Education News Roundup: March 10, 2014

Utah State Capitol
Utah State Capitol

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

Ed tech funding continues to be a battle on the Hill.
http://go.uen.org/qX  (SLT)
and http://go.uen.org/qY  (UP)
and http://go.uen.org/rl  (PDH)
and http://go.uen.org/rO  (KUTV)
and http://go.uen.org/rm  (KTVX)
and http://go.uen.org/rT (MUR)

Partisan State School Board bill fails.
http://go.uen.org/qZ  (SLT)
and http://go.uen.org/r0  (DN)
and http://go.uen.org/ro  (KUER)

As does the nonpartisan bill.
http://go.uen.org/r8  (DN)

Senate OKs measure to give the Governor and Senate a say in the selection and retention of State Superintendent.
http://go.uen.org/r6 (DN)

State Board of Education begins addressing the issues raised by its online education program audit.
http://go.uen.org/rq  (SLT)
and http://go.uen.org/rr  (USOE)

Majority Leader Brad Dee discusses WPU funding.
http://go.uen.org/rB OSE)

Note to the IT people at USOE and UEN: ENR had a legitimate reason to look up the word “boobies” in an internet news search today. Honest.
http://go.uen.org/rt  (CSM)
and http://go.uen.org/ru  (Reuters)
and http://go.uen.org/rY  (Ed Week)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Budget talks: No money for Lockhart’s Utah ed-tech plan
Education » House speaker with ambitious plan for schoolkids leaves negotiating table, sources say.

Bill to make ed-board election partisan fails

School board election reform stalls as three bills fall to opposition

Resolution proposes state superintendent selection be subject to governor, Senate

House passes bill creating school standards review committee

Bill Aims to Stop Unwanted Encroachment by Feds Into Utah’s Public Ed

House approves bill excluding exemplary students from criminal truancy

More than one-third of Utah school buses ‘dirty’
Pollution » Davis, Weber, Alpine districts have highest number of old, polluting buses.

Senate passes bill creating student safety tip line

Menlove announces she will not seek reelection

Utah board calls for task forces to fix online ed problems
Audit » Charter, district schools had lax management.

Governor appoints new member to fill vacancy in State School Board

In Utah, they’re stoking the fire for future women leaders
Workshop » Women In Action, a first-in-the-U.S. program, aims to produce more women leaders.

Students to compete in robot competition at Maverick Center
Engineering » Winners of regional competition go to nationals in April.

Debate team competing for cash prize

Least favorite subject math? Technology aims to change attitudes

Money For Music
Powerful Utah nonprofit helps under-funded music programs

Intermediate school succeeds under principal leadership

New Utah military charter school to open

Gateway Prep offers full-day kindergarten

Spanish immersion program at Hooper school called overwhelming success

USU volunteers assist at Canyon Elementary literacy event aimed at ESL students

Education software law written by software vendor raises questions

Layton students find backyard count not for the birds

Ballet West members teach art form, dance elements to Lincoln Elementary students

Hundreds of worried parents and children attend Weber Internet safety seminar

Some teachers are wary of social media

Computer preschool program expands to rural Utah
Federal grant » Eighteen rural districts to participate.

Blind, visually impaired students test their skills in Braille Challenge

Enoch Elementary School: Consistently Recognized As A High Performing Title I School

Revamped SAT to regain ground in competitive college exam market

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Expensive tech is not what Utah schools need
Education tech initiative a flop

A tech overload for students

Education — Big government 101

Education spending to increase in WPU funding

Pay attention to the teachers, legislators

Herbert should veto Lockhart initiative if passed

Children need more than technology to learn

Education priority misalignment

Millions spent on iPads ignores crucial education needs

A ‘dying’ document

The Ideologue vs. the Children
New York’s new mayor attacks charter schools, proving his critics right.

NATION

The Story Behind the SAT Overhaul

The hard lives — and high suicide rate — of Native American children on reservations

Six months after Idaho Core Standards arrived, teachers say they need more materials, training

California Wins Prized NCLB Testing Waiver

Teach for America tests out more training

Kansas High Court: School Funding Unconstitutional

Jindal calls Obama worst president of his lifetime
Governor gives him ‘worst president’ label at conservative D.C. event

The Youngest Technorati

Student free speech prevails, as Supreme Court refuses ‘boobies’ bracelet case
Pennsylvania students have a free speech right to wear ‘i (heart) boobies’ bracelets to school to support breast cancer awareness, a US appeals court had ruled. The Supreme Court refused Monday to hear an appeal, letting that decision stand.

What The U.S. Can Learn From Finland, Where School Starts At Age 7

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UTAH NEWS
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Budget talks: No money for Lockhart’s Utah ed-tech plan
Education » House speaker with ambitious plan for schoolkids leaves negotiating table, sources say.

