Education News Roundup: Aug. 15, 2014

"Writing in Cursive ..." by Aaron and Stacia/CC/flickr

“Writing in Cursive …” by Aaron and Stacia/CC/flickr

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

State Board of Education names Joel Coleman as interim superintendent.

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

and http://go.uen.org/1Jz (DN)

and http://go.uen.org/1JK (USBE)

St. George Spectrum wrongly opines that Utah’s core lacks requirements for handwriting. You’ll find the standards by doing a keyword search on “handwriting” in the standards (http://schools.utah.gov/arc/curr/Core/CoreBinder2013R.pdf) or you can find Board action on it from the June 2013 Board meeting (http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Minutes/2013/6-07-13.aspx).

http://go.uen.org/1JE (SGS)

State Board Members Johnson and Moss discuss the ESEA waiver.

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

Washington superintendents aren’t keen on NCLB designations.

http://go.uen.org/1Jx (Tacoma)

and http://go.uen.org/1JO (Reuters)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Superintendent leaving; second top Utah ed official to depart Schools » Board appoints new interim superintendent with no public school teaching experience.

 

Salazar, sportsmen chide states’ public lands movement

 

Sophomores prep for success in Ogden schools

 

East Elementary begins its 3rd year of bilingual education

 

Students vow to remain #SyracuseStrong after tragic summer

 

Principal on leave in wake of domestic violence charges

 

RadKIDS finish strong

 

8 types of bullies and how to handle them

 

 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Learning cursive still important

 

Deputy’s departure signals rift in Utah education

 

State education board is maintaining Utah’s independence

 

Headlee: ‘Hijacking’ the charter movement may destroy the charter movement

 

Reliving the terrors of middle, high school

 

NCLB Avoided

 

The Truth About Charter Schools

 

Separating Fact & Fiction:

What You Need to Know About Charter Schools

 

Blame the Common Core for Miley Cyrus, phones in toilets, and … everything else?

 

 

 

NATION

 

28 superintendents to parents: Schools are not failing

 

Central American Migrant Wave Tests Schools Districts Grapple With Cost, Integration Challenges as Enrollment Spikes

 

MGSD to offer K-6 foreign language instruction

 

Common-Core Math Textbooks to Get Online Ratings

 

Despite Training, Half of Teachers Feel Inadequately Prepared for Common Core

 

Connecticut schools should have unarmed guards to prevent shootings: expert

 

Cyberbullying alert app for parents made in Thunder Bay BullyGuard scans text messages for provocative language

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Superintendent leaving; second top Utah ed official to depart Schools » Board appoints new interim superintendent with no public school teaching experience.

 

A second top Utah education official will leave his post this month, state leaders announced Friday.

State Superintendent Martell Menlove announced in March he would retire this year, but he said at the time he would wait until his replacement was found. But state school board chair David Crandall said on Friday that next week will likely be Menlove’s last in the office, though he’ll help with the transition as needed.

State school board leaders said on Friday they’ve chosen an interim superintendent — Joel Coleman, a former board member and current superintendent of the Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind.

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

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/1JK (USBE)

 

 

 

Salazar, sportsmen chide states’ public lands movement

 

SALT LAKE CITY — A states’ rights, public lands movement with its genesis in Utah was blasted by former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar Thursday as an effort that threatens to undo the successes of American conservation policy.

“This would roll back 100 years of public lands progress,” he said in a teleconference hosted by the National Wildlife Federation.

“This would cause Teddy Roosevelt to roll over in his grave if he knew what the Republican National Committee’s position was in respect to our public lands.”

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

 

 

 

 

Sophomores prep for success in Ogden schools

 

OGDEN – It was cap-and-gown pictures for a group of sophomores at Ben Lomond and Ogden high schools this month. Yes, sophomores. The students have been taking part in a “sophomore transition” program, not only to prepare them for the big change that is high school, but also for what comes at the end – graduation.

Nicole Wardle has overseen the program for the past four years at Ogden High and has seen great results from the three-day camp during which students get a view of high school life, and also get filled with the idea that graduation is the goal and college is really what it’s all about.

“We had them do the cap-and-gown pictures so they can hang (them) up and see what they have to look forward to,” Wardle said as students ate a catered lunch in the cafeteria.

Ogden and Ben Lomond run the program on a small learning communities grant from the federal government.

http://go.uen.org/1JC (OSE)

 

 

 

 

East Elementary begins its 3rd year of bilingual education

 

CEDAR CITY – As the school year opened for students in the Iron County School District on Thursday, East Elementary School began its third year of offering a dual immersion program for Spanish and English.

