Education News Roundup: May 8, 2014

Gearld Wright Elementary students.

Gearld Wright Elementary School.

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

Department of Workforce Services announces STEMlink grant program.
http://go.uen.org/Zw  (DN)
and http://go.uen.org/ZT  (KSL)
and http://go.uen.org/109  (KSTU)
and http://go.uen.org/ZX  (KUER)

Utah works out another land swap with the federal government that includes some SITLA property.
http://go.uen.org/ZB  (SLT)
and http://go.uen.org/ZC  (OSE)
and http://go.uen.org/ZE  (PDH)
and http://go.uen.org/ZP  (KUTV)
and http://go.uen.org/ZQ  (KSL)
and http://go.uen.org/ZU  (KSTU)
and http://go.uen.org/ZW  (KCPW)
and http://go.uen.org/ZY  (MUR)

Feds issue schools guidance on undocumented immigrants.
http://go.uen.org/ZZ  (Politico)
and http://go.uen.org/102  (AP)
and http://go.uen.org/106  (CSM)
and http://go.uen.org/105  (Ed Week)
or a copy of the guidelines
http://go.uen.org/100 (ED)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

State agency announces $6M grant program for STEM education

Deal reached to halt endangered listing for Utah flowers Energy development » Desert flowers endemic to Uinta Basin only grow on oil shale outcrops.

Logan girl making final preparations for National Geographic Bee

DHS seniors pick plants over pranks

The best in high school musicals judged at USU this Saturday

Saying ‘thanks’ for Teacher Appreciation Week

Thank you, Mr. Holt; music teacher retires after 39 years

Year-long focus on reading ends with community celebration

Copper Hills Students Create New Law for Schools

Officials say self-harm among Utah students a growing problem

Lawsuit filed against Alpine School District and former employees alleges sexual abuse

Logan Municipal Council informally votes against closing 100 South in front of high school

Running For The Bus

Cache Humane Society gives awards to area students for essays, artwork

Nearly 2,000 students to participate in 19th annual Water Fair

OPINION & COMMENTARY

A good grading system measures mastery of subjects System should measure learning.

How Should We Rank the Performance of Utah Lawmakers?

Why the Nigerian kidnapping case matters to us

Fix issues by ceding federal land back to states

Impossible to teach Utah history without pioneers

Honoring the Missing Schoolgirls

Vaccine Opponents Can Be Immune to Education

The resilience of Common Core

Public Schools in the Crosshairs
Far-Right Propaganda and the Common Core State Standards

NATION

Feds: Schools can’t shut out undocumented immigrants

State education board to hold special meeting over federal warning

Wyoming is 1st State to Reject Science Standards

Key voice in the education debate talks Common Core

School Districts Get Advice on ‘Doing More With Less’
Report reflects new realities, authors say

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UTAH NEWS
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State agency announces $6M grant program for STEM education

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah schools from Logan to St. George will soon receive help in offering programming in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, collectively known as STEM.
Officials with the Utah Department of Workforce Services on Wednesday announced the creation of a $6 million STEMLink grant program to be awarded to schools for in-school and after-school STEM classes.
“Many of our schools are anxious to implement STEM programs and activities like this,” said Mary Shumway, director of career and technical education for the Utah State Office of Education. “It’s not cheap to get the resources to get some of these programs up and running.”
http://go.uen.org/Zw  (DN)

http://go.uen.org/ZT  (KSL)

http://go.uen.org/109  (KSTU)

http://go.uen.org/ZX  (KUER)

Deal reached to halt endangered listing for Utah flowers Energy development » Desert flowers endemic to Uinta Basin only grow on oil shale outcrops.

The long-awaited decision on whether to protect two rare desert flowers could hinge on a proposed deal federal authorities have reached with state and Uintah County officials.
Occurring only in the Uinta Basin, the Graham’s and White River beardtongue species of penstemon grow on oil shale outcroppings, so some fear a listing under the Endangered Species Act could stymie Utah’s nascent oil shale industry.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on Monday released a draft conservation agreement, which identifies federal and state lands where surface-disturbing activities would be severely limited. The idea is to preserve core areas and demonstrate that beardtongue does not warrant listing, according to John Harja of the state Public Lands Policy Coordination Office.

