Education News Roundup: July 9, 2015

Photo by Kim Manley Ort/CC/flickr

Photo by Kim Manley Ort/CC/flickr

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:


NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia discusses NCLB while in Utah. (UP)

and (DN)

and (OSE)


The House, by the way, narrowly passed its version of an NCLB rewrite with Utah’s delegation voting unanimously in favor of it. The Senate version is still being debated. (NYT)

and (WaPo)

and (CSM)

and (Ed Week)

and (Politico)

and (AP)

or the House votes (AP)


Cache Board looks at compensation. (LHJ)


Salt Lake Chamber discusses education as a means to keep a competitive edge. (UP)


Budgets and testing were common themes in state house education debates this year. (Ed Week)


Student fights and threats are declining in U.S. (and Utah, too) schools, according to a report released today. (Ed Week)

or a copy of the report (NCES)


New NAEP study looks at what states mean by “proficiency” in math and reading. (WaPo)

and (Ed Week)

or a copy of the report (NAEP)


The NAEP study, by the way, is predicated on 2013 tests. To see what’s happened with 2014 tests, check out this report, which came out in May.


Don’t smoke. Stay in school. Live forever. “CU study finds that lack of education is as deadly as smoking” (Denver Post)

or a copy of the study (PLOS One)












NEA President Calls NCLB ‘Unmitigated Disaster’


Compensation changes coming to Cache County School District


Southwest Educational Development Center receives grant


Thousands graduate from Utah state-funded preschool program


Utah County reading programs saving the summer day


New law broadens awareness of teacher misconduct


Former Utah teacher Brianne Altice to be sentenced for sexual contact with students


City Council amends beer ordinance, eases traffic near CVHS


SLC high schools install turf fields, raising questions about safety Prep sports » While the new turf is a cost-effective alternative to grass, critics say it poses health risks.


New 9th grade athletic policy yet to have impact








Lesson Learned: Boost Educational Achievement to Ensure A Competitive Advantage


Why We Fail to Address the Achievement Gap


Arne Duncan’s Legacy


Rural innovators in education: How can we build on what they are doing?


Advocates for arts education may be doing more harm than good


The K-12 Binary

Schools are becoming ground zero for clashes over transgender rights.







Lawmakers Move to Limit Government’s Role in Education


Budgets, Testing Commanded State Lawmakers’ Attention


Student Fights, Fear of Harm at School Have Declined, Newest Federal Data Show


U.S. High Schools Embrace Shooting as Hot New Sport


What do students need to know to be “proficient” in reading and math? It depends on where they live.


Oklahoma PTA Considering A Boycott Of State Mandated Tests


Anti-Common Core group launching ballot question campaign


How Standardized Tests Are Scored (Hint: Humans Are Involved)


Federal court turns down teacher union appeal in evaluation lawsuit


Wisconsin schools chief urges Scott Walker to veto education measures


First Lady Addresses Inaugural Native American Youth Summit


The Philanthropist Who Built Over 5,000 Schools for Black Students in the Jim Crow South You probably know a few prominent African Americans who attended Julius Rosenwald’s schools, including Maya Angelou and U.S. Rep. John Lewis.


University of Colorado study links education to lower mortality rates CU study finds that lack of education is as deadly as smoking


Three Ways the Feds Hope to Boost Participation in Summer Meal Programs


Shot down: State board opts against year-round coaching The state board of education doesn’t vote on a proposal that would have allowed year-round coaching for high schools in the state


Italy’s Renzi gets final approval for contested schools reform










NEA President Calls NCLB ‘Unmitigated Disaster’


National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia hopes Congress can get rid of the high-stakes testing that she says has crippled the American education system.

She says the culture of testing established under “No Child Left Behind” has been an “unmitigated disaster.”

“Ask any public school teacher how ‘no child left untested’ has affected their ability to teach the whole child,” she says. “We no longer care about things like the arts and critical thinking.”

The NEA President, formerly a teacher in the Granite School District, was recently back in Utah for a national education conference. (UP) (DN) (OSE)





Compensation changes coming to Cache County School District


The Cache County School District Board of Education will be voting on compensation changes during their meeting tonight, looking at retirement issues and a cost-of-living salary increase for the district’s business administrator and superintendent.

The board met Tuesday for a study session to discuss the changes but will wait until their regular meeting tonight to vote.

