Education News Roundup: July 21, 2014

Gov. Gary Herbert

Gov. Gary Herbert

Education News Roundup 

Today’s Top Picks:

 

South Jordan councilman still wants a Jordan School District split placed on the ballot.
http://go.uen.org/1yK (DN)

Resident files a complaint against Iron School District over the purchase of a building.
http://go.uen.org/1yW (SGS)

Incoming NEA leader Lily Eskelson Garcia is on Trib Talk today at 12:30 p.m.
http://go.uen.org/1yR (SLT)

MSNBC looks at how well Eskelson Garcia and Secretary Duncan are getting along.
http://go.uen.org/1z6 (MSNBC)

Chromebooks grow in popularity among schools.
http://go.uen.org/1za (ZD Net)

ENR would share more with you, but right now he’s got to go clean his glasses.
http://go.uen.org/1z8 (Scientific American)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

South Jordan councilman wants school district split on ballot, no matter what mayors say

Citizen files complaint against Iron County School District

Homeless girl graduates from Ben Lomond

Q&A with Reed Wahlquist

Governor seeks to review Common Core standards

Trib Talk: Chatting with new NEA leader Lily Eskelson Garcia

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Give Common Core an honest review

Utah kids deserve legit review.

It’s time to scrutinize Common Core standards through rigorous review process

Herbert wants to appease the right on Common Core

What is the Cost of Not Extending the NCLB Waiver?

Blame leadership, not demographics, for Utah’s poor school funding

Sneak financial books into summer reading

Arizona’s Language-Immersion Program: A Vote of Confidence

Why Are Teachers Unions So Opposed to Change?

As a former union leader and a lifelong Democrat, I am deeply troubled by their rhetoric and strategy.

Education reform from the grassroots: How and when parents can shape policy

A better way to market school lunch program Some small changes can get big results

‘The Ideal Head’: Bizarre Racial Teachings From a 1906 Textbook A hundred years ago, American geography students learned about a world in which “the brown people raise rice,” “the black people … have no books,” and “the red men are savages.”

 

NATION

Incoming NEA head inherits tension with Education Secretary Arne Duncan

Obama to Report Widening of Initiative for Black and Latino Boys My Brother’s Keeper Program Grows to Include More Impoverished Minorities

U.S. Gets Low Scores for Innovation in Education

Chromebooks taken to school: More than a million sold to schools in last quarter If you’re wondering why Microsoft seems to be concerned about Chromebooks, the latest milestone from Google tells the story.

Wyoming schools chief candidates differ on federal flexibility waiver

Poor Teens’ Health may Benefit from Top Schools

What Happens to the Kids Who Ruled Middle School?

Education Level Linked to Nearsightedness In a German study, half of those with a university degree were myopic compared to less than a quarter of folks who quit after high school or secondary school.

Back-to-school shopping sprees are a thing of the past

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UTAH NEWS

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South Jordan councilman wants school district split on ballot, no matter what mayors say

SOUTH JORDAN — The mayors of two Utah cities considering a split from the Jordan School District left a recent meeting with school officials optimistic that the district would be left intact.

West Jordan Mayor Kim Rolfe said the July 14 meeting — which included more than three hours of occasionally heated negotiation — was a positive step toward reaching a resolution, and South Jordan Mayor David Alvord said things were in “great shape.”

“I think we’re going to be able to resolve this without putting it on the ballot,” Alvord said.

But South Jordan City Councilman Chuck Newton, seen by many as the chief architect of the potential split, said residents have a right to weigh in on the issue independent of any agreement reached by mayors and the Jordan School Board.

“My preferred outcome is to place it on the ballot and let the people make the choice. I think that’s what it really comes down to,” Newton said.
http://go.uen.org/1yK (DN)

 

Citizen files complaint against Iron County School District

CEDAR CITY – After two months of going through records and information, Cedar City resident Doug Hall filed complaints last week with the Utah State Attorney General’s Office and the Utah State Auditor against the Iron County School District administration and board.

Accusing the school district and board of “malice aforethought,” Hall alleges the administration and board members violated Utah code 52-4, the Open and Public Meeting Act, last year when they purchased an additional office building for $1.6 million.

Hall, the founder of the Iron County Alliance of Taxpayers, is referring to a building located adjacent to the school district offices.

The district plans to use the building in the future but is currently leasing the office space to private businesses.
http://go.uen.org/1yW (SGS)

 

Homeless girl graduates from Ben Lomond

OGDEN – For 20-year-old Charline Gee, being able to say she is employed, paying rent and staying away from harmful substances brings much sense of accomplishment.

