Education News Roundup: March 25, 2014

"Junior Year" by flickr.com/photos/amanda_munoz/CC/flickr

“Junior Year” by flickr.com/photos/amanda_munoz/CC/flickr

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

School board races attracting lots of candidates.
http://go.uen.org/zJ  (SLT)

Tribune editorial board joins the State Board of Education and the Utah PTA in opposing the curriculum review bill.
http://go.uen.org/zL  (SLT)

D-News’ Doug Robinson champions the state academic decathlon champion.
http://go.uen.org/zN  (DN)

Indiana drops out of the Common Core.
http://go.uen.org/zP  (DN)
and http://go.uen.org/A9  (Indy Star)
and http://go.uen.org/A4  (AP)
and http://go.uen.org/zY  (NPR All Things Considered) and http://go.uen.org/Aa  (WSJ) and http://go.uen.org/A8  (Ed Week)

Are Massachusetts schools good enough?
http://go.uen.org/A6  (Ed Week)
and http://go.uen.org/Ac  (Boston Globe)
or a copy of the report
http://go.uen.org/A7 (Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education)

New Jersey court paves the way for schools to sue the student bullies whose parents have been notified about behavior issues and don’t correct them.
http://go.uen.org/Ae  (Star-Ledger)
or a copy of the ruling
http://go.uen.org/Af  (Documentcloud)

Will anonymity apps be a help or hindrance for schools?
http://go.uen.org/A5 (AP)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Utah school board races attract an unusually high number of candidates Education » Eighteen candidates, for example, are running for a seat on the state school board.

WCSD hopefuls look to fill seat

Love has running start in 4th District race

Cache County School District purchases land for new high school

Central Region Sterling Scholars announced

New Report Says Location Matters In Utah Child Poverty

Students from Japan welcomed at Timpview

Lucid Software donates multi-million dollar license to Utah schools Thousands of Utah students and educators are using Lucidchart and Lucidpress in the classroom at no cost to schools.

Campers Raise Money To Save Mill Hollow Outdoor Education Center

‘Saved By The Belt’ Program Determined To Educate Kids

Wasatch Academy Honored by the Utah Heritage Foundation

Salt Lake City’s Rowland Hall has first ‘home game’ in 147 years

E-cigs grow in popularity at secondary schools, officials say

Indiana becomes first state to back out of Common Core

OPINION & COMMENTARY

This bill is unfair to parents and educators
SB257 imposes on volunteers

Champion of the academic decathlon

Legislature supports public-lands transfer with ‘what next’ bills

It’s Hard to Be a Kid Today

The new extremists in education debate

Let Schools Teach Stupid Stuff (Like Creationism) Tax dollars are used to teach all sorts of nonsense in public schools. So why is it news when vouchers are involved?

NATION

Teaching as a Second Act, or Maybe Even a Third

Report Urges Massachusetts, a Top Academic Performer, to Aim Higher

Billion-Dollar Deal Heats Up Ed-Tech Market Acquisition fuels K-12 market speculation

Bullies beware: Groundbreaking ruling allows schools to sue students who harass peers

Whispers, Secrets and Lies? Anonymity Apps Rise

Act of compassion violates school dress code policy What started out as a kind gesture is turning into a battle over whether hair, or the lack of it, should matter in school.

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UTAH NEWS
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Utah school board races attract an unusually high number of candidates Education » Eighteen candidates, for example, are running for a seat on the state school board.

School board races are often overshadowed by bigger contests, but this year at least two school board spots are attracting unusually crowded fields of candidates.
A whopping 18 people have filed to run for the state school board seat being vacated by longtime board member Kim Burningham, of Bountiful.
And five candidates have filed to run for the Salt Lake City School District seat being left open by exiting board member Laurel Young. Her area includes the elementary school that became infamous earlier this year when kids’ cafeteria lunches were trashed because their parents were behind on balances.
http://go.uen.org/zJ (SLT)

WCSD hopefuls look to fill seat

ST. GEORGE — Following candidacy filings for the Washington County School District, two newcomers are looking to fill the District 4 seat in the 2014 election and replace incumbent and current school board president Cal Durfey, who is not running for reelection.
http://go.uen.org/zU  (SGS)

Love has running start in 4th District race

SALT LAKE CITY — With a lead on name recognition and an established campaign team, political observers say former Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love is well-situated to lead the pack of eight candidates vying to replace longtime Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson.
Love, who narrowly lost to Matheson in 2012, faces two fellow GOP challengers this year. If she wins this November, she’d become the first black, female Republican elected to Congress.

