Education News Roundup: June 30, 2014

Chinese Dual-Immersion Kindergarten ClassEducation News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

Education’s OCR dismisses civil rights complaint filed against Salt Lake District.
http://go.uen.org/1pv (SLT)

UEA President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh says standardized testing will be an issue at NEA this year.
http://go.uen.org/1qb (CVD)

China Daily interviews Sen. Stephenson on dual immersion in Utah.
http://go.uen.org/1qc (China Daily)

Rep. Snow discusses the State Board election process.
http://go.uen.org/1pO (SGS)

New York Times looks at Common Core math standards.
http://go.uen.org/1po (NYT)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

Salt Lake City schools discrimination complaint dismissed Salt Lake City » School board member’s claim of discrimination is unfounded, rules chief attorney.

Utah educator: standardized testing likely a big issue at NEA Convention

 A trip to China changes a state’s education

 Davis concurrent enrollment saves millions

Utahns with dyslexia rally for support of enhanced teacher training

USU joins effort to attract Native American students to STEM majors

Program gets Utah preschoolers started on computers

Laura Bush: Citizens should hold government accountable In keynote address, former first lady praised citizens holding government accountable.

Teacher wants monument to first integrated Layton school

Independence High School principal taking new post

Four earn scholarships for pioneer presentations

YMCA serving summer lunches to Ogden-area kids

Family Healthcare opens today in Hurricane

Texting helps, not hinders children’s grammar and spelling, study says

The answer to better schools in America is better teachers

No treats for you! School cracks down on birthday celebrations

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Stop taxing Social Security benefits

School boards don’t do takeaways

Learn more about State Board of Education

No Difference Between Serving Parents and Children

Utah’s Parents Denied Due Diligence and Due Process

Students Should be Central to School Board Decisions

Board must do what’s best for students

Thank Utah teachers, and then get them better pay

Think you’re stuck with Common Core? Think private school is too expensive? Think again

Tenure protects teachers’ speech rights

Utah has poor record for funding schools

The Republican debate on Common Core is over

How to end homework for moms

NATION

Math Under Common Core Has Even Parents Stumbling

Parents, teachers, education board members ask Oklahoma state Supreme Court to throw out repeal of Common Core A petition filed with Oklahoma Supreme Court contends a law repealing Common Core standards is unconstitutional.

U.S. states greet new fiscal year with more spending, school funding

Harris v. Quinn ruling: Unions hit, but not fatally, by SCOTUS

States Encourage Bilingualism with Diploma Seals

Schools Weigh Expanding Free Meals to All Students

‘Miscommunications’ followed Newtown school shooting, parents say

Rocketship Education changes course, slows expansion

France Retreats on Teaching Boy-Girl Equality

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UTAH NEWS

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Salt Lake City schools discrimination complaint dismissed Salt Lake City » School board member’s claim of discrimination is unfounded, rules chief attorney.

The federal government has dismissed a complaint filed by a Salt Lake City School District board member alleging the district wrongly excluded minority parents from the principal-hiring process at a west-side school.

In his original complaint filed in May, board member Michael Clara alleged the district left parents out of the hiring of a principal at Parkview Elementary in violation of its own practices and agreements. He claimed it was part of a larger pattern of racism on the part of district leaders.

District spokesman Jason Olsen, however, said at the time that district leaders did not believe they had committed any violations. That was partly because the school is in a turnaround program that uses a different hiring process than the one used at other district schools.

This week, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights agreed with the district.

http://go.uen.org/1pv (SLT)

Utah educator: standardized testing likely a big issue at NEA Convention

SALT LAKE CITY – Over-testing of public school students is likely to be among the top issues at the National Education Association annual meeting and representative assembly, in session now in Denver.

Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, president of the Utah Education Association, said standardized testing in reading and writing, math and science is so frequent that it’s stressing students out.

“Kids are miserable,” she said. “In this last round of assessments that we had here in Utah, you had kids in tears, teachers frustrated at the lack of support for technological infrastructure to support the tests being given on computer.”

http://go.uen.org/1qb (CVD)

A trip to China changes a state’s education

It all began with a trip to China in 2006. As a result, today 13,000 students in the state of Utah in grades K-12 speak Mandarin, the highest ratio in the US population.

And the person who made that trip and then changed education profoundly in Utah and potentially in the United States is Howard Stephenson, a Utah state Senator since 1992.

