Education News Roundup: Dec. 5, 2014

2015 Utah Teacher of the Year on Moshen Ghaffari.

2015 Utah Teacher of the Year on Moshen Ghaffari.

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

East High is dealing with a whooping cough outbreak.

http://go.uen.org/2qx (SLT)

and http://go.uen.org/2qP (KUTV)

and http://go.uen.org/2qQ (KTVX)

 

Grand School District is opening a preschool.

http://go.uen.org/2r6 (Moab Times-Independent)

 

Most of the media attention, however, is focused on the new high school sports realignment.

http://go.uen.org/2qy (SLT)

and http://go.uen.org/2qz (DN)

and http://go.uen.org/2qF (OSE)

and http://go.uen.org/2qH (PDH)

and http://go.uen.org/2qN (LHJ)

and http://go.uen.org/2r3 (CVD)

and http://go.uen.org/2qM (SGS)

and http://go.uen.org/2r2 (DCC)

and http://go.uen.org/2qR (KTVX)

and http://go.uen.org/2qT (KSL)

 

Fox 13 checks in with Utah Teacher of the Year on Moshen Ghaffari.

http://go.uen.org/2qV (KSTU)

 

Nationally, some school districts are starting to charge for bus service http://go.uen.org/2qK (USAT)

 

Charter school authorizers in Massachusetts and the District of Columbia are sending out secret shoppers (or mystery parents, if you will) to see if charter schools are enrolling special education and ELL students.

http://go.uen.org/2qX (Ed Week)

 

And the Utah State Board of Education is meeting today. Come on down to see it live, or catch it on the web after 10 a.m.

http://go.uen.org/1xL (USOE)

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

East High School fighting whooping cough outbreak Health » On-site immunizations given to students; workers offered free vaccinations.

 

New district preschool aims to prepare students for kindergarten New Preschool GCSD

 

Who is your new high school rival? UHSAA finalizes reshuffling of classifications Prep sports » Board “able to accommodate 80 or 90 percent of the requests,” but several schools promise appeals.

 

Utah to seize own land from government, challenge federal dominance of Western states ‘Transfer of Public Lands Act’ demands Washington relinquish 31.2 million acres by Dec. 31

 

Booming Forward with Utah’s Teacher of the Year

 

Banned book about suicide welcome at Two Rivers High

 

Parents concerned over potential toxicity of turf fields

 

Dance, dance, dance

 

Students decorate Zions Bank Christmas tree

 

Inside Our Schools

 

Leadership and voice: Two New Orleans schools illustrate the promise and perils of charter schools

 

 


 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

 

Reaching compromises on elections

 

Granite school district pushes back

 

Against Draxler tax proposal

 

Cadet, others seek to do the right thing

 

The Perils of Edutourism

 

David Coleman’s plan to ruin education

The architect of Common Core must be stopped

 

 


 

 

NATION

 

Fair fees? Facing cuts, more schools charge for busing

 

Exxon CEO defends Common Core education standards that Perry and Cruz have opposed

 

Sorry state of public education seen as threat to economic growth Report cites Latino reading levels

 

‘Mystery Parents’ Test Charters’ Enrollment of Spec. Ed., ELL Students

 

The Next Plan to Get Climate Denial Into Textbooks Activists are pushing schools to teach climate-change “controversy” by issuing textbook ratings of their own.

 

High School League overwhelmingly approves transgender policy The controversial measure passed as an overflow crowd looked on at the Minnesota State High School League offices in Brooklyn Center.

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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East High School fighting whooping cough outbreak Health » On-site immunizations given to students; workers offered free vaccinations.

 

Seven East High School students were kept home from school on Thursday while school officials and the Salt Lake County Health Department worked to contain an outbreak of whooping cough.

The school also conducted on-site immunizations for roughly 30 students who had not yet received pertussis, or whooping cough, vaccinations, East High School Principal Paul Sagers said.

“We’ve personally called every student who has not been immunized,” Sagers said. “We have basically told them that they need to be immunized.”

The school’s quick reaction to contain the cluster comes as whooping cough cases have declined in Utah, after a spike two years ago.

http://go.uen.org/2qx (SLT)

 

http://go.uen.org/2qP (KUTV)

 

http://go.uen.org/2qQ (KTVX)

 

 


 

 

 

New district preschool aims to prepare students for kindergarten New Preschool GCSD

 

Last year, former Helen M. Knight Elementary School Principal Sherrie Buckingham noticed a troubling trend at the beginning of each school year when incoming kindergarteners are tested to see how much they know.

