Education News Roundup: Oct. 17, 2013

Utah State Capitol on the opening day of the 2012 Legislative SessionToday’s Top Picks:

There’s more follow up on Sen. Jones’ plan for funding Utah schools.
http://goo.gl/oOQrT1  (DN)
and http://goo.gl/X3darX  (PDH)

School Improvement Network CEO and President Chet Linton discusses the Common Core State Standards on KSL.
http://goo.gl/eWFMyf  (PRWeb)
and http://goo.gl/uo3cbJ (PRWeb)

Trib endorses Jordan’s bond and the Kane County Taxpayers Association endorses the Kane District school tax levy proposition.
http://goo.gl/DPM4sG  (SLT)
and http://goo.gl/TaveyX  (SUN)

New study finds poor children now make up the majority of public school students in the South and the West.
http://goo.gl/CslJu2  (WaPo)
or a copy of the study
http://goo.gl/zVwFuc  (Southern Education Foundation)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Public may vote on eliminating tax exemption to fund schools Bill would give $400M to schools but at expense of big families

Shutdown Takes Center Stage During Special Session

What Are the Common Core Standards?
Education Expert Chet Linton of School Improvement Network Explains What Common Core Standards Are and Are Not in Television Interview

Four Measures of Educator Effectiveness
New KSL Studio 5 television interview of education expert Chet Linton of School Improvement Network outlines what educator effectiveness looks like in the classroom.

Children with disabilities gain new skills, become superheroes

White Pine Middle School students explore career options

Cyber-bullied girl beats hate with love

Elementary School Hosts Mass Shooting Training Exercise

School recruits 42 volunteers to read with students

High school choirs can compete to sing with Kurt Bestor

A + Teacher of the Week

Lone Peak High School Choir Concerts

Greg Hudnall seminar

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Jordan bond is necessary, but it’s not a blank check Balance needs with cost-cutting

Proposition 1 is good for taxpayers

School bond plan a good one

Why Doesn’t the Constitution Guarantee the Right to Education?
Every country that outperforms the U.S. has a constitutional or statutory commitment to this right.

The ‘Universal Pre-K’ Fallacy
Free school for 4-year-olds? Sounds great. Too bad it is of no educational value and the cost would be staggering.

21 Reasons To Quit Your Job And Become A Teacher

NATION

Study: Poor children are now the majority in American public schools in South, West

Florida Board of Education rejects parts of Common Core associated with benchmarks

Common Core is here to stay, state education board says

Amid GOP Struggles, Jeb Bush Focuses on Education

Radical Washington D.C. teacher-evaluation plan worked, study says

L.A. Unified considers slower iPad rollout Supt. John Deasy is on board with a plan that would extend by a year a $1-billon school tablet program, after problems emerged during initial distribution.

Model school aims to retrain teachers in ABCs of reading instruction

Rebecca Sedwick suicide: What response is needed to combat cyberbullying?
Rebecca Sedwick, 12, jumped to her death last month, and two girls are now arrested on aggravated stalking charges. Some analysts warn that criminalization of cyberbullying won’t solve the problem.

Court Considers Calif. School’s May 5 US Flag Ban

States Enact Laws to Stock Epinephrine at Schools

Q&A: Melinda Gates Talks Teacher Quality

Why Are So Many Kids Getting Myopia?
Spending too much time indoors may impair children’s vision.

A Football App Shares Strategies With Coaches

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UTAH NEWS
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Public may vote on eliminating tax exemption to fund schools Bill would give $400M to schools but at expense of big families

SALT LAKE CITY — Utahns may be asked to vote “yea” or “nay” on giving up a ubiquitous state income tax exemption to fund public schools if a bill fails to gain the support of lawmakers.
Sen. Pat Jones, D-Holladay, presented her bill on Wednesday to members of the Education Interim Committee. Several lawmakers expressed tentative support of the proposal, but comments were also shared that the bill faces an uphill battle in the tax-averse Utah Legislature.
Jones’ proposal would raise roughly $400 million in annual funding that would be distributed at the school level under the discretion of local community councils. But that money would come at the expense of a tax exemption that primarily benefits large families.
Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, said it’s appropriate to discuss the current funding system in the state, which sees families with the most children in public schools paying the lowest taxes toward the education of those children. But he said the elephant in the room is the bill’s hefty $400 million price tag, which effectively constitutes a tax increase.
http://goo.gl/oOQrT1  (DN)

http://goo.gl/X3darX  (PDH)

