Education News Roundup: June 1, 2015

"Graduation Caps" by JMaz Photo/CC/flickr

“Graduation Caps” by JMaz Photo/CC/flickr

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

Tribune looks at what’s ahead for the class of 2015.

http://go.uen.org/3P1 (SLT)

 

D-News looks at learning opportunities over the summer.

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

 

Does Jeb Bush now stand alone on Common Core in the GOP presidential field?

http://go.uen.org/3P4 (MSNBC)

and http://go.uen.org/3P5 (CNN)

 

Despite the recent pushback on standardized testing, Texas initiates an A-F school grading system.

http://go.uen.org/3P7 (Dallas Morning News)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Utah’s Class of 2015 faces difficult odds

Fewer than half of high school graduates will obtain a college degree in six years; some will comprise the third class of younger LDS missionaries; still others will eschew college in favor of a job.

 

School year ending, but learning continues

 

Utah schools chief: Focus on change, not money in schools

 

Kids eat more fruits, vegetables if lunch follows recess

 

Mountain man history lesson for fourth-graders

 

Teen doesn’t let rejection, homelessness stop her from achieving college dream

 

Mountain Crest grad triumphs despite disability

 

Mural 16 years in the making completed at East High School

 

Utah teen awarded scholarship after creating reading room for kids at domestic violence shelter

 

UDOT hosts transportation summit to get girls interested in the industry

 

Former Utah teacher Brianne Altice writes judge, says she wants good to come out of sexual abuse case

Courts » As her sentences approach, the former teacher pleads her case in a letter to the judge.

 

Police identify teen found dead in Corner Canyon

 

Panel Picks Utah Contractor to Validate Florida Standards Assessment

 

Car show benefits school

 

Student traffic patroller receives award from AAA

 

Teaching students to be good citizens in a digital age

 

 


 

 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Digital citizenship — merging youths’ social media ‘know-how’ with parents’ ‘know-when’ and ‘know-why’

 

Missing in the mail

 

Thumbs up, thumbs down

 

Educating the Public

 

Superintendent Smith should follow his own advice

 

‘Faith’ is no substitute for small classes and good teachers

 

SAGE test: Friend or foe?

 

Where’s my son’s letter?

 

Chris Christie’s about-face

 

The Education Assassins

 

Common Core’s First Breakout Hit

EngageNY’s curriculum is getting attention well beyond the Empire State.

 

The Education Myth

 

Red Tape Comes to Charter Schooling

It’s easier to open a business in Cambodia or Venezuela than a charter school in New York.

 

Martin O’Malley On Education: 7 Things The Presidential Candidate Wants You To Know

 

A Counter-Cultural High School Summer Reading List

Bleak modern books rule too many high schools. Here are some classic works that will excite and inspire.

 

Increased Per-Pupil Spending Yields Improved Educational Attainment and Higher Future Wages for Students from Low-Income Families

How money is spent matters; school districts use unexpected increases more productively than they use other resources

 

 


 

 

 

NATION

 

As 2016 GOPers flee Common Core, Jeb Bush is the odd man out

 

A-to-F grading system for Texas schools clears Legislature

 

Test dodging: Parents refuse new math and reading exams

 

Real Test After Christie’s Call to Drop Common Core: What Happens Next

Questions arise over who will devise new standards, how long it will take – and even whether it will really happen

 

In a first, tribal school wins its own waiver from No Child Left Behind

 

Blue-collar town leads Rhode Island’s tech-assisted learning revolution

 

CPS chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett resigns amid federal criminal investigation

 

Suspensions revoked for teen who preached at Cascade High School

 

Exploding Myths About Learning Through Gaming

 

Stakes High for Bureau of Indian Education’s Overhaul

Agency has endured decades of problems

 

Bringing Music And A Message Of Hope To Native American Youth

 

Iowa schools brace for impact of concussion lawsuits

 

Allen ISD’s Eagle Stadium to reopen for graduation after $10 million-plus in fixes

 

Are Schools Overregulating What Students Eat?

A recent debate about Double Stuf Oreo’s underscores the divide among parents over how much supervision of children is too much supervision.

 

 

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Utah’s Class of 2015 faces difficult odds

Fewer than half of high school graduates will obtain a college degree in six years; some will comprise the third class of younger LDS missionaries; still others will eschew college in favor of a job.

 

Between 35,000 and 40,000 students will graduate from Utah’s public high schools this year. Most school districts will pass out diplomas this week.

From this point on, the Class of 2015 will diverge.

Many will continue their educations, at a college or university or through professional training, but some will struggle to scrape together a way to pay for it.

Others will put off college to immediately go on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — a change in policy for the faith that is entering its third academic year.

A good number will bypass higher education altogether.

If patterns for Utah high school graduates hold, less than half of them will have a bachelor’s degree in six years. In 2007, just 41 percent of students who enrolled in a Utah public college or university successfully completed an associate degree in three years or a bachelor’s degree in six years, according to the most recent data from the Utah System of Higher Education.

http://go.uen.org/3P1 (SLT)

 

 


 

 

 

School year ending, but learning continues

 

SALT LAKE CITY — For teachers and students in the Alpine and Wasatch school districts, Friday was a day for stacking chairs, sweeping floors and signing yearbooks.

And with classes winding down for the year across the Wasatch Front, schools are gearing up for summer programs to give students an academic boost and a chance to discover new hobbies.