“A large percentage of them are well below benchmark,” Buckingham said. “By mid-year, half or better of them just really take off.”

Buckingham decided to dig a little deeper, and she found that many of the students who struggled most had not attended any kind of preschool.

“They’re kids that are typically developing, but they haven’t had any formal learning experience,” she said.

Buckingham said there were around 30 students each year who fit into that category.

http://go.uen.org/2r6 (Moab Times-Independent)

 

 


 

 

Who is your new high school rival? UHSAA finalizes reshuffling of classifications Prep sports » Board “able to accommodate 80 or 90 percent of the requests,” but several schools promise appeals.

 

Midvale • Realigning high schools into athletic classifications differs little from actual competition.

There are winners and losers.

That was the case Thursday as the Utah High School Activities Association’s board of trustees finalized schools’ league assignments for the 2015-2017 season.

Roy left unhappy about being moved from 4A to 5A. And Salt Lake City schools East and Highland were upset about being placed in a northern Class 4A region. Payson was moved up to 4A after asking to be in 3A. Ogden had requested to be dropped to 3A for competitive reasons.

Others left the meeting feeling like winners.

http://go.uen.org/2qy (SLT)

 

http://go.uen.org/2qz (DN)

 

http://go.uen.org/2qF (OSE)

 

http://go.uen.org/2qH (PDH)

 

http://go.uen.org/2qN (LHJ)

 

http://go.uen.org/2r3 (CVD)

 

http://go.uen.org/2qM (SGS)

 

http://go.uen.org/2r2 (DCC)

 

http://go.uen.org/2qR (KTVX)

 

http://go.uen.org/2qT (KSL)

 

 

 


 

 

Utah to seize own land from government, challenge federal dominance of Western states ‘Transfer of Public Lands Act’ demands Washington relinquish 31.2 million acres by Dec. 31

 

In three weeks, Utah intends to seize control of 31.2 million acres of its own land now under the control of the federal government. At least, that’s the plan.

In an unprecedented challenge to federal dominance of Western state lands, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert in 2012 signed the “Transfer of Public Lands Act,” which demands that Washington relinquish its hold on the land, which represents more than half of the state’s 54.3 million acres, by Dec. 31.

So far, however, the federal government hasn’t given any indication that it plans to cooperate. Still, state Rep. Ken Ivory, who sponsored the legislation, isn’t deterred.

http://go.uen.org/2r5  (Washington Times)

 

 


 

 

Booming Forward with Utah’s Teacher of the Year

 

In Thursday’s edition of Booming Forward, Dave Nemeth introduces us to a member of the baby boomer generation who was honored as Utah’s Teacher of the Year.

See the video above for more on Moshen Ghaffari, who teaches fifth grade students at North Star Elementary School in Salt Lake City.

http://go.uen.org/2qV (KSTU)

 

 


 

 

Banned book about suicide welcome at Two Rivers High

 

OGDEN — Jay Asher’s book, “Thirteen Reasons Why,” has been banned from several schools in the past because its subject was deemed inappropriate. The taboo topic of Asher’s book is suicide. He was surprised to find out that it’s also about bullying.

“I didn’t think I was writing a book about bullying,” Asher said. “Then I started to hear from kids and teachers.”

Asher visited Ogden on Thursday to speak with students at Two Rivers High School — a school where the book and author are very welcome.

http://go.uen.org/2qE (OSE)

 

http://go.uen.org/2qU (KSTU)

 

 


 

 

 

Parents concerned over potential toxicity of turf fields

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Earlier this week, NBC News reported on the possible dangers of ground-up rubber tires, used in playgrounds and on artificial turf fields.

Parents are becoming increasingly concerned about their kids’ exposure to the rubber, and the materials they’re made of. While there’s not a major health threat right now, experts across the country are asking more questions, even here in Utah.

http://go.uen.org/2qS (KSL)

 

 


 

 

Dance, dance, dance

 

Jordan Valley School students and alumni dance during their Winter Dance, Alumni Dance and Homecoming Dance at the school in Midvale on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. Brighton High School LDS Seminary students assisted in the event and danced with the special needs students.

http://go.uen.org/2qA (DN)

 

 


 

 

 

Students decorate Zions Bank Christmas tree

 

Handcrafted ornaments made by Wasatch Elementary School students will adorn Zions Bank Christmas trees in downtown Salt Lake City as part of an annual tradition supporting education and the spirit of giving.

