utah’s other school assessment program, the Utah Comprehensive Accountability System (UCAS), which takes into account at least some of the unique challenges in alternative schools. UCAS releases scores for each school out of a possible 600 points, but the overall results were no kinder to alternative schools.
http://goo.gl/FuU5So  (SLT)

http://goo.gl/FpauMR  (KCSG)

SITLA puts some Books Cliffs lease areas on hold Agreement with Anadarko Petroleum was amended and an advisory committee will address natural resource impacts.

Parts of one of the largest-ever deals arranged by the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) will be put on hold and an advisory committee will be created to address natural resources impacts after the agency’s board of trustees voted unanimously to amend an agreement with Anadarko Petroleum Corporation.
The expected announcement came Thursday in St. George and is in response to concerns raised initially by sportsmen’s groups and eventually by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah.
The contract between SITLA and Anadarko allows for immediate energy development to start on an area known as Three Pines on the remote Book Cliffs region south of Vernal, north of Interstate 70 and bordered by Colorado on the east.
As part of the amended agreement, Anadarko will hold off exercising other Book Cliffs options in One Eye Canyon until Jan. 1, 2015. Sportsmen’s groups were most concerned about 18,000 acres in the largely roadless Bogart Canyon area, popular with elk and deer hunters. That land will be off limits until Jan. 1, 2016.
The delay, SITLA officials say, will give Herbert and Bishop time to explore federal land trade opportunities.
http://goo.gl/t1exCa  (SLT)

http://goo.gl/NLbj8i (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Davis School District reviews year’s goals

FARMINGTON — The goals Davis School District set for its approximately 68,000 students and the teachers who guide them were met in part, exceeded in others, and just shy of the mark in others.
Logan Toone, district director of assessment, research and evaluation for the district, presented the the results from last year’s assessments and enrollments in a workshop session on Tuesday.
Five focus areas included language arts, math and science, world languages, growth compared to other Utah schools and college readiness.
http://goo.gl/aYCAy8  (DCC)

Future of technology in Davis School District

FARMINGTON — Davis School District is moving forward in the age of ever-increasing technology with several new projects in the works.
In the next few weeks, the district will be rolling out the cloud-based Microsoft Office 365 for all students, allowing them access to the Office 2013 applications from home, school, or even on vacation.
“The beauty of it is students can use it from school, save their assignments out into the cloud, then access at home those same projects or notes,” said Duane Singleton, Administrator of Technical Services at Davis School District. “Our students are often being asked to turn in their assignments using Microsoft Office applications, and now it is free for our students and their families.”
Included in the set-up will be 25 gigabytes of free storage, according to Singleton.
http://goo.gl/ICV06K  (OSE)

Utah’s Per-Pupil Spending Fell Nearly 6% During the Great Recession

According to a new study, Utah’s per-pupil spending is actually less than it was before the Great Recession.
The analysis from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities says the amount of money Utah spends per student dropped 5.6% from 2008 to 2014 when adjusted for inflation.
As you can see from this chart, Utah is not alone and not the worst when it comes to cutting spending on education. Oklahoma and Alabama have cut their spending by more than 20% since 2008.
http://goo.gl/MfxqTl  (UP)

http://goo.gl/BWxitM  (DN)

Davis parent seminars address suicide

FARMINGTON — Suicide, substance abuse, bullying and Internet safety will be addressed in four parent seminars scheduled in the Davis School District. Parents are invited to attend one of the four evening seminars.
HB298, passed during the 2013 Utah Legislature, requires districts to offer at least one such seminar annually. Seminars in the Davis School District will take place Oct. 29 and Nov. 5 in the Viewmont High School Auditorium, and Jan. 28 and Feb. 5 in the Clearfield High School Auditorium. All will take place from 7-9 p.m.
Davis School District is not immune to the problem of suicide and has lost its share of students, teachers and even parents of students to suicide in recent years.
http://goo.gl/t0Bfc7 (DN)

http://goo.gl/r4Tnhw  (OSE)

‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ author hopes to bring out best in people