“I was stunned by the higher knowledge level of the Chinese high school and college students during my conversations with them. Their dream for better life, their drive and ambition, their depth of world knowledge gave me such an impression that as a state senator, I was deeply concerned about our education system after I talked to them,” said Stephenson in a recent interview with China Daily.

“Our (American) children would never grow up and become world leaders if we do not take initiative to learn other languages and cultures immediately, especially Chinese language; and we as a country would not sustain our world leader position if our next generation does not step up.”

http://go.uen.org/1qc (China Daily)

Davis concurrent enrollment saves millions

FARMINGTON – Not only was the Davis School District congratulating its recent high school graduates this month, but celebrating the fact that the concurrent enrollment credits earned by those students resulted in tuition savings of over $6.4 million in 2013.

In addition, 169 Davis students earned Weber State University’s Edge Scholarship, for students who complete 12 credit hours of WSU concurrent enrollment classes while in high school and earning a minimum 3.0 GPA, which qualifies them for a $1,500 tuition waiver.

For many kids, this is just the tipping point, highlighted Curriculum Supervisor Holly Handy at a recent Davis school board workshop.

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

Utahns with dyslexia rally for support of enhanced teacher training

SALT LAKE CITY — Trevor Alvord had no idea he was dyslexic until he graduated high school.

About one in five people is dyslexic, according to the National Institutes of Health, but many live without a diagnosis, which is sometimes difficult to obtain. And without a diagnosis, the proper interventions cannot be put into effect, causing set-backs in learning and discomfort in educational settings.

Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, hopes to change the outlook for dyslexic Utah children.

He plans to back a bill that would provide school districts in Utah with funding to better train teachers to identify and help treat dyslexia.

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

http://go.uen.org/1qd (KSL)

USU joins effort to attract Native American students to STEM majors

Utah State University will join eight other higher education institutions in the West to form a network that hopes to increase the number of American Indians applying for and completing degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors.

http://go.uen.org/1pL (LHJ)

Program gets Utah preschoolers started on computers

Talmage Thurgood gets up early, and goes to preschool — in his living room. The 5-year-old turns on his computer, signs on to UPSTART, and lessons begin.

UPSTART (Utah Preparing Students Today for a Rewarding Tomorrow) is an in-home, online preschool program designed to get children ready for kindergarten. The focus of the program is reading, but there are also math and science activities.

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

Laura Bush: Citizens should hold government accountable In keynote address, former first lady praised citizens holding government accountable.

Provo • Laura Bush got used to seeing her family caricatured and criticized during the eight years she spent in the White House with her husband.

While addressing a reverent audience at Brigham Young University on Sunday, she didn’t mention anything about George W. Bush being portrayed as Clueless George by a certain Utah editorial cartoonist who once harshly lampooned the president as a war monkey for the way he led the nation into the Iraq War.

But the former first lady affirmed the importance of citizens voicing criticism to hold their government accountable.

Bush recounted her time as a president’s wife and her efforts to establish her identity as first lady. The former librarian and schoolteacher embraced the causes of literacy, education, women’s rights and global health.

“Every child in America should learn to read. Literacy is an essential foundation for democracy. I know books have power not just to move individuals but to shape our journey as a nation,” she said, citing authors such as Harper Lee and Harriet Beecher Stowe.

http://go.uen.org/1pw (SLT)

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

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

http://go.uen.org/1pT (KTVX)

http://go.uen.org/1pU (KSL)

Teacher wants monument to first integrated Layton school

LAYTON — Ruby Price, said to be Utah’s first African-American teacher, who taught at Verdeland Park Elementary School in Layton, wants a monument built to the school.

Price, 98, began teaching in Brigham City in 1950 and later taught at Verdeland Park Elementary as a first grade teacher beginning in 1963. Verdeland Park was Davis County’s first school to integrate its staff.

The school was torn down in the 1970s. Layton City Hall and the Layton Commons Park now stand on the space it once occupied.

A meeting to discuss the monument will be held July 12, 11a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Layton Library.

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

Independence High School principal taking new post

OREM — Rosanna Weeks-Ungerman is adding a new portion to her job description — that of packing boxes for a long-distance move. The principal of Independence High School is moving on, heading to take a similar post at Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts, near St. George. She begins there on July 7.

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

Four earn scholarships for pioneer presentations

OREM — Four recently graduated high school students will have an easier time getting through their first year of college thanks to scholarships awarded by the Mount Timpanogos chapter of the Sons of Utah Pioneers.

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

YMCA serving summer lunches to Ogden-area kids

SALT LAKE CITY — The YMCA of Northern Utah received a $50,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation to help feed hungry children.

