Education News Roundup 07-21-15

Today’s Top Picks:

Kids County 2015 Data Book

Kids County 2015 Data Book

Annie E. Casey Foundation dings Utah for low preschool enrollments in its annual report on childhood wellbeing in the U.S.
http://go.uen.org/4cY (DN)
and http://go.uen.org/4dh (SLT)
and http://go.uen.org/4dn (OSE)
and http://go.uen.org/4do (PDH)
and http://go.uen.org/4dr (KSL)
and http://go.uen.org/4d6 (AP)
and http://go.uen.org/4dx (Ed Week)
and http://go.uen.org/4dA (NewsHour)
or a copy of the report
http://go.uen.org/4cZ (AEC Foundation)

Senate President Niederhauser and Sen. Osmond to discuss Property Tax Equalization.
http://go.uen.org/4du (Utah Senate Site audio)

New York Department of Education issues guidelines on dealing with transgender students.
http://go.uen.org/4d1 (NYT)
and http://go.uen.org/4d7 (WSJ)
or a copy of the guidance
http://go.uen.org/4d2 (New York State Education Department)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Report: Utah ranks in top 10 for most child wellness indicators, bottom half for education

Former Utah school bus driver denies molesting two young riders

School board approves new principal

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Property Tax Equalization Amendments Update

Gender shouldn’t be factor in teacher-sex case

Boys no different, and Finland starts early

No bond for old Granite High

Parent-Trigger V-Day
A judge slaps down a school district for subverting the law.

ESEA Rewrite: What to Expect From House-Senate Conference

Want a good public education for your kids? Better be rich first.

John Kasich On Education: 8 Things The Presidential Candidate Wants You To Know

NATION

New Statewide Guidelines Aim to Accommodate and Protect Transgender Students

Low-Income Students Continue to Lag on College Readiness Measures

Study finds Idaho’s 4-day school weeks don’t save money, ed impact unknown

Court Upholds Parent-Trigger Petition at California School

Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White hopes part of state’s public school overhaul goes national Nontraditional education plan met resistance in La.

Facing decline, Catholic schools form a charter-like network

Wasuma Elementary home to first dome-style school building in California

The Test That Can Look Into A Child’s (Reading) Future

Legislature Does Not Override Any Of Nine Malloy Vetoes

Senate Dems join House leaders in seeking ouster of State Supt. Dick Ross

Robert Spillane, Who Retooled Boston’s Schools, Dies at 80

Deeper back-to-school discounts to hurt teen clothing retailers

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UTAH NEWS
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Report: Utah ranks in top 10 for most child wellness indicators, bottom half for education

SALT LAKE CITY — Children in Utah are in the top 10 among all U.S. states in key wellness indicators but are worse off than most of their counterparts in education, according an annual report released by charitable organization Annie E. Casey Foundation.
The report’s findings, compiled in a Kids Count Data Book and released this week, rank Utah second for child wellness in its family and community metric, seventh in health and eighth in economic well-being.
However, the state ranked 29th for the second straight year in the education metric, the fourth major area analyzed by the organization.
The Data Book, released by the foundation at 10 p.m. Monday, uses hundreds of statistical factors to analyze how states are doing at creating positive environments and life experiences for children. The newest data accounts for 2013, as more recent information is still being collected.
Utah ranked second in the family and community metric for data collected in both 2012 and 2013. The state improved from 10th to eighth in economic well-being, but fell one spot in the health area. Overall, the state ranks ninth in child well-being, according to the Data Book — its first top 10 showing since 2011.
A majority of young Utah children do not attend preschool, which pulls Utah’s education ranking down, said Terry Haven, deputy director for Voices for Utah Children. About 60 percent of Utah children don’t attend preschool, while top-ranking Connecticut has only 37 percent who don’t attend.
http://go.uen.org/4cY (DN)

http://go.uen.org/4dh (SLT)

http://go.uen.org/4dn (OSE)

http://go.uen.org/4do (PDH)

http://go.uen.org/4dr (KSL)

http://go.uen.org/4d6 (AP)

http://go.uen.org/4dx (Ed Week)

http://go.uen.org/4dA (NewsHour)

A copy of the report
http://go.uen.org/4cZ (AEC Foundation)

Former Utah school bus driver denies molesting two young riders

West Jordan » A former school bus driver accused of molesting two young riders testified on Tuesday that he did not touch either of the girls inappropriately as he shuttled them to and from school.
John Martin Carrell, 62, is on trial in 3rd District Court on 33 counts of first-degree felony aggravated sexual abuse of a child. The alleged victims in the case are Sandy elementary school students who were both 5-years-old when the alleged offenses took place in March and April 2014.
Carrell was on the stand for a second day Tuesday, narrating video clips from surveillance cameras that show him interacting with the girls and other children on the bus.
http://go.uen.org/4di (SLT)

http://go.uen.org/4dm (DN)

http://go.uen.org/4dp (KUTV)

http://go.uen.org/4dq (KTVX)

