Education News Roundup: June 25, 2015

2015 Flag Day ceremony at the Utah State Office of Education.

2015 Flag Day ceremony at the Utah State Office of Education.

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

Charter school funding task force begins its work.

http://go.uen.org/42E (SLT)

and http://go.uen.org/42F (DN)

or information from the meeting (under “Meeting Materials”) http://go.uen.org/42G (Utah Legislature)

 

Utah, and Salt Lake County in particular, are looking more diverse.

http://go.uen.org/42H (SLT)

and http://go.uen.org/42J (DN)

or a copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/42I (Census)

 

OK … so stop ENR if you’ve heard this one before. Sen. Al Franken, D-MN, (and a former writer and cast member of Saturday Night Live) and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, co-sponsor a bill on education. No really. It’s happening.

http://go.uen.org/43n (PoliticalNewsMe)

or a copy of the bill

http://go.uen.org/43o (Congress.gov)

 

Nationally, House panel looks to make some cuts in the federal education budget.

http://go.uen.org/42O (AP)

and http://go.uen.org/42P (Ed Week)

 

Looks like debate on the Senate’s ESEA reauthorization will open up on July 7.

http://go.uen.org/43i (Ed Week)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Utah lawmakers turn their sights toward charter-school funding Education » Legislative task force to take a look at widely varying funding formulas.

 

Census: Minorities provide 66% of S.L. County growth in 2014 Diversity » Minorities provide 43 percent of statewide growth and account for 20.7 percent of total Utah population, census data show.

 

Provo School District breaks ground for two schools

 

Developer hopes to build 130 homes on old Granite High property

 

Science studies reach into space

 

Ogden camp goes to Mars, sort of

 

Educators hope U. engineering camp sparks girls’ interest

 

Teenage girl bullied relentlessly gets new ears

 

Bill Introduced to Help Children in Foster Care with Educational Stability Senators’ Measure Would Help Make Sure Foster Youth Can Have Best Possible School Environment

 

USU-Moab scholarship program grows

 

Jordan School District summer projects

 

Rotary Club awards Brent Thorne Service Above Self

 

Hurricane High School sends student to Girls Nation, another elected ‘governor’

 

Educator of the Week: Adena Campbell

 

Deseret News wins 31 regional journalism awards

 

4 ways to save for your child’s college education now

 

Dutch children learning about sex ed in kindergarten

 

 


 

 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Parents: Take back your schools Teachers: Take back your profession

 

Boondoggled

52 percent oppose the state takeover of public lands—but millions will be spent on it anyway

 

Words of encouragement

 

It’s Time To Set A Fair Price for Exploiting Federal Lands

 

Republicans Fear Victory for Health Care Could Pave Way for Education, Environment

 

 


 

 

 

NATION

 

House Panel OKs Cuts to Education, Boosts Medical Research

 

Senate Schedules Debate on Bipartisan ESEA Reauthorization

 

Schools ask for more flexibility in school lunch regs

 

Licensing Group Unveils Model Ethics Code for Educators

 

Survey: Student Success Calls for More Than Academic Skills Social-emotional skills matter

 

ACT Phases Out Compass Placement Tests

 

Work begins on paying parents for private school

 

Gaming the School System

How entertainment-software designers are emerging as unlikely forces behind education reform in America

 

A Recipe For Success With Two Student Groups That Often Struggle

 

Less mineral revenue means less Wyoming education funding

 

Scott Walker signs gun bills, explains sidestepping Confederate flag

 

New York City to offers free eye tests, glasses to older students

 

Therapy dogs boost confidence, help Westminster kids improve reading In partnership with national therapy animal training organizations, the Westminster Library is hosting a program that has kids

 

Report Finds Transgender Students In New York Face Harassment Despite a state law designed to protect them

 

Nearly 200 schools are named for Confederate leaders. Is it time to rename them?

 

California lawmakers vote to limit vaccine exemptions for school children

 

LePage accused of ‘blackmail’ after school reverses hiring of Rep. Mark Eves as president The Good Will-Hinckley board says it wanted to avoid ‘political controversy,’ but Eves says the governor threatened to cut state funding, an ‘abuse of power’ that may lead to a lawsuit.

 

 

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Utah lawmakers turn their sights toward charter-school funding Education » Legislative task force to take a look at widely varying funding formulas.

 

Charter schools are public, but a variety of accounting differences separate their budgeting practices from those at traditional schools.

