Education News Roundup: June 19, 2014

LunchEducation News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

USA Today looks at how Utah is getting more students into — and through — college.  (USAT)

Logan District revamps is school lunch delinquent account policy.  (LHJ)

Standard joins the Trib in arguing for reapplying for an ESEA waiver.  (OSE)

Louisiana Gov. Jindal wants out of the Common Core, but the Louisiana Legislature just backed it on Friday. What happens next?
The policy picture: (NOTP) and the education picture:  (NOTP)

Starting this fall, Sesame Street will be available in half-hour, as well as traditional hour-long chunks. (NYT)



States aim to boost college graduation rates

Logan City School District revamps lunch prices, approves policy for delinquent accounts

Ogden sophomores get head start

Kids’ camp teaches visual art and music

England files lawsuit vs. governor

Utah Online College Tops In Nation For Teacher Education

UHSAA lists schools with zero ejections

‘Where all kids are above average’: Should schools separate gifted students?

Peer mentors push friends to graduate


Another NCLB waiver needed

Utah teacher salaries not in line with nation

Class-size reduction should be goal of Davis schools

Eliminate barriers to education

Custom Common Core

21 charts that explain how the US is changing

The price of summer: Some vacation costs are hidden


Bobby Jindal calls on the Louisiana Legislature to act on Common Core, again

Will a Ruling on Teacher Tenure Help Your School Kids?

‘Test-Blind’ Admissions

National Data Confirm Cases Of Restraint And Seclusion In Public Schools

New Push to Get Girls into Computer Sciences

Rogers High student sues district over fallout from online post Suit claims seven-week Rogers High suspension violated civil rights and damaged reputation.

Survey: 30 percent of open SD teaching positions unfilled

Connecticut school pledges probe after student says NRA, GOP websites blocked

PBS Plans to Add a Shorter Version of ‘Sesame Street’


States aim to boost college graduation rates

States with large rural populations are launching strategies to encourage more kids to go to college by making it easier to earn college credit while they’re still in high school.
This spring, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, signed into law a $1.3 million program that lets high school students who live in remote areas of the state take college-level courses as part of their high school studies through live videoconferencing. Wyoming offers a loan repayment plan for high school teachers in the state who take extra courses that make them eligible to teach college-level courses. Rural Colorado schools can receive $500 for each student who completes an Advanced Placement course and exam under a pilot project that will begin this fall.
The push reflects a broadening effort by state legislatures and governors to boost college completion rates. Studies show that students who take college-level courses while in high school are more likely to complete a college degree.
Most of the recent attention is designed to make more opportunities available to more rural students, who represent about 24% of all public school students, Education Department data show.  (USAT)

Logan City School District revamps lunch prices, approves policy for delinquent accounts

Two changes are coming to Logan City School District lunchrooms. On Monday, the Board of Education approved an increase of cost for adult meals and students’ second meals. They also approved a policy on how to handle delinquent lunch accounts.
Adult lunches will increase by 25 cents from $2.75 to $3 for lunches and from $1.50 to $1.75 for breakfasts. This will also be the price of a student’s second meal.
“We made a choice to not increase the prices for our students. However, the federal government has some requirements about what we charge on specific areas and this is one of the areas that we need to address, which are the adult prices for next year,” said Marshal Garrett, the superintendent of Logan City School District. “A lot of this came from additional information from the feds, and we did not have it when we did our school fees portion.”  (LHJ)

Ogden sophomores get head start

OGDEN — Everything’s bigger in high school, from the buildings to the learning expectations and activities.
To help students successfully make the move up from junior high to high school, Ogden School District offers “Sophomore Summer Transition” programs.
“The district is trying to be pro-active at helping sophomores come into school, and get right on top of things,” said Melanie Clifford, who is coordinating the program at Ben Lomond High School. “The kids have mini-classes — that are fun — and it gets them used to knowing the buildings, and knowing where they’re going.”
Students also receive school supplies, including a binder with tabs to help keep them organized.  (OSE)

Kids’ camp teaches visual art and music

CEDAR CITY – Children are drawing, painting and singing during the 6th annual Kids’ Camp on the Southern Utah University campus.
The camp will be throughout this week and the next with the grand finale of a special performance by the children taking place next Friday.  (SGS)

England files lawsuit vs. governor

BOUNTIFUL — Former Utah State School Board candidate Breck England has filed a lawsuit against Governor Gary Herbert.
The Bountiful resident is reportedly alleging the process used to select candidates for the board is unconstitutional. England was one of 18 candidates who sought the position that would represent most of Davis County. That was before it was pared down by a committee and then the governor narrowed the position to two candidates.
England could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The lawsuit also reportedly alleges “viewpoint discrimination” in the candidate selection process.  (DCC)  (