OGDEN — One of novelist Jay Asher’s favorite fan letters came from a young woman who read “Thirteen Reasons Why,” his story of a teen girl driven to suicide by hurtful rumors and thoughtless treatment by her high school classmates.
“My favorite line in the letter is, ‘It just makes me want to be wonderful to everyone,’” the bestselling author said, speaking Friday to students at Ogden’s Two Rivers High School. “When I read that, I know she ‘got’ it, the whole message of the book. You don’t know what anyone is dealing with but yourself. You don’t know the limits of what they can handle.”
“Thirteen Reasons Why,” published in 2007, tells the posthumous story of Hannah Baker, a fairly popular high school student who commits suicide after taping an explanation of her reasons why, and describing, on audio tape, the incidents and people who inspired her fatal choice.
http://goo.gl/SEjD4z (OSE)

District pitches new high school

ST. GEORGE — The Washington County School District says the time has come to consider building another high school and additional schools that would support it, and they’re asking voters to agree to pay for the new buildings with a bond proposition this fall.
http://goo.gl/S0emHU  (SGS)

District explores renovations

ST. GEORGE — If Washington County residents vote to approve the Washington County School District’s proposed $185 million bond in the upcoming general election, new schools will likely be built and major construction overhauls to some of the existing schools would take place.
http://goo.gl/LSrbvu  (SGS)

Logan school district: New energy program saved $1.2M in five years

The Logan City School District has saved more than $1.2 million in energy consumption over the course of the last five years.
http://goo.gl/QpHwfF  (LHJ)

Union coaches hoped to help their players and became an inspiration to people they’ve never met

ROOSEVELT — The chaos of post-game handshakes and homecoming festivities obscured the first few seconds of a moment eight days in the making.
After congratulating Emery High School on a well-played game, one boy in Union black and gold turned to his teammates and started to recite a quote about character. His teammates immediately joined him until they were all speaking in unison words that express the importance of choices in creating men of great character.
It wasn’t planned, and many people never noticed.
But one group of men was deeply moved by the decision of the players to recite a quote they were asked to memorize by Wednesday if they hoped to earn the opportunity to play Friday night. It was the coaches who’d suspended the entire junior varsity and varsity teams last Friday night because of off-field issues ranging from skipping classes to cyber-bullying.
http://goo.gl/vxsjFx (DN)

http://goo.gl/9gNR56  (OSE)

http://goo.gl/RsbVfb (PDH)

3 Herriman football players kicked off team for violating rules

HERRIMAN — Three Herriman High School football players have been suspended from the team for the rest of the season for a violation of team rules, school officials said.
The suspensions for the three juniors began with Friday’s homecoming game.
“There is a statement that talks about what is expected of an athlete at Herriman High School, and we had some young men violate that, team rules, and they were dismissed from our football team,” Principal James Birch said.
The principal declined to provide details about the alleged violations of team rules, but he said they were serious.
http://goo.gl/Undb7p  (DN)

Long transport time leads administrators to discuss ambulances at football games

PRICE — When Carbon linebacker Garrett Blanc was knocked out during a game at North Sanpete High, medical personnel quickly decided he needed to be transported to a hospital.
Once that call was made, however, it took 25 minutes for an ambulance to arrive at the school and take the junior, who’d suffered a concussion, to a hospital.
“That was pretty disgusting to be honest,” Carbon head coach Jeff Blanc, who is also Garrett’s father, told the Sun (Carbon County) Advocate in a story that ran Sept. 27. “What if he had broken his neck out there? You’ve got to have things like this treated right away.”
http://goo.gl/ufUmu8 (DN)

More accusers come forward in sexually explicit photos case

SOUTH OGDEN — The case of a former longtime school teacher and Boy Scout leader accused of storing explicit pictures of young boys on his computer is taking on new twists, with more witnesses who have come forward and a botched suicide attempt by the accused.
South Ogden Police Chief Darin Parke said Saturday that eight men have contacted investigators after learning about the current criminal charges filed against Kenneth William Prince, 61.
Prince tried to kill himself last week after learning of the charges by ingesting mercury in an incident at a Logan home. Several officers and paramedicts were exposed while responding to the scene, police said.
http://goo.gl/3uMCYR  (DN)

http://goo.gl/la8htt  (OSE)

http://goo.gl/KccHus  (KTVX)

http://goo.gl/xhNrcP  (KSTU)

