Education News Roundup: June 5, 2014

Chinese Dual-Immersion Kindergarten ClassEducation News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

Utah’s kindergarten class of 2018 may be getting smaller.
http://go.uen.org/1fj  (SLT)
and http://go.uen.org/1fP  (KSTU)
or a copy of the report
http://go.uen.org/1fk (CDC)

D-News’ Jay Evensen calls on the State Board of Education to make a “radical” selection for the next state superintendent.
http://go.uen.org/1fl  (D-News)

If you’re looking to cover the yin and yang of big data and privacy, ENR recommends:
Big Brother: Meet the Parents: http://go.uen.org/1fn (Politico) States’ open data is open for business: http://go.uen.org/1fS  (USAT)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Will Utah’s baby boom ever return?
The state birthrate still leads the nation, but total number of births has dropped for five years in a row.

Girls State arrives at Weber State

USU Extension enters into new agreement with 4-H program

Kids dig groundbreaking for YMCA in Ogden

Public land takeover suit unlikely in near future

Prep sports: Football success could determine future classifications Prep football » High schools seek a magic realignment formula.

Students find Shanghai ‘cooler’ than New York City

12-year-old honored for saving friend’s life during lunch

Cottonwood Heights teen shot, killed at end-of-school party Stolen gun » Police say firearm believed taken during a residential burglary.

First Grader Suffers Serious Burns During School Bus Accident

‘PC’ letters on mountain altered to read ‘POT’

Elite Athletes Team Up With Utah Anti-Bullying Coalition

Inside The Story: Paralyzed Teen Will Walk At High School Graduation

RHS replacement project is moving along

Park City Education Foundation now under new leadership Kathy Pederson’s term as president over, replaced by Katherine Hoggan

SCHS students donate funds to Millcreek students

Private preschool will open this fall in Helper

A mother, President Packer and an LDS convert: A look at the lives, sacrifices of seminary teachers

Live stream: Class of 2014 graduation ceremonies — Riverton, Cyprus High School

Students graduate from anti-drug program

You’d think cursive doesn’t matter anymore, but it does

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Political groups pursue a public land scam Politicians want fight, not answers.

Get radical when choosing new superintendent of public instruction

Votes for Elimination: State School Board Candidates Totals & Observations

Dress codes necessary, but don’t alter yearbook photos

Modest Is Hottest

Studies show teens reading less, but parents can help

Garbage in means garbage out

You’re in proud company, Wasatch students

The Inside Story on ALEC
Rep. Chris Taylor attends conference to detail the agenda and techniques of the corporate-funded group.

Common Core Playbook
Chart out winning plays and build your team’s capacity this summer to push your Common Core efforts into the end zone by fall.

In 2016, Democrats Have Good Reason to Run Against Obama’s Education Record The political weakness of the common core, charter schools, and other reform ideas

NATION

Big Brother: Meet the Parents

States’ open data is open for business

S.C. Governor Signs Bill Requiring State to Replace Common Core

Common Core: Gipson wants NY to dump Pearson

Ritz: Feds require new ISTEP test in spring

Ed. Groups Urge More Federal Spending for Common-Core Tests

Kentucky schools to implement new science standards this fall, report says

Cyberbullying Law Challenged in Court
New York Jurists to Decide if Criminal Statute Violates Freedom of Speech; Other States and Localities Await Precedent

U.S. Department of Education Announces $75 Million GEAR UP Competition

Oregon school district to offer condoms to students starting in 6th grade

Maxine Greene, 96, Dies; Education Theorist Saw Arts as Essential

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UTAH NEWS
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Will Utah’s baby boom ever return?
The state birthrate still leads the nation, but total number of births has dropped for five years in a row.

The financial crisis of 2008 wiped out savings, jobs and Utahns’ desire to procreate, which — unlike the stock market — has yet to rebound.
Utah women delivered 50,937 babies in 2013, down slightly from 2012, when the state logged 51,439 births, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It’s a small difference, but it suggests Utah’s five-year baby bust is lingering. The state’s birthrate has declined or stalled since 2008; the CDC tallied 55,634 Utah births that year.
http://go.uen.org/1fj (SLT)

http://go.uen.org/1fP  (KSTU)

A copy of the report
http://go.uen.org/1fk  (CDC)

