Education News Roundup: March 18, 2015

Artwork by fourth grade students at Summit Academy.

Artwork by fourth grade students at Summit Academy.

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

ENR welcomes his new boss, Angela Oakes Stallings, to the State Office of Education.

http://go.uen.org/3dP (SLT)

Park City School District isn’t keen on Sen. Osmond’s property tax bill.

http://go.uen.org/3ek (PR)

Are reporters getting their Common Core stories right?

http://go.uen.org/3eg (Columbia Journalism Review)

 

 

 

————————————————————

TODAY’S HEADLINES

————————————————————

 

 

UTAH

 

Legislative attorney tapped for State Office of Education job

 

Legislative session earns bad marks from local school districts Bills that could take away money from local districts pass both houses

 

UEA president disappointed that legislature did not fund poverty task force

 

Governor Herbert wanted more money for education but pleased with increase

 

Utah Lawmakers Approve Bill Requiring Parental Consent for Sex Education A new bill in Utah would require a parental consent before students could join the sex education class. While the state currently holds a policy that makes sex education voluntary, the bill would make this policy into a law.

 

Legislature’s education debate took on many facets

 

House panel approves asylum bill for homeschoolers

 

Utah bets big on foreign language learning, but not everyone is on board Several years ago, Utah decided to start teaching foreign languages in public schools — beginning in the first grade.

 

Why don’t Utah students want money for college?

With the nation’s lowest rate of high school seniors completing application, Utah kids miss out on grants, loans and scholarships.

 

Bake sale at Utah high school demonstrates gender wage gap

 

Accomplished bassist instructs Spanish Fork Junior High orchestra

 

Astronaut amazes students at a South Ogden elementary school

 

Utah’s best and brightest bring the brains at student technology conference

 

Teens in detention centers find voice, rehab in youth theater

 

Dogs ‘tutor’ students in reading

 

Former Alpine teacher sentenced to jail in child pornography case

 

UHSAA assistant director named to top role in Nevada

 

Professional Educator Day honors a priest and a religious

 

Provo District Literacy Committee to hold open house

 

Herriman Elementary students hold shoe drive for children in Africa

 

Hillcrest High drill team marches in New York parade

 

 


 

 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Superintendent’s remarks sold Utah educators short

 

The 2015 Legislature passed 528 bills in 45 days

 

Top 5 highlights from the 2015 Utah legislative session

 

Liberal discipline methods are making schools less safe…

 

Good teachers

 

New civics test will waste students’ precious time

 

Taxpayers suffer from sue-happy people

 

Common problems with Common Core reporting

 

Pearson’s Intellectual Property — Why Is This Even a Thing?

 

“Moneyball” for Education

Using Data, Evidence, and Evaluation to Improve Federal Education Policy

 

New Vision for Education

Unlocking the Potential of Technology

 

 


 

 

 

NATION

 

Texas Senate bill would exempt thousands of high school seniors from graduation exams

 

Teachers in Rhode Island City Sue to Observe Good Friday

 

Districts May Not Sue States Over IDEA Procedures, Appeals Court Rules

 

Nigerian Military: No News of 219 Kidnapped Schoolgirls

 

 

 

————————————————————

UTAH NEWS

————————————————————

 

Legislative attorney tapped for State Office of Education job

 

A member of Utah’s Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel will head up policy and communication at the Utah State Office of Education, officials announced Tuesday.

Angela Oakes Stallings was named associate superintendent by State Superintendent Brad Smith Tuesday. Stallings, who has worked for the past 10 years at Legislative Research, joins fellow associate superintendents Judy Park and Bruce Williams in a newly created position for the state office.

“Angie brings a wealth of experience and is perhaps the single-most knowledgeable person about education policy in Utah,” Smith said in a prepared statement. “The level of sophistication, experience and insight she brings is a quantum leap. Angie has a proven track record as well as the skills needed to bring excellence to the State Office of Education.”

http://go.uen.org/3dP (SLT)

 

 


 

 

 

Legislative session earns bad marks from local school districts Bills that could take away money from local districts pass both houses

 

As the Utah Legislative session wrapped up last week, a pair of bills local officials say would take money from Summit County school districts passed both houses and are waiting for the governor’s stamp of approval.

