Education News Roundup: May 7, 2014


"Reading Chair" by Brit/CC/flickr

“Reading Chair” by Brit/CC/flickr

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

South Jordan sets up a feasibility study on splitting from Jordan School District.  (SLT)

2013 NAEP 12th grade reading and math scores show no improvement over 2009. National data is available. No state-level data.  (WaPo)
and  (CSM)
and  (Ed Week)
and (AP)
or a copy of the results  (NAEP)



Study to look at another Jordan District split

Community Members Hold Memorial While School Officials Debate Possible Changes

Utah students honored for volunteer service

Bishop Wester offers advice to high school seniors

Teachers complete dares to raise money for student with cancer

Bingham football rallies to support player with cancer

Students excel in reading challenge

K12 Inc. Celebrates National Teacher Appreciation Week Digital learning provider honors America’s largest network of K-12 online teachers

Kim Monkres named UHSAA Assistant Director

Monument Valley High field in elite company

Lawsuit: Man claims sexually abused as student and district failed to act

Cool School: Cottonwood High School

After graduation the next step for one million American kids is nothing


Music education

Love Thy Neighbor

Student-centered or subject-centered education?

Time to integrate Common Core

Charting a Common-Sense Course for the Common Core

Why parents like me are angry about Common Core

Advice to High School Graduates: ‘You Are Not Special’
English teacher David McCullough, Jr., thinks students need to stop trying to excel at everything.

ESEA Waivers and Teacher-Evaluation Plans State Oversight of District-Designed Teacher-Evaluation Systems

Later School Start Times in Adolescence: Time for Change


Math, reading performance is stagnant among U.S. 12th-graders, assessment finds

For young athletes, more concussions reported

Why some schools still insist on lessons in elegant cursive

Video shows Clarksville woman lashing out at children on school bus Bus driver suspended, reassigned after 6 parents come onto bus during confrontation

Broward schools chief apologizes for Bible incident


Study to look at another Jordan District split

South Jordan leaders took the first step toward a possible split from the Jordan School District on Tuesday evening, deciding to request a study on the feasibility of such of a move.
The South Jordan City Council decided to issue a request for proposals to carry out a feasibility study in the coming months. Once the results come back, the council will decide whether to put the question to voters in November. It ultimately would be up to South Jordan voters to decide whether to split.
The decision to pursue a feasibility study — which may cost between $30,000 and $40,000 — follows concerns that the Jordan district isn’t keeping pace with the city’s rapid growth. Some council members have said other cities are getting the new schools that South Jordan needs.  (SLT)

Community Members Hold Memorial While School Officials Debate Possible Changes

A memorial service was held for 10-year-old Seleny Crosby, who was hit and killed by a Jordan District bus. At the same time the South Jordan City Council met to discuss solutions to bus safety in their city. The city wants to sit down with the school district ASAP, and one councilman is suggesting a new law to fine bus drivers who leave children in dangerous situations.
City councilman Chris Rogers made a plea for change saying, “no child should ever be expected to cross a busy street.” Rogers lives near the family of Seleny Crosby.  (KUTV)  (KTVX)  (KSL)

Utah students honored for volunteer service

WASHINGTON — Two Utah students, Hailey Daniels, 18, of Ogden, and Luke Hughes, 14, of Bountiful, were honored during the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards in the nation’s capital this week for their service.  (DN)

Bishop Wester offers advice to high school seniors

SALT LAKE CITY — In a wide-ranging conversation via teleconference with students at the three Utah Catholic high schools, the Most Rev. John C. Wester, Bishop of Salt Lake City, had three pieces of advice and a reminder for those who will be graduating: “Keep your perspective, maintain your sense of humor, and don’t forget to pray. God always is there for us; Jesus never abandons us.”
The April 30 teleconference gave students at Juan Diego, Judge Memorial and Saint Joseph Catholic high schools the opportunity to ask Bishop Wester about issues such as how they could keep their faith while attending college.  (IC)

