Education News Roundup: March 23, 2015

Artwork by Oakwood Elementary students.

Artwork by Oakwood Elementary students.

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

Trib looks at distrust between Legislature and educators.

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

 

Politico features a Salt Lake City company that tries to find test cheaters.

http://go.uen.org/3gi (Politico)

and http://go.uen.org/3gn (Reuters)

 

President Obama announces more funding for STEM education at science fair day at the White House.

http://go.uen.org/3go (AP)

and http://go.uen.org/3gt (USAT)

and http://go.uen.org/3fI (NBC)

or http://go.uen.org/3fJ (White House)

 

Politico and the New York Times look at the proposed student privacy bill.

http://go.uen.org/3fG (Politico)

and http://go.uen.org/3fH (NYT)

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Why do Utah lawmakers distrust Utah teachers?

 

Education » “Hateful” comments were triggered by SB235, a proposal to identify failing schools and hire consultants to work with local administrators.

 

State dollars to expand STEM in southern Utah

 

State school board backs away from veto request

 

Cyber snoops track students’ activity

 

Board issues $19M in bonds for new Dee school

 

Canyons District approves new elementary schedule

 

Project Youth gets kids pumped for college

 

Young students build their own underwater robots

 

Girls embrace Pinterest-powered manufacturing projects

 

Therapy dogs provide a listening, floppy ear to young readers

 

Kids explore powers, textures of brains

 

Layton students experience Air Force simulator

 

Lincoln Elementary students win top prizes in Stock Market Game essay contest

 

Ogden chooses to play as an independent in football in hopes it will revitalize the program

 

Child with special needs shares powerful message

 

Yoga club eases stress for Davis High students

 

HOPE Squad trains teens to help peers contemplating suicide

 

District apologizes over perceived racist comments at Granger assembly

 

Students Files Sex Lawsuit Against School District

 

Utah to honor top science and tech innovators at annual gala

 

CHS music teacher honored by Utah Music Educators

 

Iron County FFA students honored

 

Cache County schools score high in Niche ratings

 

Dancing with the Student Stars: Teachers cut a rug for Logan Schools Foundation

 

Reading 20 minutes daily can earn students free pizza

 

What parents can do at home to prepare their children to read

 

Robot allows online teachers more personal connection with students

 

Special-needs policies can be a tug-of-war for parents, teachers and administrators

 

 


 

 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Thumbs Up, thumbs down

 

Let’s stop reforming, and start disrupting educational habits

 

Healthy Utah’s failure shows legislators out of mainstream

 

South Salt Lake is proving the value of after-school programs

 

UPC Show: Episode 129 – Post Session Extravaganza, Part 2

 

How healthy is Utah prep football?

Injuries » Some parents steering kids away from the sport.

 

Education waivers

 

Questionable message

 

Concerns over Legislators’ knowledge of curriculum

 

Tests are not the way to evaluate teachers

 

Common Core and White Privilege: The Claim With a Long Internet Life

 

Getting observations wrong: the Phil Jackson Fallacy

 

Reaching the Full Potential of STEM for Women and the U.S. Economy

 

 


 

 

 

NATION

 

Obama Announces $240M in New Pledges for STEM Education

 

Privacy bill wouldn’t stop data mining of kids

 

Districts Ramp Up Efforts to Link Spending, Academic Priorities

 

Fundraising Site For Teachers Illuminates Classroom Disparities

 

Kansas Schools Fight Plays Out Against Backdrop of Debate on Judiciary

 

With Fewer New Teachers, Why Do Some Stick Around?

 

Empty online threats to schools on rise

Officials must take each one seriously while they work to head them off

 

Schools liable in suicides? Court to hear case

 

Here’s One Way to Improve School Lunches With so many children getting about half of their daily calories from school meals, it’s critical that school cafeterias provider healthier options. The latest research suggests one way to get kids to eat more fruits and vegetables

 

James Patterson Giving Another $250,000 to School Libraries

 

A High School Where a Student Might Letter in Polo

 

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Why do Utah lawmakers distrust Utah teachers?

Education » “Hateful” comments were triggered by SB235, a proposal to identify failing schools and hire consultants to work with local administrators.

 

On the final day of the 2015 Utah Legislature, teachers were described as incompetent, criticized for having a poor work ethic and compared to 3-year-old children crying for more on Christmas morning.

The comments, from two freshmen lawmakers and state Superintendent Brad Smith, along with similar rhetoric offended educators, who just days earlier had rallied for increased school funding.

“Every teacher I know is working their guts out,” said Sand Ridge Junior High English teacher Jennifer Graviet. “We’re working 12-hour days. We’re working after we go home.”

Graviet, a 20-year veteran of Utah schools, said disrespect for teachers and second-guessing of educators aren’t new or uncommon in Utah’s conservative Legislature. But she said the candor and “insults hurled” this session surprised her.

