Education News Roundup: May 11, 2015

busEducation News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

State Board look to writing rules for a teacher evaluation system.

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

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

and http://go.uen.org/3BR (OSE)

and http://go.uen.org/3C2 (PDH)

and http://go.uen.org/3Cy (LHJ)

and http://go.uen.org/3C7 (CVD)

and http://go.uen.org/3Cb (KUTV)

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

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

or http://go.uen.org/2rR (USOE)

 

And the Board released the draft second math standards update for public review.

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

or http://go.uen.org/3BD (USOE)

 

Former Board Member Kim Burningham sits down with the D-News for an interview.

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

 

Early Common Core adopter Kentucky isn’t seeing much Common Core pushback.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Utah school board approves new teacher evaluation system Education » Some still worry about methods that will be used for measuring success.

 

State School Board opens revised math, arts standards for public comment

 

Q-and-A with Kim Burningham, a true elder statesman

 

In Republican Utah, big laws taking effect Tuesday have liberal bent Unusual » Leaders say a conservative spin was still given to solve longtime, thorny issues.

 

How Utah’s Schools Went From Homophobic War Zones to Crowning a Trans Prom Queen Salt Lake City used to have one of most virulently homophobic school districts in the nation. This spring, it crowned its first LGBT prom king and queen.

 

Alpine School District names new superintendent

 

Mark Longe is new head of Utah Catholic Schools

 

After Great Recession, architect finds second career in Utah classroom

 

Helicopter pilot highlights Clearfield school’s career day

 

BYU chemistry students motivating younger audience to study science

 

Layton students headed to National History Fair

 

Good Neighbor: Cedar Ridge Middle School students raise money for injured classmate

 

New principals announced for Weber School District

 

Cache County School District beginning summer maintenance projects

 

Students receive scholarships in honor of fallen officers

 

Netsmartz visits Nibley Elementary to teach students about Internet safety

 

Study documents harm to children from school-bus exhaust

 

Students pledge to avoid distracted driving

 

The summer reading list that’ll make your child smarter

 

The bipartisan bill that puts students back in control of their privacy

 

 


 

 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Thumbs up, thumbs down

 

Utah at Top in Nation for Upward Income Mobility

 

Charter schools are public schools serving diverse communities

 

Who has accountability?

 

U.S. lacks strong early-education programs

 

Garden of Eden is probably out of state

 

Teach science, not evolution

 

Secularism has no place in education

 

LHS history help needed

 

4 Lessons From the Opt Out Debate

Test refusals may force education reformers to re-evaluate their priorities.

 

Christians schools will have no choice about gay marriage A Supreme Court ruling could shatter religious school finances.

 

America’s Lacking Language Skills

Budget cuts, low enrollments, and teacher shortages mean the country is falling behind the rest of the world.

 

Hack Away, Kid

How schools can teach students to become ethical hackers (and protect their systems in the process).

 

 


 

 

 

NATION

 

In an Early Adopter, Common Core Faces Little Pushback Kentucky is in its fourth year of testing linked to the standards, and has seen some improvement

 

Gov. Hassan vetoes bill prohibiting Common Core

 

Wisconsin thrust into limbo over student achievement testing

 

School Districts Embrace Business Model of Data Collection

 

Online Common Core Testing Lays Bare Tech Divide in Schools

 

New Read-Aloud Strategies Transform Story Time

 

Teachers’ grade for attendance goes up

 

Vermont schools at the tipping point

 

Access to preschool varies widely by state

 

State board education staffers move to governor’s tower

 

How Concussions Can Lead to Poor Grades

Head injuries can have long lasting effects, not just on the field but in the classroom too

 

This Movie Theater PSA Is Inspiring Kids To Become Teachers

 

Man Spared Prison for Making Harassing Calls to Sandy Hook

 

 

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Utah school board approves new teacher evaluation system Education » Some still worry about methods that will be used for measuring success.

 

State school board members signed off on a framework for a new evaluation system Friday that ties teacher pay to test scores and in-class observation.

While many of the details will be left up to individual school districts, the state board’s model calls for 70 percent of a teacher’s rating to be based on classroom observation, 20 percent on student performance and 10 percent on stakeholder, or parent, feedback.

But several board members were uncomfortable with the evaluation system. They worried that classroom observation could be subject to bias and that the different ways that student performance is measured could result in inconsistency.

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

 

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

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/3C2 (PDH)

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/3C7 (CVD)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/2rR (USOE)

 

 


 

 

 

State School Board opens revised math, arts standards for public comment

 

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Board of Education voted Friday to release revisions for high school math and K-12 arts standards for public comment.

The board also approved changes to the process for developing and approving changes to academic standards.

Laura Belnap, chairwoman of the Standards and Assessment Committee, said the revisions to the math standards are minor, but they could reduce the workload for some high schoolers.

