Education News Roundup: Jan. 22, 2015

2011 Legislative SummaryEducation News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

State Board of Education is working on a request from the legislature to look at what a 2 percent cut in the budget might look like … but remember: the state is running a surplus.

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

Sen. Weiler has some concerns about Gov. Herbert’s education budget proposal.

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

The authors of a study on transferring control of public land in Utah discuss their findings at USU.

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

The head of GOPB discusses what it takes to get a funding increase in a Utah budget.

http://go.uen.org/2HI (Governor’s blog)

President Obama hits the road to sell his State of the Union Address ideas.

http://go.uen.org/2Ht (Politico)

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

State budget exercise hints at charter-school funding reform Critics worry about philosophical shift in state oversight; alarm is premature, says official.

 

Plenty of concerns at education forum

 

USU, Weber State professors discuss study of proposed federal land transfer

 

Jordan School District may move two schools to traditional school schedule

 

Hansen elected as new school board president

 

Orem Teacher Heads To Auschwitz

 

‘Amazing Adaptations’ Students unveil traveling exhibit

 

Former Utah elementary school teacher pleads guilty to child porn charges

 

Altice expected to enter pleas for felony sex charges Thursday

 

RHS construction making the grade

 

Students to meet with BYU athletes for Sports Hero Day

 

Chess in the schools: bringing the classic mind game to life

 

 


 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Time for a tax increase for Education

 

Weekly Survey: A Tax Hike for Schools

 

4 questions state agencies ask before getting more money

 

Pass the test, get elected

 

School choice empowers families

 

Cultural Education Should be Part of American Schooling System

 

Why Obama Barely Mentioned K-12 Education in the State of the Union

 

The Past, Present And Future of High-Stakes Testing

 

 


 

 

NATION

 

Taking it to the states

“Idaho, we’ve got big things to do together,” Obama tells a college audience.

 

Douglas vows academic-standards review in 1st speech

 

Measles Cases Linked to Disneyland Rise, and Debate Over Vaccinations Intensifies

 

With Federal Policy Change, More Money for School-Based Health Services

 

The business case for STEM education

Intel is putting big money into grade-school education—and betting that it pays off.

 

Everybody hates Pearson

Okay, not everybody. The venerable publishing company is trying to reinvent itself for the Digital Age—in the most fraught, political, emotion-racked field there is: your children’s education. That’s stirring up a lot of anger.

 

An hereditary meritocracy

The children of the rich and powerful are increasingly well suited to earning wealth and power themselves. That’s a problem

 

America’s new aristocracy

As the importance of intellectual capital grows, privilege has become increasingly heritable

 

U.S. Supreme Court Case Highlights Housing-Education Links

 

Town votes to demolish Sandy Hook killer’s Connecticut home

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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State budget exercise hints at charter-school funding reform Critics worry about philosophical shift in state oversight; alarm is premature, says official.

 

As part of a budgeting exercise this month, the state school board’s three-member leadership team recommended shifting funding from public schools to charter schools.

The proposal is largely theoretical, but some worry it shows the changing philosophical makeup of the public school oversight committee.

School board vice chairman David Thomas said the alarm is premature.

The recommendations are meant to guide discussion, he said, and lawmakers are looking at a sizable surplus that should result in more, and not less, money for schools.

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

 

 


 

 

Plenty of concerns at education forum

 

BOUNTIFUL — A vast array of concerns were brought before political and education leaders at a forum held Thursday night, touching on topics from school start times to charter school funding, from common core reading lists to the selection of state school board members.

The evening gathering was the brainchild of Rep. Tim Hawkes, R-Centerville, who, along with Rep. Ray Ward, R-Bountiful, organized the meeting to help legislators “get a handle on education.”

Dozens of Davis County residents, some teachers, some parents, some retirees, waited patiently for a turn at the microphone and a chance to let their concerns be known.

Until the time ran out, panelists took turns answering questions. At the end, they just listened.

Hawkes and Ward were joined by Rep. Becky Edwards, R-20 and Senators Stuart Adams and Todd Weiler. Julie Tanner and Larry Smith of the Davis School Board of Education, Bryan Bowles, district superintendent, and Laura Belnap of the State Board of Education were also on the panel.

