Education News Roundup: Oct. 8, 2013

Utah's 2014 Teacher of the Year poster

Utah’s 2014 Teacher of the Year poster

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

Trib looks at Utah’s dropout prevention measures.
http://goo.gl/xeOe0a  (SLT)
or http://goo.gl/auymZf  (USOE)

Utah State Board of Education Member Kim Burningham discusses the budget surplus and education funding.
http://goo.gl/w07AWc  (UP)

Think there’s a literacy and numeracy problem with today’s students? New OECD survey suggests the acorn didn’t fall far from the tree.
http://goo.gl/73LGm1  (USAT)
and http://goo.gl/ztNRMh  (WaPo)
and http://goo.gl/MbxU2C  (AP)
or a copy of the survey
http://www.oecd.org/site/piaac/

In case you missed the Utah Teacher of the Year banquet on Friday (and where were you anyway?), check out the photos on our flickr site:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/utahpubliceducation/

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Nearly 1 in 5: How can Utah prevent high school dropouts?
Education » A new guide gives educators strategies to ID, help high-school students at risk of giving up.

Spartans get fit when South Davis students, families focus on health

Indian Hills Middle School principal wins administrator award

Mount Logan schedules parent-teacher conferences for Thursday, Friday

Evanston, WY hopes to lure Utah with lottery tickets

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Using the ‘Surplus’ to Help Our Schools

Girl shot in face for wanting education prompts urge to excel

Vouchers Can Help Kids and Big-City Politicians Politicians in cash-strapped municipalities can give families choice while saving money.

NATION

U.S. adults lag behind counterparts overseas in skills Americans trail adults in other countries in math, literacy, problem-solving.

Philanthropists pledge $10 million to restore 7,000 Head Start seats

Pay Raises for Teachers With Master’s Under Fire

Parents Press for Attention to Programs for Gifted Students Advocacy efforts gain urgency amid worry of being overlooked

Pro athletes’ ads favor less healthful food, drinks In 2010, food and drink endorsements by top athletes largely represented high-calorie, low-nutrient products, a study finds. And adolescents saw more athlete-endorsement food commercials than adults.

When Catholic schools fire gay teachers, laity push back

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UTAH NEWS
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Nearly 1 in 5: How can Utah prevent high school dropouts?
Education » A new guide gives educators strategies to ID, help high-school students at risk of giving up.

Utah’s high school dropout rate is improving, but there are still far too many students slipping through the cracks.
To grasp the breadth of the problem, picture this: 230 empty classrooms, says Dawn Stevenson, dropout prevention and career awareness coordinator for the Utah Office of Education.
“The consequence for those kids is huge,” she said. “We want to help them avoid that pain.”
A statewide committee of educators and academics helped the state office compile its newly published guide, “Dropout Prevention in Utah.” It includes strategies teachers, counselors and principals can use to identify and help students at risk of dropping out, along with examples of successful Utah programs.
http://goo.gl/xeOe0a (SLT)

http://goo.gl/auymZf (USOE)

Spartans get fit when South Davis students, families focus on health

BOUNTIFUL — South Davis Junior High School students spent Monday evening with their families, focusing on improving their health, at the school’s annual Spartans Get Fit event.
One of the highlights was watching the junior high students race around the field on tricycles and small toddler bikes.
http://goo.gl/vSTWP5 (DN)

Indian Hills Middle School principal wins administrator award

SANDY — Indian Middle School Principal Floyd Stensrud has been named the 2013 Administrator of the Year by the Utah Association of Career and Technical Education.
“Dr. Stensrud leads by example,” his nominator wrote. “He shows confidence in his counseling staff by allowing them to break the mold and facilitate some ‘out of the box’ activities.”
Stensrud has helped Indian Hills counselors succeed in helping students become college- and career-ready, according to a press release from Canyons School District.
http://goo.gl/t3zhv9

Mount Logan schedules parent-teacher conferences for Thursday, Friday

Mount Logan Middle School is inviting parents and students to attend parent teacher conferences later this week.
http://goo.gl/a3l4xb  (LHJ)

Evanston, WY hopes to lure Utah with lottery tickets

EVANSTON, Wyo. — The sign inside Discount Liquor jokingly refers to Evanston as “Providing Utahns’ beer, porn and illegal fireworks since 1869.”
Soon this border town will add lottery to the list of attractions.
The Wyoming State Legislature recently approved joining the Powerball lottery, and Evanston city leaders are gearing up for more Utahns to make a run for the border.

