Education News Roundup: Jan. 28, 2015

"Citizenship Classes" by World Relief Spokane/CC/flickr

“Citizenship Classes” by World Relief Spokane/CC/flickr

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee begins looking at the education budget.

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

and http://go.uen.org/2L1 (KSL)

 

Bill introduced to make all Utah school board elections partisan.

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

 

Bill that would require all students pass a citizenship test to earn a high school diploma moves out of committee.

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

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

and http://go.uen.org/2L3 (MUR)

and http://go.uen.org/2Lr (KUER)

and http://go.uen.org/2KT (NYT)

 

¿Dónde están los maestros de doble inmersión ?

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

 

Test-based evaluations for teachers are unlikely in new rewrite of ESEA.

http://go.uen.org/2L4 (WaPo)

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

 

How easy is it for parents to make the right school choice?

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

 

Does the road to high school calculus really begin in the third grade?

http://go.uen.org/2KD (National Journal)

 

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Lawmakers take first look at public education budget bill

 

Utah lawmaker: All school board elections should be partisan

 

Poll: Utahns Say Education, Job Development Most Important to State’s Future

 

Bill requiring citizenship test for Utah students approved by committee Legislature » Students would need to pass same test as immigrants.

 

Bill would increase incentives for early high school graduation

 

Business community supports tax increases for schools, roads

 

Language immersion teachers in short supply

 

Word Art

Salem students interpret poetry into art for exhibit

 

Sunrise Elementary showcases new leadership program

 

Schools buy land in Bluff

 

Lone Peak High School employee tells student her semi-formal dress is inappropriate

 

Elementary school vandalized 3 times before school notifies parents

 

Shakespeare Heads Out On The Road Again

 

Granite District hosting career, technical education open house

 

Lehi school boundaries: Where will your child go to school?

 

Tooele School District to hold hearing on boundary changes

 

 


 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Ogden YMCA a true ‘community’ center

 

Civics test might challenge Utah lawmakers; bug sweep in the House

 

Business Leaders: Now is the Time to Invest in Both Education and Transportation

 

Flagged Bill: HB 93 – School District Amendments – Rep. Craig Hall

 

Why we cheer National School Choice Week

 

Why I’m considering home schooling for my kids

 

Flawed education tax

 

Anti-vaccine parents boost measles comeback State laws magnify the problem.

 

Let parents make informed choices

Inflexible mandates threaten the health of children.

 

Reducing Our Obscene Level of Child Poverty

 

When my student told me she hates Malala, it made me rethink how I teach

 

Choose to Refuse on PARCC/SBAC Testing

Bureaucrats and big business can’t make you let your kids take their exams.

 

Performance Assessments:

How State Policy Can Advance Assessments for 21st Century Learning

 

 


 

 

NATION

 

Senate appears unlikely to push for test-based teacher evaluations in revised law

 

Parents Confront Obstacles as School Choice Expands

 

U.S. Education: Still Separate and Unequal The data show schools are still separate and unequal.

 

Get Ready for Calculus in Third Grade, Kids To increase access to advanced math courses in high school, a suburban Maryland district is focusing on elementary school.

 

States Are Losing Power Over Classroom Materials, and Districts Are Gaining It

 

Differentiated Instruction: A Primer

 

As numbers of homeless kids rise, resources fall short

 

School reforms undermined by failure to track success or failure, says OECD Thinktank calls for more analysis of impact of global reforms and warns that some policies in English schools undermine equality

 

Tax Law Quirk Means Pot May Pay Off for Coloradans Literally

 

State ed board calls for McPherson to step down; he says he’s staying put

 

AP Analysis: Youth Concussion Laws Pushed by NFL Lack Bite

 

Opera strives to strike a chord with U.S. youth

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Lawmakers take first look at public education budget bill

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Lawmakers began working to determine budget appropriations for Utah’s public schools Tuesday, with a special focus on finding ways to improve financial efficiency.

Utah’s public education base budget bill is drafted at 100 percent of last year’s ongoing state revenues, including more than $2.7 billion for education.

But top lawmakers have temporarily reduced allocations to all appropriation subcommittees by 2 percent as part of a budget effectiveness review. The exercise, they say, will help legislators evaluate existing funding programs, stress-test the existing budget, and find areas of potential savings.

