Education News Roundup: Feb. 10, 2014

State Board Chairman Dave Crandall

State Board Chairman Dave Crandall

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

How big an impact does health care and retirement have on the education budget?
http://goo.gl/aeuyWx  (SLT)

How much will the classroom technology push cost?
http://goo.gl/z1msHJ  (SLT)
and http://goo.gl/kIZNds  (CVD)
and http://goo.gl/5huRab  (UP)

Congratulations to new State Board of Education Chairman David L. Crandall.
http://goo.gl/7R6I3P (DN)

Salt Lake District issues a new school lunch policy.
http://goo.gl/lkq5u7  (SLT)
and http://goo.gl/iygI1W  (DN)
and http://goo.gl/dt7HhR  (OSE)
and http://goo.gl/gUi8tw  (KUTV)
and http://goo.gl/P3ENfi  (KTVX)
and http://goo.gl/xEVwKQ  (KSL)
and http://goo.gl/FWc2kc  (KSTU)

Box Elder students are signing up for the new gay-straight alliance club.
http://goo.gl/oaY3z1  (OSE)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Utah schools funding boosts don’t always filter down to the classroom Legislature » Most of 2% per-pupil increase went toward retirement costs.

Utah considers all-out attack on schools’ digital divide Tech » As Utah lawmakers weigh a $200 million to $300 million investment in devices, results from the state’s first digital experiments are mixed.

Despite Conservative Push Back, Pre-K Bill Passes out of Committee

Lawmakers, educators debate changes to school grading law

Utah lawmakers insist on school gas monitors

Utah Bill Would Give Teachers More Time for Professional Development

Survey: Utahns most concerned about education, air quality

Utah Policy/KSL Insider Survey: Lockhart’s Education Technology Proposal

Trib Talk today: The debate over preschool in Utah

Utah recreational land swap finally wraps up Public lands » Feds OK the deal after 20K acres in Grand County are dropped from the trade.

State School Board names new leadership, takes position on election process

After dumped lunches, SLC schools will serve only full meals Education » After the outrage, school district says it will keep kids out of debt disputes.

Utah Jazz’s John Lucas III reaches out in wake of Salt Lake school lunch fiasco

Utah County schools earn nutrition honors

Box Elder High gay-straight alliance club begins

Mountain Crest Robotics team wins chance to vie for world championship

Ballroom classes boost students’ confidence

Dixie High School: Soaring to new heights

3 Hillcrest High students get perfect ACT scores

Sterling Scholar builds on a 53-year history

Utah County Health Department offers grants for driver’s ed preparation

Elizabeth Smart interacts with Provo girls facing adversity

Granite School District honors administrators

Sunset kids and student stylists have haircut fun

Roy High basketball team serves pizza, smiles

Students celebrate National Anthem’s anniversary

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Enhancing academic performance is about more than just money

Thumbs up, thumbs down

Utah education is a leaky pipeline

Education: The key to a living wage

Don’t throw food away

There are no ‘free’ lunches

Herbert missed the mark

Weber High’s performance of ‘Tarzan’ was ‘world class’

Expand preschool, not federal role
Before throwing billions more on pre-K, evaluate what works.

Preschool not for every child
Is school necessarily better than home for learning the ABCs?

Are education funds being wasted?
Too much money is going to overhead. We need to measure where funds most help students.

Lies, Damned Lies, and the Common Core

Do Parents Care Enough About School?

NATION

Regents vote to pull back on some education reforms

Beyond School Supplies: How DonorsChoose is Crowdsourcing Real Education Reform The Charity is Using Its Networking Strength to Provide Teachers with New Kinds of Resources, and Its Data to Hold Bureaucrats Accountable

Colorado teen who set himself ablaze at high school dies

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UTAH NEWS
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Utah schools funding boosts don’t always filter down to the classroom Legislature » Most of 2% per-pupil increase went toward retirement costs.

When lawmakers decided to boost per-pupil spending last year by 2 percent, many Utahns cheered, envisioning that cash raining on teachers and classrooms.
In reality, much of that money was spoken for — by the state retirement system — long before it ever hit schools, a Salt Lake Tribune investigation has found.
In the Salt Lake City and Alpine school districts, not one cent of the increased student funding made it into classrooms. All of it went to the state retirement system and/or rising health care costs.
It’s a pattern that could repeat this year unless lawmakers find more money per student than what’s so far been proposed.
http://goo.gl/aeuyWx  (SLT)

Utah considers all-out attack on schools’ digital divide Tech » As Utah lawmakers weigh a $200 million to $300 million investment in devices, results from the state’s first digital experiments are mixed.

