Education News Roundup: Nov. 12, 2013

"Van Gogh Inspired Sunflowers" by Oakdale Elementary. Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program.

“Van Gogh Inspired Sunflowers” by Oakdale Elementary. Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program.

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

Utah public school population up 2 percent in 2013.
http://goo.gl/SrhGxH  (SLT)
and http://goo.gl/v2ZKTX  (DN)
and http://goo.gl/INBL3D  (OSE)
and http://goo.gl/0PyUS5 (PDH)
and http://goo.gl/cW82P2  (SGS)
and http://goo.gl/1r77OC  (CVD)
and http://goo.gl/n9KZEU  (KUTV)
and http://goo.gl/TC0wqN  (KCSG)
and http://goo.gl/XVL9ta (MUR)
or a copy of the dataset
http://goo.gl/z4dfH9  (USOE)

Parent review panel gives thumbs up to proposed Utah test questions for this spring.
http://goo.gl/Gua0RE (SLT)
and http://goo.gl/iwiAyI (DN)

Legislature discusses responsibilities for student academic performance.
http://goo.gl/zhsHJ3  (DN)
and http://goo.gl/qhhChS (OSE)
and http://goo.gl/hzBs7t  (KSTU)
and http://goo.gl/JreA8c  (MUR)

$150 for getting through Math 1050 in high school?
http://goo.gl/SqUfjt  (OSE)

It’s Utah College Application Week.
http://goo.gl/Yeq9Ju  (DN)
and http://goo.gl/H30rZZ  (SLT)

Judge Memorial principal defends Common Core.
http://goo.gl/yANPKX  (SLT)

Anti-Common Core group schedules a keep-your-kids-home-from-school day next Monday.
http://goo.gl/nBSb5h  (Syracuse Post-Standard)
and http://goo.gl/n37Cxo  (HuffPo)

Camelot not as shiny as it once was in high school history textbooks.
http://goo.gl/0KK8W3  (NYT)

Picture this: Haley Joel Osment whispering the phrase, “I see educated people.” M. Night Shyamalan writes a book on education.
http://goo.gl/0KK8W3  (Atlantic)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Utah’s schools educating 11,566 more students this year
The superintendent’s report also notes that the share of ethnic minority students rose to 23.5 percent statewide.

Utah parents say new end-of-year tests largely agenda-free
Education » Even those who oppose Common Core find little objectionable.

Lawmakers discuss responsibilities of parents, schools, Legislature

Lawmaker suggests offering incentives for math scores

Lawmaker pushes expanded reading program in Ogden

School Districts have not yet finalized bond votes

Provo School District invites comments on bond proposal

Mayor Ben McAdams, educators encourage students to apply to college

Utah schools raise reading levels, diminish achievement gap

Box Elder teen sisters push for Gay Straight Alliance club

Cyberbullying a growing problem
Utah schools, law enforcement aim to be proactive

Playing doctor: Syracuse High students hone skills using pigs’ feet

Weber County Sheriff officers demonstrate wares to school kids

Provo veterans honored at Timpview Freedom Festival

South Utah County schools honor veterans

Students at American Preparatory Academy honor veterans

WSU nursing students usher in Ogden Veterans Home celebration

Teacher battling cancer welcomed back with Pink Out

Third grade students’ art decorates Logan buses

Thermo Fisher science fair finalists selected

Westlake Marching Band wins state 4A championship

Radon poster contest winners announced

School awards students for personal best, overcomes labels

High Schoolers Jockey to be ‘Fastest Geek’

Trailer released for movie filmed at Pleasant Grove High

From Alabama to Wyoming: Which states have the highest average ACT and SAT scores

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Teachers’ departures a concern

The winners and the losers

Above and beyond IV

What Common Core standards are and aren’t

Making Utah the best place for business and kids

Ogden district making progress

Who is responsible for what?

Voting against school bond is choosing ignorance

Who voted against Jordan bond, Jordan children?

Lee’s child tax credit is irresponsible

School officials should notify parents of bullies

Stop ignoring teaching contraception

Pledge allegiance

Wall Street sees social-impact bonds as way to do good and do well

The Stereotypes About Math That Hold Americans Back
Speed doesn’t matter, and there’s no such thing as a “math person.” How the Common Core’s approach to the discipline could correct these misperceptions.

How Congress Can Improve Teacher Education

Education, Mississippi government finances tightly linked

‘The New Public’ on Poverty and Education

NATION

Schools Still See Surges in Homeless Students

Central New York parents protest: National Keep Your Child Out of School Day

Textbooks Reassess Kennedy, Putting Camelot Under Siege

At some schools, ‘Big Brother’ is watching

Pot problems in Colorado schools increase with legalization

Coach remembers Arizona high school football player who died after head injury

Simcityedu: A Video Game that Tests Kids While Killing the Bubble Test
A $10.3 Million Collaboration Between Electronic Arts, Pearson, and a Nonprofit yields a Simulation Game that Tests Thinking and Emotion, Not Just Knowledge.