The school’s chorus students decorated a tree inside the financial center, located at 1 S. Main, on Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

http://go.uen.org/2qB (DN)

 

 


 

 

 

Inside Our Schools

 

Arrowhead Elementary

Lava Ridge Intermediate

Riverside Elementary

Dixie Middle

Utah Online School K-8

Snow Canyon High

George Washington Academy

East Elementary

Iron Springs Elementary

North Elementary

Three Peaks Elementary

Cedar Middle

Canyon View Middle

http://go.uen.org/2qO (SGS)

 

 

 


 

 

Leadership and voice: Two New Orleans schools illustrate the promise and perils of charter schools

 

Lauren LeDuff was a junior at Warren Easton High School in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina flooded the city in August of 2005. Fleeing with her family, she finished the school year as a refugee in Houston, returning to Warren Easton for her senior year.

She returned to a transformed school.

http://go.uen.org/2qC (DN)

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

(Provo) Daily Herald editorial

 

Thumbs up: The latest UHSAA realignment, which basically puts all of the Utah Valley schools together in 4A and 5A was a good move. It may last for just two years, so enjoy it.

Thumbs down: We are very happy to see the Nebo School District using SUVs instead of school buses to transport small numbers of students to school events, but we are discouraged by numerous reports of children not using seatbelts. We encourage the district to investigate the allegations and ensure the safety of our school children.

http://go.uen.org/2qI

 

 


 

 

Reaching compromises on elections

Deseret News op-ed by David Buer, director of communications for the Sutherland Institute

 

Utah lawmakers will consider reforms to the Utah State Board of Education in the upcoming legislative session. We have seen this show before: Proposals to enact partisan and nonpartisan school board elections are brought forward and subsequently defeated. But the issue has been given more urgency with a federal judge’s ruling on the (un)constitutionality of Utah’s current selection process for school board members.

Unsurprisingly, supporters of partisan and nonpartisan school board elections have again begun making the case for their ideal solutions. In one twist, the supporters of nonpartisan elections have even turned to a novel reading of the Utah Constitution to question the constitutional basis of partisan school board elections.

What makes this argument odd is that it never seems to include logical explanation or legal precedent to support it.

http://go.uen.org/2qD

 

 

 


 

 

Granite school district pushes back

KNRS commentary by Rod Arquette

 

Yesterday we talked with Ann Florence, the former Granite School District teacher who’s employment was terminated when she refused to administer tests she deemed unethical and a waste of instruction time. She made some fairly good points to her argument and she does have some merit in saying the school district was trying to silence her with the payout.

That having been said in the interest of fairness we did reach out to allow the district to represent itself. After all that’s what is in the best interests of everyone…to hear all sides of the story and make a decision.

http://go.uen.org/2qW

 

 


 

 

Against Draxler tax proposal

(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Ralph Call

 

You have to love Jack Draxler. He thinks that Utahns aren’t taxed adequately enough, yet he doesn’t think the approximately $2 million of new bond debt the school districts saddled property owners with for the next 20 years shows any commitment to the broken public education system.

He doesn’t think that the attempt by CVTA to expand the sales tax was ill conceived. He doesn’t think that the approximate 10 percent increase property owners are receiving in their tax bills this year is any problem for anyone.

Even though sister states, Wyoming and Nevada, have no personal income taxes, he thinks that Utah should spike ours.

http://go.uen.org/2qL

 

 


 

 

Cadet, others seek to do the right thing

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Cadet Airman Basic James William Beck

 

I received a letter that was addressed to my grandfather, Warren S. Beck,and it was about this other Standard-Examiner letter about an Ipad that I returned and never got any sort of or recognition or appreciation (“Appreciation would have meant a lot to boy,” Nov. 17 ). Someone, not the owner sent my grandfather and I a letter saying that I did the right thing, by turning the Ipad in because others wouldn’t do that. No, I did not, was I tempted, Yes, I was for sure to take that Ipad and it had a passcode on it and I was tempted to take it to a store and have them reset it to the factory settings.

