Education News Roundup: Sept. 4, 2014

"School Supplies ..." by Steven Depolo/CC/flickr

“School Supplies …” by Steven Depolo/CC/flickr

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:


Housekeeping note: It’s that time of year that you’ve all been waiting for: ENR is taking his vacation and will stop choking your inboxes for a couple of weeks. This year he’s off to Belfast, so there’s probably only a 25 percent chance he’ll make it back at all (death by driving the wrong way on the street; death by shouting “Erin go Bragh” in a loyalist tavern; death by shouting “God save the Queen” in a republican pub; or coming home safely). Presuming ENR returns, the roundup will resume on or about Sept. 22.


North Ogden targets truants. (OSE)

Former Gov. Huntsman delivers science supplies to Rose Park Elementary. (KUER)

and (SLT)

ENR nominates Deron Williams as new spokesman for Utah public schools. Here he discusses some of the differences between living in New York and Utah: “In Utah, you just send your kids to the first public school in the area because they’re all great.” (The Resident)

Former State Sen. Dan Liljenquist speaks against Common Core. (DN)

Wyoming discusses education governance. (Casper Star Tribune)

Internationally, Britain looks to make school tougher. (Daily Mail)

Quebec looks to make school easier. (Globe and Mail)

And the Times Magazine looks at explaining the Chinese education system. (New York Times Magazine)

And in some final advice before he goes, ENR recommends that even if you’re the Governor, you be careful with your Tweets. (Wilmington News-Journal)









North Ogden targets teens skipping school


Jon Huntsman Delivers School Supplies to Salt Lake City School


Special program planned at Mt. Logan Middle School to Rise Above Bullying


Demolition starts on old FLDS polygamous school Alta Academy » Warren Jeffs, now serving a life sentence in Texas, was accused of assaulting children there.


Davis County elections: A closer look


Deron Williams On Point


Enterprise Elementary 5th-grade class receives donation of 60 Chromebooks


An Alternative to Traditional School


Release of audit on seized school lunches delayed


Former Jordan School District Bus Driver Pleads Not Guilty For Role In Fatal Crash


Memorial fund honors teen, sends kids to Teton Science School


Utah Students’ Pride in Community Brings Cash Awards


Super heroes reward super readers


Want your child to succeed in school? Rename these 8 household chores


Successful students see things clearly


Firing of lesbian teachers at St. Louis Catholic girls’ school draws outcry






Common Core conflicts with federal education statutes


The Utah Education Landscape Is a Warzone


‘Energy Summit’ shows who’s driving Utah’s bus


Skousen on Common Core


Principal rules


How a Bipartisan Education Reform Effort Became the Biggest Conservative Bogeyman Since Obamacare Inside the mammoth backlash to Common Core.


The Most Important Figure in School Reform We Never Talk About It’s the principal.


The Politico 50

Our list of the thinkers, doers and dreamers who really matter in this age of gridlock and dysfunction.


The Book That Got Teaching Right






Common Core replacement for Ohio would have biases, differences from its supposed Massachusetts model


State Board of Education talks education governance in Casper


Grading Teachers, With Data From Class


Q&A: National Education Association President On Obama, Duncan


Judge: Michigan Teachers Can Exit Union Anytime


Controversial alternative teaching permit approved by Indiana State Board of Education


A Majority Of Students Entering School This Year Are Minorities, But Most Teachers Are Still White


Mother upset daughter forced to wear ‘shame suit’ at school


New school year, new curriculum: Compulsory foreign languages for primary pupils and lessons in computer coding Every pupil will study five core academic subjects until they are 16 It is the culmination of a four-year campaign started by Michael Gove There will be a new emphasis on spelling and grammar, and history lessons will focus on the story of Britain


Less work, more play: Quebec elementary school bans homework for the year


China’s Education Gap


#oops! Markell’s tweet of suggestive photo








North Ogden targets teens skipping school


NORTH OGDEN — Teens skipping school may get slapped with a $50 fine in the near future.

The city council is looking to create an ordinance imposing a daytime curfew on kids 17 and younger during school hours. There would be exceptions for lunchtime, home-schooled students and those out to attend a doctor or dentist appointment.

