Education News Roundup: Feb. 25, 2015

Utah State Capitol

Utah State Capitol

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

Gov. Herbert still hopes to get more money to Utah schools.

http://go.uen.org/310 (DN)

and http://go.uen.org/31u (KUTV)

Senate bill on opting out of Utah tests advances.

http://go.uen.org/313 (SLT)

and http://go.uen.org/31b (DN)

and http://go.uen.org/31T (KSL)

Should Utah students be required to take a second language to graduate from high school?

http://go.uen.org/31d (SLT)

and http://go.uen.org/31s (UPC)

Sen. Jackson discusses his partisan state school board bill.

http://go.uen.org/31A (Senate Site)

Rep. McIff also discusses state school board elections.

http://go.uen.org/31P (Emery County Progress)

House Speaker Hughes is one of the instructors in Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education’s course on education reform.

http://go.uen.org/31Q (WaPo)

White House threatens a veto of the House’s NCLB rewrite.

http://go.uen.org/2H5 (AP)

and http://go.uen.org/31N (McClatchy)

and http://go.uen.org/31E (Reuters)

and http://go.uen.org/31J (Ed Week)

Utah gets some praise in a national piece on youth in custody education.

http://go.uen.org/321 (Marketplace)

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Governor still ‘optimistic’ about $500M increase to public education

 

Bill seeking school capital funding equity approved by Senate committee

 

Equalization bill would send local taxes to other school districts

Official: ‘Park City is certainly going to be one of the big losers’

 

Committee approves bill clarifying parents’ right to opt students out of testing

 

Future of SAGE testing called into question

 

Committee approves world language requirement for Utah high school graduation

 

Class size reduction bill passes Senate

 

High schoolers may see more incentives for early graduation

 

Utah lawmakers reject limits on use of federal money

 

Poll: Majority of Utahns Support Fight for Control of Public Lands

 

Despite lawmaker growls, Utah closer to getting an official state dog

 

Can you name your U.S. Representative? See how you do on this civics test

 

Utah Health Department: Measles outbreak in state is over, cost $115,000 to manage

 

Hillcrest High School senior on track to win Nobel Prize in Physics

 

Science experiments integrated into new STEM fair

 

Local students invited to STEM Fest

 

Under Pressure

Utah students cooking like the pros for culinary competition

 

School District names new business administrator

 

Professor Funk Rated Best at the U

 

Logan High juniors set for ACT

 

Suicide prevention town hall meeting set in Davis County

 

Davis District seeks award nominees

 

Utah State Bar celebrates Magna Carta anniversary with essay competition

 

Jazz’s Trey Burke reads to students as contest reward

 

Mosh Pit Forces School Dance To End

 

College is not for everyone

 

 


 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Legislature should give SAGE some time rather than look to another educational quick-fix

 

Utah prolongs lost battle over public lands

Privatizing public money a lost cause.

 

Hair today, law tomorrow

 

Require a civics test? Americans have a long history of ignorance

 

School Board Elections

 

Utah Legislative update

 

Keep Utah school boards non-partisan

 

Big Brother Controls Education Without Your Vote

 

The APLUS Alternative to Reauthorizing No Child Left Behind

Conservatives have a chance to wrest control of education policy from the federal government. Will they take it?

 

The conservative case for HR 5

 

Want to hone your school reformer skills? Jeb Bush’s foundation has a MOOC for you.

 

Educational expertise, advocacy, and media influence

 

 


 

 

NATION

 

White House Threatens Veto of Bill to Overhaul Education Law

 

Rising Graduation Rates: Trend or Blip?

But theories diverge on reasons why

 

Feds support transgender teen in civil rights suit against schools

 

Immigration Reform 2015: More Hispanics In US Schools, But They’re Struggling To Keep Up

 

Arne Duncan talks early childhood education at Alexandria school

 

Half of K-12 Students to Have Access to 1-to-1 Computing by 2015-16

 

How to improve education for juvenile offenders

 

CPAC 2015: Can Jeb Bush win over conservatives?

CPAC is the Super Bowl of conservative activism. Jeb Bush, a GOP establishment favorite, needs to broaden support among movement conservatives.

 

NYC Public Schools Told to Add More Sports for Girls

 

Najjar to be reinstated as teacher in Sayreville, but not at high school after being disciplined

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Governor still ‘optimistic’ about $500M increase to public education

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert said he remains “optimistic” about his proposal to appropriate $500 million in new money for education, despite doubts from lawmakers about whether his funding request can or will be met.

Revised revenue estimates have added another $100 million to the coming state budget, presenting opportunities for several areas of state funding.

“We ought to all be smiling. We ought to be giggly,” Herbert said Tuesday. “It means that our economy is growing. It’s robust, it’s healthy, and we’re one of the best, if not the best, most dynamic economy in America today.”

Herbert said he hopes the additional dollars will raise the chance that legislators will meet his funding request for public education.

“My target was $503 million, but I expect we’re going to get something of a significantly big number to help us with funding our public education and higher education needs,” he said. “There’s reason to be optimistic.”

Echoing Herbert’s optimism was a UtahPolicy.com poll released Tuesday showing support from the majority of Utah voters for the proposed increase.

http://go.uen.org/310 (DN)

 

http://go.uen.org/31u (KUTV)

 

 


 

 

 

Bill seeking school capital funding equity approved by Senate committee

 

SALT LAKE CITY — The Senate Education Committee passed a bill Tuesday that would raise the amount of money some school districts would be required to pay in charter school capital funding.

