Education News Roundup: Feb. 23, 2015

Stack of BillsEducation News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

Bill that could eventually make the Utah State Board of Education an appointed positions moves forward in the Senate.

http://go.uen.org/2Z4 (SLT)

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

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

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

and http://go.uen.org/2ZF (UPC)

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

 

D-News looks at the partisan vs. nonpartisan state board issue.

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

 

Bill that would divvy students into a college or non-college track in math advances.

http://go.uen.org/2Z3 (DN)

and http://go.uen.org/2ZD (UPC)

 

Sens. Stephenson and Osmond call for a halt in SAGE testing.

http://go.uen.org/303 (SLT)

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

and http://go.uen.org/2Z5 (UP)

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

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

or a copy of the news release

http://go.uen.org/2ZV (Senate Site)

 

Citizenship test bill passes House Education Committee.

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

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

and http://go.uen.org/307 (SGS)

and http://go.uen.org/2ZO (KSTU)

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Committee OKs bid to amend Utah constitution, appoint school board members

 

Should Utah have a partisan State School Board?

 

Utah students could face additional math requirements to be college-ready

 

Senators call for an end to SAGE testing in Utah schools

 

House panel approves bill to require citizenship test for high school degree

 

Gov. has school-spending trouble

 

Stephenson Calls Clean School Bus Bill a Bailout, Stalls Legislation

 

Utah House Approves $50 Tax Credit for Teachers Who Buy Classroom Supplies

 

Utah has moral, economic imperatives to address intergenerational poverty, lawmakers told

 

Forest Service supervisor speaks out on public lands transfer

 

Utah’s ‘Cowboy Caucus’ powerful voice for rural concerns

 

State dog bill advances — barely

 

Education key to eradicating poverty in Utah, report says

 

Latinos in Utah

 

Logan High School drug data faulty, but drug-testing plan still on table

 

Civil Air Patrol inspires teachers to ‘take flight’ in STEM subject education

 

Roy High hopes ‘wake-up calls’ will increase attendance

 

Ogden soccer logo vote leads to angry outburst

 

Mosh pit cuts Layton High School dance short

 

Could private investors help fund area pre-K classrooms?

 

Murray students unite to elect deserving royalty

 

Davis teacher with mentoring flair wins national award

 

Taylorsville High School student named ‘2015 Utah Youth of the Year’

 

Business immersion for inner-city Ogden students

 

Students drum up talent at Ogden competition

 

Granite students cook in culinary competition

 

 


 

 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Lawmakers are looking to leave education in shambles

 

State education elections should be non-partisan

 

The People Want Non-Partisan School Boards

 

Legislature has task to make school board elections constitutional

 

Do not reduce education to mere data transfer

 

Public schools shouldering the burden of tax cuts…

 

Micromanaging lawmakers should live what they say

 

Public lands too fragile for Utah control

 

Weigh in on LHS issues

 

Don’t Give Up the Gains in Education

 

Positive School Reform: Reimagining ESEA

 

 


 

 

NATION

 

Vaccinations Are States’ Call

 

Anti-vaccine Mothers Discuss their Thinking Amid Backlash

 

First Lady: Education is Most Important Civil Rights Issue

 

State not joining revolt against Common Core learning model

Despite backlash in other states over new learning standards known as the Common Core, little serious opposition has surfaced in Washington.

 

L.A. Unified says it can’t afford ‘computer for all’ plan

 

When Pot Goes From Illegal To Recreational, Schools Face A Dilemma

 

Students in Struggling Schools More Likely to Attend, But Misbehave, Study Finds

 

If Your Teacher Likes You, You Might Get A Better Grade

 

Final frontier for school nutrition: Bake sales

 

Isis opens two English-language schools targeting children of foreign fighters as British terror police travel to Turkey

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Committee OKs bid to amend Utah constitution, appoint school board members

 

Voters may get a chance to weigh in on Utah’s process for selecting state school board members.

A proposed constitutional amendment received committee approval on Friday and would place the question of state school board elections before voters in 2016.

But if the proposal receives the necessary two-thirds vote of the House and Senate, Utahns would not have a chance to select nonpartisan board elections, which a recent poll shows is the preferred option among voters.

Instead, voters would be asked to choose between partisan elections for the state school board or foregoing elections entirely for a board that is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate.

“If the people vote ‘yes’ then we move to an appointed board,” Sen. Ann Millner, R-Ogden, said.

http://go.uen.org/2Z4 (SLT)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/2ZF (UPC)

 

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

 

 


 

 

 

Should Utah have a partisan State School Board?

 

SALT LAKE CITY — With the 2015 legislative session past its half way mark, Utah lawmakers are getting closer to bringing the long-debated election system for the Utah State Board of Education out of limbo.

Currently, the Legislature is considering five bills and two joint resolutions that pose unique options for the state’s top governing body for public education. Each holds ground in a fundamental debate for lawmakers: What system of selection would make State School Board members most accountable?

“It really comes down to that — what’s the best way to vet candidates and make sure they’re good solid candidates,” said David Crandall, chairman of the State School Board. “That’s really the bottom line.”

