Education News Roundup: Oct. 10, 2013

Governor's Education Summit.

Governor’s Education Summit

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

Gov. Herbert and Superintendent Menlove discuss the 66 by 2020 goal at the Governor’s Education Summit.  (DN)
and  (OSE)
and  (PDH)
and  (KTVX)
and  (KSTU)
and  (KUER)

Want to know what’s going on with last year’s high school graduates? Check out the latest report from the Utah Foundation.  (Utah Foundation)

Want to know what’s going on with ENR’s old boss (not that he’s old, mind you, just that he’s no longer ENR’s boss), Ray Timothy? Check out this UEN story from the D-News.  (DN)

Utah Public Radio looks at dual immersion in Cache Valley. (UPR)

Utah Taxpayers Association comes out against the bonds in Jordan and Cache. (UTA)

Sen. Stephenson discusses the future of school funding in Utah.  (UTA)

And for you Beatles fans out there, guess where Sir Paul spent his wedding anniversary. At a New York high school. Why wouldn’t anyone do the same?  (AP)



Gov. Herbert expresses gratitude, calls for collaboration at education summit

Inspirations and Aspirations: A Survey of 2013 Utah High School Graduates

UEN: millions served, every day

Dual language education in Cache Valley showing positive results

Enrollment and class sizes up in Ogden School District

School district turns trash into cash

Art City Elementary students raise funds for their school

High school marching bands take over BYU stadium

Park Elementary uses unusual object lesson for Red Ribbon Week

A + Teacher of the Week

Are standardized tests leading to more ADHD diagnoses?


Since when does illogical = logical?

Association Urges No Votes on Jordan and Cache bonds, Remains Neutral on Logan Bond

Utah’s Growing Dependency Ratio Predicts Difficult Education Budgets Ahead

School bond foe off base

Union High football coach set an example for us al

Ten Big Takeaways from CEP’s Research on State Implementation of the Common Core

Common Core has nationalized our curriculum & these local decisions prove it!

What if we thought of Louisiana education like football?


Superintendent Took Gun to ND School After Threat

Common Core foe in Ohio House runs into opposition Panel chairman: Bill makes no sense

Tea Party crashes Speaker talk

LA schools and iPads: Big promises but where’s the research?

Special Section on Education

K12 shares plunge on weak enrollment, forecast

High Schools Struggle To Tackle Safety On The Football Field

McCartney Celebrates Anniversary at NY High School


Gov. Herbert expresses gratitude, calls for collaboration at education summit

SALT LAKE CITY — In what was described as the first statewide faculty meeting, Gov. Gary Herbert spoke to public and higher education officials Wednesday about the need for greater educational attainment in Utah.
Beyond reiterating the state’s goals for increased educational outputs, Herbert offered little by way of specific initiatives and investments for Utah schools. His remarks were immediately met with criticism from Utah Democratic Party leaders, who accused the governor of taking “softball” questions within the safety of a controlled environment.
“Where is the plan?” state Democratic Party Chairman Jim Dabakis said in a statement released less than an hour after the Governor’s Education Summit concluded. “What measures are we putting into place to get there? Where are we going to be in 2014, 2016 or 2018? What funding and resources are needed to achieve those goals?”
But Herbert’s remarks were directed toward Utah’s corps of educators and not necessarily to political insiders.  (DN)  (OSE)  (PDH)  (KTVX)  (KSTU)  (KUER)


