Education News Roundup: April 18, 2014

1:1 classroom students with laptopsEducation News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

Think there are a lot of students in Utah classrooms now?: “Study: Utah to nearly double population by 2050”  (SLT)
or a copy of the study  (Utah Foundation)

Gov. Herbert touts education as one of the cornerstones for Utah’s bottom line. (DN)

Utah Policy’s Bob Bernick speculates that by 2016 even Utah Republicans will have to support more funding for education to get elected.  (UP)

Hobby Lobby’s Steve Green creates a public school Bible curriculum.  (RNS via WaPo)
and  (DN)

Boston area schools rethinking having Good Friday off as a school holiday. By ENR’s calculations 21 districts and 15 charter schools (  are off for Good Friday. The rest are in session today … as is ENR.  (Globe)



Study: Utah to nearly double population by 2050 Growth » Careful planning is urged to handle congestion, air quality, education, transportation.

Utahns drop, cover and hold on as part of the Great Utah Shakeout

Spanish Fork history teacher retires after half a century, leaves legacy

Clearfield High student takes prize at cook-off

Hope of America, other activities kick off Freedom Festival

New personnel at Kane School District

Inside Our Schools


Gov. Herbert: Executing fundamentals for a better bottom line

Label Makers

Student safety — protection training

Eliminating the root cause of bullying

Ogden schools don’t need ‘scary teacher-busters’

Homework load is fine

When the Circus Descends

Why Jeb Bush’s Greatest Political Achievement Could Sink a White House Run Conservative activists may hate Common Core math and English standards, but the former Florida governor remains an unrepentant backer.

Five Critical Conditions That Encourage School Improvement


Hobby Lobby’s Steve Green launches a new project: a public school Bible curriculum

Studies Offer Insights on Implementing Common Core

Education chief John White: Testing critics don’t have plan

Michelle Obama: High School Diploma is not Enough

Wake County sees ‘alarming’ increase in teacher resignations

Teacher accused of racial slur fired by Fairfield board

Schools rethink Good Friday closing policies

Nigerian state says most abducted schoolgirls still missing


Study: Utah to nearly double population by 2050 Growth » Careful planning is urged to handle congestion, air quality, education, transportation.

By 2050, Utah is expected to nearly double its population — adding 2.5 million people to its current 2.9 million, with two-thirds coming from “natural growth” through its high birth rate and a third from immigration.
A new study by the Utah Foundation predicts the booming growth, and a separate panel discussion Thursday by the League of Women Voters addressed planning needed to handle it.
“That means we need to generate over a million new jobs and provide better housing and transportation — and that is a big challenge,” Alan Matheson, planning coordinator and environmental adviser to Gov. Gary Herbert, said at the discussion.
The foundation’s study projects that Utah will not only double its population in 2050, but it will be more diverse and increasingly urban — with especially large population booms coming to areas around the fringe of the Wasatch Front where more open land is available.  (SLT)

A copy of the study  (Utah Foundation)

Utahns drop, cover and hold on as part of the Great Utah Shakeout

SALT LAKE CITY — More than a quarter of the Utah population dropped, covered and held on at 10:15 a.m. Thursday during the Great Utah Shakeout, an event designed to promote preparedness for earthquake survival and recovery.
At least 833,800 people registered to participate from colleges, media outlets, school districts, faith-based organizations, government employees, nonprofits, businesses and other groups. This was the third year of the Shakeout, organized by the Utah Division of Emergency Management.  (DN) (PDH)  (SGS)  (KUTV)  (KSTU)

Spanish Fork history teacher retires after half a century, leaves legacy

SPANISH FORK — After 52 years of service in public education, Richard Brough, history teacher and debate coach, is retiring. He began teaching in his hometown of Fillmore at Millard High School for nine years, then 11 years at Rigby High in Idaho and is currently finishing off his 32nd year at Spanish Fork High School.  (PDH)

Clearfield High student takes prize at cook-off

Skyler Goodman, a senior from Clearfield High School, dices mushrooms for the knife skills portion of the Best Teen Chef Competition. (Photo courtesy the Art Institute of Salt Lake City) Only three teens stood triumphant at a heated cook off competition at The Art Institute of Salt Lake City.
Earlier, nine Utah teens had raced to prepare and serve a two-course meal within the two hour time limit. Among the aspiring chefs was Skyler Goodman, a Clearfield High School senior.
Goodman earned second place in The Art Institute’s Best Teen Chef competition, receiving a $1,000 tuition scholarship toward the institute.  (OSE)