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

 

 


 

 

Utah students could face additional math requirements to be college-ready

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah students may have to fulfill additional math requirements to be considered college- and career-ready.

Lawmakers hope a new initiative will boost concurrent enrollment rates and reduce the number of students having to take remedial math coursework once they enter college.

SB196, which unanimously passed the Senate Education Committee on Friday, designates several pathways that students can take to demonstrate quantitative literacy while in high school.

Students who plan to attend college will have to show math competency at a college-entry level through an assessment, such as an advanced placement test, an international baccalaureate exam, a college placement exam or the ACT.

The student could also demonstrate adequate proficiency by earning a C grade or better on a concurrent enrollment math course. Students could even complete their general education college math requirements while in high school.

Students who do not plan to attend college after high school would be required to obtain a career and technology education certificate, showing adequate math skills for their chosen field.

http://go.uen.org/2Z3 (DN)

 

http://go.uen.org/2ZD (UPC)

 

 


 

 

 

Senators call for an end to SAGE testing in Utah schools

 

Utah’s new testing system is just a year old, but at least one state lawmaker is ready to throw it out.

The failures of the test, according to Draper Republican Sen. Howard Stephenson, constitute “child abuse” and “educational malpractice.”

Over the weekend, Stephenson called for an end to SAGE testing on his weekly “Red Meat Radio” program. He repeated that call again Monday on Utah’s Capitol Hill.

“The current SAGE test must be suspended immediately,” he said. “Our children are basically being used as beta testers for a test that is not ready for primetime.”

SAGE, an acronym for the Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence, is a computer-based test that adapts to the ability level of individual children.

At the insistence of Utah lawmakers, including Stephenson, state education managers spent roughly $40 million and several years developing a Utah-specific test, which was taken by students for the first time last spring.

http://go.uen.org/303 (SLT)

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/2Z5 (UP)

 

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

 

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

 

A copy of the news release

http://go.uen.org/2ZV (Senate Site)

 

 


 

 

 

House panel approves bill to require citizenship test for high school degree

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Five years ago, Gillian Both had to take a civics test to become a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Her daughter, Rebecca, helped her study and they both passed, said Gillian’s husband, Bill Both.

With Rebecca by his side, Bill Both urged lawmakers Monday to pass a bill that would require students to pass the same test before graduating high school.

“I find it troubling that an immigrant, within 20 or 30 minutes of studying, knows more about how our government works than people who have been through 12 years of (American) school,” he said.

“It’s just what we need to know,” said Rebecca Both, now 16 and a junior at Cyprus High School. “It’s basic knowledge.”

The committee later approved the bill 11-0, recommending it for further debate on the House floor.

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

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/307 (SGS)

 

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

 

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

 

 


 

 

 

Gov. has school-spending trouble

 

Governor Gary Herbert’s plan for a big money increase for Utah schools is in trouble at the legislature.

Democrats support his plan, but trouble comes from the governor’s fellow Republicans.

“We can afford to give schools $500 million in new money,” the governor said in his state of the state speech at the start of the session.

That would raise education spending more than six percent, which the governor says is the biggest increase in 25 years.

But this week lawmakers passed a base budget that actually cut school spending $60 million.

Lawmakers have already restored the cuts.  They say the base budget cuts all spending, in an effort to find more efficient ways to spend state dollars.

But legislators and the governor remain far apart.

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

 

 


 

 

Stephenson Calls Clean School Bus Bill a Bailout, Stalls Legislation

 

Legislation that would replace older school buses with environmentally friendly buses was stalled by the Senate Education Committee Friday amid concerns from a lawmaker.

Under HB 49 – Clean Fuel School Buses and Infrastructure, which is sponsored by Representative Steve Handy (Republican – Layton), is designed to allow the State Board of Education to award grants to school districts or charter schools to replace fuel-inefficient school buses that were manufactured prior to 2002 with new buses that are equipped with “clean” diesel fuel.

http://go.uen.org/2ZE (UPC)

 

 


 

 

 

Utah House Approves $50 Tax Credit for Teachers Who Buy Classroom Supplies

 

The Utah House of Representatives voted Monday to give a $50 tax credit to public school teachers who use their own money to buy classroom supplies. The small gesture sparked a large debate about education resources.

Republican Steve Eliason of Sandy says House Bill 207 started with a parent teacher conference. When the representative learned how much money the teacher was spending out of pocket in his child’s classroom, he wanted to do something about it.  The bill provides a $50 tax credit to teachers, an amount Eliason admits is not adequate.

http://go.uen.org/305 (KUER)

 

 


 

 

Utah has moral, economic imperatives to address intergenerational poverty, lawmakers told

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s war on intergenerational poverty has boots on the ground, state lawmakers were told Friday.

In Ogden, “family success coaches” are working to move 33 families experiencing intergenerational poverty into lives of stability and self-reliance in a pilot program called Next Generation Kids.

Caseworkers from the Department of Workforce Services and the Division of Child and Family Services, who are serving the same families, are working with the Ogden School District to come up with ways to improve Next Generation Kids participants’ academic performance and school attendance. The program also leverages other community resources.

Tracy Gruber, senior adviser to the intergenerational poverty initiative, told members of the Utah Legislature’s House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee that the Department of Workforce Services has plans to expand the program to sites in Salt Lake County.

