Education News Roundup: Oct. 6, 2014

Student Tutoring Achievement for Reading (STAR) Program training session.

Student Tutoring Achievement for Reading (STAR) Program training session.

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

Sen. Stephenson says Utah parents shouldn’t be alarmed if test scores come in low this year.

http://go.uen.org/20C (SLT)

Florida, however, is worried about low Utah test scores.

http://go.uen.org/21r (Orlando [FL] Sentinel)

and http://go.uen.org/21s (Tampa Bay [FL] Times)

Trib looks at diversity in Utah charter schools.

http://go.uen.org/20K (SLT)

Disability Law Center wants more training for disabled students in Utah.

http://go.uen.org/20F (SLT)

or a copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/20G (Disability Law Center)

Daily Herald supports Provo bond vote.

http://go.uen.org/20E (PDH)

Washington Post looks at some of the tough current events that come up for conversation in schools.

http://go.uen.org/21a (WaPo)

Dewey and Associates look at the biggest school foundations in the country. Several Utah district foundations are among them.

http://go.uen.org/21o (Education Dive)

or a copy of the report

http://deweyandassociates.com/studies.html

Stay tuned later today for an announcement from the Utah State Board of Education on the finalists for State Superintendent.

http://schoolboard.utah.gov/

 

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Low test scores may add to Utah debate over teaching math

Supporters say Common Core standards, in time, will help kids.

 

Utah Common Core test scores prompt Florida worries

Utah’s low Common Core test scores may not bode well for Florida

 

Utah charter schools score low on diversity

Education » Lack of access to transportation of low-income students cited as contributing factor.

 

Study: More job training needed for Utah’s disabled students

Education » After high school, one in five disabled Utahns missing out on college or decent-paying jobs.

 

Exclusive Poll: Utahns Support Taking Control of Federal Lands in the State

 

District 5 candidates weigh in on education funding and the role of the federal government

 

Accreditation team to look at Davis School District

 

STEM focus brings excitement to learning

 

A high school with no homecoming

 

Utah County second-graders learn about food on the farm

 

Iron Horse trophy about more than just football

 

Faith and modesty: Does it unify or divide us?

 

Mapleton students visit their heritage

 

Art competition offers scholarship opportunity, uses State Capitol for inspiration

 

Tragedy brings kids and communities together

Soccer » Car accident involving Copper Hills player unites athletes, students and strangers.

 

Family of student who killed himself to receive $75K in settlement

Bullying » Settlement requires Granite School District to revise procedures regarding reports of harassment.

 

Parents allege hazing in Westlake football program; administrators say they’ve dealt with every report they’ve had

 

Duchesne homecoming queen, date injured in ATV crash

 

Van with special needs students hits school bus with kindergartners

 

Davis ‘Reflections’ entries win national honors

 

Murray School District taking applications for gifted program

 

 

 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Provo School bond deserves voter support

 

A decision that requires input

 

Thumbs up, thumbs down

 

School Board keeps superintendent finalists a secret, even from itself

 

The poverty misdiagnosis

Intergenerational poverty the result of misdiagnosis

 

An entrepreneurial spirit, plus education, plants seeds for economic success

 

We should educate, not incarcerate, our young people

 

Vote out those who persist with Utah public lands grab

 

Here’s a guy who stepped up to improve schools

 

Nearby communism?

 

Guns have no place in our schools

 

A better way to raise kids

 

Even education data geeks agree that education data is completely inscrutable and inaccessible to parents

 

Are Teachers Warming Up to the Common Core?

While the public remains divided on the new standards, educators are increasingly optimistic.

 

Parent says no mush for his first-grader

 

Education reform

A good choice?

 

Why Finland’s schools are top-notch

 

 

 

 

NATION

 

In Washington State, Political Stand Puts Schools in a Bind

 

Teachers take on controversial subjects: Ferguson, same-sex marriage, immigration

 

The Education Battle of 2014

 

States see more poverty among children, unemployed

 

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal of Fired Ohio Teacher

 

Education Website Releases List of Public School Districts in Each State with Highest Average Teacher Pay

 

These are the top 10 U.S. education foundations

 

Education’s coming restructuring: How much will IT really help?

Summary: Gartner unveils its top 10 business and technology trends for education in 2015. It’s unclear how being data driven, mobile and analytics-happy can really move the needle on the business model problems.

 

‘Thinking computer’ that won on Jeopardy could help teachers

 

Schools Say Uniforms Lead to Better Academics, Behavior

 

Richland School District is Saying Goodbye to Swings

 

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Low test scores may add to Utah debate over teaching math

Supporters say Common Core standards, in time, will help kids.

 

Utah’s path to the Common Core began with a math problem.

In 2002, the state school board adopted a new framework for the math skills kids should learn each year, figuring it would guide Utah classrooms for a decade.

But the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a conservative think tank, gave Utah’s locally developed standards a “D” grade. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce gave them a “C.” And by 2006, the Utah Legislature was demanding a rewrite, fired up by a controversial effort in the Alpine School District to try a new approach to math.

