Education News Roundup: April 3, 2014

SAGE2Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

Governor Herbert vetoes the curriculum review committee bill. Senate will decide by Monday on a veto override session.
http://go.uen.org/F2  (SLT)
and http://go.uen.org/F4  (DN)
and http://go.uen.org/F6  (PDH)
and http://go.uen.org/F5  (UP)
and http://go.uen.org/Fh  (KSL)
and http://go.uen.org/Fl  (KSTU)
and http://go.uen.org/Fn  (KCSG)
or http://go.uen.org/Fs  (Senate Site)

Child sex abuse penalties get harsher for person in a position of special trust, under a new law.
http://go.uen.org/F3  (SLT)

Fox 13 previews this spring’s SAGE assessments.
http://go.uen.org/Fj  (KSTU)

Maryland school district looks at creating a civil cyber society within a high school.
http://go.uen.org/Ft  (WaPo)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Veto: Utah parent panel won’t review curriculum complaints
SB257 vetoed » 11 of the 15 parents on the committee argued against the expanded duties.

Abusing kids now carries harsher sentence for teachers Justice » Tougher penalty for fondling offenses among changes.

Herbert approves private preschool grant plan

New standardized tests expected to better measure student understanding

Highland Jr. High Takes Brunt of Ogden School District Layoffs

Parents notified after pertussis case reported in Spanish Fork school

Tigers roar their approval of new principal

Catholic Community Services starting child food program

Nebo elementary schools embrace reading challenge

Students of the Month Honored by St. George Exchange Club

Canyons District offering parents social media seminar

Heritage School marks 30 years

Student chefs economics lesson in preparing food for governor’s summit

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Not frequently enough, apparently

Legislature should fund schools, let teachers teach

School suspensions an ineffective discipline

Confusing Math Homework? Don’t Blame the Common Core States, districts, and schools are actually in charge.

A Research Agenda for the Common Core State Standards: What Information Do Policymakers Need?

NATION

Some States Seek To Bless Prayer In Public Schools

Appeals court upholds NYC ban on worship services in schools

Twitter civility: Montgomery school effort begins

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UTAH NEWS
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Veto: Utah parent panel won’t review curriculum complaints
SB257 vetoed » 11 of the 15 parents on the committee argued against the expanded duties.

Heeding calls from the State Board of Education, Utah PTA and parents on a statewide test question review committee, Gov. Gary Herbert on Wednesday vetoed SB257.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, passed the House by a single vote in the waning minutes of the legislative session last month.
The bill would have expanded the job of the 15 parents who volunteered last year to scrutinize thousands of possible questions for new standardized tests being used this spring in Utah schools.
Under the bill, the parents also would have to investigate parents’ complaints throughout Utah about curriculum and learning materials.
http://go.uen.org/F2  (SLT)

http://go.uen.org/F4  (DN)

http://go.uen.org/F6  (PDH)

http://go.uen.org/F5  (UP)

http://go.uen.org/Fh  (KSL)

http://go.uen.org/Fl  (KSTU)

http://go.uen.org/Fn  (KCSG)

http://go.uen.org/Fs  (Senate Site)

Abusing kids now carries harsher sentence for teachers Justice » Tougher penalty for fondling offenses among changes.

A teacher found guilty of fondling a student could spend up to five years in prison, according to a new law signed last week by Gov. Gary Herbert.
But for religious leaders, parents, Scout leaders, doctors, adult baby sitters or others in “a position of trust,” the sentence would still be no more than one year in jail.
To some, such as the bill’s sponsor Rep. LaVar Christensen, R-Draper, the disparity makes sense as a preventative measure — upping the ante may be more effective at discouraging that kind of inappropriate conduct.
To others, it’s a deviation that undermines fair and equal distribution of justice.
http://go.uen.org/F3  (SLT)

