Education News Roundup: Sept. 26, 2014

Students sit in front of laptops in geometry classEducation News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

Poll finds Utahns support state takeover of federal land 52-40.

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

InTech Collegiate High School opens its 1:1 initiative.

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

What happens when your state’s high school graduation rates soar, but you don’t really have college- and career-ready standards?

http://go.uen.org/1Wz (NYT)

PBS turns its attention to high school graduation tomorrow. You’ll either need internet access or cable or satellite to see it locally, however.

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

and http://go.uen.org/1WH (PBS)

and http://go.uen.org/1WG (KUED)

 

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Poll: Utahns only westerners who still want federal land transfer Poll » Majority of Westerners oppose federal lands transfer to states, survey indicates.

 

Eliminating the ‘digital divide’: InTech provides laptops for all students

 

Graduating from Mormon seminary just got harder Education » Students have to meet new reading and exam requirements to earn diplomas.

 

Improving money skills through ‘Financial Football’

Richard Ellis, Broncos player team up in teen money literacy effort.

 

See how Utah students score in state-by-state rankings

 

Roy school crossing guard upgraded to serious condition

 

Davis schools parent equity event Tuesday

 

Volunteers give back at Kearns Junior High

 

Inside Our Schools

 

 

 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Thumbs up, thumbs down

 

Bernick and Schott on Politics

 

Where Common Core went wrong …

 

Teaching facts is still important, too

 

 

 

 

NATION

 

With Climbing Graduation Rates Come Renewed Doubts

 

Education Official Says Students Used as ‘Pawns’

 

L.A. Unified oversight panel rejects $42 million for computers

 

State education superintendent candidates spar over education standards

 

Daylong PBS Show Focuses on the Dropout Crisis

 

Huntsville schools say call from NSA led to monitoring students online

 

LAUSD knew of misconduct by Miramonte teacher in 1983, records show

 

Rambold being re-sentenced today for raping student who later committed suicide

 

Hong Kong school children join student protest demanding democracy

 

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Poll: Utahns only westerners who still want federal land transfer Poll » Majority of Westerners oppose federal lands transfer to states, survey indicates.

 

Utah is the only state in the west where voters want to take over federal lands, according to a new poll.

While many westerners may view their state governments more favorably than they view the feds, a majority oppose transferring public lands to the states, a survey released Thursday by the Center for American Progress found.

By a 52-42 margin, residents of eight intermountain states said they opposed taking over federal lands in their states, despite their frustrations with federal government gridlock.

In Utah however, those numbers are flipped, with 52 percent of those polled supporting the idea of a transfer and 40 percent opposed. The idea is popular among conservatives and enshrined in a Utah law demanding the federal government hand over 30 million acres by the end of this year.

But the Beehive State seems to be an outlier.

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

 

 

 

 

Eliminating the ‘digital divide’: InTech provides laptops for all students

 

Starting this school year, every student at InTech Collegiate High School has received his or her own personal laptop to use for school work both inside and outside of the classroom. This 1:1 technology implementation has been a few years in the making at the North Logan charter school.

“For a couple of years, we’ve been looking into 1:1 implementation because one third of our students are low-income and they couldn’t as easily do their homework online,” said Jason Stanger, the principal at InTech Collegiate. “This helps eliminate the digital divide.”

With every student having his or her own laptop, more students can do their homework online, they can collaborate with each other and with teachers, and they can do more work with engineering and digital media since the laptops come equipped with the needed software. Each student received a Lenovo ThinkPad, a PC-based laptop. This type of device was chosen because it could handle the additional software, such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

“We got these at no additional cost to the taxpayers or the families,” Stanger said.

The school received a federal REAP grant to provide the infrastructure needed for the laptops.

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

 

 

 

Graduating from Mormon seminary just got harder Education » Students have to meet new reading and exam requirements to earn diplomas.

 

Just because Mormon seminary takes place outside traditional high-school buildings doesn’t mean its students are free from the trappings of typical classes.

That means showing up for class, reading the assigned texts, even passing tests.

This year, in fact, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has implemented stricter requirements to graduate from seminary. Now, teens will have to take twice-a-year assessments and fulfill reading requirements as part of their path to graduation.

