Education News Roundup: July 17, 2015

Students at Highland Park Elementary.

Students at Highland Park Elementary. Photo Courtesy of Deena Loyola

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:


D-News looks at the record payout to Utah schools from the School LAND Trust. (DN)


Senate passes its version of a successor to No Child Left Behind. Sen. Hatch voted yes, Sen. Lee voted no. (Ed Week)

and (NYT)

and (WaPo)

and (WSJ)

and (USAT)

and (Reuters)

and (AP)

or how each Senator voted (Senate)

or statement from Sen. Lee on his no vote. (Senate)


Ed Week tries to sort out what’s in NCLB, what’s in the waivers now being used, and what’s in the House and the Senate versions of the rewrite. (Ed Week)


The Journal offers some love for UEN’s science interactives. (THE Journal)


ENR pictures a tickertape parade through New York’s Canyon of Heroes: ‘US triumphs in ‘hardest ever’ maths Olympiad.’

Of course, ENR can sometimes be delusional on Fridays. ([Manchester] Guardian) and (WaPo)













Utah schools to receive biggest payout in endowment’s history


State School Board Hybrid Gains Traction


Senators offer rival bill on student data privacy


Is Utah’s ‘baby recession’ over?


6-year-old Utah girl takes witness stand, claims school bus driver molested her Courts » Defendant’s attorney says client will tell jury why he is not guilty.


Unique “blank out” message board installed in Logan school zone


City Announces Project Skyline Challenge Award Winners


Area football coach: Ogden’s move to independence ‘a great move’








The class that wasn’t there


Don’t Let Democrats Expand Federal Early-Education Funding


A crash course on charter schools


Revising the No Child Left Behind Act: Issue by Issue


5 Tech Tools to Help Prepare for Common Core Assessments


So Do You Teach Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman or What?








Senate Passes ESEA Rewrite With Big Bipartisan Backing, 81-17


Stop Picking On No Child Left Behind (Says One Of Its Parents)


Study: Behavior in kindergarten linked to adult success


US triumphs in ‘hardest ever’ maths Olympiad British team ‘pleased as punch’ with four silver medals and 22nd place overall in annual contest, held this year in Thailand


Rural Child Poverty Rising Overall, Says USDA Report


Career Prep Moves Into Middle Schools


Mass. Child Advocates Want To Screen Every Public School Student For Substance Use


Some schools are still testing students for drug use


When Schools Serve Pizza and Corn Dogs for Lunch, These Companies Make Bank Food corporations rake in millions from junk-laden school lunches, a new report finds.


Education giant Pearson lays off 208 Texas employees, mostly in Austin










Utah schools to receive biggest payout in endowment’s history


SALT LAKE CITY — It’s probably the only state education fund that parents have a direct say in, and it’s increasing by millions of dollars every year.

In the coming school year, the School LAND Trust program will provide Utah public schools with $45.8 million — a 17 percent increase from last year and the largest payout in the program’s 15-year history. It’s money that goes straight into the hands of school community councils to spend entirely on student academics.

For the better part of a decade, the fund has helped bring up grades and graduation rates in places such as Highland High School, which this year will be awarded roughly $96,000 from the School LAND Trust. (DN)






State School Board Hybrid Gains Traction


During the 2015 General Session, the legislature engaged in a passionate debate over the future of Utah State School Board elections.

Several bills were proposed but, in the end, nothing panned out. That debate reignited Wednesday when the Government Operations Interim Committee heard testimony on the matter.

Senator Al Jackson (Republican – Highland) presented what is, in his words, a “compromise” bill that would appeal to all sides. Working with Senator Evan Vickers (Republican – Cedar City), Jackson has crafted a proposal that would shrink the state school board from 15 to 13 members. Four members would be chosen through a partisan election, four through a nonpartisan election, and the final five appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate. The new seats would be based on Utah’s congressional districts, with each district being represented by a partisan and nonpartisan school board member. The bill would also require an amendment to Utah’s constitution, which presently does not allow appointed school board members. (Utah Political Capitol)






Senators offer rival bill on student data privacy


The Senate now has competing bills aimed at restricting education companies from selling or using student data for targeted ads.

Sens. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) on Thursday introduced the Safe Kids Act. The measure would also require private companies to meet certain data security standards when handling student information.

