Education News Roundup: April 29, 2015

Utah State Board of Education members Brittney Cummins, Linda Hansen and Laura Belnap attended the 2015 CTE Scholarships and Tuition Awards

Utah State Board of Education members Brittney Cummins, Linda Hansen and Laura Belnap attended the 2015 CTE Scholarships and Tuition Awards.

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

Reps. Bishop and Stewart launch a “Federal Land Action Group” to identify ways Congress could push a transfer of federal lands to state and local governments.

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

and http://go.uen.org/3vY (DN)

and http://go.uen.org/3ws (KSL)

and http://go.uen.org/3wr (MUR)

 

Congratulations to Payson High rodeo star Wyatt Johnson, who was named Sports Illustrated April High School Athlete of the Month. This is a first for rodeo athletes.

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

and http://go.uen.org/3wT (Sports Illustrated)

 

Utah State Board of Education is still looking for your feedback on the proposed middle school science standards. There was a meeting last night in Vernal. Next meeting is May 6 in Provo.

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

 

The National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP, but pronounced “nape”) has released 2014 results in U.S. history, geography, and civics. These are only national results. No state-level data is available.

http://go.uen.org/3vZ (WSJ)

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

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

and http://go.uen.org/3wx (USA Today video) or a copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/3w0 (NAEP)

 

Colleges are starting to look at Common Core-linked test results as a basis for college preparation.

http://go.uen.org/3w2 (Inside Higher Ed)

 

People are saving less for college, a new Sallie Mae report finds.

http://go.uen.org/3w6 (Reuters)

and http://go.uen.org/3w7 (NBC)

or a copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/3w8 (Sallie Mae)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Bishop, Stewart launch action group for states to take over federal lands Resources » The congressmen think the states can better manage the lands.

 

Brandon Mull, grant raise Westridge kids’ reading levels

 

Opera appreciation: Park Elementary students hear performance of ‘Three Little Pigs’

 

Utah mother receives honor for work in education

 

For first time, SI names rodeo star, Utah’s Wyatt Johnson, as prep athlete of the month

 

Feedback sought about science standards

 

Astronaut encourages kids to look to join the space program

 

Utah school crowns transgender teen prom queen

 

ICSD talks lunch prices, North Elementary construction

 

Ex-teaching assistant pleads guilty to reduced charges

 

Whooping cough confirmed in Utah County

 

Timpview High School fire quickly extinguished

 

New Lehi high school has official name and mascot

 

Three Utah high school seniors awarded scholarship grants from SunEdison

 

Dance coaches suspended, resign following state tourney protest

 

Residential writing workshop for high school students accepting applications

 

Spanish language poetry contest accepting entries from high school students

 

Big Budah checks out Cool School of the Week St. Joseph Catholic High School

 

Department of Education seeks to harness video games for learning

 

 


 

 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

What will it take to put an end to hazing?

 

Washington County schools are alive and well

 

Special-ed teachers deserve more respect

 

Drill team is a real sport

 

Why Are We Teaching Democracy Like a Game Show?

 

When teachers and schools compete, students lose

 

 


 

 

 

NATION

 

U.S. Students Stagnate in Social Studies Test scores largely flat for U.S. history, geography and civics; educators point to increased focus on math, reading and science as possible culprit

 

Common Core Gets a Footing

 

Stakes for “high-stakes” tests are actually pretty low Despite all the controversy, few students or teachers will be much affected by the result of this spring’s Common Core-aligned tests.

 

Estimates Emerge on Number of Students With Same-Sex Parents

 

Education tech funding soars — but is it working in the classroom?

Technology has captured the American education system. As it does, the money keeps flowing in — and so do questions about its impact.

 

Groups Pledge $100 Million to Expand Access and Equity to AP, IB Courses

 

College savings take a dive – study

 

How one high school is closing the AP gap

 

Gates Foundation to Expand Teacher-Preparation Grantmaking

 

Education Dept. Program Targets Native American Schools

 

Segregation of the nation’s children starts with preschool, new report finds

 

Washington state school shooting suspect held on $500,000 bail

 

The Best Revenge Is a Bullying App

Gregory Bender’s Anonymous Alerts, an app that lets students to report bullying

 

Obama says teachers are ‘selling hope’

 

First Lady Promotes Student Foreign Exchanges

 

Asian students cram for SATs with bootleg tests

 

France seeks to soothe German language fears

 

French School Bans Muslim Girl’s Long Skirt as Against Law

 

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Bishop, Stewart launch action group for states to take over federal lands Resources » The congressmen think the states can better manage the lands.