The two other candidates in the Republican field this year are Bob Fuehr, former telecommunications executive from Salt Lake City, and Jennifer A. Johnson, the founder and manager of an investment company.
http://go.uen.org/zK  (OSE)

http://go.uen.org/zR (PDH)

http://go.uen.org/zT  (SGS)

Cache County School District purchases land for new high school

The Cache County School District Board of Education approved the purchase of more land Thursday for sport fields for the new high school on the border of Hyde Park and North Logan that is scheduled to be built in early 2015.
http://go.uen.org/zS (LHJ)

Central Region Sterling Scholars announced

Fifteen winners and 30 runners-up were announced March 20 at the forty-second annual Deseret News/KSL Sterling Scholars of Central Utah Awards Program held in the Sevier Valley Center, Richfield.
http://go.uen.org/zO  (DN)

New Report Says Location Matters In Utah Child Poverty

A new report shows location matters when it comes to childhood poverty in Utah.
The data found that child poverty rates were higher in six zip codes than anywhere else in the state.
Those neighborhoods, compiled by Voice for Utah Children, included communities in Clearfield, Kearns, West Valley, Ogden, and North Ogden.
The report found that children in the six zones have lower high school graduate rates, scored lower on standardized tests, and had limited access to healthcare.
http://go.uen.org/zX  (KUTV)

Students from Japan welcomed at Timpview

Exchange students from Nakano Nishi High School in Japan received an official welcome to the City of Provo during the KAKEHASHI Project exchange breakfast at Timpview High School on Monday. There, dignitaries including Mayor John Curtis, Rep. Rebecca Lockhart and Sen. John Valentine greeted the guests and enjoyed a variety of musical entertainment and speeches by students from both schools.
http://go.uen.org/zQ  (PDH)

Lucid Software donates multi-million dollar license to Utah schools Thousands of Utah students and educators are using Lucidchart and Lucidpress in the classroom at no cost to schools.

Salt Lake City, UT — The Utah State Office of Education, the Utah Education Network and Utah System of Higher Education in partnership with local company, Lucid Software, are pleased to announce an agreement to provide premium software packages at no cost to all Utah public schools, colleges and universities. Faculty in the Salt Lake and Canyons school districts are already enthusiastic users of the press and chart applications, and are using both for planning, presentations and newsletters.
http://go.uen.org/Ag  (PRWeb)

Campers Raise Money To Save Mill Hollow Outdoor Education Center

Fourth-grader Corman Johnson has filled up his piggy bank, but he has a long way to go to save his summer camp from closing.
“I’m going to donate $20 to Mill Hollow, and, if any rich person out there wants to donate more money, go ahead,” Corman said. “I think it’s really important.”
Corman attended Mill Hollow Outdoor Education Center, a wilderness program run by the Granite School District for fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders. His father, Jason Johnson, is a fifth-grade teacher at a local Granite school and an instructor at the camp about 60 miles southeast of Salt Lake City, on the edge of the Uinta Mountains, where kids get real-life science lessons in two- or three-day sessions.
http://go.uen.org/zV  (KUTV)

‘Saved By The Belt’ Program Determined To Educate Kids

A Utah family says they have seat belts to thank for saving their lives after they were in a rollover crash.
Krista Turner and her family were involved in that accident on state route 73 back in January. Monday they were honored by the Utah Department of Public Safety’s “saved by the belt” program.
http://go.uen.org/zW  (KUTV)

Wasatch Academy Honored by the Utah Heritage Foundation

The Utah Heritage Foundation has recognized Wasatch Academy for the restoration of Liberal Hall, the original schoolhouse for the 139-year-old institution in Mt. Pleasant. Wasatch Academy received the award in the Stabilization, Renovation or Rehabilitation category. The award will be formally presented during the Utah Heritage Awards dinner on May 8. Joseph Loftin, Head of School for Wasatch Academy, said “Liberal Hall serves as an important touchstone for Wasatch Academy and the Sanpete County community.” Hall said that the academy wanted to celebrate the early history of the school and the valley by restoring the building, which has been the home of Wasatch Academy since 1875.
http://go.uen.org/zZ  (MUR)