New standards adopted in 2007 ultimately earned an “A-” from Fordham, but some unimpressed lawmakers threatened to pass a law changing them again.

Three years later, the state school board changed course, deciding the Common Core State Standards — an initiative of the National Governors Association — for math and for language arts were stronger.

This month, Utah is preparing to send parents their students’ results from statewide tests aligned to the Core for the first time — news many expect will fuel debate over the controversial standards and how Utah teaches math. In some grades, preliminary results showed, 1 in 3 children is proficient.

Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, said the “jury is still out” on whether the Core is an improvement over the 2007 standards, which he opposed.

But parents shouldn’t be alarmed by the low test scores, he said.

http://go.uen.org/20C (SLT)

 

 

 

 

Utah Common Core test scores prompt Florida worries

Utah’s low Common Core test scores may not bode well for Florida

 

Utah students took their state’s new Common Core tests this spring, and they struggled so badly that a majority of the schools could end up graded D or F.

Despite the more than 2,000 miles that separate the two states, some fear the same thing might happen here. This spring, Florida students will be taking Common Core standardized tests filled with questions from Utah’s exams.

Plenty of Florida educators and parents are already concerned Florida hasn’t given schools enough time to prepare students for tough new tests, which will replace most of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test. The Utah results only add to those worries.

http://go.uen.org/21r (Orlando [FL] Sentinel)

 

http://go.uen.org/21s (Tampa Bay [FL] Times)

 

 

 

Utah charter schools score low on diversity

Education » Lack of access to transportation of low-income students cited as contributing factor.

 

Charter school students in Utah are whiter and wealthier than their traditional public school counterparts, according to a report released this week.

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools ranked Utah 24th out of 26 states for the health of its charter school movement, with Utah scoring low marks for racial and economic diversity.

Minority students made up 19 percent of charter school enrollment during the 2012-2013 school year compared to 23 percent of students in Utah’s traditional public schools.

The disparity was larger in terms of income, with 17 percent of charter school students qualifying for free or reduced-price school lunch, compared to 35 percent of children enrolled in traditional schools.

Roughly 9 percent of the state’s total public school population is enrolled at charter schools.

http://go.uen.org/20K (SLT)

 

 

 

Study: More job training needed for Utah’s disabled students

Education » After high school, one in five disabled Utahns missing out on college or decent-paying jobs.

 

Patrick Utzinger doesn’t want other students to face the kind of bullying he did as a kid.

So the autistic high school senior is interviewing this week for a job to mentor grade-school students. He put together a resume and refined his pitch in a job training program at City Academy, a charter school in Salt Lake City.

Getting a job, he said Thursday, “is just harder for kids with autism.” But, he added, “It’s good experience to have that employment when you go off to college.”

Utzinger is one of many Utah students with a range of disabilities who are getting how-to-get-a-job training and on-the-job training. But more such school-run programs are needed, according to a report, from the Disability Law Center.

http://go.uen.org/20F (SLT)

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/20G (Disability Law Center)

 

 

 

Exclusive Poll: Utahns Support Taking Control of Federal Lands in the State

 

Utah Lawmakers have been discussing whether the state should attempt to take control of public lands within the state borders. Most Utahns think that’s a worthy pursuit.

The latest UtahPolicy.com poll conducted by Dan Jones and Associates finds 60% of Utahns think Utah’s state government should take control of BLM lands, while just 33% oppose the effort.

http://go.uen.org/20B (UP)

 

 

 

 

District 5 candidates weigh in on education funding and the role of the federal government

 

Education was a major topic Wednesday night in a debate between Republican District 5 State Representative Curt Webb and his Democratic challenger Jeff Turley. Turley said if he is elected he will work hard for more education funding so children won’t fall through the cracks.

Webb responded by asking where the funding would come from?

“When you fund something it either comes out of your pocket or out of another program’s pocket,” Webb explained. “That balance is important. Are we willing to pay more for education? Some would say yes. Many would say no.

“When you balance it out, do the surveys and talk to your own constituents, what you find out is that people do not want to pay more taxes.”

http://go.uen.org/212 (CVD)

 

 

 

 

Accreditation team to look at Davis School District

 

FARMINGTON — Davis School District will be under the microscope next week, when 16 educators from AdvancED come to review its schools from all angles.

Teachers, students, parents and board members will be interviewed by the visiting team to determine whether or not the district can be accredited as a whole.

In past years, individual secondary schools have been accredited by the Northwest Accreditation Commission (NWAC).

That designation allows them to grant high school credits to students that can be transferred to other schools and will be recognized by colleges or the military.

http://go.uen.org/21u (DCC)

 

 

 

STEM focus brings excitement to learning

 

ST. GEORGE – In its second year of educating students, Crimson View Elementary School in St. George is expanding its science, technology, engineering and math focus with its new Wildcat Wednesdays program.

Each Wednesday afternoon for a month, the students take part in engaging activities in an ongoing project to learn more about the principals behind STEM and how to use it in the classroom.