 

Washington • Two Utah congressmen are launching a “Federal Land Action Group” to identify ways Congress could push a transfer of federal lands to state and local governments.

GOP Reps. Chris Stewart and Rob Bishop announced the new working group on Tuesday and said that it would hold a series of forums with experts on public lands policy with the end goal of introducing legislation to move the federal lands into state and local control.

“The federal government has been a lousy landlord for Western states and we simply think the states can do it better,” said Stewart, who will be chairman of the new GOP group. “If we want healthier forests, better access to public lands, more consistent funding for public education and more reliable energy development, it makes sense to have local control.”

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 


 

 

 

Brandon Mull, grant raise Westridge kids’ reading levels

 

OREM – Provo’s Westridge Elementary School changed things up a bit. Instead of the usual reading challenge of so many pages or so many minutes to get a reward, school officials made reading the reward and had the kids do challenges to earn a reading-related activity.

Ten classes, ranging from first to sixth grade, volunteered to participate in the event, which was held at Utah Valley University. It featured Utah County resident Brandon Mull, the author of numerous fantasy books for young readers, including the “Fablehaven” series and “The Candy Shop War.”

The reward of the program was for the students to meet Mull and have books signed by him. The event was six months in the making and came about as the result of a grant from UVU to encourage reading among youth.

Doug Gardner, an associate professor at UVU, said part of the project has been teaching the teachers about strategies to increase reading motivation. Many programs teach students how to read, but not many teach them to want to read, he said.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Opera appreciation: Park Elementary students hear performance of ‘Three Little Pigs’

 

RICHMOND — Park Elementary students got a taste of the opera Wednesday when students from Utah State University performed an operatic version of “The Three Little Pigs.”

The four students — Jake Spjute, Kimberly Muhlestein, Rebecca Soelberg and Jaron Putnam, who appeared along with their pianist, Brittany Jarman — are members of the Marie Eccles Caine Russell Family Foundation Opera Outreach Quartet. The group travels to schools in the valley, performing small operas.

“We get out into the community to teach the importance of music and expose children to music at a young age,” Spjute said.

While this performance was the “Three Little Pigs,” in the past, the group has performed other familiar fairy tales like “Little Red Riding Hood” or “The Emperor’s New Clothes.”

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

 

 


 

 

Utah mother receives honor for work in education

 

Diana Peterson, a Utah mother, humanitarian and education activist, was recently honored at the Lincoln Center Institute’s Annual Benefit Gala in New York City.

Peterson has been serving on the board for the Lincoln Center Institute for the past four years and received her honor for her continued diligence in pushing for child education. She has also served as a member of Children’s First Utah, an organization that strives to provide a quality education for low-income and at-risk children across Utah.

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

 

 


 

 

 

For first time, SI names rodeo star, Utah’s Wyatt Johnson, as prep athlete of the month

 

Score one for the little guys, both literally and figuratively.

For the month of March, Sports Illustrated named Utah high school rodeo star Wyatt Johnson as its high school athlete of the month. Johnson represents a sport that is sanctioned by only a handful of states, yet his exemplary record makes it no question that he is deserving of the honors presented to him.

As for the other “little” part, well, Johnson is just 5-foot-3. There’s no way of sidestepping that height when considering his accomplishments.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/3wT (Sports Illustrated)

 

 


 

 

Feedback sought about science standards

 

The Utah Board of Education is seeking public input about sixth- through eighth-grade science and engineering education standards, according to a press release. Those interested can access the standards, as well as an online survey about them, at schools.utah.gov. The Board of Education is also holding five public meetings to discuss the standards. The one nearest Summit County is set for May 19 at the Salt Lake Center for Science Education Media Center, at 1400 Goodwin Ave. in Salt Lake City. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. After a 90-day review period, and revisions based on the feedback are made, the Board of Education will vote on the standards.

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

 

 


 

 

Astronaut encourages kids to look to join the space program

 

KAYSVILLE — The space shuttle system may be a thing of the past, but a former NASA astronaut and retired U.S. Air Force pilot told the crowd of elementary students who gathered at Davis High School last week that the space program is still alive and well.