Students will have to meet the new standards to get certificates of completion at the end of each year and, ultimately, diplomas. Those who don’t complete the reading or testing but meet attendance requirements will still receive certificates of recognition each year.

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

 

 

 

 

Improving money skills through ‘Financial Football’

Richard Ellis, Broncos player team up in teen money literacy effort.

 

Denver Broncos cornerback Kayvon Webster was the quarterback of one team, state Treasurer Richard Ellis led the other Thursday in a game of “Financial Football,” part of a statewide effort to help Utah teens learn about money management.

With support from the National Football League and the NFL Players Association, the Utah Jump$tart Coalition and Visa Inc. have produced a free educational video game and classroom curricula that are being distributed by the Treasurer’s office to every public middle school and high school in the state.

The debut game took place at Skyline High School.

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

See how Utah students score in state-by-state rankings

 

SALT LAKE CITY – The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation  has released a state-by-state report looks at the state of education in America through the eyes of business leaders.

According to the Huffington Post, the foundation determined these grades by looking at the number of students whose scores were proficient or advanced on the latest National Assessment for Educational Progress.

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

 

 

 

Roy school crossing guard upgraded to serious condition

 

A 70-year-old crossing guard who was run down outside a Roy school was upgraded Friday to serious condition.

Roy police said the man had been transported Thursday morning to Ogden’s McKay-Dee Hospital in critical condition after being hit by a car in the crosswalk near Roy Elementary School, 2588 W. 5600 South.

The crossing’s warning lights were flashing at the time an eastbound Volkswagen Beetle, traveling about 20-25 mph, struck him as he moved into the crosswalk to flag traffic to a stop, police said.

The guard was thrown about 20 feet, landing on the asphalt, with several school children witnessing the incident.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

Davis schools parent equity event Tuesday

 

LAYTON — Former NBA player Thurl Lee Bailey will address students and their parents at the Davis School District’s annual Parent Equity Night — “Engaging Education: The Passport to your Future.”

Bailey’s NBA career spanned from 1983-1999 — twice playing for the Utah Jazz. Outside of his basketball career, he has been heavily involved in community service, including basketball camps for disadvantaged youths.

Admission is free to the Parent Equity Night, which will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday at Northridge High School, 2430 N. Hill Field Road, Layton.

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

 

 

 

Volunteers give back at Kearns Junior High

 

Volunteers gave back to their community by performing remodeling at Kearns Junior High School on Thursday. The volunteers also sorted library books into grade levels and assembled hygiene kits for kids in need.

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

 

 

 

 

Inside Our Schools

 

Motivated college-bound high school seniors in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming are encouraged to visit the Daniels Fund website: danielsfund.org to apply for the Daniels Scholarship Program. The application deadline is Nov. 17.

Enoch Elementary

Iron Springs Elementary

North Elementary

Three Peaks Elementary

Canyon View Middle

Cedar Middle

Arrowhead Elementary

George Washington Academy

Hurricane Valley Academy Charter

Lava Ridge

Millcreek High

Utah Online School K-12

Riverside Elementary

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

 

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Thumbs up, thumbs down

(Provo) Daily Herald editorial

 

THUMBS UP: The Provo School District has been active in bringing local residents into its schools to illustrate the need for the proposed school improvement bond. The next open house on Oct. 3 will allow residents to see the needs at Provo High School. Open houses take place through October at other schools.

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

 

 

 

Bernick and Schott on Politics

Utah Policy commentary by columnists Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott

 

Utahns sure like the idea of teachers packing heat! Also, debate season is upon us and lawmakers may be considering a record number of bills in 2015.

Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott run down the week in Utah politics.

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

 

 

 

 

Where Common Core went wrong …

KNRS commentary by columnist Rod Arquette

 

Anyone who listens to the show is aware that we’ve long stood in opposition to Common Core and have promoted multiple venues through which to repeal it here in Utah.  While momentum certainly seems to be on the side of repeal across the nation, there are still some arguing vigorously for it’s adoption.  And while we’re still debating the politics of it, what is the continuing opportunity cost to the children being instructed under it’s curriculum?

