Education News Roundup: April 28, 2014

Student art at the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts & Education Complex

Student art at the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts & Education Complex

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

Utah GOP convention supports partisan school board races.
http://go.uen.org/SS  (DN)

Utah Senate Pres. Wayne Niederhauser claims federal government is running Utah education and Rep. Jason Chaffetz denounces Common Core.
http://go.uen.org/TT  (SGN)

Public lands issues also continues to be in the news.
http://go.uen.org/SU  (SLT)
and http://go.uen.org/SW  (DN)
and http://go.uen.org/SX  (PR)

Trib looks at the vaccination rate in Utah schools.
http://go.uen.org/T7  (SLT)
and http://go.uen.org/TE  (KTVX)

NCES report shows national, and Utah, graduation rate at 80 percent.
http://go.uen.org/SY  (Politico)
and http://go.uen.org/T0  (DN)
and http://go.uen.org/TJ  (WaPo)
and http://go.uen.org/TM  (Ed Week)
or a copy of the report
http://go.uen.org/SZ  (NCES)

Will education become a GOP issue nationally?
http://go.uen.org/TK  (AP)

New York Times performs an autopsy on inBloom.
http://go.uen.org/SP  (NYT)

Indiana approves new core standards; critics find them too Common Core-ish.
http://go.uen.org/TQ  (Journal & Courier)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Easy wins at GOP convention for congressmen, Love

Combatting federal overreach primary theme at Utah Republican Convention

Utah leaders split over strategy in public-lands fight
Public lands » Calls for demanding federal transfer are likely to end up in court.

Debate rages over preschool education in Northern Utah

Are enough kids vaccinated in your child’s Utah school?
An anti-vaccine movement is evident in some Salt Lake County schools.

Autism conference helps caregivers deal with behavior

New program combines exercise and academics

Proposal would swap school grading system for comprehensive report card

‘Smooth’ Roy principal wins $10K

Hundreds honored at SE’s Apple for the Teacher Awards

Students get taste of college chemistry

Cache County School District gifted and talented students present projects

High school graduation for heart transplant baby

Hundreds volunteer for cleanup at Provo High

Springville students come together to paint school track

School Hosts Special Needs Prom

Tooele teen with disability enjoys a prom night to remember

Students And Volunteers Try To Save Viewmont High Landmark

Students awarded scholarships

CVHS students take first place in ag contest

Woodruff students duct tape principal and PTA pres. to wall for reaching goal

Granite schools join in Unity Walk to celebrate opening

‘Deseret News National Edition’: Anti-bullying, ‘Heaven is for Real’ and NFL Draft

Turning the table on bullies: student fights back with recordings

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Utah school grading system should be replaced
Schools deserves a better system.

Montessori school

Thumbs up, thumbs down

Students and teachers are collateral damage

Setting a new standard in standardized testing

It’s time to abolish prep Native American mascots
Several Utah high schools would do well to eliminate their offensive monikers.

Education is the key to fostering civil rights

Athletic trainer saga resolved – for now

Republican Resolutions That Hurt Republicans: Reject Partisan School Board Elections

Common issues, core problems

Standard showed bias in article about Common Core

Core not about learning

Let school letter grades die

Let’s grade schools by political party

Don’t let sagebrush rebels take our public land

New school will ease crowding

Closed campuses

What Parents Need To Know About Big Data And Student Privacy

Common Core: The day after

How does one of the top-performing countries in the world think about technology?
Going ‘at your own pace’ isn’t part of the equation in Singapore

Supply and demand in the new education economy

No Accounting Skills? No Moral Reckoning

NSBA questions cost, validity of U.S. Department of Education study on fractions training for fourth-grade teachers

What We’re Watching: Teachers Versus the Public

NATION

High school graduation rate could hit 90 percent

Study: Record High School Graduation Rate On Track for 2020
But low-income and minority students still lag behind, the study finds.

Education A New Defining Issue for 2016 GOP Class

A Student-Data Collector Drops Out

Indiana State Board of Education approves new K-12 standards

Sex Education Teacher Standards Needed, Coalition of Health Groups Says

Getting Into the Ivies

A Walmart Fortune, Spreading Charter Schools

Study finds early U.S. compulsory schooling laws benefited minorities

Ex-Wyoming education chief headed home to Arizona

Oklahoma District Bible Class: Sinners Will Suffer

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UTAH NEWS
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Easy wins at GOP convention for congressmen, Love

SANDY — Utah’s three Republican Congressmen easily won their party’s nomination at the GOP State Convention Saturday, as did Mia Love in her second bid for the 4th District seat held by Democratic Rep. Jim Matheson.

GOP delegates also endorsed resolutions supporting taking back public lands, partisan school board elections and fighting the legislative compromise on Count My Vote that created an alternative path to the primary ballot for candidates.
http://go.uen.org/SS (DN)

Combatting federal overreach primary theme at Utah Republican Convention

SANDY – Concerns of an overreaching government and the state’s right to self-determination were prominent themes at the 2014 Utah Republican Party Nomination Convention held Saturday.

“The biggest concern I have is the overreach of the central government,” Utah Senate Pres. Wayne Niederhauser said. “The states must take their rightful place and be a check against the federal government.”
One of the areas Niederhauser expressed a concern was that a large percentage of the state’s education budget came from federal funding. It isn’t the Utah Department of Education that is running the schools, he said, it’s the Federal Department of Education.
Chaffetz also said he wanted the federal government out of the classroom as well, and he denounced Common Core.
http://go.uen.org/TT  (SGN)

Utah leaders split over strategy in public-lands fight
Public lands » Calls for demanding federal transfer are likely to end up in court.

