Education News Roundup: Feb. 24, 2014

Utah State Capitol
Utah State Capitol

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

Sen. Adams discusses his proposed tweaks to school grading.
http://go.uen.org/h6  (UP)

Bill that would allow districts and charters to use instruction days for professional development days passes Senate and moves to House.
http://go.uen.org/h8  (DN)
and http://go.uen.org/hi  (SLT)

Gov. Herbert defends Common Core to the Glenn Beck-connected TheBlaze.
http://go.uen.org/ib  (Dallas, TX, TheBlaze)

Does lousy air quality increase school absenteeism?
http://go.uen.org/h3  (SLT)

Granite District officers issued M-16 rifles.
http://go.uen.org/h4  (SLT)

Rep. Last discusses the 1:1 initiative.
http://go.uen.org/hU  (SGS)

USC study says new math textbooks aren’t really aligned to the Common Core.
http://go.uen.org/i0  (WaPo)
and http://go.uen.org/hc  (Politico)
and http://go.uen.org/he  (Ed Week)
or a copy of the paper
http://go.uen.org/hd  (USC)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Sen. Adams Proposing Changes to School-Grading System

Bill allowing schools to swap classroom days for teacher training moves to House

Utah House passes school technology bill in shadow of larger proposal

Hughes Discusses Preschool Education, Breathalyzers and Medicaid

Committee finishes work on bill extending penalties for sexual contact with a student

Lawmakers Punt On Discipline Bill

Bishop praises Legislature on public lands stance

U.S. Education Secretary: Common Core Isn’t Headed Toward National Curriculum Status

Does Utah’s air pollution increase school absences?
Wasatch Front students miss class at soaring rates when pollution spikes, a Tribune analysis shows.

Granite district using military M-16s to defend schools
School shootings » Granite district police have three M-16s they inherited from the feds.

Utah lost 574 to suicide last year, but prevention efforts are moving forward

Bridgerland Science and Engineering Fair winners move on to national competitions

STE2M center opens at USU
Campus program hopes to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration

Program significantly increases graduation rates among Native Americans in Nebo School District

Utah schools meet to prevent bullying

Student-led program seeks to combat bullying in Uintah School District

Lewdness reports have students on edge in Ogden School District

Ineligible player forces Olympus to forfeit 4 games
Boys basketball » Titans drop into the third seed in Region 7 for upcoming 4A tournament.

Students, faculty earn Builder of the Year honors

Mountain Crest teacher gets diversity award

Winter Sports School celebrates increasing enrollment with campus relocation

Utah author shares writing tips with Providence Elementary students

Author Virginia Euwer Wolff visits Payson students

Meeting to explain STEAM curriculum
North Elementary inviting parents to take closer look

Elementary school puts food preparation on display

New Woods Cross elementary school gets name, principal

Granite School Board to host town hall meeting

Saratoga Springs students connect with Olympians through Twitter

Salem Hills students take on ‘Pride and Prejudice’

Taming of Shrew Returning to Mesquite
Utah Shakespeare Festival’s Educational Tour Returns with The Taming of the Shrew

OPINION & COMMENTARY

School lunch audit

Life skills

Thumbs up, thumbs down

Legislature review: Hot topics coming down the stretch

Lee trying to reverse his negative image

Like the emperor, legislators have no clothes

12 YouTube science channels you should be watching with your kids

Technology a tool, not sole solution

The education quandary

As a teacher, I’ve seen good parents from all walks

Now we know what it really means to be married

Debate should be about who pays less for education

Tax structure starves children of needed education

Penalizing large families

Needing teachers

HB 131 not wise use of public funds

SL School District could help kids instead of paying PR firm

SL School District can save money by telling truth

Ogden academy will participate in Las Vegas triathlon

Expand Pre-K, Not A.D.H.D.

The Wrong Way to Close the Education Gap
In trying to raise achievement levels in our schools, we’re failing to acknowledge a critical factor: Students are different from each other.

Big Score
When Mom takes the SATs.

Why We Never Get Over High School
No matter how long it’s been since graduation, Americans love to start conversations with new acquaintances by asking about where they were schooled. It’s a useful question.

NATION

Are math textbooks ready for Common Core?

Beason files bill to repeal Common Core curriculum
New legislation would allow state to revert to previous standards in 2017

Addressing Common Core’s biggest concerns

High Schools, Districts Work to Boost Graduation Rates Higher
Experts recommend that educators focus their efforts on students who show early signs of dropping out.

Citizenship Bill Worries Kan. School District

Tweet furor: Rogers student says he’s sorry, changes schools
Star Tribune exclusive: Rogers High School senior Reid Sagehorn, caught in a furor over a tweet, says he’s sorry, changes schools.

Public schools recruiting international high schoolers
A small town in upstate New York is joining a few other rural school districts in quietly tapping potential cash-ready international students who can bring new life to underenrolled schools.