HB119 would require some districts to pay more than $500,000 in additional funds to support ongoing capital budgets for Utah schools by requiring all school districts to pay a full 25 percent of local property tax revenues, which some districts are doing already.

http://go.uen.org/319 (DN)

 

http://go.uen.org/31Z (KSL)

 

 


 

 

 

Equalization bill would send local taxes to other school districts

Official: ‘Park City is certainly going to be one of the big losers’

 

A bill that would raise property taxes to generate $75 million annually in new revenue for the state’s poorer school districts has passed through the state Senate and is waiting on a vote by the Utah House of Representatives.

The bill has drawn the ire of local school officials who say Summit County residents would pay disproportionally more taxes while their students would reap little of the reward.

According to the fiscal note for S.B. 97, introduced by Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, the bill would increase property tax liability by $48 in 2016 for a $250,000 home and $348 for a $1 million business property. The $75 million in revenue those taxes would create would then be equalized among the state’s school districts, with districts with lower property values seeing the biggest benefit. Twenty-seven of the state’s 41 districts would see money from the bill, ranging from $26,000 to nearly $18 million.

The bill’s first draft specified that it was going to raise $15 million its first year, then increase incrementally until hitting $75 million. Moe Hickey, a member of the Park City Board of Education and its legislative liaison, said now that the bill is slated raise the full amount in 2016, Park City residents would immediately be hit with $4 million in property tax increases — money that would then be sent to other districts.

http://go.uen.org/31c (PR)

 

 


 

 

Committee approves bill clarifying parents’ right to opt students out of testing

 

When Emmalee Gardner’s teacher pulled her out of class earlier this month to take a reading test, the 9-year-old Legacy Preparatory Academy student balked.

Her mother didn’t want her to take the test, Emmalee said, and had opted Emmalee and her siblings out under state law.

But her teacher was undetered, and Emmalee was taken to a separate room to complete the DIBELS test, which measures grade-level reading ability.

“I felt scared of my teacher after she forced me to take the test,” Emmalee told members of the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday. “I never wanted to go back to my school, so I didn’t.”

Emmalee read from a prepared statement, urging lawmakers to approve Senate Bill 204, which clarifies a parent’s right to opt their children out of state- and federally mandated testing.

She said she now attends a private school, where testing laws don’t apply.

“I think it’s unacceptable that children are being forced to take a test,” she said. “You are taking away my freedom of speech.”

Salt Lake City Democratic Sen. Jim Dabakis said that because public education is paid for by taxpayers, the public has a legitimate interest in reviewing statewide test results.

http://go.uen.org/313 (SLT)

 

http://go.uen.org/31b (DN)

 

http://go.uen.org/31T (KSL)

 

 


 

 

 

Future of SAGE testing called into question

 

It was developed specifically for Utah and Utah students. It was implemented only one year ago but over the weekend two state senators called for the state to do away with SAGE testing, which is an acronym for the Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence.

Not only did Republican Senators Howard Stephenson and Aaron Osmond call for a suspension of SAGE testing, but they also recommended a replacement for it with Northwest Evaluators Association testing system.

http://go.uen.org/31q (CVD)

 

 


 

 

Committee approves world language requirement for Utah high school graduation

 

Parlez-vous français? Habla español? High school students will have to answer “yes” to graduate if a bill making its way through Utah’s Capitol becomes law.

Under SB219, sponsored by Draper Republican Sen. Howard Stephenson, students would be required to be proficient in a world language before graduating and would get special “bi-literacy” diplomas. Senate Education Committee members signed off on the bill Tuesday.

Stephenson said Utah is a national leader in dual immersion education, in which students speak a second language for half the day. His bill would take the state further in promoting language learning.

“If we’re serious about being a world language state, I think we need to finally step up to that,” he said.

But Laura Belnap, a member of the state school board, questioned whether lawmakers should be setting graduation requirements, a function typically reserved for the board of education. She also suggested that a world language requirement would force school districts to redistribute funds in order to invest in language education.

http://go.uen.org/31d (SLT)

 

http://go.uen.org/31s (UPC)

 

 


 

 

Class size reduction bill passes Senate

 

SALT LAKE CITY — State lawmakers are hoping an extra $10 million will give schools the needed resources to reduce class sizes.

SB106, which would supplement the $115 million spent each year to bring down the number of desks in a classroom, passed the Senate on Tuesday in a 20-9 vote.

http://go.uen.org/318 (DN)

 

 


 

 

 

High schoolers may see more incentives for early graduation

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers are getting closer to providing more incentives to students who graduate early from high school.

Utah currently offers a maximum of $1,000 through the Centennial Scholarship program to students who graduate during their junior year. The scholarship is available in different levels to students who graduate at or before the third quarter of their senior year.

SB33 would double the maximum scholarship amount while requiring the Utah State Office of Education to inform parents of students in eighth grade about the options for early graduation.

http://go.uen.org/31a (DN)

 

http://go.uen.org/31X (KSL)

 

 


 

 

 

Utah lawmakers reject limits on use of federal money

 

SALT LAKE CITY— Lawmakers have killed a proposal that would limit use of federal funds in Utah.

Rep. Robert Spendlove, a Sandy Republican, presented the constitutional amendment to lawmakers Tuesday. The change would prevent federal funds from making up more than 40 percent of the state budget.

http://go.uen.org/322 (KSL)

 

 


 

 

Poll: Majority of Utahns Support Fight for Control of Public Lands

 

A majority of Utahns support efforts by Utah lawmakers to wrest control of public lands in the state away from the federal government.

A new UtahPolicy.com survey finds 55% of Utahns back the fight to gain control of lands currently under the perview of the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service. Just 36% are opposed.

http://go.uen.org/311 (UP)

 

 


 

 

 

Despite lawmaker growls, Utah closer to getting an official state dog

 

A bill to name the golden retriever the official “state domestic animal” fetched just enough votes to pass in the Senate.

SB53 passed on a 15-12 vote, the bare minimum needed to advance to the House.