Most districts and charter schools in the Salt Lake Valley will have their last day of class on June 5. For the next several weeks, Title I schools will host summer classes for students who need extra help with literacy subjects, such as reading, writing and speaking.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Utah schools chief: Focus on change, not money in schools

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s schools superintendent says it’s not bad that Utah ranks the lowest in per-student educating spending in the nation.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports Brad Smith made the comments Thursday before the Utah Taxpayers Association, a nonprofit that advocates for limiting taxes.

Smith says state officials should focus less on how much money is spent and more on change and results.

He says the most important thing for public education is to believe that the system can be changed.

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

 

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

 

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

 

 


 

 

Kids eat more fruits, vegetables if lunch follows recess

 

OGDEN — Members of the Ogden school board almost lost their appetite for a new wellness policy after discussion of the ideal time for students to eat lunch.

Ogden School District was required to revise its old wellness policy in conjunction with a federal Carol M. White Physical Education Program grant.

The proposed policy includes sections about nutrition education, physical education and activity, nutrition guidelines, community involvement, and assessment measures. There is also a checklist that can be used to evaluate a school’s implementation of the wellness policy.

“In here, I read “Elementary schools will provide recess before lunch,” said Jennifer Zundel, board vice president during a meeting Thursday. “So that’s going to be mandatory for each elementary school?”

Ken Crawford answered that it’s something the district would like to work toward, because of a study done by Brigham Young University Economics Professor Joseph Price.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Mountain man history lesson for fourth-graders

 

BOUNTIFUL — In the warm sun following a bout of rain, Oak Hills Elementary fourth-graders bent over a large horse trough as they blindly moved their hands, attempting to catch the fish as part of the school’s annual mountain man rendezvous event.

Parent volunteer Tim Pickett instructed students to grab on tight when they caught a fish, demonstrating for them. It looked simple enough, but there was a continual chorus of squeals as the fish repeatedly slid out of students’ hands.

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

 

 

 


 

 

 

Teen doesn’t let rejection, homelessness stop her from achieving college dream

 

Claudia Gil’s upbringing was less than ideal. Not only was she raised by a single parent, but the threat of poverty, homelessness and U.S. Immigration Enforcement taking her mom away were always present.

“Growing up was hard. We didn’t always have food on the table. We didn’t always have a dad. I was raised by my mom. She wasn’t always there with us because she was always working,” Gil said. “We moved away for about a year and then we decided to move back. We didn’t have a place to live. We were homeless. We got here and we were sleeping in a van. There were eight of us sleeping in there for like three days.”

This rough childhood led to what she describes as a decline in her performance at school. She didn’t care about education and instead wanted to work to help her mother. Her decision didn’t really hit her until a school counselor told her she wasn’t on track to graduate. Additionally, she wasn’t receiving much support at home.

“(Family members) would sit there and say that I was stupid, and that I was going to fail and that they didn’t care,” Gil said. “They said that I could go work at Miller’s (meat packing) like the rest of them. Well, I didn’t want that.”

Gil started attending Fast Forward Charter High School and began to really dive into her studies. She skipped school less and began to get better grades.

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

 

 


 

 

 

 

Mountain Crest grad triumphs despite disability

 

David Barrett is a quiet, unassuming young man who is known by his peers and teachers for being thoughtful and kind.

Though he has a mental disability, Barrett has been able to graduate from Mountain Crest and is excited to continue his education.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Mural 16 years in the making completed at East High School

 

SALT LAKE CITY — A project 16 years in the making is finally done at East High School. Year after year, students in the art club have spent countless hours adding to the 200-foot mural that covers the hallways.

A small but talented group of young artists have assembled each year for the last 16 to add to the work of art, which spans 200-feet of hallway and covers life in the deepest parts of the ocean to objects in outer space and everything in between.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Utah teen awarded scholarship after creating reading room for kids at domestic violence shelter

 

DAVIS COUNTY, Utah – After putting more than 100 hours of community service toward creating a reading room for the children at a domestic violence shelter, a Davis High School senior received a very prestigious award for giving back to her community.

Alexis Carlsen is receiving the Prudential Spirit of Community Award and Scholarship for giving back to her community.

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

 

 


 

 

 

UDOT hosts transportation summit to get girls interested in the industry

 

SALT LAKE CITY — A group of young girls are giving a career in transportation a second glance, as about 53 middle school students from across Salt Lake County took part in a transportation summit for girls sponsored by the Utah Department of Transportation.

Professionals were volunteering their expertise to the girls, and they were showing the students how to use Shop-Vacs to locate underground utilities. They also learned about repairing tires and fixing bikes, and they studied how roads and bridges are built.

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

 

 


 

 

Former Utah teacher Brianne Altice writes judge, says she wants good to come out of sexual abuse case

Courts » As her sentences approach, the former teacher pleads her case in a letter to the judge.

 

Brianne Altice wants to see good come out of her bad situation.

The former Davis High School English teacher pleaded guilty last month to having sexual contact with three male students. With her sentencing date approaching — July 9 — Altice made her case in a letter to 2nd District Judge Thomas Kay.

“I will forever be sorry for my actions, and the loss it has caused on all sides,” she wrote. “I’d like to show my children that through this struggle, Mom may have fallen, but she got up, learned from it, and created something helpful and positive from it. I will be making changes to help prevent this from happening to others.”

