Education News Roundup: June 8, 2015

Summer Food Service Program Ogden Location

Summer Food Service Program Ogden

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

D-News takes a second look at Utah’s last-in-the-nation per-pupil funding.

http://go.uen.org/3T2 (DN)

 

In a national sidebar, new study finds Utah really good at funding equity, not so good at funding effort.

http://go.uen.org/3T5 (WaPo)

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

and http://go.uen.org/3TM (HuffPo)

or copies of the reports

http://go.uen.org/3T6 (Education Law Center)

http://go.uen.org/3T7 (Leadership Conference Education Fund)

 

Trib takes a look at perfect ACT scores in Utah.

http://go.uen.org/3T3 (SLT)

 

What can’t Big Bird do? “Study: Kids can learn as much from ‘Sesame Street’ as from preschool”

http://go.uen.org/3TO (WaPo)

and http://go.uen.org/3TN (WSJ)

or a copy of the study

http://go.uen.org/3TP (National Bureau of Economic Research)

 

Washington Examiner looks at the odds of an ESEA rewrite.

http://go.uen.org/3TQ (Wash Examiner)

 

NAEP looks to start gathering data on student grit and mindset in 2017.

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

 

And for those of you who have been wondering, as ENR has been, “When will test cheating scandals finally intersect with drone technology?” Wonder no more. Now the fear will take an old Cold War turn: How can we catch up with the Chinese in test monitoring drone technology?

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

 

And don’t forget, there’s a public meeting on the proposed secondary math standards tonight in at the Washington School District Office in St. George.

http://www.schools.utah.gov/CURR/mathsec/Revision.aspx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Virtue and vice: What to make of Utah’s lowest-in-nation per-pupil funding rank

 

Perfect score on ACT just isn’t what it used to be as more Utah students rack up 36s

A perfect score on college-readiness exam just isn’t what it used to be as more Utah students rack up 36s.

 

CCSD and North Logan enter agreement concerning property use

 

Business as usual? A.G. Reyes’ campaign donations raise conflict-of-interest questions

Sean Reyes has raised nearly $570,000 since taking office on a plat-form of integrity.

 

Jordan District names Teacher of the Year

 

Utah students may suffer from summer “Brain Drain”

 

Summer nutrition program keeps Utah kids fed even while school is out of session

 

Granite Education Foundation and Arby’s helping hungry students

 

Logan City School District offering free meals over summer

 

Teacher steps up to create graduation day moment after teen and family end up at wrong ceremony

 

Dixie High School plans to rename baseball field, upsets alumni

 

Man salvages Intermountain Indian School mural

 

Cyclist who survived brain injury on cross-country ride to promote helmet use

 

Sports Challenge Raises $20k for Autism School

 

Arts, Reel schools offer innovative ‘freedom education’ for college, high school students

 

1 in 5 students are living in poverty, according to report

 

Games could be the next frontier in teaching

 

Terrorized Christian teachers won’t work in Kenya, forcing possible shutdown of schools

 

 


 

 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Don’t blame beauty for the beasts

 

On Second Thought

 

Three cheers for term limits!

 

Students aren’t distracted by clothes, so stop blaming girls

 

They have it easy

 

New York’s schools need to spend better, not just throw more money at a system in crisis

 

Nevada leaps forward nationally with education savings accounts

 

Saving the charter school movement from itself

Charter schools are being used as a front for union bashing and privatization, but it doesn’t have to be that way

 

Do lazy June school days include too many movies and parties?

 

 


 

 

 

NATION

 

Inequitable school funding called ‘one of the sleeper civil rights issues of our time’

 

Study: Kids can learn as much from ‘Sesame Street’ as from preschool

 

House fight looms over need to rewrite No Child Left Behind

 

‘Nation’s Report Card’ to Gather Data on Grit, Mindset

 

Publishers’ Group Examines Common-Core ‘Conundrum’

 

The Truth Behind Your State’s High School Grad Rate

 

Group Publishes ‘Open Letter’ Opposing AP History Framework

 

Vermont Districts Tackle Merger Aspect of School Governance Law

 

Ohio School District Bets on Technology in Creating New Learning Model

Revamp has held down costs and put students in greater control of their education, officials say

 

‘Cadillac’ tax on health benefits adds hurdle to Pa. teacher contract talks

 

In Drought’s Firm Grip, California Schools Try to Cope

Schools Face Dry Wells, ‘Dust Days,’ and Student Anxieties

 

Children learn to write by teaching robots

 

Defending dignity? Mississippi to press charges for cheering at graduation

A Mississippi school superintendent say he will press disturbing-the-peace charges against three people who cheered during a high school graduation.

 

More Montgomery high schools look for gender-neutral graduation gowns

 

More than one in four U.S. kids exposed to weapon violence

 

Remote Idaho school buys guns to enhance safety

 

Cross-country Bike Trip Aims to Inspire Young Scientists

 

Drone is Latest Weapon Against Cheating on China School Exam

 

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Virtue and vice: What to make of Utah’s lowest-in-nation per-pupil funding rank

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s decades-old ranking of having the lowest per-pupil spending rates in the country is not going away anytime soon.