Its sponsor, Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, pleaded for members to allow it to proceed, noting it was proposed by a fourth grade class in South Jordan’s Daybreak Elementary. Osmond wants to allow the youngsters to testify again in a House hearing.

http://go.uen.org/315 (SLT)

 

http://go.uen.org/31v (KUTV)

 

 


 

 

Can you name your U.S. Representative? See how you do on this civics test

 

In January, Arizona passed a law requiring high school students to pass a U.S. civics test in order to graduate.

Several other states, including Utah, are debating similar bills. SB60, the bill currently under consideration in Utah, has made its way through both the Senate and the House on its path to potentially becoming a law.

The civics test questions are taken from the test immigrants must take to become naturalized U.S. citizens.

See how you do on these 25 questions from the test:

http://go.uen.org/31h (DN)

 

 


 

 

Utah Health Department: Measles outbreak in state is over, cost $115,000 to manage

 

State public health department managers Wednesday declared Utah’s measles outbreak over.

Containing the outbreak cost the state $115,000.

Two Utah County residents first tested positive for the highly contagious disease after a trip to Disneyland in mid-December. The unvaccinated minors exposed hundreds more to the virus after visiting movie theaters, grocery stores and Sunday services for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Provo and Orem.

Utah Health Department (UDOH) leaders confirmed nearly 400 Utahns were exposed to the virus in the weeks that followed. One other patient contracted the disease.

http://go.uen.org/31f (SLT)

 

http://go.uen.org/31m (DN)

 

http://go.uen.org/31w (KTVX)

 

http://go.uen.org/31x (KSTU)

 

 


 

 

 

Hillcrest High School senior on track to win Nobel Prize in Physics

 

A Hillcrest High School senior is a science phenom and is on his way to winning a Nobel Prize in Physics.

Brandon Cui, 17, is one of only five winners in the world, two in the United States, selected for Intel’s First Step to the Nobel Prize in Physics.  The high school competition comes with a six week fellowship to Poland, which Brandon will likely do in the summer.

In mid-January, Brandon received another honor; he was selected as a finalist for Intel’s Science Talent Search.  In March, Brandon will travel to Washington D.C. to present his science project and try to win a $150,000 scholarship. He’s one of 40 students selected out of 1,800 applicants across the country.  It is Brandon’s college level science project that helped him receive both these honors.

“Overall, what I did is I proved a methodology to transmit light from one point to another thereby creating a very fundamental and vital step to creating this optical circuit and providing optical data transmission,” said Brandon.

Instead of using electronic pulses to process and transmit data, Brandon came up with a way to use light instead, which would transmit data 1,000 times faster.

“In essence, if you were to transfer an HD movie, rather than taking minutes or hours, it’d take a fraction of a second,” said Brandon.

http://go.uen.org/31t (KUTV)

 

 


 

 

Science experiments integrated into new STEM fair

 

OGDEN – Weber School District’s science fair wasn’t all boards and dressed up kids this year. It wasn’t even called a science fair – the district renamed the event the District STEM fair.

In addition to actual science fair participants, the district held a STEM showcase where high school students from all over the district showed off their skills in all aspects of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Students live-dissected fetal pigs, built robots and ovens and put on a myriad of other events.

http://go.uen.org/31n (OSE)

 

 


 

 

 

Local students invited to STEM Fest

 

Utah is hosting its first annual STEM Fest, an event designed to give seventh- and eighth-grade students throughout the state a chance to get hands-on with science, technology, engineering and math. According to a press release, students will participate in such activities as riding in a flight simulator, operating an underwater remote vehicle and learning the basics of coding. STEM departments from local universities and science centers will engage students during the event. The festival will take place March 25 through March 27 at Utah Valley University. Teachers who want to bring their classes to the free event can register at utahstemfest.com. The event is also open to the public at select times.

http://go.uen.org/31Y (PR)

 

 


 

 

Under Pressure

Utah students cooking like the pros for culinary competition

 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Here is the scenario: Two to four people create a three-course meal in 60 minutes using two butane burners. No electricity or battery operated equipment is allowed.

During preparation and presentation the team is watched by professional chefs for how they use knives plus how they organize and arrange the ingredients required for the menu.

Judges watch how the physical and chemical transformations occur in the ingredients. Plating the food in a pleasing way is also observed, as well as food safety precautions.

That’s what happened at Westlake High School in Saratoga Springs Tuesday in the annual teen culinary cooking regional competition with 10 high schools scrambling to do their best.

http://go.uen.org/31o (PDH)

 

 


 

 

 

School District names new business administrator

 

Kyle S. Hosler has been hired as the new business administrator for the San Juan School District.  He begins work at the district office on March 23.

The Blanding native is currently serving as the Assistant Athletic Director and Business Manager for the athletic department at Southern Utah University (SUU).

Hosler takes the place of Clayton Holt, who served as business administrator at the district for the past 14 years. Holt resigned in December, 2014 to become the chief executive officer for the San Juan Health Service District.

http://go.uen.org/31R (San Juan Record)

 

 


 

 

 

Professor Funk Rated Best at the U

 

The U has plenty of accomplished and top-rate professors, but according to ratemyprofessors.com, John Funk is the best of them all.

Funk is the dean of the College of Education and a professor in educational psychology through the Urban Institute for Teacher Education. From getting his master’s in early childhood education at the U to his 25 years of teaching public school, Funk has made a study and a passion out of teaching. He received the Distinguished Teaching Award in 2010 as recognition for this.

http://go.uen.org/31U (Chrony)

 

 


 

 

Logan High juniors set for ACT

 

All juniors at Logan High School will be taking the ACT on Tuesday, March 3. Students should arrive at Logan High before 7:30 a.m. prepared to complete the test, which will be done around noon. Students should bring a photo ID, two to three sharpened No. 2 pencils and an approved calculator.

