Education News Roundup: June 9, 2014

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

Utah State Board of Education

Utah State Board of Education

Utah State Board of Education considers not applying for an ESEA waiver extension.  (SLT)
and  (DN)
and  (KSL)
and  (Politico)

The Board also took a look at high school graduation and computer science requirements. (SLT)

WaPo does a long piece on the influence Bill Gates had on Common Core.  (WaPo)



Utah education leaders debate return to No Child Left Behind

Changes to Utah school computer science coming

Cache County teachers receive recognition and money for their outstanding work

Summer program encourages Utah kids to read

Latino students have top grad rate at Utah high

Family Of 4th Grader Hit And Killed By School Bus Blames Drivers

Family honors Fremont High cheerleader’s last wish at funeral


Thumbs up, thumbs down

Tribune staffers win awards, but they pursue stories, not status

Nothing more humbling than a goofy yearbook photo

Reporter booted from court for bare shoulders

Wasatch educators will learn from their shaming

Students and school leaders share blame for yearbook photo fiasco

Education’s value

Land issues wrongly politicized

Disappearing cursive

Student grateful for teacher’s example

Bands need recognition

A crossing guard thanks safe drivers

Thanking host families and schools

What The Post Gets Wrong About Gates & Common Core (Plus Reactions Roundup)

Stop Holding Us Back

Schools educate kids; movements don’t

GOP takes bite out of healthy meals
Why watering down the public school lunch program is bad for everyone.


How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution

Jindal wants La. out of Common Core
Governor vows commitment to shelving tests

While Louisiana lawmakers debate Common Core, some parents turn to homeschooling

Final Version of Common Arts Standards Released

ACT president: Take whichever college admission test suits you. Or take both.

Costs, Quality on Radar as Dual Enrollment Rises Many states move to expand access

Youths Facing Deportation to Be Given Legal Counsel

School-based health centers gain traction around region


Utah education leaders debate return to No Child Left Behind

State education leaders are considering abandoning Utah’s waiver to the No Child Left Behind law, partly as a statement about federal interference in Utah schools.
The state school board spent more than an hour Friday debating whether to ask the federal government for an extension of the waiver for 2015. The waiver allows Utah to skip many of the most reviled parts of the No Child Left Behind law, including Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measurements and the expectation that 100 percent of students score proficient in language arts and math by this year.
If Utah gave up its waiver, the state would have to go back to those requirements and would likely have to shift more than $100 million in federal Title I and related money to other programs.
Board members discussed Friday asking state lawmakers if they’d be willing to help schools make up the difference by allocating more money to education should Utah refuse the waiver. Several noted that Utah’s waiver is unpopular among some state lawmakers and members of Utah’s congressional delegation who worry that Utah has bound itself to the federal government. (SLT)  (DN)  (KSL) (Politico)

Changes to Utah school computer science coming

Utah high school students will soon have more flexibility when it comes to computer science classes.
The state school board voted Friday to allow high school students to replace a required half credit introductory computer class with other computer classes if they choose. It also voted to allow kids to count more advanced computer science classes toward their science class requirements to graduate.
The changes come in response to complaints from some that the currently required computer science class is too basic for many students.  (SLT)

Cache County teachers receive recognition and money for their outstanding work

Teacher “Hats Off Awards” were recently presented to Cache County’s top teachers, as determined by the Cache Education Foundation.
CEF Executive Director Teri Lewis said 11 teachers from valley schools were each awarded $500 checks in front of their peers and school student bodies.  (CVD)

Summer program encourages Utah kids to read

SALT LAKE CITY – Education officials are hoping a program now in place will encourage more kids in Utah to read during their summer vacation.
Tiffany Hall, K-12 literacy coordinator at the Utah State Office of Education, said the “Utah Reads: Find a Book” program is specially geared to help stop summer learning loss. According to Hall, not reading during the summer break can cause severe loss of reading skills in some students.  (CVD)

