Education News Roundup: Aug. 14, 2014

Intergenerational Poverty in Public Schools Bill.

Intergenerational Poverty in Public Schools Bill.

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

Jordan District parents petition district to keep immersion teachers. (DN)

Ogden schools looking at taking on intergenerational poverty. (OSE)

Among U.S. metro areas, Salt Lake is eighth lowest in the country for percentage of students in private schools. Fresno, CA, is lowest and New Orleans is highest. (CityLab)

ENR celebrates the imminent demise of Power Point. Can ENR get a woot-woot? OK. So the celebration is muted since PowerPoint is dying because everybody is paying attention to their personal technological gizmos and not to the presentations, but still … y’know: Death of PowerPoint ( (Ed Week)

Will ESEA be reauthorized this year? Next year? OK. Ever? (Ed Week)

or a copy of the survey (Ed Week)












Parents petition school district to sponsor visas for immersion teachers


Ogden schools tackle intergenerational poverty


Logan City School District formally passes property tax increase


Utah schools have dozens of openings before school starts


BYU engineering camp motivates students into STEM-related fields


Farr West council tours new Wahlquist Junior High


Autism, special needs support parent meeting; IEP information


Ex-teacher to stand trial on charges of sexually abusing his students


Trial set for former Utah teacher accused of sex abuse Courts » Gaile Supp is charged with one count of object rape.


Park City elementary teacher charged with possessing child pornography


Davis School District wants help finding playground arsonists


Syracuse students vow to stay ‘Syracuse Strong’ after tragic summer


Copper Hills High School teacher awarded history fellowship


Pollock woman earns educator honors


Road Home Apple Tree program collecting back-to-school items for homeless children


Officer offers back-to-school safety tips






Slow down near schools


Let’s Be Honest: We Don’t Know How to Make Great Teachers


Can Kickstarter save arts education?



Rigging the System at the Local Level






Goodbye, PowerPoint: How Education Conferences Are Branching Out


Obama Administration Unveils New Preschool Grant Program


Slim Hope for ESEA Reauthorization, Say Education ‘Insiders’


Koch brothers group vows more anti-Common Core spending in Tennessee


Texas shuts company for running online high school ‘diploma mill’


LAUSD opens doors to young Central American immigrants


A 13-Year-Old Google Science Fair Finalist Has A Simple Idea To Stop Cyberbullying


Desire2Learn Raises $85M to Deliver ‘Personalized Education’


Sex ed textbook shelved by Fremont school board


Forget The Bake Sale: Some Of School’s Funds Come From Bars And Brothels








Parents petition school district to sponsor visas for immersion teachers


WEST JORDAN — A group of parents in the Jordan School District like their children’s language immersion teachers so much, they’ve launched a petition to keep them from leaving when their guest worker visas expire.

By Wednesday afternoon, more than 150 people had signed the petition, which asks the Jordan Board of Education to explore the possibility of sponsoring an alternative visa to allow guest teachers to continue working in the district. (DN)





Ogden schools tackle intergenerational poverty


OGDEN — When a family has lived in poverty for generations, breaking the cycle is difficult. It takes education, commitment and support — which will all be enhanced for students in Ogden School District, thanks to a $303,346 grant approved by the state Board of Education.

The Ogden district’s grant is the largest made from a $1 million appropriation by the Legislature through Senate Bill 43, Intergenerational Poverty Interventions in Public Schools.

“This specific funding is focused on providing extended learning opportunities and support,” said Kate Bideaux, grant specialist for Ogden district.

Those activities will be provided at Dee, James Madison, T.O. Smith and Gramercy elementary schools, as well as at Mound Fort Junior High and George Washington High School. (OSE)





Logan City School District formally passes property tax increase


Residents living in the Logan City School District will see an increase in their property taxes after the Board of Education approved various levies Tuesday.

During the meeting, the board conducted a Truth in Taxation meeting to publicly discuss the tax increase.

“We’re increasing the voted local levy, sufficient to bring in an anticipated $1.3 million. That was passed by the voters to do that,” said Jeff Barben, the business administrator of the district. (LHJ)




Utah schools have dozens of openings before school starts


SALT LAKE CITY — Some Utah school districts are struggling to fill all their teaching positions with just days before the new school year begins.