Almost universally, Utah’s top political leaders hold a deep-seated frustration with federal land management and yearn for more control, but there appears to be a big gap in strategies of how they would get there.
Should Utah’s rural areas strike a deal creating vast new tracts of wilderness in exchange for setting aside areas for mining and other commercial development ? That’s the path U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, is traveling down with Utah’s eastern counties.
Or, should Utah band together with its neighbors, like Nevada and Montana, to demand the federal government transfer control of lands to states and, if Congress refuses — which appears likely for the time being — launch a major court fight. That’s the strategy Utah state Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, is championing.
Bishop and Ivory held back-to-back panels at the Western Republican Leadership Conference in Salt Lake City on Friday, and while they share some common frustrations and goals, it’s unclear whether they will be able to mesh their efforts.
http://go.uen.org/SU  (SLT)

http://go.uen.org/SW  (DN)

http://go.uen.org/SX  (PR)

Debate rages over preschool education in Northern Utah

In growing numbers, advocates are prescribing an expansion of quality preschools as the tool to narrow the achievement gap and lift families out of poverty.
The debate over preschool has both local and far-reaching implications. In 2013, preschools around Northern Utah cut students from their classes as part of a national $405 million cut to the Head Start program. Several months later, the Utah Legislature approved a pair of bills to increase preschool opportunities for low-income kids around the state.
http://go.uen.org/Tl  (OSE)

Are enough kids vaccinated in your child’s Utah school?
An anti-vaccine movement is evident in some Salt Lake County schools.

In 2011, a family in the affluent Salt Lake County suburb of Holladay drew scorn for starting the biggest measles outbreak in Utah in more than a decade.
The family’s unimmunized children imported the virus from Poland after traveling there to retrieve a Mormon missionary.
But public furor has faded, apparently along with support for tightening Utah’s exemption law –– one of 19 in the country that allow families to forgo vaccines for personal, and not just medical or religious, reasons.
Meanwhile, the percentage of kindergartners seeking exemptions from Utah’s school-entry immunization requirements is creeping up.
http://go.uen.org/T7 (SLT)

http://go.uen.org/TE  (KTVX)

Autism conference helps caregivers deal with behavior

CEDAR CITY — Parents and teachers looking to gather knowledge for handling children who have been diagnosed with some form of autism listened to a speaker and attended breakout sessions during Saturday’s Autism Conference at Canyon View High School.
Ben Springer, a nationally certified and award-winning school psychologist who serves as director of Special Education for the Wasatch School District, spoke during the morning session about the many layers of autism disorders as well as strategies for dealing with them in a presentation entitled “Autism is a Burrito.”
Springer also answered questions from parents and educators. He also heard about their experiences and challenges in dealing with children who have disorders on the autism spectrum.
http://go.uen.org/Tx (SGS)

New program combines exercise and academics

DAVIS COUNTY, Utah – Students at six elementary schools in Davis County are learning about the importance of physical activity through subjects not normally associated with working out.
The Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program is a new model for what physical education could look like in schools in the future.
http://go.uen.org/TG  (KSTU)

Proposal would swap school grading system for comprehensive report card

SALT LAKE CITY — A proposal unveiled Tuesday by Gov. Gary Herbert’s education adviser could see Utah’s controversial school grading system swapped for a report card that accounts for demographics and college-level coursework.
The report cards, as presented by Tami Pyfer during this week’s meeting of the Governor’s Education Excellence Commission, would also expand to include higher education, charting the progress of Utah’s colleges and universities toward the state goal of two-thirds of adults holding a degree or certificate by 2020.
http://go.uen.org/TF  (KSL)

‘Smooth’ Roy principal wins $10K

ROY – The Roy High School gymnasium rang with the repeated chant of “Smooth as Butters,” as a very surprised Gina Butters walked through the gym doors.
Butters, the school principal, had been out of the building Wednesday afternoon to take care of business with a district administrator. When she returned, the halls and classrooms were empty — a very unusual, and unscheduled event.
“I walked in, and my first thought was ‘Did somebody die?’ ” she said. “I know the schedule, daily, so I couldn’t figure out what was going on.”
What was going on was a surprise assembly, announcing that Butters had been selected as a 2014 Huntsman Awards for Excellence in Education winner.
http://go.uen.org/Tm  (OSE)

Hundreds honored at SE’s Apple for the Teacher Awards

OGDEN – It’s not every day that students get the opportunity to publicly thank their teachers for making their lives better, but such was the case Thursday night as thousands of teachers were honored at the Standard-Examiner’s annual Apple for the Teacher Awards event at the Ben Lomond Hotel’s Crystal Ballroom.
It was a standing-room-only crowd in the ballroom as teachers, their families and youth art award recipients cheered each other on as they were honored. Teachers from Ogden, Weber, Davis, Morgan and Box Elder districts were honored as well as teachers from charter schools in that same coverage area.
http://go.uen.org/Tn  (OSE)

Students get taste of college chemistry

CEDAR CITY — While Southern Utah University students took the day off from classes to prepare for their finals next week, the chemistry department buzzed with activity Friday as high school students throughout Southern Utah gathered on the campus to compete in the 12th annual Chemical Olympics.
Hussein Samha, professor of chemistry at SUU, said seven schools participated in the competition this year. Those include Success Academy (Cedar City), Cedar, Enterprise, Richfield, Beaver, Millard and Kanab high schools.
http://go.uen.org/Ty  (SGS)

Cache County School District gifted and talented students present projects

Three Cache County School District schools celebrated their best and brightest students with an evening of presentation for parents Thursday night.
Held at Heritage Elementary, students in the School-wide Enrichment Model program at Heritage Elementary, Nibley Elementary and River Heights Elementary presented an Evening of Excellence that showed off their efforts from the past few weeks.
The goal of the SEM group is to help challenge the gifted and talented students in the district.
http://go.uen.org/Tt (LHJ)