These 11 Leaders Are Running Education But Have Never Taught

‘I Don’t Know Anything’: Why M. Night Shyamalan Wrote a Book on Education
An interview with the film director who believes he has the five keys to closing America’s achievement gap

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UTAH NEWS
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Utah’s schools educating 11,566 more students this year
The superintendent’s report also notes that the share of ethnic minority students rose to 23.5 percent statewide.

Utah’s charter schools continue to add students at a faster clip than do traditional schools, contributing to an overall increase of nearly 2 percent — 11,566 students — in public-school enrollment this year.
Utah now has 612,551 public school students, Superintendent of Schools Martell Menlove reported Friday to the Board of Education.
Charter school enrollment rose by 8 percent — slower than last year’s 13.2 percent pace of growth — to 54,900. Nearly 9 percent of public school students now attend charters, which are run independently of districts.
http://goo.gl/SrhGxH  (SLT)

http://goo.gl/v2ZKTX  (DN)

http://goo.gl/INBL3D  (OSE)

http://goo.gl/0PyUS5  (PDH)

http://goo.gl/cW82P2  (SGS)

http://goo.gl/1r77OC  (CVD)

http://goo.gl/n9KZEU  (KUTV)

http://goo.gl/TC0wqN  (KCSG)

http://goo.gl/XVL9ta  (MUR)

A copy of the dataset
http://goo.gl/z4dfH9  (USOE)

Utah parents say new end-of-year tests largely agenda-free
Education » Even those who oppose Common Core find little objectionable.

Parents of Utah schoolchildren who spent the past week reviewing questions for new end-of-year tests were generally surprised and happy to find little evidence they were aimed at pushing an agenda.
“They were just relieved there was nothing sinister about the test questions,” said Rep. Dana Layton, R-Orem, one of three legislators who met with the 15-member Parent Review Committee and Utah Board of Education members Friday.
The five parents contacted by The Salt Lake Tribune agreed.
“The test was not riddled with controversial or indoctrinating material,” parent Christine Ruiz, of West Haven, an opponent of the Common Core, wrote in an email.
http://goo.gl/Gua0RE  (SLT)

http://goo.gl/iwiAyI  (DN)

Lawmakers discuss responsibilities of parents, schools, Legislature

SALT LAKE CITY — In terms of education, what are the responsibilities of parents, local school boards and elected lawmakers?
That was the question discussed by members of the Education Task Force Tuesday, as lawmakers examined and recommended changes to a strategic plan developed after several months of meetings with parents and educators.
The framework, currently in draft form, is presented as a bull’s-eye circulating around a student with levels for parents, local schools, school districts, school boards and Legislature extending in that order from the center. On each level is a series of bullet points listing the responsibilities of that person or entity.
http://goo.gl/zhsHJ3  (DN)

http://goo.gl/qhhChS  (OSE)

http://goo.gl/hzBs7t (KSTU)

http://goo.gl/JreA8c (MUR)

Lawmaker suggests offering incentives for math scores

SALT LAKE CITY — Citing math as the graveyard of higher education students trying to graduate, a Utah lawmaker has suggested the state might want to consider incentives to have high school students raise their math proficiency.
Sen. Steve Urquhart, R-St. George, said the state can’t raise its college completion rate from a 38-40 percent rate, unless it deals with math before students to get to college. He suggested the state should potentially consider granting a small scholarship, he said $150, to high school students who get through a college 1050 math class in high school. He said currently only 10 percent of Utah students graduate from high school with that college credit.
“If there is one thing we could change it would be college readiness, more specifically math readiness. If we could talk about it that would be a silver bullet to cure many ills,” Urquhart said.
He worries a change in missionary age for many LDS students in the state, delaying their entrance to college, the number of graduates and math struggles will be even worse.
Urquhart’s discussion of math proficiency came as part of a legislative task education force discussion of a draft report being prepared for the Legislature for 2014.
http://goo.gl/SqUfjt  (OSE)

Lawmaker pushes expanded reading program in Ogden

SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake County lawmaker wants to expand a University of Utah reading instruction program for grades K-3 to Ogden and Cedar City.
Citing the success of the program in its current location, Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, has proposed expanding a U of U reading clinic to Weber County and to southern Utah. He said the program partners with local schools to stress teacher professional development and facilitates direct student intervention.
He proposes $275,000 be used to set up the program in Ogden for the first year of operation and another $275,000 be spent in Cedar City to get the program operational. He said a bill in the 2014 session will proposed the program expansion.
He said he targeted Ogden and Cedar City based on demand and interest from local colleges wanting teachers to go through training and local schools asking for professional development.
http://goo.gl/Ssfv3f  (OSE)

School Districts have not yet finalized bond votes

By the time votes were counted on November 5, election day, both the Logan and Cache County School Districts appeared to have won their respective bond elections. However, the celebrating hasn’t started yet.
That is because there are still approximately 300 provisional votes to be counted by the Cache County Clerk’s office.
http://goo.gl/qmPXaa  (CVD)

Provo School District invites comments on bond proposal

PROVO — The Provo School District is seeking comment regarding a proposed $90 million bond to reconstruct five of the district’s schools.
The vote on the bond will not be cast until November 2014, but there will be several open houses this month to gather information from community members about the proposal.
http://goo.gl/YTU2u7  (PDH)

http://goo.gl/awQ2wS  (KSTU)