House Speaker Becky Lockhart came away empty-handed in her bid to revolutionize Utah education, leaving the negotiating table over the weekend without any funding for what she hoped would be a $200 million education-technology initiative, according to multiple sources.
Lockhart’s bid to put a digital-learning device in the hands of every Utah schoolchild was a bold initiative and would be the capstone of her 16-year legislative career, and possibly serve as a springboard should she decide to run for governor in 2016.
But in the end, Lockhart left the negotiating table rejecting even the Senate’s offer of $26 million to take first steps on the initiative, three sources, aware of the outcome of the Saturday negotiations between the House and Senate, told The Salt Lake Tribune on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the talks.
http://go.uen.org/qX  (SLT)

http://go.uen.org/qY  (UP)

http://go.uen.org/rl  (PDH)

http://go.uen.org/rO  (KUTV)

http://go.uen.org/rm  (KTVX)

http://go.uen.org/rT  (MUR)

Bill to make ed-board election partisan fails

Lawmakers voted against party politics in education Friday when a bill that was to have established partisan elections for the Utah Board of Education failed in the House.
Democrats in the House spoke against HB228s1, arguing that partisan elections for the state board would spread into local boards, school administrations and classrooms.
“Partisan politics are not appropriate in the classroom,” said Rep. Marie Poulson, D-Cottonwood Heights. “Children are not Democrats or Republicans. Nothing in the job description of school-board members has to do with partisan politics.”
But sponsoring Rep. Brian Greene, R-Pleasant Grove, said talking about partisanship is a red herring. He said under current law, the state board is bureaucratic and could be fixed by partisan elections by helping voters know who their representatives are.
“Let’s achieve a representative body that recognizes accountability to voters. In the end, this is who the board represents,” Greene said, pointing out that board members represent parents, not children, and “parents decide what’s best.”
Greene explained he thought the bill would help balance the education system, making veiled references — apparently aimed at the Utah Education Association — to “an organized voice that has unfettered control of the education system.”
http://go.uen.org/qZ  (SLT)

http://go.uen.org/r0  (DN)

http://go.uen.org/ro  (KUER)

School board election reform stalls as three bills fall to opposition

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s frequently criticized method of electing State School Board members will live to fight — or be fought — another year after a bill creating direct elections failed to gain majority support in a Senate committee Friday.
The Senate Education Committee was evenly split 3-3 on HB223, effectively halting the bill as lawmakers head into the final week of the 2014 Legislature.
HB223 was one of three bills seeking to change the way school board members are elected and appeared to be in a strong position heading into the final days of the session after clearing the House with a 57-15 majority. But all three bills ultimately failed to clear their respective hurdles Friday.
“No one seems to like the (current) system, and I’ll be darned if anybody wants to change it,” said Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden.
http://go.uen.org/r8  (DN)

Resolution proposes state superintendent selection be subject to governor, Senate

SALT LAKE CITY — A proposed constitutional amendment giving the governor and Senate power over the State School Board’s selection of a state superintendent received a strong show of support Friday in the Senate.
Senators voted 21-1 in favor of SJR12 on second reading, suggesting the resolution is well on its way to capture the required two-thirds majority to advance to the House.
Resolution sponsor Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, said the action would put public education in line with higher education and the Utah College of Applied Technology, where the chief executive is appointed by a governing board, approved by the governor and confirmed by the Senate.
Doing that, Reid said, would contribute to a “seamless and productive education system from kindergarten through graduate school.”
“It does not remove any authority from the State School Board,” he said. “Their constitutional authority remains intact.”
Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, suggested that the resolution does not go far enough.
Dabakis suggested that if the constitution is to be amended, lawmakers should take the opportunity to eliminate the “skiwampus” elected State School Board — often referred to as the “fourth branch of government” — and place public education under the direction of the executive branch as it is in many states.
http://go.uen.org/r6  (DN)

House passes bill creating school standards review committee

SALT LAKE CITY — Members of the Utah House voted Friday in favor of a significantly retooled bill creating a review committee for statewide educational standards.
HB342, sponsored by Rep. Dana Layton, R-Orem, calls for a 17-member committee appointed by the speaker of the House, the Senate president and chairman of the State School Board to review and recommend changes to the academic benchmarks established for public schools in Utah.
Layton’s original bill effectively mandated that Utah withdraw from the Common Core State Standards, a series of benchmarks voluntarily adopted by all but five states, but she said she was prompted to alter the bill after meeting with stakeholders.
“I modified the bill greatly and have tried to come up with a very nondisruptive way to do standards review,” Layton said.
http://go.uen.org/r5  (DN)

Bill Aims to Stop Unwanted Encroachment by Feds Into Utah’s Public Ed

Rep. Steve Eliason (R-Sandy) has proposed legislation to keep a school district from taking money from the federal Department of Education without state approval.
Eliason says his bill stems from an incident in California where the state rejected money for a proposal, so the feds offered the funding to individual school districts instead.
“This bill is not meant to stop any existing programs,” he said. “It’s only for programs that our State School Board rejects, and it stops the feds from circumventing the state school board.”
HB 425 would financially punish those school districts that go around the State School Board to take federal money.
http://go.uen.org/r1  (UP)

House approves bill excluding exemplary students from criminal truancy

SALT LAKE CITY — High-achieving students would be free of the threat of criminal truancy under a bill approved Friday by the Utah House.
The House voted 47-27 in favor of HB399 after a debate that accused the bill of creating a protected class of students, violating equal protection and included a quote from George Orwell’s “Animal Farm.”
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others,” Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, said in opposition to the bill.
http://go.uen.org/r7 DN)

http://go.uen.org/qK  (PDH)

More than one-third of Utah school buses ‘dirty’
Pollution » Davis, Weber, Alpine districts have highest number of old, polluting buses.

