Education News Roundup: Aug. 20, 2014

ACT2014

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

ENR apologizes for being MIA for a couple of days and for the length of today’s roundup. He’s pretty sure tomorrow’s will be a much quicker read.

Utah comes out scholastically on top among states who test 100 percent of their students on ACT.

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

and http://go.uen.org/1Lf (KCSG)

and http://go.uen.org/1Ll (WaPo)

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

or a copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/1KM (ACT)

Utah’s new more rigorous core standards will translate into lower proficiency scores.

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

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

and http://go.uen.org/1KK (OSE)

and http://go.uen.org/1Lk (MUR)

State Board of Education will look at hiring an interim superintendent on Thursday.

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

And one Board Members is seeking an investigation on Board actions.

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

The search for a new State Superintendent continues.

http://go.uen.org/1K2 (KTVX)

Sen. Lee discusses Common Core in Logan.

http://go.uen.org/1KC (LHJ)

Christian Science Monitor and Hechinger Report team up to look at how the U.S. public school system got where it is today.

http://go.uen.org/1Ly (CSM)

Gallup/PDK and Education Next both issue polls on Common Core. The results aren’t that similar. NPR attempts to reconcile the differences.

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

or a copy of the poll

http://go.uen.org/1Li (PDK)

and http://go.uen.org/1K9  (Education Next)

and http://go.uen.org/1Lj (NPR Morning Edition)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

Less than half of Utah students proficient, new tests show

Proficiency tests » Education officials aren’t surprised by scores, cite stricter new standards.

School board to reconsider interim superintendent appointment

Education » Board to meet Thursday due to recent complaints.

Utah state ed board member calls for investigation

Education » Letter to board members follows rash of resignations, alleges misuse of authority.

Board of Education considers candidates outside of education in search for new superintendent

Lee addresses topics from immigration to Common Core at town hall meeting

Provo’s poverty growth in top 10 cities in the nation

Ogden school property tax increase OKed

Utah schools to get record $39.2 million in trust money

Education » Schools decide how to use money.

Utah’s Treasurer Appoints School Trust Fund Board of Trustees

New Utah charter school for kids with autism opens doors

New Pleasant Grove campus aims to ease pressure on North Salt Lake school that opened in 2006, but demand still is high.

Online and in-person education — rolled into one

AISU – American International School of Utah

Davis junior high students get glimpse of college

I Choose Ogden: School opening institute highlights Ogden’s growth

New Trailside Elementary principal has sights set on lofty goals

Robin Williams hoping to help each student achieve success

Subcommittee: How and why are Utahns are being sent to prison?

Panel is tasked with recommending solutions for state’s “revolving door.”

Many schools still without air conditioning

Program helps Utah’s Internet have-nots join the haves

Internet » 6,056 families get service for $10 a month

Coral Canyon Elementary 1st Utah school to receive national Ashoka recognition

Greenwood brings a taste of Hollywood to students

How to ease back into the school year

Knowledge is power in helping special needs children

Canyons School District announces new safety policies for students on buses

Bomb threat, ransom demand cancel first day for Utah school

Nothing found » Bomb squad, dogs, sweep school room-by-room.

Man accused of stabbing at Duchesne High arrested in hammer assault on sister

Trib Talk: Ben McAdams on preschools, annexations, bike safety

Nebo school district hosts Shakespeare Academy

Cheerleading squad holds fundraiser for family of teen killed while sunbathing

Smiles all around at Spanish Fork backpack giveaway

Backpacks with supplies provided to at-risk kids for new school year

Shop With A Cop Helps Kids Prepare For Upcoming School Year

Museum throws party for soon-to-be kindergartners

Granite School District seeks nominations for weekly award

McDonald’s to offer students free breakfast

This class may be the key to lowering depression in middle school

The Los Angeles Unified School District ducks out of trigger law, cites federal waiver

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Utah School Board works for the public

Board business must be open.

Jordan stays the course

Utah’s public education system

UHSAA’s ‘Success Factor’ would boost downtrodden teams

Back to School: Is a Chromebook right for you?

How to handle homework meltdowns

As Texas goes, so goes Utah?

Rethink local school funding

Utah schools get a good bang for tax bucks

Teaching Is Not a Business

The Trouble With Tenure

For the first time this year, most public school students are nonwhite

The Education Economy: America’s Next Big Thing

Eight Ways to Protect Student Data

Left-wing teacher groups launch sexist crusade

Maths and science are increasingly critical to career success

Informal education: What students are learning outside the classroom

We Don’t Need No Education

At least not of the traditional, compulsory, watch-the-clock-until-the-bell-rings kind. As a growing movement of unschoolers believe, a steady diet of standardized testing and indoor inactivity is choking the creativity right out of our kids. The alternative: set ’em free.

Review of The Productivity of Public Charter Schools

NATION

US education: How we got where we are today

The standardized state of US schools today grew from the Reagan blueprint, ‘A Nation at Risk.’ Why that legacy matters now.

PDK/Gallup Poll Finds Rising Awareness, Majority Opposition to Common Core

No Common Opinion on the Common Core

Also teacher grades, school choices, and other findings from the 2014 EdNext poll

A Tale Of Two Polls

Judge blocks Louisiana governor’s move to scrap Common Core tests

Oklahoma seeks federal waiver over Common Core repeal

Restrictions on 20 percent of about $500 million annual federal funding could be put in place

Tea Party of Louisiana expresses ‘shock and outrage’ over Sen. Vitter’s Common Core support

Obama Education Policies Add Fuel to Lawsuit Bid

Sheen Fades as NCLB Waivers Near Three-Year Mark

States still relish the flexibility, but critics grumble about a thicket of federal conditions and second-guessing

Hope, Resentment in New Charter School Landscape

Mendon-Upton iPad policy prompts ACLU complaint

Study finds range of skills students taught in school linked to race and class size

Would greater independence for teachers result in higher student performance?

Google May Start Handing Out Gmail Accounts to Kids

These Are The States Where Kids Do Best On AP Exams

Luna accepts job with nonprofit STEM program provider

Idaho’s outgoing school chief will help push STEM programs nationally.

Los Angeles to Reduce Arrest Rate in Schools

Teens Arrested in Plot after Web Activities Eyed

Former Milton athletes deny hazing-related charges

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UTAH NEWS

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Utah class of 2014 had top scores on ACT

College-ready » Seniors shine among states with a similar test system, but few are fully ready for college.

Utah’s high school seniors scored slightly lower than the national averages on the ACT college readiness tests last year. But that could be a matter of apples and oranges.

When it’s apples and apples — comparing Utah with the 11 other states that give the test to virtually every senior — the state shines, says Mark Peterson, spokesman for the Utah State Office of Education.

Utah had the highest score among the 12 states that gave the ACT test to almost every senior, a composite of 20.8 from math, English, reading and science scores. That was up from 20.7 last year.

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

http://go.uen.org/1Lf (KCSG)

http://go.uen.org/1Ll (WaPo)

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

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/1KM (ACT)

Less than half of Utah students proficient, new tests show

Proficiency tests » Education officials aren’t surprised by scores, cite stricter new standards.

Preliminary results of Utah’s new school testing system are out — and, to the surprise of no one, they’re not exactly stellar.

The percentage of Utah students who scored proficient or better in science ranged from 37 percent to 45 percent, depending on grade level. In math, anywhere from 29 percent to 47 percent of kids scored proficient. And in language arts, proficiency ranged from 38 percent to 44 percent.

Proficiency was defined as performing at or above standards for grade level.

Individual school and student results likely will not be available until the end of September or October. Schools will be assigned letter grades based partly on the results.

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

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

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

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

School board to reconsider interim superintendent appointment

Education » Board to meet Thursday due to recent complaints.

