Education News Roundup: July 9, 2014

Utah's FY 2015 Budget

Utah’s FY 2015 Budget

Today’s Top Picks:

Governor’s Education Excellence Commission discusses school finance in Utah.
http://go.uen.org/1tD (KUTV)

If South Jordan leaves Jordan School District, will West Jordan go, too?
http://go.uen.org/1ta (SLT)

Congratulations to new South Summit Superintendent Shad E. Sorenson.
http://go.uen.org/1te (DN)

USU and Fidelity are working on financial literacy in Utah.
http://go.uen.org/1tc (SLT)

National, student financial literacy is about average among OECD countries.
http://go.uen.org/1t5 (USN&WR)
and http://go.uen.org/1t6 (WSJ)
and http://go.uen.org/1t7 (Financial Times)
and http://go.uen.org/1tv (Ed Week)
and http://go.uen.org/1ts (AP)
or a copy of the report
http://go.uen.org/1t8 (OECD)
or just the U.S. results
http://go.uen.org/1t9 (NCES)

Signs of the apocalypse update: Today’s headline in the opinion section of the Wall Street Journal: “Hooray for Arne Duncan!”
http://go.uen.org/1sZ (WSJ)
and http://go.uen.org/1t0 (WSJ)

And a sign of a personal apocalypse update: Are you smarter than an Upper East Side kindergartener in New York? Take the test to find out.
http://go.uen.org/1tq (USAT)
or sample questions from the quiz:
http://go.uen.org/1tr (DNAinfo New York)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Gov. Herbert “Not Worried” About Education Funding Challenges

Second city considers split from Jordan School District West Jordan, along with South Jordan, considers breaking away from the school district after a previous pricey split.

New superintendent named for South Summit District

Report Finds Shortage of Workers with STEM Skills

Financially literate? Utah kids sharpen skills over summer Education » Teens teach peers about money.

Geeks in training: Utah group to host technology camp for children, teens

Teachers creatively integrate science and art

Millcreek teacher continues to pursue educational goals

Conservation groups fire off letter over basin plants

Athletes to register online

Utah woman to be chief of national teacher’s union

PCSD teacher elected for national organization Wanda Taylor named President-Elect of healthy living association

Human resources manager takes on statewide responsibility Tim McConnell named secretary of human resources association

Student of the Week: Connor Olsen

Nebo School District presents State and National Science Awards

Nebo School District celebrates achieving the ENERGY STAR Recognition Award

OPINION & COMMENTARY

In the heat of the night

Christel Swasey on Common Core

Core teaching

Teaching about food

What’s Obama’s Problem With School Choice?

Hooray for Arne Duncan!

How Business Leaders Can Strengthen American Education

Join National Campaign to Put Focus of Public Education on Student Learning

The Fallacy of ‘Balanced Literacy

The Chartered Course: Can Private School Choice Proponents Learn from the Charter School Sector?

NATION

U.S. Teens Hold Their Own in Financial Education Nearly 1 in 10 American students scored as top performers on the international exam.

Connecting school spending and student achievement

Abundance of School Choice Doesn’t Guarantee Access, Quality

Growing number of kindergarteners are Hispanic

Kansas Won’t Release Data from Reading, Math Tests

Glenda Ritz: State Board wants to undermine my authority

School Turnarounds Proving Heavy Lift for Waiver States Many still struggling despite NCLB leeway

6th graders ditch traditional lessons to create video game businesses

Elite NYC kindergarten admissions test is really hard

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UTAH NEWS
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Gov. Herbert “Not Worried” About Education Funding Challenges

A briefing at the governor’s commission on educational excellence emphasized the grim future for Utah schools that are facing rising enrollment.
Utah schools already have the lowest per pupil spending in the nation, in part because they get a declining share of the state budget.
“I’m not worried. We have been able to put new money into education. ”
In the last three years Utah school spending has grown $840 million dollars, Governor Herbert says, “that’s because of our prosperous economy.”
Schools may be getting a smaller share of the pie, but it is a bigger pie according to Gov. Herbert.
http://go.uen.org/1tD (KUTV)

Second city considers split from Jordan School District
West Jordan, along with South Jordan, considers breaking away from the school district after a previous pricey split.