Anyway that is besides the point, whoever sent me that letter, this is a huge thank you! I showed that article to other cadets at Utah Military Academy, and now they know we are serious about trying our best to do the right thing.

http://go.uen.org/2qG

 

 


 

 

 

The Perils of Edutourism

Education Next commentary by Tom Loveless, senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution

 

Edutourism is not new. For American education professors in the 1920s, nothing certified one’s progressive credentials like a trip to the Soviet Union. Diane Ravitch presents a vivid account in Left Back: A Century of Failed School Reforms. She describes how John Dewey, the most famous progressive educator of the era, visited Soviet schools in 1928 and returned full of admiration. He appreciated the emphasis on collectivism over individualism and the ease with which schools integrated curricula with the goals of society. One activity that he singled out for praise was sending students into the community to educate and help “ignorant adults to understand the policies of local soviets.” William Heard Kilpatrick, father of the project method, toured Russian schools in 1929. He applauded the ubiquitous use of project-based learning in Soviet classrooms, noting that “down to the smallest detail in the school curriculum, every item is planned to further the Soviet plan of society.” Educator and political activist George Counts shipped a Ford sedan to Leningrad and set out on a three-month tour, extolling the role Soviet schools played in “the greatest social experiment in history.”

In hindsight these scholars seem incredibly naïve. Soviet schools were indeed an extension of the state, but as such, they served as indoctrination centers for one of history’s most monstrous regimes. Stalin’s plan for society was enforced by a huge secret police force and included the mass execution of political opponents, the forced starvation of millions of peasants, and a vast network of prison camps (gulags) erected to house slave labor.

To their credit, Dewey and Kilpatrick turned on Stalinism. Counts held on longer, even praising Stalin’s Five Year Plan as a “brilliant and heroic success.” In 1932-1933, as the first Five Year Plan transitioned into the second, an estimated 25,000 Ukrainians died daily of starvation from the forced famine that Stalin imposed on the region. Later, Counts would recognize Stalin’s schools as tools of totalitarianism, and he became, in one biographer’s words, “a determined opponent of Soviet ideology.”

Today we have a new outbreak of edutourism. American adventurers have fanned out across the globe to bring back to the United States the lessons of other school systems.

http://go.uen.org/2qY

 

 

 


 

 

David Coleman’s plan to ruin education

The architect of Common Core must be stopped Aljazeera America commentary by Nicholas Tampio, associate professor of political science at Fordham University

 

In the summer of 2008, David Coleman changed the course of American education. For decades, reformers had argued that the country needed a national standards-based model of education to ensure economic prosperity. He helped make that a reality by convincing Bill Gates to support the Common Core State Standards initiative, to the tune of over $200 million.

In part because of his experience supervising the writing of the standards, Coleman became the head of the College Board, where his philosophy of education will further shape how U.S. high schools prepare students for college.

He has expressed this vision in an essay published by the College Board, “Cultivating Wonder.” With this document and the early results of the Common Core, it’s easy to see where his grand plans fall short.

http://go.uen.org/2qZ

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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Fair fees? Facing cuts, more schools charge for busing USA Today

 

As school districts across the country continue to face budget cuts, the practice of charging parents a fee to let their kids ride the bus is becoming more common.

“We’ve been looking at this trend of more schools charging for transportation since ’08,” Dan Domenech, executive director of the American Association of School Administrators, said. “Districts that have been dealing with the recession by making cut after cut in programs are left with the unfortunate option of charging to transport kids to schools.”

Many of these districts with pay-to-ride bus services face allegations that they equate to charging tuition for a supposedly free public education.

http://go.uen.org/2qK

 

 

 


 

 

Exxon CEO defends Common Core education standards that Perry and Cruz have opposed Dallas Morning News

 

WASHINGTON — The CEO of Texas’ largest company said Wednesday that elected leaders in his state and elsewhere have badly distorted a nationwide push for common academic standards for public schools, bashing the so-called Common Core curriculum even as U.S. students and workers alike fall further behind their global peers.

“I’m extraordinarily disappointed in my home state,” Rex Tillerson, chairman and chief executive of Irving-based Exxon Mobil, said during a quarterly meeting of Business Roundtable. He and other CEOs were highlighting what business leaders have called a major impediment to hiring: the lack of technical skills among job-seekers of all ages.

