Education News Roundup: Dec. 4, 2014

Utah Legislature, Day 45

Utah Legislature, Day 45

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:


Legislature begins looking at reporting on turning over federal land to state control. (SLT)

and (UP)

and (OSE)

and (CVD)

Nebo bus drivers raise concerns over student safety. (PDH)

Congrats to the Davis, Duchesne, Sevier and Washington school districts on making the Advanced Placement Honor Roll. (SLT)

and (College Board)

Sen. Hatch writes about potential expansion of the Utah Test and Training Range and what that could mean for SITLA. (SLT)

Three princesses plus seven dwarfs equals how much money for Disney’s new math app? (AP)













Panel seeks counsel on public lands transfer Bids requested » Economic report in hand, commission seeks legal proposals on how to proceed.


Nebo hauling kids in Suburbans, bus drivers say it’s unsafe


Local high tech business launches effort to develop home grown talent


Sanpei Named House Chair of Executive Appropriations Committee


Four Utah school districts make AP Honor Roll Education » They are among 547 that were recognized nationwide.


Four Utah school districts make AP Honor Roll Education » They are among 547 that were recognized nationwide.


McAdams honored for school program


The Hinckley Institute Radio Hour: Early Childhood Education


Public comments on prep realignment


Dual Language Immersion parent meeting Wednesday


Teen vandalizes his school, causes $20k in damages


Mom threatens daughter with knife because of poor grades, police say


2 female students hit by truck at Weber High, minor injuries


Wellsville Elementary students rewarded with Cache County Sheriff’s deputy visit


Ephraim Middle School student wins prize through Zions Bank Pays for A’s program


High principal turnover leaves schools adrift






Hatch: Air Force’s Utah test range needs to expand


Hell No! She Won’t Go!


inBloom’s Collapse Offers Lessons For Innovation In Education


On The Road To Better Accountability

An Analysis of State Charter School Policies


The State of Employer Engagement in CTE


Putting Learning on the Map

Visualizing Opportunity in 21st Century Communities






ACLU: Delaware charters causing resegregation


Bryant: Public, not superintendent, controls education


Teachers Go Door-Knocking In Nashville


Texas lawmaker files ‘Pop Tart gun’ bill


NC education department used Koch-funded group for proposed history lessons


Judge dismisses suit over Kansas science standards Lawsuit alleged standards promote atheism, violate religious freedoms


Testing, standards skepticism surface at pre-session legislative hearing


Principals’ Group Latest to Criticize ‘Value Added’ for Teacher Evaluations


Thousands on New Haven Green rally for ‘bold, swift’ action on schools


Mickey and Math? Disney Launches Education Apps


Board Votes Against Replaying Final Minute of Game


Five million children out of school in West Africa due to Ebola








Panel seeks counsel on public lands transfer Bids requested » Economic report in hand, commission seeks legal proposals on how to proceed.


Advocates of transferring federal lands to the state of Utah figure a 780-page economic analysis bolsters their cause.

They’re so buoyed by economists’ conclusions — that the state could break even or possibly make a little money managing public lands — they plan to hire an outside attorney to advise them on how to proceed with the plan.

At a meeting Wednesday at Utah’s Capitol, members of the Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands reviewed the report from a team of researchers. Economists from the University of Utah, Utah State and Weber State University estimated the cost of taking over more than 31 million acres of public land would total $280 million. But revenues from oil and gas development, recreation and other uses would generate more than $331 million.

That accounting depends on a lot of assumptions — including that the price of oil and gas will remain stable or grow and that Utah’s energy production will boom long-term. (SLT) (UP) (OSE) (CVD)






Nebo hauling kids in Suburbans, bus drivers say it’s unsafe


SPANISH FORK — Nebo School District bus drivers remain concerned about the safety of students riding in district sport utility vehicles instead of school buses, but some district officials say it will take an accident before the district will fix the problem.

A recording recently obtained by the Daily Herald reveals district officials are aware of what they called “the Suburban issue” and have yet to find a resolution. Officials made the remarks July 23 in a meeting between bus drivers and district officials.

“I think, unfortunately, a Suburban’s got to wreck and [the district’s] got to have some problems and then the district is going to deal,” said Steve Maughan during the meeting. Maughan is the operations director for Nebo School District.