Last week, a U.S. Census Bureau report showed the state in 2013 spent $6,555 on each student, almost a third of what other states spent on their pupils.

Even catching up to the national average of $10,700 per student would take an infusion of $2.35 billion in new revenue for Utah, more than 50 percent of the state’s current budget for public education, according to Draper Republican Sen. Howard Stephenson, chairman of the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee.

“That means we would more than double Utah’s individual income tax, or almost double the total property tax from all taxing entities, including schools, counties, cities and towns,” Stephenson said.

That reality now has educators and lawmakers questioning how much merit the per-pupil spending rankings deserve, and how much sway they should have on education policy.

The metric raises other questions: Where does Utah go from here? Should attention to per-pupil spending be abandoned? What will it take to improve the performance of a rapidly growing student population?

http://go.uen.org/3T2 (DN)

 

 


 

 

Perfect score on ACT just isn’t what it used to be as more Utah students rack up 36s

A perfect score on college-readiness exam just isn’t what it used to be as more Utah students rack up 36s.

 

Ella Johnson doesn’t remember exactly how many ACT tests she has taken.

“I think I took it a total of six times,” the Davis High senior said.

But Johnson does remember her scores. She started with a 28 and got better with each attempt.

The final time she took the test, however many times that was, she earned a 36 — the highest possible score on the college-readiness exam.

“I just knew I could do better if I kept trying,” she said. “I didn’t want to quit before I knew I’d done my best.”

Johnson was one of 15 Utah high school students who earned a perfect score on the ACT this school year — an achievement level met by less than a tenth of 1 percent of students nationally, according to ACT administrators.

http://go.uen.org/3T3 (SLT)

 

 

 


 

 

 

CCSD and North Logan enter agreement concerning property use

 

The Cache County School District and North Logan have entered into an inter-local agreement concerning the use of the recreational property next to the site for the new high school. The agreement was approved by the Board of Education on Thursday night.

As part of the new school’s design, the district agreed to develop property owned by North Logan into sports fields using money from a recreational grant. In exchange, the school can use the fields for their athletics.

The agreement outlines when the district would have priority use of certain fields and when the city would have priority use. For instance, the district will have priority use of the baseball fields, football practice fields and soccer practice fields from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday throughout the school year, August 15 through June 1. The city will have priority use of the recreational complex during the school year from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturdays. The only exception will be when the school needs the fields for Utah High School Activities Association events. The city will also have priority during the summer months.

The agreement also outlines how the operating costs would be divided up.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Business as usual? A.G. Reyes’ campaign donations raise conflict-of-interest questions

Sean Reyes has raised nearly $570,000 since taking office on a plat-form of integrity.

 

In the aftermath of a pay-for-play scandal that has his two predecessors facing multiple criminal charges, newly minted Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes vowed to take rigorous steps to guarantee no appearance of impropriety on his watch.

“While there may have been a ‘For Sale’ sign before on the door of the attorney general’s office … there’s a new sign since I’ve been there and it’s, ‘Beware of the Dog,’ ” Reyes said during a campaign debate last fall, promising to be a “bulldog when it comes to protecting the integrity of my office.”

But a review of Reyes’ donations since he took office roughly 18 months ago shows that can be easier said than done, with sometimes hard-to-detect agendas giving rise to potential conflicts of interest — or at least the appearance of conflicts.

Take, for example, the $65,000 Reyes has received from Sean Fieler, a New Jersey hedge-fund manager who has spread millions around to candidates who oppose the Common Core education standards and same-sex marriage.

Both of those issues have landed squarely in Reyes’ office, with his attorneys spearheading the defense of Utah’s same-sex marriage ban, which was struck down by the courts, and conducting a legal analysis of the Common Core as taught in Utah schools. A lawsuit by anti-Common Core activists against the state school board is pending.

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

 

 


 

 

Jordan District names Teacher of the Year

 

RIVERTON — Oquirrh Hills Middle School teacher Todd Monson has been recognized as the Jordan School District Teacher of the Year.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Utah students may suffer from summer “Brain Drain”

 

SALT LAKE CITY – Parents in Utah and around the nation are encouraged to make sure their children read during summer vacation to avoid what educators call “brain drain.”

Dustin Fife, president of the Utah Library Association, says time away from studies can cause serious loss of academic skills.

“It’s like any skill if we stop practicing even for a short time, whether it’s our reading, our math or anything else,” he says. “We still have this as adults, as we let things languish we tend to have to start over.”

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

 

 


 

 

 

Summer nutrition program keeps Utah kids fed even while school is out of session

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Every year during the summer, the Utah State Office of Education holds its Summer Food Service Program, which provides meals for thousands of children throughout the state.

Summer may mean freedom from schoolwork, but for many children in Utah it also means a greater uncertainty about where breakfast and lunch are coming from. That’s why schools across Utah offer a summer food service each year.

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

 

 


 

 

Granite Education Foundation and Arby’s helping hungry students

 

Another year of high school sports has come and gone. Sometimes the years, the plays and the memories run together. Other stories are harder to forget.

Brent Severe, Executive Director of the Granite Education Foundation related this sad tale.

