Education News Roundup: June 24, 2014

Amelia Earhart Elementary Read-a-Thon 4

Parents joined city, state and education leaders at Amelia Earhart Elementary School in the Provo School District to read one-on-one with students.

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

Logan Herald Journal looks at the ESEA waiver issue.  (LHJ)
or a poll  (LHJ)

Topaz High School class of ’45 will hold their 69th high school reunion. Think about that one. Topaz High School 1945. ([Los Angeles] Rafu Shimpo)

Pediatricians prescribe reading aloud to your children.  (NYT)
and  (CSM)

Special ed faces tighter oversight.  (WaPo)
and  (AP)
and  (ED)

Study finds college still worth the investment despite higher prices.  (AP)
or a copy of the study



State Board of Education debates No Child Left Behind; Terryl Warner advocates for waiver

Topaz High School Class of 1945 to Celebrate 69th Year Reunion Classmates, family members to gather in Oakland on June 28.

Nebo School District students awarded prestigious national science awards

UHSAA picks Cluff to supervise officials

Police: Alpine teacher had child porn

Filming at Layton school highlights 1986 ‘miracle’ bombing

Nebo School District recognized for energy-efficient buildings

Carbon High School student attends SUU Health Career Exploration Camp


Common Core violates your right to privacy

Can realignment be used to guarantee fairness?
Preps » New system designed to move teams up and down in class, based on performance.

Approaching education

Legislator doesn’t know teachers’ issues

Should Principals Be Treated Like CEOs?
A new report argues that the way to attract and hold onto high quality school leaders is to give them more autonomy, administrative support, and a $100,000 raise.

Coping with the high costs of raising an autistic child


Pediatrics Group to Recommend Reading Aloud to Children From Birth

States’ special education services face tighter oversight by the Obama administration

Sex-Abuse-Prevention Efforts Urged for Students With Disabilities

Glenda Ritz, state education board clash over waiver

Board of Regents says Common Core stays

College Readiness Needs to Go Beyond Content to Skill Sets, Researcher Says

Is a College Degree Still Worth It? Study Says Yes

Parent-trigger efforts: At a crossroads? A standstill? A dead end?

Educators ‘beyond frustrated’ with FCC’s tech plans for schools


State Board of Education debates No Child Left Behind; Terryl Warner advocates for waiver

For the first time in several years, Utah might have to meet federal No Child Left Behind standards.
The Utah State Board of Education is considering not signing a waiver exempting the state from compliance with the standards, which have generated controversy.
Board member Terryl Warner is attempting to get supporters from Cache and Rich counties to urge the board to sign the waiver. Warner has been visiting with each school district in her region to discuss what is going on at the state level and the potential consequences of not signing the waiver.
“In 2010 under No Child Left Behind, most states realized that they were not going to make the lofty goals, and the lofty goals of 2013-14 is that every student would be proficient in core subjects by 2014. Clearly, we were not going to make that,” Warner explained to the Logan City School District Board of Education on June 16. “So we got a waiver for that. We use our own assessments. We use our own grading periods.”
According to Warner, if the board does not sign the waiver, the state will then have to follow the standards set up by No Child Left Behind, potentially having dire consequences for Title I schools, which have a high number of students qualified for free or reduced-price lunch.  (LHJ)

Poll  (LHJ)

Topaz High School Class of 1945 to Celebrate 69th Year Reunion Classmates, family members to gather in Oakland on June 28.