Hope of America, other activities kick off Freedom Festival

PROVO — It’s the event of the year for most fifth-graders and their parents.
It’s the Hope of America, and for 19 years it has been the opening act for three months of patriotic celebration as part of America’s Freedom Festival.
More than 6,600 pupils from 78 schools came together Wednesday and Thursday, decked out in red, white and blue to form a human representation of the American flag, a tradition of the event.  (PDH)

New personnel at Kane School District

At the April 10 meeting of the Kane County Board of Education, the board approved the hiring of the following personnel for the 2014-2015 school year: Klint Brinkerhoff as a Valley Elementary School (VES) Custodian, Kade Glazier as a Science/Math teacher at Kanab High School, Patti Kennedy as a half-time sixth grade teacher at Valley Elementary School, and Shellie Stewart as a Language Arts Teacher/Drill Team Instructor at Kanab High School (KHS).  (Southern Utah News)

Inside Our Schools  (SGS)


Gov. Herbert: Executing fundamentals for a better bottom line Deseret News op-ed by Gov. Gary Herbert

Utah’s economy is strong and growing stronger. Today, we have the second fastest-growing population with the second strongest economy in the nation. Unemployment has dropped from a high of 8.4 percent when I took office in 2009 to 3.9 percent. Since January 2012, when I challenged Utah’s private sector to create 100,000 jobs in 1,000 days, some 89,900 jobs have been created. We are on track to meet our goal.
We are just as diverse as we are dynamic. Utah has the fourth most-diverse economy in the nation. This is remarkable. Without all our economic eggs in one basket we are not subject to the volatility of a single economic sector, and we are building on a sure foundation for long-term economic growth.
We believe in the fundamentals and know how to execute them to grow our economy.

Another important fundamental to our economic strength is developing a skilled labor force. A high school diploma alone will not suffice in today’s highly competitive job market. So we have set a statewide goal for 66 percent of adult Utahns to have a degree or post-secondary certificate by the year 2020. We are also working to make sure the skills our students learn align with the needs in the business community. I am determined our students will be prepared to help drive Utah’s economy forward.
Our efforts to develop our workforce are not without challenges — most notably, the funding of our schools. It costs $70 million each year just to pay for new students. Further exacerbating matters, nearly 70 percent of Utah’s land mass is controlled by the federal government, generating no property taxes to help us pay for that student growth.
Despite our funding challenges, we have provided new money for education for three consecutive years: $170 million two years ago, $280 million last year and over $390 million this year. This new money includes a $20 million investment in science, technology, engineering and math instruction to prepare students to compete in what is now a global economy.
Utah high school graduation rates are at 80 percent, up 3 percent from last year, and we are picking up the pace in postsecondary education. Last year more than 29,000 high school students in Utah earned college credit through concurrent enrollment, saving a combined $60 million in college tuition and getting on the fast track to earning a postsecondary degree or certificate. In addition, the Utah System of Higher Education offers more than 1,500 online courses. Students in Utah have access to 53 online degrees, including 13 master’s degrees.

Label Makers
Utah Policy commentary by columnist Bob Bernick

As we’ve moved past the county conventions and head into the state conventions and then the June primary, watch how GOP legislative candidates are defining themselves.
This may be the last election in Utah where nearly – if not all – say they are “conservatives,” or “right of center conservatives,” or “traditional conservatives.”
Come 2016, you may actual hear a few GOP candidates saying the are “mainstream conservatives,” or even “moderate conservatives.”
Yes, the term “moderate” may come back into vogue.

In the 1990s, a group of rural Utah House Republicans started what they called the Cowboy Caucus.
It reached maybe 20 members – with a few urban Republicans with rural roots joining in.
As the Cowboy Caucus gained more and more power, a more moderate group of House Republicans started their own caucus – calling it the “Mainstream Caucus.”
(The media called it the moderate caucus.)
Like the Cowboys, the MCs had a number of issues in common – mainly their desire to better fund public education.

In any case, come 2016 and the new party candidate nominations of SB54, in some Salt Lake County races you could see “mainstream” or “moderate” GOP candidates self-defining themselves that way.
There are few Democratic blue House and Senate districts in Utah.
But if you are a Republican candidate running in one of those, you might be wise – in the final election – to actually campaign on a platform of moderation.
Support enhanced public education funding.