“A football player asked for a hall pass. Teacher gave him a hall pass. He ditched the hall pass, broke into a locker, stole some cash. Went across the street to get a hot dog and a bag of chips because he hadn’t eaten in a week.”

For thousands of Utah students, K-12, hunger is a constant companion.

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

 

 


 

 

Logan City School District offering free meals over summer

 

The Logan City School District will be sponsoring the summer food service program, with free meals available to children ages 1 to 18.

Meals will be served at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. from June 8 to July 23 at Mount Logan Middle School, 875 N. 200 East. No lunches will be served on Fridays. Adults may purchase lunches for $3.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Teacher steps up to create graduation day moment after teen and family end up at wrong ceremony

 

SALT LAKE CITY — It was a case of being in the wrong place at the right time. Brittany Hooker, a Corner Canyon High School student, walked into Utah Valley University for her commencement only to find a sea of unfamiliar faces. So she went up to a teacher to see what was going on.

“I asked her what school was going on right now and it was Riverton,” the teen said.

Her mom, along with twelve relatives up in the stands, were about to get a phone call none of them imagined.

“She called me because she was already down in the tunnel and was like, ‘Just so you know, we’re in the wrong place,’” said Amy Hooker, Brittany’s mom.

Instantly she knew the mistake was not Brittany’s, but her own. You see, Amy thought the invitation said UVU not U of U.

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

 

 


 

 

Dixie High School plans to rename baseball field, upsets alumni

 

ST GEORGE – It’s a rivalry. Dixie High School plans to rename the “Coach Don Lay Flyer Field” to “Flyer Field” and some alumni are upset by the change.

Coach Don Lay was a teacher, basketball and baseball coach at Dixie High School from 1966 – 1987.

Gary Leavitt, an alumni of Dixie High, said Coach Lay was instrumental in starting the baseball program at Dixie High School and the field was named in his Coach Lay’s honor.

http://go.uen.org/3Tq (KTVX)

 

 


 

 

Man salvages Intermountain Indian School mural

 

BRIGHAM CITY — An effort to document the demolition of the Intermountain Indian School evolved into a labor of love for a local photographer.

Brad Peterson grew up in Logan and was fascinated by the school in Brigham City as a child. When he heard the buildings, which were boarded up and in disuse, were going to be demolished to make way for a new Utah State University campus, he wanted to make sure their history was preserved.

At first he just planned to take preservation photos of the buildings, but when the doors were opened up to him he discovered murals painted by students on the walls inside. He felt compelled to do more.

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

 

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

 

 


 

 

 

Cyclist who survived brain injury on cross-country ride to promote helmet use

 

SANDY, Utah — Traumatic brain injury survivor Daniel Mollino is making stops across the country to educate children about helmet use and preventing a head injury, and his latest stop was at Sprucewood Elementary School in Sandy.

Mollino said he hopes his message sinks in as children watch a video explaining what can happen if you don’t wear a helmet.

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

 

 


 

 

Sports Challenge Raises $20k for Autism School

 

OREM, Utah – A friendly competition helps raise $20,000 for an autism school in Orem.  22 companies battled it out in the 10th Annual Kids on the Move Corporate Sports Challenge.

From basketball, to dodgeball, to kickball, even ABC 4 Utah put together a scary team of seven to compete in the corporate sports challenge for autism.

http://go.uen.org/3Tr (KTVX)

 

 


 

 

 

Arts, Reel schools offer innovative ‘freedom education’ for college, high school students

 

HURRICANE — A new arts center in Hurricane is looking to open up classes for students at both the college and high school levels but still needs some essentials that any school needs to operate — students, classrooms and money.

The Southern Utah Center for the Arts will house two schools: the Reel School, a two-year filmmaking college, and the Utah High School for the Arts, a private school focused on freedom education.

http://go.uen.org/3TS (SGN)

 

 


 

 

1 in 5 students are living in poverty, according to report

 

The number of school-aged children living in poverty has increased 40 percent since 2000, according to National Center for Education Statistics.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Games could be the next frontier in teaching

 

After years of widespread fears that video games were destroying young American brains, educational theorists and reformers have come around to the notion that video games are here to stay — and that may be a good thing, even in the classroom.

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

 

 


 

 

Terrorized Christian teachers won’t work in Kenya, forcing possible shutdown of schools

 

Hundreds of schools in Kenya could be shut down as Somalia’s al-Shabab Muslim militants have terrorized teachers from showing up to work, jeopardizing the future of thousands of youths, according to news reports from the East African nation.

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

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Don’t blame beauty for the beasts

Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist GEORGE PYLE

 

An old pal of mine, a retired Navy captain, did a hitch as the superintendent of a military school. His patience for people who misunderstood what military life was all about wore thinner as he got older.

He had no respect for the idea that youthful offenders should be sent to a correctional “boot camp” on the assumption that the physically demanding and disciplined environment would turn juvenile delinquents into virtuous young men.

The purpose of boot camp, said the captain, was to wipe clean each participant’s individual baggage. Do that in the Army, Navy or Marines, and each person becomes a useful blank slate on which to write a new personality, which is achieved only with lots more individualized training.