Shutdown Takes Center Stage During Special Session

If only Washington, D.C., could be more like Utah.
At times stretching a bit as they patted each other on their backs, Utah lawmakers on Wednesday afternoon passed three “emergency” bills that funded the five major national parks in Southern Utah and authorized state aid to other needed federal programs.
The $9 million – with $1.7 million guaranteed to be spent – was allocated to pay for national park personnel to keep the parks open until at least through November, and fund several other federal programs as needed.
Of course, all that will be unnecessary, as GOP legislative leaders admitted, if Congress gets its act together and opens the federal government immediately.

Besides keeping the national parks open, bills were also passed that pays for various furloughed state workers, required by the federal government shutdown, health care benefits, holidays and other exemptions.
State education officials were also given the power to keep school lunch programs going.

Three million school lunches have been served since the federal shutdown, including at childcare centers, at-risk after school meals and such, said Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake.
“It is a national disaster. Shutdowns have consequences. State Office of Education had the money” to cover the lunches, said Briscoe. HB2002 gives flexibility for the State Office of Education to cover these meals, and he thanked Dee and others for bringing it forward.
http://goo.gl/NMOJyT  (UP)

What Are the Common Core Standards?
Education Expert Chet Linton of School Improvement Network Explains What Common Core Standards Are and Are Not in Television Interview

Salt Lake City — School Improvement Network, the leader in educator effectiveness resources, today released a television interview of education expert Chet Linton detailing the purpose of the Common Core Standards and debunking common myths about Common Core. Linton’s education expertise comes from his positions as CEO and President of School Improvement Network, his appointment as a member of the Utah Governor’s Vision and Mission Committee, a steering committee for the Governor’s Education Commission, and from speaking at national and international conferences about education in the US and abroad.
“The Common Core Standards were developed by states, education experts and business leaders as a set of minimum standards that students must achieve to be ready for college or a career when they finish high school,” said Linton. “Because they are more rigorous than most state standards have ever been and establish a uniform standard of education across states, the Common Core Standards have the potential to make a dramatic impact in individual students’ success in college and career, and improve US economic growth and global competitiveness.”
http://goo.gl/eWFMyf (PRWeb)

http://goo.gl/uo3cbJ  (PRWeb)

Four Measures of Educator Effectiveness
New KSL Studio 5 television interview of education expert Chet Linton of School Improvement Network outlines what educator effectiveness looks like in the classroom.

Salt Lake City — School Improvement Network, the leader in educator effectiveness resources, today released a television interview with education expert Chet Linton showing what educator effectiveness and effective classrooms look like in 21st century classrooms. The interview aired on KSL Studio 5, and features Chet Linton, CEO and President of School Improvement Network, Chairman of the Utah Technology Council, and appointee to the Utah Governor’s Vision and Mission Committee, a steering committee for the Governor’s Education Commission. Linton has also presented about educator effectiveness and student success at national and international conferences.
http://goo.gl/GBtupb (PRWeb)

Children with disabilities gain new skills, become superheroes

OGDEN — Twenty-three children enrolled in a special program at Weber State University are turning into their very own superhero.
They are part of the Children’s Adaptive Physical Education Society, or CAPES!
It’s a 10-week program to help children with disabilities, ages 5 to 12, come out of their shell and learn new skills through games and exercise.
http://goo.gl/vDFE3y  (DN)

http://goo.gl/mIAWnF  (OSE)

http://goo.gl/cmbpx3  (KSL)

White Pine Middle School students explore career options

RICHMOND — Seventh-graders at White Pine Middle School had the chance to explore different career paths when professionals across the valley presented their jobs for Career Day on Wednesday.
http://goo.gl/rUJeuX  (LHJ)

Cyber-bullied girl beats hate with love

LOGAN — The first anonymous Twitter message Taylor Vail received Sunday night was bad enough.
The second message, on Monday, was even worse.
“I’ve never really had someone say something like that,” said Vail. “I mean, when I was in sixth grade, I mean, it’s middle school, you have problems with people, but they’d always say it to your face, so that made it better. But this is Twitter, it’s an anonymous account, so I had a harder time.”
Vail, a sophomore at Logan High School, wondered why someone she didn’t even know was writing things about her that no 15-year old girl should ever read.
http://goo.gl/I946SU  (KSL)