Inspirations and Aspirations: A Survey of 2013 Utah High School Graduates

Utah Foundation collaborated with Salt Lake Community College to survey high school students graduating in 2013 about their post-high school intentions. The survey was designed to query graduates’ attitudes, knowledge, and motivation about attending higher education, their influences towards pursuing higher education, and their understanding of financial feasibility. These results are set in the context of raising the number of post-secondary degrees or certificates among Utah’s workforce to 66% in 2020 from 43% today.
A vast majority of survey respondents expect to obtain post-secondary degrees or trade certificates. More non-White graduates and female graduates indicated that they would be in college or job training within six months of completing high school than White graduates and male graduates; this is mainly due to the latter graduates performing church missions and service work. Respondents believe that their own personal motivation is the most important factor in their post-secondary plans. Interestingly, counselors and teachers seem to play a more important role in the decisions for graduates with lower family incomes and whose parents have lower educational attainment.
Respondents strongly indicated that they were pursing education to get a job later, learn new job skills, and learn about subjects that are interesting and challenging. Over half of the graduates themselves expected to receive a bachelor’s degree and over one-third expected to go even further into graduate school. However, Utah’s greatest percentage increase in post-secondary education over the past ten years is from the completion of trade certificates.  (Utah Foundation)

UEN: millions served, every day

SALT LAKE CITY — Few people know Utah education like Ray Timothy.
A former fifth-grade teacher and native of the small northern Utah town of Garland, he earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Utah, his master’s degree from Brigham Young University and his Ph.D. from Utah State University. After that, he taught at four elementary schools and a middle school, followed by stints as a vice principal or principal at two more elementary schools and a high school. He then sandwiched four and a half years as deputy superintendent in the State Office of Education between stints as superintendent in the Millard and Park City school districts.
He’s worked for more schools than Urban Meyer.
And now?
Now he’s working for all of them.
It’s been a year since Timothy, 59, left his post in Park City to take over as CEO and executive director of the Utah Education Network — UEN for short — the statewide collaboration that connects Utah schools, colleges, applied technology campuses and libraries.  (DN)

Dual language education in Cache Valley showing positive results

Elementary students throughout Cache Valley are studying their lessons this school year in languages other than English. First and second graders in six different schools, are receiving half of the day’s instruction in foreign languages. UPR reporter Beth McEvoy sat in on one first grade class taught entirely in Spanish.  (UPR)

Enrollment and class sizes up in Ogden School District

OGDEN — Enrollment is up in the Ogden School District, and some classes have as many as 45 students, Superintendent Brad Smith told board members.
“On the secondary level, there are some class sizes that are large, some that are predictable and desirable, for example we have some P.E. classes that have 45 students in them,” Smith told school board members at a recent work session. “I believe that is exactly what we would expect to have happen in a P.E. class. We have some art classes that are quite large, then we have a few sections, particularly in the junior highs, of core classes that are large, in the neighborhood of 35 or so. We are looking at those.”
Smith’s report followed a Sept. 19 school board meeting at which Kim Irvine, Weber County Democratic Education Caucus chairwoman, spoke of concerns about district class sizes of 38 to 45 in core classes.
Smith said at the work session that some district junior highs made the decision to increase math offerings.  (OSE)

School district turns trash into cash

SALT LAKE CITY —The Salt Lake City School District says its district-wide recycling program is a big success.
Dealing with waste management is a tricky process for school districts. The logistics can be difficult and sometimes a lot of things that can be recycled aren’t.
“We were sending a fair amount of stuff to the landfill that didn’t need to go there. Most school districts are doing it,” said Salt Lake School District Energy and Resource Manager Greg Libecci. (KSL)

Art City Elementary students raise funds for their school

After a disappointing cancellation due to a wet and slippery field on Friday, students at Art City Elementary ran, jogged and walked to raise funds on Monday. Almost 600 excited kids participated in the annual PTA fundraiser.  (PDH)

High school marching bands take over BYU stadium

The walls of BYU’s LaVell Edwards Stadium were ringing Tuesday night as multiple high school bands played during the Rocky Mountain Marching Band Invitational.
The annual event featured over twenty bands from all over the state competing within five different classes of competition. Each band was judged on both their musical performance and their visual display. (PDH)