Maughan also said he thinks “buses are safer than Suburbans,” admitting he “probably should say this, especially to [bus drivers].”

The problem, bus drivers say, is that students are riding in SUVs with drivers who are unauthorized or untrained, or possibly unsafe. Plus, students have been seen riding in the vehicles without seat belts. (PDH)






Local high tech business launches effort to develop home grown talent


South Jordan, Utah – High tech companies in Utah will tell you it can be a challenge to find the right fit for a job opening.

With that in mind, LANDESK in South Jordan is taking an innovative approach to develop the high tech talent of tomorrow.

Riverton High School senior, Andrew Greer has high hopes of landing a career in the high tech sector.

“Knowing those jobs are out there and they need to be filled really is a huge motivator. That’s what I like to do and if I can get paid really well, while doing what I like to do that would be perfect,” said Greer.

He is one of seven students in the Jordan School District job shadowing professional engineers for the day at LANDESK. (KTVX)





Sanpei Named House Chair of Executive Appropriations Committee


New Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes has named Rep. Dean Sanpei (R-Provo) as the new House chair of the Executive Appropriations Committee.

Hughes made the announcement in an email sent to House members Wednesday morning.

Sanpei replaces Rep. Mel Brown (R-Coalville) who challenged Hughes for the speakership after the 2014 election. Sanpei was the Chair of the House Rules Committee during the last session.

Rep. Brad Dee (R-Ogden) is the new Vice Chair of Executive Appropriations. The appointment is a consolation prize for Dee, who also challenged Hughes for the Speaker’s chair this year. He takes over for Rep. Brad Wilson (R-Kaysville) who won the election for Assistant Majority Whip.

In one other appointment, Rep. Mike Noel (R-Kanab) was named Chair of the House Rules Committee. He takes over for Sanpei.

Hughes says the rest of the House committee appointments will be made on Thursday. (UP)






Four Utah school districts make AP Honor Roll Education » They are among 547 that were recognized nationwide.


Students in Davis, Sevier, Duchesne and Washington counties earned their school districts a spot on this year’s Advanced Placement Honor Roll.

Davis School District has been included on the honor roll, which recognizes districts that increase AP test participation and success rates, for the past five years. This year marks the first time for the Sevier, Duchesne County and Washington County school districts. (SLT) (College Board)





McAdams honored for school program


Washington • Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams was honored Wednesday in Washington for his efforts to embrace preschool education as a way to ward off future social problems, an idea that he says is being picked up by other communities.

And that’s the point of the New Ideas Challenge.

McAdams, along with officials from St. Louis, Oregon and Cincinnati, were heralded for projects that seeks to foster bipartisan solutions. (SLT)






The Hinckley Institute Radio Hour: Early Childhood Education


The Hinckley Institute Radio Hour (Air date: December 3, 2014) – Recently a group of advocates for early childhood education reform gathered for a panel discussion at the University of Utah.  Until this year, Utah was one of 10 states that provided no public funding for early childhood education.  But HB96 was passed to provide partial public support for preschool programming for about 600 at-risk children in the state.  Proponents of early childhood education say this was a small victory, but quality preschool is still out of reach for 60,000 at-risk 3- and 4-year-olds in Utah.

Cheryl Wright is a Professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Studies; Rebecca Chavez-Houck is a Democratic State Representative; Karen Crompton is the President and CEO of Voices for Utah Children; and Susan Johnston is Professor of Special Education at the University of Utah. They spoke on October 24, 2014. (KCPW)





Public comments on prep realignment


Midvale • The Utah High School Activities Association board of directors heard from principals and athletic directors from around the state Wednesday night about its proposed realignment for the 2015-2017 seasons.

After listening to a standing room crowd at the public hearing, the board made up of administrators representing regions and classifications from around the state will vote Thursday on the final alignment.

School administrators made cases for moving out of proposed leagues and classifications or staying where they are. They can petition to move up or down.