Utah Online College Tops In Nation For Teacher Education

A new report ranks the Utah teaching college’s program as No. 1 in the nation but laments the lack of more high quality options in the state. The National Council on Teacher Quality named Western Governors University, an online college based in Utah as having the top undergraduate preparation program in the country for those going into middle and high school education.  (Utah People’s Post)

UHSAA lists schools with zero ejections

The Utah High School Activities Association continues to put an emphasis on sportsmanship.
The group compiled a list of the Utah schools that had zero ejections of a coach or player during the 2013-14 season.
The big surprise that not a single 5A school made the list, which was dominated by 1A institutions.  (SLT)

‘Where all kids are above average’: Should schools separate gifted students?

The debate over gifted education, which has smoldered for generations, flared again this month when incoming New York Education Commissioner Carman Fariña signaled at a town hall meeting that the city may dial back separate gifted programs in favor of personalized and more challenging curriculum for all kids in every class.  (DN)

Peer mentors push friends to graduate

An exclusive Q&A with Daniel Oscar, president and CEO of the Center for Supportive Schools, relating to the subject of peer mentoring can be found here.  (DN)  (DN)


Another NCLB waiver needed
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

As frustrating as it may be to contemplate, No Child Left Behind is the law, and Utah needs to reapply for another waiver so the state won’t lose control over a portion of federal education funds.
Under NCLB’s name, the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act provisions, schools that accept federal Title I aid are required to have all students test at a specific level in reading and math. If a school fails to meet the standards, the feds can take control of 10 percent of the Title I money, and decide how to spend it.
Frankly, getting 100 percent achievement is impossible. NCLB has unreasonable goals, given the unique demographics of a school or district. Utah, along with 42 other states, have regularly received waivers from having most schools in the state receiving failing NCLB grades.
In our opinion, the best solution is to have Utah re-apply for the waiver.

Utah teacher salaries not in line with nation
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner op-ed by KIM IRVINE, a teacher in the Weber School District

Wednesday the Standard Examiner ran an editorial entitled, “Districts need reserve funds.” This editorial outlined a decision of the Davis County School Board’s to sequester $2 million in a reserve fund under the auspices of the school board.
During a recent meeting it was also suggested that the surplus go toward an increase in teacher’s salaries, but the school board decided not to use the extra funds for that purpose. The majority of the Standard Examiner’s Editorial Board agreed with the school board’s decision, stating in the editorial, “Frankly, (overall national) teachers’ salaries compare well with salaries in Utah.”
While I agree it is prudent to set money aside in case of catastrophic events, I must point out that the dollar amount listed for an average Utah teacher salary is exaggerated. This misinformation from a cited Washington Post article has changed the complexion of this editorial enough that I must respond.
The figure in the Washington Post article must either include all benefits, or is simply erroneous. These dollar amounts are not a true representation of current teacher salaries in Utah. It should be noted that while teachers still have benefits, the true value of those benefits have decreased substantially.

Class-size reduction should be goal of Davis schools
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Burke Larsen

I make reference to the Standard’s editorial of June 18, “Districts need reserve funds,” regarding the Davis schools’ putting $2 million in reserve and I would like to provide some correct salary information. The average teacher salary is $45,642 of which $31,360 is disposable. The average salary of all employees (including all administrators) is $39,404. A beginning teacher is paid $32,836.
I do not consider money in the 2014-15 budget “left-over.” The need in class size reduction and beginning salary competition is too urgent. We can not meet the needs of Davis students by hiring at $32,836 and loading classes to 40.

Eliminate barriers to education
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Weston Clark

Our public schools are underfunded and overburdened because the Legislature refuses to properly fund public education in Utah. Unfortunately, we don’t have the luxury of letting this be an excuse for why our local school boards can’t be more creative to find solutions to reduce class sizes, minimize testing hours, and maximize teaching time.
Even more important is that we work even harder to remove the disparity in graduation rates between socioeconomic groups and communities and restore society’s promise of a first-rate public education to all students. I decided to run for school board in Salt Lake City because my kids, who are biracial and have two dads, are likely to face challenges from the current inequities in our system.