High school graduation for heart transplant baby

SYRACUSE – Alex Douthett came into this world with very little chance of surviving. Even after he received a heart transplant, his parents were told he probably wouldn’t make it past the age of 8.
In May, Alex will graduate from Syracuse High School. The 18 year-old said his health is extremely good and he continually feels blessed and lives each day to the fullest.
http://go.uen.org/Tk  (OSE)

Hundreds volunteer for cleanup at Provo High

Hundreds of volunteers waded through Saturday’s puddles and spring showers to volunteer at Provo High School as part of the Comcast Cares Day community outreach event. The school brimmed with volunteers from Comcast, their families and the community.
More than 400 participants worked in two shifts to help clean up Provo High School and pick up garbage, deep clean classrooms, beautify the outside and even scrape gum from under the bleachers.
http://go.uen.org/Tq  (PDH)

Springville students come together to paint school track

SPRINGVILLE — Under Springville High School is a dark and dingy indoor track. Members of the Springville High Key Club have picked up their paint brushes to brighten up “the dungeon” in the school’s basement.
“We are bringing school spirit to our indoor track,” said Ashlyn Ball, Key Club vice president. “We wanted to make it brighter and a nicer place to be, so we are painting the walls and other areas.”
Saturday was the third time students spent the day fixing up the track. On March 22 a group power washed the walls, sanded metal railings and doors, and cleaned the area to prepare for painting.
http://go.uen.org/Tr  (PDH)

School Hosts Special Needs Prom

At Corner Canyon High School in Draper, students from different schools gathered for the ‘Special Needs Prom.’
Lauren Seamans, 13, from Draper Park Middle School had been talking about this day for a long time, said her mother Monica. “It’s amazing. For a parent of a child with special needs, it was an honor to be included in this,” she said.
Monica seemed just as excited as Lauren, who along with other girls got to the school early to have her hair, make-up and nails done. Students and staff donated all the pampering along with some dresses and tiaras. At the party, they provided food and a DJ. Monica said special needs kids don’t get invited to prom or other dances and social events so this, is a big deal. Kids from mainstream classes joined in to make the prom really special.
http://go.uen.org/TD  (KUTV)

Tooele teen with disability enjoys a prom night to remember

TOOELE, Utah — It’s a night many teens look forward to: the prom, and it was a night to remember for one Tooele High School student after he was asked to go by a pretty, popular girl at school.
What made this dance so special for him? Kaidn Shield has a disability. His Mom says sometimes he’s left out when it comes to fun-filled school activities, but not anymore.
A sweet girl named Taylor Roberts decided to ask him to the prom because she wanted to make his night, and she did.
http://go.uen.org/TH  (KSTU)

Students And Volunteers Try To Save Viewmont High Landmark

It’s a landmark above Centerville – the “V” – representing Viewmont High School for the past 40 years. But locals believe the “V” is at risk. The spot where it stands on the hillside is apparently eroding away.
http://go.uen.org/TC  (KUTV)

Students awarded scholarships

Cotton Mission scholarship awards of $1,000 were given to seven local high school seniors. Those awarded were selected from applicants as those who best exemplified the great pioneer values of faith in God, devotion to family, loyalty to church and country, hard work, service to others, courage, personal integrity, determination to succeed and the adversity he/she has had to deal with.
http://go.uen.org/Tz  (SGS)

CVHS students take first place in ag contest

CEDAR CITY — Students representing the combined forces of Future Farmers of America for Canyon View and Cedar High Schools traveled to state competition for a Career Development Event in Logan last Tuesday and three CVHS students won first place in the communications category.
The winning students were Cierra Reid, Madison Bauer and Morgan Stubbs.
http://go.uen.org/Tw  (SGS)

Woodruff students duct tape principal and PTA pres. to wall for reaching goal

At Woodruff Elementary, students and faculty took turns duct taping their principal and PTA president to the wall on Friday as a reward for reaching their fundraising goal of $12,000.
http://go.uen.org/Ts  (LHJ)

Granite schools join in Unity Walk to celebrate opening

Students and staff at Hartvigsen School — Granite School District’s primary special education center — are opening their new building with fanfare. A dedicatory celebration kicked off Friday with a Unity Walk in which Hartvigsen students joined their peers from Taylorsville High School and Plymouth Elementary School to walk around school grounds in a display of collaboration and friendship. Hartvigsen School has been serving students with moderate to severe physical, mental and intellectual disabilities for more than 40 years.
http://go.uen.org/Th  (DN)

‘Deseret News National Edition’: Anti-bullying, ‘Heaven is for Real’ and NFL Draft

On this week’s Deseret News National Edition, parents of a child with a hit list speak out to help other families, Kyle Van Noy explains why moms know best and the movie “Heaven is for Real” gets a review.
Segment 1
We hear about school violence far too often. Parents of a boy arrested for creating a hit list, share a unique perspective. Todd and Pam Gunter say they had the same question everyone else had, “Where did they go wrong?” Debbie Dujanovic has the surprising answers that could help a lot of families. Then, Dave McCann discusses a new anti-bullying program with the Gunters.
http://go.uen.org/Tg (DN)

Turning the table on bullies: student fights back with recordings

When Christian Stanfield couldn’t get the school officials to protect him, when even his mom expressed skepticism about the severity of the bullying, he turned to his iPad.
On Feb. 11, the 15-year-old shy and quiet boy recorded classmates taunting him in crude, sexual language so vile that his lawyer would later hesitate to share it with reporters. His mom, Shea Love, was stunned. She transcribed the recording and sent him to school with the audio to show the principal at South Fayette High School how bad it was. She figured school officials would finally have to do something.
They did.
Principal Scott Milburn called the learning-disabled boy a criminal and pressured him into erasing the recording.
http://go.uen.org/Tf  (DN)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Utah school grading system should be replaced
Schools deserves a better system.
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