“Maybe it’s my imagination, but this year seemed especially — I don’t know — vitriolic, I guess; hateful.”

The comments were triggered by SB235, a proposal by Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, to identify failing schools and hire outside consultants to work with local administrators.

The bill, approved on the final day of debate, costs $8 million and uses as its measuring stick the state’s school-grading program, which itself is based on year-end test scores.

Teachers say the bill is punitive and inappropriately turns to noneducators for classroom solutions. And the debate, they say, hints at the ever-growing target placed on school employees.

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

 

 


 

 

State dollars to expand STEM in southern Utah

 

SALT LAKE CITY — In a bottom corner of a page on Dixie State University’s website, there’s a box that keeps a tally of recent job postings within 300 miles of St. George.

It’s easy to miss, but it tells a story educators and employers are desperate to convey to students.

As of Friday, the tally showed 11,137 available jobs in computer science, 2,366 in digital design, 4,661 in information technology, and 5,175 in web development. In total, almost 23,000 technology openings were posted within the past week, most of them paying at least $80,000 a year.

The number of students Dixie will graduate in those fields: “Probably 40-something this year,” said Eric Pedersen, dean of Dixie’s School of Science and Technology. “The entire state of Utah will graduate between 500 and 600 this year.”

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

 

 


 

 

 

State school board backs away from veto request

 

SALT LAKE CITY — The state Board of Education schedules additional meetings throughout the legislative session each year. After the 2015 session ended, the board met one more time with the only item of discussion — requesting a veto of House Bill 360.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Cyber snoops track students’ activity

 

Bent over their computers in Salt Lake City, a dozen cybersleuths scan the vast reaches of the Internet for contraband.

Only, they’re not hunting traffickers of drugs or sex.

It’s standardized-testing season across the U.S. — and they’re on the lookout for student tweets about the tests.

The Web patrol team works for Caveon, a test security company charged with protecting the integrity of new Common Core exams developed by the publishing giant Pearson. To that end, they’re monitoring social media for any leaks about test questions. News of the surveillance broke last week, sparking a firestorm. The American Federation of Teachers even circulated a petition demanding that Pearson “stop spying on our kids.”

But Pearson is hardly the only company keeping a watchful eye on students.

School districts and colleges across the nation are hiring private companies to monitor students’ online activity, down to individual keystrokes, to scan their emails for objectionable content and to scrutinize their public posts on Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Instagram and other popular sites. The surveillance services will send principals text-message alerts if a student types a suspicious phrase or surfs to a website that raises red flags.

A dozen states have tried to limit cybersnooping by banning colleges or K-12 schools, or both, from requesting student user names and passwords, which could be used to pry open social media accounts protected by privacy settings. Among those taking action: California, Illinois, Michigan and Utah.

http://go.uen.org/3gi (Politico)

 

http://go.uen.org/3gn (Reuters)

 

 


 

 

Board issues $19M in bonds for new Dee school

 

OGDEN — The Ogden school board, acting as a municipal building authority, is issuing $19.3 million in lease revenue bonds. The bonds will be used to pay for the new school being built to replace Dee Elementary.

“We were working on some finance options with the city, which we hoped would have generated enough money to build a community center on the school,” said Zane Woolstenhulme, the district’s business administrator.

Those finances didn’t pan out, and the district needs to move ahead with construction. The new site is between 21st and 22nd streets at Madison Avenue.

http://go.uen.org/3g1 (OSE)

 

 


 

 

 

Canyons District approves new elementary schedule

 

SANDY — Following recommendations from a task force of elementary school teachers, the Canyons Board of Education has approved a new elementary school schedule.

The board voted unanimously March 17 to adopt the proposed schedule as recommended by the Elementary Schedule Task Force. The schedule will be implemented in the 2015-16 school year.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Project Youth gets kids pumped for college

 

PROVO — In hopes of inspiring an early commitment to college, BYU students welcomed 950 fifth- and sixth-grade students from Title I schools to campus Friday morning.

The exploratory event, Project Youth, seeks to provide both information and motivation to at-risk students who may not yet be considering college. It has been hosted by BYU’s Center for Service and Learning for 26 years.

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

 

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

 

 


 

 

 

Young students build their own underwater robots

 

LEHI — Two cousins in the fifth grade tried their hand at robotics for the first time and came out on top at an underwater competition.

Students from public elementary and middle schools were invited to build their own robots and compete at the third annual Utah Underwater Robotics Competition in Lehi Wednesday. About 175 teams attempted to earn points by using their robots to complete various tasks in a pool.

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

 

 


 

 

Girls embrace Pinterest-powered manufacturing projects

 

LAYTON — In a few of the manufacturing classes taught at North Layton Junior High, girls are outnumbering the boys, with the teacher having enticed them with the promise of Pinterest projects.