‘12 Years a Slave’ Is Headed to Schools

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UTAH NEWS
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Sen. Adams Proposing Changes to School-Grading System

Sen. Stuart Adams (R-Layton) is pushing some tweaks to Utah’s system for grading schools that generated much controversy last year.
The system assigns a single letter grade to schools based on performance, graduation rates and standardized testing scores. Adams says a group of stakeholders met throughout the interim to come up with the changes to improve the system.
“When you get opposing sides together and you come up with consensus, that’s the best way to do things,” says Adams.
http://go.uen.org/h6  (UP)

Bill allowing schools to swap classroom days for teacher training moves to House

SALT LAKE CITY — School districts would be able to swap instructional days for teacher training under the terms of a bill that has passed the Senate and gained House committee approval Friday.
SB103, sponsored by Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, would allow a school district to use up to four classroom days for the purpose of educator professional development.
http://go.uen.org/h8  (DN)

http://go.uen.org/hi  (SLT)

Utah House passes school technology bill in shadow of larger proposal

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah House approved a bill Friday that would provide grants to schools making a transition to the use of digital textbooks.
HB249, sponsored by Rep. Jacob Anderegg, R-Lehi, would allocate $1 million for a grant program through which schools could purchase digital textbooks, personal devices or laptop and desktop computers for use in classrooms.
But Friday’s debate on HB249 frequently drifted away from Anderegg’s bill to another, considerably larger, proposal by House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, that calls for a technological overhaul of the state’s public schools.
http://go.uen.org/h9  (DN)

http://go.uen.org/hY (KSL)

Hughes Discusses Preschool Education, Breathalyzers and Medicaid

Rep. Greg Hughes (R-Draper) says he’s not surprised his plan to expand preschool education to at-risk kids has run into some opposition, but he’s confident once people understand what he’s trying to do, it will pass.
“The public private partnership is the model, where private investors put their money and invest in at-risk kids. If those kids get through kindergarten and sixth grade without intervention, we reimburse the investor,” says Hughes. “It’s a way to invest dollars the state does not have. It does not expand government into 3 and 4 year olds. It is a reimbursement back if we can manage a massive cost-avoidance to the state.”
http://go.uen.org/h5  (UP)

Committee finishes work on bill extending penalties for sexual contact with a student

SALT LAKE CITY — Any adult school employee or volunteer would face criminal action for engaging in sexual contact with a student under the terms of a bill advanced Friday by the House Judiciary Committee.
The bill was held in committee Wednesday for further debate, then substituted and amended Friday in attempt to further clarify language. Current law specifies teachers as being in a “position of special trust,” which lawmakers and educators say has led to a legal loophole excluding school personnel who are not directly involved in the classroom education of a student victim.
HB213, sponsored by Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, would extend the definition of a person in a “position of special trust” to include teachers, as well as adult volunteers and other school faculty.
http://go.uen.org/hb  (DN)

Lawmakers Punt On Discipline Bill

A measure to expunge some disciplinary records against doctors, dentists, therapists, financial advisors—and scores of other professionals licensed by the state—may be kicked off the immediate legislative agenda, though it could be revived later.
“I think this provides a balance between public safety and public information,” said Representative Brian Greene, sponsor of House Bill 124, ‘Expungement of Administrative Disciplinary Action.’
It would allow licensed practitioners, sanctioned for unethical or negligent conduct by the state, to seek to wipe the record clean after a period of years.
Greene said the public has “easy access” to those disciplinary records now, which he claimed is “devastating” to the sanctioned professionals.
http://go.uen.org/hk  (KUTV)

Bishop praises Legislature on public lands stance

U.S. Congressman Rep. Rob Bishop told the Utah Legislature Friday he hopes to be named as chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources to help protect Utah’s lands for the next session of Congress.
“With a state that has 70 percent of its land under absentee landlord management from Washington, if I would be able to be that chairman, there are a lot of great things I think we could work with you on to further this issue and further what happens with the land in the state of Utah,” Bishop said.
Bishop commended lawmakers for a strong stance on public lands in recent years and criticized the federal government for its lands policy.
http://go.uen.org/h7  (SLT)

http://go.uen.org/ha  (DN)

http://go.uen.org/hj  (KUER)

U.S. Education Secretary: Common Core Isn’t Headed Toward National Curriculum Status

Common Core state education standards are not federal-level coercion, as some Republicans in Congress have characterized it, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told TheBlaze.
Duncan spoke Sunday at the gathering of the National Governors Association. Afterward TheBlaze asked him about a resolution proposed by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and co-sponsored by eight other Republican senators. The resolution opposes tying federal education dollars with adoption of Common Core standards, which the resolution says could create a de facto “national curriculum.”
“I’m not familiar with that, but that’s simply not true,” Duncan told TheBlaze.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, supports the concept but said his state is cautious about federal encroachment.
“Common Core was designed initially by the states,” Herbert told TheBlaze. “It’s really just a common goal. It predates my time. Governors were upset about the progress of education. We’re falling behind. So states simply said, ‘Why don’t we have a common goal on language arts and math, and whoever you are in this country, when it comes to getting a high school diploma, you have some kind of minimal proficiency?’ That aspect of it was good.”
“We certainly don’t want to have the government overreaching and dictating to the states, certainly not to Utah, about our methodology, how we’re going to do it, what our textbooks are, what our testing is going to be,” Herbert said.
“In fact in Utah, we’ve passed a law to say that can’t happen. We have a law that says if any of this federal overreach somehow gets into our system, we are mandated to get out of it. I think our education, our state school board, our education leaders, we’ve always controlled our own curriculum, we’ve always controlled our own textbooks and testing. We’ll continue to do that in Utah.”
http://go.uen.org/ib  (Dallas, TX, TheBlaze)

Does Utah’s air pollution increase school absences?
Wasatch Front students miss class at soaring rates when pollution spikes, a Tribune analysis shows.


Health problems are a known contributor to absenteeism, and Wasatch Front students miss class at soaring rates when pollution levels are at their highest.
That’s according to an analysis of attendance records by The Salt Lake Tribune in collaboration with Brigham Young University economist Arden Pope, one of the world’s leading pollution scientists.
The Tribune obtained daily counts of school absences in 2012 and 2013 at four school districts — Salt Lake, Provo and Alpine, where residents endure winter bouts of unhealthy air, and Park City, which rests above the valley haze.
Pope plotted the absences against daily pollution counts, or the average daily measures of hazardous fine particulates.
There appears to be a link between pollution and student absenteeism during the record-setting winter of 2013, preliminary findings show.
http://go.uen.org/h3  (SLT)

Granite district using military M-16s to defend schools
School shootings » Granite district police have three M-16s they inherited from the feds.