Herbert approves private preschool grant plan

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert has approved legislation to use private grants to help cover the cost of preschool programs for at-risk Utah students.
Herbert’s office announced Wednesday that he signed the measure, which attracted hundreds of emails from supporters and opponents during the recent legislative session.
The law creates a program where private companies foot the bill for classroom or at-home preschool programs.
http://go.uen.org/F7  (PDH)

New standardized tests expected to better measure student understanding

OGDEN, Utah — Even though the school year is only 80 percent of the way through, standardized test have already started for a lot of school across the state.
At Shadow Valley Elementary School in Ogden, students’ parents and teachers said they’re ready for the challenge.
http://go.uen.org/Fj  (KSTU)

Highland Jr. High Takes Brunt of Ogden School District Layoffs

Seventeen teachers in the Ogden School District were told not to come back to work next fall. Many were surprised to learn one Jr. High School took the brunt of the layoffs.
Six teachers at Highland Jr. High School will now have to find a new job.
Ogden School District Spokesman Zach Williams says the school isn’t keeping pace with the progress other schools are making, adding the district is in the process of implementing a school improvement program.
http://go.uen.org/Fq  (KUER)

Parents notified after pertussis case reported in Spanish Fork school

SPANISH FORK, Utah – Parents of children in a Utah school district are on alert after a case of whooping cough was reported.
Officials with the Nebo School District said they are tracking one case of pertussis, often called whooping cough.
Parents at Maple Mountain High School have been notified by officials of the issue.
Davis County has seen cases of whooping cough as well. In the month of March, they reported 22 cases. There have been at least 45 cases of whooping cough reported in Utah so far this year.
http://go.uen.org/Fk  (KSTU)

Tigers roar their approval of new principal

HURRICANE – On Monday, Washington County School District announced the appointment of Jan Goodwin as the new principal of Hurricane Middle School. Goodwin will be replacing Dr. Roy Hoyt who has been selected as superintendent in Basin, Wyo.
http://go.uen.org/Fg  (SGN)

http://go.uen.org/Fo (KCSG)

Catholic Community Services starting child food program

Catholic Community Services of Utah honored people who have made a difference Wednesday before taking steps to make a difference itself.
The honorees, recognized at the annual Dream Builders Breakfast, included St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School, homeless advocate Pamela Atkinson and Weber County Commissioner Jan Zogmaister. The group also honored Robert Hunter, of United Way of Northern Utah.
“All of these incredible honorees have dedicated their lives to enriching and nurturing the lives of northern Utahns,” according to a CCS news release.
Funds that CCS raised at the breakfast will help start its new child-hunger program, dubbed Bridging the Gap. One in five Utah children face food insecurity, according to CCS. There are 16,000 children on free and reduced-lunch programs in Weber and Ogden school districts alone.
“However, when school is not in session, children do not have access to these programs and many go hungry during the weekend,” according to the statement. “CCS’ Bridging the Gap will provide free meals each weekend to children in Weber County.”
http://go.uen.org/F8  (SLT)

Nebo elementary schools embrace reading challenge

When Park View Elementary principal Kristie Reynolds inquired how she could get Spanish Fork Fiesta Days Rodeo tickets as an incentive for her students, she never realized she would end up starting a reading challenge that would not only involve her students in Payson but students at all of the elementary schools in Spanish Fork as well.
The program, the Champion Reader’s Challenge, kicked off in March, when Park View Elementary started its reading program and spent the month celebrating with a Western theme, the Reading Round-up. Students were able to calculate their reading minutes at home and participate in a variety of activities at school.
http://go.uen.org/Fe  (PDH)

Students of the Month Honored by St. George Exchange Club

ST. GEORGE, Utah – The March Student of the Month recipients were recently honored by the St. George Exchange Club. The St. George Exchange Club sponsors the Student of the Month Program, which honors one student from the area high schools each month. This program recognizes the students’ accomplishments in academics, service and leadership in their respective schools. Dixie State University recently partnered with the St. George Exchange Club and will provide each of the Student of the Month recipients a one-year, full-tuition scholarship.
http://go.uen.org/Fm  (KCSG)