Gee, the daughter of a chronically homeless couple, appears to have broken free from her parents’ example.

“My parents were not being parents,” she said. “They were homeless. … They moved to California. They kind of abandoned me.”

Gee was left with a sister but she said that arrangement went sour when she didn’t want to follow the rules.

“I had been kicked out of my sister’s house. I was hitting rock bottom,” Gee said. “As much as I didn’t want to, I had to come here (to St. Anne’s Center).”

But even in that predicament, the young woman became the first in her family to graduate from high school without first becoming a parent. And she looks back at that graduation day thrilled with the growth she sees in herself since then.
http://go.uen.org/1yT (OSE)

 

Q&A with Reed Wahlquist

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s been a year or two now since he retired. His days are no longer filled with deciphering the teenage mind. His waking minutes aren’t absorbed with trying to put names to the faces of all 3,000 kids at his school. He no longer has to check to make sure the band door is locked before he goes home at night.

Nope. Time marches on for all men, even high school principals, maybe especially for high school principals.

Reed Wahlquist was in actuality a high school principal for just 11 years out of the nearly 81 he’s been on Earth.

But they were memorable years, made all the more so by the constant feedback he receives from the “kids” who were once his students who are constantly bumping into him a quarter of a century and more later, reminding him of the differences he made in their lives.
http://go.uen.org/1yS (DN)

 

Governor seeks to review Common Core standards

In a press conference Thursday morning, Gov. Gary Herbert announced his desire to have academic standards re-evaluated and re-examined. The topic of standards in the state has been a contentious issue for many educators and parents, and Herbert called for a public review of the standards. He also addressed other issues.
http://go.uen.org/1yU (LHJ)
http://go.uen.org/1yY (MUR)

 

Trib Talk: Chatting with new NEA leader Lily Eskelson Garcia

Come September, a former Utah elementary school teacher will lead the nation’s largest teacher’s union.

Lily Eskelson Garcia has been elected president of the National Education Association, vowing to push back on standardized tests and the privatization of public schools.

On Monday at 12:30 p.m., Eskelson Garcia joins Jennifer Napier-Pearce to talk about high-stakes testing, class sizes, immigration and other lessons she learned in Utah classrooms.
http://go.uen.org/1yR (SLT)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Give Common Core an honest review

Utah kids deserve legit review.

Salt Lake Tribune editorial

Gov. Gary Herbert’s decision to review Utah’s adoption of national “Common Core” standards for education may produce useful information, but it will not, as the governor says, “settle this question once and for all.”

Arguably, no debate of what to teach children is ever settled, but in this case the reason it won’t be settled is because the people questioning the Common Core are not interested in settling it. They aren’t even interested in accurately describing the situation.

“We don’t have local control now,” says Utah’s leading Common Core opponent, Utah Eagle Forum leader Gayle Ruzicka. “We have federal control.”

That is not true, and Ruzicka knows it.
http://go.uen.org/1yI

 

It’s time to scrutinize Common Core standards through rigorous review process Deseret News editorial

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert has asked the attorney general to review the state’s involvement with Common Core education standards, saying he hopes to resolve contentions. This is a worthwhile effort, as is a new website the state has built to provide information and take comments.

The governor stressed that comments on this site should address specifics about Common Core and not merely express general feelings. That’s important, as this issue often becomes muddled with misinformation.

Common Core does deserve close scrutiny, however, and it deserves to be examined in light of specific goals that may exist on the state level.
http://go.uen.org/1yJ

 

Herbert wants to appease the right on Common Core Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist PAUL ROLLY

Gov. Gary Herbert’s call for an attorney general’s office review of the academic Common Core standards adopted by Utah and dozens of other states has the smell of a re-election campaign around it.

Herbert has come under fire from the right wing of his Republican Party since the state school board adopted the standards for language arts and math that were created by a consortium of education experts from dozens of states.

The governor’s education team has been largely supportive of Common Core in the face of opposition from crusading groups such as the Eagle Forum that clamor about the standards being a federal plot to control schools.

Herbert now wants a review. He wants input. He wants to appease his party’s right wing.

And Herbert is looking over his shoulder at House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-Provo, who likely will run against him when he seeks re-election in two years.
http://go.uen.org/1yQ

 

What is the Cost of Not Extending the NCLB Waiver?

Utah PoliticoHub commentary by columnist DANIEL BURTON

Board-of-EducationOn July 17, the Utah State Board of Education met to discuss whether to extend the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) waiver, or the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Waiver. It allows Utah to avoid certain aspects of NCLB while still receiving federal dollars for education.