West Jordan has joined South Jordan in considering breaking from the Jordan School District, already reduced by a previous split that cost Salt Lake County taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.
The West Jordan City Council plans to discuss and possibly vote Wednesday night on pursuing a feasibility study looking into leaving the district, where residents rejected a $495 million bond last year.
The city of South Jordan has already ordered its own study amid concerns that the district isn’t keeping pace with that city’s rapid growth.
Unlike South Jordan, however, West Jordan isn’t interested in leaving because of dissatisfaction with the district, said Chris McConnehey, a West Jordan city councilman. Rather, West Jordan is only looking into it because of the threats from South Jordan.
http://go.uen.org/1ta (SLT)

New superintendent named for South Summit District

KAMAS — The South Summit School Board has announced the appointment of Shad E. Sorenson as district superintendent of South Summit School District.
Sorenson is currently the dean of students and associate vice president for student life at Utah Valley University. He has been actively involved in the Utah K-16 Alliance focusing on bridging comprehensive counseling services and student transition between public and post-high school education.
http://go.uen.org/1te (DN)

Report Finds Shortage of Workers with STEM Skills

A new national report shows that there is a shortage of workers with developed skills in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The Brookings Institution report analyzed how long job vacancies were posted last year for various occupations. The study’s author Jonathan Rothwell says STEM jobs took the longest to fill everywhere across the country, indicating difficulty finding workers with adequate skills.
“These are high demand skills that need to be fostered, and I hope that reinforces efforts at the K-12 level to make improvements in math and science education a priority,” Rothwell says. “When it comes to postsecondary education, the general trend in the United States is that we need to do a better job of graduating people into these fields.”
Utah had an easier time finding STEM workers than a lot of other areas.
http://go.uen.org/1tk (KUER)

Financially literate? Utah kids sharpen skills over summer
Education » Teens teach peers about money.

American Fork • When the heat takes over and school’s out for summer, many kids long to spend the day splashing, carefree in pools.
More than 50 Utah County teens, however, chose a different diversion this week: learning financial literacy in an air-conditioned, corporate conference room.
“I actually wanted to come because I wanted to learn about how to save my money,” said Gabriela Pedroza, who will be a freshman at Provo High in the fall. “In the future, if you want to go to college, you can use that money.”
Though Utah already ranks high when it comes to financial literacy, Fidelity Investments and Utah State University (USU) Extension 4-H launched a new Money Mentors program this summer to try to boost that knowledge even further. In May, more than 60 Utah teens from 11 counties trained in the subject, and this summer, they’re teaching their peers across the state what they learned.
http://go.uen.org/1tc (SLT)

Geeks in training: Utah group to host technology camp for children, teens

Junior Achievement of Utah and Best Buy’s Geek Squad are seeking to introduce the younger generation to the world of programming, robotics, digital film production and 3-D printing, among other things, at this year’s Geek Squad Academy in Salt Lake City.
http://go.uen.org/1td (DN)

Teachers creatively integrate science and art

CEDAR CITY – Teachers from areas throughout Utah gathered at the Southern Utah University campus Monday and Tuesday to learn how to blend instruction in the basic principles of physics with art projects to enhance instruction to their students.
The workshop is sponsored by artsFUSION, one of the programs of the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Legacy Foundation.
http://go.uen.org/1tI (SGS)

Millcreek teacher continues to pursue educational goals

ST. GEORGE – Overcoming her own educational and learning difficulties is just part of what has made Millcreek High history teacher Katie Wood the educator she is today.
Wood will be graduating on Saturday with a master’s degree in administration from Western Governors University, a nonprofit competency-based online university.
She said she is hoping to continue her goals in education to become a principal to be able to help students receive the best education possible.
http://go.uen.org/1tj (SGS)