Latino students have top grad rate at Utah high

SALT LAKE CITY — Educators across the country are working to close the graduation rate gap between minority students and white students, but at one Utah high school, administrators may have figured it out.
Latino students as a group have the highest graduation rate at Salt Lake City’s Highland High School.
Last year, 84 percent of Latino students graduated, compared with 82 percent of white students.  (OSE)  (PDH)  (SGS)  (KSL)

Family Of 4th Grader Hit And Killed By School Bus Blames Drivers

Ten year-old Seleny Crosby’s mom and dad watched as the girl’s classmates planted a small cherry tree in her honor. It was an attempt to replace the awful memory of the girl’s death, with a sweeter one. “We hope they see their daughter’s beautiful face,” said teacher Joel Redmond of Seleny’s parents.
Redmond said Seleny’s classmates are victims in this tragedy too as many watched as she was hit by the school bus on April 30th in South Jordan. “This is an event they will carry with them the rest of their lives,” he said of the kids who witnessed the tragedy. Redmond said the event was even more traumatic for him because he was hit by a car when he was in first grade.
David Crosby, Seleny’s father said everything changed for his family when Seleny died. They are all attending counseling to help them cope with the loss. “Even now, we can’t believe this happened to a perfectly healthy, strong, intelligent, athletic, happy child,” he said holding back tears. It’s been tough for Seleny’s three siblings too – especially her twin sister Doris. “We would never leave each other alone,” she said of her twin sister.  (KUTV)

Family honors Fremont High cheerleader’s last wish at funeral

OGDEN — When a friendly man in Hawaii rented her a life jacket so she could try floating on a surfboard for the first time, Kennedy Ann Hansen thanked him with a hug.
The man obliged, asked to take a picture with Kennedy, and told her family that the life jacket rental was on the house.
He didn’t know the smiling teenager with long, deep brown curls was battling a debilitating and painful disease, that her sightless eyes had once been bright and active, or that this trip to visit relatives was one of her requests for the final year of her life.
“But he could feel Kennedy’s spirit,” said Kerilyn Pollock, Kennedy’s aunt, as she joined other relatives sharing memories of the loving 16-year-old at her funeral Thursday.
Telling Kennedy’s story
The funeral service at the Dee Events Center took place one year to the day after Kennedy was diagnosed with Juvenile Batten Disease, a rare and mysterious neurological condition that affects two to four children out of every 100,000 born in the United States.
Kennedy, of West Haven, was the last surviving child with Batten Disease in Utah.  (KSL)  (KSTU)


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

Thumbs up: To the memory of young Kennedy Hansen. The 16-year-old Fremont cheerleader died May 30 from complications of the rare disease. She lived an admirable life and the community responded with a large attendance at her funeral.

Tribune staffers win awards, but they pursue stories, not status Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist Terry Orme

Spring is contest season for journalists, and Salt Lake Tribune reporters, photographers, artists and editors have acquitted themselves well when stacked up against their peers throughout the country.

In Top of the Rockies, the contest organized by Colorado’s Society of Professional Journalists — it includes our sister paper The Denver Post — The Tribune dominated first-place prizes with 12, and took 21 awards overall. Our coverage of the John Swallow scandal, led by Robert Gehrke and Tom Harvey, was singled out, as was our coverage of the new National Security Agency center in Bluffdale, by Thomas Burr, Nate Carlisle and Tony Semerad.
Other Top of the Rockies winners, some of whom are no longer with the paper, were political reporter Lee Davidson, columnist Ann Cannon, photographer Francisco Kjolseth, editorial page editor Tim Fitzpatrick, page designer Jenna Busey, legal reporter Brooke Adams, education reporter Lisa Schencker and environmental reporter Brian Maffly.