School board approves new principal

The July meeting of the Emery County School District Board of Education was held at the School District Office. Superintendent Kirk Sitterud recommended to the Board that the following individuals be approved Jerry (JR) Jones Principal/ Half-Time Teacher Book Cliff Elementary School and Jaime Anderson Student Tracker Canyon View Junior High.
The board approved the individuals subject to the completion and review of a background check.
http://go.uen.org/4dD (Emery County Progress

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Property Tax Equalization Amendments Update
Senate Site commentary

Last week on the Utah Legislative Update Radio Show, President Wayne Niederhauser was joined by Senator Aaron Osmond to discuss Property Tax Equalization, AKA, an attempt at answering questions like ‘how in the world do we fairly and equitably fund education in Utah?’
http://go.uen.org/4du (Audio)

Gender shouldn’t be factor in teacher-sex case
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Mitchell Walkington

Over the past week or so, I have read letters published here regarding the conviction and sentencing of Brianne Altice. I must admit I’m astounded by the comments supporting her. Many of these letters are blaming the victims by saying teenage boys want sex; therefore, they got what they wanted. That seems like saying a woman wants sex if she dresses provocatively.
For those who have written letters or thought that the victims (boys) need to take responsibility for their part in this crime, I would like to pose something for your consideration. Let’s change the facts just slightly. Let’s suppose that the teacher is male and that the victim is your teenaged daughter. What about a male teacher with teenage son? What if it were a female teacher with your teenage daughter? Is there still the outrage for the sentence imposed?
http://go.uen.org/4dj

Boys no different, and Finland starts early
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Pat Jarvis

Scot Morgan (“Most boys aren’t ready for early education,” July 15) has so many inaccuracies in his letter that space does not permit one to correct all of them.
1. Brain research is absolutely clear that brain development does not differ between male and female children.
2. Both male and female children are able to learn the moment they are born, the most intensive learning occurs before age three.
3.Red-shirting (holding children back one year) is mostly done for athletic purposes and not for academic reasons.
http://go.uen.org/4dl

No bond for old Granite High
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Robert LeMone

The South Salt Lake City Council is again considering putting a $13 million bond on this November’s ballot to buy the old Granite High School.
Here we go again. Four years ago a $25 million bond was defeated by the citizens of the city.
The Granite School District, which owns Granite High, is in the process of selling the vacant school and 27 acres to Garbett Homes, which plans on building single-family homes on the property. This would energize the entire neighborhood and bring in needed tax dollars.
Why the city would want to intervene with Garbett Homes and put more of a tax burden on the people of this city is hard to understand.
http://go.uen.org/4dk

Parent-Trigger V-Day
A judge slaps down a school district for subverting the law.
Wall Street Journal editorial

Alexander Hamilton said an independent judiciary is essential to guard against “serious oppressions of the minor party in the community.” Last week a California judge reaffirmed this wisdom by overruling local school district officials who tried to thwart parents from using the state’s parent-trigger law.
In January parents filed a petition to convert Palm Lane Elementary in Anaheim into a charter under California’s 2010 parent-trigger law, which allows a majority of parents in any failing school to force changes. Palm Lane had made the state Department of Education’s list of underperforming schools since 2003. Fewer than 40% of students scored proficient in English in 2013. About 85% are Hispanic, and most are low-income.
School district officials and the teachers union tried to stymie parents at every turn.
http://go.uen.org/4d0

ESEA Rewrite: What to Expect From House-Senate Conference
Education Week commentary by columnist Lauren Camera

Education leaders from both chambers of Congress begin brokering an overhaul of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act this week after recent passage of starkly differing House and Senate bills, in hopes of delivering something to the president’s desk this fall.
And the clock is ticking: Congress convenes Monday for one of its last working weeks before members scatter for the summer break July 30 until September.
Last week, the U.S. Senate passed its version of a federal K-12 reauthorization for the first time in more than 14 years. The bill, known as the Every Child Achieves Act, is carefully crafted piece of bipartisan legislation from co-authors Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash. The two were able to hold their caucuses together to pass the bill with overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle, 81-17.
But that’s not exactly how it played out in the U.S. House of Representatives, where Republican leadership yanked its version of an ESEA rewrite off the floor mid-debate in February amid waning support from their own caucus.
After months of whipping and educating members about how the bill differs from current law, leadership rescheduled it for floor debate earlier this month, where it narrowly passed in by 218-213, with 27 Republicans joining the entire Democratic caucus in opposing it.
Now the representatives from both parties and both chambers will attempt to find common ground between their dueling reauthorization bills, which contain some big policy differences.
http://go.uen.org/4dw