But put petty criminals through that experience, with no follow-up other than sending them back to the mean streets and dysfunctional families whence they came, and all you get are crooks who can run faster and steal heavier things.

Something else that got his naval dander up was the idea that uniforms should be worn in schools because they are depersonalizing and shift the focus from the individual to the purposes of the group. Like in the military.

But, the skipper pointed out, official military clothing is ablaze with insignia, badges, medals and other shiny objects that designate rank, longevity, travel, special skills, training and awards. To those who know how to read such a uniform, few things in life are more boldly individualized. And, at his school, gaining that next pin or stripe was a huge motivator for students to stay on task.

Some of the young women who attend West Jordan High School were also busy the other day donning special badges designed to keep everybody at school focused on what’s important. That is, something other than what those women were wearing.

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

 

 


 

 

 

On Second Thought

Deseret News commentary by columnist Jay Evensen

 

This year, the national spelling bee produced two winners, Vanya Shivashankar and Gokul Venkatachalam. Both won mainly because they were not required to spell each other’s names.

One of the winning words was “scherenschnitte.” The other was “nunatak.” We use these every day in sentences, such as, “Don’t throw a ‘scherenschnitte’ near the convent or you’ll be in for a nunatak.”

This was the second year in a row the spelling bee ended with two winners. I don’t think they’re trying hard enough. If the judges exhaust the dictionary, they should start making the kids spell things with the Cyrillic alphabet.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Three cheers for term limits!

KNRS commentary by Rod Arquette

 

Well it’s not quite as far reaching as some of us here would like, most notably among them Nate who is all behind any possible method of imposing term limits at the federal level, but this is still a start. A new campaign here in Utah is seeking to set a maximum term limit for the offices of governor, lieutenant governor, and treasurer to two four year terms in office. The goal of this is to help prevent people from becoming career politicians. Which…God bless you good people for starting this.

So now comes the big question…what are the chances this will succeed? After all we know that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. And with so many politicians with so much power over our lives, what will happen if they are presented with something meant to curb their influence? And even if the movement gains enough momentum and signatures to move forward and pressure the legislature in to agreeing to at least take up the legislation, what are the odds that the governor would actually sign it in to law, rather than veto it outright and preserve the position for himself?

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

 

 


 

 

Students aren’t distracted by clothes, so stop blaming girls

Salt Lake Tribune letter from Angela Jones

 

Dear every Utah school district,

The clothing your students wear is not distracting … to the students. As a graduate from Wasatch High School, I can and will call out the things that go on in Utah schools that not only support but also promote rape culture.

We had male staff whose job was to look at the breasts and genitals of 14- to 18-year-old girls to make sure they are “modestly” covered. If anyone saw this happening on the street, they would be disgusted.

Here’s the thing about high schoolers: They don’t care what you wear. The only way it becomes a distraction is when kids get called to the office, which disrupts the entire class. And that student is kept from learning!

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

 

 


 

 

 

They have it easy

Deseret News letter from Bernie O’Neal

 

I grew up in Atlanta, so I have a different educational background than what my kids are experiencing now, but Utah teachers have it pretty easy. Atlanta teachers had to force themselves through those first few years of work just to feel comfortable coming each day. My classmates and I were crazy undisciplined. But my children are surrounded by peers who come from good homes. Even the most undisciplined kid here is miles ahead of where I was a child in the south.

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

 

 


 

 

 

New York’s schools need to spend better, not just throw more money at a system in crisis

Buffalo (NY) News editorial

 

It’s not about the money. Not in New York, not in Buffalo, not at this point. An ocean of cash is sloshing around in the state’s education system, enough to teach its students many times over. The problem is in how New York schools spend their enormous wealth.

Figures released last week by the U.S. Census Bureau give New Yorkers a head-smacking new look at what most of them already knew: New York’s per-pupil spending is far and away the nation’s highest. And, as other figures show – especially for big cities like Buffalo, Rochester and New York – neither students nor taxpayers are getting their money’s worth. They should be able to pay far less for far better results.

According to the census report, New York’s annual per-pupil cost of education is $19,818, nearly double the national figure of $10,700. Utah spends only $6,555. New York doesn’t have to aim to be the lowest – and given the high costs of everything in New York City, it wouldn’t even be possible – but it is fair to expect the state at least to be in shouting distance of the national average.

Not surprisingly, the state’s big cities lead the pack in per-pupil spending. Rochester and New York City, at $20,333 and $20,331, respectively, spend even more than the state average while Buffalo comes in just below, at $18,733 per student in 2013 – fifth-highest in the country.

Yet, the 2012-13 graduation rate for New York was just 76.8 percent compared to Utah’s 83 percent. That is to say, New York spent three times per student what Utah did while producing a graduation rate that was 7.5 percent lower.

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

 

 


 

 

Nevada leaps forward nationally with education savings accounts

Las Vegas Review Journal commentary by columnist Glenn Cook

 

Nevada as a trailblazer in education? Underachieving, Third-World Nevada setting a new national standard in school policy that other states are destined to follow?

Believe it. And it never, ever would have happened if a Republican Legislature and governor weren’t in power.

