Education News Roundup: June 10, 2015

54Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

Tribune looks at the effect of House Bill 119 on charter school funding and district school funding.

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

It’s also the subject of today’s Trib Talk.

http://go.uen.org/3V8 (SLT)

 

D-News follows up on declining enrollment in Garfield.

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

 

It’s no Magic School Bus — sorry, Ms. Frizzle — but UDOT’s walking school bus app appears to be a hit.

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

 

As Congress looks at a rewrite of ESEA, WaPo asks the question: Who gets to decide what constitutes a failing school?

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

 

Chicago Tribune looks at sexual abuse reporting and student-teacher behavior standards from when former Speaker Hastert was a teacher and now.

http://go.uen.org/3Uz (Tribune)

 

You need to look at these chalkboard lessons and drawings from an Oklahoma school that have been preserved since 1917. ENR is not kidding. Take a look.

http://go.uen.org/3V6 (WaPo)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Utah school districts eyeing tax increases to cover charter school funding costs

Tax hike » A chunk of the expected extra tax revenue of Utah school districts will be distributed to charter schools.

 

Trib Talk: What changes to charter school funding could mean to you

 

Does Garfield County have a future? Student numbers tell troubled story

 

Dreams of scholarships push Park City’s Latinos in Action students

Nineteen of them will attend college this fall as first-generation collegians

 

Walking School Bus app ‘a huge success’ in first year

 

Park City School District to hold public meeting on next year’s budget

Official: ‘The district is in a good financial position’

 

Utah high school program helping kids graduate

 

Advocates hope to bring awareness to free summer meals program

 

Work on new Midvale Middle School to begin

 

Ex-teaching assistant sentenced for ‘sexting’ with student

 

Under cloudy skies, Park City High School grads receive a proper send-off

 

Columbia Elem. teachers take pies in the face after students set reading record

 

Student of the Week: Rachel Seamons

 

US Christian education leaders seek protection for opposing same-sex marriage

 

Utah.gov gets a makeover aimed at ease of use

 

10 educational games that could change how your child learns

 

The latest GOP presidential contender to flip on Common Core

 

 


 

 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Getting Utahns to look beyond the number 51 in education spending

 

Make the move to 50th place in per pupil spending

 

Walker: We changed broken education system

 

Are remedial courses actually hurting community college students?

 

The SAT: A New Core Subject in Schools?

The college-admissions exam is poised to play an increasing role in the classroom, and chances are it’ll further detract from traditional instruction.

 

A class of teenagers gave up smartphones for a week, and lived

Why some parents, teachers hope this becomes a global trend

 

What Twitter Says about the Education Policy Debate

And how scholars might use it as a research tool

 

The Educator’s Dilemma

When and how schools should embrace poverty relief

 

New Report: The Successes and Challenges of Educating Military-Connected Children

Study finds college and career readiness focus of Common Core a disconnect with students from Military Families since majority are under seven years old

 

 


 

 

 

NATION

 

As Congress debates No Child Left Behind: Who should decide which schools are failing kids?

 

L.A. Unified retreats on higher graduation standards

 

Messer-Polis Data-Privacy Bill Endorsed by Educator Groups; Industry Wary

 

Raising Graduation Rates With Questionable Quick Fixes

 

Oregon Opt-Out Bill Could Lead to Loss of Federal Dollars, Ed. Dept. Warns

 

An early review: New York City’s Common Core-aligned curriculum rollout gets high marks

 

Arkansas to Pull Out of PARCC, Use ACT for Standard Tests

 

Common Core fight moves from Louisiana Legislature to fall elections

 

Red Light, Green Light: How Integrated Are States’ College-Readiness Policies?

 

Teacher-student contacts tightly regulated in sharp break from lax past

With more awareness of sex abuse comes stricter school policies

 

School-Leader Standards to Get More Revision

 

Kindergartens Ringing the Bell for Play Inside the Classroom

 

Guess who: These people rarely control the ed tech budget, but they’re expected to make it work

 

College Board Says Printing Error Won’t Affect SAT Scores

 

First Lady Notes Personal Struggles in Chicago Graduation

 

Bill Nye Boosts Science Guys and Girls: ‘Kids Are Natural Scientists’

 

Haunting chalkboard drawings, frozen in time for 100 years, discovered in Oklahoma school

 

‘It’s a political failure’: how Sweden’s celebrated schools system fell into crisis

International ratings have plummeted and inequality is growing after raft of changes including introduction of voucher system

 

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Utah school districts eyeing tax increases to cover charter school funding costs

Tax hike » A chunk of the expected extra tax revenue of Utah school districts will be distributed to charter schools.

 

Murray • With a proposed $605,000 tax increase, members of the Murray Board of Education hope to hire additional school counselors, math coaches and elementary administrators.

Board members gave preliminary approval to next year’s budget on Tuesday, including new revenue based on requests from the district’s personnel.

But included in the additional tax revenue next year — which translates to $28 for the average Murray homeowner — is roughly $115,000 that will effectively evaporate from district coffers.

That money will be sent back to the state and distributed to the state’s charter schools, which house tens of thousands of Utah students who have abandoned or steered away from traditional district schools.

“We really tried hard to do the right thing by everybody,” Murray School District board member Marjorie Tuckett said. “We have to do what is right for the kids and that’s the bottom line.”

Murray isn’t the only Utah school district looking at a tax increase to cover charter school costs. During the most recent legislative session, lawmakers approved a bill that simplifies charter school funding, but also requires many districts to contribute greater sums to their charter counterparts.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Trib Talk: What changes to charter school funding could mean to you

 

The way charter schools get their funding is changing, thanks to House Bill 119 which passed during the last legislative session.