The Wildcat Wednesdays initiative, named after the school’s Wildcat mascot,“WiFi,” came from the idea formed by fourth grade teacher Michelle Belliston and other teacherswho formed the STEM committee.

http://go.uen.org/213 (SGS)

 

 

 

 

A high school with no homecoming

 

Whether you’re talking about high school or college, homecoming is a tradition for almost everyone. The Northern Utah Academy for Math, Engineering and Science (NUAMES) celebrates homecoming a little differently.

As an early college high school located on the Weber State Davis campus, they operate outside the pattern of typical high schools.

NUAMES is more geared towards robotics and math clubs than sports. Although NUAMES has a tennis club, it doesn’t have its own competitive sports teams. NUAMES students are encouraged to join teams at local high schools.

No sports teams means no football. No football means no homecoming game. No homecoming game means no homecoming dance, which some people consider the highlight of their high school experience.

Samantha Anaya, a NUAMES junior, still loves her school.

http://go.uen.org/21v (Signpost)

 

 

 

Utah County second-graders learn about food on the farm

 

Up to 3,600 second graders from around the county participated in this year’s Utah County Farm Field Days, a four-day event that ended Friday.

Hosted by the Utah County Farm Bureau, children gathered at the County Equestrian Park in Lehi to meet local farmers, practice farm safety tips, see animals up close and learn the value of nutrition, said Matt Hargreaves, vice president of communications at the Utah Farm Bureau.

The event started 20 years ago and is held twice a year, once in spring and once in fall, he said.

http://go.uen.org/20Y (PDH)

 

 

 

Iron Horse trophy about more than just football

 

OGDEN – It’s been over six years since the Iron Horse trophy has been inside Ben Lomond High School. Now the trophy sits proudly in Principal Dale Wilkinson’s office and will soon be placed in a special trophy case.

But the story goes a bit deeper than that and it keeps getting better by the day.

The decades-old rivalry on the football field between Ogden High and Ben Lomond is a popular one. Many of the alumni of both schools have fond memories to share of the storied rivalry. Ben Lomond won this year’s game.

Wilkinson’s story, though, is unique.

You see, there’s not just one Iron Horse trophy in Wilkinson’s office, but two. This is Wilkinson’s second year as principal at Ben Lomond, but his roots run much deeper than that. He is a 1976 graduate of the school and literally had a hand in the making of one of the trophies, which is two trains meeting head to head on a train track – one for Ben Lomond and one for Ogden.

http://go.uen.org/20U (OSE)

 

 

 

Faith and modesty: Does it unify or divide us?

 

SALT LAKE CITY — The dress code at St. Joseph Catholic High School is simple: dress pants or shorts with a white shirt. Girls have the option of wearing a plaid skirt or skirt-short combination.

Shirts must be buttoned and not show the stomach, clothes kept in good repair and not too baggy, skirts and shorts no shorter than three inches above the knee. The reason officials give for the rules is similarly simple.

“I think anyone with a school uniform would say that one of the best things about a uniform is that it allows for a person’s true self to shine,” said Patrick Lambert, principal at St. Joseph. “It kind of levels the playing field in a lot of ways. … That would mirror exactly what the Catholic Church would say as well.”

While some see modesty as a reflection of their relationship with God and as a way to respect themselves and those around them, others see principles of modesty as outdated and stifling individuality. At the heart of it is the relationship between men and women and how faith informs the standards of both.

http://go.uen.org/20R

 

 

 

 

Mapleton students visit their heritage

 

Third grade students at Mapleton Elementary had fun getting out of the classroom to visit historic sites in their city to prepare for creating their original folk dances to perform in October.

The field trip included visits to nearby Maple Canyon, The Hollow, Mapleton Heritage Museum, and a special presentation in the park by two of the city’s residents.

Orpha Dee Bird Johnson, 89, is the oldest living resident born in the city of Mapleton. She dressed in an old-fashioned coat and wide-brimmed hat to share her memories of growing up in Mapleton.

http://go.uen.org/20Z (PDH)

 

 

 

 

Art competition offers scholarship opportunity, uses State Capitol for inspiration

 

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Capitol building is viewed as a work of art by some Utahns, and this fall it will serve as the inspiration for high school students entering a visual arts scholarship competition sponsored by the Utah Senate.

Jean Tokuda Irwin of the Utah Division of Arts and Museums said art inspired the building that is now inspiring art.

“Look at just this building alone,” Irwin said. “If it weren’t for the artists, the architects, the painters, you wouldn’t have the lovely building  that we have today.”

High school students from around the state are invited to participate in the new visual arts scholarship competition, and the first prize for the Capitol inspired projects is $5,000, with smaller amounts awarded for the places 2nd through 25th.

http://go.uen.org/216 (KSTU)

 

 

 

Tragedy brings kids and communities together

Soccer » Car accident involving Copper Hills player unites athletes, students and strangers.

 

West Jordan – The night of Sept. 10 began in typical fashion for the Copper Hills girls’ soccer team.

The squad gathered for dinner before its rivalry game with West Jordan the next day, a unifying meal designed to bring the players together.

Moments after it broke up, something horrible happened.