Question: What is the best way to determine whether students of all socioeconomic levels and ethnic and linguistic backgrounds are learning as much as can be expected in public schools of widely varying quality, funding and parental support? (Give examples. Use the back of the page if necessary.)
Answer: C
Grade: Wrong!
The Utah Legislature’s obsession with trying to find a simple, and cheap, answer to the massively complex problem of improving public education in the state has recently taken the form of a system that issues letter grades — A to F — for each school.
In other words, the Legislature ordained that schools give multiple choice answers to essay questions.
http://go.uen.org/ST

Montessori school
(St. George) Spectrum editorial

Neighbors in the Green Springs area of Washington City have banded together in an attempt to prevent the opening of a Montessori school on a 30-acre lot. While the group has legitimate concerns about safety that must be addressed by the school and city, they likely are fighting a losing battle by taking the case to court.
Dixie Montessori Academy wants to split a lot into a 30-acre parcel and build a school that would hold a maximum of 410 students. Residents are against that action, citing very real concerns about traffic and the flow of vehicles to and from school to drop off and pick up children.
While the school may very well push for families to carpool, the result is not likely to meet the desire to cut down on traffic. At least that is what has transpired at the area’s other charter schools.
And it is that word, “charter,” that likely means this situation already is resolved, a done deal even if residents don’t like the results.
State law allows for charter schools to locate anywhere regardless of local zoning restrictions. And it is no small matter that the Utah State Office of Education can grant the school a building permit that trumps any local municipality’s decision.
http://go.uen.org/TA

Thumbs up, thumbs down
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

Thumbs up: To muscle cars and the fans who enjoy viewing them. Recently, automotive instructor Clay Bushell’s class at Roy High held an auto show for the school and general public.
http://go.uen.org/Tp

Students and teachers are collateral damage
Deseret News commentary by columnist John Florez

Teachers are collateral damage of each Utah legislative session. They suffer in trying to follow the 60-plus laws lawmakers usually pass each year; and the end losers — the students.
Lawmakers (the same lawmakers that rail against big government, waste and regulations) don’t seem to care that with each law passed they bloat education even more. Each law requires staff to write regulations and policies, publish them, and monitor them for compliance. Then staff is needed to service the “data warehouse” where extensive data is kept in case someone complains so they can show how administrators “followed regulations.” Then all educators have to gear up for next year’s wave of laws, even though they haven’t finished with the last ones. It’s a full-employment program lawmakers have created.
The most serious result of their lawmaking is the collateral damage they cause; teachers who must follow the laws or be in violation for not following them.
http://go.uen.org/SV

Setting a new standard in standardized testing
Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist Robert Kirby

That’s me at Garfield Elementary School about the time standardized testing suggested that I might be mentally retarded. The term is no longer in vogue but it was a legitimate medical diagnosis in 1963.
My condition was arrived at because of awful grades, poor test scores and abysmal behavior. Small wonder. Do I look like I could pay attention?
A.) Yes
B.) No
C.) Maybe
D.) Electric light
E.) Sacagawea
During standardized testing for advancement to the next grade, my intelligence was found to be on par with that of a muskrat. It might explain why I sometimes climbed out a window in the middle of class.
http://go.uen.org/Tc

It’s time to abolish prep Native American mascots
Several Utah high schools would do well to eliminate their offensive monikers.
Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist TOM WHARTON

As a University of Utah graduate, I greeted the recent decision of the Ute Indian tribe to allow the use of the Ute nickname for another five years with decidedly mixed emotions.
Utah moved from the more offensive racist Redskins moniker in the early 1970s to Utes. My guess is that the university will eventually be forced to come up with a new nickname.
So, what about the Utah high schools that still stereotype Native Americans with their mascots?
There are at least four.
The most blatantly racist is the Cedar City Redmen.
http://go.uen.org/T8

Education is the key to fostering civil rights
Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Melinda Bowen, an attorney at Snow, Christensen & Martineau and President of the Utah Minority Bar Association

Every year on May 1, we celebrate Law Day. This year is particularly noteworthy as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 banned segregation in places of public accommodation and barred employment discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, and gender. Addressing the nation as he signed the bill, President Lyndon B. Johnson ended his remarks with this call to action:
“This Civil Rights Act is a challenge to all of us to go to work in our communities and our States, in our homes and in our hearts, to eliminate the last vestiges of injustice in our beloved country. So tonight I urge every public official, every religious leader, every business and professional man, every workingman, every housewife — I urge every American — to join in this effort to bring justice and hope to all our people — and to bring peace to our land. My fellow citizens, we have come now to a time of testing. We must not fail.”
http://go.uen.org/Te

Athletic trainer saga resolved – for now
(St. George) Spectrum op-ed by Cathy Wentz

The deed has been done. During a special meeting Wednesday evening, the Iron County School Board officially approved a one-year contract with Intermountain Healthcare to provide athletic trainers to the three high schools within the district — Cedar, Canyon View and Parowan high schools.
The interesting part of the end of this saga, which has been going on for the last few months, is that the approval of Intermountain for the athletic training program happened by default. The competitor, Iron County Sports Medicine, led by Dr. Randy Delcore, graciously withdrew its proposal the night before the board’s special meeting planned for the decision.
When I say Intermountain won the contract by default, I am not in any way disparaging the services Intermountain plans to provide to the schools, because I am sure they are high quality. I am saying that I believe the athletic trainer decision was actually decided outside the school board room, and that is the way I believe it should be.
http://go.uen.org/TU