On Wednesday at 12:15 p.m., Patti Harrington of the Utah School Boards Association, Chris Bleak of Ascent Academies of Utah and Tribune education reporter Benjamin Wood join Jennifer Napier-Pearce to discuss what the changes mean for charters, public school districts and taxpayers.

Watch this online video chat at sltrib.com. You can also join the discussion by sending questions and comments to the hashtag #TribTalk on Twitter and Google+ or texting 801-609-8059.

http://go.uen.org/3V8 (SLT)

 

 


 

 

Does Garfield County have a future? Student numbers tell troubled story

 

PANGUITCH, Garfield County — “I worry for my community.”

So said 84-year-old Garfield County resident Maloy Dodds, who has lived in Panguitch for a lifetime.

His cattle business has been in his family for more than 150 years. Now, his son Wally has taken over the ranch — his grandson Makoy, 17, is next in line — but with each passing generation, Dodds has seen how his community and other neighboring towns have changed. He remembers a time when timber, mining and ranching industries flourished, and families remained tight-knit, strong.

But of Dodds’ seven children, only one has stayed. The others moved north or out of state in search of work.

The Dodds family is not unlike many others in Garfield County who have split or migrated away seeking more opportunity. In fact, county officials fear their communities are being reshaped, losing a once robust family presence.

That transition has now reached a possible crisis point in the Garfield School District. Over the past 18 years, district enrollment has consistently declined, losing nearly 300 students. One school in particular, Escalante High School, is now down from 150 students in 1996 to about 50.

That’s why Garfield County Commission members considered a resolution this week to declare a state of emergency for loss of students.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Dreams of scholarships push Park City’s Latinos in Action students

Nineteen of them will attend college this fall as first-generation collegians

 

It used to be different.

But that was a long time ago, said Anna Williams, adviser for the Park City High School Latinos in Action Club. Now, going to college is an expectation for her students.

“When I started here 10 years ago, college wasn’t a part of our conversation,” Williams said. “It was like, ‘Let’s make it from today until tomorrow. Let’s get through this class.’ Now, I’m asking the sophomores, ‘What college will you attend?’ It’s not even an “if.”

Nineteen of the club’s newly graduated seniors will make that goal a reality this fall with the help of the Amelia Brink Scholarship. The scholarship, established by Park City Education Foundation donor Chris Brink in the name of his grandmother, allows Latinos in Action students to earn up to $2,200 by accomplishing various requirements, such as getting on the honor roll or participating in sports.

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

 

 


 

 

Walking School Bus app ‘a huge success’ in first year

 

SALT LAKE CITY — When Shauna Eccles was on vacation in Seattle, she still knew when her children began the half-mile walk home from Southland Elementary School in Riverton, as well as the moment they walked in the door.

It was more than following a daily routine throughout the school year. Each day, Eccles’ phone kept her in the loop, telling her when her children’s walking group was leaving to and from school, which parent was accompanying them and how far they walked.

“It just brought a lot of peace of mind to know where they were when I wasn’t there,” Eccles said. “When you have children who are young and they don’t have a cellphone, it’s nice to have an idea of where they are. My older children, I can call them. But my littles, it’s nice to know.”

This month, the Utah Department of Transportation concluded the first year of its Walking School Bus app, which allows parents to coordinate safe walking groups for their children before and after school.

Since the app was launched in August, more than 500 walking school bus groups have been created across the state. While using the app this school year, parents and children walked about 88,000 miles, reducing 91,000 car trips, burning 8.8 million calories and reducing 37 million grams — roughly 41 tons — of carbon dioxide emissions, according to Cherissa Wood, UDOT’s school and pedestrian safety program manager.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Park City School District to hold public meeting on next year’s budget

Official: ‘The district is in a good financial position’

 

The Park City School District is holding a public hearing June 16 to hear public comment on the revised budget for fiscal year 2014-2015 and the tentative budget for fiscal year 2015-2016.

Todd Hauber, business administrator for the Park City School District, said one of the key elements of next year’s budget is money included for 8.5 additional teachers (full-time equivalents) to keep class sizes stable despite enrollment growth. Hauber said those costs are anticipated to be just more than $1 million and will be paid for by both a rise in property tax revenue due to growth in the area and the Utah State Legislature increasing the weighted pupil unit, which is the unit the state uses to fund public education.

http://go.uen.org/3V9 (PR)

 

 


 

 

Utah high school program helping kids graduate

 

  1. GEORGE — With Utah high school dropouts numbering in the thousands each year and costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands in the process, one man and his organization aim to find solutions to the problem.

Jack Rolfe, founder and CEO of the School of Life Foundation, attempts to reach youth by emphasizing the control they have over their own lives, even in the toughest of circumstances.

“Our over-reaching goal with these students is for them to realize that they can take control of their own life,” Rolfe said.

Rolfe’s program is currently in 13 Utah schools and is beginning to spread into Nevada as well. Requests are in to double that figure and also include middle school and elementary versions.

http://go.uen.org/3V7 (KSL)

 

 


 

 

Advocates hope to bring awareness to free summer meals program

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah school districts, city parks and community centers offer free meals for kids, but fewer Utah kids who need free meals are receiving them, according to the results of a recent study.

One by one, little feet move through the cafeteria line at Jackson Elementary in Salt Lake City. They’re kids from the community, and as they patiently wait to be served, they stretch out their hands to receive their free meals. Tuesday’s menu was a chicken sandwich on whole wheat bread, tomatoes and lettuce to garnish the sandwich, one-quarter cup of red seedless grapes and fat-free milk.

