Education News Roundup: Aug. 7, 2014

"69/365 - School Supplies in Excess" by Alissa Becker/CC/flickr

“69/365 – School Supplies in Excess” by Alissa Becker/CC/flickr

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

Trib looks at homelessness among Utah students. “Our kids, they’re not excited to go back to school, and part of it is embarrassment that they’re living in a shelter and their classmates will find out and they’ll get bullied and teased.”

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

School principals and city mayors climb on the school bus for a tour of Jordan School District.

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

Louisiana Gov. Jindal is now seeking an injunction against Common Core-based tests.

http://go.uen.org/1Fr (NOLA)

and http://go.uen.org/1Fv (Politico)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

Utah grapples with persistent problem: homeless students Poverty » Despite improving economy, the ranks of homeless schoolchildren still swollen as charitable groups try to provide supplies.

School principals, city mayors tour Jordan School District

Cheerleaders, convicts help cleanup flood damage in Helper

New LDS K-12 school finds home at former car dealership; registration now open

Teachers seek school supply donations on Reddit

Event gives needy students back-to-school supplies Back 2 School Basics to help nearly 500 local students

Back to school on a budget; money saving tips from a local expert

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Common Core controversy in public education in Utah

Automatic Failure

Chicken Little and the ongoing NCLB Waiver Debate

In Teacher-Tenure Battles, a War for Public Opinion Can Obscure the Nuances

Should state sue Arne Duncan to get No Child waiver back?

The Top Twitter Feeds in Education Policy 2014

NATION

Bobby Jindal seeks court injunction to stop use of Common Core tests

How one city is welcoming hundreds of migrant children with open arms The flood of migrant children is straining municipal budgets as children are reunited with families in cities already struggling with social issues. But in Chelsea, Mass., an outpouring of volunteer support has eased the crisis.

Rich Kid, Poor Kid: For 30 Years, Baltimore Study Tracked Who Gets Ahead

These Teachers Visit Every Student Before School Starts

Keeping student data safe from the marketing machine

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UTAH NEWS

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Utah grapples with persistent problem: homeless students Poverty » Despite improving economy, the ranks of homeless schoolchildren still swollen as charitable groups try to provide supplies.

                Jessica Daffron never imagined she and her three kids would spend months living in The Road Home homeless shelter.

                But a harsh sequence of events — job and apartment loss, sickness and her fiancé’s imprisonment — led them to the squat brick building on the edge of downtown.

                “I never thought I’d be here, but it just made it really hard trying to take care of things, and I just needed someone to help with a fresh start,” said the petite 31-year-old mother.

                Tellingly, Daffron’s children have adapted relatively well to life in the shelter, she said, partly because there are so many other kids there.

                Despite the rebounding economy, the shelter is seeing no decrease in the number of kids it helps. In fact, it is serving 50 percent more children than in 2010. It seems to be part of a nationwide trend that has The Road Home and other charitable organizations seeking more back-to-school donations this year.

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

School principals, city mayors tour Jordan School District

                WEST JORDAN — Jordan School District administrators took a surprise field trip on Wednesday, as their annual leadership conference was paused to allow for a series of bus tours around the district led by city mayors.

                The tours were designed as a way for municipal leaders to interact with educators and to provide a peek into the long-term development planning going on in the cities that make up the school district.

                “We have a lot of growth and a lot of development,” said Mike Anderson, Jordan’s area administrator of schools. “Our administrators know this, but they may not have seen it in person and may not have had an opportunity to talk with city officials, so this is going to give us an opportunity to do such a thing.”

                After being separated into yellow school buses based on geographic areas — and some initial razzing of the “cool kids” who claimed the back seats — adminstrators made a pit stop at the city halls of West Jordan, South Jordan, Riverton, Herriman and Bluffdale to pick up the cities’ respective mayors.

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

Cheerleaders, convicts help cleanup flood damage in Helper

 

                HELPER, Carbon County — Residents are cleaning up after massive flooding problems in Carbon County over the past two days. Many residents don’t have insurance because they were told it wasn’t necessary in their area, and are hoping to receive federal help.

                Carbon County officials are trying to assess how much damage was caused. As of Tuesday, the damage was estimated at almost $2 million.

                If residents can prove the floods caused at least $3 million in damage, they may get approval for federal funding.