Even though the state is anticipating budget surpluses, lawmakers say the review will also help them understand what the impacts would be if revenues were to decline and cuts needed to be made.

For public education, the hypothetical cut would be about $55 million.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/2L1 (KSL)

 

 


 

 

 

Utah lawmaker: All school board elections should be partisan

 

Utah’s method of electing state school board members unraveled in September after a U.S. District Court judge ruled the process was unconstitutional.

In response, several lawmakers began drafting bills aimed at putting a new election system in place, largely split between partisan and nonpartisan proposals.

But a bill by freshman Sen. Alvin Jackson, R-Highland, would not only make state school board elections partisan, it would also extend the partisan system to boards for local school districts.

Jackson, who was selected by Utah County Republican delegates to replace outgoing Sen. John Valentine in November, said school board candidates should face the same party machinery as other candidates for public office.

“I feel like I was wire-brushed and thoroughly vetted,” he said. “Why don’t we do the same thing for the school board?”

Even before the ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups, school board elections were a contentious subject in Utah education politics.

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

 

 


 

 

Poll: Utahns Say Education, Job Development Most Important to State’s Future

 

Utahns say the most important long term issues for the state are education and job development.

Those are the results of a new UtahPolicy.com poll that asked what the most pressing issues were for Utah’s future. 88% said education was important to the state’s future, while 77% said job development. 55% told us transportation was important to the state’s future, 67% said healthcare reform, 62% said immigration policy and 69% said air quality.

68% of Utahns ranked education as “very important.” No other issue broke 50% on that response.

http://go.uen.org/2KE (UP)

 

 

 


 

 

Bill requiring citizenship test for Utah students approved by committee Legislature » Students would need to pass same test as immigrants.

 

Utah teenagers may want to start brushing up on their U.S. government trivia.

The Senate Education Committee unanimously approved a bill Tuesday that would require students to pass a civics test before graduating from high school.

If state lawmakers sign off on the idea, a student would need to earn a score of 60 percent or higher on a 100-question test given to people applying for citizenship in the United States.

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

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/2L3 (MUR)

 

http://go.uen.org/2Lr (KUER)

 

http://go.uen.org/2KT (NYT)

 

 


 

 

 

Bill would increase incentives for early high school graduation

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Lawmakers are hoping to increase the incentives and resources for students to graduate early from high school through Utah’s Centennial Scholarship program.

The program awards students who complete high school at or before the third quarter of their senior year. The earlier students graduate, the higher their scholarship amount becomes. Currently, the maximum scholarship amount is $1,000 for those who graduate during their junior year.

SB33 would double the current maximum amount to $2,000. The bill would also provide resources to inform parents and students, beginning in eighth grade, of classes to consider in preparing for college, as well as the options available in completing high school ahead of schedule.

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

 

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

 

 


 

 

Business community supports tax increases for schools, roads

 

SALT LAKE CITY — A group of Utah business leaders Tuesday said it’s time for lawmakers to invest in both education and transportation, even if that means increasing taxes.

But the group, which included Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Lane Beattie, as well as the heads of Prosperity 2020 and the Utah Transportation Coalition, did not offer specific recommendations for raising income taxes or gas taxes.

“The bottom line is we are simply asking them to look at all of the options on the table,” Beattie said during a news conference at the state Capitol. He said that could mean boosting one or both taxes.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/2L2 (KUER)

 

 


 

 

 

Language immersion teachers in short supply

 

It is no easy task getting dual immersion teachers for the Spanish, Chinese, or French programs for the 11 elementary schools in Davis School District, four elementary schools in Weber School District, and two elementary schools in Ogden School District with immersion programs.

It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there says Davis School District Elementary World Language Supervisor Rita Stevenson as immersion programs across the state vie for the few teachers who do graduate from local universities with majors in Spanish, French, or Chinese, or education graduates who are native speakers of those languages.

“It is nice when we can find them, but the biggest problem is that local universities are not producing enough teachers through the education program to fill our needs,” Stevenson said, so they find guest teachers from host countries through the state office of Education.

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

 

 


 

 

Word Art

Salem students interpret poetry into art for exhibit

 

SALEM — Cooperation and collaboration bring about appreciation. Mrs. Smithey’s English class wrote poetry and Ms. Shuler’s art class interpreted it through their art work. Now Salem City Library is displaying the results — 50 works of art and poetry for the public to enjoy.