The oldest school bus in the state sits in a garage near a junior high in scenic Eden. This year, the bus turns 30 — older than some students’ parents.
“It doesn’t get used a whole lot,” said Weber School District spokesman Nate Taggart, noting it only traveled 591 miles last year as a spare bus.
Still, it’s one tiny part of what many say is a big problem for Utah — an aging fleet of school buses spewing toxic gases into the state’s already-sullied winter air.
About 37 percent of all the state’s school buses were made in 2001 or earlier, according to the state Office of Education, meaning they don’t meet current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards.
Of those dirty Utah buses, two-thirds are in “nonattainment” areas, places that don’t meet federal air-quality standards.
http://go.uen.org/re  (SLT)

http://go.uen.org/rU (MUR)

Senate passes bill creating student safety tip line

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill to create a statewide tip line for students to report and receive help in dealing with violence, threats or suicide gained unanimous approval from members of the Utah Senate on Monday.
SB232, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, creates a commission to study the logistics and feasibility of creating a dedicated phone line, which would allow school faculty, parents or students to make anonymous calls to licensed clinical social workers.
The bill originally called for the dialing code 311 to be set aside for the tip line, but it hit a snag as municipal officials worried residents were already familiar with 311 as a nonemergency public safety line.
The bill was amended Monday to only call for the creation of an exploratory commission, but Thatcher said the bill’s House sponsor is working to resolve the dialing code issues and substitute the bill language.
http://go.uen.org/rv  (DN)

Menlove announces she will not seek reelection

It has been a hard decision but Ronda Menlove, R-District 1, says she has decided not to seek re-election this year. Menlove says she has loved her work in the legislature but she has also had 10 grandchildren born during the 10 years she has served.
http://go.uen.org/rK  (CVD)

Utah board calls for task forces to fix online ed problems
Audit » Charter, district schools had lax management.

The Utah State Office of Education will appoint two task forces to deal with problems disclosed in an audit of distance learning and online programs in Utah schools.
The state Board of Education on Friday voted to have Superintendent Martell Menlove appoint the task forces to study the financial and operational sides of online education. Besides board members, the task forces will include charter school and school district representatives, lawmakers and members of the public.
The audit, published last month, disclosed lax management by some district and charter schools, particularly among those that contract with two Utah County companies to recruit and manage their online students.
It also highlighted the state board’s dearth of rules to deal with the fast-developing world of online education. The task forces will concentrate on writing such rules and identifying any necessary changes in law.
http://go.uen.org/rq  (SLT)

http://go.uen.org/rr  (USOE)

Governor appoints new member to fill vacancy in State School Board

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert has appointed Terryl Warner to fill a vacancy on the Utah State Board of Education as the District 1 representative.
Warner fills the vacancy created by the appointment of Tami Pyfer as the governor’s education adviser on Jan. 21.
http://go.uen.org/rx  (DN)

In Utah, they’re stoking the fire for future women leaders
Workshop » Women In Action, a first-in-the-U.S. program, aims to produce more women leaders.

Sandy • As revolutions go, the one gathered Saturday morning in an empty Alta High School was a low-key one.
Two dozen women and teen girls — students, alumnae, moms and teachers — held discussions about the low number of women in positions of power and what can be done at the high school level to change that.
The event was the Women In Action workshop, a first-in-the-nation program being developed by Alta High and the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Officials at CAWP had been trying to promote the notion of women as leaders but realized that attitudes of many college students were already fixed, said Kiersten Draper, an assistant principal at Alta High.
http://go.uen.org/rf )

Students to compete in robot competition at Maverick Center
Engineering » Winners of regional competition go to nationals in April.

The annual rock’em, sock’em robotic competition known as FIRST will bring high school students from all over the western U.S. to the Maverick Center in West Valley City from March 13 to 15.
The For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology regional robotics competition (FIRST), co-sponsored by the University of Utah College of Engineering, brings 2,000 students from 48 high schools in nine states and Alberta, Canada, to see who can design and build the best robot that can perform a certain task.
http://go.uen.org/rs  (SLT)

Debate team competing for cash prize

Karl G. Maeser Preparatory Academy’s debate team has won awards in more than 100 competitions. A win at a debate tournament usually includes a trophy and bragging rights.
The Maeser Academy team is competing for much more than bragging rights, though. They’re debating for the chance to win $10,000.
Speech and debate teacher Cindy Sidwell said her students are participating in the International Public Policy Forum’s annual competition. The IPPF is sponsored by the Bickel & Brewer foundation and New York University.
http://go.uen.org/rH  (PDH)

Least favorite subject math? Technology aims to change attitudes

SALT LAKE CITY — Some Utah schools are piloting math technology that could affect a generation of students. It’s changing attitudes about what’s widely considered the least favorite subject — math.
How many times have you heard someone say, ‘I can’t do math?’” Math doesn’t usually spark engaged chatter, confident answers or rave reviews. But Megan Fairbourn, a seventh grade teacher, is piloting new math technology at Syracuse Junior High that’s changing the equation.
“Math is the one subject that students have the least confidence in and also is the most boring,” she said. “So we have to literally stand on our heads to get these kids engaged. Sometime technology is just that, an engagement tool.”
But it’s much more. Students get real-time feedback as often as they need it.
http://go.uen.org/rP  (KSL)

