Education News Roundup: March 19, 2014

Utah State Capitol

Utah State Capitol

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

Most recent legislative session: Third most bills ever.
http://go.uen.org/x7  (UP)

But apparently there’s still at least five more things to do.
http://go.uen.org/xk  (PDH)

State school chiefs and teacher union leaders discuss Common Core.
http://go.uen.org/xb  (Ed Week)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

2014 Session Passed 3rd-Highest Number of Bills Ever

5 things on Utah lawmakers’ to-do list

Utah has 14th lowest taxes, study says
WalletHub says Utah would be 10th lowest if ranking were adjusted for cost of living.

Florida Looks To Utah As A Guide When It Comes To AIR Test

Parents Worry Over Possible School Closure In West Jordan

PCSD sees significant enrollment increase Stable upward student numbers could mean increase in district budget

School board candidates multiply
Three more Summit County residents file to run for seats on their local school boards

Student website shares history, dreams of Utah Latino leaders Documentary arts » High school students from the Salt Lake Valley also turned the camera on themselves, their neighborhoods.

Ellis Elementary Theater Club produces prize-winning videos on vocabulary

Shakespeare in the Schools Tour coming to Salt Lake City

Provo City School District names new business administrator

Jordan School District administrator receives award

Murray School District educators, employee receive awards

Springville grad chosen as Utah FFA president

Cool School: Rowland Hall

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Lunch issue was parents’ fault; they should get over it

We need better parental role models

Governors’ Top Education Issues: State-of-the-States 2014

The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage American students need to improve in math and science—but not because there’s a surplus of jobs in those fields.

NATION

State Chiefs Spar with AFT and NEA Presidents Over Common Core

Common Core Creates Opportunities For Publishers

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UTAH NEWS
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2014 Session Passed 3rd-Highest Number of Bills Ever

Despite warnings by legislative leaders that too many bills are being introduced into the Utah Legislature.
Despite a reworking of the 45-day general session schedule, which gave far fewer hours on the floor for debates and passage votes.
Despite the words of some of the old dogs of both the House and Senate that the Legislature wasn’t debating bills enough, and too many pieces of legislation were getting too little real attention.
The 2014 Legislature saw a record number of bills and resolutions introduced.
And the number passed was the third highest in state history, overtopped just by the 2013 and 2011 Legislatures.
In short, in the 2014 session, which ended last Thursday at midnight, leaders and some supporting rank-and-file may have talked a good game about how fewer bills should be introduced, and certainly fewer bills should pass each year, in the end it was business as usual during the previous 45 days.
http://go.uen.org/x7  (UP)

5 things on Utah lawmakers’ to-do list

SALT LAKE CITY — After wrapping up their 2014 legislative session last week, Utah lawmakers have identified a number of loose ends they plan to mull further in the coming months.
The list includes issues related to bills that did not make it through this session, along with other topics.
Medicaid, liquor laws and accountability for schools enrolling students in online programs are all on the agenda.
http://go.uen.org/xk  (PDH)

Utah has 14th lowest taxes, study says
WalletHub says Utah would be 10th lowest if ranking were adjusted for cost of living.

Think taxes are too high in Utah? It is worse in 36 other states and the District of Columbia.
Utah has the 14th lowest taxes among the states, according to a study conducted by the personal-finance website WalletHub.
It said Utah taxpayers spent an average of $6,069 in state and local taxes, 13 percent lower than the national average.
Even better, the study says Utah would rank 10th lowest if rankings were adjusted based on the cost of living index.
http://go.uen.org/x8  (SLT)

A copy of the report
http://go.uen.org/xs  (WalletHub)

Florida Looks To Utah As A Guide When It Comes To AIR Test

Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart says the American Institutes for Research or A-I-R will design the exams replacing Florida’s outgoing Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. Getting lost in the transition is the ability to compare Florida public school kids with their counterparts in other states. Still, Florida can at least look to Utah as it’s guide.
A-I-R based exams will be appearing before Florida kids in the Spring of 2015 but kids in Utah are already taking tests designed by the company. Utah partnered with A-I-R last year after pulling away from the common core aligned Smarter Balanced consortium—a counterpart to the one Florida was in, which is called PARCC.
Utah was an early adopter of Smarter Balanced, much like Florida was the lead agent for PARCC, but Utah pulled out of the consortium last year. Utah Associate Superintendent Judi Park says even though A-I-R has done work for Smarter Balanced, that’s not trickling down to Utah students:
“In Utah, we develop all out own testing questions using our own educators, our own stakeholders, our own expertise. We’ve always had a contractor that assists us with that process.”
http://go.uen.org/xr  (Tallahassee, FL, WFSU)

