Education News Roundup: June 20, 2014

 

"Taxes" by Tax Credits/CC/flickr

“Taxes” by Tax Credits/CC/flickr

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

Correction: In yesterday’s news roundup ENR incorrectly attributed an editorial endorsement of an ESEA waiver extension to the Tribune. It was John Florez of the Deseret News that spoke up for that.

Park City School Board approves tax increase.

http://go.uen.org/1mK (PR)

California looks to control football practice time legislatively to cut down on concussions.

http://go.uen.org/1mr (LAT)

and http://go.uen.org/1mB (Reuters)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

School board approves tax increase

Board local levy increased to generate $3 million to cover enrollment and staff increases

HOPE4UTAH: Suicide prevention training growing

New School-Based Health Center Opens in Hurricane

Academics take center stage on opening day of 2014 All-Poly Camp

Class of 2014: Utah high school athletes with college scholarships

West Jordan Middle School Speaks Out Against Youth Violence

Law firm celebrates anniversary by volunteering to beautify school

Research shows why starting with an A grade is better for students than earning it

OPINION & COMMENTARY

St. George Airport, Disneyland & Common Core; grounding effects of education reform

What Do Students Think About School Choice?

NATION

Field test of Common Core exams went well, officials say

Bid-rigging lawsuit throws $240M-a-year Common Core testing contract into limbo

DC to Suspend Test Scores in Teacher Evaluations

State deal modifies teacher rating system

School Superintendent Huppenthal acknowledges anonymous blog posts Some of John Huppenthal’s statements have been harsh. They have called people who receive public assistance “lazy pigs” and compared the work of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger to the actions of the Nazis.

15 Tennessee Republicans call for Kevin Huffman’s resignation

California lawmakers OK bill limiting high school football practices

Snow Days Don’t Sap Student Learning, Study Finds

Actors, Athletes Speak Up for Girls’ Education

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UTAH NEWS

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School board approves tax increase

Board local levy increased to generate $3 million to cover enrollment and staff increases

                In a unanimous vote, the Park City Board of Education on Tuesday approved a $3 million budget increase for the 2014-15 school year. Those opposed to the decision felt money could be found within the budget or generated without increasing taxes for residents of the district.

                PCSD business administrator Todd Hauber said the $3 million is needed to fund an increase in student enrollment as well as increases to teacher salaries. In October, the district saw an increase of 209 students, and enrollment is expected to increase by another 110 this next school year. The board proposed increasing the staff by over eight full-time teachers to help reduce increasing class sizes.

                According to Hauber, the average per-pupil expenditure in the district is $10,100 per student. While the Utah State Legislature recently increased the Weighted Pupil Unit by 2.5 percent to $2,972, that still leaves about $7,000 for the district to raise per student to maintain current education services.

http://go.uen.org/1mK (PR)

HOPE4UTAH: Suicide prevention training growing

                PROVO — It has been a year since Greg Hudnall packed his briefcase, said goodbye to his beloved Provo School District and started his dream career — helping people prevent suicides.

                HOPE4UTAH is Hudnall’s nonprofit organization focusing on suicide prevention, intervention and postvention. What Hudnall is hoping to do is change public perception.

                Hudnall said his theme is, “It takes an entire village to raise a child. It takes an entire community to save one.”

http://go.uen.org/1mx (PDH)

New School-Based Health Center Opens in Hurricane

                ST. GEORGE, Utah – Family Healthcare, a community health center and non-profit corporation, will open a school-based health center at the Hurricane Middle School, 395 North 200 West in Hurricane on June 30.

http://go.uen.org/1mz (KCSG)

Academics take center stage on opening day of 2014 All-Poly Camp

                CLEARFIELD — The annual All-Poly Camp kicked off early Thursday morning with the usual accompaniment of top local prep talent and out-of-state talent in attendance, raring to hone their skills and catch the notice of the attending college coaches.

                Before any shoulder pads were strapped on, however, all attendees took part in what camp administrators feel is the most important aspect of the camp — academics.

                The importance of academics doesn’t receive passing mention or even an hour of indoctrination. As the camp schedule stated plainly, the All-Poly Camp held not one or two hours of classroom instruction — it held three full hours followed by a half-hour general session.

                “Academics is no joke — it’s the single most important thing we do here at this camp,” said camp academic advisor, Ti Kinikini, who also works for the University of Utah. “What comes first in the term ‘student-athlete’? It’s not ‘athlete.’ It’s ‘student,’ and there’s a reason for that. It starts with being a student and it’s why we start this great camp with learning how to be a good student.”