South Salt Lake • Like educators and police officers across the country, Randy Johnson is worried about a gunman walking into a school and shooting children and teachers.
So Johnson, the chief of the Granite School District Police Department, has issued AR-15 rifles to 12 of his full-time officers. Johnson and two sergeants have something similar — M-16 rifles from a government program that gives military surplus to state and local police.
His officers don’t want to kill anyone, Johnson said. Rather, “We’re out to stop people from what they’re doing.”
Sixty-two Utah police forces belong to the 1033 Program — the U.S. Department of Defense program that gives departments surplus gear ranging from blankets to rifles to armored vehicles. But of those 62 agencies, the Granite School District is the only one whose primary mission is education.
http://go.uen.org/h4  (SLT)

Utah lost 574 to suicide last year, but prevention efforts are moving forward

SALT LAKE CITY — Airen Goodman says she struggled with self-esteem issues and abuse in her adolescence. Now she spends her time helping people in crisis.
Goodman, a certified peer specialist at University Neuropsychiatric Institute, is entrenched in the battle to prevent suicide, providing one-on-one solutions to one of Utah’s most difficult problems.

“I’ve been doing this 20 years, but this is by far the best year we’ve ever had. We’re getting help from the Legislature. For 19 years, I tried to get a suicide coordinator for the state, and (Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy) got us two last year.”
Eliason sponsored the bill that led to the hiring of Kimberly Myers as suicide prevention coordinator for the Utah Department of Human Services, and Debi Lewis, her suicide prevention counterpart at the Utah State Office of Education.
http://go.uen.org/ig  (DN)

Bridgerland Science and Engineering Fair winners move on to national competitions

With more than 125 entries, students from across Cache and Rich Counties competed in the Bridgerland Science and Engineering Fair on Saturday at Utah State University.
Though numerous awards were given out, three middle school students were selected to compete at the Broadcom Masters competition that could result in a trip to Washington D.C. for the final competition in October. Two high school students were selected to compete in the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in May in Los Angeles, Calif.
http://go.uen.org/hR  (LHJ)

STE2M center opens at USU
Campus program hopes to facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration

USU recently welcomed a STE2M center to campus. The center, run by David Feldon, is a place where students can go and collaborate with others in the fields of science, technology, education, engineering and mathematics.
Feldon said STEM education focuses primarily on work in these fields.
“The STE2M Center is a new center whose purpose is to build a larger and more densely interconnected network of stakeholders engaged in STEM education and STEM workforce development in Utah,” Feldon said. “The National Science Foundation invented the acronym as a single term for all the endeavors they support.”
The center is located in the west part of Edith Bowen Laboratory School.
http://go.uen.org/ij  (Utah Statesman)

Program significantly increases graduation rates among Native Americans in Nebo School District

SPANISH FORK — Connecting with culture is helping solve a graduation problem in the Nebo School District.
Eighteen years ago, only 37 percent of the district’s Native American students were graduating. Now that number is more than 90 percent, and district officials say the Nebo Title VII Indian Education program is a big reason why.
Eileen Quintana says the district now approaches middle school teacher interactions differently.
“They weren’t sure of society in their life,” said Quintana, Title VII founder.
http://go.uen.org/hu  (DN)

http://go.uen.org/hM  (PDH)

Utah schools meet to prevent bullying

WASHINGTON TERRACE – A group of educators gathered at the Pleasant Valley Library to learn more about dealing with bullying problems in the schools.
It was the first presentation in Utah from the Welcoming Schools program, which is described as “a comprehensive approach to creating inclusive school climates that embrace all forms of diversity.” The program has been launched in several other states including neighboring Idaho.
http://go.uen.org/hC  (OSE)

Student-led program seeks to combat bullying in Uintah School District


The lesson is just part of the Be a Buddy, Not a Bully curriculum developed by Mansfield and fellow Uintah High DECA Club members Gabe Mayberry and Casey McClellan.
“The main focus is to learn how to be kind to people,” said Mayberry, who serves as DECA Club president.
http://go.uen.org/ht  (DN)

http://go.uen.org/hX  (KSL)

Lewdness reports have students on edge in Ogden School District

OGDEN –The Ogden School District is urging caution after separate reports of an individual acting lewdly toward students near Ogden High School.
The two reported incidences have occurred within the past month and have resulted in more police officers patroling the surrounding neighborhoods.
http://go.uen.org/hF  (OSE)

http://go.uen.org/hZ  (KSTU)

Ineligible player forces Olympus to forfeit 4 games
Boys basketball » Titans drop into the third seed in Region 7 for upcoming 4A tournament.