True to form, class members get to choose their projects from Pinterest — as long as they meet the requirements for the course. Teacher Wes Gold said the class was a fluke of sorts. Last summer as the junior high teachers were brainstorming new elective classes, someone flippantly said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could do a Pinterest class,” referring to the website where users upload, save and share images and ideas, referred to as pins.

The idea for a class using Pinterest took shape as Gold envisioned it as a way to increase the number of girls taking his ninth-grade manufacturing course. “We thought this was perfect to introduce manufacturing in a way to draw in the young ladies, who may not feel comfortable in a traditional wood shop with boys,” Gold said.

http://go.uen.org/3g2 (OSE)

 

 


 

 

Therapy dogs provide a listening, floppy ear to young readers

 

PARK CITY — With a picture book open in her lap, third-grader Ava Bretts scratches the head of the tiger-striped Plott hound lying next to her.

“It’s really cool to have a dog in your class and to get to read to her,” Ava said, stroking the dog’s fur. “Dixie is always a good listener and she never talks or interrupts.”

As a student in Randee Kadziel’s third-grade class at Parley’s Park Elementary School, Ava sees Dixie once a week through Intermountain Therapy Animals’ “Reading Education Assistance Dogs” or READ program. Using trained and registered therapy animals, the program provides support for students struggling to read at grade level by connecting them with a supportive canine audience.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Kids explore powers, textures of brains

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Graham Embleton, an 11-year-old from Roosevelt, cautiously cupped a human brain in his hands Saturday.

He stared as Amanda Berbert, a University of Utah medical student, showed him where the spinal cord connected to the brain.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience to hold a human brain,” said Sarah Redmon, a University of Utah neuroscience graduate student who helped oversee this year’s Brain Awareness Week event at The Leonardo on Saturday.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/3ga (KUTV)

 

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

 

 


 

 

 

Layton students experience Air Force simulator

 

LAYTON — The U.S. Air Force’s Rapid Strike full-motion flight simulator visited Layton High School’s annual Legion Day, which was fitting as planes from Hill Air Force Base cruised overhead while students waited in line for the ride.

The six-minute-long experience was similar to Disneyland’s Star Tours ride, set in a large box attached to hydraulics moving and swaying the dozen riders as they experienced a mission from start to finish, journeying on an F-22 and a C-17, parachuting out of the plane, landing in the desert, riding a motorbike to confirm the target’s location, and then soaring with the missile to its destination.

The simulator is attached to a big-rig trailer with the computer system located near the front of the truck. It travels 10 months out of the year around the country, making stops at the Super Bowl, Daytona 500, air shows, and even local schools.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Lincoln Elementary students win top prizes in Stock Market Game essay contest

 

Three students from Lincoln Elementary won the Stock Market Game essay contest for the state of Utah, taking home Visa gift cards and money to invest for college.

http://go.uen.org/3g7 (LHJ)

 

 


 

 

Ogden chooses to play as an independent in football in hopes it will revitalize the program

 

OGDEN — High school sports offer teenagers the chance to learn, grow and excel through competition.

But when that experience consists of almost constant loss and disappointment, is it really a good thing?

Not only that, but when it comes to football, losing isn’t just a matter of wounded pride, it can be a safety issue. And that’s exactly the reason the Ogden School Board voted to take its football program on an unorthodox path.

Last week, the Utah High School Activities Association approved a Memorandum of Understanding that allows Ogden High School to compete as an independent member school in football. While some see it as a drastic measure, maybe even unnecessary, Ogden District athletic director Ken Crawford said the move was an effort to deal with a situation that become as much a safety concern as it is an issue of morale.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Child with special needs shares powerful message

 

DRAPER — What you see isn’t always what you get.

For 12-year-old JulieLynn Reardon, there’s a lot more to her than some people might see.

JulieLynn is just like most other girls her age: She likes being outdoors, she loves animals and she enjoys dressing up.

But unlike her peers, JulieLynn was born with both hemimegalencephaly and cerebral palsy — conditions that prohibit her from being independent, having full mobility and expressing herself vocally.

“She’s so smart but the typical outlets (to communicate) are compromised,” said JulieLynn’s mother, Anita Miller-Reardon.

In order to share her thoughts and feelings, JulieLynn writes out alphabetical letters onto her mother’s palm using her index finger.

“The fact that JulieLynn can write out her emotions is amazing. She has found a way through the one appendage that works to express herself,” said Miller-Reardon.

Although she cannot speak, JulieLynn did not let her physical disabilities stop her from entering into Utah’s Reflections writing contest.

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

 

 


 

 

Yoga club eases stress for Davis High students

 

KAYSVILLE — Jamie Fox, physical education and health teacher at Davis High School, didn’t want to teach yoga when she was first approached about it at a different school several years ago, because she was an athlete heavily involved in active sports.