It’s mouthwatering for Martha Bustamante’s boys, who plan to start kindergarten and first grade at Jackson Elementary School in the fall.

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

 

 


 

 

Work on new Midvale Middle School to begin

 

MIDVALE — The community is invited to a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of work on the new Midvale Middle School.

The event on Thursday, June 11, will start with a 5 p.m. reception. The ceremony, will start at 5:30 and conclude with the ceremonial turning of the dirt by Canyons School District officials, new Principal Wendy Dau and local dignitaries.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Ex-teaching assistant sentenced for ‘sexting’ with student

 

OGDEN — A former teaching assistant who pleaded guilty to felony charges involving sexual exploitation with a student at his school was sentenced to 180 days incarceration and 36 months probation at Ogden Second District Court Tuesday.

Zachary John Arrington, 20, of West Haven said in statements to the judge at the hearing that the offense was abnormal for his life.

“I truly am very sorry for it,” Arrington said at the hearing. “I was in a very dark place in my life but I feel like I am in a good place right now and am making good progress.”

Judge Noel Hyde sentenced Arrington to an initial 60-day incarceration at Weber County Jail and a 120 days of day-reporting to the jail. Hyde also restricted any work release for Arrington’s initial 20 days in prison. Arrington was taken into custody immediately following the hearing.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Under cloudy skies, Park City High School grads receive a proper send-off

Class of 2015 looks forward to what comes next

 

The skies outside were gray, and the graduates were huddled in the Park City High School gym, where they waited to line up and march in the echo of “Pomp and Circumstance.”

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

 

 


 

 

Columbia Elem. teachers take pies in the face after students set reading record

 

WEST JORDAN, Utah — For some students, throwing a pie in a teacher’s face is only a daydream. But students at Columbia Elementary School in West Jordan had their dreams come true Monday.

Teachers at Columbia Elementary held a contest called “Road to Success” to see which classes could break records in the number of minutes they read. According to a news release from the Jordan School District, the students who participated read a combined total of 1,737,000 minutes.

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

 

 


 

 

Student of the Week: Rachel Seamons

 

Rachel Seamons was chosen as this week’s Student of the Week. She is a student at Pleasant Grove Junior High School.

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

 

 


 

 

 

US Christian education leaders seek protection for opposing same-sex marriage

Christian Today

 

Leaders of religious organizations in the United States are calling on congressional leaders to craft legislation to protect schools from government discrimination based on their beliefs about the biblical definition of marriage.

More than 70 leaders in Christian education sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, this week to issue such appeal as they expressed growing concern about the possible implications of the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage decision later this month.

In their letter, the Christian leaders noted the exchange between Justice Samuel Alito and Solicitor General Donald Verrilli during the oral arguments on the issue in the Supreme Court last April. Alito asked Verrilli if universities that oppose the same-sex marriage concept could suffer the same fate that befell Bob Jones University which lost its tax-exempt status when the school opposed interracial marriage.

On Wednesday, Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said he plans to re-file a bill that will provide protection for Christian learning institutions.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/3Vd (UP)

 

 


 

 

 

Utah.gov gets a makeover aimed at ease of use

 

What do finding a job, renewing your driver license and registering to vote have in common? They are all now just a few clicks away on the newly redesigned website utah.gov.

The site for all things Utah government got a major overhaul last month. Pictures of state parks and downtown Salt Lake City now slide across the screen, a search bar appears front and center on the page and location-targeted results automatically pop up. All the changes are aimed at helping citizens more easily navigate city, county and state services in as little time as possible, say managers.

For her, one of the best features of the new design is the geolocation technology. This takes a user’s IP address and places where their computer is on a map. The site will then show location-specific resources in the “my city” section.

“If you’re living in Salt Lake City, it will show you jobs near you, parks and schools, services and local government meetings,” she said. “The same thing would happen for West Jordan or St. George.”

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

 

 


 

 

10 educational games that could change how your child learns

 

The new frontier of education, many experts believe, is video games. While the field is still maturing, most objectives can now be enhanced with games that allow students to collaborate and learn with more engagement while teachers are free to spend more time observing and helping, and less time at the whiteboard. Many of these games also offer parents and teachers tools to monitor progress on specific learning objectives.

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

 

 


 

 

 

The latest GOP presidential contender to flip on Common Core

 

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie became the latest GOP presidential contender to flip on Common Core, announcing last week his opposition to the curriculum and standards system once embraced across a broad political spectrum.

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

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Getting Utahns to look beyond the number 51 in education spending

Deseret News commentary by columnist Jay Evensen

 

Brad Smith, Utah’s controversial new state superintendent of public instruction, describes the barriers that stand in the way of coming to grips with the state’s education challenges.

“You can watch the body language shift as soon as someone says ‘51st in the nation,’” he told the combined KSL and Deseret News editorial boards this week. “You can see the arms fold, the lips purse. You can see the defenses go up, the minds shutting, no discussion.”

He is describing the perpetual impasse that stands in the way of any real progress at improving a mediocre education system in an increasingly competitive world.

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

 

 


 

 

Make the move to 50th place in per pupil spending

Deseret News op-ed by Jonathan Gochberg, a lifelong educator currently serving as principal of Sunset Junior High in the Davis School District

 

I find the question of whether we should abandon the metric that Utah ranks 51st in the country in per pupil expenditure humorous (“Virtue and vice,” June 6). It’s a fact! I’m sure Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, as well as other legislators, parents and educators are all tired of this statistic, and of trying to explain it. Frankly, the stat is an embarrassment to the state. But it’s still a fact, and not something to be dismissed or ignored.