Conservation groups fire off letter over basin plants

SALT LAKE CITY — Two rare flowering plants in the Uintah Basin and a portion of western Colorado threaten to upend oil shale extraction, prompting a fight between development supporters and a wide consortium of conservation groups.
The latest volley was fired with a Tuesday letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, urging the agency to grant endangered species status to the Graham’s and White River beardtongues.
Such protections are sought by groups that include the Utah Native Plant Society, Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, Earthjustice and the Center for Biological Diversity.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to list both plants in July 2013, in part driven by a federal court ruling that concluded proposed energy development in particular threatened the Graham’s beardtongue, or what is more commonly called Graham’s Penstemon.
The plant grows only in a 80-mile horseshoe bend on oil shale strata. Oil shale development, the agency estimates, would impact 82 percent of the plant’s population, while all energy development poses a risk to 91 percent of the plants, according to a draft environmental analysis.
That possibility drove the state of Utah, the Utah Schools and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, and Uintah County to the negotiating table with federal agencies, resulting in a proposed conservation agreement now under review.
http://go.uen.org/1tC (DN)

Athletes to register online

The way high school student-athletes register and school administrators track eligibility will see a dramatic change for 2014-15 as the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) will require students to register online.
The RegisterMyAthlete.com system is designed to help school administrators and coaches manage student-athlete eligibility, as well as transfer applications and team rosters, according to a press release.
http://go.uen.org/1tF (Moab Sun News)

Utah woman to be chief of national teacher’s union

SALT LAKE CITY— A Utah woman who began her career as a lunch lady and was later named the 1989 Utah Teacher of the Year has been elected to lead the nation’s largest labor union.
Lily Eskelsen Garcia was elected president of the National Education Association last week. She will begin her term Sept. 1.
http://go.uen.org/1th (PDH)

http://go.uen.org/1tl (KNRS)

PCSD teacher elected for national organization
Wanda Taylor named President-Elect of healthy living association

Wanda Taylor was a state champion cross-country runner in high school who received an athletic scholarship to Murray State University in Kentucky. Unfortunately, while studying for her Bachelor of Science in physical education and health, she was in a car accident that ended her running career. Taylor says the experience made her a better teacher, which is one reason she was recently named President-Elect of the Southwest District of the Society of Health and Physical Educators, or SHAPE America.
Taylor will represent the states of Utah, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, California and Hawaii as a spokesperson and advocate for “well-balanced, high-quality, daily physical education programs in our nation’s schools.” She was nominated in March and named one of two finalists at the Southwest District convention in Las Vegas, Nevada in June where members voted her President-Elect.
“I will be promoting children’s health in our schools and making sure all physical education requirements are being met,” she said. “Nowadays, the hard thing is getting kids to go outside and play instead of staying indoors and playing with their electronics, so that is something I work to promote daily.”
http://go.uen.org/1tE (PR)

Human resources manager takes on statewide responsibility
Tim McConnell named secretary of human resources association

As human resource manager for the Park City School District, Tim McConnell says he is responsible for many things, including working with school site administration and district office personnel. Even though he juggles many different responsibilities in the district, he is adding secretary for a human resources professionals association to the list.
The Utah Public Education Human Resources Professionals Association has held monthly meetings for the last several years, and at the group’s annual conference this spring, it finally became a formal association.
http://go.uen.org/1tH (PR)

Student of the Week: Connor Olsen

Connor Olsen, senior at American Fork High School took 9th place in Photography at the 50th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference held in Kansas City, Mo. during the month of June. It was the biggest competition to date.
SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA helps each student excel. Olsen’s teacher Zac Durrant said, “Connor represented the state of Utah well this past week at the SkillsUSA Nationals! Being one of the top 10 photographers in the nation is quite an accomplishment. I am very proud of him and hope that we will be able to take more students next year.”
http://go.uen.org/1tG (PDH)

Nebo School District presents State and National Science Awards

Patrick Hogle, District Science Fair Coordinator, presented the Nebo District’s 2014 National and State Science Awards to the Nebo School Board of Education in June.
http://go.uen.org/1tK (PDH)

Nebo School District celebrates achieving the ENERGY STAR Recognition Award

Thirty-nine of Nebo School District’s buildings have earned the EPA’s ENERGY STAR Certification, the most of any school district in the state of Utah. This recognition is typically presented to the most energy efficient buildings in the country.
http://go.uen.org/1tJ (PDH)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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In the heat of the night
Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist Paul Rolly