In the letter, Altice describes working on potential legislation to improve school districts’ communication technology between teachers and students, such as combining texting and e-mail so that they are directly connected to the district’s system.

“I believe that is where problems can begin and escalate,” she wrote. “I’d like to be an advocate, resource and help the prevention of future situations as this.

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

 

“http://go.uen.org/3Ph (DN)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 


 

 

 

Police identify teen found dead in Corner Canyon

 

DRAPER — Police have identified the teenager found dead near Ghost Falls in Corner Canyon on Thursday.

The body of Spencer Norton, 15, was found by hikers near a trail in the Corner Canyon area between the Ghost Falls and Coyote trailheads about 3:45 p.m. on Thursday.

Norton died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said. Initial reports indicated the boy’s cause of death was not apparent, but foul play was not suspected.

Norton was a sophomore at Corner Canyon High School. Grief counselors were available to students at the school on Thursday and Friday.

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

 

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

 

 


 

 

 

Panel Picks Utah Contractor to Validate Florida Standards Assessment

Sunshine State News

 

A Utah-based testing group is now responsible for reviewing the validity of Florida’s glitch-ridden Florida Standards Assessment test, chosen on Friday by a panel of three men appointed by Gov. Rick Scott, Senate President Andy Gardiner and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli.

Hailing from Orem, Alpine Testing Solutions and Washington, D.C.-based edCount will conduct the intensive validity test this summer, working on a time crunch to give Florida the results by the Sept. 1 deadline.

Alpine Testing didn’t seem fazed by the short timeframe. Dr. Chad Buckendahl told panel members his team of eight had already worked out schedules and promised they’d be able to complete the work in a timely manner.

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

 


 

 

 

Car show benefits school

 

Kenworth Sales Co. hosted its annual car show Friday at Maverik Center in West Valley City. All proceeds from the event benefit Stansbury Elementary School.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Student traffic patroller receives award from AAA

 

AAA Utah on Friday honored Christian Kindler from St. John the Baptist Elementary School in Draper as Safety Patroller of the Year for Nevada and Utah.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Teaching students to be good citizens in a digital age

 

Earlier this year, middle school teacher Diana Graber’s 16-year-old daughter popped her head into Graber’s office asking for advice.

Her concern wasn’t about school or boys but, to Graber’s surprise, Instagram.

“She’d taken this shot of herself and she wanted to know if she should post it,” Graber said.

The photo was fairly standard fare for Instagram — a picture of Graber’s daughter in a bathing suit. The two considered the angle and what Graber’s daughter was trying to accomplish with the photo. In the end, the photo was posted with some editing input from Graber and her daughter went on with her day.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Digital citizenship — merging youths’ social media ‘know-how’ with parents’ ‘know-when’ and ‘know-why’

Deseret News editorial

 

Nowhere is a generational gap more apparent than when it comes to technology knowledge and application. For example, think of phones — from desktop to digital and cellular. Think of dialing those phones — from rotary and touch-tone to touch-screen. Think of those calls — from local and long-distance audio to Skype and FaceTime visuals.

About the time the grandparents are figuring out Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, the younger generation has long since moved on to the newest social medium available.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Missing in the mail

(St. George) Spectrum editorial

 

Three times each year for more than three decades, local residents have found the locally-produced Community Education catalog of activities, educational offerings and lists of things-to-do in their mailbox.

This unassuming little mailing was always packed full of news of upcoming special events, non-credit classes offered on the university campus or in local schools; summer camps galore for fledgling scientists, computer junkies; and, a whole host of other recreational activities. Parents and children, as well as seniors interested in continuing education opportunities,reviewed its contents with carefree abandon as they planned around what was happening in the spring, summer and fall months.

This self-funding resource, which had its birth in the early 1980s, was the result of a longstanding collaboration between the southwestern Utah community’s power players —the Washington County School District, Dixie State University and the City of St. George —who came together to meet a need. Many of the courses offered were free-of-charge, some had nominal fees to cover the cost of materials, supplies and a small stipend to the presenter.

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

 

 


 

 

Thumbs up, thumbs down

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

 

Thumbs up: To those Ogden High School students who have worked hard to achieve an IB diploma with the district’s International Baccalaureate program. It’s an impressive academic accomplishment and provides a great start for their college careers.

Thumbs down: To the too-small numbers with the IB program. In the past five years, only 12 students have graduated with IB degrees, which includes two years of college credit, and the Ogden School District has spent $665,000 on the program. We hope that the graduation numbers will see a consistent uptick.

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

 

 


 

 

Educating the Public

Salt Lake Tribune editorial cartoon by Pat Bagley

 

http://go.uen.org/3P8

 

 


 

 

 

Superintendent Smith should follow his own advice

Salt Lake Tribune letter from James D. Lloyd

 

Recently while speaking at the Utah Taxes Now conference, State Superintendent Brad Smith made it clear that he sees no problem with Utah being last among all states in per-pupil education spending, saying “There is no virtue in rising higher on that list.”

He also said — very ironically — that “it’s critical that we are committed to data-driven decision making that is predicated on actual results.”

Is Smith aware of what sound research data says about per-pupil education spending?

http://go.uen.org/3P9

 

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

 

 


 

 

 

‘Faith’ is no substitute for small classes and good teachers

 

School Superintendent Brad Smith’s speech is a perfect example of what is wrong with Utah’s schools. He denies that the state’s last-place rank in spending per student is a problem, and he asserts that “faith” can provide change for the better.