Fourth-graders with a range of disabilities, each toting an iPad, vie for teacher Ana Park’s attention at Newman Elementary in northwest Salt Lake City.
“What do I do next?” “Can I show mine?” they clamor on their second day with the iPads, which are being distributed in every classroom at the 480-student school this winter.
Newman is one of 10 schools chosen to join Utah’s Smart School Technology Project; three of them are in the second year of having an iPad for every student.
The project, funded with $5.4 million set aside during the past two legislative sessions, is a big deal in these 10 schools, but it looks downright puny against the massive digital infusion envisioned by House Speaker Becky Lockhart.
The Provo Republican is proposing that Utah spend $200 million to $300 million to buy digital devices for Utah’s 612,500 students, to train educators and to build the infrastructure in schools.
The Utah Board of Education is asking for a more modest $50 million, which before Lockhart announced her idea on Jan. 30, appeared pie-in-the-sky.
http://goo.gl/z1msHJ (SLT)

http://goo.gl/kIZNds  (CVD)

Despite Conservative Push Back, Pre-K Bill Passes out of Committee

A proposed bill to create a board that will fund pre-kindergarten programs for at-risk students passed the House Education Committee Thursday morning. HB 96, sponsored by Representative Greg Hughes (Republican – Draper), advanced on a 13-3 vote.
The bill would create the School Readiness Board, which will negotiate contracts with private entities to fund pre-kindergarten programs, and will award grants to qualifying early childhood education programs.
http://goo.gl/4EGxTH  (UPC)

http://goo.gl/45rlSk  (KCPW)

Lawmakers, educators debate changes to school grading law

SALT LAKE CITY — Students who are mentally and physically disabled could be excluded from Utah’s controversial school grading program if a bill heard in a House committee Friday becomes law.
HB292, sponsored by Rep. Ronda Menlove, R-Garland, would exclude a student from the calculation of a school’s graduation rate used in school grading if that student is part of an individualized education program, or IEP.
Menlove said she was motivated to sponsor the bill after speaking with a school principal who expressed concern that schools were motivated by school grades to advance students who are otherwise allowed by federal law to remain in high school until their 22nd birthday.
“Kids who have severe disabilities have the right to stay in school,” she said. “They’re a very tiny population of students in the state.”
Rep. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, asked if the bill could lead to an “IEP avalanche,” where schools push struggling students into special education to avoid a failing grade.
http://goo.gl/TJsBgR  (DN)

http://goo.gl/uP4jOF (KSL)

Utah lawmakers insist on school gas monitors

SALT LAKE CITY — Two state lawmakers want to ensure all Utah schools have carbon monoxide monitors installed after a gas leak at a southern Utah elementary school last year sickened more than 40 people.
The leak prompted concerns about the fact that Utah is among many states that don’t require schools to install carbon monoxide monitors.
http://goo.gl/gr6rGV  (OSE)

http://goo.gl/20k7RA  (PDH)

http://goo.gl/kZwOHS (KUTV)

Utah Bill Would Give Teachers More Time for Professional Development

Here’s an interesting news development that raises a series of interesting questions: What is the best amount, and best use, of class time? Is it better to have more contact time between students and teachers—or to make sure teachers have lots of time on their own at school to make sure their instruction is tip-top? Where should the balance be struck?
Those are questions raised by a piece of Utah legislation that would allow districts to use up to eight class days, or 60 hours, of class time annually for professional development.
http://goo.gl/AIHBbP (Ed Week)

Survey: Utahns most concerned about education, air quality

SALT LAKE CITY — A new study reveals that Utahns want their civic leaders to put a lot of effort into addressing the need for quality public schools, as well as cleaning up the state’s increasingly smoggy air.
A statewide survey conducted by Dan Jones & Associates and the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business indicated that Utahns want the Legislature to tackle public education and air quality as the two most important issues currently facing the state.
The survey ranked the top 20 issues most important to Utahns. Rounding out the top five were protecting states’ rights at No. 3, increasing the number of jobs at No. 4, and improving the ethics and oversight of elected officials at No. 5.
“Public education always receives among the highest, if not the highest, ranking among Utahns as they consider the job that needs to be done by the Utah Legislature,” said Dan Jones, founder and CEO of Dan Jones & Associates.
http://goo.gl/tXRPRl  (DN)