Lone Peak Jazz Band invited to JEN conference

CEDAR HILLS — Toes tapping, the advanced jazz band students wait for the moment.
“A one, a one, two, three,” says Director Curtis McKendrick, and on his signal they begin.
The students, all 27 of them, received an invitation from the Jazz Education Network to perform at the 2014 JEN Conference in Dallas. “That’s unusual. It’s unusual to have that many students in the band. Usually we have around 20,” McKendrick said.
Scheduled for January, the JEN Conference is the largest jazz conference in the world and is a gathering of all of the top musicians, industry personnel and educators.
http://goo.gl/mhQRVo (PDH)

Science meets real life

CEDAR CITY — Students at North Elementary School watched science meet with real life during a special assembly Friday afternoon demonstrating the use of physical science principles.
http://goo.gl/5iS9u8 (SGS)

Weber Moves: Program sets goal to get students moving

OGDEN — Sydnee Lundell is excited that she no longer has to be bored sitting under a tree waiting for recess to end.
Because of a new exercise program at her school, the Roosevelt Elementary fourth-grader said, she now has more energy to listen to her teachers.
“Now, after recess, I have all of my energy out and I’m ready to go back and listen to my teacher,” she said. “Before that, recess was really boring. We would just walk around or sit under a tree being bored and waiting for recess to be over.”
http://goo.gl/hKEVXi  (OSE)

Canyons School District to accept dual immersion applications

SANDY — Canyons School District on Monday, Sept. 30, will begin accepting applications to its dual immersion language programs for the 2014-15 school year. The deadline to submit an application is Nov. 22.
Families who have questions about the programs are invited to attend a Parent Information Night on Thursday, Oct. 24, at the Canyons Support Services Center, 9361 S. 300 East. The event will be from 6-8 p.m. in the Professional Development Center.
http://goo.gl/EezK40  (DN)

Officials address healthy living at elementary school level

RIVERDALE — Weber-Morgan Health Department held its first town meeting Thursday night to talk about a healthier community.
The meeting, held at Riverdale Elementary School, is part of a plan to address physical activity, nutrition, tobacco-free living and access to quality clinical services. In doing so, the health department is soliciting input and ideas from the public on how to make positive changes in their communities.
http://goo.gl/KetsWz  (OSE)

Utah YWCA gives awards to athlete, businesswoman, peace activist Organization notes accomplishments, bestows first-ever Heart & Soul award.

From co-founding a bookstore that became a community center to mentoring future health care providers and helping Utahns better understand the place they call home, each of the women honored Friday at the 25th annual YWCA LeaderLuncheon has contributed to making Utah a better state.
The honorees excel in their fields, earning the respect of peers and colleagues and inspiring other women to follow in their footsteps, said Anne Burkholder, YWCA chief executive officer to a sold-out gathering of more than 1,400 people. The luncheon featured a speech by Anita Hill, a law professor at Brandies University and advocate for race and gender equality.
Six women received Outstanding Achievement awards from the YWCA. Mary Schubach McCarthey received the first YWCA Heart & Soul Award in recognition of her community volunteering, dedication to bettering women’s lives and “transforming generosity” in support of the YWCA’s mission.

Education » Pam Perlich, senior research economist at the University of Utah’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research, where she oversees the Utah Community Data Project, and adjunct professor in city and metropolitan planning and geography. Through the Utah Community Data Project, Perlich is providing insights into community diversity and how Utah’s neighborhoods are changing over time.
http://goo.gl/FKOa0i  (SLT)

Program seeks to honor students for volunteer service

SOUTH SALT LAKE — The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program is seeking young Granite School District students who have given their time and talents through community service.
The program honors students in fifth through 12th grades who have made an impact in their community through volunteer service during the past year. Awardees will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and a trip to Washington, D.C.
http://goo.gl/9Yyvql  (DN)

Should more Ph.D.’s try their hand at teaching school?