                Volunteers gathered on Main Street in Helper starting at 9 a.m. to help with the effort that could take weeks to clean up the damage caused by the flooding.

                …

                “The lady came out of her house and she was crying,” Carbon High School cheerleader Kaylee Bruno said, referring to Williams.

                “She was like, ‘Never put anything in the basement,'” Bruno said. “It was really sad. I just want to help out.”

                Bruno and her fellow cheerleaders ditched their pompoms Wednesday to help clean up homes and yards all along Helper’s Main Street that have been affected by the flooding.

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

New LDS K-12 school finds home at former car dealership; registration now open

                ST. GEORGE – Providence Academy, a progressive new private school in St. George offering Christian-based curriculum centered on principles taught by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has found a home at the former Legacy Blackridge Subaru-Mitsubishi complex, located at 1700 S. Black Ridge Drive in St. George. Showrooms will soon be converted into classrooms at the facility, which boasts just over 29,000 square feet.

                “All the kids that have walked through here, they’re all really excited about this,” Quin Denning, an administrator at Providence Academy, said.

http://go.uen.org/1Fj (SGN)

Teachers seek school supply donations on Reddit

                Reddit users are no strangers to gift giving – they even have their own holiday for it – but now redditgifts is turning its attention to a worthy cause: getting much-needed school supplies for teachers.

                Reddit kicked off its third annual “redditgifts for the Teachers” this week. Last year’s efforts yielded more than $325,000 to help teachers set up their classrooms.

                “We started this in 2012 as a way to be able to reach out to teachers, because that’s a community that’s really in need,” redditgifts marketing manager Kaela Gardner told FoxNews.com. “We have been doing it for three years now and we are really pleased with the results and how much the community has rallied to help them.”

                Michelle Francis understands the need for school supply donations – as a first-grade teacher in Salt Lake City, Utah, she has often had to buy supplies for students out of her own pocket.

                “Sometimes it’s really hard,” Francis said. “I have some pretty good parental support but not all of my friends are lucky. They have one glue stick for five kids.”

                Gardner and Francis agree the redditgifts donations are especially important for low-income areas, where many parents are unable to provide their children with basic supplies.

http://go.uen.org/1Fy (Fox)

Event gives needy students back-to-school supplies Back 2 School Basics to help nearly 500 local students

                With a new school year right around the corner, back-to-school shopping is already in full swing, as parents and students ensure they’re prepared when classes start later this month.

But many families lack the money to provide their children with new clothes or even essentials like pencils and notebooks or warm winter coats. That’s where the Christian Center of Park City steps in with the Back 2 School Basics event, which helps give nearly 500 underprivileged Park City students clothing and supplies. This year’s event is will take place Friday, August 8, at the Tanger Outlets, 6699 N. Landmark Drive.

                Jenny Mauer, Special Events and Volunteer Coordinator for the Christian Center, said Back 2 School Basics, which is in its third year, gives students who wouldn’t otherwise get any back-to-school items a chance at starting the school year off on the right foot.

http://go.uen.org/1FA (PR)

Back to school on a budget; money saving tips from a local expert

                ST. GEORGE – It’s that time of year again, teachers are setting up their classrooms and handing out supply lists, giant marquees in the shape of pencils hover over every aisle of the local department store and crayons in colors enough to make even Joseph and his technicolor coat jealous are stacked on shelves.

                Washington County School District heads back to the classroom this Monday and with the first day of school comes a host of supplies and new clothes that kids and teachers need to get the year started off right.

http://go.uen.org/1Fi (SGN)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Common Core controversy in public education in Utah

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner op-ed by Vijay K. Mathur, of Ogden, former chair and professor of economics and now professor emeritus, Department of Economics, Cleveland State University, Ohio

                The opposition to Common Core standards in public education in Utah is not only full of myths, but also lacks concern about providing the best education to children in Utah. It is a myth that Common Core is an attempt by federal government to control education in the state, thus crowding out local control. Governor Gary Herbert recently has asked the Utah Attorney General to fully review Common Core standards and the obligations of the state under that standard. It is primarily meant to diffuse the criticism and hopefully to settle the issue for all concerned parties.