Mayor Ben McAdams, educators encourage students to apply to college

MURRAY — This week, hundreds of Utah high school seniors will submit college and university applications as part of a push to increase enrollment in higher education.
Among those students is Cottonwood High School senior Berkely Mitchell, who plans on applying to Dixie State and Southern Utah universities on her way to becoming a pediatric anesthesiologist.
“It’s beyond scary,” she said of the impending end of her high school days. “I’m an inquisitive person, so I’m probably going to have a lot (of questions). It’s nice to have resources available.”
The Utah College Application Week, which began Monday, is a pilot program involving three school districts and sponsored by the Utah System of Higher Education. During the week, volunteers at eight Utah high schools will assist students in submitting their applications. Application fee waivers are also available to low-income and first-generation students to provide extra incentive.
http://goo.gl/Yeq9Ju  (DN)

http://goo.gl/H30rZZ  (SLT)

Utah schools raise reading levels, diminish achievement gap

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s eighth-graders made statistically significant gains in reading performance in 2013, fueled by improvement among minority and economically disadvantaged students, according to a new report.
The National Assessment of Education Progress, which tracks the performance of fourth- and eighth-grade students in math and reading, reports that Utah’s eighth-grade class climbed three points in reading from 267 in 2011, to 270 in 2013 on a 500-point scale.
Demographic breakdowns suggest Utah is making strides in closing achievement gaps in reading. Eighth-grade reading scores for Hispanic students rose by nine points, with Asian and Pacific Islander students climbing seven points and students qualified for free and reduced lunch gaining six points.
Scores for white students and students who do not qualify for free and reduced price lunch rose by two points.
http://goo.gl/3n7uN6  (KSL)

Box Elder teen sisters push for Gay Straight Alliance club

BRIGHAM CITY — The Box Elder School District has been facing public accusations of gay bias over circumstances that may just be really bad timing.
On Oct. 8, Superintendent Ronald Wolff said he was given a formal application submitted by a Box Elder High student who wanted to start a Gay Straight Alliance club at her school.
On Oct. 9, the Box Elder school board considered a proposal to ban all student clubs that are not curriculum based, which would prevent the Gay Straight Alliance and several other pending clubs from forming. It would also disband seven existing district clubs that don’t have direct links to curriculum, such as a rodeo club, and student services clubs associated with the Kiwanas and the Rotary.
http://goo.gl/Btu3Od  (OSE)

Cyberbullying a growing problem
Utah schools, law enforcement aim to be proactive

Just 20 years ago, if kids wanted to start a nasty rumor about one of their classmates, they often used the bathroom walls, locker rooms and the back of the bus. Those messages eliminated with with soap and water or a can of paint, often as fast as they went up.
But kids today don’t use a pen to share their message — and rumors that once took days to spread around a school today take minutes, as cellphone texts and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter get the word out instantly, and to a far broader audience.
Referred to as cyberbullying, high school scandals and middle school dramas have taken on a whole new meaning with modern-day technology.
http://goo.gl/qXC9Hl  (SGS)

Playing doctor: Syracuse High students hone skills using pigs’ feet

One October day, students in a Syracuse High School medical anatomy and physiology class had an unusual hands-on experience — learning how to properly do sutures, on pigs’ feet.
The session was coached by Kevin Karician, a Weber State University specialist who helps provide hands-on opportunities for medical anatomy classes. Karician taught students how to perform different kinds of sutures such as the surgeon’s knot and the regular knot.
The purpose of this activity, in teacher Troy Anderson’s class, was to show students how stitches should help bring parts of the skin back together after a bad incision or a cut. If not properly handled, infection and scarring could occur.
http://goo.gl/3IOwdA  (OSE)

Weber County Sheriff officers demonstrate wares to school kids

WEST HAVEN — Students at Rocky Mountain Junior High have gotten an up-close look at what a career in law enforcement entails.
Students gathered in the school library Friday morning to hear from several officers, including their school resource officer, Weber County Sheriff’s Deputy Cortney Ryan, as part of a career options program.
Ryan said he was surprised by how many hands rose — at least 15 — when he asked who was interested in a law enforcement career.
http://goo.gl/saOSRi  (OSE)

Provo veterans honored at Timpview Freedom Festival

A program with dance, choir, and band was held for veterans and their families, as well as the student body. Keynote speaker Sterling Poulson from Channel Two spoke of past presidents focusing on “honoring veterans as a way to honor our country.” Students were encouraged to thank the veterans.
“Poulson’s speech was focused on students understanding the importance of veterans to us,” said student Rachel Sybrowsky, the student body officer in charge of the event.
http://goo.gl/CNtJXR  (Universe)

South Utah County schools honor veterans

In the United States today, there are 20 million living veterans. These are men and women who have fought or are fighting to protect our freedoms. To honor these veterans, many schools conducted special assemblies Monday, including Park View Elementary in Payson, which welcomed country music singer Nathan Osmond to entertain students, staff, parents and veterans.
“It is such a joy for us to have Nathan come to our school to help us honor Veterans Day,” said Kristie Reynolds, Park View principal. “I think we need to make Veterans Day a big deal for these men and women who fought for our freedoms, and this is why we decided to do this at our school.”
http://goo.gl/azXNDA  (PDH)

Students at American Preparatory Academy honor veterans

DRAPER, Utah — More than 3,800 students in Draper gathered to honor veterans Friday.
Students and faculty at the American Preparatory Academy got a big head start on Veterans Day activities with two events.
http://goo.gl/ULZefN  (KSTU)

WSU nursing students usher in Ogden Veterans Home celebration

OGDEN — Much of the magic of a Veterans Day celebration Friday at the George E. Wahlen Ogden Veterans Home occurred before and after the festivities.
Weber State University nursing students were on hand to usher in the veterans for the program, and the affection between the veterans and students was apparent.