                The 3 1/2 hours of academic instruction involved workshops on how to qualify for college scholarship and grants, how to develop better study habits, and finally how to reach NCAA compliance requirements for all collegiate divisions.

http://go.uen.org/1mt (DN)

http://go.uen.org/1mw (OSE)

Class of 2014: Utah high school athletes with college scholarships

                In the American athletic and education world, college scholarships are the name of the game. Not only do scholarships provide collegiate athletes with a way to pay for an education, but they serve as a gateway to a career as a professional athlete in some cases.

http://go.uen.org/1mv (DN)

West Jordan Middle School Speaks Out Against Youth Violence

                Middle school students learn about a lot of things: history, language arts, math and, unfortunately, bullying. While most students go to school to gain an education, there are a few that use it as an opportunity to demean and belittle others. Fortunately, the majority of students are taking a stand against bullying and violence. At West Jordan Middle School, the students have been discussing ways to stop youth violence since the beginning of the school year. Most recently, they put their ideas on paper for the statewide challenge, “Do the Write Thing.”

http://go.uen.org/1mL (West Jordan Journal)

Law firm celebrates anniversary by volunteering to beautify school

                The law firm of Holland & Hart celebrated its 20th anniversary in Utah by undertaking a renovation and restoration service project at Kearns Junior High. The majority of the school, including the school grounds, was updated, cleaned and improved in preparation for the start of the next school year. The service was part of Gov. Gary Herbert’s “Year of Service in Utah” challenge.

http://go.uen.org/1mu (DN)

Research shows why starting with an A grade is better for students than earning it

                The idea that earning a good grade teaches life lessons about getting what you’re willing to work for may actually be working against students.

http://go.uen.org/1ms (DN)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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St. George Airport, Disneyland & Common Core; grounding effects of education reform St. George News op-ed by Ryan Schudde, a member of the group Return to Parental Rights

                …

                Enter Common Core.

                Too many of us parents have been distracted with the daily demands of life, as a result, the unelected education reformers have completely removed parents out of the education process. The curriculum decisions are made at the state and federal level instead of the local level.  Our founders installed the bedrock for learning when they established an education system based on a classical model. They taught and proved rather convincingly that the purpose of education was to gain knowledge and wisdom, and to learn how to think, not what to think. The classical philosophy that produced great minds like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin has now been replaced as progressivism rapidly increases it’s influence in schools. History and civics are being diminished to the point where what little history that is still being taught is watered down with half truths.  In addition, there is the testing or conform mechanism that has been implemented with little parental oversight.  The questions from the SAGE tests administered yearly are not permitted to be viewed by parents after the test is taken.

http://go.uen.org/1my

What Do Students Think About School Choice?

Wall Street Journal commentary

                New York Post Columnist Naomi Schaefer Riley discusses her new book on the Children’s Scholarship Fund.

http://go.uen.org/1mq

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NATIONAL NEWS

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Field test of Common Core exams went well, officials say Washington Post

                More than 1 million students in 14 states tested new Common Core standardized exams this spring, and the experiment went well, the test creators said Thursday.

                The field tests — administered to students in grades 3 through 11 in Maryland, D.C. and elsewhere — were meant to help fine-tune the online exams before they go live next year.

                “We think the field tests were a huge success,” said Jeff Nellhaus, director of policy, research and design at the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, one of two consortia of states that have developed new exams with the help of $360 million from the federal government. “They provide the data and experience we need now to implement the program next school year.”

                Nellhaus and others at PARCC will now spend several months analyzing the results and feedback from the pilot tests, deciding which test questions need to be changed or tweaked and what technical issues need to be addressed.

                There were no major mishaps or problems associated with the pilot test, officials said.

http://go.uen.org/1mA

Bid-rigging lawsuit throws $240M-a-year Common Core testing contract into limbo Fox

                The world’s largest education company could reap billions of dollars from Common Core testing, but for now its contract to assess kids in 14 states is in limbo.

                Pearson, the largest company in standardized testing, stands to take in as much as $240 million per year if it secures a contract to administer testing of millions of students. But the contract has been stalled by a New Mexico judge after a rival company complained the bidding process was set up to ensure Pearson won.

                The Washington-based American Institutes for Research initially protested the Pearson contract six months ago with a legal filing, claiming it didn’t even bother to bid for the contract for New Mexico schools because it believed the process was rigged. Pearson wound up being the only bidder for the contract for test delivery and item development under the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, a consortium of states jointly implementing Common Core.

http://go.uen.org/1mF

http://go.uen.org/1mG (Ed Week)

DC to Suspend Test Scores in Teacher Evaluations Associated Press

                WASHINGTON — The District of Columbia public school system, one of the first in the country to evaluate teachers using student test scores, announced Thursday that it would suspend the practice while students adjust to new tests based on Common Core standards.

                Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced the decision, saying officials are concerned it wouldn’t be fair to use the new tests until a baseline is established and any complications are worked out.

                The District has fired hundreds of teachers under the system, which was put in place by Henderson’s predecessor, Michelle Rhee. Test scores make up 35 percent of evaluations for those who teach students in the tested grades and subjects.

http://go.uen.org/1mD

State deal modifies teacher rating system (New York) Newsday

                ALBANY — Teachers who receive a poor evaluation because their students faltered in tests aligned to the new, tougher standards of the Common Core curriculum got a break Thursday in a deal struck by state leaders in Albany.

