Education News Roundup: June 22, 2015

Students make art during the Earth Connections Camp at Red Butte Garden.

Students make art during the Earth Connections Camp at Red Butte Garden.

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

State Board of Education deadlocks on a request from Gov. Herbert to support a letter from the National Governor’s Association on ESEA renewal.

http://go.uen.org/40C (SLT)

and http://go.uen.org/40F (DN)

and http://go.uen.org/40G (OSE)

and http://go.uen.org/412 (KSL)

and http://go.uen.org/41k (Education Dive)

 

Ogden’s Rich Nye will be the new associate superintendent for assessment and data at USOE.

http://go.uen.org/40D (OSE)

and http://go.uen.org/40N (SLT)

and http://go.uen.org/40Q (DN)

 

Will the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation move out from under the Utah State Board of Education?

http://go.uen.org/40S (OSE)

 

Funeral services are being held today in Provo for Utah State Board of Member Mark Openshaw, his wife, and two of his children.

http://go.uen.org/40M (SLT)

and http://go.uen.org/40V (PDH)

 

Is the benefit from AP classes from the class itself or the test at the end?

http://go.uen.org/41i (Ed Week)

or a copy of the study

http://go.uen.org/41j (Journal of Educational Research)

 

New York Times looks at how classroom reading lists have changed in the Common Core era.

http://go.uen.org/40B (NTY)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Utah school board rejects larger role for governor in public education Vote » Divided board turns down need for guv to OK spending federal funds.

 

Ogden School District data chief takes state job

 

Board of Education votes to give up USOR oversight

 

State School Board mourns loss of one of its own Mark Openshaw was killed when the plane he was piloting crashed.

 

Lawmakers talk about improving educator learning

 

A bill aims to protect students’ digital information

 

Is Advanced Placement’s Value in the Class or the Test?

 

State Board of Education discusses further changes to school grading

 

Altice sex case shows how hard it is to sue a Utah school — and win Courts » Dismissed sex-abuse lawsuit a flashpoint in debate over protections given to Utah government.

 

15-year-old student sexually abused by volunteer high school track coach, police say

 

‘Girls-only’ coding camps aim to calm jitters, entice Utah women to tech programs Education » Science, math and tech camps aim to help, but will more women feel at home in STEM fields?

 

Texting program helps preschoolers prepare for kindergarten

 

Grouse Creek school changing to four-day school week

 

Church, students feed hungry children in Cedar City area

 

Former Utah lawmaker, a ‘champion for children,’ dies at 77 Democrat » Known for fighting to protect children.

 

Utah STEM Action Center holds a STEM Best Practices Conference

 

Hillcrest Junior High School hosting final walk-through

 

What’s being done to keep third-graders from being held back

 

 


 

 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Thumbs up, thumbs down

 

Rebuttal to report of Escalante, Garfield County on verge of devastation

 

ESEA Reauthorization Efforts Running Up Against Senate Calendar

 

Why are American schools slowing down so many bright children?

 

 


 

 

 

NATION

 

English Class in Common Core Era: ‘Tom Sawyer’ and Court Opinions

 

California Tempers Backlash While Embracing Common Core

 

Who Is Opting Out of Standardized Tests?

 

Poverty’s enduring hold on school success Poverty is expanding rapidly in Illinois schools. It predicts school success as strongly today as it did a decade ago.

 

Abbott Signs Bill Decriminalizing Truancy

 

When Charters Go Union

Most charter school funders hate unions and unions generally hate charters. But more and more charter teachers want to unionize, and labor is helping them do it.

 

Mom says third-grade daughter banned from school party for Common Core opt-out

 

Schools on U.S. military installations raising standards, tracking students beyond high school System seeks to ease transitions, improve results for students who move often

 

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan Announces Recipients of 2015 President’s Education Awards Program Nearly 3 Million Hard Working, Dedicated Students from more than 30,000 Schools Honored

 

Family instability, stress tied to mental function for poor children

 

Lying children make better thinkers, research finds It takes a lot of thought and memory skills to keep track of lies, psychologists at the University of Sheffield found

 

 

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Utah school board rejects larger role for governor in public education Vote » Divided board turns down need for guv to OK spending federal funds.

 

Utah’s state school board will not join with Gov. Gary Herbert in calling for federal legislation to identify state governors as key partners in education.

In a split 7-7 vote on Friday, the board rejected a request from Herbert’s office to sign a letter supporting amendments to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which would require the governor’s signature on plans for spending federal education dollars in Utah.

