Education News Roundup: January 17, 2014

Artwork from the 30th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Video and Essay Contest Awards Luncheon

Artwork from the 30th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Video and Essay Contest Awards Luncheon

Today’s Top Picks:

Note: ENR will be off on Monday for MLK Day. It will resume on Tuesday.

KUER looks at Rep. Nielson’s bill that would make State Board of Education elections non-partisan in conjunction with municipal races. http://goo.gl/fXdZ15 (KUER)

Sen. Urquhart looks at a new link between K-12 schools and applied technology colleges and colleges and universities. http://goo.gl/zXoDZS (SGS)

RIP to America’s best known high school science teacher: The Professor. http://goo.gl/kaA1b4 (Hechinger Report)

New York Times looks at school safety. http://goo.gl/cph5dk (NYT)

Quote of the day: “Facebook is just more for older people.” http://goo.gl/br8YX7 (USAT)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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 UTAH

GOP Lawmaker Tries to Change State School Board Election Process

New technical education model would link high schools, DXATC, DSU

Nibley Elementary earns national distinction for Title I schools

Murray School District hosting meeting on Spanish immersion program

Granite contest seeks student-designed ads for school buses

Utah’s Martin Luther King Jr. contest winners announced Education » Youths reflected on how to honor King, his legacy.

Kids play alongside BYU athletes on Sports Hero Day

Comcast and Kahn Academy’s partnership for education: will it really help needy kids?

OPINION & COMMENTARY

What will happen to New York charter schools

Keeping Sex Predators Out of Schoolrooms
Congress is considering better background checks for teachers. Why won’t unions support the bill?

Texas Public Schools Are Teaching Creationism
An investigation into charter schools’ dishonest and unconstitutional science, history, and “values” lessons.

What Critics Get Wrong About Financial Education
Doubters of financial education make four great points but reach the wrong conclusion every time.

Privacy and Cloud Computing in Public Schools

Guidebook: Six Prove Practices for Effective Civic Learning

Pop culture: what the Professor really stood for

 

NATION

In Age of School Shootings, Lockdown Is the New Fire Drill

California Board of Education approves new school funding rules

Md. schools need $100 million in technology upgrades for new testing
Exam aligned with Common Core must be given online

‘Kids Are Different: There Are Lots of Different Ways to Educate Them’
An interview with Glenn Harlan Reynolds about his new book, The New School.

Talking Tech: Have teens really ditched Facebook?

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UTAH NEWS

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GOP Lawmaker Tries to Change State School Board Election Process

            A Republican State lawmaker from Bountiful wants to change the way state school board members in Utah are elected to office, and he hopes to leave politics out of the equation.
            Right now, a seven-member committee appointed by the Governor is responsible for vetting state school board candidates. That group sends it’s nominations to the governor who then selects two candidates for each position. House Bill 59, sponsored by State Representative Jim Nielson would get rid of that committee and the governor’s role in process.
Nielson’s bill calls for a direct non-partisan election in conjunction with non-partisan municipal races. http://goo.gl/fXdZ15 (KUER)

 New technical education model would link high schools, DXATC, DSU

ST. GEORGE — Education, economic and legislative officials are working on a new technical training model that would put students on the fast track toward solid, good-paying jobs years before they graduate high school.
State Sen. Stephen Urquhart, a legislator from St. George and chairman of the Senate’s Higher Education Appropriations Committee, told the Dixie Applied Technology College board Wednesday that he sees the challenges of career preparation firsthand as he strives to advise his college-aged children on the matter.
“Things are changing so rapidly,” he said. “Kids are graduating college and they’re not being gobbled up in the marketplace. … So a lot of our college graduates are coming back to the ATC or somewhere they can get specific skills that the workplace values.”
Urquhart and Scott Hirschi, the executive director of Site Select Plus, an agency that works toward boosting Washington County’s economy, presented the board with a plan for a chartered organization that would combine the resources of the Washington County School District, DXATC and Dixie State University. http://goo.gl/zXoDZS (SGS)