Utah Policy/KSL Insider Survey: Lockhart’s Education Technology Proposal

House Speaker Becky Lockhart is proposing the state spend between $200 and $300 million on a program to increase technology use in the classroom. Our “Political Insiders” and readers weigh in on the idea.
http://goo.gl/5huRab (UP)

Trib Talk today: The debate over preschool in Utah

Should early childhood education be provided at preschool or by parents? That’s the question lawmakers are grappling with as they consider HB96, which would provide funding for optional early childhood education for at-risk kids.
On Monday at 12:15 p.m., Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams, Eagle Forum president Gayle Ruzicka and Tribune education reporter Lisa Schencker join Jennifer Napier-Pearce to talk about the home-versus-pre-K debate.
http://goo.gl/Ydw6sV  (SLT)

Utah recreational land swap finally wraps up Public lands » Feds OK the deal after 20K acres in Grand County are dropped from the trade.

After several years of negotiations, appraisals and renegotiations, a complex Utah land exchange between federal and state land-management agencies was approved Friday by the Bureau of Land Management.
The bureau will acquire 58 parcels, totaling 25,034 acres, primarily in Grand County and including recreation sites such as Corona Arch and Morning Glory Arch.
The state of Utah will acquire 34 parcels, totaling 35,516 acres and primarily in Uintah County, that have high potential for development.
Public comment will be gathered during the next 45 days.
But the sheer length of time it has taken to complete the deal has led many to wonder if federal rules governing such trades, which often enjoy near-unanimous support, are actually thwarting them.
The Utah Recreational Land Exchange, which Congress authorized nearly five years ago, has met hurdle after hurdle. One complication arose late last year when the National Park Service raised concerns about one parcel the BLM was trading to the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, or SITLA.
http://goo.gl/q9JQZI  (SLT)

http://goo.gl/8KYBSr  (DN)

State School Board names new leadership, takes position on election process

SALT LAKE CITY — Members of the State School Board named Dave Crandall as their new chairman Friday, filling the vacancy created when Tami Pyfer resigned last month to accept a position in the governor’s office.
Crandall has served as acting chairman since Pyfer’s resignation, but the creation of a second vice chairman position in January clouded the procedure on how leadership vacancies are filled.
The board updated those policies Friday, naming Crandall as chairman and board member David Thomas as first vice chairman. The board declined to immediately elect a new second vice chairman, but board policy permits the position to remain vacant for up to two months.
http://goo.gl/7R6I3P  (DN)

After dumped lunches, SLC schools will serve only full meals Education » After the outrage, school district says it will keep kids out of debt disputes.

All children who want to buy lunch in Salt Lake City district schools will now receive full meals — even if they don’t have enough money in their accounts, according to new procedures released Friday.
No more partial meals will be served, according to new instructions distributed to school kitchen managers Thursday. Parents with negative account balances will be notified every day, and employees will not be allowed to ask kids for payments or ask children to remind their parents.
http://goo.gl/lkq5u7 (SLT)

http://goo.gl/iygI1W  (DN)

http://goo.gl/dt7HhR (OSE)

http://goo.gl/gUi8tw (KUTV)

http://goo.gl/P3ENfi  (KTVX)

http://goo.gl/xEVwKQ  (KSL)

http://goo.gl/FWc2kc  (KSTU)

Utah Jazz’s John Lucas III reaches out in wake of Salt Lake school lunch fiasco

SALT LAKE CITY — Like many, John Lucas III was appalled when he found out Salt Lake City elementary school students had their lunches taken away and trashed a couple of weeks ago.
Lucas called his agent and told him, “Hey, man, that’s not right.”
Feeling annoyed and compassionate, Lucas decided to do some things that are very right.
For one thing, Lucas is planning on making a financial contribution to help fund Uintah Elementary School’s lunch program.
http://goo.gl/VWhzs7  (DN)

Utah County schools earn nutrition honors

PROVO — Ask kids what their favorite subject is at school and some will joke “recess” or “lunch.” There is good reason that lunch should be high on that list. Twenty Utah County elementary schools have earned honors for their nutrition programs.
It’s part of the Healthier U.S. School Challenge, a voluntary national certification for schools which participate in the National School Lunch Program.
http://goo.gl/SZ7BxT  (PDH)