OAKLAND — Sixty-nine years ago, they received their diplomas from a high school in the Topaz, Utah concentration camp, the only high school class to spend its entire three and a half years behind barbed wire.
They were innocent teenage victims of a racist nation that uprooted some 120,000 Japanese Americans from their homes in California, Oregon, and Washington in the spring of 1942, following Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor.
“There was not one act of sabotage or espionage committed by loyal Japanese Americans before, during, or after World War II. It was because of racism and the failure of our government that we spent our entire high school careers behind barbed wire,” remarked retired Army Lt. Col. Bob Utsumi of Oakland, chairperson for the reunion.
Now, the Topaz High School Class of 1945 will gather again for a historic reunion. Members of the class and their families will journey from Northern and Southern California, Washington, and Maryland to reminisce and reflect on their lives since graduating almost 70 years ago. Class members and their offspring are invited to attend the 69th year Topaz High School Reunion at the Sequoyah Country Club in Oakland on Saturday, June 28.  ([Los Angeles] Rafu Shimpo)

Nebo School District students awarded prestigious national science awards

Students in the Nebo School District were honored with several awards during a National and State Science Awards Ceremony that took place this past May in Los Angeles.
On June 11, these awards were officially recognized by the Nebo School District Board of Education.  (DN)

UHSAA picks Cluff to supervise officials

The Utah High School Activities Association has selected Dixie State University director of Media Relations Jeff Cluff to be its new Supervisor of Officials starting July 14.
He replaces Mike Petty, who is retiring.
The Tooele High graduate has officiated high school baseball, basketball and football and has umpired collegiate and independent minor league baseball. He served as Supervisor of Officials for baseball in the southern Utah Officials Association and has been that group’s baseball assigner since 2007.  (SLT)

Police: Alpine teacher had child porn

Detectives with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office arrested a fifth-grade teacher on Friday in connection to a child pornography investigation.
According to a police report, detectives received information that an IP address assigned to 54-year-old Edward Greene of Spanish Fork uploaded child pornography on May 10, 23 and 25 to a Google account. According to the Westfield Elementary School website, Greene is a fifth-grade teacher at the school in Alpine School District.  (PDH)  (KSL)  (KSTU)

Filming at Layton school highlights 1986 ‘miracle’ bombing

LAYTON – As one of the 154 students and teachers who survived the Cokeville Elementary bombing in Wyoming on May 16, 1986, Brad Shane Nate didn’t know if he could relive the nightmare when he was invited to be in the film recreating the tragedy.
The movie is being directed by T.C. Christensen, known for his recent LDS-themed films, “17-Miracles,” and “Ephraim’s Rescue.”
The infamous Cokeville Elementary bombing was replayed out last week at Whitesides Elementary in Layton, where coincidently, the room Christensen picked for the filming just happened to be Room number 4, the same room number where the tragic events took place 28 years ago.  (OSE)

Nebo School District recognized for energy-efficient buildings

The EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification, which recognizes schools for energy-efficient buildings, was recently awarded to 39 buildings in the Nebo School District, the most of any school district in the state of Utah.  (DN)

Carbon High School student attends SUU Health Career Exploration Camp

The 16th annual Health Career Exploration Camp, sponsored by Southern Utah AHEC and the Utah Center for Rural Health, was recently held at Southern Utah University and attended by Kaycee Gilson of Carbon High School.  (Price Sun-Advocate)


Common Core violates your right to privacy
(Provo) Daily Herald commentary by columnist Pamela Openshaw

The NSA scandal involving your private information has rocked the nation. Your privacy, and the reputation it cradles, is your prized possession — your property, like your house and car. It is constitutionally protected. Your privacy could come under assault from another source: the data collection system connected to Common Core Standards, the federally endorsed and funded education program. Through data mining, your children could be used to get information about you.
Common Core is reportedly about achieving uniform national standards in education. For many states, the national standards lower rather than raise the bar. Utah’s standards fall both ways, depending on the subject. The potential to improve standards draws Utah teachers to Common Core, but there are better, safer ways to elevate education.
States choose their participation in the four key elements of Common Core’s reform, but federal money rewards them, and Utah bought into the data gathering process. Concerns about privacy revolve around both the data collected and its storage and use. Student tracking is connected to but is not directly required by Common Core. However, the organization pushing data collection, the Council of Chief State School Officers, is a co-holder of the Common Core Standards copyright, intertwining the two. States get federal stimulus money to “establish and use pre-K-through-college and career data systems to track progress.” The actual questions to be asked are still being developed, but suspicious parents, burned by past government overreach, fear the questions could be invasive and are mobilizing.