The program was designed to thank the veterans for their wartime and post-war sacrifices.
Fifth- and sixth-grade students from Majestic Elementary School sang patriotic songs during the program.
http://goo.gl/g8fDuX  (OSE)

Teacher battling cancer welcomed back with Pink Out

SYRACUSE — A second-grade teacher battling breast cancer got quite a surprise when she came back to school Monday.
Louise Inderreiden was greeted by Joseph Cook Elementary students and teachers all dressed in pink, who gathered to welcome her back following her absence from the first term of school.
http://goo.gl/yFSHvW  (DN)

http://goo.gl/v0ArVT (OSE)

http://goo.gl/8cgLxR  (KSL)

Third grade students’ art decorates Logan buses

LOGAN, Utah—Buses in the Cache Valley area just got a new paint job courtesy of some young students.
The buses were painted by third grade students at a Smithfield elementary school, and for many of them it’s their first chance to see their art published for the public to see.
http://goo.gl/XshquF  (KSTU)

Thermo Fisher science fair finalists selected

After weeks of preparation, six teams were selected to move on to the finals of Thermo Fisher’s Scientific Applied Science Solutions Program science fair.
http://goo.gl/ycDOjw  (LHJ)

Westlake Marching Band wins state 4A championship

High-stepping while playing lively western-themed music, the Westlake High School Thunder Marching Band won the state 4A title on Nov. 1 and placed fourth in a multi-state Western regional marching band competition the following day.
For the second year in a row the Westlake band returned home to Saratoga Springs with the state title from the Utah Music Educators Association (UMEA) Red Rocks Invitational at Dixie State University in St. George.
http://goo.gl/HWp7Yb  (PDH)

Radon poster contest winners announced

SALT LAKE CITY — Winners have been announced in the Utah Department of Environmental Quality Division of Radiation Control’s 2014 National Radon Poster Contest.
First place went to Ali MaCall Jenkins, 12, a student at Mapleton Junior High, for “Stop Radon Before it Stops You or Someone You Love!” Second place was awarded to Megan Morrin, 10, of Alpine Elementary, for “Time’s Up! Check for Radon.” The third-place winner was Joseph Hardin, 14, Aspire Scholar Academy-Homeschool Co-op, for “Solve the Puzzle, Fit the Pieces Together.”
http://goo.gl/SMITgk (DN)

School awards students for personal best, overcomes labels

SALT LAKE CITY — One school in the Granite School District is trying a new way to recognize when students are at their personal best. Officials say their goal is to recognize every single student in the school.
If a kid is labeled by his peers as a “brainiac,” a geek or a problem child, that reputation could stick with that student unless a teacher does something about it.
“Kids are often defined by their peers,” said Kysa Osborne, a licensed clinical social worker at Monroe Elementary School. “When they’ve had past misbehavior, their peers see them as in a static condition instead of in a condition of improvement and their being able to change.”
Osborne said their “Rising Leadership Star” and “Star Leadership” awards honor students who are not only doing well, but also kids who are noticeably trying to improve.
http://goo.gl/8ggIHA (KSL)

High Schoolers Jockey to be ‘Fastest Geek’

Students at Hunter High School in West Valley competed in the sixth annual Fastest Geek Contest on Friday. Students who entered put their computer-building skills to the test by reassembling a desktop computer as quickly as possible.
http://goo.gl/bNRCS7  (KCPW)

Trailer released for movie filmed at Pleasant Grove High

A new trailer was released last week for a movie filmed entirely in Utah, including large portions filmed over the summer at Pleasant Grove High School.
The film, set for a 2014 release, features “a mother and daughter who escape their old town in the middle of the night and start fresh in a new town and school, only to find that their past can still catch up with them,” according to the film’s Facebook page.
http://goo.gl/mzuhdA  (PDH)

From Alabama to Wyoming: Which states have the highest average ACT and SAT scores

With graduation around the corner, students are finishing up their college applications for 2014.
An important part of college applications are the ACT and SAT tests. Although not every school requires both tests to be taken for admittance, students generally chose one test or the other to take.
Here is a compilation of the highest ACT and SAT score averages in the country. The average ACT score and SAT score were combined to create the total score a state received.
http://goo.gl/JNZrKf  (DN)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Teachers’ departures a concern
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