While increased educational funding is no guarantee of better outcomes for students, decreased funding does impact the quality of education our students receive. Low funding correlates to larger class sizes, less support for students, lower teacher morale and poorer economic development for the state. Low education funding also has a disproportionate impact on students of color and students of low socioeconomic status who often require additional support in schools.

Before Sen. Stephenson, state Superintendent Brad Smith and others question the need for increased education funding, perhaps we should look at the last 20–30 years of legislative history, and the systematic decrease in funding for schools.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Walker: We changed broken education system

Des Moines (IA) Register op-ed by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

 

Megan Sampson was named the outstanding first-year teacher by the Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English in June of 2010. A week later, she received another certificate: a layoff notice from the Milwaukee Public Schools system.

Why would they get rid of a new teacher like Sampson — especially in Milwaukee, which was one of the most troubled urban school districts in the nation? Well, under the old union contracts, the last hired was first fired.

In 2011, we changed that broken system in Wisconsin. Today, the requirements for seniority and tenure are gone. Schools can hire based on merit and pay based on performance. That means they can keep the best and the brightest in the classroom.

Best of all, the reforms are working. Schools are better. Graduation rates are up. Third grade reading scores are higher. Wisconsin students now rank 2nd best in the country for ACT scores in states where more than half the students take the exam.

In addition to improving traditional public schools, like the ones my own sons attended, we increased the number of quality education choices all over Wisconsin. Over the past four years, we expanded the number of charter schools, lifted the limits on virtual schools and provided more help for families choosing to home school their children.

Now, more than ever, we need to push big, bold reforms to improve our schools. If we can do it in Wisconsin, there is no reason we can’t push positive education reforms across the country.

Nationwide, we want high standards but we want them set by parents, educators and school board members at the local level. That is why I oppose Common Core.

http://go.uen.org/3V3

 

Education Week fact checking by reporter Alyson Klein

http://go.uen.org/3V4 (Ed Week)

 

 


 

 

Are remedial courses actually hurting community college students?

Washington Post commentary by columnist Josh White

 

Four years ago, I stumbled across startling research that remedial courses in community colleges — a backbone of American higher education — often do no good, and that colleges do not adequately inform students about the true consequences of the placement tests that put students in those remedial courses.

Researchers Katherine L. Hughes and Judith Scott-Clayton in their 2011 paper said 92 percent of two-year colleges used placement test scores to decide if students would be consigned to remedial courses that they had to pay for, but for which they earned no credit. The College Board’s popular ACCUPLACER placement test failed to mention this critical issue, instead obscuring it with happy talk.

“You cannot ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ the placement tests, but it is very important that you do your very best on these tests so that you have an accurate measure of your academic skills,” a College Board guide said.

Huh? As Hughes and Scott-Clayton pointed out, the tests were used not just to measure skills but “as a high-stakes determinant of students’ access to college-level courses.”

I asked College Board officials to defend their guide. They appeared to be afraid of hurting students’ self-esteem.

“We believe that students who will require remediation but have the desire to obtain a college degree deserve encouragement,” a College Board spokeswoman told me. “To inform students that they are failures as they are seeking to redefine themselves or get insight into their own college potential would be counterproductive.”

The College Board has since removed the deceptive language, but the exams are still handed out at many community colleges with little warning of their importance. Critics have noted that if the applicants knew how much rode on their scores they might spend some time preparing for the tests. Many of these students are recent high school graduates who haven’t looked at a book all summer. Others have been out of school for years.

A richly detailed new book on strategies for community college improvement — “Redesigning America’s Community Colleges” — argues that the admissions system should get students into for-credit courses as soon as possible. Instead, the book says, the system “has an opposite purpose: to identify some group of students who will be kept out of a college-level program of study, or whose entry will at least be delayed.”

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

 

 


 

 

 

The SAT: A New Core Subject in Schools?

The college-admissions exam is poised to play an increasing role in the classroom, and chances are it’ll further detract from traditional instruction.

Atlantic commentary by JAMES S. MURPHY, a tutoring manager for the Princeton Review

 

Last week, two major education companies unveiled a set of resources that they’ve pledged will help all kids—rich or poor—succeed on the SAT. After decades of denying the value of test prep, the College Board, which administers the SAT, is now promoting interactive, high-quality training materials, including drills keyed to students’ abilities and instructional videos. The materials were developed by Khan Academy, the free, online education company used by more than 15 million students globally; all the content was written or approved by the College Board itself. And they are, like Khan Academy, completely free.

The unveiling occasioned the expected cheers and doubts, but to evaluate the Khan Academy’s “Official SAT Practice” resources one must understand that they are part of a much bigger plan. It’s a plan that may help get thousands of poor students on track to success. But it will also give the College Board an even larger role in America’s high schools and the lives of students.

In recent years, the College Board has started to envision itself as a force for social equality. Much of that evolution has been spearheaded by its president, David Coleman, who took over in 2012 and argues that Khan prep will help “level the playing field” for poor and underrepresented students. While large test-prep companies, including The Princeton Review (where I’ve worked as a tutor) and Kaplan, have for years provided reduced-cost test prep to hundreds of thousands of students through school districts and community programs, the Khan resources will make quality test prep even more accessible for those who cannot afford classes or tutors.