Salt Lake City’s Rowland Hall has first ‘home game’ in 147 years

After 147 years, student athletes at private college-preparatory school Rowland Hall finally played a true home game on Monday.
The Salt Lake City school built its own soccer fields as part of the first phase of a $75 million expansion that will eventually consolidate all of its students, pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, at one site.
Students have previously hosted home games on a leased soccer field at Sunnyside Park, near Rowland Hall’s elementary, which fronts 720 S. Guardsman Way.
http://go.uen.org/zM  (SLT)

E-cigs grow in popularity at secondary schools, officials say

DAVIS COUNTY — E-cigarettes are growing in popularity with adults and now with children, according to school officials Monday.
The Davis County School District reported a growing problem in regulating the e-cigarettes on some high school and middle school campuses.
http://go.uen.org/Ah  (KSTU)

Indiana becomes first state to back out of Common Core

As controversy continues to swirl around the new educational standards, with pressure coming from both ends of the spectrum now, Indiana became the first state to back out of the Common Core standards Tuesday.
Indiana is the first but may not be the last.
http://go.uen.org/zP  (DN)

http://go.uen.org/A9 (Indy Star)

http://go.uen.org/A4  (AP)

http://go.uen.org/zY  (NPR All Things Considered)

http://go.uen.org/Aa (WSJ)

http://go.uen.org/A8  (Ed Week)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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This bill is unfair to parents and educators
SB257 imposes on volunteers
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

It seems that Sen. Howard Stephenson would rather have just about anybody doing the business of education other than Utah’s professional educators.
In his bill SB257, which was hurried through the Legislature all too fast at the end of the just-completed session, Stephenson would impose a lot more work on a group of 15 parents who generously volunteered to review 10,000 test questions last year to allay fears of some that standardized tests have a liberal bent.
They didn’t find any questions like that, but they spent hundreds of hours on the mostly useless quest. Now Stephenson wants the same group to take on a much larger and broader review of complaints from parents about statewide curriculum and materials.
The Utah State Board of Education and at least some of the test-review committee members are rightly asking Gov. Gary Herbert to veto Stephenson’s overreaching bill. We agree that it should not become law.
http://go.uen.org/zL

Champion of the academic decathlon
Deseret News commentary by columnist Doug Robinson

IOKA, Duchesne County — Did you hear the story about the small-town girl who took on all comers in the state high school academic decathlon and won, handily?
No, probably not. That’s because the event was pretty much ignored.
We’ve got it all backward, you see. We lavish attention — awards, news coverage, facilities, money — on athletics, not academics. This is because it’s more fun to watch someone hit a home run than write an essay on Chaucer.
But consider the feats of Diantha Lemon, a senior at Union High School. Earlier this month, she competed in the Utah Academic Decathlon at Dixie State University.
http://go.uen.org/zN

Legislature supports public-lands transfer with ‘what next’ bills Sutherland Institute commentary by Director of the Center for Self-Government in the West Director Carl Graham

The Utah Legislature adjourned this month with a nice package of bills to support the state’s Transfer of Public Lands (TPLA) initiative. Since they’ve already passed a bill demanding transfer, the next step is to address what happens to the lands when that transfer occurs.
Other states contemplating a TPLA-like effort can front-load some of the debate and address the concerns of many potential detractors by including some or all of these “next step” bills in their initial package.
http://go.uen.org/A0

It’s Hard to Be a Kid Today
Huffington Post commentary by Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz, author of “Jewish Ethics & Social Justice: A Guide for the 21st Century”

A 2013 American Psychological Association survey noted that American teenagers are now experiencing stress levels equal to those of adults and for the first time during the school year, American youth experienced more daily stress than adults. These levels of stress are very unhealthy for children. More studies are also revealing the transgenerational effects of stress and their correlation with illness. Even more troubling for children growing up in economic adversity is that when poverty is coupled with stress, there can be significant impact on the brain as well.
We must make sure that our children are growing up in safe and healthy environments:
• Consider the cruelty of two Utah elementary school cafeteria workers who recently snatched away the lunch trays from 40 children whose parents were behind on making meal payments. The school workers then threw the students’ meals in the trash, humiliating them in front of their peers and leaving them hungry.
• Consider the levels of child abuse: Annually, about 3 million reports of child abuse (involving six million children) are made; in 2010, 1,537 children died of abuse and neglect.
http://go.uen.org/Ai