The sweeping education reform agenda passed by Nevada lawmakers and signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval included a groundbreaking school choice provision: nearly universal education savings accounts, or ESAs. Starting next year, parents will be able to withdraw their children from public school, gain control of the tax revenue that funded their enrollment, and spend that money on an educational program that’s best suited for them. ESAs are much better and more flexible than school vouchers for two reasons.

http://go.uen.org/3T8

 

 


 

 

 

Saving the charter school movement from itself

Charter schools are being used as a front for union bashing and privatization, but it doesn’t have to be that way

Aljazeera America op-ed by Amy B. Dean, a fellow of the Century Foundation and a principal of ABD Ventures, a consulting firm that works to develop innovative strategies for organizations devoted to social change

 

Advocates of charter schools argue that they are innovative laboratories of experimentation. But the reality is that over the past decade, the policies that led to the creation of these schools have been used to advance a political agenda: putting public resources into private hands, reducing accountability over how those resources are used and scapegoating teachers for the many problems that plague public education.

In doing so, many charter advocates have threatened to transform public education into a resource-scarce system that relies on philanthropy to function. That’s a shame. If charters were reimagined to respect their original objectives — to allow educators to experiment with new ideas, advance teachers’ voice in education and strengthen the public school system as a whole — they could yet live up to their potential.

An influential early proponent of charter schools was Albert Shanker, the long-time president of the American Federation of Teachers, who first embraced the idea in 1988. As Richard Kahlenberg and Halley Potter write in their recent book “A Smarter Charter,” they were “imagined [as] a more purely democratic version of traditional public schools” — a place where children from neighborhoods segregated by income and race could come together under small groups of teachers experimenting with new ways of teaching.

Most important, the innovative practices developed in charters were intended to be folded back into the larger education system in order to improve all schools using lessons learned by a few. If this policy were applied today, it would be one way to break the gridlock of an increasingly polarized and rancorous debate. Rather than pick sides, charter advocates and their critics could come together for the benefit of all students.

If the charter school movement is going to play the positive role in education reform that it was supposed to, it will have to do three things: restore its commitment to public accountability for public resources, support increased funding across the system and respect the rights of teachers to collectively express their voice on the job.

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

 

 


 

 

Do lazy June school days include too many movies and parties?

Washington Post commentary by columnist Jay Mathews

 

It was June 1, the traditional beginning of parental complaints about how little work is done as the school year nears an end. Arlington parent Drew Bendon put it well in an e-mail to me: “Every year the standardized tests come and go, and after that the education stops.”

Virginia’s Standards of Learning tests, as well as the Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams, are done. Movies and field trips to Kings Dominion are filling the void. Many parents think as Bendon does — that time in June is as precious as time in May and that something more could be done with it.

Bendon asked why the AP and IB exams couldn’t be given in the last weeks of the academic calendar so school could shut down right after. It is an interesting idea, but it overlooks the fact that even in the Washington area, which leads the nation in AP and IB test-taking, regular courses outnumber those college-level offerings. Time must be preserved at the end of the semester for regular course final exams. Virginia law pushes school well into June, exacerbating the problem.

The concerns of Bendon and other conscientious parents partially stem from the unusually high level of instruction in this region’s schools. In most U.S. schools, the easing off in June is not so noticeable because the number of students in AP, IB or Cambridge courses is small, and most regular courses do not demand as much as regular courses do here.

Many Washington-area high schools enjoy a vigorous and enlightening change of pace about now as they unleash their seniors on projects of their choosing. At Washington-Lee High School, where one of Bendon’s sons is a junior, June is the time for the Senior Experience program, with special research, internships, part-time jobs or volunteer activities. Students must be at it 25 hours a week for three weeks, though — in a true sign of freedom — “they do not necessarily need to align with W-L’s bell schedule,” the school says.

Such end-of-the-year programs for 12th-graders are common in well-run high schools such as Washington-Lee.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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Inequitable school funding called ‘one of the sleeper civil rights issues of our time’

Washington Post

 

Funding for public education in most states is inadequate and inequitable, creating a huge obstacle for the nation’s growing number of poor children as they try to overcome their circumstances, according to a set of reports released Monday by civil rights groups.

Students in the nation’s highest-spending state (New York) receive about $12,000 more each year than students in the lowest-spending state (Idaho), according to the reports, and in most states school districts in wealthy areas spend as much or more per pupil than districts with high concentrations of poverty.

In addition, many states were spending less on education in 2012 than they were in 2008, relative to their overall economic productivity, according to the reports.

The two reports – the Education Law Center’s fourth annual report card on school finance and a companion piece co-authored with the Leadership Conference Education Fund – are meant to help galvanize policymakers and activists to take on longstanding school funding disparities.

http://go.uen.org/3T5

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/3TM (HuffPo)

 

Copies of the reports

http://go.uen.org/3T6 (Education Law Center)

 

http://go.uen.org/3T7 (Leadership Conference Education Fund)

 

 


 

 

 

Study: Kids can learn as much from ‘Sesame Street’ as from preschool

Washington Post

 

NEW YORK — Most Americans born since the mid-1960s have a favorite “Sesame Street” skit. Jennifer Kotler Clarke watched hers on a black-and-white television set in her family’s Bronx apartment.             There were two aliens: One of them had long arms that didn’t move, while the other had short, moving arms. The aliens wished to eat apples from a tree, and they succeeded, after a couple of minutes, by working together. “Let’s call this cooperation,” one of them says. “No,” the other replies, “let’s call it Shirley.”