Federal regulators would be empowered to punish any companies violating the bill’s provisions.

“The perils of privacy invasion and data abuse must be stopped at the classroom door with laws that match advancing technology,” Blumenthal said in a statement.

The Daines-Blumenthal bill is nearly identical to a measure from Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.), introduced in the upper chamber in May.

The House also has a similar White House-backed bipartisan measure from Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Luke Messer (R-Ind.).

Lawmakers are scrambling to catch up with rapidly changing classrooms. ([Washington, DC] The Hill)






Is Utah’s ‘baby recession’ over?


SALT LAKE CITY — As fireworks exploded in nearby Murray Park, Makenzie and Korey Marsh finally got their baby girl.

But as much as they welcomed the arrival of Bayne, born on the Fourth of July, it was not quite as early in their lives as the Herriman couple had hoped.

The Marshes, like hundreds of thousands of other couples throughout Utah and the United States, had delayed having children for financial reasons during the economic slump that began in 2008.

That long baby recession may finally be over.

A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the number of births rose nationally by 1 percent — about 53,000 babies — in 2014, the first time in six years. (CVD)





6-year-old Utah girl takes witness stand, claims school bus driver molested her Courts » Defendant’s attorney says client will tell jury why he is not guilty.


West Jordan • A 6-year-old girl took the witness stand Thursday and testified that Canyons School District bus driver John Martin Carrell molested her.

“He touches my pee pee,” the girl told a 3rd District Court jury, saying that Carrell touched her genitals “when I sit on his lap, when I get on his bus, or I’m waiting for my teacher to come.”

The girl said that on those occasions she recalled Carrell asking her, “Does it hurt or not hurt?”

“I said yes, a lot of times, but one time I said no,” the girl said. She said her favorite part of riding the bus was “going off the bus,” gesturing downward with her hand.

Carrell, 62, is on trial for allegedly sexually abusing that girl, as well as another girl — who were both 5 years old at the time — while he buckled and unbuckled their seat belts on his bus route to and from Sandy’s Altara Elementary School last year (SLT) (DN) (KUTV) (KSL) (KSTU)






Unique “blank out” message board installed in Logan school zone


A recently installed “blank out” sign aims to provide a Logan school zone with safe and accessible crossing for pedestrians.

This message board, installed at the intersection of 200 North and 400 West in the Ellis Elementary school zone, is a modified school crossing, Utah Department of Transportation Spokesman Vic Saunders explained.

The reason for installation is that a pedestrian study conducted by UDOT concluded that a heavy volume of pedestrians cross the roads during and after school hours. (LHJ)






City Announces Project Skyline Challenge Award Winners


Yesterday, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, Kathleen Hogan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency  for the U.S. Department of Energy and Matthew Dalbey, Director of the Office of Sustainable Communities for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, joined city leaders and building owners in honoring  the winners of the Project Skyline Mayor’s Challenge 2015 Awards.

Launched in May 2014, the multi-year competition challenges building owners across Salt Lake City to proactively meet—and exceed—the air quality and energy-saving targets of the Mayor’s Sustainable Salt Lake – Plan 2015 and reduce citywide building energy use by 15 percent by 2020.

The 2015 Award Winners are:

Most-Improved Energy Star Score Award: The McGillis School

A private co-ed day school for grades K–8 in the Northeast bench of the Salt Lake Valley, the McGillis School made great strides in improving building energy performance in 2014. In 2014, the school reported an ENERGY STAR score of 97 (meaning its facility performs better than 97 percent of similar buildings), up 17 points from 2013. The increase in efficiency is largely attributed to a successful retro-commissioning project, which is now leading to second improvement project.

Benchmarking Champion Award: Salt Lake School District

Representing over 40 buildings, the Salt Lake City School District has been an ENERGY STAR partner since 2009 and has a consistent track record of taking full advantage of benchmarking to monitor energy consumption across its portfolio. Not only are 72 percent of the district’s schools benchmarked, but they are also certified ENERGY STAR buildings. In addition, the district’s portfolio shows an overall trend toward improvement, with ENERGY STAR scores improving 18 percent across the all buildings. (UP)





Area football coach: Ogden’s move to independence ‘a great move’


SMITHFIELD — Reaction to Ogden High School’s decision to take its football program into independence has been polarizing, with administrators, coaches, parents and students all vocalizing their opinions.