The letter and amendments are being pushed by the National Governors Association as a means of strengthening collaboration between state leaders as federal legislators work to rewrite the controversial No Child Left Behind Act.

“It’s a letter that governors across the states are looking at in one form or another,” said Tami Pyfer, Herbert’s education adviser.

But school board members said the amendments would go beyond encouraging collaboration and instead bolster the powers of Utah’s governor at the expense of the school board’s constitutional authority.

http://go.uen.org/40C (SLT)

 

http://go.uen.org/40F (DN)

 

http://go.uen.org/40G (OSE)

 

http://go.uen.org/412 (KSL)

 

http://go.uen.org/41k (Education Dive)

 

 


 

 

 

Ogden School District data chief takes state job

 

SALT LAKE CITY – Rich Nye, Ogden School District’s executive director of assessment and technology, is leaving the district to go to a state-level position.

During a meeting Friday, the state School Board welcomed Nye as its new associate superintendent for data, assessment and accountability.

“I’m truly grateful for the opportunity presented to me,” said Nye.

In one of his final acts as a representative of Ogden School District, Nye addressed the state School Board later in the meeting. His topic was assessments, and how they should be used to understand what students have learned.

“Just because I’ve taught something, it certainly doesn’t mean it’s been internalized by students,” he said. “The behavior of learning is very covert — I can’t tell by looking at an individual what they’re learning.”

Using assessments to figure out what kids know allows teachers to plan specific data-driven instruction for students, according to Nye.

Nye, who holds master’s degrees from Weber State and Arizona State universities and a Ph.D. from Utah State University, said leaving Ogden School District was difficult.

http://go.uen.org/40D (OSE)

 

http://go.uen.org/40N (SLT)

 

http://go.uen.org/40Q (DN)

 

 


 

 

 

Board of Education votes to give up USOR oversight

 

SALT LAKE CITY — The state Board of Education approved the appointment of Darin Brush as executive director of the state Office of Rehabilitation, and then voted to remove itself as overseer of the agency, which has experienced turmoil and a budget deficit this year.

“I’m honored by your confidence in me,” Brush said after the vote, during a board meeting Friday. “I recognize that there are a number of challenges, and I come in with my eyes wide open.”

Board members also recognize that USOR leadership is a challenge, and that’s why most of them voted to recommend to the Legislature that oversight of the agency be taken from the state Board of Education.

“There was no intent to say, ‘We just don’t want this,’ ” said board member Jefferson Moss, of Saratoga Springs. “It’s more of a concern about where they’re going to be best served.”

Where that is, board members don’t know. They voted not to make a recommendation on placement of USOR, but instead that a task force be formed to evaluate options.

http://go.uen.org/40S (OSE)

 

 


 

 

State School Board mourns loss of one of its own Mark Openshaw was killed when the plane he was piloting crashed.

 

Mark Openshaw was a role model, a good friend and “the perfect gentleman,” according to his colleagues on the Utah Board of Education.

He would open doors, empty the trash and bring doughnuts to share during unending committee meetings.

“He was the peacemaker,” board member Terryl Warner said. “He was the kind person. He was the calm person in difficult times.”

Board members on Friday started their monthly meeting with a short tribute to Openshaw, who was killed June 12 in a plane crash along with his wife Amy and two of their children.

Warner opened the meeting by sharing stories about Openshaw she had collected from her colleagues. He was remembered as a jovial and sincere presence on the board, who cared deeply about Utah schools.

“I’m grateful for the example that Mark Openshaw was to each one of us,” Warner said.

Visitors to Friday’s board meeting were greeted by a small memorial. In addition to photographs of Openshaw and his family, the presentation included a model airplane, a baseball cap, a portrait of Abraham Lincoln and a Harley Davidson wall clock.

The Openshaw family live in Provo and had been visiting family in Missouri at the time of the crash, according to the Missouri Highway Patrol. Openshaw was piloting the small Beechcraft plane, and a witness told authorities that after the plane climbed to roughly 100 feet in the air, it stalled and fell to the ground.

Openshaw’s 5-year-old son survived the crash and was hospitalized with serious injuries. Two older children were not with their family on the trip.

http://go.uen.org/40M (SLT)

 

http://go.uen.org/40V (PDH)

 

Follow up information on the crash

http://go.uen.org/41m (Springfield [MO] News-Leader)

 

http://go.uen.org/41o (OSE)

 

http://go.uen.org/41p (KSL)

 

A copy of the preliminary report

http://go.uen.org/41n (NTSB)

 

 


 

 

Lawmakers talk about improving educator learning

 

SALT LAKE CITY – State legislators met on Wednesday to determine methods to improve teacher training in Utah.