 Nibley Elementary earns national distinction for Title I schools

Nibley Elementary School was named a National Title I Distinguished School on Monday by the Utah State Department of Education. Nibley is one of 59 schools throughout the nation to be recognized for exceptional student achievement in 2013. http://goo.gl/M6SdVl (LHJ)

 Murray School District hosting meeting on Spanish immersion program

MURRAY — The Murray School District will host a meeting for parents to learn about the Horizon Spanish Dual Language Immersion Program, which begins next August for incoming first-graders.
The meeting is Thursday, Feb. 13, 5:30 p.m. at the Horizon Elementary Media Center, 5180 S. Glendon St. http://goo.gl/Z6PNHJ (DN)

 Granite contest seeks student-designed ads for school buses

SOUTH SALT LAKE — The Granite School District is seeking student-designed advertisements to be placed on district school buses.
The call for entries is an opportunity for young designers to take their skills to the next level and display their work for the general public. As a bonus, participants will receive $250 if their design is used on a Granite School District bus. http://goo.gl/yIaKzg (DN)

  Utah’s Martin Luther King Jr. contest winners announced
Education » Youths reflected on how to honor King, his legacy.

The State Office of Education has named winners of the 30th annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Essay and Video contest.
Students were asked what this Martin Luther King Jr. quote meant to them: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.” And they were asked how they could use the quote to honor King and his legacy. The contest was open to 7th- through 12th-graders. http://goo.gl/3jgKcT (SLT)

 Kids play alongside BYU athletes on Sports Hero Day

PROVO, Utah — More than a thousand children visited Brigham Young University Thursday to meet some of their favorite sports heroes.
When children reach the fifth and sixth grades they enter what experts call “The Hero Stage.”
Casey Peterson is the learning director for the BYU Center for Service, and he said to help children with this phase, the center and BYU Athletics hosts an annual Sports Hero Day. http://goo.gl/3DAfuF (KSTU)

 Comcast and Kahn Academy’s partnership for education: will it really help needy kids?

When Comcast and Kahn Academy announced a multimillion-dollar education partnership last December, the multimedia giant and the free online education provider said their team-up would help low-income families cross the digital divide and gain educational opportunities. Critics question the motives behind the partnership and say it won’t give lasting help for needy kids. http://goo.gl/0baQKw (DN)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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 What will happen to New York charter schools
Commentary by Charter Solutions President Lincoln Fillmore

In New York City, the Mayor has control of the public school system, including charter schools.  He and his office set policy, rather than a district school board, which is how it happens in most of the country.
For twenty years, New York has been governed by education reformers–Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg.  Charters have prospered in the city in that time, under charter-friendly policy that allowed (even forced) the co-location of charter schools in available space in public schools rent-free to the charters. http://goo.gl/S7l3Z4

 Keeping Sex Predators Out of Schoolrooms
Congress is considering better background checks for teachers. Why won’t unions support the bill?
Wall Street Journal op-ed by CAMPBELL BROWN, founder of the Parents Transparency Project

When a Michigan middle-school teacher was denied $10,000 in severance pay last month, the local teachers union filed a grievance against the school board on his behalf. Given the union’s mission to defend the rights of educators, this would appear to be routine. Not so fast: The teacher is a convicted sex offender.
Neal Erickson was sentenced in July to a 15- to 30-year jail term after acknowledging that he had sexual relations with a male student beginning when the boy was 14 years old. The school board denied him severance once he was charged. But the local chapter of the National Education Association thinks this criminal deserves his severance, which says a lot about the mindset of teachers unions, which are also trying to weaken a bipartisan bill in Washington that would help keep sexual predators out of schools.
The Erickson case isn’t unique. http://goo.gl/PGynwo

 Texas Public Schools Are Teaching Creationism
An investigation into charter schools’ dishonest and unconstitutional science, history, and “values” lessons.
Slate commentary by Zack Kopplin, a science education activist