Can realignment be used to guarantee fairness?
Preps » New system designed to move teams up and down in class, based on performance.
Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist TOM WHARTON

At a recent Utah High School Activities Association board of trustees meeting where realignment was discussed, an administrator joked that the group should just divide the state into 70 classifications. That way, schools could finish first or second in every sport.
The facetious comment contained an element of truth. No matter how many classes are created or what new formula might be used to help less successful programs compete, the bottom line is simple. There are always going to be winners and losers. That’s just the nature of sport.
As someone who has covered prep sports for nearly 45 years, I think having six classes in football is ridiculous. Five for all sports is probably too many.

Approaching education
Deseret News letter from M. Donald Thomas

This debate over Common Core is a distraction to what needs to be done to establish education excellence. Utah can become a leader in education if it is willing to (1) establish a comprehensive early education program; (2) Provide an accountability program based on external educational effectiveness standards and audits; (3) Utilize a peer evaluation system based on criteria that includes effectiveness results; (4) Provide teachers with the freedom to personally select teaching methods, assessment measures, instructional materials and use of time. It is the best way to establish accountability. Our schools should operate free from arbitrary uniform standards, legislative control (other than to determine what is to be learned) and political interference. Then we can have schools of excellence with Utah as the exemplar in public education leadership.

Legislator doesn’t know teachers’ issues Salt Lake Tribune letter from Keith Homer

Lip-syncing the talking points of national anti-public teacher groups, Utah’s Rep. Jon Cox (“This teacher/legislator says it’s time to end tenure,” June 22) attacked the idea of tenure, dismissing any benefits through the single argument that there are less than ideal teachers on the job.
While claiming credibility as a teacher himself, Mr. Cox doesn’t seem to understand that Utah doesn’t grant tenure. As close as we get here is that a “contract employee,” meaning no longer provisional and with a Level 2 license, cannot be fired without cause and due process.
How can he expect academic freedom for hired professional educators if it isn’t explicitly contractual? Why must educators depend on the arbitrary and capricious motives of their administrators, who may or may not like your religion or politics, your look, or are wary of the fallout from a student who complains about your homework policy or the grade they received.

Should Principals Be Treated Like CEOs?
A new report argues that the way to attract and hold onto high quality school leaders is to give them more autonomy, administrative support, and a $100,000 raise.
Atlantic commentary by JACOBA URIST, a contributing journalist for NBC News

It’s a widely held belief that a talented leader is the key to a successful school. Research shows that highly effective principals put a student’s achievement gains two to seven months ahead in a single school year—while weak leaders slow a student’s progress by the same amount.
But how can schools attract and retain good principals? One education-policy think tank suggests that part of the answer may be making the role more like an executive and giving each principal a $100,000 salary raise.
A new report, released Tuesday by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, says too many U.S. principals lack the capacity to lead. After tracking five urban districts across the country—nearly all of which had tried to improve principal hiring practices in recent years—the study concluded that being a principal is a high-pressure, grueling, and underpaid job, where responsibilities significantly exceed authority. At a time of intensifying testing standards, when U.S. students are falling behind their international peers, schools need top-rate leaders more than ever. But inadequate salaries and limited power over key hiring decisions make the job an increasingly tougher sell.

A copy of the report  (Fordham)

Coping with the high costs of raising an autistic child Reuters commentary by columnist Chris Taylor

NEW YORK – When Linda Mercier’s son Sam was around two years old, she knew something wasn’t right.
Sam was becoming withdrawn, not speaking or playing with other kids, and focused on specific tasks like lining up his toys. Eventually the mystery was solved: He was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD.
That was the beginning of a very long road, one that has involved significant time, effort – and money, plenty of it. Hundreds of thousands of dollars so far, Mercier estimates, on tutors, therapists and lost wages.
The good news: Sam is now high-functioning, and in many respects a completely normal 13-year-old. The downside: The price tag to get to this point has been massive.