One area coach adds his name to the list of those in full support, calling it a ‘great move.’

“I love what Ogden did because they have to go play schools that they can compete with,” Sky View coach Craig Anhder said. “There is no way in the world they’re going to even go to the playoffs in 4-A. No way in the world. So why not say, ‘You know what? We’re going to go independent so we can play some schools and maybe win a few games. Since you’re not going to let us go 3-A. I thought that was a great move on their part… so kids can have an enjoyable experience.”

Anhder recognizes the potential problems from playing without the opportunity for a region title, but says as a short-term solution, Ogden’s plan is a positive step.










The class that wasn’t there

Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist Paul Rolly


The Salt Lake City School District in the 1930s and ’40s had a program in which the seventh and eighth grades were combined, enabling students to graduate from high school in 11 years, rather than 12.

The program ended in 1944, so the seventh-graders that year would go into eighth rather than ninth grade. After that group graduated in 1949, there was a vacuum in 1950 — no graduating class.

Allen Kimball, who was in that program’s last graduating class from Salt Lake City’s Uinta (now spelled Uintah) Elementary School, organized a class reunion at Red Butte Garden this summer.

Twenty-eight octogenarians showed up.

As an aside, the next graduating class after that group at East High (in 1951) produced former U.S. Sens. Jake Garn and Bob Bennett, former U.S, Rep. Jim Hansen, Mormon apostle Henry Eyring, former president of then-Dixie College Doug Alder, the late Salt Lake County Commissioner John Preston Creer, the late Utah Supreme Court Justice Daniel Stewart and the late Eugene England, a beloved professor at Brigham Young University and what is now Utah Valley University.

That extra year must have helped.





Don’t Let Democrats Expand Federal Early-Education Funding National Review op-ed by MIKE LEE, U.S. senator from Utah


You couldn’t tell from looking at its legislative calendar, but this week the Senate will debate one of the most important policy questions of the 114th Congress and of the 2016 presidential campaign: How can we ensure that all families in America have access to affordable, high-quality child care?

Officially, the Senate is scheduled to vote on a bill that reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the legislation governing federal K–12 education policy. But Senate Democrats have other plans.

The Washington Post explains: “Universal child care is becoming a central pillar of the liberal agenda,” and Democrats plan to use the Elementary and Secondary Education Act reauthorization debate in the Senate this week as an opportunity to showcase their political strategy to achieve it.






A crash course on charter schools

(St. George) Spectrum op-ed by Rep. Brad Last Utah


This summer, I’m serving on the Charter School Funding Task Force along with other legislators and various education stakeholders. We’ve been charged with reviewing and making recommendations on a number of funding, enrollment and tax issues related to charter schools. Many of today’s parents and grandparents attended traditional public schools and may not be familiar with charter schools. I have found when speaking with constituents that many Utahns don’t know how charter schools operate, how they are governed or how they receive funding.

The charter school movement began in Utah the early 1990s and the oldest charter schools are about 15 years old. For the 2014-2015 school year, there were 110 charter schools spread across the state serving 61,435 students. This enrollment number represents about 10 percent of all Utah students.

This is a growing educational option as the State Charter School Board has several applications under review for new charter schools and many charter schools have waiting lists of students. The vast majority of Utah students are well served and satisfied in public schools but, for some students, charter schools are a good fit.





Revising the No Child Left Behind Act: Issue by Issue Education Week analysis by Alyson Klein


The U.S. Senate has voted to pass a bipartisan bill to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which hasn’t gotten a facelift since 2002, when then-President George W. Bush signed the law’s current version, the No Child Left Behind Act. Now the legislation will have to go to conference with a bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this month.

And lawmakers have a lot of key issues to discuss—including whether the updated law should include a preschool program, whether states should be able to allow federal funding to follow students to the school of their choice, and just how states should measure school performance.

How are the bills different from each other? And how do they compare to the existing version of the law, as well as the Obama administration’s NCLB waivers, which are currently in place in 42 states and the District of Columbia?

We’ve got your cheat sheet right here.