There’s no reason to doubt the sincerity of Coleman’s commitment to helping poor students. It’s important, however, to recognize that the one party that is certain to benefit quite handsomely by these efforts is the College Board.

http://go.uen.org/3V2

 

 


 

 

A class of teenagers gave up smartphones for a week, and lived

Why some parents, teachers hope this becomes a global trend

Hechinger Report commentary by CHRIS BERDIK, a science journalist

 

Erin Cotter didn’t like what social media was doing to her girls. When her family left their London home to spend several months visiting relatives in Australia, her twin, teenaged daughters spent most of their time staring at their computers.

It wasn’t just the missed opportunity to explore and meet people that bothered Cotter. All that online chatting and posting was making the girls extremely self-conscious and deeply vulnerable to snide remarks that are so easily made and amplified in the digital realm.

“I came back feeling very angry and worried about the effects this stuff has on the mental health of children,” said Cotter. So, with the help of like-minded parents and other volunteers, she created the disCONNECT project — a series of classroom activities prompting teenagers to reflect on their social-media habits, culminating with a week of abstaining from smartphones, gaming consoles and other networked devices. After a successful pilot at one London school earlier this spring, the project is rapidly expanding, and the organizers hope it will spread across the U.K. and beyond.

http://go.uen.org/3V0

 

 


 

 

 

What Twitter Says about the Education Policy Debate

And how scholars might use it as a research tool

Education Next commentary by Michael J. Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and an executive editor at Education Next

 

Twitter will turn 10 next year, meaning it’s been a long time since it was the Internet’s shiny new thing. We now take for granted that it’s an important—if often vitriolic—platform for public policy debate, including the high-pitched battles over education reform.

What is new is the use of Twitter as an analytic tool. For example, the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE) made a splash in February with an innovative study of how the Common Core debate is playing out on Twitter; scholars found, among other things, that proponents tend to make policy points while opponents use “political language” in their tweets.

Innovative though that research may be, it’s still fundamentally about Twitter. Another strand of research uses data from Twitter to measure other phenomena. Perhaps the best-known example is the work of University of Pennsylvania psychologist Johannes Eichstaedt, popularized earlier this year by an article in the New Yorker. He started with the Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) program, a decades-old algorithm developed by psychologist James Pennebaker and colleagues that can determine people’s psychological states and personality traits by analyzing their speech or writing. He and his team then analyzed hundreds of millions of tweets and used them to code the emotional state of the U.S. counties from which they originated. Remarkably, Eichstaedt et al. found higher death rates from heart disease in counties where residents’ tweets tended toward words related to “hostility, aggression, hate, and fatigue.”

This got me thinking: What does Twitter say about the tone of the education policy debate? And in particular, the emotional state of its combatants?

http://go.uen.org/3V1

 

 


 

 

The Educator’s Dilemma

When and how schools should embrace poverty relief

Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation analysis by Michael B. Horn, co-founder of the Clayton Christensen Institute, and Julia Freeland, Institute research fellow

 

For decades, school reformers and poverty relief advocates have argued about what it takes to close the achievement gap. Some scholars, like Abigail and Stephen Thernstrom, argue that school-based interventions are the most promising solution. Others, like Richard Rothstein, argue that schools are not the most efficient platform for fighting the effects of poverty and that society could better help low-income students succeed in school by spending scarce dollars on programs that target children’s health and well-being.

With the aid of sound theory, the theory of interdependence and modularity, we can see that both sides are right—and that both are also wrong.

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

 

 


 

 

 

New Report: The Successes and Challenges of Educating Military-Connected Children

Study finds college and career readiness focus of Common Core a disconnect with students from Military Families since majority are under seven years old

Pioneer Institute analysis

 

BOSTON – A remarkable education system has been created to benefit Military-Connected Children, enabling them to perform academically as well as or better than children whose families are not in the military, despite the unique challenges they face, according to a new study published by Pioneer Institute.

In Support & Defend: The K-12 Education of Military-Connected Children, education analyst and retired career Air Force officer Bruce Wykes presents an in-depth analysis of how the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) provides high-quality education to more than 84,000 eligible Military-Connected Children in more than 190 schools around the world and scores above the national averages on nearly all standardized assessments. He also examines efforts to expand that success to Military-Connected Children attending non-DoDEA schools.

The paper uses two case studies to assess the academic performance of Military-Connected Children. One looks at standardized test scores in the Lincoln Public Schools in Massachusetts. Another focuses on the Davis School District, the second largest in Utah, through de-identified, aggregate standardized test results.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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As Congress debates No Child Left Behind: Who should decide which schools are failing kids?

Washington Post

 

From Rand Paul on the right to Elizabeth Warren on the left, members of the Senate education committee pushed aside their policy disagreements earlier this spring when they voted unanimously in favor of a bipartisan revision to the widely reviled No Child Left Behind law.

But key differences remain to be resolved in both chambers of Congress before the rebranded “Every Child Achieves Act” can make it into law. Among the stickiest: How and whether Congress should define which schools are failing to serve students well and need intervention.

It is an issue that has not only divided the parties but also pitted two traditional Democratic allies — civil rights groups and the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union — against one another.

Now the Congressional Tri-Caucus has sided with dozens of civil rights groups and the Obama administration. In a letter to the Senate on Wednesday, more than 80 members of the Tri-Caucus said they cannot support the bill without key changes, including a requirement that states take action at schools that are failing to serve subgroups of children, such as those who are low-income, African American, have disabilities or are English learners.

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

 

 


 

 

L.A. Unified retreats on higher graduation standards

Los Angeles Times

 

The Los Angeles Board of Education on Tuesday retreated from new, more rigorous graduation standards out of concern that huge numbers of students would fail to earn diplomas.