About 62 percent of the acreage proposed as critical habitat is administered by the Bureau of Land Management, and the rest is either private or overseen by Utah’s School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, SITLA.
While most of the basin’s oil shale and tar sands resources lie on federal ground, SITLA is hosting the active development proposals, which involve surface mining, not drilling.
http://go.uen.org/ZB  (SLT)

http://go.uen.org/ZC  (OSE)

http://go.uen.org/ZE  (PDH)

http://go.uen.org/ZP (KUTV)

http://go.uen.org/ZQ  (KSL)

http://go.uen.org/ZU  (KSTU)

http://go.uen.org/ZW  (KCPW)

http://go.uen.org/ZY  (MUR)

Logan girl making final preparations for National Geographic Bee

You have 15 seconds to properly answer this question, without the aid of Google, Siri, or even a stack of maps in front of you: The largest island in Turkey lies west of the Dardanelles in which sea, an extension of the Mediterranean?
The clock is ticking. Did you get it right? Bear River Charter School student Gauri Garg did. Correctly answering, “the Aegean Sea” earned the 13-year old $100, the state title at the Utah-level competition of the National Geographic Bee and an all-expense paid trip to Washington, DC to compete in the national bee May 19-21.
While the state bee was focused on geography, Gauri made some history with her win.
“I am the first Utah geography bee winner that’s been a girl in its 26 years and the first geography bee winner from Cache Valley,” she says with a proud smile.
http://go.uen.org/ZL  (CVD)

DHS seniors pick plants over pranks

ST. GEORGE — Graduating Dixie High School students left a legacy for future generation of students Wednesday, but not the type high school seniors usually leave when they’re preparing to say goodbye.
“We try to discourage senior pranks, but they crop up,” DHS Principal Sharla Campbell said. “This year, I spoke to (the seniors) and said, ‘Rather than try to sneak, why not do something bold and something that will do the community some good?’”
The result: A service project helping the city plant trees at Vernon Worthen Park.
http://go.uen.org/ZM  (SGS)

The best in high school musicals judged at USU this Saturday

The fourth annual Utah High School Musical Theater Awards will be presented Saturday, May 10 in the Kent Concert Hall of the Utah State University Chase Fine Arts Center. The prestigious theater competition is sponsored and produced by Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre.
The director of the event, Vanessa Ballam, says more than 250 high school performers will display their talent for the live audience.
http://go.uen.org/ZK  (CVD)

Saying ‘thanks’ for Teacher Appreciation Week

SALT LAKE CITY – It can be a demanding job, and the Utah Parent Teacher Association (PTA) is encouraging parents and the entire community to show some extra gratitude toward the educators in their children’s lives during this Teacher Appreciation Week.
Liz Zentner, Utah PTA’s president, says teachers work hard guiding children, and they do so without much financial gain.
She says offering a word of praise can go a long way.
http://go.uen.org/ZJ  (CVD)

Thank you, Mr. Holt; music teacher retires after 39 years

ST. GEORGE – After 39 years of teaching and promoting music and fine arts in Utah schools, Ferron Holt, band teacher, musician and fine arts coordinator for Washington County School District, is retiring.
Holt began his teaching career at Delta High School, where he spent five years as a band teacher. In 1980, he came to Washington County, where he taught at Pine View Middle School, Pine View High School, Dixie Middle School and Washington Elementary. He has spent the last 14 years of his career as the fine arts coordinator for the entire school district.
http://go.uen.org/ZO  (SGN)

Year-long focus on reading ends with community celebration

SALT LAKE CITY — Rain threatened to wash out a celebration that had been a year in the making. But readers prevailed over rain and Chopper 5 was able to land on the playground of Granite Elementary.
“It’s great to see people excited about books and excited about learning, especially the amount of time they’ve been reading,” said Brook Niemeyer of marketing company Clearlink.
Clearlink employees took part in the community event marking the school’s reading accomplishments by donating money for new books.
Granite Elementary students have read 1.5 million minutes so far this school year — an impressive amount for a small school with just more than 400 students.
http://go.uen.org/ZS  (KSL)

Copper Hills Students Create New Law for Schools

What happens to students who are off-campus during a lockdown? Last year at Copper Hills High, they had the unfortunate experience of finding out. The school was put on lockdown because of a possible threat of a man outside with a gun. The release-time students attending LDS seminary in an adjacent building did not get word of the situation and were let out of class. When they got back to the school, they were locked out.
http://go.uen.org/10c  (West Jordan Journal)

Officials say self-harm among Utah students a growing problem

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah kids as young as 9 are cutting themselves, and in some cases it’s happening in school.
A Glendale Middle School student opens up to FOX 13 News about what he witnessed in class, and why his mother wants change.
http://go.uen.org/10a  (KSTU)