Police officer Jeremy Hindes told the council Tuesday that since school started last week they are catching six to seven teenagers a day sluffing school – usually at the Skate Park, Lee’s Market or North Ogden Park.

“Right now when we find kids skipping school we call parents if we can get a hold of them. Then the next day the same kids skip,” Hines said.

The police department is working with Harrisville and Pleasant View to establish similar curfews in those cities and then to start a youth court at Weber High School. Hindes said the first time the students are caught it would be a warning, the second time a $50 fine and a visit to the youth court. (OSE)





Jon Huntsman Delivers School Supplies to Salt Lake City School


Jon Huntsman Junior was at Rose Park Elementary school in Salt Lake City Wednesday. He was there highlighting Chevron’s Fuel Your School Program, but the former Utah Governor also took the time to chat with reporters about his political ambitions for the future.

The 2012 presidential candidate spoke to students about the importance of science and technology in the global marketplace.

“In the years to come when you grow up and you’re as old as I am, we’re going to be competing with a lot of people around the world; competing based on our ability to get out and perform well in the marketplace,” Huntsman said.

Later he helped them unwrap the boxes filled with petri dishes, goggles and fake fossils that the students can use in the school science lab. Huntsman praised the program for bringing much needed supplies to the classroom. (KUER) (SLT)




Special program planned at Mt. Logan Middle School to Rise Above Bullying


A special program is scheduled for Thursday, September 4 starting at 7 p.m. in the Mount Logan Middle School. Principal Dr. Michael Monson says the program to be presented in the school auditorium is called Rachell’s Challenge and it is about Rachel Scott, a student killed in the shootings at Columbine High School in 1999. (CVD)




Demolition starts on old FLDS polygamous school Alta Academy » Warren Jeffs, now serving a life sentence in Texas, was accused of assaulting children there.


Sandy • The birthing room was still there. So was the baptismal font.

Some drawings of animals and flowers, in a motif synonymous with childhood, still adorned some doors in an upstairs room. A wooden decoration depicting the Bible’s three wise men was on a storage building’s exterior wall — until some neighbors took it down Wednesday as a souvenir.

The wise men got a reprieve, but everything else on the 4.5-acre property at the mouth of Little Cottonwood Canyon will be demolished this week. That should be OK with many.

The buildings were home to the Alta Academy — the school operated by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Its principal was Warren Jeffs, the current FLDS president now serving a sentence of life plus 20 years in a Texas prison. Jeffs was convicted of sexual assault charges related to taking two underage girls as brides. (SLT) (OSE) (KSTU)





Davis County elections: A closer look


Ryan Macfarlane

Davis County Commission, Seat B

As set by state statute, the Davis County Commission is charged with levying taxes, adopting ordinances and making policy for 300,000 plus residents as it relates to county business.

As a believer in the U.S. Constitution and the Constitution of Utah, I believe our greatest challenge in Davis County is in remaining loyal and true to our constitutional principles when everything around us insists that we give in to modernization and change.   I believe the leadership of the county must publicly acknowledge that the federal government has over-stepped its boundaries in many areas that affect our lives today and devote themselves to preventing the United Nations, our federal government and any other entities from taking away our freedom.  I was born and raised in this county С fourth generation, and I believe the leadership of this county must be willing to be courageous and tell the federal government that we don’t want their unconstitutional programs or their monetary bribes С we can govern ourselves!

Upon taking office, my first priority would be the education of the children of Davis County.  I stand firmly against the federal “No Child Left Behind” program and the federal “Common Core” program.  I support home schooling, private and charter Schools, and parental freedom of choice relative to the educational decision for their children. I would use my influence to let the federal government know that Davis County education is of, by, and for the people of Davis County. (DCC)





Deron Williams On Point


Larger than life: for both a literal and figurative translation see under ‘Deron Williams.’ Entering his high ceilinged Tribeca home is like walking onto an installation by Jeff Koons where a contemporary god wrought of cast iron and aluminum stoically stands with hands extended in greeting. That this three-time NBA All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist, is as unpretentious as his (6 ft. 3 in. 209 lb) figure is imposing, is a testament to D-Will’s integrity both on and off the court.