Nothing more humbling than a goofy yearbook photo Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist Robert Kirby

There came a day when I — like most problem children — stopped taking my father completely seriously. It was a liberating but dangerous moment.
I was about 11 years old at the time. One day while rummaging in the attic for some overlooked nitroglycerin, I came across something far more dangerous — a book titled “The 1949 Goobertonian.”
What at first glance seemed to be a mug shot collection of felony dorks, zoomers, screeches, goobers, propeller heads and wieners was actually a 1949 high school yearbook.
Vaguely disturbing was the realization that the book was not a joke. Every one of the photos in it had originally been taken with a certain pride and serious intent.
And then I found the photo that changed my life. King of the 1949 Gooberites was a Skeezix named “Robert Kirby, senior class president.”

Reporter booted from court for bare shoulders
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner commentary by columnist ANDREW HOWELL

Apparently, a security guard at Ogden’s 2nd District Court is either a Wasatch High graduate, or a former administrator at the school.
You probably know the story by now about the school. Some students were shocked to notice that their yearbook photos had been altered without their permission to comply with the Heber City school’s dress code. One student in particular had sleeves added via Photoshop to cover her bare shoulders.
I guess 2nd District Court has the same dress policy.
Here is what happened:
On Tuesday, new justice reporter Morgan Briesmaster went to court to cover a case along with fellow reporter Ben Lockhart. As they proceeded through security, Morgan was told that she wouldn’t be allowed in the courtroom wearing a sleeveless top.

Wasatch educators will learn from their shaming Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Karen Schwartz-Clover, who worked as a speech-language pathologist in Wasatch School District

“Don’t go shopping showing any cleavage!” I read in an email from my dad. He continued, “The Heber City seniors’ doctored yearbook photos are worldwide news.” My dad lives in Tasmania, an island state of Australia that is literally on the other side of the world. What I had experienced for the three years I worked in Heber City at the Wasatch School District had gone global!
My journey to Heber involved marrying a man I met at the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City where I was promoting my company, which provided smart, high-tech, outdoor travel clothing for powerful women. I left home in San Francisco landing in Heber Valley, where I returned to my roots as a speech-language pathologist.
One day, I witnessed the principal of the middle school looking scornfully at the bottom half of an athletic beautiful eighth grade girl telling her to go home and change. Her shorts had a nine inch inseam; two to four inches is cute, and correctly tapered knee-length bermudas can work. In my universe, she needed to go home for wearing frumpy shorts! I knew this shaming would take her down a notch, and she would spend years trying to prove that she was good.

Students and school leaders share blame for yearbook photo fiasco
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner commentary by TAYLOR DEEM, a recent graduate of Fremont High School

There exists among the millennial generation of today an attitude that is, in and of itself, grotesque. Teenagers, my own peers, are making a bad name for us.
When the elderly sit around and talk about how awful teenagers are, they’re talking about us. When there are kids, such as myself, who try to go against the stereotype painted against teenagers, there is still a whole population destroying our hard work and good name: Rule breakers.
“Rules are made to be broken.” I have heard this cliche a thousand times.
Actually, no! Rules are not made to be broken! There is a reason rules are put into place. The reason is to safeguard us from humiliating incidents.

Education’s value
Deseret News letter from Taylor Ford

In today’s challenging global economic environment, many times education is overlooked or disregarded; specifically, the education of young girls. One way to begin to alleviate some of the severe issues associated with education would be to give money in order to support the educational infrastructure reform.
As I am currently a female seeking a career in medicine, I feel that the issue of women’s education is of particular interest to me.

Land issues wrongly politicized
(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Jean Lown

Thanks to Brett Roper for his column explaining the reality of federal land management. However, he neglected to mention one of the most far-reaching aspects of Utah’s ill-conceived campaign to seize federal lands: taxes. The governor and Legislature are wasting our tax dollars on a political agenda that is not founded in reality, let alone legal or constitutional. Transfer of federal lands, owned and supported by all U.S. taxpayers, to Utah won’t happen and any of our tax dollars spent on this Quixotic campaign are wasted. Use taxes to support education and health; don’t waste the money on this ridiculous political agenda.

Disappearing cursive
Deseret News letter from Thomas Brown

“Does learning cursive matter? Perhaps more than you think” (June 4) fails to address a matter of greater importance. What it ignores is this: When we lose the ability to read cursive we will have lost a large part of our past and ourselves.