Responding to concerns from at least one board member, the state school board will meet Thursday to vote on the appointment of an interim superintendent.

Board leaders had appointed an interim superintendent more than a week ago to replace Martell Menlove, who will retire in coming weeks. But board member Terryl Warner, of Hyrum, wrote an email to fellow board members Sunday night saying the board’s own bylaws require that the full board be involved in such decisions in public meetings.

She also asked for an independent investigation into possible misuse of power and authority by fellow board members, and she alleged the board discussed topics in closed session that should have been public.

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

Utah state ed board member calls for investigation

Education » Letter to board members follows rash of resignations, alleges misuse of authority.

Amid a rash of resignations and allegations of inappropriate use of power, at least one state school board member is calling for an independent investigation into board actions.

Board member Terryl Warner of Hyrum, in Cache County, sent a letter to fellow state school board members Sunday night asking for an independent investigation into possible misuse of power and authority by fellow board members. She’s also alleging the board discussed topics in closed session that should have been public and that board leaders inappropriately appointed an interim superintendent.

Board Chairman David Crandall said Monday that he is consulting the Utah attorney general’s office about the matter. But he said he doesn’t know what Warner is referring to specifically when she alleges misuse of power.

Crandall said he doesn’t recall inappropriate topics being discussed in closed session, adding that board leaders intended for the full board to officially ratify the interim superintendent appointment at its next meeting.

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

 

Board of Education considers candidates outside of education in search for new superintendent

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Current Superintendent for the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind, Joel Coleman was appointed to fill in while a nationwide search to replace outgoing Superintendent, Martell Menlove continues.

The person who ends up with the job may have a much different resume than Menlove, who held several positions in public education.

“We are looking at any industry,” said State School Board member, Jennifer A. Johnson.

In addition to education the board is considering candidates with a business, military or other background.

http://go.uen.org/1K2 (KTVX)

Lee addresses topics from immigration to Common Core at town hall meeting

In addition to making it clear he’s not a fan of carrots in his Jell-O, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, made sure to tell the audience at Mount Logan Middle School on Tuesday that the federal government should do more to work for the people.

The conversation turned to Common Core when a woman asked what Utahns can do to stop it from being implemented.

“From what I’ve read and studied so far, I feel it is detrimental to our children to have this government control over our education,” the woman said.

Lee said there is no question that comes up with more frequency or passion than Common Core, and that he agrees with her about keeping the federal government from making decisions for Utah’s K-12 classrooms.

Among the powers enumerated to Congress, education is not one of them, Lee said. People can work to counteract this by telling their local, state and national representatives what they think.

“The fact is, we need to get Washington out of the classroom,” he said.

http://go.uen.org/1KC (LHJ)

Provo’s poverty growth in top 10 cities in the nation

PROVO — While Provo is growing and thriving in areas such as job markets, life balance, and best places to live, eat, and play, it is also seeing its fair share of growth of those living in poverty.

College students and numerous offspring aside, according to a Brookings Institution brief reported Aug. 7 on the Business Insider website, Provo ranks as the seventh-fastest growing city in the nation in poverty rate.

Where the poverty level is distinctly revealed is in the Provo School District’s school lunch program. Gail F. Adamson, administrative assistant in the Child Nutrition Program for the district, released the following statistics on the free lunch program.

As of the last day of the 2013-14 school year there were 13,835 students in the district. Of that number, 5,517 qualified for the free lunch program. In other words, 40 percent of the entire district qualified for the free lunch program. Nine percent qualified for reduced lunch prices, and 51 percent paid the full price.

The Brookings brief indicates families or individuals at poverty level are clustering or congregating in certain Provo neighborhoods. That plays out with the school lunch numbers. Spring Creek Elementary had 70 percent of its students qualifying for free lunches. Schools between 50 percent and 69 percent include Timpanogos, Provo Peaks, Franklin and Provost elementaries. Conversely, Canyon Crest Elementary in northeast Provo has only 19 percent qualifying for free lunch. Wasatch has 21 percent.

Of the city’s two public high schools, Provo High has 34 percent qualifying for free lunch, while Timpview has 26 percent.

http://go.uen.org/1K5 (PDH)

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/1Dr (Brookings)

Ogden school property tax increase OKed

OGDEN — The Ogden school board has voted unanimously to raise property taxes by $1.5 million to keep pace with capital projects, including the new Dee Elementary School.

The average value of a residence in Ogden School District is $127,000.

“If we went with the certified tax rate, the taxes on that average home would be $601,” said Zane Woolstenhulme, the district’s business administrator. “With what we’re proposing to do, we would be collecting $644, as opposed to $601.”

For a commercial property valued at $127,000, the proposed taxes would be $1,172, which is $78.99 above the existing certified tax rate.

Woolstenhulme estimates that $1.5 million is the amount needed to pay the debt service on money that would have to be borrowed to build the new Dee Elementary, and there are other schools where money needs to be spent.

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

Utah schools to get record $39.2 million in trust money

Education » Schools decide how to use money.

Utah schools have received a record $39.2 million from School LAND Trust funds for the coming school year.

“School community councils will be receiving about 5 percent more money this year,” said Tim Donaldson, School Children’s Trust director for the Utah State Board of Education, in a news release.

“This has become a substantial funding source for our schools, and allows parents a way to get involved and have a voice in helping improve the education of our students.”

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

Utah’s Treasurer Appoints School Trust Fund Board of Trustees

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Richard K. Ellis, Utah State Treasurer, today announced the appointment of the School Trust Fund Board of Trustees. Mr. Ellis will chair the five person board, and will be joined by: Kent Misener, CFA, appointed to a 6 year term; David Nixon, CFA, appointed to a 5 year term; Duane Madsen, appointed to a 4 year term; and John Lunt, appointed to a 3 year term. “I look forward to working with these individuals, all of whom possess outstanding professional qualifications, as we begin the search for a chief investment officer and build upon the historic successes of the Treasurer’s Office” said Mr. Ellis.

http://go.uen.org/1Lg (KCSG)

New Utah charter school for kids with autism opens doors

New Pleasant Grove campus aims to ease pressure on North Salt Lake school that opened in 2006, but demand still is high.

Pleasant Grove • The first day of school at Spectrum Academy on Tuesday looked slightly different from others around the state.

Sure, kids bounced through hallways toting new backpacks as teachers herded them into classrooms.

But in many of those rooms, the lights stayed off to help keep students calmer. Youngsters fiddled with foam blocks or balls of clay to help them focus. Some flapped their hands, and others carried headphones to muffle sharp noises.

“It’s a place where the kids can feel safe,” said teacher Brooke Armijo of the charter school’s new Pleasant Grove campus, which opened Tuesday.

The school is one of the few of its kind in Utah and the nation — a free public school serving kids with autism.

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

http://go.uen.org/1KR (PDH)

http://go.uen.org/1L9 (KSL)

 

Online and in-person education — rolled into one

ST. GEORGE – The Washington County School District is working in conjunction with Utah Online School to offer a blended model to middle and high school students allowing them to take some courses online while still attending traditional school.

This blended model of online learning while still spending the majority of their time in a traditional classroom is a new “unique” type of education that is being kick started in Washington County School District, said Laura Belnap, Utah Online School director.

“This new online model provides the students with a variety of ways to learn,” she said.

This is not only the first learning model of its kind in Utah, but so far the online school’s administration have yet to find a similar model throughout the country.

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

AISU – American International School of Utah

American International School of Utah (AISU) is a new K-12 public charter school located at the site of the former 49th Street Galleria. AISU is a unique school offering Utah a new kind of learning:

International student body. They have students from Korea, China, Tanzania’s and other countries.

* A world class performing arts program.