If signed by Gov. Gary R. Herbert, S.B. 97 would raise property taxes to generate $75 million in annual revenue, which would then be distributed to the state’s poorer districts. Sponsored by Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, the bill would raise the property tax liability $48 on a $250,000 home and $348 for a $1 million business property.

Local school officials have criticized the bill, saying Summit County residents would pay an undue proportion of the tax increases while seeing little in return. On Monday, Moe Hickey, a member of the Park City Board of Education and its legislative liaison, had not softened his stance even in light of legislators touting that they had increased funding for education during the session.

“You can’t take equalization and say, ‘Yeah, we increased funding for everybody 4 percent,'” Hickey said. “Some districts are going to get money, but some aren’t.”

http://go.uen.org/3ek (PR)

 

 


 

 

UEA president disappointed that legislature did not fund poverty task force

 

They were hoping for more money from the Utah legislature but Utah Education Association President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh said the four percent increase in the weighted pupil unit will be used in the best way possible to maintain and improve the state’s public school system.

On KVNU’s for the People program Monday, Gallagher-Fishbaugh said not only was the money less than UEA had hoped for, but no funding was provided for an inter-generational poverty task force.

“I think if we’re going to talk about addressing needs in schools we need to start looking at the things that cause children to have high needs inside of the classroom,” Gallagher-Fishbaugh explained. “One of those is certainly poverty, English language learners, economically disadvantaged.

“I’m hopeful we will start talking together and collaborating together about ways that we can look at doing community-based learning for not only students but also for parents in helping support great public schools.”

http://go.uen.org/3e2 (CVD)

 

 


 

 

Governor Herbert wanted more money for education but pleased with increase

 

There were disappointments but shortly after the closing of the 2015 legislative session Governor Gary Herbert said he had reasons to feel good about some of the actions of the lawmakers.

On KVNU’s for the People program Herbert said he felt education came out very good this year.

“The good news is we’re going to get about $503 million out of this session,’ Herbert explained. “So the numbers are good, not as much with the weighted pupil unit I had hoped. But more construction on some buildings, other issues, equalization in our state.

“Education should be, I think, pleased with the total number. There also seems to be a growing realization of giving more local control to the 41 school districts. I think that’s a good policy shift we see taking place.”

http://go.uen.org/3e3 (CVD)

 

 


 

 

 

Utah Lawmakers Approve Bill Requiring Parental Consent for Sex Education A new bill in Utah would require a parental consent before students could join the sex education class. While the state currently holds a policy that makes sex education voluntary, the bill would make this policy into a law.

 

Utah Republican Representative Brad Dee has introduced House Bill 447, which would require a parental consent before students can participate in the sex education class. The state currently holds a policy that makes sex education classes voluntary, but State Superintendent Brad Smith said the new bill would turn this policy into a law. The committee has voted to approve the bill, which is now headed to the full House for consideration.

HB 447 would simply mandate parental permission before students can learn about any topic related to sex education, such as marriage, reproduction, childbirth, sexually transmitted diseases, and contraception.

“We believe parents should have the ability to control, particularly on sensitive topics, their children’s participation,” Smith said.

http://go.uen.org/3el (iSchoolGuide)

 

 


 

 

Legislature’s education debate took on many facets

 

While many bills regarding education have been presented, few have made the Gov, Gary Herbert’s desk this session.

http://go.uen.org/3ea  (Capital West News)

 

 


 

 

 

House panel approves asylum bill for homeschoolers

 

WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee passed a bill Wednesday that would allow people to seek asylum in the USA if they are persecuted by their governments for homeschooling their children. At the same time, the bill would make it tougher for children fleeing gang and drug violence in Central America to gain refuge here.

“Shouldn’t children who are fleeing child abuse and violence be afforded the same protection as a child who is denied homeschooling?” said Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, D-Ill. “If we’re going to have this unprecedented carve-out for homeschooling, we should put at the same level children fleeing abuse, rape, gangs and murder.”

The Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act, sponsored by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, would make it more difficult overall for refugees to win their asylum cases, while opening a category of relief for families who live in countries that outlaw homeschooling. The bill would allow up to 500 grants of asylum per year to families fleeing persecution for homeschooling their children.

http://go.uen.org/3ej (USAT)

 

 


 

 

Utah bets big on foreign language learning, but not everyone is on board Several years ago, Utah decided to start teaching foreign languages in public schools — beginning in the first grade.

 

Utah probably isn’t the first place you’d think would be at the forefront of language education in the United States. When it comes to per-student spending in public schools, Utah comes in dead last among all 50 states. What’s more, Utah passed an “English Only” law 15 years ago, declaring English to be the state’s sole official language.

So what accounts for this language push? One man: Republican State Senator Howard Stephenson.

http://go.uen.org/3ei (Public Radio International)

 

 


 

 

Why don’t Utah students want money for college?

With the nation’s lowest rate of high school seniors completing application, Utah kids miss out on grants, loans and scholarships.

 

For the past eight months, Shantel Martinez has been frantically applying for scholarships and working 33 hours a week at Nickelcade while taking a full load of classes at Granger High School in West Valley City.

“My mom would ask me why I’m so stressed,” Martinez said, explaining she was worried about paying for college.

She also filled out a FAFSA — the Free Application for Federal Student Aid — making her part of a minority in Utah: Only 34 percent of high school seniors in the Beehive State complete one.

That number puts Utah dead last in the nation for its rate of FAFSA completion by high school seniors, according to a new report from the National Center for Educational Statistics and Department of Education.

An analysis from NerdWallet reports that Utah students left a whopping $45.5 million in Pell Grants on the table last year, and key players don’t seem to know why. FAFSA can also be the path to scholarships from the state and colleges, and loans.

“The consensus is, we wish we knew why we have such low completion rates. Because then we could fix it,” said Melanie Heath, spokeswoman for Utah System of Higher Education (USHE). “Here in Utah we need to do a good job of making FAFSA part of the college-going culture.”

http://go.uen.org/3dT (SLT)

 

 


 

 

Bake sale at Utah high school demonstrates gender wage gap

 

SANDY, Utah – The battle to close the gender wage gap is a problem across the nation.

According to the 2010 US Census, Utah ranks fourth for the largest pay discrepancy between men and women, with women getting the short end.

On Tuesday, local high school students worked to raise awareness of the issue, through a bake sale.

Kari Schott, president of Jordan High School’s Young Democrats Club, has yet to enter the workforce. But already she’s working to raise awareness of the pay gap between men and women.

“It’s not fair that just because I was born a woman I only get paid 77 cents,” Schott said. “This is an issue and I thought might as well start raising awareness starting young.”

On Tuesday her club sold cookies, with one catch.

“For every dollar a man makes a woman makes only 77 cents so we’re having the cookies be a dollar for a man and only 77 cents for a woman,” Schott said.

http://go.uen.org/3dO (KSTU)

 

http://go.uen.org/3e4 (KTVX)

 

 


 

 

 

Accomplished bassist instructs Spanish Fork Junior High orchestra

 

Spanish Fork Junior High School’s combined orchestra was paid a special visit by renowned bassist Ranaan Meyer for a practice session at Spanish Fork High School on Friday. The school was selected for Meyer’s “The World That We All Deserve Through Music” program, which sees Meyer travel to various schools to help inspire the students to excel in music.

“Once they met him and saw how energetic he was and passionate, I think it really helped them put a lot more passion into their own playing,” said orchestra teacher Angela Harman.

Meyer had written a song for the orchestra to learn, which Harman said was a “super difficult” composition. Harman spent a few hours working with the orchestra Friday morning to help them polish their performance, but the goal was more about inspiration than preparation for a show.

“I think it’s opened up their eyes to see what possibilities and potential they have and how far you can really go,” Harman said.

http://go.uen.org/3e0 (PDH)

 

 


 

 

Astronaut amazes students at a South Ogden elementary school

 

SOUTH OGDEN – Students at Club Heights Elementary were awed and amazed by astronaut Kent Rominger, who spent Tuesday afternoon talking about his career in space.