Launched in fall of 2012, the program started with two first grade classes of about 30 students each attending a half-day of instruction in Spanish and the other half day in English.

http://go.uen.org/1JF (SGS)

 

 

 

Students vow to remain #SyracuseStrong after tragic summer

 

SYRACUSE — As shovels dug into dirt and people started cheering and clapping, many Syracuse residents noticed something during the groundbreaking for Centennial Park: People 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 Wednesday was for a disabled-friendly playground. However, for many residents, especially Syracuse High students, the park means so much more. It’s a bright spot for a city that has had too much darkness recently.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/1JD (OSE)

 

http://go.uen.org/1JI (KTVX)

 

 

 

 

Principal on leave in wake of domestic violence charges

 

CASTLE DALE — Emery County prosecutors have filed misdemeanor charges against Dennis Clell Jones, the principal at Cottonwood Elementary School in Orangeville, following an apparent domestic dispute between Jones and his wife.

Jones, 63, was charged Thursday in 7th District Court with possession of a dangerous weapon with intent to commit an assault, a class A misdemeanor, and assault, a class B misdemeanor.

The charges stem from a confrontation between the Joneses that began in private but quickly became public, according to an Emery County Sheriff’s Office report obtained Thursday through a public records request.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/1JL (MUR)

 

 

 

RadKIDS finish strong

 

Forty-seven Virgin Valley radKIDS between 5 and 12 years old demonstrated to parents Thursday how effective they could be in fending off a potential abductor.

The kids screamed, yelled, punched and kicked a would-be kidnapper dressed in a red padded suit during a radKIDS graduation ceremony after a week-long personal empowerment course in a gym at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Arrowhead Lane.

http://go.uen.org/1JG (SGS)

 

 

 

 

8 types of bullies and how to handle them

 

Bullying has been a common issue for kids throughout their lives in high school.

But with the rise of social media, cyberbullying and heightened pressures of a new age, bullying has been at the center of much discussion and debate.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Learning cursive still important

(St. George) Spectrum editorial

 

The school bell has rung, and the kids are back in school learning “reading and arithmetic,” but are they still learning to write? More specifically, are they learning handwriting? Or is this low-level skill even necessary in a high-tech 21st century classroom? In this era of rapidly evolving technology, does it matter if our kids are able to form letters on paper when, instead, they can simply touch, click, select and print?

For most of the last century, students were required to become multilingual by hand, with teachers focusing on legibility, neatness and strict motor control. Penmanship — especially in the earliest years of the 20th century — was considered central to their studies. More recently, however, handwriting, in many U.S. states, has been deemed unimportant — even irrelevant — to education. The basic skills of spelling and grammar have been de-emphasized, but handwriting, including practice in the classroom and as homework, is nearing the point of “cursive illiteracy.”

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

 

 

 

Deputy’s departure signals rift in Utah education Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist PAUL ROLLY

 

Those speaking on the record about the abrupt resignation of state Deputy Superintendent Brenda Hales have painted a picture of normalcy, no major controversy or disgruntlement that caused her to leave earlier than she had anticipated.

Hales herself told The Salt Lake Tribune that she had planned to retire this fall or winter. When she surprisingly gave her notice last Friday, she said she planned to use vacation and other leave until her retirement becomes official at the end of December.

But sources within the Utah Office of Education and others close to the issue paint a different picture.

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

 

 

 

 

State education board is maintaining Utah’s independence Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Utah State Board of Education Members Jennifer Johnson and Jefferson Moss

 

There seems to be some confusion about an action by the Utah State Board of Education on Aug. 8. Although the board approved applying for a waiver from some parts of the federal law known as the No Child Left Behind Act, this was not the same waiver that the board had approved in 2012.

This year, the board approved several alternative assurances as part of its application to the U.S. Department of Education. For example, instead of assuring the department that the Common Core State Standards will be used, the state board assured that its standards are college and career-ready, and that Utah may change its standards at any time. Assurances about accountability testing and educator evaluations were likewise changed to state what Utah is doing and currently intends to do, but without any commitment to refrain from making changes in the future.