Girls State arrives at Weber State

OGDEN — Hailey Hendicks says she wants to become a different person this week. The Box Elder High School student wants to became a person who better understands the role of government, and is more politically involved.
Rebecca Morrison, from Springville, echoed that wish.
“I want to know more about our government, like the individual offices and the duties of each,” she said. “Instead of just, ‘Oh yeah, that’s something that happens,’ I want to know who does it and why it happens, and I want to become more patriotic.”
Is it possible to change, and learn so much in just one week? The organizers of Girls’ State say yes.
Girls’ State is a week-long civic education program run by the American Legion Auxiliary, in which teenage girls from throughout the state are brought together to learn how government works. Guest speakers include city council members, county commissioners, and even the governor.
http://go.uen.org/1fB  (OSE)

USU Extension enters into new agreement with 4-H program

Representatives from Utah State University Cooperative Extension, USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the National 4-H Council recently signed an agreement in Washington, D.C., to better manage 4-H policies and procedures that affect state and local programs.
http://go.uen.org/1fD  (LHJ)

Kids dig groundbreaking for YMCA in Ogden

OGDEN — Children with small gold shovels lined up next to adults with large gold shovels on Wednesday to break ground for the new YMCA Community Family Center in Ogden.
“I thought it was cool, and fun, to dig,” said Kaleigh Adams, a 7-year old who attends the YMCA’s after school programs at Lincoln Elementary School in Ogden.
Adams’ 6-year-old brother, Carter Adams, also moved several shovels-full of dirt at the ground-breaking.
“We’re just really excited to have the community center, and all it will offer,” said their mother, Shaney Kingsbury of Syracuse, who is a counselor at the school. “We love the YMCA.”
The Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Foundation YMCA Community Family Center — so named because of a generous donation for the project — will be built on the northwest corner of the Lincoln Elementary School grounds, at 550 Canfield Drive.
http://go.uen.org/1g0  (OSE)

Public land takeover suit unlikely in near future

SALT LAKE CITY — The deputy to Utah’s top law enforcement official is counseling the state to avoid suing for ownership of public lands, at least for now.
Assistant Attorney General Tony Rampton on Tuesday told about a half dozen lawmakers gathering for a Commission on Federalism to avoid filing such a lawsuit or creating a specific lands transfer plan, saying the takeover is a longshot with too many unknowns.
Rampton recommends Utah wait to do so until it joins other states in gathering more facts. Lawmakers also should wait for a state study predicting the price tag of the lands transfer, he said.
http://go.uen.org/1fC  (OSE)

Prep sports: Football success could determine future classifications Prep football » High schools seek a magic realignment formula.

Midvale • If a narrow majority of the Utah High School Activities Association’s executive committee has its way, success or failure of prep football teams in state tournaments could determine which classification they play in beginning in 2015.
The board voted 9-7 Wednesday to send the football realignment proposal to the group’s board of trustees, which will have the final say on the two-year realignment process when it meets June 12.
The action was partially a response to complaints from schools from poorer areas with low graduation rates who asked that those factors be figured into the realignment equation.
http://go.uen.org/1fv  (SLT)

http://go.uen.org/1fy  (DN)

Students find Shanghai ‘cooler’ than New York City

Julia Stein, a fifth grader who has been studying Chinese for five years at the Potomac Elementary School in Maryland, made her first trip to China in April.
Of the four cities she visited – Beijing, Shanghai, Lijiang and Xi’an – she likes Shanghai the best. “It’s really modern. The buildings are tall. I really like it. I think some of the buildings in Shanghai are cooler than the buildings in New York,” said Stein.

Stein, Fiallo and Bloise are among a quarter of the more than 500 students at Potomac Elementary School attending a Chinese immersion program. Potomac was the first public school in the US to offer such a program starting in 1996.
It is a partial immersion program, which means students spend half of their day being taught in Chinese for their math and science courses and the other half of the day receiving instruction in English.
According to a report by the Mandarin Immersion Parents Council in 2012, there were at least 119 US schools that offer Chinese immersion programs. The report was based on incomplete data, so the actual figure is believed to be higher.
California and Utah boast far more Chinese immersion programs than other states, according to the report.
http://go.uen.org/1fZ  (ChinaDaily USA)

12-year-old honored for saving friend’s life during lunch

SALT LAKE CITY — A 12-year-old boy is being called a hero after he performed the Heimlich maneuver on his friend when the boy started choking during their school lunch.
Omar Rose is a sixth-grader at Alianza Academy in Salt Lake City. He was sitting next to Byron De Neon, a fourth-grader at the school, when a cucumber became stuck in Bryon’s throat.
http://go.uen.org/1g5  (KSL)

Cottonwood Heights teen shot, killed at end-of-school party Stolen gun » Police say firearm believed taken during a residential burglary.