Sydnee Dickson, the deputy state superintendent at the Utah State Office of Education feels change in educator professional learning is necessary. She described current training as a “one size fits nobody” process. “Just like we expect individualized instructions for students, we expect the same for teacher training,” she said.

Dickson believes the answer lies in collaboration. She presented a MetLife Study of the American Teacher from 2009. The results showed that teachers who engage in high levels of collaboration have a 14 percent higher level of satisfaction on the job. She also presented an America’s Teacher on America’s Schools study results. The report found that 80 percent of teachers believe providing opportunities for relevant professional development in order to retain teachers is “very important.”

The Utah State Office of Education recently conducted a study that linked retention with teacher collaboration. Dickson highlighted working conditions at the school as the number one reason a teacher quits within the first few years of their career. They found that teachers leave the profession “because they feel ill-equipped to handle the classroom requirements.”

http://go.uen.org/40i (OSE)

 

 


 

 

 

A bill aims to protect students’ digital information

 

OGDEN – The Student Digital Privacy and Parental Rights Act, sponsored by Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colorado, and Rep. Luke Messer, R-Indiana will protect students from targeted sales tactics.

The bill grants the Federal Trade Commission enforcement powers to prevent third party agencies from retrieving students’ personal information from the internet. A current focus on digital privacy exists with the increase of technology use at younger ages in schools. Govtech.com reports more than “170 bills on student data privacy and security have been considered this year.”

Legislators supporting the bill hope the Act will help keep a student’s contact information private. Hailey Nash, a sixth-grade teacher at Syracuse Elementary, believes the bill represents forward thinking. “We are only using more and more technology in the classroom. The Act can prevent future problems from this increase of digital student information,” Nash said.

http://go.uen.org/40R (OSE)

 

 


 

 

 

Is Advanced Placement’s Value in the Class or the Test?

 

Advanced Placement courses have become so associated with college readiness that the number of classes offered in a high school is considered a bellwether of the school’s seriousness about college readiness and access to higher education. A new study suggests, however, that Advanced Placment’s benefit may come from the placement-style assessment, rather than the course material.

In a study in the latest issue of The Journal of Educational Research, Utah Valley University researchers led by psychologist Russell T. Warne analyzed the records of more than 90,000 students who graduated from Utah public schools in 2010 and 2011. They divided the students into four groups: those who did not take an AP English or Calculus class; those who took one of the courses but not the test; those who took the courses and tests but scored only a 1 or 2; and those who took the courses and passed the tests with at least a 3—the minimum generally needed for college credit.

After controlling for 70 background characteristics—including students’ ethnicity and socioeconomic background, cumulative high school grade point average, and whether they were classified as migrant students or had disabilities—the researchers analyzed how students performed on the ACT college entrance exam.

http://go.uen.org/41i (Ed Week)

 

A copy of the study

http://go.uen.org/41j (Journal of Educational Research)

 

 


 

 

 

State Board of Education discusses further changes to school grading

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Members of the Utah State Board of Education gave preliminary approval Thursday to adopt more changes to Utah’s school grading system, a controversial accountability program that gives schools a letter grade based on year-end assessments and other metrics.

The changes allow the State School Board to exempt special education schools from the grading system in exchange for an alternative measurement of accountability. This includes the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind, as well as 10 other schools in the state that serve only disabled students.

http://go.uen.org/41h (KSL)

 

 


 

 

Altice sex case shows how hard it is to sue a Utah school — and win Courts » Dismissed sex-abuse lawsuit a flashpoint in debate over protections given to Utah government.

 

A Utah family dropped its lawsuit recently against Davis School District, Davis High and former English teacher Brianne Altice.

The primary facts are not in dispute.

Everyone acknowledges Altice had several inappropriate — and illegal — sexual relationships with three underage male students. The teacher pleaded guilty in April. Normally, the parents of the kids she victimized could sue her and potentially her employer to cover the boys’ medical bills and therapy.

But in some ways, the facts don’t matter. The school district is shielded by state statute.

The Utah attorney general’s office cited a 22-year-old Utah Supreme Court precedent — Ledfors v. Emery County School District — in its argument to nullify the parents’ suit: School districts, as governmental entities, are immune from liability in cases of assault.