The first change affects the board itself. (LHJ)






Southwest Educational Development Center receives grant


SOUTHERN UTAH – Southwest Educational Development Center is pleased to receive a grant from the State of Utah Department of Workforce Services, Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership called CyberCorps for the teachers and students in our southwest area high schools.

The grant is received in conjunction with Southwest Applied Technology College, Utah State Office of Education, Utah Education Network, Cache Valley Electric, Mountain West Computers, South Central Communications, CompuNet, and six school districts (Millard, Garfield, Kane, Beaver, Washington and Iron).

The grant will provide opportunities for high school students with an interest in Informational Technology and help give them a jump start into the job market. For more information about this program, contact your local school district. (Iron County Today)





Thousands graduate from Utah state-funded preschool program


Parents, grandparents, siblings and friends gathered Wednesday in Orem to celebrate their young loved ones’ completion of the free preschool program UPSTART. They join thousands around the state in final assessment evaluations and graduation programs that will continue throughout the month.

UPSTART is a computer-based program that features educational activities in math and science with an emphasis in reading. Children use it for 15 minutes a day, five days a week and can practice early literacy skills at their own pace.

Nearly 15 percent of Utah’s preschoolers participated in UPSTART this year. (PDH)





Utah County reading programs saving the summer day


It’s no secret that students struggle if they return to school after a long and uneventful summer. According to the National Summer Learning Loss Association, many students lose months of grade level equivalency in math skills and test lower on standardized tests after summer break than they did before.

In order to combat summer learning loss, parents can involve their children in summer camps and take them on trips to museums, parks and libraries. This year, many local libraries have adopted the national Collaborative Summer Library Program theme “Every Hero Has a Story.” The reading program is designed to help children develop early language skills, motivate teens to read and discuss literature and encourage adults to enjoy the experience of reading. Ultimately, it aims to make the library a community destination for families during the summer months.

Utah County has multiple libraries, from small community hubs to large university learning centers. Many host summer programs, including reading incentives, storytimes, science experiments and craft days. According to each library staff member featured in the following five articles, it’s not too late to join in the fun. (PDH)






New law broadens awareness of teacher misconduct


SALT LAKE CITY — A former Davis High teacher is scheduled to hear her fate Thursday for engaging in sexual conduct with three of her students.

So far this year, the State Office of Education is investigating three additional cases that involve a teacher’s sexual misconduct with a student, and a new Utah law is broadening awareness. (KSL)





Former Utah teacher Brianne Altice to be sentenced for sexual contact with students


A former Utah high school English teacher who pleaded guilty to having sexual contact with three male students is set to be sentenced Thursday.

Prosecutors say one of the boys was 16 and two were 17 when Brianne Altice had sexual contact with them, and the 36-year-old woman continued one relationship after her 2013 arrest.

Altice cried as she pleaded guilty to three counts of forcible sexual abuse in April.

She faces up to 15 years in prison on each count, though she sent a handwritten letter to the judge asking for a more lenient sentence. (SLT) (PDH) (KUTV) (KSL) (AP)





City Council amends beer ordinance, eases traffic near CVHS


A proposal to ease traffic near Canyon View High and Middle schools passed on the condition that the Iron County School District pay for the materials needed.

The ordinance will eliminate street parking on 1925 North up to the west entrance of the high school to make room for a second left hand turn lane onto Main Street.

This is one of the city’s most congested streets during the time school lets out, officials said. (SGS)




SLC high schools install turf fields, raising questions about safety Prep sports » While the new turf is a cost-effective alternative to grass, critics say it poses health risks.


Have you ever watched a football or soccer game on TV and seen those little black balls splash up from the field when a player runs or slides? They are tiny little pieces of recycled tires, called crumb rubber, which are used as infill on artificial-turf fields.

They replicate the look and feel of a real grass field while offering a durability that makes them cost-effective relative to the upkeep necessary to maintain actual grass. Meanwhile, they also provide cushion and stability, helping to prevent concussions that were so prevalent on old, concrete-like AstroTurf fields.

Such benefits prompted the Salt Lake City School District to install multipurpose turf fields at West, East and Highland high schools in Salt Lake City, to be used for football, soccer and physical education.

But they also have their detractors.

Critics argue the use of crumb rubber has side effects as relatively benign as increases in knee injuries and skin infections, and as serious as causing cancer. Such concerns have led to the substance being banned in several states. (SLT)






New 9th grade athletic policy yet to have impact


Fremont High football coach Kory Bosgieter remembers one freshman interested in playing football for him a year ago.

