Education News Roundup: July 31, 2014

Utah State Capitol

Utah State Capitol

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

A group of six individuals sue the State Board over Common Core. http://go.uen.org/1Ct (SLT) and http://go.uen.org/1D0 (DN) and http://go.uen.org/1CC (Utah PoliticoHub) and http://go.uen.org/1CG (KUTV)

Gov. Herbert names the finalists who will appear on November’s ballot for State Board of Education. All the incumbents made it through to the ballot. http://go.uen.org/1Cs (SLT) or http://go.uen.org/1D2 (Governor’s Office)

Jordan District split proposition still — at least somewhat — up in the air. http://go.uen.org/1Ck (SLT) and http://go.uen.org/1Cl (DN) and http://go.uen.org/1CD (KUTV) and http://go.uen.org/1CH (KTVX) and http://go.uen.org/1CL (KSL) and http://go.uen.org/1CN (KSTU) and http://go.uen.org/1CP (KNRS)

Utah State Board of Education Member Kim Burningham says the state should apply for an ESEA waiver extension. http://go.uen.org/1Cn (UP) and http://go.uen.org/1CB (Utah PoliticoHub)

The political kitchen is getting hotter in Indiana over that state’s waiver. http://go.uen.org/1CU (AP) and http://go.uen.org/1CV (Indy Star)

If you’re going to say bad things about your employer and work conditions, you probably shouldn’t post it on a blog. Certainly not if you’re a teacher who wants to remain employed. http://go.uen.org/1CR (Doylestown, PA, Intelligencer) and http://go.uen.org/1CW (Ed Week) or a copy of the ruling http://go.uen.org/1CS (DI)

TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 Libertarian group sues Utah over Common Core Education » Plaintiffs claim public wasn’t consulted.

Gov. Gary Herbert selects Utah state school board candidates Education » Names include incumbents.

South Jordan OKs deal with school district, cools to the idea of a split Agreement » Council unanimously backs interlocal pact and postpones ballot decision.

ICSD board considering term limits

Republican, Democratic political insiders say Utah should keep Common Core

67 unaccompanied children who crossed U.S.-Mexico border placed with sponsors in Utah

Students save big on college costs through concurrent enrollment

Stitch by Stitch

School-board candidate Melissa Ford emphasizes that simple acts can lead to big changes

Defense: Drop case against Utah bus driver accused of molesting girls Courts » Video allegedly shows John Martin Carrell touching girls while buckling their seatbelts.

Sprinkler line floods Eastmont Middle School, does potential $500K in damage

Dog bites man who broke into elementary school, police say

UHSAA sets public hearing on realignment

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Utah Should Reapply for the NCLB Waiver

Utah’s Constitution requires state board to exit federal waiver

Why Putting Technology in the Hands of Schoolchildren May Not be Such a Good Idea

Think Again

Time pays off

A few reflections on the Common Core Wars

NATION

Tensions Roil in Indiana Over NCLB Waiver

What Happens on K-12 Policy if Republicans Take Over the U.S. Senate?

The Kids Who Beat Autism

Judge tosses suit by former Central Bucks blogging teacher

Principals Test Entrepreneurial Ideas in K-12

The Wyoming GOP’s Civil War over Education The state’s Tea Party-backed superintendent created an intraparty rift over schools. Now, she’s taking the fight to the next level and trying to unseat the incumbent governor from her own party.

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UTAH NEWS

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Libertarian group sues Utah over Common Core Education » Plaintiffs claim public wasn’t consulted.

Angst over Utah’s adoption of Common Core academic standards is about to spill into the courtroom.

The Libertas Institute, a Libertarian-leaning Utah-based public policy organization, announced Thursday it will fund a lawsuit against the state school board regarding its adoption of the standards. Connor Boyack, Institute president, said he expected the lawsuit to be filed by mid-day Thursday in 3rd District Court.

The lawsuit alleges that Utahns — specifically local school boards, superintendents, teachers and parents — weren’t properly consulted about the standards before the state school board voted to adopt them in 2010. It’s a contention with which school board member Debra Roberts took issue Thursday, saying it’s time to quit fighting over the standards and start helping kids. http://go.uen.org/1Ct (SLT) http://go.uen.org/1D0 (DN) http://go.uen.org/1CC (Utah PoliticoHub) http://go.uen.org/1CG (KUTV)

Gov. Gary Herbert selects Utah state school board candidates Education » Names include incumbents.