Elementary School Hosts Mass Shooting Training Exercise

Once unspeakable tragedies — like the theater shooting in Colorado … and the school massacre, in Connecticut — have now become all too common, across America.
That sad fact motivated more than 150 EMT, fire and police responders to train Tuesday night at Woodrow Wilson Elementary School.
http://goo.gl/kPtWWg  (KNRS)

School recruits 42 volunteers to read with students

ALPINE — Thousands of teachers attending this week’s Utah Education Association convention will learn best practices. An elementary in Alpine could offer a lesson on parent engagement.
Coordinators at Westfield Elementary have recruited 42 PTA volunteers to read with struggling students every week for the school year.
http://goo.gl/duIEhb  (KSL)

High school choirs can compete to sing with Kurt Bestor

A new contest is going to give high school choirs in six Utah counties a chance at scholarship money and a chance to sing with Kurt Bestor this Christmas season.
Bestor has joined forces with the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies to set up the contest. The first- through fifth-place winners each will receive a $500 scholarship for their schools’ choir departments — and be chosen to sing, either onstage or in the lobby of Abravanel Hall — during Bestor’s annual Christmas show, Dec. 19-21.
High school music and choir departments in the six counties — Salt Lake, Utah, Davis, Weber, Summit and Wasatch — can submit a musical selection from their upcoming holiday concert on Bestor’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/kbestor). There, classmates can vote for their favorites, and the 10 performances with the most “likes” will go into a final round. The top five of those 10 will be picked by Bestor and guest musicians.
http://goo.gl/jcFrc0  (SLT)

A + Teacher of the Week

Erin Madrigal teaches 6th grade at Rolling Meadows Elementary School in West Valley City, and she was named FOX 13 News’ A + Teacher of the Week.
Those who know Madrigal said she recognizes talent and helps students develop and grow. Student Rachel Villapando said she learns a lot from Madrigal.
http://goo.gl/M9NPs3  (KSTU)

Lone Peak High School Choir Concerts

The public is invited to attend the Lone Peak High School Fall Concert on Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. in the Lone Peak auditorium. A Disney Concert is also open to the public on Oct. 24 and Oct. 25 at 7 p.m. Tickets may be purchased from Chamber Choir students or at the school and cost within $5 to $20.
http://goo.gl/nEUtaj (PDH)

Greg Hudnall seminar

Dr. Greg Hudnall will be speaking on substance abuse, bullying, mental health/suicide prevention, and internet safety/pornography. The seminar will be held on Monday, Oct. 21 from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Boardroom of the Nebo District Office, 350 S. Main Street, Spanish Fork.
http://goo.gl/ltE7h6  (PDH)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Jordan bond is necessary, but it’s not a blank check Balance needs with cost-cutting Salt Lake Tribune editorial

Even the Utah Taxpayers Association, which sees few bond proposals it can endorse, stipulates the need for more classroom, gymnasium, cafeteria — even hallway — space and safer, more modern schools in the Jordan School District.
It’s indisputable. The older kids in most schools are not even allowed to use backpacks because with that added bulk the crowds in the hallways wouldn’t be able to move at all. The number of portable classrooms has reached the limit of their practicality, and the lack of space has become detrimental, not only to the comfort and convenience of students and teachers but also to students’ learning.
http://goo.gl/DPM4sG

Proposition 1 is good for taxpayers
Southern Utah News op-ed by Kane County Taxpayer Association

The Kane County School District is asking voters to approve a new school tax levy of .001033 that will appear on our property tax bills in 2014. The Taxpayer Association of Kane County recommends a vote “For” Proposition 1 on November 5.
We know it sounds like heresy for Kane County’s Taxpayer Association to be supporting an increase in property tax.
http://goo.gl/TaveyX

School bond plan a good one
(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Ron Campbell