Box Elder High gay-straight alliance club begins

BRIGHAM CITY — Nearly three months after a record crowd of parents, teachers and activists squeezed into a school board meeting to share views on a student-proposed Gay-Straight Alliance for Box Elder High School, the newly approved GSA hosts its first meeting this week.
“After the whole fiasco in November, things went relatively smoothly,” said Box Elder High senior Gloria Hammond, 17, who initiated the GSA request.
“The application was approved the same week I turned it in. The name Gay-Straight Alliance was under scrutiny, because it has gay in it, but eventually they let me keep the name.”
Gloria said people were invited to sign up starting last week.
“We got 60 or 70 people sign up, which makes it a pretty large club,” she said.
http://goo.gl/oaY3z1  (OSE)

Mountain Crest Robotics team wins chance to vie for world championship

After six hours of competition, three teams walked away state champions of the Utah VEX Robotics competition, including a group from Mountain Crest High School.
Held at Utah State University, 32 teams from schools across state brought robots they built themselves to compete for a chance to advance to the VEX Robotics Worlds Championships.
The three winning teams were Murph-E from Mountain Crest High School, Star Fox from Davis High School and Skunkworks Robotics, an independent team with no high school affiliation.
http://goo.gl/lLzjtw (LHJ)

Ballroom classes boost students’ confidence

Barratt Elementary 5th grader Kysen Weakley believes the Fox Trot is the most difficult dance. Weakley is a member of his school’s award-winning ballroom dance program. In January, the Barratt Elementary dancers earned a gold rating, the highest score possible, at the Alpine Team Match (Elementary Ballroom) at Mountain View High School.
Sandra Turner’s daughter Jordyn is a member of the school’s level two ballroom class. Turner said, “My husband was the principal at Rocky Mountain elementary. They had ballroom dance classes. His students looked like they were having so much fun. I wanted to bring it home to our school.”
http://goo.gl/JXDms8  (PDH)

Dixie High School: Soaring to new heights

ST. GEORGE — Thousands of students have walked through the halls of Dixie High School adorned in blue and white, priding themselves in being called a Dixie Flyer.
Now, 102 years since it opened, students continue to display that “Dixie spirit” by upholding many of the traditions that were established generations ago.
http://goo.gl/pR9u9m (SGS)

3 Hillcrest High students get perfect ACT scores

MIDVALE, Utah — For the first time ever, Hillcrest High School has a new academic record– three students getting a perfect ACT score in one year.
The students said there was a friendly competition as they worked to get their high scores, and they’re hoping the perfect 36 will open doors for them.
http://goo.gl/CQ5cJM  (KSTU)

Sterling Scholar builds on a 53-year history

If student athletes receive acclaim, why not high school scholars?
It’s the thought that prompted the Deseret News to create the Sterling Scholar Awards. Designed as a way to honor scholastic achievement, leadership and community service, the program continues to encourage educational excellence among high school seniors as it has for the past 53 years.
“When we have students like this there is hope and excitement for the future,” said Linda K. Stokes, current director of the Sterling Scholar program.
http://goo.gl/FDsu8G  (DN)

http://goo.gl/QuCkdn  (DN)

http://goo.gl/lga9zq (DN)

Utah County Health Department offers grants for driver’s ed preparation

PROVO — Grants are available in Utah County to focus on projects to help teens prepare for driver’s education.
The Utah County Injury Prevention Program will have up to $750 of community injury prevention funding available through the distribution of materials, equipment and/or supplies purchased in bulk by the Utah County Health Department for projects that qualify. The department has developed a presentation with the help of Zero Fatalities tailored for teens and their parents in preparation for the driver’s education program.
http://goo.gl/qdXiAR  (DN)

Elizabeth Smart interacts with Provo girls facing adversity

PROVO — Elizabeth Smart is not shy about speaking out about her abduction in 2002 at the hands of Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Barzee, the daily abuse she suffered, and the need to let the memories go and move forward.
She is telling audiences across the nation her story (now available in the best-selling book “My Story” by Smart and Chris Stewart) and standing up for victims of rape and abuse everywhere.
“I definitely know what it’s like to be there, how heartbreaking it is to not be able to move forward,” Smart told the media and an audience of young women at the Heritage School in Provo on Feb. 6. Smart was invited to be the keynote speaker at the school’s Hero dinner.
http://goo.gl/9ncLRY  (DN)