5 Tech Tools to Help Prepare for Common Core Assessments (Chatsworth, CA) THE Journal commentary by Anna Martin, Shannon Smith, Jesse Wray


With the first round of Common Core assessments complete, districts around the country are experiencing the technology shifts that Char Shyrock, director of curriculum at Bay Village Schools (OH) foresaw at the Connecting the Dots Conference in 2013. To address these shifts, here are our recommendations for tech tools that will help teachers and students prepare for the next round of computer-based Common Core assessments.

2) Utah Education Network Science Interactives and Illuminations: Resources for Teaching Math

Shyrock’s next suggestion is to look at what tools are available for students to use for simulations and as manipulatives for modeling mathematical or scientific thinking. A key point to understand here is that computer-based simulation programs and manipulatives need to change depending on the grade level of the students. For example, modeling can be a very effective practice for teaching kindergarteners mathematical concepts like counting and basic shapes, but as these students progress to higher grade levels, those concepts become the foundation for other, higher-level concepts like addition and subtraction, multiplication and division, geometry and algebra. When students progress to higher levels, they no longer need the modeling of the basic skills; instead, they require new manipulatives and simulations to help continue the learning process.

The good news is that Shyrock herself maintains a website of resources specifically tailored to help educators integrate technology for programs of all ages. It includes links to practice PARCC questions and other sample materials that could help both students and educators prepare for Common Core exams. Another link from her website connects to a document containing the various means educators can use to incorporate technology into their lessons for math, science, English language arts and more.

When it comes to manipulation and simulation, one resource that stood out for integrating technology into science for all grade levels was Utah Education Network (UEN) Science Interactives. The website has free interactive games for students and lesson plans for teachers.





So Do You Teach Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman or What?

Education Week commentary by columnist Ross Brenneman


Well. Where to start.

Several decades ago, a young Alabamian writer named Harper Lee wrote a novel about a young Alabamian woman named Jean Louise Finch returning home from New York City. Lee titled that book Go Set a Watchman. Her editor suggested instead that Lee write a new book about Finch’s childhood. Lee did, and in 1960, she published that book: To Kill a Mockingbird. Popularity ensued.

Go Set a Watchman remained lost to time, buried away among Harper Lee’s possessions. Then it resurfaced. Here’s the long version of how that happened. Here’s the short version: Lee didn’t want to publish another book, and her sister Alice defended that decision. Harper Lee entered into an assisted-living facility due to frailty. Alice died. Soon after, Lee’s lawyer, Tonja Carter, “discovered” the Go Set a Watchman manuscript and put out a statement on behalf of Harper Lee that they were going to publish this book. Everyone involved is going to make a lot of money off it. This is probably not a coincidence.

On Tuesday, HarperCollins published Watchman. It is currently the bestselling book on And number two? To Kill a Mockingbird.

Mockingbird is by many accounts one of the most widely taught books in U.S. schools. So what effect does its sequel have on how Mockingbird will be taught, if at all?











Senate Passes ESEA Rewrite With Big Bipartisan Backing, 81-17 Education Week


Washington – For the first time since 2001, the U.S. Senate Thursday passed a sweeping overhaul of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the country’s federal K-12 law, which if enacted would significantly roll back the role of the federal government in public education and give states more flexibility in the process.

The legislation, the Every Child Achieves Act, proved a rare example of bipartisan politicking, with co-authors Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., carefully ushering the measure through the amendment process and floor debate with little to no drama. In the end, they held their caucuses together to pass the bill, which would overhaul the law now known as the No Child Left Behind Act, with overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle, 81-17.

“Consensus among experts is not easy, but consensus is necessary in the U.S. Senate if we’re going to deal with a complex problem like this, and that’s exactly what we did,” Alexander said. “We found a consensus not only on the urgent need to fix the law, but also on how to fix No Child Left Behind.”

Murray relayed similar sentiments. “I’ve been very glad to work with Chairman Alexander on our bipartisan bill,” she said. “It gives states more flexibility while also including federal guardrails to make sure all students have access to a quality education.”

The legislation’s passage in the Senate marks a crucial step in getting a bill to the president’s desk. With the U.S. House of Representatives already having passed its Republican-backed ESEA rewrite last week, the two chambers can now begin working on conferencing their dueling reauthorization bills.