Republican Resolutions That Hurt Republicans: Reject Partisan School Board Elections
UtahPoliticoHub commentary by KAREN PETERSON, who manages and writes the blog Utah Moms Care

On Saturday, Utah Republicans will decide whether to adopt a resolution calling for partisan elections of state and local school board members. This resolution should be rejected, here’s why:
The resolution incorrectly implies partisan elections mean the end to Common Core.
The resolution contains the statement that “in Texas, where school board elections are partisan – when “Common Core” was presented to the states, Texas rejected it and created their own high-quality standards”. This seems to imply that if states have partisan elections they reject the Common Core. This is completely untrue.
Texas is the ONLY state with partisan state school board elections that rejected the Common Core.
http://go.uen.org/TB

Common issues, core problems
Deseret News letter from M. Donald Thomas

In the debate over the Common Core Standards, it appears that most miss the central point as to why the reform is not appropriate for our schools. Common Core is not a government takeover of our schools. It is not a conspiracy to use tests to evaluate teachers. But it is a system that predetermines the failure of underfunded schools with disadvantaged students.
The same has occurred with every major reform implemented in the last 40 years: A Nation At Risk, No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. Why would anyone expect that the results would be different with Common Core?
Unless we provide all children with an equal opportunity to achieve the standards (beginning with early childhood education) any set of standards will differentiate between those who live under affluent conditions and those who are disadvantaged.
http://go.uen.org/Ti

Standard showed bias in article about Common Core
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Robynn Stoddard

Regarding the article on April 25, “Teachers tread lightly around opt-out issue,” I would like to say how disappointed I was that the Standard did not get viewpoints from the side that opposes Common Core and the new SAGE testing system. All the quotes on this issue were those of people that are promoting SAGE. There were no quotes from parents who have opted out or from anyone else opposed to the tests.
There was only one official mention of those opposed, “anti-Common Core website.” That makes it sound like only the crazy, conspiracy theory people are opposed to this. I am a parent who has chosen to opt my children out of these tests.
http://go.uen.org/To

Core not about learning
(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Loy Hunt

Teachers, when a child enters your classroom, you become their heroes, mentors, friends, and one of the greatest influences of their lives. Your influence spans generations. I realized this when my grandmother died at age 93; some of her students from kindergarten came to share memories and their love for her. The positive things teachers do stick with students forever. Domestic terrorist Bill Ayers understood this power, and when he discovered blowing up buildings wasn’t getting him far, he went into teaching to shape minds. “I walked out of jail and into my first teaching position — and from that day until this I’ve thought of myself as a teacher, but I’ve also understood teaching as a project intimately connected with social justice.”
In 2009, Bill Ayers was a keynote speaker at a Washington, D.C., education conference, alongside Arne Duncan, architect of Common Core. Currently, there are those in positions of power who have strongly influenced the transformation of our education system. They have coerced our governor and State Board of Education to secretly adopt Common Core Standards (CCS).
http://go.uen.org/Tv

Let school letter grades die
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Sheryl Allen

Hallelujah! Finally someone has proposed a school grading system that seems to make sense (“Guv’s office offers new school grading,” April 23). Well done, Gov. Herbert and your education adviser, Tami Pyfer.
The proposed system would post information on how a school is progressing toward state leaders’ education goals. It would show actual data such as graduation rates, overall performance on state tests and facts that are useful for parents and school patrons.
The letter grade system for schools that was unveiled last fall was an absolute failure.
http://go.uen.org/T9

Let’s grade schools by political party
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Andy White

The suggestion to make school board positions partisan could be extended to include administrators, then teachers and, finally, students. We could then simplify the school and student grading systems from five letters (ABCDF) to two (“R” & “D”).
http://go.uen.org/Tb

Don’t let sagebrush rebels take our public land
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Ron Rood

All of this talk about welfare rancher Cliven Bundy has fueled the debate about the federal government relinquishing its control of federal lands. The state of Utah is pushing this with legislation and threats of a lawsuit.
Those in favor of the feds relinquishing federal lands always cite states rights and suggest the states can manage these lands more efficiently. At the same time, they maintain the states would benefit from increased extractive activities to fund schools.
I question the validity of both of those claims.
http://go.uen.org/Ta

New school will ease crowding
(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Samuel Coburn

I am a student at Mountain Crest, and in my opinion the new school is a good thing. Being at Mountain Crest every day, I have come to realize that the halls are very crowded. There are too many people in to small a space. But it’s not just at Mountain Crest that this has happened. It has also happened at South Cache and Spring Creek. The halls are too crowded to accommodate all the students. Putting in a new high school is a good idea, but it won’t solve all the problems. That’s just my opinion.
http://go.uen.org/Tu

Closed campuses
Deseret News letter form Megan Warburton

This year I was in a car crash. This crash happened at lunchtime and affected over 10 people. While none of us was severely hurt, the cars received some significant damage, and the drivers were late to their next classes. I often see cars that have been hit or pulled over at lunch, which result in students missing their lunch and being late to class.
I believe that closed-campus high schools would provide a solution to this problem. Short lunch periods cause students to rush to and from school. Too many newly licensed students crowd the streets rushing to avoid being late to their next class. This kind of reckless and hasty driving increases the probability of a car crash.
http://go.uen.org/Tj

What Parents Need To Know About Big Data And Student Privacy
NPR commentary by columnist ANYA KAMENETZ