“I want you to remember my face,” said a sixth grade teacher from Layton.

Teachers are worn down and beat down, she said, adding she envied jobs that ended at 5 p.m., while she was working until 7:30 or 8 p.m. every night.

Like many in the room, Steve Butler, an elementary school teacher, sported a T-shirt reading: “I’m a teacher. What’s your superpower?” He, too, spoke of the long hours put in by teachers and the need for more funding for education.

Weiler said the governor’s recent budget recommendation was “his first campaign stunt” for the next election. “He’s spending money we don’t have. He’s set a bar that even if we jump as high as we can, we can’t reach it. As a legislator, I find that very frustrating.”

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

 

 


 

 

USU, Weber State professors discuss study of proposed federal land transfer

 

Utah won’t be able to cover the $280 million-per-year cost of managing federal lands unless the oil supply increases dramatically over the next several years and the state can get 100 percent of the royalty shares on oil wells, co-authors of an economic study said in a presentation at Utah State University on Wednesday.

During the weekly Common Hour lecture, USU Applied Economics Professor Paul Jakus and co-author Therese Grijalva of Weber State University, outlined the results of their study, which was released to lawmakers in December. The report examines the economic feasibility of Utah potentially managing 31 million acres — or 51 percent of the state — of federally controlled land.

“If the state is going to take over, it darn well better get aggressive on royalty shares,” Jakus told students, faculty and community members on Wednesday. “If you don’t want to run a budget deficit, you’d better do that.”

And, contrary to some lawmaker’s arguments, even under “the most optimistic revenue scenarios,” state education would still be underfunded if Utah took control of public lands, Jakus added.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Jordan School District may move two schools to traditional school schedule

 

WEST JORDAN, UT – The Jordan SchoolDistrict is looking to move two Herriman City elementary schools to a traditional school calendar.

When Blackridge Elementary opened, it created a student”relief” for Butterfield and Herriman Elementary.

With fewer students at the schools, parents and teachers had a decision to move the schools to a traditional school calendar.

“The catch is it is a really high growth area. If we transition back to a traditional calendar now, the likelihood is very strong that we would have to transition back to a year-round calendar again. Because the growth is so rapid in that area,” says Sandy Riesgraf with the Jordan School District

80% of parents wanted the move and 80% of teachers didn’t, because they may have to move back to a year-round calendar in two-years.

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

 

 

 


 

 

Hansen elected as new school board president

 

Four Sevier School District officials including one new board member, two incumbents and a district business administrator, took the oath of office last week. Administered by board president Clint Johnson, the ceremony took place in conjunction with a regularly scheduled board meeting hosted at the district office in Richfield Jan. 14. Those receiving the oath included new board member Stew Shaver and incumbents Jack Hansen and Rick Orr as well as business administrator Chad Lloyd. Following the ceremony, board elections took place with Hansen being unanimously elected as president, while Orr was selected as vice president.

http://go.uen.org/2HG (MUR)

 

 


 

 

 

Orem Teacher Heads To Auschwitz

 

Seventy years ago prisoners were liberated from the former German Nazi concentration and death camps. “Auschwitz: The Past is Present,” is a professional development program developed by the USC Shoah Foundation – The Institute for Visual History and Education and Discovery Education.

The non-profit organization is sponsoring a program to give educators an opportunity to learn more about the capture and release of prisoners there. Merinda Davis is a teacher in Orem and is one of only 25 teachers from around the world to be selected to travel to Poland this week.

http://go.uen.org/2HU (Utah Public Radio)

 

 


 

 

 

‘Amazing Adaptations’ Students unveil traveling exhibit

 

LAYTON — Informal learning can be incredibly powerful, said Ann Hannibal, associate director of Natural History Museum of Utah.

Even though it takes place outside the classroom, she said, it can have a significant impact.

It might happen in a museum, or – this month anyway – it might happen in the lobby of a bank.

Hannibal was on hand at Zions Bank in Layton for the unveiling of a traveling exhibit built around the theme, “Amazing Adaptations.”