Parents Worry Over Possible School Closure In West Jordan

Parents of children at West Jordan elementary school met on Tuesday night to devise a game plan to save their school, which has been targeted for possible closure.
“I’m really frustrated,” said Jennifer Atwood who is trying to warn other parents of the recent development. The school is the only one being eyed for closure according to school board member Kayleen Whitelock, who expressed surprise that parents were so worried, given that the board has not yet had its first discussion on the matter.
Whitelock said after voters rejected a bond at the polls last fall that would have paid for new schools in overcrowded neighborhoods, the board had to come up with a “plan b” to find more money to ease overcrowding in some newer neighborhoods in the district.
http://go.uen.org/xm  (KUTV)

PCSD sees significant enrollment increase Stable upward student numbers could mean increase in district budget

When taking a student head count in October, the Park City School District found that they had grown by about 200 students. Superintendent Dr. Ember Conley attributes the upsurge to moving into the vacant homes in Park City from across the globe.
Last week, Park City School District Board of Education president Maurice “Moe” Hickey said the increase did not include the 54 students that came into the school district in January alone after the official tally was taken.
Those students will be included in the current year’s head count, creating an increase in funding in the school district. Hickey said weekly budget report numbers will change throughout the year, and this increase in enrollment will positively affect those numbers.
Conley said the district expected a 2.4 percent increase in students for the 2013-2014 school year but saw a 4.6 increase instead.
http://go.uen.org/x9  (PR)

School board candidates multiply
Three more Summit County residents file to run for seats on their local school boards

Now that the filing window for local school board seats is open, several new candidates have headed to the Summit County Clerk’s office to file the necessary paperwork to run for elected office.
In the Park City School District, Precinct 5 candidate Julie Eihausen now has an opponent in Edwin Lowsma who filed Monday afternoon.
Precinct 5 incumbent Charles Cunningham has yet to confirm whether or not he will be running for re-election. Should he choose to do so, there will be a primary run-off in June.
The neighborhoods represented in Precinct 5 are Lower Pinebrook, Pinebrook North, Summit Park East, Summit Park West, Upper Pinebrook and Wagon Wheel.
http://go.uen.org/xa  (PR)

Student website shares history, dreams of Utah Latino leaders Documentary arts » High school students from the Salt Lake Valley also turned the camera on themselves, their neighborhoods.

When retired Judge Andrew Valdez told his brother he was being bullied and robbed as a kid, his brother gave him some advice.
“He told me I was gonna have to stab [the bully] to keep him away from me,” Valdez said in an interview with local teens. “Because in those days, if someone was picking on you, you had to attack that person first … And I look back on that now, and I was very lucky that I didn’t do that because that would have changed my life.”
Valdez, who grew up on Salt Lake City’s west side, eventually became a 3rd District Juvenile Court judge.
The story is part of one of the nine in-depth interviews a group of 19 Salt Lake City-area Latino teens conducted with Utah Latino leaders. Their work, including videos and transcripts, is now online for all to see, learn from and be inspired by.
http://go.uen.org/xd  (SLT)

Ellis Elementary Theater Club produces prize-winning videos on vocabulary

The Theater Club members at Ellis Elementary have figured out a way to not only teach the meaning of vocabulary words in a fun and interesting way but also to win the school a little bit of money.
The after-school club creates short videos that define a word using a narrative. The videos, which can be viewed on Youtube, are then submitted to projected.com for a chance for the school to win prize money.
The website has a list of words that can be made into these vocabulary videos. Greg Cox, a fifth-grade teacher at Ellis and the advisor of the Theater Club, tries to pick words that will work with the group of students in the club.
http://go.uen.org/xl  (LHJ)

Shakespeare in the Schools Tour coming to Salt Lake City

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Shakespeare Festival is bringing its Shakespeare-in-the-Schools Tour to Salt Lake City.
http://go.uen.org/xn  (KTVX)

Provo City School District names new business administrator

PROVO — The Provo Board of Education has hired Stefanie Bryant as business administrator for the Provo City School District.
Bryant is the director of accounting in the district and was selected from a field of about 20 applicants.
http://go.uen.org/xg  (DN)

Jordan School District administrator receives award

WEST JORDAN — A Jordan School District administrator has been honored as Utah’s Family Career and Community Leaders of America Administrator of the Year.
Jason Skidmore, the Career and Technical Education director for Jordan School District, received the award.
http://go.uen.org/xf (DN)

Murray School District educators, employee receive awards

MURRAY — The Murray Education Foundation has announced recipients of the 11th annual Pinnacle Awards.
Receiving awards were Keri Hohnholt, Grant Elementary sixth-grade teacher; Jill Horne, Longview Elementary fourth-grade teacher; Courtney Lee, Liberty Elementary kindergarten teacher; Erick Perry, Murray High French and German language teacher; Kathy Reynolds, McMillan Elementary first-grade teacher; and Chandra MacDonald, Riverview Junior High kitchen lead.
http://go.uen.org/xh  (DN)