Park Elementary uses unusual object lesson for Red Ribbon Week

Students at Park Elementary in Spanish Fork ended Red Ribbon Week with an unusual object lesson. They had enjoyed an assembly with a magician and received red bracelets to remind them to choose not to do drugs and alcohol. On the last day, out in the parking lot stood two very different cars to teach children about the importance of staying away from drugs and alcohol.
“We had a fancy red Mustang from Kevin Lyman at Smith Auto and a piece of junk demolition derby car from Darren Dimmick parked next to each other,” said Pat Christianson, P.T.A. president at Park. “We had a sign on each one to explain the lesson we were teaching with the parked cars. On the beautiful new convertible it read, ‘This is your healthy body and mind’ and on the wrecked car the sign read, ‘This is your mind and body on drugs’. We were using a visual to impress the kids to keep their mind and body free from drugs and alcohol.”  (PDH)

A + Teacher of the Week

Denise Prince teaches second grade students at Windridge Elementary School in Kaysvillem, and she was named FOX 13 News’ A + Teacher of the Week.
Those who know Prince said she always goes the extra mile to make students feel successful and validated.  (KSTU)

Are standardized tests leading to more ADHD diagnoses?

As a young mother, Robin Richeson was overwhelmed by her son Aaron’s boundless energy. Richeson chalked up his behavior, which included climbing tall trees, running away and an inability to focus in school to boys being boys.
But the teachers at Aaron’s school in Ownesboro, Ky., thought something else was going on. “They just said that he was all over the place — he couldn’t handle the structure. ‘We think he has ADD or ADHD,’” Richeson remembers being told at a parent-teacher meeting.
An evaluation by the family doctor confirmed those suspicions. Aaron has ADHD, a condition marked by inability to focus and impulsive behavior. Today, 7-year-old Aaron takes Ritalin, which helps him focus in school.
Aaron is one of about six million children with ADHD in America. One in nine children between the ages of 4 and 17, or about 11 percent, have an ADHD diagnosis, according to a 2012 study by the Centers for Disease Control. CDC data also show that the rates of ADHD diagnoses have gone up rapidly in the last decade, increasing by 40 percent between 2003 and 2012.
But national averages don’t tell the whole story when it comes to ADHD.  (DN)


Since when does illogical = logical?
(St. George) Spectrum op-ed by Glenn Mesa of St. George

The Affordable Care Act — largely modeled after the success of Mitt Romney’s program in Massachusetts — was passed by America’s lawmakers in 2010, gets upheld by the Supreme Court and, now that it has gone into effect, the Republican-led House will agree to pass government spending only if the ACA is removed.
Utah Sen. Mike Lee stands defiantly proud, leading the charge. One female Republican congressional leader chided, “Union leaders are predicting (that the ACA) … will mark the demise of the 40-hour workweek!” Since when did the Republican Party start using organized labor to support their cause?
Actually, there is little empirical evidence to support any charges of the fallacy of the ACA — other than Romney’s success stories. While there will be glitches and a small number of Americans could actually pay slightly more for this coverage, apparently the major opposition comes from fear of taxes being raised.
Former President Jimmy Carter said it best: “If you don’t want your tax dollars to help the poor, then stop saying that you want a country based on Christian values, because you don’t.”
Fear is a motivator — but it is typically premised on ignorance and done in defiance of logic.
While congressional tea party members’ resolve is admirable, it is simply not logical. If not, then maybe the rest of us should rethink how we behave — logically speaking.

Then there’s education logic. Utah lawmakers seemed fixed on the notion that ACT scores are the prima facie predictor of a public high school’s success. Ironically, in the past 15 years, Utah students have equaled or exceeded the national average 13 times. Additionally, last spring, out of the 35,721 Advanced Placement tests — which can earn college credit — Utahns achieved a 67.1 percent pass rate — significantly higher than the 58.9 percent national average.
Since Utah routinely ranks last in the country in per-pupil spending, even the harshest critic would be compelled to ask how our schools can perform so well with so little funding. Maybe the teachers are actually quite good at what they do.
Logically, rather than celebrating this success, our legislators have made it increasingly more difficult for classroom teachers to focus on teaching. With the introduction of the new school grading system and mired down with tedious documentation, one educator recently shared, “With all of this scrutiny going on, when are we supposed to teach?”