Clarke grew up to be the show’s vice president for research and evaluation, and she has long believed that the program’s laughs and lessons stick with children. Now, landmark academic research appears to back her up.

The most authoritative study ever done on the impact of “Sesame Street,” to be released Monday, finds that the famous show on public TV has delivered lasting educational benefits to millions of American children — benefits as powerful as the ones children get from going to preschool.

The paper from the University of Maryland’s Melissa Kearney and Wellesley College’s Phillip Levine finds that the show has left children more likely to stay at the appropriate grade level for their age, an effect that is particularly pronounced among boys, African Americans and children who grow up in disadvantaged areas.

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

 

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

 

A copy of the study

http://go.uen.org/3TP (National Bureau of Economic Research)

 

 


 

 

 

House fight looms over need to rewrite No Child Left Behind

Washington Examiner

 

House Republican leaders could face a showdown with their conservative faction this month when they attempt to revive the controversial Student Success Act, a bill that would rewrite the unpopular No Child Left Behind education law.

Republican leaders were forced to pull the Success Act from the floor in February because it lacked support. The bill had riled the conservative community and far right GOP lawmakers, who said it did not go far enough to untether local schools from creeping federal government control involving testing, curriculum and funding.

Conservative House lawmakers are insisting that if the bill comes up again, it must include significant changes before they’ll get behind it.

But GOP leaders tell the Washington Examiner there are no plans to alter the bill at all. Instead, they plan to put the legislation back on the House floor exactly where it left off, with the clock expired on debate time and only the votes on the measure still pending.

Rather than changing the bill, Republicans are trying to convince opposing conservatives that the bill reduces federal control and restores state and local autonomy.

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

 

 


 

 

‘Nation’s Report Card’ to Gather Data on Grit, Mindset

Education Week

 

New York – The nation’s premiere federal testing program is poised to provide a critical window into how students’ motivation, mindset, and grit can affect their learning.

Evidence has been building for years that these so-called noncognitive factors play a role in whether children succeed both academically and socially. Now, the National Assessment of Educational Progress, often dubbed the “nation’s report card,” is working to include measures of these factors in the background information collected with the tests beginning in 2017.

“Teachers self-report spending 10 percent of their teaching time on noncognitive skills. That’s more time than students spend on any subject other than English and math—more than they spend on arts, for example,” said Chris Gabrieli, an adjunct lecturer with the Transforming Education project at Harvard Graduate School of Education and a co-founder of the National Center on Time & Learning in Boston.

“It’s not a question of whether schools are going to do more working on noncognitive factors,” he said, “it’s of whether we are going to have any instrumentation at all that lets us know which things are working and which things are not.”

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

 

 


 

 

 

Publishers’ Group Examines Common-Core ‘Conundrum’

Education Week

 

Washington – An industry panel this week examined the aftermath—and future—of what it called “the common-core conundrum” in a discussion at the Content in Context conference held here.

The “conundrum” for the industry is how to create materials aligned with the standards at a time when the landscape is shifting and the standards are subject to fierce political pushback.

The publishing industry has been roundly criticized by those who say its members oversold early claims that their materials were aligned with the common core standards.

Morgan Polikoff, an assistant professor at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles who has been a sharp critic of the industry based on some of his research about lack of commercial materials’ standards alignment, took a more conciliatory tone at the event presented by the Association of American Publishers’ PreK-12 learning group.

When people tell him that commercial textbooks are unnecessary in today’s environment of open education resources, Polikoff disagrees, he said.

“The idea of having 14,000 school districts in this country developing their own curricula is nuts,” he said. “People aren’t trained to do that, and it would probably result in great inequity.”

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

 

 


 

 

The Truth Behind Your State’s High School Grad Rate

NPR

 

The national graduation rate is at an all-time high — 81 percent. It was such big news, President Obama touted it in this year’s State of the Union address.

That got us thinking: What’s the story behind that 81 percent?

Working with a team of reporters in 14 states, we set off to find out.

Turns out, it’s a complicated number. Some states are doing good things to boost their rates, others, it’s not so clear.

And all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer different stories. So, to better understand how each state awards diplomas, we compiled graduation info from every state (with help from the policy gurus at nonprofit Achieve).

Look up your state to learn more about what’s happening in high schools near you.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Group Publishes ‘Open Letter’ Opposing AP History Framework

Education Week

 

The latest opposition to the overhaul of the Advanced Placement U.S. History curriculum framework came this week by way of an open letter published by the National Association of Scholars.

The letter, which outlined concerns with the framework, has 55 signatures so far, including several university professors.

It opens like this:

“The teaching of American history in our schools faces a grave new risk, from an unexpected source. Half a million students each year take the Advanced Placement (AP) exam in U.S. History. The framework for that exam has been dramatically changed, in ways certain to have negative consequences.”