All non-junior students will not have classes that day.

http://go.uen.org/31p (LHJ)

 

 


 

 

Suicide prevention town hall meeting set in Davis County

 

BOUNTIFUL — Community organizations will hold a town hall meeting to increase awareness about suicide prevention and resources.

The meeting is Saturday, Feb. 28, 10 a.m.-noon at Viewmont High School in Bountiful. The free event features an effective suicide prevention training called “QPR,” as well as resources from local partners in mental health.

http://go.uen.org/31k (DN)

 

 


 

 

Davis District seeks award nominees

 

FARMINGTON — The Davis School District is seeking nominees for its annual CARE Awards.

http://go.uen.org/31i (DN)

 

 


 

 

 

Utah State Bar celebrates Magna Carta anniversary with essay competition

 

SALT LAKE CITY — A high school essay competition is being held statewide during the Utah State Bar’s hosting of the traveling exhibition “Magna Carta: Enduring Legacy 1215–2015″ in April. The exhibition will include images of documents, books, and other objects from Library of Congress collections that illustrate Magna Carta’s influence throughout the centuries and explain the document’s long history.

The high school essay competition is being held to help students understand the importance of the world’s most enduring symbol of the rule of law.  Scholarship awards include two $500 and eight $250 prizes in grades 8-10 and 11-12.  Deadline is March 2, 5 p.m.

http://go.uen.org/31r (SGN)

 

http://go.uen.org/31y (KCSG)

 

More information

http://www.uen.org/magnacarta/

 

 


 

 

 

Jazz’s Trey Burke reads to students as contest reward

 

St. John the Baptist Catholic Elementary is once again a “Top 10 School” winner in the “Be a Team Player, Read!” contest, sponsored by the Utah Jazz. Jazz player Trey Burke visited the school to read to students and play some basketball with them.

http://go.uen.org/31j (DN)

 

 


 

 

 

Mosh Pit Forces School Dance To End

 

Layton High School officials are not apologetic for shutting down a school dance early. According to principal Ryck Astle, about a dozen students began forming a mosh pit during the school dance. Despite being warned to break things up, the students continued, causing the dance to be shut down nearly 30 minutes early.

http://go.uen.org/31z (MUR)

 

 


 

 

College is not for everyone

 

Nicholas Wyman’s parents pushed him to go to college, but all he wanted to do at the time was learn to cook.

His dad, a college professor, was flummoxed when Wyman took a four-year apprenticeship as a chef. After several years as a chef, he went on to college and earned an MBA.

Today, Wyman is CEO of the Institute for Workplace Skills and Innovation, where he has embraced the unusual mission of talking certain kids out of college. His new book, “Job U: How to Find Wealth and Success by Developing the Skills Companies Actually Need,” outlines current programs in the U.S. to create well-paid, high-skilled workers who are employable right out of high school.

http://go.uen.org/31l (DN)

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Legislature should give SAGE some time rather than look to another educational quick-fix

Deseret News editorial

 

Educational enhancements and reforms mean little if they change from year to year according to the whims of fashion. Some Utah lawmakers are considering whether to abandon the SAGE, or Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence, tests after only one year. That would render the millions of dollars spent to develop the tests, as well as the disturbingly low scores registered during the initial year, meaningless.

It also would place in jeopardy the millions of dollars the state is earning from agreements allowing other states to use parts of the test, which Utah officials pioneered.

So far, lawmakers are talking only of setting up a task force that would consider abandoning the test. But even that suggestion is premature.

http://go.uen.org/317

 

 


 

 

Utah prolongs lost battle over public lands

Privatizing public money a lost cause.

Salt Lake Tribune editorial

 

The chances of success for the Utah politicians who want to privatize millions of acres of public land in their state continue to hover somewhere between zero and zero. But, as long as they prolong this wild goose chase, they will have no problem privatizing millions of dollars in public funds.

One is left to wonder if that is the whole point.

The most recent example is the $2 million in contracts the Utah Legislature’s Commission for the Stewardship of Public Lands is poised to grant to some experts. Experts who will not so much do anything to further this unattainable goal as to further explain how the state might go about it.

http://go.uen.org/312

 

 


 

 

 

Hair today, law tomorrow

Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist Paul Rolly

 

The Legislature has an affinity for state symbols. In Utah, we go way beyond the usual state tree, flower, bird or emblem.

We have a state cooking pot (the Dutch oven), a state folk dance (the square dance), a state firearm (the Browning M1911 automatic pistol), a state star (the Dubhe, pronounced the same as doobie, a slang term for a marijuana joint), and two vegetables (the Spanish sweet onion and the sugar beet). Lawmakers even switched the state tree last year from the Colorado blue spruce to the quaking aspen. In 2001, the Utah Senate passed a resolution naming Jell-O as the state’s favorite snack food.

In all, about two dozen state symbols are codified in Utah law.

This year, Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, on behalf of a fourth-grade class at South Jordan’s Daybreak Elementary School, is pushing a resolution to make the golden retriever the state’s official domestic animal.

Now, another group of students, this one from a government class at Layton High, has weighed in on Utah’s state-symbol fetish and proposed its own honoree in a letter to Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton.

Utah needs a state hairdo, the students wrote. And, of course, it should be the beehive.

 

Gods, guns and caucuses • Sen. Alvin Jackson, R-Highland, can attribute his position partly to the state’s caucus-convention system in which delegates, selected by small neighborhood groups, choose their party’s nominees in a convention.

District delegates picked Jackson after the general election to replace Sen. John Valentine, who stepped down to become Utah Tax Commission chairman. So it’s understandable that Jackson is a staunch defender of the caucus-convention system.