Sophomores to seniors at Salem Hills High School learned more about each other and their talents as they brainstormed and helped one another understand their different mediums.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Sunrise Elementary showcases new leadership program

 

SMITHFIELD — Educators, administrators and community leaders from around the state came to visit Sunrise Elementary on Tuesday to learn how the school is implementing the Leader in Me program, which incorporates concepts from Stephen Covey’s book “7 Habits for Highly Effective People.”

http://go.uen.org/2L0 (LHJ)

 

 

 


 

 

Schools buy land in Bluff

 

The San Juan School District is purchasing 12.5 acres of ground on the highway west of Bluff as the possible site of a new school. The school board approved $501,500 to purchase the land at the January 20 meeting of the board.

The 12.5 acres of ground are in two parcels on the north side of Highway 191, about one half mile west of the Desert Rose Inn. The land will be purchased from the Simpson family and the Genie Shumway family. The price per acre is approximately $50,000 per acre. School officials state that $50,000 per acre is the going rate for land in the Bluff area.

http://go.uen.org/2Lm (San Juan Record)

 

 


 

 

Lone Peak High School employee tells student her semi-formal dress is inappropriate

 

AMERICAN FORK — An American Fork High School student was told Friday by a Lone Peak High School employee that she would have to cover her semi-formal dress to meet the school’s dress code.

Gabi Finlayson, 16, had bought the dress during winter holiday break in Paris specifically for the Lone Peak High School Preference Dance at the Thanksgiving Point Show Barn.

“She saw that one on the rack and said, ‘Mom, this is so beautiful, this is perfect,’ ” said her mother, Kristy Kimball.

The problem? The dress straps met the two-inch wide code, but there were no sleeves, said John Patten, Alpine School District spokesman.

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

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/2Lv (The Blaze)

 

http://go.uen.org/2Lw ([London] Daily Mail)

 

http://go.uen.org/2Lx (News.com.au)

 

 


 

 

 

Elementary school vandalized 3 times before school notifies parents

 

SARATOGA SPRINGS, Utah – A Saratoga Springs elementary school was broken into three times in the last month. The last two times the school, Sage Hills Elementary, was vandalized with a count down.

The break-ins started on January 5 with two in the last two-days. Police are looking for answers but parents are concerned about a threat.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Shakespeare Heads Out On The Road Again

 

The Utah Shakespeare Festival is taking to the road as it does every spring. It’s part of USF’s educational outreach to take a production to schools and rural town halls. This year’s production is Macbeth, and the tour began in Cedar City.

http://go.uen.org/2Lo (UPR)

 

 


 

 

Granite District hosting career, technical education open house

 

SOUTH SALT LAKE — The Granite School District’s Career and Technical Education staff will host an open house for students and their families to learn about courses available in the district.

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

 

 

 


 

 

Lehi school boundaries: Where will your child go to school?

 

LEHI — Alpine School District board members on Tuesday evening unanimously approved a boundary proposal for the new Lehi high school, thrilling some parents and disheartening others.

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

 

 


 

 

Tooele School District to hold hearing on boundary changes

 

TOOELE — The Tooele School District will hold a public hearing on proposed boundary changes for the 2015-16 school year.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Ogden YMCA a true ‘community’ center

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

 

The YMCA opened the Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Foundation YMCA Community Family Center this week with a ribbon-cutting and grand celebration.

The center on Ogden School District property just north of Lincoln Elementary is aptly named, even if it is a mouthful.

The 760,000 square-foot facility would not have been a reality without the generosity of the Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Foundation, which donated $200,000 to the project.

The Miller foundation wasn’t the only donor or organization behind the privately-funded project. George S. and Delores Eccles Foundation also contributed, while the school district and Ogden City helped make the project a reality.

In that way it is truly a “community” center.

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

 

 


 

 

Civics test might challenge Utah lawmakers; bug sweep in the House Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist PAUL ROLLY

 

Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, arguably the Legislature’s biggest meddler in public education, is pushing a bill that would require high school students to pass a civics test before they can graduate — even though they already have to pass a civics class to earn their diplomas.

A letter to The Salt Lake Tribune’s Public Forum by Michele Margetts Jan. 21 suggested that lawmakers themselves be required to pass the same test, and any legislator who fails should be forced to resign. A Public Forum letter Sunday by Leonard W. Burningham heartily agreed.