The Olympus boys’ basketball team will forfeit four Region 7 games due to an academically ineligible player, dropping it to the region’s No. 3 seed in the upcoming Class 4A state tournament.
Olympus coach Matt Barnes said the player in question, who he declined to name, played insignificant minutes at the end of the four games, all blowout wins for the Titans. The player was ineligible while playing in victories over Skyline, Corner Canyon, Timpanogos and Murray from Feb. 4 to Feb. 14.
When the Olympus administration discovered Wednesday that the player, a senior, had failed two Advanced Placement classes and had been ineligible, it decided to forfeit the games, Barnes said.
http://go.uen.org/hq  (SLT)

Students, faculty earn Builder of the Year honors

SALEM — Four hundred students along with staff and families at Liberty Academy Charter School in Salem celebrated their first year as part of the American Preparatory Academy family of schools by conducting the first Builders Assembly on Feb. 14. The celebration of Builders is part of Liberty Academy’s new Ambassador program, which encourages development along with academic excellence as the two primary pillars of an APA education.
http://go.uen.org/hJ  (PDH)

Mountain Crest teacher gets diversity award

Though she’s only been teaching for four years, Mountain Crest High School teacher Emmie Staker was recently named the recipient of the Exemplary Educator for Diversity award from the Utah chapter of the National Association for Multicultural Education.
http://go.uen.org/hO  (LHJ)

Winter Sports School celebrates increasing enrollment with campus relocation

PARK CITY — While most students attending traditional school are in a classroom at this time of year, Jacob Hunsaker was at Park City Mountain Ski Resort Saturday perfecting his latest trick.
“I focus on the slopestyle — the jumps and the rails — that’s what I like to focus on. That’s what’s most fun for me,” Hunsaker said.
He is one of several elite athletes on Team Utah Snowboarding that attend the Winter Sports School in Park City.
http://go.uen.org/hV  (KSL)

Utah author shares writing tips with Providence Elementary students

PROVIDENCE — Students learned the ins and outs of writing with style Thursday when Utah writer Gary Hogg came to visit third- and fourth-graders at Providence Elementary.
http://go.uen.org/hP  (LHJ)

Author Virginia Euwer Wolff visits Payson students

PAYSON — A Payson high school teacher and a professor of English at BYU were instrumental in bringing an author to Payson High School whose book not only impacted the teachers who presented it, but many of the students who read it.
Amy Connelly, an English teacher, dealt with a personal and painful loss during the summer. At the same time, she was reading two or three books a week working on a higher degree. But it was Virginia Euwer Wolff’s book “Make Lemonade” that Connelly said really helped her through her loss.
http://go.uen.org/hL  (PDH)

Meeting to explain STEAM curriculum
North Elementary inviting parents to take closer look

CEDAR CITY — North Elementary School will spread the word about the benefits of an educational emphasis on science, technology, engineering, arts and math with all of Cedar City when it conducts a parent meeting at Iron Springs Elementary School on Thursday.
Ray Whittier, principal of North Elementary, said the meeting has two purposes. The first of which is to let people know what North Elementary offers. He said it is an open-enrollment school, which means it will accept students enrolled in any other school in the Iron County School District.
He said the meeting’s second purpose is to encourage parents to take a closer look at the value of the STEM educational program, to which North Elementary added art.
http://go.uen.org/hS  (SGS)

Elementary school puts food preparation on display

WEST VALLEY CITY — A cooking show broke out in an elementary school cafeteria on Friday.
Granite School District chef Jeff Gratton, Principal Paula Sorensen and kitchen manager Nancy Jones took a regular school lunch menu item, teriyaki beef stir fry, and turned it into a live action show at Silver Hills Elementary.
http://go.uen.org/hv (DN)

New Woods Cross elementary school gets name, principal

WOODS CROSS — A new elementary school now has a name, a principal and a theme.
The Davis Board of Education approved the name of Odyssey Elementary for the new school currently under construction at 2000 S. 1950 West in Woods Cross.
Vicki Corwin has been named Odyssey’s principal.
http://go.uen.org/hx  (DN)

Granite School Board to host town hall meeting

KEARNS — The Granite Board of Education and Superintendent Martin Bates will host a town hall meeting to gather input on education topics.
The meeting will be held at Kearns High School, 5525 S. Cougar Lane, on Tuesday, Feb. 25, 7-8 p.m.
http://go.uen.org/hw (DN)

Saratoga Springs students connect with Olympians through Twitter

SARATOGA SPRINGS — For a classroom in Saratoga Springs, the Winter Olympics in Sochi have been a lesson in just how connected the world really is.
Fourth-grade teacher Lewis Young saw social media boom in the 2012 Olympics and decided this year his class would join in. He hoped to teach his 34 students at Riverview Elementary in Saratoga Springs about Internet safety while cheering for Team USA.
http://go.uen.org/hW  (KSL)

Salem Hills students take on ‘Pride and Prejudice’

Capturing the comedic spirit of the famous Jane Austen love story, Salem Hills High School’s drama department is presenting “Pride and Prejudice,” this weekend Thursday, Feb. 20 through Saturday, Feb. 22, and a final show on Monday, Feb. 24.
http://go.uen.org/hK  (PDH)

Taming of Shrew Returning to Mesquite
Utah Shakespeare Festival’s Educational Tour Returns with The Taming of the Shrew

The Utah Shakespeare Festival is returning to the Virgin Valley High School March 7th with its Shakespeare-in-the-Schools touring production of The Taming of the Shrew.
http://go.uen.org/ii  (Mesquite [NV] Citizen Journal)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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School lunch audit
Deseret News editorial

The Salt Lake City School District needs to be more forthcoming with the exact details of how and why district personnel came to decide it was necessary to confiscate cafeteria food from students whose lunch accounts were in arrears, and until it does, the effects of bad publicity and anxiety among constituents will linger.
A step in the right direction might be to commission an independent audit, which the district’s board is considering. A separate consideration to hire an outside public relations firm to help with image problems the district has brought upon itself seems less circumspect.
http://go.uen.org/hA