“Anything that we can get that draws people into the town and into the state, all of those things will be good for our economy,” said Evanston Mayor Joy Bell.
Evanston has seen economic hard times lately, the mayor said in an interview Monday with FOX 13.
“Just sales tax in general, we lost $570,000 in our general fund last year,” she said.
Wyoming has earmarked lottery funds for road improvements and education. Cities and towns that sell tickets will also see allocated money from profits for their general fund — as much as $6 million, Bell said.
http://goo.gl/xYJHqM (KSTU)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Using the ‘Surplus’ to Help Our Schools
Utah Policy op-ed by Utah State Board of Education Member Kim Burningham

In this blog, I wish to emphasize three issues. The first two facts contrast starkly; the third item is a separate but highly important alert:
1. Utah’s budget year has produced a $242 million surplus in the education fund.
2. Utah is once again shown to have the lowest per pupil funding in the United States.
3. Now is the time to learn about “Count My Vote,” a system designed to improve Utah’s candidate election process.
http://goo.gl/w07AWc

Girl shot in face for wanting education prompts urge to excel Deseret News commentary by columnist Lois M. Collins

The girls are at the table, one working on physics, the other on history. They are mumbling about teachers and assignments and the fact that each, in her own way, is a little bit lost in the assignment spread out before her.
At the moment, my girls, who both get good grades in hard high school classes, are not in love with their public education. They’d rather be doing something else with this beautiful Sunday evening as the sun flash-dances its way across the horizon.
Across the globe, there’s another girl their age who feels just the opposite. That woman-child, Malala Yousafzai, has put her life on the line to tell girls that what they learn matters and that they have a right to be educated. They need it.
http://goo.gl/goW7Ym

Vouchers Can Help Kids and Big-City Politicians Politicians in cash-strapped municipalities can give families choice while saving money.
Wall Street Journal op-ed by KEVIN P. CHAVOUS, executive counsel to the American Federation for Children

In his former post as White House chief of staff, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel famously remarked: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” What he said next is less remembered: “And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”
These words come to mind as municipal governments across the country—from Stockton, Calif., to Jefferson County, Ala., to Mr. Emanuel’s own city—grapple with massively underfunded public pensions, lowered bond ratings, and the prospect of layoffs for thousands of teachers and other public employees. These crises are opportunities for leaders to do things they could not do before.
I see this most clearly in public education.
http://goo.gl/RphSEu

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NATIONAL NEWS
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U.S. adults lag behind counterparts overseas in skills Americans trail adults in other countries in math, literacy, problem-solving.
USA Today

Americans have been hearing for years that their kids are lagging behind the rest of the developed world in skills. Now it’s the adults’ turn for a reality check.
A first-ever international comparison of the labor force in 23 industrialized nations shows that Americans ages 16 to 65 fall below international averages in basic problem-solving, reading and math skills, with gaps between the more- and less-educated in the USA larger than those of many other countries.
The findings, out Tuesday from the U.S. Department of Education, could add new urgency to U.S. schools’ efforts to help students compete globally.
The new test was given to about 5,000 Americans between August 2011 and April 2012. The results show that the typical American’s literacy score falls below the international average, with adults in 12 countries scoring higher and only five (Poland, Ireland, France, Spain and Italy) scoring lower. In math, 18 countries scored higher, with only two (Italy and Spain) scoring lower. In both cases, several countries’ scores were statistically even with the USA.
The oldest Americans in the sample turned in a higher-than-average performance in reading, with 9% of test-takers between 55 and 65 years old scoring at the top proficiency level, compared to just 5% worldwide. In math, however, they were even with the 7% international average.
The problem, the new findings suggest, is with younger U.S. workers, who lag in nearly every category.
http://goo.gl/73LGm1

http://goo.gl/ztNRMh (WaPo)

http://goo.gl/MbxU2C (AP)

A copy of the survey
http://www.oecd.org/site/piaac/

Philanthropists pledge $10 million to restore 7,000 Head Start seats Politico

Head Start programs across the country closed because of the government shutdown will reopen Tuesday thanks to a $10 million contribution from a pair of Texas philanthropists.
The National Head Start Association said Monday the founders of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation came forward after learning about the shutdown’s effects on the federal pre-K program for children from low-income families. The money is a personal donation, however, not through the foundation, NHSA spokeswoman Sally Aman said.
At least 7,195 children lost access to their Head Start programs since the government shutdown began a week ago. One in South Carolina closed Monday.
The money will allow recently closed programs like Jonathan Bines’ in Prentiss, Miss., to reopen and programs that were facing possible closure to stay open.
http://goo.gl/qXXdGL