Common Core is a set of academic standards that grew out of a National Governors Association effort to make it possible for states to compare how well their schools are preparing students. After being embraced by the U.S. Department of Education, it has become a lightning rod among many conservatives.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry has routinely touted Texas’ refusal to adopt the standards. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has said the standards intrude on local decision-making and should be abolished everywhere.

But Tillerson said the standards are embraced in 40 states and are badly needed. He said they merely set minimum standards in key academic areas. States and school districts decide how and what students are actually taught, he said.

http://go.uen.org/2r0

 

 

 


 

 

Sorry state of public education seen as threat to economic growth Report cites Latino reading levels San Antonio (TX) Express-News

 

With nearly one in four Latino students not meeting reading standards by third grade — and the size of the state’s Latino population expected to double by 2050 — public education in Texas is in a state of emergency, says a report commissioned by the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber took on the study to prove links between a region’s education levels and economic prosperity. It was released ahead of a new legislative session in Austin, with local state representatives pledging to restore the billions cut from public education in 2011.

John Gonzalez, chairman of the chamber’s economic development committee, said business leaders told the chamber that access to an adequate labor supply was their top concern.

“This is not a statement saying help our kids because they’re Latino,” Gonzalez said Thursday at a news conference at Margil Elementary School on the West Side. “It’s a statement that merely reflects the demographic bottom line.”

http://go.uen.org/2r1

 

 


 

 

‘Mystery Parents’ Test Charters’ Enrollment of Spec. Ed., ELL Students Education Week

 

Fielding phone calls from parents asking about enrollment is part of everyday business for schools, but for some charter schools, the person on the other end of the line may only be posing as a parent.

Modeled after “mystery” or “secret shopper” services used in retail, authorizers in the District of Columbia and Massachusetts are using a similar tactic to make sure the charter schools they oversee are not turning away students with more specialized needs, such as children with disabilities or who are still learning English.

This issue has long dogged the charter sector which nationally, some studies show, enrolls a lower percentage of students with disabilities compared to regular public schools. The discrepancy, some charter critics say, comes from the publicly funded but independently run schools turning away such students in order to improve test scores.

http://go.uen.org/2qX

 

 

 


 

 

The Next Plan to Get Climate Denial Into Textbooks Activists are pushing schools to teach climate-change “controversy” by issuing textbook ratings of their own.

National Journal

 

“As the amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases increase, the Earth warms. Scientists warn that climate change, caused by this warming, will pose challenges to society.”

That language—featured in a fifth-grade Texas social studies textbook from Pearson Education—is exactly the kind of global warming alarmism that Emily McBurney wants to protect schoolchildren from.

McBurney was a lot happier with an earlier version of the textbook that said: “Scientists disagree about what is causing climate change.” But the publisher cut the material amid pressure from groups like the National Center for Science Education.

The edited educational material, McBurney says, amounts to “a one-sided global-warming climate-change agenda.”

McBurney is a member of the Truth in Texas Textbooks coalition, a volunteer-run organization of more than 100 activists that wants global warming to be taught as an opinion rather than fact.

To shape climate curriculum, the coalition plans to rate textbooks “good,” “acceptable,” “poor,” or “worse.” The group will score the books on a wide array of subjects—and educational material that treats global warming as settled science is guaranteed to get low marks.

http://go.uen.org/2r4

 

 


 

 

High School League overwhelmingly approves transgender policy The controversial measure passed as an overflow crowd looked on at the Minnesota State High School League offices in Brooklyn Center.

Minneapolis Star-Tribune

 

Capping months of emotional debate that brought tens of thousands of e-mails, the board overseeing high school athletics in Minnesota overwhelmingly said yes Thursday to opening up girls’ sports to transgender student-athletes.

The decision by the Minnesota State High School League will take effect in the 2015-16 school year, making the state the 33rd to adopt a formal transgender student policy.

The board set out criteria for determining whether transgender students who were born male but identify as female can be eligible for girls’ teams at the nearly 500 schools in the league’s membership. State law already permits girls to compete in boys’ sports.

Religious-affiliated private schools will be exempt from complying with the league’s new language.

http://go.uen.org/2qJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

December 5:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

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

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

 

 

December 9:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

1 p.m., 210 Senate Building

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

 

 

December 11:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

 

January 26:

Opening day of the Utah Legislature

Capitol Building

http://le.utah.gov/

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