Education News Roundup: Jan. 09, 2014

Photo by shinealight/flickr

Photo by shinealight/flickr

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

Your dad was right. Turning off the … lights will save, in this case, your school district money.
http://goo.gl/9HF9P9  (SLT)

There’s more follow-up on the Common Core debate in Logan.
http://goo.gl/MEJaU6  (CVD)

Salt Lake Chamber announces its legislative priorities for 2014. Education has a prominent role.
http://goo.gl/LdqJk9  (Utah Business)
or a copy of the priorities
http://goo.gl/4mtALZ  (SL Chamber)

Ed Week issues its annual Quality Counts issue.
http://goo.gl/Ax5LjD  (Ed Week)

Be a better parent. Insist your child read this Education News Roundup every day: “Kids being bored prepares them for adulthood, says U.K. education expert”
http://goo.gl/1R3WQp  (CBS)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Salt Lake schools save green by going green

Pyfer hopes Common Core forum helped change minds

The Salt Lake Chamber Releases 2014 Legislative Priorities

Supporters of Utah’s ban on gay marriage gather for Orem rally Amendment 3 » States’ rights, religion, child-rearing among their arguments to uphold law.

Federal land the focus of state committee: Management compared to state agencies to aid conditions

Jordan School District seeks input on proposed boundary changes

Group names Utah principals of the year

Cache County schools get more than $91K in grants

Hillcrest High School to hold meetings on international baccalaureate program

Airsoft pistols prompt six suspensions at Mount Logan Middle School

Watch your fingers. Davis County students learn animal safety tips

Students team up with Jazz players, dancers for fitness

Teens healing from concussions should be given less homework, study says

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Utah lawmakers quietly roll back asset forfeiture reforms

No Child Left Behind Turns 12 Today. Now What?

Helping educators implement the Common Core

English Language Learners
A growing—yet underserved—student population

NATION

Eric Cantor and Bill de Blasio exchange fire over schools

Los Angeles Library to Offer High School Diplomas

Equity in Achievement, Funding a Hurdle for States Amid Progress Quality Counts rates states and the nation on key student-performance and finance indicators

Conn. Official Resigns Over Newtown Comment

Kids worldwide care about school, survey says

Kids being bored prepares them for adulthood, says U.K. education expert

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UTAH NEWS
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Salt Lake schools save green by going green

Bake sales and raffles aren’t the only ways to raise money for schools.
Just try turning off the lights.
East, West and Highland highs saved more than $50,000 over five months by using less power as part of the Salt Lake City School District’s Go Green Earn Green Energy Challenge. The district challenged schools to conserve energy, offering to give them 75 percent of the money they saved.
Schools saved energy by minding heating and cooling schedules and turning off lights, printers, computers and copiers when not in use. Principals enlisted students, teachers and custodians and appointed Energy Challenge ambassadors to help coordinate efforts.
The results? The schools, on average, saw more than a 21 percent overall decrease in power use compared to a five-year baseline. Combined, the schools saved 1.15 million pounds of carbon dioxide, the equivalent of taking 115 cars off the road, according to the district.
http://goo.gl/9HF9P9  (SLT)

Pyfer hopes Common Core forum helped change minds

Utah State School Board Chair Tami Pyfer is hoping Monday’s forum helped change at least some minds on the issue of Common Core standards. On KVNU’s Crosstalk program Tuesday, Pyfer said a lot of people against the standards don’t actually understand they are only “expectations” meant to help students achieve.
She said most legislators, including those from Cache County, are supportive.
http://goo.gl/MEJaU6  (CVD)

The Salt Lake Chamber Releases 2014 Legislative Priorities

Salt Lake City – The Salt Lake Chamber released its priorities for the upcoming General Legislative Session within the 2014 Public Policy Guide, which was presented to Speaker of the House Rebecca Lockhart and Senate President Wayne Niederhauser Wednesday morning. The guide outlines the chamber’s position on policy issues including economic development, education, transportation, water, energy and minerals, clean air, outdoor recreation and tourism, Downtown Rising, immigration, international competitiveness and small business.

Prosperity 2020
An educated workforce has a direct correlation with economic prosperity and is a top priority for Utah’s business community. To be globally competitive, Utah must return to a top-10 state in overall education rankings. To meet this challenge, the chamber outlines key priorities to improve: 4th grade reading scores, 8th grade math scores, high school completion, college and career readiness, innovative teaching in public education, and Utah’s ability to reach 66 percent of Utahns with postsecondary degrees or certificates.
“Facing unprecedented growth, we need to ensure that the largest population of young people in the country will be deployed as the best-educated workforce, propelling Utah to enduring prosperity,” said Alan Hall, chair of Prosperity 2020, founder and co-managing director of Mercato Partners, and chairman of Marketstar.
http://goo.gl/LdqJk9  (Utah Business)

A copy of the priorities
http://goo.gl/4mtALZ  (SL Chamber)

Supporters of Utah’s ban on gay marriage gather for Orem rally Amendment 3 » States’ rights, religion, child-rearing among their arguments to uphold law.