Mia Poulsen, a popular senior midfielder, drove a teammate home after the dinner. As she pulled into the intersection at 9000 South Grizzly Way, a pickup truck rammed her compact car at a high rate of speed.

http://go.uen.org/20M (SLT)

 

 

 

Family of student who killed himself to receive $75K in settlement

Bullying » Settlement requires Granite School District to revise procedures regarding reports of harassment.

 

The parents of a Bennion Junior High student who killed himself in 2012 will receive $75,000 in a settlement with Granite School District, according to documents obtained by the Salt Lake Tribune.

The settlement requires the school district and Granite School District Police Department to work with the Denver-based Equity Assistance Center to review and revise procedures for responding to reports of harrassment and bullying.

In exchange, parents Nhuan Phan and Phuong Tran agreed not to pursue allegations that district officials failed to notify them about incidents of harrassment involving their son David Phan, who shot himself on Nov. 29, 2012 in the presence of other students on a pedestrian bridge near Bennion Junior High.

http://go.uen.org/20L (SLT)

 

 

 

 

Parents allege hazing in Westlake football program; administrators say they’ve dealt with every report they’ve had

 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — When assistant principal Stacy Salmans heard reports that some Westlake football players were telling parents and friends that they were victims of hazing, he was angry.

He was angry that bullying of any kind may have taken place at the Saratoga Springs high school.

He was angry that neither students nor parents reported any of the incidents to him or other Westlake administrators.

And he was angry that apparently parents felt the coaches and administrators would look the other way when confronted with bullying behavior simply because the allegations involved athletes.

http://go.uen.org/20S (DN)

 

 

 

Duchesne homecoming queen, date injured in ATV crash

 

DUCHESNE — Duchesne High School’s homecoming queen and her date were seriously injured in an ATV crash hours before Saturday night’s dance.

Brooklyn Johnson and Daniel Hanberg, both 17, remained hospitalized Sunday, according to their parents.

http://go.uen.org/20O (DN)

 

http://go.uen.org/215 (KSL)

 

 

 

 

Van with special needs students hits school bus with kindergartners

 

WELLSVILLE, Cache County — A school bus picking up kindergartners Friday morning was rear-ended by a minivan owned by Utah State University transporting students who have special needs.

The accident happened about 8:50 a.m. at 1215 S. Center. Twenty-one students and a driver were on board the Cache County School District bus.

http://go.uen.org/20P (DN)

 

 

 

 

Davis ‘Reflections’ entries win national honors

 

FARMINGTON — Several students from Davis School District received top honors in the nation for their entries from the last school year in the PTA Reflections artistic contest.

http://go.uen.org/20W (OSE)

 

 

 

Murray School District taking applications for gifted program

 

MURRAY — The Murray School District is taking applications for its 2015-16 gifted and talented magnet program for first through sixth grades, and the application deadline is Jan. 9.

http://go.uen.org/20Q (DN)

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Provo School bond deserves voter support

(Provo) Daily Herald editorial

 

We recommend voters support the Provo School District’s proposed $108 million bond for the reconstruction of five schools, including Provo High School.

Residents who live in the Provo School District will see the issue on their Nov. 4 ballot, and we urge a yes vote.

http://go.uen.org/20E

 

 

 

 

A decision that requires input

(St. George) Spectrum editorial

 

In the latter part of the last decade, one by one, secondary schools throughout Washington County approached the school board and asked for permission to switch from traditional class schedules to a block schedule.

Rather than having students attend eight class periods every day, they would go to four classes one day and then attend another four classes the next, doubling the amount of time spent in each class but changing the frequency with which the classes are held.

Some schools were quick to switch; others waited until eventually, with the majority of the district’s schools already on the block schedule, the board insisted they all switch.

http://go.uen.org/214

 

 

 

Thumbs up, thumbs down

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

 

Thumbs up: To the Don’t Be a Monster anti-bullying campaign. At Syracuse Junior High School last week, professionals at Night on 13th, a haunted house, provided an informative lesson for the kids. One of the professionals is Val Chadwick Bagley, who does cartoons for the Standard-Examiner.

http://go.uen.org/20V

 

 

 

School Board keeps superintendent finalists a secret, even from itself

Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist PAUL ROLLY

 

Nearly half of the 15-member Utah State Board of Education is unaware of who the four finalists are for state school superintendent and will not find out until the public announcement is made Monday.

For some reason, said Dixie Allen, a school board member from Vernal, the members who were not part of the board’s eight-member selection committee that recently narrowed the field of candid                          Those members who were in the meeting when the finalists were selected are under strict orders not to disclose the finalists, even to their colleagues who will vote on the final selection later in the week.

“This is very different from the way we have done it in the past,” said Allen, who has been a school board member for 12 years. “When we chose Superintendent [Martell] Menlove, the selection committee met on Capitol Hill with different groups of people and made recommendations to the general board.”

Now, she says, the process is much more secretive.

http://go.uen.org/20H

 

 

 

 

The poverty misdiagnosis

Intergenerational poverty the result of misdiagnosis

Utah Senate Site commentary by Sen. Stuart Reid

 

Recently, there has been much talk from Republicans about poverty and reforming the welfare system. On the national level, the discussion has been initiated primarily by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah. Both are sincere in their exploration for better ways to tackle the problem of poverty. They should be congratulated for caring about the poor.