The Salt Lake City School District finds itself with about double the number of openings it would normally have at this time of year. Human Resources director Craig Ruesch said in a typical year, two weeks out from the first day, 10 to 15 openings would be expected.

Earlier this week there were 35 openings, although the situation was improving. (DN)




BYU engineering camp motivates students into STEM-related fields


PROVO — The future for young math and science enthusiasts is bright because of a new program that highlights the limitless opportunities for engineers.

Chip Camp was held at BYU on Tuesday and Wednesday to encourage about 50 seventh- and eighth-grade students to pursue degrees in engineering.

Under the guidance of engineering undergraduates at BYU, the kids shuffled through 10 science, technology, engineering and math activities over the course of two days.

Thanks to a longtime partnership with the Micron Foundation, a company devoted to furthering kids’ interest in STEM, the $8,000 price tag for the event was covered. Janine Rush-Byers, Micron’s university relations manager, said it’s a small investment when considering the possible effect the camp could have on young students. (DN)





Farr West council tours new Wahlquist Junior High


FARR WEST — The new $23 million Wahlquist Junior High School sprawls empty and shining, waiting for the many students that will soon enter the freshly polished halls. (OSE)





Autism, special needs support parent meeting; IEP information


ST. GEORGE – The Southern Utah Autism Support Group, along with the Utah Parent Center, will host an informational meeting for parents of school children with special needs at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Desert Hills High School, located at 828 East Desert Hills Drive in St. George.

This special Parents as Partners in the IEP Process meeting will provide parents with information about the Individualized Education Program, a required teacher-parent education plan designed to meet the individual needs of a student who receives special education services. The information will better equip parents to understand this educational process and be able to work hand-in-hand with the teachers and schools. (SGN)




Ex-teacher to stand trial on charges of sexually abusing his students


A former Kamas middle school teacher accused of sexually abusing his students was ordered to stand trial Wednesday.

Rory Bowen, 36, faces four counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child — a first-degree felony punishable by up to life in prison — in the alleged assault of four 12- and 13-year-old girls in Bowen’s former math class.

Bowen will enter a plea next month at an arraignment scheduled for Sept. 8 in Park City before 3rd District Judge Todd Shaughnessy. (SLT)





Trial set for former Utah teacher accused of sex abuse Courts » Gaile Supp is charged with one count of object rape.


A former Clearfield High School teacher accused of forcing a sexual encounter with a 17-year-old student is set to go to trial next month.

Gaile Kristine Supp, 25, is charged in 2nd District Court with first-degree felony object rape.

She appeared in court on Wednesday for a pretrial conference ahead of a four-day trial scheduled to begin on Sept. 15. (SLT) (OSE)




Park City elementary teacher charged with possessing child pornography


PARK CITY — A teacher at Parley’s Park Elementary and area Boy Scout leader is accused of possessing child pornography.

Jose Maria Ardanaz Ezcurdia, 31, was charged Monday in Summit County’s 3rd District Court with five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony.

Ardanaz was a second grade teacher at the Park City elementary school, 4600 Silver Springs Drive, last school year and was scheduled to teach fifth grade math this year, according to the Park City School District. The school’s website also says he teaches Spanish in a dual immersion program. (DN) (SLT) (OSE) (PDH) (KUTV) (KTVX) (KSL) (KSTU)





Davis School District wants help finding playground arsonists


CLINTON — Davis School District official are asking for the public’s help catching the suspected arsonists who lit a West Clinton Elementary School playground on fire earlier this week.

Information about those responsible for the blaze will earn a $100 award from the district. Tips should be sent in to Davis School District Risk Management at 801-402-5144 or Clinton City Police at 801-614-0800.

Witnesses near the playground reported the fire near 826 W. 1800 North on Monday afternoon. Children playing in the area told the Standard-Examiner they saw two juveniles in the area at the time. (OSE) (Insurance News Net)





Syracuse students vow to stay ‘Syracuse Strong’ after tragic summer

SYRACUSE, Davis Count — As shovels dug into dirt and people started cheering and clapping, many Syracuse residents noticed something during this groundbreaking — They were smiling.