Granite School District honors administrators

SOUTH SALT LAKE — The Granite Association of School Administrators recognized four Granite School District leaders with Administrators of the Year awards.
http://goo.gl/8SR5Do  (DN)

Sunset kids and student stylists have haircut fun

SUNSET — Close to 100 students at Doxey Elementary enjoyed free haircuts provided by 12 cosmetology students and their instructor, Kelcie Hall.
http://goo.gl/Xdeu7T  (OSE)

Roy High basketball team serves pizza, smiles

ROY — Twelve-year-old Kadyn Batchelor wasn’t more than two steps behind one of his favorite basketball players all of Friday afternoon.
He and about 40 other Boys and Girls Club members spent the afternoon with Roy High School’s boys basketball team as the team offered a free clinic and pizza for the club.
http://goo.gl/yuQmu8 (OSE)

Students celebrate National Anthem’s anniversary

SPANISH FORK – Red, white and blue covered Sierra Bonita Elementary School in Spanish Fork last week as students and staff celebrated the 200th anniversary of the national anthem.
http://goo.gl/aVgmoL  (PDH)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Enhancing academic performance is about more than just money Deseret News editorial

Education Week, the prominent trade newspaper and website that focuses on education, recently released its annual report grading schools and education systems. The results are disquieting. The United States received a grade of only 70.2 percent, just barely a C-minus. That’s up from 69.7 percent the year before, but it’s hardly cause for celebration.
When measured against other industrialized countries, America continues to fall behind in global rankings. The international Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s annual report places the United States below the international average in every major educational category, and the situation continues to worsen. “The U.S. slipped from 25th to 31st in math since 2009; from 20th to 24th in science; and from 11th to 21st in reading,” reported The Wall Street Journal.
This is entirely unacceptable.
Many in the educational establishment use statistics like these to bolster the case for increased funding of education.
http://goo.gl/C4nm69

Thumbs up, thumbs down
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

Thumbs up: To the members of Weber High School’s HOSA club. These students, future health professionals, are preparing food kits to send home to children who don’t get fed regular meals on weekends.
http://goo.gl/AkBpV4

Utah education is a leaky pipeline
Deseret News commentary by columnist John Florez

John W. Gardner said it well, “The society which scorns excellence in plumbing as a humble activity and tolerates shoddiness in philosophy because it is an exalted activity will have neither good plumbing nor good philosophy: neither its pipes nor its theories will hold water.”
Can you imagine a leaky pipeline where pollution is poured in at the top, leaks out along the way, and trickles out at the end? Well that’s what seems to be happening with Utah’s public education; lawmakers pour in unrelated policies that end up clogging and polluting the system, and tax money is lost along the way. We need excellent policies and practical solutions if we want to prepare our children for an ever-changing world.
Many applauded last year’s leadership that created the Education Task Force (SB69) to establish “long-term education policies to improve the state’s economic prosperity.” It seems some lawmakers ignored the intent of the report and continue to clog the pipeline with bills — now more than 60 and still counting — that do not advance the intent of the task force. But it should not be surprising, since one of the legislative leaders is proposing a $300 million bill to pay for technology without considering it as part of the long-term plan.
http://goo.gl/GjBLtT

Education: The key to a living wage
(St. George) Spectrum commentary by columnist Cathy Wentz

As I spoke with Southern Utah University President Scott Wyatt last week, he talked briefly about Prosperity 2020, a state initiative the university has an obligation to support.
Wyatt told me that Gov. Gary Herbert, the state legislature and Board of Regents are all focused on helping at least 66 percent of the state’s adult population possess a post-secondary certificate or degree by the year 2020. In order to achieve this goal, Wyatt said, employees at every university in the state must push themselves to make a difference.
I like the thought behind this lofty goal. We often hear about income inequality when politicians are pushing to increase the minimum wage, but, frankly, the completion of job duties in some cases is not worth $10 or more an hour.
http://goo.gl/AztC4w

Don’t throw food away
Deseret News letter from Ryan Jensen

I’m a student at West Hills Middle School of the Jordan School District and I read the article about elementary students at Uintah Elementary getting their lunches thrown away. In this article it mentioned the parent of a student at my school saying that the student had seen lunches get thrown away every day. I think that this lunch being thrown away because the student has no money is not right.
http://goo.gl/ftI4bl