Student grateful for teacher’s example
(Provo) Daily Herald letter from Amy Huhtala

The following remarks came from an e-mail I received the last day of school from a Salem Junior High student in response to the two letters to the editor titled “Better way to serve others” printed on May 11 and “Teacher has no regrets over dare” printed on May 18.
This email was sent by Conner Campbell, a ninth grader at Salem Junior High. It is submitted with his written permission.

Bands need recognition
Deseret News letter from Duncan McPherson

As a high school student of Bingham High, I suffer from the effects of society’s need to watch competitions and sports.
Sports and work get all the glory, while the activities that discipline you and have been proven to make students smarter and more effective in school get left behind.

A crossing guard thanks safe drivers
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Jacob van Rij

I am a school crossing guard on 3100 South and 3450 West, and as the school year ends I would like thank everyone for slowing down through school zones and keeping our children safe.
Thank you to the UTA bus drivers, the truck drivers, and all of you who have a friendly wave or a nod of the head as you pass by. Your friendliness makes my days.

Thanking host families and schools
(Provo) Daily Herald letter from Maureen Tyczka

I would like to thank Suzanne Senser and Jim Price, Serene and John Bean, Bill and Ruth Riley and John and Tracey Clark for hosting our high school exchange students, Emil Morsing Hansen from Denmark, Damiano Sottana from Italy, Elsa Olofsson from Sweden and Nadine Buehlmann from Switzerland, through EF High School Exchange. Our students will never forget their American families and friends who have graciously opened their hearts and homes to them. Thanks to their generosity, these students have had an unforgettable year in our community. They were given the opportunity to explore the world and immerse themselves in our culture.

What The Post Gets Wrong About Gates & Common Core (Plus Reactions Roundup) Scholastic commentary by columnist Alexander Russo

There’s a long piece about the Common Core in the Washington Post you should probably read — but be forewarned that the view of events and the causal chain that’s cobbled together in the piece isn’t entirely accurate or fairly contextualized (and differs from other accounts of what happened and why).
Basically, the Post’s piece makes the claim that Bill Gates was behind the Common Core’s rapid spread over the past few years. Indeed, the headline claims that Gates “pulled off” the Common Core, like it was a heist or a grift.
“The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation didn’t just bankroll the development of what became known as the Common Core State Standards. With more than $200 million, the foundation also built political support across the country, persuading state governments to make systemic and costly changes.” Both left and right — Diane Ravitch and NRO’s Stanley Kurtz — are already calling for Congressional hearings.
Gates’ support is clear, and no doubt played a role. There are some fascinating tidbits about that process in the piece. But let’s be clear: the idea for common national standards and tests goes back a long long way before Gates (and David Coleman), the spread of the Common Core in recent years wasn’t merely a function of Gates’ enthusiasm and largess, and the myth of the all-powerful billionaire is just that.
The idea for common standards has been around for a while, and has always had a lot of appeal.

Stop Holding Us Back
New York Times op-ed by ROBERT BALFANZ, research professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Education

This month, more than three million high school students will receive their diplomas. At more than 80 percent, America’s graduation rate is at a record high. More kids are going to college, too. But one-third of the nation’s African-American and Latino young men will not graduate.
In an era when there is virtually no legal work for dropouts, these young men face a bleak future. It is not news that the students who don’t make it out of high school largely come from our poorest neighborhoods, but the degree to which they are hyper-concentrated in a small set of schools is alarming. In fact, according to new research I conducted with my colleagues at Johns Hopkins University, half of the African-American boys who veer off the path to high school graduation do so in just 660 of more than 12,600 regular and vocational high schools.
These 660 schools are typically big high schools that teach only poor kids of color. They are concentrated in 15 states. Many are in major cities, but others are in smaller, decaying industrial cities or in the South, especially in Georgia, Florida and North Carolina.