“It’s really good to see the community here smiling,” said Elizabeth Wood, a junior at Syracuse High School. “It seems like it has been a long time.”

The groundbreaking at Centennial Park in Syracuse is for a disabled-friendly playground. However, for many residents, especially high school students in Syracuse, the park means so much more. It’s a bright spot for a town that has had too much darkness recently.

Four Syracuse High School students died during the summer break. (KSL)





Copper Hills High School teacher awarded history fellowship


WEST JORDAN — A Copper Hills High School history teacher has been awarded a fellowship that will pay for him to earn a master’s degree.

Kyle Jensen is the state winner of the James Madison Fellowship. The fellowship is a scholarship established in 1986 that pays for a master’s degree in constitutional history. (DN)





Pollock woman earns educator honors


Dr. Delores Kluckman of Pollock was inducted into the Honored Women Educators of South Dakota in Mitchell on Saturday, Aug. 9. HWE, formally known as the Annie D. Tallent Club, honors outstanding women teachers in South Dakota.

Dr. Kluckman began her teaching career in 1960 as a family and consumer sciences teacher in Madison. After several years of middle school and high school teaching, she became Assistant State Supervisor in the Utah State Department of Education and a teacher educator for the University of Utah, and later a teacher educator at South Dakota State University. She retired in 1998. (Mobridge [SD] Tribune)




Road Home Apple Tree program collecting back-to-school items for homeless children


SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Cool temperatures prove that fall is near. That means it’s back to school time and Utah kids need your help.

Anne Williams from Intrepid talks about its back-to-school drive.

The Road Home Apple Tree is a campaign to collect new back-to-school clothing, shoes and backpacks for more than 100 children living in The Road Home Shelter, a Salt Lake family homeless shelter. (KTVX)




Officer offers back-to-school safety tips

HURRICANE – School is back in session – or soon will be – for all students in Washington County. Wednesday, Sgt. Brandon Buell, of the Hurricane Police Department, spoke at Hurricane Elementary School regarding some key points of safety for the upcoming school year. (SGN)










Slow down near schools

(St. George) Spectrum editorial


Students in the Washington County School District have only been in school three days, and already a disturbing trend is fairly easily seen on the streets near schools.

Drivers simply aren’t paying attention to the signs and to the crossing guards, not to mention bus drivers, in the areas around schools. The good news is with the school year so young in Washington County and just starting today in Iron County, we have the opportunity to break these habits and make things safer for kids as they travel to and from school.





Let’s Be Honest: We Don’t Know How to Make Great Teachers Education Week commentary by Bernard Fryshman, Professor of Physics at the New York Institute of Technology


It is hard to avoid the tone of conviction, even certitude in the national dialogue surrounding teacher quality. We read of states instituting teacher evaluation schemes, new standards of rigor in admissions, licensure contingent on candidate demonstration of specific skills, and increased clinical training as some of the initiatives aimed at ensuring teacher quality. These well-intended efforts are based on reasonable theoretical constructs, and on the assumption that we know what constitutes great teaching.

The fact is, however, we don’t really know. We are choking on data, but there are few if any properly validated experiments, and therefore no real knowledge.

Admittedly, experiments are hard. We are dealing with too many variables—both teacher and student—to readily isolate and examine a hypothesis. But this should engender caution, rather than certainty in our collective voice.

We can’t identify great teachers, let alone determine how to prepare them. At best, we can recognize teachers who, by dint of good fortune, have found a successful niche. Like me.





Can Kickstarter save arts education?

Washington Post commentary by columnist Caitlin Dewey


Nearly one in 10 U.S. secondary schools has no music program. Eleven percent don’t teach art. More than half have cut theater. Nine in 10 have cut dance.

Despite overwhelming evidence that arts education correlates with higher graduation rates, better college performance and future success in the workplace, shrinking school budgets and strict curriculum standards keep restricting the time that teenage students spend exploring their creative sides. So a panel of artists, educators and activists — including marquee names like Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, author Salman Rushdie and design duo Rodarte — have come up with a novel solution, perfectly suited to the Internet age: a free, crowdfunded, peer-to-peer online arts school that brings the arts to students who need them.