“These are not new standards. These are some clarifications and some movement of some of the standards,” Belnap said.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/3BD (USOE)

 

 


 

 

 

Q-and-A with Kim Burningham, a true elder statesman

 

BOUNTIFUL — Whenever he’s addressed as an “elder statesman” — and it’s happening a lot lately — Kim Burningham has two thoughts in rapid succession: Why are they calling me that? Followed by, where did the time go?

Burningham will be 79 on his next birthday, even if he doesn’t look it. It has been only a few months since he left his position on the state school board, closing out a chapter in his life that began 16 years earlier. Before that, he spent 15 years in the state Legislature. In between, he wedged in a two-year term as executive director of the Utah Centennial Commission, in addition to serving on a number of ad hoc community involvement committees, including most recently as chairman of Utahns for Ethical Government.

All of the above has been in addition to his paying day jobs, first as a school teacher at Bountiful High School, where he taught speech and debate and directed school plays over a 27-year career, and after that, until just two years ago, as a communications specialist for Franklin Covey.

No one ever accused Burningham of being a slacker, or, for even higher praise, of being dishonest. This is a man who has championed education causes as rigorously and enthusiastically as anyone in state history and yet, as a legislator, he stopped accepting perfectly legal campaign contributions from the Utah Education Association because he feared someone might view them as a conflict of interest.

These days, Burningham and his wife, Susan, are settling into retirement in the same home in Bountiful they moved into 46 years ago, just a year and a half into their marriage. It’s the home where they reared their two sons, the home from which Burningham represented District 19 in the Legislature, and the home where they now welcome their eight grandchildren.

The Deseret News caught up recently with the elder statesman at his home and talked about his unique perspective on Utah politics.

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

 

 


 

 

 

In Republican Utah, big laws taking effect Tuesday have liberal bent Unusual » Leaders say a conservative spin was still given to solve longtime, thorny issues.

 

Something a bit strange is happening Tuesday in heavily Republican Utah.

Major new laws take effect that may seem more likely in a liberal, blue state: gay-rights protection, giving many drug offenders treatment instead of a prison cell and toughening seat-belt enforcement that conservatives fought for years.

And there’s more: Tax hikes take effect later in July for transportation and education, and lawmakers cleared the way for local governments to put sales-tax hikes for roads and transit on the ballot — the sort of increases normally denounced by Republicans.

These new laws emerged as Republicans hold the second-biggest supermajority in the Utah Capitol in the past 80 years: 63-12 in the House and 24-5 in the Senate.

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

 

 


 

 

 

How Utah’s Schools Went From Homophobic War Zones to Crowning a Trans Prom Queen Salt Lake City used to have one of most virulently homophobic school districts in the nation. This spring, it crowned its first LGBT prom king and queen.

 

Maka Brown, 18, was happy but “chill” when she was voted homecoming queen at prom this April. The transgender teen studies dance at Salt Lake City’s School of the Performing Arts, where she focuses on acrobatics and is training for a professional career in circus arts. Brown transferred to SPA at age 16 from another Salt Lake high school, Brighton. Her gender transition—using female pronouns, changing her name—was timed with the move. But it wasn’t because Brighton was a hostile environment for an LGBT student.

“I haven’t really ever experienced discrimination or bullying. I know that sounds kind of pompous but it’s true,” Brown said. She noted that one day, a creative writing teacher accidentally used male pronouns to describe her, and “the whole class spoke up and said ‘Hey, that’s wrong.’”

At her high school, Brown says she is just one of four or five trans students. Prom’s homecoming king, Jasper Clayton, is gay and told me he’s “been out since freshman year.”

“The fact that Maka and I won prom king and queen was really amazing,” said Clayton, “It made huge waves in the media. And everyone at our school was like, confused why it was in the news. No one had a second thought. It’s just normal.”

Clayton referred to the articles that have appeared in outlets like People magazine and ABC News over the past two weeks, celebrating what’s assumed to be Utah’s first transgender prom queen. It’s notable news coming from one of the more notoriously conservative states in the country. But to the high school students of Salt Lake, it’s no big deal at all.

http://go.uen.org/3Cw (Daily Beast)

 

 


 

 

Alpine School District names new superintendent

 

AMERICAN FORK — The Alpine Board of Education has announced the appointment of Samuel Y. Jarman as the new superintendent of schools.

Jarman’s appointment is effective July 1. He succeeds Vernon M. Henshaw, who announced his retirement in March. Jarman’s appointment was unanimously approvedat a meeting this week.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Mark Longe is new head of Utah Catholic Schools

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Mark Longe has accepted the Utah Catholic Schools superintendent position in the Diocese of Salt Lake City.

The appointment will take effect Aug. 1.