Orem • The legal battle over Utah’s same-sex marriage ban concerns a state’s rights issue with religious, moral and traditional underpinnings, state legislators and activists said at a rally in support of Utah’s Amendment 3 Wednesday.
“This is a sacred issue,” said Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, who wrote the law defining marriage between a man and a woman. “It is absolutely constitutional for people to have a moral and religious basis for public policy, along with other social and historical justifications.”

Eagle Forum President Gayle Ruzicka, meanwhile, said she “prayed and fasted,” for the marriage stay. When she heard the U.S. Supreme Court had granted it, “I was an emotional basket case.”
Ruzicka also spoke against a proposed anti-discrimination bill scheduled to be introduced during the upcoming legislative session. A similar bill passed out of a Senate committee last year, something Ruzicka called “a terrible thing.”
“We must not let this bill pass because it will be in the schools,” she said, referring specifically to transgender children being allowed to use the bathroom of the sex they identify with, rather than the gender they were born as.
http://goo.gl/ofrEZM  (SLT)

Federal land the focus of state committee: Management compared to state agencies to aid conditions

A committee looking into management of federal lands in Montana heard Wednesday from a diverse panel of witnesses, including a Utah lawmaker who supports a transfer of federal lands to states and an attorney for a conservation group who argued such an approach “will pull the West apart.”
The 17-member Environmental Quality Council, made up of state law makers and members of the public, conducts studies assigned by the Legislature between legislative sessions and makes recommendations.

Among the panelists was Ken Ivory, a Utah state representative who sponsored a bill in 2012 that requires the United States to transfer public lands to that state before 2015.
He said 90 percent of the nation’s federally-managed forests are at extreme risk of death from pests, disease and fire, and that federal agencies charged with managing them are fiscally challenged. That’s a threat to public safety, he said, and states should seriously discuss a move to take over.
State management would lead to better conditions for the environment and more revenue for schools and other services, Ivory said.
http://goo.gl/5PpG7G  (Great Falls [MT] Tribune)

Jordan School District seeks input on proposed boundary changes

WEST JORDAN, Utah — Officials with the Jordan School District are holding a series of open houses in order to gather public input on boundary changes that have been proposed.
Overcrowding concerns have prompted the proposals, and board members hope to make a decision by March, following the public meetings and after considering the results of an online survey.
http://goo.gl/myYQJM  (KSTU)

Group names Utah principals of the year

Three principals — from the Jordan, Alpine and Canyons districts — have been named Utah’s principals of the year.
Herriman High’s James O. Birch, Joseph Jensen of Orem Junior High, and Union Middle Assistant Principal Douglas C. Hallenbeck will represent the state in the MetLife Principal of the Year competition. The Utah Association of Secondary School Principals named the three as winners.
http://goo.gl/kwQQvY  (SLT)

http://goo.gl/fOmtHU  (KCSG)

Cache County schools get more than $91K in grants

Just prior to winter break, $91,470 worth of “Tools for Schools” grants were awarded to classrooms in the Cache County School District by the Cache Education Foundation.
http://goo.gl/sUi3hP  (LHJ)

Hillcrest High School to hold meetings on international baccalaureate program

MIDVALE — Hillcrest High School is conducting a series of informational meetings about its international baccalaureate program, a college preparatory program.
Hillcrest is one of 12 schools in Utah authorized to teach the international baccalaureate curriculum.
http://goo.gl/kWDlVb  (DN)

Airsoft pistols prompt six suspensions at Mount Logan Middle School

Six students were suspended from Mount Logan Middle School after they brought Airsoft pistols to school. The students received the toy guns as Christmas presents and brought them to show each other.
“It’s one of those things that you’d think is pretty common knowledge, that you don’t do that at schools,” said Principal Mike Monson.
http://goo.gl/CVgB45  (LHJ)

Watch your fingers. Davis County students learn animal safety tips

BOUNTIFUL — Third-graders Tanner Crane and Allie Seegmiller learned with their classmates they should never touch a dog or cat without the owner’s permission.
The two Valley View Elementary students attended the first of two assemblies presented on Tuesday by Davis County Animal Care and Control Education Officer Brigitte Draper.
http://goo.gl/xhNgA9  (OSE)