The letter states that the new framework ignores American exceptionalism and gives a “misleading account of American history.”

The NAS describes itself as a national network of independent scholars which “upholds the standards of a liberal arts education that fosters intellectual freedom, searches for the truth, and promotes virtuous citizenship.”

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

 

 


 

 

Vermont Districts Tackle Merger Aspect of School Governance Law

(Montpelier) Vermont Digger

 

School districts across Vermont are beginning to consider mergers as they work to comply with the education governance reform bill, H.361, which was signed into law last week by Gov. Peter Shumlin.

A number of school boards and supervisory union superintendents across Vermont have queried Vermont School Boards Association (VSBA), the Vermont Superintendents Association, the Vermont Principals Association, and the Vermont Agency of Education (AOE) in the weeks since the bill was passed out of the General Assembly.

The organizations have scheduled meetings with individual school board members and superintendents the week of June 15.

http://go.uen.org/3T4

 

 


 

 

 

Ohio School District Bets on Technology in Creating New Learning Model

Revamp has held down costs and put students in greater control of their education, officials say

Wall Street Journal

 

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio—After a recent high-tech makeover at Reynoldsburg City Schools in this working-class suburb of Columbus, many staples of traditional education are gone.

There are no desks permanently lined up in rows and, in one building, no bells signaling the end of class. College isn’t some far-off place: Students can take classes from a community college on school premises. Most students don’t even have to take gym in high school.

At the heart of the overhaul that is aimed at all grades is a personalized learning model combining computer-based and in-person instruction that the district says has held down costs, sustained above-average test scores and put students in greater control of their learning.

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

 

 


 

 

‘Cadillac’ tax on health benefits adds hurdle to Pa. teacher contract talks

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

 

Many Pennsylvania public school districts renegotiating contracts are wary of getting stuck with hefty tax bills if they do not control health care spending.

In 2018, a 40 percent federal tax will hit insurance and related perks valued at more than $10,200 for singles and $27,500 for families.

The Affordable Care Act’s so-called “Cadillac” tax is indexed to inflation, though studies show health-care costs are rising at a rate higher than that.

The Cadillac tax will affect all Americans, but it is becoming a concern for teachers unions and cash-strapped school districts facing difficult contract negotiations.

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

 

 


 

 

 

In Drought’s Firm Grip, California Schools Try to Cope

Schools Face Dry Wells, ‘Dust Days,’ and Student Anxieties

Education Week

 

Reedley, Calif. – As Juan Garza, the superintendent of Kings Canyon Unified school district, drove around this farming community last month, he slowed the district’s electric car down to point out the visible victims of California’s historic drought.

Irrigation canals filled with yellow weeds and cracked dirt. Fruit-packing houses shuttered and abandoned. And homes with crude tarps and plywood extensions that provide shelter for families who lost their jobs and housing in this small community 25 miles southeast of Fresno.

“The worst,” Mr. Garza said, gazing at rows of peach and nectarine trees, “is yet to come.”

With Gov. Jerry Brown imposing new mandatory water reductions to respond to the statewide emergency, school districts are grappling with how to adhere to those requirements while continuing to meet the needs of students and communities. As of June 1, districts were ordered to start slashing their water usage anywhere from 4 percent to 36 percent, depending on each district’s water supplier. They potentially face fines for failing to meet those mandates by 2016.

But the stakes are even higher for some California districts, especially in the central region of the state. Some wells serving schools are drying up. One district uses a “dust day” schedule to keep children inside when intense winds sweep up dirt from the surrounding parched fields. The drought’s ripple effects, however, could prove most devastating for school systems like Kings Canyon Unified, where most families work in agriculture, packing produce or picking crops, such as peaches, nectarines, and grapes.

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

 

 


 

 

Children learn to write by teaching robots

Reuters

 

Researchers in Switzerland have designed a system where children teach robot students how to write, and in the process improve their own handwriting skills. This learning by teaching paradigm, they say, could engage unmotivated students as well as boost their self-confidence.

The prototype system, called CoWriter, was developed by researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Lausanne. A humanoid robot, designed to be likeable and interact with humans, is presented with a word that the child spells out in plastic letters. The robot recognizes the word and tries to write it, with its attempt appearing on a tablet. The child then identifies and corrects the robot’s errors by re-writing the word or specific letters.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Defending dignity? Mississippi to press charges for cheering at graduation

A Mississippi school superintendent say he will press disturbing-the-peace charges against three people who cheered during a high school graduation.

Christian Science Monitor

 

JACKSON, MISS. — The Mississippi school superintendent who pressed charges against people for cheering at a high school graduation says he plans to be in court Tuesday and make a statement then, but won’t say if he’ll drop the charges.

Senatobia school Superintendent Jay Foster reiterated in a telephone interview Friday that his aim is to ensure that some families don’t ruin graduations for others by raising a ruckus. He said that when he first started at Senatobia four years ago, out-of-control cheering meant some families couldn’t hear a graduate’s name called or see them cross the stage to receive their diploma.

“I think graduation should be a solemn occasion,” he said. “It should have some dignity and decorum and at the end we’ll celebrate together.”