That reminded me of a Stephenson moment a few years ago, when he and new-House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, began their Red Meat Radio program, which at the time aired Saturday mornings on K-TALK.

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

 

 


 

 

Business Leaders: Now is the Time to Invest in Both Education and Transportation Utah Policy commentary by Salt Lake Chamber

 

Today, Utah’s business community called on the state legislature to seize the opportunity to make investing in Utah’s future economic success a priority.

Business leaders asked that the Legislature to make a landmark investment in both education and transportation. This call to action is outlined in the Salt Lake Chamber’s updated 2015 Public Policy Guide that was released to the public at a gathering of the Salt Lake Chamber’s executive committee and other key business and community leaders at the Utah State Capitol.

In “The Economic Imperative for Action,” business leaders outlined their support for policymakers to take action this session and focus on the following key principles:

  1. Education: Now more than ever, education is the surest path to economic success for an individual and the community. We must make a landmark ongoing investment in our future workforce by investing in education. We ignore clear education warning signs at our peril. We can invest now or pay a dear price later.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Flagged Bill: HB 93 – School District Amendments – Rep. Craig Hall Utah Political Capitol commentary by columnist Curtis Haring

 

In recent years, communities along the Wasatch Front have been torn apart by the Balkanization of school districts. Some opposed to splits have called supporters elitists, while supporters of such splits claim that large districts create unfair drains to communities. Meanwhile, others advocating for school district breakups simply claim that a school district that works best works when small and nimble. Regardless of where one falls on the issue of any particular school district split, one thing is clear; the process is very messy.

Over the past few legislative cycles, attempts have been made by lawmakers to help clean up and clarify the process to provide a more even playing field for all parties involved. In particular, efforts have been focused on school district size, the collection and reporting of facts, and the process of actually getting a request on the ballot. All of these efforts, it is felt, provides the citizenry with the information it needs to make an informed decision.

Currently, the only thing that could really stop a split (or theoretically a merging) of school district boundaries is if the proposal fails to get a majority of votes from citizens in the old and new district.

Representative Craig Hall (Republican – West Valley City) wants to add another condition to school district creation – money.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Why we cheer National School Choice Week Sutherland Institute commentary by Director of Public Policy Derek Monson

 

This week is National School Choice Week. School choice – the freedom of parents to move their child from a system of learning that is failing them to one that better meets their individual needs – has reaped many benefits for children and families across the state and the nation. This is especially true for parents and children living in poverty or in areas with failing public schools, whose need for the freedom to pursue other options is the greatest and where the potential benefit to society is the highest.

In honor of National School Choice Week, we recommend that you take a few minutes to browse the new Educational Freedom Wiki, just released by Cato Institute.

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

 

 


 

 

Why I’m considering home schooling for my kids (St. George) Spectrum op-ed by Arianne Brown, a mother of six

 

It’s 7 a.m. on a weekday morning. I get the kids up; they get dressed, eat breakfast and pack lunches so we can make it to school before the bell rings at 8 a.m., signaling another school day in the books.

There is one large part I left out — the part about the fight that takes place.

“Do I have to go to school?” they all will say in varied whining tones. “The kids are mean,” “My teacher is mean,” or “School is boring.”

It goes on and on — even into the car ride to school — with the last child leaving the car and looking at me with piercing eyes that say it all: “I don’t want to be here.”

I am then left to drive away having left my kids at a place that I know they need to be but feeling like the worst parent ever for having done so.

For the first time, after one particularly bad morning, I thought about the possibility of home-schooling my kids.

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

 

 


 

 

Flawed education tax

Deseret News letter from Paul Smith

 

  1. Scott Anderson’s arguments in favor of increasing Utah’s education tax are seriously flawed (“Taking Utah into Top 10,” Jan. 23). The column begins with the claim that, because Utah is rated somewhere less than the Top 10 in education quality, somehow that means today’s students “will be less well-educated than their parents.”

But this doesn’t necessarily follow if the educational standards and measurements today are higher than they were a generation ago — which they are. His concern that being the state that spends the least per student annually is what is keeping us out of the Top 10 educationally shows the widespread but mistaken belief — most recently debunked by Malcolm Gladwell — that money is any indicator of education quality.

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

 

 

 


 

 

Anti-vaccine parents boost measles comeback State laws magnify the problem.

