Education News Roundup: April 3, 2015

LegsummaryEducation News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

Gov. Herbert manages to get a few words in on ESEA during his motorcade ride with President Obama.

http://go.uen.org/3m0 (DN)

 

The Legislature, taxes and school funding get a good going-over at a Davis County forum.

http://go.uen.org/3lY (DCC)

 

John Hughes, the principal at Cottonwood Elementary in Orangeville, Utah, gets a mention in a Slate piece on education and Pinterest.

http://go.uen.org/3lQ (Slate)

 

States are trying to figure out what the opt-out movement means to test results.

http://go.uen.org/3lN (Ed Week)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

President Obama arrives in Utah, meets with LDS Church leaders

 

Taxes, education funding explained, defended at forum

 

Shadow Valley students dig deep into current events

 

School for kids with autism helps inside and outside the classroom

 

School district launches review of Ogden sports programs

 

Utah to Require Citizenship Test for High School Graduation

 

Tampering charge against former CVHS coach dismissed

 

Grand has two Sterling Scholar winners, four runners-up

 

Inside Our Schools

 

The battle over the federal role in K-12 heats up

 

 


 

 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

6 myths about online schooling debunked

 

There’s a Big Hole in How Teachers Build Skills, and Pinterest Is Helping Fill It

 

When Teachers Cheat

Rampant conspiracies to alter kids’ scores, including the one that resulted in the recent conviction of 11 Atlanta educators, attest to the dangers of high-stakes testing.

 

A troubling verdict

 

Keep Washington Out of Your Kid’s School

 

The U.S. Department of Land-Hogging

Nearly half of the West is owned—and badly managed—by the feds. States want to step in.

 

Colorado Republicans Are Pushing Koch Legislation To Seize Federal Land

 

 


 

 

 

NATION

 

States Seek Guidance in Face of ‘Opt Out’ Push Test participation at issue

 

Everyone Wants an NCLB Waiver Renewal

 

Board takes no disciplinary action against Baesler, Tschosik

 

Brownback fields questions on school funding overhaul

 

Idaho lawmakers approve state STEM center

 

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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President Obama arrives in Utah, meets with LDS Church leaders

 

HILL AIR FORCE BASE — President Barack Obama arrived in Utah on Thursday to cheers from military families gathered to see Air Force One touch down at Hill Air Force Base, where he’ll hold an event on solar power and the economy Friday.

Herbert rode with Obama in the motorcade from Hill to the hotel.

During the ride, they talked about Utah’s public lands initiative, the state’s effort to craft an alternative to Medicaid expansion, and the payment in lieu of taxes, which many rural counties depend on for public services.

“I appreciate the president’s invitation to ride in the motorcade with him to his hotel, which allowed us time to discuss a number of important issues,” Herbert said in a statement.

The governor said they also discussed a proposal to reform the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act to give the states greater authority in education, the importance of international trade and other issues related to the National Governors Association.

http://go.uen.org/3m0 (DN)

 

 


 

 

Taxes, education funding explained, defended at forum

 

BOUNTIFUL – Legislators representing South Davis County faced questions, compliments and criticisms at a public forum held to provide an overview of the recently concluded legislative session.

As is often the case with politics, it was at times the same issue that drew both the compliments and the criticisms.

While a number of speakers expressed thanks for the increased funding for education, several others complained about the higher taxes that will be necessary to provide part of that increase.

http://go.uen.org/3lY (DCC)

 

 


 

 

Shadow Valley students dig deep into current events

 

OGDEN — How many fifth-graders know details about ISIS? Some at Shadow Valley Elementary do, and they even have some thoughts on how to stop the Islamic terrorist organization.

Others have tips on stopping technology addiction, ending world hunger and preventing poaching, just to name a few.

The students have been working together in groups of four since January on comprehensive projects about current events facing the world, nation or even the local community. Thursday they wore their best dress and presented the projects to the community. Teacher Brittany Jolley has been the lead fifth-grade teacher on the project and she has seen the students grow as they have picked up a variety of skills while working on the project.

“Every day the students watch CNN news in class and so they know what issues are going on in the world,” Jolley said. The project the three classes participated in comes from an International Baccalaureate program that Jolley found. “We are not an IB school, but with this project students take the initiative in learning,” Jolley added.

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

 

 


 

 

 

School for kids with autism helps inside and outside the classroom

 

SALT LAKE CITY — One in 54 Utah kids has autism — the second highest prevalence in the nation — and 1 in 4 cannot or will not speak.