Known as the Point Guard with a deceptively shy manner and a killer instinct, Williams is a new breed of American athlete; one who – having played for Besiktas in Turkey during the infamous 2011 NBA lockout – is familiar with societies beyond US borders and one who sees women as perfectly capable role models for boys. The latter quality is in great part due to Deron’s own mother, Denise Williams, a woman who had not only singlehandedly raised him and his younger brother, Kendall, but had been a basketball promise in her own right, having played Point Guard (!) for West Liberty State College.

“Yeah, Tribeca is a great area” Williams reflects, “Mr. Chow, Nobu… an endless number of great restaurants, night life and young families. It’s quieter than Soho where I stayed the first year.” ¨

Williams stares at his shiny door, then glances at the ceiling; next, he boldly rejoins the conversation as if set on a man-to-man defense. “I’m not going to lie. I don’t really feel so much like a New Yorker. I grew up in an apartment in Texas where you could send your kids outside like ‘yeah, go play in the sun.’ Here it’s more challenging. The process of getting them into school is a nightmare. Even private schools where you pay are an ordeal. In Utah, you just send your kids to the first public school in the area because they’re all great. Truth is, we enjoy getting away from the hustle and bustle and going back to Utah every summer. It’s a relief to take that timeout. No traffic. No crowds. My daughters still have their friends there. There’s a big backyard. They go to the pool; the playground and they jump on the trampoline. Kids running wild and free here…? I don’t think so.” (The Resident)




Enterprise Elementary 5th-grade class receives donation of 60 Chromebooks


ENTERPRISE – An Enterprise Elementary School teacher and her students are now using 60 Chromebooks to research, write and explore thanks to contributions from The Horace Mann Companies, local Horace Mann agent Tyler May, the Gates Foundation and other benefactors who donated through is a website that connects teachers with donors. The project that was funded for Enterprise Elementary, “Technology: The Key to the Future,” was valued at more than $17,000. Horace Mann donated more than $4,100 and May donated $3,500. The Gates Foundation paid more than $8,500, and other donors contributed more than $900. (SGN)





An Alternative to Traditional School


Is your child unhappy in the traditional brick and mortar school? DeLaina Tonks, principal and director of Mountain Heights Academy shared the benefits of online schooling.

Mountain Heights Academy is an accredited, online public charter school for grades 7 through 12. (KTVX)




Release of audit on seized school lunches delayed


SALT LAKE CITY — Parents of students at a Salt Lake City elementary school criticized for throwing away school lunches lashed out at school board members who delayed releasing an investigation Tuesday.

The school board said they postponed the release of an independent audit for two weeks so they could so they could finalize the results. Uintah Elementary drew national attention after about 30 students with overdue lunch fees saw their $2 pizza lunches taken and thrown away in January. (OSE) (PDH) (KSL)





Former Jordan School District Bus Driver Pleads Not Guilty For Role In Fatal Crash


A former Jordan School District bus driver facing charges for his role in a deadly crash was in court Wednesday.

Troy Edward Daniels pleaded not guilty to reckless endangerment charges. Daniels was driving his bus earlier this year when he dropped off a group of children. Prosecutors say he did not deploy his stop signal.

After leaving the bus, 10-year-old Seleny Crosby was hit and killed by another bus.

Daniels has since resigned from his bus driver job.





Elementary school in Bountiful upgrades security system


BOUNTIFUL, Utah — The first week of school meant enhanced security for Bountiful Elementary School.

In the past, people could just walk through the front door and have instant access to the hallways and classrooms of the school. Visitors were asked to check in with the office first, but it was something that could and would be avoided. (KSTU)




Memorial fund honors teen, sends kids to Teton Science School


A memorial fund has been set up at Edith Bowen Laboratory School in honor of a former student who recently died in a car accident. The Ryker Dattage fund was established by his parents to help finance fifth-graders’ trips to the Teton Science School. (LHJ)




Utah Students’ Pride in Community Brings Cash Awards


Six students from 4th and 7th grades in cities and towns throughout the state are receiving top honors and cash prizes for writing insightful essays about why they like their community.

They are among thousands of  students who studied state history and municipal government and participated in the 17th annual essay contest sponsored by the Utah League of Cities and Towns. (UP)





Super heroes reward super readers


SALT LAKE CITY — Movies and pop culture are usually things that compete against what principal Karen Marberger tries to achieve in school.