Money For Music
Powerful Utah nonprofit helps under-funded music programs

In Utah, some public school music programs are adequately funded, and some aren’t. One group is trying to even the score.
Legacy Music Alliance, a Utah-based nonprofit charity started in 2010, has been casting a wide net over Utah’s public schools. In a state where school music program funding has faced significant legislative and cultural setbacks, LMA has been making an impact on many fronts. Its efforts are diverse: Raising awareness, seeking donors and sending private teachers to music classrooms, to name a few. The organization has been active in Utah County, but still faces myriad obstacles.
http://go.uen.org/s0  (PDH)

Intermediate school succeeds under principal leadership

ST. GEORGE — Barbara ”Bobby” Garrett, Tonaquint Intermediate School principal, is the Utah Middle Level Association Administrator of the Year for 2014 following a successful year for the students, teachers and staff at the school.
The award is a reflection of the overall student and teacher success demonstrated in the high test scores and overall achievement of the students for the current school year, Garrett said.
http://go.uen.org/rM  (SGS)

New Utah military charter school to open

A new military charter school received official permission Friday to open as soon as this fall.
The state school board voted Friday to approve the application of Utah Military Academy to be located in Riverton. The public school is slated to open in the fall and may serve 360 students in grades 7-12.
http://go.uen.org/rg  (SLT)

http://go.uen.org/rh  (USOE)

Gateway Prep offers full-day kindergarten

ENOCH — After receiving many requests for a full-day kindergarten program, Gateway Preparatory Academy, a public charter school that subscribes to the Montessori system, is offering just that for the first time in the school’s history. To educate parents on this opportunity, the academy is hosting an open house and registration session for the 2014-15 school year on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Kati Meyers, public relations representative for Gateway, said full-day kindergarten is open to all students, and for it, teachers will prepare a full day’s worth of lessons and activities. She said the Utah Common Core curriculum requires that kindergartners learn about so many subjects that Gateway administrators decided there was a need to offer full-day kindergarten.
http://go.uen.org/rL (SGS)

Spanish immersion program at Hooper school called overwhelming success

HOOPER — Since it got its start in the fall of 2012, Freedom Elementary School’s Spanish immersion program has had overwhelming success and support from the community, said Principal Rich Proffer.
In 2008 the Legislature created Dual Language Immersion programs in Chinese, French and Spanish. In 2010 Gov. Gary Herbert issued a challenge to Utah educators to implement 100 such programs throughout Utah with a goal of enrolling 25,000 students.
The Weber School District rose to the challenge. The district now has four Dual Language Immersion programs: two Chinese immersion programs, one at Bates and one at Uintah Elementary; and two Spanish immersion programs, one at Majestic and the other at Freedom Elementary.
http://go.uen.org/rD  (OSE)

USU volunteers assist at Canyon Elementary literacy event aimed at ESL students

HYRUM — During Canyon Elementary’s literacy night Thursday, one room was devoted to improving reading ability in the school’s ESL population.
http://go.uen.org/rJ  (LHJ)

Education software law written by software vendor raises questions

PHOENIX — State lawmakers are moving to require the state to buy computer programs for English learners with specifications that were written by a company selling the software.
Lobbyist Warde Nichols acknowledged that HB 2485 came from Imagine Learning, a Utah-based firm whose specialties include programs to help “English-language learners,” students who come to school speaking another language and who are not proficient in English.
Imagine Learning even paid for a group of Arizona lawmakers to visit its Utah offices and Utah schools last fall where the company already has sold its product.
http://go.uen.org/s1  (Capitol Media Services via [Tucson] Arizona Daily Star)

Layton students find backyard count not for the birds

LAYTON — Students in Bruce Illum’s Legacy Junior High science classes had an unusual homework assignment recently — sit outside for at least 15 to 30 minutes and watch for birds.
“At first I thought it would just be easy homework, but then I was amazed at what colors you can find on the birds,” said ninth-grader Jett Hunsaker, who recorded 134 bird sightings during the four-day period for the homework assignment.
The birds included American robins, sparrows, mourning doves, Canadian geese, and even a pelican at Jensen Park.
http://go.uen.org/rC  (OSE)

Ballet West members teach art form, dance elements to Lincoln Elementary students

HYRUM — Students at Lincoln Elementary learned more about the art of ballet when members of Ballet West came to visit Thursday.
http://go.uen.org/rI  (LHJ)

Hundreds of worried parents and children attend Weber Internet safety seminar

PLEASANT VIEW — As technology rapidly changes, parents may be unprepared to teach their children, growing up in the information age, to deal with new threats. In a seminar designed to educate both parents and students, the subjects touched upon included cyber-bullying, privacy, sexting, predators and pornography.
The Internet Safety Night was held at Weber High School in Pleasant View with more than 1,500 parents and students from the high school and middle schools attending.
http://go.uen.org/rE  (OSE)

Some teachers are wary of social media

PROVO — Most teenagers and even younger children seem to be social media experts. They communicate multiple times a day, often multiple times an hour.
But what about the adults in their lives? Say, their teachers?
Many would find it difficult to imagine their teachers tweeting or posting a selfie. And many of their teachers can’t imagine it either, but for different reasons.
However, there are some teachers who use social media, not only with their friends, but with their students.
A national survey by the University of Phoenix showed that 80 percent of teachers worry about using social media with students and their parents.
http://go.uen.org/rG  (PDH)

Computer preschool program expands to rural Utah
Federal grant » Eighteen rural districts to participate.