A 17-year-old Cottonwood Heights boy is dead after being shot in the head by another teen who apparently thought the stolen handgun he was showing off was unloaded.
Cottonwood Heights police said the victim and other teens were celebrating the end of the school year when the shooting occurred at a home near 6800 South and Pine Rock Drive, about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.
In all, five teens, believed to be students at Brighton High School, were attending the downstairs party. The parents reportedly were upstairs when the shooting took place.
Two 16-year-old boys were arrested. They were being held in a juvenile detention facility Thursday pending charges likely to include negligent homicide, Lt. Todd Askerlund said.
http://go.uen.org/1fs  (SLT)

http://go.uen.org/1g6  (SLT)

http://go.uen.org/1fw  (DN)

http://go.uen.org/1fH  (KUTV)

http://go.uen.org/1fK  (KTVX)

http://go.uen.org/1fL  (KSL)

http://go.uen.org/1fO  (KSTU)

First Grader Suffers Serious Burns During School Bus Accident

Seven year-old Esther Danso said her last day of first grade was “horrible” after she suffered a serious leg burn during the school bus ride home on Tuesday.
The girl and her older sister were riding home with a busload of kids from Emerson Elementary in Salt Lake, when hot steam and liquid shot out of the vents on the bus. “Everyone was screaming and crying,” said Esther of the chaos on the bus. She said she felt something warm on her leg, then a lot of pain. Her older sister looked and saw that the back of Esther’s leg, from the knee down, was blistered and red. The girls called their mother who rushed to the place where the bus had pulled off the freeway. Turns out, a ruptured coolant hose was the culprit.
http://go.uen.org/1fI  (KUTV)

‘PC’ letters on mountain altered to read ‘POT’

PARK CITY — The “PC” letters on Park City Hill were recently altered to read “POT.”
The letters representing Park City High School were altered sometime Sunday night or early Monday morning, police said. The person or persons involved used wide-ruled white paper to make the letters appear to read “POT,” according to Park City Police Capt. Phil Kirk.
http://go.uen.org/1fN  (KSL)

Elite Athletes Team Up With Utah Anti-Bullying Coalition

A new partnership has formed between the Utah Anti-Bullying Coalition (UABC) and the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA).
UABC chair, Gail Miller, announced the partnership Thursday.
With the USSA being based in Park City, Miller says the support of the nearby elite athletes will really help to establish anti-bullying cultures in Utah schools.
http://go.uen.org/1fX  (KUTV)

Inside The Story: Paralyzed Teen Will Walk At High School Graduation

A high school teen accidentally shot in the neck and paralyzed plans to walk on his own two feet across the stage at graduation to receive his diploma.
Chance Sackett threw down his crutches taking baby steps to train ruthlessly for his graduation ceremony.
“It’s a lot of concentration,” Sackett said. “It’s not painful it’s just that my muscles are working against me at the same time while I’m trying to do it.”
Sackett was accidentally shot in the neck by his father on Feb. 18, 2012 while the two were cleaning guns together.
http://go.uen.org/1fJ  (KUTV)

RHS replacement project is moving along

When the Richfield High School replacement project was conceived, one option was to save a gym that was originally part the old Richfield Junior High School building.
However, last week the gym was taken down.
“The cost difference was minimal,” said Pat Wilson, project consultant. He said the original plan was to renovate gym two and keep it. However, the alternative of tearing it down completely and using an all new building added approximately $30 per square foot to the cost of the gym.
“The potential to save it was there,” Wilson said. He said structurally the old gym was extremely solid. However, it would create challenges down the road, as it was already more than 50 years old, Wilson said.
http://go.uen.org/1fY  (Richfield Reaper)

Park City Education Foundation now under new leadership Kathy Pederson’s term as president over, replaced by Katherine Hoggan

The Park City Education Foundation Board of Directors is under new guidance now that President Kathy Pederson’s term has come to an end. She will be replaced by Katherine Hoggan, who was formerly Pederson’s vice president.
Pederson first began donating to the Ed Foundation with her husband through their businesses, Dolly’s Bookstore and the Park City Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory locations, and got more involved seven years ago. She chaired the Red Apple Gala event for three years and others on the board and involved with PCEF saw her great potential. They eventually asked her to become vice president.
http://go.uen.org/1g2  (PR)