Low spending per student means very large classes. Smith has obviously never been a teacher.

Based on 48 years of university level teaching, I can confidently assert that class size makes a huge difference.

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

 

 


 

 

 

SAGE test: Friend or foe?

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Ben Watkins

 

Is the SAGE test a teacher’s best friend or greatest foe?

First, know that SAGE results will likely be factored into the performance evaluations of educators.

Second, beginning next school year, Utah law will prohibit SAGE scores from being part of a student’s academic grade.

And third, the Utah State Office of Education outlines several “unethical practices” for educators in relation to the SAGE test. One unethical practice is “changing instruction or reviewing specific concepts because those concepts appear on the test.”

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

 

 


 

 

 

Where’s my son’s letter?

(St. George) Spectrum letter from Major Fernando Gandara

 

My son, Jared Gandara, graduated last month from DHHS. He just received is third medal from Skills USA: 1) Gold 2) Silver 3) Career Tech for Education from Washington County School District.

Sadly this is not worthy of an Academic Varsity Letter even though he has earned much credit and honor for DHHS? His high school and School District only recognize jocks? When is DHHS/District going to join the 20 Century to recognize scholastic athletes? His cousin in Corona, California, earned an Academic Varsity Letter for her HS by merely keeping a 3.8 GPA freshmen year.

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

 

 


 

 

Chris Christie’s about-face

Washington Post editorial

 

COMPLETING HIS Common Core U-turn, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) offered the explanation that the rigorous academic standards simply aren’t working. That’s news to much of his state’s education leadership, which embraced them as central to preparing students for college, career and life. When we asked the governor’s office in what way the standards are “not working,” no specifics were forthcoming. Mr. Christie’s rhetoric about the Common Core has nothing to do with education and everything to do with his possible bid for the White House.

Mr. Christie not so long ago was an unabashed supporter of the K-12 standards, developed at the impetus of governors and state education officials who recognized the value of consistent, real-world learning goals. As he tested the waters for a presidential run and encountered implacable opposition to the standards from his party’s most conservative wing, he expressed mounting doubts. On Thursday, he completed his abandonment of principle, announcing an effort to develop a new set of standards that would be unique to New Jersey.

Given the experience of other states that rolled out their own standards because of backlash against Common Core, chances are that any effort in New Jersey will produce something that bears a striking resemblance to Common Core. Unless, of course, Mr. Christie adds bridge and traffic management to the expectations set for New Jersey students. The development of duplicative standards will mean added expense and possible disruption for New Jersey teachers, students and parents who have been adjusting to Common Core. If that mattered to Mr. Christie, he at least would have waited for the report, due in July, from the commission he appointed last year to review testing and standards.

http://go.uen.org/3P6

 

 


 

 

The Education Assassins

New York Times commentary by columnist Frank Bruni

A CONTEST for the least popular arm of the federal government would have many strong contenders.

There’s the soft, cuddly Internal Revenue Service. Also the National Security Agency, America’s Peeping Tom. And let’s not forget the Environmental Protection Agency, seen by many manufacturers as one big, mossy, bossy paean to regulation run amok.

But for politicians, in particular Republicans, another challenger comes into play: the Department of Education.

In a Republican presidential debate during the 2012 campaign, it wasn’t just on the list of “three agencies of government” that Rick Perry famously promised to eliminate. It was one of the two that he succeeded in naming before he stopped short, forgetting the third.

And it finds itself once again in Republican presidential candidates’ cross hairs, all the more so because of Common Core standards, supported by the education secretary, Arne Duncan, and cited by many excessively alarmed conservatives as a federal takeover of curriculum.

With the notable exception of Jeb Bush, whose Common Core advocacy is possibly his greatest vulnerability in the primaries, nearly all of the major Republican candidates have disparaged the standards, including, just last week, Chris Christie, who once supported them.

And most of these politicians have called for the downsizing of the education department. A few have followed Perry’s lead and said that they want it dead and gone. That’s the position of Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio has signaled a willingness to consider the department’s elimination.

It could use more friends these days even among Democrats.

http://go.uen.org/3P0

 

 


 

 

 

Common Core’s First Breakout Hit

EngageNY’s curriculum is getting attention well beyond the Empire State.

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

 

I like the Common Core State Standards just fine, but let me confess a little secret: Standards have never interested me very much. As a teacher, I would no sooner reach for state standards to decide what to teach than an architect would look to building codes for inspiration when sketching a skyscraper. Likewise, I suspect chefs never start with safe food handling procedures when planning a tempting menu. Of course, I want my students to be able to “determine two or more central ideas of a text” (that’s a standard). But deciding which texts are worth reading is far more interesting. And that’s not a standards question – it’s a curriculum question.

Much of my enthusiasm for Common Core has been predicated on the assumption that raising our game on teaching and testing can’t be accomplished without taking a long, hard look at curriculum – the course content and class materials we put in front of students. Curriculum is largely beyond the reach of Common Core; it’s strictly (and correctly) a local concern. But it’s been widely hoped the new standards would create a robust nationwide market for innovative new materials, especially in English Language Arts where Common Core explicitly states the standards “must be complemented by a well-developed, content-rich curriculum.”