Student safety — protection training
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner op-ed by Weber County Sheriff Terry Thompson

A severely troubled active shooter taking the life of many very young elementary age children and courageous teachers in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, shook the reality of many school officials, even with the past incidents of active school shootings that have taken place over the years. Teachers have traditionally believed that their presence would be enough to protect their students from harm. Further, elementary schools seemed off limits even to killers. The stark reality of Sandy Hook was that those brave and loving teachers died along side of their students, being unable to protect them. This reality has become a game changer for our teachers and school officials, who desire to protect their students from the evils of this world.
As law enforcement professionals, we understand the critical importance of an armed response on site as the most effective means of preserving our children’s lives in the initial few moments of an active shooter. With the desire to protect on the part of our school officials, and the love and compassion that we have as Weber County law enforcement for the most innocent among us – our children; we have committed ourselves to provide the training necessary for our teachers to prepare to protect our kids. In Fall of 2013, we began a 28 hour course of instruction specifically designed for teachers and school administrators within the Weber County School District. This training has been well received by all participants who have shown their desire to protect their students from a killer.

Eliminating the root cause of bullying
Deseret News op-ed by Lynn Stoddard, a retired teacher and school administrator

It is very important that the newly launched Anti-Bullying Coalition, school board members and legislators understand the root causes of bullying if they are to reduce or eliminate it. Why did bullying increase when the federal government and wealthy business executives started to run our schools? How did they change education to foster more bullying?
Starting with the No Child Left Behind Law, schooling is organized and conducted now with great emphasis placed on early reading and math.
Professor Howard Gardner of Harvard maintains that public schools cater to those who are talented in verbal/linguistic and logical/mathematical intelligences to the exclusion of those who are naturally bright in seven other “intelligences.” The “nerds” are getting all the attention.
Why are nerds often bullied, made fun of or picked on? Why do students often feel resentment toward those who always beat them in the only things that seem to count? What would happen if curiosity and creativity were to be counted as highly as math and reading?

Ogden schools don’t need ‘scary teacher-busters’
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Larene Barclay

I read with great interest the April 5 “Viewpoints” piece by Lisa Arango, “Ogden district teachers, students are not cogs in a machine”). I taught first and second grades for 17 years in Weber district, retiring in 2002. I was appalled at the situation in Ogden as described by Ms. Arango. I have heard about this from others, too. These are good, capable people who love children and are prepared to work in education as a lifetime career. They could contribute a lot to the development of the children of Ogden, if they were free to use their talents and training as they know they could. The situation is reputed to be so awful that many good people don’t want to work there. Compare this with my experience in Weber district only a few years ago. Most of us teachers regarded our principals and district personnel as friends and facilitators, not scary teacher-busters who were out to get us. Who would want a job where they could be fired or penalized for any failure to follow silly orders from someone over them who didn’t even know how to do their jobs himself?
I feel sorry for the teachers, kids and parents in Ogden District. If I were one of those parents, I would seriously consider moving, home schooling, or private school for my kids.

Homework load is fine
Deseret News letter from Dallin Lewis

In response to “Enough with the homework already” (April 14), I commend the desire to get straight As. However, I do not agree that teachers are giving out too much work. Teachers don’t forget that students have other classes and a life outside of school.
The real issue is priority. If education was the top priority for students and their parents, high school would not be difficult.

When the Circus Descends
New York Times commentary by columnist David Brooks

We are pretty familiar with this story: A perfectly sensible if slightly boring idea is walking down the street. Suddenly, the ideological circus descends, burying the sensible idea in hysterical claims and fevered accusations. The idea’s political backers beat a craven retreat. The idea dies.
This is what seems to be happening to the Common Core education standards, which are being attacked on the right because they are common and on the left because they are core.

Why Jeb Bush’s Greatest Political Achievement Could Sink a White House Run Conservative activists may hate Common Core math and English standards, but the former Florida governor remains an unrepentant backer.
Mother Jones commentary by columnist Tim Murphy