This year – again, just one.

Such an observation might come as surprising to some given the Weber School District’s recent policy change to allow as many ninth graders who want to try and play up the opportunity to do so (previously freshmen participation was limited to three athletes for football and two for all other sports), but not to Bosgieter.

“We’re a little different in football,” Bosgieter said. “That year makes a big difference in a kid’s physical development. Some kids, they’re not ready to come up and play sophomore ball yet. They’re physically not that big yet. I don’t anticipate it being any different than what it’s been.”

Bosgieter’s observation of the impact of the new policy seems to be the same at other schools inside the school district as well. (OSE)









Lesson Learned: Boost Educational Achievement to Ensure A Competitive Advantage Utah Policy op-ed by Salt Lake Chamber


It’s no secret that Utah is among the best states for business. Again and again, Utah has been recognized because of our thriving economy, strong job growth and excellent fiscal management.

Recently, in fact, CNBC ranked Utah as the #3 state for business. (See Governor Herbert’s blog post for CNBC’s America’s Top States for Business.) The report stated, “the economy is abuzz in the Beehive State—the strongest in the nation. But weakness in education hurts the state’s workers.”

Much of our economic success is due to having a high quality workforce.

Make no mistake though; future economic success is put in peril when our education system fails to prepare students for the marketplace of tomorrow. Forward-thinking business leaders have recognized this, and, to address this problem, have developed Prosperity through Education, a plan to move Utah to rank in the top ten among state outcomes in education; emphasizing improved outcomes in reading, math, high school graduation rates and increasing postsecondary certificates and degrees.

Improved outcomes in these areas will allow more individuals to not only reach their potential, but will also provide a workforce that will drive Utah’s continued success.

Currently, the Utah State Office of Education, Utah System of Higher Education and Utah Colleges of Applied Technology are developing strategic plans to ensure investments in educational support for students and the future well being of our state. They are working with elected officials to build on consensus goals articulated in Prosperity through Educationand by recent work from the Utah Foundation.






Why We Fail to Address the Achievement Gap Education Week op-ed by Paul Reville, Francis Keppel professor of practice of policy and administration at the Harvard Graduate School of Education


It’s a typical night: My wife gets off the phone, having just talked with a neighbor about helping her son find a summer job in the major medical center where she works. I’m on my computer writing a college-recommendation letter for the daughter of some other friends. I interrupt to ask my wife to call a doctor acquaintance to get some advice for my daughter, who’s suffering from a relatively minor medical problem.

After that, we have dinner, during which we discuss how to help another young friend, a recent college graduate, either find a job or gain admission to a local graduate school program. Before we go to bed, we go online to order some accessories for my daughter’s horseback-riding program. We review her summer-camp schedule to make sure all her open weeks are filled with camp, vacation, or horseback riding.

This is social capital at work, and in the cases described above, the benefits of this working capital are typically and regularly accruing to other advantaged youngsters who, like my daughter, profit not only from the assets of affluence (camp, lessons, summer travel, and so forth), but from the contacts and influence of their parents and their parents’ friends. As is the case with financial capital, the rich get richer. If we were providing such services to disadvantaged youngsters, we would dub this activity “wraparound services.” It would be thought of as “an extra,” not an essential part of a child’s education or development.

However, this kind of constant attention and support for children is what enables the upper classes to consistently advantage their children in the competition for school and college success, good jobs, and wealth. We know how to get kids college- and career-ready.

The upper classes have long known how to replicate success and thereby reinforce the existing social order. We provide our children with wraparound services and support from the prenatal period often until they are well into their 30s. And for the most part, this works. They become successful.

With poor kids, we apparently figure we can save a lot of money by taking shortcuts, poverty bypasses to success. Who are we kidding?






Arne Duncan’s Legacy

Huffington Post commentary by Diane Ravitch, Research Professor of Education, New York University


Lyndsey Layton of the Washington Post has written a sympathetic article about Arne Duncan and the waning of his powers as Secretary of Education. He is a nice guy. He is a close friend of the president. He cares about individual children that he met along the way. The pending reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act will prohibit him and future Secretaries from interfering in state decisions about standards, curriculum and assessment. His family has already moved back to Chicago. But he will stay on the job to the very end.