Over a period of eight months in 2012, several of us participated with individuals of the Cache County School District on a Building Task Force, studying the possible solutions to house students of the district for the next decade. Two major priorities became evident: A) Critical seismic building deficiencies presented a student safety hazard, especially in older elementary school buildings (Lewiston, Wellsville, Millville, Providence and Summit); and B) there appeared no possible way to house coming secondary student population without new buildings. Our Building Task Force initial recommendation, subject to significant budget constraints, included one high school. Public input at District held meetings and a District wide email survey early in 2013 indicated that the CCSD patrons were willing to bond for a higher amount to obtain two high schools and achieve a smaller overall high school size.
http://goo.gl/HtKfLs

Why Doesn’t the Constitution Guarantee the Right to Education?
Every country that outperforms the U.S. has a constitutional or statutory commitment to this right.
Atlantic commentary by STEPHEN LURIE, a writer based in Washington, D.C.

“The Learning Curve,” the global ranking of education systems produced by the publishing company Pearson, is by most accounts a beautiful publication. A harmonious blend of narrative, appealing infographics, and images of joyous learning, the report sets about rating the performance of various school systems as nicely as it can. For the American reader, once they scroll past the advice and best practices, finding the U.S. slot isn’t as pretty. By the report’s latest edition, in 2012, the United States education system sits at 17th place out of 40 countries, and it’s not just behind those socialist Scandinavians. In addition to the classic northern European bloc—Finland (1st), Netherlands (7th), Denmark (9th)—the superior contenders also come from Asia (2nd through 5th), Oceania (New Zealand, 8; Australia, 13), the rest of Europe, and indeed, even Canada (a respectable 10th).
Each of the countries ahead of the U.S. has a fundamental commitment in common, one that the America doesn’t: a constitutional, or statutory, guarantee of the right to education. By centralizing education as a key focus of the state, these countries establish baseline requirements that set the frame for policy and judicial challenges, as well as contribute to what the Pearson report calls a “culture” of education: where “the cultural assumptions and values surrounding an education system do more to support or undermine it than the system can do on its own.” As the U.S. is about to embark on another national attempt at education reform in the Common Core, evidence suggests that a constitutional amendment, that rare beast, is both timely and vital to improved results. Comparing the American to the international approach to educational rights suggests that this reform might be a wise one.
Looking at the fundamental guarantee of education doesn’t just mean looking up the ladder. Thanks to the new Constitute Project, searching the global expanse of constitutions for a particular theme is now possible. “Education” is found in 174 country constitutions—i.e. nearly every single one. For some context, that’s just less than “free” (appearing 176 times), and just more than another term missing from the U.S. Constitution, “health” (170 times).
Every country that bests us in the education rankings either has a constitutional guarantee to education, or does not have a constitution but has ensured the right through an independent statute. Each has constructed law around education as a fundamental right of citizens, at least until the age of adulthood.
http://goo.gl/ZJc2YL

The ‘Universal Pre-K’ Fallacy
Free school for 4-year-olds? Sounds great. Too bad it is of no educational value and the cost would be staggering.
Wall Street Journal op-ed by RED JAHNCKE, president of the Townsend Group, a management consulting firm

Universal pre-kindergarten schooling, every progressive’s fondest dream, is back in the news. Bill de Blasio, the overwhelming favorite in the New York mayoral race and the likely future head of the nation’s largest school system, is pushing universal pre-K as his No. 1 policy proposal. President Obama offered a national version of this idea in his February State of the Union address and has since pushed hard in other settings. Two problems: Such programs would have negligible educational value, and they would be massively expensive.
Mr. de Blasio wants to raise taxes on the city’s rich to collect $530 million annually mostly to fund full-day pre-K. The money would go for 68,000 lower-income New York City children, most of whom already attend publicly funded pre-K either full- (20,000) or part-time (38,000) at a current annual cost of about $190 million. Mr. de Blasio’s proposal means nearly tripling the annual cost for roughly the same group of children.
“Universal” is a misnomer. since Mr. de Blasio’s program would serve only lower-income kids out of a total New York population of about 120,000 four-year-olds. Perhaps, by saying “universal,” Mr. de Blasio intends to rally public support with something seemingly equally available to all. Mr. Obama takes a similar tack, offering the combination of a lofty “universal pre-K” vision with a more limited and targeted program in practice. Yet his program would also cost tens of billions of dollars.
http://goo.gl/bbtdpL