But scaling the program presents challenges, Gruber said.

More than 52,000 Utah children live in intergenerational poverty in Utah, according to third-annual report on Intergenerational Poverty, Welfare Dependency and the Use of Public Assistance.

http://go.uen.org/2Z7 (DN)

 

 


 

 

 

Forest Service supervisor speaks out on public lands transfer

 

SALT LAKE CITY — The head of the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest headquartered in Utah’s capital city is taking the state’s takeover bid on federal public lands seriously and says it is a wakeup call for better public engagement.

“We as a federal agency, the forest service, need to figure out how to better involve people,” said Forest Service supervisor Dave Whittekiend. “Whether we think we are involving them or not, if they feel like they are not involved, that is their reality.”

Whittekiend is in charge of a forest that covers nearly 2.2 million acres in northern Utah and southwest Wyoming that is ranked as one of the most visited forests in the country, pulling in nine million visitors a year — more than the state’s five national parks combined.

In his post since June of 2012, Whittekiend said he has made it a priority to make his agency more responsive, adding that the state’s passage of the Transfer of Public Lands Act that same year demonstrates why it is so critical.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Utah’s ‘Cowboy Caucus’ powerful voice for rural concerns

 

SALT LAKE CITY —Every Friday at 7 a.m. during the Utah General Legislative Session, the rural caucus, often referred to as the “Cowboy Caucus,” meets to discuss potential legislation that will affect rural Utah. Popular topics revolve around land management, environmental issues, natural resources, water, energy, road access, agriculture and education.

“It’s a good opportunity to flesh out issues,” said Rep. Mike Noel, R-Kanab. “It’s an opportunity to vet bills, vet issues.”

After a quick breakfast sponsored by various associations with rural interests, the legislators, lobbyists, and any other interested members of the public, convene to begin discussion. Following an agenda, topics are brought up, legislators and members of the public discuss the topics, and then questions are asked.

When the caucus started around 20 years ago, there were very few members. “It was called the ‘Cowboy Caucus’ because it was just a bunch of cowboys gathering together to talk about rural issues,” said Okerlund, who attended the caucus as a commissioner prior to becoming a state senator. Since then, it has grown considerably. Today, the rural caucus has about 30 members from both the House and the Senate. The caucus is also highly attended by other interested parties including educators, superintendents, department heads, and commissioners to name a few.

http://go.uen.org/2ZA (Capital West News)

 

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

 

 


 

 

State dog bill advances — barely

 

With no doggone votes to spare, the Senate gave preliminary approval Monday to SB53 to declare the golden retriever as the official “state domestic animal.”

Senators endorsed the proposal 15-9 in a preliminary vote, with five members absent. That is the minimum number of votes needed. A final vote is expected later this week.

Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, explained that a fourth grade class at South Jordan’s Daybreak Elementary came up with the idea, after seeing that a fourth grade class from Monroe managed to change the state tree last year.

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

 

 


 

 

Education key to eradicating poverty in Utah, report says

 

SALT LAKE CITY — By many measures, Utah’s economy rebounded well from the Great Recession.

But a new report by Community Action Partnership of Utah indicates that not all Utahns share in the bounty of low unemployment, job growth and Utah’s bustling, diverse economy.

The state’s poverty rate declined only slightly since the end of the recession, dropping less than 1 percent among adults between 2009 and 2013, the report says. Nearly 15 percent of the state’s children live in poverty, as do 7 percent of seniors ages 65 and older.

“While families are relying less on public assistance programs such as food stamps and cash assistance, many are unable to gain long-lasting financial security and remain deeply in debt or lack the savings needed to weather a financial crisis,” the report says.

“Growing income inequality is a burgeoning threat to the hope of financial stability for thousands in poverty.”

http://go.uen.org/2Z8 (DN)

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/2Z9 (Community Action Partnership of Utah)

 

 


 

 

 

Latinos in Utah

 

Monday, we’re talking about history and change in Utah’s Latino community. There is a long presence of Mexican-Americans in the region: this was Mexico when the pioneers came into the valley after all. But the economic boom of the 1990s brought many immigrants into the state, and with it a diversity of people from Central and South America. As part of the Hinckley Institute of Politics’ Siciliano Forum on US-Latin American Relations, we’re asking what those changes mean for the Latino community and for Utah.

http://go.uen.org/2ZS (KUER RadioWest) (audio)

 

 


 

 

Logan High School drug data faulty, but drug-testing plan still on table

 

Logan police say the numbers they recently provided to the Logan School District about drug incidents at Logan High School are incorrect, but district officials are still committed to moving ahead with a drug testing policy.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Civil Air Patrol inspires teachers to ‘take flight’ in STEM subject education

 

PROVO — Teaching grade-school children about STEM subjects can present its own challenges, but actually engaging children can be a whole different ball game.

To help teachers further engage their students in science, technology, engineering and math, the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) hosted a teacher orientation program, or TOP Flight, on Saturday afternoon at the Provo Airport. K-12 teachers received a hands-on experience in aerospace technology as they learned about the science of flight, experienced a flight simulator, toured a control tower, and even flew in a Cessna airplane over Utah Valley.