Longe is currently the principal at Saint Vincent de Paul School in Salt Lake City, where he began his career in administration 19 years ago as vice principal; a position he held for three years.

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

 

 


 

 

After Great Recession, architect finds second career in Utah classroom

 

Kearns » In Chris Humbert’s classroom at Kearns Junior High, the walls and tables are lined with models of futuristic cities and windmills made out of cardboard, straws and plastic cups.

It’s just the latest batch of creations by Humbert’s students, who during the year have used computer software to design digital models of wooden cars and now are working with a laser engraver to create custom dog tags.

Humbert teaches CTE, an acronym for the less-structured career and technical-education classes offered statewide to Utah’s seventh-graders.

But it’s Humbert’s pre-education background as an architect for 18 years that truly informs the sense of creation that fills his classroom.

“I’m a huge believer in CTE and hands-on experiences for kids,” he said. “I think both of those can really help education.”

Humbert is one of five teachers selected for this year’s Teacher Innovation Awards, sponsored by KUED and The Salt Lake Tribune. But earlier in his life, he said, he “never in a million years” thought he would become an educator.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Helicopter pilot highlights Clearfield school’s career day

 

CLEARFIELD — It was bring-your-parent-to-school for Discovery Day, and sixth-grader Brianna Hankins couldn’t wait to show her classmates the helicopter her dad flies as a University of Utah AirMed pilot.

It seemed only fitting then to have a Bell 407, one of the helicopters Daron Hankins flies, land in the field behind Antelope Elementary on Friday. After retiring from the Army flying helicopters, Hankins became an AirMed pilot. The helicopter he usually flies, an EC145 stationed at the University of Utah, is used strictly for high-risk pregnancies and neonatal babies.

Hankins wanted to be a pilot from the time he was 4 years old, but what helped him pursue his passion was learning about it at a school career day. Hankins knew taking the opportunity to visit with his daughter’s classmates might do the same thing for another student who would like to fly helicopters.

“Kids need support and encouragement as they move into junior high and this gives them a sense of things they may have a passion for and start seeing what’s out there,” Hankins said.

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

 

 


 

 

 

BYU chemistry students motivating younger audience to study science

 

BYU students and local community members participated in Chemistry Day at the university’s campus Saturday.

Students spent time demonstrating numerous chemical reactions, and motivating the younger audience members to keep taking science classes when they get into college.

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

 

 


 

 

Layton students headed to National History Fair

 

LAYTON — Several students from Layton Christian Academy are recent state history fair champions and will represent the state of Utah at the national history competition held this June in Washington D.C.

The school has had teams win at the state level, but only two teams from each state move on to the national level. This is the first time Layton Christian Academy has had a team qualify for the national competition.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Good Neighbor: Cedar Ridge Middle School students raise money for injured classmate

 

HYDE PARK — A group of students at Cedar Ridge Middle School recently had the entire school salivating over homemade suckers, but they didn’t do it just for the fact that it’s spring and school is almost over.

Sixth-graders Liberty Jackson, Kenna Falslev, Ryley Thompson and Reygan Thompson sold around 2,000 treats in minutes over the course of a week, raising approximately $2,000 for their dear friend, Ryan Secrist, a sixth-grader who was lifeflighted down to Salt Lake City — and later released — after suffering a seizure Easter Sunday. The money, the girls say, helped the family with medical bills.

http://go.uen.org/3C5 (LHJ)

 

 


 

 

New principals announced for Weber School District

 

WASHINGTON TERRACE — Retirements at the top are setting off a chain reaction in local schools.

“We have seven administrators retiring this year,” said Jeff Stephens, superintendent of Weber School District. “That group of seven administrators has 231 years of experience in Weber schools — 141 of those in administration — so this year we’re losing 141 years of experience.”

The retirements, and appointments to replace those who are leaving, were announced at the Weber school board meeting Wednesday.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Cache County School District beginning summer maintenance projects

 

With the school year coming to a close, the Cache County School District is looking to make annual repairs. Buildings and Maintenance Director Bruce Parker met with the Board of Education on Thursday to inform them of the repair projects coming down the line this summer.

http://go.uen.org/3C4 (LHJ)

 

 


 

 

Students receive scholarships in honor of fallen officers

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Four children of active Utah law enforcement officers have received scholarships as the students and Utah’s fallen officers were honored.

High school students from around the state applied for a 2014-15 Leadership Award by submitting a 500-word essay reflecting their experience and thoughts on leadership. The students were selected by their academic achievement, school and community service.

Each $2,500 scholarship awarded bears the name of one of the four officers killed in the line of duty since the foundation’s creation in 2011.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Netsmartz visits Nibley Elementary to teach students about Internet safety

 

NIBLEY — Students at Nibley Elementary learned the importance of Internet safety on Friday during a series of special presentations from Utah Netsmartz. The presentations were divided up between age groups to allow for more focused topics.

http://go.uen.org/3C3 (LHJ)

 

 


 

 

Study documents harm to children from school-bus exhaust

 

Twenty-five million children ride the bus to school every day in the United States, and many of them are breathing in toxic fumes from old, dirty, inefficient buses.