When Obama was elected, many educators and parents thought that Obama would bring a new vision of the federal role in education, one that freed schools from the test-and-punish mindset of George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind. But Arne Duncan and Barack Obama had a vision no different from George W. Bush and doubled down on the importance of testing, while encouraging privatization and undermining the teaching profession with a $50 million grant to Teach for America to place more novice teachers in high-needs schools. Duncan never said a bad word about charters, no matter how many scandals and frauds were revealed.





Rural innovators in education: How can we build on what they are doing?

Fordham Institute commentary by research intern Jane Song


When thinking about innovation in America, our thoughts typically turn to tech-driven creative capitals like New York City and San Francisco. Yet this report from the Rural Opportunities Consortium, which argues that rural education is primed for innovation, demonstrates that change can also be bred outside of cities.

Author Terry Ryan, president of the Idaho Charter School Network and a former member of the Thomas B. Fordham team, focuses on three main advancements that rural schools have adopted: expanding school choice through charter schools, introducing new online technologies, and increasing collaboration between charter schools and local districts. All three give rural schools and districts greater autonomy and freedom to experiment with new programs and concepts.





Advocates for arts education may be doing more harm than good Hechinger Report commentary by JOHN BARE, vice president of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation


Who’s the Grinch who stole arts education?

While the nation’s education crisis is stuck on spin cycle, time and again we hear stories of the curative power of arts education. Yet, without explanation, there persists a disconnect between the allure of arts education and our support for it.

The latest heart-tugging case for arts education comes from three documentary films. Crescendo: the power of music follows Philadelphia and Harlem students through intensive classical music programs. Spiral Bound tracks Charlotte students fighting for public funding for arts programming. In a third film, Some Kind of Spark, we meet five students in a Saturday music program run by the famed Julliard School.

While the films feature a handful of kids, advocacy groups point to sweeping benefits from arts education.

Americans for the Arts outlines how arts “boost learning and achievement for students.” Then Top 10 lists present screaming headlines such as: “that arts education can help rewire the brain in positive ways.”

So if there were an education stock market, we would be bullish on arts education.

Except that we’re not.

As a 2011 report from the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities explains, arts education has been in trouble for more than 20 years:

“There is growing consensus, and increasing data, about the potential for arts in schools to be a force for positive change in this transformation. Yet, paradoxically, the nation’s public schools are on a downward trend in terms of providing students meaningful access to the arts.”

So if arts education really is as holy as motherhood, baseball and apple pie, who stole it from us?






The K-12 Binary

Schools are becoming ground zero for clashes over transgender rights.

Atlantic commentary by columnist ALIA WONG


Casey Hoke would spend an average of two minutes out of his seven-hour school day in the restroom. “That’s it. Business as usual. No one bats an eye,” Hoke wrote in January, back when he was a high-school senior in Louisville, Kentucky. “How we go about our business is none of yours.”

By “we,” Hoke was referring to transgender students. He was primarily addressing Kentucky’s legislature, which at the time was considering a bill that would’ve cracked down on transgender students’ use of K-12 bathrooms. The legislation would’ve legally required schools to ensure that children follow anatomical conventions when using gender-segregated school facilities: that children who were born boys but identify as girls use the boys’ restroom, and vice versa. What Hoke found particularly egregious about the “Kentucky Student Privacy Act” was that, in its original version, the legislation also would’ve entitled students who sued offenders in state court to damages of $2,500 each. Hoke compared this proposed system to a witch hunt.

The legislation died in committee well before the session ended, with the bill’s author, the Senator C.B. Embry, withdrawing it amid concerns over its legality. But such debates will surely continue—and not only because of the global fascination with Bruce-turned-Caitlyn Jenner. Bills similar to the one in Kentucky were introduced and later died in states including Florida, Minnesota, Nevada, and Texas.

Meanwhile, controversies related to transgender youth regularly pop up at individual schools and districts across the country.










Lawmakers Move to Limit Government’s Role in Education New York Times


WASHINGTON — Congress on Wednesday moved to substantially scale back the federal government’s role in education, particularly the use of high­stakes standardized testing to punish schools, in the first significant proposed revisions since the No Child Left Behind law was passed 14 years ago.

While there is near­universal agreement that the law should be retooled, the paths to change are starkly different.

The House on Wednesday passed its version, a measure laden with conservative prescriptions that congressional Democrats and President Obama opposed. The Senate began debate on its alternative, a bill with at least some bipartisan support, but one the White House still finds wanting.