The board previously had required students, starting in 2017, to receive a C or better in a set of college preparatory courses required for admission to four-year state universities. The goal was to ensure that all L.A. Unified students were eligible to apply for the University of California and Cal State systems.

On Tuesday, however, the board backed down from that policy. Now, students will be allowed to pass these courses — and graduate — with a D. But they will be ineligible for admission to UC or Cal State campuses with a D in any of these classes.

The board acted in response to the disclosure in March that as many as three-quarters of 10th-graders — the first class affected — were not on track to meet the tougher requirements. A more recent analysis showed that 53% of students were unlikely to meet the criteria.

Students who got Ds should not be denied diplomas because the school system has not provided enough help for them to meet the higher standard, board members said.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Messer-Polis Data-Privacy Bill Endorsed by Educator Groups; Industry Wary

Education Week

 

In a surprising turnaround, new legislation that would significantly up the federal government’s involvement in protecting student-data privacy was introduced in the U.S. House today with support from educator groups.

But the “Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act of 2015,” pulled just over a month ago following sharp criticism over vendor-friendly loopholes, has so far received a lukewarm reaction from the ed-tech industry.

The bill would prohibit ed-tech companies from selling student information and targeting students with advertisements.  Vendors would be required to meet a host of new requirements on everything from data security to data retention to breach notification, as well as to be more transparent about their privacy policies, the nature of the information they collect from students, and with whom they share that information. The Federal Trade Commission would be given enforcement authority over the industry.

During a call with reporters Wednesday, the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind., and Jared Polis, D-Colo., said their aim was to address four broad goals: better protecting student privacy, empowering parents, encouraging innovative uses of technology in the classroom, and ensuring strong accountability in the ed-tech industry.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/3UD (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

 

A copy of the bill

http://go.uen.org/3UC (Congress.gov)

 

 


 

 

 

Raising Graduation Rates With Questionable Quick Fixes

NPR Morning Edition

 

What’s in a number?

To many, 81 percent is a success story. It’s the nation’s all-time-high rate for high school graduation in 2013, the most recent year of federal data.

But the NPR Ed Team and reporters from member stations around the country have been digging into that number and found it’s more complicated.

Not all the news here is good.

Yesterday, we took you to the state with the highest graduation rate — Iowa — to see what it’s doing to keep at-risk students in school: free day care, an in-school food bank, small classes and flexible hours.

Today comes a very different list — of the questionable quick fixes schools are using to improve their graduation rates. It’s a wide range, from strategies that may seem, on the surface, irresponsible … to others motivated by good intentions that provide a safety net for vulnerable students.

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

 

 


 

 

Oregon Opt-Out Bill Could Lead to Loss of Federal Dollars, Ed. Dept. Warns

Education Week

 

Have you been wondering how the U.S. Department of Education would respond if a state passed a law that made opting out of state tests easier, both for parents and schools?

Oregon may be about to provide a test case. The state’s House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a bill in April that would inform parents twice a year of their right to exempt children from standardized tests.

And the legislation would also allow schools to calculate two sets of ratings for state-level accountability purposes. One rating would penalize a school for having lots of opt-outs, but the other wouldn’t.

This could be a problem, though, as far as the feds are concerned.

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 requires schools to test 95 percent of their students, or they are automatically labeled as failing to meet achievement targets. The reason? The NCLB law’s authors were concerned that schools could discourage students who might perform poorly on standardized tests, including English-language learners and students in special education, from taking the assessments in the first place.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/3Ut ([Portland] Oregonian)

 

 


 

 

 

An early review: New York City’s Common Core-aligned curriculum rollout gets high marks

New York Daily News

 

Research tells us that the selection of instructional materials can have as great an effect on student test scores as teacher quality. And the new Common Core State Standards will be successful only if implemented with well-developed, content-rich curriculum.

So how are New York City schools doing at getting quality materials into classrooms to help implement the Common Core? A new paper by the Manhattan Institute, based on focus groups and an online survey, indicates that the news is mostly good: New York City has taken the Common Core adoption seriously, and — notwithstanding the recent controversy over the state tests and their use in teacher evaluations — the curriculum-implementation process has been successful.

Two-thirds of principals have switched to one of the two math and four English curricula recommended by the NYC Department of Education for elementary and middle schools seeking to better align instruction with Common Core. (Curriculum-procurement data provided to us by the NYC DOE mirror our findings.) A large majority of principals express satisfaction with their curriculum materials and feel that teachers are faithfully implementing them in classrooms.

The curriculum-adoption policy that the city has employed — offering recommendations and incentives to principals, as opposed to mandates — seems to be working. Principals indicated that if a certain curriculum was working well, they felt little pressure to switch. However, principals of low-performing schools felt compelled to adopt the recommended curricula, hoping for better results.

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

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/3Uv (Manhattan Institute)

 

 


 

 

 

Arkansas to Pull Out of PARCC, Use ACT for Standard Tests

Associated Press  via Arkansas Business

 

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas will change its provider of standardized tests, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Monday, the first shake up from an ongoing review of whether to retain Common Core education standards.

The state will terminate its agreement with Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers and instead contract with ACT and ACT Aspire for the 2015-16 school year, Hutchinson said. A team assembled by the governor to review education, headed by Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, recommended the change after receiving input from teachers, testing coordinators and others.

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests were fully implemented only one year in Arkansas and were in line with Common Core standards, which have been heavily scrutinized, primarily by conservatives.