Among some of the changes from the proposed alignment requested by administrators: (SLT) (DN) (PDH)





Dual Language Immersion parent meeting Wednesday


If you have a child entering first grade next year you may want to attend a meeting tonight where the Dual Language Immersion program will be explained. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. at the North Park Elementary School in North Logan, 2800 North 800 East. (CVD)





Teen vandalizes his school, causes $20k in damages


OREM — An Orem teenager is being held in the Slate Canyon Youth Detention Center in Provo after destroying property at a local junior high school.

According to Alpine School District officials, the 13-year-old boy broke between 30 and 40 windows, doors and a glass display case early Sunday morning at Canyon View Junior High School in northeast Orem.

The student had reportedly had a fight with his family, then left to begin drinking beer before heading to the school and causing the damage. (PDH) (KSL) (MUR)






Mom threatens daughter with knife because of poor grades, police say


WEST JORDAN — A mother who admitted to police she “lost it” due to frustration with her daughter’s school performance was arrested for investigation of child abuse for allegedly holding a knife to her throat and threatening to kill her.

The incident happened Monday night at a West Jordan apartment.

The 39-year-old woman told responding officers she was upset with her daughter because of her poor school attendance and grades, according to a Salt Lake County Jail report. (KSL)





2 female students hit by truck at Weber High, minor injuries


PLEASANT VIEW — Two girls were hit by a truck just after school let out Wednesday afternoon, but police say they are expected to fully recover.

The auto-pedestrian accident happened at about 2:45 p.m. at Weber High School. A 16-year-old male student in a maroon, Ford F-150 was slowly driving in the east parking lot of the school when a female friend hopped onto the hood of the moving vehicle, according to Pleasant View Police Chief Ryon Hadley. (OSE) (KSTU)






Wellsville Elementary students rewarded with Cache County Sheriff’s deputy visit


WELLSVILLE — Wellsville Elementary rewarded their Citizens of the Month with a special lunch with a Cache County Sheriff’s deputy Wednesday. (LHJ)






Ephraim Middle School student wins prize through Zions Bank Pays for A’s program


EPHRAIM– Ephraim Middle School seventh grader Janna Thompson recently won a $100 scholarship savings account in Zions Bank Pays for A’s program’s fall drawing. Greg Sterner, manager of the Ephraim financial center surprised Thompson with news of her win during a Nov. 14 homeroom presentation. (PDH)




High principal turnover leaves schools adrift


One quarter of school principals leave their jobs every year. Half of new principals quit during their third year, and the highest principal turnover is in high-poverty schools. (DN)









Hatch: Air Force’s Utah test range needs to expand Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Sen. Orrin G. Hatch


When Americans think about the West, they don’t just think about rugged individualism and the pioneer spirit, but also the vast expanse of land that has made those qualities so important to our national character. Land is central to our western way of life.

Public access and responsible use of public lands is something that all Westerners cherish. Utah’s West Desert is no exception. We use the lands in our state for grazing, hunting, riding motorcycles and ATVs, camping and many other outdoor activities.

For decades our state has also been home to one of the most important training ranges for pilots in the United States Air Force. Our massive desert provides the perfect conditions to test, evaluate, and train the world’s best military.

The Utah Test and Training Range at Hill Air Force Base (UTTR) provides essential resources and capabilities for the United States Air Force. Here, our service members prepare and learn to adapt to constantly evolving foreign threats by training with the latest “fifth-generation” weapons systems. The F-22 Raptor and the new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter are among the critical systems that utilize the UTTR. But these new weapons, which are more sophisticated and are steadily entering into operational use, require greater capacity than what the UTTR has provided over the last 60 years.

To retain these important weapons systems in Utah, we need an expansion that maintains public access and upgrades the UTTR. The long-term viability of the UTTR and Hill Air Force Base — one of Utah’s largest employers — depends on it. I have spent much of the last year working on a proposal that will improve the UTTR’s capabilities with minimal effect on land use and access to the land surrounding the range.

But there’s more here for Utahns than the obvious military and defense benefits: The UTTR improvement proposal will also add additional resources and revenue to our public school system by enabling the transfer of certain federal lands from the Bureau of Land Management into the state-owned school trust lands system.

In the West Desert, state-owned land is managed through the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), whose charter is to develop revenue from managed lands for Utah’s public education system. Since 1994, SITLA has generated more than $1.4 billion for Utah’s public schools, and has worked to grow Utah’s permanent funds from $84 million to just under $2 billion.