I recommend reading Karen Peterson’s treatment of the topic (here) for a more full overview, though I am not yet decided that I agree with her conclusions.

The Board will vote on August 8 whether to extend the waiver.
http://go.uen.org/1yX

 

Blame leadership, not demographics, for Utah’s poor school funding Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Mark A. Besendorfer, a fifth grade teacher in Canyons School District

 

The debate about Utah’s public education funding usually centers on the unique demographics of our state. The thinking is that, because of our large family size, we are doomed to be dead last in funding unless we raise taxes to a prohibitive level and stifle our economy or crush our wage earners.

The truth is, that although the multitude of students creates many challenges, we are last because we choose to be last. The position we are in is a direct result of conscious choices our leaders have made over the last 18 years.

Prior to 1996, Utah ranked 12th in the nation in commitment to public education, as measured by how much per $1,000 of income was directed toward education funding. By 2010, Utah had dropped to 34th and remains the lowest state in the nation in per pupil spending. So what has happened since 1996?
http://go.uen.org/1yH

 

Sneak financial books into summer reading

(Logan) Herald Journal op-ed by Kevin Flint, a Zions Bank area president

Summertime for children means the rise of summer reading programs. So why not sneak a financial book into their summer reading mix?

It can be a great way to teach children the basics about spending versus saving. Here are a few of my favorites:
http://go.uen.org/1yV

 

Arizona’s Language-Immersion Program: A Vote of Confidence Education Week commentary by Aiden Fleming, Legislative Liaison for the Arizona Department of Education

A recent poll out The Pew Research Center shows the political divide between the right and the left is ever widening—I’m sure you’re not surprised. Embittered politics, partisan rancor, and one-upmanship has become the blasé expectation of voters that’s almost universally followed with an eye roll and a shrug. Electorates see serious bi-partisan bills rarely pass, with only the occasional piece of Kumbaya legislation attempt—an all-to-often, ill-fated run through the legislative gauntlet.

This past year I was given the opportunity to write and present SB1242 to the Arizona State legislature, effectively pitching the state’s first statewide language immersion program. Integrating state departments of education with local education agencies to teach multilingualism has been tried across the country the past few years with varying degrees of success. Over the past decade, Utah has become the immersion leader, creating and exporting their 50/50 immersion model, which has been adopted in various forms by many states across the country—and is the basis for Arizona’s SB1242.
http://go.uen.org/1zb

 

Why Are Teachers Unions So Opposed to Change?

As a former union leader and a lifelong Democrat, I am deeply troubled by their rhetoric and strategy.

Wall Street Journal op-ed by ANTONIO VILLARAIGOSA, former mayor of Los Angeles

President John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” This message has apparently been lost on some people in our teachers unions who used their recent national conventions in Los Angeles and Denver to argue against desperately needed changes in our public schools.

At a time when only one in 10 low-income children is earning a four-year college degree and two out of three jobs of the future will require one, change is needed. At a time when more than half of young people attending community college need to retake high-school classes because the education they received was not rigorous enough, change is needed. At a time when American 15-year-olds trail their counterparts in 30 countries in math, 23 in science and 20 in reading, change is needed.

For some time now, teachers, elected officials, community, business and nonprofit organizations have advanced bold changes in education. America is raising standards, investing in teachers, rewriting curriculum, bringing technology into the classroom and exploring new learning models like public charter schools that are getting results in higher graduation and college-enrollment rates.
http://go.uen.org/1yL

 

Education reform from the grassroots: How and when parents can shape policy American Enterprise Institute commentary by Michael Hartney

Key points:

Recent changes in the education politics landscape are challenging the old assumption that parents are destined to play a passive role in school politics. In particular, a number of education reform advocacy organizations (ERAOs) are starting to organize parents to lobby policymakers on a host of school reforms.

Parent organizing can make a tangible difference in the policy process when combined with more sophisticated tactics ERAOs use, such as advanced media campaigns, research advocacy, and large financial campaign contributions to preferred candidates. Parent organizing is unlikely to replace these elite tactics.

In local school politics, parent organizing can be used to identify and support new candidates to replace recalcitrant incumbents. Parent organizing might also help persuade incumbents in state- and national-level politics to change their positions to support ERAO-favored reforms.
http://go.uen.org/1yM

 

A better way to market school lunch program Some small changes can get big results USA today op-ed by David Just, director of the Cornell University’s Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs, and Brian Wansink, director of Cornell Food and Brand Lab

There’s one truth emerging from the debate over the National School Lunch Program on the floor of Congress and in the lunchrooms of public schools: You can lead a child to vegetables, but you can’t make them eat.