                Following the governor’s announcement for review, Libertas Institute has filed a lawsuit against Utah State Board of Education, claiming that the board did not actively consult all parties concerned before implementing Common Core education standards. It is interesting to note that Libertas Institute has had plenty of time since discussions on Common Core started and implementation began. But they ignored it and are now using the tactic to delay and/or undermine the program, thus ignoring educational interests of children.

                In many news stories on the controversy, I also sense that those who are opposed to Common Core also have another hidden agenda. One has to read between the lines in their objections to Common Core to discover that they are more interested in advancing their ultimate goal of privatization of public education than in strengthening public schools.

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

Automatic Failure

Salt Lake City Weekly commentary by columnist Katharine Biele

                Oooh, boy! Some Utahns are so opposed to the Common Core that they’re willing to go back to the failed No Child Left Behind model—yes, NCLB, former President George W. Bush’s brainchild that sought to improve schools through ultimately unattainable benchmarks. The state school board will decide whether to continue asking for a waiver Aug. 8, and at least one member—Kim Burningham—wants to go for it. That’s because NCLB requires achievement in 40 different areas, requires all schools to reach 100 percent attainment by, ahem, this year, and would thus assure that all schools fail. Also, Utah schools would have to redirect Title I funds at a cost of $23 million. It’s interesting how a bad idea can morph into a good one through political machinations—and fear of the feds.

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

Chicken Little and the ongoing NCLB Waiver Debate Utah PoliticoHub commentary by columnist DANIEL BURTON

                Tomorrow, on Friday August 8, the Utah State Board of Education (USBE) will vote on whether to extend the waiver to the requirements of No Child Left Behind.

                As I’ve noted previously, the cost of not passing the waiver would be an insubstantial portion of the state education budget, just $26.5 million in education funding from the federal government, or less than 1%.

                And yet, you’d think that the very future of education funding in Utah–all of it–was on the line. USBE member Kim Burningham has called the requirements “onerous” and argues that by keeping the waiver in place Utah will be able to institute its own accountability system in lieu of federal systems. Dr. Rick Robins insists that the vote is a rushed decision and that the only way to provide for Utah’s neediest students is to renew the waiver or raise education funding in Utah to par with other states (coincidentally, states with dramatically different politics and education dynamics, but that’s nuance, I suppose).

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

In Teacher-Tenure Battles, a War for Public Opinion Can Obscure the Nuances Education Week commentary by columnist Stephen Sawchuk

                Whoopi Goldberg is the latest celebrity to weigh in on the topic of teacher tenure, fueling what seems to be increasing national attention to the topic.

                Her comments appear to be prompted by a lawsuit organized by former news anchor Campbell Brown against New York state’s tenure and dismissal rules. Fresh off her appearance on “The Colbert Report,” Brown has been making the early-morning talk-show rounds. (Not to be outdone, the American Federation of Teachers’ Randi Weingarten fought back Tuesday on the MSNBC program “Morning Joe.”)

                At this rate, teacher tenure may exceed the Common Core State Standards as an education policy lightning rod, even as a possible wedge issue in the midterm and 2016 elections.

                One thing’s for sure: There’s a war out there to win public opinion on the merits, or demerits, of tenure laws.

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

Should state sue Arne Duncan to get No Child waiver back?

Seattle Times commentary by columnist John Higgins

                The executive director of the association that represents Washington school superintendents says Washington state should challenge the revocation of the state’s waiver from the No Child Left Behind law in federal court.

                In April, Washington became the first state in the country to lose its waiver when state lawmakers decided against mandating the use of state test scores in teacher evaluations.

                In his group’s August newsletter, Executive Director Bill Keim tells the members of the Washington Association of School Administrators that he’s long been concerned about the “unfettered federal intervention into what used to be the states’ domain — operating our public schools.”

                Which is why Keim likes the idea of challenging the waiver revocation in federal court, an idea floated last month by Michael Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education policy group based in Washington D.C.

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

The Top Twitter Feeds in Education Policy 2014 Education Next commentary by Michael J. Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute

                It’s August, which can only mean one thing: it’s time for our annual list of top education-policy Twitter feeds. Klout scores are the primary metric (with ties broken by the number of Twitter followers); a main focus on K–12 education policy is the only eligibility requirement.

                This year’s list is remarkably consistent with last year’s (and the years’ before that), though a couple of newcomers might be an indication of the changing education-policy debate. The Badass Teachers Association is on the board at number 15, and its founder, Mark Naison, is at number 21. And news anchor-turned-education-reformer Campbell Brown jumps to Twitter prominence at number 24.