Typically less than half of Ph.D. recipients earn tenure-track faculty positions at universities. But despite the droves of Ph.D.’s who necessarily seek employment outside academia, data from the National Center for Education Statistics indicates less than 1 percent of elementary and secondary teachers in America hold a Ph.D.
That disparity is the launching point for a new article on The Atlantic’s website by education reporter and former political science professor Laura McKenna with the headline, “Why Aren’t More Ph.D.’s Teaching in Public Schools?”
http://goo.gl/PUj68f (DN)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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AP high point
Utah students exceed averages
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

There’s a lot to worry about in Utah’s public education system: crowded classes, high teacher turnover, the lowest per-pupil funding in the nation. But the Beehive State’s record when it comes to Advanced Placement classes and tests is one bright spot that everyone can applaud.
AP courses offer rigorous academic instruction in a variety of subjects and, if students pass end-of-term tests, can result in college credit without students paying college tuition. To pass, they must achieve a score of at least 3 on a scale of 1 to 5 on the final exam.
Utah high school students rank high, both in the percentage of students taking AP tests and the percentage who earn passing scores.
http://goo.gl/xOHZGU

Will the new grading system help or hurt Utah schools?
Deseret News commentary by columnists Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb

Random thoughts on random issues:
The Legislature’s school grading system has drawn a lot of fire. Will it help or hurt Utah’s public schools?
http://goo.gl/hzZnok

Union football story is required reading Salt Lake Tribune letter from Dale Giles

Every principal, athletic coach, school district administrator and legislator ought to be required to read the Tribune article on the football program at Union High School (Sept. 26, 2013). Finally someone (the Union High football coach) made realistic sense of high school sports.
http://goo.gl/xSsJ6D

Why I am optimistic about education in America During the past 4-1/2 years, and on my recent bus tour of the Southwest, I saw great principals and teachers; courageous leaders from the business, faith, and nonprofit sectors; engaged parents; and communities pulling together to serve students. Education is a shared responsibility.
Christian Science Monitor op-ed by Arne Duncan, Education Secretary

WASHINGTON — Earlier this month, my colleagues and I wrapped up a five-day, 1,100-mile back-to-school bus tour of the Southwest. It was exciting, occasionally exhausting, and often exhilarating. But most of all, it was enlightening.
From New Mexico to Texas, from Arizona to California, we saw firsthand how courageous educators, committed parents, and caring communities can work together to tackle tough educational challenges.
Along the way, we saw states that failed to provide sufficient early-learning opportunities, school districts that lacked access to high-speed broadband Internet service, and families that struggled to pay for college. In one border town, some elementary school students had never held a pencil or book until they started school.
Yet for every challenge, I also saw communities, schools, and visionary leaders pulling together to meet those challenges.
http://goo.gl/hn4xEJ

Laura Bush on Women’s Rights, African Health & Education Reforms Wall Street Journal commentary by Laura Bush

Former First Lady Laura Bush talks frankly about the fight for Afghan women’s rights, African health outcomes and education reform initiatives.
http://goo.gl/10jS37

Why I support the Common Core (and conservatives should too) Fordham Institute commentary by Neerav Kingsland, chief strategy officer

As a Relinquisher, I’m weary of broad government mandates. I believe educators should run schools, parents should choose amongst these schools, and government should hold schools accountable for performance and equity.
So what to make of the Common Core—which will be the broadest combination of federal- or state-initiated regulatory overhaul that we’ve seen in decades?
Admittedly, it took me a while to sort through my competing impulses. But here’s the path I followed:
http://goo.gl/9qSRmA

The Glass-Floor Problem
New York Times op-ed by RICHARD V. REEVES, policy director of the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution

WHEN it comes to the economic malaise facing America, the biggest problem is not the widening gap between rich and poor, but the stagnation of social mobility. When the income gap of one generation becomes an opportunity gap for the next, inequality hardens into social stratification.
Eliminating the income gap is relatively straightforward (if politically fraught): raise taxes and expand government assistance for lower-income workers. Kick-starting social mobility, once it has slowed, is much more difficult.
http://goo.gl/9CgJ8l