Want a good public education for your kids? Better be rich first.
Vox commentary by columnist Matthew Yglesias

Public schools are a really nice idea. The government builds a building, right in your neighborhood, where anyone can send their kids to get an education for free. It’s simple and appealing.
But in practice, it’s quite a bit different. Land that is in the intake zone for a good school becomes more expensive, and you create a situation in which the school is open exclusively to the “public” of people who can afford a very expensive house.
Look at this chart showing the correlation between the price of a family-size house and the reading proficiency scores in the local school (the outlier, Garrison, where the reading scores are terrible and the houses are expensive anyway is my neighborhood public school):
Of course, in principle this situation could be mitigated. It is true that land near Eaton Elementary School in Cleveland Park is very expensive, but the technology exists to cram many dwellings onto a given parcel of land. You can build homes that share side walls (“townhouses”), and you can even use steel-frame construction to build vast vertical stacks of dwellings, accessible from the ground floor via elevator. That wouldn’t address the housing cost problems of the truly poor, but a less-constrained building supply would at least improve the situation for the middle class.
In practice, however, affluent neighborhoods with good schools tend to enact zoning rules that mandate detached single-family homes. That ensures that expensive land leads to expensive houses, thus preventing undesirable types from accessing the “public” school.
http://go.uen.org/4dB

John Kasich On Education: 8 Things The Presidential Candidate Wants You To Know
Forbes commentary by columnist Maureen Sullivan

Ohio Governor John Kasich became the 16th—and perhaps last—Republican to join the field for the 2016 presidential nomination with his announcement today in Columbus at his alma mater, Ohio State University. Kasich, who spent 18 years in Congress, didn’t mention education issues during his launch speech. As governor, he has expanded voucher programs and charter schools in the state and brought in Teach for America to work in the schools.
Kasich supports the Common Core curriculum standards, though he recently pulled Ohio out of the PARCC consortium that is used in many states to test children on the Common Core material. Here are some of his other views on education:
http://go.uen.org/4dC

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NATIONAL NEWS
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New Statewide Guidelines Aim to Accommodate and Protect Transgender Students
New York Times

The New York State Education Department on Monday released guidelines on how school districts should accommodate transgender students. Schools should use the pronouns students prefer, for example, and encourage administrators to be receptive of the gender identities of the young people in their charge.
The guidance, which was developed in concert with groups like the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Empire State Pride Agenda, is essentially the department’s reading of existing state and federal laws. And while these standards do not mark new formal regulations, advocates say they will help protect a vulnerable group.
“It’s not an area that many in education are expert in,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union. “And despite the best of intentions — and sometimes, of course, not the best of intentions — students end up being marginalized, and schools end up being enablers of bullying and harassment that drives kids out of school.”
http://go.uen.org/4d1

http://go.uen.org/4d7 (WSJ)

A copy of the guidance
http://go.uen.org/4d2 (New York State Education Department)

Low-Income Students Continue to Lag on College Readiness Measures
Education Week

A new report from ACT, Inc. shows that 96 percent of its low-income test-takers plan to go to college, yet most are not prepared to succeed at college-level work.
About 435,000 students or one-quarter of the 2014 high school graduates who took the ACT reported an annual family income of less than $36,000. Of that group, just 11 percent met all four ACT benchmarks (indicating they were likely to earn at least a C in an entry-level college course in English, reading, math, and science) compared to 26 percent of all ACT test takers. Half of all low-income students failed to meet a single benchmark.
Test performance for all students, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds has been relatively flat for the past five years, according to the Iowa City, Iowa-based testing organization, which released the report July 20.
http://go.uen.org/4dc

A copy of the report
http://go.uen.org/4dd (ACT)

Study finds Idaho’s 4-day school weeks don’t save money, ed impact unknown
Spokane (WA) Spokesman-Review