According to a new study done by the universities of Michigan and Washington, use of clean fuels and updated pollution control measures in the school buses could result in 14 million fewer absences from school a year, especially among asthmatic children.

The study, published online in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, found a change to ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel reduced a marker for inflammation in the lungs by 16 percent over study participants, and 20 to 31 percent among children with asthma, depending on the severity of their disease.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Students pledge to avoid distracted driving

 

Murray High School students on Friday took pledges to avoid distracted driving in a campaign called It Can Wait. The name of the program comes from a public service announcement produced by junior Katelyn Funk and senior Easton Christensen for a Family, Career, Community, Leaders of America competition.

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

 

 


 

 

 

The summer reading list that’ll make your child smarter

 

Here’s a pro tip for teachers and parents who want their students to read over the summer break: Let children choose their own books.

That tip comes from a 2013 study done by researchers at the University of Rochester in New York that found students who chose their own summer reading books at the end of the spring term achieved better reading scores when they returned to school in the fall.

http://go.uen.org/3C0 (DN)

 

 


 

 

 

The bipartisan bill that puts students back in control of their privacy

 

In an era of NSA snooping, email hacking and rampant identity theft, the specter of poorly protected student data strewn throughout cyberspace and being sold to the highest bidder has caught the attention of privacy advocates and, now, policymakers.

In a rare expression of bipartisanship, two congressmen last week introduced a bill to modernize student privacy protections for students.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Thumbs up, thumbs down

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

 

Thumbs up: To Zach Thomas, 14 and a student at Snowcrest Junior High, for his science fair project. Zach focused his telescope onto Jupiter, Saturn and Orion Nebula, and made a strong case for the environmental benefits of reducing light pollution.

Thumbs up: To student performers at Weber High School in Pleasant View, who were taught well by the experts at Starfish Circus. The student performers engaged in aerial stunts with silks at a matinee performance recently that left impressed audiences gasping.

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

 

 


 

 

Utah at Top in Nation for Upward Income Mobility Utah Policy commentary by Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development

 

According to new findings by The Equal Opportunity Project at Harvard University, upward mobility for low-income children in Utah is among the best in the nation.

In Utah, two rural counties are in the top one percent of income mobility among low-income children. These findings come following last year’s report that Salt Lake City is the number one urban area in the nation for upward mobility.

“Utah’s greatest strength lies in its rural areas and vibrant community involvement,” said Linda Gillmor, managing director of rural development at the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). “We believe our kids deserve the best opportunities possible, and I think our initiatives in rural Utah are paying off in dividends.”

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

 

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

 

Equality of Opportunity Project

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

 

 


 

 

 

Charter schools are public schools serving diverse communities Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Royce Van Tassell, executive director of Utah Association of Public Charter Schools

 

Last weekend, a well- meaning teacher from the Salt Lake City School District, Miriam Bugden, published an article in The Salt Lake Tribune with some inaccuracies about Utah charter schools. Because inaccuracies like hers are too often believed, the Utah Association of Public Charter Schools wanted to let a little light in.

First, Bugden seems to think charter schools are not public schools. That is simply not true. Charter schools are held to the same academic standards as school districts. Charter schools must hire highly qualified licensed teachers, just like school districts. They must administer the same federal- and state-mandated tests as school districts. Charter schools are public schools, just like school districts.

Second, Bugden seems to believe that charter schools have “fewer behavior-challenged students, fewer English language learners and fewer learning challenged students.” At one point she claims that strengthening charter schools “separates the ‘haves’ from the ‘have-nots.’ This system will make it more difficult for struggling parents, newly arrived refugees, overly active children and learning challenged pupils.”

A few data points about the composition of students in Utah charter schools seem important in this context.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Who has accountability?

Deseret News letter from Scott Hicks

 

Starting next year, teachers are not allowed to use the SAGE test as part of a student’s grade. I have students now telling me that next year they will just “guess” on the test because it doesn’t affect them in any way.

Think of it this way: The governor sends you a test. If your score directly impacts your taxes, you would do your best. But consider if, instead of affecting your taxes, it affects your next-door neighbor’s taxes. If you like the neighbor, you might do your best. But what if you don’t like your neighbor? Would you just “opt out” of the test? Isn’t that what we are doing to teachers? The tests count against teachers, and according to upcoming law, they could count against evaluations and salary.