Life skills
(St. George) Spectrum editorial

After hearing about the Washington County School District’s success with the Fight the New Drug campaign — which addresses the dangers of pornography addiction to students — the benefits of such a program obviously outweigh the taboo label. Also recently, Elizabeth Smart was heard during a legislative committee hearing supporting a bill that would allow elementary schools to provide training on child sexual abuse prevention.
In both cases, educating children on real life dangers and how to navigate them is the objective. This doesn’t just include sex abuse issues, but things that children may need on a daily basis, such as a healthy emotional and mental well-being, critical thinking skills, and effective communication and social skills.
http://go.uen.org/hT

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

Thumbs up: To Fremont High School cheerleader Kennedy Hansen, 16. Known as the “angel of Fremont High,” this brave young girl, who has juvenile Batten disease, a genetic disorder that is rare, degenerative and terminal, is an inspiration to many. God bless her.
http://go.uen.org/hH

Legislature review: Hot topics coming down the stretch
Deseret News commentary by columnists Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb

The Legislature hit “Hump Day” (session half-point) last week. The session gets hotter down the stretch. We review some of the most interesting issues:
Speaker Rebecca Lockhart announced a new initiative to spend hundreds of millions of dollars for technology in public education. The proposal and its price tag have sparked heated debate at the Capitol and in the education community. Is the speaker a naïve dreamer or visionary disruptor?
http://go.uen.org/hh

Lee trying to reverse his negative image
Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist PAUL ROLLY

Sen. Mike Lee recently sent an email to constituents through the Utah Republican Party that appeared to be begging for attention.
He included links to op-eds he has written, his actions on a Senate committee and speeches and interviews.
At least this time he didn’t ask for money. Those emails always begin with “Dear Patriot.” This begins with “Friend.”
He asks constituents to click onto his proposal “that seeks to affirm religious liberty in the military. He tells constituents to listen to his interview with KSL radio host Doug Wright. He wants you to read his op-ed: “The Farm Bill vs. America,” to read his speech about reforming higher education, his op-ed about creating jobs, see his performance on the Judiciary Committee where he badgered U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, watch his response to the State of the Union Address and read his resolution “denouncing the president’s coercion of states into adopting Common Core standards.”
He may be getting desperate.
http://go.uen.org/hg

Like the emperor, legislators have no clothes
Deseret News commentary by columnist John Florez

The emperor has no clothes, and it seems neither does the Utah Legislature. Some of its lawmaking is a pretense. The legislators know it and so do taxpayers. Is it any wonder Utahns have lost faith and trust in government and have a low voter turnout?
Remember the tale of the weavers that were given a huge sum of money and then pretended to weave beautiful fabric with colors and patterns for the emperor to wear? And, most importantly, remember that the clothes were invisible to anyone who was incompetent or stupid? Well, that’s what it feels like with some of the bills our legislators are proposing. They think that we believe these bills of theirs to be real solutions and that we should applaud them, just as the servants picked up the train of the emperor’s robe that did not exist. It’s all a pretense.
Well, it’s time to admit that the emperor has no clothes. It’s time to say that some of the bills they propose have no coherence, thought or vision that promote the public interest. Speaker of the House Becky Lockhart seems to be using her position for what appears to be the first salvo at a run for governor by saying we need big ideas. She said, “we must … bring new attention to … Honesty in government, trust in our institutions, belief in the system and faith in the process.” Then she proceeds to propose a $300 million technology school program without first bringing it up at the Education Task Force, which she co-chairs, that was supposed to establish “long-term policies to improve the state’s economic prosperity.” What a pretense.
http://go.uen.org/hs

12 YouTube science channels you should be watching with your kids
Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist Adriana Velez

YouTube is brimming with quirky, entertaining and educational science programs. As much of it is produced for a general lay audience, there’s plenty of appealing content for precocious kids and parents.
http://go.uen.org/hl

Technology a tool, not sole solution
(St. George) Spectrum op-ed by Rep. Brad Last

This session has featured a lot of discussion about technology in the classroom and specifically a 1-to-1 initiative. This means making an electronic device such as an iPad, tablet or laptop available to each student. As the co-chair of the Public Education Appropriations Committee, much of this discussion is taking place in my committee. The idea behind 1-to-1 devices is to create a new teaching a learning environment where teachers can engage students through means and devices that they are already using and familiar with and, frankly, excited about!
This new arena of educational devices offers tremendous opportunity. Pilot programs in other states have shown dramatic improvement in student achievement and also substantial economic development gains tied to improved educational outcomes. The programs in other states have also shown us the pitfalls of implementation we hope to avoid. We need to ensure we aren’t distracted or overly focused on the “wow factor” of the electronic gadgets, but focused on accountability and measurable goals. Such a program obviously has large upfront costs (estimates range from $350 million to $750 million), and I want to ensure we are making wise decisions to ensure a program will be successful while also prudent and fiscally responsible.
As I learn more about 1-to-1 devices and the curriculum and institutional changes that would need to take place, I am convinced that the technology is the enabler, but not the solution.
http://go.uen.org/hU

The education quandary
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner op-ed by Frank M. Burns, a 20-year U.S. Air Force veteran

Year after year during each legislative session we hear how much budgets have to be scrutinized and possibly cut. One program that seems to be on the forefront each year is education.
According to the governor, it will cost nearly $70 million just to pay for new students. Yet, Utah’s national ranking in per-pupil spending has continually remained dead last in the country at less than $6,200 per student. The national average is over $10,500 per student. Utah also has the nation’s fourth-largest class sizes and is well below average on teacher compensation.
Although last year lawmakers boosted the per-pupil spending by two percent none of those funds made it to teachers’ pockets; it covered state retirement and healthcare costs. This year, Governor Herbert is proposing another 2.5 percentage increase in per-pupil spending. If passed, it will most likely cover costs for building new schools to accommodate the growth of students and maintain current funding levels.
http://go.uen.org/ih