Graduates of Canyons School District’s Entrada Adult High School earned their diplomas by the sweat of their brows.
Literally.
Commencement ceremonies for the alternative school, which caters mostly to adults who had dropped out, were held recently at Draper Park Middle School. The event was scheduled for 7 p.m., but graduates and family members were urged to come a half-hour early so everyone would be seated when it began.
One problem: It didn’t begin.
The temperature was in the 90s, there was no air conditioning, and staffers struggled to get the sound system working.
http://go.uen.org/1tb

Christel Swasey on Common Core
(Provo) Daily Herald letter from Cristel Swasey

The Utah Education Association sent out an email this week asking all Utah educators to write letters to the governor for the purpose of hanging on to Common Core.
The email said that there’s “consensus” that Common Core is wanted by educators. This is not true. It’s sad evidence of the loss of open debate and the loss of freedom of conscience that the UEA pretends all educators agree with its pro-Common Core agenda. I’m a Utah credentialed teacher and I sure don’t agree.
A bigger issue than the standards themselves is the need for restoration of local control of education in our state, which can only come by rejecting Common Core aligned testing and standards in Utah.
http://go.uen.org/1ti

Core teaching
Deseret News letter from Jane Buirgy

Current policies often focus on the dynamics of reading and math, but if children view these subjects only as rote duties, it is unlikely that they will develop a love of reading or a desire to expand their horizons.
As a retired elementary teacher, I want to respond to the comments concerning Common Core. Rather than being concerned only about the core, parents should take a good look at the way their local district and school principal implement core objectives. Are teachers allowed to teach, focusing on their individual classroom needs, or are they directed to use a schedule that demands minute-by-minute plans that allow no flexibility to meet individual needs? Are reading, math and testing coming from purchased programs that leave no time for creative thought, the arts or even the reading out loud of great children’s literature? Are faculty and staff supported and encouraged, or are they demeaned and discouraged from developing a classroom that creates an environment in which a child loves to learn?
Current policies often focus on the dynamics of reading and math, but if children view these subjects only as rote duties, it is unlikely that they will develop a love of reading or a desire to expand their horizons.
http://go.uen.org/1tg

Teaching about food
Deseret News letter from Shirley Nielson

It is entirely possible that children learn to eat the foods they do not like. An understanding of proper nutrition is so lacking in our nation. We need all the help we can get to improve our nutrition.
Years ago, as a new first grade teacher, I supervised my students in the lunch room. The second grade teacher expected every child to eat all the food on their plate. I felt that I could not expect that, so I would go around the table and ask each child what they did not like and to show me how much of that item they would eat. At the end of the year one little boy said, “Teacher, I didn’t use to like sauerkraut, but now I do.”
It is entirely possible that children learn to eat the foods they do not like. An understanding of proper nutrition is so lacking in our nation. We need all the help we can get to improve our nutrition. Thank you Michelle Obama.
http://go.uen.org/1tf

What’s Obama’s Problem With School Choice?
Politico Magazine op-ed by Louisiana GOV. BOBBY JINDAL and Wisconsin GOV. SCOTT WALKER

Why would the federal Department of Justice cite the Civil Rights Act and the specter of segregation to try and block a school choice program where more than nine in 10 participants come from racial minority groups? Or use the Americans with Disabilities Act to claim another school voucher program discriminates against individuals with disabilities, without so much as a single complaint from a student or parent to prove their case?
Yet that’s exactly what the Obama administration’s Justice Department is doing—taking actions designed to stifle, and even block outright, programs that give children and parents more educational choices. Ironically enough, the DOJ even cited civil rights laws in attempting to deny parents the opportunity to move their children from failing schools—one of the foremost civil rights challenges of our time.
Legal arguments aside, the basic problem is this: Eric Holder, the Obama administration, and vast swathes of the left have forgotten the basic premise of education policy: It’s all about the children.
Or at least it should be.
http://go.uen.org/1t4

Hooray for Arne Duncan!
Wall Street Journal commentary by columnist JASON L. RILEY