* The FabLab, a one of a kind program in Utah. Students can create anything they imagine using 3-d printers, laser cutters and other technology.

* Student’s learn at their own pace.

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

Davis junior high students get glimpse of college

CLEARFIELD – North Davis Junior High recently sent 72 of its upcoming ninth-graders to Utah State University to prepare for college.

If you’re wondering, these students are still planning to complete high school before making their way to college, but they are a part of the federally funded GEAR UP program, aimed at preparing students for college who feel that a post-high school education may not be within their reach, according to Todd Hammond, the GEAR UP coordinator for Davis School District.

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

I Choose Ogden: School opening institute highlights Ogden’s growth

OGDEN — Utah is changing, and those changes make teachers more important than ever.

“You are in an incredible position to shape the future of our entire state,” Pamela S. Perlich told educators gathered for Ogden School District’s opening institute at Ogden High School.

The theme of the opening institute Friday was “I Choose Ogden,” and speakers included employees and parents talking about why they choose to work for, or send their children to, Ogden schools. Perlich, from the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Utah, explained why more people are moving to Utah, and why many of the newcomers choose Ogden.

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

New Trailside Elementary principal has sights set on lofty goals

Robin Williams hoping to help each student achieve success

Principal Robin Williams stood near the entrance of Trailside Elementary School, surrounded by empty halls, which at the moment were filled only with the whirr of the air conditioner stirring a cool breeze.

Taking a final glance at the halls, Williams retired to a seat behind a cluttered desk in a bare-walled room tucked behind the main office. She is beginning her first year at the helm at Trailside, and she pondered the responsibility entrusted to her to ensure every student who will wander those halls receives an education that will prepare them for success.

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

Subcommittee: How and why are Utahns are being sent to prison?

Panel is tasked with recommending solutions for state’s “revolving door.”

A group of legislators, judges, lawyers and state officials met Thursday to take on a daunting task: keeping Utah’s ballooning prison population in check.

It was the first meeting of this subcommittee assembled to offer the Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice (CCJJ) recommendations on how the state can better tailor its laws and manage the men and women who land in Utah’s state courtrooms.

The two-hour meeting was more a brainstorming session, meant to hear all sides and give the group an idea of what they want to focus on in the weeks ahead.

They seemed to favor tackling questions of how to handle non-violent criminals and drug offenders, and whether these people are being helped or hurt by a system designed to punish and protect. Preliminary recommendations would be presented at the next meeting. Utah’s aggressive drug laws became the focus of the conversation more than once.

Drug-free zones around schools and churches, designed to keep controlled substances away from children, are often the basis for more serious charges and, ultimately, harsher penalties for drug offenders — regardless of whether there was any actual risk of children being exposed to the drugs.

“We could reduce the zone, focus on the location where kids actually are — maybe not the high school, but the grammar school, the day-care center — we’ve seen this in other states, so you just need to find another marker,” Engel said. “If the intent is to protect kids, within a reasonable distance, decide what that is.”

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

Many schools still without air conditioning

School is about to start across Top of Utah and, with temperatures still averaging in the low 90s,  the thought of sending students to many of the schools still not equipped with proper air conditioning makes many parents cringe.

School board members can attest to that, with the number of calls they get at the beginning of each school year from concerned parents.

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

Program helps Utah’s Internet have-nots join the haves

Internet » 6,056 families get service for $10 a month

Marianna Castenada spent her first two years of high school doing homework on her mother’s smartphone — a frustrating experience — because she didn’t have access to the Internet at home.

The 16-year-old honor student will enter her junior year at East High School next week without that stress. Her family has signed up for low-cost Internet access through Comcast’s Internet Essentials program.

“I would stress so much because my grades would drop … and now I can just do it at home and be comfortable. It’s like a stress reliever, definitely,” Castenada said Tuesday.

Her family will pay $9.95 a month for Internet access through the program, a nationwide plan that top Comcast executives were in Salt Lake City promoting on Tuesday.

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

Coral Canyon Elementary 1st Utah school to receive national Ashoka recognition

WASHINGTON CITY — Coral Canyon Elementary School has been formally recognized as one of the 60 most influential schools in the nation by global social entrepreneur network Ashoka.

The formal title recognizes the school as a National Title 1 Distinguished School within the Ashoka Changemaker School Network, which categorizes Coral Canyon as an influential educational institution.

Coral Canyon Elementary School is the only Utah school out of 60 within the network, Coral Canyon Elementary School Principal Jennifer Eggleston said.

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

Greenwood brings a taste of Hollywood to students

Aedyn Wolf, 7, of American Fork, gripped the leg of her mother, Chelsea, in the cafeteria of Greenwood Elementary, the room loud with the sound of kids yelling, laughing and crying.

Monday was the first day of school in Utah for Aedyn, who moved to American Fork from Indiana.

http://go.uen.org/1KO (PDH)

http://go.uen.org/1KP (PDH)

http://go.uen.org/1KQ (PDH)

http://go.uen.org/1KS (PDH)

How to ease back into the school year

Thousands of Utah kids are either back in school or getting ready to go back and Good 4 Utah is committed to making sure your family is ready for the new school year.

Ben Horsely from the Granite School District shares what parents and students can do ease the transition back into school mode.

http://go.uen.org/1L2 (KTVX)

http://go.uen.org/1L4 (KTVX)

http://go.uen.org/1L5 (KTVX)

http://go.uen.org/1L7 (KSL)

http://go.uen.org/1L8 (KSL)

http://go.uen.org/1Ld (KSTU)

Knowledge is power in helping special needs children

 

ST. GEORGE – Parents of children with special needs might be overwhelmed when first going through the process of trying to help their child achieve their best educational experience.

Learning how to get the most out of their students’ Individualized Education Program can be a helpful starting point for many parents in getting involved in their children’s education process.

The Southern Utah Autism Support Group met Tuesday for its monthly meeting, inviting parents of students with special needs who wanted to learn more about the IEP process.

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

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

Canyons School District announces new safety policies for students on buses

SANDY — The Canyons School District announced policy changes are being implemented to increase student safety following allegations against a bus driver on trial for alleged sexual abuse of two girls with special needs.

Parents of special needs students are now asked to assist their children in getting on the bus and fastening the five-point seat belts that are used, according to district spokesman Jeff Haney. When the bus arrives at the school, aides will get on the bus and help the kids exit so bus drivers will not have to assist the students.

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

http://go.uen.org/1L1 (KUTV)

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

Bomb threat, ransom demand cancel first day for Utah school

Nothing found » Bomb squad, dogs, sweep school room-by-room.

A bomb threat, accompanied by a $10 million cash ransom demand, canceled classes Tuesday on what was supposed to be the first day of the new school year for West Lake High School in Saratoga Springs.

The Utah County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the school, at 99 N. Thunder Blvd. (200 West), and the area around it, including some streets, remained cordoned off by law enforcement officers as of 7 a.m. as a thorough search of the property was being conducted.

But as of 8:30 a.m., the campus had been cleared and school staffers were allowed to return.

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

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

http://go.uen.org/1KN (PDH)

http://go.uen.org/1L0 (KUTV)

http://go.uen.org/1L3 (KTVX)

http://go.uen.org/1L6 (KSL)

http://go.uen.org/1KH (KSTU)

Man accused of stabbing at Duchesne High arrested in hammer assault on sister

DUCHESNE — A man accused of stabbing a classmate at Duchesne High School in May is facing new charges after deputies say he attacked his sister with a hammer.

Leland Patrick King, 18, is charged in 8th District Court with aggravated assault, a third-degree felony, and domestic violence in the presence of a child, a third-degree felony.