We hold only teachers accountable for SAGE scores, and we (the teachers) can’t hold the students accountable at all?

http://go.uen.org/3C1

 

 


 

 

U.S. lacks strong early-education programs

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Patrick Holman-Hart

 

In order for a village to raise a child, it is necessary for people to first build the village that will support our children and bring them into adulthood. Building the village must begin early, while children are still young, and we can do this by investing in subsidized early education programs.

While countless studies have shown the positive impacts of early education, the United States still lacks the essential infrastructure to carry out these programs. Although other nations, most notably Finland, have been investing time, money and resources to these programs for years, Americans have ignored the inevitable. However, if we expect to be competitive here at home and abroad, it is time to change our ways and give our children what they deserve.

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

 

 


 

 

Garden of Eden is probably out of state

Salt Lake Tribune letter from Ray Madsen

 

In the article (“Religion, nationalization fuel debate over new science standards for Utah schools,” May 6) by Benjamin Wood, Jared Carman is quoted as having taken issue with “the standards’ out-of-state origins. He said parents are marginalized when education decisions are made at a national level.

“‘Adam and Eve were the first teachers, and the family predates the state office of education,’ he said.”

May I point out to Carman that, in all probability, Adam and Eve were also from out of state.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Teach science, not evolution

(St. George) Spectrum letter from L. Ralph Rohr

 

The Spectrum, Apr 23-24, “Teaching Science” and “Science Ed Meeting Turns to Chaos.” Why the disagreement over how to teach science? Why must editors expound “that science is not a religion?” Why must the Utah State Office of Education science specialist proclaim the obvious, “the memorize and spit back out again mode of learning should take a back seat to more hands-on, thought provoking learning that challenges students to be scientists?”

The simple answer is that science has been corrupted by the humanly contrived fantasy of biological evolution. The Spectrum editors aver that science “is simply facts leading to conclusions.” But biological evolution is a hastily contrived and barren theory that has arisen out of opposition to God as Creator of this world. Hence, evolution, not science, is a religion that substitutes chaos and chance for God.

http://go.uen.org/3C8

 

 


 

 

 

Secularism has no place in education

(St. George) Spectrum letter from Donna Williams

 

  1. The Constitution doesn’t authorize federal involvement in Education, period.
  2. You say “science is not religion” but a Godless explanation of life IS the religion of Secularism.

Everyone has faith in something; either a Designer worldview or one that attempts explanation without God:. Just don’t call that science! Our inability to explain a phenomena does not disprove it’s reality: “the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.”

The NGSS mixes few facts with mostly environmentalism and nature worship, or Secular religion: explaining the universe without God. So much for “science is not religion.”

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

 

 


 

 

LHS history help needed

(Logan) Herald Journal letter from George R. Duersch and Sydne Wamsley

 

We are on the committee to research when the first graduating class occurred at Logan High School. Along with this we are looking for where the early Logan High School students attended school until the present high school was turned over to Logan High from Brigham Young College.

If anybody has any factual information, pictures, journals, yearbooks, etc. regarding the first class of Logan High, please contact Shane Ogden, George Duersch, Sydne Wamsley, Scott Harris, Jennifer Hyde or Bo Roundy. We have emails on the Logan High School webpage, loganhigh.org, under “staff.”

http://go.uen.org/3C6

 

 


 

 

 

4 Lessons From the Opt Out Debate

Test refusals may force education reformers to re-evaluate their priorities.

U.S. News & World Report commentary by Robert Pondiscio, senior fellow and vice president for external affairs at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute

 

With the end of the school year fast approaching and annual testing winding down, we can start to step back and make some preliminary judgments about what’s signal and what’s noise in the debate over parents opting out of tests. There have been missteps and lessons for those on both sides of the issue http://go.uen.org/3Cr

 

 


 

 

Christians schools will have no choice about gay marriage A Supreme Court ruling could shatter religious school finances.

USA Today commentary by Michael Farris, chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association and chancellor of Patrick Henry College

 

Justice Alito posed a predictable, but revealing question to Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr., in the recent Supreme Court same-sex marriage oral argument: “In the Bob Jones case, the court held that a college was not entitled to tax exempt status if it opposed interracial marriage or interracial dating. So would the same apply to a university or a college if it opposed same-sex marriage?”

Verrilli replied that he would need to know more specifics, but allowed that “it’s certainly going to be an issue. I don’t deny that.”

The solicitor general’s answer should have been and probably was practiced. The question was unlikely to have surprised Verrilli, especially with the kind of preparation undertaken by the highest appellate lawyer for the United States in such high stakes situations. Such preparations would include multiple moot courts, simulated arguments with various lawyers playing the roles of each of the members of the Supreme Court trying to ask as many questions as possible.

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

 

 


 

 

 

America’s Lacking Language Skills

Budget cuts, low enrollments, and teacher shortages mean the country is falling behind the rest of the world.