The Obama administration announced Monday that it would start enforcing a provision of No Child Left Behind that says all students must have access to “effective educators.” The announcement in and of itself is of little import, and the White House didn’t specify how states would be held accountable. Still, the symbolism and timing are worth noting.
Teachers unions have not been very happy with Education Secretary Arne Duncan of late. He recently applauded a court ruling in California that said bad teachers were too difficult to fire because of union-backed tenure rules. “This decision presents an opportunity for a progressive state with a tradition of innovation to build a new framework for the teaching profession that protects students’ rights to equal educational opportunities while providing teachers the support, respect and rewarding careers they deserve,” Mr. Duncan said after the ruling. A similar lawsuit is now pending in New York, and more are anticipated in other states.
The National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, responded to White House support for these lawsuits by calling for Mr. Duncan’s resignation. But to its credit, the administration doesn’t seen to be backing down. Monday’s announcement is an indication that the White House plans to continue pushing the issue. And well it should.
http://go.uen.org/1sZ

http://go.uen.org/1t0 (WSJ)

How Business Leaders Can Strengthen American Education
Forbes commentary by JULIA HANNA, associate editor of the Harvard Business School Alumni Bulletin

Business has long recognized the connection between an effective school system and a qualified workforce—by some estimates, the private sector invests $4 billion annually in efforts intended to improve public education.
So why isn’t that investment paying off?
“Business leaders today are engaged in education in ways that are generous, well-intended, effective at alleviating the symptoms of a weak education system, and thoroughly inadequate to help strengthen the system,” says Harvard Business School Professor Jan W. Rivkin, a leader with University Professor Michael Porter of the School’s U.S. Competitiveness Project. Rivkin is the Bruce V. Rauner Professor of Business Administration.
Rivkin and fellow HBS faculty Allen S. Grossman and Kevin W. Sharer have joined forces with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Boston Consulting Group to determine how business leaders can partner more effectively with educators to support America’s students and schools.
“Study after study has shown that a country’s long-term prosperity depends on the quality of its human capital,” says Rivkin. “So if we’re really falling down in that arena, we have an economic problem so important that business leaders can’t sit on the sidelines.”
http://go.uen.org/1tA

Join National Campaign to Put Focus of Public Education on Student Learning
Huffington Post commentary by Dennis Van Roekel, President of the National Education Association

The average American student and teacher now spend about 30 percent of the school year preparing for and taking standardized tests. This is time that schools could use to achieve their primary purpose of educating students. Instead, they become nothing more than test factories.
American taxpayers send approximately $1.7 billion to the corporate standardized test companies. These funds could go toward educating our youngest learners. They could be spent ensuring students have access to arts, music, and physical education. They could be spent on 21st century technology and updated materials.
No group of students has been more harmed by the failure of high-stakes testing than those in low-income communities. We were all told that the barrage of standardized testing unleashed by No Child Left Behind was necessary to collect critical data on the most underserved students — including students with disabilities and English language learners — to help shine a light on educational gaps and drive programs that would boost achievement.
The sad truth is that test-based accountability has not closed the opportunity gaps between affluent and poor schools and students. It has not driven funding and support to the students from historically underfunded communities who need it most. It has not led to an expansion of curricular offerings, but rather a narrowing of them.
NCLB’s promise has been proven hollow; its policies have failed.
http://go.uen.org/1tB

The Fallacy of ‘Balanced Literacy
New York Times op-ed by ALEXANDER NAZARYAN, a senior writer at Newsweek


Now the approach that so frustrated me and my students is once again about to become the norm in New York City, as the new schools chancellor, Carmen Fariña, has announced plans to reinstate a “balanced literacy” approach in English classrooms. The concept’s most vociferous champion is probably Lucy Calkins, a Columbia University scholar. In her 1985 book, “The Art of Teaching Writing,” she complained that most English teachers “don’t know what it is to read favorite passages aloud to a friend or to swap ideas about an author.” She sought a reimagination of the English teacher’s role: “Teaching writing must become more like coaching a sport and less like presenting information,” a joyful exploration unhindered by despotic traffic cops.
Ms. Calkins’s approach was tried by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, but abandoned when studies showed that students learned better with more instruction. My own limited experience leads me to the same conclusion. But Ms. Fariña seems to be charting a course away from the data-driven Bloomberg years, perhaps as part of her stated plan to return “joy” to the city’s classrooms.
I take umbrage at the notion that muscular teaching is joyless.
http://go.uen.org/1t1

The Chartered Course: Can Private School Choice Proponents Learn from the Charter School Sector?
Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice analysis