There are no ‘free’ lunches
(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Karen Erickson

Please. Words have meaning. Schools do not provide “free” lunches. Schools provide “taxpayer paid” lunches. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
http://goo.gl/fh7ja9

Herbert missed the mark
Deseret News letter from Fred Ash

Gov. Gary Herbert, in his State of the State address, mostly stressed that Utah is one of the fastest growing and best-managed states in the nation and that our economy is doing very well. I was impressed that he admitted that we are not perfect, that we need to do more to improve our air quality and to make sure our teachers are paid enough.
What disappointed me was that he didn’t talk about the quality of life in Utah. He didn’t mention that the main reasons businesses used to want to come to Utah were our good education system and our open lands, but that now they want to move here mostly because of the low corporate taxes, and those low taxes and the increased population are major factors in our poorly funded education system and poor air quality.
http://goo.gl/7FvFjI

Weber High’s performance of ‘Tarzan’ was ‘world class’
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Lonnie C. Barker

Mark Daniels and his great students at Weber High deserve another standing ovation for the great performance they did last week with “Tarzan.” The songs were beautifully done, the costumes were fabulous and the aerial acrobatic performances were amazing. Their performance was way above the normal high school level.
http://goo.gl/BOqYy7

Expand preschool, not federal role
Before throwing billions more on pre-K, evaluate what works.
USA Today editorial

Preschool is enjoying quite the popularity boom. Admirers range from President Obama to liberal mayors to conservative governors. Last month, Obama called for making “high-quality pre-K available to every 4-year-old.” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to do it by taxing the city’s wealthiest residents. Last week, Gov. Rick Snyder, R-Mich., proposed spending millions more for preschool, joining a herd of GOP governors who’ve launched or expanded such programs.
The bipartisan enthusiasm is broadly supported by education research. Pre-K can give children, particularly disadvantaged kids, a leg up. But before politicians throw billions more dollars on preschool, they ought to spend more time looking at what works.
Rigorous evaluations are amazingly rare. The lack of evidence means a lot of money is wasted, and many well-intentioned programs fail the children they are designed to help.
http://goo.gl/8wf4dX

Preschool not for every child
Is school necessarily better than home for learning the ABCs?
USA Today op-ed by Darcy Olsen, CEO of the Goldwater Institute

A woman in my moms group anxiously posed this question: “My son just turned 4. I don’t want to send him to school yet, but everyone says preschool is really important. Am I making a mistake?”
It’s easy to see why she’s worried. Even the president of the United States has declared that preschool is one of the best investments we can make in a child’s life. But is school necessarily better than home for learning the ABCs?
The push for preschool began in the 1960s. When an experiment showed that early intervention could help severely disadvantaged children, benefits were assumed for all. That was a mistake.
http://goo.gl/eeJult

Are education funds being wasted?
Too much money is going to overhead. We need to measure where funds most help students.
USA Today op-ed by Michelle Rhee, founder and CEO of StudentsFirst, and Susan Combs, Texas comptroller of public accounts

We’re professionals from different backgrounds: one a Democrat and education reformer, the other a Republican comptroller of public accounts for Texas. We may not agree on everything, but we are coming together around two common beliefs.
We both believe that nothing is more important to America’s economic future than a world-class public education system. We also believe that limited education dollars should be invested in proven programs that benefit kids, not in unnecessary administration, overhead or red tape.
Today we’re spending more than $600 billion a year in public schools across the country, and few of us are happy with the results. Over the last five decades, in fact, U.S. education spending has skyrocketed by 350%, yet achievement levels have remained stagnant.
It is hard to argue that those dollars are being spent in a way that prioritizes children.
http://goo.gl/pkHJq7

Lies, Damned Lies, and the Common Core
Education Next commentary by Michael J. Petrilli, executive vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute

If you want to understand why supporters of the Common Core are frustrated—OK, exasperated—by some of our opponents’ seemingly unlimited willingness to engage in dishonest debate, consider this latest episode.
On Monday, EAG News published an article entitled, “Common Core math question for sixth graders: Was the 2000 election ‘fair’?”
http://goo.gl/72qy3e

Do Parents Care Enough About School?
New York Times op-ed by Kay S. Hymowitz, Lashanda Henry, Richard D. Kahlenberg, Mario Luis Small, Brian Jones, Leonie Haimson, Suketu Mehta, Amy L. Wax