BOISE – A new study by a rural education group examined the 42 of Idaho’s 115 school districts that have gone to four-day school weeks as a money-saving move, and found that none have seen significant savings as a result and there’s been no examination of the impact on student achievement.
Just 1 percent of school districts nationwide have four-day school weeks, the report found.
“Minimal savings could be achieved by reducing time for hourly employees, but districts were often reluctant to take this step,” wrote researchers Paul Hill and Georgia Heyward of ROCI, the Rural Opportunities Consortium of Idaho, an initiative of the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation. “Contrary to expectations, some districts saw their costs rise as a result of the need for additional enrichment activities and after-school snacks during the extended day.”
The researchers found some benefits from the new schedule, from opportunities for enrichment on the fifth day to longer days on the other four that better matched parents’ work schedules. But, they wrote, “None of the districts interviewed had rigorously assessed the effects of the four-day week on student achievement. Just one had set out criteria for reviewing its impact and returning to a five-day week if necessary. This means that the educational consequences of the four-day week, at present, are virtually unknown.”
http://go.uen.org/4d9

A copy of the report
http://go.uen.org/4da (ROCI)

Court Upholds Parent-Trigger Petition at California School
Education Week

An Orange County, Calif., judge has ordered the Anaheim City School District to reverse its denial of a petition from parents at Palm Lane Elementary School seeking to convert the low-performing school into a charter through the state’s parent-trigger law.
Under California’s Parent Empowerment Act, a school is subject to the law if it meets certain requirements, including failing to make adequate yearly progress after one year and having a state Academic Performance Index score of less than 800.
The Anaheim City School District’s board initially rejected the petition in February, stating Palm Lane did not fall under the definition of a subject school and that the parents did not follow the petition instructions when they submitted it, according to a press release from Kirkland & Ellis LLP, the law firm representing the parents.
http://go.uen.org/4dy

A copy of the ruling
http://go.uen.org/4dz (Anaheimblog)

Louisiana Superintendent of Education John White hopes part of state’s public school overhaul goes national
Nontraditional education plan met resistance in La.
Baton Rouge (LA) Advocate

Wading into a coast-to-coast debate, state Superintendent of Education John White hopes to nationalize a Louisiana education program that has sparked a lawsuit and other controversy.
The program, dubbed “course choice,” was part of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s 2012 public schools overhaul. It was touted as a way for students to be able to take hard-to-find courses not offered at their schools through nontraditional routes, including private firms.
But the law has sparked multiple controversies, including complaints that one firm offered free tablet computers if students enrolled.
In another case, three state education leaders questioned the background of a firm that wanted to offer online classes.
And the Louisiana Supreme Court in 2013 struck down the original funding method, which paved the way for an overhaul of the initial plan.
However, up to 40,000 students are expected to enroll in the classes this fall — mostly high school students earning college credit — and White said something similar to Louisiana’s law needs to be in the new federal education law under debate in Congress.
http://go.uen.org/4de

Facing decline, Catholic schools form a charter-like network
Capital New York

Our Lady Queen of Angels, a 123-year-old Catholic school in East Harlem, is starting to look a lot like the Success Academy charter school around the corner.
At Queen of Angels, an intricately decorated bulletin board—a fixture of charter school hallways—promoting the reading prowess of the school’s kindergarten classes hangs next to framed photographs of Pope Francis and Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
The school is replacing its dusty slateboards with new whiteboards, and its leaders are picking out new desks for next year, an attempt to be what its leaders call “intentional with branding,” a phrase and philosophy borrowed from the charter sector. The nuns who taught here during the glory days of Catholic education in New York would not have recognized the term.
On a typical school day several weeks ago, sixth graders in blue pleated skirts and ties flipped through new primary source books on colonial America, part of the school’s newly streamlined curriculum provided by Amplify, the digital education product company favored by education reformers. Amplify is run by Joel Klein, the former city schools chancellor who helped create the city’s booming charter sector.
Students sat in pairs and were asked to “turn and talk” to their partners about the text, a regular feature of charter classrooms, before sharing their answers with the class.
Our Lady Queen of Angels looks and feels different than it did just a few years ago, and its charter-aligned upgrades have already begun to pay off: Pope Francis will visit the school during his visit to the city in September.
http://go.uen.org/4d8

Wasuma Elementary home to first dome-style school building in California
Fresno (CA) Bee

The New Orleans Saints play in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the St. Louis Rams play in the Edward Jones Dome, and the Wasuma Elementary Wildcats will soon play ball under a dome, too.
Wasuma Elementary, located in Ahwahnee, plans to open a gymnasium for students this fall that developers say is the first dome-shaped public school building in California.
“I don’t want people to think they’re stepping into the Save Mart Center — it’s still an elementary school built for an audience of about 300 small children,” Bass Lake School District Superintendent Glenn Reid said. “But it does look pretty cool when you step inside.”
“Cool” wasn’t what Reid was going for, though.
http://go.uen.org/4db