For example, charter school students are weighted differently than district students for the purposes of per-pupil spending. A district student counts as one student, while a charter elementary school student and charter high school student count as nine-tenths and six-fifths of a student, respectively.

Utah lawmakers got a primer in the state’s hodgepodge of charter funding quirks at the first meeting of the Charter School Funding Task Force Wednesday. The group of lawmakers and state education managers was created during the most recent legislative session to examine and recommend changes to Utah’s tangled web of funding formulas.

Consider the way enrollment is calculated: School district numbers are based on average daily attendance. Charter enrollment is based on an annual October snapshot.

The different calculation method means that charter schools continue to receive state funds for students who transfer to another school after October.

But perhaps most confusing is Utah’s system of local replacement funding, in which school districts hand over one-fourth the cost of educating charter students within their boundaries.

The revenue sharing is a thorn in the side of school districts, leading to frequent calls for a new, statewide property tax to fund charter schools.

But many lawmakers resist that idea.

http://go.uen.org/42E (SLT)

 

http://go.uen.org/42F (DN)

 

Information from the meeting (under “Meeting Materials”) http://go.uen.org/42G (Utah Legislature)

 

 


 

 

 

Census: Minorities provide 66% of S.L. County growth in 2014 Diversity » Minorities provide 43 percent of statewide growth and account for 20.7 percent of total Utah population, census data show.

 

Minorities provided nearly two-thirds of Salt Lake County’s population growth last year. Statewide, they accounted for more than 40 percent of the increase.

That comes as Latinos, especially, continue their rapid growth in Utah, with almost all of it coming from births rather than immigration, according to new U.S. census estimates on race, age and gender released Thursday.

The data also show that while Utah still has the nation’s youngest median age, that is starting to rise quickly as the large baby-boom generation starts to reach senior-citizen age. Younger generations, such as millennials, now claim larger shares of the state’s population than boomers.

The racial and age shifts show that “Utah will be a very different place” for the rising generations, “very different than even the Utah of 1980,” said Pam Perlich, senior research economist at the University of Utah. “This means we need to retool our institutions to fit a new reality.”

http://go.uen.org/42H (SLT)

 

http://go.uen.org/42J (DN)

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/42I (Census)

 

 


 

 

 

Provo School District breaks ground for two schools

 

PROVO — The real work is beginning now as Provo City School District broke ground for two elementary schools Wednesday morning.

Rock Canyon on the city’s northeast side and Sunset View on the southwest are the first to start a rebuilding project under a $108 million bond approved by voters in November.

http://go.uen.org/438 (PDH)

 

 


 

 

 

Developer hopes to build 130 homes on old Granite High property

 

SOUTH SALT LAKE — There have been multiple failed proposals to revamp the closed Granite High School campus, but a proposal by Garbett Homes to build 130 houses there looks like it may become set in stone.

The old Granite High School building, 3305 S. 500 East, was closed by the Granite School District after the class of 2009 graduated. The closure was due to declining enrollment, high per-student costs and high costs of safety upgrades.

The property was determined to be a surplus by the school board in 2010 and the 26.85 acres of land was advertised for sale after the board’s decision, according to a Granite School District document.

http://go.uen.org/434 (DN)

 

 


 

 

 

Science studies reach into space

 

FARMINGTON – The sky is not the limit when it comes to elementary school science.

Students will have a chance to reach even higher by designing experiments that may one day be run from satellites.

“We are trying to let the kids start thinking about the experiments they can run in space,” said Tyson Grover, science supervisor for Davis School District. “There is a huge aeronautics industry in the state and we need to integrate more STEM learning. They need to see how what they learn in science actually applies to the real world, and use applied mathematics and modern technology to do problem solving through engineering.”

Grover is working with fifth and sixth grade classes in five elementary schools and older students from one junior high, to help them learn how to do computational thinking. He hopes the program will eventually expand to even younger classes.

http://go.uen.org/43m (DCC)

 

 


 

 

 

Ogden camp goes to Mars, sort of

 

OGDEN— The Mars rover had nothing on some junior high- and high school-aged boys as they built their own rovers that climbed large dirt piles at the Ogden-Weber Applied Technology Center.