Students team up with Jazz players, dancers for fitness

SALT LAKE CITY — Glendale Middle School students teamed up with Utah Jazz players and dancers to work out and have fun on Wednesday.
http://goo.gl/vZIuV1  (DN)

http://goo.gl/dzgqsA  (KSTU)

Teens healing from concussions should be given less homework, study says

SALT LAKE CITY — A recent study suggests teachers and parents go easy on teens who have incurred a concussion, at least as far as homework goes.
The medical journal Pediatrics published the study on Jan. 5. Among other findings, researchers discovered that when mental exertion was limited during the first 100 days post concussion, recovery was more successful and speedy, according to NBC News.
http://goo.gl/wKh0Zl  (KSL)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Utah lawmakers quietly roll back asset forfeiture reforms Washington Post commentary by columnist RADLEY BALKO

One of my last projects for my previous employer was a six-part series on an emerging police reform movement in Utah. While I was in Salt Lake City to report the series, I talked to several state legislators who expressed interest in reining in police excesses in the state, though none of them were ready to let me quote them by name.
But perhaps Utah isn’t ready for reform after all. Last month, the state’s legislature quietly changed some reforms to the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws that Utah voters approved via referendum back in 2000. The changes will make it much easier for Utah police and prosecutors to take property away from the state’s citizens, often without ever charging them with a crime.

Another reform in the 2000 ballot measure required prosecutors to file promptly in forfeiture cases to prevent property from getting tied up in the system for months on end. (Property owners who miss filing deadlines typically lose their chance to win back what was taken from them.) Like many states, Utah also passed reforms requiring forfeited property to go to a schools fund or a general fund instead of back to the law enforcement agencies that seized it. The idea here is to remove the “policing for profit” incentive that can lead to corruption and unjust forfeitures.
But as the outrage died down, the reforms came under attack by police and prosecutors.
http://goo.gl/FqnKt3

No Child Left Behind Turns 12 Today. Now What?
Education Week commentary by columnist Alyson Klein

Flashback, twelve years ago: President George W. Bush travels all the way to Hamilton, Ohio to put his signature on a law that was supposed to forever change the nation’s schools by giving the federal government far more say over accountability, particularly for poor and minority children. In exchange, schools were supposed to get vastly more federal resources.
“Our schools will have higher expectations,” Bush said at the time. “We believe every child can learn. Our schools will have greater resources to help meet those goals. Parents will have more information about the schools, and more say in how their children are educated. From this day forward, all students will have a better chance to learn, to excel, and to live out their dreams.”
Of course, even at the bill signing, some folks at the school privately expressed doubts about the law’s vision. Today, if you threw a rally to keep NCLB the way it is, no one would show up, as Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo, likes to say.
http://goo.gl/m1AqQK

Helping educators implement the Common Core Hechinger Report commentary by Priscilla Wohlstetter, distinguished research professor at Teachers College, Columbia University

New York City by all accounts is considered a frontrunner in implementing the Common Core (CC). New York State was the second in the nation to adopt the CC standards in 2009, just after Kentucky. Now, 45 states and the District of Columbia have adopted them.
The state’s first round of CC test scores were released last August. As predicted, they fell sharply from the previous year’s scores. However, New York City fared relatively well. In the city, a little over a quarter of the students hit the state’s new proficiency standards in English Language Arts and Literacy, while in mathematics the proportion was even higher, closer to 30 percent. These results were only a few percentage points off the state average and compared even better to other large cities with similar populations in California, the District of Columbia, Kentucky and Wyoming.
So, what is helping the Common Core succeed in NYC?
http://goo.gl/N8noKl

English Language Learners
A growing—yet underserved—student population Education Commission of the States analysis

How many U.S. students are English-language learners? The number may be more than you’d imagine. In the 2010-11 school year, approximately 4.7 million public school students—nearly one in 10 students in U.S. public schools—were English-language learners (ELLs). In eight states, ELLs comprised 10% or more of the public school population, with 29% of California’s public school students being English-language learners.
While Western states have the largest concentrations of ELLs, federal data document an increase in the percentage of ELL public school students in all but 12 states between
2002-03 and 2010-11, with the largest percentage point growth in Kansas, South Carolina, Hawaii, and Nevada. In fact, 28 states saw increases in the percentage of ELL students from
2009-10 to 2010-11, with Nevada’s 3% gain that year the largest seen in any state.
http://goo.gl/llu0G3

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Eric Cantor and Bill de Blasio exchange fire over schools Washington Post