We cannot improve education without “more demanding parents,” President Obama said in his State of the Union address. Education Secretary Arne Duncan recently mused that he “wished our biggest challenge” was “too many parents demanding excellent schools.” The authors Amy Chua and Jed Rubenfeld say some parents are more focused on building self-esteem than demanding excellence.
But are schools really doing poorly because parents don’t care enough to push their children and their schools to excel? Or are educators shifting responsibility to parents who are ill-equipped to take on such a role?
http://goo.gl/2DfGRm

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Regents vote to pull back on some education reforms New York Newsday

High school students across New York will not have to meet higher passage requirements on new, tougher state exams in order to graduate until 2022 under recommendations approved Monday by the Board of Regents.
Those students currently were scheduled to start taking Regents exams based upon the Common Core academic standards this spring. The policy-making board’s action means they will not have to pass the more rigorous exams with scores of 75 or 80 as graduation requirements until the later date.
The change came amid the full board’s 15-2 approval of 19 recommendations from a six-member work group that Chancellor Merryl Tisch appointed to review the state’s education initiatives. The vote followed nearly two-and-a-half hours of debate and discussion in a crowded Albany conference room.
http://goo.gl/UDAc8Y

Beyond School Supplies: How DonorsChoose is Crowdsourcing Real Education Reform The Charity is Using Its Networking Strength to Provide Teachers with New Kinds of Resources, and Its Data to Hold Bureaucrats Accountable Fast Company

Every chance he gets, Charles Best, the founder of DonorsChoose.org, leafs through the carefully lettered, colorfully illustrated thank-you notes from public school students that arrive daily at the loft office he shares with his staff in the garment district of Manhattan. The letters are like sunbeams for him, brimming with gratitude toward the 1.2 million citizen philanthropists who’ve provided classroom supplies through his pioneering crowdfunding site. For 13 years, Best has been opening letters that thank his donors for books, scissors, and glue; they now number more than 500 a day.
Instead of feeling satisfied, though, Best’s appetite is only growing. “Teachers know how to improve education,” he says, “but they are a voice that is consistently overlooked or ignored.” This past year, DonorsChoose has launched several significant initiatives that build on its success, using its currency with teachers, high-profile donors and backers, and parts of the educational ecosystem such as the College Board to fund classes in science and program­ming, make technology available to students, and become a bigger player in improving public education.
Best doesn’t put it quite this way, but he is eager to start receiving notes that say, “Thank you for my classroom’s 3-D printer” and “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to take AP Chemistry.”
DonorsChoose, which Best founded in 2000 while he was a teacher at a small public school in the Bronx, has grown into an educational charity juggernaut.
It’s raised $225 million and helped more than 175,000 teachers fund over 400,000 projects that have aided the education of more than 10 million students.
http://goo.gl/p9GvVh

Colorado teen who set himself ablaze at high school dies Reuters

DENVER – A 16-year-old Colorado boy who set himself ablaze in a suicide attempt last month in the cafeteria of his suburban Denver high school in front of 60 classmates has died from his injuries, police said on Monday.
Vincent Nett, a student at Standley Lake High School in the suburb of Westminster, walked into the school about 7 a.m. on Jan. 27, doused himself with a flammable liquid and set himself alight.
A custodian extinguished the flames but not before the boy was badly burned. He died on Sunday at a local hospital, Westminster Police Investigator Cheri Spottke said. She said more than 60 students witnessed the incident.
http://goo.gl/LJhyu4

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

February 10:
House Judiciary Committee meeting
8 a.m., 20 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2014/agenda/HJUD0210.ag.htm

House Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee meeting
9 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2014/agenda/HNAE0210.ag.htm

Retirement and Independent Entities Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
12:30 p.m., 20 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2014/html/00002033.htm

Senate Education Committee meeting
2 p.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2014/agenda/SEDU0210.ag.htm

Senate Business and Labor Committee meeting
2 p.m., 215 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2014/agenda/SBUS0210.ag.htm

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
5:10 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2014/html/00002132.htm

February 11:
Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2014/html/00002122.htm

House Education Committee meeting
4 p.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2014/agenda/HEDU0211.ag.htm

February 12-13:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://goo.gl/IaQntl

February 13:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
Noon, 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspxpr

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