Unlike Ryan and Lee, most Republicans are satisfied to just criticize welfare policies and programs. Republicans should try to do more than that. They should try to recover the nation from the intergenerational poverty and welfare dependency epidemic.

Since welfare began, government welfare policies have misdiagnosed the poverty problem, resulting in misapplied welfare treatments. This misdiagnoses continues today and unfortunately is not repaired by suggested treatments coming from Ryan or Lee. They, too, have misdiagnosed poverty.

http://go.uen.org/217

 

 

 

An entrepreneurial spirit, plus education, plants seeds for economic success

Deseret News commentary by columnist Drew Clark

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Put “Utah” and “history” together, and few people associate those two words with “technology.” Yet in examining the past history of information technology at a conference here last weekend, the Utah Division of State History ended up showcasing Utah’s formula for future economic development.

In a nutshell, that formula is: Entrepreneurship plus an educated workforce, plus venture capital, equals a sustainable environment for economic growth.

The first two traits — entrepreneurship and an educated workforce — owe a lot to the underlying culture and ethic of Utahns.

That last element of venture capital (VC for short) has been slow to arrive. But it now appears to be accumulating upon what has been called the Wasatch Front’s “Silicon Slopes.”

http://go.uen.org/20D

 

 

 

 

We should educate, not incarcerate, our young people

Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Marcelina Kubica, a senior at West High School and a member of Salt Lake Peer Court

 

Seventy billion dollars.

That is how much the United States spends annually on incarceration, probation and parole. Between 1987 and 2007, there has been a 127 percent funding increase for incarceration. In the same 20-year span, funding for higher education has increased a mere 20 percent.

These statistics show where the United States government places highest importance: incarceration, not education. Now, of course, fighting crime should be a priority of the government, as its primary role is to protect its citizens. Yet these increased expenditures aren’t necessarily even contributing to decreased crime. Michael Tonry of The New York Times explains how “rises and falls in Canada’s crime rate have closely paralleled America’s for 40 years … But its imprisonment rate has remained stable.” Meanwhile, research by the American Psychological Association Task Force shows that students who do not graduate from high school are more than eight times more likely to end up in prison. So should we not be going back to the root of the issues and investing in stopping crime before it even happens?

Creating such a movement is the primary goal of “Education NOT Incarceration,” a local community event hosted by the ACLU, the Mayor’s Office of Diversity and Salt Lake Peer Court. The actual focus of the event is the school-to-prison pipeline, an ever-growing issue in our public school system. The pipeline is caused by our schools taking an excessively punitive approach to student misconduct.

http://go.uen.org/20J

 

 

 

 

Vote out those who persist with Utah public lands grab

Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Thad Box, former dean of the College of Natural Resources at Utah State University

 

Recent developments in Utah’s election process could lead to a better informed electorate and a larger voter turnout. The Utah Debate Commission sponsored debates on most elections. Better informed voters can study issues and vote by mail.

Three fourths (75.2 percent) of Utah is public land, owned by “we the people of the United States.” Our land provides us water, wildlife, forage, timber, recreation opportunities and open space. All Americans pay taxes toward management of land that provides income, amenities and a lifestyle for those of us who are fortunate enough to live in western “public land” states.

To our shame, Utah politicians try to force the land’s owners to cede millions of acres of federal public lands to the states.

http://go.uen.org/20I

 

 

 

 

Here’s a guy who stepped up to improve schools

Salt Lake Tribune letter from Utah State Board of Education Member Kim R. Burningham

 

I wish to publicly congratulate and thank Breck England.

First, he stepped forward and became a plaintiff in the suit that eventually declared our current system of selecting state school board candidates unconstitutional.

This is a monumental step to support public education: not the final step, but a first step. Now we need to follow Breck’s lead, work with our legislators, and make sure that the right to choose State School Board members is returned to the public. We need to replace the unconstitutional, flawed system with a direct, non-partisan election.

http://go.uen.org/20N

 

 

 

 

Nearby communism?

Deseret News letter from Charie Valentine

 

The people of Hong Kong enjoyed democracy under British rule. Now under Chinese rule, they are feeling the sting of losing their liberty. It is interesting to note the demonstrations we see on the news are for a single purpose: to let the people decide for whom they will vote. The Chinese communist government pretends to offer the people a choice by voting for candidates preselected by the government.

In Hong Kong, the people declare with their protests that choosing between candidates vetted by the government is not a democratic choice.

Here in Utah, we have a governor who oversees the voting for the state school board. Candidates to run for the state school board are interviewed by a panel selected by the governor. This panel evaluates the candidates and sends those names to the governor for him to choose who will run for state school board. These choices, determined by this process, are then presented to the public as worthy candidates to run for state school board.

http://go.uen.org/20T

 

 

 

 

Guns have no place in our schools

(Provo) Daily Herald letter from Louise H. Johnson

 

How disappointing to learn that 64 percent of Utahns support the idea of teachers carrying a concealed weapon inside the state’s schools and that a majority believe the practice makes schools safer.