Teachers complete dares to raise money for student with cancer

Salem Junior High teachers ate or kissed various creatures, had their heads shaved and even their legs waxed on Tuesday afternoon all in the name of fun and in support of their student Quinton Muir.
Salem Junior High raced against Salem Hills High School to see who could raise the most money to help out and show support for Muir, who is diagnosed with an extremely rare cancer. As an incentive, Salem Junior High teachers said some of them would complete dares if the students reached their goal. (PDH)

Bingham football rallies to support player with cancer

SOUTH JORDAN — Six months ago Riley Culley was celebrating a state championship as a captain of Bingham’s 14-0 football team.
Three months later he signed a National Letter of Intent to play football at Dixie State University.
Now he is fighting for his life.
On March 27, Culley was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma, a primary bone cancer that affects mainly children and adolescents.
It can be treated successfully in 50 to 75 percent of cases, but the treatment is very expensive.
The Bingham football team has rallied behind its teammate along with the Bingham High School student body to raise money for him by organizing a clothing drive Saturday, May 10 at Bingham High School.  (KSL)

Students excel in reading challenge

ST. GEORGE — The third-grade students in Erika Romero’s class at Riverside Elementary take both reading and competitions seriously as they collectively read a total of 198,855 minutes from October through March through the Pizza Hut Book It! program.  (SGS)

K12 Inc. Celebrates National Teacher Appreciation Week Digital learning provider honors America’s largest network of K-12 online teachers

HERNDON, Va. — K12 Inc., America’s largest provider of K-12 online learning, celebrates National Teacher Appreciation Week with families across the nation, thanking the thousands of teachers that are educating students in K12 online and blended schools.
“K12 is proud to celebrate the talented teachers who are committed to making a difference in children’s lives,” said Teresa Scavulli, VP of Academic Services at K12 Inc. “K12 teachers work in a variety of school models and deliver individualized learning opportunities to students every day. We applaud their continued dedication to reaching and serving the needs of every student.”
This week, numerous K12 online school teachers received honors and awards for their service to students. Christian Kraus, a literature teacher at Georgia Cyber Academy, won the 2014 American Pioneer of Teaching Award from, a parent-led education advocacy organization. Several other teachers from K12-managed schools were honored as national runners-up, including Texas Virtual Academy’s Priscilla Metting, Louisiana Virtual Charter Academy’s Heather McFarland, and Hoosier Academies’ Alissa Smith. Other finalists from K12-managed schools included Mary Bellison with Utah Virtual Academy, Elizabeth Clark with Virginia Virtual Academy, and Tiffany Simmons with Colorado Preparatory Academy. (PR Newswire)

Kim Monkres named UHSAA Assistant Director

MIDVALE — Kim Monkres, who has been an assistant principal and athletic director at Desert Hills High School in the Washington School District since 2010, has been named Utah High Schools Activities Association assistant director. Monkres will begin her role with the UHSAA prior to July 1.
Monkres has served on the statewide Athletic Director’s Executive Committee and her positions at Desert Hills have included hiring and training coaches, managing the athletic department budget and tracking student-athlete eligibility. Prior to working at Desert Hills, Monkres was an assistant principal at Hurricane High School.  (PDH)  (SGN)

Monument Valley High field in elite company

The Monument Valley High School football field finds itself in some pretty elite company.
A note appeared on an Internet website this week referring to a 2012 story written by Eric Peterson for AARP Travel called “America’s Top 5 Football Stadiums.”
The tiny 1A high school’s football field offers a fantastic view of scenic Monument Valley.  (SLT)

Lawsuit: Man claims sexually abused as student and district failed to act

OREM Utah– Allegations of child sex abuse by a school teacher are made in a lawsuit filed by the victim.
Roger Stephenson is now a grown man but in his lawsuit claimed he was molested by the teacher while attending Orem Junior High and nothing was done about it.  (KTVX)

Cool School: Cottonwood High School

Big Budah went to Cottonwood High School in Murray Wednesday morning to highlight our Cool School of the Week.  (KSTU)