Canyons District offering parents social media seminar

SANDY — The Canyons School District is offering a free parents seminar on navigating social media for children.
The seminar is Tuesday, April 8, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Canyons Support Services Center, 9361 S. 300 East.
http://go.uen.org/Fb  (DN)

Heritage School marks 30 years

Heritage School is celebrating 30 years of changing lives with an open house and keynote address by CEO and founder, Jerry Spanos.
It will be from 2-4 p.m. Friday at the school, located at 5600 N. Heritage Drive, Provo.
http://go.uen.org/Ff  (PDH)

Student chefs economics lesson in preparing food for governor’s summit

SALT LAKE CITY — If you had a chance to cook for The Governor’s Utah Economic Summit, what would you prepare? Some Utah high school students just helped with quite a complex menu, assisting the executive chef at the Grand America Hotel, and their choices in the kitchen are helping Utah’s economy.
http://go.uen.org/Fi  (KSL)

http://go.uen.org/Fa  (DN)

http://go.uen.org/Fr  (KUER)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Not frequently enough, apparently
Deseret News letter from Breck England

“Far too frequently, many in the education establishment criticize Utah for its large class sizes and low per-pupil spending.” So says the Deseret News editorial of April 1.
I thought it was an April Fools’ joke at first. “Far too frequently?” Not frequently enough to make any difference, obviously. With our student demographic and our excellent teachers, Utah should lead the nation in academic performance. Instead, we are the very height of mediocrity, sitting smack on average in every educational performance measure that matters.
http://go.uen.org/Fc

Legislature should fund schools, let teachers teach Salt Lake Tribune letter from Kevin Greer

Re Paul Rolly’s column, “Legislators, bureaucrats don’t trust teachers,” Opinion, March 28:
I spent almost 20 years as a substitute teacher, mostly in high school.
I spent two years in Vietnam; I was a crew member on a helicopter that crashed in the Pacific Ocean; and I retired after 24 years as a firefighter. I have to say that nothing scared me more than the first time I walked into a high school class to take over for the absent teacher.
Unlike Mr. Rolly, I did not have the luxury of having the regular teacher on hand for assistance.
I have to agree that the Utah Legislature has a paranoid view of Utah teachers. Why else would they try to strangle them year after year with idiotic legislation that promotes private interests, private schools, excessive testing, vouchers, etc.
http://go.uen.org/F9

School suspensions an ineffective discipline
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Stephanie Schaible

Do you know a student who has been suspended or expelled from school? Do you know a parent who has struggled to help their child get back on track? Every year, 3.3 million students in the United States are suspended from school, causing them to miss critical learning time, as well as opportunities to grow and succeed. Twenty years of research is showing that out-of-school suspensions do not improve student behavior and, in fact, often exacerbate it. Students who are suspended lose valuable instructional time, and are more likely to fall behind in school, drop out, and enter the juvenile delinquency system, at great cost to students and taxpayers.
The simple facts: Zero tolerance policies, “get tough” punishments and school removals fail schools and students. Students of color, students with disabilities, and boys are disproportionately punished in schools.
http://go.uen.org/Fd

Confusing Math Homework? Don’t Blame the Common Core States, districts, and schools are actually in charge.
Atlantic commentary by columnist JESSICA LAHEY