Lawsuit filed against Alpine School District and former employees alleges sexual abuse

OREM — A lawsuit recently filed in Fourth District Court claims a former Orem Junior High School teacher sexually abused one of his students 33 years ago and that the principal and school district did nothing to investigate or report the abuse.
Roger Stephenson has filled a $500,000 lawsuit against the teacher, the principal at the time of the abuse and the Alpine School District. The Daily Herald has declined to identify the two individuals named as defendants, as no criminal charges have ever been presented.
The lawsuit states that Stephenson attended Orem Junior High from 1979 to 1982 and was molested and touched inappropriately on several occasions in 1981 by a former teacher at the school.
http://go.uen.org/ZF  (PDH)

Logan Municipal Council informally votes against closing 100 South in front of high school

The fate of Logan’s 100 South is closer to being determined after the Logan Municipal Council informally voted to not close the road in front of Logan High School during its meeting on Tuesday night. Members of the council voted after hearing opinions from residents in the area, as well as representatives of the Logan City School District.
http://go.uen.org/ZH  (LHJ)

http://go.uen.org/ZI  (CVD)

Running For The Bus

You see the bus and know you’re running late. Hopefully, the driver will see you. You take off at top speed, but the bus leaves you behind. It’s a scene out of many nightmares, but for Providence Hall Charter Schools, the nightmare is worse. Buses at those schools don’t exist in the first place.
“We spend $30,000 to $40,000 on bus rentals each year. Charter schools do not get transportation funds. If we were to purchase them, the funds would come out of our budget. The only way for us to purchase buses is to raise funds for them,” Providence Hall High School Principal Nathan Marshall said.
To raise money for buses, Providence Hall will hold its first annual Patriot Day Carnival and 5K Fun Run May 17.
http://go.uen.org/10b  (South Valley Journal)

Cache Humane Society gives awards to area students for essays, artwork

Eight Cache Valley students received a scholarship from the Cache Humane Society on Wednesday during a presentation at the shelter. The Charles and Sandra Romesburg scholarship is awarded to students who either wrote an essay or created artwork about animals.
http://go.uen.org/ZG  (LHJ)

Nearly 2,000 students to participate in 19th annual Water Fair

ST. GEORGE, Utah – Nearly two thousand fourth grade students throughout Washington County will be participating in the 19th annual Water Fair on May 7 and 8 at Dixie State University, 225 S 700 E in St. George.
http://go.uen.org/ZV  (KCSG)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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A good grading system measures mastery of subjects System should measure learning.
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

Every adult remembers classmates from those early school years who skipped class and whose behavior earned them disapproving looks and influenced their grades negatively despite their intelligence and high test scores.
And then there were the kids who loved school and excelled by doing extra-credit work, racking up perfect attendance records and offering to help teachers after school.
Some of them grew up to become teachers themselves, moved up the administration ladder and continued a system that confuses good behavior with academic competence. They tend to believe part of a school’s responsibility is to imbue students with respect for rules and authority, and they are right about that.
But abiding by rules of conduct is not the same thing as showing proficiency in physics, in biology or literature.
http://go.uen.org/Zu

How Should We Rank the Performance of Utah Lawmakers?
Utah Policy commentary by columnist Bob Bernick

Are you a “good” or a “bad” legislator?
Ahh, if only it were that simple.
But more than half a dozen groups/individuals believe they have the answer to that question.
You see, after every Utah legislative general session there are a number of groups that rank lawmakers by the votes they make on bills picked out as important by those groups.
Usually, such analysis is done by special interest groups – and the 104 part-time lawmakers are ranked by how conservative they are, how they fight tax hikes, how they support public education, and such.

What do all of these rankings really mean?
Well, they are one measure of a legislator’s work during the 45-day general session.
If a lawmaker is a conservative tax-fighter, he will love being on the top of the UTA’s list.
If he votes regularly in favor of public education, then he’ll like the UEA’s rankings.
http://go.uen.org/Zt

Why the Nigerian kidnapping case matters to us Deseret News commentary by columnist Jay Evensen

Benedicto Kondowe, a soft-spoken education expert from Malawi, met with me a few weeks ago to explain what it’s like to get schools up and running in his home country.
Each class has about 200 or more students per teacher, he said. Rather than meet in some traditional school building, they assemble under a large tree somewhere to temper the heat and the rain.
And yet, despite conditions we would consider intolerable, he was passionate about the value of this effort. For the past six years, Kondowe has led 81 civil society organizations in his country in a joint effort to secure the right to a quality education for all his nation’s children.
I thought about Kondowe as I read about schoolgirls being kidnapped in Nigeria by a group whose name, Boko Haram, translates to “Western education is sinful.”
http://go.uen.org/Zv