It’s no secret that many teachers in the Ogden School District, and some administrators, are not happy with the district leadership. If one talks in confidence, there’s an earful of gripes, including charges of a district leadership that is disinterested in teachers’ opinions, preferring to see some educators as adversaries to be overcome rather than as professionals integral to students’ success.
As a result, it’s not surprising that an unusually large percentage of Ogden School District teachers left at the end of the 2012-2013. Fifteen percent of all Ogden district teachers left at the end of the year. That doesn’t compare well to other districts, including Weber (6 percent) and Davis (5.5 percent).
The teachers’ departures are a concern. It’s critical to remember that teachers, and not the district superintendent or school board, are the most important factor in a student’s success.
http://goo.gl/OYHbCe

Cal Grondahl editorial cartoon
http://goo.gl/UknWIQ

The winners and the losers
Deseret News editorial

Winner: Utah’s eighth-graders showed significant improvement in reading performance in 2013, compared to eighth-graders in years past. The latest National Assessment of Education Progress figures show that much of the progress is happening among minority and low-income students, which is particularly good news. In the past, measurements have shown that those students perform poorly in comparison to others in Utah. Math scores remained statistically the same as in 2011, but were still above the national average. We hope the improvement develops into a long-term trend.
http://goo.gl/lu5KLA

Above and beyond IV
Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist Paul Rolly

A story recently in the West Jordan Journal chronicled members of the Copper Hills High baseball team sharing their skills with special-needs youngsters.
The team went to West Jordan’s SME Steel Field of Dreams to work with the youths from the Miracle League Adaptive Baseball program, part of Salt Lake County’s adaptive-recreation offerings.
Each Copper Hills player, according to the story, worked in “buddy” mode with a Miracle League player, helping with batting, fielding and base running.
http://goo.gl/CeYM0x

What Common Core standards are and aren’t
Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Rick Bartman, principal of Judge Memorial Catholic High School

As a high school principal, I, like colleagues in 45 other states and the District of Columbia, have had to dissect what Common Core is and isn’t. At Judge Memorial we have worked with our English and mathematics departments to study and develop curricula that meet or exceed the Common Core standards.
In math, three states have chosen an integrated pathway of the standards as opposed to the traditional pathway: Utah, North Carolina and West Virginia. These three have adopted an alternative that may not completely reflect the collegial standards agreed upon by the other 42 adoptive states.
Common Core is not a federal government conspiracy. Nor is it a curriculum, as some believe. Rather, the standards were formulated by educators across the nation and adopted as a framework for districts and schools to develop curriculum.
http://goo.gl/yANPKX

Making Utah the best place for business and kids
Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Karen Crompton, executive director of Voices for Utah Children, and David Milliken, president of Salt Lake City-based Milcom, Inc.

As much of the country continues to grapple with the economic downturn, our state’s economy has expanded at a rate of 2.3 percent since 2006. For three years in a row Utah has been recognized by Forbes Magazine as the best state for business.
If we plan to keep it that way, we need to take steps to ensure we maximize the return on investment for our state’s greatest resource, our children, through early-childhood education.
Research shows that targeted investments in early-childhood education help to build the foundation of skills necessary for children to compete in the world and capitalize on opportunity. Providing high-quality early-childhood education will strengthen our children’s success in school, work and life — results that lead to big returns for Utah’s stake in the global economy.
Unfortunately, not every parent can afford early-childhood education that will make sure their children arrive at kindergarten with the knowledge and skills they need for success. Sixty percent of Utah’s 3- and 4-year-olds are not enrolled in preschool programs — a missed opportunity for higher achievement for them and Utah.
That’s because the achievement gap opens long before kindergarten, and quality early-childhood education can help us prevent it.
http://goo.gl/p45SQ7

Ogden district making progress
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner op-ed by Shane Story, Ogden School Board president

For many years Ogden city has been saddled with a bad reputation for everything from crime, poverty, and poor education. Many people have worked diligently to change not only the reputation of the city, but that the actual city to be a shining beacon in the state. I applaud everyone’s efforts to make these changes and Ogden is becoming a shining beacon in the state, nation and the world.
As I have chosen to live in Ogden and raise my family here, I became very familiar with the Ogden School District and the challenges it faced and faces. I became so aware that I became involved through PTAs, community councils, committees, and eventually ran and was elected twice to the school board. I am currently serving as president of the Ogden School Board.
As a district, we faced and face major challenges.
http://goo.gl/9HiXgy

Who is responsible for what?
Commentary by Charter Solutions President Lincoln Fillmore

The Education Talk Force is working to create a strategic plan to guide education policy for the next generation.
This is both good and probably fruitless.
http://goo.gl/pV3L0E

Voting against school bond is choosing ignorance
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Joan Ogden

I have to wonder about my fellow citizens who vote against school bonds and other school funding in a state where we proudly claim we care about our children.
It makes me think of the comment I heard many years ago: “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.”
http://goo.gl/5fzmTL

Who voted against Jordan bond, Jordan children?
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Keith Dover

Thousands of my neighbors squeezed into local elementary schools to vote down a bond issue that would have built new schools and made existing schools safe for the children in this fast-growing community (“$495M Jordan school bond loses big in Tuesday election,” Tribune, Nov. 5). Who are these people?
My wife and I live on Social Security, so every penny is budgeted. We have no children or grandchildren in South Jordan. But I voted for the school bond for the sake of my neighbor’s children because their future is worth at least $300 to me. I look around and see all the things I’ve spent $300 on and shake my head. What’s more important than a child’s education?
Who are these people who so vigorously voted down a local school bond in a state that is last in the nation in educational spending?
http://goo.gl/k3Ikvg