Brian Duffy says humans will continue flying to the International Space Station, but it will be supported by commercial companies, telling students they could one day purchase a ticket to go up into space — it is hoped that the Orion spacecraft currently being developed by NASA will be ready to take humans to Mars by the time today’s students are adults.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Utah school crowns transgender teen prom queen

 

Students at a Salt Lake high school are showing their commitment to gender equality after crowning a transgender girl prom queen.

Maka Brown, 18, says it wasn’t just a big moment for her, but also for her peers who voted for her.

The title was a first for the Salt Lake School for Performing Arts, and Maka could be the first transgender prom queen in the entire state.

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

 

 


 

 

ICSD talks lunch prices, North Elementary construction

 

PAROWAN – School lunch prices are increasing.

At least for elementary school students starting in the 2015-1016 school year, according to the Iron County School Board.

ICSD business director Kent Peterson explained the change as “something mandated by the federal government.”

“Basically, the bottom line is that the federal government requires that we go through a formula to determine the minimum amount that we should charge for a school lunch or breakfast,” Peterson said. “There are a number of components to that formula, and it amounts to the fact that the federal government doesn’t want to be subsidizing a student or an adult’s meal. They’ve gone through the formula and it says that we should increase our prices.”

Peterson said the formula determined that the ICSD should increase lunch prices to $2.39 per meal.

Over the past year, the district has charged $2 for elementary school meals and $2.50 for secondary school meals.

Peterson proposed to the board during its meeting Tuesday that the district keep prices the same for secondary schools and increase the prices for elementary school meals to $2.25, which the board agreed to do.

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

 

 


 

 

Ex-teaching assistant pleads guilty to reduced charges

 

OGDEN — A former staff member of a charter school entered guilty pleas to reduced charges in 2nd District Court.

Zachary John  Arrington, 20, of West Haven appeared before Judge Noel Hyde on Tuesday. He pleaded guilty to one count of attempted sexual exploitation of a minor, one count of attempted dealing in harmful materials to a minor and one count of obstruction of justice, all third-degree felonies.

In exchange for the guilty pleas, the Weber County Attorney’s Office agreed to dismiss two other felonies and a misdemeanor charge.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 9.

Arrington was arrested and booked in the Weber County Jail on Dec. 9.

Arrington was a teaching assistant employed with the public charter school Quest Academy in West Haven and had a relationship with a 14-year-old girl who attended the school, according to officials. The relationship began in September, court records indicate.

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

 

 


 

 

Whooping cough confirmed in Utah County

 

A high school student in Salem has been diagnosed with whooping cough, according to Utah County Heath Deparment managers.

The case has not yet been deemed an outbreak, health department spokesman Lance Madigan said, but residents are encouraged to monitor themselves for symptoms including a head cold or a heavy, persistant cough.

http://go.uen.org/3w9 (SLT)

 

 


 

 

 

Timpview High School fire quickly extinguished

 

PROVO — Fire crews responded to a small fire at Timpview High School Tuesday after a fire alarm was tripped.

According to Provo fire officials, the fire began at about 1:30 p.m. in a sawdust collector in the high school wood shop.

The fire was quickly extinguished and there were no injuries.

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

 

 


 

 

New Lehi high school has official name and mascot

 

LEHI — The new high school in Lehi now has a name. It’s Skyridge High School and its mascot will be the Falcons.

The school will open in northeast Lehi in the fall of 2016.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Three Utah high school seniors awarded scholarship grants from SunEdison

 

BELMONT, Calif.— SunEdison, Inc., announced Monday that 18 students from high schools across the United States will be awarded scholarships through the company’s signature SunEdison Scholars program. SunEdison is the world’s largest renewable energy development company.

One $5,000 scholarship, renewable for four years, is awarded to one applicant who shines above the rest of the competitive pool. This year’s recipient of the cumulative $20,000 scholarship is Zane Thomas from Milford, UT, who plans to attend the University of Alabama.

http://go.uen.org/3wq (KCSG)

 

 


 

 

 

Dance coaches suspended, resign following state tourney protest

 

Two more high schools have suspended their dance coaches for their roles in a protest at the state championship in February, and a third school’s coaches all have resigned.

The Minnesota State High School League on Feb. 12 cleared the Faribault Emeralds of allegations they stole their routine from a Utah squad. Two days later, when Faribault won the state Class 3A high-kick championship at Target Center in Minneapolis, the five opposing teams refused to participate in the awards ceremony.

http://go.uen.org/3wP (St. Paul [MN] Pioneer Press)

 

 


 

 

Residential writing workshop for high school students accepting applications

 

Applications are being accepted for Writers @ Harriman, a one-week residential writing workshop for high school students.