My husband was instructed in the use of guns at a very early age and enjoyed hunting all of his life when he could take the time. During World War II he was in the U.S. Marine Corps in the Pacific Theater of war and China. He was a sharpshooter and helped train other Marines.

Some years ago when the Utah Legislature considered having weapons during their meetings his remark to me was, “Why, so they can shoot each other?” He believed that much training and experience is required in the use of guns. It is not likely that arming teachers in our schools will insure that.

http://go.uen.org/21q

 

 

 

A better way to raise kids

(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Tony Roegiers

 

The “Seven Habits of Happy Kids,” a list adopted in a program for school children in Cache Valley, offers the following advice: Be proactive, begin with the end in mind,put first things first, think win-win, listen before you talk, synergize, and sharpen the saw.

These are all great suggestions for anyone, including children. The fine print in each “habit” even offers some ethical advice. Under “Be Proactive,” for example children are urged to “Do the right thing without being asked, even when no one is around.” This latter idea would be first if anyone were to write a book called Aristotelean Ethics for Dummies, because for Aristotle happiness was the greatest good, and we achieve happiness through virtuous behavior, i.e., “doing the right thing without being asked, even when no one is around.” The difficulty is in knowing what the right thing is. In the complexity of modern human existence, that is not always so obvious, even for adults.

http://go.uen.org/211

 

 

 

 

Even education data geeks agree that education data is completely inscrutable and inaccessible to parents

Hechinger Report commentary by columnist Jill Barshay

 

One of the many provisions of the 2001 federal education act, known as No Child Left Behind, was a requirement that states had to issue a “report card”  for every public school. The report cards include things you might expect like student test scores and test score changes, but also a laundry list of data from graduation rates to school demographics.

Part of the purpose of making this data available was to help parents see how the students in their children’s school were faring and make more informed choices, whether it’s pressuring the school and district to do better, or taking their children elsewhere.

More than a decade later, much of this data remains inaccessible and inscrutable to parents — even to education experts.

http://go.uen.org/21h

 

 

 

 

Are Teachers Warming Up to the Common Core?

While the public remains divided on the new standards, educators are increasingly optimistic.

Atlantic commentary by EMILY RICHMOND, public editor for the National Education Writers Association

 

In a new survey, teachers say they’re feeling more confident about using the Common Core State Standards in their classrooms—an optimistic finding that comes even as recent polls suggest dwindling public support for the initiative.

This is the most recent installment of the “Primary Sources” survey conducted by Scholastic Inc. and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and it focuses on the new English language arts and math standards, which most states have adopted and are now implementing.

The organizations’ larger survey of public school teachers took place in July 2013, on a broad range of educational topics. A year later, Scholastic followed up with nearly 1,700 of the surveyed teachers at the elementary, middle, and high school levels in states where the Common Core is being implemented.

http://go.uen.org/21j

 

 

 

Parent says no mush for his first-grader

Washington Post commentary by columnist  Jay Mathews

 

Mike Petrilli is the new president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, one of the most energetic and influential education policy think tanks. He also is the father of a child in the Montgomery County school system. Education leaders are often put off by parents who know a lot about schools and won’t shut up. Petrilli is definitely in that category.

Take, for instance, his recent post on the Fordham Institute’s Web site: “Montgomery County’s elementary school curriculum: Where’s the beef?”

Petrilli said he recently attended back-to-school night at his first-grade son’s school. He said the teacher was in her own classroom for the first time but seemed great. She had attended one of the best teacher prep programs in the country and was getting much support from other teachers and administrators.

His complaint was not about the teacher but what was being taught. The first-grade social studies and science curriculum seemed to him “extremely weak.” The parents’ guide said history lessons would focus on “differences between past and present; people and objects of today and long ago.” Geography would be about how “people modify, protect, and adapt to their environment; geographic tools used to locate and describe places on Earth.”

“Notice what’s missing,” Petrilli said. “Proper nouns. Which historical figures will he study? Time periods? Which countries or continents? People who study education for a living understand what’s going on — this is straight out of the standards promulgated by the National Council for the Social Studies, a professional organization that has long prized such ‘conceptual understanding’ over ‘rote facts and figures.’ ” He had found the kindergarten fare similarly mushy.

http://go.uen.org/219

 

 

 

 

Education reform

A good choice?

The Economist analysis

 

STOCKHOLM — SCHOOL vouchers are a divisive subject in America. Proponents claim that vouchers not only grant parents the opportunity to send their children to a private school, but also raise the quality of all education by creating more competition between schools. Critics complain that these subsidies divert necessary resources from public schools, and rarely cover the full cost of a private education. To settle this debate, many have looked to Sweden, where vouchers were introduced in 1992. The results there have been cited as both a case for and against vouchers. So, what has been the actual effect of this Swedish experiment?

Swedish students used to lead international rankings, but the country’s education standards have been declining for years. Indeed 15-year-olds in Sweden perform well below average in mathematics, reading and science when compared with students from other OECD countries, according to the most recent global ranking. Critics of vouchers blame school choice for these dismal results. Raymond Fisman of Columbia Business School recently called the Swedish voucher scheme a disastrous experiment and warned Americans not to go down the same path.