The Test That Can Look Into A Child’s (Reading) Future
NPR Morning Edition

If this isn’t an honest-to-goodness crystal ball, it’s close.
Neurobiologist Nina Kraus believes she and her team at Northwestern University have found a way — a half-hour test — to predict kids’ literacy skill long before they’re old enough to begin reading.
When I first read the study in the journal PLOS Biology, two words came to mind: science fiction.
Because flagging some 3-year-olds as potentially troubled readers — before they’ve even tried reading — feels eerily like being handcuffed by Tom Cruise in Minority Report for a crime that hasn’t happened yet.
Kraus herself says the test is nothing short of “a biological looking glass into a child’s literacy potential.”
http://go.uen.org/4ds

A copy of the study
http://go.uen.org/4dt (PLOS Biology)

Legislature Does Not Override Any Of Nine Malloy Vetoes
Hartford (CT) Courant

HARTFORD — There was a rare debate in a veto session Monday, but as expected, the House of Representatives did not override Gov. Dannel Malloy’s veto of a bill that would have stipulated qualifications for candidates for state education commissioner.
The debate was unusual because the Democratic majority normally has enough votes to block any attempt to override vetoes by the Democratic governor. But some Democrats wanted to debate the issue, and 17 House Democrats voted to override the veto.
The bill called for setting qualifications for the education commissioner, an effort rooted in controversy around Malloy’s first pick for the job, Stefan Pryor. Pryor had a law degree from Yale University and a background in economic development, as well as experience as a deputy mayor in Newark, N.J. But he didn’t have a background in classroom teaching, which some educators said should be required for the state’s top education post. Pryor announced late last year that he was stepping down.
The legislature had passed a bill that called for the education commissioner to have five years of experience in the classroom, three years as an administrator and a master’s degree in an education-related field.
http://go.uen.org/4df

Senate Dems join House leaders in seeking ouster of State Supt. Dick Ross
Cleveland (OH) Plain Dealer

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Democrats in the Ohio Senate joined fellow Democrats from the House today in calling for the removal of state Superintendent Richard Ross.
Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavonni, of Boardman, and Sen. Tom Sawyer of Akron, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Education Committee joined the earlier call from House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn and State Rep. Teresa Fedor, the ranking Democrat on the House Education Committee.
The four asked the state school board to fire Ross for, “the recent scandal involving the cover up of failing charter school grades in state evaluations, the plan to takeover the Youngstown public schools crafted behind closed doors, and general lack of accountability to the State Board of Education and the public.”
http://go.uen.org/4dg

Robert Spillane, Who Retooled Boston’s Schools, Dies at 80
New York Times

Robert R. Spillane, who helped revive Boston’s troubled schools as superintendent in the 1980s and went on to become one of the nation’s leading education innovators as head of a large suburban district outside Washington, died on Saturday in Boston. He was 80.
His wife, Geraldine Spillane, said he died from complications of pulmonary disease while being treated at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Over a long career, Dr. Spillane was superintendent of five school districts, including Glassboro, N.J.; Roosevelt, on Long Island; and New Rochelle, N.Y. He was also a state deputy education commissioner for New York and a runner­up for chancellor of the New York City schools in 1989. (Joseph A. Fernandez, of Miami­Dade County, got the job.)
As superintendent of schools in Fairfax County, Va., just outside the nation’s capital, Dr. Spillane received wide attention for pushing for merit pay for teachers, longer school days for children and more rigorous standards for both. President Ronald Reagan visited to praise his work and President Bill Clinton went shortly after Dr. Spillane’s departure to hail the district’s handling of immigrants and diversity.
http://go.uen.org/4d4

http://go.uen.org/4d5 (Boston Globe)

Deeper back-to-school discounts to hurt teen clothing retailers
Reuters

U.S. teenage apparel retailers face another tough back-to-school season as they are forced to discount more to lure customers who are flocking to trendier shops and embracing online shopping.
This could be a major setback for apparel companies such as Abercrombie & Fitch Co and Aeropostale Inc, which have been struggling to revive their businesses.
The back-to-school season, spanning mid-July to early September, generates the most sales and profits for apparel retailers, second only to the end-of-the-year holiday season.
Retailers that sell apparel to teens and young adults are expected to discount 5-10 percent more than in 2014, said Bill Martin, founder of research firm ShopperTrak.
http://go.uen.org/4dv

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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

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

August 13:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://go.uen.org/1pn

August 18:
Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
2 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2015&com=APPEXE

August 19:
Education Interim Committee meeting
8:30 a.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2015&com=INTEDU

August 27:
Charter School Funding Task Force meeting
1 p.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2015&com=TSKCSF

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