Atlantic commentary by AMELIA FRIEDMAN, founder of the Student Language Exchange

 

Educators from across the country gathered in Washington, D.C., this past Thursday to lobby in the interest of world languages. It was Language Advocacy Day, an annual event on Capitol Hill that is aimed at garnering more federal support for language education.

As I sat in sessions and congressional conference rooms, I heard a persuasive urgency in these educators’ voices. Each year as national budget priorities are determined, language education is losing out—cuts have been made to funding for such instruction, including Title VI grants and the Foreign Language Assistance Program. And the number of language enrollments in higher education in the U.S. declined by more than 111,000 spots between 2009 and 2013—the first drop since 1995. Translation? Only 7 percent of college students in America are enrolled in a language course.

Another challenge emerges when looking at the languages these students are learning, too. In 2013, roughly 198,000 U.S. college students were taking a French course; just 64, on the other hand, were studying Bengali. Yet, globally, 193 million people speak Bengali, while 75 million speak French. In fact, Arne Duncan, the U.S. education secretary, noted back in 2010 that the vast majority—95 percent—of all language enrollments were in a European language. This is just one indicator demonstrating the shortcomings and inequalities in language education today.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Hack Away, Kid

How schools can teach students to become ethical hackers (and protect their systems in the process).

Slate commentary by Joe Gervais, a lifelong security researcher and is currently employed as an application security engineer and pentester in the commercial sector

 

When I was 14, I began experimenting with something fascinating, something my teachers never mentioned but that I knew was off limits: creating malware. The code worked beautifully. It was designed and written from scratch in assembly language, a level just barely above the 1’s and 0’s of the computer’s native tongue. After I delivered it to the intended target, it hid in the operating system and waited for the correct trigger conditions, at which time it would overwrite the volume table of contents and destroy the disk’s ability to retrieve any of its stored data. It executed exactly as intended.

I wasn’t the only student in my school experimenting in the murkier realms of computers. Teachers deal with students across the full spectrum of interests and abilities. Gifted programs exist for students who excel in reading, math, and other academic realms. However, one type of student is overlooked or even actively discouraged by school systems—the aspiring computer hacker. At the very same time that we are constantly hearing about the need for talented hackers in industry and government, young computer security enthusiasts are perceived as hoodie-wearing miscreants who must be stopped. The cognitive dissonance is deafening.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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In an Early Adopter, Common Core Faces Little Pushback Kentucky is in its fourth year of testing linked to the standards, and has seen some improvement Wall Street Journal

 

TAYLOR MILL, Ky.—The Common Core education standards have become a lightning rod in many of the states where they have been rolled out. But that controversy has largely avoided the place where they have been in effect the longest.

Kentucky is in its fourth year of testing linked to Common Core State Standards, at a time when most other states are counting the tests for the first time. While students here were slow to show improvement, scores on standardized tests have begun to pick up. Pushback from teachers unions, which has been fierce in a number of states, has been minimal here.

“At the end of the day, we put our political hatreds aside,” said Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat who championed the tougher standards. “It’s going to be good for our kids and make us more competitive.”

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

 

 


 

 

 

Gov. Hassan vetoes bill prohibiting Common Core

(Manchester) New Hampshire Union Leader

 

CONCORD — Citing the state’s economic competitiveness, Gov. Maggie Hassan vetoed a bill Friday that would prohibit the Department of Education or the state Board of Education from implementing Common Core standards in any school in the state.

She said Senate Bill 101 would undermine New Hampshire’s commitment to preparing students for a 21st century work force, noting that no district is required to implement the national standards under state law and school districts are aware they have a choice.

“As this bill has no practical impact, its purpose appears to be that of sending a message, and it is the wrong message,” Hassan wrote in her veto message. “New Hampshire must be clear that it is committed to developing a 21st century work force and citizenry, that it welcomes innovation, and that it is modernizing its education system to reflect those values.”

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

 

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

 

 


 

 

 

Wisconsin thrust into limbo over student achievement testing Milwaukee (WI) Journal-Sentinel

 

Wisconsin schools are almost finished testing students on a new online achievement exam tied to the Common Core State Standards in English and math.

The exam was intended to put Wisconsin on a modernized course for monitoring school performance. Instead, the future of the new Badger Exam and the path forward for state testing in Wisconsin are in limbo.

Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed state budget calls for dropping the exam, which like virtually everything associated with Common Core, has been the target of criticism. If lawmakers don’t remove that provision, the state will be scrambling from scratch for a new one in 2015-’16.

That process has already started. Two weeks ago, the state pre-emptively issued a request for proposals to replace the Badger Exam, because if it doesn’t get started now and Walker’s budget passes as proposed, there would not be time to get a test in place by 2015-’16. The procurement process will be mothballed if lawmakers decide to stick with the Badger Exam for another year or longer.