“The flight itself is to provide an experience for the educator that they can take back and share with their students,” said Tim Cole, the Utah Wing Director of aerospace education for CAP.

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

 

 

 


 

 

Roy High hopes ‘wake-up calls’ will increase attendance

 

ROY — Chemistry took a backseat to the couch most mornings for Roy High School student Braxton Vickery. He rarely made it to class — until the day school administrators rousted him out of bed and pull the blankets right off him.

“The last thing I expected was teachers at my door,” Vickery said.

Home visits are just one strategy Roy High educators are using to get more students in class and graduating.

Utah’s goal is a 90 percent high school graduation rate. At Roy High, 74 percent of students graduate. That means one student in four is dropping out.

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

 

 


 

 

Ogden soccer logo vote leads to angry outburst

 

OGDEN — During a work session prior to their regular meeting, members of Ogden’s school board expressed surprise that no one had signed up to speak during the “public participation” portion of the agenda. They weren’t the only ones surprised that no one was speaking — and it led to an angry outburst.

The board meeting Thursday included a public hearing on authorizing the issuance and sale of lease revenue bonds of up to $25 million. No one spoke against it, so the motion passed unanimously. No one had signed up to speak during public participation time, so the controversial motion to remove Ogden High School’s football program from 4-A play and create an independent schedule also passed without audience comment.

It was the selection of a logo that brought heated words, because no one was allowed to speak immediately prior to the vote.

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

 

 


 

 

Mosh pit cuts Layton High School dance short

 

LAYTON – Students from Layton High School attending the girls-choice Sweethearts Dance got an unexpected shock when the music was cut off mid-song and the party cut short when a mosh pit got out of control despite numerous warnings to be safe.

The dance was Saturday night at the Salt Lake City Library.

According to school officials, the DJ stopped the music numerous times and warned the students they needed to settle down and be safe. But as the behavior continued, school administration attending the dance pulled the plug.

Principal Ryck Astle said in the 28 years he has been attending Layton High School dances this is the first time the school has ended the event so suddenly, reportedly at 9:25 p.m. The dance began at 7 p.m. and was scheduled to conclude at 10 p.m.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Could private investors help fund area pre-K classrooms?

 

Albemarle County has a preschool problem.

Bright Stars — Albemarle’s pre-K program for at-risk youth — has seen its waiting list grow to about 90 in the last two years. What’s more, schools and social services officials say many eligible families don’t bother applying because of the relatively small chance of being selected, and they estimate the true number of at-risk 4-year-olds in the county to be about 230.

As educators across the nation point to a lack of early childhood education as one of the major factors contributing to the so-called achievement gap — the difference between high- and low-performing groups of students — Albemarle is seeing a rising demand for pre-K services among the children who are most likely to arrive at school unprepared for kindergarten.

Elected officials in both the school division and local government say they support Bright Stars, but that they lack the funds and space in the schools to expand the initiative.

http://go.uen.org/306 (Charlottesville [VA] Tomorrow)

 

 


 

 

Murray students unite to elect deserving royalty

 

Murray High School held its prom Saturday night and for some students it will be a night they will never forget.

The dance, which was held at the Utah State Capitol, had the usual pomp and circumstance.

Hundreds of couples danced the night away dressed in their formal attire.

For special needs students Jebbesh Karmara and Dustin Johnson the night was even more special, since they were crowned prom king and queen by their peers.

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

 

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

 

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

 

 


 

 

Davis teacher with mentoring flair wins national award

 

NORTH SALT LAKE — Foxboro Elementary fifth-grade teacher Allison Riddle was selected as one of five recipients in the nation to receive the 2015 Horace Mann Award for Teaching Excellence at the Salute to Excellence in Education Gala in Washington, D.C. recently

Riddle was nominated by the National Education Association and joined 38 other state nominees at the event. Though it was a grueling application process once she was nominated, Riddle was honored to learn all of the nominees were invited to participate in a global fellowship, learning how to globalize their classrooms.

“We are so focused on just our kids and what we teach, forgetting there are other things you can bring in, beyond things like flags, festivals, and religions. It’s teaching kids more about what the differences are in cultures such as values and why some cultures don’t shake hands or give eye contact,” Riddle said.

The fellowship culminates in a trip to Peru in June to study the Peruvian educational system.

Riddle was previously named Davis School District’s Teacher of the Year in 2012-13 and went on to become the 2014 Utah Teacher of the Year.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Taylorsville High School student named ‘2015 Utah Youth of the Year’

 

MURRAY — Taylorsville High School senior Emily Carvajal was named the 2015 Utah Youth of the Year by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Wednesday.

Lt. Governor Spencer Cox presented the award at the Utah State Capitol. The award is the “highest award given to a member of Boys & Girls Clubs, recognizing them for sound character, leadership skills and community service,” according to a news release.

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

 

 


 

 

Business immersion for inner-city Ogden students

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Bills got paid, goods were purchased and with minimal stress everything was operational at Junior Achievement City at the Discovery Gateway. The cool part of the Friday event? It was all done by fifth-graders from Ogden’s James Madison Elementary.