In essence, if your kid is hurt by another person — a teacher, a bullying student, or anyone — on school district property, you can sue their attacker, but you can’t sue the school.

Utah immunity laws have been written to shield state government and all its subdivisions — cities, towns, school districts — from being held responsible for injuries that happen on their watch or in their spaces.

http://go.uen.org/40K (SLT)

 

 


 

 

 

15-year-old student sexually abused by volunteer high school track coach, police say

 

TOOELE COUNTY, Utah — A volunteer high school track coach in Tooele County is facing felony charges for alleged sexual activity with a 15-year-old student.

Terrence Boone Johnson, 21, a volunteer track coach at Tooele High School, sexually abused a member of the track team, according to court documents.

The alleged incident occurred in May.

http://go.uen.org/413 (KSTU)

 

 


 

 

‘Girls-only’ coding camps aim to calm jitters, entice Utah women to tech programs Education » Science, math and tech camps aim to help, but will more women feel at home in STEM fields?

 

Juliet Sime rejected computer programming for years.

She put off the course, required for her math degree, until her junior year at Westminster College. It seemed as unsexy as a spreadsheet lesson.

But after day one, when it was already too late to change majors, she was smitten with coding.

“I loved it,” the Park City native said from campus where she is helping run a math and science camp for eighth-grade girls. “I really wish someone would’ve sent me to camp like this or sat me down and said, ‘Hey, maybe you should try this.’ ”

Sime can’t afford to go to graduate school right now for a full degree but still hopes to land a job in the field. In the end, computer science may be the one that got away.

In an effort to inject coding earlier in kids’ lives, organizers of tech-minded camps like Sime’s are going even further: enticing girls by excluding the boys.

A University of Utah girls-only engineering camp starts this week. Another is underway at Dixie State University in St. George. Still more are offered by nonprofits and private businesses.

http://go.uen.org/40J (SLT)

 

http://go.uen.org/410 (SGN)

 

 


 

 

 

Texting program helps preschoolers prepare for kindergarten

 

FARMINGTON — Some schools in Top of Utah are noticing a disturbing trend: preschoolers entering kindergarten aren’t prepared.

Gone are the days of thinking kindergarten is the start of their schooling experience. Now kindergartners are expected to know their colors, alphabet, and numbers before their first day of school since they dive right into learning how to read and working math problems in the first month.

“We really do need to work with our preschoolers because the curriculum that used to be in first grade is now in kindergarten. We are expecting more out of our kids,” Davis Community Learning Center Coordinators Merri Ann Crowther said, pointing out that some schools, including Wasatch Elementary in Clearfield have seen test scores for kids entering kindergarten going down in recent years.

In order to combat declining readiness, the Davis Community Learning Center in partnership with Davis School District is using technology to reach out to parents of preschool-aged children by sending out free texts one or two times a week with helpful ideas to prepare their children for kindergarten.

http://go.uen.org/40T (OSE)

 

 


 

 

 

Grouse Creek school changing to four-day school week

 

Grouse Creek • A small rural school in a ranching community in the northwest corner of the state is set to begin a four-day school week, a move that three other outlying counties in the state have already adopted.

The switch allows students and families to make long-distance trips for doctor’s appointments, shopping and extracurricular activities, The Standard Examiner reports (http://bit.ly/1Lg9kc9).

The state board of education unanimously approved the change Friday, and Box Elder County schools can now put together the new schedule to start in the fall.

There was little conversation about the topic before it passed, Utah State Office of Education spokesman Mark Peterson said. The school day will be lengthened by 45 minutes to reach the required amount of instructional time for the entire school year.

http://go.uen.org/40L (SLT)

 

http://go.uen.org/40W (PDH)

 

http://go.uen.org/40X (CVD)

 

http://go.uen.org/40Y (SGS)

 

 


 

 

 

Church, students feed hungry children in Cedar City area

 

Hungry children in Cedar City have been making their way to two parks in the area for free lunches provided by the Community Presbyterian Church along with help from volunteers and several SUU students.

Pastor Nancy Pearson said the program is funded by a grant from the Utah Summer Lunch program offered by the United States Department of Agriculture.