Pediatrics Group to Recommend Reading Aloud to Children From Birth New York Times

In between dispensing advice on breast-feeding and immunizations, doctors will tell parents to read aloud to their infants from birth, under a new policy that the American Academy of Pediatrics will announce on Tuesday.
With the increased recognition that an important part of brain development occurs within the first three years of a child’s life, and that reading to children enhances vocabulary and other important communication skills, the group, which represents 62,000 pediatricians across the country, is asking its members to become powerful advocates for reading aloud, every time a baby visits the doctor.
“It should be there each time we touch bases with children,” said Dr. Pamela High, who wrote the new policy. It recommends that doctors tell parents they should be “reading together as a daily fun family activity” from infancy.
This is the first time the academy — which has issued recommendations on how long mothers should nurse their babies and advises parents to keep children away from screens until they are at least 2 — has officially weighed in on early literacy education.  (CSM)

States’ special education services face tighter oversight by the Obama administration Washington Post

The Obama administration is tightening its oversight of the way states educate special-needs students, applying more-stringent criteria that drop the number of states in compliance with federal law from 41 to 18.
Under the new criteria, Maryland is among the states that no longer meet federal requirements, joining the District, which has been out of compliance for the past eight years. Virginia meets the demands of federal law under the new rules, as it did last year under the old accounting system.
The 1990 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that public schools meet the educational needs of students with disabilities who require special services to make progress in school. The law requires that students be given a “free and appropriate” education in the least restrictive environment. An estimated 7 million students between ages 3 and 21 fit that description.  (AP)  (ED)

Sex-Abuse-Prevention Efforts Urged for Students With Disabilities Education Week

As a sex educator who specializes in programs for youths with disabilities and their parents and teachers, Terri Couwenhoven is well acquainted with the anxiety that surrounds the subject of sexuality.
“Teachers are afraid of parents. They’re not sure how to say things; they’re afraid they’re going to make a mistake,” said Ms. Couwenhoven, who lives in Port Washington, Wis., and has a daughter with Down syndrome. Some parents are also uncomfortable raising issues of sexuality with their children, she said.
But ignoring the subject may increase the vulnerability of children with disabilities, who are statistically more likely to be victimized, researchers say. And advocacy groups are starting to coalesce around publicizing the sensitive issue and creating abuse-prevention strategies tailored to such children.
The silence around healthy sexual development, let alone sexual abuse, is a huge problem for this population, said Sandra Harrell, the director of the Accessing Safety Initiative, a project of the New York City-based Vera Institute of Justice. “It really just creates this environment where abuse is not only possible, it’s likely,” she said.

Glenda Ritz, state education board clash over waiver Indianapolis Star

Tensions and disagreements involving Indiana’s superintendent of public instruction, the governor and members of the State Board of Education returned Monday.
During two consecutive meetings on critical education policy issues, Glenda Ritz was rebuffed by Gov. Mike Pence and faced strong criticism from board members.
The discontent comes a week before Ritz must file amendments with the U.S. Department of Education in a bid to maintain Indiana’s waiver from some federal education requirements. Federal monitors have flagged numerous deficiencies in the state’s education reforms and continue to question the state department’s proposed fixes.
The meetings did shed light on how students and teachers will be affected by a revamped academic achievement exam.

Board of Regents says Common Core stays
Baton Rouge (LA) Advocate

The Louisiana Board of Regents told college and university leaders Monday that teacher training should continue to include Common Core standards despite Gov. Bobby Jindal’s move last week to shelve the academic guidelines.
In a memo to teacher preparation deans and others, a top official of the Regents noted that Common Core has been adopted by the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education as Louisiana’s content standards.
“Thus, universities will continue to integrate the Louisiana content standards into their curriculum,” according to an email from Jeanne Burns, associate commissioner of Teacher and Leadership Initiatives.
“Failure to do so can result in universities losing BESE approval of graduates becoming certified to teach in Louisiana,” Burns wrote to higher education leaders.