It was the culmination of five weeks of work by students and teachers as students learned the ins and outs of various jobs, how much money they could make and how to budget and spend money. Students learned what jobs they would like to do, and applied and interviewed for the jobs. Upon arrival at JA City Friday morning they received plastic debit cards and checks and as they worked they earned two paychecks and had two breaks to spend their money on various items in stores like RC Willey, Smith’s and Maverik.

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

 

 


 

 

Students drum up talent at Ogden competition

 

OGDEN – The sounds of percussion could be heard for blocks around Ogden High on Saturday afternoon as the school hosted one of the first percussion competitions of the season. The changing weather didn’t slow the students down, either.

This is the first time an Ogden-area school has hosted the competition. Drummers, dancers and other musicians from 15 schools competed in the first of many weekly competitions that lead up to the state championships to be held in mid-April at Weber State University.

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

 

 


 

 

Granite students cook in culinary competition

 

Dozens of elementary students from schools throughout Granite School District prepared their favorite recipes on Friday in the 2015 Future Chefs competition.

The annual nationwide challenge invites fourth-grade students to develop their own kid-friendly recipes and become actively involved in making good nutritional choices. Last year’s competition featured a Healthy Sandwich Challenge.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Lawmakers are looking to leave education in shambles

Deseret News commentary by columnist John Florez

 

A $6.5 million annual Utah student assessment may be dumped without any evaluation. That’s what some legislators proposed last Tuesday, after having launched it two years ago and touted it as the next generation of student performance testing.

Some legislators want to trash the Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence (SAGE) because they have received complaints about the test, and that the state was selling the test to other states, and that could let the feds get involved with Utah education. That prompted the chairman of the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee, Sen. Howard Stephenson, to say there will be legislation to form a task force to look at doing away with the SAGE test. The test had been piloted for seven years and in place for only two years, and there has been no in-depth evaluation of the merits of the test.

But that shouldn’t be surprising because of what appears to be a legislative preoccupation with acting as the “super” State Board of Education and an obsession about accountability. By doing so, they have left public education in shambles and appear to show a lack of concern about children having an education that will help them succeed in an ever-changing world. They seem to ignore the state constitution that gives the Utah State Board of Education responsibility for “control and supervision” over public education. Each legislative session they pass more bills that only look like they are decimating public education even more.

http://go.uen.org/2Z6

 

 


 

 

 

State education elections should be non-partisan

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner op-ed by REP. BRAD DEE

 

At the time of statehood, our state outlined a unique management approach to public education governance. The State Constitution directs the Legislature to provide for and maintain a system of public education, but places the responsibility for the day-to-day management of public education with the State Board of Education. Like so many things, the reason this particular system was created is a matter of compromise. There was some concern expressed by the federal government that the territorial governor, Brigham Young, would exercise too much influence in public education and in the interest of keeping church and state separate, this system was devised.

The State Board of Education is an elected body, though the method and means of how that election is conducted has varied over the decades. For the past several years, the system has involved a nominating committee that made candidate referrals to the governor. Then the governor selected two candidates from the referrals to place on the General Election ballot. This election system was created out of a compromise over a decade ago, but this system has not proven to be the perfect balance. In September of 2014, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups ruled that the state’s multi-tiered nominating and vetting process for candidates violated constitutional guarantees of free speech and directed the Legislature to devise a new system.

Since we now have a court directive on the table to draft a new system for the State Board of Education, a lot of ideas have been placed on the table.

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

 

 


 

 

 

The People Want Non-Partisan School Boards

Utah Policy op-ed by former Utah State Board of Education Member Kim Burningham

 

To my way of thinking, the issue is all about power!

Those who desire partisan elections of school boards (state and/or local) want politicians to have the power. Those seeking a governor appointed state board want the Governor to have the power. Those who want school board elections to remain non-partisan elections believe the power is best reserved to the people!

I clearly favor the latter. Citizens, without partisan control, should select school board members.

Because a recent court decision has wisely declared our current, highly manipulated state school board selection system unconstitutional, it must be replaced.

The issue demands our attention this week. Proposals of all sorts are circulating in the Utah State Legislature.

http://go.uen.org/304

 

 


 

 

Legislature has task to make school board elections constitutional

Deseret News op-ed by Daniel Staker, a local attorney

 

At the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, King George III asked artist Benjamin West what would become of General Washington. West answered, “They say he will return to his farm.” The king responded, “If he does that, he will be the greatest man in the world.”

Washington is still revered because he was given power to perform a sacred task — the deliverance of a nation — yet after he had “not only grown gray but almost blind in the service of [his] country,” he humbly returned the power to its rightful owners: the public.

Utah’s Legislature has an opportunity before it to display such strength of character. It has been entrusted with the task of making our state school board elections constitutional, and it faces a tough choice: whether to consolidate power within the parties or to return it to the people. Not only would our Legislature be wise to look to Washington’s example, but to his words.

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

 

 


 

 

Do not reduce education to mere data transfer

Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Don Gale, a longtime fan of computers, books, education, newspapers and wisdom

 

Not long ago, I attended a lecture by someone I respect. He is a pioneer in the world of computers. He said, among other things, that we no longer need traditional education, or traditional newspapers, or traditional broadcast news. The Internet is much more efficient in delivering information.