“It was started primarily for the kids who get subsidized lunches during the school year so their parents wouldn’t suddenly be burdened when school is out,” she said. “Since Iron County is one of the highest in children who receive subsidized lunches we do not turn anybody away, and there are no forms to fill out or anything, all we ask is that you remain in the park to eat your lunch. Parents can also get one for $2 and enjoy a meal in the park with their kids.”

http://go.uen.org/40Z (SGS)

 

 


 

 

Former Utah lawmaker, a ‘champion for children,’ dies at 77 Democrat » Known for fighting to protect children.

 

Former Utah lawmaker Roz McGee, who died this week at age 77, had one favorite honor among the many she received for years of community service.

It was the “Hell Raiser of the Year Award” from Utah Issues in 1991 for “leading the charge for children in Utah.” It reflected both her fierce fighting for kids as a Democratic Salt Lake City legislator and as the first executive director of Voices for Utah Children for 13 years.

http://go.uen.org/40E (SLT)

 

 


 

 

 

Utah STEM Action Center holds a STEM Best Practices Conference

 

The Utah STEM Action Center was created over two years ago, and this week they will hold a STEM Best Practices Conference on June 22 from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. and June 23 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Thanksgiving Point’s Garden Center.

The conference will be an opportunity to learn about STEM Best Practices from Utah community experts and leaders in the K-12 STEM community.

http://go.uen.org/41l (UP)

 

 


 

 

Hillcrest Junior High School hosting final walk-through

 

MURRAY — Hillcrest Junior High School will host a final walk-through before it is demolished, as the new school building debuts for the 2015-16 school year.

The event is free and open to the public 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, June 24, 126 E. 5300 South. It will be the last time the public is allowed in the building before pre-demolition efforts begin.

http://go.uen.org/40P (DN)

 

 


 

 

What’s being done to keep third-graders from being held back

 

The good news in Columbus, Ohio, schools this summer is that 87 percent of its third-graders passed the reading test and can move on to the next grade, WBNS 10-TV reports. The bad news is that 599, or 13 percent, did not.

But in the spirit of No Child Left Behind, Columbus school officials are giving these students another chance.

http://go.uen.org/40O (DN)

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Thumbs up, thumbs down

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

 

Thumbs up: To our school counselors, who perform a needed service to students who deal with distinct problems, from feelings of suicide, to grief over peers’ deaths and other stresses. School counselors are invaluable because they can identify a problem and direct the student and his parents to appropriate resources.

http://go.uen.org/40U

 

 


 

 

 

Rebuttal to report of Escalante, Garfield County on verge of devastation St. George News letter from Scott Nelson

 

The article written by Ms. Carin Miller about Escalante is the most biased, illogical, untrue, factless, one sided article ever written about Escalante, Garfield County.

The truth of the matter is the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument is the best thing to have happened to Escalante and the State of Utah.  Check out the stats.

Not mentioned in the article are the 17 percent or so new people that have moved into town in the last ten years;  scientists, artists, writers, business people who have sunk millions of dollars into cleaning up the run down Main Street and residential neighborhoods.  They have built and restored houses, businesses (six new ones on Main Street alone),  land and helped tourism flourish. Escalante has a great new medical clinic and new hardware store.

http://go.uen.org/411

 

 


 

 

ESEA Reauthorization Efforts Running Up Against Senate Calendar Education Week commentary by columnist Lauren Camera

 

It’s sort of a big deal that the U.S. Senate is set to debate the Trade Promotion Authority next week—not least for those who have been waiting with bated breath for lawmakers to begin debate on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization.

That’s because the decision by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to prioritize the trade measure has effectively punted the long-awaited federal K-12 debate to July. And that’s a problem for a few different reasons.

First, there are only 16 legislative days in July before Congress disperses for its annual five-week summer vacation, not to return until the second week in September. Second, many of those 16 days could easily get eaten up by efforts to clear a set of fiscal 2016 spending bills for federal agencies (including the U.S. Department of Education).

And if that’s the case, and ESEA reauthorization gets pushed into September, well, then it runs into all sorts of additional calendar problems, including the likelihood that there will be yet again the threat of a government shutdown before the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30. Oh, and then there’s that pesky 2016 presidential election that, like all presidential election campaigns, will likely overshadow everything once it gets going.

http://go.uen.org/40H

 

 


 

 

 

Why are American schools slowing down so many bright children?

Washington Post commentary by columnist Jay Mathews

 

Vicki Schulkin, a Northern Virginia parent, knew her son Matt was bright but did not think this was a problem until some of his teachers began to bristle at the erratic working habits that sometimes accompany intellectual gifts.