“Sometimes it’s difficult to counteract the media, the TV, the video games, so we really do a big push on getting students to read,” she said.

But on this day, those factors worked in her favor. Every student received tickets to this weekend’s Comic Con pop culture event, for their progress in reading. (KSL)




Want your child to succeed in school? Rename these 8 household chores


Chores are as American as apple pie. (DN)




Successful students see things clearly


Between shopping for school clothes and squeezing in one last trip to the beach, you might want to make time for a back-to-school eye exam. Bad eyesight can cause problems with reading, writing, and even playing, and children don’t always notice changes in their own vision. (SLT)





Firing of lesbian teachers at St. Louis Catholic girls’ school draws outcry


ST. LOUIS — The termination of two lesbian faculty members at Cor Jesu Academy, an all-girls Catholic high school, has prompted an outcry from alumnae who have vowed to withhold donations to the school. (DN)











Common Core conflicts with federal education statutes Deseret News op-ed by Dan Liljenquist, a former state senator


Gov. Bobby Jindal made news last week when he announced that he, in his official capacity as governor of Louisiana, is suing the U.S. Department of Education over its attempt to use federal grants to induce states to implement the Common Core academic standards. Given the department’s extra-legal “Race to the Top” initiative, which flouts 50 years of established congressional policy prohibiting federal direction or control of education standards and curriculum, Gov. Jindal’s lawsuit is both justified and necessary to preserve state and local authority over education policy. Left unchallenged, the weight of this “Common Core” precedent would undoubtedly lead to further federal incursions into state and local curriculum decisions, extinguishing what is left of our educational autonomy at the state level.

The Common Core standards grew out of a partnership between the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers and were voluntarily adopted by over 40 states with the stated goal of improving the quality of public education. In Jindal’s words, “the Common Core standards were designed to define the knowledge and skills students should have in their K-12 education in order to graduate from high school and to succeed in entry-level, credit-bearing college courses and in workforce training programs.”





The Utah Education Landscape Is a Warzone Utah PoliticoHub commentary by columnist DANIEL BURTON


No one wants to live in a country or a state or a city or neighborhood…or anywhere, with stupid people. It’s why we provide (mostly) free (or, rather, tax funded) public education. We share a common belief that educated people make for better citizens, neighbors, and friends.

And yet, public education, at least in Utah, is a bureaucratic warzone. Entrenched interests are at war with each other, scrambling for control, resources, and money. Whether it’s for the votes on the Board of Education, for funding from the Utah Legislature, or in support of political issue of the moment (like when the PTA came out, bizarrely, in favor of Count My Vote), the education establishment is an ongoing battleground.





‘Energy Summit’ shows who’s driving Utah’s bus Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Brian Moench, president of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment


Researchers from Princeton and Northwestern Universities have confirmed your most cynical assessment of our political landscape. They analyzed statistical data on 1,779 national issues regarding which of four groups had the most influence over national policy outcomes — average citizens, mass-based interest groups, business-dominated interest groups or the super rich. The results won’t surprise you at all.

The views of the average citizen have a near zero impact on public policy, mass interest groups have very little, but the two groups that essentially get what they want from lawmakers are rich individuals and business groups. Utah could be the poster child for this study.

In a just-completed survey by the AARP of Utah residents more than 50 years old, clean air was the issue of greatest concern to them, by a 10 to 20 percent margin. Other polling on related issues like renewable energy and climate show that a majority of citizens of this country, including those in Utah, want cleaner energy (are even willing to pay more to get it) and are becoming more concerned about the climate crisis. Polls reported by the Deseret News and The Salt Lake Tribune within the last year show that two-thirds of Utahns want less pollution from industry and 99 percent are willing to make personal sacrifices for cleaner air.

So what are Utah’s political leaders and government agencies doing to respond to citizens’ concerns?

With rare exception, our state leaders continue clinging to the fantasy that Utah has the constitutional and moral authority to hijack federal land within its borders. Behind the mirage of providing more revenue for our public schools, the greedy end game of this effort is to basically turn federal land over to the powerful extraction industries. In fact, in defiance of the will of the people, the entire spectrum of Utah state policy continues to be a capitulation to mining and dirty energy.