However, after begrudgingly accepting, she started teaching yoga and fell in love with it, so much so that when junior Ashley Christensen approached her about teaching the first yoga club created at Davis High School this year, Fox was gung-ho.

http://go.uen.org/3g0 (OSE)

 

 


 

 

 

HOPE Squad trains teens to help peers contemplating suicide

 

PROVO — The Jason Foundation reports that on average over 5,400 American teenagers attempt suicide every day. On Friday, dozens of high school students from around the state gathered for a training session on how they can help prevent their peers from making a decision like that.

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

 

 


 

 

 

District apologizes over perceived racist comments at Granger assembly

 

WEST VALLEY CITY — Granger High School is working on healing and apologizing for comments and actions made by a speaker at a school-wide assembly on Tuesday.

Granger High had an assembly to promote education and cultural diversity that included a number of speakers, one of them a Harvard graduate student — Cesar Cruz — who made comments that stirred up controversy. Cruz made comments and performed some actions that have caused the district to apologize and created, what has been described as, a divide in the school.

Cruz was a teacher for 20 years before being accepted to Harvard as a doctoral student in the education leadership program. His connections with an employee at Granger High set the wheels in motion to have him speak at the assembly.

For years Cruz has been a racial activist and is an Mexican emigrant.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Students Files Sex Lawsuit Against School District

 

One of three students who allegedly had sex with a Davis High School teacher is suing the school district. The unidentified 17-year-old student is suing the Davis County School District for negligence and emotional damages inflicted by his 35-year-old teacher Brianne Altice. The lawsuit is seeking at least 674-thousand dollars in damages. Meanwhile, the teacher is facing 14 felony charges, including five counts of first degree felony rape.

http://go.uen.org/3gm (MUR)

 


 

 

Utah to honor top science and tech innovators at annual gala

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Utahns and companies based in the state have been named as recipients of the annual Governor’s Medals for Science and Technology.

Gov. Gary Herbert, along with the Utah Science Technology and Research initiative and Governor’s Office of Economic Development, announced the 2014 winners.

Honorees in academia are: Phyllis Coley and Erik Jorgensen, professors of biology at the University of Utah; Christine Fogarty Celestino, science instructor at Juan Diego Catholic High School; and Helen Hu, professor of computer science at Westminster College.

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

 

 


 

 

 

CHS music teacher honored by Utah Music Educators

 

CEDAR CITY – Cedar High School music teacher Steve Shirts was honored as the Outstanding High School Music Educator for the state by the Utah Music Educators Association.

http://go.uen.org/3gy (SGS)

 

 


 

 

Iron County FFA students honored

 

CEDAR CITY – Canyon View High School student Nicole Hopkins was selected as the Utah State Future Farmers of America president, overseeing 6,000 students. Hopkins and fellow members from Cedar, Canyon View, and Parowan high schools’ FFA Chapters were honored this month at the Utah State FFA convention at the Sevier Center in Richfield. Canyon View FFA was honored as one of three new chapters in the state for the year 2014.

http://go.uen.org/3gx (SGS)

 

 


 

 

Cache County schools score high in Niche ratings

 

The research site Niche has ranked both the Cache County School District and the Logan City School District in the top 20 school districts in Utah. The site examines education systems nationwide, blending community reviews and opinions with data such as test scores to give schools and districts scores followed by a ranking.

http://go.uen.org/3g5 (LHJ)

 

 


 

 

 

Dancing with the Student Stars: Teachers cut a rug for Logan Schools Foundation

 

The crowd packed into the Logan Recreation Center’s gym cheered like mad as they watched teachers compete for a chance to win their school some money by dancing their way into the hearts of the judges.

http://go.uen.org/3g6 (LHJ)

 

 


 

 

 

Reading 20 minutes daily can earn students free pizza

 

SALT LAKE CITY — KSL-TV is extending a challenge to every family in Utah: If you read with your kids, we’ll take care of dinner.

KSL’s Read Today program has partnered with Papa Murphy’s pizza to promise a free one-topping, family size pizza to those who commit to reading 20 minutes a day for a minimum of 12 days.

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

 

 


 

 

What parents can do at home to prepare their children to read

 

Daniel Willingham is a cognitive psychologist at the University of Virginia with a background in neuroscience who now focuses on education. He wrote a widely acclaimed 2010 book titled, “Why Don’t Students Like School?” His new book, “Raising Kids Who Read,” off the presses this month, is an accessible hands-on guide for parents who want to help kids become avid readers at home and school. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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

 

 


 

 

Robot allows online teachers more personal connection with students

 

The Nexus Academy of Columbus is using robots to connect remote teachers from around the country with students at the school in Columbus, Ohio, according to Education News.