Fix issues by ceding federal land back to states (St. George) Spectrum op-ed by Washington County Commissioner Alan Gardner

The only solution big enough to solve the Bundy cattle event in Bunkerville, Nevada, the 18,000 road-access lawsuit in Utah or a multiple of other public land issues, is the transfer of the federal public lands to state public lands. In the enabling acts of (their contract to become a state) every new state, the federal government contracted with each that it would transfer the public lands.
In these enabling acts, the states agreed to cede, or transfer, all their rights to the land to the federal government. The purpose for doing so, as explained in the acts, was to ensure that the federal government had clear title to the lands, so it could then “dispose of the land.” This “disposal” promise was kept in all states east of Colorado, but it was only partially honored with the western states.
http://go.uen.org/ZN

Impossible to teach Utah history without pioneers
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Karen Peterson Moyle

Regarding the April 30 guest commentary by Gregory Clark, “Wrong to push religion in public schools,” I grew up a lone Mormon girl in the Bible Belt in Texas. In our public school we had a Scripture or thought and a prayer every day. They were presented by the students. We also said the Pledge of Allegiance daily.
Those few moments were not “harmful.” They were a most memorable part of my pre-college education and helped in my understanding of other people’s points of view.
Many of Mr. Clark’s comments had to do with exhibits that would not be covered in a 4th grade tour.
http://go.uen.org/ZD

Honoring the Missing Schoolgirls
New York Times commentary by columnist Nicholas Kristof

When Boko Haram fanatics attacked a girls’ boarding school in northeastern Nigeria, kidnapping several hundred girls whose only offense was to dream of becoming doctors, teachers or lawyers, the Nigerian authorities’ initial response was to lie.
The military promptly claimed that it had freed 107 of the girls. In fact, it had done nothing, and, the girls’ parents say, it continued to do little for the three weeks since.
Meanwhile, we in the news media world were also largely indifferent, too busy reporting nonnews like the latest on the missing MH370 airliner. The American government, the United Nations and other players didn’t seem interested either.
Yet if world leaders and the news media dropped the ball, leadership came elsewhere. More than 50 of the kidnapped girls managed to escape the gunmen. Dads armed with nothing more than bows and arrows pursued the kidnappers into the terrifying Sambisa forest, where militants have hide-outs. Women’s rights advocates in Nigeria noisily demanded action, and social media mavens around the world spread word on Twitter, Facebook and online petitions — and a movement grew.
http://go.uen.org/Zx

Vaccine Opponents Can Be Immune to Education New York Times commentary by Brendan Nyhan, assistant professor of government at Dartmouth College

Vaccines will prevent the deaths of tens of thousands of children born this year over their lifetimes. So why are potentially dangerous numbers of parents in some states opting out of one of the great achievements of modern medicine?
One explanation is that these parents are misinformed, seduced by the false claims like the myth that vaccines cause autism. If so, giving them accurate information might change their minds about protecting their children against communicable diseases like measles — a near-eradicated disease that has flared anew.
That’s apparently the assumption behind the educational mandates that some states are creating or considering for parents who want exemptions from vaccine requirements.
But I recently conducted a study with several colleagues in which we found that parents with mixed or negative feelings toward vaccines actually became less likely to say they would vaccinate a future child after receiving information debunking the myth that vaccines cause autism.
Surprising as this may seem, our finding is consistent with a great deal of research on how people react to their beliefs being challenged. People frequently resist information that contradicts their views, such as corrective information— for example, by bringing to mind reasons to maintain their belief — and in some cases actually end up believing it more strongly as a result
http://go.uen.org/108

The resilience of Common Core
Fordham Institute commentary by Bernard Lee Schwartz Senior Policy Fellow Andy Smarick

I keep up on Common Core news religiously. In the last few weeks, I’ve amassed a stack of 30 articles and reports, trying to come up with a clever, cogent argument for what they mean when considered together.
With so many tangled veins in the debate—and with so much venom coursing through each—I almost gave up. But this morning, while reading a new account of supposedly mounting state-level opposition, it hit me: at least for the moment, the common element of recent Common Core news is the resilience of the standards themselves.
When I looked across all of the news, I was struck by the cacophony of political sound and fury amounting, in the end, to almost nothing. The coverage reminded me of the well-orchestrated pre-fight hype of a heavyweight championship bout—a match ultimately memorable not for the dramatic or unexpected outcome but for the staged antics at the weigh-in or the endless jawboning from both camps.
My allusion to debate qua entertainment isn’t metaphor.
http://go.uen.org/107