No Child Left Behind, which passed Congress by overwhelming margins, had been considered one of the signature domestic achievements of President George W. Bush. But its provisions for using standardized tests has ignited debate ever since. (WaPo) (CSM) (Ed Week) (Politico) (AP)


House votes (AP)






Budgets, Testing Commanded State Lawmakers’ Attention Education Week


State legislatures began their sessions this year as they did in 2011, on the heels of a year heavy on state elections—and victories by Republicans.

But for the most part, their recent K-12 action hasn’t set off shock waves the way Wisconsin lawmakers did four years ago when they and GOP Gov. Scott Walker curtailed collective bargaining for public school teachers and most other public employees.

Instead, legislatures continued to rebuild and revamp their K-12 budgets during a modest economic recovery, at the same time they re-examined how to deliver educational services and assess students’ performance.

As of early July, roughly 40 states had or were due to have adjourned their legislative sessions this year. Thirty legislatures are controlled by Republicans, compared with 11 controlled by Democrats and eight with divided power. One is nonpartisan.

Overall, the Common Core State Standards fared well despite ongoing political controversy, with no state voting to repeal them. However, federally funded tests that go along with those standards did less well.






Student Fights, Fear of Harm at School Have Declined, Newest Federal Data Show Education Week


A new collection of federal data on school safety and climate released today shows several positive trends.

Fewer high school students reported being in physical fights on school grounds, fewer teens reported victimization at school, and fewer students reported carrying weapons at school, according to various federal data sources included in the annual Indicators of School Crime and Safety report, produced by the National Center for Education Statistics and the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

In addition, the percentage of students who reported being “afraid of attack or harm at school or on the way to and from school” dropped from 12 percent in 1995 to 3 percent in 2013, said the report, which also covers indicators we’ve previously reported on issues like bullying, drugs, and school safety measures.


A copy of the report (NCES)






U.S. High Schools Embrace Shooting as Hot New Sport Bloomberg


The giddy 13-year-old boys oohed and aahed as they stared down the black shotgun barrels and aimed at clay targets they imagined whizzing through the air.

“You guys are welcome to test any of these out,” said Dusty Minke, a sales agent for Browning, as the teens elbowed each other for spots at his kiosk. “We’ve actually had a couple of kids who did so good on the test range that they were like, ‘Can I use this for my rounds?’ We let ‘em, and their scores went up — and they’ll hopefully go and buy one.”

It was day six of the Minnesota State High School Clay Target League championship, the world’s biggest shooting-sport event. Minke could see potential customers in every direction, kids as young as 11 who’d tumbled out of their parents’ cars in camouflage T-shirts beginning at 7 a.m.

In 2009, the contest’s first year, it drew 30 shooters. In June there were 5,134, more than 20,000 spectators and sponsors including Benelli Armi SpA and SKB Shotguns. Trap shooting is the fastest-growing sport in Minnesota high schools, and was recently introduced in neighboring Wisconsin and North Dakota. While it may make anti-gun activists uneasy, it’s a boon for manufacturers and retailers that have stoked its growth.

Trap shooting is the fastest-growing sport in Minnesota high schools





What do students need to know to be “proficient” in reading and math? It depends on where they live.

Washington Post


No Child Left Behind, the much-maligned 2002 federal education law, required schools to ensure that all students were proficient in math and reading by 2014.

But what does “proficient” mean? It depends on where you live.

A new federal report released Thursday found a huge variation in how states defined “proficiency” on their 2013 standardized tests. In states with the lowest expectations, “proficiency” was three to four grade levels below proficiency in states with the highest expectations.

That means that fourth-grade expectations in one state could be equivalent to seventh- or eighth-grade expectations in another, said Gary Phillips, a vice president for the American Institutes of Research.

“States are setting wildly different standards and most states are setting very low standards,” Phillips said.

Most states have switched tests since 2013, and this spring they began taking exams aligned to the Common Core State Standards. As the Common Core and its tests have become political lightning rods, Core proponents have often pointed to the wide variability of individual state standards as a reason common expectations are needed.

The new report from the National Center for Educational Statistics compares students’ performance on their own state tests in 2013 to their performance on the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Performance, or NAEP, the only national exam that allows an apples-to-apples comparison of student achievement across state lines. (Ed Week)


A copy of the report (NAEP)






Oklahoma PTA Considering A Boycott Of State Mandated Tests Tulsa (OK) KOTV


STILLWATER, Oklahoma – The Oklahoma PTA is considering taking some drastic action when it comes to state testing.