SCHS students donate funds to Millcreek students

ST. GEORGE – Students at Snow Canyon High School raised money throughout the school year to donate to those in need and ultimately decided to donate the money to the Millcreek High School food pantry as a way to help fellow students.
Executive council students at SCHS raised almost $1,500 through various fundraising efforts and initially planned to donate the money to the Utah Food Bank, said Pam Graf, Washington County School District foundation director.
http://go.uen.org/1fF  (SGS)

Private preschool will open this fall in Helper

After learning that Sally Mauro would not be starting a preschool program for the fall 2014 school year, a private citizen has stepped forward to assist Helper parents looking for a place to send their young students.
Starting this fall, Terri Lasslo will be opening the Heritage Preschool inside of the New Life Ministries on U.S. Highway 6 in Helper.
http://go.uen.org/1g1  (Price Sun-Advocate)

A mother, President Packer and an LDS convert: A look at the lives, sacrifices of seminary teachers

As Joseph F. Merrill prepared to launch the first released-time seminary program at Granite High School in 1911, the future LDS apostle knew certain qualities would be vital for long-term success in the teaching position.
“It is the desire of the presidency of the stake to have a strong young man who is properly qualified to do the work in a most satisfactory manner. By ‘young’ we do not necessarily mean a teacher who is young in years, but a man who is young in his feelings, who loves young people, who delights in their company, who can command their respect and admiration and exercise a great influence over them,” wrote Merrill, whose description was later published in a 1938 edition of the Improvement Era and the Religious Educator.
http://go.uen.org/1fx  (DN)

Live stream: Class of 2014 graduation ceremonies — Riverton, Cyprus High School

The Deseret News is providing live streams from the class of 2014 graduation ceremonies for several high schools in Utah.
http://go.uen.org/1eM  (DN)

Students graduate from anti-drug program

Sixth-graders at Buffalo Point Elementary in Syracuse on Wednesday graduated from their D.A.R.E. program, which teaches kids to avoid drug and alcohol use. As part of the ceremony, the students attempted to drive a go-kart with beer goggles on to simulate drunken driving.
http://go.uen.org/1fA  (DN)

You’d think cursive doesn’t matter anymore, but it does

Cursive writing and handwriting in general are dying arts in grade schools, as students shift to the keyboard. But some psychologists think we may be losing more than we know.
http://go.uen.org/1fz  (DN)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Political groups pursue a public land scam Politicians want fight, not answers.
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

“Here we see a honey bear not engaged in a life or death struggle about anything. These honey bears are placid and peaceful creatures and consequently bad television.” — Monty Python’s Flying Circus
There is an old saying in political circles about how it can be better to have an issue than a solution. That’s because issues draw people’s attention, win votes and raise money, while solutions are often dull compromises that don’t inflame anybody’s political passions.
It is a factor that has apparently bedeviled matters from balancing the budget and making Social Security solvent to immigration reform and energy independence.
Among the more obvious Utah examples of the desire to fight a war rather than solve a problem is the continuing drama over our state’s supposed attempt to get the federal government to turn over millions of acres of public lands to state control.
Tuesday, members of the Utah Commission on Federalism were told by a state assistant attorney general that the Dec. 31 deadline the Legislature set for the federal government to meet the state’s demands will come and go with absolutely no change in the status quo.
The revelation, of course, surprised no one. Even the more rapid supporters of the land grab idea met the news with a collective “Meh.”
http://go.uen.org/1fi

Get radical when choosing new superintendent of public instruction Deseret News commentary by columnist Jay Evensen

It’s time to get serious about our homework assignment, Utah.
Check that: It’s time to get radical.
And radicalism works best when it starts at the top.
The state is in the market for a new superintendent of public instruction, and it couldn’t come at a more opportune time. Thanks to policymakers and the Legislature, we all have the assignment of helping to get 66 percent of the state’s adults with a higher degree or certificate by the year 2020.
Time is ticking, and as my mom used to warn me on those nights when I wanted to watch TV instead of working on that assignment that was due far in the future, if you wait until the last minute, there will be trouble.
And there will be trouble if the Utah State Board of Education picks a superintendent from the education establishment who lacks the drive to shake things up a bit.
http://go.uen.org/1fl

Votes for Elimination: State School Board Candidates Totals & Observations Utah PoliticoHub commentary by columnist KAREN PETERSON