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

 

 


 

 

Former Utah elementary school teacher pleads guilty to child porn charges

 

A former Utah County elementary school teacher on Tuesday admitted to possessing child pornography.

Edward A. Greene, 55, pleaded guilty in 4th District Court to five counts of second-degree felony sexual exploitation of a minor. Five similar counts were dismissed as part of a plea deal, according to court records.

Greene faces a potential one-to-15-year prison term for each count when he is sentenced March 17.

Green, who taught 5th grade at Westfield Elementary School in Alpine, resigned from his position last June after he was arrested and charged. He had been a teacher with the Alpine School District for six years, according to school officials.

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

 

 

 


 

 

Altice expected to enter pleas for felony sex charges Thursday

 

FARMINGTON — The former Davis High School English teacher accused of having sex with three of her students is expected to be in court on Thursday for an arraignment hearing.

Brianne Altice, 35, of South Weber, was booked back into the Davis County Jail on no bail after a preliminary hearing on Jan. 15. An 18-year-old man who was a former student testified they had a sexual relationship that started after she was arrested in October of 2013.

Altice is charged in the 2013 case with five counts of rape, three counts of forcible sexual abuse and two counts of forcible sodomy, all first-degree felonies. Prosecutors filed additional charges in January. She is charged with three counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor and dealing in harmful material with a minor, all third-degree felonies in the new case.

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

 

 


 

 

 

RHS construction making the grade

 

Cement trucks, cranes and an army of more than 100 laborers routinely converge on the campus of Richfield High School each day as construction of the new RHS continues.

While the project’s schedule has had some typical delays, it is still on track for students and faculty to start occupying a portion of the new building by fall 2015, said Pat Wilson, project consultant for Sevier School District.

http://go.uen.org/2HF (Richfield Reaper)

 

http://go.uen.org/2HH (MUR)

 

 


 

 

Students to meet with BYU athletes for Sports Hero Day

 

PROVO — Sixth grade students in Utah County have an opportunity to interact with and learn from BYU sports heroes on Sports Hero Day Thursday. The event is provided by the university’s Center for Service and Learning.

The program was organized with the intent of connecting sixth grade students with BYU athletes to inspire them for years to come.

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

 

 


 

 

Chess in the schools: bringing the classic mind game to life

 

The first time kids called her “The Chess Lady” in a Seattle school 10 years ago, Wendi Fischer was caught off guard. As she walked in, the kids started buzzing, and when she asked the teacher what they were saying, it turned out she was a minor celebrity. The kids were soon asking for autographs.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Time for a tax increase for Education

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner op-ed by LaWanna “Lou” Shurtliff, a former Utah lawmaker representing House District 10

 

Let’s raise taxes to fund education. I know this is a bold statement in Utah where we are expected to do much with little funding, but most polls show that over 60 percent of Utah citizens are willing to pay more taxes if the money is used for schools.

Believe it or not, in the 1980s, Utah’s funding per child was about the national average. At the time, we had large families and many children in our schools just as we do now.

Years earlier with a constitutional amendment, some forward thinking legislators, I will call them statesman, earmarked all income tax to go to schools. The Education Fund would support our public schools, kindergarten through 12th grade. This decision would leave the General Fund to take care of the other obligations in the State.

But come 1995, the Legislature saw the money in the Education Fund and wanted to use it as they saw fit. So again, a Constitutional Amendment was put on the ballot that the Education Fund could be used to fund higher education as well as public education. Teachers were concerned about losing this funding, but they were told if they came out against the Amendment that the income rate could be lowered. Also, the worst part was that it was pitting one educational entity against another. The Amendment passed. As a result, in 1996 the public schools were receiving about 98 percent of the Education Fund. In 2008, the last year that I served in the House, they received 73 percent. That percentage has varied through the last eighteen years.

In 2008, the Legislature passed the “flat tax” rate for income. The idea was to make it easier to file your state income tax. Even though it was touted as a “flat tax,” several items were kept, such as a deduction for children and a deduction for charitable contributions. The change was to be revenue neutral. In other words, taxes would not increase, but the schools would not lose money. The end result: the schools lost approximately $200 million.