Revenue generated from school trust lands through responsible development is transferred into the Permanent School Fund, a perpetual endowment that distributes income annually to each K-12 public and charter school in Utah.

Through the UTTR improvement proposal, the state Legislature and SITLA could begin the process of consolidating state-owned school trust lands into revenue-generating blocks of land elsewhere in the West Desert. This would add millions of new dollars to be distributed to Utah’s public schools.





Hell No! She Won’t Go!

KNRS commentary by Rod Arquette


A Jr. High School honors English teacher is fighting tooth and nail to keep her job after the Granite School District attempted to terminate her employment. And what is Ann Florence’s crime? Well she simply refused to issue tests that she deemed to be “unethically subjective and an unnecessary burden on instructors and students.” In other words this teacher had a spine to stand up and say some of these tests are wrong and shouldn’t be given out!

The test in question is part of the controversial SAGE testing given out statewide, a test which has already faced no shortage of controversy. Florence vehemently argued against the testing and refused to grade the writing portion of the exam, saying the tests were entirely inconsistent with the current curriculum and a waste of the precious little time teachers are able to have with their students.

Now the district has offered her a cash settlement in exchange for her silence by demanding she never write or say anything critical of the district again as a condition. Why is a school district so desperate to shut up one of it’s most passionate teachers? And why are we punishing teachers who recognize the value of person to person interaction in learning, rather than some obscure and ridiculous standardized test given out to every student in the entire state, no matter how intelligent or dimwitted they may be?






inBloom’s Collapse Offers Lessons For Innovation In Education Forbes commentary by columnist Michael Horn


By now the story is well known. inBloom, a non-profit that offered a data warehouse solution designed to help public schools embrace the promise of personalized learning by helping teachers integrate seamlessly the number of applications they use in their day-to-day teaching, collapsed and has ceased to exist, as privacy concerns from interested parties mounted over a period of many months (full disclosure: I served on the inBloom board of directors).

What’s notable about the collapse is the massive investment to the tune of over $100 million from the Gates and Carnegie Foundations that went into inBloom to create a safe and secure solution that would guard student privacy far better than the patchwork quilt of makeshift solutions that most school systems use currently. For those worried about privacy and security, that’s worth pondering.

So why did it collapse?

Some of the external reasons include the fact that inBloom entered the education conversation during an intense time of broader concerns around privacy, thanks in large part to events involving the National Security Agency, which fostered an environment of suspicion around privacy and motive; concerns and suspicions in certain corners around the Gates Foundation’s investments to improve education, as well as the fact that Wireless Generation, now owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, helped build the product; that inBloom’s customers and partners—states and school districts—did not have the proper policies in place around data and privacy nor did they have a deep enough understanding of what inBloom was doing to explain it to their communities (and inBloom did not help them out enough in these regards, as it sought to remain “just a vendor”); and a narrative that tied inBloom to concerns around the Common Core, assessments, and the use of data in teacher evaluations.





On The Road To Better Accountability

An Analysis of State Charter School Policies National Association of Charter School Authorizers analysis


This first-of-its-kind policy analysis describes, state by state, which state-level policies promote quality and accountability among charter schools and their authorizers. Fully implemented, NACSA’s recommended state policies will give parents and public officials the information they need to understand the quality of their community’s charter schools. Whether their community has great charters that should grow, or charters that ought to be closed, the information and transparency these policies generate will give people the information and tools they need to take action.






The State of Employer Engagement in CTE

National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium analysis


From its earliest roots, employer engagement has been a part of CTE’s legacy. Yet little is known about what is really happening consistently and systematically across the country, and what state leaders can do to accelerate effective engagement.

NASDCTEc conducted a survey of the State CTE Directors to better understand how and in what ways employers are engaging in CTE today – or the “state” of employer engagement in CTE across the nation. This report -The State of Career Technical Education: Employer Engagement in CTE – highlights the survey’s results and seeks to illustrate the employer engagement landscape with a particular focus on the ways in which states are and can foster and sustain meaningful employer engagement to strengthen their CTE system for all students.