In the main, it hasn’t happened. Five years into Common Core implementation, 90 percent of school districts report they are still struggling to find the materials they need to meet the new standards. On the one hand, this is not entirely surprising. Curriculum has long been the neglected stepchild of education reform and building new materials takes time. However a 2009 study by the Brookings Institution’s Russ Whitehurst demonstrated that curriculum has an even greater effect on student outcomes than most popular policy levers, including charter schools, teacher quality, preschool programs and even standards themselves.

In short, improving curriculum is almost certainly the last, best, juiciest piece of low-hanging fruit left in our efforts to improve student outcomes.

All is not lost. There are good reasons to think Common Core may at last be spurring the development of innovative curriculum.

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

 

 


 

 

 

The Education Myth

Project Syndicate commentary by Ricardo Hausmann, Professor of the Practice of Economic Development at Harvard University, where he is also Director of the Center for International Development

 

TIRANA – In an era characterized by political polarization and policy paralysis, we should celebrate broad agreement on economic strategy wherever we find it. One such area of agreement is the idea that the key to inclusive growth is, as then-British Prime Minister Tony Blair put in his 2001 reelection campaign, “education, education, education.” If we broaden access to schools and improve their quality, economic growth will be both substantial and equitable.

As the Italians would say: magari fosse vero. If only it were true. Enthusiasm for education is perfectly understandable. We want the best education possible for our children, because we want them to have a full range of options in life, to be able to appreciate its many marvels and participate in its challenges. We also know that better educated people tend to earn more.

Education’s importance is incontrovertible – teaching is my day job, so I certainly hope it is of some value. But whether it constitutes a strategy for economic growth is another matter. What most people mean by better education is more schooling; and, by higher-quality education, they mean the effective acquisition of skills (as revealed, say, by the test scores in the OECD’s standardized PISA exam). But does that really drive economic growth?

In fact, the push for better education is an experiment that has already been carried out globally. And, as my Harvard colleague Lant Pritchett has pointed out, the long-term payoff has been surprisingly disappointing.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Red Tape Comes to Charter Schooling

It’s easier to open a business in Cambodia or Venezuela than a charter school in New York.

National Review op-ed by FREDERICK M. HESS, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute & MICHAEL Q. MCSHANE, research fellow at AEI

 

Charter schools may be the nearest thing to a “safe” 21st-century school reform. Other contenders — such as school vouchers, teacher evaluation, school accountability, or the Common Core — have proven more contentious. Thus, it’s no great surprise that just about every would-be school reformer has climbed on the charter-school bandwagon . . . albeit, in their own fashion. Popularity can be a great blessing. It has helped usher in a wave of extraordinary charter-school growth, with more than 6,000 charters across the U.S. enrolling more than 2 million students. More than a million more students are on waiting lists.

Popularity does have its downside, however. The peril of popularity is that when everyone likes charter schools, supporters will include well-meaning technocrats who think they can impose just the right kind of regulation and bureaucracy to make charter schooling work even better (despite the evidence of decades of mandated mediocrity). It’s important to understand that charter schools are “authorized” and then monitored by a state-approved authorizer. Depending on the state, authorizers can be local school boards, the state board of education, special state boards, universities, or any other entity approved by the legislature.

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

 

 


 

 

Martin O’Malley On Education: 7 Things The Presidential Candidate Wants You To Know

Forbes commentary by columnist Maureen Sullivan

 

Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland and mayor of Baltimore, is challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democrat Party nomination in the 2016 presidential campaign. In speeches over the years O’Malley has consistently called for more education “investment” (not spending). “Together we made our state’s public schools the best in the nation,” he said in his launch speech on May 30. He is less likely to talk about Maryland’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards in 2010 while he was governor or school choice. Here are some of his views on education:

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

 

 


 

 

A Counter-Cultural High School Summer Reading List

Bleak modern books rule too many high schools. Here are some classic works that will excite and inspire.

Wall Street Journal op-ed by GILBERT T. SEWALL, author of “Necessary Lessons: Decline and Renewal in American Schools”

 

Parents often think fate has singled their children out for poorly chosen school reading assignments. It hasn’t. A distressed father recently told me about seeing his high-school-age daughter’s summer reading list and realizing that it was devoted exclusively to contemporary writers such as David Eggers, Malcolm Gladwell and Barbara Ehrenreich. “This Boy’s Life,” Tobias Wolff’s highly regarded autobiography, published in 1989, was the oldest book assigned.

Whatever the list’s merits—and this is an ambitious set of books for 16- and 17-year-olds—the choices added up to a melancholy landscape of contemporary injustice, distress and dysfunction. The student’s father, a Thomas Hardy admirer, mourned the opportunity cost. I told him that summer-reading assignments are often a lot worse—at least there was no Young Adult dreck or Hobbit Lit here—but he asked if I could come up with an alternative reading list.

I agreed, and turned first to a distinguished 1984 survey, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, of classroom masterworks. Thirty years later, I realized with regret, most of these august recommendations don’t hold up. Geoffrey Chaucer, John Milton, Henry James and Theodore Dreiser, among other titans, are basically unsalable to today’s high-school students.