“In fourth grade, his English teacher told me early in the semester that he didn’t belong in her high-level class because he wasn’t completing all of his homework,” Schulkin said. That teacher changed her mind after he showed great creativity in a poetry assignment, but other instructors were less understanding.

In fifth grade, while Matt was doing SAT math problems in his head, his math teacher refused to acknowledge that he might be gifted because he wasn’t finishing assignments that he found boring and repetitive.

At the Belin-Blank International Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development at the University of Iowa’s College of Education, this is old news. In 2004, it published an extensive report, “A Nation Deceived: How Schools Hold Back America’s Brightest Students,” with research showing that children like Matt were poorly served.

Now the center has done a follow-up, “A Nation Empowered: Evidence Trumps the Excuses Holding Back America’s Brightest Students.”

http://go.uen.org/416

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/3xb (Acceleration Institute)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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English Class in Common Core Era: ‘Tom Sawyer’ and Court Opinions New York Times

 

In Harrison, N.Y., 10th graders read articles about bipolar disorder and the adolescent brain to help them analyze Holden Caulfield. In Springdale, Ark., ninth graders studying excerpts from “The Odyssey” also read sections of the G.I. Bill of Rights, and a congressional resolution on its 60th anniversary, to connect the story of Odysseus to the challenges of modern­day veterans. After eighth graders in Naples, Fla., read how Tom Sawyer duped other boys into whitewashing a fence for him, they follow it with an op­ed article on teenage unemployment.

In the Common Core era, English class looks a little different.

The Common Core standards, which have been adopted by more than 40 states, mandated many changes to traditional teaching, but one of the most basic was a call for students to read more nonfiction. The rationale is that most of what students will be expected to read in college and at work will be informational, rather than literary, and that American students have not been well prepared to read those texts.

http://go.uen.org/40B

 

 


 

 

 

California Tempers Backlash While Embracing Common Core Associated Press

 

SAN FRANCISCO — While the Common Core education standards provoked political backlash and testing boycotts around the country this year, the state that educates more public school children than any other – California – was conspicuously absent from the debate.

Gov. Jerry Brown and California’s elected K-12 schools chief are united in their support of the embattled benchmarks. The heads of the state’s teachers’ unions, universities and business groups are on board, too. More than one-quarter of the 12 million students who were supposed to take new online tests linked to the standards this spring were Californians, but the technical glitches and parent-led opt-out campaigns that roiled the exams’ rollout elsewhere did not surface widely here.

“I’m glad it’s not us,” state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, a former high school science teacher and state lawmaker, said of the anti-Common Core sentiment that has put his peers in many other places on the defensive.

The prevailing equanimity may stem most from what the state did not do, Common Core opponents and advocates in California agree: tie student test scores to teacher evaluations.

http://go.uen.org/41a

 

 


 

 

 

Who Is Opting Out of Standardized Tests?

Education Week

 

Deciphering which New York parents are more likely to opt their students out of standardized testing is still a little uncertain, according to a research paper released by the Brown Center on Education at Brookings this week.

Still, there’s little doubt that the opt-out movement has grabbed numerous headlines and gained converts this past year. But limited and incomplete data about the individual students who refuse standardized testing, makes it challenging to make any definitive conclusions, writes Matthew M. Chingos, the paper’s author.

Chingos, who is the research director at the Brown Center on Education, used opt-out data gathered from a variety of sources by the New York-based test-refusal advocacy group, United to Counter the Common Core, in addition to U.S. Department of Education enrollment and demographic data. (The New York State Department of Education has yet to release demographic information that would provide a clearer picture of the students who are refusing the test.)

In his analysis of data for New York school districts from the 2014-15 school year, Chingos, was able to make some preliminary findings, among them:

* School district opt-out rates vary significantly. He found that 19 percent of districts had an opt-out rate below 10 percent; 30 percent of districts were in the 10-25 percent range; 38 percent were in the 25-50 percent category; and 13 percent of disticts had a majority of their students opting out.

* Affluent school districts, which serve fewer disadvantaged students, had higher opt-out rates and slightly higher test scores.

* School districts with the lowest opt-out rates were larger on average than those with higher test-refusal rates.

* School districts enrolling more disadvantaged students hadd lower opt-out rates, even after test scores were taken into account.

http://go.uen.org/41c

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/41d (Brookings)

 

 

 


 

 

Poverty’s enduring hold on school success Poverty is expanding rapidly in Illinois schools. It predicts school success as strongly today as it did a decade ago.