It’s unclear whether the state will continue with Common Core standards, the math and English benchmarks that have been adopted by more than 40 states. Griffin said he wants to have a final recommendation by the end of the month and that the standardized testing change will give the state more flexibility.

The council, he said, recommended the change in part because of ACT’s national recognition and shorter testing times.

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

 

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

 

 


 

 

 

Common Core fight moves from Louisiana Legislature to fall elections

New Orleans Times-Picayune

 

Gov. Bobby Jindal has agreed to sign the Common Core compromise bills approved by the Louisiana Legislature, but that doesn’t mean the conflict over the controversial academic standards has come to a close in this state. It means the fight is shifting from the Louisiana Capitol to this fall’s ballot box. Supporters and opponents of the standards will start working to get their own representatives elected to the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education and Legislature.

“Yes. Governor Jindal will sign these [Common Core] bills,” Jindal spokesman Mike Reed said after the final bill for Common Core compromise passed the Legislature Tuesday (June 9). “The next step is to elect leaders who are committed to getting rid of Common Core.”

Put together by lawmakers a few weeks ago, the compromise calls for an extensive review of Common Core. This review would technically start in the fall, but most of the decisions on what changes to make to Louisiana’s academic standards — and whether to scrap Common Core altogether — wouldn’t take place until early 2016.

By that time, Louisiana will have elected a new governor, Legislature and state school board. Under the legislative compromise, all three of those bodies will be heavily involved in the academic standards review, and could ultimately decide whether Common Core will remain in place.

Common Core supporters and opponents agreed to the legislative compromise because both camps are equally confident they will win next fall’s elections, particularly the seats on BESE.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Red Light, Green Light: How Integrated Are States’ College-Readiness Policies?

Education Week

 

How are states’ colleges and universities using high school test scores in course-placement decisions? Do high schools’ course requirements match up with minimum admissions standards in states’ higher education systems? And do all states even have definitions of what it means to be “college ready”?

Those are some of the questions answered in a new interactive report from the New America Foundation, “Mapping College Ready Policies.” Put together by New America policy analyst Lindsey Tepe, the analysis shows that states have made some progress in creating a more coherent transition from K-12 to higher education through assessments and other means, but that in many states there are still disparities between what students must do to earn a diploma and what they must to do to earn a spot on a college campus.

To get the information, New America looked at state education department web sites and in some cases their approved waivers from the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

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

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/3UY (New America Foundation)

 

 


 

 

Teacher-student contacts tightly regulated in sharp break from lax past

With more awareness of sex abuse comes stricter school policies

Chicago Tribune

 

When former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert appears Tuesday in federal court in Chicago for his arraignment, the public hopes to hear more about the secret that allegedly caused the longtime political powerhouse to agree to pay $3.5 million in hush money to a longtime acquaintance.

But if Hastert sexually abused one or more students — as has been alleged by law enforcement sources and the sister of a former student — it’s clear that the onetime coach and teacher did so in an era when adults were allowed far more access to children, with far less oversight.

A flurry of child protection policies have been drafted and implemented to prevent child sexual abuse during the past three decades. From the locker room to the classroom, Scout troops to sports teams, the boundaries between adults in supervisory positions and children are clearer than ever.

It’s a far cry from 50 years ago when nude swimming in high school was customary for boys, and coaches would routinely check to make sure that everyone had showered. Teachers could meet privately with students after-hours, and camp counselors could slather suntan lotion over their young charges without thinking twice.

But that was before sexual misconduct scandals — and subsequent lawsuits — rocked the Roman Catholic Church, Penn State, the Boy Scouts and school districts and youth organizations nationwide. That was before parents realized that an abuser was less likely to be a stranger in a trenchcoat hanging out at the playground than a trusted person known to both victim and family.

It’s not that the world suddenly turned into a more sinister place, experts say, but that society has become more aware and vigilant about what constitutes an inappropriate relationship.

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

 

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

 

 


 

 

 

School-Leader Standards to Get More Revision

Education Week

 

Amid sharp criticism from experts and practitioners in recent weeks, a key set of professional standards that guide the training and professional development of the nation’s school leaders will now explicitly address equity, social justice, and ethical behaviors. An earlier draft was chided for downplaying the role of principals and other leaders in addressing those issues.

The about-face is a departure for the Council of Chief State School Officers, which owns the copyright to the standards and is partnering with the National Policy Board for Educational Administration to revise them. It also follows a 19-day public comment period in which nearly 300 people provided feedback in an online survey and others submitted written responses to the CCSSO.

When a draft of the seven standards was released last month, Chris Minnich, the CCSSO’s executive director, defended them against critics, saying that social justice, equity, and ethics were addressed in the document’s introduction and embedded throughout the standards. Mr. Minnich said at the time, however, that the CCSSO was open to revising the benchmarks based on feedback from the field.

The standards, known as the Interstate School Leaders Licensure Consortium standards, set the benchmarks for what school leaders are expected to know and do. They are used across the country to help guide leadership preparation programs, including those for principals and superintendents. They are also used to set policies and regulations around school leaders’ hiring, evaluations, and professional development.

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

 

 


 

 

Kindergartens Ringing the Bell for Play Inside the Classroom

New York Times

 

PASADENA, Md. — Mucking around with sand and water. Playing Candy Land or Chutes and Ladders. Cooking pretend meals in a child­size kitchen. Dancing on the rug, building with blocks and painting on easels.

Call it Kindergarten 2.0.