The new extremists in education debate
Washington Post commentary by Jeff Bryant, director of the Education Opportunity Network

For people who like to think of themselves as being “exceptional,” Americans can sometimes abandon the very principles their exceptionality is founded on.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the current debate of education policy.
A feature that has long made America’s public school system exceptional for sure is its governance through democratically elected local school boards. The way this has been working, according to the National School Boards Association, is that your local school board “represents the public’s voice in public education, providing citizen governance for what the public schools need and what the community wants.”
Any power a school board has is generated through the exercise of democracy. When you don’t agree with decisions made by your board members, “it is your right as a voter to select new board members who will see to it that your students and your schools succeed.”
How American is that?
But now, many of the loudest voices in the nation’s education debate tell us that is completely and utterly wrong.
These new extremists are Republicans and Democrats. They are extremely well financed and connected. They adorn their arguments with the language of “opportunity” and “sustained excellence.” But what they really represent is a mindset unwilling to fight things out on a democratic playing field, no matter how unlevel. Instead, they aim to eliminate the playing field altogether.
http://go.uen.org/A2

Let Schools Teach Stupid Stuff (Like Creationism) Tax dollars are used to teach all sorts of nonsense in public schools. So why is it news when vouchers are involved?
Time commentary by columnist Nick Gillespie

I’m certain that Adam and Eve didn’t have a pet triceratops, and I’ve yet to accept Jesus as my personal lord and savior.
And, yet, I find it hard to get upset that, as a story in Politico reports: “Taxpayers in 14 states will bankroll nearly $1 billion this year in tuition for private schools, including hundreds of religious schools that teach Earth is less than 10,000 years old, Adam and Eve strolled the garden with dinosaurs, and much of modern biology, geology and cosmology is a web of lies.”
As it happens, I’m among the paltry 15 percent of Americans who, according to Gallup, believe that “Humans evolved, but God had no part in the process.” Fully 78 percent of Americans believe either that “God created humans in their present form” and “Humans evolved, with God guiding” (in 1982, only 9 percent of Americans believed in god-free evolution).
And so I find myself at odds. As much as I believe in evolution, I believe even more strongly in school choice — especially for poor and underprivileged kids, who are the primary beneficiaries of the voucher programs discussed by Politico.
If that means some of them get my tax dollars to spend on lessons I find objectionable, well, what else is new?
http://go.uen.org/Ad

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Teaching as a Second Act, or Maybe Even a Third New York Times

GAIL R. RUSCETTA changed careers for the first time when she had children. A theater major who bounced between acting gigs in her 20s, Ms. Ruscetta took the kind of leap that overachieving city dwellers often fantasize about: She and her then husband moved to Montana and opened a horse farm and riding school.
Fifteen years later, Ms. Ruscetta — who was an active volunteer in her children’s classrooms and then helped home-school them — was going through a divorce. Time for another career switch.
This time, she decided to try teaching. Ms. Ruscetta, 57, moved to Virginia and enrolled in a yearlong, $3,500 training course designed by the state Education Department for career changers. She financed her training and living expenses from the sale of a dressage horse, and in the fall of 2012 she started a job at a public middle school in Alexandria, teaching English as a second language.
She figures this career will stick. “I’ll probably be working until I’m 85,” she said.
Teaching, with the draw of doing good, the steady (if unspectacular) paychecks, summers off and solid pension benefits, has long been perceived as a durable second — or third — career.
But in the last five years, the profession has taken a number of hits.
http://go.uen.org/A1

Report Urges Massachusetts, a Top Academic Performer, to Aim Higher Education Week

By reputation, and by test-score rankings, Massachusetts is one the nation’s highest-flying states academically. But a report released Monday, authored by a prominent adviser on education issues, argues that the state needs to push ahead with a series of ambitious changes to its education system to avoid slipping into complacency.
The report was commissioned by the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, an organization that was a lead player in the state’s efforts to establish strong academic standards and other policies in the early 1990s, an effort that some argue helped pave the way for years of academic gains.
One of the report’s authors is Sir Michael Barber, a former top adviser to the British government on education issues and a champion for the sharing of ideas on school policy across nations, including the United States.
The report, “The New Opportunity to Lead: A Vision for Education in Massachusetts in the Next 20 Years,” argues that the state can learn from top-performing foreign jurisdictions, like Singapore, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, as well as from the lessons of individual schools and districts in the United States.
http://go.uen.org/A6

http://go.uen.org/Ac  (Boston Globe)