But there are good reasons to believe the problem is not school choice.

http://go.uen.org/21n

 

 

 

Why Finland’s schools are top-notch

CNN commentary by Pasi Sahlberg, visiting professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and former director general in the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture

 

Millions of American parents spend countless hours trying to figure out how to help their children get better grades, better teachers or better schools.

They may want to take a page from Finland, which is considered to have one of the leading education systems in the world. Finnish students consistently score near the top in the Program for International Student Assessment, or PISA, for reading, mathematics and science. The 2012 PISA results tell us that in these three subjects combined Finland ranks third after Korea and Japan. In comparison, American students’ combined performance in reading, mathematics and science places the United States at 21st among 34 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries.

For some, education in Finland is utopia: a dreamland where teaching is the most desired profession, authorities trust schools and political parties agree on the direction of educational reforms.

For others, they are surprised to hear that in Finland children don’t start school until they are 7 years old. They have less homework than their peers in other countries. A child’s socioeconomic background is less of an impediment to academic performance. And there is only one standardized test, which is administered in the final year of high school.

What are the main factors that prevent American students from achieving the kind of success that Finnish students attain?

http://go.uen.org/21k

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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In Washington State, Political Stand Puts Schools in a Bind

New York Times

 

SEATTLE — Three years ago, Lakeridge Elementary School, where most pupils come from lower-income families, was totally remade. A new principal arrived and replaced half the staff, and she lengthened the school day and year. Working with a $3 million federal grant, the staff collaborated with the University of Washington to train teachers in new instructional techniques. The results were powerful: Test scores soared.

Yet just before school resumed for this fall, Lakeridge learned that it had been declared a failing school under federal education law.

In fact, nearly nine in 10 Washington State public schools, including some high-achieving campuses in the state’s most moneyed communities, have been relegated to a federal blacklist of failure, requiring them to set aside 20 percent of their federal funding for private tutoring or to transport students to schools not on the failing list, if parents wish.

The schools in Washington are caught in the political crossfire of a battle over education policy. Because the State Legislature has refused to require that teacher evaluations be based in part on student test scores, schools are being held to an outdated benchmark that is all but impossible to achieve — that by 2014, every single student would be proficient in reading and math. Thousands of schools in California, Iowa, North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming have also been declared failing for the same reason.

http://go.uen.org/218

 

 

 

 

Teachers take on controversial subjects: Ferguson, same-sex marriage, immigration

Washington Post

 

Just days after a teenager unfurled a Confederate flag at a high school football game in Howard County, Md., teachers began reworking lesson plans to discuss the student’s display and the school’s decision to discipline him.

Their talking points: What is free speech? How is the action different from the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that allowed several students to wear black armbands in protest of the Vietnam War? What does the flag represent? Why does it mean such different things to different people?

“It felt like a good time to talk about the issue,” said Callie Casper, a government and human geography teacher at River Hill High School. “Some kids wanted to talk about it, sometimes I brought it up.”

Teachers across the country routinely must delve into racially sensitive topics such as the display of the Confederate flag and the recent killing of an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Mo. They also tackle politically charged subjects such as same-sex marriage and immigration reform. It is a fine line to walk, they say, as they try not to offer their own personal views while provoking critical thinking about the issues everyone is talking — and tweeting — about.

http://go.uen.org/21a

 

 

 

 

The Education Battle of 2014

NPR On the Media

 

Conservatives in Colorado and elsewhere are alarmed by the College Board’s new Advanced Placement US history test, which the  Republican National Committee has called  a “radically revisionist view of American history that emphasizes negative aspects of our nation’s history.” Brooke speaks to Liana Heitin, who has been covering the conflict for Education Week, about what’s actually going on with the test.

http://go.uen.org/21i

 

 

 

States see more poverty among children, unemployed

USA Today

 

States saw little relief from poverty in the past year, especially among children, the unemployed and those in the lowest income brackets.

The latest Census figures show that 17 states had increases in the number of people living in poverty from 2010 to 2011. Only one state, Vermont, showed a decrease; the other 32 states showed no change.

While the national poverty rate has remained steady at 15.9%, the latest Census data show pockets of increases by geography and among various demographic groups. The data are also a reflection of the economy’s slow recovery and anemic job growth, policy analysts and advocates for the poor say.

http://go.uen.org/21c

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/21d (Census)

 

 

 

 

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal of Fired Ohio Teacher

Associated Press

 

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has rejected the appeal of an Ohio public school science teacher who was fired for promoting the theory of creationism and refusing to remove religious materials from his classroom.

The justices on Monday let stand an Ohio Supreme Court ruling that found the Mount Vernon school district had grounds to fire John Freshwater in 2011 for insubordination for keeping religious books and a poster of a praying president.