The workshop will take place Aug. 2 to 8 at Harriman State Park in Idaho. The camp is designed for students who enjoy writing and spending time outdoors. Harriman State Park is located near U.S. Highway 20 between Aston and Island Park, Idaho http://go.uen.org/3wj (LHJ)

 

 


 

 

 

Spanish language poetry contest accepting entries from high school students

 

Artes de México en Utah, in partnership with the Consulate of México in Salt Lake City and the Utah Humanities Council, is launching its third annual contest for its Sor Juana Prize, the first state-wide prize for original writing in Spanish.

Two prizes will be awarded for a poem written in Spanish by a Utah high school student (grades 9 to 12). One prize will be awarded for a poem written in Spanish by a student whose primary language at home is Spanish, and the other for a student whose primary language at home is other than Spanish.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Big Budah checks out Cool School of the Week St. Joseph Catholic High School

 

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

 

 


 

 

Department of Education seeks to harness video games for learning

 

The Department of Education hosted a Games for Learning Summit in New York City this month, reports Tech Times, bringing together educators, student and parents as well as video game producers and publishers in an effort to find the best way of harnessing technology for education.

http://go.uen.org/3w3 (DN)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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What will it take to put an end to hazing?

Deseret News commentary by columnist Jay Evensen

 

I remember well my initiation into the high school Lettermen Club.

At my school, you didn’t automatically qualify by risking life and limb on a football field or doing endless wind sprints on a basketball court. Those things were important enough to earn a letter your mom could sew on a sweater. But to prove your valor and qualify for the vaunted club, one step remained. You had to spend a day at school dressed as a girl.

From the more enlightened view of the 21st century, there are a number of problems with this right of entry. The most obvious would be that my high school included several young women who had earned letters in sports of various kinds. We never thought about them because, well, the Lettermen Club wasn’t for letterladies, even if they dressed as girls every day of the week.

Beyond that, cross-dressing just wasn’t as loaded with cultural, discriminatory and politically correct considerations in the 1970s as it is today.

Still, what we endured wasn’t anywhere near what young first-year wrestlers at Bountiful High School had to endure recently on a bus.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Washington County schools are alive and well (St. George) Spectrum letter from Barbara Beckstrom

 

The future of America is in our classrooms right now. Teachers use best practices to teach and excite students with the wonders of literacy and this exciting world that we live in.

As a member of the Washington County School Board, I applaud the excellence that I see as I visit schools. I am amazed at the hard working people who work tirelessly to see that each child is given an equal and quality education.

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

 

 


 

 

Special-ed teachers deserve more respect Salt Lake Tribune letter from Aushlyn Brown

 

I am currently an 18-year-old peer tutor in my school’s special needs class. Over the years I have seen firsthand how special education teachers get treated so differently than regular teachers. People have no idea how hard it is to be a special education teacher. They are treated with little respect and ultimately have no voice.

People don’t understand that a special education classroom does not run like a normal classroom. So many times have I seen my teacher get in trouble for things that are out of his control. A lot of people expect him to have all of the answers and — news flash — he does not. People need to realize that special education classrooms will never run like a normal classroom. Stop criticizing the way they teach because it’s not the way other classrooms run.

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

 

 


 

 

Drill team is a real sport

Salt Lake Tribune letter from Kyle Gearig

 

As an 18-year-old football and basketball player, I find it ridiculous that people do not consider drill a sport. In some ways, it is more of a sport than most sports out there. Most teams practice upwards of eight hours on Saturdays, not to mention being at the school at 5:30 in the morning every day.

I have much respect for our drill team for putting in the extra hours to become better at something that they love and have passion for.

What’s even more ridiculous is that they don’t get gym credit towards graduation. How can you practice for that long, doing excruciating workouts, and not get credit for doing it?

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

 

 


 

 

 

Why Are We Teaching Democracy Like a Game Show?

Education Week op-ed by Joseph Kahne, professor of education at Mills College, in Oakland, Calif., and was a member of the California Task Force on K-12 Civic Learning

 

Suppose a legislature passed a law that made it a graduation requirement to know the name of the town in which Shakespeare was born. By passing that law, the members reasoned, teachers would teach this fact, students would learn it, and presto—the nation would benefit from improved literacy!