The 2010 school lunch standards have made giant strides in improving the quality of food offered to our children. But such improvements come at a substantial cost.

As is common in Washington, the debate has been reduced to two seemingly unacceptable options. Either we enforce high nutrition standards with waste and cost, or we allow schools to provide the lowest common-denominator lunches and perpetuate the growing public health crisis. But the problem is neither the funding nor the regulations, it’s the motivation of the child to eat.
http://go.uen.org/1yZ

 

‘The Ideal Head’: Bizarre Racial Teachings From a 1906 Textbook A hundred years ago, American geography students learned about a world in which “the brown people raise rice,” “the black people … have no books,” and “the red men are savages.”

Atlantic commentary by PETER SMAGORINSKY, a distinguished research professor of English education at the University of Georgia

 

I recently opened an online order and discovered an unexpected bonus: As a buffer against damage, the seller had included a 1906 elementary school textbook called Frye’s First Steps in Geography. Written by Alexis Everett Frye, an American who served as Cuba’s first superintendent of schools, the book was filled with facts that would now be considered false and even pernicious.

To the left, for instance, is an illustration from a chapter that explains the world’s five racial groups. Although this “ideal head” happens to look exactly like mine, its implications are troubling.

According to this textbook, the white race is the most advanced in the world. Most other races, schoolchildren were taught, tended to have a “savage” character, living in remote areas without industry and Western-style education.

As I read these century-old pages, I wonder how quaint and outdated today’s racial theories will seem in 100 years.
http://go.uen.org/1z7

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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Incoming NEA head inherits tension with Education Secretary Arne Duncan MSNBC

Former elementary school teacher Lily Eskelsen García will become president of America’s biggest labor union, the National Education Association (NEA), on Sept. 1. In the meantime, she already has plenty of work to do.

The soft-spoken educator was elected president of the NEA on July 4, and she has spent the subsequent two weeks preparing for a major battle over U.S. education policy, particularly with regard to standardized testing. That battle will pit her not only against the forces of the right, but also the current presidential administration. Tensions have never been higher between teachers’ unions and President Obama’s Department of Education, and those tensions have already become García’s problem.

So far, García – who previously served as NEA’s secretary-treasurer for six years, followed by another six years as its vice president – has made no effort to downplay those tensions. In fact, her first remarks after being elected amounted to a broadside against the largely bipartisan policy of evaluating teachers based on standardized test scores.
http://go.uen.org/1z6

 

Obama to Report Widening of Initiative for Black and Latino Boys My Brother’s Keeper Program Grows to Include More Impoverished Minorities New York Times

President Obama will announce on Monday that 60 of the nation’s largest school districts are joining his initiative to improve the educational futures of young African-American and Hispanic boys, beginning in preschool and extending through high school graduation.

The districts, which represent about 40 percent of all African-American and Hispanic boys living below the poverty line, have committed to expand quality preschool access; track data on black and Hispanic boys so educators can intervene as soon as signs of struggle emerge; increase the number of boys of color who take gifted, honors or Advanced Placement courses and exams; work to reduce the number of minority boys who are suspended or expelled; and increase graduation rates among African-American and Hispanic boys.
http://go.uen.org/1yN
http://go.uen.org/1yO (White House)

 

U.S. Gets Low Scores for Innovation in Education Education Week

U.S. schools and classrooms rank near the bottom among the countries studied in a first-ever report on education innovation by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD.

Only the Czech Republic and Austria ranked lower, with New Zealand tying the United States in the OECD’s point system, which used data spanning 2000 to 2011.

The report, “Measuring Innovation in Education,” finds that, in general, more innovation has come from classroom practices than school practices in the countries studied over this time.

The opposite has been true in the U.S., where reformers often claim that innovative changes are not reaching the classroom. Indeed, the researchers’ findings corroborate that impression, according to Stephan Vincent-Lancrin, lead author of the study, referring to this chart as proof.
http://go.uen.org/1z1

A copy of the report
http://go.uen.org/1z2 (KeepPeek)

The U.S. portion of the report
http://go.uen.org/1z3 (OECD)

 

Chromebooks taken to school: More than a million sold to schools in last quarter If you’re wondering why Microsoft seems to be concerned about Chromebooks, the latest milestone from Google tells the story.

ZDNet

Chromebooks, you either love them or hate them. The low-cost laptops running Chrome OS from Google are appealing to consumers, and the education segment especially likes them. The latest word from Google indicates schools bought more than a million Chromebooks in the last quarter.