About 30 students from the Ogden area participated in the OWATC’s manufacturing camp June 19. The students were put into teams of three or four and worked all week on an advanced rover. At the end of the week the boys explained their projects and then set to the hills to race their rovers.

http://go.uen.org/437 (OSE)

 

 


 

 

Educators hope U. engineering camp sparks girls’ interest

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Hundreds of high school-age girls are attending an engineering camp this summer at the University of Utah. It’s just one way to get more girls interested in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

The university’s HI-GEAR — or Girls Engineering Abilities Realized — camp is more than a decade old.

http://go.uen.org/435 (DN)

 

 


 

 

 

Teenage girl bullied relentlessly gets new ears

 

SALT LAKE CITY — In a perfect world, kids wouldn’t notice imperfections.

“I’d come home crying. I wouldn’t want to go out,” said Isabelle Stark, now 18. “There was nothing I could do. There was no way to hide it. No way to fix it.”

When Isabelle was little, her ears were “cute.” But when she hit junior high, the bullying was relentless.

“People would pull at my ears, and they would call me an elf,” she said. “They’d call me a mouse, an elephant. It was hard. I’d try to hide them.”

On Friday, Dr. Steven Mobley, a facial plastic surgeon, prepped her ears for corrective surgery.

http://go.uen.org/432 (DN)

 

http://go.uen.org/43d (KSL)

 

 


 

 

 

Bill Introduced to Help Children in Foster Care with Educational Stability Senators’ Measure Would Help Make Sure Foster Youth Can Have Best Possible School Environment

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. —U.S. Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) have introduced a key bipartisan measure to help give children living in foster homes the best opportunity to get a good education.

The legislation, called the Educational Stability of Foster Youth Act, would support students in the foster care system by strengthening connections between child welfare agencies and state and local education institutions. Often, schools may be the only familiar place for a child in foster care, and the Senators’ measure will help make sure that those kids can go to school in a safe, stable environment.

The Educational Stability of Foster Youth Act was also backed by Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah).

http://go.uen.org/43n (PoliticalNewsMe)

 

A copy of the bill

http://go.uen.org/43o (Congress.gov)

 

 


 

 

 

USU-Moab scholarship program grows

 

Canyonlands Jeep Adventures and Moab Brewery are two of the most recent businesses to join forces with Utah State University-Moab to help make a college education more affordable for local students.

Each business has created scholarship funds to provide opportunities for students to pursue a USU degree in their hometown.

http://go.uen.org/43q  (Moab Sun News)

 

 


 

 

 

Jordan School District summer projects

 

WEST JORDAN — Construction crews are busy working on several projects for the Jordan School District. It’s all part of the summer construction season.

http://go.uen.org/433 (DN)

 

 


 

 

 

Rotary Club awards Brent Thorne Service Above Self

 

Brent Thorne, retired superintendent of the Sevier School District and a member of the Richfield Rotary Club since 1992, was recently recognized with Rotary International’s District 5420 Service Above Self award. This prestigious award, given annually to only one of Utah’s more than 1,700 Rotarians, recognized Thorne’s exemplary service, dedicated Rotary leadership and devotion of the principles of Rotary in his day-to-day life.

http://go.uen.org/43s (SGS)

 

 


 

 

Hurricane High School sends student to Girls Nation, another elected ‘governor’

 

HURRICANE – For the first time in history, a student from Hurricane High School has made it to Girls Nation, the pinnacle of the American Legion Auxiliary Girls State program. Ellie McDonald, who will be a senior at the high school next year, will travel to Washington, D.C., July 25-Aug. 1 to participate in the program. Hurricane High School also had an excellent showing at “Boys State” with Thomas Christiansen being elected governor by write-in-ballot, the first time it has happened since during World War II.

http://go.uen.org/43b (SGN)

 

 


 

 

Educator of the Week: Adena Campbell

 

Adena Campbell was chosen as this week’s Educator of the Week. She teaches psychology, creative writing and English at Spanish Fork High School. Campbell shared the following response with the Daily Herald.

http://go.uen.org/439 (PDH)

 

 


 

 

 

Deseret News wins 31 regional journalism awards

 

SALT LAKE CITY — The Deseret News netted big wins in two prestigious regional journalism contests for outstanding reporting, photography, page design and digital publication.