My first brush with professional journalism — and with violations of student privacy — came when I was a sophomore at Yale. It was 1999, and George W. Bush, a Yale alumnus, was running for president.
A writer for The New Yorker cold-called my dorm room looking for students who might have access to Bush’s records. By sheer coincidence, a friend of mine who worked in the dean’s office had, out of curiosity, lifted W’s transcript from the files. A Deep Throat-style handoff was arranged, anonymity assured, and the candidate’s grades ran in the magazine. They were mostly C’s.
Today, getting ahold of the transcript of a VIP — or any student — would require less in-person skulduggery and more clever computer searching. That’s because student data has largely moved online in just the last few years. It’s being collected and distributed at unprecedented scale, from the time that toddlers enter preschool all the way into the workforce.
And that shift is forcing policymakers and legal experts to improvise new policies and procedures aimed at protecting the privacy of young people. Critics fear the misuse of student data by hackers, marketers, and most worryingly, by the government authorities who themselves are collecting it.
In March, New York became the first state to make it someone’s job to oversee this vital issue, creating a position called Chief Privacy Officer in the Education Department. The job description? “Establishing standards for educational agency data security and privacy policies.” Translation: providing the state’s 698 school districts and over 500 colleges and universities, as well as state agencies, with uniform approaches to managing — and protecting — student data such as test scores, transcripts, health information, even dates of birth, racial or ethnic standing, and Social Security numbers.
http://go.uen.org/TI

Common Core: The day after
Fordham Institute commentary by Executive Vice President Michael J. Petrilli and National Policy Director Michael Brickman

Like a dog that finally catches the bus he’d been chasing forever, what happens when opponents of the Common Core State Standards finally succeed in getting a state’s policymakers to “repeal” the education initiative? Early signs from Indiana and elsewhere suggest that the opponents’ stated goals are likely to get run over.
We acknowledge, of course, that Common Core critics aren’t monolithic, even on the right. Libertarians want states to reject standards, testing and accountability overall; conservative opponents urge states to move to what they see as “higher” standards. Both factions would like to remove the taint of federal influence from state-based reform. (On that point, we concur.) On the left, the National Education Association sees an opportunity to push back against a policy it never liked in the first place. The union is using the standards as an excise to call for a moratorium on teacher evaluations as states move to Common Core–aligned tests. Still others worry about the standards being “too hard.” (On these points, we do not concur).
So how’s it going?
http://go.uen.org/TP

How does one of the top-performing countries in the world think about technology?
Going ‘at your own pace’ isn’t part of the equation in Singapore
Hechinger Report commentary by columnist Sarah Butrymowicz

SINGAPORE—Forty students in bright yellow shirts hunched over their computers in Singapore’s Crescent Girls School as they raced against their teacher’s digital stopwatch. They had just a few minutes to add their thoughts about a short film on discrimination into a shared Google Doc and browse the opinions of their classmates.
When the time was up, their teacher led a discussion about the meaning of discrimination and how to judge the credibility of an argument. The computers sat mostly forgotten.
“The technology just fades away, and that’s what we hope for it to do,” said principal Ng Chen Kee.
Crescent Girls has plenty of flashy gadgets, but balances those with these more subtle exercises in a way that’s emblematic of how Singapore tries to approach education technology. Glitzy tech that serves no purpose other than being cool is frowned upon. In classrooms in Singapore, digital devices are increasingly viewed as a means to bring students together in collaboration, rather than separate them further.
http://go.uen.org/TO

Supply and demand in the new education economy
Denver Post op-ed by Kent Thiry, chairman and CEO of DaVita Healthcare Partners, and Michael Gass, president and CEO of United Launch Alliance

While many states struggle with high unemployment and too few jobs, Colorado has a unique problem — plenty of available and high-quality jobs but too few qualified workers to fill them.
Historically, importing talent has been a reliable solution, given Colorado’s natural appeal — great weather, recreation, and an affordable cost of living. From an economic perspective, Colorado welcomes the inevitable influx of talented individuals and growing companies. However, we also must ensure the state’s education system is preparing our kids to succeed in this increasingly competitive environment.
A healthy state economy relies on Colorado schools putting students on a trajectory to fill Colorado jobs, and more than ever, those jobs require education beyond high school.
http://go.uen.org/TS

No Accounting Skills? No Moral Reckoning
New York Times op-ed by JACOB SOLL, professor of history and accounting at the University of Southern California

SOMETIMES it seems as if our lives are dominated by financial crises and failed reforms. But how much do Americans even understand about finance? Few of us can do basic accounting and fewer still know what a balance sheet is. If we are going to get to the point where we can have a serious debate about financial accountability, we first need to learn some essentials.
The German economic thinker Max Weber believed that for capitalism to work, average people needed to know how to do double-entry bookkeeping. This is not simply because this type of accounting makes it possible to calculate profit and capital by balancing debits and credits in parallel columns; it is also because good books are “balanced” in a moral sense. They are the very source of accountability, a word that in fact derives its origin from the word “accounting.”