The free Summer Food Program aims to help combat child hunger by combining nutritious meals and snacks to children ages 4 through 14. In addition, the program provides fun learning enrichment activities to help kids stay active.

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

Family Healthcare opens today in Hurricane

HURRICANE – Family Healthcare, a community health center and non-profit corporation, will open a school-based health center at the Hurricane Middle School, 395 N. 200 West in Hurricane on Monday.

This primary care facility will provide a patient-centered medical home to all residents of the Hurricane Valley area on a year-round basis. It is the second school-based health center in Washington County and exemplifies the powerful partnership between the Washington County School District, Intermountain Healthcare’s Community Care Foundation and Family Healthcare. The partnership provides health care to both the insured and uninsured residents of Hurricane and the surrounding area.

http://go.uen.org/1pN (SGS)

Texting helps, not hinders children’s grammar and spelling, study says

Children and teenagers using “text speak” while texting score higher on spelling and grammar tests than those who don’t, a study says.

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

The answer to better schools in America is better teachers

With baby boomers heading into retirement, a reported two million to three million K-12 teaching positions will open up in the next 10 years. This raises the question: Who should fill these positions? And how qualified should they be?

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

No treats for you! School cracks down on birthday celebrations

A school in Washington state has upped the ante on fighting childhood obesity by strictly regulating birthday and holiday treats in the classroom.

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

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Stop taxing Social Security benefits

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

Utah should stop taxing the benefits of Social Security residents in our state. To make up the $63 million that would be lost by ending taxes on Social Security, legislators can enact a modest raise in the state’s corporate tax, which is already low at 5 percent. (This newspaper has earlier editorialized for that position).

We appreciate the interest that Top of Utah legislator state Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, has in this issue. In researching the issue, Weiler discovered that Utah is only one of 13 states that tax Social Security benefits. Utah likes to posit itself as a state that is governed in a fiscally conservative manner. Adding tax responsibilities to the backs of Social Security recipients is not fiscally conservative, in our opinion.

Unfortunately, Weiler does not seem ready to push for entirely getting rid of Utah’s taxing Social Security benefits. Citing the potential loss of $63 million in taxes, he wants to take a smaller approach.

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

School boards don’t do takeaways

Deseret News commentary by columnist John Florez

The late U.S. Sen. S.I. Hayakawa had it right when he said that in government you don’t need to know how to do takeaways, because you only do addition. It seems the same holds true for Utah state government, including school districts.

Have you noticed how government agencies seldom, if ever, eliminate programs that are no longer needed, or cut spending, or give tax money back? Lawmakers who are supposed to make sure our government works in the taxpayers’ interests fall into the same trap. Often, legislative budget hearings become no more than, “What did we give them last year? We’ll add a little more this year.” Seldom do they use their power to hold oversight hearings to determine if a department is meeting its legislative intent. It would be useful if some would ask department directors if their budgets were focused on meeting current needs or yesterday’s good intentions.

School boards seem especially adept at escaping public scrutiny, probably because of the multiple bureaucratic boards and committees that insulate the decision-makers from blame.

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

Learn more about State Board of Education (St. George) Spectrum op-ed by Rep. Lowry Snow

I recently spoke to a gathering of citizens and fielded questions on several issues and topics dealing with state government. One question I was asked related to the academic standards for Utah’s public education. Before I answered, I asked the group this question: Who can tell me which government body in our state has responsibility for setting those academic standards for our public schools? Very few hands went up. The answer is the State Board of Education. And our current board representative is Barbara Corry in Cedar City, who represents both Iron and Washington counties.

Very few citizens are knowledgeable about our state’s education board. The fact is, the board has been granted significant authority with respect to setting academic standards and policy that affect the quality of education for our children. As informed citizens, we need to become more knowledgeable about the role of the board in our children’s education.

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

No Difference Between Serving Parents and Children Utah PoliticoHub commentary by Utah State Board of Education Member DEBRA ROBERTS

For me the question as stated has neither legal nor logical weight.

I acknowledge that sometimes the system shifts too far from parents. A good example may be those former attendance policies created by local districts that prohibited parents from removing their children from school more than a certain number of days without a doctor’s signature. Those policies infringed on parental rights. At the same time, if a parent removes their child for a length of time, it is their responsibility to help that child catch up with the work they have missed — the consequences of the child being gone become the responsibility of the parent and the child, not the system.