Custom Common Core
Deseret News letter from Lynn Stoddard

As other states abandon the Common Core curriculum in favor of developing their own standards, we ask these questions: “Will Utah be left behind, or will we assume a leadership position? Do we want to continue trying to standardize students or shall we lead the nation in helping students grow as unique individuals?”
Here’s an opportunity to break the mold. As other states look for ways to improve the conventional, subject-centered system, Utah could start a movement to design a student-centered system that would aim to meet the needs and great potential of each unique student.

21 charts that explain how the US is changing Vox commentary by columnist Danielle Kurtzleben

The US is a big, complicated place that has undergone some big changes over its 238 years, and even in the last few decades. Here are 21 charts that explain what life is like today in the US — who we are, where we live, how we work, how we have fun, and how we relate to each other.

10 Educational gains have been steady and long-standing
Inequality and social immobility are areas where the US could use some improvement. So if you want some good news, here it is: the US population has become far more educated than it once was. True, there are some problems with the education system — inequality between schools, for example, not to mention skyrocketing college tuition costs — but that the majority of the population over 25 went from not having a high school diploma to at least having some college in the span of 40 years is astonishing.

The price of summer: Some vacation costs are hidden New York Post commentary by columnist Naomi Schaefer Riley

“But what did you do with us over the summer?” I was pleading with my mom, trying to figure out how she and Dad could afford to keep my sister and me occupied for the months of summer vacation.
Fine, the Worcester, Mass., day camp they sent us to is about half the price of similar camps in the New York City area.
But still: Am I the only person who didn’t factor thousands of dollars per kid per summer into the cost of raising children?
Which prompts the question: Why are we stuck keeping the kids busy for so long in the first place?
“It’s as if these kids are [workers] in the European Union, with 10 weeks’ paid vacation — paid by their parents,” complains Stephanie, a Westchester mom of four.
On top of paying for camp or other activities, she continues, add “the lower productivity of the parents and all the effort we spend to work with the kids to ensure brain drain doesn’t happen over all this time, and basically you’ve taken the stress of the school year and compounded it by a factor of five.”


Bobby Jindal calls on the Louisiana Legislature to act on Common Core, again New Orleans Times-Picayune

When Gov. Bobby Jindal laid out his plans for scrapping the Common Core academic standards in Louisiana Wednesday, he said state lawmakers are likely part part of the solution.
The Louisiana Legislature should direct the state school board and Department of Education to get out of Common Core and develop homegrown standards and assessments, according to the governor.
“Obviously, I think the ultimate step is the Legislature, next year, when they are in session, needs to tell [the state school board] to develop Louisiana standards and Louisiana tests,” said Jindal during a press conference.
What Jindal did not mention is that state lawmakers recently considered adopting new educational standards and assessments for Louisiana several times and choose to keep Common Core and its related testing instead.
“I think the Legislature made their position known on Common Core and [the standardized test],” said state House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, R-Lake Charles. “I’m disappointed in the governor’s decision.”
The policy picture:

The education picture: (NOTP)

Will a Ruling on Teacher Tenure Help Your School Kids?
NPR To the Point

A California judge has ruled that tenure and seniority laws protect bad teachers at the expense of poor and minority children. Would less legal protection bring those kids better teachers?

‘Test-Blind’ Admissions
Inside Higher Ed

More than 800 four-year colleges and universities do not require applicants to submit SAT or ACT scores. But of these “test-optional” colleges, the competitive ones will look at scores that are submitted. And most selective, test-optional colleges report that a majority of applicants (typically a large majority) submit scores.
On Wednesday, Hampshire College announced that it would become the only such college that will be “test-blind,” meaning that it will not look at SAT or ACT scores even if applicants submit them.
In a statement, Meredith Twombly, dean of admissions and financial aid, said that the college was concerned about the way wealthier students do better on standardized tests, and that it was inconsistent to say that the college doubted the value of standardized tests while continuing to look at them.

National Data Confirm Cases Of Restraint And Seclusion In Public Schools NPR Morning Edition

The practice of secluding or restraining children when they get agitated has long been a controversial practice in public schools. Now, new data show that it’s more common than previously understood, happening at least 267,000 times in a recent school year.
NPR worked with reporters from the investigative journalism group ProPublica, who compiled data from the U.S. Department of Education to come up with one of the clearest looks at the practice of seclusion and restraint.
In most cases, the practice is used with students with disabilities — usually with those who have autism or are labeled emotionally disturbed. Sometimes the students will get upset; they might even get violent. To calm or control them, teachers and aides might isolate them in a separate room, which is a practice known as seclusion. Or they might restrain them by holding or hugging them, or pinning them to the ground, or by using mechanical restraints, such as a belt or even handcuffs.  (ProPublica)