Skousen on Common Core

(Provo) Daily Herald letter from Judith K. W. Skousen


The federal government has no business whatsoever to be involved in any state’s education. Has anyone pointed this out to our governor? He keeps taking money, and thus directions, from the fed. He doesn’t choose wise people for us to choose from to run for the state board of education. This is a lousy method, and people should run on their own for these positions and debate issues to let us citizens have a real choice.

It is not more money that we need; they have been purposefully dumbing down pupils for years (decades). It is the program and the textbook that counts, and they have been choosing poor ones. How can so many people all over America be so involved in ruining our children’s education and turning it into propaganda and “stupidifying” pupils by teaching lies, perversion and asinine subjects?





Principal rules

Deseret News letter from Carrie Harris


First it was Salt Lake School District yanking kids’ lunch trays away from them. Now, Principal Laura Bond, from Boulton Elementary in Bountiful, has implemented a new policy which bans preschoolers from entering the elementary school lobby and states that they must “wait near the preschool playground on the southwest corner for a staff member to come to you.” This new rule was created out of fear that preschoolers might destroy the eight chairs in the lobby which are, incidentally, public property and were provided by taxpayer dollars. In addition, parents are not allowed to park on school property, also public property and paid for by tax dollars, but must instead park on the road on 200 West between Orchard Drive and 2700 South “because some of the parents might park in incorrect stalls in the parking lot.”




How a Bipartisan Education Reform Effort Became the Biggest Conservative Bogeyman Since Obamacare Inside the mammoth backlash to Common Core.

Mother Jones commentary by Tim Murphy


ONE NIGHT LAST SEPTEMBER, a 46-year-old Veterans Administration research manager named Robert Small showed up at a public meeting with state education officials in Ellicott City, a well-to-do Maryland suburb, with a pen, a notebook, and an ax to grind. Small had been doing some homework on the main topic of the event, a set of math and language arts standards called Common Core that had recently been introduced in schools across the country, including his kids’. Fresh from work in a crisp, checkered shirt, he stood up in an overflow crowd and channeled his inner Henry V. “I want to know how many parents here are aware that the goal of the Common Core standards isn’t to prepare our children for world-class universities—it’s to prepare them for community college!” An off-duty police officer approached, and Small began to shout. “You’re sitting here like cattle!” Out came the handcuffs. “Hey, is this America?” Small bellowed, as he jostled with the officer. “Parents, you need to question these people! Do the research!”

The police department later dropped the charge of second-degree assault of a police officer; Small, for his part, said he held no grudge against the cops. But a video of the incident, which racked up more than a million views on YouTube, set off a firestorm of right-wing outrage. On his radio show, Glenn Beck confessed he couldn’t sleep after watching the clip. “This is the way it used to happen in Mother Russia, not America. It’s Dictatorship 101.”

The educational initiative that has inspired such a remarkable outpouring of fury began as a bipartisan endeavor so anodyne, nerdy even, that it proceeded for years with virtual consensus among policymakers of all stripes. Republican governors once enthusiastically signed on to the initiative—but now they (especially those contemplating presidential bids) are scrambling to distance themselves, and around the country state lawmakers are seeking to halt the implementation of the standards. Perhaps second only to Obamacare, Common Core has become a rallying cry on the right, evoking the kind of anguish and horror once reserved for the so-called death panels. And unlike health care reform, Common Core has tapped into a vein of outrage on the left as well.




The Most Important Figure in School Reform We Never Talk About It’s the principal.

Slate commentary by Dana Goldstein, author of The Teacher Wars: A History of America’s Most Embattled Profession


As we go back to school this fall, parents will naturally be fretting about teachers—mainly, did their kids get the best ones? But what if, in the interest of educational improvement, we paused to examine the role of one person who rarely gets talked about, but who just might be the most important figure in school reform: the principal?

The role of the principal has, traditionally, been overlooked. As I learned researching my new book on the history of American teaching, we have always looked to teachers—not to teachers’ bosses—as a salve for the wounds of inequality. Horace Mann, the father of the 19th-century common schools movement, believed a better cadre of teachers would enable children “now stamped with inferiority” to rise to “the common level.” Progressive Era muckraker Jacob Riis declared that teachers were “our chief defense against the tenement and the flood of ignorance with which it would swamp us.”