Bill Gates: ‘It would be great if our education stuff worked but…’
Washington Post commentary by columnist Valerie Strauss

“It would be great if our education stuff worked, but that we won’t know for probably a decade.”
That’s what Bill Gates said on Sept. 21 (see video below) about the billions of dollars his foundation has plowed into education reform during a nearly hour-long interview he gave at Harvard University. He repeated the “we don’t know if it will work” refrain about his reform efforts a few days later during a panel discussion at the Clinton Global Initiative.
Hmmm. Teachers around the country are saddled every single year with teacher evaluation systems that his foundation has funded, based on no record of success and highly questionable “research.” And now Gates says he won’t know if the reforms he is funding will work for another decade. But teachers can lose their jobs now because of reforms he is funding.
In the past he sounded pretty sure of what he was doing.
http://goo.gl/SwFtOC

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NATIONAL NEWS
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What the Shutdown Means for Education
Politico

A shutdown of the federal government now seems all but certain if Congress doesn’t come to an 11th-hour agreement today. And it will hit the Education Department hard. About 90 percent of the department’s 4,225 employees will be immediately furloughed, and most won’t come back until the funding crisis is resolved, even if the shutdown lasts longer than a week. But many schools and colleges won’t feel an immediate effect if the funding crisis is resolved quickly. Federal dollars will continue to flow to both K-12 and higher education. A longer shutdown, though, could lead to a big paperwork backlog and problems for schools, colleges and students that receive federal funds.
Here’s your short-term and long-term map of the shutdown — keep it on hand as the crisis unfolds. (The Education Department’s shutdown plan [http://1.usa.gov/14WwLS1] warns that “citizens and institutions seeking specific information regarding the impact of a shutdown will have limited access to information” — in other words, a shutdown will likely stop the department from telling anyone just what the shutdown means.)

The bottom line:
A long shutdown is what K-12 and higher education alike are really worried about — and they’re warning that, given the deep divisions in Congress, a long shutdown could be exactly what we’re facing. Expect Education Secretary Arne Duncan to address the budget mess during a speech at the National Press Club later today.
http://goo.gl/41I6JE

http://goo.gl/2vkEFT  (Reuters)

Culture Warrior, Gaining Ground
E. D. Hirsch Sees His Education Theories Taking Hold New York Times

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — A generation after he was squarely pummeled as elitist, antiquated and narrow-minded, the education theorist E. D. Hirsch Jr. is being dragged back into the ring at the age of 85 — this time for a chance at redemption.
Invitations to speak have come from Spain, Britain and China. He has won a prestigious education award. Curriculums developed by the Core Knowledge Foundation, which Mr. Hirsch created to disseminate his ideas, have recently been adopted by hundreds of schools in 25 states and recommended by the New York City Department of Education for teachers to use in their classrooms.
Not since 1987, when he first published “Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know,” whose list of 5,000 essential concepts left even Ph.D.’s a little dumbstruck, has Mr. Hirsch been so in demand.
http://goo.gl/wdvGn0

Arne Duncan: Beating Up on Common Core Is ‘Political Silliness’
Education Week

Congress, which is just about to shut down the government thanks to a big partisan dispute, took a major beating from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan today in a speech at the National Press Club. He hit lawmakers for their inability to come to an agreement on financing the entire government, not to mention a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and immigration overhaul.
Duncan said Congress is putting petty politics ahead of actually governing.
“They are creating stress and uncertainty…at a time when our schools need stability and investment,” he said.
http://goo.gl/ngh8n4