Schools educate kids; movements don’t
Fordham Institute commentary by Joe Siedlecki, program and policy officer for the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation

In a recent column for USA Today, Rick Hess and Michael McShane argued that “creeping bureaucratization and regulation are endangering the entire charter school movement.” I’d argue the opposite: the real danger to the charter movement is lack of effective regulatory enforcement.
In their column, Hess and McShane put the best possible face on charter successes:
“Objective analysis has also found charter schools to be successful, particularly with students from low income backgrounds. In 2013, researchers at Stanford University studied charter schools in twenty-seven states and found that, on average, students in charter schools outperform traditional public school students in reading and do about the same in math. Students below the poverty line and African American students were both found to fare better in charter than in public schools when their standardized test scores were disaggregated.”
Certainly there have been sector-wide improvements since 2009, when the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO, home of the same Stanford researchers cited above) issued a highly influential report, which found “a disturbing—and far-reaching—subset of poorly performing charter schools.” CREDO’s 2013 update notes important improvements and can indeed be summarized at the broadest level (as Hess and McShane have done) as positive.
But children are educated at individual schools, not by the broader charter movement, and CREDO’s 2013 report makes clear that such distinctions matter.

GOP takes bite out of healthy meals
Why watering down the public school lunch program is bad for everyone.
USA Today op-ed by Katie Couric, host of Katie

A few years ago, I took a group of kids to a farmers market in New York City. It was an eye-opening experience. Most of them had never seen, much less tasted, many of the vegetables on display. One 11-year-old mentioned it was her first time eating a raw carrot. That experience made me realize the sorry state of our food environment.
The most obvious place to roll up our sleeves and start making improvements would be in schools. But sadly, a congressional panel just severely weakened a nutrition overhaul to the school lunch program, which taxpayers fund to the tune of $11 billion a year.


How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution Washington Post

The pair of education advocates had a big idea, a new approach to transform every public-school classroom in America. By early 2008, many of the nation’s top politicians and education leaders had lined up in support.
But that wasn’t enough. The duo needed money — tens of millions of dollars, at least — and they needed a champion who could overcome the politics that had thwarted every previous attempt to institute national standards.
So they turned to the richest man in the world.
On a summer day in 2008, Gene Wilhoit, director of a national group of state school chiefs, and David Coleman, an emerging evangelist for the standards movement, spent hours in Bill Gates’s sleek headquarters near Seattle, trying to persuade him and his wife, Melinda, to turn their idea into reality.
Coleman and Wilhoit told the Gateses that academic standards varied so wildly between states that high school diplomas had lost all meaning, that as many as 40 percent of college freshmen needed remedial classes and that U.S. students were falling behind their foreign competitors.
The pair also argued that a fragmented education system stifled innovation because textbook publishers and software developers were catering to a large number of small markets instead of exploring breakthrough products. That seemed to resonate with the man who led the creation of the world’s dominant computer operating system.
“Can you do this?” Wilhoit recalled being asked. “Is there any proof that states are serious about this, because they haven’t been in the past?”
Wilhoit responded that he and Coleman could make no guarantees but that “we were going to give it the best shot we could.”
After the meeting, weeks passed with no word. Then Wilhoit got a call: Gates was in.

Jindal wants La. out of Common Core
Governor vows commitment to shelving tests Baton Rouge (LA) Advocate

In his strongest criticism to date, Gov. Bobby Jindal said Friday he wants the state out of Common Core and the tests that go with it.
“It is time for the Department of Education to come up with a plan B,” he said.
The comments are significant for two reasons.
While the governor has said for weeks that he thinks he has the option of shelving the Common Core exams, his remarks Friday appear to all but ensure such a move.
In addition, Jindal has repeatedly blasted the standards in recent months but, until Friday, had stopped short of saying he wants the state to drop them.