Putting Learning on the Map

Visualizing Opportunity in 21st Century Communities New America analysis


In January 1996, President Clinton declared that one of the most important and pressing challenges of the time was “to provide Americans with the educational opportunities we’ll all need for this new century,” in his fourth State of the Union address. Those opportunities went beyond school walls. They began in the home with parents, continued through primary and secondary schools and into the halls of higher education, and extended to libraries, museums, health centers, community centers, and other vital public institutions within communities. With the dawn of the “information superhighway,” Americans would have unprecedented means to connect these institutions, bridging physical environments and extending opportunities for learning both online and off.

Almost 20 years later, though, this vision remains far from reality.

Prominent voices across the spectrum of government, academic, and non-profit sectors have raised concerns about the connection between increasing income inequality and decreasing opportunity for low-income families, especially in terms of educational opportunity. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, at a recent conference on economic opportunity, spoke of the ability of the affluent to afford “homes in safer neighborhoods with good schools, . . . better nutrition and health care, early childhood education, intervention for learning disabilities, travel and other potentially enriching experiences,” while children from low-income backgrounds are left without these opportunities. Research recently published by Greg Duncan and Richard Murnane—both preeminent authors, economists, and professors of education—has found that “rising residential segregation by income has led to increasing concentrations of low- and high-income children attending separate schools.” Concentrated poverty has “made it difficult to provide consistently high-quality learning experiences in schools serving a large proportion of low-income students.”

The past two decades have also brought evidence that inequality in educational opportunity starts young and has lasting impact.













ACLU: Delaware charters causing resegregation Wilmington (DE) News Journal


Delaware’s charter school system is resegregating the state’s public schools, the ACLU of Delaware and Community Legal Aid Society are arguing in a complaint to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.

The groups say more than three-quarters of charters statewide are racially identifiable as either mostly white or mostly minority schools, with those serving minority students vastly under-performing those serving more affluent white students.

Charters, they argue, are also taking away many higher income white students from traditional schools, leaving behind a disproportionate number of kids who are minorities, from low-income families, or disabled.






Bryant: Public, not superintendent, controls education Associated Press via Jackson (MS) Clarion-Ledger


Mississippi should change its academic goals even if the public schools superintendent wants to stick with the Common Core standards that have been put in place over the past several years, Republican Gov. Phil Bryant said Tuesday.

“What the superintendent needs to understand is that she’s not in charge of public education in Mississippi. The public is,” Bryant said. “And if the public in the state of Mississippi does not appreciate nor desire a Common Core curriculum, then we’re going to do away with it. Or, we’re going to at least try to amend it.”

Bryant’s comments came in response to reporters’ questions after he spoke at a telecommunications event in Jackson.

Most states have adopted Common Core standards, which outline goals of what children should learn in English and math while leaving specific curriculum choices to state and local boards. Mississippi adopted Common Core in 2010 and has spent years implementing it. The state is scheduled to have its first standardized testing under Common Core in 2015.

Bryant has said for the past year that he believes Common Core could give the federal government too much say in education. That reflects statements by tea party groups and other conservatives who could be influential during Mississippi’s 2015 Republican primaries for governor and other state offices. Bryant is seeking a second term.





Teachers Go Door-Knocking In Nashville

NPR Morning Edition


It’s Saturday in East Nashville, and LaTonya White finds herself knocking on a stranger’s door. It’s awkward. Someone peers out at her through the window. White looks away, pretending not to notice. After an uncomfortable few seconds, the door finally cracks open. White seizes her chance:

“My name is LaTonya White. I’m the principal at Rosebank Elementary School. How are you doing?” she asks, glancing at the clipboard in her hands. On it: a list of families in the area with soon-to-be kindergartners. “Yes, you should have a child ready to come to school soon.”

Canvassing for potential students — and honing this kind of front porch pitch — is standard for charter schools. But, for traditional public school leaders like White, it’s unfamiliar territory. Still, it may quickly become an expectation as urban districts around the country grapple with destabilization related — at least in part — to the growth of charter schools.

“I think we’re just moving to the place where we do have to sell ourselves, where we do have to market ourselves, where we do have to say, ‘Hey, look, this is what we’re doing,’ ” White says.