These changes are best stated in the following paragraph that the board explicitly adopted as a clarification to be included in the new waiver:

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

 

 

 

 

Headlee: ‘Hijacking’ the charter movement may destroy the charter movement Commentary by Charter Solutions President Lincoln Fillmore

 

Board Member Howard Headlee didn’t mince words at the State Charter School Board this morning, as DaVinci Academy came before the board to be scolded about its distance education program advertising.  The school had previously amended its charter to include a distance education program, which it had been operating for many years without SCSB permission.

I don’t have the exact quote, since I’m working here as well as listening, but Headlee gave an impassioned speech about how this sort of program (pioneered by Harmony Education Services) is not part of the goal of having charter schools.  Home school students need things, and those things should be addressed by legislation, but “hijacking the charter process” to address this, with the results that have been around, puts the entire charter school movement at risk.

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

 

 

 

Reliving the terrors of middle, high school (St. George) Spectrum commentary by columnist Jesselyn Bickley

 

Another school year is approaching and again, I’m not going back.

Man, it feels good.

Last year when school started I felt out of place, like I was missing something but this year it feels like a wave of relief.

I know many students go into the new school year nervous about all the awful things that could or probably will happen to them in the next year. So in honor of that familiar terror I’ve decided to share some of my horror stories from school.

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

 

 

 

NCLB Avoided

Deseret News letter from JoAnn Hanson

 

Last week our Utah State Board of Education voted to keep the waiver on No Child Left Behind. NCLB is a poorly designed federal program, and it would have been a disaster for our schools to bring it back. I am grateful our State School Board had the wisdom to do what is best for our children and our state.

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

 

 

 

The Truth About Charter Schools

Wall Street Journal commentary by Nina Rees

 

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools President and CEO Nina Rees debunks common myths about charter schools.

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

 

 

 

 

Separating Fact & Fiction:

What You Need to Know About Charter Schools National Alliance for Public Charter Schools analysis

 

Between the 2008–09 and 2013–14 school years, the public charter school movement experienced a dramatic 80 percent increase in the number of students and an astounding 40 percent increase in the number of schools. Despite this growth, there is still an overwhelming unmet parental demand for quality school options, with more than 1 million student names on charter school waiting lists. While charter schools enjoy tremendous bipartisan support among policymakers and the general public, they also have some vocal critics who perpetuate a number of myths about charters.  This paper lays out some of these myths and provides responses based on facts and independent research findings.

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

 

 

 

Blame the Common Core for Miley Cyrus, phones in toilets, and … everything else?

Washington Post commentary by columnist Valerie Strauss

 

If you thought that “bullies, playground predators, or school violence” were the most dangerous things school children face, you are, according to the Family Research Council, missing the “spreading, hidden nightmare facing” millions of students as they start a new school year.

It’s the Common Core State Standards, which, the ultra-conservative Christian group said in a fund-raising e-mail, is a “morally corrupt federal takeover of education”  that will lead to “a nation where children are indoctrinated with a liberal ideology that celebrates sexual perversion, worships the creation rather than the Creator, all at the expense of academic achievement and our nation’s Christian heritage.”

Those must be some mighty powerful standards.

The real problem with this rhetoric isn’t that some people believe it, or that Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council who wrote the fund-raising letter, is not the only Core opponent spewing such garbage, but that such sentiments are bleeding into the mainstream conversation and drowning out reasonable criticism of the standards and/or their development and/or their implementation.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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28 superintendents to parents: Schools are not failing Tacoma (WA) News Tribune

 

School districts throughout Washington state are starting to notify parents that many of their schools aren’t making the grade, a long-dreaded consequence of Washington losing its waiver from the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

But as those letters go out, many Puget Sound districts – including Tacoma – will also be telling parents that No Child Left Behind is “regressive and punitive,” and that their schools aren’t failing at all.

Superintendents from 28 school districts have signed a cover letter that will accompany the official notifications that they are required to send out under No Child Left Behind. That group includes several districts in Pierce and King counties, but none in Thurston County.

The additional letter tells parents that nearly every school in Washington won’t meet the No Child Left Behind requirements this year, and that the 28 superintendents are “proud of the significant academic progress our students are making.”

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

 

http://go.uen.org/1JO (Reuters)

 

 

 

 

Central American Migrant Wave Tests Schools Districts Grapple With Cost, Integration Challenges as Enrollment Spikes Wall Street Journal

 

As an influx of Central American migrant children await immigration proceedings and settle in the U.S., pressure on schools is increasing. WSJ’s Arian Campo-Flores discusses on Lunch Break with Tanya Rivero. Photo: Talia Herman for The Wall Street Journal

Public schools around the country are returning from summer break to face a challenge: integrating and paying for the influx of migrant children who have streamed across the Mexican border this year.