A new exam for 2015-’16 would mean that Wisconsin students would take a different state test for the third year in a row, potentially one that isn’t calibrated to the new nationwide standards in math and English — standards that the state adopted in 2010.

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

 

 


 

 

 

School Districts Embrace Business Model of Data Collection New York Times

 

MENOMONEE FALLS, Wis. — In this small suburb outside Milwaukee, no one in the Menomonee Falls School District escapes the rigorous demands of data.

Custodians monitor dirt under bathroom sinks, while the high school cafeteria supervisor tracks parent and student surveys of lunchroom food preferences. Administrators record monthly tallies of student disciplinary actions, and teachers post scatter plot diagrams of quiz scores on classroom walls. Even kindergartners use brightly colored dots on charts to show how many letters or short words they can recognize.

Data has become a dirty word in some education circles, seen as a proxy for an obsessive focus on tracking standardized test scores. But some school districts, taking a cue from the business world, are fully embracing metrics, recording and analyzing every scrap of information related to school operations. Their goal is to help improve everything from school bus routes and classroom cleanliness to reading comprehension and knowledge of algebraic equations.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Online Common Core Testing Lays Bare Tech Divide in Schools Associated Press

 

NEW CUYAMA, Calif. — Nestled between mountains 60 miles from the nearest city, students at Cuyama Valley High School use Internet connections about one-tenth the minimum speed recommended for the modern U.S. classroom.

So when it came time to administer the new Common Core-aligned tests online, the district of 240 students in a valley of California oil fields and sugar beet farms faced a challenge.

New Cuyama has no access to fiber optic cables. Some residents live entirely off the grid, relying on solar power and generators. The local telephone company provided a few extra lines, but that only bumped speeds a few megabits.

“We tripled our capacity but it’s still woefully inadequate,” said Paul Chounet, superintendent of the Cuyama Joint Unified School District.

Across the country, school districts in rural areas like New Cuyama and other pockets with low bandwidth are confronting a difficult task: Administering the new standardized tests to students online, laying bare a tech divide in the nation’s classrooms.

Overall, 63 percent of public schools don’t have access to broadband speeds needed for digital learning. The problem is particularly acute in rural and low-income districts: Only 14 percent in those areas meet high-speed internet targets.

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

 

 


 

 

 

New Read-Aloud Strategies Transform Story Time Education Week

 

North Las Vegas, Nev. – Reading a picture book aloud from her armchair, 20 children gathered on the rug at her feet, kindergarten teacher Jamie Landahl is carrying on a practice that’s been a cornerstone of early-literacy instruction for decades. But if you listen closely, you’ll see that this is not the read-aloud of your childhood. Something new and very different is going on here.

What’s happening in Ms. Landahl’s classroom at Ruby Duncan Elementary School reflects a major shift in reading instruction brought about by the Common Core State Standards. In place in more than 40 states, the standards expect children to read text carefully and be able to cite evidence from it to back up their interpretations. That approach requires teachers to pose “text-dependent” questions—those that can be answered only with a detailed understanding of the material, rather than from students’ own experience. And it’s not just for complex high school books; it’s increasingly being used in reading stories aloud to young children.

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

 

 


 

 

Teachers’ grade for attendance goes up

Associated Press via Albuquerque (NM) Journal

 

Overall teacher attendance has jumped in New Mexico schools, an improvement state officials say is largely due to the new evaluation system, the Public Education Department announced this week.

Nearly 32 percent of teachers who had “exemplary” attendance records missed less than two days of work each, according to state data. Students had 18,000 additional instructional hours from licensed teachers instead of substitutes, statistics also showed.

In Albuquerque Public Schools, the state’s largest school district, teacher absences caused by illness fell about 15 percent. That decrease is from the first half of the last school year to the first half of this year.

Public Education Secretary Hanna Skandera said attendance now can be factored into evaluations and serves as a motivational tool to keep teachers in classrooms, even though it’s only a small part of the overall rating.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Vermont schools at the tipping point

Burlington (VT) Free Press

 

WESTFORD – Tucked in the hills of the northwest edge of Chittenden County is a drama that’s playing out all across the state.

For two years, Westford has struggled to pass a budget for the school district, which serves nearly 300 students from prekindergarten through high school — a mid-size district, by Vermont standards.

“Westford does have a long history of supporting its school,” said Eliza Anderson, parent of a sixth-grade student. “But the property-tax situation has changed this budget environment profoundly.”

This year’s budget passed on the second attempt Tuesday with 45 votes making the difference. But like many towns, Westford has seen property taxes climb while fewer students fill the classrooms.

“We now offer fewer school sports,” Westford Principal Marcie Lewis wrote in an email, offering examples of the impact of fewer students. “Band was once a large marching band and now we have a smaller concert band.”