Here’s the challenge: Nearly half of all students in East Nashville don’t attend their zoned school. Part of that is the district’s own doing. Open enrollment, a rising trend in districts around the country, made it so that students in Nashville can attend school just about anywhere they want — as long as there’s an open seat. And, in East Nashville, competition is fierce among a crowd of private schools and charters.





Texas lawmaker files ‘Pop Tart gun’ bill Houston Chronicle


AUSTIN – If you think it’s a half-baked idea to legally protect kids’ rights to play with their food, think again, says one Texas lawmaker.

Rep. Ryan Guillen, D-Rio Grande City, has filed a bill that would prohibit schools from punishing students who use their hands, playthings and, yes, even pastry items to mimic firearms. The proposed legislation also would protect students through the fifth grade who play with toy guns or draw or possess pictures of guns.

Guillen said he filed the bill after a second- grader in suburban Maryland was suspended for two days in March 2013 for chewing his Pop- Tart into the shape of a gun. A similar situation has not arisen in Texas.

“Texas students shouldn’t lose instruction time for holding gun-shaped Pop-Tart snacks at school,” said Guillen. “This bill will fix this.”






NC education department used Koch-funded group for proposed history lessons Charlotte (NC) News & Observer


State high school social studies teachers would be encouraged to use curriculum materials prepared by an institute funded by the conservative Koch family, under a proposal the Department of Public Instruction presented Wednesday.

The Bill of Rights Institute, based in Virginia, had a $100,000, sole-source contract with the state to help develop materials for teachers to use in a course on founding principles that the state requires students to take. The institute was founded in 1999 and receives grants from David H. Koch, the Charles Koch Foundation, and the Fred and Mary Koch Foundation, according to a website on Koch family philanthropies.

The state Department of Public Instruction decision to “highly recommend” that school districts use the Bill of Rights Institute material comes as the state is embroiled in a controversy over teaching history – whether schools have students study the founding principles as the law requires, whether AP U.S. History meets those requirements and whether the college-level course developed by the College Board has a liberal bias.

The 390-page founding principles curriculum includes readings, activities, questions students should discuss and references to online resources for the 10 principles described in a 2011 law inspired by proposed legislation promoted by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a conservative group backed by major corporations.






Judge dismisses suit over Kansas science standards Lawsuit alleged standards promote atheism, violate religious freedoms Associated Press via Lawrence (KS) Capital Journal


TOPEKA, Kan. — A federal judge Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit alleging that science standards for Kansas public schools promote atheism and violate the religious freedoms of students and parents.

U.S. District Judge Daniel Crabtree ruled that a nonprofit group, parents and taxpayers challenging the standards didn’t claim specific enough injuries from adoption of the guidelines to allow the case to go forward.

The State Board of Education last year adopted standards developed by Kansas, 25 other states and the National Research Council. The guidelines treat both evolution and climate change as key scientific concepts to be taught from kindergarten through 12th grade.

The guidelines replaced evolution-friendly standards that had been in place since 2007, and most board members believed they will improve science education by shifting the emphasis in classes to hands-on projects and experiments. The board sought the lawsuit’s dismissal.

The lawsuit was filed by Citizens for Objective Public Education, a group based in the small, Wichita-area town of Peck. It had criticized the standards as an attempt to indoctrinate students into a “non-theistic” world view and said their adoption was a “message of endorsement” telling some parents and students that they are outsiders. The group was joined by parents and taxpayers in challenging the standards.





Testing, standards skepticism surface at pre-session legislative hearing Chalkbeat Colorado


The state’s academic standards and testing system drew skeptical questions from both sides of the political aisle Wednesday, providing a taste of what are expected to be prolonged discussions on those issues after the 2015 legislative session convenes on Jan. 7.

“Maybe it’s time we had an open mind on whether we’ve headed in the right direction,” suggested Sen.-elect Mike Merrifield, D-Colorado Springs, referring to education reform initiatives of the last several years and flat student performance over the last decade.

“Just suppose Colorado backs out of Common Core. What effect will that have?” asked Rep. Jim Wilson, R-Salida.