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

 

 


 

 

Weekly Survey: A Tax Hike for Schools

Utah Policy commentary

 

Rep. Jack Draxler (R-Logan) is proposing a 1% bump in the personal income tax rate to provide more funding for schools. Do you think lawmakers will approve such a hike? Vote now in our weekly survey.

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

 

 


 

 

 

4 questions state agencies ask before getting more money Utah Governor’s Office commentary Kristen Cox, Executive Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Budget

 

In preparing the Governor’s budget recommendations, the GOMB staff had the opportunity to review a multitude of budget requests. While a number of requests were meritorious at face value, many did not answer the key questions decision makers or the public would expect to be addressed when justifying requests for additional funds. What follows are four questions that, if answered thoroughly, will strengthen a request for new money.

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

 

 


 

 

Pass the test, get elected

Salt Lake Tribune letter from Linda M. Sagendorf

 

Sen. Howard Stephenson and Rep. Steven Eliason are going to introduce a bill that would require all high school students to pass a citizenship test before they graduate? As students have already passed civics in order to graduate, one can only ask what would be the purpose of such a bill?

As the word “citizenship” is mentioned, might it mislead thousands of undocumented immigrants into believing they have become American citizens simply by passing a high school test?

Both legislators said they conducted a survey of 609 Utahns, and the majority thought the bill was a good idea. I have only one question: Did they survey anyone outside their immediate families?

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

 

 

 


 

 

School choice empowers families

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Linda Harless, Principal at Utah Connections Academy

 

Families make dozens of decisions every day. Some are as simple as choosing what to eat for dinner or where to go on vacation, but other decisions have a greater impact on the success of their children.

National School Choice Week will be recognized the last week of January, celebrating the opportunity that families have to choose the best education option for their children. School choice is exactly what it sounds like, and its importance can’t be minimized.

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

 

 

 


 

 

Cultural Education Should be Part of American Schooling System Daily Utah Chronicle letter from SABIHA MASUD

 

According to the Pew Research Center, there are around 20 million second generation Americans currently living in the United States. With current immigration trends, the nation’s “immigration stock” (meaning both first- and second-generation immigrants) is expected to rise from 76 million to more than 160 million, or 37 percent of the U.S. population. Numbers like these force us to redefine what it means to be American and to look more closely at the immense cultural identification process second-generation immigrants must go through to fully assimilate. Many of the issues second-generation immigrants experience are due to the difficult task of maintaining the fine balance of integration and preservation of heritage. For example, although nearly nine in 10 second-generation Asian American immigrants speak English proficiently, only about four in 10 are able to speak their mother tongue.

The main problem with integration does not lie with the second-generation immigrant who fails to understand American culture, but with the third- or fourth-generation immigrants who are not given the tools from a young age to interact in a sensitive manner with the plethora of cultures present in a typical community http://go.uen.org/2HB

 

 

 


 

 

Why Obama Barely Mentioned K-12 Education in the State of the Union Slate commentary by columnist Matt Collette, a fellow for the Teacher Project, an education reporting initiative at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism

 

With ambitious child care and community college proposals, President Obama had plenty to say about education for our youngest and older students in last night’s State of the Union address. But he barely mentioned K-12 education. Perhaps that’s because after devoting a significant amount of political energy to pushing for K-12 education reform during his first term in office—using Race to the Top funding to stimulate state reforms and overseeing the state-by-state rollout of Common Core—the Obama administration has pretty much stopped introducing new policy ideas.

There are several reasons why Obama might be backing off K-12 reforms. Since he introduced his major initiatives—which stress accountability, testing, and school choice—the education policy landscape has become increasingly ugly: There is strong opposition to Common Core, particularly from Tea Party conservatives. Some Republicans, in opposition to Obama, have veered further to the right on education, pushing publicly funded tuition vouchers at private schools. And a growing number of parents and teachers—many of them on the left—have stepped up to criticize the number of standardized tests students take each year.

Despite being seen as a federal program, Common Core is actually a set of standards voted in on a state-by-state basis, meaning the Obama administration doesn’t actually have a ton of control over it beyond funding state initiatives through the Department of Education. So it makes sense that Obama wouldn’t bring it up Tuesday night.