When Salt Lake City resident John Yoon wrote to Jackson to disagree with the senator’s bill that would make school board elections partisan — meaning school board candidates would go through the caucus-convention process — Jackson’s response so troubled Yoon that Yoon posted it on his Facebook page.

“The first Republic is highlighted in Exodus 18: 13-26,” Jackson wrote. “These versus [sic] highlight what where [sic] the first neighborhood caucus meetings, as captains over tens, fifties, hundreds and thousands were selected by the people to solve problems at the local level. The process they used is the same as we use today in our caucus system.”

The Bible verses he sites are about Moses being a representative of the people to God. It wasn’t a republic; it was a theocracy.

http://go.uen.org/314

 

 


 

 

 

Require a civics test? Americans have a long history of ignorance

Deseret News commentary by columnist Jay Evensen

 

Listening to some Utah lawmakers, you get the impression kids today are more ignorant than ever before of U.S. history and the way government works. If only things were as when today’s adults were children, voters would be informed, and the future of the republic would be bright.

That’s how you remember the good ol’ days, right?

So while it sounds suspiciously like something the Common Core would require, conservatives now are rallying behind a requirement for students to pass a civics test before graduating from high school.

Try not to think too hard about philosophical purity, here. Life is full of ironies.

Which is not to say state Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, is wrong to want every 12th-grader to know the three branches of government and how many people are on the U.S. Supreme Court, among other things, before being sent into the world as a certified U.S. high school graduate. It’s hard to argue with him when he talks about the dangers of the “civically illiterate” casting ballots that determine our future.

Ignorant voters easily can be led into dark alleys where the Constitution gets mugged.

It is to say, however, that ignorance is hardly a modern invention.

http://go.uen.org/316

 

 


 

 

 

School Board Elections

Senate Site commentary by Sen. Al Jackson

 

Why all the fuss? Last year, it was determined that our system of selecting State School Board members violated the 1st Amendment rights of those running for office. We now have the opportunity this session to change our system for the better, as the current system lacked clarity, transparency and accountability, namely for parents.

What is SB104? A number of proposals have surfaced to replace the old method, but this option has gained traction in recent weeks. Simply put, this bill provides the opportunity for candidates for the State School Board to be vetted just like Legislators, the Governor, AG, etc. Candidates seeking a position on the State School Board would be nominated through the caucus system and would run as Republicans, Democrats, and Libertarians etc.

Under this plan, school districts with 50,000 or more students will also hold caucus elections for their district school boards. As of 2014, four school districts meet this qualification: Alpine, Davis, Granite, and Jordan.

http://go.uen.org/31A

 

 


 

 

 

Utah Legislative update

Emery County Progress commentary by Rep. Kay McIff

 

For years, there has been an ongoing discussion about the best method for selecting the people who make up the state board of education. This year is no exception. There are three options under discussion; (1) Partisan elections (2) Non-partisan elections and (3) Appointment by the governor with confirmation by the Senate. I think most of our citizenry prefer not to mix politics and school governance. Our local school boards are elected in non-partisan races, but the districts are small enough that most of us are readily acquainted with candidates. That is not true in the State School Board races. Several decades ago Utah shifted governance of higher education to a board of regents appointed by the governor. By law, the board has a political balance. I had the privilege of serving on the board for a time and was always impressed with the caliber of my associates and the absence of politics or rancor. It has worked extremely well. The appointees are outstanding citizens. This is a model worthy of consideration for the state school board. I will keep you posted as the issue unfolds.

The rural legislators meet every Thursday afternoon with the rural school superintendants. Conflicting obligations sometimes require that we flow in and out of the meeting, but it is a very valuable interchange. These outstanding men and women do a great job for our rural schools. School funding remains under discussion but it is my fond hope that it will receive a substantial bump. Those who devote their careers to teaching our children deserve not only our appreciation, but also our financial support.

http://go.uen.org/31P

 

 


 

 

Keep Utah school boards non-partisan

Salt Lake Tribune letter from Breck England

 

Until recently, candidates for the Utah State Board of Education were chosen by a committee of political appointees. This atrocious system ensured that the governor’s political friends controlled the board. I was one of the plaintiffs who successfully sued to bring down this system.

But now the Utah Senate wants to make the state board and local board elections partisan, which would reimpose the same outcome. The winners will always be Republicans, chosen in caucus by a handful of delegates who tend to be ultra-conservative. Board members will have to keep party leaders happy before considering what Utah parents want for their children.

Do Utah parents really want powerful right-wing forces in charge of educating their children?

http://go.uen.org/31g

 

 


 

 

 

Big Brother Controls Education Without Your Vote

Daily Utah Chronicle letter from TRICIA FOSTER

 

Alright you conspiracy buffs — here’s one for the masses. Are you concerned the government is allowing corporations and other organizations to control our lives? Well, I would like to show you one way in which you are correct. Think back for a moment to your schooling before college, and more specifically to the days in which you had to take standardized tests. Do you feel they were an adequate measure of your education? Did they effectively test what you were being taught in the classroom? Most likely not.

The United States Constitution does not explicitly grant the federal government power to regulate public education. That is left to the states. But there is a loophole — an organization creating a plan and the federal government making promises, as they are wont to do, to make it almost impossible for states to refuse said plan. One example is Common Core. Common Core is a state education standards initiative designed to supposedly prepare students for college and careers. Common Core Standards are under copyright by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practice and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Now that the Common Core Standards have been accepted by almost all states, they can only be changed by those who have created it. That’s right — you cannot vote to change any part of Common Core and its practices. This is freedom, America.

http://go.uen.org/320

 

 


 

 

The APLUS Alternative to Reauthorizing No Child Left Behind

Conservatives have a chance to wrest control of education policy from the federal government. Will they take it?