That thinking still stands today, which is why retired CNN anchor Campbell Brown, liberal-lion attorney David Boies, Harvard scholar Laurence Tribe, and President Obama’s former press secretary, Robert Gibbs, are all part of a campaign to file lawsuits against state teacher tenure policies.





The Politico 50

Our list of the thinkers, doers and dreamers who really matter in this age of gridlock and dysfunction.

Politico commentary


8              David Coleman & E.D. Hirsch

President of the College Board; education theorist


There are very few eureka moments in teaching, at least ones that eventually lead to a new curriculum in 43 out of 50 American states. But one could fairly date the rise of the controversial Common Core teaching standards to an experiment in reading comprehension that University of Virginia English professor Eric Donald Hirsch Jr. undertook in the late 1970s. Hirsch’s “life-changing” insight? “When the content in a passage is familiar, students read it well. When it is unfamiliar, they read it poorly.” Background knowledge, in other words, is everything. At a time when education theory was dominated by progressives who claimed facts were unnecessary and teachers best served as “guides on the side,” Hirsch’s argument was revolutionary: All children, regardless of background, should be taught the shared intellectual foundation—from Euclid to Shakespeare to Seneca Falls—needed “to thrive in the modern world.”

Although Hirsch’s resulting book was a bestseller, many of his peers dismissed him as old-fashioned and elitist, and his ideas failed to gain traction—that is, until recently. Hirsch, now 86, has over the past few years seen his ideas move into the mainstream with what we now call the Common Core. Developed in 2009 by the National Governors Association to better prepare students for the demands of college and the workplace, the Common Core, which spells out learning goals for grades K-12, is not exactly what Hirsch had in mind, but it’s one step in his direction. According to David Coleman, who is often called the “architect” of the Common Core, Hirsch’s research showing the fundamental connection between knowledge and literacy “is absolutely foundational.”




The Book That Got Teaching Right

New Yorker commentary by SAMUEL G. FREEDMAN, author of seven books, including “Small Victories: The Real World of a Teacher, Her Students, and Their High School”


In the course of a few decades, I became separated from my copy of “Up the Down Staircase,” Bel Kaufman’s classic novel about a New York City schoolteacher. So after Kaufman died, in July, at the age of a hundred and three, I felt compelled to reread the book. I called up my neighborhood Barnes & Noble to reserve a copy. Considering the stunning popularity “Up the Down Staircase” had enjoyed—it spent sixty-four weeks on the best-seller list after its release, in 1965, inspired a popular film adaptation in 1967, and ultimately sold more than six million copies—I assumed that the coverage of Kaufman’s death had renewed interest in the book, and that copies would be selling out.

Instead, very much to my surprise, the Barnes & Noble clerk informed me that “Up the Down Staircase” was out of print. Unconvinced, I checked several online booksellers, and, sure enough, no current edition was available. So I grabbed a copy from the library, and as I plunged into it I realized just how sadly appropriate it was that the book had fallen into obsolescence. What place can there be for a book about the large struggles and little glories of a teacher, at a time when teacher bashing has become a major strain, even the dominant strain, of what passes for “education reform”?












Common Core replacement for Ohio would have biases, differences from its supposed Massachusetts model Cleveland Plain Dealer


CLEVELAND, Ohio – The alternate education standards that Common Core opponents want for Ohio have a few other twists beyond opening the door for creationism in the classroom.

The proposed guidelines for replacement standards in House Bill 597 now under consideration in Columbus contain requirements that history classes focus on “real” events and that science classes focus on scientific facts and not the scientific process.

Districts would have the right to reject the state standards and adopt their own.

And despite holding Massachusetts’ old – previous to Common Core – standards as a proven and successful model for Ohio to emulate, HB 597’s guidelines for standards look very different from Massachusetts’.





State Board of Education talks education governance in Casper Casper (WY) Star Tribune


The Wyoming Board of Education will meet Thursday in Casper to discuss possible statewide governance structures that could affect the board’s duties and powers.

According to the group’s agenda, state board member Sue Belish will lead a discussion about statewide education governance during the board’s regular meeting.