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

Utah’s Parents Denied Due Diligence and Due Process Utah PoliticoHub commentary by NORMAN JACKSON

Utah’s State Board of Education adopted the Federal Common Core State Standards Initiative before they, or anyone else knew, what the Standards would be. The Federal curriculum, assessments and other materials had not been written and some are still being drafted. We, and our legislators, had no notice of this action, and have no voice in the ongoing production of Common Core. This procedure has usurped basic education policy and content decisions from parents and our elected representatives. The National takeover rolls on despite the fact that most conservative legislators polled at the 2012 Republican Party Utah State Convention voiced opposition to Common Core’s federal mandates. Further, these mandates are contrary to the Tenth Amendment of the U. S. Constitution which reserves control over education to the states and the people.

Here is the factual background and timeline for the creation and progress of Common Core. Education “reformers” have worked for decades to impose national education standards.

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

Students Should be Central to School Board Decisions Utah PoliticoHub commentary by JENNIFER BOEHME

Students should be at the center of every decision made by a state or local school board. Educating students and preparing them to be productive members of society should be at the forefront of the work of school boards. School boards should ensure that all students have the opportunity to learn from master educators.

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

Board must do what’s best for students

Utah PoliticoHub commentary by JOSHUA BARON

The Utah Constitution requires the State Board of Education to serve the students who participate in the public education system even if that service conflicts with the preferences of their parents.

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

Thank Utah teachers, and then get them better pay Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Sheryl Allen, a former Utah state legislator from Davis County

Rep. Jon Cox, a tenured teacher, has presented a good argument for ending tenure (“This teacher/legislator says it’s time to end tenure,” June 22). The topic merits discussion by the Legislature and boards of education.

However, there should be no debate about his statement that legislators should prioritize increasing teacher pay to reward our best instructors. Both he and I would choose a great teacher over state-of-the art technology.

Our schools are hurting. It is not because we have less skilled teachers.

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

Think you’re stuck with Common Core? Think private school is too expensive? Think again St. George News advertorial

ST. GEORGE – The Utah Office of Education adopted Common Core curriculum in 2010, called the core curriculum standards in the state’s code, with effective implementation beginning this past school year. For parents who do not embrace Common Core, alternatives to public education are largely limited to home-schooling or private school, which can sometimes prove costly. But there are options for parents in choosing their children’s education, as well as ways to manage and meet tuition obligations.

One of those options in Washington County is Valor Hall Academy, a private nonprofit nondenominational Christian elementary school – pre-K through eighth grade, and extended-day pre-K and Kindergarden options. The school offers scholarship opportunities, discounts and installment payment programs, and options for parents to invest time into the school process to satisfy part of the tuition.

The thing parents need to know, Valor Hall Director Tena Raleigh said, is they have choices in their children’s education.

“We want to empower parents,” she said.

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

Tenure protects teachers’ speech rights

Salt Lake Tribune letter from Paul Tayler

In his article in Sunday’s opinion page (“This teacher/legislator says its time to end tenure,” June 22), Jon Cox proposes that tenure for the teaching profession be eliminated. His proposal is well reasoned, but the basic assumption made in the piece is questionable, as is therefore the proposal. The assumption made that a primary function of tenure is to protect lousy teachers, which is incorrect. The purpose of tenure is to guarantee freedom of speech and due process for the faculty member, rights which are constitutionally protected for all American citizens.

Tenure protects the faculty member who has proven him/herself in a probationary period from political pressures, nepotism, oligarchic environments, authoritarian rule and related problems. It does not protect the inept teacher, even if he/she somehow passes probation, as a tenured faculty can still be fired for cause. And being incompetent is certainly justifiable cause. Let’s be careful what we do when it affects the constitutional rights of fellow American citizens especially in the critical arena of education.

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

Utah has poor record for funding schools Salt Lake Tribune letter from Fred Ash

Again, Rep. Ken Ivory pounds the pulpit with “Utah is more than $2.5 billion below average in per-pupil funding for education because [of federal lands].”

Pretend that Utah’s federal lands do not exist. What remains is a state of about 35,550 square miles. There are four other states of about that same size. Those states rank 4th, 9th, 11th and 15th in percent of personal income going to education, while Utah ranks only about 30th.

About 20 years ago Utah ranked about 10th in the nation in effort to fund public education, but since then our Legislature has consistently made changes that have resulted in less effort to fund public education.

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

The Republican debate on Common Core is over Vox commentary by columnist Libby Nelson

The big political narrative around the Common Core this summer is that the national education standards pit Republicans against Republicans.

Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and the Chamber of Commerce support the standards. The Tea Party decries them as “Obamacore.” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a onetime supporter of the standards, has turned against them; Jindal’s top education official, a high-profile education reformer, still supports them.

But the Pew Research Center’s recent profile of American political views destroys the assumption that these divides mean the Common Core is contentious among Republican voters. Business-friendly conservatives (the establishment base) and cultural conservatives (the tea party base) who know about the standards oppose them at identical levels.

Supporters might hope otherwise, but the fight in the Republican Party is over and the standards have lost.

http://go.uen.org/1q7

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/1q8 (Pew)

How to end homework for moms

Washington Post commentary by columnist JAY MATHEWS

My worst memory of homework was the Tootsie Roll log cabin project our daughter did for what otherwise seemed a well-run elementary school in Scarsdale, N.Y. All parents have had such moments. They reappear in nightmares long after the kid has gotten a job and a health plan and doesn’t need our help with anything anymore.

Mel Riddile knows this and wants to prevent such occurrences. Riddile is a former national high school principal of the year. He led both J.E.B. Stuart High School in Fairfax County and T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria and has much to say about the homework complaints that pour into me from readers.

“I had a particular pet peeve regarding poster board projects, which I referred to as more work for middle-class moms,” Riddile said. “Working in a high-poverty school, it was easy to see how students, who either could not afford or could not get parental help to construct elaborate poster board projects, were penalized both emotionally and academically for what amounted to glorified busywork.”

“I promised our teachers that, if I saw a student entering the building carrying poster board, I would follow that student to the classroom” for a conversation with the teacher, he said.

Riddile objects to the uselessness of such exercises.

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

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NATIONAL NEWS

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Math Under Common Core Has Even Parents Stumbling New York Times

GREENWELL SPRINGS, La. — Rebekah and Kevin Nelams moved to their modest brick home in this suburb of Baton Rouge seven years ago because it has one of the top-performing public school districts in the state. But starting this fall, Ms. Nelams plans to home-school the couple’s four elementary-age children.

The main reason: the methods that are being used for teaching math under the Common Core, a set of academic standards adopted by more than 40 states.

Ms. Nelams said she did not recognize the approaches her children, ages 7 to 10, were being asked to use on math work sheets. They were frustrated by the pictures, dots and sheer number of steps needed to solve some problems. Her husband, who is a pipe designer for petroleum products at an engineering firm, once had to watch a YouTube video before he could help their fifth-grade son with his division homework.

“They say this is rigorous because it teaches them higher thinking,” Ms. Nelams said. “But it just looks tedious.”

Across the country, parents who once conceded that their homework expertise petered out by high school trigonometry are now feeling helpless when confronted with first-grade work sheets.

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

Parents, teachers, education board members ask Oklahoma state Supreme Court to throw out repeal of Common Core A petition filed with Oklahoma Supreme Court contends a law repealing Common Core standards is unconstitutional.

(Oklahoma City) Oklahoman

Parents, teachers and members of the Oklahoma Board of Education asked the state Supreme Court Wednesday to throw out a law repealing Common Core academic standards.

Under House Bill 3399, the state Board of Education would draft new standards, but the Legislature would have the power to change those standards as it sees fit.

This encroaches on the constitutional authority of the board and violates the constitutional principal of separation of powers, the petition says.

http://go.uen.org/1q9

U.S. states greet new fiscal year with more spending, school funding Reuters

WASHINGTON – Days before most U.S. states’ new fiscal year begins, 40 states have passed budgets that boost spending and dedicate extra funding primarily for education, according to a brief released on Friday by the National Association of State Budget Officers.

But in many states spending increases and tax cuts are not as dramatic as their governors proposed this winter, due to softer-than-expected revenue, NASBO found. Typically, governors suggest budgets in January that legislatures use as starting points to negotiate.

States have primarily increased education funds by changing school finance formulas, raising amounts for early education, and tying higher education funding to performance measures, it found.

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

http://go.uen.org/1q5 (Stateline)

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/1pZ (NASBO)

Harris v. Quinn ruling: Unions hit, but not fatally, by SCOTUS Politico

The conservative majority on the Supreme Court on Monday signaled its distaste for state laws requiring public-sector workers to pay union dues — but stopped short of sweeping them away, handing organized labor a sweet but potentially short-lived victory.

By a 5-4 vote, the justices ruled in Harris v. Quinn that eight home health care workers in Illinois cannot be compelled to pay dues to a union they don’t wish to join. Illinois is one of 26 states that require public sector workers to pay dues to the unions that negotiate their contracts and represent them in grievances, even if the employees find the union’s advocacy work distasteful.