The governor has chosen 14 candidates to appear on the November ballot for seven state school board seats, including all the interested incumbents, his office announced Thursday.

Originally, about 70 Utahns filed to run for seven seats on the 15-member board which oversees and guides education in Utah. Per state law, a governor-appointed committee then narrowed the field to 37, with whom it conducted interviews. The committee then voted on at least three candidates for each seat to send to the governor, who was tasked with choosing two to appear on the ballot.

It’s a process that’s drawn criticism for years with many claiming it takes choice out of voters’ hands. In years past, some incumbents didn’t make it onto the ballot. But lawmakers have been unable to reach agreement on how to change the process, with some pushing to make the races partisan and others trying to make them nonpartisan but direct. http://go.uen.org/1Cs (SLT) http://go.uen.org/1D2 (Governor’s Office)

South Jordan OKs deal with school district, cools to the idea of a split Agreement » Council unanimously backs interlocal pact and postpones ballot decision.

The South Jordan City Council unanimously approved an interlocal agreement Wednesday, but left the question of whether to put splitting from the Jordan School District on the ballot until its next meeting on Aug. 5.

The decision came primarily because the Jordan school board approved South Jordan’s draft of the interlocal agreement Monday night and a new feasibility study indicated negative impacts for the city and students.

Though about half of the public comment encouraged a split, all of the council members expressed opinions against creating a new school district. http://go.uen.org/1Ck (SLT) http://go.uen.org/1Cl (DN) http://go.uen.org/1CD (KUTV) http://go.uen.org/1CH (KTVX) http://go.uen.org/1CL (KSL) http://go.uen.org/1CN (KSTU) http://go.uen.org/1CP (KNRS)

ICSD board considering term limits

CEDAR CITY – The Iron County School Board discussed the possibility of term limits for its members, among other issues, during a daylong retreat Wednesday at the Hunter Conference Center on the Southern Utah University campus.

Harold Haynie, vice president of the board, said he has been considering the idea of term limits, and he thinks it has value in terms of bringing different perspectives to the board.

“I think that, over time, we get settled in our ways,” he said, noting that the attitude of “that’s the way we’ve always done it” can prevail over fresh thinking. http://go.uen.org/1CA (SGS)

Republican, Democratic political insiders say Utah should keep Common Core

SALT LAKE CITY — A majority of Democrats and a plurality of Republicans say Utah should stay the course on the Common Core State Standards, according to the latest Utah Policy.com/KSL Insider Survey.

The survey, which regularly polls a group of roughly 250 lawmakers, lobbyists and policymakers on political issues, found that 88 percent of Democratic insiders and 49 percent of Republican insiders think the state should continue using the standards, which outline the minimum English and mathematics skills a student should learn at each grade level.

“I was surprised that the support for Common Core among our Republican insiders was so high,” UtahPolicy.com managing editor Bryan Schott said. “I was expecting maybe one-third but not almost one-half.” http://go.uen.org/1Co (DN)

67 unaccompanied children who crossed U.S.-Mexico border placed with sponsors in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY — Sixty-seven unaccompanied children apprehended by immigration officials after crossing the U.S.-Mexican border were placed with sponsors in Utah between Jan. 1 and July 7.

Gov. Gary Herbert received an email from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regarding the unaccompanied minors over the holiday weekend.

“We found out about it officially on Monday,” said Marty Carpenter, the governor’s communications director.

The email contained no details about the individuals or the people who are sponsoring them, Carpenter said. Health and Human Services provided no details about the children’s physical health or their educational attainment, he said.

“Where did these 67 go? Are they all going to show up at one elementary school? Are they spread across the Wasatch Front?” Carpenter asked Wednesday. http://go.uen.org/1Cp (DN) http://go.uen.org/1CE (KUTV)

Students save big on college costs through concurrent enrollment

DAVIS COUNTY — Teenagers in Davis County saved their parents about $6 million this year. The way they’ve done it signals a change in what’s considered a rite of passage for many high school seniors.

A few thousand recent graduates in the Davis District earned college credits by taking concurrent enrollment classes in high school.

One of the graduates, Maddy Anderson, said, “That’s awesome. That’s a lot of money. Just a little bit was my part.”

The students saved themselves and their parents serious tuition money. It’s $5 per credit in concurrent enrollment class versus up to $300 per credit at a university. http://go.uen.org/1CJ (KSL)

Stitch by Stitch

School-board candidate Melissa Ford emphasizes that simple acts can lead to big changes

A stack of ratty street-urchin pants stands as a testament to Melissa Ford’s school involvement.