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

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Access to preschool varies widely by state Washington Post

 

State funding for public pre-kindergarten programs ticked up nationwide in 2014, as did enrollment of 3- and 4-year-olds, according to a new report released Monday. But access to preschool continues to vary widely from state to state.

Enrollment is highest in the District, where more than 98 percent of four-year-olds are in public preschool, according to the report. Also at the top of the list are Vermont (91 percent) and Florida (80 percent). Ten states had no state preschool program in 2014.

The divide is not clearly partisan, even though expanding public preschool has been a key goal for the Obama administration. Red states like Oklahoma and Texas are among those with the highest percentage of children in public preschool, with more than 40 percent of four-year-olds enrolled, according to the report.

Some blue states — such as Hawaii and Washington — either have no public preschool program or enroll relatively few students.

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

 

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

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/3Cg (National Institute for Early Education Research)

 

 


 

 

 

State board education staffers move to governor’s tower

(Phoenix) Arizona Republic

 

State Board of Education staff, whose employment has been the focus of a feud between the Department of Education and the Governor’s Office, stealthily moved out of their offices in state schools Superintendent Diane Douglas’ building Saturday, The Arizona Republic has learned.

The staffers are now working on the third floor of the Governor’s tower. The Department of Administration, the human resources hub of the state, provided the staff with technology accounts on new computer servers that will allow them to work independently of Douglas’ Department of Education.

The Board of Education approved the move in April, but until this weekend, it was unclear to where they would move and when.

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

 

 


 

 

How Concussions Can Lead to Poor Grades

Head injuries can have long lasting effects, not just on the field but in the classroom too Time

 

When it comes to concussions, the biggest question, especially on the minds of parents of student-athletes, is whether and when their child should get back in the game. But researchers at the Children’s National Health System say that there’s potentially bigger question that parents and educators aren’t asking: how concussions affect children’s performance in the classroom.

In a study published in the journal Pediatrics, Danielle Ransom, a postdoctoral fellow in neuropsychology, and her colleagues found that children who had concussions may experience more problems concentrating, keeping up and paying attention in school. The symptoms are worse for students who have recently been injured, but remained significant even for those who had recovered.

“My colleagues and I have been hearing for years that kids with concussions have problems in school, but there was no evidence to show what the problems are, and how frequently they are occurring,” she says.

So she focused on 349 students ages 5 to 18 years old who had all been diagnosed with concussion. Some were still recovering, and experiencing symptoms, while others were no longer feeling any effects from their injury. Of the students who were still recovering, 88% reported more than one symptom including headaches, fatigue, difficulty understanding lessons or problems concentrating. And 77% said they had more trouble taking notes and spent more time completing homework assignments.

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

 

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

 

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

 

A copy of the study

http://go.uen.org/3BM (Pediatrics)

 

 


 

 

 

This Movie Theater PSA Is Inspiring Kids To Become Teachers Huffington Post

 

A public service announcement encouraging young people to become teachers has been playing in hundreds of movie theaters around the country in recognition of national teacher appreciation week May 4 to May 9.

The PSA, called #TEACHNow, has been playing in nearly 400 theaters as part of Participant Media’s TEACH Campaign, which aims to stimulate great teaching.

“My goal with #TEACHNow is to visually illustrate that teaching is so important that it deserves its own recruitment piece featuring teachers as the heroic, life-changing, amazing people they are,” Lesley Chilcott, director of the ad, said in a press release. “We need to show our most talented youth that teaching is an incredible career choice.”

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

 

 


 

 

Man Spared Prison for Making Harassing Calls to Sandy Hook Associated Press

 

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — A Connecticut man won’t serve prison time for making harassing calls to Newtown schools claiming the 2012 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was fabricated.

Thirty-year-old Timothy Rogalski of Wallingford received a suspended sentence Friday in Bridgeport Superior Court and was ordered to have no further contact with the schools.

He was convicted of harassment and disorderly conduct after authorities traced the April phone calls to his home.

A gunman killed 20 children and six adults at the school on Dec. 14, 2012, before committing suicide.

Police say Rogalski told them he believes the Newtown shootings, the Boston Marathon bombings and the moon landing were all hoaxes.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 13:

Middle School Science Standards Public Meeting

7 p.m., Cache County School District, 2063 N 1200 East, North Logan

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

 

 

May 19:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

2 p.m., 445 State Capitol

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

 

Middle School Science Standards Public Meeting

7 p.m., Salt Lake Center for Science Education, 1400 Goodwin Ave., Salt Lake City

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

 

 

May 20:

Education Interim Committee meeting

9 a.m., 30 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2015/html/00002324.htm

 

 

May 21:

Instructional Material Commission meeting

9:30 a.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

http://schools.utah.gov/CURR/imc/News-and-Information/History.aspx

 

 

June 18-19:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

 

July 9:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

 

 

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