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

 

 


 

 

The Past, Present And Future of High-Stakes Testing NPR Morning Edition commentary by columnist ANYA KAMENETZ

 

After a long stretch as the law of the land, annual standardized tests are being put to, well, the test.

This week, the Senate education committee held a hearing on the reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law and, specifically, on testing. The committee’s chairman, Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has released a draft bill offering a lot more leeway to states in designing their own assessment systems.

But Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Sen. Patty Murray, the ranking Democrat on the committee, have dug in their heels to say that annual tests should remain mandatory.

All this comes as parents, students and educators around the country are asking serious questions about the number of tests children are taking and the reasons they’re taking them.

I’ve just written a book on this topic, The Test: Why Our Schools Are Obsessed with Standardized Testing — But You Don’t Have to Be, and Steve Inskeep sat down with me to ask me a few questions about it.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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Taking it to the states

“Idaho, we’ve got big things to do together,” Obama tells a college audience.

Politico

 

President Barack Obama knew Republicans were going to dismiss the three major domestic priorities he outlined in his State of the Union address — free community college, paid sick leave and apprenticeship job training. So he immediately launched what the White House expects will be a year-long effort to try to inspire states and cities to adopt them instead — including in solidly red states.

The model is his push last year to raise the minimum wage, a proposal that went nowhere in Congress, but was adopted by cities, states and a number of private companies raising wages on their own. Hoping to inspire a similar response, Obama will be hitting the road more in the next few weeks more than he did during last year’s Democratic midterm campaigns, or any point in his presidency other than his re-election campaign.

Obama kicked off that campaign in Idaho on Wednesday, making the first stop on his post-State of the Union tour a red state—one he’d never been to as president—to promote high tech job training programs at Boise State University.

“Idaho, we’ve got big things to do together,” Obama said, describing his proposal to make community college free and the public-private partnerships his administration is helping coordinate. “You’re working together, and you’re seeing progress, and it’s contributing to the economic development for the city and the state.”

“Those of you who were watching last night know that I made these arguments before Congress,” Obama added. “Some of you may have noticed Republicans were not applauding for many of these ideas.”

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

 

 

 


 

 

Douglas vows academic-standards review in 1st speech

(Phoenix) Arizona Republic

 

The Arizona schools chief called the state of education “poor” and called for a review of the academic standards — as she promised when she was running for the job.

Diane Douglas, in her first “state of education” speech as the newly elected superintendent of public instruction, blasted Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards as a “de facto federal mandate.”

Douglas, a Republican, made reversal of the standards a centerpiece of her election campaign. She defeated incumbent John Huppenthal in the primary and Democrat David Garcia in the general election.

On Wednesday, she called on the Legislature to form a committee of educators, businesspeople and parents to perform an ongoing review of the standards, known as Common Core.

“We will be running a bill to set up a committee to review the standards,” she said after the speech, although she took no further questions before leaving. No bill has been proposed yet.

Douglas said the state of education is poor is because “too many Arizona children are not receiving the education they deserve.”

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

 

 


 

 

 

Measles Cases Linked to Disneyland Rise, and Debate Over Vaccinations Intensifies New York Times

 

LOS ANGELES — A measles outbreak that began at Disneyland is spreading across California and beyond, prompting health officials to move aggressively to contain it — including by barring unvaccinated students from going to school in Orange County. The outbreak has increased concerns that a longstanding movement against childhood vaccinations has created a surge in a disease that was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000.

Health officials said 59 cases of measles had been diagnosed in California as of Wednesday, with an additional eight related cases spread through Utah, Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Mexico. Among those infected are five workers at Disneyland, where the outbreak was spotted in mid­December; 42 of the 59 California cases have been linked to the Disneyland outbreak.

The cases were a continuation of what health officials said was a worrisome increase in measles in Orange County and other places where parents had resisted the urging of health professionals to inoculate their children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 644 cases of measles from 27 states last year, by far the largest number since 2000. Before measles vaccines became commonplace in 1963, about three million to four million Americans a year contracted the disease, the agency said, and 400 to 500 died from it.