As Rominger showed pictures of his space flights and experiences, students gasped in amazement and ooed and awed looking at every picture.

Some students held their hands in the air throughout the presentation, and were eager to ask a variety of questions to the veteran astronaut Rominger.

Rominger was likewise eager to answer.

Currently, Rominger is vice president of Business Development at Orbital ATK. He is working on the SLS rocket, which he hopes will eventually take humans to mars. Rominger has logged more than 1,600 hours in space and participated in five space tours, piloting three of them.

http://go.uen.org/3dY (OSE)

 

 


 

 

 

Utah’s best and brightest bring the brains at student technology conference

 

KAYSVILLE, Utah – State leaders are pushing to get more students interested in science, technology, engineering and math.

Based on the number and caliber of students who have turned out for this local competition, strides are being made to recruit more young minds.

All year, students from across the state prepare for the Utah Technology Association conference.

The annual event kicked off at Davis Applied Technology College in Kaysville Tuesday.

http://go.uen.org/3e8 (KSTU)

 

 


 

 

Teens in detention centers find voice, rehab in youth theater

 

On a small stage, seven local teens stood in scrubs — their backs to an audience of about 75. One by one, they turned around, each somber or angry or both as they told stories of juvenile lockdown and the reasons that got them there.

Drugs, truancy, rules, respect, depression and decisions … each story is laced with regret — each author feels misunderstood — and most tell of trouble at home.

“People overlook my accomplishments and define me by by mistakes,” one actor said.

“Some just don’t understand what we go through,” said another.

“Where were you mom and dad?” one asked.

The production, “Behind These Walls,” was performed in Orem on March 14 by @ct Risk No More, a local nonprofit youth theater company that creates and performs original works written by kids in juvenile detention centers. The 20 or so stories told came from poems, letters and journal entries written by teens at Slate Canyon Youth Center in Provo and Salt Lake Valley Detention Center.

http://go.uen.org/3e1 (PDH)

 

 


 

 

 

Dogs ‘tutor’ students in reading

 

PARK CITY — Third-graders at Parley’s Park Elementary no longer get stressed out when they’re called to read aloud with their tutors.

In fact, they’re more relaxed and self-confident than ever because their tutors aren’t going to notice a mistake. Their tutors are dogs.

http://go.uen.org/3e6 (KSL)

 

 


 

 

 

Former Alpine teacher sentenced to jail in child pornography case

 

An Alpine elementary school teacher who pleaded guilty to child pornography charges will serve 240 days in jail for the crime.

Edward A. Greene, 55, pleaded guilty to five second-degree felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor in January. In exchange for the plea, Utah County prosecutors dropped five other charges and agreed not to recommend a judge send Greene to prison.

On Tuesday, 4th District Judge Derek Pullan ordered Greene spend 240 days in jail, followed by 36 months of supervised probation. Greene will be allowed to serve 120 days of his jail term at home wearing an ankle monitor.

http://go.uen.org/3ep (SLT)

 

 


 

 

UHSAA assistant director named to top role in Nevada

 

MIDVALE — Bart Thompson knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

But after several days of deliberation and counsel with his family, the Utah High School Activities Association assistant director put his name into contention for an opening as executive director of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association. He wasn’t going to apply for a job unless he was serious about it, and he finally decided he was on the last day the association was accepting applications.

A few days later, he was interviewing with the Silver State’s board of control alongside five final candidates for the position. On Monday, as he was driving back to Utah, he learned it was all worth it.

Thompson will be named the fourth executive director of Nevada’s top high school athletics association.

http://go.uen.org/3eo (KSL)

 

 


 

 

 

Professional Educator Day honors a priest and a religious

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Father Erik Richtsteig, pastor of Saint James the Just Parish in Ogden, received the Christ the Teacher award; and Holy Cross Sister Genevra Rolf, Utah Catholic Schools associate superintendent, was  presented with the Jesus and the Children Award during the Professional Educator Day Mass at Saint Vincent de Paul Parish March 13.

http://go.uen.org/3em (IC)

 

 


 

 

Provo District Literacy Committee to hold open house

 

PROVO — The Provo City School District is in the process of obtaining English and language arts teaching materials for grades K-2 to meet the new Utah Core Standards.