He said he filed misdemeanor, disturbing-the-peace charges against three people because they disobeyed repeated instructions to hold cheers at the May 21 event. Before filing the charges, which carry a fine of up to $500 and jail time of up to six months, Foster said he consulted with school board members, administrators and the district’s lawyer.

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

 

 


 

 

More Montgomery high schools look for gender-neutral graduation gowns

Washington Post

 

A growing number of high schools in Maryland’s Montgomery County are making their cap and gown colors gender-neutral at a time of increasing recognition of students who are transgender or questioning their gender identity.

Three county high schools switched this year to graduation robes that are one color for all students, and five other high schools plan to do so for the class of 2016.

Some principals who still have robes assigned by gender say they allow students to choose colors. But some student advocates say that approach falls short for those questioning their identity and leaves some students feeling forced to come out when they don’t want to.

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

 

 


 

 

More than one in four U.S. kids exposed to weapon violence

Reuters

 

More than one in four U.S. children are exposed to weapon violence before their eighteenth birthday, either as victims or witnesses, a large study suggests.

About one in 33 kids are directly assaulted during incidents involving guns or knives, researchers report in the journal Pediatrics.

“Millions of children are being exposed to violence involving weapons, and many of them are victimized by guns and knives, with an elevated risk of trauma and serious injury,” said lead study author Kimberly Mitchell, a scientist at the Crimes Against Children Research Center at the University of New Hampshire.

All told, more than 17.5 million children in the U.S. are witnesses to, or victims of, assaults with weapons – far exceeding the number of kids who have diabetes or cancer. The experiences put them at increased risk for depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders as well as difficulties with school, work and relationships.

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

 

A copy of the study

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

 

 


 

 

Remote Idaho school buys guns to enhance safety

Fox

 

A small Idaho school district far removed from any sort of law enforcement has purchased firearms and trained a handful of staff to use them should a school shooting happen.

It takes police at least 45 minutes to reach the Garden Valley School District, which is made up of less than 300 students all taught under the same building. Limited funds have prevented the school from hiring police officers to patrol the building during school hours.

As a result, the school board approved this month purchasing guns to remain locked inside the school and trained six employees to use the weapons in case of an emergency.

http://go.uen.org/3T9

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/3Ta (NY Daily News)

 

 


 

 

 

Cross-country Bike Trip Aims to Inspire Young Scientists

Associated Press

 

BOSTON — Seven students from Harvard and MIT are cycling across America, stopping in many rural towns to get kids interested in science through hands-on workshops to program computers, launch model rockets and build robots.

The students hope to inspire the next generation of scientists and use the workshops – they call them “learning festivals” – to brush off dusty stereotypes.

“We’re trying to break as many of the stereotypes as possible. For science, you think of people in lab coats with gray hair,” said group member Drew Bent, a freshman studying physics and electrical engineering at MIT. “We’re coming into the festivals with bikes. We want to show that engineering can be glamorous, and that a lot of us are athletes.”

The project is called Spokes, a collaboration that started in 2013 when a group of students from different colleges embarked on a trip that was part endurance challenge, road trip and teaching experience. Since then, each year’s members have recruited the next year’s group. This year, students left from Washington, D.C., on June 1 and will finish in California in August, with plans to host a dozen workshops along the way at schools and libraries.

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

 

Website

http://spokesamerica.com/

 

 

 


 

 

 

Drone is Latest Weapon Against Cheating on China School Exam

Associated Press

 

BEIJING — The latest weapon in the fight against cheating on China’s all-important college entrance exam is a six-propeller drone.

The contraption flew over two testing centers in Luoyang city in central China’s Henan province to scan for any unusual signals being sent to devices smuggled by students taking the annual test. No such signals were detected Sunday, the first day of the exam, a Henan province news website said.

The drone cost hundreds of thousands of yuan (tens of thousands of dollars) and is as big as a gas station pump when extended, said Lan Zhigang, from Luoyang’s Radio Supervision and Regulation Bureau.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

————————————————————

CALENDAR

————————————————————

 

USOE Calendar

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

 

 

UEN News

http://www.uen.org

 

 

June 8:

Administrative Rules Review Committee meeting

9 a.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2015/html/00002681.htm

 

Public meeting on secondary math standards

6:30 p.m., 121 Tabernacle St., St. George

http://www.schools.utah.gov/CURR/mathsec/Revision.aspx

 

 

June 10:

Public meeting on secondary math standards

6:30 p.m., 3659 W 9800 South, South Jordan

http://www.schools.utah.gov/CURR/mathsec/Revision.aspx

 

 

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/Interim/2015/html/00002661.htm

 

Government Operations Interim Committee meeting

9 a.m., 20 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2015/html/00002734.htm

 

Economic Development and Workforce Services Interim Committee meeting

2:30 p.m., 20 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2015/html/00002656.htm

 

 

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

 

 

June 24:

Charter School Funding Task Force

8 a.m., 445 State Capitol

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

 

Public meeting on secondary math standards

6:30 p.m., 960 S Main St., Brigham City

http://www.schools.utah.gov/CURR/mathsec/Revision.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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