Young children throughout rural Utah will soon get free computer-based preschool lessons in their homes, thanks to a $11.5 million federal grant.
Eighteen rural Utah school districts have signed agreements with Sandy-based Waterford Institute to participate in the company’s UPSTART program, which delivers preschool lessons via home computers.
More than 7,000 Utah children have already participated in the program since it began receiving state funding five years ago. Now the program will expand to 18 rural districts with federal Investing in Innovation money.
http://go.uen.org/ri  (SLT)

http://go.uen.org/rS  (MUR)

http://go.uen.org/rj  (Data.gov)

Blind, visually impaired students test their skills in Braille Challenge

SALT LAKE CITY — Forty blind and visually impaired students from across Utah met Friday to test their Braille skills in the Utah Regional Braille Challenge academic competition.
The Braille Challenge is the only national academic competition for blind students in the United States. The Utah Braille Challenge is one of the oldest in the country with many states patterning their programs after that developed in Utah by the Utah Foundation for the Blind and Visually Impaired.
http://go.uen.org/rw  (DN)

http://go.uen.org/rN (KUTV)

http://go.uen.org/rQ  (KSTU)

Enoch Elementary School: Consistently Recognized As A High Performing Title I School

ENOCH, Utah – Enoch Elementary School’s high standards for learning have earned them yet another year of recognition from the Utah State Department of Education for outstanding work by certifying them as a High Performing Title I School.
http://go.uen.org/rR  (KCSG)

Revamped SAT to regain ground in competitive college exam market

The College Board is once again redesigning the format and scoring of the SAT college-entrance exam.
http://go.uen.org/ry  (DN)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Expensive tech is not what Utah schools need
Education tech initiative a flop
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

If Utah House Speaker Becky Lockhart is using her wildly expensive technology initiative as a vehicle to launch a campaign against Gary Herbert for the governor’s chair, she’s missing the mark.
It may be presumptive to assume that Lockhart’s motives are primarily political. But if she truly wanted to spend several hundred million on public education — which it certainly could use — why not ask professional educators in the state what they need most?
Lockhart, instead, obviously huddled with politicians — and perhaps vendors — before proposing to reroute between $200 million and $300 million from funds marked for transportation to buy high-tech personal devices for each of the state’s 600,000 schoolchildren.
Apparently, however, she hasn’t convinced enough legislators, even in her own party.
http://go.uen.org/r2

Pat Bagley editorial cartoon
http://go.uen.org/r3  (SLT)

A tech overload for students
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

Utah legislators should resist the urge to allocate $200 million-plus so that every Utah student could have a digital tablet.
We want students to become more tech savvy and understand that tech expertise is an important component of success upon entering the job market. However, this is an effort that will likely be hampered by the excess size of its proposal.
In cost, the program will likely exceed its already high $200 million, or more, price tag. Teachers will have to be trained to make sure the students understand the tablets. There will be breakage of the tablets. Providing this type of expensive tech equipment to every student guarantees that. Frankly, we would not be surprised to see a $200 million cost eventually double as the program is implemented.
Another concern is whether the schools have the bandwidth necessary to make sure that the tablets can function efficiently for all who use them.
http://go.uen.org/r9

Cal Grondahl editorial cartoon
http://go.uen.org/ra  (OSE)

Education — Big government 101
Deseret News commentary by columnist John Florez

Taxpayers, take a lesson on how to make big government from those who tell us they fight against big government and tax dollar waste. Sen. Howard Stephenson, chairman of the Education Committee, wants to start a $2.8 million bureaucracy that duplicates and circumvents the constitutional responsibility of the Utah State Board of Education.
He has introduced SB34, which establishes another bureaucracy on top of the one we have by adding the Utah Education and Workforce Alliance (UEWA). UEWA would include a board, an executive director, an advisory committee to advise the board on the Utah Future’s program that is supposed to do career planning, a panel to evaluate what parts of the Utah Futures program can be outsourced to private providers (even though there are already “off-the-shelf” programs that can be readily accessed), and provide the Education Interim Committee and the Executive Appropriations Committee with reports. To top it off, SB34 gives UEWA rule-making authority that is the prerogative of the State Board of Education. And that isn’t all.
The bill also requires the UEWA provide a mountain of information from its data warehouse to the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst, the Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel, the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, or the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. And then what?
http://go.uen.org/r4

Education spending to increase in WPU funding
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner op-ed by Rep. Brad Dee

Education is one of the most important public policy and budgetary areas that the Legislature deals with each session. Public education is the largest single budget driver each year. Of course, the public policy part of education is very important as well since it shapes the future workforce and leaders of the state.
Year over year we continue to see net increases in the student population entering our schools. Next fall, 10,500 additional students will enter our school system after we account for graduating seniors. To fund those new students, the legislature will be appropriating $65 million in new funds to the education budget.
In addition, we are looking at a 2.5 percent increase to the WPU, the weighted per pupil unit funding mechanism that is used to allocate money to each school district in order to keep pace with the costs of teacher retirement programs, health insurance, and pay increases.
http://go.uen.org/rB