Inside the Nation’s Biggest Experiment in School Choice Wall Street Journal

NEW ORLEANS—Kenisha Nelson tried to walk her son Kaleb into his new elementary school, Akili Academy, but the third-grader slipped from her hand and bolted to the front door. “I got this, mom,” he said.
The first day of school turned out to be the easiest leg of Ms. Nelson’s journey through the nation’s largest experiment in school choice. She had searched since winter for the best campus with open spots for her 8-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter.
In the end, she said, “it was a great outcome and worth missing those days at work and running around to schools to find good ones.”
There is broad acknowledgment that local schools are performing better since Hurricane Katrina washed away New Orleans’ failing public education system and state authorities took control of many campuses here.
http://goo.gl/e5Cunz

What High-Scoring Countries Do Right in Math, Reading, and Science Education Week

A new study analyzes the results of international math, reading, and science tests and provides a profile of the practices that schools, parents, and teachers in the highest-scoring countries have in common.
The TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center released the study today. It was made possible by the fact that the TIMSS, which assesses math and science achievement, and the PIRLS, which gauges reading skill, were given at the same time in 2011. That enabled the test administrators at Boston College to synthesize information from the two in order to make observations about what they called “the culture of educational excellence.”
They used data from 34 participating countries to offer some analysis at the 4th grade level. They focused on about half of those countries, where took 90 percent of 4th graders scored at a basic level of proficiency in all three subjects, and in particular, on five nations that educated 35 percent of their 4th graders to a high level of achievement in all three: Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Finland, Hong Kong and Russia.
http://goo.gl/Da7CkG

A copy of the study
http://timssandpirls.bc.edu/timsspirls2011/international-database.html

Guns at School? If There’s a Will, There Are Ways New York Times

CLARKSVILLE, Ark. — The slim, black 9-millimeter handguns that the school superintendent David Hopkins selected for his teachers here weigh about a pound and slip easily into a pocket. Sixteen people, including the janitor and a kindergarten teacher, wear them to school every day.
Although state law prohibits guns on campus, Mr. Hopkins found a way around it.
Like rural educators who are quietly doing the same thing in a handful of other states, Mr. Hopkins has formulated a security plan that relies on a patchwork of concealed-weapons laws, special law enforcement regulations and local school board policies to arm teachers.
Without money to hire security guards for the five schools he oversees, giving teachers nearly 60 hours of training and their own guns seemed like the only reasonable, economical way to protect the 2,500 public school students in this small town in the Ozark foothills.
“Realistically, when you look at a person coming to your door right there with a firearm, you’ve got to have a plan,” Mr. Hopkins said. “If you have a better one, tell me.”
http://goo.gl/amt1Vv

Game on!
Video games inspire learning
USA Today

A high-profile bid to encourage kids to think scientifically and cultivate a love for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or so-called STEM subjects, has found an unusual means to that end: video games.
Announced in 2010 by President Obama as part of his “Educate to Innovate” initiative, the National STEM Video Game Challenge has introduced thousands of middle- and high-schoolers to game design over the past three years— this year alone, more than 5,000 students from 40 states enrolled. It’ll soon see its first games debut on Apple’s App store.
http://goo.gl/XP8fZ0

Students Speak Out on the Biggest Issues in Education NewsHour

On American Graduate Day, community organizations, celebrities and educators acknowledge their commitment to keeping at-risk students in school. PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs participated by asking students around the country about their most pressing issues in education.
http://goo.gl/xM1RKH

Small Number of Schools Drop Out of Lunch Program Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Agriculture Department says 524 schools – out of about 100,000 – have dropped out of the federally subsidized national school lunch program since the government introduced new standards for healthier foods last year.
The new standards have met with grumbling from school nutrition officials who say they are difficult and expensive to follow, conservatives who say the government shouldn’t be dictating what kids eat and – unsurprisingly – from some children who say the less-greasy food doesn’t taste as good. But USDA says the vast majority of schools are serving healthier food, with some success.
Data to be released Monday by the department shows that 80 percent of schools say they have already met the requirements, which went into place at the beginning of the 2012 school year. About one-half percent have dropped out of the program.
http://goo.gl/ddpWLQ