This hypothetical may sound odd, but legislators in more than a dozen states want to prepare young people for democracy by taking this approach. They have drafted bills to make passage of the naturalization test, the test given to those who want to become U.S. citizens, a graduation requirement. This law has already passed in Arizona and North Dakota.

To some, this graduation requirement may sound fair. If those who want to be American citizens must pass this test, why not require it for high school seniors?

Unfortunately, the test consists of a fixed set of 100 factual questions. For example, one test question asks for the name of the territory the United States purchased in 1803, and another asks respondents to “name one of the two longest rivers in the United States.” Memorizing the answers to such questions might prepare students for the game show “Jeopardy!,” but doing so won’t promote good citizenship any more than memorizing who wrote Moby Dick would promote good literacy skills.

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

 

 


 

 

 

When teachers and schools compete, students lose Atlanta Journal-Constitution commentary by Chuck Bennett, a teacher at Chestatee Academy in Hall County.

 

I owned and operated a business for 16 years  and have been a teacher and coach for the last 13. I’m a believer in market economics and the idea that competition makes for better performance. But my experience as teacher and just plain common sense have proven to me that a competitive business model is not the best solution for every situation.

It is certainly not the best model for education.

If I own shares in Pepsi, then I am pleased whenever Coke stumbles. Their failure is my gain. A competitive model encourages Pepsi to increase market share at the expense of Coke. The market system incentivizes Pepsi to seek any competitive advantage it can over Coke. As a shareholder, I would be furious if Pepsi shared trade secrets with Coke.

The premise behind public education is fundamentally different from the premise behind a business. It is in our society’s interest for all students to succeed because the life of our democracy depends upon having educated citizens, a capable workforce and discerning consumers. Imposing a competitive system on public education works against that basic premise.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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U.S. Students Stagnate in Social Studies Test scores largely flat for U.S. history, geography and civics; educators point to increased focus on math, reading and science as possible culprit Wall Street Journal

 

U.S. middle-school students’ performance on social studies didn’t improve much between 2010 and 2014, federal test scores released Wednesday show, underscoring concerns about an uninformed citizenry and workforce.

Eighth-graders’ 2014 results on U.S. history, geography and civics were largely flat since the last comparable tests given in 2010 by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as NAEP. The share of students scoring at or above proficiency in U.S. history last year was 18%, up one percentage point from 2010. For civics, the proportion was 23%, also up one point, and for geography, the share was 27%, unchanged from 2010.

“The lack of knowledge on the part of America’s students is unacceptable, and the lack of growth must be addressed,” said Terry Mazany, chairman of the National Assessment Governing Board, which oversees the NAEP and was created by Congress in 1988 to set and measure national benchmarks for student performance. “As a country, we must do better.”

Since the federal law known as No Child Left Behind required reading and math tests for every student, some educators have voiced concerns that other subjects such as social studies have received less class time and attention.

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

 

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

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/3wx (USA Today video)

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/3w0 (NAEP)

 

 


 

 

 

Common Core Gets a Footing

Inside Higher Ed

 

The much-debated Common Core State Standards and the assessments that accompany them are designed to prove high school graduates are ready for a rigorous college curriculum.

But since the standards and assessments were first revealed years ago, most colleges have remained silent on Common Core and left the debate and development of the issue largely in the hands of K-12 administrators, teachers and parents.

That’s starting to change. Earlier this month, four Delaware colleges announced they would use the Common Core-based Smarter Balanced assessment to measure college readiness and will accept scores in lieu of a separate placement exam. More than 100 colleges in California, 10 in Hawaii, 24 in Oregon, 49 in Washington and 6 in South Dakota use the Smarter Balanced assessment as a placement exam.

Two colleges in Colorado and the members of the Illinois Council of Community College Presidents are using the Common Core-based PARCC exam, also known as the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, to evaluate college readiness.

http://go.uen.org/3w2

 

 


 

 

 

Stakes for “high-stakes” tests are actually pretty low Despite all the controversy, few students or teachers will be much affected by the result of this spring’s Common Core-aligned tests.

Hechinger Report

 

It turns out that the stakes for this spring’s Common Core-aligned tests are not quite as high as they might seem.

The Hechinger Report surveyed the District of Columbia and all 44 states* that have adopted the Common Core and will be administering a Common Core-aligned test this spring to find out how they plan to use test scores. We found that very few states will be using this spring’s scores for any student-related decisions. And the stakes for teachers are only slightly higher.

“I think the stakes are either overstated or understated depending on which side of the argument you’re on,” said Chris Minnich, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers. “Both sides need to take a step back and just take a look at this map.”