Pay Raises for Teachers With Master’s Under Fire Wall Street Journal

The nation spends an estimated $15 billion annually on salary bumps for teachers who earn master’s degrees, even though research shows the diplomas don’t necessarily lead to higher student achievement.
And as states and districts begin tying teachers’ pay and job security to student test scores, some are altering—or scrapping—the time-honored wage boost.
Lawmakers in North Carolina, led by Republican legislators, voted in July to get rid of the automatic pay increase for master’s degrees. Tennessee adopted a policy this summer that mandates districts adopt salary scales that put less emphasis on advanced degrees and more on factors such as teacher performance. And Newark, N.J., recently decided to pay teachers for master’s degrees only if they are linked to the district’s new math and reading standards.
The moves come a few years after Florida, Indiana and Louisiana adopted policies that require districts to put more weight on teacher performance and less on diplomas.
http://goo.gl/fY55wJ

Parents Press for Attention to Programs for Gifted Students Advocacy efforts gain urgency amid worry of being overlooked Education Week

From court cases and legislative lobbying to their own fundraising campaigns, parents are putting pressure on states and school districts to boost services for gifted children, whose needs and abilities, they say, often aren’t met inside a traditional classroom.
While parents of the gifted have long faced challenges in proving the worth in providing “extras” for highly capable students, the fight has become even harder now in many districts where dollars are tight and other needs are deemed more pressing.
And, according to some advocates, the stakes can be even higher for low-income and minority parents who view gifted and talented programs as a means of providing their children with greater opportunity in cash-strapped school systems.
http://goo.gl/9aUZDD

Pro athletes’ ads favor less healthful food, drinks In 2010, food and drink endorsements by top athletes largely represented high-calorie, low-nutrient products, a study finds. And adolescents saw more athlete-endorsement food commercials than adults.
USA Today

Peyton Manning, Serena Williams and LeBron James are among the nation’s most prominent and marketable athletes, but they also topped the list when it came to endorsing high-calorie, nutrient-poor food and beverages in 2010, a report shows.
And kids ages 12 to 17 were the primary viewers of athlete-endorsement food commercials. They watched an average of 35 TV ads in 2010; vs. 33 for adults. Kids 11 and under averaged 21, according to the report in November’s Pediatrics, published online today.
“Professional athletes in general are endorsing a lot of unhealthy foods, which is concerning for a country that’s struggling with obesity,” says lead author Marie Bragg, a health policy researcher at Yale University. These athletes “could do a lot of good to promote public health, but unfortunately they are promoting foods that are really unhealthy,” she says.
http://goo.gl/IlYh6g

A copy of the study
http://goo.gl/3E9ivN  (Pediatrics)

When Catholic schools fire gay teachers, laity push back Religion News Service

They taught English, gym, music and fifth grade, and are typically described as “beloved” by their students.
But that didn’t stop the Catholic schools where they worked from firing these teachers for their same-sex relationships, or, in one woman’s case, for admitting that she privately disagreed with church teaching on gay marriage.
A recent spate of sackings at Catholic institutions — about eight in the past two years — is wrenching for dioceses and Catholic schools, where some deem these decisions required and righteous, and others see them as unnecessary and prejudicial.
“Your typical Catholic school does have a mission and asks their teachers to be exemplars of what the schools are trying to do,” said Richard Garnett, a University of Notre Dame law professor who writes about religious freedom. “They’re trying to teach the church’s values about sexual ethics and morality.”
While the Catholic Church’s catechism requires Catholics to treat gays and lesbians with “respect” and “compassion,” it calls homosexual acts a “grave depravity,” and the church has been unequivocal in its rejection of gay marriage.
But among the signers of a petition to reinstate a gay teacher at St. Lucy’s Priory High School in Glendora, Calif., are alumni who say their school imparted other Catholic values that speak against the firing of Ken Bencomo. The head of the English department lost his job after 17 years at St. Lucy’s, after photos of his wedding appeared in a local newspaper.
http://goo.gl/In03by

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

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/Interim/2013/html/00003479.htm

October 22:
Legislative Education Task Force
9 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2013&com=TSKEDU

November 7-8:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspxpr

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