21 Reasons To Quit Your Job And Become A Teacher Huffington Post commentary by columnist Katrina Fried

In a recent article about happiness at work, Harvard professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter suggests that the happiest among us are those who are solving the toughest problems and “making a difference” in people’s lives. If contributing to the betterment of the world is indeed among the keys to happiness, then it’s no wonder that the extraordinary teachers featured in “American Teacher: Heroes of the Classroom” [Welcome Books/Random House] express a deep sense of fulfillment and pleasure in the work that they do day in and day out. Against all odds, each of the fifty educators profiled is making a lasting positive impact on his or her students; the kind of impact that recasts futures, changes lives, and might just inspire the rest of us to consider a second career in education. As Ron Poplau, a 52-year public-school veteran who teaches high school community service in Shawnee, Kansas, explains to his students, “the doer of good becomes good.” Still need a nudge? Here are 21 excellent reasons to quit your job and become a teacher:
http://goo.gl/INlqvS

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Study: Poor children are now the majority in American public schools in South, West Washington Post

A majority of students in public schools throughout the American South and West are low-income for the first time in at least four decades, according to a new study that details a demographic shift with broad implications for the country.
The analysis by the Southern Education Foundation, the nation’s oldest education philanthropy, is based on the number of students from preschool through 12th grade who were eligible for the federal free and reduced-price meals program in the 2010-11 school year.
The meals program run by the Department of Agriculture is a rough proxy for poverty, because a family of four could earn no more than $40,793 a year to qualify in 2011.
Children from those low-income families dominated classrooms in 13 states in the South and the four Western states with the largest populations in 2011, researchers found. A decade earlier, just four states reported poor children as a majority of the student population in their public schools.
But by 2011, almost half of the nation’s 50 million public-school students — 48 percent — qualified for free or reduced-price meals. In some states, such as Mississippi, that proportion rose as high as 71 percent.
http://goo.gl/CslJu2

A copy of the study
http://goo.gl/zVwFuc (Southern Education Foundation)

Florida Board of Education rejects parts of Common Core associated with benchmarks Tampa Bay (FL) Times

TAMPA — Hoping to quell some opposition to the controversial Common Core State Standards, the state Board of Education on Tuesday opted not to adopt the reading samples associated with the new national benchmarks.
The board also decided against adopting the student writing samples and suggestions on how to structure math classes.
State Education Commissioner Pam Stewart said local school systems would still have the option to use the documents, known collectively as the Common Core appendices.
But, she said, “these are not becoming a required list of ancillary materials for districts to have to use.”
The 5-1 vote to reject the appendices, taken at the urging of Gov. Rick Scott, was among several closely watched decisions made Tuesday.
http://goo.gl/5xahYF

Common Core is here to stay, state education board says New Orleans Times-Picayune

Common Core is here to stay in Louisiana, but perhaps with some slight changes. The state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education reaffirmed its five-year commitment to the controversial national school standards Wednesday, agreeing to consider modifications after a five-hour public hearing that raised many concerns Tuesday night.
“Based on confusion from yesterday, we want to make sure parents are sure we’ve listened to these items and that we are making steps to make sure districts are clear on what they can and can’t do,” board President Chas Roemer said. Among the upcoming changes:
* The Education Department will update its report on the “value-added” part of teacher evaluation scores and how these scores will be calculated under Common Core assessments
* BESE could give local school systems even more control over writing and implementing their curricula to meet Common Core standards.
* Students’ Social Security numbers won’t be used as their test identification numbers.
http://goo.gl/TZ8rIR

Amid GOP Struggles, Jeb Bush Focuses on Education Associated Press

BOSTON — Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is calling on elected leaders to improve a national education system he says is “woefully behind the times.”
Bush is thought to be weighing a 2016 presidential bid. He spoke Thursday at an education summit in Boston hosted by his nonprofit organization.
The Republican leader endorses school vouchers, performance pay for teachers and the end of teacher tenure, among other reforms.
http://goo.gl/XCxR5z