“A lot of our kids cannot communicate basic wants or needs,” said Julia Hood, director of the Carmen B. Pingree Autism Center of Learning, a specialty service of Valley Behavioral Health that serves children with autism across the Wasatch Front up to age 17.

“If they have a stomach ache or a headache, they can’t tell you. Sometimes they’ll act out behaviorally,” she said, adding that some parents don’t experience their child’s first word until well into the elementary education years, which is a long time to go without knowing how that child feels.

Now the school that has a waiting list of 200 children hopes to increase its ability to help more children and soon provide an in-home treatment service where parents can learn how to provide help to their autistic children.

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

 

 


 

 

 

School district launches review of Ogden sports programs

 

OGDEN — First, Ogden High went independent in football. Now, the Ogden School District has formed a community committee to take an in-depth look at all the district’s sports programs.

School board president Jeff Heiner stressed the review is not a “witch hunt.”

He said the group, which includes him and Jennifer Zundel from the school board, has been meeting already to talk about the basics of what the committee will be doing. Committee members include Jaynee Nadolski, who currently is an associate commissioner with the Big Sky Conference, Dr. Margit Lister, a physician practicing in Ogden, and Matt Spencer, executive director of development at Weber State University. All three of the community members played collegiate sports and are active with other organizations relating to sports and community involvement.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Utah to Require Citizenship Test for High School Graduation

 

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, signed into law this week a bill that requires high school students to pass a U.S. citizenship test to graduate.

The bill will require students to take a 50-question civics test and get a score of 70 percent or higher. At least 15 other states are expected to consider similar bills this year. Two states—Arizona and North Dakota—have already passed such legislation, though the testing methods in those bills differ slightly from Utah’s.

http://go.uen.org/3lZ (Ed Week)

 

http://go.uen.org/3m1 (KSL)

 

 


 

 

Tampering charge against former CVHS coach dismissed

 

CEDAR CITY – A tampering with a witness charge against former Canyon View High School basketball coach Richard Kim Blackner was dismissed Wednesday.

Blackner, who also has worked as a guidance counselor at CVHS, said the 5th District Court ruled there was insufficient evidence to support the charge.

Calls made to the attorneys involved in the case were not returned Thursday.

Blackner, during an interview Thursday, said the now-dropped charge centered around an email sent from Blackner to another individual involved in a different case and police decided to go with just that one piece when officers arrested him in March.

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

 

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

 

 


 

 

 

Grand has two Sterling Scholar winners, four runners-up

 

Grand County High School’s Class of 2015 had two winners and four-runners up at the Southeast Utah Sterling Scholars competition held at Monticello on Thursday, March 26.

http://go.uen.org/3m2 (Moab Times Independent)

 

 


 

 

Inside Our Schools

 

North Elementary

South Elementary

Three Peaks Elementary

Arrowhead Elementary

Millcreek High

Hurricane Valley Academy Charter

Dixie Middle

George Washington Academy

Snow Canyon High

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

 

 


 

 

 

The battle over the federal role in K-12 heats up

 

With Republicans still struggling to revise the embattled No Child Left Behind law, advocates on both sides are again sparring over the federal role in K-12 education. One month ago, it appeared the House was poised to revise NCLB, which was first passed in 2002 and now is long overdue for overhaul.

But then the gear stuck, as conservatives, moderates and liberals could not reach a consensus on whether to allow states to opt out of federal demands created by the law.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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6 myths about online schooling debunked

KSL commentary by Mountain Heights Academy

 

There’s nothing quite like debunking myth and there is, in fact, something extremely satisfying about it. After all, there’s a reason why “Mythbusters” became such a popular TV show.

By this time, everyone knows not to believe everything one hears — or reads — online. Let’s set the record straight by dispelling a few myths and misperceptions regarding online schools.

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

 

 


 

 

There’s a Big Hole in How Teachers Build Skills, and Pinterest Is Helping Fill It Slate commentary by Madeleine Cummings, a fellow for The Teacher Project, an education reporting initiative at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism

 

For most of us, Pinterest brings to mind crafts we’ll never make, places we’ll never visit, and wedding dresses we’ll never buy. But when teachers log on to the social scrapbooking site, they search for things like pasta-noodle skeletons, rock-candy recipes, and numbered cootie catchers—not as part of a crazy home-decorating scheme, but to actually use in their classrooms.