A copy of the report
http://go.uen.org/A7  (Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education)

Billion-Dollar Deal Heats Up Ed-Tech Market Acquisition fuels K-12 market speculation Education Week

The education technology market has been heating up, spurred recently by the announcement that Renaissance Learning Inc., a K-12 assessment- and learning-analytics company, will be acquired by a private-equity company for $1.1 billion, making the deal one of the largest acquisitions ever in the ed-tech arena.
The planned sale was announced earlier this month by the Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.-based Renaissance Learning, revealing that it will be purchased by Hellman & Friedman LLC, a private-equity firm with offices in San Francisco, New York, and London. The seller is European-based Permira, also a private-equity firm, which had purchased Renaissance Learning almost 2½ years ago for $455 million.
Last month, Google Capital made a $40 million investment—its first funding of an education company—in Renaissance Learning, which is known in K-12 circles for its star assessments and its Accelerated Reader and Accelerated Math curricula. At the time, Google Capital had valued Renaissance at $1 billion.
http://go.uen.org/Ab

Bullies beware: Groundbreaking ruling allows schools to sue students who harass peers Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger

In a groundbreaking case that puts school bullies and their parents on notice, a Superior Court judge has ruled that two Hunterdon County school districts may file suit against students who torment their peers.
Attorneys involved in the case say the decision by Judge Yolanda Ciccone — the assignment judge for Hunterdon, Somerset and Warren counties — could spur similar suits across the state.
They say it also delivers a strong message that parents may be held legally liable when their children taunt, tease or physically harass classmates.
“This raises important public and social policy issues,” said Robert Gold, a Morristown lawyer who represents the Hunterdon Central Regional School District. “Parents have to monitor the conduct of their children, and when parents are made aware that their children are behaving badly, they have to take some affirmative steps to guide them.”
Gold called the case the first of its kind under New Jersey’s tough new anti-bullying law.
http://go.uen.org/Ae

A copy of the ruling
http://go.uen.org/Af  (Documentcloud)

Whispers, Secrets and Lies? Anonymity Apps Rise Associated Press

NEW YORK — At a time when Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are pushing people to put forward their most polished, put-together selves, a new class of mobile applications aims for a bit more honesty.
Among the latest is Secret, created by two former Google engineers who were looking for a way to let people deliver genuine feedback to co-workers. With the app, friends and friends of friends can share their deepest and darkest thoughts, along with gossip, criticism and even plans to propose marriage, under a cloak of near-anonymity.

Secret joins a handful of apps such as Confide, Whisper and Yik Yak that have become popular – and in some cases, notorious – in recent months, by offering users a way to communicate while cloaking their identities.

Launched in 2012, Whisper is especially popular with teenagers and 20-somethings, with the bulk of its users under 24. Yik Yak, released late last year, made headlines recently when a California high school went into lockdown after someone used the app to post an anonymous bomb threat.
Although anonymity apps are being criticized as platforms for bullying, supporters say they can be tools for preventing mischief. They also have a cathartic value for some users.
http://go.uen.org/A5

Act of compassion violates school dress code policy What started out as a kind gesture is turning into a battle over whether hair, or the lack of it, should matter in school.
(Denver) KUSA

It was meant as a gesture of solidarity: a girl in Grand Junction shaved her head to support her friend, who is battling cancer. However, family members say the girl’s school didn’t see it that way and said it violated the dress code policy. Now, what started as a simple gesture is turning into a battle over whether hair should matter in school.
For the two girls on the playground, though, Monday afternoon was all about sharing fun in the sun and sporting matching bald heads.
“It felt like the right thing to do,” Kamryn Renfro said.
With her parents’ permission, Kamryn shaved her head in support of her cancer-stricken friend, 11-year-old Delaney Clements. She lost her hair because she is undergoing chemotherapy in her fight against neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer.
Delaney loved what her friend did.
“It made me feel very special and that I’m not alone,” she said.
However, when Kamryn tried to go back to school at Caprock Academy in Grand Junction this week, she wasn’t allowed in. Turns out, having a shaved head is a violation of the school’s dress code policy. Delaney’s mom, Wendy Campbell, couldn’t believe it.
http://go.uen.org/A3

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

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

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

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