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

 

 


 

 

Special-needs policies can be a tug-of-war for parents, teachers and administrators

 

Benay Josselson’s 7 1/2-year-old son, whom she describes as “high-functioning on the autistic spectrum,” is allowed to take breaks during class and, in certain classes, to use so-called fidget toys to help him focus. But in other classes at the Rockland County, New York, Jewish day school, teachers who find the “fidgets” distracting don’t permit them.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Thumbs Up, thumbs down

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

 

Thumbs up to the Utah Department of Transportation’s Student Neighborhood Access Program, or SNAP. The program is designed to help children walk home safely from school, rather than have parents carpool or drive them to school. The program’s safety-focused app helps parents coordinate walking groups for their children.

http://go.uen.org/3g3

 

 


 

 

Let’s stop reforming, and start disrupting educational habits Deseret News commentary by columnist Drew Clark

 

The problem bedeviling the issue of educational attainment is that almost all versions of education reform ultimately need to be reformed.

It’s time to stop reforming, and time to start disrupting established patterns within secondary and higher education.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Healthy Utah’s failure shows legislators out of mainstream Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Maryann Martindale, executive director of Alliance for a Better Utah

 

No one should get everything they want from a legislative session. Good policy comes from negotiation, compromise and listening to the will of the people. Unfortunately, the 2015 session again demonstrates the result of failing to adhere to those principles.

State school board elections were left in uncertainty. Utahns overwhelmingly support nonpartisan elections and while the House was reluctant to go against their constituents, the Senate was adamant in their support for Sen. Ann Millner’s bill in favor of partisan elections or governor appointments for school board members. Instead of supporting their constituents’ wishes, the Senate let the clock run out and the bill died.

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

 


 

 

South Salt Lake is proving the value of after-school programs Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Cherie Wood, mayor of South Salt Lake

 

Most people support improving our nation’s educational system and encouraging young people to achieve their dreams, but many do not see the amount of work that goes on beyond the average school day to prepare school children for the future. On March 24, leaders from across the country will gather to pledge their support and raise public awareness of the importance on after-school programs and their benefits to school-age children and their communities.

The National After-School Summit, hosted by former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and former U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige, will bring together mayors, leaders from the private sector and education experts to discuss the benefits of after-school programs and how it is important that we support their preservation and expansion.

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

 

 


 

 

 

UPC Show: Episode 129 – Post Session Extravaganza, Part 2 Utah Political Capital commentary by columnist Curtis Haring

 

Welcome to the UPC Show with Curtis Haring and Alex Cragun!

Welcome to part two of three of our grand legislative wrap-up extravaganza! On this show we start off by talking about transportation and Education funding this session, as well as how air quality faired and the agreement that we are all going to hold hands and perhaps figure something out on health care with HCR 12. In the second half, we sit down with Representative Rebecca Chavez-Houck and get her impressions on how the session went.

http://go.uen.org/3g9

 

 


 

 

 

How healthy is Utah prep football?

Injuries » Some parents steering kids away from the sport.

Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist TOM WHARTON

 

One of the joys of being a sports-loving grandfather is watching young kids try new activities such as baseball, soccer, volleyball, basketball, lacrosse, golf and swimming.

The one sport they likely will not play is football, largely due to parental fear of concussions or lifelong injuries.

After San Francisco 49ers linebacker Chris Borland announced his retirement due to injury concerns, I began wondering about the health of youth football in Utah.

Ryan Bishop, the son of a football coach who resigned after a successful coaching career at Davis to join the Utah High School Activities Association as an assistant director, says the sport is healthy.

“This year, a lot of Division I football players were signed and recruited [from Utah high schools],” he said. “Football is on solid ground, which is a credit to school people and coaches. They are passionate about it and committed to having success and staying on the cutting edge.”

That said, there is also no doubt that the sport is stronger in some schools than others.

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

 

 


 

 

Education waivers

Deseret News letter from Lynn Johnson

 

I recently read about the state school board asking for a waiver from No Child Left Behind.

No one likes NCLB, and many states petition for waivers. Since these waivers are so popular, and since Americans have voted in favor of Republicans, why isn’t our Republican congressional delegation moving to repeal the whole NCLB apparatus?

Or perhaps writer Gilbert Chesterton was right when he said, “The purpose of progressives is to make mistakes. The purpose of conservatives is to prevent those mistakes from being corrected.”

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

 

 


 

 

Questionable message

Deseret News letter from Sue Kinter

 

On March 17, Granger High hosted a guest speaker. This speaker had a good message of resiliency and overcoming problems in the past. However, his good message was mostly lost as he encouraged anti-American/education ideas.

He said that because Mexico owned this land long ago, we in Utah are not living in America, but on Mexican land. He said we should not be learning American history, but Latino history in school. He said that we should not recite the Pledge of Allegiance until schools teach other ethnic histories.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Concerns over Legislators’ knowledge of curriculum

(Provo) Daily Herald letter from Brian Hoschouer

 

I am concerned about how little our Utah legislature knows what is going on in high school classes. There has been much talk about making high school seniors take a citizenship test in order to graduate. While in theory this would be a good thing to make sure that high schoolers know about the government they are about to be a part of, this very thing is already a requirement. High schoolers are required to take a government class during their junior or senior year. This class teaches all about the Constitution.