National Review op-ed by LINDSEY BURKE, Will Skillman Fellow in Education at the Heritage Foundation

 

The Academic Partnerships Lead Us To Success (APLUS) proposal, referenced on the NRO homepage this morning by AEI’s Max Eden and Michael McShane, has long been part of the conservative vision for restoring state and local control of education. There have been various iterations of the plan over the years, including the 2013 version offered by Rob Bishop (R., Utah), which the AEI authors mentioned this morning.

More recently, conservatives have been working to ensure that similar opt-out clauses are contained in any reauthorization of No Child Left Behind, which is currently under consideration in the House. Congressmen Mark Walker (R-N.C.) and Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) have offered a version of APLUS as an amendment for consideration to the Student Success Act. Previous APLUS proposals have provided a variety of mechanisms by which states could inform the Department of Education of their decision to opt-out of NCLB. The current language requires that the Department of Education allow states to completely opt-out of NCLB if they so choose, by making what’s known as a “declaration of intent.”

http://go.uen.org/31V

 

http://go.uen.org/31W (The New American commentary)

 

 


 

 

The conservative case for HR 5

Fordham Institute commentary by Chester E. Finn, Jr., Distinguished Senior Fellow and President Emeritus

 

The Club for Growth is right about a bunch of issues, but they’re wrong about the pending House bill to replace No Child Left Behind with something far better. HR 5 (the “Student Success Act”), slated for floor action a few days hence, would, if enacted, be the most conservative federal education move in a quarter century. It has the potential to undo nearly all of the mischievous, dysfunctional, intrusive, big-government features of NCLB and return most education responsibility and authority to states, just as the Tenth Amendment prescribes. Which is, of course, precisely why the bill has come under sustained attack from the left! If right and left team up to kill it, we’ll be left with No Child Left Behind circa 2002, as modified (and made even more mischievous) by the Education Department’s unilateral “waivers.”

Moreover, states have always had the option—urged yesterday by the Club for Growth as if it were a fresh idea—to “opt completely out of the program.” Any state willing to forego its share of federal education dollars is free to do so—and to exempt itself from all the rules and constraints that accompany those dollars.

States have flirted with this option, and perhaps one will someday actually make such a move, but so far—that means for the last fifty years, inasmuch as NCLB was only the most recent iteration of a 1965 program—none has wanted to decline the money.

http://go.uen.org/31K

 

 


 

 

 

Want to hone your school reformer skills? Jeb Bush’s foundation has a MOOC for you.

Washington Post commentary by columnist Valerie Strauss

 

Are you an education policymaker or an education reform partner? If so, this one’s for you.

Former  Florida governor Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education is offering three MOOCS — massive open online courses — with “convenient, self-paced modules to accommodate busy schedules” to help you do more to “advance and effectively implement trending reforms.” You get to hear from leading reformers, among them Joel Klein and John King, in courses such as these, as described in a foundation e-mail announcing the courses:

“Securing Our Nation’s Future” : A failing American educational system threatens U.S. national security. In this course, participants will hear from national leaders and experts about these threats, the urgent need for education reform and how America can ensure its own security and global leadership for future generations.

A second course is labeled as being about data privacy and a third, titled “Winning the Ed Reform Conversation,” will help students hone their messages so they can, obviously, win the education reform conversation. (Is the foundation concerned that it is losing the education reform conversation?)

This is a Bush foundation education policy training program in the form of a MOOC, and features people who agree with the Bush brand of school reform, which he implemented as the focus of his governorship of Florida from 1999-2007 and took national in the years since.  The centerpieces of these reforms are standardized-test based “accountability” — which has led to growing protests around the country among parents, teachers, principals and superintendents — and the spread of charter schools and voucher/voucher-like programs that use public money to pay private school tuition. Bush has been seen as so much of a national “reform” leader that President Obama himself lauded the former governor as being a “champion of education reform” when the two appeared together at a Miami school in 2011.

(If you are wondering how we can have a failing American educational system after so many years of Jeb Bush-inspired school reforms that have swept across the United States, this “Securing” course probably isn’t for you.)

Along with Klein, the former chancellor of New York City public schools, and King, the former New York State education commissioner who is now a top adviser to Education Secretary Arne Duncan, you will hear from people including John White, Louisiana state superintendent of education; Patricia Levesque, CEO of the Bush foundation, who sent the e-mail announcement; and Greg Hughes, Utah Speaker of the House.  The 18 people shown on the foundation Web site who are involved in the courses come from the policy and legislative (and not the education) world.

http://go.uen.org/31Q

 

 


 

 

Educational expertise, advocacy, and media influence

Education Policy Analysis Archives analysis by Joel R. Malin, Christopher Lubienski, University of Illinois

 

The efforts of many advocacy organizations to advance their preferred policies despite conflicting evidence of the effectiveness of these policies raise questions about factors that shape successful policy promotion. While many may like to think that expertise on an issue in question is an essential prerequisite for influence in public policy discussions, there is a traditional disconnect between research evidence and policymaking in many fields, including education. Moreover, the efforts of many policy advocates suggest that they see advantages in other factors besides research expertise in advancing their interpretation of evidence for use in policymaking processes. We hypothesize that some of the most influential education-focused organizations are advancing their agendas by engaging media and drawing on individuals who possess substantial media acumen, yet may not possess traditionally defined educational expertise. Thus, we hypothesize that media impact is loosely coupled with educational expertise. In fact, in analyzing various indicators of expertise and media penetration, we find a weak relationship between expertise and media impact, but find significantly elevated media penetration for individuals working at a sub-sample of organizations promoting what we term “incentivist” education reforms, in spite of their generally lower levels of expertise. We find these organizations are particularly effective in engaging new media forms by going directly to their audience. We consider the policy implications in the concluding discussion.

http://go.uen.org/31L

 

 

 

 

 

————————————————————-

NATIONAL NEWS

————————————————————-

 

White House Threatens Veto of Bill to Overhaul Education Law

Associated Press

 

WASHINGTON — The White House threatened Wednesday to veto a Republican bill to overhaul the widely criticized No Child Left Behind law, calling the effort “a significant step backwards.” The veto threat came as lawmakers were set to debate the measure in the House.