USA Today editorial

 

The outbreak of measles that started at California’s Disneyland last month and spread to 10 other states demonstrates how misinformation, misguided celebrities and lax state laws can have tragic consequences.

In the 1960s, measles killed about 450 people a year and disabled many more. By 2000, it was virtually eliminated in the United States, thanks to almost universal use of an effective vaccine. But last year, the U.S. saw 644 cases of measles and now, less than a month into 2015, more than 70 cases have been linked to the Disneyland outbreak.

The numbers might sound small, but they are the outgrowth of a frightening trend, as more parents have fallen under the influence of an anti-vaccine movement. The movement has been fueled by irresponsible celebrities who’ve spread word of a British study, now thoroughly debunked, that suggested the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine might be linked to autism.

http://go.uen.org/2L5

 

 


 

 

 

Let parents make informed choices

Inflexible mandates threaten the health of children.

USA Today op-ed by MaryJo Perry, co-director of Mississippi Parents for Vaccine Rights

 

While vaccines are promoted as safe and effective, this is not true for everyone. Vaccine risks are different for each child because we are not all the same, and doctors cannot predict which child will be harmed. Inflexible vaccine mandates threaten the health of those children.

The federally recommended childhood vaccine schedule has exploded to 69 doses of 16 vaccines with hundreds of new vaccines in development. A baby today receives more vaccines by six months old than her mother did by high school graduation. Yet, there is incomplete testing of the safety of the current child vaccine schedule.

Why does our federal government protect vaccine manufacturers from product liability lawsuits? Vaccines are the only pharmaceutical products that enjoy government endorsement and indemnification. Since 1989, more than $3 billion has been paid to those injured by vaccines through the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program funded by taxpayers.

When citizens can’t hold corporations accountable in court for the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, it is very important to protect our legal right to vaccine exemptions.

http://go.uen.org/2L6

 

 


 

 

Reducing Our Obscene Level of Child Poverty New York Times commentary by columnist Charles M. Blow

 

I’m not someone who believes that poverty can ever truly be ended — I’m one of those “the poor will always be with you” types — but I do believe that the ranks of the poor can and must be shrunk and that the effects of poverty can and must be ameliorated.

And there is one area above all others where we should feel a moral obligation to reduce poverty as much as possible and to soften its bite: poverty among children.

People may disagree about the choices parents make — including premarital sex and out­of­wedlock births. People may disagree about access to methods of family planning — including contraception and abortion. People may disagree about the size and role of government — including the role of safety­net programs.

But surely we can all agree that no child, once born, should suffer through poverty. Surely we can all agree that working to end child poverty — or at least severely reduce it — is a moral obligation of a civilized society.

And yet, 14.7 million children in this country are poor, and 6.5 million of them are extremely poor (living below half the poverty line).

Today, the Children’s Defense Fund is releasing a report entitled “EndingChild Poverty Now” that calls this country’s rate of child poverty “a moral disgrace.”

As the report points out:

It points out many of the corrosive cruelties of childhood poverty: worse health and educational outcomes, impaired cognitive development and the effects of “toxic stress” on brain functions.

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

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/2KO (Children’s Defense Fund)

 

 

 


 

 

When my student told me she hates Malala, it made me rethink how I teach NewsHour commentary by ALISON WALTER, a middle school civics teacher in northern Virginia

 

“Oh, Malala Yousafzai? Tsk. I hate that girl.”

I stared at my student, my head filling with the panicky buzz that teachers get when a child says something socially unacceptable — What do I say now? Where is this attitude coming from? Thank goodness it’s after-school tutoring and the other kids aren’t in here …

Part of my disbelief came from the fact that, until that point, I would have compared this girl to Malala — they were both Pakistani, both very conscientious students, both concerned with what was happening in the world around them and both living in different countries in order to get the education that they and their families wanted. So, since no good response came to mind, I asked, “Why do you hate Malala?”

My student launched into a very long, very well-thought-out critique of how foreign governments treated Malala as a martyr, giving her benefits like a house and money while women from her village were suffering attacks by the Taliban as retribution.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Choose to Refuse on PARCC/SBAC Testing

Bureaucrats and big business can’t make you let your kids take their exams.