Duchesne County sheriff’s deputies were called to a medical clinic in Duchesne on Aug. 14 after a woman showed up with injuries suffered in an apparent assault, according to Duchesne County Sheriff’s Lt. Jeremy Curry.

The woman told deputies that she and King, who is her brother, were arguing because King was not helping her on the family farm. She told investigators King grabbed and pushed her, then picked up a nearby hammer and struck her in the leg, causing her to collapse, Curry said.

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

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

http://go.uen.org/1KU (PDH)

Trib Talk: Ben McAdams on preschools, annexations, bike safety

Consider this scenario: Government chips in with a group of private investors to fund a privately run social program, such as a school counseling center or a health clinic.

If the program succeeds, government pays back the investors. If it fails, it’s like any risky proposition and they lose their investment.

This new approach to public-private partnerships, called the “pay for success” model, has governments across the country — including Salt Lake County — experimenting with it, with promising results.

On Wednesday at 12:15 p.m., Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams joins Jennifer Napier-Pearce to talk about their “pay for success” private preschool project along with Utah Theatre plans, annexations, bike commuting and other county issues.

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

Nebo school district hosts Shakespeare Academy

More than 100 students from Nebo School District’s junior high schools recently participated in a two-day summer event of games, theater, food and fun at the fourth annual Nebo Shakespeare Academy.

The Nebo Shakespeare Academy, held at Mapleton Junior High School, featured classes on voice technique and acting competitions, which focused on teaching the value of good collaboration and healthy competition.

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

Cheerleading squad holds fundraiser for family of teen killed while sunbathing

SYRACUSE, Utah — The Syracuse High School cheerleading squad is used to supporting teams, but on Saturday they supported a grieving family.

The squad organized a fundraiser for the family of Marli Hamblin. She would have been a sophomore on the squad this year, but she was killed earlier in the month. Marli’s sister accidentally backed a truck over her while Marli was sunbathing in the family’s driveway.

http://go.uen.org/1Le (KSTU)

Smiles all around at Spanish Fork backpack giveaway

SPANISH FORK — When Tabitha’s Way volunteers opened the doors Saturday to the Veterans Memorial Building in Spanish Fork, the response was similar to a Black Friday event.

“You couldn’t see the floor, it was that crowded,” said Wendy Osborne, Tabitha’s Way founder.

She was smiling and appeared happy, although tired.

“I just feel blessed. I am just so blessed to see how many people have donated or volunteered,” Osborne said. “This helps them start their school year out right.”

The line of parents and other guardians and their children extended a full block to the east of the veterans hall. Some 400 children received new backpacks for school, complete with pens, pencils, paper, crayons — whatever their grade, their needs were met.

http://go.uen.org/1KT (PDH)

Backpacks with supplies provided to at-risk kids for new school year

SALT LAKE CITY — There are thousands of underprivileged and at-risk students who face difficulties and limitations as they prepare to return to school this year.

http://go.uen.org/1Lc (KSTU)

Shop With A Cop Helps Kids Prepare For Upcoming School Year

It’s usually the type of gift giving that is reserved for Christmas time, but police are starting a new “Shop With a Cop” tradition.

It’s the first ever back to school event and 50 kids from around Salt Lake City were paired with local officers for a day of shopping. Together they selected new outfits, shoes and other school supplies from Target.

http://go.uen.org/1KZ (KUTV)

Museum throws party for soon-to-be kindergartners

OGDEN — More than 3,600 parents and children visited downtown Ogden on Saturday for an afternoon of games, magic shows and exploration at the Treehouse Museum.

But Miss Bindergarten’s Kindergarten Celebration was unique for a simple summertime carnival. It was a way to greet the coming school year, which for most of the children in attendance will be their first ever.

Lynne Goodwin, founding and executive director of the museum, said Saturday’s party was the culmination of an all-summer learning and activity program for almost-kindergartners in Ogden, Weber, Box Elder and Morgan school districts.

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

Granite School District seeks nominations for weekly award

SOUTH SALT LAKE — Granite School District will seek nominations throughout the school year for the district Educator of the Week award.

All educators in Granite School District are eligible for the weekly recognition, including teachers, aides, administrators, specialists, substitute teachers and coaches.

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

McDonald’s to offer students free breakfast

Area McDonald’s are inviting students in Kindergarten through 8th grade to stop in at their local McDonald’s restaurant from 6 to 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 3 for a free Egg McMuffin or Egg White Delight McMuffin, apple slices or Go-GURT Strawberry Yogurt and 1 percent milk, fat free chocolate milk or small Minute Maid orange juice.

http://go.uen.org/1KV (LHJ)

This class may be the key to lowering depression in middle school

Researchers at the American Psychological Association found that preventing depression in the sixth grade, via gym class and recess, can stave off depression throughout the rest of adolescence.

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

The Los Angeles Unified School District ducks out of trigger law, cites federal waiver

The Los Angeles Unified School District announced last week that it was exempting itself rom the state’s controversial parent trigger law. The district claims the exemption based on a federal waiver which restarts the clock on failing schools under federal law.

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

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Utah School Board works for the public

Board business must be open.

Salt Lake Tribune editorial

Members of the Utah State Board of Education are in charge of the state’s public schools. That means that everything they do is in the name of — and paid for by — the public.

So it ought to go without saying that darn near everything board members do in their official capacity should be public.

Sadly, someone had to say it. Happily, it was a member of the board, relative newcomer Terryl Warner of Hyrum, who spoke up the other day, calling out Board Chairman David Crandall and other members of that body for what certainly appears to be a pattern of improperly secret meetings and decisions.

The formal investigation Warner is calling for may be premature. The flaws and failures of board procedure in recent weeks can most likely be corrected by some extra efforts at keeping board actions public. And some remedial lessons in Utah’s Open and Public Meetings Act.

Her concern, though, is well-placed.

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

Jordan stays the course

Deseret News editorial

It’s been just over five years since the Canyons School District officially began operations of the Jordan School District, of which it had previously been a part. There are many lessons to be learned from that experience, and those who remember the past would recognize that breaking away from an existing district is an arduous undertaking that should only be done under exceptional circumstances.

Recently, a handful of elected officials were calling for the Jordan School District to be divided even further, but, thankfully, cooler heads prevailed. The Jordan District looks like it will remain intact for the time being. However, the challenges that served as the catalyst for district-splitting discussions still remain, and they require immediate attention. The state needs to find ways to ensure that Utah’s educational system is equipped to serve the needs of all of Utah’s students, regardless of the school district in which they find themselves.

http://go.uen.org/1K4

Utah’s public education system

Deseret News op-ed by Fred Ash

Public education is a state responsibility, not a federal one. That is why at one point, the proceeds of the graduated income tax were mandated by the constitution to go directly to public education.

We are often assured that money taken out of the General Fund for non-education-related projects won’t affect K-12 education funding. But after the law was changed in the mid-1990s to allow higher education to take money out of the income tax pot, any money taken out of the General Fund for new projects negatively affects K-12 funding, unless other General Fund funded projects are cut back or there is a tax increase for the General Fund.

Many people don’t understand that the state income tax goes primarily to instruction and instruction support, while money required for building and maintaining schools comes primarily from local property taxes.

Many of our state legislators have the opinion that putting more money into public K-12 education won’t improve the effectiveness.

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

 

UHSAA’s ‘Success Factor’ would boost downtrodden teams

Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist Kurt Kragthorpe

Having just introduced a sixth class of football to give more schools a genuine chance of winning a state championship, the Utah High School Activities Association now is considering realignment strategy that would reward losing.

Yeah, that’s just what we need — tanking in prep football.

That’s the extreme, cynical view of the proposal that would enable some schools to drop in classification and have a better opportunity of winning in the future. The “Success Factor” plan actually is creative, well-intended and definitely worth pursuing, as the UHSAA board of trustees discusses its possible approval Aug. 28.