(Chicago) WBEZ

 

In the rhetoric of the American Dream, an individual’s success is earned through hard work and determination. In the rhetoric of recent school reforms, a school’s success depends on quality teaching and high standards. Poverty shouldn’t matter when it comes to either.

The reality of Illinois’ education system tells a different story.

A new analysis of a decade of state test score data by WBEZ and the Daily Herald underlines the immense role poverty plays in how well a school performs.

Our analysis shows a vast expansion of poverty—2,244 schools have seen their proportion of low-income students increase by at least 10 percentage points over the last decade.

And the number of schools struggling with concentrated poverty—where nearly every child in the school is low-income— has ballooned.

But perhaps most troubling, WBEZ and the Daily Herald find that poverty remains a frustratingly accurate predictor of how well schools will perform. Schools full of middle-class kids rarely perform below average on state tests; schools made up of low-income kids rarely score above.

http://go.uen.org/41f

 

 


 

 

Abbott Signs Bill Decriminalizing Truancy Texas Tribune

 

Texas is set to decriminalize truancy after Gov. Greg Abbott signed legislation late Thursday making it a civil offense.

House Bill 2398, which will go into effect as the upcoming school year begins in Texas, effectively ends the practice of jailing students for skipping school. Critics say it disproportionately affects minority and poor students.

“Criminalizing unauthorized absences at school unnecessarily jeopardizes the futures of our students,” Abbott said in a statement Friday, explaining he signed HB 2398 as part of his broader mission to boost the state’s education system.

http://go.uen.org/415

 

http://go.uen.org/41b (AP)

 

 


 

 

 

When Charters Go Union

Most charter school funders hate unions and unions generally hate charters. But more and more charter teachers want to unionize, and labor is helping them do it.

American Prospect

 

The April sun had not yet risen in Los Angeles when teachers from the city’s largest charter network—the Alliance College-Ready Public Schools—gathered outside for a press conference to discuss their new union drive. Joined by local labor leaders, politicians, student alumni, and parents, the importance of the educators’ effort was not lost on the crowd. If teachers were to prevail in winning collective bargaining rights at Alliance’s 26 schools, the audience recognized, then L.A.’s education reform landscape would fundamentally change. For years, after all, many of the most powerful charter backers had proclaimed that the key to helping students succeed was union-free schools.

One month earlier, nearly 70 Alliance teachers and counselors had sent a letter to the administration announcing their intent to join United Teachers of Los Angeles (UTLA), the local teachers union that represents the 35,000 educators who work in L.A.’s public schools. The letter asked Alliance for a “fair and neutral process”—one that would allow teachers to organize without fear of retaliation. The administration offered no such reassurance. Indeed, April’s press conference was called to highlight a newly discovered internal memo circulating among Alliance administrators that offered tips on how to best discourage staff from forming a union. It also made clear that Alliance would oppose any union, not just UTLA. “To continue providing what is best for our schools and our students, the goal is no unionization, not which union,” the memo said.

The labor struggle happening in Los Angeles mirrors a growing number of efforts taking place at charter schools around the country, where most teachers work with no job security on year-to-year contracts. For teachers, unions, and charter school advocates, the moment is fraught with challenges. Traditional unions are grappling with how they can both organize charter teachers and still work politically to curb charter expansion. Charter school backers and funders are trying to figure out how to hold an anti-union line, while continuing to market charters as vehicles for social justice.

http://go.uen.org/41g

 

 


 

 

Mom says third-grade daughter banned from school party for Common Core opt-out Fox

 

A New Jersey mom says her third-grade daughter was “bullied” by school officials – left out of an end-of-year cupcake and juice box party – because she opted out of the state’s version of Common Core testing.

Michele Thornton, of Oldmans Township, said school officials would not let 9-year-old Cassidy participate in Monday’s party, telling her the bash was only for students who took the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) exams. Thornton feels especially bad because it was she who told the girl not to take the controversial test, which critics say is part of a plan by Washington to nationalize school curriculums.

“She shouldn’t be punished for something I did,” Thornton tells Foxnews.com. “She’s not a bad kid. It’s bullying. I’m not 9, they can’t bully me.”

http://go.uen.org/40I

 

 


 

 

 

Schools on U.S. military installations raising standards, tracking students beyond high school System seeks to ease transitions, improve results for students who move often Hechinger Report

 

QUANTICO, Va. — Stephen Call, who graduated this month from Quantico Middle/High School on the U.S. Marine Corps base in Virginia, had a decision to make last December. His mother, a master sergeant specializing in communications, received orders to move to Miramar, California. If he went with her, Call would have to change schools for the sixth time in 12 years.