The group is looking into calling on all parents statewide to boycott all non-federally mandated tests. The statewide president said this is in direct response to parents who say they have had enough when it comes to all those standardized tests.






Anti-Common Core group launching ballot question campaign Worcester (MA) Telegram & Gazette


Anti-Common Core advocates with ties to Central Massachusetts have announced they’re starting an initiative ballot question campaign to throw out the federal educational standards the state incorporated five years ago.

Worcester resident Donna Colorio, founder and leader of the Common Core Forum advocacy group, said in a press release Wednesday she will be chairwoman of the End Common Core Massachusetts ballot question effort. Supporters hope to put the question to voters in next year’s general election. Their ultimate goal is to return to the state’s standards prior to adopting the Common Core in 2010.

“I think voters should have a choice in whether to continue with these untested educational standards,” Ms. Colorio, a former member of the Worcester School Committee and candidate for the board this year, said in a statement. “Our ballot question’s goal is to give the people of Massachusetts a voice in that educational decision.”

According to the press release, state lawmakers Rep. Donald R. Berthiaume, Jr., a Republican from Spencer, and Sen. Ryan Fattman, a Republican from Webster, as well as Sandra Stotsky, the former senior associate commissioner for the state’s education department, have also lent their support to the ballot question campaign.






How Standardized Tests Are Scored (Hint: Humans Are Involved) NPR All Things Considered


Standardized tests tied to the Common Core are under fire in lots of places for lots of reasons. But who makes them and how they’re scored is a mystery.

For a peek behind the curtain, I traveled to the home of the nation’s largest test-scoring facility: San Antonio.

The facility is one of Pearson’s — the British-owned company that dominates the testing industry in the U.S. and is one of the largest publishing houses behind these mysterious standardized tests.

The company scores its test results in 21 centers across the country. The one in San Antonio is the largest.

The building is located in an office park right off a long stretch of highway northeast of the city.

Inside the cavernous 58,000-square-foot space, folding tables connected end to end fill the room. About 100 scorers from all walks of life work in silence, two per table.






Federal court turns down teacher union appeal in evaluation lawsuit Orlando (FL) Sentinel


Florida’s teachers union has lost another battle in its effort to get a court to declare the state’s teacher evaluation system unconstitutional. The U.S. Court of Appeals in Atlanta today affirmed a lower court ruling that said the system, while possibly unfair, didn’t violate the U.S. Constitution.

“We’re disappointed that the court did not agree that Florida’s flawed evaluation system violated these teachers’ constitutional rights,” said Andy Ford, president of the Florida Education Association, in a prepared statement.

Ford said the union had not decided whether to pursue some further action. (Ed Week)


A copy of the ruling (11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals)






Wisconsin schools chief urges Scott Walker to veto education measures Milwaukee (WI) Journal Sentinel


With the two-year $72.7 billion state budget on its way to Gov. Scott Walker for approval, State Superintendent Tony Evers is urging the governor to veto more than 20 educational measures contained inside it.

Many are policy items the state’s leading Republicans slipped into the proposal with no public debate, such as allowing the Milwaukee County executive to take over failing schools in Milwaukee, creating a special needs voucher program and requiring all students to pass a civics test to graduate.

The policies, Evers wrote in a 14-page memo to Walker’s office, “are just bad for children in public schools.” Others, Evers notes, violate the state constitutional powers of his office.





First Lady Addresses Inaugural Native American Youth Summit Associated Press


WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama on Thursday told hundreds of Native American youths that they are all precious and sacred and that “each of you was put on this earth for a reason.”

“Each of you has something that you’re destined to do, whether that’s raising a beautiful family, whether that’s succeeding in a profession,” the first lady said in a sometimes emotional address at a first-time summit called by the White House. “You all have a role to play and we need you.”

The event was part of Generation Indigenous, or Gen-I, a White House initiative that grew from President Barack Obama and Mrs. Obama’s visit last year to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, which straddles the border between North Dakota and South Dakota. Meetings followed, Cabinet members held listening tours, tribal youth were chosen as ambassadors and a national network was formed.

The goal is to remove barriers that keep young people from reaching their potential.






The Philanthropist Who Built Over 5,000 Schools for Black Students in the Jim Crow South You probably know a few prominent African Americans who attended Julius Rosenwald’s schools, including Maya Angelou and U.S. Rep. John Lewis.