Six Deseret News reporters were recognized in the Best of the West contest, competing against an estimated 1,000 entries from 14 states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

An additional 27 awards were won in the Top of the Rockies contest. Put on by the Colorado Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, the contest is open to journalists throughout SPJ’s            …

Specialized Reporting – Science, General Reporting: 2nd place, Jasen Lee, What a young girl can learn from Utah women about STEM education and careers

Specialized Reporting – Education, Enterprise Reporting: 2nd place, Eric Schulzke, Striking a chord: Program brings violin training, life skills to underprivileged classrooms http://go.uen.org/43t (DN)

 

 


 

 

 

4 ways to save for your child’s college education now

 

An education is one of the greatest gifts a child can receive, but the price tag for this gift is getting more expensive each year.

http://go.uen.org/436 (DN)

 

 


 

 

 

Dutch children learning about sex ed in kindergarten

 

SALT LAKE CITY – How young is too young to start teaching kids about sex? According to an online report, children in the Netherlands are starting sex education in kindergarten.

“We mentioned this on Good Things Utah today and it really turned into a bit of a talker in the office,” said Brian Carlson, Good Things Utah Announcer.

“Yes, I found this article about what the Dutch are doing in their sex education. They’re putting it in elementary schools. They’re starting at Kindergarten,” said Jessie Miller, Good Things Utah Co-Host.

“That seems so young,” said Carlson.

“I know. But when I looked deeper in the article I actually agree with what they’re doing… so one week out of the year every grade is learning a little more about their sexuality,” said Miller.

http://go.uen.org/43c (KTVX)

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Parents: Take back your schools Teachers: Take back your profession

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner op-ed by LYNN STODDARD, author of Educating for Human Greatness

 

Going against the 10th Amendment, the federal government started hijacking public education 35 years ago when Congress changed the Department of Education into a cabinet-level position. Even though President Ronald Reagan wanted to abolish the department, it became permanent when the department’s first secretary, Utah’s Ted Bell, appointed a commission to study our “ailing schools.” The commission’s report, “A Nation at Risk,” claimed “our schools are failing” to keep up with other advanced countries.

Following a long-established pattern of states specifying subject matter content, the commission recommended: “(a) 4 years of English; (b) 3 years of mathematics; (c) 3 years of science; (d) 3 years of social studies; and (e) one-half year of computer science for high school students. The commission also recommended that students work toward proficiency in a foreign language starting in the elementary grades.” The commission did not mention art, music, health, physical education, electronics, woodworking, mechanics, agriculture or many other subjects.

The next president, George H.W. Bush, called a “summit” of the nation’s governors at the University of Virginia to get serious about reform. Not to be outdone, President Bill Clinton later called another education summit and asked the governors to each bring a prominent business executive with them. Educators were not invited.

The hijacking continued when the second President Bush called another summit that created the “No Child Left Behind,” law which was intended to close the learning gap between whites and poor minorities. Now our current president, Barack Obama, has tightened federal control with a “Common Core Curriculum” that specifies what all students are required to know in literacy and math at each grade level.

http://go.uen.org/42K

 

 


 

 

 

Boondoggled

52 percent oppose the state takeover of public lands—but millions will be spent on it anyway Salt Lake City Weekly op-ed by Eric Ethington, journalist, activist and researcher

 

It’s been three years since Utah state Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, who heads the American Lands Council (ALC), convinced his fellow lawmakers to pass a bill forcing the U.S. government to turn over control of federal public lands to the state of Utah. The deadline for the turnover quietly passed in 2014, and the demand was denied. The state is now preparing to spend potentially millions of dollars in court trying to force the feds to give up public lands—but that effort is widely expected to fail as well.

Originally, the American Lands Council touted the public-lands takeover as necessary to allow for oil and gas drilling on those lands that would help fund public education. But over the past year, the ALC and its advocates have started to use environmental-conservation language, arguing that Utah, rather than the United States, would be much better suited to care for the environment.

http://go.uen.org/43r

 

 


 

 

Words of encouragement

(St. George) Spectrum letter from Mike Sawyer

 

At 62 years old, I just completed my second year as a full-time substitute teacher of grades Pre-K to 12 in a metro-Denver school with 12.6% Caucasian enrollment.

Last month, a sixth-grader surprised me with this note as she was leaving class. “Mr. Mike, I am really grateful for you to be our class subsitute (her spelling HS). You inspire me with your wonderful stories. If, I would to be able to pick a favorite subsitute (HS) it would be you. I like your soothing voice it makes me calm down and get inspire (HS). I admire how you don’t scream, you’re so patient (HS). I wish I could be as patient (HS) as you. There are not as many people in the world as you. I’m grateful that you exist! Thank you for being such a good person!”

http://go.uen.org/43a

 

 


 

 

 

It’s Time To Set A Fair Price for Exploiting Federal Lands Newsweek op-ed by NICOLE GENTILE, director of campaigns with the Public Lands Project at the Center for American Progress

 

When the federal government last changed its royalty rate for oil and gas production on America’s public lands, Standard Oil’s monopoly had only recently been broken, Ford’s Model A still had not rolled off the assembly line, the Teapot Dome scandal had yet to erupt and rock the U.S. Department of the Interior and the administration of President Warren G. Harding and the ’20s had just begun to roar.