Pay attention to the teachers, legislators
Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Sharon Gallagher-FIshbaugh, president of the Utah Education Association

Teaching is my life’s work. I have spent 35 years in public education. It is from this perspective, as we face a record number of education-related bills in the Utah Legislature, I must respectfully say, “Enough is enough.”
Last year the Utah Legislature created and funded a task force charged with making sensible public education recommendations for our Legislature to consider. The goal, as I understood it, was to limit the number of new education proposals to those the task force agreed would make the most difference for our students.
By my count, there are currently 116 education-related bills being considered by the 2014 Utah Legislature. This represents the highest number in recent memory. So much for focusing on what’s important.
One proposal attracting a great deal of interest would provide $200 million to $300 million to place mobile-device technology in the hands of every student.
How is it when teachers say we need to make major investments in proven educational strategies, our cries fall on deaf ears, but when technology companies say they have some new ‘silver bullet’ for education, everyone stands and takes note?
http://go.uen.org/rn

Herbert should veto Lockhart initiative if passed
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Darwin Lee Jepsen

I strongly encourage Gov. Gary Herbert to stick to his guns and veto Speaker Becky Lockhart’s technology initiative HB131 (“Gov threatens to veto Lockhart’s education technology initiative,” Tribune, March 6).
As a parent, and former elementary school teacher, I find this bill irresponsible.
http://go.uen.org/rk

Children need more than technology to learn
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Kyla Asmar

I’m not sure the last time Johnathan Johnson was in a K-12 classroom (“Let’s get creative to put tech in schools,” Opinion, March 2); however, it must have been as a student.
Education in today’s classrooms includes technology. Students may not have their own tablets but they have access to computers. Teachers use technology in their lessons such as interactive whiteboards, computers and projectors.
Technology should not encompass every minute of the school day.
http://go.uen.org/rp

Education priority misalignment
Deseret News letter from David Bettinson

I understand that the Utah State Senate voted in favor of a property tax increase on Tuesday that could mean as much as $100 million for public education over the next few years. However, rather than using that money to cover basic education needs, a last-minute amendment would divert it all to help fund Speaker Becky Lockhart’s technology initiative.
As a teacher, father and grandfather of Utah public-education students, I consider this action to be a misalignment of priorities in our public-education needs.
http://go.uen.org/rz

Millions spent on iPads ignores crucial education needs
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Karen Russell

It was recently announced the Utah State Legislators have proposed a bill, House Bill 131 that at first glance would seem to be good news for Utah Schools. This bill would raise property taxes to give an additional $100 million to education. Good news, right? Except, not really. This money, which could be used in so many ways, is going to be spent to provide iPads and tablets to students. Class sizes as they sit are huge. I know many teachers in the junior high level that teach classes with 35-40 students in them. Those are core classes: math, English, science and history.
Every year, our leaders explain how well managed our state is, how much we support education and what a great place this is for new businesses. But talk is cheap.
http://go.uen.org/rF

A ‘dying’ document
Deseret News letter from Spencer Smith

I shouldn’t be shocked any more at the curtailment of individual liberty in this country in the name of the cause du jour, but it was difficult to believe a recent article titled “Court: School can ban U.S. flag shirts for safety” (Feb. 28).
I understand that officials were trying to deal with potential racial issues in a difficult situation, but on U.S. soil there is no justification to ever subordinate the flag of the United States of America to the flag or symbol of any other country, regardless of what celebration is occurring.
http://go.uen.org/rA

The Ideologue vs. the Children
New York’s new mayor attacks charter schools, proving his critics right.
Wall Street Journal commentary by columnist Peggy Noonan

What a small and politically vicious man New York’s new mayor is. Bill de Blasio doesn’t like charter schools. They are too successful to be tolerated. Last week he announced he will drop the ax on three planned Success Academy schools. (You know Success Academy: It was chronicled in the film “Waiting for Superman.” It’s one of the charter schools the disadvantaged kids are desperate to get into.) Mr. de Blasio has also cut and redirected the entire allotment for charter facility funding from the city’s capital budget. An official associated with a small, independent charter school in the South Bronx told me the decision will siphon money from his school’s operations. He summed up his feelings with two words: “It’s dispiriting.”
Some 70,000 of the city’s one million students, most black or Hispanic, attend charter schools, mostly in poorer neighborhoods. Charter schools are privately run but largely publicly financed. Their teachers are not unionized. Their students usually outscore their counterparts at conventional public schools on state tests. Success Academy does particularly well. Last year 82% of its students passed citywide math exams. Citywide the figure was 30%.
These are schools that work. They are something to be proud of and encourage.
http://go.uen.org/qV

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NATIONAL NEWS
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The Story Behind the SAT Overhaul
New York Times Magazine