These historical examples point the way toward achievable solutions to our own crises. Over the past half century, people have stopped learning double-entry bookkeeping — so much so that few know what it means — leaving it instead to specialists and computerized banking. If we want stable, sustainable capitalism, a good place to start would be to make double-entry accounting and basic finance part of the curriculum in high school, as they were in Renaissance Florence and Amsterdam.
http://go.uen.org/SR

NSBA questions cost, validity of U.S. Department of Education study on fractions training for fourth-grade teachers
National School Boards Association commentary

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) has a straightforward response to a U.S. Department of Education (ED) plan to give 252 fourth-grade teachers special training in fractions during the fall semester and then assess that training by observing their students’ test scores the next spring:
Just do the math.
Commenting on the department’s request for what it called “data collection,” NSBA General Counsel Francisco M. Negrón Jr. said, “NSBA supports providing opportunities for teachers to receive professional development (PD) to become better educators for their students. However, NSBA is concerned that this Notice goes much farther than merely requesting permission to collect data. To obtain the data sought, ED will need fourth-grade teachers to participate in a PD program that would be squeezed into eight sessions during the already-short first semester of the coming 2014-2015 school year.”
NSBA was the only organization to file comments.
http://go.uen.org/T4

What We’re Watching: Teachers Versus the Public
Education Next commentary

The Hoover Institution and PEPG will live-stream a discussion about Teachers Versus the Public: What Americans Think about Schools and How to Fix them, a new book by Paul E. Peterson, Michael Henderson and Martin R. West.
The webcast will begin at noon on Tuesday, April 29, and will feature Peterson; Chris Cerf, Chief Executive Officer, Amplify Insight; Lily Eskelsen García, Vice President, National Education Association; and Joe Williams, Executive Director, Democrats for Education Reform.
http://go.uen.org/T3

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NATIONAL NEWS
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High school graduation rate could hit 90 percent
Politico

The high school graduation rate has topped 80 percent for the first time in U.S. history — and if states can keep up their rapid pace of improvement, the rate could hit 90 percent by 2020, according to federal data released Monday.
The improvement has been driven by steep gains among African-American and Hispanic students and by progress in shutting down hundreds of troubled urban schools dubbed “dropout factories.” And it’s not confined to one region of the country. Rural states such as Iowa, Vermont and Nebraska are among the best at keeping kids in school until graduation — but other top performers include Texas, Tennessee and Missouri, all of which serve large numbers of low-income students in densely populated cities.
The practical result: Over the past decade, 1.7 million more students received diplomas than would have been expected if graduation rates had remained flat.
http://go.uen.org/SY

http://go.uen.org/T0  (DN)

http://go.uen.org/TJ  (WaPo)

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

A copy of the report
http://go.uen.org/SZ  (NCES)

Study: Record High School Graduation Rate On Track for 2020
But low-income and minority students still lag behind, the study finds.
U.S. News & World Report

The U.S. is on track to graduate a record number of high school students by 2020.
That’s the good news in a report released today, but the bad news is that certain groups of students – special education, low-income and minority students – continue to lag behind.
The nationwide graduation rate reached 80 percent in 2012, the highest in U.S. history, and is on pace to reach 90 percent by 2020, according to the 2014 “Building a Grad Nation” report released by Civic Enterprises, the Everyone Graduates Center at the School of Education at Johns Hopkins University, America’s Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education.
But for the majority of the states, achieving a 90 percent overall graduation rate will not be possible without significant improvements in graduation rates for these populations of students, according to the report.
http://go.uen.org/T1

A copy of the report
http://go.uen.org/T2 (GradNation)

Education A New Defining Issue for 2016 GOP Class
Associated Press

CHICAGO — Raising U.S. educational expectations through national goals was a priority for Republican President George W. Bush. But many of his would-be successors in the GOP are calling for just the opposite of government-set rules, and it’s splitting the party as the GOP class of 2016 presidential hopefuls takes shape.
Just six years after Bush left office, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul referred last week to a set of state-created standards, called Common Core, as a national “curriculum that originates out of Washington.” That kind of statement stokes outrage among grass-roots conservatives, who are still incensed with the Obama administration over the 2010 health care law.
It also happens to be untrue: Forty-four states voluntarily participate in Common Core standards developed in part by Republican governors. And some other potential GOP presidential candidates support the standards and are objecting to the red-meat rhetoric designed to fire up the party’s most fervent supporters.
“We cannot expect our children to compete with the best in the world when we have no standards or dumbed-down standards,” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the former president’s brother, said at an education conference in Arizona last week.
In the meantime, education is rising as a GOP priority, if only as a proxy for a larger internal party debate over government’s proper scope.
http://go.uen.org/TK

A Student-Data Collector Drops Out
New York Times

To hear executives at inBloom tell it, their $100 million education technology start-up is shutting down after only 15 months of operation because it was too far ahead of its time.
The seed money for this nonprofit corporation came from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, along with the Carnegie Corporation of New York. InBloom aimed to streamline personalized learning — analyzing information about individual students to customize lessons to them — in public schools. It planned to collect and integrate student attendance, assessment, disciplinary and other records from disparate school-district databases, put the information in cloud storage and release it to authorized web services and apps that could help teachers track each student’s progress.
But the program ran into strident opposition from a number of parents and privacy advocates. They warned that school district officials were unequipped to manage, or even audit, how outside vendors might use delicate material — like a student’s disability status. The resistance culminated a few weeks ago, when the New York State Legislature passed a budget that prohibited state education officials from releasing student data to amalgamators like inBloom.
On Monday, Iwan Streichenberger, inBloom’s chief executive, portrayed his enterprise as a victim of erroneous censure — and announced that it was folding.
http://go.uen.org/SP

Indiana State Board of Education approves new K-12 standards
Lafayette (IN) Journal & Courier

The State Board of Education followed Gov. Mike Pence’s lead and gave final approval to new K-12 education standards Monday despite continued objections from some conservatives that the guidelines are a shoddy, warmed-over version of Common Core.
The board voted 10-1 for the new math and English standards, with Andrea Neal casting the only “no” vote. She called the new math standards “poorly written, disorganized.”
The votes came after more than two hours of discussion and testimony, mostly from opponents.
Indiana was among the early adopters of Common Core and the first state to withdraw from the national standards, which some conservatives saw as an intrusion on local control and as less rigorous than Indiana’s previous guidelines.
Still. the new standards approved Monday were not enough to appease opponents of Common Core.
http://go.uen.org/TQ