The charter and private school choice movements began just a year apart in 1991 and 1990, respectively. Today, 23 years after the first charter law was passed in Minnesota, 2.3 million children are enrolled in these tuition-free public schools whereas just 300,000 participate in private school choice programs. Though the lull in private school choice activity was lamentable for its advocates, it has a silver lining. As recently passed programs get off the ground and new programs become approved, what can the private school choice movement learn from charter schooling’s now two-plus decades of experience?
Private school choice proponents can learn from the charter sector’s experience in three key areas:
* the school network structure,
* the incubation of high-potential schools, and
* authorizer-based accountability.
http://go.uen.org/1t3

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NATIONAL NEWS
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U.S. Teens Hold Their Own in Financial Education
Nearly 1 in 10 American students scored as top performers on the international exam.
U.S. News & World Report

When it comes to financial knowledge and skills, the kids are alright.
In the United States, 15-year-old students overall performed around the average when compared to students in other countries, according to a new report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, released Wednesday. In 2012, the OECD for the first time assessed students across the globe on financial literacy as part of the Programme for International Student Assessment, or PISA.
The international test is offered every three years and has traditionally measured how well students can understand and apply concepts in math, reading and science to real-world situations. In 2012, 29,000 of the more than 500,000 who took the PISA were also tested on financial literacy. Overall, American students scored 492 on the test, compared with the OECD average of 500. United States students’ scores were in line with those from Latvia, Russia, France, Slovenia, Spain, Croatia and Israel, but they were far behind students in Shanghai, Belgium and Estonia, who all scored above 525 on average.
http://go.uen.org/1t5

http://go.uen.org/1t6 (WSJ)

http://go.uen.org/1t7 (Financial Times)

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

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

A copy of the report
http://go.uen.org/1t8 (OECD)

U.S. results
http://go.uen.org/1t9 (NCES)

Connecting school spending and student achievement
Washington Post

In the roiling national debate about the best ways to improve public education, one aspect gets scant attention: the relationship between the tax dollars school systems spend and academic results.
In a report released Wednesday, the left-leaning Center for American Progress looks at how much “bang for the buck” taxpayers are getting from public schools.
Ulrich Boser, who wrote the report, analyzed budgets of 7,000 school districts across about 40 states — which enroll about about 80 percent of U.S. public school students — and found some surprising results.
http://go.uen.org/1tm

A copy of the report
http://go.uen.org/1tn (Center for American Progress)

Abundance of School Choice Doesn’t Guarantee Access, Quality
Education Week

Although there may be an abundance of schools for parents to choose from in a city, that doesn’t guarantee parents have the means to make a choice. A new study by the Center on Reinventing Public Education, or CRPE, finds that many parents—especially those with less education or special needs children—face barriers that limit their ability to choose, such as a lack of quality schools, convenient transportation, and information to make informed decisions.
“Parents are generally satisfied with choice, and students in choice schools can benefit academically,” the study’s authors write in the report. “But, choice also has the potential to increase social stratification when the most disadvantaged families are the least likely to choose.”
CRPE researchers surveyed 4,000 public school parents in eight cities with large school choice programs (Baltimore, Cleveland, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Washington) this spring and examined data from a larger group of 35 cities.
http://go.uen.org/1ty

A copy of the study
http://go.uen.org/1t2 (CPRE)

Growing number of kindergarteners are Hispanic
Washington Post

At least one in five kindergarten students were Hispanic in 17 states, according to an analysis of 2012 census data by the Pew Research Center. That’s up significantly from 2000, when just eight states reached the same threshold for kindergarten enrollments.
Hispanics are the fastest growing immigrant group, now comprising about 17 percent of the population nationwide, according to the analysis, published Tuesday. Some of the states with the greatest increases in their young Hispanic population include Nebraska, Idaho, Washington, and New York.
http://go.uen.org/1to

A copy of the report
http://go.uen.org/1tp (Pew Research Center)