State Board of Ed LogoThe Governor’s Nominating and Recruiting Committee met this week and interviewed the remaining candidates for State School Board. Following the interviews the committee members ranked their choices, with 1 being the highest. The candidates with the lowest totals were moved forward. On the spreadsheet below, those struck through were not sent on to the Governor.
In years past there has been significant speculation of block voting, with those directly representing education voting together, and business interests voting together. I was curious to see if this year that same block voting played out. Below is the spreadsheet of how each committee member voted. I grouped education and business interests together and highlighted 1 and 2 votes in green to look for block voting.
A few observations:
http://go.uen.org/1fG

Dress codes necessary, but don’t alter yearbook photos
(Logan) Herald Journal commentary by Kathy Archer, a working professional who enjoys life with her husband and grown kids

What were they thinking?
The story made all of the local papers, including the Herald Journal, along with numerous national media outlets. Even People Magazine, CBS, and NBC thought it was newsworthy.
The Wasatch County School District, like most school districts, has a student dress code. As posted on their website, the policy states that “clothing will be modest, neat, clean, in good repair. Modesty includes covering shoulders, midriff, back, underwear, and cleavage at all times. Extreme clothing, including … inappropriately short, tight, or revealing shorts, skirts, dresses, tank shirts, halter or crop tops, spaghetti straps, etc, is prohibited … Skirts, dresses and shorts must be at least mid-thigh length when seated.”
Sounds reasonable. I wondered how it might compare with the dress codes in our local schools, so I looked up the “Dress Policy” at Mountain Crest. Don’t tell the kids this, but the dress code at Mountain Crest seems even more restrictive and certainly more specific than the one at Wasatch High.
http://go.uen.org/1fE

Modest Is Hottest
Salt Lake City Weekly commentary by columnist Katharine Biele

And speaking of absurdity, O’Brien added this: “It is a serious problem when ordinary citizens can’t celebrate in their own homes without the government stepping in. What’s next? Photoshopping slacks and sleeves onto the Jazz Bear?” That referred to the now-explosive decision by Wasatch High School to Photoshop over “inappropriate” attire on certain girls. Not so for the boys, although we know their appropriate attire would be a white shirt and tie. On Facebook, Holly Mullen of the Rape Recovery Center has been giving Wasatch hell for promoting rape culture in Utah, and Photoshopped images of high-school girls in burkas have been making the rounds. The controversy has gone viral, making news in Cosmopolitan, The Guardian and more. It’s a racket, says Amanda Marcotte of RH Reality Check, in which “women are kept insecure and afraid, making them easier to control and dominate.”

Fair & Biased
If you’re in a positive mood, there may be a bright side to all of these issues, and the Davis County school board is a good place to start. Board member David Lovato filed a federal civil-rights complaint alleging discrimination in hiring and opportunities for minority, non-LDS, female and disabled employees. The district, in a response to the Standard-Examiner, said they’re just looking for the best teachers they can find. This is doubtless what they think. But the LDS culture is so pervasive in Utah that it’s often difficult to separate bias from the comfort of conformity. LDS values permeate the liquor laws and high school dress codes, as well. Maybe Lovato’s complaint will bring some recognition of this systemic bias.
http://go.uen.org/1g3

Studies show teens reading less, but parents can help KSL commentary by Teri Harman, author of “Blood Moon”

SALT LAKE CITY — Even with more platforms to read on than ever before, recent studies show that teens are not reading for pleasure like they have in the past. According to a gathering of studies by the nonprofit Common Sense Media, “nearly half of 17-year-olds say they read for pleasure no more than one or two times a year — if that.”
Jim Steyer, CEO and founder of Common Sense Media, asked if there is a connection between the decline in reading and the rise of digital media. He said that teens are “less and less reading, and more and more attracted to some of the digital media platforms.”
http://go.uen.org/1fM

Garbage in means garbage out
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Bryce Gary Alex

During my junior and senior years of high school, my class really began to adopt and become passionate about a great variety of philosophical, ethical, and political stances. It was fairly easy to determine how each student felt about contemporary issues by identifying the sources of information they chose to engage in. There are few of my classmates, if any, who would say the kinds of books they read, TV shows they watched, and sites they navigated didn’t have a profound effect on the way they see the world.
The youth of my generation has access to vast amounts of knowledge that comes as a result of our technological age. But, unfortunately, we are exposed to an even greater amount of misleading garbage. Without being taught to properly seek credible information, students are left to fend for themselves when trying to recognize worthy and unbiased sources.
Rush Limbaugh’s take on global warming may seem as appealing to an unaided high school student as the take presented in the latest IPCC report. Our education system should take steps to teach students how to sift through the modern world’s overabundance of information, to help us build our beliefs based on exemplary knowledge.
http://go.uen.org/1ft