A legislative committee recently commissioned a statewide study to collect input regarding a possible restructure of the way Wyoming governs public education. Currently, an elected state superintendent of public instruction fills a largely administrative position overseeing the roughly 150 employees at the Wyoming Department of Education. The governor-appointed state Board of Education sets policy and standards for the state.

Some lawmakers say that power distribution has contributed to a rift between the department, state board and Legislature, which funds the public education system. As a result, the Legislature is considering amending the way it runs its state board and head education agency.





Grading Teachers, With Data From Class

New York Times


Halfway through the last school year, Leila Campbell, a young humanities teacher at a charter high school in Oakland, Calif., received the results from a recent survey of her students.

On most measures, Ms. Campbell and her fellow teachers at the Aspire Lionel Wilson Preparatory Academy were scoring at or above the average for Aspire, a charter system that runs more than a dozen schools in California and Tennessee.

But the survey, conducted by a tech start-up called Panorama Education, also indicated that her students did not believe she was connecting with them. Ninety-six percent of the students at Lionel Wilson are Hispanic, and 92 percent receive school lunch assistance.

“It’s a very different population from where I grew up,” Ms. Campbell, who is white, said in a recent interview in her classroom. “I wasn’t scoring where I wanted to with questions like ‘I feel comfortable asking my teacher for help’ or ‘My teacher really cares about me.’ I was below average, and I don’t want to be below average.”

Panorama is trying to assess how well teachers are doing by conducting scientifically valid student questionnaires that collect data about a variety of factors that might affect a teacher’s performance, from how well she conveys the material and whether she encourages interest in a subject to whether a school fosters a sense of belonging for students (Ed Week)




Q&A: National Education Association President On Obama, Duncan NPR


A former elementary school teacher from Utah took the reins of the nation’s largest teachers union this week.

As president of the National Education Association, Lily Eskelsen Garcia represents nearly 3 million teachers. Her No. 1 one priority? As she puts it: “Roll back standardized testing before it does more damage than good.”

The NEA has been critical of the Obama administration, especially its support of using test scores to evaluate teachers.

Garcia spoke with the president over the weekend. And this week, NPR Ed talked with the new NEA president about that meeting and her broader concerns about education issues.





Judge: Michigan Teachers Can Exit Union Anytime Associated Press


LANSING, Mich. — Michigan’s largest teachers’ union should allow members to resign at any time and stop enforcing an annual one-month opt-out window, a state labor judge ruled, relying on the state’s right-to-work law that took effect last year.

The administrative law judge, Julia Stern, recommended Tuesday that the Republican-controlled Employment Relations Commission order the Michigan Education Association to no longer limit school employees to leaving the union in August. She said the right-to-work law incorporated a federal law interpreted to give public employees the ability to leave their union anytime. (Detroit Free Press)




Controversial alternative teaching permit approved by Indiana State Board of Education Indianapolis Star


FORT WAYNE — The Indiana State Board of Education on Wednesday approved a controversial proposal to provide another way for people without a teaching degree to teach high school students, despite outrage from teachers who said it would devalue their profession and subject kids to unprepared educators.

Board members who voted for the career specialist permit said the license would let individual schools decide whether to hire a nontraditional teacher who could bring expertise into the classroom.

But educators who voiced their opposition at a meeting at the Ivy Tech Community College in Fort Wayne, called the permit proposal an experiment on children, saying teachers need to be fully trained in child behavior and other specialties before being allowed to run a classroom.





A Majority Of Students Entering School This Year Are Minorities, But Most Teachers Are Still White Huffington Post


A majority of the public school students heading back to school this September aren’t white. But the teachers leading their classrooms are still overwhelmingly so.

This year marks a milestone for U.S. public schools in that it is the first time a majority of students will come from minority groups. According to projections from the National Center for Education Statistics, 49.7 percent of students entering public schools this year are white, compared to 50.3 percent of students who identify as black, Hispanic, Asian or another nonwhite ethnicity. Just 10 years ago, in 2004, nearly 60 percent of public school students were white. By 2022, that figure is projected to fall to just 45 percent.

But teacher demographics are not keeping pace with the massive shifts in student demographics, and startlingly few educators in public schools are of color. Below are four graphics that illustrate the gap between teacher and student diversity.