Perhaps. But as I sat in that auditorium with several hundred others, I wondered: If what the speaker says is true, why are all these busy people here? His remarks could be more efficiently delivered on the Internet. We could read them at home, in the office or on the bus. And we could do it in 10 minutes, not two hours.

The answer, of course, is that we wanted to see the speaker in person. We wanted to sense the reactions of others in the room. We wanted to see old friends. We wanted to be seen. We wanted to be part of a group. In other words, we wanted the social experience as an integral part of the information exchange. What he had to say meant more — or less — because of where we were and with whom we shared the experience.

In fairness, the speaker said that the social experience is an important part of data acquisition. He also said Facebook is not a social experience. The audience laughed.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Public schools shouldering the burden of tax cuts…

KNRS commentary by columnist Rod Arquette

 

Yes because public schools are doing so well these days we should feel ultra sympathetic to their plight. Not saying they don’t serve a purpose, but between common core and the amazing stories we hear about some of the things being pushed on students it’s high time we really considered what we are funding.

But that’s an entirely different element. One of the main things to consider is that the money from taxes does go to fund schools. But why are schools always one of the first things to take hits from spending and tax cuts? There are so many programs and initiatives just here in the state that could be examined first before needing to jumping to schools, cops, firefighters, and prisons. Welfare fraud alone could easily make up for at least some part of the shortfall in the education budget.

So why do the public schools end up taking on such a share of the burden? And what could this mean for Utah’s students?

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

 

 


 

 

 

Micromanaging lawmakers should live what they say

Salt Lake Tribune letter from Randy Ockey

 

You may be wondering why the Legislature cut $63 million from public education, only to restore that money and even increase it a few days later.

If you think there’s an ulterior motive, you’re right. If you have to cut spending, what do you cut? The simple answer: discretionary spending. So that money which is considered discretionary was cut. Now the Legislature can give the money back in earmarks, specifically legislating how each dollar is used. It is their way of micromanaging school district budgets.

So, they cut public education, refund the money with more generous perks going to their pet charter schools, and come off smelling like roses.

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

 

 


 

 

Public lands too fragile for Utah control

Salt Lake Tribune letter from Gardiner F. Dalley

 

Utah state Rep. Ken Ivory, of the American Lands Council, presents a fine dog-and-pony show designed to demonstrate why Utah should have my public lands. He is very good.

The council has gathered substantial information, cherry-picked and some disparate, but extensively used by Ivory to support his case. Much played are fairness, victim and “poor-us” cards, along with something about “Life, Liberty, and Property.” Is that really how that goes?

Much is made of interpreting the phrase in the Enabling Act and Utah Constitution “…until title thereto (public lands) shall have been extinguished by the United States…” to mean they pass to Utah. How does that square with slightly earlier verbiage that Utah “forever disclaims” all right and title to the same lands?

Cited is the recent study purporting to show Utah could turn a profit from the public lands. Not mentioned is that would be contingent on stable and high levels of energy revenues.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Weigh in on LHS issues

(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Jenny Johnson

 

This coming week parents, students and faculty of Logan High School will have a chance to voice their opinions concerning LHS in a survey commissioned by the LHS Community Council and the UEA. It was created to evaluate the current conditions at Logan High. It is especially important because the data from last year’s ISQ survey was lost due to a computer crash.

Three surveys have been created, for students, parents, and teachers, with tailor-made questions for issues related to Logan High. This survey will be given to students and teachers on Wednesday, Feb. 25, and a parent survey will be mailed to parents on Tuesday, Feb. 24. Parents need to respond within one week in person or by mail returning the survey to the LHS office.

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

 

 


 

 

Don’t Give Up the Gains in Education

New York Times editorial

 

Congress made the right decision a decade ago when it required states to administer yearly tests to public school students — and improve instruction for poor and minority students — in return for federal education aid.

National test data clearly show that since the unpopular No Child Left Behind Act was signed in 2002, academic performance for the country’s students has improved and achievement gaps between white and minority children have narrowed. Earlier this month, the Department of Education announced that the nation’s high school graduation rate had hit 81 percent, the highest rate ever.

Even so, the achievement gaps remain distressingly wide, and American children are still losing ground to competitors abroad who are much better prepared for college and the new economy. It would be a grave mistake for Congress to back away from important reforms in its reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which was named the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Positive School Reform: Reimagining ESEA

Education Week op-ed by Jack Jennings, founder, president, and CEO of the Center on Education Policy

 

Teachers and other advocates for public education know what they oppose. Too much student testing. Too much emphasis on charter schools. Too much negative news about the schools. And not enough coverage of what is going right. Those are the common complaints—and they are accurate.

While we know what educators oppose, though, it is much more difficult to know what they are for. What would make the schools better for all children in the opinions of those whose job it is to educate? Further, what does research tell us would be most effective in improving education?

I raise this issue because I have learned from nearly a half-century of involvement in education policy that if your agenda is not being carried out, then you are working to implement someone else’s ideas. For decades, this is exactly what has happened. People from outside the field have been setting the agenda.