That may be unfortunate, but let’s be realists, not perfectionists or antiquarians. Short works have an incomparable advantage over long reads in the Attention Deficit age.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Increased Per-Pupil Spending Yields Improved Educational Attainment and Higher Future Wages for Students from Low-Income Families

How money is spent matters; school districts use unexpected increases more productively than they use other resources

Education Next analysis by C. Kirabo Jackson, Rucker C. Johnson, and Ashley Inman

 

Unequal school spending between districts is frequently identified as a key reason for the wide achievement gaps between students of different socioeconomic and racial backgrounds in the United States. While past research has failed to provide a clear picture of how increased school spending impacts student learning, a new study appearing in Education Next finds that increased spending due to court-ordered school finance reforms positively affects both educational and economic attainment for children from low-income families. Researchers C. Kirabo Jackson, Rucker C. Johnson, and Claudia Persico find that increases in spending due to school finance reforms have strong, positive effects on high school completion, adult earnings, family stability, and the incidence of adult poverty.

The authors find that when per pupil spending increases by 10 percent in all 12 school-age years for students from low-income families:

  • Years of completed education increase by 0.5 years;
  • The probability of high school graduation increases by 10 percentage points;
  • Adult hourly wages rise by $2.07 (in 2000 dollars), or 10 percent;
  • Future family income increases by 17.1 percent (the authors note these effects may reflect increases in one’s own income, or increases in other family members’ income due to a higher likelihood of being and staying married.)
  • The annual incidence of poverty in adulthood decreases by 6.1 percentage points;
  • The likelihood of being married and never divorced increases by 10 percent.

Students from nonpoor families also benefited from spending increases, but by much smaller amounts. Based on their findings, the authors estimate that a 22 percent increase in per-pupil spending throughout all 12 school-age years is large enough to eliminate the education gap between children from low-income and nonpoor families. They write that “in relation to current spending levels (the average for 2012 was $12,600 per pupil), this would correspond to increasing per-pupil spending permanently by roughly $2,863 per student.”

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

 

A copy of the study

http://go.uen.org/3PS (Education Next)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

————————————————————-

NATIONAL NEWS

————————————————————-

 

As 2016 GOPers flee Common Core, Jeb Bush is the odd man out

MSNBC

 

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is the latest Republican to reverse course and denounce the controversial national Common Core education standards — a move that is seemingly becoming a rite of passage for GOPers who are eyeing the White House.

The odd man out? Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who stands alone in continuing to embrace the education program that so riles the GOP base. But even Bush — who ran a foundation supporting Common Core — is avoiding using the initiative’s name, instead saying he backs higher standards as whole.

Common Core has become a boogeyman among grassroots conservatives who believe the initiative is tantamount to a federal takeover of education on what should be a local issue. Some critics have gone so as far as to label it “Obamacore.”

The irony is before GOPers began associating the educational guidelines with the Obama administration, many praised Common Core, which was introduced by the bipartisan National Governors Association in 2009 and has been adopted by 45 states.

http://go.uen.org/3P4

 

http://go.uen.org/3P5 (CNN)

 

 


 

 

 

A-to-F grading system for Texas schools clears Legislature

Dallas Morning News

 

AUSTIN – School campuses in Texas would be issued annual letter grades of A through F based on student test scores, attendance, dropouts and other factors under a bill approved and sent to the governor by lawmakers on Sunday.

The legislation would launch a new system for rating school districts and campuses that relies primarily on annual STAAR results. But other indicators would also figure into the ratings, including graduation rates and student and parent “engagement.”

Legislative leaders said the changes will give parents and local communities a better idea of how well their local schools are educating students. Critics have argued that giving poor letter grades to campuses would “stigmatize” them in their communities.

“A through F is universally understandable,” Senate Education Committee Chairman Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood. “This is a more transparent way for parents to know how well their school is doing. If their school is not that good, they need to know that.”

While student test scores would be the heart of the new accountability system, bill sponsors emphasized that other factors would be used to evaluate schools. Parent and teacher groups have complained in recent years about the overemphasis of test scores in rating schools.

http://go.uen.org/3P7

 

 


 

 

 

Test dodging: Parents refuse new math and reading exams

Sioux Falls (SD) Argus Leader

 

Roger Russell didn’t want his daughter to take the Smarter Balanced test, even though education leaders in Pierre were demanding it.

Attempts to provide an opt-out for Smarter Balanced skeptics such as Russell failed in the Legislature two years in a row, and state Department of Education officials have made clear their intentions to follow state statute to the letter.

That’s put some local school officials in a delicate position between meeting mandates for testing and respect the rights of parents such as Russell.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Real Test After Christie’s Call to Drop Common Core: What Happens Next

Questions arise over who will devise new standards, how long it will take – and even whether it will really happen

NJ Spotlight

 

Gov. Chris Christie delivers a speech last week at Stockton State University. He called for dropping the Common Core State Standards but keeping the PARCC testing associated with those standards.

Now what?

In the aftermath of Gov. Chris Christie’s announcement on Thursday that he no longer supports the Common Core State Standards, what are the administration’s plans for setting its own standards for New Jersey’s public schools?

Christie said the first step would be to form a commission, made up of parents and teachers, to review the current standards and make recommendations for changes by the end of the year.

But the state Department of Education on Friday wasn’t yet offering details of that plan, with a spokesman saying it would be “speculation” at this point.

The president of the State Board of Education – which only a year ago formally reiterated its support of the national Common Core standards – said he, too, was unsure about the next move. The board would ultimately have to adopt any new state standards.