In July 2012, a few months before he was to officially take over as president of the College Board, David Coleman invited Les Perelman, then a director of writing at M.I.T., to come meet with him in Lower Manhattan. Of the many things the College Board does — take part in research, develop education policy, create curriculums — it is perhaps most recognized as the organization that administers the SAT, and Perelman was one of the exam’s harshest and most relentless critics. Since 2005, when the College Board added an essay to the SAT (raising the total possible score from 1,600 to 2,400), Perelman had been conducting research that highlighted what he believed were the inherent absurdities in how the essay questions were formulated and scored. His earliest findings showed that length, more than any other factor, correlated with a high score on the essay. More recently, Perelman coached 16 students who were retaking the test after having received mediocre scores on the essay section. He told them that details mattered but factual accuracy didn’t. “You can tell them the War of 1812 began in 1945,” he said. He encouraged them to sprinkle in little-used but fancy words like “plethora” or “myriad” and to use two or three preselected quotes from prominent figures like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, regardless of whether they were relevant to the question asked. Fifteen of his pupils scored higher than the 90th percentile on the essay when they retook the exam, he said.
Right around the time Coleman was appointed as the board’s next president, he read an article about Perelman’s research in The New York Times and decided to reach out to him. “Somebody takes a whack at the SAT, so what?” Coleman said when I met him in his office at the College Board headquarters near Lincoln Center last month. “They get some media coverage, it’s not that interesting. But this was a guy who devoted his lifetime to work you care about” — teaching students how to write — “and then looks at an instrument meant to celebrate writing and — ” Coleman’s words trailed off. “I wanted to go beyond the news presentation of his claim,” he finally added, “to the depth of his claim.”
Over the course of their two-hour conversation, Perelman told Coleman that he wasn’t opposed to an essay portion of the test, per se; he thought it was a good idea, if done well. But “when is there a situation in either college or life when you’re asked to write on demand about something you’ve never once thought about?” he asked. “I’ve never gotten an email from a boss saying: ‘Is failure necessary for success? Get back to me in 25 minutes?’ But that’s what the SAT does.”
http://go.uen.org/qW

The hard lives — and high suicide rate — of Native American children on reservations
Washington Post

SACATON, ARIZ. The tamarisk tree down the dirt road from Tyler Owens’s house is the one where the teenage girl who lived across the road hanged herself. Don’t climb it, don’t touch it, admonished Owens’s grandmother when Tyler, now 18, was younger.
There are other taboo markers around the Gila River Indian reservation — eight young people committed suicide here over the course of a single year.
“We’re not really open to conversation about suicide,” Owens said. “It’s kind of like a private matter, a sensitive topic. If a suicide happens, you’re there for the family. Then after that, it’s kind of just, like, left alone.”
But the silence that has shrouded suicide in Indian country is being pierced by growing alarm at the sheer number of young Native Americans taking their own lives — more than three times the national average, and up to 10 times on some reservations.
A toxic collection of pathologies — poverty, unemployment, domestic violence, sexual assault, alcoholism and drug addiction — has seeped into the lives of young people among the nation’s 566 tribes. Reversing their crushing hopelessness, Indian experts say, is one of the biggest challenges for these communities.
http://go.uen.org/rc

Six months after Idaho Core Standards arrived, teachers say they need more materials, training
(Boise) Idaho Statesman

An animated cartoon projected on the wall of Ramey Uriarte’s seventh-grade math class showed a young girl chatting on the phone with a friend about the temptations and responsibilities of getting a credit card.
Behind the girl, a bright yellow cartoon credit card encouraged her to go plastic. “Ever been to France?” the card asked. “I hear it’s fun.”
“I’m broke,” the girl said. “How am I going to pay it back?”
Uriarte’s math lesson was about proportions, rates and percentages. The teacher at Heritage Middle School in the Meridian School District chose to teach it through credit cards, a real-world use of the math he wants his students to learn. “I like to use a central concept,” he said.
Cartoons didn’t have much place in his classroom a few years ago. “I would spend much of my time just going through the textbook,” he said.
But six months ago, the state launched the Idaho Core Standards – this state’s vision for what its students should know and be able to do before they graduate. The standards are Idaho’s version of Common Core State Standards, adopted by 45 states and Washington, D.C.
http://go.uen.org/rd

California Wins Prized NCLB Testing Waiver
Education Week

After a months-long standoff with the U.S. Department of Education, California has successfully negotiated a waiver that will allow it to largely ditch its state tests this spring in favor of giving only common-core-aligned field tests to about 3 million students.
In a letter sent to state officials today, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and his team agreed with the state’s testing plan without any significant caveats.
http://go.uen.org/rZ

Teach for America tests out more training
Washington Post

Teach for America, which places thousands of freshly minted college graduates in teaching jobs in some of the toughest schools in the country, is rethinking its training program in light of complaints from its own members that they need more preparation for the classroom.
The organization announced last week that it will launch a pilot program to offer TFA recruits a year of classes in educational theory and pedagogy, along with hands-on classroom experience, while they are still in college and before they begin teaching full-time.
http://go.uen.org/rW

Kansas High Court: School Funding Unconstitutional
Associated Press

TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas must spend more money on its public schools, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday in a decision that could jeopardize Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s desire to make his state a tax-cutting template for the nation.
The high court’s ruling, which found that Kansas’ school funding isn’t constitutional, came in a 2010 lawsuit filed by parents and school districts. Instead of balking, Brownback and other leaders of the state’s GOP-dominated government said they were pleased because the decision stopped short of telling legislators exactly how much the state must spend on its schools overall, leaving that responsibility to a lower court.
http://go.uen.org/rX