The District Literacy Committee has been learning about and narrowing teaching materials. The final two choices are “Journeys” by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and “Wonders” by McGraw-Hill.

On March 30 and 31, an open house will be held for employees and the public to learn about and review each program.

http://go.uen.org/3dW (DN)

 

 


 

 

 

Herriman Elementary students hold shoe drive for children in Africa

 

HERRIMAN, Utah – Herriman Elementary School students are working to make a real difference in the lives of others. Randall Carlisle shows us why in this Caring 4 Utah Report.

Everywhere you look…shoes. Down the hall…more shoes. Shoes of all shapes and sizes. Later this year these shoes will cover the bare feet of the kids in the west African country of Birkina Faso: one of the poorest countries in the world.

http://go.uen.org/3e5 (KTVX)

 

http://go.uen.org/3e7 (KSL)

 

 


 

 

Hillcrest High drill team marches in New York parade

 

The Hillcrest High School drill team marches Tuesday, March 17, 2015, in the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the country’s oldest and proudest Irish tradition.

http://go.uen.org/3dV (DN)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

————————————————————

OPINION & COMMENTARY

————————————————————

 

Superintendent’s remarks sold Utah educators short Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Steven Hirase, superintendent of the Murray City School District

 

When asked about education funding and the rally that recently took place at the State Capitol recently, State Superintendent Brad Smith said he regretted the ungrateful tone of the education rally, commenting, “It reminded me of when my kid was 3 years old and started crying on Christmas morning because they didn’t get one more thing.”

As one who had a role in the rally, and as a superintendent and educator of 36 years, I have observed many changes in the face of education, but some things remain consistent: the desire of parents for their children to be provided with a quality education; and the dedication and level of unselfish commitment of educators working hard to meet the needs of our students and expectations of parents and the community. Students, parents, school board members, legislators and educators gathered in our state Capitol to show support of Gov. Gary Herbert’s proposal for educational funding at a time when our economy is doing better. For my teachers, counselors and other support staff who serve my students so diligently, and for my parents who have been frustrated with larger class sizes, limited access to counselors or social workers, etc., I felt it necessary for me to go to the Capitol and join in. I was proud to be a voice for those who I serve and want to let those who would listen know that our children deserve more!

http://go.uen.org/3en

 

 


 

 

The 2015 Legislature passed 528 bills in 45 days Utah Data Points analysis by Adam Brown, assistant professor of political science at Brigham Young University

 

By the time the Utah Legislature concluded its seven-week General Session last Thursday, legislators had passed 528 bills (including resolutions). I’ve heard people call that a record. It might be. My data go back only to 2007, and it’s clearly a record since then. As you can see in the chart below, this year’s 528 bills and resolutions just barely edge out the 524 enacted two years ago.

Of course, legislators had plenty of additional ideas that didn’t get enacted. Though only 528 items passed, 831 were introduced for consideration. Only 3% of these were actually voted down on the floor. Another 33% never came to a final floor vote–either because they died in committee, or (more often) because they weren’t prioritized for a floor vote before the session ended.

http://go.uen.org/3dN

 

http://go.uen.org/3eq (SLT)

 

 


 

 

 

Top 5 highlights from the 2015 Utah legislative session Sutherland Institute commentary by Director of Communications Dave Buer

 

Of the 833 pieces of legislation that were introduced this session, below are five that are especially noteworthy.

SB 104/SB 195/HB 186—State School Board Election Bills

After a federal judge signaled that Utah’s existing state school board elections process was unconstitutional, a flurry of alternative proposals made their way through the Legislature. SB 104 called for partisan elections. SB 195 would have implemented partisan elections unless an amendment to the Utah Constitution passed to create a governor-appointed school board. HB 186 would have established nonpartisan elections. Ultimately, none of these bills passed, so this issue will receive a lot of attention in the interim.

http://go.uen.org/3eb

 

 


 

 

Liberal discipline methods are making schools less safe…

KNRS commentary by columnist Rod Arquette

 

Well it never ceases to amaze us how some newer and more “progressive” methods of discipline seem to foster and grow a culture of violence and apathy towards education. All because things such as suspension, either in school or out, expulsion, detention, or anything else always are classified as racist or bigoted and we can no longer give them serious consideration.