Radical Washington D.C. teacher-evaluation plan worked, study says Politico

When Michelle Rhee, then chancellor of the D.C. public schools, announced a radical plan to rate teachers’ effectiveness on a numerical scale, then fire the worst and give the best huge pay hikes, even her staff wondered whether it could possibly work.
A study out Thursday concludes that it did — but skeptics remain unconvinced.
The paper, released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, finds that in the three years after Rhee’s system was implemented in 2009, the D.C. school district shed many of its lowest performing teachers, kept its superstars and improved the quality of classroom instruction.
Numerous other studies in cities across the U.S. have shown that straight-up merit pay — promising teachers bonuses if they can boost student test scores — does not work.
But D.C.’s IMPACT system used a unique combination of carrots, sticks and a helping hand: Good teachers earned bonuses of up to $25,000 and were eligible for permanent raises of up to $27,000. Low performers were given a year to improve or face dismissal. And the district invested heavily in instructional coaches to help all teachers grow. Over time, those forces created a more effective teaching corps, said Thomas Dee, an education professor at Stanford and co-author of the study.
http://goo.gl/f2MKbm

L.A. Unified considers slower iPad rollout Supt. John Deasy is on board with a plan that would extend by a year a $1-billon school tablet program, after problems emerged during initial distribution.
Los Angeles Times

The rollout of a $1-billion school iPad program would be extended by a year under a new plan by the Los Angeles Unified School District, doubling the time originally allotted for getting tablets to every student.
The slow-down is a substantial concession by L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy to critics inside and outside the system who questioned whether the district has been pushing too fast in distributing about 650,000 devices to teachers and students.
Problems quickly emerged during efforts to provide the devices to 47 campuses this fall. At three high schools, more than 300 students deleted security filters and browsed unauthorized websites. As a result, all students were required to turn in tablets at these campuses; students at other campuses must use the devices only on school grounds. There also has been confusion over issues such as whether parents are liable for the iPads if they are lost or broken.
Deasy has defended the pace and scope of the program as a civil rights imperative: to give low-income students in his school system the same digital advantages as more prosperous families.
In the face of eroding support on the Board of Education, however, Deasy on Tuesday adopted a conciliatory tone.
http://goo.gl/wP9utL

Model school aims to retrain teachers in ABCs of reading instruction NewsHour

Learning to read is the essential foundation of elementary education, but it’s also very complex and many students in America are falling behind. John Tulenko of Learning Matters reports on one model school that has re-trained teachers in hands-on skills and strategies and has dramatically improved proficiency scores.
http://goo.gl/IDbkQS

Rebecca Sedwick suicide: What response is needed to combat cyberbullying?
Rebecca Sedwick, 12, jumped to her death last month, and two girls are now arrested on aggravated stalking charges. Some analysts warn that criminalization of cyberbullying won’t solve the problem.
Christian Science Monitor

Two Florida girls who allegedly harassed and bullied 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick before she committed suicide last month were arrested Monday night on felony charges of aggravated stalking.
The girls, who are 12 and 14 years old, are accused of threatening to beat Rebecca up and sending her messages encouraging her to kill herself. “Drink bleach and die,” one of the messages reportedly said.
Authorities have been investigating the harassment since Rebecca jumped to her death last month. They’ve said as many as 15 girls may have been involved in the online bullying that they believe was a factor in her suicide.
The case is the latest – and involves one of the youngest victims – of a number of suicides that have brought increased attention to the problem of cyberbullying. But experts focused on the issue say that cases that end in suicide are still relatively rare and that criminalizing cyberbullying isn’t necessarily the best approach to stopping it.
http://goo.gl/0R7L5W

Court Considers Calif. School’s May 5 US Flag Ban Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Racial tensions and gang problems were plaguing a Northern California high school when three students arrived for classes in 2010 wearing American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo.
Unpleasant verbal exchanges and altercations marked the previous year’s Cinco de Mayo celebrations at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, 20 miles south of San Jose. So when students told administrators that trouble was a possibility because of the American flag attire, the students were ordered to turn their shirts inside out or go home.
They went home, and the incident sparked a national debate, prompting satellite news trucks to camp outside the school for several days afterward as well-known pundits across the political spectrum argued about the issue over the airwaves. Cinco de Mayo is observed by some as a celebration of Mexican heritage.
The three students have since graduated, but a federal appeals court in San Francisco on Thursday was set to consider their lawsuit alleging the school violated their free speech and equal protections rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. A decision in the students’ favor could restrict how broadly schools are able to limit student speech on the grounds that it’s offensive.
http://goo.gl/xMiDdz