The project is called School of Doodle, and it’s the sprawling, ambitious and very colorful brainchild of the artist and producer Molly Logan — a bit of a colorful character herself.





Rigging the System at the Local Level

Center for American Progress analysis


Today, some five years after the end of the Great Recession, too many American families are still struggling to make ends meet and are living paycheck to paycheck. Millions of Americans find their cost of living soaring and face the sobering reality that their jobs are not paying enough to support their families. But while working and middle-class families are being squeezed, America’s millionaires and billionaires, rich CEOs, and big corporations are living a very different existence and are seeing their wealth, pay, and profits skyrocket.

This inequality is not the result of some luck of the draw or happenstance; it is by design. These millionaires and billionaires, CEOs, and big corporations use a wide array of tactics to make sure that the economic and political system works for them. The billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch are no strangers to this approach. They have used their immense wealth and considerable connections to build a network of political action groups, think tanks, issue advocacy organizations—most notably Americans for Prosperity, or AFP—and like-minded elected officials to rig the system to benefit their bottom line, often at the expense of everyone else.

The Koch brothers have significant financial interests motivating them. Charles and David Koch are ranked as the fifth- and sixth-richest individuals in the world, with an estimated worth of more than $52 billion each. With Charles as CEO and David as executive vice president, the brothers oversee Koch Industries, Inc., America’s second-largest privately held company, a business empire heavily invested in oil and gas, chemicals, transportation, and manufacturing.

In recent years, the Koch brothers have taken their anti-government, low-regulation lobbying efforts to the local level, wading into county tax debates, city transportation decisions, and even school district bond measures.











Where Private School Enrollment Is Highest and Lowest Across the U.S.

Nationally, only 10 percent of grade school kids attend private schools, but in some neighborhoods, it’s the majority of children.



More than two-thirds of adults with children under 12 say that the neighborhood school district is among the most important considerations when choosing a home, according to a June 2013 Trulia survey. However, some parents factor schools into their housing choices differently. Nationally, 10 percent of school kids grades 1-12 attend private schools, and in some neighborhoods, the majority of kids go to private school.

In recognition of the back-to-school season, we analyzed where private school enrollment is high and low across the U.S. These geographic differences reveal why parents choose private or public schools for their kids.

For parents looking to move, knowing whether neighborhood kids go to private or public schools can help them decide where to live. First, a neighborhood’s level of private school enrollment signals whether you too might want to send your kids to private school if you lived there. Second, even if you plan to send your kids to public school, the share of neighborhood children in private schools affects whether most of the neighborhood kids will be at school with them.




Goodbye, PowerPoint: How Education Conferences Are Branching Out Education Week


Washington – No one moves. A room full of people have traveled very far to this conference of superintendents, and no one wants to ask the man speaking before them a question.

Jonathan Voss, a senior analyst at Washington-based Lake Research Partners, stands waiting at the podium. He breaks the awkward silence with a joke before an attendee at this July legislative-advocacy conference, convened by AASA, the School Superintendents Association in Washington, finally asks a question.

Some people are probably afraid to ask a question because they weren’t paying attention; at least a few attendees have spent the morning on their phones, checking Twitter and Instagram.

“Technology has ruined us,” said Reece Blincoe, superintendent of the Brownwood school district, in Texas. “Because we’re sitting here answering emails, we’re doing tweets, we’re doing all these things, and we’re doing all the things we tell our kids not to do in a classroom.”

Most of the audience does seem engaged, yet it’s early in the morning on the conference’s third day, so wandering attention can be expected. It goes with the territory, but with so many conferences for educators to choose from, finding new ways to engage potential attendees—and keep those who do show up coming back—remains a priority for organizers.





Obama Administration Unveils New Preschool Grant Program Education Week


Thirty-five states and the District of Columbia, which have already won federal grants to bolster their early-learning systems—or have robust early-childhood programs in place—could tap into even more money to improve preschool programs, under a new, $250 million “preschool development” grant competition announced by the Obama administration Wednesday.