           When public-school students enrolled in Texas’ largest charter program open their biology workbooks, they will read that the fossil record is “sketchy.” That evolution is “dogma” and an “unproved theory” with no experimental basis. They will be told that leading scientists dispute the mechanisms of evolution and the age of the Earth. These are all lies.
            The more than 17,000 students in the Responsive Education Solutions charter system will learn in their history classes that some residents of the Philippines were “pagans in various levels of civilization.” They’ll read in a history textbook that feminism forced women to turn to the government as a “surrogate husband.”
Responsive Ed has a secular veneer and is funded by public money, but it has been connected from its inception to the creationist movement and to far-right fundamentalists who seek to undermine the separation of church and state.
Infiltrating and subverting the charter-school movement has allowed Responsive Ed to carry out its religious agenda—and it is succeeding. http://goo.gl/PHgyYF

 What Critics Get Wrong About Financial Education
Doubters of financial education make four great points but reach the wrong conclusion every time.
Time commentary by Dan Kadlec, strategic adviser to the National Financial Educators Council

            Is it really possible that dozens of nations, thousands of nonprofits and tens of thousands of educators are wrong to want to teach kids about money in school? That’s what critics would have us believe. Certainly there is room for skepticism, and consensus thinking isn’t always right after all. Yet crowd thinking usually has a solid foundation.
            What started as a given less than two decades ago (if you teach it they will learn) has devolved into high-level handwringing (Where’s the proof that financial education works?). The list of doubters is growing; it includes prominent academics as well as the father of the financial literacy movement, Lewis Mandell, the noted behavioral psychologist Richard Thaler, and retirement and actuarial expert Alicia Munnell. http://goo.gl/y99ey3

 Privacy and Cloud Computing in Public Schools
Fordham Law School Center on Law and Information Policy analysis

            …
            The key findings from the analysis are:
* 95% of districts rely on cloud services for a diverse range of functions including data mining related to student performance, support for classroom activities, student guidance, data hosting, as well as special services such as cafeteria payments and transportation planning.
* Cloud services are poorly understood, non-transparent, and weakly governed: only 25% of districts inform parents of their use of cloud services, 20% of districts fail to have policies governing the use of online services, and a sizeable plurality of districts have rampant gaps in their contract documentation, including missing privacy policies.
* Districts frequently surrender control of student information when using cloud services: fewer than 25% of the agreements specify the purpose for disclosures of student information, fewer than 7% of the contracts restrict the sale or marketing of student information by vendors, and many agreements allow vendors to change the terms. http://goo.gl/I7ewg4

 Guidebook: Six Prove Practices for Effective Civic Learning
Education Commission of the States analysis

The purpose of this guidebook is to serve as a resource—a what’s next?—for teachers, administrators, policymakers, and other education leaders who want to put these practices in place but are not sure how to begin. For those who already are sold on the idea of the six proven practices but need ideas for how to promote and utilize them, this document highlights research that confirms these practices as proven strategies for implementing high-quality civic learning, and provides practical suggestions for how to implement each practice in schools and classrooms and how to model state-level policies that support these practices. This guidebook also outlines various programs that align with each practice.  http://goo.gl/W7d07O

 Pop culture: what the Professor really stood for
Hechinger Report commentary by Jon Marcus

The ultimate irony about the man who will be instantly and forever known as the Professor is that he wasn’t one.
The Professor was all about facts—not rumor, superstition, or hyperbole.
And while he had a PhD, the character played in the awful but enduring 1960s sitcom Gilligan’s Island by the actor Russell Johnson was a high-school science teacher, not a university professor.
At a time when science became mistrusted for having brought not better lives, but pollution and the fear of nuclear annihilation, he was a rock of reason, patience, and precision, level-headed and respected.
In the years after he was lost, with his fellow castaways, in the turbulent sea of network cancellations, truth somehow seemed to become more open to interpretation. And men and women of science, from Steve Urkel to Cindy “Mac” Mackenzie, came to be portrayed as socially and sexually awkward nerds. http://goo.gl/kaA1b4

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NATIONAL NEWS

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 In Age of School Shootings, Lockdown Is the New Fire Drill
New York Times