National Review commentary by Michelle Malkin, author of Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies

 

This is National School Choice Week, but I want to talk about parents’ school-testing choice. Moms and dads, you have the inherent right and responsibility to protect your children. You can choose to refuse the top-down Common Core racket of costly standardized tests of dubious academic value, reliability, and validity.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

I’m reminding you of your right to choose because the spring season of testing tyranny is about to hit the fan.

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

 

 


 

 

Performance Assessments:

How State Policy Can Advance Assessments for 21st Century Learning National Association of State Boards of Education analysis by Ace Parsi and Linda Darling-Hammond

 

Employers, postsecondary institutions, and civic leaders are urging greater focus on 21st century skills essential for college, career, and civic success: problem solving, interpersonal skills, and collaboration, among others. In response to these demands, states across the country are working to realign policies—on learning standards, assessments, and human capital strategies—to set a new course for their state education systems.

Many states are reconsidering their assessment strategies and asking whether existing assessments are designed to be the barometer, resource, and engine for learning necessary to support the new demands on students. To address gaps in existing assessments, many states are considering the role of performance assessments—assessments that require students to craft solutions to problems by constructing an answer, producing a product, or performing an activity rather than selecting from a list of multiple-choice answers—within their statewide assessment strategies. By requiring students to complete multifaceted tasks, these assessments can better support 21st century learning.

This report is intended to familiarize state boards of education with performance assessments and help state board members and other policymakers address some of the thorniest issues around these assessments: purpose, sustainability, reliability, accountability, policy alignment, equity, professional practice, and implementation. The report ends with a set of discussion questions so that each state can begin to analyze barriers and opportunities toward effective implementation of these assessments.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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Senate appears unlikely to push for test-based teacher evaluations in revised law Washington Post

 

The Senate continued its most serious effort to date to rewrite the education law known as No Child Left Behind with a hearing Tuesday that focused on improving the nation’s teachers.

Lawmakers from both parties indicated that they would not seek to continue the Obama administration’s push to link teacher evaluations and teacher pay to student test scores. Republicans said they don’t believe Washington should issue such directives to the states.

“Finding a way to fairly reward better teaching is the Holy Grail of K-12 education, but Washington will get the best long-term result by creating an environment in which states and communities are encouraged, not ordered, to evaluate teachers,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), who is leading the rewrite effort as chairman of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), the ranking Democrat on the committee, said she believes in evaluating teachers, but she said she was concerned about giving tests too much weight.

http://go.uen.org/2L4

 

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

 

 


 

 

 

Parents Confront Obstacles as School Choice Expands Education Week

 

In New Orleans, Denver, and the District of Columbia, it’s the season when families must choose schools for next fall.

But in those cities and others where traditional school boundaries are fluid and more charters and tuition-voucher programs have entered the mix of K-12 options, selecting a school is an increasingly complex endeavor.

Research shows that an abundance of school choice doesn’t guarantee access, and many parents in high-choice cities struggle to find adequate information, transportation, and, ultimately, the right school for their children.

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

 

 


 

 

 

U.S. Education: Still Separate and Unequal The data show schools are still separate and unequal.

U.S. News & World Report

 

The U.S. spends significantly more on education than other OECD countries. In 2010, the U.S. spent 39 percent more per full-time student for elementary and secondary education than the average for other countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Yet, more money spent doesn’t translate to better educational outcomes. In fact, American education is rife with problems, starting with the gaping differences between white students and students of color: More than 60 years after Brown vs. Board of Education, school systems in the United States are separate and unequal. By 2022, the number of Hispanic students in public elementary and secondary schools is projected to grow 33 percent from the 2011 numbers. The number of multi-racial students is expected to grow 44 percent.

As the percentage of white students in our education shrinks and the percentage of students of color grow, the U.S. will be left with an education system that doesn’t serve the majority of its children properly; the gaps in education will prove especially problematic.

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

 

 


 

 

Get Ready for Calculus in Third Grade, Kids To increase access to advanced math courses in high school, a suburban Maryland district is focusing on elementary school.

National Journal

 

In suburban Howard County, Maryland, lots of students take calculus in high school. Or at least, lots of white and Asian students do. In 2011, African-American and Hispanic students made up about 30 percent of the public school district’s enrollment but only about 11.3 percent of calculus students, according to the U.S. Education Department.

Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) Superintendent Renee Foose recently asked Harvard’s Center for Education Policy Research to investigate the disparity. The researchers tracked student test scores and course choices from senior year all the way back to elementary school.