College Readiness Needs to Go Beyond Content to Skill Sets, Researcher Says Education Week

Colleges need more information about incoming students to get a better sense of whether they are truly ready for higher education—not just to be admitted, but also have the skills to successfully complete a degree.
That’s the argument that education professor David Conley makes in a new article published in the spring issue of the Journal of College Admission. Colleges, as well as students and teachers, would benefit from more and deeper measures of students’ ability to learn new skills before they enter college, writes Conley, a professor at the University of Oregon and the CEO of the Educational Policy Improvement Center.
Conley calls for a “profile-based approach” to readiness that would include assessments of students’ cognitive strategies, learning skills, and techniques, in addition to content. Students would submit ACT or SAT scores, along with ratings by teachers of their speaking, listening, research, and study skills, as well as their proficiency with technology, their persistence, and focus on goals.

Is a College Degree Still Worth It? Study Says Yes Associated Press

NEW YORK — Some comforting news for recent college graduates facing a tough job market and years of student loan payments: That college degree is still worth it.
Those with bachelor’s or associate’s degrees earn more money over their lifetime than those who skip college, even after factoring in the cost of higher education, according to a report released Tuesday by The Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The study, by economists Jaison R. Abel and Richard Deitz, also found that a degree is still a good investment for college grads whose jobs don’t require college. About a third of all college graduates remain underemployed for most of their careers.
A person with a bachelor’s degree can expect to earn about $1.2 million more, from ages 22 to 64, than someone with just a high school diploma, the report said. And someone with an associate’s degree will bring in $325,000 more than someone with a high school education. The study used data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A copy of the study

Parent-trigger efforts: At a crossroads? A standstill? A dead end?
Hechinger Report

Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Superintendent John Deasy last month lauded a group of parents who formed their own union in an attempt to improve their children’s South Los Angeles school. The district leader toured the K-5 campus and listened to children rap about cells and sing “Let It Be” before signing a partnership agreement he touted as a “remarkable model.”
The agreement at West Athens Elementary School marked either an historic moment when parents achieved reform months after suggesting they might invoke a controversial education law — or a misrepresented portrayal of a school improvement plan years in the making. It all depends on whom you ask.
To the parents in the union, the mere threat of California’s so-called “parent trigger” law forced administrators to pay attention to their concerns about insufficient safety and discipline plans, and years of low academic achievement. The law, formally called the Parent Empowerment Act of 2010, enables a majority of parents at a low-performing school to force a major overhaul through a petition campaign, with reform options ranging from replacing the principal and half the staff to converting the traditional public school into a charter.
Parent-trigger laws are now on the books in various forms in at least eight states and under consideration in several others. Determined to keep such laws from spreading, teachers unions and school administrators throughout the U.S. have been squashing attempts by legislators pitching new parent trigger bills. The law’s fiercest critics blast the parent trigger as a hostile approach that inherently pits parents against teachers, district officials, even other parents. They fear the law is actually part of a broader push to privatize schools and eliminate teacher contracts. And they question whether such a radical mechanism can actually work.

Educators ‘beyond frustrated’ with FCC’s tech plans for schools The Hill

Groups representing teachers, schools and libraries are frustrated with the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) new plan to boost their Wi-Fi access.
While the FCC is looking to put Wi-Fi in schools and libraries, the agency should also be working to expand traditional Internet services, 13 education groups said in a letter to regulators.
The groups said the FCC should not “make significant structural changes for the sake of modernization and risk jeopardizing the entire E-rate Program.”
Last week, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced a plan to funnel $2 billion over the next two years into Wi-Fi connections in schools and libraries. The money — which will be used to buy equipment and services — was generated by eliminating inefficiencies in the E-Rate program.
Groups representing educators and libraries say Wheeler’s focus on Wi-Fi is misguided, given that some schools and libraries struggle to get adequate wired Internet access.


USOE Calendar

UEN News

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

Legislative Management Audit Subcommittee meeting
4 p.m., 250 State Capitol

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

Related posts:

Comments are closed.