As a teacher, I’ve seen good parents from all walks
Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Peter Hayes

Spanning the course of 28 consecutive years, I taught science in both public and private schools in Los Angeles and Salt Lake City. During that time, I taught nearly 3,000 students from all walks of life, including those who had billionaires for parents and those who lived in cars. I had students whose parents were single moms or dads, divorced, married (both happily and unhappily), unknown to them, same-sex and heterosexual.
Students came to my class with all sorts of emotional baggage from their home that manifested in their behavior. I had students who isolated themselves, those who lacked self-esteem, who were angry, who never did their homework and those who failed. Conversely, I also had students who added much to the class environment, those who were thrilled to learn, and those who were joyful and succeeded.
With increased experience in the classroom, I became adept at predicting the nature of the home based on how my students behaved in and out of class. Parent-teacher conferences often validated my initial impressions.
Though I got very good at predicting the home environment, I could never predict which of my students had same-sex or heterosexual parents. As a veteran educator I came to see this variable as inconsequential to whether the student was happy and successful. It simply did not matter.
http://go.uen.org/hf

Now we know what it really means to be married
Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Laurie Wood and Kody Partridge, plaintiffs in Kitchen v Herbert challenging Utah’s Amendment 3

We had known of each other for years, but we’d never met. Mutual friends were incredulous that we didn’t know each other because, they told us, we’d be “perfect” for each other. But Laurie had spent those years hiding out in Utah County, teaching high school and eventually moving over to Utah Valley University, successfully navigating my way in the conservative environment.
Kody, meanwhile, was fulfilling her lifetime dream of teaching and had found the perfect match for her infectious enthusiasm and love of young people at Rowland Hall, a small private high school in Salt Lake City, which had embraced her as one of the family.
However, Salt Lake is relatively small. We inevitably met, and after evenings of talking long into the night we saw our friends had been right. Although in many ways we were complete opposites — and age and experience had taught us caution and self-preservation — we both knew we’d found what we’d been looking for.
Within a few weeks, we were planning our future together.
http://go.uen.org/hr

Debate should be about who pays less for education
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Michael Cooper

Re “Big–family benefits,” Forum, Feb. 15:
Dalt T. Ash’s support of large families is questionable and contradictory at times. Mainly, it ignores the point of Sen. Pat Jones’ bill (“Senate panel OKs bill requiring big families to pay more for schools,” Tribune, Feb. 10).
Education funding has been approached from the view of who should provide the most funding for a child’s education, the parents or other citizens? In reality, it should be addressed from the view of who should be required to pay the least.
When parents receive tax deductions that result in paying less for education than non-parents, then it is an injustice and irresponsible and needs correction.
http://go.uen.org/ho

Tax structure starves children of needed education
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Karen Van Winkle

Re efforts to increase education funding by limiting personal income tax exemptions (SB118) (“Senate panel OKs bill requiring big families to pay more for schools,” Tribune, Feb. 10):
The way the current tax system in Utah is structured, the people who utilize the education system the most (large families) pay the least to support that system.
While I respect all families’ choice to determine their ideal family size, the truth of the matter is that with more children comes a higher cost to educate them. More teachers, more classrooms, more buildings, etc.
http://go.uen.org/hp

http://go.uen.org/hy  (DN)

Penalizing large families
Deseret News letter from DeLoa Sharp

So, Democrat Representative Patricia Jones has once again submitted a bill to limit personal exemptions for Utahns to two children. It seems she is saying the State only has interest in educating two children per family.
Families are already being taxed through large school registration fees for all their children attending junior high and high school. Apparently, this is not enough and Rep. Jones proposes that having more than two children should cost even more.
http://go.uen.org/hB

Needing teachers
Deseret News letter from Judy Mahoskey

Speaker Rebecca Lockhart should commit the lion’s share of her proposed technology monies to support underfunded programs currently limping along in schools (arts, K-3 reading, gifted programs, teaching assistants, planning and professional development). Teachers tasked with making recommendations to lawmakers and the UEA about public education recently published “Educators Taking the Lead: A Vision for Fostering Teaching and Learning.”
Unlike Speaker Lockhart’s “silver bullet” technology approach to enhancing students’ education, 18 months of research identified multiple issues and potential interventions. Was the lack of technology among the issues? Of course. But to think that technology is the panacea to all education woes is vastly underestimating our predicament in education.
http://go.uen.org/hz

HB 131 not wise use of public funds
(Provo) Daily Herald letter from Stacie Mason

I’m glad to see our legislature making plans to increase funding for education. However, I don’t think HB131 is a wise use of public funds. The bill calls for at least $200 million to increase technology in schools.
Increasing technology access should be a priority, but not our first or most expensive priority. Most kids don’t need greater access to technology–they already spend too much time on screens. I would rather see schools limit screen use to one hour a day than put a device in each child’s hands 30 hours per week.
http://go.uen.org/hN

SL School District could help kids instead of paying PR firm
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Joan Ogden

So how many school lunches would $49,999 pay for (“After tossed lunches, Utah district eyes $49,999 PR hire,” Tribune, Feb. 19)?
http://go.uen.org/hm

SL School District can save money by telling truth
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Carol A. Sisco

Memo to Salt Lake City School District:
• If you screw up, admit it.
• Say you’re sorry.
• Explain how you’ll fix it.
• Include your PR person in your deliberations.
http://go.uen.org/hn

Ogden academy will participate in Las Vegas triathlon
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Karole Pickett, Sam Hayman