And so we resort to wonderful little methods such as “talk circles” or “midnight basketball” because it feels good and requires no effort from anyone else. Yes because attempted assault with a deadly weapon really can be taken care of through solely talking it out.

Now students control the classroom because they know they can get away with anything. Especially because the teachers are now the ones to carry the blame, rather than the actual offenders in the first place. So when did we get to this point where nothing is ever taken seriously? What will it take to restore some sanity to the disciplinary system of schools? And why is it that we give trouble students of certain races preferential treatment that puts the other students in the school at serious risk?

http://go.uen.org/3e9

 

 


 

 

Good teachers

Deseret News letter from Mitchell Hall

 

I grew up in Utah, the son and grandson of public school teachers. They and the excellent teachers I had hugely influenced my desire to go into education and become a public school teacher. I’m pretty good at what I want to teach. And I want to be good at teaching it. So I’m studying in Texas at one of the top schools in the country for my field.

I’m only going to cite two statistics, because everyone knows how bad educational funding in Utah is. First, Utah has the absolute lowest per student spending in the country. Second, the state with the highest per student spending spends nearly 3 times as much per student as Utah.

I’d rather teach somewhere where the legislature actually cares.

http://go.uen.org/3dX

 

 


 

 

New civics test will waste students’ precious time Salt Lake Tribune letter from Ayden Eyre Armstrong

 

Every year high school students are subjected to dozens of tests, especially juniors and seniors. They study many subjects that are needed to prepare them for college and adulthood. This includes the study of government, history, politics, what is legal and illegal, and many things a citizen should do and know.

It would be ridiculous to consider giving high school students another test on a subject that they are already expected to understand. It would interfere with their studies of other classes and subjects that are of equal importance in high school. The new citizenship test for high schoolers would be similar to the existing citizenship tests, which includes American government, history, and civics, all of which we learn about, and are tested in, during high school.

While Utah has one of the lowest voting participation rates in the country, adding this test would not necessarily increase voter participation. It is not a useful test, but rather another hurdle for some who students who may be struggling to graduate.

http://go.uen.org/3dU

 

 


 

 

 

Taxpayers suffer from sue-happy people

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Debbie Patterson

 

It doesn’t take an intelligent person to figure out why Utah taxes are so high. Frivolous lawsuits. I for one am sick of them. People’s get-rich quick schemes sticking it to the rest of us. Two cases in point really boil my blood.

The first was the case of the family who went camping, among warning signs of “bear sighting” and the unthinkable happened as their 11-year-old son was mauled by a bear. Two million dollars was awarded to them courtesy of tax payers. Simple solution. Don’t go camping where bears dwell and if you do for heaven’s sake,  don’t sleep in a tent.

The second is current about the creepy teacher Ms Alltice who seduced students. A family of one of the young “gents” who accepted her advances is suing the school district. Instead of disciplining their 17-year-old son who knows better, they are using this as a golden opportunity to get rich. “High five sonny boy…because of you and your poor choices we get a new house…new cars…vacations…and all at the taxpayers expense.”

It’s not bad enough that the Utah school districts have no money and many of the teachers have to buy their own supplies…..this is a hit that cannot be afforded. If they win this case, expect all of us in Utah to fund their new lifestyle.

http://go.uen.org/3dZ

 

 


 

 

 

Common problems with Common Core reporting Columbia Journalism Review analysis by Alexander Russo, who writes about education news and politics at This Week In Education

 

“Something big is happening in New Jersey,” PBS NewsHour special correspondent John Merrow intones ominously at the start of last week’s NewsHour segment on standardized testing in New Jersey and elsewhere. “It’s happening in Newark … . It’s happening in Montclair … . And it’s happening in the state capital.”