The Root


In the trailer for the documentary Rosenwald, civil rights activist and U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) describes the type of school he went to as a child.

“It was a little school a short distance from my home—walking distance. Beautiful little building. It was a Rosenwald school. It was the only school we had,” Lewis said.

A Rosenwald school—named after Julius Rosenwald, a 20th-century Jewish philanthropist who made his fortune by co-founding the department store we refer to today as Sears.

The trailer, released exclusively by The Root, describes how Rosenwald was a relentless businessman but was also deeply inspired by the works and racial-equality teachings of Booker T. Washington. Or, more specifically, Washington’s emphasis on what a solid education could do for the racially disadvantaged in America. So much so that Rosenwald teamed up with Washington, and together they hatched a plan to build over 5,000 schools for black students in the Jim Crow South.

It was a pretty important endeavor, since segregation prohibited blacks from attending the all-white schools in many Southern states.





University of Colorado study links education to lower mortality rates CU study finds that lack of education is as deadly as smoking Denver Post


Lack of education might be as bad for your health as smoking, says a University of Colorado Denver study released Wednesday.

Researchers examined population data going back to 1925 to see how education levels affected mortality rates of more than a million people ages 25 to 85 in 2010. They found a direct link.

Education is a strong predictor of several contributing factors, including higher income, healthier behaviors and social and psychological well-being, the study says.

In the U.S., more than 10 percent of adults ages 25 to 34 don’t have a high school diploma and 28.5 percent have some college education but no bachelor’s degree.

Researchers determined that 145,243 deaths could have been prevented in 2010 if adults who hadn’t completed high school had gone on to earn a diploma or equivalent.

That’s comparable to the numbers of deaths avoided by smokers who quit, says study co-author Patrick Krueger, assistant professor at CU Denver’s Department of Health and Behavioral Sciences.


A copy of the study (PLOS One)





Three Ways the Feds Hope to Boost Participation in Summer Meal Programs Education Week


Nearly 22 million children eat free and reduced-price meals during the school year. Many of those children rely on school breakfasts, lunches, and even dinners to address a lack of adequate nutrition at home.

But only about one in six of those children participate in summer meal programs funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which are meant to address their hunger until school resumes.

Summer meal programs, hosted by schools and approved non-profit organizations, offer free meals to children in areas where 50 percent or more of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. In some cases, those meals are offered from trucks and buses that go into low-income neighborhoods where children may lack transportation to meals sites.

This year, the federal agency plans to continue encouraging more participation by both increasing the number of serving sites and by making families aware of the sites that already exist. The Obama administration hopes to see a total of 200 million summer meals served this summer. That’s 13 million meals more than last summer’s total. Here’s how they plan to do it:





Shot down: State board opts against year-round coaching The state board of education doesn’t vote on a proposal that would have allowed year-round coaching for high schools in the state (Morgantown, WV) Metro News


CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state board of education on Thursday killed a proposal from the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission that would have opened up coaching access for high schools around the state year-round.

Board member Beverly Kingery started off the meeting, before the vote, by reading a letter asking the board to reject the proposal in an effort to further study the best options for the state.

The board then made a motion and approved a list of other separate SSAC proposals, with the exception of the year-round coaching proposal that ultimately was passed on and didn’t even see a vote.






Italy’s Renzi gets final approval for contested schools reform Reuters


ROME | Italy’s parliament on Wednesday approved a fiercely contested reform of the country’s schools that Prime Minister Matteo Renzi says will invigorate the antiquated education system and help revive the economy.

Deputies passed the “Good School” reform by 277 votes to 173 in the 630-seat lower house, ending weeks of bitter debate. The upper house had already approved the legislation.

The bill boosts the powers of head teachers and will allow for pay increases based on merit rather than just seniority. It also provides tax breaks to private schools and will lead to the hiring of some 100,000 full-time teachers.









USOE Calendar



UEN News



July 9:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

9 a.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City


Utah State Board of Education Finance Committee meeting

6 p.m., 250 E. 500 South, Salt Lake City



July 14:

Charter School Funding Task Force

8 a.m., 445 State Capitol


Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

2 p.m., 445 State Capitol



July 15:

Education Interim Committee meeting

8:30 a.m., 30 House Building


Government Operations Interim Committee meeting

9:12 a.m., 20 House Building



August 6-7:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City


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