I am worried that if legislators don’t know what is really going on in the lives of those they represent then they will pass laws that do not help the people the are supposed to.

http://go.uen.org/3g4

 

 


 

 

 

Tests are not the way to evaluate teachers (St. George) Spectrum letter from Ellen Bennett

 

It was good to see two articles on teacher salary last Sunday. This is a topic rarely discussed for many reasons.

One of these is that teachers don’t want to be seen as complainers and frankly have chosen their career for more altruistic reasons. But the public should also know that in addition to being “ranked among the lowest paid in the nation,” our state has passed a teacher evaluation bill that puts that pay in jeopardy. Thanks to R277, part of a teacher’s salary can be withheld based mostly on their student’s test scores. How exactly this will be calculated, is still being decided.

Many people don’t see the downside of holding teachers accountable for their students’ scores on tests. Consider all the variables that a teacher has no control over.

http://go.uen.org/3g8

 

 


 

 

 

Common Core and White Privilege: The Claim With a Long Internet Life Education Week commentary by columnist Andrew Ujifusa

 

As recent polling about misperceptions surrounding the Common Core State Standards has revealed, there’s a lot of heated rhetoric on offer in the discussion about the standards, as there is about many public policy issues. An illustrative example of the extent to which debate about the standards has become part of the country’s broader political debate is how remarks by one of the common core’s authors, David Pook, have been interpreted, and spread, and then spread again around the Internet.

Last year, at an event hosted by the New Hampshire Institute of Politics, Pook, a teacher at the private Derryfield School in Manchester, N.H., discussed his motivations for helping to write the common core’s English/language arts standards. Here is what he said (Pook’s remarks begin at about the 30-second mark):

In case the video doesn’t work for you, here’s the key portion of what Pook said: “The reason why I helped write the standards and the reason why I am here today is that, as a white male in society, I’m given a lot of privilege that I didn’t earn. I think it’s really important that all kids get an equal opportunity to learn how to read. And I think I had decided advantages as a result of of who I was.”

After the first sentence, there were several negative exclamations from the audience.

Pook went on to stress the importance of creating equal educational opportunities for all students, and that he was reminded of this idea when he visited Roberto Clemente Community Academy High School in Chicago, an International Baccalaureate school that is 24 percent black and 73 percent Hispanic.

The video was posted on YouTube on May 22, 2014 by Campus Reform, an organization that says it exposes “bias and abuse” in U.S. higher education, and often highlights what it perceives as liberal bias at colleges and universities. As of March 20, it had been viewed roughly 278,000 times on YouTube.

The same day the video was posted, Fox News picked up the video and an accompanying blurb by Caleb Bonham of Campus Reform.

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

 

 


 

 

Getting observations wrong: the Phil Jackson Fallacy Fordham Institute commentary by Research and Policy Associate David Griffith

 

Was Phil Jackson really a great coach? Despite his reputation as the Zen master of hoops, I’ve never been convinced. After all, Kobe, Shaq, and His Airness would have made any coach look like a genius, and there’s never been a natural experiment quantifying Jackson’s impact.

Inside the classroom, a similar question lingers. In a recent study of district evaluation systems, Grover Whitehurst, Matthew Chingos, and Katharine Lindquist found that teachers with high-performing students were far more likely to be rated highly by observers than those with low-performing students. Moreover, this pattern was not the result of better teachers being matched with better students. Rather, observers were biased towards teachers with higher-performing students—the Phil Jacksons of the teaching world.

As the authors of the study make clear, eliminating this bias by adjusting for student background characteristics is relatively straightforward. So why aren’t we doing this already? A few weeks ago, Luke Kohlmoos of the Tennessee Department of Education argued against such adjustments, suggesting they were a “disservice to students and teachers” that would take us back to the bad old days of lower expectations for black and brown students. According to Kohlmoos, if we “systematize” lower expectations through classroom observations, teachers and students will stoop to meet them.

Obviously, we don’t want “lower expectations” for teachers or students, but when it comes to adjusting observation scores, it’s worth asking how those expectations are communicated and whether they are really “lower” in any meaningful sense.

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

 

 


 

 

Reaching the Full Potential of STEM for Women and the U.S. Economy U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation analysis

 

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) are essential to the U.S. economy and to sustainable long-term economic growth. STEM education and STEM employment are both crucial. The demand for STEM workers in the United States across industries is expected to grow faster than other occupations in the next decade.

Women account for half of the labor force, yet they account for only one-quarter of core STEM jobs. Although the participation rates of women in STEM education and occupations have been rising over the past decades, women are still underrepresented in the core STEM fields.