Ford learned how to sew the pants when she helped design costumes for a Clayton Middle School production of Oliver!

“I probably made a hundred pairs of orphan pants,” Ford says.

Ford, a mother of four who’s campaigning to represent the east bench in District 6 of the Salt Lake City School Board, also has more experience in parent-teacher associations than you can shake a ruler at. And she says her involvement in the school system has helped her learn that small changes can make a big impact, including fostering a culture of involvement and success between students and parents. http://go.uen.org/1D1 (SLC Weekly)

Defense: Drop case against Utah bus driver accused of molesting girls Courts » Video allegedly shows John Martin Carrell touching girls while buckling their seatbelts.

The attorney for a former Canyons School District bus driver accused of molesting two 5-year-old Sandy girls asked a judge on Thursday to dismiss all 33 charges against the 61-year-old defendant.

Defense attorney Ron Yengich said there was a lack of evidence to support the charges against John Martin Carrell, and that violations of school policy are not evidence of violating state statutes.

Prosecutor Nathan Evershed countered by addressing each count and the alleged sexual touching that occurred.

The legal arguments were the culmination of a two-day preliminary hearing to determine if Carrell should stand trial.

Third District Judge Bruce Lubeck took the case under advisement on Thursday, saying he wanted to re-watch the videotapes from Carrell’s bus that constitute the basis for the charges.

Lubeck said he will announce his decision at a hearing set for Aug. 11. http://go.uen.org/1Cr (SLT) http://go.uen.org/1Cv (DN) http://go.uen.org/1CF (KUTV) http://go.uen.org/1CI (KSL) http://go.uen.org/1C8 (KSTU)

Sprinkler line floods Eastmont Middle School, does potential $500K in damage

SANDY — A sprinkler line break has flooded Eastmont Middle School, doing a possible half-million dollars’ worth of damage just three weeks before classes are scheduled to resume.

The break in a sprinkler line that irrigates the school’s lawn was discovered early Wednesday morning. Several inches of water flowed into the building’s first floor and did extensive damage to the auditorium, where water ran down the large sloped room and pooled at the stage.

“The damage is pretty significant. We had considerable amounts of water all through the lower floor,” said Canyons School District spokeswoman Jennifer Toomer-Cook. “We did have damage in the auditorium to seating and the stage area that we need to get taken care of.” http://go.uen.org/1Cq (DN) http://go.uen.org/1Cy (OSE) http://go.uen.org/1Cz (PDH) http://go.uen.org/1CO (KNRS)

Dog bites man who broke into elementary school, police say

WEST VALLEY CITY — A man who police say broke into an elementary school had to undergo surgery Wednesday after being bitten on the ear by a police dog.

The incident happened about 1:45 a.m. at Pioneer Elementary School, 3860 S. 3380 West. An alarm was tripped indicating a possible break-in. The district’s security system includes microphones in the building and allows the alarm company to listen, said Granite School District spokesman Ben Horsley. http://go.uen.org/1CM (KSL)

UHSAA sets public hearing on realignment

The Utah High School Activities Association is doing everything possible to gather public input on the always controversial subject of realignment.

The organization’s Board of Trustees must make a final decision for the 2015-2017 seasons in November. It may include a new football-only system where success in the state tournament will be placed in a complicated formula. Under the proposal, successful teams could be placed in a higher classification despite studenbody numbers while struggling schools might drop a classification.

The maximum adjustment based on football success will be 15 percent up or down in student numbers.

http://go.uen.org/1Cu (SLT) http://go.uen.org/1CK (KSL)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Utah Should Reapply for the NCLB Waiver

Utah Policy op-ed by Utah State Board of Education Member Kim Burningham

In the August 8 meeting, the Utah State Board of Education will make an important decision.  I earnestly believe Utah should reapply for the waiver from the onerous requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

Frankly, the State Board is relatively divided on the issue.  As I view the matter, however, the best course for Utah students is to seek waiver renewal. http://go.uen.org/1Cn http://go.uen.org/1CB (Utah PoliticoHub)

Utah’s Constitution requires state board to exit federal waiver Deseret News op-ed by Jakell Sullivan, who graduated from Utah State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Advertising Design

The line that “Common Core isn’t a federal program” deserves evaluation. Presidents since the creation of the U.S. Department of Education have proudly owned their federal education initiatives. Clinton owned Goals 2000, Bush owned No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Obama owns — and claims — Common Core as his initiative, and supports the failed policies of outcome-based education (OBE). OBE has proven to be a failure for our children, yet every time it’s repackaged, many people believe it’s a new, brilliant idea.