I met Jeb Bush’s biggest nightmare during a breakout session at March’s Conservative Political Action Conference held outside of DC. In a side room, Phyllis Schlafly, the octogenarian den mother of the religious right, was explaining why attendees should be afraid of a set of national educational standards, little noticed by the national political press, called Common Core. The standards are arguably Bush’s biggest political legacy. They are also the source of a rising tide of activism on the political right. One after another, conservative activists in the standing-room only audience stood up to express their alarm. “If you are a white male boy—God forbid you’re Jewish!—you’re being targeted and it’s very scary,” fretted a woman from Texas. “Very scary.”
Cheryl Howell of Herndon, Va., handed me a folded scrap of paper after the discussion. It traced a direct progression from Common Core to a slate of globalist proposals activists on the far-right believe are designed to create a borderless international society—Agenda 21, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the United Nations’ Law of the Sea treaty.
At the center of it all, she said, pointing to the paper, was Jeb Bush.
In recent weeks, Bush—the former governor of Florida, brother of the 43rd president, and son of the 41st—has emerged as the Republican Party’s presidential sleeper of the moment, a political heavyweight who could commandeer the nervous donor class, lure Hispanic voters back to the GOP, and stand toe-to-toe with Hillary Clinton.
But if Bush runs, he’ll have to contend with an obstacle every bit as daunting as his last name—Common Core: His educational non-profit, the Foundation for Excellence in Education, has been a leading supporter of Common Core, and he has recently joined another group, Conservatives for Higher Standards, to defend the standards against what he calls an “avalanche” of opposition. If that avalanche grows any bigger, it threatens to block any path Bush may have to becoming the Republican Party’s 2016 standard-bearer.

According to its loudest opponents, Common Core isn’t just education reform—it’s a literally life-and-death issue. Tim Farley, a principal from Kinderhook, New York, told me about two of his students who attempted suicide and about several others who had begun cutting themselves. Although he lacked definitive evidence, he believed it was because of the strains of the new standards. Dr. Gary Thompson, a Utah-based child psychologist who has testified in front of state legislators on the standards and has appeared on Glenn Beck’s program, called Common Core “child abuse.” Want other horror stories? Just Google “Common Core Syndrome.”

Five Critical Conditions That Encourage School Improvement Education Week op-ed by Heather Zavadsky, author of School Turnarounds: The Essential Role of Districts

People often ask me what I’ve learned in 20-plus years of studying districts that have successfully lifted up chronically struggling schools. People also argue with me, asserting that districts are incapable of improving schools, or that charter schools and organizations are the only solution to the current problems.
I think it’s time to stop arguing over models and who owns or is credited with the solution. To prepare students to be productive 21st-century citizens, we need educational systems that offer a range of accessible, high-quality, innovative models from which students and families may choose. We need students to be prepared for the world we live in now and the one they will inhabit in the future.
How districts get there will vary, but their efforts must include the following five critical conditions:


Hobby Lobby’s Steve Green launches a new project: a public school Bible curriculum Religion News Service via Washington Post

The Mustang, Okla., school board voted Monday (April 14) to adopt a Bible course developed by Steve Green, clearing the way for the Hobby Lobby president, whose suit against the Affordable Care Act is currently before the U.S. Supreme Court, to enter another charged arena at the borderline of church and state.
The board, whose district is practically in Hobby Lobby’s Oklahoma City backyard, agreed to beta-test the first year of the Museum of the Bible Curriculum, an ambitious four-year public school elective on the narrative, history and impact of the Good Book.
For at least the first semester of the 2014-15 year, Mustang alone will employ the program, said Jerry Pattengale, head of the Green Scholars Initiative, which is overseeing its development. In September 2016, he hopes to place it in at least 100 high schools; by the following year, “thousands.” (DN)

Studies Offer Insights on Implementing Common Core Education Week

Philadelphia – In 2013 alone, state legislators introduced nearly 300 bills related to the Common Core State Standards. This year, they are on track to do the same, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Yet in a series of meetings convened last year by the Center on Education Policy at George Washington University, lawmakers, advocates, and educational leaders said they were starved for research that might help them make evidence-based decisions about the standards.
At the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association here this month, legislators and leaders got a bit of an appetizer: Although firm, final research results were rare, as is often the case at academic conferences, the common standards were the subject of more than 100 papers or sessions and the subtext of countless others.
According to the Washington-based Center on Education Policy, which issued a follow-up paper this month to its meeting series last year, one of the things that policymakers are especially hungry for research on is “strategies for mounting outreach campaigns around the CCSS, especially in light of how politically charged the standards have become.”

A copy of the studies  (Center on Education Policy)  (Consortium for Policy Research in Education)

Education chief John White: Testing critics don’t have plan Associated Press via Shreveport (LA) Times

BATON ROUGE — Continued efforts to try to keep Louisiana from using tests associated with the Common Core education standards are creating “a state of chaos” for public school teachers, Superintendent of Education John White said Thursday.
Gov. Bobby Jindal supports legislation — so far defeated — that would jettison Louisiana’s use of standardized testing from the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Career, or PARCC, a consortium of states that developed the tests.
Jindal said this week if lawmakers don’t scrap the tests, he’d consider trying to remove Louisiana from the PARCC consortium himself.
White said Jindal and other critics of PARCC don’t have a viable option for what standardized tests they’d use instead. He said developing new tests would cost more money, and he said there’s no time with only a few weeks left in the school year.