Additional public and private initiatives and programs are necessary to encourage women to enter and stay in STEM fields in order to fulfill the demand for STEM workers.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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Obama Announces $240M in New Pledges for STEM Education Associated Press

 

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is highlighting private-sector efforts to encourage more students from underrepresented groups to pursue education in science, technology, engineering and math.

At the White House Science Fair on Monday, Obama announced more than $240 million in pledges to boost the study of those fields, known as STEM. This year’s fair is focused on diversity.

Obama said the new commitments have brought total financial and material support for these programs to $1 billion.

“It’s not enough for our country just to be proud of you. We’ve got to support you,” Obama said.

The pledges the president announced include a $150 million philanthropic effort to encourage promising early-career scientists to stay on track and a $90 million campaign to expand STEM opportunities to underrepresented youth, such as minorities and girls.

More than 100 colleges and universities have committed to training 20,000 engineers. A coalition of CEOs also has promised to expand high-quality STEM education programs to an additional 1.5 million students this year.

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

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/3fI (NBC)

 

http://go.uen.org/3fJ (White House)

 

 


 

 

Privacy bill wouldn’t stop data mining of kids Politico

 

When President Barack Obama called earlier this year for a new federal law to protect student privacy in an era when children increasingly learn online, he called the concept “pretty straightforward.”

But the bipartisan bill to be introduced Monday — which was drafted in close collaboration with the White House — has proved anything but.

The bill lets education technology companies continue to collect huge amounts of intimate information on students, compile it into profiles of their aptitudes and attitudes — and then mine that data for commercial gain. It permits the companies to sell personal information about students to colleges and employers, and potentially to military recruiters as well.

And it empowers schools to authorize even wider disclosure of student data, without notifying parents or seeking their consent, according to a near-final draft reviewed by POLITICO.

At least one education technology company, Microsoft, already has endorsed the bill. And the chief sponsors, Reps. Luke Messer (R-Ind.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.), said they’re confident it will quickly earn bipartisan support in both chambers; Polis said he believed it would sail through the House under a suspension vote, with limited debate and no amendments.

Privacy advocates and parent activists, however, are crushed.

“This bill doesn’t fulfill President Obama’s stated commitment to ensure that data collected in the educational context is used only for educational purposes,” said Khaliah Barnes, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s student privacy project.

Barnes said “huge loopholes” and “escape clauses” sprinkled throughout the 18-page draft undermine the positive elements of the bill.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/3fH (NYT)

 

 


 

 

 

Districts Ramp Up Efforts to Link Spending, Academic Priorities Education Week

 

When the Wylie school district in Texas crafts its annual budget, finance officials closely consult with key academic leaders to ensure spending decisions match up with the district’s strategic plans and goals. Michele Trongaard, the chief financial officer in the 14,000-student district, shadows principals to better understand their needs as she shapes the budget.

Until two years ago, Wylie, in suburban Dallas, built its budget like many public school systems: without deep consideration for long-term improvement goals and with little communication between finance and academic officials. Now, though, Wylie uses a budgeting approach that not only has finance officials working in tandem with their peers in curriculum and instruction, but also embraces new levels of transparency for school board members and the public.

Wylie is one of six districts that has signed onto a pilot effort by the Chicago-based Government Finance Officers Association to persuade school districts around the country to follow a set of practices that bring budgeting decisions in line with clear instructional priorities. The organization of public finance officials is pushing for school districts to drop the year-to-year budget cycles and follow a budgeting process that requires long-term planning guided by efforts to improve student achievement.

Collaborations between budget officials and their academic counterparts are relatively rare in school districts, GFOA officials said.

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

 

 


 

 

Fundraising Site For Teachers Illuminates Classroom Disparities NPR

 

What happens when a teacher wants to assign an extra book for class, but the school can’t afford a copy for every student?

For Dana Vanderford, an English teacher at L.W. Higgins High School in New Orleans, the book was Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation. Buying enough copies for her class would have cost more than $800. Not an option.

“I get $80 a year to buy resources for my classroom,” Vanderford says. “And I have 90 students per semester. So that $80 doesn’t go very far.”

In the past, teachers in Vanderford’s position had a few options: Pay for the costs themselves, ask students to pay, or somehow try to raise the money.

In 2000, DonorsChoose.org made that “somehow” a little easier. Public school teachers can use the site to “crowdfund” classroom project ideas, raising donations to pay for everything from basic supplies to technology upgrades, field trips, and more.

Five days. That’s how long it took Vanderford to raise the money she needed to buy a copy of Fast Food Nation for each of her students.

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

 

 


 

 

Kansas Schools Fight Plays Out Against Backdrop of Debate on Judiciary New York Times

 

TOPEKA, Kan. — This state’s judicial and legislative branches are on course for a constitutional clash after a state appellate court suggested that it might block a school financing plan that lawmakers passed.

The plan, championed by the conservative­dominated Legislature and the Republican governor, Sam Brownback, cut tens of millions of dollars in aid intended to close disparities between rich and poor districts.