“I have no idea what we’ll do, that’s the honest truth,” said board President Mark Biedron, who was appointed by Christie in 2011. “But this will be the top of the list. It can’t be business as usual, we need to move on this.”

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

 

 


 

 

In a first, tribal school wins its own waiver from No Child Left Behind

Washington Post

 

A tribal school in Florida has been granted relief from the most onerous provisions of No Child Left Behind, making it the first tribal school in the nation to win its own waiver from the nation’s main federal education law.

The Miccosukee Indian School joins more than 40 states that have already won flexibility from No Child Left Behind by setting forth an alternative plan to hold their schools accountable. The Miccosukee school’s plan includes academic standards that cover not just math and English, but also the Miccosukee language and culturally relevant science.

It also aims to cut academic achievement gaps at the school in half over the next six years, which means its annual performance targets are different than Florida’s.

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

 

 


 

 

Blue-collar town leads Rhode Island’s tech-assisted learning revolution

Hechinger Report

 

WEST WARWICK, R.I. — With pictures of dominos attached to the front of their shirts, 21 first-graders buzz around Sandra Cappelli’s classroom at Horgan Elementary School.

Their job is to find their match — a student wearing the exact same number of dots — and join their partner on the rug at the front of the room. Cappelli asks each pair to stand when called, and the class sings a short song about each number. “9+9 is 18,” they chant.

Cappelli, an elementary school teacher for more than 20 years, has fine-tuned this math warm-up over time, making it fun and active.

But her next words reflect the new reality of teaching first grade in West Warwick, a gritty former mill town in the middle of the nation’s smallest state.

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

 

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

 

 


 

 

 

CPS chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett resigns amid federal criminal investigation

Chicago Tribune

 

Barbara Byrd-Bennett has resigned as chief executive of the Chicago Public Schools amid a federal investigation into a $20.5 million no-bid contract.

In a letter dated last week, Byrd-Bennett said she planned to step down Monday.  She did not give any reasons for her decision.

Byrd-Bennett has been on paid leave since mid-April, when school officials released wide-ranging subpoenas from the federal investigation.  Her paid leave was scheduled to end next week and she had not been expected to return to her post.

The investigation centers on a $20.5 million no-bid contract at CPS related to an elite nonprofit education group that has long been at the center of city school reform efforts.  Federal corruption investigators have also sought records related to some of Byrd-Bennett’s top deputies.

Byrd-Bennett, who has not been accused of wrongdoing, acknowledged when she went on leave that her presence could divert attention from the pressing affairs of the district as it tackles labor talks with the city’s teachers union and confronts a $1.1 billion budget deficit.

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

 

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

 

 


 

 

 

Suspensions revoked for teen who preached at Cascade High School

Everett (WA) Herald

 

EVERETT — A Cascade High School senior who was suspended three times for loudly preaching at the school has had his suspensions erased from his record by a federal judge.

The student, Michael Leal, was disciplined after several incidents at the school where he handed out religious pamphlets and preached, sometimes using a bullhorn.

He filed suit in November against Everett Public Schools, Superintendent Gary Cohn, Cascade Principal Cathy Woods and two assistant principals, claiming his constitutional right of free speech was being infringed by the school’s actions and the district’s policies.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas S. Zilly on Friday upheld the school district’s policy that limits when and where Leal or any other student can hand out printed materials. The district’s rules state that students can only do so before or after the hours of instruction, and only outside the entrances of the school.

The judge tossed out a part of that policy that requires the printed material to have been written or produced by the student.

“The court found that was unconstitutional because he wouldn’t be able to pass out the Constitution or Shakespeare,” said Leal’s attorney, Kevin Snider of the Pacific Justice Institute, a nonprofit law firm that specializes in religious discrimination cases.

Leal is still able to preach, provided his preaching does not disrupt instruction.

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

 

 


 

 

Exploding Myths About Learning Through Gaming

NPR

 

If you had to pick the most promising — and possibly most overhyped — education trends of the last few years, right up there with the online college courses known as MOOCs would almost certainly rank this one: Game-based learning shall deliver us to the Promised Land!

But between hype and hating lies the nuanced discoveries of veteran education reporter — and former teacher — Greg Toppo. “What looks like a 21st-century, flashy, high-tech way to keep kids entertained is in fact a tool that taps into an ancient way to process, explore and understand the world,” he writes in his new book The Game Believes In You. Some of his findings might surprise you.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Stakes High for Bureau of Indian Education’s Overhaul

Agency has endured decades of problems

Education Week

 

A U.S. Senate report from 1969 describes the federal government’s failure to provide an effective education for Native American children as a “national tragedy and a national disgrace” that has “condemned the [American Indian] to a life of poverty and despair.”

Nearly 50 years later, little has changed, in the view of advocates, lawmakers, and tribal leaders alike. Graduation rates in Indian Country are among the lowest of all student subgroups, and there’s a laundry list of schools in need of significant repairs, some of which lack essentials like heat and running water.

While the vast majority of Native American children attend traditional public schools run by local districts, members of Congress and the Obama administration—both of which have admitted to shouldering some blame for the current situation—are pressuring the Bureau of Indian Education to right its flailing operations at the schools the BIE oversees on or near American Indian reservations.