At a time when social media has broken down geographic barriers across countless professions, teachers have turned to places like Pinterest in droves, and not because they’re particularly prone to distraction. For thousands of teachers, Pinterest has become an important venue for professional development—a place to find creative lesson plans, classroom decorations, and teaching tips. Suzy Brooks, a fourth-grade teacher in Falmouth, Massachusetts, checks Pinterest multiple times a day, scouring the site for discoveries that often make their way into her classroom, sometimes within hours. She’s unearthed a student-teacher letter-exchange strategy that helped her shore up her writing instruction, for instance, and a way of teaching math concepts through dance moves.

“Everyone from the 60-year-old secretary to the 29-year-old custodian” uses Pinterest, says John Hughes, the principal at Cottonwood Elementary in Orangeville, Utah, who also teaches sixth grade.

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

 

 


 

 

 

When Teachers Cheat

Rampant conspiracies to alter kids’ scores, including the one that resulted in the recent conviction of 11 Atlanta educators, attest to the dangers of high-stakes testing.

Atlantic commentary by columnists ALIA WONG AND TERRANCE F. ROSS

 

The social scientist Donald T. Campbell offered an insightful analysis of American education in his 1976 paper, “Assessing the Impact of Planned Social Change.” One quote in particular stands out—a finding known as “Campbell’s Law” that has been used to explain the impact that high-stakes testing is having on the nation’s schools:

“The more any quantitative social indicator (or even some qualitative indicator) is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.”

Wednesday’s conviction of 11 former educators in Atlanta on charges related to their involvement in a conspiracy to alter student test scores is an example of Campbell’s Law in action. And this wasn’t an isolated scandal.

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

 


 

 

A troubling verdict

Fordham Institute commentary by Senior Fellow and Vice President for External Affairs Robert Pondiscio

 

I had planned this week devote my U.S. News column to Common Core testing, opting out, and what parents need to know as testing ramps up in earnest. But I found myself caught up short by the Atlanta verdict this week and eleven educators found guilty of racketeering in a widespread cheating scandal.

I’m in no way suggesting we should forgive those who cheated, misled kids and parents, and so doing, robbed kids of their education. But at a time when debate about testing has reached fever pitch, I worry that the image of teachers leaving a courtroom in handcuffs and facing lengthy prison stints is a bridge too far for education reform and risks straining our already complicated relationship with testing and accountability to the breaking point.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/3lS (USN&WR)

 

 


 

 

 

Keep Washington Out of Your Kid’s School Bloomberg commentary by Ramesh Ponnuru, a senior editor for National Review

 

What do Republicans want federal education policy to look like? In the mid-1990s, they wanted to abolish the Department of Education. A few years later, President George W. Bush wanted to use federal dollars to make states reform their schools. Right now, Republicans are divided about what they want. The open question is whether they can make an effective response to the dramatic centralization of education policy that has taken place in recent years.

Most Republicans these days have at least a vague impulse to take power over the schools away from Washington. Some of the party’s presidential candidates have supported the Common Core educational standards, for example, but all of them say that the federal government should leave decisions over the standards to the states.

What a lot of Republicans don’t appreciate is how much power Washington has already amassed.

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

 

 


 

 

 

The U.S. Department of Land-Hogging

Nearly half of the West is owned—and badly managed—by the feds. States want to step in.

Wall Street Journal op-ed by SHAWN REGAN, a research fellow at the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) in Bozeman, Mont.

 

Like the script of a John Wayne film, there’s a showdown brewing in the American West—in this case between the states and the feds.

Few east of the Mississippi realize it, but nearly half of the West is owned by the federal government. By far the majority of these lands are not national parks or wilderness areas. They are forests and rangelands managed by the federal government and open to many uses, including logging, grazing, energy development and recreation. But many Western residents are beginning to think these lands would be better off under state control.

The showdown began in Utah, where two-thirds of the land is controlled by the feds. In 2012 Republican Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill demanding that 30 million acres be transferred to the state, arguing that restrictions on natural-resource development were harming local communities.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Colorado Republicans Are Pushing Koch Legislation To Seize Federal Land PoliticusUSA commentary by columnist Rmuse

 

Most Americans know someone whose life is governed by avarice, or greed, that intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth and power. If nothing else, Republicans and the people they represent epitomize avarice in that there is nothing they will not take from the American people. Over the past six years Republicans have taken unemployment benefits, retirement, overtime pay, equal rights, voting rights, food, and healthcare from Americans to hand over to their wealthy donors. Now, they are involved in a scheme to take federal land that belongs to the government and the people to enrich the Koch brothers due to the billionaire’s greed for wealth and power.