You’re in proud company, Wasatch students Salt Lake Tribune letter from John Pace

At merely 17 years — the same age as many of today’s high schoolers — Joan of Arc became the supreme general of what was left of the beleaguered French army. She then led the spectacular military campaign that broke England’s back in the One Hundred Years War, and which ultimately allowed France to reclaim its independence.
Upon her capture a few months later, she was turned over to an ecclesiastical court. There she was charged with dozens of crimes against her God and church, including idolatry, sorcery, witchcraft, apostasy and heresy. After six rigged trials oozing of treachery, that day’s religious mafia could not get a charge to stick. Not a single one.
So what was it that finally provided grounds for the bishops to burn alive the heroic and courageous Maid of Orléans in her own beloved homeland? Answer: Not dressing as becomes a modest female parishioner.
http://go.uen.org/1fu

The Inside Story on ALEC
Rep. Chris Taylor attends conference to detail the agenda and techniques of the corporate-funded group.
Urban Milwaukee commentary by By Rep. Chris Taylor, who represents District 76 in the Wisconsin Assembly

I recently traveled to Missouri to attend my second American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) conference.
As a state legislator from Wisconsin, I joined ALEC last year. That was the beginning of my journey into a parallel world. In the ALEC otherworld, the three branches of government are: 1. Multinational corporations, including Anheuser-Busch and Koch Industries, 2. Rightwing think tanks networked together through the State Policy Network, and 3. State legislators like me — although, as a progressive Democrat, I don’t fit the mold. Most of my colleagues who belong to ALEC are Republicans and many are tea partiers.
The three branches work together to construct and advance model bills in state legislatures throughout the country to further ALEC’s agenda of corporate dominance.
http://go.uen.org/1g4

Common Core Playbook
Chart out winning plays and build your team’s capacity this summer to push your Common Core efforts into the end zone by fall.
Administr@tor commentary by columnist Jennifer L. W. Fink

A great coach is one that has a vision, sets a plan in place, has the right people in place to execute that plan, and then accepts the responsibility if that plan is not carried out.
—Mike Singletary, former Chicago Bears linebacker
Is your team ready? Most students will take the first official Common Core–aligned summative assessments in spring 2015. And whether or not you think of yourself as a coach, the truth is that you are responsible for leading your team where it needs to go. Are your students ready? Is your school?
With less than a year to go before the assessments, it’s time to get serious about your game plan. The summer might seem like the off-season, but this is the time to lay the groundwork for a successful year. Use the next couple of months to build your team’s capacity and ­develop some plays.
It doesn’t matter if you’re ­currently at fourth and goal or still 20 yards away from a first down—our Common Core Playbook will help you guide your team to victory.
http://go.uen.org/1fm

In 2016, Democrats Have Good Reason to Run Against Obama’s Education Record The political weakness of the common core, charter schools, and other reform ideas New Republic commentary by Conor P. Williams, Senior Researcher with New America’s Early Education Initiative

There’s a very real possibility that the Democratic Party is about to undergo a powerful shift on education policy. As others have noted, it’s an area where Democrats are meaningfully divided into competing camps. It’s also an area where the Obama Administration’s efforts have sparked both wide-ranging policy changes and widespread criticism. Obama has advanced significant new policies, and many of those policies are experimental, controversial, or both. And there’s evidence that a Clinton Administration would mean a substantial departure from those reforms.
The more traditional Democratic approach to education emphasizes adequate funding of schools, the role of poverty in affecting educational outcomes, teachers’ job protections, and collective bargaining rights. These folks are often aligned with the American teachers unions, the National Education Association, and the American Federation of Teachers. They generally take writer Diane Ravitch as one of their prime intellectual lodestars.
The Democratic reformers seek to increase accountability and performance in American schools through a variety of measures. Reformers generally support high academic standards, better data collection on student performance, and school choice policies (especially charter schools). These folks are often aligned with the appropriately-named Democrats for Education Reform (DFER). Andrew Rotherham’s Eduwonk blog is one of the best examples of this sort of thinking about education.
http://go.uen.org/1fp

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Big Brother: Meet the Parents
Politico