And 15 states and Puerto Rico, which are just getting started on their early-learning programs would be able to compete, on a somewhat separate track, for a portion of those funds.

The preschool development grant program, which will be jointly administered by the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, represents a relatively modest down payment on the Obama administration’s much broader, $75 billion request for matching grants to help states cover the cost of a major expansion of early-childhood education programs. The bigger program is likely to go absolutely nowhere in a tight-fisted Congress, so this scaled-back version may be all the extra early-learning money states see from the feds for quite a while. (WSJ) (ED)





Slim Hope for ESEA Reauthorization, Say Education ‘Insiders’

Education Week


The Elementary and Secondary Education Act will never be reauthorized. At least that’s what 20 percent of education “insiders” surveyed by a Washington consulting group think.

The new survey released Thursday by Whiteboard Advisors found that 72 percent of a small group of key education influentials agreed that, at the very least, Congress won’t update the federal education law until after December 2015.

“We are only six years behind,” mocked one respondent. “What’s the rush now?”

The report is based on an anonymous survey of a very small group of “key education influentials,” including policymakers, thought leaders, and association heads.


A copy of the survey (Ed Week)





Koch brothers group vows more anti-Common Core spending in Tennessee Nashville Tennessean


Convinced of wins during last week’s elections, a group funded by the billionaire Koch brothers has vowed to continue to spend aggressively in Tennessee in pursuit of derailing Common Core academic standards here.

The Tennessee branch of Americans for Prosperity, a political and lobbying arm founded by conservatives Charles and David Koch, claims it spent $500,000 over the last six weeks targeted at “bringing the issues with Common Core to light” in Tennessee. “And this is just the beginning,” the group’s state director, Andrew Ogles, said in prepared statement Wednesday.

The organization, which set up shop in Nashville last year and has also taken aim at Mayor Karl Dean’s Amp mass transit project, pointed specifically to results in Williamson County’s school board and state legislative races as evidence the public is “opposed to this one-size-fits-all takeover of the education system.”




Texas shuts company for running online high school ‘diploma mill’



DALLAS – Texas has won court approval to close a Houston-based company the state said ran a fraudulent online program that offered high school diplomas for a flat fee and no course work, state officials said on Wednesday.

Last week, a district judge ordered the company known as Lincoln Academy to stop accepting students, shut down its website and social media pages and phase out operations, the attorney general’s office said. It released the agreement on Wednesday.

The company did not respond to a request for comment. Lincoln Academy, described as “a diploma mill” by the state, claimed its program was nationally accredited and its diplomas were accepted by colleges, employers and the U.S. military, the office said.”In the end, consumers pay hundreds of dollars for a worthless piece of paper that provides none of the promised benefits of a legitimate high school education,” the state said in its lawsuit.

To earn a diploma, students had to pay $299 in tuition to access online course work and pass a five-section test that could be taken without supervision, the company’s website said.





LAUSD opens doors to young Central American immigrants Los Angeles Times


At the low-slung bungalow west of downtown, a youngster screams from a vaccination and a nurse records the height and weight of an older boy. Academic counselors stand by, because it is here that many children who recently crossed the southern border enroll in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

As the line runs out the door of the cramped reception area, José Miguel waits his turn to sign up 17-year-old niece Elena, a native of Guatemala who crossed over from Mexico in March without her parents or a guardian.

Under federal law, these children are entitled to attend public school regardless of immigration status.

“I am planning for 1,000 this year, but I will know more when our doors open,” L.A. Unified Supt. John Deasy said just before the nation’s second-largest district started its school year on Tuesday.

Across the country over the next year, federal agencies expect to manage about 60,000 minors who entered or will arrive in the United States without an adult guardian. That figure compares with about 7,500 who came in annually before the numbers surged to 13,625 last year and about 25,000 in the current year.





Failure to Replicate

Inside Higher Ed


The word “replication” has, of late, set many a psychologist’s teeth on edge. Experimental psychology is weathering a credibility crisis, with a flurry of fraud allegations and retracted papers. Marc Hauser, an evolutionary psychologist at Harvard University, left academe amid charges of scientific misconduct. Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel-Prize-winning psychologist at Princeton University, entered the fray in 2012 with a sharply worded email to his colleagues studying social priming. He warned of a “train wreck looming” that researchers would avoid only if they focused more diligently on replicating findings. And the journal Social Psychology devoted its most recent issue to replication – and failed to replicate a number of high-profile findings in social psychology.