Concerned that kindergarten has become overly academic in recent years, this suburban school district south of Baltimore is introducing a new curriculum in the fall for 5­year­olds. Chief among its features is a most oldfashioned concept: play.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Guess who: These people rarely control the ed tech budget, but they’re expected to make it work

Hechinger Report

 

Teachers are the people who must effectively blend high-tech tools into their instruction, but relatively few of them have much say over what classroom technology is purchased.

As a result, education technology companies spend a lot of time courting school administrators, because they’re the people most likely to decide what to purchase, according to several leaders who track these trends.

“People who make decisions are not the ones using it,” Cory Reid, of MasteryConnect, said at the Tyton Education Summit 2015 in New York City last week. “Put teachers on the team – include them in the design.”

Administrators who hold the purse often ask to see evidence that a product worked in another school. Testimonials from educators who have used the technology are a high priority for school leaders as they decide what to buy, a panelist said at a presentation the next day. With that in mind, companies would be wise to invest time and money into supporting classroom teachers who are using the technology, one panelist said.

“The amount of help you give to your teachers matters more than any brand,” said Din Heiman, of BrainPop, a company that makes educational videos.

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

 

 


 

 

College Board Says Printing Error Won’t Affect SAT Scores

Associated Press

 

WASHINGTON — The College Board acknowledges that test booklets for hundreds of thousands of students taking the SAT college entrance exams last Saturday carried an error, but says it won’t affect test scores.

The board’s website on Tuesday says the error appeared in test books provided to students across the nation who took the test that day – about 487,000. According to the board, the test booklets from the Educational Testing Service incorrectly stated that 25 minutes were allotted for the last reading section. Because of the way the test is administered, students taking the last math section in the same room also were affected.

The board, however, said the manual provided to supervisors overseeing the exam had the correct 20-minute limit for those sections. As soon as ETS learned of the misprint that day, it worked “to provide accurate guidance to supervisors and administrators” overseeing the test, the board said.

All students who took the SAT that day are affected.

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

 

 


 

 

 

First Lady Notes Personal Struggles in Chicago Graduation

Associated Press

 

CHICAGO — First lady Michelle Obama drew on her hometown connections and personal struggles from college and the White House Tuesday during a Chicago high school graduation speech to the classmates of an honor student gunned down in 2013 near the Obama family home.

A boisterous crowd of thousands attended the commencement ceremony for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. College Preparatory High School, a school that garnered headlines when teenager Hadiya Pendleton was fatally shot on the way home from class. Days earlier she had been in Washington, D.C., to perform with her drill team during President Barack Obama’s second term inauguration festivities.

Pendleton would have graduated Tuesday. A chair – draped in purple fabric, her favorite color; a feather boa; and a bouquet of flowers – was reserved in her honor among her cap-and-gown-clad classmates. Her family was presented with an engraved class ring.

http://go.uen.org/O1

 

http://go.uen.org/3UU (Chicago Sun Times)

 

http://go.uen.org/3UV (Chicago, WGN)

 

 


 

 

 

Bill Nye Boosts Science Guys and Girls: ‘Kids Are Natural Scientists’

NBC

 

Bill Nye the Science Guy is upbeat about the next generation of researchers and engineers, many of whom were on show last week as part of the Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision national science competition. Science-minded youngsters, from kindergartners to high-schoolers, presented projects on all kinds of topics, and Nye was there to honor the best of the best.

“They’re all cool. Kids are natural scientists,” said Nye in a phone interview with NBC News. “The winning teams have done a lot of research, that’s for sure.”

There was a distinct trend towards helpfulness and compassion in the projects on display.

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

 

 


 

 

 

Haunting chalkboard drawings, frozen in time for 100 years, discovered in Oklahoma school

Washington Post

 

Teachers and students scribbled the lessons — multiplication tables, pilgrim history, how to be clean —  nearly 100 years ago. And they haven’t been touched since.

This week, contractors removing old chalkboards at Emerson High School in Oklahoma City made a startling discovery: Underneath them rested another set of chalkboards, untouched since 1917.

“The penmanship blows me away, because you don’t see a lot of that anymore,” Emerson High School Principal Sherry Kishore told the Oklahoman. “Some of the handwriting in some of these rooms is beautiful.”

The chalkboards being removed to make way for new whiteboards are in four classrooms, according to the Oklahoma City Public School District.

A spokeswoman said the district is working with the city to “preserve the ‘chalk’ work of the teachers that has been captured in time.”

http://go.uen.org/3V6

 

 

 


 

 

 

‘It’s a political failure’: how Sweden’s celebrated schools system fell into crisis

International ratings have plummeted and inequality is growing after raft of changes including introduction of voucher system

(Manchester) Guardian

 

Gustav Fridolin, Sweden’s rather youthful education minister, emerges from behind his desk in a pleasant office in central Stockholm wearing what looks like a pair of Vans and the open, fresh-faced smile of a newly qualified teacher.

The smile falters when he begins to describe the plight of Sweden’s schools and the scale of the challenge that lies ahead. Fridolin, it turns out, is the man in charge of rescuing a school system in crisis.

Sweden, once regarded as a byword for high-quality education – free preschool, formal school at seven, no fee-paying private schools, no selection – has seen its scores in Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) assessments plummet in recent years.

Fridolin acknowledges the sense of shame and embarrassment felt in Sweden. “The problem is that this embarrassment is carried by the teachers. But this embarrassment should be carried by us politicians. We were the ones who created the system. It’s a political failure,” he says.

http://go.uen.org/3V5

 

 

 

 

 

 

————————————————————

CALENDAR

————————————————————

 

USOE Calendar

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

 

 

UEN News

http://www.uen.org

 

 

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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