Minnich inspired us to create the map when he urged reporters at an Education Writers Association conference on the Common Core to find out exactly how much the results of this spring’s exams will affect students and teachers.

The answer? Not so much.

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

 

 


 

 

Estimates Emerge on Number of Students With Same-Sex Parents Education Week

 

As the U.S. Supreme Court weighs whether to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, recent research estimates that 122,000 same-sex couples in the U.S. were raising almost 210,000 children under age 18 as of 2013.

The analysis released in March by the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Law and Public Policy at the UCLA School of Law provides a statistical portrait that school district administrators can use to provide support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender parents, students, and their families.

But that picture—based on the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 American Community Survey and the National Health Interview Survey that same year—is incomplete in some places due to the limited nature of some data and the fact that most school districts do not collect it.

The actual numbers also are likely to have changed significantly since the Supreme Court struck down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, leading additional states to legalize same-sex marriage.

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

 

A copy of the study

http://go.uen.org/3wF (UCLA)

 

 


 

 

Education tech funding soars — but is it working in the classroom?

Technology has captured the American education system. As it does, the money keeps flowing in — and so do questions about its impact.

Fortune

 

From iPads in kindergarten to virtual classrooms in high schools to online graduate degrees, technology has captured the American education system. As it does, the money keeps flowing in — and so do questions about its impact.

In 2014, venture funding for education technology reached $1.87 billion dollars. It’s expected to hit $2 billion this year. That’s a big jump from $385 million in 2009, according to CB Insights, the first year the venture capital research firm started tracking education funding.

“The education space is attractive because it’s a big and important part of the economy,” said Rob Hutter, managing partner of Learn Capital an education based venture capital firm. “The edtech companies that get funding can be important 50 years down the line, and not just in a few years.”

And it’s a good business to be in, said Bob Sun, founder of online math site, First in Math.

“There’s a high profit margin with no warehouses and not much cost except for research and development,” explained Sun, who also said his firm has grown 20% in the past six years and hasn’t needed outside funding.

But while many sing the praises of education technology in the classroom, some question if it’s having the desired effect.

“Education technology is not yet a proven solution for learning, and limits the experience of education and human interaction,” argued Art Langer, academic director and faculty member of the Executive Masters in Technology Management at Columbia University.

http://go.uen.org/3w4

 

 


 

 

Groups Pledge $100 Million to Expand Access and Equity to AP, IB Courses Education Week

 

Washington – Recognizing the need to get more underrepresented students into college-level courses in high school, a group of education, nonprofit, and business leaders are giving $100 million to identify and enroll 100,000 low-income students and students of color in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes over the next three years.

The announcement was made in WashingtonTuesday where the partnering organizations met to discuss the project, spearheaded by Equal Opportunity Schools, a Seattle-based nonprofit. Other donors and participants in the initiative include the College Board, which administers the AP program, the International Baccalaureate organization, the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, which supports low-income, high-achieving students, Google, and Tableau Software, Inc. (The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation also supports some coverage of low-income, high-achieving students in Education Week.) Members of the administration’s My Brother’s Keeper Task Force were also part of the meeting today and the commitment is one of several announced in the past year in support of the initiative.

“We are pulling this together to make the largest commitment ever to fully reflecting America’s diversity at the highest academic levels in our K-12 schools,” said Reid Saaris, the founder and chief executive officer of EOS, in a phone interview today. “We haven’t equally included students of all race and income backgrounds so folks are making a commitment to that full inclusion and reflective diversity today.”

http://go.uen.org/3w1

 

 


 

 

 

College savings take a dive – study

Reuters

 

LOS ANGELES – Average amounts saved for college have fallen 25 percent since last year and fewer middle-income families are saving for higher education, even as parents overwhelmingly endorse its value as an investment, according to “How America Saves for College 2015,” the latest survey by education lender Sallie Mae.

Parents had an average $10,040 set aside for college earlier this year, compared to $13,408 last year, the survey found. Savings for all purposes, including retirement and emergencies, also plunged to $98,867 from $115,604 last year.

“The biggest reason for the decrease in savings are the increase in the cost of living and having unexpected expenses come up,” said Michael Gross, head of the higher education practice at market research company Ipsos, which conducted the survey for Sallie Mae.

http://go.uen.org/3w6

 

http://go.uen.org/3w7 (NBC)

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/3w8 (Sallie Mae)

 

 


 

 

 

How one high school is closing the AP gap Marketplace

 

If anyone knows the halls and classrooms of Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Eastvale, California, it’s Adan Esperza.