To be precise, business leaders, think tanks, state governors, and other political leaders have had much more influence in fashioning school reforms than have the people whose careers are in education. The No Child Left Behind Act, teacher evaluations based on inappropriately used state tests, and a tremendous emphasis on charter schools are prime examples of recent policies that were imposed on most educators.

http://go.uen.org/301

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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Vaccinations Are States’ Call

New York Times

 

Henning Jacobson just said no. Even though Massachusetts required it, he did not want to be vaccinated. He had had a bad reaction to a vaccine, and he opposed vaccination in general.

Refusing to back down, he fought the state law all the way to the Supreme Court. And Mr. Jacobson, a minister in Cambridge, lost.

He was not forcibly immunized, but he did have to pay a $5 fine for turning down the vaccine against smallpox.

The year was 1905. There had recently been a major outbreak of the disease in Boston, and the court said, essentially, that the state’s obligation to protect public health trumped Mr. Jacobson’s wish to avoid the needle.

Similar fights, pitting personal freedom against the common good, “have gone on since the founding of the Republic,” said Lawrence O. Gostin, an expert in public health law and the faculty director of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University.

The battles continue. Now, with a measles outbreak that has affected 121 people in 17 states and Washington, D.C. — and an unusually high number of cases last year, 644 — people who refuse to vaccinate their children have become a focus of resentment and concern. Laws that allow parents to opt out of immunization are also coming under scrutiny.

Can the government go further? Can officials require that citizens receive vaccines? The answer, legal experts say, is yes. The authority to require vaccination belongs to the states. “Each individual state really has complete power,” Mr. Gostin said.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Anti-vaccine Mothers Discuss their Thinking Amid Backlash

Associated Press

 

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. — One is a businesswoman and an MBA graduate. Another is a corporate vice president. The third is a registered nurse.

These three mothers – all of them educated, middle-class professionals – are among the vaccine skeptics who have been widely ridiculed since more than 100 people fell ill in a measles outbreak traced to Disneyland. Critics question their intelligence, their parenting, even their sanity. Some have been called criminals for foregoing shots for their children that are overwhelmingly shown to be safe and effective.

“Contrary to the common sentiment, we are not anti-science,” said Michelle Moore, a businesswoman who lives in the affluent Portland suburb of Lake Oswego with her 2 1/2-year-old twin girls. “I’m not opposed to medicine, and I think vaccines have a place. We think it’s a medical choice, and it should be researched carefully.”

The backlash, much of it from people who fear unvaccinated children could infect their own kids, has been so severe that dozens of anti-vaccine parents contacted by The Associated Press were afraid to speak out. But a handful of mothers agreed to discuss their thinking.

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

 

 


 

 

 

First Lady: Education is Most Important Civil Rights Issue

Associated Press

 

WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama on Friday called education the “single most important” civil rights issue facing the country and pleaded with young people to make going to school a priority, even if all they have is a “bad school.”

The first lady made her point at a Black History Month panel discussion at the White House celebrating “women of the movement,” including two women who were not deterred by the angry mobs that assembled outside their schools in Arkansas and Georgia during the civil rights era.

http://go.uen.org/O1

 

 


 

 

 

State not joining revolt against Common Core learning model

Despite backlash in other states over new learning standards known as the Common Core, little serious opposition has surfaced in Washington.

Seattle Times

 

Over the past four years, about 100 bills to curtail or repeal the Common Core learning standards were introduced in state legislatures across the nation.

Five states today are replacing the standards. Lawmakers in at least 27 more have proposed delaying or scrapping them, and in Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal, once a Common Core supporter, has sued the federal government over them, saying they are an attack on local control.

Yet in Washington state, four years after committing to use the new benchmarks, the first two bills seeking to repeal them were introduced just last week, and even the supporters of one of them don’t expect it to pass.

http://go.uen.org/300

 

 


 

 

L.A. Unified says it can’t afford ‘computer for all’ plan

Los Angeles Times

 

Los Angeles Unified schools Supt. Ramon C. Cortines said Friday that the district cannot afford to provide a computer to every student, signaling a major reversal of his predecessor’s ill-fated $1.3-billion effort to distribute iPads to all students, teachers and school administrators.

Instead, Cortines said, the L.A. Unified School District will try to provide computers to students when they are needed for instruction and testing.

“I don’t believe we can afford a device for every student,” Cortines said. “Education shouldn’t become the gimmick of the year.”

For former Supt. John Deasy, who resigned under pressure in October, the ambitious iPad plan was a signature initiative. It generated national attention and fueled debate about how best to get the latest technology to students in less affluent areas.

But Cortines said Friday that the reality was that the district never fully prepared for how the devices would be used in the classroom or how to pay for them over time.

Cortines laid out a more measured approach, saying purchasing computers needed to be balanced against other priorities such as repairing dilapidated campuses.

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

 

 


 

 

When Pot Goes From Illegal To Recreational, Schools Face A Dilemma

NPR All Things Considered

 

Like many schools across Colorado, Arapahoe Ridge High School in Boulder has seen an increase in overall drug incidents since recreational marijuana became legal.