“There’s a remarkable finding here, which is that actually the achievement gap in Howard County, with regard to math, doesn’t seem to grow over time,” says Christopher Avery, lead author of the unpublished study. The district seems to be doing a good job enrolling strong math students in tough math courses.

But although the gap doesn’t grow, it’s persistent. And it emerges when children are young. “Success in the high school classes–the more advanced ones–actually has its roots in the third and fourth grade,” Avery says.

Math experts disagree on whether calculus, usually a college course, should be taught in high school.

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

 

 


 

 

 

States Are Losing Power Over Classroom Materials, and Districts Are Gaining It Education Week

 

State control over curriculum materials is slowly shifting to districts.

According to the Association of American Publishers, which tracks textbook-adoption laws and practices, only 18 states have laws or regulations that cast them in the role of approving districts’ choices of instructional material. Typically, the way such a system works is that a state issues a list of approved materials, and districts must choose from those materials if they wish to use state funding to pay for them.

Only a few years ago, about half of the states were “adoption states.” Now that number has slipped to 18, according to Jay Diskey, the executive director of the AAP’s school division. Those states are: Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, and West Virginia.

Even some of the 18, he said, don’t really “act like adoption states” though they still have the rules on their books.

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

 

 


 

 

Differentiated Instruction: A Primer

Education Week

 

How can a teacher keep a reading class of 25 on the same page when four students have dyslexia, three students are learning English as a second language, two others read three grade levels ahead, and the rest have widely disparate interests and degrees of enthusiasm about reading?

“Differentiated instruction”—the process of identifying students’ individual learning strengths, needs, and interests and adapting lessons to match them—has become a popular approach to helping diverse students learn together. But the field of education is filled with varied and often conflicting definitions of what the practice looks like, and critics argue it requires too much training and additional work for teachers to be implemented consistently and effectively.

Differentiated instruction: the process of identifying students’ individual learning strengths, needs, and interests and adapting lessons to match them

Differentiation has much in common with many other instructional models: It has been compared to response-to-intervention models, as teachers vary their approach to the same material with different students in the same classroom; data-driven instruction, as individual students are frequently assessed or otherwise monitored, with instruction tweaked in response; and scaffolding, as assignments are intended to be structured to help students of different ability and interest levels meet the same goals.

Federal education laws and regulations do not generally set out requirements for how schools and teachers should “differentiate” instruction. However, in its 2010 National Education Technology Plan, the U.S. Department of Education lays out a framework that places differentiated teaching under the larger umbrella of “personalized learning,” instruction tailored to students’ individual learning needs, preferences, and interests.

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

 

 


 

 

 

As numbers of homeless kids rise, resources fall short Marketplace

 

On Katie Jeffery’s seventeenth birthday, her mom kicked her out of the house—She then spent four months living on the streets of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Jeffery stayed in hotels, friends’ places, cars, even a shed for a couple of weeks. All the while, she worked to finish up her final year of high school.

“Worst part is, nobody really noticed that I was homeless,” Jeffery says. “Because I showed up every day to school and did what I had to do.”

The number of students experiencing homelessness in the U.S. has increased 85 percent since before the recession, according to Department of Education data. But the resources available to help them have remained flat.

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

 

 


 

 

School reforms undermined by failure to track success or failure, says OECD Thinktank calls for more analysis of impact of global reforms and warns that some policies in English schools undermine equality

(Manchester) Guardian

 

Well-intentioned education reforms around the world are being undermined because of a lack of proper assessment and analysis of their impact on outcomes for pupils, according to a leading economic thinktank.

Research by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has found that despite the global financial crisis, spending on education around the world has gone up, but there is considerable variation in how the money is spent and the outcomes it produces.

And in a separate report published on Monday, the OECD says that almost one in six 25-34-year-olds across OECD countries does not have the skills considered essential to function in today’s society, a situation which has not improved for more than a decade.

While many countries have introduced widespread reforms aimed at supporting disadvantaged children, investing in teachers and improving vocational training, the OECD says just one in 10 of the 450 different reforms put in place by governments between 2008 and 2014 were evaluated for their impact.

“Too many education reforms are failing to measure success or failure in the classroom,” said Andreas Schleicher, OECD director for education and skills, at the launch of the report at the Education World Forum in London. “While it is encouraging to see a greater focus on outcomes, rather than simply increasing spending, it’s crucial that reforms are given the time to work and their impact is analysed.