In the 95 years since the Mineral Leasing Act first set the federal royalty rate for oil and gas at 12.5 percent, the federal government’s oil and gas revenue policies have remained firmly fixed in the past, while state governments and private landowners have, time and again, updated the terms for development on their lands.

As a result of the federal government’s failure to modernize its oil and gas program, U.S. taxpayers are losing out on more than $730 million in revenue every year. At the same time, oil and gas companies are stockpiling leases and sitting idle on the rights to drill on tens of millions of acres of public lands.

http://go.uen.org/43l

 

 


 

 

Republicans Fear Victory for Health Care Could Pave Way for Education, Environment New Yorker satire by ANDY BOROWITZ

 

WASHINGTON —The Supreme Court’s decision to preserve Obamacare subsidies has drawn sharp rebukes from Republican Presidential hopefuls, who warn that the victory for health care might eventually pave the way for similar advances in education and the environment.

“The Supreme Court has decided, apparently, that every American should have access to quality health care,” said Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas). “What if it decided to say the same thing about education? I don’t mean to be an alarmist but, after today, I believe that anything is possible.”

http://go.uen.org/43k

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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House Panel OKs Cuts to Education, Boosts Medical Research Associated Press

 

WASHINGTON — Republicans controlling the powerful House Appropriations panel Wednesday adopted a sweeping spending bill that seeks to protect popular programs like health research, drug treatment and AIDS prevention but slashes education grants and funding for family planning centers and community service programs.

The sprawling $153 billion measure, approved by a party-line vote, is at the center of a battle in Washington over how to respond to the return of automatic spending cuts known as sequestration. Republicans controlling Congress have moved to exempt the Pentagon from sequestration by using an accounting loophole to add almost $40 billion to its budget. Obama is demanding equal increases for domestic programs as a condition for signing any of the appropriations bills.

The GOP bill would provide almost $15 billion less than requested by President Barack Obama for the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education and cuts almost $4 billion from current levels.

http://go.uen.org/42O

 

http://go.uen.org/42P (Ed Week)

 

 


 

 

 

Senate Schedules Debate on Bipartisan ESEA Reauthorization Education Week

 

The U.S. Senate could begin debating a bipartisan bill that would overhaul the Elementary and Secondary Education Act on Tuesday, July 7.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., officially scheduled the bill for floor debate on Wednesday morning, just one day after 10 major education groups joined forces to demand senators prioritize the reauthorization, which had been languishing in the legislative queue for weeks.

The notice, which went out via email to senators, comes after weeks of speculation as to when—or even whether—the reauthorization would get to the floor after being overlooked by a series of other congressional priorities, most recently the Trade Promotion Authority.

http://go.uen.org/43i

 

 


 

 

Schools ask for more flexibility in school lunch regs (Washington, DC) The Hill

 

School districts were back before lawmakers Wednesday to ask for more flexibility in the first lady’s prized healthy school lunch regulations, which they say have made school lunches unappealing.

Though the regulations are well-intended, Rep. Todd Rokita (R-Ind.), chair of the House Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, said states and schools are struggling.

“While program costs, administrative burdens and food waste are piling up, portion sizes, food offerings and the number of students participating in the program are on the decline,” he said during a subcommittee hearing on how much it’s costing states and schools to comply with the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, which is set to expire on Sept. 30.

http://go.uen.org/42Q

 

 


 

 

 

Licensing Group Unveils Model Ethics Code for Educators Education Week

 

A newly released code of ethics for teachers could help provide some clarity across the mishmash of state rules.

The National Association of State Directors of Teacher Education and Certification last year convened a task force to draft the code, with support from the University of Phoenix, ETS, and the National Network of State Teachers of the Year. Now, you can read the final version.