After graduation the next step for one million American kids is nothing

More than one million Americans who have graduated from high school and are between 17 and 20 years old are not working, attending school or looking for work, according to a new analysis by the Economic Policy Institute.  (DN)


Music education
(St. George) Spectrum editorial

In this column, we have often lamented the fact that Utah is last in per-pupil spending on education in the United States and encouraged our state representatives to seek ways to increase spending and raise Utah up from the bottom of that list.
The reasons are many, but to name a few, we need to reduce classroom sizes, provide technology for students and increase teacher compensation so we can continue to attract and retain the best and brightest teachers here in Utah.
In addition to simply being the right thing to do to improve the chances of the future success of our state’s children, these strategies will help Utah continue to be able to provide a well-educated workforce that will continue to attract new business to our state and, thus, improve the economic well-being of us all.
And while we recognize that our state’s demographics and high birth rates make it almost certain that we will never make it to the top of the per-pupil spending list, for indeed, to do so would require more than tripling the amount we spend on every student in Utah from just more than $6,000 to more than $19,000 per year, we feel that the number of benefits that even a small jump on that list would provide Utah’s children are well worth the expense.

Love Thy Neighbor
Salt Lake City Weekly commentary by columnist Katharine Biele

It’s nice to say that you want to stop bullying, but how to do it is the question. Of course, it takes money, and that’s what Hailee Smith, founder of Protecting Our Peers, is looking for. The Daily Herald recently highlighted Smith’s efforts while she ran a fundraiser at Santaquin’s Hot Rod Diner, which she owns with her husband. About 1.6 million kids grades 6 through 10 are bullied at least once a week, according to the Human Rights Education Center of Utah. And 15 percent don’t go to school out of fear. A study in the American Journal of Psychiatry notes that bullied kids often suffer depression and anxiety into adulthood. Then there’s the troubling report from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention that bullying victims are likely to bring weapons to school. Someone needs to teach kids kindness.
Journalists have long had to deal with the ethical dilemma of when to report what news. It may seem simple: Report the truth, always. And of course, media outlets champ at the bit to be first with anything, whether the public cares or not. So it was with some curiosity that the public watched KSL report live on a bomb threat at Salt Lake City’s East High School. Scott Pierce, of The Salt Lake Tribune, took them to task for sensationalizing what was nothing more than a prank. He was right. Most bomb threats are not reported lest they encourage copycats. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t watch closely and report outcomes, but let’s lose the yellow journalism.

Student-centered or subject-centered education?
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner op-ed by Lynn Stoddard, author of “Educating for Human Greatness”

Educators have talked for years about having a “student-centered” education system. Some charter and private schools claim to feature it. Do they really have it? What is the difference between a student-centered system and a subject-centered one?
At the present time, Utah and other states have a subject-based system of public education. It is characterized by a common core curriculum, large classes, teachers treated as assembly-line workers, low morale and much worthless testing. Compare the two systems as shown below:

Time to integrate Common Core
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Philip Nelson

I’m writing with regards to the implementation of Common Core across Utah. It’s been made clear that the new standards were put together in collaboration with teachers, parents and industry.
It also appears that Utah is at the forefront in determining how to assess students under Common Core, through its success with the test bank, as pointed out in Kristen Moulton’s article “Utah’s Common Core test is making the state money,” (Tribune, April 7).
So the state has excelled at the design and assessment of Common Core, but it seems everyone has forgotten about the middle part, integration. What steps has the state taken to orient teachers in teaching the new standards?

Charting a Common-Sense Course for the Common Core Education Week op-ed by Jane Leibbrand, an independent consultant in Fairfax, Va., and Alice Seagren, former Minnesota commissioner of education

The American education system is between a rock and a hard place, due to the intersection of two major reform strands—first, introduction of the rigorous Common Core State Standards, which bring new expectations for student (and teacher) performance. At the same time, new assessments will be administered to students, and administrators, in turn, will be required to hold teachers accountable based on the assessment results as never before.
The confluence of these two movements is creating trauma, drama, resignations, and meltdowns, as well as improvement in teaching and learning in some schools. Researchers traditionally tell practitioners to introduce one change at a time to best determine the effects of that change, but we are past the point of adhering to that wise advice.
Admittedly, our expectations of student proficiency have often been geared to a fairly low common denominator. The new common-core standards require high-level analysis, synthesis, and problem-solving, but those higher-level skills take time to develop, and they develop only with the help of good teachers.