Lee’s child tax credit is irresponsible
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Michael Cooper

Mike Lee now wants to create an additional $2,500 per-child tax credit for parents (“Utah’s Sen. Mike Lee: GOP squabbles help the party,” Tribune, Oct 30). This is a fiscally irresponsible policy, brought to us by Utah’s self-professed conservative tea party leader. Who will foot the bill for the lost revenue? It will be other taxpayers who are not responsible for the propagation of these children.
Lee has previously proven that, fiscally, he does not practice what he preaches in his own life, but this is the icing on the cake. Now he proposes a policy contradictory to his own prophecy. Parents already receive child tax credits that lead to underfunding the education system, among other injustices. So now, let us place more of the burden on those not accountable for the problem.
http://goo.gl/7dwq5c

School officials should notify parents of bullies
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Joan L. Coles

I agree with the Tribune editorial, “Tell the parents” (Our View, Nov. 4) that the parents of bullied and despondent children should be informed, but it does not go nearly far enough. The parents of bullies should also be notified.
Surely they would be dismayed with their children’s cruel behavior, and surely they would want to take steps to deal with it.
http://goo.gl/zvjwnD

Stop ignoring teaching contraception
(Provo) Daily Herald letter from Brittany Christensen

Did you know a study done in Utah showed that one in four Utah teens had Chlamydia sometime during 2012? We need to start implementing a comprehensive sex education program that includes both abstinence and contraception. Because let’s face it, by 19, 70% of Americans have had intercourse. A multitude of studies show that abstinence-only programs actually increase the rate of teens having sex and the rate of those teens not using any form of contraception.
Our state legislature is working on a bill that makes it so that schools have to teach abstinence-only, or drop their sex ed program altogether. Do we think that parents will pick up where the schools leave off?
http://goo.gl/kH6RTu

Pledge allegiance
Deseret News letter from Melissa Hooper

Many schools are only saying the Pledge of Allegiance once a week. I think all students should say it everyday. Growing up, we said the Pledge of Allegiance every morning, facing the flag to pledge like a true American.
I believe the best method to a build a true sense of patriotism is to have our children face the flag each morning and say the pledge just like we did at that age.
http://goo.gl/9AYC6R

Wall Street sees social-impact bonds as way to do good and do well
Reuters analysis by JESSICA TOONKEL

Wall Street banks are eyeing a nascent market that improves their public image at a low risk and still offers them a reasonable return on capital.
The market is in so-called social-impact bonds, also known as pay-for-performance contracts, through which private capital can be funneled into philanthropic projects usually funded by governments and charities. The investors will receive a return based on whether a project saves public money by addressing the social ill it targets.
Goldman Sachs has launched two such bonds in the past 16 months – one for $9.6 million aimed at reducing recidivism among teenagers at New York’s notorious Rikers Island jail, and the other for almost $5 million, intended to help children from low-income families in Utah prepare for kindergarten. This month, Goldman also said it is raising a fund to allow its clients to make investments that have “measurable social impact,” including social-impact bonds.
http://goo.gl/xyGCVC

The Stereotypes About Math That Hold Americans Back
Speed doesn’t matter, and there’s no such thing as a “math person.” How the Common Core’s approach to the discipline could correct these misperceptions.
Atlantic commentary by JO BOALER, professor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education and the CEO and cofounder of YouCubed

Mathematics education in the United States is broken. Open any newspaper and stories of math failure shout from the pages: low international rankings, widespread innumeracy in the general population, declines in math majors. Here’s the most shocking statistic I have read in recent years: 60 percent of the 13 million two-year college students in the U.S. are currently placed into remedial math courses; 75 percent of them fail or drop the courses and leave college with no degree.
We need to change the way we teach math in the U.S., and it is for this reason that I support the move to Common Core mathematics. The new curriculum standards that are currently being rolled out in 45 states do not incorporate all the changes that this country needs, by any means, but they are a necessary step in the right direction.
I have spent years conducting research on students who study mathematics through different teaching approaches—in England and in the U.S. All of my research studies have shown that when mathematics is opened up and broader math is taught—math that includes problem solving, reasoning, representing ideas in multiple forms, and question asking—students perform at higher levels, more students take advanced mathematics, and achievement is more equitable.
http://goo.gl/dbOUPV

How Congress Can Improve Teacher Education
Roll Call op-ed by Arthur Levine, president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation

The nation’s teacher education programs are in disarray. Many programs have low admission and graduation standards, weak curricula, inadequate clinical experience, faculty who are out of touch with practice and limited contact with schools.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that the federal government can change this to match the rhetoric of improving teaching with the resources to do it. In fact, Congress can do it not by enacting yet another new program, but by tweaking two existing programs slated for reauthorization. These are the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, seven years past due, and the Higher Education Act, which expires at the end of 2013.
http://goo.gl/i5DiTX

Education, Mississippi government finances tightly linked
Associated Press (via Biloxi [MS] Sun Herald) analysis by columnist EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS

JACKSON — Grab the nearest kindergartner and tell her this: Stay in school and study hard because Mississippi’s long-term economic outlook depends on you. If you slack off and drop out before getting a decent level of education, your state government — that is, your fellow citizens — might have to pay higher interest rates to retire long-term public debt 20 years from now.
Sound like an exaggeration? Consider this nugget from the Nov. 5 news release in which the Fitch credit rating agency announced it was downgrading Mississippi’s bond rating outlook from stable to negative:
“The state’s socio-economic profile is relatively weak, with wealth and educational attainment indicators that significantly lag national levels.”
Poverty and low education levels not only weaken a person’s quality of life; they also hurt the financial outlook for state government.
Mississippi’s bond rating remains AA+, only one step below the highest AAA level, but the agency warned the rating could be lowered unless officials take steps to shore up state government finances. A lower bond rating would make it more expensive for state government to borrow money.
http://goo.gl/d5mLE8

‘The New Public’ on Poverty and Education
The Nation commentary by columnist Greg Kaufmann

The negative impact of poverty on a child’s educational achievement is indisputable. Whether the metric is school grades, state assessments, the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP), the SAT—the scores of low-income children are far lower than those of their wealthier peers. The reasons for that gap—and how our nation should respond—is the subject of heated debate and is explored by filmmaker Jyllian Gunther in the award-winning documentary, The New Public.
The film is inspiring and sobering as it examines the experiences of students and teachers at the Brooklyn Community Arts & Media (BCAM) High School. BCAM is a new, small public school in Bedford-Stuyvesant, where one-third of the residents live below the poverty line and the graduation rate is 40 percent.
With nuance and humor, Gunther shows how poverty presents many obstacles to effective teaching and strong learning.
http://goo.gl/BbZ9fw

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Schools Still See Surges in Homeless Students
Education Week

In the year after Hurricane Katrina buffeted the Gulf Coast, Denise Riemer and Larissa Dickinson, both homeless education liaisons for their school district, saw more than 2,000 homeless students and their families in the public schools in Mobile, Ala.
This year, in the wake of an ongoing and far broader economic storm, the two women have seen 5,302 homeless students in the 59,000-student district.
“This is pretty amazing because we’re not even halfway through the year and we’re already up,” Ms. Riemer said. “I can’t believe the number of food-stamp applications I’ve processed so far for unaccompanied youth. We have new students we find out about every day.”
The Great Recession caused by the 2008 economic and housing crisis has technically ended, but the number of homeless students nationwide continues to swell, as school districts’ capacity to help them shrinks.
http://goo.gl/ohuYh7

Central New York parents protest: National Keep Your Child Out of School Day
Syracuse (NY) Post-Standard

Elbridge, NY – On Nov. 18, Danielle and Tim Karlik plan to keep their teenage daughters home from the Jordan-Elbridge schools for National Keep Your Child Out of School Day, a nationwide protest of the Common Core educational standards.
Nov. 18 marks the start of American Education Week. That day the Karlik girls, Tatum, 15, and Abbey, 13, will stand with their mother in silent protest at the New York State Department of Education in Albany.
“I will use this as my way of teaching them we have freedom of assembly and freedom of speech and that’s how they will get their education that day,” Danielle Karlik said.
http://goo.gl/nBSb5h

http://goo.gl/n37Cxo  (HuffPo)

Textbooks Reassess Kennedy, Putting Camelot Under Siege
New York Times

WASHINGTON — The President John F. Kennedy students learn about today is not their grandparents’ J.F.K.
In a high school textbook written by John M. Blum in 1968, Kennedy was a tragic hero, cut down too soon in a transformative presidency, who in his mere 1,000 days in office “revived the idea of America as a young, questing, progressive land, facing the future with confidence and hope.”
By the mid-’80s, that heady excitement was a distant memory, and Kennedy a diminished one. A textbook written in 1987 by James A. Henretta and several colleagues complained of gauzy “mythologizing” about his tenure and said the high hopes he generated produced only “rather meager legislative accomplishments.”
The first — and for many the last — in-depth lesson that American students learn about the 35th president comes from high school textbooks. And on the eve of the anniversary of his assassination 50 years ago, a review of more than two dozen written since then shows that the portrayal of him has fallen sharply over the years.
In general, the picture has evolved from a charismatic young president who inspired youths around the world to a deeply flawed one whose oratory outstripped his accomplishments. Averting war in the Cuban missile crisis got less attention and respect. Legislative setbacks and a deepening commitment in Vietnam got more. The Kennedy-era glamour seemed more image than reality.
http://goo.gl/0KK8W3

At some schools, ‘Big Brother’ is watching
CNN

Just as parents are grappling with how to keep their kids safe on social media, schools are increasingly confronting a controversial question: Should they do more to monitor students’ online interactions off-campus to protect them from dangers such as bullying, drug use, violence and suicide?
This summer, the Glendale school district in suburban Los Angeles captured headlines with its decision to pay a tech firm $40,500 to monitor what middle and high school students post publicly on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.
The school district went with the firm Geo Listening after a pilot program with the company last spring helped a student who was talking on social media about “ending his life,” company CEO Chris Frydrych told CNN’s Michael Martinez in September.
“We were able to save a life,” said Richard Sheehan, the Glendale superintendent, adding that two students in the school district had committed suicide the past two years.
“It’s just another avenue to open up a dialogue with parents about safety,” he said.
The Glendale school district is not alone.
http://goo.gl/IVi8rT