The two repeatedly asked such questions during a pre-session joint meeting of House and Senate education committee members, who gathered for a briefing on the strategic plans of the departments of education and higher education.

The annual event is typically a pro forma affair, but this is the time of year when lobbyists, lawmakers, legislative staff and Capitol observers start looking for rhetorical straws in the wind that might give hints about the upcoming session.






Principals’ Group Latest to Criticize ‘Value Added’ for Teacher Evaluations Education Week


The National Association of Secondary School Principals has entered the loud fray over teacher evaluation, giving preliminary approval to a statement that says test-score-based algorithms for measuring teacher quality aren’t appropriate.

In addition to criticizing the research on such “value added” systems, the statement says that the timing for using them comes at a terrible time, just as schools adjust to demands from the Common Core State Standards and other difficult new expectations for K-12 students.

“New teacher evaluation systems demand the inclusion of student data at a time when scores on new assessments are dropping. The fears accompanying any new evaluation system have been magnified by the inclusion of data that will get worse before it gets better,” the statement reads in part. “Principals are concerned that the new evaluation systems are eroding trust and are detrimental to building a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement necessary to successfully raise student performance to college and career-ready levels.”


A copy of the statement (NASSP)







Thousands on New Haven Green rally for ‘bold, swift’ action on schools New Haven (CT) Register


NEW HAVEN >> With 40,000 children in Connecticut attending “failing schools,” thousands of students, teachers and parents rallied on the Green Wednesday in favor of an excellent education “for every child.”

Organizers claimed attendance of as many as 6,000 demonstrators from New Haven, Bridgeport, Hartford and even Bronx, New York, mostly draped in neon green T-shirts printed with the “For Every Child” theme. Most speakers and participants in the rally appeared to come from charter schools.

“This is about high-quality schools. … We’re here today to take a stand … that every child in Connecticut deserves a quality education,” said Jennifer Alexander, CEO of the Connecticut Coalition for Achievement Now, before the rally began.

“We want our state leaders to take bold and swift action. … Far too many kids in our state are not getting the high-quality education they need and deserve,” Alexander said. (Reuters)






Mickey and Math? Disney Launches Education Apps Associated Press


NEW YORK — Mickey is getting into math – and science, art, reading and even teaching social skills.

The Walt Disney Co. is launching a new line of learning tools designed to help parents encourage kids 3 to 8 to learn outside of school. Disney Imagicademy begins with a series of mobile apps but will later expand into other products such as books and interactive toys. Over time, the target age will also grow to include older kids.

To start, Disney is launching an iPad app called “Mickey’s Magical Math World” on Dec. 11, focused on math-based activities such as counting, shapes, logic and sorting.






Board Votes Against Replaying Final Minute of Game Associated Press


OKLAHOMA CITY — It was the final minute of the state quarterfinal when Douglass High School appeared to score the winning touchdown on a fourth-down play.

But the jubilation was short-lived as players watched the score get wiped out when officials improperly enforced a penalty. Tiny Locust Grove won 20-19, and now everyone from state lawmakers to legendary former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer called for an extraordinary remedy: replaying the final minute of the game, from the point of the touchdown.

The fate of both teams, for now, was decided Wednesday in a board room where athletic officials reviewed the case, which pitted a powerhouse Oklahoma City athletic program against a small town of 1,400 and touches on issues of race and class. The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association voted 8-3 against Douglass after confronting the difficulty of righting a wrong in a high-stakes sporting events, even when almost everybody agrees that major mistakes were made.





Five million children out of school in West Africa due to Ebola Reuters


DAKAR – Some five million children are out of school in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone because of the deadly Ebola outbreak, according to a report by the Global Business Coalition for Education.

Schools and other public buildings have been closed because they are believed to increase the spread of the virus. Many are now used as holding centers for Ebola patients.

The report, co-written with A World at School, said being out of school can have a crippling impact on vulnerable children, especially girls, who are more likely to face high-risk situations as a result, including early marriage and pregnancy.


A copy of the report (Global Business Coalition)










USOE Calendar



UEN News



December 4:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

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



December 5:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

7:30 a.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City



December 9:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

1 p.m., 210 Senate Building



December 11:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City



January 26:

Opening day of the Utah Legislature

Capitol Building

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