Calling school choice the best route out of poverty, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor took aim at New York City’s new mayor on Wednesday for his cooler stance toward public charter schools and warned that Republicans may hold congressional hearings on the education policies of Democrat Bill de Blasio’s administration.
In a speech at the Brookings Institution, Cantor (R-Va.) said that New York made great progress in offering choice to students under former mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I), who grew the number of public charter schools from seven to 123 in 12 years.
Public charter schools are financed with tax money but are independently run, and in most cases, teachers are not unionized.
Bloomberg allowed charter schools to co-locate in underused city schools, which relieved charters from the cost of finding space in New York’s overheated real estate market. But the cohabitation created tension with traditional schools, some of which were squeezed out of their gyms and classrooms as adjoining charters grew.
De Blasio, who campaigned on the idea of improving all schools, wants to halt the co-location of charters. He said he might also charge rent to charters that receive significant funding from foundations and private interests.
http://goo.gl/PZiWmc

http://goo.gl/Pa1GIZ  (Ed Week)

http://goo.gl/aLU3nC  (National Journal)

Los Angeles Library to Offer High School Diplomas Associated Press

The Los Angeles Public Library is evolving from a place where people can check out books and surf the Web to one where residents can also earn an accredited high school diploma.
The library announced Thursday that it is teaming up with a private online learning company to debut the program for high school dropouts, believed to be the first of its kind in the nation.
It’s the latest step in the transformation of public libraries in the digital age as they move to establish themselves beyond just being a repository of books to a full educational institution, said the library’s director, John Szabo.
http://goo.gl/tFv46r

Equity in Achievement, Funding a Hurdle for States Amid Progress Quality Counts rates states and the nation on key student-performance and finance indicators Education Week

In 1997, Education Week first published Quality Counts as a report card assessing state progress in adopting policy measures in several key areas. The annual report offered a way for policymakers to track central tenets of standards-based reform, a movement continuing to come into its own as a major force in K-12 education.
Since that time, states—spurred in part by the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind Act—have enacted many of that movement’s building blocks related to standards, testing, and accountability. In effect, much of what Quality Counts was originally designed to monitor has become the educational law-of-the-land across much of the country.
http://goo.gl/Ax5LjD

Conn. Official Resigns Over Newtown Comment Associated Press

BROOKFIELD, Conn. — A school board member in a Connecticut town neighboring the one where 26 people were killed at an elementary school has resigned amid an outcry over his comment that he would observe the Newtown massacre’s anniversary by distributing ammunition.
Gregory Beck faced numerous demands that he resign from the Board of Education in Brookfield, which borders Newtown, where 20 first-graders and six educators were killed Dec. 14, 2012. Beck agreed to step down from the board Tuesday, just two months after being elected, The News-Times of Danbury reported.
http://goo.gl/1lXyHw

Kids worldwide care about school, survey says Washington Post

Adults are often asked what they think of their lawmakers, how they spend their free time and even whether they like cream and sugar in their coffee. But how often are kids asked what they think?
“It’s important to listen and to hear and respond to what the children say,” said Cynthia Price, who works for ChildFund International, an organization that helps provide health care, education and other basic services for kids in need around the world.
ChildFund Alliance, a group of global organizations dedicated to helping kids, recently released its fourth annual Small Voices, Big Dreams survey, a collection of questions and answers. Almost 6,500 kids ages 10 to 12 from 47 countries were interviewed. Each kid was asked six questions, several of which dealt with safety.
http://goo.gl/zO9Uyi

Kids being bored prepares them for adulthood, says U.K. education expert CBS News

The author of a piece entitled “It’s time to be bored,” argues that parents must allow time to their children for “quiet reflection” instead of constantly trying to fill their child’s days with activities.
Parents “tend to get trapped into really trying hard to do the best for their children, for all the right reasons, nurture them in every way, and it’s exhausting for everyone,” Julie Robinson, Education and Training Director of the Independent Association of Prep Schools (IAPS), told CBS News in a telephone interview from the U.K.
Robinson, whose piece appeared Wednesday in Attain, the IAPS magazine, said, “If you’re ambitious for your child, and you really want the best for him or her, I think you need to ask yourself from time-to-time, ‘Am I in danger of trying to re-live my own childhood,’ through your child and not let yourself become too inward looking.”
Robinson believes that learning to be bored is part of preparing for adulthood, and parents should not be afraid “to have a night off, really.”
http://goo.gl/1R3WQp

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

January 9:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspxpr

January 22:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://goo.gl/IaQntl

January 27:
Opening Day of the Utah Legislature
State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/

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