Republicans say the bill would restore local control in schools and stop top-down education mandates. Democrats say it would allow billions in federal dollars to flow out without ensuring they will improve student learning.

The White House said the bill “abdicates the historic federal role in elementary and secondary education of ensuring the educational progress of all of America’s students, including students from low-income families, students with disabilities, English learners, and students of color.”

http://go.uen.org/2H5

 

http://go.uen.org/31N (McClatchy)

 

http://go.uen.org/31E (Reuters)

 

http://go.uen.org/31J (Ed Week)

 

 


 

 

 

Rising Graduation Rates: Trend or Blip?

But theories diverge on reasons why

Education Week

 

Unlike heart rate or height, high school graduation rates are deceptively difficult to measure, with different methods producing contrasting and sometimes contradictory results.

But even with these various approaches, the latest signs emerging from the U.S. Department of Education appear to point in a single direction: Graduation rates are on the rise.

“At first glance, what the latest data tells us is that it’s not a speed bump; it looks more like a speed table,” said Sherman Dorn, an education professor at Arizona State University’s Phoenix and Tempe campuses. “Whether or not it’s actually more persistent increases, we’ll have to wait a couple years [to see].”

Mr. Dorn was referring to the recent release by the National Center for Education Statistics, or NCES, of a table indicating that the nation’s on-time graduation rate reached 81 percent for the class of 2013, breaking a record at least two years in a row. The table was posted on the statistics agency’s website in January and publicized by the Education Department earlier this month.

http://go.uen.org/31H

 

 


 

 

Feds support transgender teen in civil rights suit against schools

Washington Post

 

Federal officials have offered their support for a teen who has accused four Michigan school districts of discriminating against him because he is transgender.

U.S. civil rights laws protect “all individuals from sex discrimination, including transgender individuals,” lawyers for the Justice and Education departments wrote in a statement filed in federal district court.

The case — involving a 14-year-old who was born a biological girl, but identifies and lives as a boy — potentially breaks new legal ground by raising anti-bullying allegations on behalf of a transgender student, his lawyer said.

His mother sued in September, alleging that the schools not only failed to protect him from bullying by other students, but also outed him without his consent, telling his peers and their parents that he was born a girl.

The teen’s mother also alleged that the schools forced him to use women’s bathrooms and insisted on calling him by his given name, Olivia.

The teen is seeking compensation for damages and attorneys’ fees. The school districts are asking a federal judge to dismiss the case, arguing that none of the allegations constituted discrimination based on sex or gender.

http://go.uen.org/31B

 

 


 

 

 

Immigration Reform 2015: More Hispanics In US Schools, But They’re Struggling To Keep Up

(New York) International Business Times

 

After years of steady immigration and high birth rates, Hispanics have become the fastest growing ethnic group in U.S. public schools, making up more than one in five kindergarten students. But the children of Latino immigrants are struggling to keep up with other students by nearly every measure, underperforming their white, Asian and sometimes black peers when it comes to SAT scores, math and reading skills, and high school and college graduation rates. The stubborn achievement gap paints a bleak future for the U.S. economy and education system and suggests U.S. schools at every level are failing miserably when it comes to teaching Hispanics regardless of their English-language skills or economic backgrounds, education advocates said.

“Closing racial gaps is no longer only a moral imperative for the nation, but it’s also an economic imperative given the demographic changes,” said Vanessa Cárdenas, vice president of Progress 2050, the immigration research arm of the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. “By the time our kids are entering into kindergarten they are already behind and it’s not like non-Hispanic kids are waiting around for them to catch up. As they advance, every year the gap becomes bigger.”

President Barack Obama will visit Miami Wednesday to host an immigration town-hall style meeting at Florida International University, which graduates more Hispanic students than any other higher education institution in the country. The nationally televised event hosted by Miami-based Telemundo comes as more Hispanic students are entering college, partly because of Obama’s immigration policies that have allowed young illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children to obtain temporary legal status. Obama has said integrating immigrants into U.S. society is crucial to the nation’s economic future.

But every measurement used to assess student achievement suggests U.S. schools are not prepared to teach a growing population of Latino children. Hispanics are graduating from high school at lower rates than whites and Asians. In many states, Hispanics are also graduating at lower rates than black students, who have historically faced numerous education challenges in the U.S. Since 1990, Hispanics have dropped out at much higher rates than any other ethnic group.

A small, but growing number of education researchers are urging U.S. public school administrators to rethink the way they approach Hispanic students. Latinos, they said, should be praised for being bilingual, an important trait in the increasingly global economy, and teachers should use the students unique cultural and linguistic skills to help them gain necessary reading and math skills.

“Teachers often put children of poverty all in one basket and speak of them along the lines of, ‘how do we help these students rise above their families and achieve?'” said Bryant Jensen, an assistant professor of education at Brigham Young University in Utah whose research centers on Latino education. “But these kids come with a host of developmental advantages in terms of how well they can cooperate with others, how well they can regulate their emotions in the classrooms, and these skills that are really important for the 21st century are undervalued by teachers.”

http://go.uen.org/31S

 

 


 

 

Arne Duncan talks early childhood education at Alexandria school

Washington Post

 

Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Wednesday got a first-hand glimpse of early childhood education in a busy Alexandria preschool classroom, where he got down on the rug with youngsters playing with blocks, chatted up students building a “neighborhood” with sand and talked to a young girl about her writing.