The bomb threat was just a hoax, but officials at Hebron High School near Dallas took no chances: School officials called the police and locked down the school this week. Separately, a middle school 2,000 miles away in Washington State went on lockdown after a student brought a toy gun to class.
But the threat and the gun were real at Berrendo Middle School in Roswell, N.M., where a seventh grader with a sawed-off shotgun walked into the gymnasium and opened fire on his classmates on Tuesday, wounding two of them. School officials and teachers, who had long prepared for such a moment, locked down the school as police officers and parents rushed to the scene.
For students across the country, lockdowns have become a fixture of the school day, the duck-and-cover drills for a generation growing up in the shadow of Columbine High School in Colorado and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. Kindergartners learn to hide quietly behind bookshelves. Teachers warn high school students that the glow of their cellphones could make them targets. And parents get regular text messages from school officials alerting them to lockdowns.
School administrators across the country have worked with police departments in recent years to create detailed plans to secure their schools, an effort that was redoubled after the December 2012 shoootings in Newtown, Conn. http://goo.gl/cph5dk

 California Board of Education approves new school funding rules
Sacramento (CA) Bee

The California Board of Education Thursday approved emergency rules for an historic overhaul of school spending designed to direct more money to the state’s neediest students.
The unanimous board vote followed a marathon Sacramento meeting in which more than 300 educators, civil rights advocates, parents, students and lawmakers made 11th-hour pitches for how districts should spend their money.
The Local Control Funding Formula proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown in January and approved by legislators in June gives districts additional dollars to help low-income students, English-language learners and foster children.
But the Democratic governor and lawmakers left it to the state Board of Education to establish the regulatory details. The key conflict: Whether districts should be able to spend money dedicated for disadvantaged students on districtwide needs that may also benefit more affluent children. http://goo.gl/c9VTTR

 Md. schools need $100 million in technology upgrades for new testing
Exam aligned with Common Core must be given online
Baltimore Sun

Maryland schools will be scrambling to make $100 million in technological and other upgrades to give new state tests aligned with the Common Core standards next year, according to a report to the legislature by the Maryland State Department of Education.
Some local school systems would need to shut down some of the normal uses of the computers, including sending email, to give the online standardized tests, the report said. Some districts reported that they need to buy thousands of new computers for the tests, which are required by the spring of 2015; others said they had nowhere to put the computers that they need to buy.
Lawmakers briefed Wednesday said the magnitude of the hurdles that school districts face — and the price tags — are concerning. http://goo.gl/At67Vg

 ‘Kids Are Different: There Are Lots of Different Ways to Educate Them’
An interview with Glenn Harlan Reynolds about his new book, The New School.
Atlantic

There are a dizzying number of theories out there about American education. Smaller classrooms are the solution one day, the next, iPads. Glenn Harlan Reynolds of Instapundit takes on these ideas and makes his own predictions in his new book, The New School. I talked with him about his conclusion that the future of American education is rooted in technology, choice, and customization. Here’s a transcript of our conversation, edited and condensed for clarity and length. http://goo.gl/1fKdhk

 Talking Tech: Have teens really ditched Facebook?
USA Today

MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. — If you believe the studies, teens have ditched Facebook, the number one social network.
Just this week, researcher iStrategy Labs said Facebook’s teen base had fallen 25 percent in the past three years.
Where are they going? Have they really fled Facebook?
We decided to go straight to the source to find out, visiting local high school Mira Costa to talk to students about their social media habits.
“Teenagers are getting frustrated with the amount of parents and family on Facebook,” said Geoffrey St. John, 17, a photographer for his school newspaper, La Vista.
St. John and many of his fellow students said they prefer Twitter for communication and Instagram (owned by Facebook) for sharing photos and videos.
Twitter is popular with teens because “celebrities are on it all the time, you can communicate with them if you’re lucky,” says Sierra Williams, 17, a Costa senior. “You can do that on Facebook too, but I feel like Facebook is just more for older people.” http://goo.gl/br8YX7

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CALENDAR

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

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/

February 7:

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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