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

 

 

 

Teaching facts is still important, too

Salt Lake Tribune letter from Julia Vernon

 

Regarding the teaching of critical thinking in history and civics (“Some Utahns worry new AP History test is revisionist,” Sept. 24), Rep. Moss said something lamentable: “I am glad to see the diminished role of facts and incorporating things like cause and effect.” As a student, classes that enabled us to store basic facts in memory where we could draw on them and at the same time taught the ability to think critically utilizing these facts were invaluable training for civic responsibility.

Applauding the diminution of facts in favor of reasoning is breathtakingly clueless. Facts are foundational to critical thought. Facts retained in memory are crucial to the ongoing process of evaluating our world. Students need both facts and critical thinking skills.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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With Climbing Graduation Rates Come Renewed Doubts New York Times

 

AUSTIN — A decade ago, Texas was often cited as an example of the ills that contributed to a national high school graduation crisis. As the state weathered scandals over the way some districts calculated graduation rates, it became identified in national reports as the epicenter for chronically underperforming schools known as “dropout factories.”

Now the percentage of Texas students earning their high school diplomas on time exceeds that of nearly every other state. A United States Department of Education report released in April showed Texas tied for second place — one spot higher than the previous year — with only Iowa reporting a higher rate for 2012.

In August, the Texas Education Agency announced another year of record-breaking high school graduation rates, which have been rising since 2007. It reported that 88 percent of public school students in the class of 2013 earned a diploma within four years. Many districts, including the state’s five largest, are reporting their fourth or fifth straight year of rising graduation rates.

Policy makers and school leaders have greeted the gains with cautious optimism, and have credited a number of programs at the state and local levels.

But the state’s headway with graduation rates has not been matched by similar success in measures that track students’ college and career readiness, prompting questions about what it takes to earn a high school diploma. A dropout prevention program in the Dallas Independent School District, where the graduation rate has risen 16 percentage points in the last five years, has been cited as a possible explanation for the disconnect.

I’ve encountered too many of our students who are functionally illiterate,” said Mike Morath, a trustee of the district, the state’s second-largest. “If your standard for graduation is the standard needed for success in college after graduation, then the graduation rates should be nowhere near where there are. They should be much lower.”

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

 

 

 

 

Education Official Says Students Used as ‘Pawns’

Associated Press

 

DENVER — As a new wave of young protesters in suburban Denver rallied against an education proposal to promote patriotism and downplay civil disobedience, the district’s school board president said Thursday that students were being misinformed and used as “pawns.”

Ken Witt, head of the Jefferson County Board of Education, said teachers are upset over a compensation plan and supporting the demonstrations as pretext for union demands.

“It’s never OK to use kids as pawns,” Witt said, adding that some students wrongly believe issues such as slavery will be eliminated from history classes under the disputed proposal.

Students across a majority of the district’s 17 high schools have walked out of classes in droves each day this week waving signs and flags in protests organized by word-of-mouth and social media.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/1WE (Denver Post)

 

 

 

 

L.A. Unified oversight panel rejects $42 million for computers Los Angeles Times

 

The Los Angeles school district’s bond oversight panel rejected a move Thursday by officials to spend an additional $42 million on new computers, including purchases under a controversial — and recently suspended — technology contract.

The district’s proposal was discussed for the first time in a meeting of the independent School Construction Bond Citizens’ Oversight Committee, which reviews the use of school construction money. The bond panel rejected the plan, saying that L.A. Unified had not proved that it urgently needed these devices.

The purchase request is the latest development in a $1.3-billion project that was supposed to provide computers for every student, teacher and campus administrator in the nation’s second-largest school system.

In all, the Los Angeles Unified School District bought 109,000 iPads before schools Supt. John Deasy suspended further purchases Aug. 25. He said the district would begin a new bidding process because of the evolving market, advances in technology and “lessons learned” in the first phase of the effort.

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

 

 

 

 

State education superintendent candidates spar over education standards

(Phoenix) Arizona Republic

 

Candidates for state superintendent of public instruction clashed Thursday over academic standards known as Common Core, with Democrat David Garcia calling Republican Diane Douglas’ opposition “extreme.”

The Arizona Clean Elections Commission sponsored the debate, which was broadcast on KAET Channel 8’s Arizona Horizon. The two candidates will face each other in the Nov. 4 general election.