Fees pile up for parents in Colorado public schools Denver Post

Gone are the days when parents could send their children to public school with a few classroom supplies and some lunch money.
Strapped school district budgets, caused by dwindling state and federal dollars, are forcing parents to dig deeper into their pockets as more school systems in Colorado and across the country turn to student fees to maintain services and programs.
Want to play sports? That could cost up to $130 at Adams 12 Five Star Schools.
Taking an advanced-placement class? You could pay up to $189 in fees at Jefferson County Public Schools.
Need to ride the bus to school? An annual transportation pass in the Douglas County School District is $150.
The fees pile up quickly for Lisa Ramsey,
Ramsey, a social worker, said despite a monthly payment plan, she and her husband owe $600 in past-due fees for services and items including transportation, textbooks, physical-education uniforms and advanced courses.
http://goo.gl/dtSlEN

Ill. Lawmaker Calls For Elimination of State Board of Education (St. Louis, MO) KMOX

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – An Illinois state lawmaker has a proposal for state education officials who want more money for alternative schools: get another job.
State Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, wants to eliminate funding for the Illinois State Board of Education and the state superintendent of schools office.
“Why not go to the state board and the state superintendent’s office and say, quite frankly, with (local) superintendents and regional offices of education, we don’t need you,” Brady said.
The state superintendent’s office employs 447 people, while board of education members are volunteer but get travel and other reimbursements. Brady says the move would save the state $23 million in general revenue funding, nearly 10 times what educators want restored in the state budget to avoid cuts to alternative schools.
http://goo.gl/NlVptM

Creationists on Texas Panel for Biology Textbooks New York Times

AUSTIN, Tex. — One is a nutritionist who believes “creation science” based on biblical principles should be taught in the classroom. Another is a chemical engineer who is listed as a “Darwin Skeptic” on the Web site of the Creation Science Hall of Fame. A third is a trained biologist who also happens to be a fellow of the Discovery Institute, the Seattle-based center of the intelligent-design movement and a vice president at an evangelical ministry in Plano, Tex.
As Texas gears up to select biology textbooks for use by high school students over the next decade, the panel responsible for reviewing submissions from publishers has stirred controversy because a number of its members do not accept evolution and climate change as scientific truth.
In the state whose governor, Rick Perry, boasted as a candidate for president that his schools taught both creationism and evolution, the State Board of Education, which includes members who hold creationist views, helped nominate several members of the textbook review panel. Others were named by parents and educators. Prospective candidates could also nominate themselves. The state’s education commissioner, Michael L. Williams, a Perry appointee and a conservative Republican, made the final appointments to the 28-member panel. Six of them are known to reject evolution.
Some Texans worry that ideologically driven review panel members and state school board members are slowly eroding science education in the state.
http://goo.gl/H91e03

Arlington art teacher loses in claim of retaliation Scolding principal’s daughter led to firing, lawsuit alleged Sioux Falls (SD) Argus Leader

A former Arlington art teacher who said she was fired in retaliation for scolding the principal’s daughter and complaining about a work assignment has lost her lawsuit against the district and two administrators.
Jacque Huiner, who worked for the school district for eight years, filed a lawsuit in 2011 asking for lost wages and punitive damages for suffering and mental anguish.
She alleged Principal Rhonda Gross failed to accommodate her needs under the American with Disabilities Act, punished her for making her complaints known and intentionally caused her emotional distress.
U.S. District Judge Karen Schreier ruled this week that the principal did not go too far by spending more time observing Huiner’s classes or writing a memo about her bad attitude, poor planning and improper handling of a student’s misbehavior.
http://goo.gl/qi4sco

‘American Graduate Day’ Addresses Dropout Issue Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — The nation’s school dropout problem is the subject of a day of public TV programming.
Actors including Patrick Stewart and Brian Stokes Mitchell, Olympic medalist Shannon Miller and other celebrities and journalists will take part in “American Graduate Day 2013.”
It will air on public television stations on Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. EDT (check local listings).
Producers said the program will show how community groups provide support and help to at-risk students, families and schools, and how others nationwide can get involved.
http://goo.gl/z5oMr4

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

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 9:
2013 Governor’s Education Summit
3:30 p.m., Utah Museum of Fine Arts
http://www.uen.org/govedsummit/index.php

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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