Why the need for such a document? Well, NASDTEC notes that, unlike with other professions, every single state has its own measures for teacher misconduct. Usually they’re set in state code (in due process statutes, for example) or in other teacher standards. The hope is that a common framework will serve as a basis for standards of conduct to be “consistently and similarly established, adopted, and enforced, and that professional educators can internalize regardless of where they practice.”

http://go.uen.org/42X

 

A copy of the code

http://go.uen.org/42Y (NASDTEC)

 

 


 

 

 

Survey: Student Success Calls for More Than Academic Skills Social-emotional skills matter Education Week

 

A majority of educators responding to an Education Week Research Center poll said social-emotional learning is an effective way to improve student achievement, reduce discipline problems, and improve school climate. But there are some telling gaps in perception between teachers and administrators.

Of the responding administrators, 60.5 percent said more than half of their school’s students have strong social and emotional skills. Of responding teachers, 46.5 percent said the majority of students at their schools have such skills.

Administrators also had a rosier view of their school’s climate, student behavior, and engagement and motivation than teachers, the survey shows.

Leaders of districtwide social-emotional-learning initiatives say those gaps in perception are a major challenge to the success of such efforts.

http://go.uen.org/43h

 

 


 

 

ACT Phases Out Compass Placement Tests

Education Week

 

ACT has announced it will phase out using its Compass placement tests, citing declining use and research questioning their predictive value.

Officials from the Iowa City, Iowa-based testing company said 1.7 million students took the tests in 2014, down from 1.9 million in 2013, and 2.2 million in 2012. The decision to discontinue the test by Dec. 31, 2016, was based on an analysis of customer feedback, empirical evidence and postsecondary trends, according to Ed Colby, director of public relations for ACT.

“Our analysis indicates that current placement solutions such as ACT Compass are no longer helping our customers significantly improve student placement and retention,” ACT said in a statement. “As a result of changing market conditions, the numbers of students taking ACT Compass have declined over the past few years. These decreases—in social impact and usage—made it necessary to sunset ACT Compass so we can allocate our resources toward new and more advanced solutions that better serve our mission and our customers.”

Colby said in an email that the organization was in the process of evaluating alternatives to the Compass program, and that an update will be available to customers in the next several weeks.

http://go.uen.org/42T

 

http://go.uen.org/42U (Inside Higher Ed)

 

 


 

 

 

Work begins on paying parents for private school Reno (NV) Gazette-Journal

 

The State Treasurer’s Office has begun work on a new program that will pay Nevada parents $5,000 or more per child to leave public school and attend private school, according to an announcement Tuesday.

State Treasurer Dan Schwartz said he’s assigned five senior staff members to draft program guidelines and approval processes so that parents can start applying for the money in January 2016. The team will be headed by Treasurer’s Office Chief of Staff Grant Hewitt and Chief Deputy Treasurer Tara Hagan, including representatives from the governor’s office and Nevada Department of Education.

A new state law mandates creation of the controversial program that has attracted national attention, being called the most far-reaching school choice measure in American history. Nevada’s public school system also ranks among the worst in the nation, graduating three out of four students.

http://go.uen.org/431

 

 


 

 

 

Gaming the School System

How entertainment-software designers are emerging as unlikely forces behind education reform in America Atlantic

 

Paul Cross has a resume that many high-school students today would probably salivate over. When he was the lead designer at Criterion Games, he developed a series of high-speed racing games called Burnout. He also served as a consultant for the powerhouse game company Electronic Arts, helping it develop its first-person shooter game Medal of Honor. Now he’s the director of game design at Ubisoft Entertainment, the multinational video-game developer responsible for titles such as Assassin’s Creed, Just Dance, and Rocksmith—the hugely popular game he created that teaches players real songs on the electric guitar. To date, 3 million copies have been sold.

One credential Paul Cross doesn’t have, though, is a high-school diploma.

Sitting on a sleek white sofa in a tucked-away room at last week’s E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, he described his backstory as the room’s walls throbbed with the crescendoing beats from a new Ubisoft shooter game on display outside. Cross was 16 when he dropped out of his performing-arts school in England. “Traditional methods didn’t work for me,” he said. The school, he continued, failed to accommodate a glitch in his high-school trajectory when he moved with his family to Scotland for a year and then returned to England the following term. “The school didn’t have my course work [from Scotland], so in some subjects I was pretty far ahead, and in other subjects I was miles behind because I missed an entire chunk,” he said. By Cross’s account, the school wasn’t equipped to help catch him up on the parts he missed, and when he suggested doing more advanced work in math, in which he excelled, he was shut down. “‘Nope. Stop being difficult,’ was the reaction I got,” he said. “At that point school was kind of broken for me.”