The latest outbreak has renewed a heated debate about an antivaccination movement championed largely by parents who believe discredited research linking vaccines to autism, or who believe that the risks of some vaccines, including the measles inoculations, outweigh any potential benefit.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/2HC (AP)

 

http://go.uen.org/2HD (Orange County [CA] Register)

 

 


 

 

 

With Federal Policy Change, More Money for School-Based Health Services Stateline

 

A recent federal policy reversal, long-sought by states and health care advocates, could enable schools to take a lead role in managing chronic childhood diseases and result in the hiring of many more school nurses.

The change, announced quietly and unexpectedly last month by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), will allow public schools to receive Medicaid money for health services they provide to eligible students for the first time since 1997.

Once several financing and bureaucratic hurdles are cleared, advocates believe the new policy will improve the coordination of care provided to children with conditions such as asthma, diabetes and mental illness. It will be especially important, they say, for low-income kids who are less likely to have comprehensive medical coverage.

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

 

 

 


 

 

The business case for STEM education

Intel is putting big money into grade-school education—and betting that it pays off.

Fortune

 

Silicon Valley has always looked for talent among the young (Mark Zuckerberg made his first billion at age 23). It’s only recently, though, that it has set its sights on grade school.

The Valley isn’t trying to hire preteens (yet), but some of the country’s mightiest tech giants are aiming to bolster the talent pipeline by putting serious money behind kids’ math and science education, particularly for girls and minorities.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in early January, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced that he will dedicate $300 million to sponsor STEM education in K-12 classes and in universities, with a focus on underserved regions. The money is part of a broader effort to boost diversity among its workforce and will also fund recruiting, training, and investments in female and minority-owned startups, along with education.

For the uninitiated, STEM is a much-buzzed acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Intel already invests in STEM programs—for example, the company runs two “computer clubhouses” for teens in Harlem. But its new Diversity in Technology initiative will bring significantly more money to similar programs across the country.

It’s not clear yet exactly how Intel will mete out the funds.

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

 

 


 

 

Everybody hates Pearson

Okay, not everybody. The venerable publishing company is trying to reinvent itself for the Digital Age—in the most fraught, political, emotion-racked field there is: your children’s education. That’s stirring up a lot of anger.

Fortune

 

John Fallon doesn’t look like the devil incarnate. With his ruddy cheeks and cheerful-but-not-too-posh English accent, Fallon, 52, seems more like a buddy from the local pub than the chief executive of a company with $8.2 billion in revenues that is trying to recast global education—and managing to upset a lot of people in the process.

Fallon, who succeeded longtime Pearson CEO Marjorie Scardino in January 2013, is at the helm of an ambitious quest to reinvent the 171-year-old publishing company, best known for its ownership of the Financial Times and its international textbook business, as a “global learning services company.” The goal is not merely to build a more successful and sustainable business—an imperative as Pearson’s traditional print operations shrivel—but also to improve the lives of millions of people throughout the world. “It doesn’t matter to us whether our customers are hundreds of thousands of individual students and their parents in China, or thousands of school districts in America,” says Fallon. “What we’re trying to do is the same thing—to help improve learning outcomes.”

The problem is, legions of parents, teachers, and others see the new Pearson in a very different light. Many of them, particularly in North America, where the company does some 60% of its sales, think of it as the Godzilla of education. In their view, Pearson is bent on controlling every element of the process, from teacher qualifications to curriculums to the tests used to evaluate students to the grading of the tests to, increasingly, owning and operating its own learning institutions.

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

 

 

 


 

 

An hereditary meritocracy

The children of the rich and powerful are increasingly well suited to earning wealth and power themselves. That’s a problem The Economist

 

“MY BIG fear,” says Paul Ryan, an influential Republican congressman from Wisconsin, is that America is losing sight of the notion that “the condition of your birth does not determine the outcome of your life.” “Opportunity,” according to Elizabeth Warren, a Democratic senator from Massachusetts, “is slipping away.” Marco Rubio, a Republican senator from Florida, thinks that “each element” of the sequence that leads to success “is eroding in our country.” “Of course you have to work hard, of course you have to take responsibility,” says Hillary Clinton, a former first lady, senator and secretary of state, “but we are making it so difficult for people who do those things to feel that they are going to achieve the American dream.” When discussing the chances of ordinary Americans rising to the top, politicians who agree about little else sound remarkably similar.