While Louisiana lawmakers debate Common Core, some parents turn to homeschooling NewsHour

Generations of Christian Meyers’ family have graduated from Denham Springs High School, which sits across the street from his home about a dozen miles east of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
For years Meyers, 17, thought he would get his diploma from that high school, too.
But after the state decided to adopt the Common Core State Standards in 2010, and began using the curriculum to support it in the public schools, Meyers’ mother withdrew him in favor of homeschooling.
“He was not getting what he would need to be college ready, or at least in my eyes college ready,” Beth Meyers said.

Final Version of Common Arts Standards Released Education Week

This week, the National Coalition for Core Arts Standards released the final version of its voluntary national standards in dance, media arts, music, theater, and visual arts—and one coalition official said he expects nearly every state in the country to adopt them.
The preK-12 standards, which were developed by a variety of arts-focused groups and educators and went through several periods of public review, emphasize four artistic processes in each arts discipline: creating, performing, responding, and connecting.
James Palmarini, director of educational policy for the Educational Theatre Association and a member of the NCCAS leadership, said in an interview the group is now moving into the adoption phase and expects “quick wins in four to five states.” While he wouldn’t name the states, he said they were likely to adopt “within the year.”

A copy of the standards

ACT president: Take whichever college admission test suits you. Or take both.
Washington Post

Not long ago, the ACT surpassed the SAT as the most widely used college admission test in the country. But the president of the testing organization that leads the market advises students to take whichever exam suits them — or both.
ACT President Jon L. Erickson, in Washington this week, spoke with The Washington Post about perceptions of the two tests among students and higher-education professionals.
About 1.8 million U.S. students in the Class of 2013 took the ACT, compared with 1.5 million who took the SAT. (The SAT also has a significant number of overseas customers.)

Costs, Quality on Radar as Dual Enrollment Rises Many states move to expand access Education Week

As dual-enrollment programs surge in popularity, policymakers and advocates are wrestling with how to pay the costs and promote access for all high school students who are eligible to earn college credit, especially low-income and minority populations. Along with the rapid expansion of such offerings also comes pressure to ensure quality in the courses students take.
In Florida, legislation approved last year shifted the cost burden for dual-enrollment courses from higher education institutions to K-12 districts, much to the dismay of many school systems. Meanwhile, Alabama lawmakers this year overwhelmingly pushed through a new tax credit on donations to a fund that could generate up to $10 million each year for scholarships so high school students can earn postsecondary credits in career-technical education fields.
The governors of Connecticut, Delaware, and South Dakota were among about a dozen state executives to promote dual enrollment in their State of the State addresses this year.

Youths Facing Deportation to Be Given Legal Counsel New York Times

The Obama administration said Friday that it was starting a program to provide lawyers for children facing deportation as it scrambles to deal with the soaring number of unaccompanied minors illegally crossing the border from Mexico.
Under the plan, the federal government will issue $2 million in grants to enroll about 100 lawyers and paralegals to represent immigrant children making their way through the immigration court system.

School-based health centers gain traction around region Joplin (MO) Globe

It’s been common for a child who needs a flu shot or who is feeling unwell to miss class because he needs to be seen by a medical provider.
But several school districts and health care providers in Southwest Missouri want to change that by putting basic health services directly in the schools.
“We’re thinking it’s an opportunity to get health care more immediately to our students,” said Carl Junction Superintendent Phil Cook, whose district is one of at least three in the region currently pursuing or considering a school-based health center.
School-based health centers began cropping up during the 1970s in elementary schools for those who could not afford or access primary care. There are now more than 1,900 health centers and programs connected with schools nationwide, according to a 2010-11 report from the School-Based Health Alliance. They exist in all types of schools — urban and rural, public and charter — and serve all ages of students with many types of health care services, according to the report.


USOE Calendar

UEN News

June 17:
Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
1 p.m., 445 State Capitol

June 18:
Judiciary Interim Committee meeting
9 a.m., 215 Senate Building

Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee meeting
9 a.m., 25 House Building

Education Interim Committee meeting
2 p.m., 30 House Building

Political Subdivision Interim Committee meeting
2 p.m., 25 House Building

July 10:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

August 8:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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