Association Urges No Votes on Jordan and Cache bonds, Remains Neutral on Logan Bond Utah Taxpayers Association commentary

Several school districts are asking voters to approve bonds or property tax levies this November. Your Utah Taxpayers Association has reviewed the proposals in the Jordan, Cache and Logan School Districts. As detailed elsewhere in this and previous editions of The Utah Taxpayer, we oppose the Jordan School District’s $495 million bond. We also oppose the Cache School District’s $129 million bond, and take no position on the Logan School District’s voted levy or $55 million bond.

Utah’s Growing Dependency Ratio Predicts Difficult Education Budgets Ahead Utah Taxpayers Association commentary by Sen. Howard Stephenson

With all the recent discussion about school grading, the education establishment is redoubling its calls for more money, especially for schools that received a D or an F. The Salt Lake Tribune is complaining that Utah is “51st in the nation” (i.e., lower than all the states and the District of Columbia) in per pupil spending. If we could even get to 49th in the country, they suggest, Utah will see better student achievement.
As long time readers of My Corner know, simply spending more money on education will not lead to higher student achievement. Nationally, some of the districts spending the most per student have some of the lowest student scores. Dr. Matt Ladner of the Foundation for Excellence in Education gave a presentation this past month that convinced me that Utah will always be 51st in the nation. The reason is simple: demographics.
Elected officials can alter many variables as they pursue various public policies, but demography dictates whether even our most well-conceived policies hit the mark

School bond foe off base
(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Chris Corcoran

Mr. Ralph Call’s most recent letter to the HJ uses cherry-picked quotes from LDS general authorities that discourage personal debt, his conclusion being that bonding for schools in the Cache District would be “immoral” and “indecent.” Here’s another quote for Mr. Call’s benefit, from the LDS Church website: “The Church [expects] its members to engage in the political process in an informed and civil manner, respecting the fact that members of the Church come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences and may have differences of opinion in partisan political matters.” In other words, Mr. Call has neither the authority nor the insight to handpick quotes of convenience from LDS leaders in order to lend a false sense of moral weight to his personal political views.
Aside from this, Mr. Call’s premise is flawed and out of context. LDS authorities have frequently supported reasonable debt for housing and education, and the LDS Church is not against taking calculated risks through investment.

Union High football coach set an example for us all
(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Kathy Archer

He says it’s not about him.
After being inundated with requests for interviews, Union High School’s football coach, Matt Labrum, told CBS Sports this past week that he was uncomfortable with all of the media attention. He felt it might “distract” from what they were trying to accomplish, from a football coaching staff attempting to change lives.

Ten Big Takeaways from CEP’s Research on State Implementation of the Common Core Hunt Institute commentary by Diane Stark Rentner, Deputy Director, Center on Education Policy, The George Washington University

In the late winter/early spring of this year, the Center on Education Policy (CEP) at the George Washington University surveyed state education agency (SEA) officials in the 45 states and DC that have adopted the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in math and/or English language arts (ELA). Forty of these CCSS-adopting states participated in the CEP survey, which covered a wide range of issues, including general implementation efforts, opposition to the CCSS, activities to prepare for CCSS-aligned assessments, and the challenges that states face. Altogether, CEP issued six reports based on the survey data. Here are the ten big takeaways from this extensive research:

Common Core has nationalized our curriculum & these local decisions prove it!
Fordham Institute commentaryby Bernard Lee Schwartz Policy Fellow Kathleen Porter-Magee