                Under the deal, teachers who receive “ineffective” or “developing” ratings solely because of their students’ test performance would be evaluated again, but without the test scores in the mix. The agreement applies to teachers in grades 3-8 where tests have already been aligned to the Common Core and is effective only for this school year and the 2014-15 school year.

                Gov. Andrew. M. Cuomo and legislative leaders worked with teachers unions to protect teachers from being unfairly penalized for what critics say was a rushed and uneven rollout of the national curriculum. Some student performance faltered in math and English tests aligned to the higher standards, and classroom progress in the tests counts for about 20 percent of teacher evaluations.

http://go.uen.org/1mH

School Superintendent Huppenthal acknowledges anonymous blog posts Some of John Huppenthal’s statements have been harsh. They have called people who receive public assistance “lazy pigs” and compared the work of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger to the actions of the Nazis.

(Phoenix) Arizona Republic

                He likened welfare recipients to “lazy pigs.”

                He blamed the Great Depression on Franklin D. Roosevelt and said FDR’s economic policies gave rise to Hitler.

                He said Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger was responsible for feeding 16 million African-Americans into abortion mills.

                He is state schools Superintendent John Huppenthal, and he admitted Wednesday that he made those comments, along with hundreds of more mundane musings, in anonymous posts on political blogs.

                The comments, under various pseudonyms including Falcon9 and Thucydides, have been appearing since 2011.

                Writers for the Democratic Blog for Arizona have been suggesting for several months that all signs pointed to Huppenthal as the author. Huppenthal remained silent on the accusation until Wednesday, when he spoke exclusively to The Arizona Republic.

http://go.uen.org/1mI

15 Tennessee Republicans call for Kevin Huffman’s resignation Nashville Tennessean

                Citing a “complete lack of trust” and alleging possible manipulation of test results, a group of 15 Tennessee Republicans has asked for the immediate resignation of state Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman in a letter sent to his boss, Gov. Bill Haslam, on Thursday.

                “Our trustworthiness has continued to be jeopardized on education reform,” reads the letter, signed by several tea party-affiliated House members and senators, including state Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lascassas, a U.S. Senate candidate, and Rep. Rick Womick, R-Rockvale, who has called for Huffman’s resignation before.

                “We feel a great source of that mistrust comes from the actions and general attitude of Commissioner Kevin Huffman and that is why we, the Tennessee legislators below, demand the immediate resignation of Commissioner Kevin Huffman for misguided leadership, dereliction of duty, and for failing to uphold and follow the laws of the state of Tennessee in this latest TCAP debacle we are currently witnessing.”

                Haslam spokesman Dave Smith accused the group of playing politics.

http://go.uen.org/1mJ

California lawmakers OK bill limiting high school football practices Los Angeles Times

                California lawmakers on Thursday approved legislation that restricts football practices in an attempt to reduce concussions and brain injuries to student athletes.

                The Senate sent Gov. Jerry Brown the measure that would prohibit high school and middle school football teams from holding full-contact practices during the off-season and bar them from conducting more than two full-contact practices per week during the season.

                AB 2127 by Assemblyman Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) also would prohibit teams from holding full-contact practices that exceed 90 minutes on a single day and would require an athlete who has sustained a head injury or concussion to complete a supervised return-to-play protocol of at least seven days.

                Nearly 4 million high school students nationwide suffer head injuries every year, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

http://go.uen.org/1mr

http://go.uen.org/1mB (Reuters)

Snow Days Don’t Sap Student Learning, Study Finds Education Week

                While the snowstorms and icy sidewalks of this past winter are fast disappearing from memory as hot weather moves in, a question remains: Did all those snow days hurt student learning?

                Perhaps not. A working paper published this month by the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that snow days are generally harmless.

http://go.uen.org/1mE

A copy of the paper

http://www.nber.org/papers/w20221

Actors, Athletes Speak Up for Girls’ Education Associated Press

                LOS ANGELES — Dozens of actors and athletes are joining a U.S. government effort to support girls’ education worldwide.

                Jennifer Garner, Susan Sarandon, Alicia Keys, Anne Hathaway, Tyler Perry and pro basketball player DeAndre Jordan are among the stars speaking out about the importance of education for girls around the globe in an online video for the new Let Girls Learn initiative.

http://go.uen.org/1mC

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CALENDAR

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USOE Calendar

                http://tinyurl.com/5x9oh9

UEN News

        http://www.uen.org

June 24:

                Education Task Force meeting

                9 a.m., 210 Senate Building

                http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2014/html/00003565.htm

                Legislative Management Audit Subcommittee meeting

                4 p.m., 250 State Capitol

                http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2014/html/00003549.htm

July 10:

                Utah State Charter School Board meeting

                250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

                http://goo.gl/IaQntl

July 15:

                Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

                1 p.m., 445 State Capitol

                http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2014&Com=APPEXE

July 16:

                Education Interim Committee meeting

                2 p.m., 30 House Building

                http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2014&Com=INTEDU

July 17:

                Utah State Board of Education meeting

                250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

                http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspx

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