States Enact Laws to Stock Epinephrine at Schools Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — When a third-grade student who had been stung by a wasp developed welts on his neck and had trouble breathing, school nurse Amanda Williams had the necessary dose of epinephrine to counter the allergic reaction.
A law Tennessee enacted this year makes it easier for schools to stock the life-saving drug. Williams said the emergency room doctor told the boy’s parents that he probably wouldn’t have survived without the injection at Tellico Plains Elementary because it’s a 30-minute drive to the nearest hospital.
“It would have been tragic,” she said.
Fifteen other states enacted similar laws in 2013, joining 11 others that already had them, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. While only four of the states require schools to have the medication on hand, all the laws allow schools to stock it without a prescription for an individual person – a legal hurdle in many places – and provide legal protection for staff members who administer it.
http://goo.gl/sfNpti

Q&A: Melinda Gates Talks Teacher Quality Education Week

Education Week Assistant Editor Stephen Sawchuk sat down last week in New York City with Melinda Gates, the co-chair and a trustee of the foundation that bears her and her husband’s names, to discuss its investments in teacher quality and other matters related to its work in the K-12 sphere.
Ms. Gates was in New York to visit New Visions Charter High School for the Humanities II, in the Bronx, and to talk with local teachers about professional development and implementation of the Common Core State Standards.
Also on hand and answering some questions was Vicki Phillips, the director of college-ready education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Seattle-based philanthropy is the nation’s largest foundation—with some $38 billion in assets, according to its website—and has put hundreds of millions of dollars into projects and supports to reshape the teaching profession. (The Gates Foundation also provides support for coverage of business and K-12 innovation in Education Week.)
Below, edited for length and clarity, are excerpts from the Oct. 9 interview. Among other issues, Ms. Gates addressed criticism of the foundation’s work, how its support for new teacher-evaluation systems has played out on the ground, and the foundation’s possible next steps in education philanthropy.
http://goo.gl/NOUUy0

Why Are So Many Kids Getting Myopia?
Spending too much time indoors may impair children’s vision.
Slate

Myopia isn’t an infectious disease, but it has reached nearly epidemic proportions in parts of Asia. In Taiwan, for example, the percentage of 7-year-old children suffering from nearsightedness increased from 5.8 percent in 1983 to 21 percent in 2000. An incredible 81 percent of Taiwanese 15-year-olds are myopic. If you think that the consequences of myopia are limited to a lifetime of wearing spectacles—and, let’s be honest, small children look adorable in eyeglasses—you are mistaken. The prevalence of high myopia, an extreme form of the disorder, in Asia has more than doubled since the 1980s, and children who suffer myopia early in life are more likely to progress to high myopia. High myopia is a risk factor for such serious problems as retinal detachment, glaucoma, early-onset cataracts, and blindness.
The explosion of myopia is a serious public health concern, and doctors have struggled to identify the source of the problem. Nearsightedness has a strong element of heritability, but the surge in cases shows that a child’s environment plays a significant role. A variety of risk factors has been linked to the disorder: frequent reading, participation in sports, television watching, protein intake, and depression. When each risk factor was isolated, however, its overall effect on myopia rates seemed to be fairly minimal.
Researchers believe they are now closing in on a primary culprit: too much time indoors.
http://goo.gl/lu1mmt

A Football App Shares Strategies With Coaches Reuters

Football is a complex sport, with millions of options for each run or pass play. For coaches, the biggest challenge is in finding the time to dream up new strategies that will work from year to year. That’s difficult enough when you’re a pro, but it’s an almost insurmountable task for the part-time coaches in the high-school, small-college and youth-league ranks.
This inspired former NFL assistant coach Charles Coiner to launch FirstDown PlayBook DropBack for middle-school, high-school and college teams, and FirstDown PlayBook Youth, a simpler version for younger leagues. The DropBack app, currently limited to iOS devices, has a database of more than 5,000 plays–many used in real-game situations by Coiner over his career, which spans 27 years and includes stints with the Buffalo Bills and Chicago Bears, as well as at the University of North Carolina. “In many cases, the app is saving these [coaches] considerable amounts of time,” Coiner says.
http://goo.gl/Qd8SoA

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