The latest in a series of anti–Common Core scare tactics came from Michelle Malkin yesterday, when she implored,
“It is not easy to stand up and challenge sovereignty-undermining, curriculum-usurping, privacy-sabotaging education orthodoxy, especially when it is plied by a toxic alliance of both Big Government and Big Business interests. But if we don’t do it, who will?”
The post goes on to share stories from parents who complain that local principals have refused to listen to their anti-CCSS complaints and that they’ve had “gag orders” put on them when they’ve tried to question “what the Common Core is doing to our children.”
The specific criticisms mostly point to assignments that children are bringing home from school. Earlier this year, for instance, 2 Indianapolis moms launched a campaign against the standards in their home state of Indiana. According to an NRO article written in May, “Heather [Crossin] suddenly noticed a sharp decline in the math homework her eight-year-old daughter was bringing home from Catholic school.”
Crossin explained,
“Instead of many arithmetic problems, the homework would contain only three or four questions, and two of those would be ‘explain your answer.’ Like, ‘One bridge is 412 feet long and the other bridge is 206 feet long. Which bridge is longer? How do you know?'”
Last month, an article on showed a truly confusing math question that was part of a supposedly Common Core–aligned math program. In short order, it spread like wildfire through social media. And parents in states like Ohio and Arizona were up in arms when their high school–aged children were asked to read books like Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye or Christina Garcia’s Dreaming in Cuban.
Such complaints are not new. They are part of a carefully manufactured backlash that has encouraged parents to believe that all of the things they don’t like about what their children are learning in school—from the books they read to the math curriculum they follow—is a direct result of the state’s decision to adopt the Common Core. Unfortunately, these arguments are grounded in (at least) 2 substantive and logical flaws.

What if we thought of Louisiana education like football?
New Orleans Times-Picayune commentary by columnist Jarvis DeBerry

Any conversation about education policy in the New Orleans area or in Louisiana as a whole needs to be properly contextualized, but far too often, we’ve debated education policies – including what standards we should expect schoolchildren to meet – as if we’re on an island onto ourselves. We’re not. New Orleans is part of a state. Our state is part of the country. Our country is part of the world. Consequently, if we want a more accurate idea of how our children are doing academically, we’d measure them not against children down the bayou but against children across the world.
Perhaps a sports analogy will drive home the point. How many times have we seen some college team from the Midwest boasting of an undefeated season, only to line up against an SEC team in the national championship and get embarrassed? Being the best up there in football doesn’t mean a whole lot. Neither does being the best down here academically.
The regional disparity that puts the South academically behind the rest of the country is worrisome enough by itself. But it’s even more disturbing once the United States’ global position is considered.


Superintendent Took Gun to ND School After Threat Associated Press

After more than 20 years in education, D’Wayne Johnston says a confrontation with a student prompted him to bring a gun to school in the small North Dakota community where he’s a superintendent.
Now the incident is raising concerns about student safety in an area where the population has exploded in recent years amid an oil boom. It’s also prompted Johnston to resign from his job as superintendent of Tioga’s public schools, though he says he plans to stay in education.
Johnston told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Wednesday that despite his worries, he should have turned to police instead of carrying a gun to the high school a day after the confrontation with a student who was expelled.

Common Core foe in Ohio House runs into opposition Panel chairman: Bill makes no sense Columbus (OH) Dispatch

In an unusual pre-emptive strike, the chairman of the House Education Committee yesterday met with reporters to shoot down a proposal to eliminate Common Core standards in Ohio before his colleague presented the bill in committee.
As an upstairs hearing room filled largely with Common Core opponents waiting for Rep. Andrew Thompson, R-Marietta, to deliver testimony on his bill, Rep. Gerald Stebelton, R-Lancaster, told reporters the proposal has “very little support” in either party.
“I don’t think it has legs. If it does, it’s very short legs,” Stebelton said. Asked if he was concerned that arguments could gather steam, he said no, “because they don’t make sense.”
“Everybody that I know that finds solid information about Common Core standards support them. Now if you want to listen to Glenn Beck and have a conspiracy theory, there can be arguments. I look for factual stuff.”