New Push to Get Girls into Computer Sciences Associated Press

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Diana Navarro loves to code, and she’s not afraid to admit it. But the 18-year-old Rutgers University computer science major knows she’s an anomaly: Writing software to run computer programs in 2014 is – more than ever – a man’s world.
“We live in a culture where we’re dissuaded to do things that are technical,” Navarro said. “Younger girls see men, not women, doing all the techie stuff, programming and computer science.”
Less than one percent of high school girls think of computer science as part of their future, even though it’s one of the fastest-growing fields in the U.S. today with a projected 4.2 million jobs by 2020, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This week Google, with a driverless car and Web-surfing eyeglasses under its belt, has given The Associated Press an early look at how it’s trying to change the gender disparity in its own workforce, and in the pipeline of potential workers, by launching a campaign Thursday called “Made with Code.”  (AP)

Rogers High student sues district over fallout from online post Suit claims seven-week Rogers High suspension violated civil rights and damaged reputation.
Minneapolis Star-Tribune

Reid Sagehorn, the former Rogers High School student whose apparently sarcastic two-word Internet posting resulted in a seven-week suspension and an ensuing uproar in the Elk River School District, on Tuesday sued the district and the Rogers police chief, charging that his reputation was permanently damaged and his civil rights violated.
Sagehorn, 18, who never was charged with a crime, said in the 31-page suit filed in U.S. District Court that his name “is forever linked with the term ‘felony.’ ” In addition to Police Chief Jeff Beahen, the suit names as co-defendants Elk River Superintendent Mark Bezek, Rogers High School Principal Roman Pierskalla, Assistant Superintendent Jana Hennen-Burr and police liaison Stephen Sarazin.
The suit, which asks for compensation from the district and police and for a jury trial, emphasizes that Sagehorn’s Internet posting involving a teacher was made outside of school hours, off school grounds and without the use of school property. It claims that Sagehorn’s First and 14th Amendment rights were violated and that he was forced to withdraw from Rogers High School.

Survey: 30 percent of open SD teaching positions unfilled Associated Press via Sioux Falls (SD) Argus Leader

PIERRE — A survey by the School Administrators of South Dakota this spring has found that over 30 percent of teaching positions posted this year remain open.
The group says South Dakota schools usually fill teaching positions by the end of May.
More than 120 out of 151 districts replied to the group’s survey.
About half of the 62 open math positions still need to be filled. Executive Director Rob Monson says the shortage extends beyond math and science subjects.

Connecticut school pledges probe after student says NRA, GOP websites blocked Fox

A Connecticut school board has vowed to investigate a high school senior’s claim that his school blocked conservative-leaning websites while allowing full access to sites on the left.
Andrew Lampart was researching gun control in May for his studies at Nonnewaug High School in Woodbury, but was unable to view the National Rifle Association’s website from a school computer, he told But he had no problem getting the other side of the gun control debate from sites like Moms Demand Action and Newtown Action Alliance, he told the school board, which pledged on Wednesday to investigate.
Lampart, 18, said the problem didn’t end with the gun-control issue. When he tried to access the state’s GOP website, he was blocked, but he was able to read any item he wanted to on the state’s Democratic Party’s website, he said.

PBS Plans to Add a Shorter Version of ‘Sesame Street’
New York Times

Viewers of “Sesame Street”‘ are about to get a big lesson in how to divide in half and multiply by 150 percent.
For nearly 45 years, the much-lauded PBS program that teaches children the alphabet, social skills and how to count, has been an hour long, a stalwart holdout in an era of half-hour programs. But this fall, in a nod to the realities of increased mobile and online viewing and the heightened competition for preschool viewers, PBS will begin broadcasting and streaming a half-hour version of “Sesame Street.”
PBS planned to announce on Wednesday that the shorter version of the show would join PBS’s afternoon lineup starting Sept. 1. In addition, select half-hour episodes will be streamed on the PBS website, its mobile app and the PBS Roku channel. It will be the first time that PBS has had the rights to stream more than clips of the show.
The traditional hourlong version of “Sesame Street” will continue to be broadcast in the morning, so the net effect will be 50 percent more “Sesame Street” on PBS each day.


USOE Calendar

UEN News

June 24:
Education Task Force meeting
9 a.m., 210 Senate Building

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

July 15:
Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
1 p.m., 445 State Capitol

July 16:
Education Interim Committee meeting
2 p.m., 30 House Building

July 17:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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