And dueling it will be, as the two proposals contain some stark policy differences. (NYT) (WaPo) (WSJ) (USAT) (Reuters) (AP)


How each Senator voted (Senate)


Statement from Sen. Lee on his no vote. (Senate)






Stop Picking On No Child Left Behind (Says One Of Its Parents) NPR


It’s official. More than 13 years after President George W. Bush signed the No Child Left Behind Act into law, it’s now … well, still law. But, as of Thursday, it is one big step closer to retirement.

The U.S. Senate voted 81-17 in favor of a bipartisan overhaul called the Every Child Achieves Act. The move comes just days after House Republicans voted on a rival plan, one that cleared the House without a single Democratic vote. The two bills must now be reconciled before anything makes its way to the President. Obama has already threatened the House bill with a veto.

No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is, itself, an overhaul of a much older law: The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), first signed by President Lyndon Johnson back in 1965. It was conceived and driven by a powerful conviction that the federal government had to intervene in the education of poor and minority students who were not well-served by their states and local public schools.

Bush signed NCLB in early 2002, and it did what no ESEA reauthorization had done before: It forced states to test all children and held schools accountable when low scores stayed low. Many critics in Congress (and the classroom) argue the law overstepped, supplanting local control of schools and driving them to overtest — hence NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia calling it “No Child Left Untested.” But backers (yes, there are many) worry that rolling back NCLB would be a mistake and that the neediest students would suffer most.

It’s a debate that worries Sandy Kress, one of the architects of NCLB and a longtime advocate of the federal role in education. He says the law, with all its flaws, has made a big difference.





Study: Behavior in kindergarten linked to adult success CNN


In our household, we’re still talking about the critically acclaimed box office smash “Inside Out,” Pixar’s animated look at the emotions inside a child’s brain. It came up most recently when we watched Serena Williams cruise to another victory at this year’s Wimbledon, and my youngest daughter, age 7, remarked that her “Joy” (the character who controls happiness in the movie) must be going wild. During the match, Serena’s “Angry” must have been at her brain’s control panel, we all agreed.

I thought of the movie recently as I learned about a new study that showcases just how critical it can be for a child to be able to understand emotions and relate to the world.

Every parent intuitively knows it’s a good thing to teach their child how to share and play well with others, and how to deal with emotions like anger and sadness, but do most of us have any sense of just how important these so-called social and emotional skills can be to our child’s long-term success?

The new study, a comprehensive 20-year examination of 800 children from kindergarten through their mid-20s published Thursday in the American Journal of Public Health, found a link between a child’s social skills in kindergarten and how well they were doing in early adulthood.

Children who were helpful and shared in kindergarten were more likely to have graduated college and have a full-time job at age 25. The children who had problems resolving conflicts, sharing, cooperating and listening as kindergartners were less likely to have finished high school and college, and were more likely to have substance abuse problems and run-ins with the law. (WaPo) (Ed Week)


A copy of the study (American Journal of Public Health)






US triumphs in ‘hardest ever’ maths Olympiad British team ‘pleased as punch’ with four silver medals and 22nd place overall in annual contest, held this year in Thailand

(Manchester) Guardian


This was the final question at the International Mathematical Olympiad (IMO), an annual “maths World Cup” for secondary school-age students, held this year in Thailand, which ended on Wednesday with the US as winners:

Maths question

Don’t panic if it left you bewildered. Some of the world’s best mathematical brains have been having trouble too. The British IMO team’s leader, Dr Geoff Smith of Bath University, said it was the hardest paper in the history of the IMO, which was first held in 1959.

The threshold score for gold medals – which changes yearly depending on how well contestants perform – was set at 26 out of 42 points, the lowest ever. Snatching five gold medals, the US beat the usual winners, China. The British team of six students, including 16-year-old “mathlete” Joe Benton, came 22nd out of 104 competing countries.

Smith said his team was “pleased as punch” after taking four silver medals. Team member Warren Li was one point off a gold.

Smith noted that France had finished in 14th place. “Almost always, the UK finishes above France. This year, malheureusement, the situation is reversed. I congratulated the French leader while mentioning that he was the new Napoleon.”

The examination is held over two consecutive days and contestants have four and a half hours to solve three problems per day, which can include geometry, number theory and algebra. You don’t need knowledge of higher mathematics such as calculus, but the questions are designed to be extremely difficult. No calculators are allowed. (WaPo)






Career Prep Moves Into Middle Schools

Education Week


In 7th grade, Andrew X. Castillo was paired with an architect in an apprenticeship program through his school to learn the basics of design and how a firm operates.