Tea Party crashes Speaker talk
Desoto (MS) Times Tribune

OLIVE BRANCH—Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn, R-Clinton, brought his town hall-style meeting tour to Olive Branch on Monday evening and heard strong criticism of the Common Core education approach and steps by local officials that have barred citizens from carrying firearms in public buildings.
Several speakers in the early part of the meeting came from outside DeSoto County, including Tate County, Panola County and Oxford.
At the start of the meeting, Gunn said he and five local legislators who were present came to hear from citizens and did not come to speak themselves.
Asked by one person about his views on Common Core, Gunn said he was willing to study the issue and “put a pause” on it if he learned something that would lead him to that position.
A man who identified himself as Bill Ford of Panola County called Common Core “a Muslim takeover” of school systems.
Citing things which he said backed up his position, Ford said, “We are talking about our children being Muslims by the time they are in the fifth grade.”

LA schools and iPads: Big promises but where’s the research?
(Pasadena, CA) KPCC

Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy has trumpeted his $1 billion iPad project as transformational. As with many reformers, Deasy sees data as a pillar of his administration.
But when asked for evidence that points toward a transformation, Deasy said in an interview that it’s all too new. Instead, he listed imperatives.
“If it’s good enough for the wealthiest kids, it’s good enough for every kid,” said Deasy, who often compares the project to a “civil rights” issue. “They deserve exactly the same. I’m sick and tired of us being concerned that because of the zip code you live in you could possibly have something less.”
Some parents, teachers and researchers are questioning the district’s rush toward equipping every child in every school with the pricey tablets. They said the research doesn’t back the hype.

Special Section on Education
Wall Street Journal

Now Teachers Encourage Computer Games in Class
Teachers nationwide are using games such as “Angry Birds” and “World of Warcraft” to teach math, science, writing, teamwork and even compassion.
Can Games Help Improve Education?
Test Your Knowledge of Education
Do you know about MOOCs, new curriculum standards and digital learning games? Let’s find out.
Where an Education Fund Sees Promise
NewSchools Venture Fund backs tech startups and schools with innovative ideas that can help disadvantaged students.

K12 shares plunge on weak enrollment, forecast Associated Press via Businessweek

HERNDON, Va. — Shares of K12 plunged almost 40 percent Thursday after it revealed paltry enrollment numbers and the online educator issued a weak revenue forecast for the year.
The company said average student enrollment increased 5.7 percent to 128,550 in its managed public schools, which fell short of its own projections. K12 now expects annual revenue of between $905 million and $925 million. That’s far short of $962.6 million that analysts were looking for, according to a poll by FactSet.
K12 said that demand is strong for its products and services, enrollment applications were up 11 percent compared to last year. But it said that actual enrollment did not increase by an equal amount due to performance issues at enrollment centers and delays in open enrollment periods for some schools.

High Schools Struggle To Tackle Safety On The Football Field Youth Radio via NPR All Things Considered

The NFL adopted a new rule this season that makes it illegal for players to hit with the crown of their helmet. In other words, ramming your head into someone.
In high school football, it’s been illegal to hit this way for years. But unlike in the pros, I’ve hardly ever seen it called in a game. Still, Nic McMaster, coach at Castro Valley High School in the San Francisco Bay area — where I’m a defensive end — tries to teach us better.
At a recent practice, McMaster scolded a linebacker for leading with his head. “Alfaro, that was horrible technique. That’s why you can’t lean and put your head down when you block,” he called out.
Football is the most popular sport among high school boys, with more than 1 million playing the game during the 2012-13 school year. But the sport has taken a hit in recent years over allegations that the game is unsafe.
Young athletes across all sports suffer 300,000 concussions each year, according to researchers from Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

McCartney Celebrates Anniversary at NY High School Associated Press

NEW YORK — Paul McCartney celebrated his second wedding anniversary with his wife and a few hundred high school students on Wednesday.
The 71-year-old performed at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, which was opened by Tony Bennett.
McCartney said, “Happy anniversary, Baby,” to Nancy Shevell before going into his latest song, called “New.” He said the song was inspired by his wife as the students turned to her and gushed.


USOE Calendar

UEN News

October 10:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City

October 15:
Executive Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
1 p.m., 445 State Capitol

October 16:
Education Interim Committee meeting
9 a.m., 30 House Building

October 22:
Legislative Education Task Force
9 a.m., 445 State Capitol

November 7-8:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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