Public Schools in the Crosshairs
Far-Right Propaganda and the Common Core State Standards Southern Poverty Law Center analysis

Across the United States, a fierce wave of resistance is engulfing the Common Core State Standards, threatening to derail this ambitious effort to lift student achievement and, more fundamentally, to undermine the very idea of public education.
Developed by the National Governors Association and an association of state school superintendents, the standards were conceived as a way to promote U.S. competitiveness, increase educational equity, and resolve problems created by the No Child Left Behind Act.
Now being implemented in 44 states, the standards do not mandate the use of any particular book or course of study. Instead, they identify the literacy and math skills that children in every public school should master at each grade level.
But to the most extreme critics of the Common Core, the standards are something quite different—a plan to indoctrinate young children into “the homosexual lifestyle,” a conspiracy to turn children into “green serfs” who will serve a totalitarian “New World Order.”
http://go.uen.org/Zy

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Feds: Schools can’t shut out undocumented immigrants Politico

The Obama administration delivered an unequivocally clear message — again — on Thursday: All children have a right to enroll in public schools regardless of their citizenship or immigration status.
Three years after clarifying to schools that they cannot turn away children, the Education and Justice Departments issued another set of guidance documents that provide in painstaking detail what schools can and cannot ask for when families want to enroll their children. The agencies also provided examples of acceptable enrollment policies.
For example, schools can violate federal law by requiring Social Security numbers or birth certificates when a student wants to enroll. Schools can instead ask for proof of residency in a school district, which a family can do with an electric bill or copy of a lease.
In a Dear Colleague letter, the agencies say they’ve recently “become aware of student enrollment practices that may chill or discourage the participation, or lead to the exclusion, of students based on their or their parents’ or guardians’ actual or perceived citizenship or immigration status.”
The Department of Homeland Security estimates that there are 1.1 million undocumented children under age 18 living in the U.S.
http://go.uen.org/ZZ

http://go.uen.org/102  (AP)

http://go.uen.org/106  (CSM)

http://go.uen.org/105  (Ed Week)

A copy of the guidelines
http://go.uen.org/100  (ED)

State education board to hold special meeting over federal warning Indianapolis Star

The state Board of Education will hold a special meeting Tuesday to discuss the federal government’s warning that Indiana could lose a waiver that allows schools flexibility in spending more than $250 million in annual federal funding and permits the use of the state’s own A-F school rating system.
Last week, the U.S. Department of Education announced it made Indiana’s waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind Law conditional on fixing areas of non-compliance found during an August 2013 monitoring visit and prove higher education and business officials were involved in the adoption of the new K-12 academic standards.
The department has been given 60 days to address the concerns.
http://go.uen.org/ZA

Wyoming is 1st State to Reject Science Standards Associated Press

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Wyoming is the first state to reject adopting new K-12 science standards proposed by national education groups.
The Wyoming Board of Education decided recently that the Next Generation Science Standards need more review after questions were raised about how the standards address man-made global warming.
Wyoming is the nation’s leading coal producing state.
http://go.uen.org/101

Key voice in the education debate talks Common Core Fox News Special Report with Bret Baier

Michelle Rhee weighs in on ‘Special Report.’
http://go.uen.org/Zz

School Districts Get Advice on ‘Doing More With Less’
Report reflects new realities, authors say Education Week

With America’s public schools unlikely to return to past funding levels in the near future, the District Management Council is set to release a policy guide this week to help districts thrive, rather than just survive, within the constraints of their new fiscal realities.
In the main report, “Spending Money Wisely: Getting the Most From School District Budgets,” the council lists 10 high-impact opportunities that it says helps school systems “do more with less.” The Boston-based nonprofit, which helps its member districts with management issues, will begin posting a set of papers outlining specific steps to implement the cost-saving measures, on its website May 8.
“For most of history, school budgets went up faster than inflation, and we managed ourselves well, given that reality,” said Nathan Levenson, the council’s managing director and a former superintendent of the Arlington, Mass., schools. “That reality has changed. It is a world of shifting rather than of adding and, as a result, it requires new strategies and different types of data systems.”
http://go.uen.org/103

A copy of the report
http://go.uen.org/104

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

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

May 9:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
7 a.m., 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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