“It helped shape who I am today and decide what I wanted to learn for sure,” said the now 16-year-old rising senior at Olga Mohan High School in Los Angeles. He is now applying to several selective schools—Yale University is his top choice—and wants to become an architect and the first in his family to graduate from college.

Middle schools are increasingly looking for ways to expose students to careers so they understand the relevance of what they are learning and stay on track. The hope is that with a goal in mind, they will be inspired to take rigorous classes, be engaged in learning, and increase the likelihood that they will be prepared for college.

To be sure, there are hurdles.






Rural Child Poverty Rising Overall, Says USDA Report Education Week


More than one in four rural children were living in poverty in 2013, a 7 percentage point increase from 1999, according to a new report by the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service.

The report examined data from the 2013 U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, which found that rural child poverty is on the rise overall, but also varies greatly across rural counties. According to the report, about 20 percent of rural counties had child poverty rates of 33 percent or higher while another 20 percent of rural counties had poverty rates less than 16 percent.


A copy of the report (USDA)





Mass. Child Advocates Want To Screen Every Public School Student For Substance Use

(Boston) WBUR


BOSTON Some advocates for children in Massachusetts are suggesting another way to help stem the opioid epidemic: Beginning with a survey, screen every public school student for substance use.

With more than 1,000 overdose deaths last year, advocates say the state should focus on prevention as early as middle school.

The idea is to add substance use to other screening already done by school nurses.

“Similar to the way they do hearing and eye tests, all with the goal that this is a normal process where kids are brought into their nursing offices and given a screening,” said Mary McGeown, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.






Some schools are still testing students for drug use Marketplace


When she started high school, Celeste wanted to do theater. She wanted to play lacrosse and join the French club. So at the beginning of her freshman year, she and her parents had a little talk about drug tests.

“And we discussed it with her and said, ‘This is something that could happen,’ ” her mother says.

That’s because Vestavia Hills High School, where Celeste will be a junior this year, has been testing students in extracurricular activities for about 10 years. For Celeste, and for many students across the country — athletes, and kids in everything from chess club to debate team — school drug testing is just part of the deal. Almost 30 percent of public schools drug test their students, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“But our latest addition is our voluntary drug testing program,” says David Howard, who oversees drug testing at Vestavia Hills City Schools. The new program opens up drug testing to any student. “Basically if you’re going to sign up for it, we’re going to drug test you.”






When Schools Serve Pizza and Corn Dogs for Lunch, These Companies Make Bank Food corporations rake in millions from junk-laden school lunches, a new report finds.

Mother Jones


It’s no secret that school lunch isn’t exactly healthy—Cheetos, Domino’s, and funnel cake are still fair game to serve to the millions of kids that receive free food under federal breakfast and lunch programs.

A report released this week by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine reveals which companies are profiting off of school meals. Schools buy a lot of their food, at very cheap rates, from the US Department of Agriculture—which in turn buys ingredients from private companies.

The report found that in 2013, the USDA bought over $500 million worth of food from 62 meat and dairy companies—and just six large companies accounted over half of those sales.


A copy of the report (Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine)





Education giant Pearson lays off 208 Texas employees, mostly in Austin Austin (TX) American-Statesman


Long the largest provider of testing services in Texas, education giant Pearson confirmed Thursday that it will lay off more than 200 Texas employees after the state chose another vendor for the majority of its new standardized testing contract.

On Thursday, 270 employees in the School and North America teams at Pearson were notified their positions were being eliminated. The bulk of the 208 Texas layoffs are in Austin as the company consolidates its four Austin locations into one.

In May, the Texas Education Agency announced Pearson Education would no longer be the exclusive standardized testing vendor, a position the British mega-company had held for more than three decades. The state agency awarded a four-year $280 million contract to New Jersey-based Educational Testing Services to develop, administer and score its standardized tests. Pearson, the state’s sole testing contractor since 1980, was awarded a $60 million contract for testing services for students who are learning English or have severe cognitive disabilities, among other things.









USOE Calendar



UEN News



August 6-7:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City



August 13:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City



August 18:

Senate Education Confirmation Committee meeting

2 p.m., 450 State Capitol



August 19:

Education Interim Committee meeting

8:30 a.m., 30 House Building


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