We are pleased to announce that the Ogden Preparatory Academy triathlon team will be participating in the Rage Triathlon in Las Vegas, Nev. on April 12, 2014 and also the St. George on May 31,2014.
http://go.uen.org/hG

Expand Pre-K, Not A.D.H.D.
New York Times op-ed by By STEPHEN P. HINSHAW and RICHARD M. SCHEFFLER

BERKELEY, Calif. — THE writing is on the chalkboard. Over the next few years, America can count on a major expansion of early childhood education. We embrace this trend, but as health policy researchers, we want to raise a major caveat: Unless we’re careful, today’s preschool bandwagon could lead straight to an epidemic of 4- and 5-year-olds wrongfully being told that they have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Introducing millions of 3- to 5-year-olds to classrooms and preacademic demands means that many more distracted kids will undoubtedly catch the attention of their teachers. Sure, many children this age are already in preschool, but making the movement universal and embedding transitional-K programs in public schools is bound to increase the pressure. We’re all for high standards, but danger lurks.
The American Academy of Pediatrics now endorses the idea that the diagnosis of A.D.H.D. can and should begin at age 4, before problems accumulate. In fact, Adderall and other stimulants are approved for treatment of attentional issues in children as young as 3.
http://go.uen.org/h2

The Wrong Way to Close the Education Gap
In trying to raise achievement levels in our schools, we’re failing to acknowledge a critical factor: Students are different from each other.
Governing commentary by columnist CURTIS JOHNSON

“Gap” is a word we hear over and over in the endless debates over our education system. But most people citing or lamenting this “gap” do not define it. Is it proficiency at a basic level in math and reading? If that were the case, the nation could focus on getting every child to that level while admiring schools that exceed the standard.
Finland’s education system is much admired, so what if Americans emulated the Finnish concept of the gap? That would be the difference in the performance of students compared with their potential. That is not what we do. Or, what if the standard were the number of students who can read or speak two or more languages? That would massively disrupt the discussion about the gap.
Sadly, the American narrative focuses narrowly on the difference in median scores on standardized tests between racial categories, predominantly in reading and math. Education is stuck in this one-dimensional notion of how to measure achievement.
http://go.uen.org/ic

Big Score
When Mom takes the SATs.
New Yorker commentary by ELIZABETH KOLBERT

Taking the SATs is not something to do lightly. Nevertheless, on a frigid Saturday morning not long ago, I found myself filing into a classroom with twenty sleep-deprived teen-agers. One of the girls was carrying two giant SAT review books studded with pink Post-its. I couldn’t decide whether she’d brought them along to do some last-minute studying or to intimidate the competition. We’d been assigned to a chemistry classroom, and its walls were covered with placards offering a variety of emergency-evacuation instructions and motivational sayings.
“If you aim for nowhere, that’s just where you’ll go,” one poster observed.
“Some days you’re the pigeon,” another, written in runny, guano-colored letters, said. “Some days you’re the statue.”
The proctor, who herself seemed oddly nervous, handed around the tests and the answer booklets. After issuing a series of warnings, which she read word for word from a script, she told us that we’d have twenty-five minutes to complete the first section of the exam—the essay question. The last time I took the SATs, there was no essay. Fortunately, though, I’d been warned about this development, along with many others, by Debbie Stier, the author of “The Perfect Score Project: Uncovering the Secrets of the SAT” (Harmony). At the age of forty-six, Stier decided to devote herself full time to the test, with the goal of achieving the maximum possible score of 2400. My hopes were modest: I was looking to avoid humiliation.
http://go.uen.org/i8

Why We Never Get Over High School
No matter how long it’s been since graduation, Americans love to start conversations with new acquaintances by asking about where they were schooled. It’s a useful question.
Atlantic commentary by columnist DEBORAH FALLOWS

“Hello. Where did you go to high school?” When so many of you nominated this question as your natural conversation starter, as I mentioned here last week, it was tempting to dismiss it as an example of how Americans never quite get over high school. Was this just about Fast Times at Ridgemont High, or 90210, or The O.C., or forever remembering all the other schools in your league? Or maybe you all are 18 years old. But you wrote with such enthusiasm, thoroughness, and conviction, that it looked like something else was going on. So, I decided to look again.
Your nominations of this particular question came in from all corners of the country—all mid-sized cities—like Louisville, New Orleans, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Charlotte. They came from all ages of you, from the millennials to those who wrote that a half century ago, this question was also asked in Chicago and San Francisco, when those cities were arguably more “mid-size” than they are today. You also said this was the question of Oahu (where we know the young Barack Obama of modest means attended the elite private school, Punahou) and from Melbourne, Australia.
From your descriptions, it became clear that “Where did you go to high school?” is another way of asking “Where do you live?” But you aren’t seeking a simple answer of name or geography with either of those questions. You are using those questions to seek valuable information about the socio-economic-cultural-historical background of a person. It helps you orient that person in the context of the world as you live it and interpret it.
http://go.uen.org/ia

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Are math textbooks ready for Common Core?
Washington Post

The most visible symbols of the nation’s long-criticized, mile-wide, inch-deep traditional math standards are the 15-pound textbooks that students have been hauling back and forth from school for years.
New Common Core standards are designed to turn things around by presenting fewer math standards in greater depth — a streamlined, more rigorous approach that is used in higher performing countries.
So, how are these textbooks adapting to the new standards?
Not well, according to a pair of researchers who are studying the new textbooks. Publishers are marketing all kinds of new textbooks they say align with the Common Core standards.
In reality, “they do not look that different from the previous versions,” said Morgan Polikoff, an associate professor at the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California.
http://go.uen.org/i0

http://go.uen.org/hc  (Politico)

http://go.uen.org/he  (Ed Week)