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

 

 


 

 

 

With Fewer New Teachers, Why Do Some Stick Around?

NPR

 

Earlier this month, we reported on an alarming drop in enrollment at teacher training programs in several large states. Considering the job’s long hours, generally low pay and unpopular testing requirements, many teachers in our audience weren’t surprised by the trend.

This made us wonder: Why, in spite of all the reasons to quit, do so many teachers keep at it?

In 2012, The Gates Foundation (which supports NPR’s coverage of education) surveyed more than 10,000 public school teachers—to find out what factors were important in retaining good teachers. 68 percent said that supportive leadership was “absolutely essential.” Only 34 percent said the same about higher salaries.

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

 

A copy of the survey

http://go.uen.org/3gl (Scholastic)

 

 


 

 

Empty online threats to schools on rise

Officials must take each one seriously while they work to head them off San Diego (CA) Union-Tribune

 

A deluge of online threats at schools this year has panicked parents, teachers and kids while burdening law enforcement agencies.

No matter the method – via anonymous Skype calls, irate phone calls or social media posts on apps like Burnbook – officials have to take the threats seriously; a reality they say disrupts education and policing.

The frequent threats led the District Attorney’s office to assemble a multiagency team of experts to analyze threats for trends and catch those who make them.

Schools across the region are holding parent seminars on social media, bringing in experts to discuss what role parents can play, and inviting law enforcement officials to campuses to highlight consequences. Burnbook – which allows kids to sign on anonymously and then trash talk about others – was used by several teenage students in San Diego County this month to threaten violence their campuses, with the kids who made threats arrested.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Schools liable in suicides? Court to hear case Louisville (KY) Courrier-Journal

 

By all accounts eighth-grader Stephen Patton was cheerful and well-liked by most of his classmates at Floyd County’s Allen Central Middle School.

But a few of them, his family says they discovered, repeatedly abused, taunted and bullied the 13-year-old gentle giant, who stood 6 foot 3, weighed 196 pounds and had a stutter.

On Nov. 27, 2007, Stephen placed a gun to his head and took his own life.

Now on Wednesday, eight years later, the Kentucky Supreme Court will hear arguments for the first time on whether schools can be held liable for failing to stem bullying that causes a student’s suicide.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Here’s One Way to Improve School Lunches With so many children getting about half of their daily calories from school meals, it’s critical that school cafeterias provider healthier options. The latest research suggests one way to get kids to eat more fruits and vegetables Time

 

If everyone had a personal chef, we’d all eat better. And if every school had a chef overseeing its recipes and menus, then kids would eat better too, right?

That’s the idea behind the latest study published in JAMA Pediatrics. With 32 million children in the U.S. eating school lunches—some of those at schools where pizza is considered a vegetable—there’s a movement to bring healthy food to the school cafeteria. But could a chef really make a difference?

The answer, as Juliana Cohen from the Harvard School of Public Health and her colleagues found out, is a resounding yes. The First Lady’s Chefs Move to Schools program and the Smarter            Lunchrooms movement have pushed two new ways of bringing healthier fare to students: by hiring chefs to work in school cafeterias, and by something they called a “smart café” system: strategically placing healthy foods like fruits and vegetables more prominently in lunch lines.

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

 

 


 

 

James Patterson Giving Another $250,000 to School Libraries Associated Press

 

NEW YORK — Just two weeks after launching a $1.25 million project to help public school libraries, James Patterson is adding another $250,000.

The best-selling author has received more than 10,500 applications for funding, and Patterson announced Monday he wants to keep up with the “immediate and overwhelming response.” The project’s co-sponsor, Scholastic Reading Club, is matching each dollar from Patterson with points that teachers can use for classroom materials. Schools have been seeking sums ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, for everything from new books to flooding repairs.

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

 

 


 

 

A High School Where a Student Might Letter in Polo New York Times

 

When the billionaire William I. Koch spent $60 million to start the Oxbridge Academy in West Palm Beach, Fla., he vowed to teach children “how things get done in the real world.”

The real world of Oxbridge includes a full­motion flight simulator, locally sourced blackened mahi tacos prepared by the former sous­chef of the popular Il Bellagio Restaurant in West Palm Beach, and a MacBook Pro for every student. And, in the coming months, Oxbridge will start offering students the chance to play one of the games of nobility: polo.

Oxbridge says the team is a response to the demands of its students and parents. It will be only the third high school polo program in the country. And contrary to the image of polo as the rarefied pastime of global playboys, with Champagne­soaked matches on the lawns of the Hamptons or Saint­Tropez, and $100,000 ponies, school officials say Oxbridge’s polo team will serve as a great democratizer, bringing children of different economic backgrounds together in an effort to expand the sport http://go.uen.org/3fF

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CALENDAR

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USOE Calendar

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

 

 

UEN News

http://www.uen.org

 

 

April 9:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

 

April 9-10:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

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