Springville grad chosen as Utah FFA president

SPRINGVILLE — Christina Nolasco, 19, was selected as the new 2014 president of the Utah FFA on March 19 in Logan. Nolasco graduated last year from Springville High School and is the first state president to come from SHS since Calvin Crandall in 1980.
http://go.uen.org/xj  (PDH)

Cool School: Rowland Hall

Big Budah visited Rowland Hall Wednesday to highlight FOX 13′s Cool School of the Week.
http://go.uen.org/xo  (KSTU)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Lunch issue was parents’ fault; they should get over it Salt Lake Tribune letter from J C Smith

In January the lunch ladies at Uintah Elementary School in Salt Lake City took the lunches from 45 students, tossed them away and left the kids only an apple and milk (“Cafeteria lady speaks, says she had no choice but to toss lunches,” Tribune, March 12). And the world came to an end.
OK, it was unfortunate and might have been handled better, but it was not horribly damaging to the psyches of those kids. It was an object lesson to parents who weren’t paying attention. Virtually all the kids at Uintah come from affluent homes. It’s the Harvard/Yale area, folks. Parents are required to pay, and if they don’t, it’s their own damn fault, not the fault of the school.
http://go.uen.org/xe

We need better parental role models
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Dafydd Jones

A couple of short stories: 1) My mother told me she didn’t care how I did in school, just don’t bring home to many Ds and no Fs. I got mostly Cs and Ds and about as many Bs as Fs.
2) I started smoking when I was 16, not because of peer pressure, but because it was an in your face action toward my dad. If he could smoke then so could I. Two of my siblings still smoke after 54 years. By the grace of God I quit.
Back to the stories: We don’t need more stupid laws that drive teachers from the profession or take our freedoms away. We need better parents. We need parents who care!
http://go.uen.org/xi

Governors’ Top Education Issues: State-of-the-States 2014 Education Commission of the States analysis

Education issues were again at the forefront when the leaders of 42 states and the District of Columbia outlined their priorities in their 2014 state-of-the-state addresses. Governors outlined their plans for increasing the quality and availability of education – from preschool through postsecondary – to spur economic growth and enhance the quality of life of each state’s citizens.
This brief highlights the most frequently cited education priorities of the nation’s governors:
http://go.uen.org/xc

The Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage American students need to improve in math and science—but not because there’s a surplus of jobs in those fields.
Atlantic commentary by MICHAEL S. TEITELBAUM, senior research associate with the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School

Everyone knows that the United States has long suffered from widespread shortages in its science and engineering workforce, and that if continued these shortages will cause it to fall behind its major economic competitors. Everyone knows that these workforce shortages are due mainly to the myriad weaknesses of American K-12 education in science and mathematics, which international comparisons of student performance rank as average at best.
Such claims are now well established as conventional wisdom. There is almost no debate in the mainstream. They echo from corporate CEO to corporate CEO, from lobbyist to lobbyist, from editorial writer to editorial writer. But what if what everyone knows is wrong? What if this conventional wisdom is just the same claims ricocheting in an echo chamber?
The truth is that there is little credible evidence of the claimed widespread shortages in the U.S. science and engineering workforce. How can the conventional wisdom be so different from the empirical evidence? There are of course many complexities involved that cannot be addressed here. The key points, though, are these:
http://go.uen.org/xq

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NATIONAL NEWS
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State Chiefs Spar with AFT and NEA Presidents Over Common Core Education Week

Washington – Anxiety over the Common Core State Standards was on full display Tuesday during the Council of Chief State School Officers’ annual legislative conference. Leaders of the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, the nation’s two largest teacher unions, squabbled with state K-12 chiefs over how teachers and the general public perceive the standards, and how well they are being implemented in classrooms.
The CCSSO, along with the National Governors Association, oversaw the creation of the common core. But over the last several months, the AFT and the NEA as well as state union leaders have expressed increasing concern— or even, in a few cases, outright opposition—to the manner of common-core implementation, as my colleague Stephen Sawchuk and I wrote about recently.
During a discussion with Achieve President Mike Cohen and Education Trust President Kati Haycock, AFT President Randi Weingarten said she had seen many instances of good common-core implementation, in which teachers were given time to prepare and adequate resources. But she said that in cases like New York state, the poor rollout of the common core had led to “immobilization” among teachers and a distrust that those in positions of authority knew how to do the job right.
Weingarten added that she expects that many of her members would call for outright opposition to the standards during the AFT’s summer convention, even though both the AFT and NEA support the standards and Weingarten said she wouldn’t back away from the common core.
On the subject of transitioning to the common core, Weingarten told the chiefs, “The field doesn’t trust the people in this room to have their backs.”
http://go.uen.org/xb

Common Core Creates Opportunities For Publishers NPR Morning Edition

New education standards called Common Core are being adopted in 45 states and Washington, D.C. That has created an opportunity for trade publishers.
http://go.uen.org/xp

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

April 3-4:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspxpr

April 10:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://goo.gl/IaQntl

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