Douglas defeated incumbent John Huppenthal in the Republican primary, while Garcia defeated Sharon Thomas in the Democratic primary.

Douglas’ campaign has focused mostly on calling for the repeal of Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards, the English and math guidelines the state adopted in 2010.

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

 

 

 

 

Daylong PBS Show Focuses on the Dropout Crisis Education Week

 

There will be something on many PBS stations for seven hours on Saturday that may look like a one of those public television fundraisers. But there’s no need to pick up the phone.

“American Graduate Day 2014” is a hodgepodge of entertainment, live interviews, and short filmed segments about ways to help local communities raise high school graduation rates.

“When Americans decide they want to tackle a problem, the needle moves,” says Patricia Harrison, the president and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Washington-based entity that distributes federal funds to public radio and television stations. “This is going to be an inspiring and entertaining day.”

Now, the celebrity names. Moderators will include Wes Moore of PBS, Rehema Ellis of NBC News, and Rebecca Jarvis of ABC News. Celebrity interviews will include the singer Tony Bennett and his wife, Susan Bennedetto, who will discuss their Exploring the Arts initiative; Colin and Alma Powell, talking about their America’s Promise Alliance; former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; and many others.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/1WH (PBS)

 

http://go.uen.org/1WG (KUED)

 

 

 

Huntsville schools say call from NSA led to monitoring students online Huntsville (AL) Times

 

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – A secret program to monitor students’ online activities began quietly in Huntsville schools, following a phone call from the NSA, school officials say.

Huntsville schools Superintendent Casey Wardynski says the system began monitoring social media sites 18 months ago, after the National Security Agency tipped the school district to a student making violent threats on Facebook.

The NSA, a U.S. agency responsible for foreign intelligence, this week said it has no record of a call to Huntsville and does not make calls to school systems.

Regardless of how the program started, Huntsville City Schools began scanning Facebook and other sites for signs of gang activity, watching for photos of guns, photos of gang signs and threats of violence.

The Huntsville monitoring program is called SAFe, or Students Against Fear. School board members said they did not know about the program when contacted last week.

Internal documents explaining the program, obtained by AL.com, show examples of four different students posing on Facebook with handguns. None are on school grounds. Three are listed as expelled. One was referred for counseling.

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

 

 

 

 

LAUSD knew of misconduct by Miramonte teacher in 1983, records show Los Angeles Times

 

The Los Angeles Unified School District had received complaints of inappropriate behavior by a Miramonte Elementary School teacher nearly three decades before he was arrested for lewd acts against children, according to court documents.

The documents show that district officials knew about allegations against teacher Mark Berndt in May 1983 — about a decade earlier than had been previously disclosed to the public. Berndt, 63, pleaded no contest last year to lewd conduct and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

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

 

 

 

 

Rambold being re-sentenced today for raping student who later committed suicide Billings (MT) Gazette

 

Stacey Dean Rambold — a former high school teacher who had a sexual relationship with one of his students — is scheduled to be sentenced for second time today at 1:30 p.m. in Billings.

The case is Billings’ most widely scrutinized criminal proceeding in years.

Thirteen months ago, then-presiding Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced Rambold to 15 years with all but 31 days suspended for one count of sexual intercourse without consent.

At sentencing, the judge commented that the victim, 14-year-old Cherice Moralez, was “older than her chronological age” and “as much in control of the situation” as her abuser.

The girl committed suicide in 2010 while charges against Rambold were pending.

Baugh’s comments and the 31-day commitment drew nationwide attention to the case.

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

 

 

 

Hong Kong school children join student protest demanding democracy Reuters

 

HONG KONG – Hundreds of children joined students demanding greater democracy for Hong Kong on Friday, capping a week-long campaign that has seen a large cut-out depicting the territory’s leader as the devil paraded through the city and calls for him to resign.

Secondary school pupils launched a one-day class boycott, supporting the university and college students who began their own class boycott on Monday with a rally that drew about 13,000.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

October 9:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

 

October 9-10:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

 

October 14:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

1 p.m., 210 Senate Building

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2014&Com=APPEXE

 

 

October 15:

Education Interim Committee meeting

2:30 p.m., 30 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2014&Com=INTEDU

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