Sex Education Teacher Standards Needed, Coalition of Health Groups Says
Education Week

Who teaches sex ed in your school? In middle and high schools, it’s a safe bet to say it’s probably the same person who teaches health classes. And chances are also good those teachers weren’t required to take a sex education course in college as part of their certification to teach health.
While many teacher preparation programs offer such classes, many of them don’t require them, a coalition of sex education groups say. And that lack of consistent training combined with a patchwork of state and district policies can leave teachers ill-prepared for the unique challenges they may face when teaching students about sex and sexuality, the groups say.
To remedy that situation, the groups—which call their effort the Future of Sex Education Initiative— have proposed national teacher preparation standards for sex education.
The standards, which will be published in the June issue of the Journal of School Health, fall into seven subject areas. The proposed standards include discussions of a teacher’s awareness of his or her own biases about sex and sexuality; content knowledge about biological, emotional, and legal aspects of sexuality; how to set guidelines for classroom discussion of sensitive subjects; and how a teacher should address student reports of issues like abuse or pregnancy.
http://go.uen.org/TN

Getting Into the Ivies
New York Times

ASK just about any high school senior or junior — or their parents — and they’ll tell you that getting into a selective college is harder than it used to be. They’re right about that. But the reasons for the newfound difficulty are not well understood.
Population growth plays a role, but the number of teenagers is not too much higher than it was 30 years ago, when the youngest baby boomers were still applying to college. And while many more Americans attend college than in the past, most of the growth has occurred at colleges with relatively few resources and high dropout rates, which bear little resemblance to the elites.
So what else is going on? One overlooked factor is that top colleges are admitting fewer American students than they did a generation ago. Colleges have globalized over that time, deliberately increasing the share
of their student bodies that come from overseas and leaving fewer slots for applicants from the United States.
For American teenagers, it really is harder to get into Harvard — or Yale, Stanford, Brown, Boston College or many other elite colleges — than it was when today’s 40-year-olds or 50-year-olds were applying. The number of spots filled by American students at Harvard, after adjusting for the size of the teenage population nationwide, has dropped 27 percent since 1994. At Yale and Dartmouth, the decline has been 24 percent. At Carleton, it’s 22 percent. At Notre Dame and Princeton, it is 14 percent.
http://go.uen.org/SQ

A Walmart Fortune, Spreading Charter Schools
New York Times

WASHINGTON — DC Prep operates four charter schools here with 1,200 students in preschool through eighth grade. The schools, whose students are mostly poor and black, are among the highest performing in Washington. Last year, DC Prep’s flagship middle school earned the best test scores among local charter schools, far outperforming the average of the city’s traditional neighborhood schools as well.
Another, less trumpeted, distinction for DC Prep is the extent to which it — as well as many other charter schools in the city — relies on the Walton Family Foundation, a philanthropic group governed by the family
that founded Walmart.
http://go.uen.org/SO

Study finds early U.S. compulsory schooling laws benefited minorities
University of Kansas

LAWRENCE — A University of Kansas researcher has found early U.S. compulsory schooling laws produced hidden gains in school attendance and educational attainment among minority students.
Emily Rauscher, an assistant professor of sociology, said results in her study could support calls for all states to require American students to attend school until they are 18.
“Based on these findings, if you raise the minimum level of schooling, you are by default lifting the bottom end, so that should increase equality,” said Rauscher, whose study was published this month online in the American Educational Research Association’s journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.
http://go.uen.org/T5

A copy of the study
http://go.uen.org/T6 (Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis)

Ex-Wyoming education chief headed home to Arizona
Casper (WY) Star-Tribune

PHOENIX — A former Arizona state senator who headed Wyoming’s Education Department before a court reinstated the school superintendent as head of the agency says he’s returning home to Arizona.
Rich Crandall was chosen for the Wyoming job by Gov. Matt Mead last summer, but he left last week after the state’s superintendent reclaimed her responsibilities.
Crandall said in an interview Friday that Mead was upfront when he took the job that there was a chance a court would reinstate Superintendent Cindy Hill after the Legislature and Mead stripped her of her powers. But Mead thought that was unlikely.
“He said from the very beginning, ‘We’re going to win this thing 5-0,'” Crandall said. “He told me that during my interview with him, he says no, we’ll win this suit. And what happened is the Legislature kind of overreached a little too far. They took everything from her. They were just so angry with her.”
Mead and the Wyoming Legislature enacted a law last year taking away many of the superintendent’s duties, replacing the superintendent as head of the education agency with a director appointed by the governor.
The governor hired Crandall, who resigned from the Arizona Legislature and took the job in August.
http://go.uen.org/TR

Oklahoma District Bible Class: Sinners Will Suffer
Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — A high school curriculum supported by Hobby Lobby chain president Steve Green, billed as a way to teach archaeology, history and the arts through Bible stories, also tells students God is always there in times of trouble and that sinners must “suffer the consequences” of disobeying.
The Mustang School Board in suburban Oklahoma City voted this month to place the Museum of the Bible’s curriculum in its schools as an elective for a one-year trial after being assured that the intent is not to proselytize but to use the Bible to explain key principles in the arts and sciences.
While the course does explain the inspiration behind famous works of art and holds a prism to historical events, it also endorses behavior for religious reasons and implies that bad things happen as a direct result of disregarding God’s rules.
http://go.uen.org/TL

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

April 29:
Utah State Board of Education Superintendent Search Committee meeting
7 p.m., 250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/main/CALENDAR.aspx

May 1:
Native American Legislative Liaison Committee meeting
9 a.m., 440 N Paiute Drive, Cedar City
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2014/html/00002893.htm

May 8:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://goo.gl/IaQntl

May 9:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspx

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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