I’m endorsing it, after going against the six-class format that took effect last season.

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

Back to School: Is a Chromebook right for you?

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner commentary by columnist LESLIE MEREDITH

It’s back-to-school time and a brisk season for new computer sales. This season, you have a third option beyond a pricey Mac or a standard Windows laptop — a Chromebook. Although the streamlined devices have been around for just over three years, it is only now that they’re poised to take off.

Launched by Google in 2011, the laptops were designed to be used with an Internet connection, running Google’s Chrome operating system. They were designed for people accessing documents and services from the cloud — well before the public understood a cloud was something other than a weather phenomenon. Chromebook was ahead of its time. But a lot has changed in three years.

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

How to handle homework meltdowns

KSL commentary by Kim Giles, author of the new book “Choosing Clarity: The Path to Fearlessness”

SALT LAKE CITY — This week in LIFEadvice, Coach Kim gives some tips and resources for parents who are dreading the back-to-school homework battles.

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

As Texas goes, so goes Utah?

Salt Lake Tribune letter from Ken Jameson

I was concerned by Paul Rolly’s Aug. 15 description of how the “rat pack” is manipulating the Utah State Board of Education, saddened by the frustrated departure of so many Utah Office of Education committed professionals, and bemused by the strident and barely coherent Op-ed by board members Jennifer Johnson and Jefferson Moss (“State education board defends Utah’s independence,” Aug. 15).

Gail Collins described the same process of micromanagement and ideologically motivated interference that took place in Texas over a 20-year period in her book, “As Texas Goes…” By 2011, the board’s influence on curriculum and textbooks led the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute to bemoan that the state curriculum “distorts or suppresses less triumphal or more nuanced aspects of our past that the Board found politically unacceptable … The resulting fusion is a confusing, unteachable hodgepodge.”

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

Rethink local school funding

(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Ramon Seary

Having grown up in Cache Valley, I can recall when Logan was run by fiscally responsible leaders, except for a mayor or two who ran afoul of the law. But as a new property owner in this fair city, it is discouraging to open your property tax bill and see that 80 percent of your tax is to pay for the school system.

This is unprecedented anywhere in the nation. I understand that like the Catholics, Mormons have a lot of children. The Catholics, however, build a large network of schools to accommodate the need for their offsprings’ education. They charge a reasonable fee to attend these schools, unlike our school board here, who just hang the increasing cost of schools on the beleagured property taxpayers, most of whom do not have children in the system.

The school board should devise a better way to finance the need. May I suggest two ideas that would be more equitable to everyone.

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

Utah schools get a good bang for tax bucks

Salt Lake Tribune letter from H. Scott Rosenbush

A recently published study ranks the Utah public school system as 21st overall in the United States (http://wallethub.com/edu/states-with-the-best-schools/5335/).

Highlights include the fact that Utah is best (tied with Iowa and Minnesota) with the lowest percentage of children who repeated one or more grades — despite having the next to last position in the Pupil to Teacher ratio (ahead of only California).

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

Teaching Is Not a Business

New York Times op-ed by DAVID L. KIRP, author of “Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for America’s Schools.”

TODAY’S education reformers believe that schools are broken and that business can supply the remedy. Some place their faith in the idea of competition. Others embrace disruptive innovation, mainly through online learning. Both camps share the belief that the solution resides in the impersonal, whether it’s the invisible hand of the market or the transformative power of technology.

Neither strategy has lived up to its hype, and with good reason. It’s impossible to improve education by doing an end run around inherently complicated and messy human relationships. All youngsters need to believe that they have a stake in the future, a goal worth striving for, if they’re going to make it in school. They need a champion, someone who believes in them, and that’s where teachers enter the picture. The most effective approaches foster bonds of caring between teachers and their students.

Marketplace mantras dominate policy discussions. High-stakes reading and math tests are treated as the single metric of success, the counterpart to the business bottom line. Teachers whose students do poorly on those tests get pink slips, while those whose students excel receive merit pay, much as businesses pay bonuses to their star performers and fire the laggards. Just as companies shut stores that aren’t meeting their sales quotas, opening new ones in more promising territory, failing schools are closed and so-called turnaround model schools, with new teachers and administrators, take their place.

http://go.uen.org/1K6

The Trouble With Tenure

New York Times commentary by columnist Frank Bruni

DENVER — Mike Johnston’s mother was a public-school teacher. So were her mother and father. And his godfather taught in both public and private schools.

So when he expresses the concern that we’re not getting the best teachers into classrooms or weeding out the worst performers, it’s not as someone who sees the profession from a cold, cynical distance.

What I hear in his voice when he talks about teaching is reverence, along with something else that public education could use more of: optimism.

He rightly calls teachers “the single most transformative force in education.”

But the current system doesn’t enable as many of them as possible to rise to that role, he says. And a prime culprit is tenure, at least as it still exists in most states.

“It provides no incentive for someone to improve their practice,” he told me last week. “It provides no accountability to actual student outcomes. It’s the classic driver of, ‘I taught it, they didn’t learn it, not my problem.’ It has a decimating impact on morale among staff, because some people can work hard, some can do nothing, and it doesn’t matter.”

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

For the first time this year, most public school students are nonwhite

Vox commentary by columnist Libby Nelson

Nonwhite students are projected to outnumber white students in the public schools for the first time this year. This chart from the Pew Research Center shows the dramatic shift in demographics since the late 1990s:

But that doesn’t mean schools everywhere are rapidly becoming more diverse, or that the typical white student is likely to be a minority in his or her classroom. A more diverse group of public school students isn’t making individual public schools much more diverse. Instead, it’s intensifying patterns of racial isolation.

The rapidly changing demographics have collided with the end of federal desegregation orders and longstanding patterns of housing segregation. The result: Students nationally are more diverse than ever. But while white students are seeing slightly more diverse schools than in the past, most students are still going to public schools overwhelmingly with students of their own race. And black and Latino students attend less integrated schools than before.

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

The Education Economy: America’s Next Big Thing

Gallup Business Journal commentary by Brandon Busteed, executive director of Gallup Education

Though the economy and education have long been topics of top concern to Americans, we haven’t worked to create strong linkages between the two. They are more like two castles with a large moat between them. Yet there is nothing more important we can do as a country than to build the world’s most effective educonomy — that is, seamlessly integrate our educational system, our employers, and our job creators. Unless we get education and the economy working together more effectively, America will relinquish its role as leader of the free world.

Political consultant James Carville’s famous quip “It’s the economy, stupid” changed a presidential election. It’s quite possible that “It’s the educonomy, stupid” will change and shape not just politics but all leadership for the next decade to come. Here’s why.

Over the past year, Gallup has conducted various studies looking at the linkages between education and long-term success in life and work. We’ve polled representative samples of the general population in America, parents of fifth- through 12th-graders, and business leaders. And we’ve interviewed teachers, superintendents, college presidents, principals, college graduates, young Americans aged 18-34, and students in grades five through 12. All told, we collected the voices of close to 1 million Americans on this subject in the past year alone. And what we’ve learned is alarming.

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

Eight Ways to Protect Student Data

Harvard Education Letter commentary by ALEXANDER RUSSO

There’s a lot of data flying in and out of American classrooms these days. So-called “cloud-based” services help districts store and distribute student data less expensively, without having to acquire additional equipment (or devote facilities to housing it). Mobile apps give teachers engaging games and learning activities that kids can do in class or on the way home. Data integration services merge multiple databases into simple, easy-to-read “dashboards” that show how students, classes, or schools are doing.

But the heady days of unfettered use of these services appeared to come to a halt earlier this year, following the decision by a number of school districts to disassociate from one such data integration service called inBloom because of concerns over privacy and the security of sensitive student data. In April, inBloom announced that it was shutting down.