He’s been the head custodian at Roosevelt for nine years. Esperza’s son and daughter know these halls, too. They’re students at the high school — good students. Esperza, who was born in Mexico and didn’t finish college, has big ambitions for them.

Earlier this year, he received some unexpected letters from the school.

“They said, ‘Congratulations, your kid has been chosen to take AP courses at Roosevelt for next year,'” he says.

Esperza says the Advanced Placement courses students can take for college credit hadn’t really been on his radar before then.

“I was actually proud to have two of my kids nominated for the program,” he says.

The letters were part of a broader effort by the school district to get more students into AP courses, especially overlooked low-income and minority students who have the skills to succeed.

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

 

 


 

 

Gates Foundation to Expand Teacher-Preparation Grantmaking Education Week

 

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is poised to expand its grantmaking in the area of teacher preparation, according to a recent blog post by two of its officers.

“In the coming years, we foresee many opportunities for partnership in the field of teacher preparation, with many types of organizations,” Gates officials Tom Stritikus and Michelle Rojas write in the post. “We’ll be focusing our efforts on supporting action-oriented collaboration, promoting innovation, and advocating for the conditions that enable progress. We’re open-minded about what that looks like, but we are firmly committed to a set of principles that will guide our investments.”

Those principles referred to include programs that:

* Give candidates opportunities to master competencies and receive feedback;

* Use information about candidate performance to inform programming;

* Work to respond to hiring districts’ needs; and

* Ensure they produce effective teachers.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Education Dept. Program Targets Native American Schools Education Week

 

The Obama administration unveiled Wednesday $3 million in grants to help American Indian and Alaska Native kids get ready for college.

The U.S. Department of Education will award five to seven demonstration grants ranging from $400,000 to $600,000 to tribal communities, before the current federal fiscal year ends on Sept. 30. The program is designed to help communities figure out what is keeping Native students from achieving their full potential and develop and implement programs to help overcome those problems. The ultimate goal is to find strategies that work and can inform future projects.

The grants could go public or Bureau of Indian Education schools and tribal communities. Outside partners, such as non-profit organizations or post-secondary programs can also participate.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/3wM (ED)

 

 


 

 

Segregation of the nation’s children starts with preschool, new report finds Washington Post

 

Publicly funded preschools across the country are largely segregated by race and income, and poor children are typically enrolled in the lowest quality programs, according to a new report released Wednesday by researchers at the National Center for Children and Families at Teachers College, Columbia University.

While states more than doubled their investments in preschool between 2003 and 2013, when 1.3 million three- and four-year-olds were enrolled at a cost of $5.4 billion, most classrooms were economically segregated, the researchers found.

“If every child could be in a high-quality program, we could all go home and not worry about it,” said Jeanne Reid, who wrote the report with Sharon Lynn Kagan. It was funded by The Century Foundation, a left-leaning think tank, and the Poverty & Race Research Action Council, a civil rights organization. “But a lot of programs are not high quality, and low-income children are most likely to be in low-quality programs.”

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

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/3wu (Century Foundation)

 

 


 

 

 

Washington state school shooting suspect held on $500,000 bail Reuters

 

SEATTLE – A Washington state teenager who fired a gun inside his high school in an apparent attempt to provoke an on-campus guard into killing him made his first court appearance on Tuesday and was ordered held on $500,000 bail, officials said.

The 16-year-old student shot off two rounds from a revolver that struck the floor and ceiling inside a stairwell on Monday at North Thurston High School in Lacey, outside Olympia, Lacey police said. Nobody was hurt.

The teen appeared in a Thurston County courtroom represented by a public defender on Tuesday and will remain in a juvenile detention facility if he cannot post the bail, an official in the county prosecutor’s office said.

He will face weapons charges in coming days, the official said.

It was unclear how the boy intended to plead to the pending charges. Authorities have not released his name because he is a juvenile.

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

 

 


 

 

The Best Revenge Is a Bullying App

Gregory Bender’s Anonymous Alerts, an app that lets students to report bullying Wall Street Journal

 

Gregory Bender was bullied back in the 1970s when he went to Saint David’s School on the Upper East Side. “By a kid who was half my size,” he remembered. “I was terrified of this kid.”