Union leaders had feared that the justices might strike down those state laws as unconstitutional. The justices did not go that far. They issued a more narrow ruling that the home health care workers at issue in the case are not “full-fledged public employees” because they are hired and fired by individual patients and work in private homes, though they are paid in part by the state, via Medicaid.

Because they’re not truly state employees, the justices decided workers did not have to pay union dues.

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

http://go.uen.org/1pW (USAT)

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

A copy of the ruling

http://go.uen.org/1ps (U.S. Supreme Court)

States Encourage Bilingualism with Diploma Seals

Associated Press

PORTLAND, Ore. — When Rachel Martinez-Regan graduated from Corvallis High School this month, her diploma had a little something extra – an embossed seal certifying that she is bilingual.

She is one of more than a dozen students at the Oregon high school who earned the distinction based on their proficiency in English and Spanish. The honor is part of a pilot project led by several school districts in the state with dual-language programs, and the Oregon Department of Education plans to make the bilingual seals available statewide next year.

California, New Mexico, Washington, Illinois and Louisiana are among the other states that are recognizing and rewarding bilingual education.

http://go.uen.org/1q2

 Schools Weigh Expanding Free Meals to All Students

Education Week

Schools will have more time to decide if they want to take advantage of a new federal provision that would allow them to provide free meals to all students after the U.S. Department of Agriculture extended the deadline to opt in from June 30 to Aug. 31.

The extra time will allow district leaders and nutrition staff members to weigh the benefits of participation in what is known as the community-eligibility provision and to prepare for the transition, Cynthia Long, the USDA’s deputy administrator for child-nutrition programs, wrote in a June 12 letter to state nutrition directors.

The extension comes as some cities are wavering on whether to take advantage of the new opportunity to expand their free meals programs. Notably, members of New York’s city council had pushed to expand universal free meals to all of the city’s schools through the community-eligibility provision. But a budget compromise last week with Mayor Bill de Blasio instead included a plan to pilot universal free meals in all the district’s middle schools.

http://go.uen.org/1q4

‘Miscommunications’ followed Newtown school shooting, parents say

Reuters

HARTFORD Conn. – Parents of some of the 20 first graders shot dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School told a gubernatorial commission on Friday there were “serious miscommunications” among local, state and federal authorities during the 2012 attack and in its aftermath.

The massacre of 26 people at the Newtown, Connecticut school, where the lone gunman Adam Lanza, 20, killed himself as police approached, was one of the worst school shootings in U.S. history. He had killed his mother before traveling to the school.

“It was chaotic, there was confusion and it was agonizing for parents not to know what was happening for long periods of time,” said David Wheeler, father of six-year-old Ben Wheeler, who was among the victims.

He spoke by teleconference to the Sandy Hook School Advisory Commission, a 16-member panel of experts created by Governor Dannel Malloy to review current policy and make recommendations about school safety, mental health, and gun violence prevention.

http://go.uen.org/1q0

http://go.uen.org/1q3 (AP)

Rocketship Education changes course, slows expansion

San Jose (CA) Mercury News

SAN JOSE — Rocketship Education shot to national prominence by operating charter schools that produced stellar test scores from poor and immigrant students with a model focused on high-energy teaching, computerized learning and frequent test-taking.

But eight years after its first school opened in a downtown San Jose church, Rocketship has scaled back its ambitious goal of enrolling 1 million students in 50 cities — which would have put it on the same scale as New York City’s school district, the nation’s largest.

Its ambitions have drawn fire from neighbors, parents, teachers unions and school districts, who charge that adding campuses will hurt traditional public schools and who have bested Rocketship in court.

Perhaps even more devastating for this darling of charter-school boosters is that its vaunted test scores have plummeted.

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

France Retreats on Teaching Boy-Girl Equality

Associated Press

PARIS — France is replacing its plan to teach children the “ABCD of equality” between boys and girls after protests by some parents who feared it was a stealth effort to erase gender differences.

The Education Ministry on Monday said it would replace the plan with new training for teachers when the new school year begins in September. From then, teachers will be able to decide how to broach the topic, especially with the youngest students in preschool.

The initial plan was essentially an experiment with 275 schools, and it came under protest from Roman Catholic leaders, the French far right, and some parents groups.

http://go.uen.org/1q1

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CALENDAR

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USOE Calendar

http://www.schools.utah.gov/main/CALENDAR.aspx

UEN News

http://www.uen.org

July 10:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

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

4 p.m. 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

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