Why parents like me are angry about Common Core Fox commentary by columnist Erick Erickson

Common Core seems like a good idea. In a society as mobile as ours, kids moving from one state to another should not be so far behind or ahead students in their new state. A common set of skills at each grade across the nation makes sense. At least that is the sales pitch.
I did not start out to be against Common Core. In fact, most of the people who are loudest against Common Core sound crazy.

Advice to High School Graduates: ‘You Are Not Special’
English teacher David McCullough, Jr., thinks students need to stop trying to excel at everything.
Atlantic commentary by columnist AMY QUICK PARRISH

On a spring day in 2012, Wellesley High School English teacher David McCullough, Jr., stepped onto the school’s football field, then covered in a sea of seniors dressed in identical caps and gowns. Clad in a blazer and striped tie, McCullough made his way to the podium, donned his reading glasses, and began his commencement speech. Nothing about the event seemed out of the ordinary. McCullough, after all, was participating in a ritual that happens hundreds of thousands of times across the United States each year. He had given graduation speeches before.
But compared to the countless other remarks given by comedians, journalists, and politicians that year, McCullough’s speech stood out for its blunt, four-word message: “You are not special.”
The immediate reaction to the address was positive. After the ceremony, a grandmother thanked McCullough and complimented the speech. She asked for a copy of the remarks, so he handed her the piece of paper from which he had read. And as McCullough and his son walked to the parking lot, a friend of McCullough’s called up to him, “That was awesome!” But soon after its delivery, the speech’s influence spread far beyond Wellesley High School: Across the country, it was quoted, sound-bited, discussed, analyzed, dissected, tweeted, and re-tweeted. Quite simply, it was the graduation speech of 2012.
The reaction caught McCullough by surprise.

ESEA Waivers and Teacher-Evaluation Plans State Oversight of District-Designed Teacher-Evaluation Systems Center for American Progress analysis

In 2011, President Barack Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan provided states with an opportunity for flexibility from certain requirements under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or ESEA, currently known as the No Child Left Behind, or NCLB, Act. A total of 43 states; Washington, D.C.; Puerto Rico; and eight districts in California that are part of the California Office to Reform Education, or CORE—have since received waivers from the U.S. Department of Education.
The flexibility process requires states to develop and implement new educator-evaluation systems to help identify effective teachers, as well as those who can benefit from additional supports to improve their instructional practice. While some states required districts to adopt state-designed evaluation systems, other states gave school districts discretion in designing their own teacher-evaluation systems. Inevitably, one of the challenges those states that offered discretion now face is tracking and monitoring the variety of district teacher-evaluation plans. The capacity for a state department of education to effectively monitor these systems depends largely on the size of the state and the number of districts within that state. The task of monitoring the 545 school districts overseen by the Michigan Department of Education, for example, is going to be very different than the monitoring effort undertaken by the Maine Department of Education, which has slightly more than 200 districts, or the Maryland State Department of Education, which is responsible for 24 school districts.
Similarly, states that have large districts may face additional challenges in monitoring the implementation of new evaluation systems.

Later School Start Times in Adolescence: Time for Change Education Commission of the States analysis

School start times for adolescents in the United States are typically too early to be healthy for this age group. There is significant evidence from the research literature that early starts have serious negative impacts on students.
In particular, early education start times in adolescence cause chronic sleep deprivation, which damages both adolescents’ education and health. Fortunately, chronic sleep deprivation is one of the more preventable public health issues facing the nation.
This briefing paper summarizes the latest research on the subject, explores policy options to address this education and public health issue, and sets forth the recommendation that education start times be adjusted appropriately for U.S. adolescents.