The important distinction between the current federal initiative and those before it, is that the law — the Elementary and Secondary Education Act — wasn’t reauthorized. President Obama chose to bypass Congress and issued waivers from NCLB to states only if they would adopt Common Core standards, assessments, teacher evaluations and data collection systems. Common Core can accurately be called a federal executive branch initiative. http://go.uen.org/1Cw

Why Putting Technology in the Hands of Schoolchildren May Not be Such a Good Idea Utah Policy commentary by columnist Bryan Schott

Maybe Speaker Becky Lockhart should look to the experience of one New Jersey school district before charging ahead with her initiative to put a tablet in the hands of every school kid in Utah.

Ars Technica reports the Hoboken School District dumped their program to give every kid a laptop because of extensive damage to the computers. http://go.uen.org/1Cm

Think Again

Salt Lake City Weekly commentary by columnist Katharine Biele

Seems the governor can’t please either of Utah’s leading dailies when it comes to education. Columnists in both The Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News took on Gov. Gary Herbert for his lack of testosterone on the issue of the Common Core. Paul Rolly “expressed concern” that Herbert is becoming a tool of Gayle Ruzicka and the like, while John Florez pointed out, again, that Common Core is not a socialist program “foisted upon us by the federal government.” Florez also noted that Herbert has backed Common Core before. But now, as elections loom, things are different. http://go.uen.org/1D3

Time pays off

Deseret News letter from Mia Snow

Most parents in Utah take time out of their day to help their children succeed in school. I feel that schools in Utah should personalize the educational experience for those students that don’t have a parent to help them succeed.

For children like this, it is so easy to be overlooked and fail classes. Often, they just don’t know how to ask for help. Too many students do just the bare minimum to pass, or don’t pass at all. http://go.uen.org/1Cx

A few reflections on the Common Core Wars Fordham Institute commentary by Executive Vice President Michael J. Petrilli

Monday’s Politico story on the messaging battle over the Common Core has kicked up another round of recriminations, particularly on the Right. What particularly caught my eye was my good friend Rick Hess’s allegation that supporters of the Core (myself among them) were expressing hubris and vanity because we’ve decided that we need our arguments to be more “emotional.”

Ugh. Those are two qualities I certainly don’t want to be associated with. This might be a good time to step back—sans emotion—and take stock of where we’re at.

Get another cup of coffee; this is going to be a long one. I plan to tackle three big topics:

Who’s winning?

Which concerns about the Common Core do I see as legitimate?

How can we supporters of the Core respond constructively to those concerns? http://go.uen.org/1CY

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NATIONAL NEWS

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Tensions Roil in Indiana Over NCLB Waiver Associated Press via Education Week

Indianapolis – A new critique of Indiana’s efforts to maintain its exemptions from the No Child Left Behind requirements, written by top staff to Gov. Mike Pence, is widening a rift between state education leaders as federal officials near a decision on the waiver.

The tersely worded memo from Pence’s Center for Education and Career Innovation dissects and criticizes the waiver submission by Democratic Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz piece by piece, down to grammatical errors. CECI executive director Claire Fiddian-Green also said Wednesday that the Ritz team made key changes in the waiver without consulting the State Board of Education.

Federal officials will decide whether Indiana keeps its waiver, which plays a critical role in determining how much say the state will have in how millions of federal Title I dollars are spent. An answer could come as early as Thursday. http://go.uen.org/1CU http://go.uen.org/1CV (Indy Star)

What Happens on K-12 Policy if Republicans Take Over the U.S. Senate?

Education Week What if some political prognosticators are right and the U.S. Senate flips to GOP control in November? What happens to key pieces of education legislation, including the reauthorization of the outdated No Child Left Behind Act, which has been stymied by partisan paralysis for years?

The person best positioned to make an educated guess on those questions is Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the top Republican on the Senate education committee. Alexander, who is facing a primary challenge but is expected to prevail, is the likeliest candidate to take over the helm of the Senate education committee if the chamber flips to GOP control in the fall.

Alexander is a former U.S. Secretary of Education (under the first President George Bush), and college president (of the University of Tennessee). Before those gigs, he served as governor of Tennessee, and championed one of the earliest experiments with merit pay for teachers.