Duncan has called early childhood education one of his top priorities as Congress does battle over reauthorization of federal education law. But he offered few specifics Wednesday as to how he would increase funding for preschool. In comments at Patrick Henry Elementary School in Alexandria, he called for greater access to preschool for families that want it.

“The simplest point of what I’d like to see is less kids on waiting lists, and more children having access,” he said. “For kids and families who want to have access to high quality early learning opportunities, we should make that available.”

http://go.uen.org/31C

 

 


 

 

 

Half of K-12 Students to Have Access to 1-to-1 Computing by 2015-16

Education Week

 

By the next academic year, mobile devices will be available for 1-to-1 computing for half of the U.S. K-12 student and teacher population, according to Futuresource Consulting Ltd, a U.K.-based research and forecasting company.

In fact, by the calendar year 2016, 54 percent of students and teachers will have access to a school-issued personal computing device, as the following bar chart shows:

http://go.uen.org/31I

 

 


 

 

 

How to improve education for juvenile offenders

Marketplace

 

On any given day, 60,000 kids are in secure juvenile justice facilities around the country. Thousands more pass through the system each year. Many of these kids are already failing in school — or are far behind when they come into the system — and many end up in even worse shape academically when they leave.

Late last year, the Department of Education and Department of Justice issued guidance urging states to make education a top priority for kids who are locked up. David Domenici directs the non-profit Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings. He spoke to Marketplace’s senior education and technology reporter, Adriene Hill.

http://go.uen.org/321

 

 


 

 

CPAC 2015: Can Jeb Bush win over conservatives?

CPAC is the Super Bowl of conservative activism. Jeb Bush, a GOP establishment favorite, needs to broaden support among movement conservatives.

Christian Science Monitor

 

WASHINGTON — Jeb Bush has set up a killer fundraising operation, likely to dwarf anything the rest of the prospective Republican presidential field can do.

But that won’t guarantee him the 2016 GOP nomination. Mr. Bush, scion of the party’s most powerful family, needs to win over conservative activists – or at least enough of them to beat the competition when primaries and caucuses begin in a year.

Enter the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, the Super Bowl of “movement conservative” activism. The confab begins Wednesday at a conference center just outside the Beltway and is the first big cattle call of the 2016 presidential race. Bush’s appearance at CPAC on Friday – a question-and-answer session with Fox News host Sean Hannity – may be the most consequential event of the entire four-day conference.

“He is trying to overcome the talk radio meme that he’s a squishy RINO who won’t fight,” says Republican strategist Ford O’Connell, using the acronym for “Republican In Name Only.” On Bush’s unorthodox-for-the-GOP views on immigration and education, “he’s going to have to start to get buy-in.”

The former Florida governor supports comprehensive immigration reform, including a path to legal status for people in the country illegally, and backs the national education standards known as Common Core.

All the speakers at CPAC have the option of eschewing the standard stump speech and submitting to questions from Mr. Hannity, but Bush is the only speaker known up front to have chosen that format.

http://go.uen.org/31D

 

 


 

 

 

NYC Public Schools Told to Add More Sports for Girls

Associated Press

 

NEW YORK — New York City must offer more sports opportunities for high school girls in order to comply with federal Title IX provisions, federal officials said in a ruling made public Tuesday.

The ruling from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights says city high schools need to provide at least 3,862 more spots on teams for girls in order to achieve gender equity.

The ruling comes in response to a 2010 complaint filed by the Washington, D.C.-based National Women’s Law Center.

http://go.uen.org/31G

 

http://go.uen.org/31M (New York WNYC)

 

http://go.uen.org/31O (WSJ)

 

 


 

 

Najjar to be reinstated as teacher in Sayreville, but not at high school after being disciplined

(East Brunswick, NJ) Home News Tribune

 

Former Sayreville High School head football coach George Najjar, whose program was mired in a hazing and sexual-assault scandal that generated national headlines, will remain a teacher in the district, but not until after being disciplined.

The Board of Education approved on Tuesday night the recommendation of Schools Superintendent Rick Labbe that Najjar, who has taught physical education at the high school for 20 years, be reassigned to Dwight D. Eisenhower Elementary School in the district, where he will return to work on Thursday. Richard Tola, another physical education teacher in the district, will be transfered from Eisenhower to the high school on March 2.

Najjar, who earns just under $86,000 annually according to public records, was disciplined by the Board of Education, which will withhold his annual salary increment beginning with the 2015-16 academic year.

http://go.uen.org/31F

 

 

 

 

 

————————————————————

CALENDAR

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USOE Calendar

http://www.schools.utah.gov/main/CALENDAR.aspx

 

 

UEN News

http://www.uen.org

 

 

February 25:

8 a.m., House Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee meeting

445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/agenda/HNAE0225.ag.htm

 

Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee meeting

8 a.m., 250 Senate Building

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/agenda/SREV0225.ag.htm

 

Senate Retirement and Independent Entities Committee meeting

Noon, 20 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/agenda/SRIE0225.ag.htm

 

Senate Education Committee meeting

4 p.m., 210 Senate Building

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/bills/static/HB0345.html

 

House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee meeting

4:10 p.m., 20 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/agenda/HEDW0225.ag.htm

 

House Government Operations Committee meeting

4:10 p.m., 30 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/agenda/HGOC0225.ag.htm

 

House Revenue and Taxation Committee meeting

4:10 p.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/agenda/HREV0225.ag.htm

 

 

February 26:

House Education Committee meeting

8 a.m., 30 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/agenda/HEDU0226.ag.htm

 

House Public Utilities and Technology Committee meeting

9 a.m., 450 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/agenda/HPUT0226.ag.htm

 

Utah State Board of Education meeting

Noon, 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

 

February 27:

House Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment Committee meeting

8 a.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/~2015/agenda/HNAE0227.ag.htm

 

 

March 12:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

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