Quantico’s small campus, which is part of the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) school system, offered Call a wealth of opportunities that not only burnished his college applications but were also preparing him to thrive once he got there: He was commanding officer of the school’s JROTC unit and president of the Model United Nations club, and earned a spot in the National Honor Society.

“I’ve moved around a lot,” Call says. “I wanted to try staying in one spot.” His mother agreed to let him move in with the family of a close friend and finish out his senior year on his own.

Nearly 1.2 million U.S. children have at least one parent in the armed forces and they move around often, switching schools an average of six times between kindergarten and high school.

Being uprooted is part of the deal for military families, whose children move an average of six times between kindergarten and high school. DoDEA (pronounced “doe-dee-ah”) is in the midst of a massive overhaul of its academic programs, a shift its leaders hope will both raise standards for students and ease some of the academic upheaval that can come with frequently changing schools. And, like many traditional public school districts across the country, DoDEA is asking itself a tough question: How do we know if our students are actually being prepared for college and careers?

Thus far, DoDEA hasn’t been able to collect much data on its students’ long-term outcomes beyond asking high school seniors to share their plans for life after graduation.

That’s starting to change.

http://go.uen.org/41e

 

 


 

 

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan Announces Recipients of 2015 President’s Education Awards Program Nearly 3 Million Hard Working, Dedicated Students from more than 30,000 Schools Honored U.S. Department of Education

 

The U.S. Department of Education today announced the 2015 President’s Education Awards Program (PEAP) recipients, honoring nearly three million students from more than 30,000 public, private and military schools from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.

Each year K-12 students from across the country are eligible to receive individual recognition from President Barack Obama and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for their educational excellence and academic growth in the classroom. The award includes a congratulatory letter and certificate signed by the President, the Secretary and the school principal.

http://go.uen.org/414

 

 


 

 

 

Family instability, stress tied to mental function for poor children Reuters

 

In a new study of low-income children in the U.S., those with more family instability and an emotionally unavailable mother early in life also had higher levels of a stress hormone and more learning delays.

The research ties specific patterns of the hormone cortisol, released into the bloodstream in times of stress, with cognitive abilities for children in poverty.

Insensitive parenting and family instability were the strongest predictors of children’s cortisol profiles, even stronger than other factors like interpartner violence, said lead author Jennifer H. Suor, a doctoral student in clinical psychology at the University of Rochester.

“Extensive research has shown that many low-income children face a variety of social stressors, such as chaotic and unpredictable family environments and problematic parenting practices as economic hardship is known to place considerable burden on the family system,” Suor told Reuters Health by email.

http://go.uen.org/419

 

 


 

 

Lying children make better thinkers, research finds It takes a lot of thought and memory skills to keep track of lies, psychologists at the University of Sheffield found

(London) Telegraph

 

Parents who worry that their children are lying to them should not be too concerned, because it shows they have excellent memories and thinking skills, researchers have found.

Psychologists at the University of Sheffield who tested 135 children found that those who lied did far better on a trivia test than their honest peers.

They believe it is because it takes a lot of thought and memory skills to keep track of lies told so that they do not slip up and give the game away.

“While parents are usually not too proud when their kids lie, they can at least be pleased to discover that when their children are lying well, it means their children are becoming better at thinking and have good memory skills,” said Dr Elena Hoicka, from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Psychology, said

“We already know that adults lie in approximately a fifth of their social exchanges lasting 10 or more minutes, so it’s interesting to know why some children are able to tell more porkies than others. We’ll now be looking to move the research forward to discover more about how children first learn to lie.”

http://go.uen.org/417

 

http://go.uen.org/418 (CBS)

 

 

 

 

 

————————————————————

CALENDAR

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USOE Calendar

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

 

 

UEN News

http://www.uen.org

 

 

June 23:

Legislative Management Committee Audit Subcommittee meeting

9 a.m., 250 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2015/html/00002781.htm

 

 

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

 

Retirement and Independent Entities Interim Committee meeting

1 p.m., 30 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2015/html/00002692.htm

 

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

 

 

July 14:

Charter School Funding Task Force

8 a.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2015/html/00003031.htm

 

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

2 p.m., 445 State Capitol

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

 

 

July 15:

Education Interim Committee meeting

9 a.m., 30 House Building

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

 

 

August 6-7:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

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