Math, reading performance is stagnant among U.S. 12th-graders, assessment finds Washington Post

The nation’s high school seniors have shown no improvement in math and reading performance since 2009, and large racial achievement gaps persist, according to the results of a test administered by the federal government last year.
The results, to be released Wednesday at Dunbar High School in Northwest Washington, detail students’ performance on the National Assessment of Educational Progress, or NAEP. Also called the Nation’s Report Card, NAEP is widely regarded as the most consistent measure of U.S. students’ achievement over time. Since the 1990s, it has been administered every four years to high school students and every two years to students in grades four and eight.
Younger students’ results on the 2013 NAEP were released in November and showed incremental progress, continuing a long-standing slow but upward trend.
Twelfth-grade performance, by contrast, has been stagnant in recent years and has declined in reading since the test was first administered. Despite more than a decade of federal policies meant to close achievement gaps, the margin between white and Latino students in reading remains just as large as it was 15 years ago, and the margin between black and white students has widened over time — not because white students have improved, but because black students’ average reading scores have fallen. (CSM)  (Ed Week)  (AP)

A copy of the results  (NAEP)

For young athletes, more concussions reported Reuters

NEW YORK – Between 2005 and 2012, concussions among high school athletes became more common with every passing academic year, according to a new U.S. study.
“It’s an observational study so we can’t draw any conclusions,” said Dr. Joseph A. Rosenthal of Wexner Medical Center at The Ohio State University in Columbus who led the research.
The results are consistent with other studies noting an increase in high school concussions in the last 10 years, though it’s still not clear whether the rise is real or due to increased awareness of the symptoms and dangers of concussions – leading to more kids with blows to the head being noticed and cared for, he told Reuters Health.

Why some schools still insist on lessons in elegant cursive NewsHour

Starting in the 1970s, and under the recent implementation of the Common Core, a former pillar of elementary education has been largely forgotten. But there’s a feeling that learning cursive still has value, even in the age of typing and texting.

Video shows Clarksville woman lashing out at children on school bus Bus driver suspended, reassigned after 6 parents come onto bus during confrontation Clarksville (TN) Leaf Chronicle

CLARKSVILLE, TENN. — Four minutes and 12 seconds of chaos erupted when a Clarksville woman stepped onto a school bus to confront a child she believed hit her stepdaughter in the mouth.
The incident, captured on a video obtained through a The Leaf-Chronicle public records request, shows Kela Ieshia Hand, 22, grabbing a 7-year-old St. Bethlehem Elementary School second-grader and shouting profane threats at the child and at all the other young children on the bus.
The morning of April 25, an elementary school girl was apparently hit in the mouth at the Raleigh Court bus stop. The girl’s mother and her mother’s partner, Hand, boarded the bus to find out who hit their daughter, and things quickly escalated.
The video shows Hand getting on the bus, walking past the driver as the driver objects, yelling at the children, and trying to lead the 7-year-old boy she initially suspected of hitting her daughter off the bus as he cries and screams.

Broward schools chief apologizes for Bible incident (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Sun Sentinel

Broward Schools Superintendent Robert Runcie apologized Tuesday for an incident in which a 12-year-old was told he couldn’t read the Bible.
Gio Rubeo said he was told three times by his teacher at Park Lakes Elementary in Lauderdale Lakes to put away his Bible. His father demanded an apology, saying the teacher had violated his civil rights.
“First, let me apologize to the student and his family. This was a situation that should have been handled differently,” Runcie said at Tuesday’s School Board meeting. “It does not represent the values of our school system. Let me be clear. Broward County Public Schools respects and upholds the right to bring personal religious material to school, including the Bible.”
He said his administration has reached out to the faculty at the school to ensure they are familiar with district policies and state and federal laws.
Parents at the school received robo-calls about the incident Monday, and Runcie said he has instructed principals to have a conversation with faculty about district policies.


USOE Calendar

UEN News

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

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

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

Related posts:

Comments are closed.