You’ve heard of Big Oil and Big Tobacco. Now get ready for Big Parent.
Moms and dads from across the political spectrum have mobilized into an unexpected political force in recent months to fight the data mining of their children. In a frenzy of activity, they’ve catapulted student privacy — an issue that was barely on anyone’s radar last spring — to prominence in statehouses from New York to Florida to Wyoming.
A months-long review by POLITICO of student privacy issues, including dozens of interviews, found the parent privacy lobby gaining momentum — and catching big-data advocates off guard. Initially dismissed as a fringe campaign, the privacy movement has attracted powerful allies on both the left and right. The American Civil Liberties Union is pushing for more student privacy protection. So is the American Legislative Exchange Council, the organization of conservative legislators.
The amateur activists have already claimed one trophy, torpedoing a privately run, $100 million database set up to make it easier for schools to share confidential student records with private companies. The project, known as inBloom, folded this spring under tremendous parent pressure, just 15 months after its triumphal public launch.
Now, parents are rallying against another perceived threat: huge state databases being built to track children for more than two decades, from as early as infancy through the start of their careers.
http://go.uen.org/1fn

States’ open data is open for business
USA Today

Last month, web designer Sean Wittmeyer and colleague Wojciech Magda walked away with a $25,000 prize from the state of Colorado for designing an online tool to help businesses decide where to locate in the state.
The tool, called “Beagle Score,” is a widget that can be embedded in online commercial real estate listings. It can rate a location by taxes and incentives, zoning, even the location of possible competitors – all derived from about 30 data sets posted publicly by the state of Colorado and its municipalities.
The creation of Beagle Score is an example of how states, cities, counties and the federal government are encouraging entrepreneurs to take raw government data posted on “open data” websites and turn the information into products the public will buy.
“The (Colorado contest) opened up a reason to use the data,” said Wittmeyer, 25, of Fort Collins. “It shows how ‘open data’ can solve a lot of challenges. … And absolutely, we can make it commercially viable. We can expand it to other states, and fairly quickly.”
Open-data advocates, such as President Obama’s former information chief Vivek Kundra, estimate a multibillion-dollar industry can be spawned by taking raw government data files on sectors such as weather, population, energy, housing, commerce or transportation and turn them into products for the public to consume or other industries to pay for.
http://go.uen.org/1fS

S.C. Governor Signs Bill Requiring State to Replace Common Core Education Week

Republican Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina has signed a bill that requires the state to adopt new content standards for the 2015-16 school year and drop the Common Core State Standards.
In effect, this means that South Carolina has become the second state to drop the common standards, although the actual replacement of common core with “new” standards won’t take place until the 2015-16 year. The common core will remain in place in South Carolina for the 2014-15 school year. So the so-called repeal of the common core in the Palmetto State hasn’t technically gone into effect yet.
Haley, an outspoken opponent of the common core, signed the bill May 30.
Here’s a twist in the legislation: If the South Carolina Department of Education develops new standards, then the state school board and the Education Oversight Committee (a non-legislative but official government entity in the state) must sign off on them. That’s standard procedure right now. However, under the new law, any new standards not developed by the state education department also have to be approved by a joint resolution of the legislature.
http://go.uen.org/1fo

Common Core: Gipson wants NY to dump Pearson (White Plains, NY) Lower Hudson Journal News

As growing numbers of critics are questioning the role of standardized testing in schools, Sen. Terry Gipson, D-Rhinebeck, is calling on the state to cut ties with testing giant Pearson Inc.
Gipson has introduced legislation to end New York’s use of Pearson to create Common Core-based tests and prevent teachers in training from having to take Pearson-run certification exams.
“It has been brought to our attention by teachers, administrators, school boards, parents and others that the exams Pearson is providing are flawed with mistakes and inappropriate material,” Gipson said. “This is a for-profit corporation funded with taxpayer money, so we have more than enough reason to ask the state Education Department to cease and desist all relations.”
Pearson, the London-based mega-corporation that bills itself as “the world’s leading learning company,” has a five-year, $32 million deal with New York to develop Common Core-based tests for grades three to eight.
http://go.uen.org/1fq

Ritz: Feds require new ISTEP test in spring Indianapolis Star

Indiana will have to impose a new statewide standardized test on K-12 students next year if it wants to maintain control over $200 million a year in federal education funding, state officials said Wednesday.
But at least one State Board of Education member questioned why the state would succumb to a federal demand to quickly change a high-stakes exam that helps determine if schools are taken over by the state for poor performance and if teachers receive a raise.
To avoid the consequences of anticipated lower scores on the new ISTEP exam, state superintendent Glenda Ritz asked the state board Wednesday to suspend for a year the state’s school rating system and the use of test scores in teacher evaluations.
It was unclear Wednesday what authority the board has to make those moves. The plan would have to satisfy the state’s school accountability law and appease federal education officials.
http://go.uen.org/1fr