I asked him a series of ‘what if’ questions, based on a possible Senate turnover. http://go.uen.org/1CX

The Kids Who Beat Autism

New York Times Magazine

… Autism is considered a lifelong developmental disorder, but its diagnosis is based on a constellation of behavioral symptoms — social difficulties, fixated interests, obsessive or repetitive actions and unusually intense or dulled reactions to sensory stimulation — because no reliable bio-markers exist. Though the symptoms of autism frequently become less severe by adulthood, the consensus has always been that its core symptoms remain. Most doctors have long dismissed as wishful thinking the idea that someone can recover from autism. Supposed cures have been promoted on the Internet — vitamin shots, nutritional supplements, detoxifiers, special diets, pressurized rooms filled with pure oxygen and even chelation, the potentially dangerous removal of heavy metals from the body. But no evidence indicates that any of them can alleviate any of the core symptoms of autism, let alone eradicate it. http://go.uen.org/1CQ

Judge tosses suit by former Central Bucks blogging teacher Doylestown (PA) Intelligencer If you’re going to disparage your workplace via the Internet, then you better keep it classy.

That’s the bottom line of a Friday ruling from U.S. District Judge Cynthia Rufe, which blocked a lawsuit by former Central Bucks School District teacher Natalie Munroe against her ex-employer. The judge, citing past cases that pitted public employee against employer, ruled that Munroe’s negative blog posts about her students did not provide enough value to the “larger discussions of educational reform,” to outweigh the district’s right to maintain an “efficient” educational environment.

Munroe was thrust into the national media spotlight in 2011, after an Intelligencer report called into question her blog, which was peppered with critical and often crude remarks about the district’s administration, employees and students.

The incident set off a series of events in which Munroe was placed on unpaid leave for several months, and later returned to the district for about a year before her employment was terminated. Munroe then filed suit against the district and several administrators in 2012, alleging that they “deprived” her of her First Amendment rights through harassment and retaliation.

Munroe was seeking a reinstatement to her position, along with back pay and other monetary damages totaling $5 million. Attorneys for the district, along with former superintendent N. Robert Laws and CB East principal Abram Lucabaugh, who were named as defendants, then filed a motion to dismiss the suit, which was granted in Philadelphia on Friday.

Rufe ruled that Munroe’s postings were “far from implicating larger discussions of education reform, pedagogical methods, or specific school policies,” and instead “mostly complained about the failure of (Munroe’s) students to live up to her expectations.” http://go.uen.org/1CR http://go.uen.org/1CW (Ed Week) A copy of the ruling http://go.uen.org/1CS (DI)

Principals Test Entrepreneurial Ideas in K-12 Education

Week Negotiating lucrative partnerships with companies and organizations. Creating a brand and aggressively marketing it. Breaking with traditional operating methods. Taking risks.

These are some of the strategies used by entrepreneurs operating in the business world—and, increasingly, they’re the kinds of approaches being used by K-12 principals to manage and run their schools.

Faced with a rapidly changing set of challenges, including tight budgets, new technologies, and competition for students, some school leaders are incorporating entrepreneurial practices into their operations. In many cases, their efforts are being supported by college faculty, consultants, and authors offering strategies for bringing business and organizational concepts to school leadership. http://go.uen.org/1CT

The Wyoming GOP’s Civil War over Education

The state’s Tea Party-backed superintendent created an intraparty rift over schools. Now, she’s taking the fight to the next level and trying to unseat the incumbent governor from her own party.

Governing

Wyoming is about as red a state as they come, with Republicans in charge of the legislature and every statewide elected office. But since the rise of the Tea Party four years ago, day-to-day governance — even under one-party control — hasn’t been smooth sailing.

One of the biggest intraparty rifts right now has to do with education — specifically, the tumultuous tenure of state Superintendent Cindy Hill, a Tea Party favorite looking to unseat an incumbent governor from her own party.

Almost immediately upon taking office in 2011, Hill and her Republican colleagues in the legislature began butting heads. A former junior high school principal, Hill had campaigned for accountability systems that would be managed by local school districts. But a few months after her election, legislators preempted that by passing a law requiring statewide data collection and rankings-based student test scores from all 48 school districts. Hill decried the move as a power grab, though the law left local control in many areas, such as curriculum design, textbook choice and teacher evaluation.

Hill rankled legislators in her party by closing an office that focused on assessing student test scores. Over the next 10 months, her agency lost about a third of its staff — former employees blamed a toxic work environment and office intimidation. http://go.uen.org/1CZ

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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 29: Utah State Board of Education Superintendent Search Committee meeting 5 p.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City http://www.utah.gov/pmn/sitemap/notice/224797.html

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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