The “something big,” according to PBS and other media outlets, is growing grassroots resistance among parents and students to a new set of tests being administered nationwide for the first time.

But so far, at least, much of the media’s coverage of this spring’s Common Core testing rollout has been guilty of over-emphasizing the extent of the conflict, speculating dire consequences based on little information, and over-relying on anecdotes and activists’ claims rather than digging for a broader sampling of verified numbers. The real story—that the rollout of these new, more challenging tests is proceeding surprisingly well—could be getting lost.

The tests under scrutiny were developed in conjunction with the Common Core State Standards, which the nation’s governors produced and President Obama has since supported. But since their creation in 2009, those standards and the new tests have become controversial among some conservatives as well as liberals, including some teachers and parents.

http://go.uen.org/3eg

 

 


 

 

 

Pearson’s Intellectual Property — Why Is This Even a Thing?

Huffington Post commentary by Daniel Katz, Director of Secondary Education and Secondary Special Education Teacher Preparation, Seton Hall University

 

Bob Braun, a five-decade veteran of the Newark Star Ledger and currently an independent blogger, blew up a portion of the internet on Friday by reporting that Pearson, the international education giant responsible for the PARCC examinations currently underway, was “spying” on students’ social media activity. According to a letter from Watchung Hills Regional High School District Superintendent Elizabeth Jewett, the district test coordinator got a late night phone call from New Jersey DOE after Pearson initiated a “priority one alert” for a breech of test security within the district. NJDOE informed the district that they believed Pearson’s alert was for a student who took a picture of a test item during testing and posted it to Twitter, and the state suggested that the district should discipline the offending student. However, upon examination, the district ascertained that a student had tweeted a comment well after testing was over and included no picture at all. The tweet has since been deleted by the student, but given the 140 character limit on Twitter, it is extremely unlikely that any significant breech of test security could have possibly occurred. However, the incident revealed that Pearson is monitoring social media for any and all references to the testing going on and is prepared to initiate state level investigations of individual students (how else would NJDOE know the district and student involved?) over very flimsy circumstances.

The story took off very quickly as did Mr. Braun’s accusation that Pearson is “spying” on students’ social media. The web site was loading very slowly on Friday night likely due to very high traffic, but by later that night it was completely inaccessible and Mr. Braun reported on Facebook that his web host informed him a denial of service attack was underway from an as of yet unidentified sources.      Meanwhile, outraged parents and anti-testing/anti-PARCC sentiments took off in social media:

Let me state that I am unconvinced that “spying” is exactly the correct word over “monitoring.” The reality is that most corporations of any size are monitoring social media routinely to check on their reputations and potential scandals. In a world where social word of mouth is genuinely a thing, it makes business sense for them to do so, and social media is not communication in the private space. If you don’t believe me, wait until you have a bad customer experience with your cable company and then take to Twitter about it — If you don’t get a response from someone in corporate within 24 hours, I owe you a coffee.

However, even from a “monitoring” social media perspective, Pearson’s actions are troubling.

http://go.uen.org/3eh

 

 


 

 

“Moneyball” for Education

Using Data, Evidence, and Evaluation to Improve Federal Education Policy American Enterprise Institute analysis by Frederick M. Hess and Bethany Little

 

More than a decade ago, Michael Lewis penned the influential book Moneyball. An examination of how Oakland Athletics General Manager Billy Beane used data to make his franchise competitive with wealthier baseball teams, the book struck a chord.

Beane’s strategy of making decisions based on data had a powerful and positive impact on the performance of the Oakland A’s, and people quickly saw that this practice could and should be more widely applied.

Most policymakers support the idea of using good data and evidence to make federal spending smarter—especially when it comes to investments in America’s children. The trick is determining just what good data and smarter spending actually mean, and to make sure people use them and don’t just talk about them. That is where so many pleasant points of abstract agreement can break down in practice.