Ed. Groups Urge More Federal Spending for Common-Core Tests Education Week

Washington – Are schools ready for online assessments, given that 2014-2015 will be the first time most states use computers to test a majority of their students?
At a roundtable of education leaders held on Capitol Hill today, the consensus was that the answer is “no,” and panelists want federal funding to help.
“We are calling for $250 million. That would be a meaningful investment for the next fiscal year,” said Reginal Leichty, a partner with EducationCounsel LLC, a Washington-based consulting firm, after the panel discussion. He is representing the Consortium for School Networking, or CoSN, an association for school district technology leaders, and the National Association of State Boards of Education, in presenting the funding request to Congress in the coming weeks.
The two organizations co-hosted the roundtable discussion, which was attended by Congressional staffers, with the intention of creating a sense of urgency for legislators to fund the technology schools need for the online tests students will take in spring 2015 to determine their mastery of the Common Core State Standards.
http://go.uen.org/1fU

Kentucky schools to implement new science standards this fall, report says Lexington (KY) Herald-Leader

Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday plans to announce Wednesday at the state school board meeting that the new Next-Generation Science Standards will be implemented in the fall.
Holliday discussed details of the announcement in his commissioner’s report, which was included on the agenda for Wednesday’s Kentucky Board of Education meeting.
“The goal is to begin teaching the new standards immediately; however, development of a new test for elementary and middle school will not take place until after the 2014-15 school year,” the report said.
http://go.uen.org/1fV

Cyberbullying Law Challenged in Court
New York Jurists to Decide if Criminal Statute Violates Freedom of Speech; Other States and Localities Await Precedent Wall Street Journal

New York’s high court on Thursday will consider one of the first legal challenges to state and local laws that make it a crime for people to bully others online, especially children.
The 2010 Albany County law, one of more than a dozen around the country that criminalize cyberbullying, pits free-speech advocates against a community that has given prosecutors a larger role in affairs that typically had been handled by schools.
The court’s ruling could set the tone for other state high courts hearing challenges to such laws, as well as for states and localities considering criminal penalties for cyberbullying, legal experts said. Besides Albany, four other New York counties and more than a dozen states, including Louisiana and North Carolina, have similar laws.
http://go.uen.org/1fW

U.S. Department of Education Announces $75 Million GEAR UP Competition U.S. Department of Education

To focus on building successful practices aimed at improving college fit and college readiness for underrepresented, underprepared and low-income students across the country, the U.S. Department of Education announced today the availability of $75 million for two new Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs (GEAR UP) competitions.
At the Obama Administration’s College Opportunity Summit earlier this year, the Department made several commitments to support low-income students and help more of them pursue a path to college success. The GEAR UP program helps to ensure that all students achieve the necessary milestones that provide a pathway to a strong future. Today, the Department is acting on its pledge to focus this year’s GEAR UP college preparation program on improving both college fit and readiness, so all students graduate from high school prepared for college without needing remedial courses and enroll in an institution that will help them maximize their success.
http://go.uen.org/1fQ

Oregon school district to offer condoms to students starting in 6th grade Reuters

PORTLAND Ore. – An Oregon school district plans to offer condoms to students starting in sixth grade as part of an updated sex education policy aimed at decreasing teen pregnancy, sparking debate over whether 11-year-olds are too young for such a program.
The plan by the rural Gervais School District comes after a 2013 survey by nursing students found that 7 percent of district high school girls had experienced pregnancy and 42 percent of students reported “never” or “sometimes” using protection.
http://go.uen.org/1fT

Maxine Greene, 96, Dies; Education Theorist Saw Arts as Essential New York Times

Maxine Greene, a teacher and education theorist who promoted the arts as a fundamental learning tool and in nearly 50 years at Teachers College, Columbia University, became its resident Pied Piper, known for her persuasive scholarship, her vivid writing and her imbuing teaching with a spirit of endless adventure, died on May 29 at her home in Manhattan. She was 96.
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CALENDAR
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USOE Calendar
http://tinyurl.com/5x9oh9

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

June 5:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
4 p.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspx

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

June 6:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
7:30 a.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspx

June 17:
Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
1 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2014&Com=APPEXE

June 18:
Education Interim Committee meeting
2 p.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2014&Com=INTEDU

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

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