The state court said the district infringed on Freshwater’s First Amendment rights by ordering him to remove his personal Bible from his desk, but found he was insubordinate for keeping the other items.

http://go.uen.org/21e

 

http://go.uen.org/21f (Columbus [OH] Dispatch)

 

 

 

 

Education Website Releases List of Public School Districts in Each State with Highest Average Teacher Pay

PRNewswire

 

SAN ANTONIO — Top Masters in Education, a resource for educators looking to enhance their own educational foundation, has published a list of the top paying school districts per state based on the average pay of all teachers in the district. At the top of the list is New York’s Scarsdale School District which serves students just north of New York City. A distant second, paying almost $30,000 less, is Massachusetts’ Nantucket Public Schools.

http://go.uen.org/21t

 

 

 

These are the top 10 U.S. education foundations

Education Dive

 

National management and strategy consulting firm Dewey & Associates recently released its ranking of U.S. education foundations in the report, “Stepping Up: The Top K-12 Education Foundations in the Nation.” The top rankings, which focus on the top 100 districts by population, are based on annual revenues, revenues per student, total assets, assets per student, investment income, total program expenses, expenses per student, and volunteers.

As the firm’s president and author of the study, Dewey Caruthers, states in a press release, despite the enhancements these foundations offer to public education, “most parents have never heard of their local K-12 education foundation.”

The complete study, which also breaks down the top 100 foundations into four different divisions based on their annual revenues, can be found here. But to get a better idea of what types of programs and initiatives the top K-12 education foundation offer, we decided to take a look at the 10 ranked highest in the top 50 overall.

http://go.uen.org/21o

 

A copy of the report

http://deweyandassociates.com/studies.html

 

 

 

Education’s coming restructuring: How much will IT really help?

Summary: Gartner unveils its top 10 business and technology trends for education in 2015. It’s unclear how being data driven, mobile and analytics-happy can really move the needle on the business model problems.

ZD Net

 

ORLANDO — The education industry, primary, secondary and post-secondary, is increasingly looking toward information technology as a way to revamp and restructure how these institutions operate. The big question is how much technology can realistically expect to help.

That question was front and center as Gartner analysts did their industry tour Sunday at the Symposium/ITxpo in Orlando. Transformation was the key buzzword, but education is the industry that may need the biggest overhaul. In the U.S., there’s an aging population, a student debt load that’s going to explode on the economy, and skill shortages. Students aren’t likely to fall into traditional buckets.

Jan-Martin Lowendahl, an analyst at Gartner, noted in a presentation that “more people will need to reskill more often.” Students will be older and nonformal learning will dominate. Meanwhile, education will go international. Toss in those business model issues with creaky IT systems and processes and you can easily see why most tech vendors are chasing education institutions with their versions of quick fixes.

Here’s a look Gartner’s priority list for education in 2015.

http://go.uen.org/21l

 

 

 

‘Thinking computer’ that won on Jeopardy could help teachers

Hechinger Report

 

A computer program named Watson became famous after it won on Jeopardy in 2011, and it might soon be used to help classroom teachers.

The “Watson Master Teacher” concept is still in development, but it’s already drawing attention from national education leaders. The creators say they do not intend to create a robot with all the answers. This isn’t about replacing people with machines. The software would suggest possible answers to questions posed by teachers by quickly pulling together education research, videos of master teachers and online connections to teachers with similar interests.

“I can definitely see collaboration being increased because teachers want that sounding board as they are planning,” said Rashid Davis, founding principal of P-TECH, a Brooklyn high school that has partnered with IBM for other projects. “They want to make sure they are doing the right thing.”

Davis was among those invited to a demonstration last week of an early version of the IBM technology at The Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College in New York City. A panel discussion at the forum included Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers and James Shelton, deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.

http://go.uen.org/21g

 

 

 

 

Schools Say Uniforms Lead to Better Academics, Behavior

Twin Falls (ID) Times-News

 

TWIN FALLS | Until a few years ago, Bridge Academy principal Jim Brown spent a large portion of his time dealing with students wearing inappropriate clothing.

So, the Twin Falls alternative school made a big change in 2011 — implementing school uniforms. Since then, disciplinary issues have been drastically reduced, Brown said, and student behavior has improved.

“When students are in uniforms, it’s kind of like church,” he said.

http://go.uen.org/21p

 

 

 

Richland School District is Saying Goodbye to Swings

(Pasco, WA) KEPR

 

RICHLAND, Wash. –Many playgrounds have replaced cement with cedar or rubber surfacing. The cement was just too dangerous. Now, swings are in the line of fire.

Swings are being phased out of Richland schools.

The district says pressure from insurance companies over the liability is part of the issue.

Swings are blamed for the most injuries of any play equipment.

http://go.uen.org/21b

 

 

 

 

 

 

————————————————————

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

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

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

 

Utah State Board of Education meeting

3:30 p.m. 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

 

October 10:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

7 a.m. 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:

Economic Development and Workforce Services Interim Committee meeting

9 a.m., 20 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2014/html/00004578.htm

Education Interim Committee meeting

2:30 p.m., 30 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2014/html/00004563.htm

 

 

October 16:

Native American Legislative Liaison Committee meeting

8 a.m., 30 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2014/html/00004528.htm

 

 

October 29:

Education Task Force meeting

1 p.m., 210 Senate Building

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2014&com=TSKEDU

 

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