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

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NATIONAL NEWS

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Bobby Jindal seeks court injunction to stop use of Common Core tests New Orleans Times-Picayune

                In the latest salvo in the ongoing fight over Louisiana’s use of the Common Core education standards, Gov. Bobby Jindal has amended his lawsuit and is now seeking a court injunction to immediately stop the state from using the tests tied to Common Core.

                The governor’s office said in a release that the injunction is needed “because of the imminent risk of irreparable harm created by the unlawful exercise of federal control of education in Louisiana.”

                The injunction would bar the state’s Board of Elementary and Secondary Education from implementing any assessment program developed by the Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, known as PARCC.

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

http://go.uen.org/1Fv (Politico)

How one city is welcoming hundreds of migrant children with open arms The flood of migrant children is straining municipal budgets as children are reunited with families in cities already struggling with social issues. But in Chelsea, Mass., an outpouring of volunteer support has eased the crisis.

Christian Science Monitor

                CHELSEA, MASS. — As unaccompanied children continue to pour across the US-Mexico border from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, they’re creating a challenge for school districts across the country, where local officials are scrambling to put together the resources to educate and care for the new arrivals.

                Because the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) often places these minors with family members, the children are disproportionately ending up in cities with large Central American populations – typically low- to middle-income locales already struggling to deal with their own social needs. As a result, city leaders have begun to dig into local budgets, while calling on the federal government to pitch in, and, in some cases, receiving aid from concerned citizens.

                Case in point is Chelsea, Mass. – a proud, threadbare tangle of commerce and heavy industry, directly across the Mystic River from Boston.

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

http://go.uen.org/1Fw (Fort Worth [TX] Star-Telegram)

Rich Kid, Poor Kid: For 30 Years, Baltimore Study Tracked Who Gets Ahead NPR Morning Edition

                Education is historically considered to be the thing that levels the playing field, capable of lifting up the less advantaged and improving their chances for success.

                “Play by the rules, work hard, apply yourself and do well in school, and that will open doors for you,” is how Karl Alexander, a Johns Hopkins University sociologist, puts it.

                But a study published in June suggests that the things that really make the difference — between prison and college, success and failure, sometimes even life and death — are money and family.

                Alexander is one of the authors of “The Long Shadow,” which explored this scenario: Take two kids of the same age who grew up in the same city — maybe even the same neighborhood. What factors will make the difference for each?

                To find the answer, the Hopkins researchers undertook a massive study. They followed nearly 800 kids in Baltimore — from first grade until their late-20s.

                They found that a child’s fate is in many ways fixed at birth — determined by family strength and the parents’ financial status.

                The kids who got a better start — because their parents were married and working — ended up better off. Most of the poor kids from single-parent families stayed poor.

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

These Teachers Visit Every Student Before School Starts Education Week

                Last Tuesday—eight days before the start of the school year in Henderson County, Ky.—teachers at Cairo Elementary started the morning with a group prayer. Dressed in matching blue T-shirts with the Cairo mascot emblazoned on the front, they prepared to start making house calls.

                The visits, part of a county-wide initiative called Home Visit Blitz, are an effort to help teachers build relationships with students and their families. They started three years ago, and they always happen right before students come back to school in the fall. Like Cairo, most of the elementary and middle schools sent their teachers on home visits last Tuesday, while the high school spread its visits out over three days.

                By the end of the week, teachers had knocked on the door of every student in Henderson County.

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

Keeping student data safe from the marketing machine Marketplace

                In New Hampshire, the state collects the basics about kids; name, race, gender. It also tracks how many days they were suspended from school, and whether or not they are homeless.

                But, under its new law, the state is prohibited from collecting information about a kid’s Body Mass Index. It also can’t keep a record about whether she’s pregnant, and it can’t gather kids’ email addresses.

                And that’s just a small part of what the state’s law covers.

                “States have taken a huge step forward in the last two years in really strengthening their capacity to safeguard data,” said Aimee Guidera, head of the Data Quality Campaign,  a non-profit  that is tracking student data laws.

                There are already federal laws in place to help protect student records.

                But, as technology advances and students do more work on computers, a lot of states want more.

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

http://go.uen.org/1Fx (Politico)

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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

August 7-8:

                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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