Privacy advocates and some parents are worried about their children’s test scores, social security numbers, disciplinary reports, and medical information being gathered in one place, being shared among different schools and districts—and even marketing companies—and following kids along from kindergarten to college to adult life.

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

Left-wing teacher groups launch sexist crusade

USA Today commentary by columnist Kirsten Powers

The “war on women” isn’t just for Republicans. Left-wing organizations in New York City have launched their own misogynist crusade against former CNN anchor turned education advocate Campbell Brown.

Brown is running the Partnership for Educational Justice, which she founded to challenge teacher tenure and other rules that protect underperforming teachers.

For this, she has been on the receiving end of a sexist assault by the American Federation of Teachers and opponents of education reform. AFT President Randi Weingarten took to Twitter to accuse Brown of not being balanced in her approach to school reform because “she’s married to Romney adviser Dan Senor.”

To Weingarten, women are not people with thoughts of their own. No, they’re empty vessels who do their husband’s bidding.

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

Maths and science are increasingly critical to career success

Reuters commentary by columnist John Kemp

For those trained in law, social sciences and the arts, I have some bad news: the best days may be over because the future belongs to scientists, engineers and mathematicians.

In high school and university classrooms across the United States, a quiet revolution is underway as students adapt to a difficult job market by choosing more quantitative disciplines.

Nearly all the highest-paid jobs in the United States require training in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

More than 30 of the 50 best-paid occupations in the United States require graduate or postgraduate training in STEM subjects, including medical sciences, according to pay data collected by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as part of its annual survey of Occupational Employment and Wages.

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

Informal education: What students are learning outside the classroom

Hechinger Report commentary by columnist Annie Murphy Paul

One thousand hours: That’s approximately the number of instructional hours required of U.S. middle school and high school students each year.

Four thousand hours: That’s approximately the number of hours of digital media content U.S. youths aged 8 to 18 absorb each year. (If you doubt that’s possible, be sure you’re taking into account the near-universal practice of “media multitasking,” or consuming content on more than one platform at a time, as when a teenager listens to a song on his MP3 player while scrolling through Facebook on his smartphone while watching a video on his laptop.)

Parents, teachers, and education writers, myself included, think a lot about what our students are taught in school, the debate over the Common Core being just the latest example. But we think very little about what they’re taught in the blue glow of their screens. In fact, we likely assume they’re not learning much at all from their video games and their social networks and their celebrity news websites. Patricia Greenfield, a developmental psychologist at UCLA and a longtime observer of the relationship between children and technology, begs to differ. There is the formal education that young people receive in school, she maintains, and the “informal education” they receive through their devices.

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

We Don’t Need No Education

At least not of the traditional, compulsory, watch-the-clock-until-the-bell-rings kind. As a growing movement of unschoolers believe, a steady diet of standardized testing and indoor inactivity is choking the creativity right out of our kids. The alternative: set ’em free.

Outside commentary by BEN HEWITT, author of Home Grown: Adventures in Parenting Off the Beaten Path, Unschooling, and Reconnecting with the Natural World

In early September, in a clapboard house situated on 43 acres just outside a small town in northern Vermont, two boys awaken. They are brothers; the older is 12, the younger 9, and they rise to a day that has barely emerged from the clutches of dark. It is not yet autumn, but already the air has begun to change, the soft nights of late summer lengthening and chilling into the season to come. Outside the boys’ bedroom window, the leaves on the maples are just starting to turn.

School is back in session and has been for two weeks or more, but the boys are unhurried. They dress slowly, quietly. Faded and frayed thrift-store camo pants. Flannel shirts. Rubber barn boots. Around their waists, leather belts with knife sheaths. In each sheath, a fixed-blade knife.

By 6:30, with the first rays of sun burning through the ground-level fog, the boys are outside. At some point in the next hour, a yellow school bus will rumble past the end of the driveway that connects the farm to the town road. The bus will be full of children the boys’ age, their foreheads pressed against the glass, gazing at the unfurling landscape, the fields and hills and forests of the small working-class community they call home.

The boys will pay the bus no heed. This could be because they will be seated at the kitchen table, eating breakfast with their parents. Or it might be because they are already deep in the woods below the house, where a prolific brook trout stream sluices through a stand of balsam fir; there is an old stone bridge abutment at the stream’s edge, and the boys enjoy standing atop it, dangling fresh-dug worms into the water. Perhaps they won’t notice the bus because they are already immersed in some other project: tillering a longbow of black locust, or starting a fire over which to cook the quartet of brookies they’ve caught. They heat a flat rock at the fire’s edge, and the hot stone turns the fishes’ flesh milky white and flaky.

Or maybe the boys will pay the bus no heed because its passing is meaningless to them. Maybe they have never ridden in a school bus, and maybe this is because they’ve never been to school. Perhaps they have not passed even a single day of their short childhoods inside the four walls of a classroom, their gazes shifting between window and clock, window and clock, counting the restless hours and interminable minutes until release.

Maybe the boys are actually my sons, and maybe their names are Fin and Rye, and maybe, if my wife, Penny, and I get our way, they will never go to school.

Hey, a father can dream, can’t he?

There’s a name for the kind of education Fin and Rye are getting. It’s called unschooling, though Penny and I have never been fond of the term. But “self-directed, adult-facilitated life learning in the context of their own unique interests” doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, so unschooling it is.

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

Review of The Productivity of Public Charter Schools

National Education Policy Center review by Gene V. Glass, Arizona State University

The Productivity of Public Charter Schools

Patrick J. Wolf, Albert Cheng, Meagan Batdorff, Larry Maloney, Jay F. May, & Sheree T. Speakman

Department of Education Reform, University of Arkansas

This report claims superiority of charter schools in producing achievement per dollar invested. The findings are cast as cost-effectiveness ratios, where effects are measured by National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) points and costs are measured as “revenues received.” The report concludes that charter schools deliver an additional 17 NAEP points per $1000 in math and 16 points per $1000 in reading. All analyses are undertaken with data for 21 states and the District of Columbia. Because an earlier review by Baker pointed to serious flaws in the “cost” part of the ratio, this review will focus on achievement. The effects of charter versus traditional public schools are estimated by comparing state averages of both sectors without attempting to equate them on demographic variables like poverty (free lunch eligibility) or special-needs status. Not reported is the fact that the demographic differences between the two sectors are highly correlated with the estimates of differential effects; the sector with the higher percentage of poor pupils scores lower on the NAEP test. This failure alone renders the report and its recommendations indefensible. Furthermore, the assessment of expenditures in the two sectors rests on non-comparable data across states and questionable data within states. These weaknesses leave little evidence on which to base any valid conclusions. Reports of this type can only be viewed as advocacy research, in large part because they fail to reconcile their findings with the extensive literature of contrary findings.

http://go.uen.org/1K3

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NATIONAL NEWS

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US education: How we got where we are today

The standardized state of US schools today grew from the Reagan blueprint, ‘A Nation at Risk.’ Why that legacy matters now.

Christian Science Monitor

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — On the last day of school in June, Principal Aurelia Curtis was harried. An auditorium full of teachers was waiting for her. But instead of congratulating them on a good year and sending off three retiring staff members, she was in her office signing the last of the 742 teacher evaluation forms for her staff of nearly 150 that she had to finish by an end-of-year deadline.

Ms. Curtis, a stern but beloved leader who shares her name with Curtis High School here in Staten Island, N.Y., where she began her career 30 years ago, spends more time these days filling out intensive teacher evaluations required by the state than she does talking to her teachers. Or that’s how it often feels.

“It has tied me up in so much paperwork,” she says. “I don’t have the time to have meaningful conversations with teachers.”