Microsoft recently announced a push for low-cost Windows laptops in the $199 range. The initiative is directly aimed to counter the sales of Chromebooks, including sales to schools. Chromebooks are a perfect fit for many school systems given the low cost (typically around $200) per laptop. They can often be deployed using existing budgets, avoiding the long drawn-out process of solicitation for grants.

Google’s program for getting Chromebooks in schools is also attractive to districts given the turn-key nature of the process. When Chromebooks stop working, Google replaces them without additional cost. It’s basically a maintenance program wrapped up in the sale of the Chromebooks.
http://go.uen.org/1za

 

Wyoming schools chief candidates differ on federal flexibility waiver Casper (WY) Star-Tribune staff

Candidates for Wyoming schools chief differ on whether Wyoming should apply for relief from some of the strictest penalties of the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

Since 2011, the U.S. Department of Education has offered flexibility from those consequences in the form of waivers that allow states to use their own accountability plans instead of abiding by federal mandates, which increased yearly.

All children were expected to be reading and doing math at grade level by 2014.

To date, 43 states and the District of Columbia have secured such a waiver. Wyoming has applied for waivers in the past but so far has not received one, in part because its system to evaluate schools and teachers is as of yet incomplete.
http://go.uen.org/1z9

 

Poor Teens’ Health may Benefit from Top Schools Associated Press

CHICAGO — Disadvantaged teens may get more than an academic boost by attending top-notch high schools – their health may also benefit, a study suggests.

Risky health behavior including binge-drinking, unsafe sex and use of hard drugs was less common among these kids, compared with peers who went to mostly worse schools. The teens were otherwise similar, all from low-income Los Angeles neighborhoods who applied to top public charter schools that admit students based on a lottery system.
http://go.uen.org/1z0
http://go.uen.org/1z4 (CSM)

 

What Happens to the Kids Who Ruled Middle School?

Education Week

The unrelenting drive to be older and more popular is a root of a great chunk of the misery in many students’ middle school years. Now, a study in the Journal of Child Development suggests the kids at the top of the pecking order in junior high tend to fall behind their peers as they come into adulthood.

In the study, “Whatever Happened to the ‘Cool’ Kids?” lead author Joseph P. Allen, a psychologist at the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, and his colleagues tracked 184 adolescents from ages 13 to 23, not only interviewing the students but peers and classmates, who provided outside information on the students’ popularity. In particular, the researchers studied how often they engaged in common, mildly risky teenage behaviors: “minor deviance, a focus on physical appearance in choosing friends, and precocious romantic activity.” Translation: Smoking marijuana and doing mildly criminal things like vandalism, being cliquey and mean, and falling hopelessly in love with a new kid every week.

The urge to be seen as grown up long before they are really emotionally (or behaviorally) mature is nearly universal among children entering puberty, but Allen and his colleagues note normal “does not necessarily mean healthy or adaptive.” The found that students who engaged in so-called “cool” behaviors did, in fact, move to the top of the middle school pecking order.

But then they languished there.
http://go.uen.org/1z5

A copy of the study
http://go.uen.org/1ji (Child Development)

 

Education Level Linked to Nearsightedness In a German study, half of those with a university degree were myopic compared to less than a quarter of folks who quit after high school or secondary school.

Scientific American

Nothing says “overeducated egghead” like a pair of coke-bottle glasses. But even clichés sometimes hit the nerd on the head. Because a new study finds that nearsightedness is linked to the number of years spent in school. The findings can be viewed in the journal Ophthalmology.

In the past century, the prevalence of myopia—science-speak for being able to see only what’s right in front of you—has been on the rise. So much so that it can’t all be blamed on geeky genes.
http://go.uen.org/1z8

 

Back-to-school shopping sprees are a thing of the past USA Today

Back-to-school shopping is no longer a frenzied one-day spending spree. Families are spending more, but they are doing so over a longer period of time as they search for the best deals.

Families are expected to spend $670 on average on back-to-school shopping, up 5% from last year, according to data out Thursday from the National Retail Federation. That includes spending on school supplies, clothes and electronics.

But analysts and parents say the slow economic recovery, plus access to near-constant online deals, means back-to-school shopping is no longer a big event.

Instead, parents like Tracy Seebold, 48, are shopping strategically — buying online and picking up additional in-store items when necessary.
http://go.uen.org/1yP

 

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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 22:
Education Task Force
9 a.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2014/html/00003816.htm

August 8:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspx

August 14:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://go.uen.org/1pn

September 16:
Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
1 p.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2014&Com=APPEXE

September 17:
Education Interim Committee meeting
2:30 p.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2014&Com=INTEDU

 

 

 

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