Cross left school and started slinging burgers at Burger King. “I worked my bottom off, doing anything I could to get money to pursue my career in entertainment,” he said. Eventually he was hired as a gopher at a sports-entertainment company and managed to work his way up through the ranks. It was hard work—but that wasn’t a problem. Hard work had never been the problem. The problem, he explained, was the system.

Now, the system is asking for his help.

http://go.uen.org/43j

 

 


 

 

A Recipe For Success With Two Student Groups That Often Struggle NPR All Things Considered

 

In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Brimley is the kind of small town where the students of the month in the elementary school get full-page write-ups in the local newspaper.

There’s an Indian reservation just up the road, a couple bars, a gas station, a motel and that’s about it.

Brimley Elementary serves two groups that often struggle academically. Of the 300 students, more than half are Native American. Many come from low-income families.

You might be thinking at this point that this story is like so many of the education stories out there, about what’s just not working in schools. But Brimley Elementary is different.

At this school, American Indian students are outperforming other Natives in the state. The school as a whole performs above the statewide average for all schools, and on some tests, the low-income students are performing at the same level as kids from wealthier families.

So, how does Brimley do it? There are several theories out there. Here are a couple from some of the student themselves:

http://go.uen.org/43e

 

 


 

 

Less mineral revenue means less Wyoming education funding Associated Press via Casper (WY) Star Tribune

 

CHEYENNE — Wyoming lawmakers likely will face tough choices in coming years over how to fund the state’s K-12 educational system because of falling mineral revenue, legislative staffers warned Wednesday.

Don Richards, budget and fiscal manager for the state’s Legislative Service Office, said the school system faces a shortfall of nearly $580 million from mid-2016 through mid-2020, even after spending some reserve funds. The shortfalls are based on current projections that the state’s share of the total budget for K-12 education for those years will run about $900 million annually.

“You can see sizeable shortfalls for K-12 education in the next bienniums,” Richards told lawmakers at a briefing Wednesday in Cheyenne, referring to the state’s two-year funding cycle.

http://go.uen.org/42L

 

 


 

 

 

Scott Walker signs gun bills, explains sidestepping Confederate flag Milwaukee (WI) Journal Sentinel

 

As he signed two bills expanding gun rights Wednesday, Gov. Scott Walker said he initially declined to say whether South Carolina should take down a Confederate flag because that state’s governor had asked him to hold off on addressing the issue.

Walker took heat from opponents for signing the gun legislation so soon after the South Carolina shooting and doing it in Milwaukee, which has seen a spike in gun violence. The governor said the bills he signed, one of which ended a 48-hour waiting period for gun purchases, had nothing to do with the South Carolina shooting.

Over the weekend, Walker — who is preparing to launch a presidential bid — would not say whether South Carolina should remove the flag from its Capitol grounds. As 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney and other top Republicans said Saturday the flag should be removed, Walker said it was an issue for the state to decide and shouldn’t be debated until the nine who were killed in a church shooting last week had been mourned.

One of the measures Walker signed into law Wednesday at the Milwaukee County sheriff’s office removes the state’s 48-hour waiting period for handgun purchases. The other allows off-duty, retired or out-of-state law enforcement officers to carry concealed weapons at public schools.

http://go.uen.org/42V

 

http://go.uen.org/42W (WSJ)

 

 


 

 

New York City to offers free eye tests, glasses to older students Reuters

 

NEW YORK | More than 65,000 students in New York City’s poorest-performing public schools will have their vision screened and, if needed, get a free pair of eyeglasses, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday.

The new city partnership with Warby Parker, a New York-based company known for its online sales of fashion-conscious eyewear, aims to remove poor eyesight as a barrier to education, the Democratic mayor said in a news release.

It expands vision screenings beyond the usual elementary school years to include middle and high school students in all 130 Community Schools, which are among the city’s lowest-achieving schools, the mayor said. The schools offer both academic instruction and social services in an effort to help low-income students achieve a better education.

http://go.uen.org/42M

 

http://go.uen.org/42N (WSJ)

 

 


 

 

 

Therapy dogs boost confidence, help Westminster kids improve reading In partnership with national therapy animal training organizations, the Westminster Library is hosting a program that has kids Denver Post

 

WESTMINSTER — Listening to kids read is one of Gus’ favorite things to do.

Or so his owner says.

“Whenever he gets the therapy vest on, he knows it’s time to work and he gets so excited,” said Gus’ owner, Sally Phillips.