“I hate the Common Core,” the mother of two complained when I told her I write about education.
“What, specifically, do you hate?” I asked.
“The math. It makes no sense! I can’t help my kid with his homework and I don’t understand the new methods at all.”
What I told this mother, and what I wish I could explain to every parent frustrated with the nonsensical math homework coming home in our children’s backpacks, is this: The confusing math methodology everyone is complaining about is not part of the Common Core State Standards.
The Common Core is a set of “standards,” lists of competencies or skills that kids will need to know by the end of a given school year. Standards require what skills will be taught, while curriculum dictates other details such as how a given skill is conveyed to a second grader. For example, the Standards require second graders to know that “100 can be thought of as a bundle of ten tens—called a ‘hundred,’” but curriculum dictates the textbook, or teaching methodology, or philosophy used to teach that skill. The confusing math that has been coming home in our children’s backpacks is a result of Everyday Math, a curriculum based on critical thinking skills, (so-called “fuzzy math”) developed at the University of Chicago.
It is up to individual states, districts, or schools to teach the standards via a curriculum of their choosing.
It is important to note that while the Common Core State Standards have been voluntarily implemented in all but five states, neither the Common Core State Standards nor curriculum are federally mandated. Education has always been locally controlled, and it is up to individual states, districts, or schools to teach the standards via a curriculum of their choosing, such as Everyday Math or Singapore Math, and this is where the blame for the confusing math methodology lies.
This distinction may seem like a nitpicky matter of semantics, but it is not.
http://go.uen.org/Fw

A Research Agenda for the Common Core State Standards: What Information Do Policymakers Need?
Center on Education Policy analysis by Maria Ferguson, Diane Stark Rentner

As part of a broader project to better connect the research on Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to policy and practice, CEP met with individuals from organizations representing state and local education policymakers to learn of their memberships’ research and data needs around the Common Core. The conversations yielded four areas of policy-related research that will be needed in the coming year: (1) case studies of successful implementation of the CCSS; (2) studies of state and local CCSS outreach strategies; (3) studies of state education agency capacity to lead the CCSS implementation; and (4) analyses of the impact of federal education requirements on CCSS implementation.
http://go.uen.org/F1

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Some States Seek To Bless Prayer In Public Schools NPR

Religious groups have been testing the limits on prayer in public school for decades. Now they think they’ve come up with a new strategy that will allow students to pray wherever and whenever they want.
Bills have been moving in a number of states that would allow students to engage in prayer at school functions such as graduation.
“I believe there’s discrimination involved, yes I do, against individuals who would like to express some value to their faith,” says state Sen. Ferrell Haile, sponsor of a school prayer bill in Tennessee awaiting approval from GOP Gov. Bill Haslam.
Haile says his bill would merely allow students to express faith in the same way they talk about any other subject. But school board lawyers and civil liberties activists warn it could violate constitutional restrictions against state-sponsored religion.
http://go.uen.org/Fp

Appeals court upholds NYC ban on worship services in schools Reuters

NEW YORK – A federal appeals court on Thursday ruled that a New York City regulation banning religious worship services inside school buildings after hours was constitutional.
In a 2-1 decision, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the New York City Board of Education’s regulation, created so the city would not be perceived as endorsing religious activity in a public forum, “was consistent with its constitutional duties.”
The rule prohibits school buildings from being used for religious worship services or as a house of worship, but the city allows groups to use schools for non-religious activities.
http://go.uen.org/Fu

A copy of the ruling
http://go.uen.org/Fv  (2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals)

Twitter civility: Montgomery school effort begins Washington Post

Montgomery County’s plans for a dialogue on civility in the Twitterverse are expected to get underway Thursday evening, as the school system’s newly formed Cybercivility Task Force gathers for the first time.
School officials selected the 43-member group from 220 applicants, and it includes five students; 13 parents; eight community members; 10 school system staff; and others associated with nonprofit groups, law enforcement and the county council of PTAs.
The effort dates to December, when Montgomery County Schools Superintendent Joshua P. Starr was zinged with offensive and crude tweets as he and other school officials weighed whether to close schools amid snow and icy weather.
Hoping to spur a conversation across Maryland’s largest school system, Starr wrote a letter to parents.
http://go.uen.org/Ft

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

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

April 4:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
8:15 a.m.: 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspx

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

May 20:
Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
1 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2014&Com=APPEXE

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