Pot problems in Colorado schools increase with legalization
Denver Post

GRAND JUNCTION — In two years of work as an undercover officer with a drug task force, Mike Dillon encountered plenty of drugs. But nothing has surprised him as much as what he has seen in schools lately.
Dillon, who is now a school resource officer with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Department, said he is seeing more and younger kids bringing marijuana to schools, in sometimes-surprising quantities.
“When we have middle school kids show up with a half an ounce, that is shocking to me,” Dillon said.
The same phenomenon is being reported around Colorado after the 2010 regulation of medical marijuana dispensaries and the 2012 vote to legalize recreational marijuana.
There are no hard numbers yet because school disciplinary statistics do not isolate marijuana from general drug violations. But school resource officers, counselors, nurses, staff and officials with Colorado school safety and disciplinary programs are anecdotally reporting an increase in marijuana-related incidents in middle and high schools.
http://goo.gl/s8A2mG

Coach remembers Arizona high school football player who died after head injury
(Phoenix) Arizona Republic

Keams Canyon Hopi was celebrating what coach Steve Saban termed “a beautiful season,” playing the No.1-seeded team in the Division V football playoffs, before it became all too surreal Saturday night at Phoenix Arizona Lutheran Academy.
Senior running back/defensive back Charles Youvella was hit hard after catching a pass with about seven minutes left, his team trailing 60-6, Saban said.
“He tried to play another play,” Saban said. “He collapsed on the field.”
Saban said Youvella was cognizant while being treated by paramedics and taken by ambulance to St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Phoenix. Then, things just got worse. Youvella died Monday night.
http://goo.gl/00hHNM

Simcityedu: A Video Game that Tests Kids While Killing the Bubble Test
A $10.3 Million Collaboration Between Electronic Arts, Pearson, and a Nonprofit yields a Simulation Game that Tests Thinking and Emotion, Not Just Knowledge.
Fast Company

I am trying to cut pollution while maintaining my city’s energy supply. I’ve bulldozed the coal plant too soon, without realizing that the brand-new solar plant has a variable output. Industry, and therefore revenue, is being squeezed by the power cuts–meaning I don’t have the money to upgrade or add an additional wind plant. As mayor of this 3-D cityscape, I’m feeling about as effective as Toronto’s Rob Ford.
SimCityEDU: Pollution Challenge!, the game I’m playing, debuted last week. For those who played SimCity in the 1990s or 2000s, this PC-based game feels familiar; it’s built on the same bits but radically simplified into chunks that take no more than 10 minutes to play, with specific tasks for the player to complete. But what makes SimCityEDU different from other video games, even other video games that have been modded for educational use, is that while middle school players are figuring out how to play this game, the game will be figuring them out right back. As they are zoning neighborhoods or planning school bus routes, the software is gathering detailed evidence about their thinking processes and skills, and whether they’re engaged or bored.
The creators, a multidisciplinary team known as Glasslab, have a wild ambition. They want to use game-based assessments like these to wean our education system off fill-in-the-bubble tests, which are optimized for gauging memorized content knowledge, and instead start measuring what really matters in the 21st century: how well people can think.
http://goo.gl/1Yzbp9

These 11 Leaders Are Running Education But Have Never Taught
Huffington Post

They design teacher evaluation systems, teacher training guidelines and the types of standards that need to be taught. Yet, they have never been teachers themselves.
These days, being a teacher is clearly not a prerequisite for becoming a leader in education. In fact, some of the leaders with the most daily influence on classrooms come from entirely unrelated fields.
Below we have compiled a list of some of the most influential leaders in education who have never been teachers.
http://goo.gl/xjQS38

‘I Don’t Know Anything’: Why M. Night Shyamalan Wrote a Book on Education
An interview with the film director who believes he has the five keys to closing America’s achievement gap
Atlantic

In spring 2007, M. Night Shyamalan was visiting a Philadelphia high schools, looking for a location for his movie The Happening. The first school was beautiful, bright, and energetic. Students and teachers wanted to be there, Shyamalan remembers. Then he and his team drove four minutes down the road and visited a second school.
“It was prison,” Shyamalan said. “It‘s basically prison in the form of a school. It had guards, everybody had guns. It was very scary. I mean it was like a cheesy movie. Every cliche was there.
“I met a student there. A student came up and he kind of recognized me, and then he was like ‘nah,’ and walked away. That for me really said a lot, because he did know me, but then he decided that’s not possible. And that feeling of ‘that’s not possible’ was sad,” he said.
The experience led Shyamalan to ask more and more questions about a subject that confounds teachers, politicians, researchers, and parents: the gap between America’s best and worst schools.
http://goo.gl/EfYx4C

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

November 14:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://goo.gl/Mu36l

November 19:
Executive Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
1 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2013&com=APPEXE

November 20:
Education Interim Committee meeting
9 a.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2013&Com=INTEDU

December 6:
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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