Likewise, her teachers and students spend less time in meaningful discussions and more time worrying about the tests that will help decide those teacher evaluation scores. “We’re trying to quantify everything,” she says.

“The new system, is it better? I’m not convinced.”

Yet as the school year opens and students return to the sprawling Gothic building on a hill with views of the Statue of Liberty, Curtis will be starting on another pile of 700-plus forms meant to tell her which of her teachers are good and which aren’t. The new evaluation system, along with many of the other changes roiling American education, can be traced directly back to a set of old ideas – as old as Curtis’s tenure at Curtis High. The push for new teacher evaluations, new standards, new curricula, and new tests began with “A Nation at Risk,” a report published in 1983 that busy educators like Curtis usually don’t have much time to think about. But in many ways, the report has defined the careers of a generation of educators like her – and the educations of a generation of American public school students.

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

PDK/Gallup Poll Finds Rising Awareness, Majority Opposition to Common Core

Education Week

While more people know what the Common Core State Standards are than last year, a majority of them oppose the standards, according to the 46th edition of the PDK/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools.

Overall, the wide-ranging survey found, 81 percent of those polled said they had heard about the common standards, compared with 38 percent last year. However, 60 percent oppose the standards, generally because they believe the standards will limit the flexibility that teachers have to teach what they think is best. Last year’s poll did not specifically ask respondents whether or not they supported the standards.

The poll also highlighted a partisan split in opinion on the common core: 76 percent of Republicans  and 60 percent of independents said they oppose the standards. Democrats were the only category of respondents polled in which a majority said they support the standards, 53 percent in favor compared to 38 percent opposed.

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

A copy of the poll

http://go.uen.org/1Li (PDK)

No Common Opinion on the Common Core

Also teacher grades, school choices, and other findings from the 2014 EdNext poll

Education Next

On most policy questions, public opinion changes slowly, if at all.

But when new issues arise, important shifts can occur before opinion sorts itself into settled patterns. And, on occasion, critical events can jar opinion from settled patterns into a new equilibrium.

These generalizations apply as much to education policy as to opinion in other areas of public life. During the eight years (2007 to 2014) that the Education Next (EdNext) poll has been administered to a representative sample of American adults (and, in most of these years, to a representative sample of public school teachers), we have seen only minimal changes from one year to the next on such important issues as charter schools, merit pay, teacher tenure, teachers unions, and tax credits that fund private-school scholarships. That pattern persists into 2014, despite heated public disputes concerning many of these topics.

Sometimes sharp changes in opinion do occur. For example, the share of the public that say it favors the Common Core State Standards slipped noticeably between 2013 and 2014. Establishing a common set of standards across states is a new policy proposal that emerged as a public issue only in 2011, and it appears as if many citizens have yet to decide where they stand on the matter. Also, in 2009 we observed a steep drop in public support for higher school expenditures and higher teacher salaries in the wake of the financial crisis and the economic recession. We now find that even by 2014 support for expenditures and salary increases has not returned to 2008 levels, at least among respondents told current per-pupil expenditures and teacher salary levels. A new, lower equilibrium has been established, perhaps because of the wallet tightening required by the slow, uneven economic recovery.

These are among the many findings to emerge from this installment of the EdNext Survey, administered to some 5,000 respondents in May and June of 2014 (see methodology sidebar below). Among other key findings are the following:

http://go.uen.org/1K9 

A Tale Of Two Polls

NPR Morning Edition

Two new polls this week attempt to quantify the public’s feelings for the Common Core State Standards. The K-12 benchmarks in English and math were little known this time last year. But they’ve since become the subject of a high-profile political fight. Now a majority of the public opposes them.

Or do they?

Poll No. 1, out today, puts support for the Core at just 33 percent. But Poll No. 2, released yesterday, puts it at 53 percent. That’s a big difference.

Which one is wrong? Or can they both, somehow, be right?

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

Judge blocks Louisiana governor’s move to scrap Common Core tests

Reuters

NEW ORLEANS – In a blow to Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s move to withdraw his state from Common Core education standards, a state judge on Tuesday blocked Jindal’s plan to scrap a key set of standardized tests due to be introduced in the coming school year.

Jindal’s push to ditch Common Core, announced in June and given teeth by his orders to scrap the multistate tests, came amid a backlash against the English and math standards aimed at boosting critical-thinking skills and unifying state guidelines.

Judge Todd Hernandez, in issuing a preliminary injunction against the governor in a lawsuit filed by Common Core backers that is awaiting trial, said plans to drop the tests, slated to serve as a must-pass benchmark for fourth-graders, had sowed uncertainty.

“The evidence is clear that this state of the unknown has caused anxiety and other harm to the parents, teachers, administrators and students in Louisiana,” he wrote.

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

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

Oklahoma seeks federal waiver over Common Core repeal

Restrictions on 20 percent of about $500 million annual federal funding could be put in place

Associated Press via (Oklahoma City) KOCO

OKLAHOMA CITY —When lawmakers adopted legislation this year repealing Common Core education standards, they cited concerns that the federal government was attempting to influence Oklahoma’s public education policy.

Now, the state’s top educator is asking the U.S. Department of Education for a one-year extension of a 2012 waiver from No Child Left Behind guidelines, which she says has headed off even more onerous federal intrusion in Oklahoma’s schools.

But that waiver, and its resulting federal money, may have been jeopardized when Gov. Mary Fallin signed the bill repealing the English and math standards in June.

“Losing this flexibility would be akin to erasing incredible progress toward helping Oklahoma children build success – not just in the current school year, but for an entire generation and beyond,” Schools Superintendent Janet Barresi wrote in the Aug. 8 letter. “When I took office in 2011, Oklahoma had only just left the starting line in the race to more effective schools. Now in 2014, we are well around the track and rapidly advancing toward the finish line.”

If Oklahoma loses the waiver, it would place restrictions on 20 percent of about $500 million annual federal funding for local school districts that serve more than 681,000 students, according to state education officials. It was not immediately known when the federal education department will decide on the waiver.

http://go.uen.org/1Kb 

Tea Party of Louisiana expresses ‘shock and outrage’ over Sen. Vitter’s Common Core support

New Orleans Times-Picayune

WASHINGTON — The Tea Party of Louisiana is expressing “shock and outrage” over Sen. David Vitter’s support for the Common Core educational standards.

In a recent statement, Vitter, a two-term Republican senator running for governor in 2015, said that Gov. Bobby Jindal’s recent move to cancel Common Core testing and start from scratch before the new school is “very disruptive.”

“I would take an aggressive, hands-on approach (to) get curriculum and implementation right,” Vitter said. “I’d ensure the state and locals maintain complete control over curriculum, lesson plans and reading lists and make good decisions on those. And I’d demand effective planning and preparation with parents, school boards and teachers.”

His pledge to work with parents, school boards and teachers didn’t appease the Tea Party of Louisiana.

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

Obama Education Policies Add Fuel to Lawsuit Bid

Education Week

House Republicans’ plan to sue President Barack Obama for a series of executive actions that they argue were an overreach of his legal authority could have ramifications for some of the administration’s signature education initiatives.

The resolution authorizing a lawsuit charges that the president’s decision to selectively enforce the health-care law violates his oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches. But in building their case against the president, Republican lawmakers named an entire slate of executive actions they claimed represent a similar abuse of authority, including No Child Left Behind Act waivers.

“Specifically, the president has unilaterally waived work requirements for welfare recipients, ended accountability provisions in No Child Left Behind, refused to inform Congress of the transfer of the Taliban Five, and ignored the statutory requirements of the Affordable Care Act,” said Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas, who chairs the House Rules Committee.