Before the word meritocracy was coined by Michael Young, a British sociologist and institutional entrepreneur, in the 1950s there was a different name for the notion that power, success and wealth should be distributed according to talent and diligence, rather than by accident of birth: American. For sure, America has always had rich and powerful families, from the floor of the Senate to the boardrooms of the steel industry. But it has also held more fervently than any other country the belief that all comers can penetrate that elite as long as they have talent, perseverance and gumption. At times when that has not been the case Americans have responded with authentic outrage, surmising that the people at the top are, as Nick Carraway said, “a rotten crowd”, with bootlegging Gatsby better than the whole damn bunch put together.

Today’s elite is a long way from the rotten lot of West Egg. Compared to those of days past it is by and large more talented, better schooled, harder working (and more fabulously remunerated) and more diligent in its parental duties. It is not a place where one easily gets by on birth or connections alone. At the same time it is widely seen as increasingly hard to get into.

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

 

 


 

 

America’s new aristocracy

As the importance of intellectual capital grows, privilege has become increasingly heritable The Economist

 

WHEN the candidates for the Republican presidential nomination line up on stage for their first debate in August, there may be three contenders whose fathers also ran for president. Whoever wins may face the wife of a former president next year. It is odd that a country founded on the principle of hostility to inherited status should be so tolerant of dynasties. Because America never had kings or lords, it sometimes seems less inclined to worry about signs that its elite is calcifying.

Thomas Jefferson drew a distinction between a natural aristocracy of the virtuous and talented, which was a blessing to a nation, and an artificial aristocracy founded on wealth and birth, which would slowly strangle it. Jefferson himself was a hybrid of these two types—a brilliant lawyer who inherited 11,000 acres and 135 slaves from his father-in-law—but the distinction proved durable. When the robber barons accumulated fortunes that made European princes envious, the combination of their own philanthropy, their children’s extravagance and federal trust-busting meant that Americans never discovered what it would be like to live in a country where the elite could reliably reproduce themselves.

Now they are beginning to find out, (see article), because today’s rich increasingly pass on to their children an asset that cannot be frittered away in a few nights at a casino. It is far more useful than wealth, and invulnerable to inheritance tax. It is brains.

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

 

 


 

 

U.S. Supreme Court Case Highlights Housing-Education Links Education Week

 

The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday took up a case about lawsuits over racially discriminatory effects in housing, an issue that has important implications for education in two distinct ways.

The issue before the justices is whether plaintiffs may bring so-called disparate-impact claims under the federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 over alleged discriminatory effects in federally funded low-income housing projects.

Several civil rights groups filed briefs stressing the link between housing opportunities and racial diversity in schools, arguing that the unavailability of disparate-impact claims would worsen racial isolation in the nation’s classrooms.

The second way the Supreme Court’s ruling could affect schools is by potentially limiting the power claimed by the U.S. Department of Education to sue over racially disparate effects in schools.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/2HM (AP)

 

 


 

 

Town votes to demolish Sandy Hook killer’s Connecticut home Reuters

 

The town council of Newtown, Connecticut, voted unanimously on Wednesday to demolish the home of a 20-year-old man who killed 26 children and staff at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 in one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history.

By a vote of 12-0, the council agreed that the white colonial-style house of the gunman, Adam Lanza, be razed under a plan that would preserve the lot as open space, at least for the short term.

Lanza shot and killed his mother, Nancy Lanza, on Dec. 14, 2012, at their home shortly before driving to the school to continue his shooting spree, killing 20 first-graders and six adult staffers before taking his own life.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

January 26:

Opening day of the Utah Legislature

Capitol Building

http://le.utah.gov/

 

 

January 27:

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting

8 a.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2015&com=APPPED

 

 

January 29:

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting

8 a.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2015&com=APPPED

 

Utah State Board of Education meeting

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

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

 

 

February 12:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

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