In response, the BIE, which serves about 48,000 of the roughly 950,000 Native American students in the country, has embarked on a massive organizational overhaul. It has promised that by summer it will have a plan in place to begin fixing many of its poor, often unsafe schools.

But since the bureau unveiled its blueprint for reorganizing last year, adjustments to its operations have been slow going, prompting some to question whether it will work.

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

 

 


 

 

Bringing Music And A Message Of Hope To Native American Youth

NPR All Things Considered

 

Native American youth living on reservations can often face an overwhelming array of challenges, including poverty, addiction and abuse. Partly because of hurdles, high school dropout rates and suicides are far higher on reservations than the national average.

At a time when native teens are desperate for guidance, siblings from one Navajo family are mentoring them, helping them find their own way in traditional culture, contemporary music and — eventually — careers on and off the reservation.

Clayson, Jeneda and Klee Benally grew up on Black Mesa in northern Arizona, a place at the center of a land dispute between a coal mining company and the Navajo and Hopi tribes. The children of a traditional healer, they grew up protesting the coal mine and couldn’t ignore what they saw as oppression and abuse of power. So they formed a punk rock group in the early ’90s called Blackfire.

“There was a lot of anger,” Clayson recalls. Starting the band and performing was a way of “channeling that anger and frustration and putting it into something positive, as well.”

Now, about two decades later, Klee Benally has become an activist, and Jeneda and Clayson have formed a new band called Sihasin, which means “hope” in the Navajo language.

“With Sihasin, everything is kind of reversed, the energy,” says Clayson. Unlike Blackfire’s aim, he says, the goal with Sihasin is to “make people dance. Let’s make people move and feel good, you know — not just smash stuff.”

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

 

 


 

 

 

Iowa schools brace for impact of concussion lawsuits

Des Moines (IA) Register

 

A former Bedford athlete now spends his days in a wheelchair, the lingering result of head injuries he believes occurred because of playing football three years ago.

Kacey Strough, now 18, received nearly $1 million from a U.S. District Court in Des Moines on May 11. A jury found the school district at fault because the school nurse was negligent in notifying coaches and Strough’s guardian of a possible concussion.

It’s the first case of a former Iowa athlete receiving such damages from a school, but it’s likely not the last.

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

 

 


 

 

Allen ISD’s Eagle Stadium to reopen for graduation after $10 million-plus in fixes

Dallas Morning News

 

ALLEN — Fifteen months after Allen ISD shut down its $60 million high school stadium because of significant structural defects, crowds will once again stream through the gates starting with graduation on Friday.

The repair costs so far exceed $10 million, according to Pogue Construction and PBK, the contractor and architectural firm paying for the work. But bills are still coming in. A final total isn’t available yet.

While the expense is significant, the facility doesn’t have “$10 million worth of flaws,” said Dan Boggio, president and CEO of PBK. The company that designed the stadium estimates that putting in the required reinforcement would have cost less than $1 million had it been done during construction.

“It was just so tremendously expensive to go back after the building was done, to go back and add bracing where we had to and remove a lot of the architecture,” Boggio said in an interview.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Are Schools Overregulating What Students Eat?

A recent debate about Double Stuf Oreo’s underscores the divide among parents over how much supervision of children is too much supervision.

Governing

 

Just by sending a frustrated tweet, a suburban Philadelphia mother set off a tsunami. “Insanity!” the woman fumed. “I have to sign a permission slip so my middle-schooler can eat an Oreo.” She was telling the truth, and her tweet inadvertently launched a national debate over whether a lawsuit-crazed society had finally gone too far.

The cookie in question was actually a Double Stuf Oreo. The permission slip came one day in March from Darlene Porter, a teacher at Welsh Valley Middle School in the suburbs of Philadelphia. The purpose: an experiment on the earth’s tectonic plates.

According to the permission slip, students would “model plate movement and observe earth’s features,” using the cookie to “simulate the 3 types of plate boundaries.” But then came the crucial part. “The students may eat the Oreo after the investigation if this is okay with you. The students do NOT have to eat the Oreo if they do not wish to do so.” A warning at the end: “Without a signed permission slip, my child understands that he/she will not be able to sample the Oreo.”

The story exploded on social media. Dutchman61 complained about “the shear [sic] idiocy of what our schools and institutions have become. And the really ugly truth is that there are idiots who would sue if their kid was allowed to have an Oreo.” From Scotland, AMCK1997 was sympathetic to the reasons for the permission slip, arguing a lawsuit could cost the teacher her job. Still, he concluded, “it does seem a bit ridiculous.”

Doug Young, the school district’s spokesman, told the press, “It’s one teacher who was really trying to do her due diligence, quite honestly.” A parent with an allergy tried to help by sending in gluten-free Oreos. And the mother who kicked off the battle made it clear that she didn’t blame the teacher. “I fault our crazy culture,” she said.

Was the Oreo fracas just one more indignity imposed by a super-suing, over-regulated society? Or, given what we know about the way food affects kids’ health, was it an enlightened step forward?

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

————————————————————

CALENDAR

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USOE Calendar

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

 

 

UEN News

http://www.uen.org

 

 

June 1:

Senate Education Confirmation Committee meeting

10 a.m.,  450 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2015/html/00002610.htm

 

 

June 16:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

2 p.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2015&Com=APPEXE

 

 

June 17:

Education Interim Committee meeting

9 a.m., 30 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2015&Com=INTEDU

 

 

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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