Gus, a black-and-white Portuguese water dog, is a certified therapy dog who stops by Westminster libraries to listen to kids read in private, 15-minute sessions as part of a summer program called Reading Education Assistance Dog.

Phillips said Gus received his therapy certification through the national organization Pet Partners and followed up with rigorous training through Utah-based Intermountain Therapy Animals, which focuses on how best to utilize dogs to help kids become confident readers.

http://go.uen.org/43p

 

 


 

 

Report Finds Transgender Students In New York Face Harassment Despite a state law designed to protect them Time

 

Eleven-year-old Casey just wants to be treated like any other girl her age. But at a public school in New York state, she’s not treated the same.

Because Casey is gender non-conforming — she’s not openly transgender but she lives and expresses herself as a girl — she is separated from other girls in her class.

“I have to use a separate bathroom and I’m not allowed to use the girls locker room for gym,” Casey said on a conference call hosted by the New York Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday. “For gym class, I have to use the nurse’s office to change clothes.”

She added, “it makes me feel like I’m a freak and I don’t belong.”

Casey’s story is one of several highlighted in a new report from the New York Civil Liberties Union titled “Dignity for All? Discrimination Against Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students in New York State.” The report finds students across the state face harassment, bullying and discrimination in school, despite the existence of a state policy enacted to protect youth from being ostracized and abused.

http://go.uen.org/42R

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/42S (NYCLU)

 

 


 

 

 

Nearly 200 schools are named for Confederate leaders. Is it time to rename them?

Washington Post

 

The backlash against public use of Confederate flags has built quickly since nine parishioners were gunned down inside a South Carolina church last week.

Alabama removed the flag from its state capitol grounds Wednesday, and political leaders in Virginia, Maryland, Tennessee and North Carolina have moved to remove Confederate flag symbols from their state license plates. Wal-Mart, Amazon, Sears and eBay all have said they will stop selling the Confederate battle flag, viewed by many people as a symbol of racism and slavery.

But what about the other symbols of the Confederacy that live on in our everyday lives? What, for example, about the dozens of elementary, middle and high schools that bear the names of prominent Confederate leaders?

There are at least 188 such public and public charter schools nationwide, according to an analysis of federal data published by the Web site Vocativ. Many, but not all, are in the South.

And already, there are calls to rename some of them.

http://go.uen.org/430

 

 


 

 

 

California lawmakers vote to limit vaccine exemptions for school children Reuters

 

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. | California lawmakers voted on Thursday to substantially limit vaccine exemptions for school children in the most populous U.S. state, an initiative prompted by last year’s measles outbreak at Disneyland that sickened more than 100 people.

California Republican lawmaker Melissa Melendez, who voted against the bill, said it passed by a vote of 46 to 30 in the state Assembly. The state Senate has already approved a version of the bill, which eliminates so-called personal belief exemptions.

The measure still allows children to attend school without vaccinations for medical reasons.

http://go.uen.org/43f

 

 


 

 

LePage accused of ‘blackmail’ after school reverses hiring of Rep. Mark Eves as president The Good Will-Hinckley board says it wanted to avoid ‘political controversy,’ but Eves says the governor threatened to cut state funding, an ‘abuse of power’ that may lead to a lawsuit.

Portland (ME) Press Herald

 

AUGUSTA — The board of Good Will-Hinckley School withdrew its job offer to House Speaker Mark Eves just days before he was to become the school’s new president, making the decision after Gov. Paul LePage apparently threatened to withhold state funding for the school.

The school said Wednesday that the board of directors had “voted to seek a new direction for the institution’s leadership” in order to avoid “political controversy.” But Eves’ attorney said the state legislator had been “terminated … without cause” and hinted at legal action against the governor.

Eves, meanwhile, released a statement accusing LePage of “blackmailing” the school for at-risk youths by threatening to cut $500,000 in state funding. He said that could potentially cause the loss of another $2 million in private funding for the school, which has an annual budget of $4.5 million.

“The governor knows that these financial losses would put the school out of business, but he has refused to back down,” said Eves, D-North Berwick. “This is an abuse of power that jeopardizes Maine children. The governor’s actions represent the worst kind of vendetta politics Maine has ever seen. If it goes unchecked, no legislator will feel safe in voting his conscience for fear that the governor will go after the legislator’s family and livelihood.”

http://go.uen.org/42Z

 

http://go.uen.org/43g (AP)

 

 

 

 

 

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CALENDAR

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USOE Calendar

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

 

 

UEN News

http://www.uen.org

 

 

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

8:30 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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