A copy of the paper
http://go.uen.org/hd (USC)

Beason files bill to repeal Common Core curriculum
New legislation would allow state to revert to previous standards in 2017
Montgomery (AL) Advertiser

Conservative Republicans are once again trying to repeal the state’s Common Core curricula for schools, which some critics have accused of everything from usurping local control of education to indoctrinating children about President Barack Obama.
Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, filed promised legislation Thursday that would repeal the standards, a popular cause with conservative Republicans but one that likely faces long odds in the Legislature.
The legislation would replace the “current common core curricula standards” with courses of study in place prior to the implementation of the curricula. The bill, if passed, would allow the state to restore those standards in 2017, if they so desired.
http://go.uen.org/i5

Addressing Common Core’s biggest concerns
Fox News

Critics fear government regulating curriculums.
http://go.uen.org/i7

High Schools, Districts Work to Boost Graduation Rates Higher
Experts recommend that educators focus their efforts on students who show early signs of dropping out.
U.S. News & World Report

The nationwide high school graduation rate has reached 80 percent – the highest in American history.
That’s what a new study released by the U.S. Department of Education revealed last month.
But while more students are graduating high school than ever, the hundreds of thousands of students who drop out each year are more likely to be subject to a lifetime of poverty and lack of opportunity.
Prevention, providing alternative paths to graduation and community support are the keys to ensure that all students graduate, education experts say.
http://go.uen.org/if

Citizenship Bill Worries Kan. School District
Associated Press

GARDEN CITY, Kan. — A Kansas lawmaker’s proposal to track the citizenship status of public schoolchildren has raised alarm in one of the state’s most diverse communities, where district administrators worry that even raising the question with parents and students would damage the welcoming environment they have tried to create.
Republican Rep. Allan Rothlisberg and officials of the Garden City district in western Kansas agree that under a 1982 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, all students are entitled to a public education regardless of their citizenship status or that of their parents. But Rothlisberg, of Grandview Plaza, introduced his bill with the goal of calculating how much Kansas is spending to educate children who are in the U.S. without legal permission.
“What I’m trying to get across here is where our tax money is being diverted to,” Rothlisberg told The Garden City Telegram. “It’s not going to our children or grandchildren.”
http://go.uen.org/i3

http://go.uen.org/i4  (Garden City [KS] Telegram)

http://go.uen.org/i6  (CSM)

Tweet furor: Rogers student says he’s sorry, changes schools
Star Tribune exclusive: Rogers High School senior Reid Sagehorn, caught in a furor over a tweet, says he’s sorry, changes schools.
Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Reid Sagehorn, whose apparently sarcastic two-word tweet and resulting seven-week suspension created a furor in the Elk River School District, plans to return to school Monday. But not at Rogers High School.
Speaking publicly about the incident for the first time, the 17-year-old football and basketball captain said he has apologized in writing to the 28-year-old teacher about whom he tweeted “actually, yes” when a post on an ask.fm page asked if he’d ever “made out” with her.
Sagehorn, a National Honor Society member with a 3.8 grade-point average, spoke of anxiety attacks after his suspension began, the added fears of hearing the Rogers police chief say he might be charged with a felony and the lessons he has learned.
“I think it’s definitely important that everybody who has heard about the story know how sincerely sorry I am,” he said Saturday with his parents at his side in the office of one of his three Minneapolis attorneys.
http://go.uen.org/ie

Public schools recruiting international high schoolers
A small town in upstate New York is joining a few other rural school districts in quietly tapping potential cash-ready international students who can bring new life to underenrolled schools.
USA Today

NEWCOMB, N.Y — As jobs and families disappeared from this former mining town in the heart of the Adirondacks, the local public school here faced a grim choice: shut its doors or consolidate with another school district.
In 2007, however, the new superintendent realized that his greatest weakness — empty seats — might actually be his greatest asset. He’s now selling slots at his high school to foreign students willing to pay $10,000 for one yearof an American education.
In an age when many educators fret about the USA’s chronic struggle to make its students competitive with those in nations such as Finland and Singapore, flags of many countries line the main corridor at Newcomb Central School. Newcomb’s embrace of foreign students is part of agrowing movement among rural American school districts struggling to stay afloat amid declining enrollments, said Newcomb superintendent Clark “Skip” Hults,
Newcomb is one of a number of school districts — both public and private — quietly taking advantage of a growing interest in an American education by cash-ready international students.
http://go.uen.org/i9

‘12 Years a Slave’ Is Headed to Schools
New York Times

High school students could soon be studying “12 Years a Slave.” Starting in September, the film, the book and a study guide will be distributed to public high schools by the National School Boards Association in partnership with New Regency, Penguin Books and the filmmakers. Montel Williams coordinated the program, which is modeled after similar distribution by “The Montel Williams Show” of copies of the Civil War film “Glory.” “When Hollywood is at its best, the power of the movies can be harnessed into a powerful educational tool,” Mr. Williams said in a statement. “This film uniquely highlights a shameful period in American history, and in doing so will evoke in students a desire to not repeat the evils of the past while inspiring them to dream big of a better and brighter future.”
http://go.uen.org/id

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

February 24:
Senate Education Committee meeting
8 a.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2014/agenda/SEDU0224.ag.htm

Senate Health and Human Services Committee meeting
8 a.m., 250 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2014/agenda/SHHS0224.ag.htm

House Education Committee meeting
4 p.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2014/agenda/HEDU0224.ag.htm

February 27:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
Noon, 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspxpr

March 13:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
9 a.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://goo.gl/IaQnt

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