Yet psychologists are not the worst offenders when it comes to replication, it turns out. That distinction might belong to education researchers, according to an article published today in the journal Educational Researcher.

Only 0.13 percent of education articles published in the field’s top 100 journals are replications, write Matthew Makel, a gifted-education research specialist at Duke University, and Jonathan Plucker, a professor of educational psychology and cognitive science at Indiana University. In psychology, by contrast, 1.07 percent of studies in the field’s top 100 journals are replications, a 2012 study found.


A copy of the study (Educational Researcher)



A 13-Year-Old Google Science Fair Finalist Has A Simple Idea To Stop Cyberbullying Business Insider


Trisha Prabhu, a 13-year-old from Chicago, won a spot as one of Google’s 15 Global Science Fair finalists for her project about stopping cyberbullying by making teens and tweens think before posting hurtful comments.

The science behind Prabhu’s idea is simple: Teens are impulsive and, because of their brain structure, more likely to post hurtful messages without pausing to think about the consequences.

The prefrontal cortex — the part of the brain responsible for self-control that helps people think before acting — isn’t fully developed until age 25. Her theory is that if teens are forced to take a moment of reflection before posting a mean comment, they won’t do it.

She created a system to test her hypothesis called Rethink, which prompted students who said they would post a mean comment to think about how it might affect its target before posting it. Turns out, in 93.43% of her 533 trials, the student decided not to post the comment.

Now that she has successfully tested her hypothesis, Prabhu wants to create a real product that could work with social media sites and apps that would filter messages that were potentially mean or hurtful, and alert senders to take an extra second to think before posting.





Desire2Learn Raises $85M to Deliver ‘Personalized Education’

Wall Street Journal


Education technology venture Desire2Learn Inc. has raised $85 million to bring a big-data twist to learning.

Canada-based D2L’s core product, Brightspace, is a platform that helps teachers deliver content to students in the classroom and at home via the Web and mobile devices. It also tracks and assesses their learning progress on the fly instead of just once a semester, at the time of a final exam or standardized testing.

For university students, the technology functions like a “Netflix for education,” recommending courses based on their skills, interests and aptitude, Chief Executive John Baker said. That helps them complete a degree within four years and decreases dropout rates, he said.

In K-12 schools, the company’s technology can help identify students at risk of getting a failing grade and gives them material to help them master subjects where they’re underperforming. The system also helps educators decide how to intervene, long before a student must repeat a course.

Educators can also use D2L’s technology to quickly determine which apps and materials are proving effective within their schools and classrooms, including within a certain grade level or among a population of students with particular strengths or needs.




Sex ed textbook shelved by Fremont school board San Francisco Chronicle


The Fremont school board backed off the use of a health and sex education textbook on Wednesday, saying they’ll send the book back to the publisher in the hopes it can be modified to satisfy parents’ concerns.

In a 3-2 vote the board decided to revert to last year’s textbook, but it won’t be sent home with students because it contains outdated and inaccurate information.

Some parents objected to much of the content in the new book’s chapters on sex, which included references to sex toys, bondage, erotic touch and dating websites, as well as line drawings of sexual organs in various states of arousal.




Forget The Bake Sale: Some Of School’s Funds Come From Bars And Brothels NPR All Things Considered


This month, schools across the U.S. are preparing for students to return to the classroom and looking for creative ways to supplement budgets. As Capital Public Radio’s Ky Plaskon reports, one Nevada school district is turning to unlikely sources of funding: liquor and prostitution.













USOE Calendar



UEN News



August 14:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

9 a.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City



August 18:

Utah State Board of Education Superintendent Search Committee meeting

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



August 26:

Education Task Force meeting

9 a.m., 210 Senate Building



September 4-5:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City



September 16:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

1 p.m., 210 Senate Building



September 17:

Education Interim Committee meeting

2:30 p.m., 30 House Building



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