The children, mostly from Central America, are those who have been released to sponsors—usually parents or relatives—while they await immigration proceedings that could take years to complete. As a result, they are settling in communities throughout the U.S., from large metropolitan areas such as New York to small cities like Grand Island, Neb.

The numbers are substantial. More than 37,000 children who crossed the border unaccompanied by parents were placed with sponsors between Jan. 1 and July 31, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The states that received the most children were Texas, with 5,280; New York, 4,244; and California, 3,909.

Because the children generally lack English skills, have often received limited schooling and may have suffered emotional trauma, they present schools with a host of needs that could strain resources.

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

 

 

 

MGSD to offer K-6 foreign language instruction Mooresville (NC) Tribune

 

The Mooresville Graded School District plans to partner with Rosetta Stone, Inc., to offer foreign language learning modules for 3,000 students in its five elementary and intermediate schools.

The language program, which will offer Spanish and French initially, will debut in September for grades K-6. This will be the first time foreign languages have been offered below the middle school level in the MGSD.

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

 

 

 

 

Common-Core Math Textbooks to Get Online Ratings Education Week

 

A new group billing itself as a “Consumer Reports for school materials” will soon begin posting free online reviews of major textbooks and curricula that purport to be aligned to the Common Core State Standards—an effort, some say, that has the potential to shake up the market.

The nonprofit organization, called EdReports.org, has gathered a team of 19 educators, about half of whom are classroom teachers, to conduct extensive reviews of yearlong instructional series. The team will start with 21 series for K-8 mathematics and eventually move on to secondary math and K-12 English/language arts curricula. For the first round of reviews, likely to be published early next year, the group selected some of the most commonly used materials: print products that had at least 10 percent of the market share and print and digital materials that had been recommended by at least two states’ review processes.

Funding for the project comes from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—which also was a major financial backer for the development of the common core—the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. Collectively, the three philanthropies have provided about $1 million so far and pledged an additional $2 million.

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

 

 

 

 

Despite Training, Half of Teachers Feel Inadequately Prepared for Common Core Education Week

 

Teachers are getting steadily more training in the common core, but they’re not feeling much more prepared to teach it, according to survey results released Thursday by the Education Week Research Center.

The study, “From Adoption to Practice: Teacher Perspectives on the Common Core,” shows that while far more teachers are attending common-core training, they are giving those sessions low marks for quality.

Those findings were drawn from an online survey given to registered users of edweek.org in October 2013. The pool of respondents is not nationally representative, but it is a snapshot of a diverse group of 457 teachers in states that adopted the common core.

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

 

A copy of the study

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

 

 

 

Connecticut schools should have unarmed guards to prevent shootings: expert Reuters

 

HARTFORD Conn. – A security expert told the Connecticut panel reviewing the response to the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School that the state should rely on well trained, but not armed, guards to prevent such incidents in the future.

Locking classroom doors once a shooting has begun is another way to head off the mass casualties seen in the Newtown attack, which left 20 children and six staff members dead, Vincent Riccio told the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission.

“Security guards with proper training are crucial, but I’m not a fan of armed guards getting embroiled in armed confrontations,” said Riccio, owner of Security Academy of Connecticut.

He also recommended that all teachers, including substitutes, have keys allowing them to lock classrooms.

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

 

 

 

Cyberbullying alert app for parents made in Thunder Bay BullyGuard scans text messages for provocative language CBC

 

Parents can now receive email alerts if their children are cyberbullied, through an app created by a group of Thunder Bay, Ont., software developers.

The BullyGuard app monitors text messages for words and phrases that might raise red flags and emails parents if anything turns up, co-creator Adrien Ladouceur told CBC.

“So say it’s your son or daughter [and] they’re texting someone. The word ‘suicide’ came up. The parent would get an email saying, ‘Hey, this word was flagged … This is the time that it came up. This is the person who it was sent to or it was sent from. Maybe you should know about that.'”

The app does not save or forward the text message itself.

“The parent would need to talk to the child or go and read the text on the original device to find out the nature of the conversation,” Ladouceur said.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 18:

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/226553.html

 

 

August 26:

Education Task Force meeting

9 a.m., 210 Senate Building

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2014/html/00003983.htm

 

 

September 4-5:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspx

 

 

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

 

 

September 11:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

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