Kansas Won’t Release Data from Reading, Math Tests
Associated Press

TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas won’t be issuing any report cards this year on how well its public school students performed on standardized reading and math tests after cyberattacks and other problems this spring, the state Board of Education decided Tuesday.
The board’s decision means there won’t be a report on how students scored overall statewide or how students in each school district or individual schools scored. The state typically releases such reports each fall to help the public judge how well Kansas’ schools are performing.
The University of Kansas center that designed the tests told the board last month that it should not release data for individual schools and districts because of problems administering the tests from March 10 to April 10. About two-thirds of the reading tests and one-third of the math tests were completed during the period, and state Department of Education officials concluded data wouldn’t be consistent across the state.
http://go.uen.org/1tt

http://go.uen.org/1tu (Kansas City Star)

Glenda Ritz: State Board wants to undermine my authority
Indianapolis Star

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz accused the State Board of Education and Gov. Mike Pence’s education agency Tuesday of attempting to undermine her department’s work to extend the state’s waiver from strict federal education requirements.
A resolution authored by some State Board of Education members and scheduled to be voted on by the board Wednesday maintains Ritz did not inform the board last year when she first learned about federal education officials’ concerns with the state’s reform efforts and did not provide the board information it requested about proposed fixes to the waiver.
Federal education officials announced in May that Indiana’s waiver from the No Child Left Behind law was on a conditional status because of “significant issues,” including executing teacher and principal evaluations and assisting failing schools as agreed upon in the initial waiver application. On June 30, Ritz submitted a series of amendments on the waiver to the U.S. Department of Education in a bid for a one-year extension.
http://go.uen.org/1tw

School Turnarounds Proving Heavy Lift for Waiver States Many still struggling despite NCLB leeway
Education Week

When U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gave more than 40 states and the District of Columbia flexibility from many of the mandates of the No Child Left Behind Act, he had an inherent trade-off in mind: States would identify fewer schools for interventions than previously under that law, but they would engage in much deeper and more sustained turnaround work.
That hasn’t proved easy. According to an Education Week analysis of U.S. Department of Education monitoring reports, which were informed by visits from federal officials, during the 2013-14 school year, states were cited for failing to follow through on their plans for turning around the bottom 5 percent of schools and intervening in schools with persistent achievement gaps more often than for any other aspect of waiver implementation.
Overall, 17 out of 35 states for which waiver-monitoring reports have been released by the Education Department were found to not be following through on their plans for fixing up “priority” schools—the bottom 5 percent of performers based on student outcomes.
And 17 states were hit for not doing enough to help “focus” schools, which are an additional 10 percent of troubled schools, including those with persistent achievement gaps.
http://go.uen.org/1tL

6th graders ditch traditional lessons to create video game businesses
NewsHour

It took seven people to create the “Golden Medallion” spy adventure video game and its advertising campaign. They did their own coding, conducted a beta test, created a website, a commercial and an instagram feed, and came up with incentives to get people to play. What’s more, not one of the seven had even finished sixth grade.
“The hardest part was everyone asked me what to do,” said project manager Rachel Odebunmi, 11, a sixth grader at the Playmaker School in Santa Monica, California. “I started making these checklists for everyone and I just gave it to them so they wouldn’t have to ask me.”
In addition to her duties as project manager, Odebunmi also took on the job of advertising manager for their company called Project Imagine and pitched in when help was needed in the art department. The “employees” of Project Imagine were competing against five other companies in their class, each one working to make a video game better than all the others.
http://go.uen.org/1tz

Elite NYC kindergarten admissions test is really hard
USA Today

Sorry, you’re probably not smarter than a kindergartner.
Some of New York City’s elite private schools are implementing a new admissions test — and the exam used to judge 4-year-olds is likely to stump many adults.
The Educational Records Bureau’s Admission Assessment for Beginning Learners will be implemented for the first time in October at the prestigious Horace Mann School and Riverdale Country School in New York.
The test is given to rising kindergartners on an iPad and is designed to test “a child’s development in verbal and quantitative reasoning, early literary and mathematics.”
http://go.uen.org/1tq

Sample questions from the quiz:
http://go.uen.org/1tr (DNAinfo New York)

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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
9 a.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://go.uen.org/1pn

July 15:
Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
1 p.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2014&Com=APPEXE

July 16:
Education Interim Committee meeting
2:30 p.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2014/html/00003664.htm

Political Subdivisions Interim Committee meeting
2:30 p.m., 25 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2014/html/00003693.htm

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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