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

 

Copies of the reports

Education Policy Outlook 2015: Making Reforms Happen: http://go.uen.org/2KR (OECD) Update of Employment and Education Attainment indicators: http://go.uen.org/2KS (OECD)

 

 


 

 

 

Tax Law Quirk Means Pot May Pay Off for Coloradans Literally Associated Press

 

DENVER — Colorado’s marijuana experiment was designed to raise revenue for the state and its schools, but a state law may put some of the tax money directly into residents’ pockets, causing quite a headache for lawmakers.

The state constitution limits how much tax money the state can take in before it has to give some back. That means Coloradans may each get their own cut of the $50 million in recreational pot taxes collected in the first year of legal weed. It’s a situation so bizarre that it’s gotten Republicans and Democrats, for once, to agree on a tax issue.

Even some pot shoppers are surprised Colorado may not keep the taxes that were promised to go toward school construction when voters legalized marijuana in 2012.

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

 

 


 

 

 

State ed board calls for McPherson to step down; he says he’s staying put Omaha (NE) World-Herald

 

LINCOLN — Pat McPherson won’t resign his State Board of Education seat, he announced at a tense meeting today.

His statement came before the full board approved, on a 6-2 vote, a resolution calling on him to step down because of bigoted statements posted on a blog he ran and co-edited.

McPherson and Glen Flint, of Springfield, voted against the resolution.

In the statement, McPherson repeated his assertion that he’s not a racist, blaming much of the controversy on “political interests” who opposed him in last year’s election — a reference to the Nebraska state teachers union and the Nebraska Democratic Party.

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

 

 


 

 

AP Analysis: Youth Concussion Laws Pushed by NFL Lack Bite Associated Press

 

PHOENIX — Criticized for its own handling of head injuries, the NFL launched an extensive lobbying campaign to pass laws protecting kids who get concussions while playing sports. The result: Within just five years, every state had a law on the books.

But are the laws strong enough?

An Associated Press analysis of the 51 youth concussion laws – one in each state and the District of Columbia – found that fewer than half contain all of the key principles in the initial bill passed in Washington state in 2009. That measure mandated education for coaches about concussion symptoms, removal from a game if a head injury is suspected, written clearance to return, and a concussion information form signed by parents and players.

About a third of the laws make no specific reference to which ages or grades are covered. Even fewer explicitly apply to both interscholastic sports and rec leagues such as Pop Warner or Little League. Certain laws make clear they cover public and private schools, others only refer to public schools, while some don’t say at all. Almost all lack consequences for schools or leagues that don’t comply.

http://go.uen.org/2L9

 

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

 

 


 

 

 

Opera strives to strike a chord with U.S. youth Reuters

 

CHICAGO – In a public high school in a working-class neighborhood of Chicago, opera singer Eric Owens recently talked with a music class about stage fright, proper breathing and making words matter.

“It’s got to be like it’s coming out of your toes,” said the bass-baritone, as he coached the occasionally giggly but attentive freshmen through an early 17th-century Italian madrigal. “Like you’re saying it for the first time.”

Many teens are learning about opera for the first time thanks to one of many national outreach programs aimed at turning kids on to an old art form and injecting an aging, shrinking fan base with new life.

The news for U.S. opera has been gloomy in recent years with big opera companies like the New York City Opera and the Baltimore Opera Company shutting down. Nationally just 2.1 percent of Americans saw an opera in 2012, down from 3.2 percent in 2002, according to the National Endowment for the Arts.

The generational news is worse. Among those under the age of 25, just 1.8 percent saw an opera in 2012 compared to 3.3 percent for those aged 65-74.

http://go.uen.org/2L7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 28:

House Education Committee meeting

2 p.m., 30 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/agenda/HEDU0128.ag.htm

 

Governor’s State of the State Address

6:30 p.m., House Chambers

http://www.utah.gov/governor/news_media/article.html?article=10745

 

 

January 29:

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting

8 a.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2015/html/00000488.htm

 

Utah State Board of Education meeting

Noon, 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee meeting

2 p.m., 250 Senate Building

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/agenda/SREV0129.ag.htm

 

 

January 30:

Senate Education Committee meeting

2 p.m., 210 Senate Building

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2015&Com=SSTEDU

 

 

February 12:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

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