Last month Two Colorado Republicans, state Senator Kent Lambert (Colorado Springs) and state Representative Stephen Humphrey (Severance) began pushing a Koch bill, SB 39, calling for “joint jurisdiction” with the Federal government over national forests and Bureau of Land Management land. It is unclear how a state can have “joint jurisdiction” over land it does not own and has no claim to, but the Colorado Republicans’ effort is a first step in a much more ambitious scheme; seizing and handing authority over federal land to the billionaire Koch brothers to drill for oil, mine, and log without “interference” from the federal government.

The Colorado bill is part of an ongoing Koch-funded and driven initiative started by Utah Republicans for Republican-controlled states to seize control of public lands from the federal government to open them up to oil, mining, and logging interests; interests, by the way that are wholly-owned and operated subsidiaries of Koch Industries.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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States Seek Guidance in Face of ‘Opt Out’ Push Test participation at issue Education Week

 

A flurry of parents opting their children out of taking new state assessments in places like Colorado, Florida, New Jersey, and New York has both the U.S. Department of Education and state education departments reviewing policies and procedures for dealing with such instances.

The No Child Left Behind Act—the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—requires each school to test at least 95 percent of its students or else the district or state could face sanctions, some as severe as losing Title I money for low-income students. That requirement must be met for all students in a school, as well as for subgroups of students, such as those living in poverty or from racial-minority groups.

States and schools that narrowly miss the 95 percent threshold are allowed to average participation rates over a two- or three-year period to help meet it.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Everyone Wants an NCLB Waiver Renewal

Education Week

 

It’s official! Every single state that currently has a waiver from the No Child Left Behind Act has filed for a renewal, or is about to.

States that filed by the March 31 deadline: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, DC, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

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

 

 


 

 

Board takes no disciplinary action against Baesler, Tschosik Bismarck (ND) Tribune

 

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kirsten Baesler and her former fiance, Bismarck Public Schools teacher Todd Tschosik, will face no disciplinary action from the state’s teacher and administrator licensing board following a February dispute between the two.

The Education Standards and Practices Board voted unanimously Thursday against disciplining either educator.

Baesler faced a charge of simple assault stemming from an incident in February when Tschosik called police on his then-fiance.

When the board met in early March, members agreed to hold off on any action against the educators until the court reached a decision in the legal dispute.

The charge against Baesler was dropped two weeks ago.

Board members did not discuss either educator during Thursday’s meeting before they voted, though Assistant Attorney General for North Dakota Sandra DePountis explained why she recommended the board take no action.

She said the only basis for discipline against Baesler would be for immoral behavior.

“I do not think that there is any evidence to support this, and I would recommend that the board does not take any disciplinary action,” she said.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Brownback fields questions on school funding overhaul Wichita (KS) Eagle

 

TOPEKA – Gov. Sam Brownback fielded questions Thursday on the state’s controversial overhaul to education funding for the first time since signing a bill last week that shifts school funding to block grants.

Brownback first offered the idea in his State of the State address in January and signed the bill last week in a closed ceremony. The legislation reduces overall education funding for the current year and has already been challenged in court by attorneys representing Wichita and other districts.

The bill restores a $28 million statewide cut to K-12 funding that went into effect in March, but reduces money meant to address funding gaps between districts, known as equalization aid, by $51 million. That means some districts, such as Wichita, are affected more strongly than others, while others see no funding reduction.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Idaho lawmakers approve state STEM center Spokane (WA) Spokesman-Review

 

BOISE – Idaho lawmakers have agreed to set up a STEM Action Center, a new state office under Gov. Butch Otter that would coordinate efforts from schools and industry to promote science, technology, engineering and math in the state.

The legislation, sponsored by Coeur d’Alene Sen. Bob Nonini and House Education Chairman Reed DeMordaunt, R-Eagle, has passed overwhelmingly in both houses. Thursday, legislative budget writers agreed to allocate $537,000 and two full-time staffers to the new center next year.

He added, “We have a good model to follow in Utah.”

Utah’s STEM Action Center launched in 2013 with $10 million in state funds. Its aim is to “develop Utah’s workforce of the future.”

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

Utah State Board of Education meeting

3 p.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

 

April 10:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

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

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

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