This paper suggests ways to revamp federal education policies and programs to help lawmakers spend public funds more effectively and efficiently to improve student outcomes. The aim is to identify a set of proposals that have some bipartisan appeal and can make a practical difference.

http://go.uen.org/3dQ

 

 


 

 

 

New Vision for Education

Unlocking the Potential of Technology

World Economic Forum analysis

 

To thrive in a rapidly evolving, technology-mediated world, students must not only possess strong skills in areas such as language arts, mathematics and science, but they must also be adept at skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, persistence, collaboration and curiosity. All too often, however, students in many countries are not attaining these skills. In this context, the World Economic Forum has taken on a multi-year initiative, New Vision for Education, to examine the pressing issue of skills gaps and explore ways to address these gaps through technology.

In this report, we undertook a detailed analysis of the research literature to define what we consider to be the 16 most critical “21st-century skills”. Our study of nearly 100 countries reveals large gaps in selected indicators for many of these skills – between developed and developing countries, among countries in the same income group and within countries for different skill types. These gaps are clear signs that too many students are not getting the education they need to prosper in the 21st century and countries are not finding enough of the skilled workers they need to compete.

http://go.uen.org/3dR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

————————————————————-

NATIONAL NEWS

————————————————————-

 

Texas Senate bill would exempt thousands of high school seniors from graduation exams Dallas Morning News

 

AUSTIN — The Senate voted Tuesday to ease the state’s high school graduation requirements, clearing the way for thousands of seniors to be exempted from state end-of-course exams this year.

Under the measure by Sen. Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo, seniors who meet certain requirements could be exempted from having to pass all five of the end-of-course tests now required to receive a diploma.

Those students would have to pass at least three exams and get a passing average in all their core classes. In addition, they would have to get the testing waiver approved by a committee at the school.

The bill was passed on a 28-2 vote and sent to the House, where its prospects are unclear. Voting no were Sens. Kelly Hancock, R-North Richland Hills, and Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound.

Seliger said his measure is aimed at the 28,000 seniors who are in danger of not graduating this spring because they have not passed one or more of the STAAR end-of-course tests. That figure represents about 10 percent of the class of 2015.

http://go.uen.org/3dS

 

 


 

 

 

Teachers in Rhode Island City Sue to Observe Good Friday Associated Press

 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Teachers in Cranston, Rhode Island, have filed a lawsuit against the city’s school department after their requests to observe Good Friday were denied in a move they say violated their civil rights.

About 200 teachers contacted the union to report that they were being prevented from taking the day off, although they had provided more than the contractually required 24 hours’ notice, said Liz Larkin, president of the Cranston Teachers’ Alliance.

However, teachers’ requests to observe the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah in the fall were approved, Larkin said.

“That’s my big concern here, is equity,” Larkin said.

http://go.uen.org/3ed

 

 


 

 

 

Districts May Not Sue States Over IDEA Procedures, Appeals Court Rules Education Week

 

School districts have no right to sue their states in federal court in disputes over the procedural requirements of U.S. special education law, a federal appeals court has ruled.

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in San Francisco, ruled unanimously March 16 against both a local district and a county office of education in their dispute with the state of California.

The cases arose out of cases in which parents pursued complaints with the state against their local education agencies under a “complaint-resolution proceeding,” a category authorized under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Such proceedings aren’t as well-known as the more typical “due-process hearing” under the IDEA.

http://go.uen.org/3ee

 

A copy of the ruling

http://go.uen.org/3ef (9th Circuit Court of Appeals)

 

 


 

 

Nigerian Military: No News of 219 Kidnapped Schoolgirls Associated Press

 

LAGOS, Nigeria — Nigeria’s military says it has no news of the more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Islamic extremists nearly a year ago, despite liberating dozens of towns from the girls’ Boko Haram abductors.

The admission of lack of progress on the missing schoolgirls comes as the Nigerian military, bolstered by forces from neighboring countries, is regaining towns and cities held by Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria. The military’s successes come as Nigeria prepares for a critical presidential election on March 28.

http://go.uen.org/3ec

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

————————————————————

CALENDAR

————————————————————

 

USOE Calendar

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

 

 

UEN News

http://www.uen.org

 

 

March 12:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

9 a.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

 

March 19:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

Noon, 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

Related posts:

Comments are closed.