Mother upset daughter forced to wear ‘shame suit’ at school (Jacksonville, FL) WTLV


ORANGE PARK, Fla. — A local mother claims Oakleaf High School forced her daughter to swap her too-short skirt for what she calls a “shame suit.” On the third day of school she says her daughter unintentionally broke the school dress code, and the punishment was humiliating.

When 15-year-old Miranda Larkin went to school in a black skirt about three to four inches above her knees, she didn’t know she was in violation of Oakleaf High School’s dress code.

“She just points at me from across the hall, and says your skirt is too short.”

She says a teacher sent her to the school nurse who said she had to put on another outfit. It was a neon yellow t-shirt and bright red sweat pants with the words ‘DRESS CODE VIOLATION’ written across both.

Larkin just moved to Clay County from Seattle and was on her third day at a new school.





New school year, new curriculum: Compulsory foreign languages for primary pupils and lessons in computer coding Every pupil will study five core academic subjects until they are 16 It is the culmination of a four-year campaign started by Michael Gove There will be a new emphasis on spelling and grammar, and history lessons will focus on the story of Britain

(London) Daily Mail


After six weeks of summer  holidays, children can find it quite a shock to be back at school.

But when term resumes this week, it may be even tougher than usual. For the country is about to undergo the biggest education shake-up in a decade with a new, tougher national curriculum.

And further changes are planned, with Education Secretary Nicky Morgan saying the Conservatives will pledge at the next election to make every pupil study five core academic subjects until they are 16.

Under the new curriculum, children aged five will have to recite poetry by heart,  11-year-olds will sit maths exams without calculators and teenagers will study at least two Shakespeare plays.

Computer programming will be taught from five to 14, and foreign languages will be made compulsory at primary school.

There will be a new emphasis on spelling and grammar, and history will focus on the story of Britain.




Less work, more play: Quebec elementary school bans homework for the year Canadian Press via (Toronto) Globe and Mail


Students at a Quebec elementary school may be some of the happiest in the country as they prepare for another year in the classroom.

College de Saint-Ambroise, a school of 339 students in the province’s Saguenay region, has introduced a near-complete ban on homework.

Every class from Grade 1 to 6 will take part in the one-year pilot project.





China’s Education Gap

New York Times Magazine


BEIJING — Every September, the campuses of Peking and Tsinghua Universities, dubbed the Harvard and M.I.T. of China, brim with bright-eyed new students, the winners of China’s cutthroat education system. These young men and women possess the outlook of cosmopolitan youth worldwide: sporting designer clothes and wielding smartphones, they share experiences of foreign travel and bond over common fondness for Western television shows such as “The Big Bang Theory” and “Sherlock.”

They are destined for bright futures: In a few decades, they will fill high-powered positions in government and become executives in state banks and multinational companies. But their ever-expanding career possibilities belie the increasingly narrow slice of society they represent.

China’s state education system, which offers nine years of compulsory schooling and admits students to colleges strictly through exam scores, is often hailed abroad as a paradigm for educational equity. The impression is reinforced by Chinese students’ consistently stellar performance in international standardized tests. But this reputation is a myth.

While China has phenomenally expanded basic education for its people, quadrupling its output of college graduates in the past decade, it has also created a system that discriminates against its less wealthy and poorly connected citizens, thwarting social mobility at every step with bureaucratic and financial barriers.

A huge gap in educational opportunities between students from rural areas and those from cities is one of the main culprits.




#oops! Markell’s tweet of suggestive photo Wilmington (DE) News Journal


Gov. Jack Markell is creating a stir on Twitter this morning after a suggestive photo was included in a tweet from his account to promote an education event intended to assist disadvantaged students.

Markell, or likely someone tweeting on his behalf, sent out the tweet this morning during an event at Warner Elementary in Wilmington about 10:30 a.m.

It included a link to the photo and was deleted 17 minutes later, according to the website Politwoops, which archives tweets posted then deleted by politicians.









USOE Calendar



UEN News



September 4:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

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



September 5:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

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



September 11:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City



September 16:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

1 p.m., 210 Senate Building



September 17:

Education Interim Committee meeting

2:30 p.m., 30 House Building

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