House Republicans passed the resolution on a party-line vote July 30 before adjourning for the chamber’s five-week summer recess. The lawsuit isn’t yet filed.

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

Sheen Fades as NCLB Waivers Near Three-Year Mark

States still relish the flexibility, but critics grumble about a thicket of federal conditions and second-guessing

Education Week

Back in 2011, states chafing under the badly outdated No Child Left Behind Act leapt at the Obama administration’s offer of relief from the mandates at the center of the law—and the chance to forge a new and innovative partnership with the federal government to bolster standards, pinpoint good teachers, and fix low-performing schools.

Three years later, much of the political sheen has come off the resulting NCLB waivers.

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

Interactive feature

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

Hope, Resentment in New Charter School Landscape

Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans.

The majority of public school students will attend charter schools established by a state-run school district created in the aftermath of the storm.

Supporters hail it as a grand experiment and post-disaster deliverance of foundering schools. The charters, which still receive public money, can operate free from the politics and bureaucracy of the local school board and citywide union contracts. Principals have more authority to innovate. Schools that fail to improve – all public schools are held to the same standards – can lose their charter.

“Before Katrina, you could see that schools were allowed to stay open even if they failed students for decades,” said Patrick Dobard, superintendent of the Recovery School District, or RSD, the state entity that oversees most New Orleans schools.

But critics, including some parents, say the new system has shut down neighborhood schools, while the best schools remain geographically distant for some low-income and minority families. “If you’re white, you have a better chance to attend a neighborhood school which you can walk to,” says parent Karan Harper Royal, an African-American parent.

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Mendon-Upton iPad policy prompts ACLU complaint

Worcester (MA) Telegram

The ACLU of Massachusetts has filed a state complaint over an iPad policy in the Mendon-Upton School District that it says allows only low-income students to take home district-provided devices, while other students would have to purchase technology for home use.

The complaint, filed with the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, challenges the iPad initiative at Miscoe Hill Middle School, which allows students identified as qualifying for free or reduced price meals, to take district devices home.

All other students can either choose to use a district device only at school, or have their parents purchase an iPad that they could use at home, according to a menu of options on the system’s website, the complaint states.

The American Civil Liberties Union said the policy violates state law by not providing all students with equal access to educational resources.

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

Study finds range of skills students taught in school linked to race and class size

Phys.org

Pressure to meet national education standards may be the reason states with significant populations of African-American students and those with larger class sizes often require children to learn fewer skills, finds a University of Kansas researcher.

“The skills students are expected to learn in schools are not necessarily universal,” said Argun Saatcioglu, a KU associate professor of education and courtesy professor of sociology.

In effort to increase their test scores and, therefore, avoid the negative consequences of failing to meet the federal standards set by the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act (e.g., school closures, student transfers, or lost funding), some states are reducing the skills students are expected to learn.

“Narrowing the skills students are expected to learn, results in higher proficiency gains on state assessments because students have to be proficient in fewer skills,” said Saatcioglu, who will present his findings at the 109th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association. “In other words, requiring students to learn less actually helps to improve state assessment results.”

http://go.uen.org/1K7

http://go.uen.org/1K8 (ASA)

Would greater independence for teachers result in higher student performance?

NewsHour

In the face of a top-down hierarchy ruling many public schools these days, some teachers are taking back their classrooms by moving to schools where they create the curriculum and vote democratically on decisions. John Tulenko of Learning Matters reports from Boston on one of about 70 teacher-led schools that have cropped up around the country in recent years.

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

Google May Start Handing Out Gmail Accounts to Kids

The Wire

Google may be going kid-friendly. The tech giant is allegedly planning to offer accounts to children under the age of 13 for services like Gmail and YouTube, according to reports.

The unprecedented move would allow children to navigate fully online (without doing so anonymously or lying about their ages, as many have done on sites like Facebook), and allow Google access to the lucrative education market.

The company would also be wading into controversial waters. If the search giant were to open its doors to children under 13, it would have to comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which currently mandates that Internet companies storing data on children must first seek parental consent, and controls how that data is used for targeted advertising. In other words, Google will have to insert parents into the fold in the rumored initiative.

And it has plans to do so, according to a report by Amir Efrati of the tech news site The Information. Google may be implementing “a dashboard for parents to oversee their kids’ activities,” as well as a change to Google’s current policy of entering birth dates only on personal computers — with children’s accounts in play, Google would expand the birth date requirement onto its Android software for those signing up for an account. YouTube would see similar parental control add-ons for children’s accounts.

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

These Are The States Where Kids Do Best On AP Exams

Huffington Post

When it comes to advanced placement exams, kids in some states fare far better than those in other states.

A new map compiled by research engine Findthebest.com shows how kids scored on AP exams around the country in 2013. In Mississippi, only 4 percent of students who took AP exams scored a three or above — a score that may mean college credit, depending on the school’s policy. Nearly 30 percent of students in Maryland did.

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

Luna accepts job with nonprofit STEM program provider

Idaho’s outgoing school chief will help push STEM programs nationally.

(Boise) Idaho Statesman

BOISE — Tom Luna, who has pushed for No Child Left Behind, statewide achievement testing and Common Core, will take a new job in January as an advocate for science, technology, engineering and math instruction.

The outgoing state superintendent of public instruction, who leaves office after two terms with mixed reviews, will go to work for the Indianapolis-based Project Lead The Way, a nonprofit that sells STEM-based curriculum reaching up to 750,000 students nationally.

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

Los Angeles to Reduce Arrest Rate in Schools

New York Times

LOS ANGELES — After years of arresting students for on-campus fights and damaging school property, Los Angeles school officials are adopting new policies to reduce the number of students who are disciplined in the juvenile court system.

Under new policies expected to be introduced Tuesday, students who deface school property, participate in an on-campus fights or are caught with tobacco will no longer be given citations by officers from the Los

Angeles School Police Department. Instead, they will be dealt with by school officials.

The Los Angeles Unified School District is the second-largest school system in the country, behind New York City, but has the largest school police force, with more than 350 armed officers.

A report last year by the Labor/Community Strategy Center, a civil rights group, found that students at Los Angeles schools were far more likely to receive a criminal citation than students in Chicago, Philadelphia

or New York.

 http://go.uen.org/1Kd

Teens Arrested in Plot after Web Activities Eyed

Associated Press

SOUTH PASADENA, Calif. — Investigators acting on a tip unraveled a plot to carry out a mass shooting at a suburban Los Angeles high school, arresting a pair of students who planned to target three school staffers and kill as many people as possible, police said Tuesday.

School officials learned of the plot on Thursday and notified detectives, who began watching the 16- and 17-year-old boys and monitoring their online activity, South Pasadena Police Chief Arthur Miller said.

The pair didn’t have a date for an attack or weapons, but their online messaging included the names of three staffers to target and threats to randomly kill students, Miller said.

They were also researching automatic firearms, handguns, knives, explosives and tactical techniques, he said.

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

Former Milton athletes deny hazing-related charges

Burlington (VT) Free Press

Milton High School football players held initiations that included sexually assaulting younger players with broom sticks or pool cues, according to court records made public Tuesday when five former athletes were charged with related crimes.

One teenage victim died in a suicide in 2012, one year after an assault, but officials said they have made no direct link between the death and the hazing.

Another victim said he refused to report his assault because Principal Anne Blake had stated if something happened, the school would “shut down” the football season, court records show. A court affidavit also notes the victim said he felt threatened that if he reported something and football were canceled, the whole school would “hate” him.

The information was released as five former Milton High School football players denied misdemeanor charges of simple assault following an investigation into allegations of hazing during the 2011 and 2012 football seasons.

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

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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 21:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

8:10 p.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

August 22:

Utah State Board of Education Superintendent Search Committee meeting

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 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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