Michelle Obama: High School Diploma is not Enough Associated Press

WASHINGTON — It may be a few years before the first daughters head to college, but Michelle Obama is already brainstorming a dorm room checklist while encouraging high school students to dream big about their education beyond graduation.
The first lady told a group of students Thursday that a high school diploma is not enough in today’s global economy.
“No longer is high school the bar. That is not enough,” Mrs. Obama told the crowd. “You have got to go to college or get some kind of professional training.”

Wake County sees ‘alarming’ increase in teacher resignations Raleigh (NC) News & Observer

RALEIGH — Teacher resignations have increased by an “alarming” 41 percent this school year, Wake County school leaders said Thursday, in a development they said makes it harder to keep high-quality educators in the classrooms working with students.
School leaders said that 612 of Wake’s 9,000 teachers have resigned since the beginning of the school year, compared with 433 during the same time a year ago. School officials said the increase in resignations in North Carolina’s largest school system points to the need to raise pay for teachers and to revisit changes made by state legislators to phase out tenure and to eliminate extra pay for advanced degrees.
“Good teachers are having to make hard decisions to leave our classrooms for a better future somewhere else or in another line of work, in another profession – not in our public schools and not in our state,” said Doug Thilman, Wake’s assistant superintendent for human resources, at a news conference at Underwood Elementary School in Raleigh.

Teacher accused of racial slur fired by Fairfield board Cincinnati Enquirer

FAIRFIELD The Fairfield teacher accused of slurring an African American student was fired Thursday in the wake of a labor hearing that ended with a recommendation that he lose his job.
Freshman science teacher Gil Voigt has been suspended on unpaid leave since December.
After the Fairfield Board of Education received a state referee’s decision that “there is good and just cause to terminate the teaching contract” of Voigt, the board voted 4-0 Thursday evening, with one board member absent, to end his employment with the Butler County school system.
Voigt was unavailable for comment.
Fairfield Superintendent Paul Otten recommended to the board the firing of the veteran teacher.
“The District felt that the evidence was sufficient to support the termination of Mr. Voigt’s employment. The referee recommended such termination, and the board has concurred,” said Otten in a released statement Thursday evening.
Voigt is alleged to have told an African American student at Fairfield Freshmen School, who had professed his desire to follow President Barack Obama as president that “we do not need another black president.”  (AP)

Schools rethink Good Friday closing policies Boston Globe

A majority of public schools in the Greater Boston area will be closed on Good Friday, the most solemn of Christian holy days.
But 17 school districts will hold classes, in cities such as Malden and Marlborough, and towns such as Belmont and Georgetown. The number of schools open changes as districts strive to balance the secular school calendar with religious holy days.
The Old Rochester Regional School Committee — which represents Marion, Mattapoisett, and Rochester — next month may reconsider its March vote to hold school on Good Friday in 2015. All district schools are closed for the holy day this year.
“I don’t know if that will happen,” said Jim O’Brien, chairman of the School Committee, on the proposed change for next year. “But since we voted, we’ve heard from people who have concerns about going to school on that day.”

Nigerian state says most abducted schoolgirls still missing Reuters

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria – Nigeria’s northeast Borno state said on Thursday only 20 of up to 129 schoolgirls abducted by Islamist rebels were back with their parents, casting doubt on a military claim to have freed most of them.
The armed forces said in a statement on Wednesday that most of the schoolgirls abducted by Islamist rebels from the Boko Haram group had been freed in a military rescue operation.
Monday’s mass abduction of the schoolgirls aged between 15 and 18 shocked Nigeria, a nation growing increasingly inured to tales of horror from its bloody insurgency in the northeast
The raid on the Chibok school showed how the five-year-old Boko Haram insurgency has brought lawlessness to swathes of the semi-arid, poor region. Hundreds of people have been killed in violence in recent months.


USOE Calendar

UEN News

April 22:
Utah State Board of Education Superintendent Search Committee meeting
6 p.m., 250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City

May 8:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

May 9:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

May 20:
Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
1 p.m., 445 State Capitol

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