Mr. Bender didn’t get mad. He got even—on a grand scale. He created Anonymous Alerts, an app that allows students to report bullying to school officials without having to reveal their identities.

The app is in use in 1,500 schools nationwide, the entrepreneur said, with more signing up every day.

http://go.uen.org/3w5

 

 


 

 

 

Obama says teachers are ‘selling hope’

USA Today

 

The annual National Teacher of the Year award ceremony at the White House is a way to honor all of the nation’s educators, President Obama said Wednesday in presenting the award.

“They are not just teaching formulas or phonetics,” Obama said during the Rose Garden event. “They’re selling hope — sparking imaginations — opening up minds.”

Obama presented the “crystal apple” award for National Teacher of the Year to Shanna Peeples, a high school English teacher from Amarillo, Texas, whose classes include many refugees from war-torn countries such as Iraq and Somalia.

Many have overcome poverty and trauma to thrive under Peeples’ tutelage, Obama said, because “Shanna’s classes provide them a safe haven.”

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

 

A copy of the speech

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

 

 


 

 

 

First Lady Promotes Student Foreign Exchanges Associated Press

 

GREAT FALLS, Va. — Michelle Obama said Tuesday that all of America’s students should have the opportunity to interact with kids from other countries so they can learn about each other and realize what they have in common, instead of focusing on their differences.

The first lady told a group of Northern Virginia elementary school students who are learning Japanese and studying some of their subjects in the language that Japanese students like the same things they do: hanging out with their friends, having fun, playing sports, listening to music and reading.

“My wish for all of you and for young people across America is that you have the chance to engage with kids from other parts of the world, that you learn about each other’s lives, that you understand one another’s hopes and dreams so that you can truly see for yourselves, first hand, just how much we all have in common around the world,” she said at Great Falls Elementary School.

The school has a long-running Japanese immersion program in which some students learn science, math and health in Japanese.

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

 

 


 

 

Asian students cram for SATs with bootleg tests Reuters

 

HONG KONG – As students around the world cram for this Saturday’s SAT college entrance exam, many in Asia are poring over old tests in hopes the College Board will again reuse a test that has leaked ahead of time. These bootleg tests are widely available on Chinese websites to download for free.

Students and tutors were amazed in January after thousands who flocked to regional testing hubs in Hong Kong and Singapore discovered they were given the same exam administered in Asia the previous June. In the intervening months, copies of the exam freely circulated on the web, giving students in Asia a leg up in the fight for prized slots at premier U.S. universities.

The recycled test was all the more surprising because the College Board, which owns the SAT, has been plagued for years by test leaks and other security breaches in Asia.

The problems have prompted tens of thousands of test score delays across Asia and raised questions about the integrity of the exam, a central piece of U.S. university applications.

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

 

 


 

 

France seeks to soothe German language fears Reuters

 

PARIS – France sought on Wednesday to allay fears in neighboring Germany that teaching of the German language would suffer under a forthcoming education reform.

A formal commitment to promote each other’s language has been vital to ties between the two countries often described as the “motor” of European Union. It was part of the historic 1963 treaty re-launching their post-war cooperation and whose 50th anniversary was celebrated with great pomp just two years ago.

German officials are so worried about the impact on Franco-German relations that even Chancellor Angela Merkel has raised the matter with President Francois Hollande.

The reform scraps arrangements under which the brightest French children can take on two foreign languages – typically English and German – on entering secondary school. Berlin fears German will lose out to English if there is just one choice.

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

 

 


 

 

 

French School Bans Muslim Girl’s Long Skirt as Against Law Associated Press

 

PARIS — A 15-year-old French Muslim girl has been banned from her classroom for wearing a long black skirt, seen as going against France’s law guaranteeing secularism.

She missed two days this month in a dispute over her skirt, French education officials said Wednesday, and the issue remains unresolved.

A popular Twitter hashtag (hash)jeportemajupecommejeveux (I wear my skirt as I like) popped up on Wednesday after the dispute was made public in the girl’s local newspaper in Charleville-Mezieres, in northeast France.

School officials say the skirt itself was not the issue. Rather, the problem was that the student had worn it specifically as a sign of her faith – contravening the 2004 law barring religious symbols in classrooms below university level.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

May 7-8:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

 

May 14

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

 

May 19:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

2 p.m., 445 State Capitol

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

 

 

May 20:

Education Interim Committee meeting

9 a.m., TBD

http://le.utah.gov/interim/2015/pdf/2015InterimSchedule.pdf

 

 

 

 

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