While public schools aren’t required to report marijuana incidents separately from other drugs such as cocaine, evidence compiled by Rocky Mountain PBS I-News suggests more students are using marijuana.

“Especially since we use the phrase ‘recreational marijuana,’ ” says Odette Edbrooke, health education coordinator for the Boulder Valley School District. “Recreational implies it’s fun, and it’s something you do in your spare time.”

And as with other Colorado schools, Arapahoe Ridge is grappling with how best to discuss the health consequences of pot use. Edbrooke says the state’s changing attitudes about marijuana send students a mixed message.

“When it’s legal for your parents to smoke it or grow it, that changes the conversation,” Edbrooke says.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Students in Struggling Schools More Likely to Attend, But Misbehave, Study Finds

Education Week

 

Washington, D.C. – As pressure increases for schools who miss accountability benchmarks, students become less likely to be late or miss class—but more likely to get into fights and get reported or suspended for misbehavior.

That’s the conclusion of a new study by Duke University researchers John B. Holbein and Helen F. “Sunny” Ladd, for the National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research, or CALDER. It suggests that just as there may be a tendency to focus academically on tested subjects, like math and reading, schools may also focus on improving student behaviors measured for accountability purposes.

“Coming to school and behaving well once they are in school; we’re thinking of these two as proxies for noncognitive skills,” Ladd explained at a symposium on the research here on Friday. In elementary and middle school, absences are also part of a school’s accountability benchmarks, while other behavior is not taken into account.

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

 

 


 

 

If Your Teacher Likes You, You Might Get A Better Grade

NPR

 

Were you ever the teacher’s pet? Or did you just sit behind the teacher’s pet and roll your eyes from time to time?

A newly published paper suggests that personality similarity affects teachers’ estimation of student achievement. That is, how much you are like your teacher contributes to his or her feelings about you — and your abilities.

“Astonishingly, little is known about the formation of teacher judgments and therefore about the biases in judgments,” says Tobias Rausch, an author of the study and a research scientist at the Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg in Germany. “However, research tells us that teacher judgments often are not accurate.”

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

 

A copy of the study

http://go.uen.org/2ZQ (Educational Psychology)

 

 


 

 

 

Final frontier for school nutrition: Bake sales

Reuters

 

In a new policy statement, the American Academy of Pediatrics says school nutrition has made incredible strides over the last two decades, but high-calorie, low quality foods are still available from informal sources like bake sales, birthday parties, and other events for which students, parents and staff bring treats from home.

“Great things have happened in terms of sweetened beverages, school meals, snacks and vended foods in schools,” said Dr. Robert Murray, professor of nutrition at The Ohio State University in Columbus and one of the two lead authors of the policy statement.

In the 92 percent of U.S. school districts that follow federal nutrition guidelines, cafeteria lunches are almost always healthier and in smaller portions than packed lunches from home, he noted.

“The problem now is (that) the foods of poor quality are the ones coming in from home from teachers and staff, used for birthday parties and for things like booster sales,” Murray told Reuters Health by phone.

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

 

A copy of the policy statement

http://go.uen.org/2ZX (American Academy of Pediatrics)

 

 


 

 

 

Isis opens two English-language schools targeting children of foreign fighters as British terror police travel to Turkey

(London) Independent

 

The Isis militant group has reportedly opened its first two English-language schools in the so-called “capital” of its territories, in what appears to be a direct attempt to cater to the families of foreign fighters.

Amid ongoing concerns that three British schoolgirls have been lured online to travel to Syria and join the self-proclaimed “Islamic State”, activists in the militant-controlled city of Raqqa drew attention to a flier for the “attention [of] English speaking muhajiroon”.

The flier, emblazoned with the logo of Isis, claims that “by the grace of Allah we have opened schools for English speaking children”.

It provides contact details and lesson times for two separate facilities, one for boys and one for girls, which appear to have been set up on the grounds of a pre-existing school.

http://go.uen.org/302

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

February 23:

House Education Committee meeting

8 a.m., 30 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/agenda/HEDU0223.ag.htm

 

House Business and Labor Committee meeting

8 a.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/agenda/HBUS0223.ag.htm

 

Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee meeting

4 p.m., 250 Senate Building

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/agenda/SREV0223.ag.htm

 

Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee meeting

4 p.m., 215 Senate Building

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/agenda/SEDW0223.ag.htm

 

Senate Government Operations Committee meeting

4:04 p.m., 415 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/agenda/SGOP0223.ag.htm

 

 

 

February 24:

Senate Education Committee meeting

8 a.m., 210 Senate Building

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/agenda/SEDU0224.ag.htm

 

Senate Business and Labor Committee meeting

8 a.m., 215 Senate Building

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/agenda/SBUS0224.ag.htm

 

House Government Operations Committee meeting

8 a.m., 30 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/agenda/HGOC0224.ag.htm

 

House Political Subdivisions Committee meeting

8 a.m., 450 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/agenda/HPOL0224.ag.htm

 

House Revenue and Taxation Committee meeting

8:30 a.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/agenda/HREV0224.ag.htm

 

House Education Committee meeting

4 p.m., 30 House Building

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

 

 

February 26:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

Noon, 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

 

March 12:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

 

 

 

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