Jindal calls Obama worst president of his lifetime
Governor gives him ‘worst president’ label at conservative D.C. event
Baton Rouge (LA) Advocate

Speaking to a conservative crowd in the Washington, D.C.-area Thursday, Gov. Bobby Jindal’s use of five words brought the specter of the segregationist South to his stinging criticism of the nation’s president.
The governor used his 15-minute allotment at the Conservative Political Action Conference to continue his attack on President Barack Obama’s policies. Last week, he took the president to task about the economy and the Keystone XL pipeline. On Thursday, the military downsizing and food stamp funding were in the governor’s crosshairs.
Jindal swept aside Richard Nixon’s resignation amid the Watergate scandal and Bill Clinton’s impeachment amid womanizing scandals to single out Obama as the worst president in his 42-year lifetime. He said even Democrat Jimmy Carter was a better president than Obama.
“It is no longer fair to say he (Carter) was the worst president of this great country in my lifetime. President Obama has proven me wrong,” Jindal said.
Then Jindal seemed to flip the calendar back to 1963, when then-Alabama Gov. George Wallace stationed himself between the door to the University of Alabama and two black students trying to register amid desegregation. Wallace eventually backed down. His segregationist stance became known as Stand in the Schoolhouse Door.
Jindal didn’t mention Wallace Thursday by name, but his choice of words seemed pointed. He is at odds with the Obama administration over Louisiana’s voucher program, which uses taxpayer dollars to enroll children in troubled public schools in private schools. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder raised legal concerns about the voucher program’s impact on federal desegregation orders.
The Jindal administration and the U.S. Justice Department continue to battle over the level of oversight that is needed to protect a 1975 federal court order that banned the state from taking action that supported racially discriminatory or segregated private schools.
“We’ve got Eric Holder and the Department of Justice trying to stand in the schoolhouse door to prevent minority kids, low-income kids, kids who haven’t had access to a great education the chance to go to better schools. Over 90 percent of these kids are minority children. One hundred percent of these kids are in low-income families,” Jindal said.
http://go.uen.org/rb

The Youngest Technorati
New York Times

Ryan Orbuch, 16 years old, rolled a suitcase to the front door of his family’s house in Boulder, Colo., on a Friday morning a year ago. He was headed for the bus stop, then the airport, then Texas.
“I’m going,” he told his mother. “You can’t stop me.”
Stacey Stern, his mother, wondered if he was right. “I briefly thought: Do I have him arrested at the gate?”
But the truth was, she felt conflicted. Should she stop her son from going on his first business trip?
Ryan was headed to South by Southwest Interactive, the technology conference in Austin. There, he planned to talk up an app that he and a friend had built. Called Finish, it aimed to help people stop procrastinating, and was just off its high in the No. 1 spot in the productivity category in the Apple App store. Ryan was also eager to go because, as he put it: “There were really dope people, and I really like smart-people density.”
http://go.uen.org/rV

Student free speech prevails, as Supreme Court refuses ‘boobies’ bracelet case
Pennsylvania students have a free speech right to wear ‘i (heart) boobies’ bracelets to school to support breast cancer awareness, a US appeals court had ruled. The Supreme Court refused Monday to hear an appeal, letting that decision stand.
Christian Science Monitor

The US Supreme Court on Monday let stand an appeals court ruling that seventh- and eighth-grade students in a Pennsylvania school district have a free speech right to wear bracelets proclaiming “i (heart) boobies!”
School officials had asked the high court to take up the case and reverse the ruling to allow administrators more leeway to censor messages worn by students at school. The high court turned aside the appeal without comment.
The bracelets were designed to build awareness of the struggle against breast cancer, and wearing them became a fad among a group of 11- to 14-year-old middle-school students in the Easton Area School District in eastern Pennsylvania.
http://go.uen.org/rt

http://go.uen.org/ru  (Reuters)

http://go.uen.org/rY (Ed Week)

What The U.S. Can Learn From Finland, Where School Starts At Age 7
NPR Weekend Edition Sunday

Finland, a country the size of Minnesota, beats the U.S. in math, reading and science, even though Finnish children don’t start school until age 7.
Despite the late start, the vast majority arrive with solid reading and math skills. By age 15, Finnish students outperform all but a few countries on international assessments.
Krista Kiuru, Finland’s minister of education and science who met with education officials in Washington recently, chalks success up to what she calls the “Finnish way.” Every child in Finland under age 7 has the right to child care and preschool by law, regardless of family income. Over 97 percent of 3- to 6-year-olds attend a program of one type or another. But, says Kiuru, the key to Finland’s universal preschool system is quality.
“First of all, it’s about having high-quality teachers,” Kiuru says. “Day care teachers are having Bachelor degrees. So we trust our teachers, and that’s very, very important. And the third factor: we have strong values in the political level.”
Political consensus and support help, Kiuru says.
http://go.uen.org/qQ

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

March 10:
Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
4:10 p.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2014/html/00002735.htm

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

April 4:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.school

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