Education News Roundup: July 22, 2015

Utah State Board of Education SealToday’s Top Picks:

Daily Herald profiles two of the teachers in the Larry H. Miller Driven 2 Teach summer program.
http://go.uen.org/4dS (PDH)

BYU poli-sci professor Richard Davis discusses the Utah State Board of Education election process.
http://go.uen.org/4dG (DN)
As does Sen. Jackson.
http://go.uen.org/4dX (Senate Site, audio)

Arizona joins Nevada in scramble for more teachers for the new school year.
http://go.uen.org/4dH (Arizona Republic)

Education Commission of the States looks at homeschooling rules across the U.S.
http://go.uen.org/4dN (ECS)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Driven 2 Teach: two teachers experience history over the summer

Utah Kids Compare Favorably in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2015 ‘KIDS COUNT’ Data Book

Ex-bus driver testifies: ‘I did not ever’ sexually abuse students

U.S. wins international Math Olympiad for first time in 21 years

Some charter schools require kindergarteners to take admissions tests

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Does state school board election proposal show how politics operates in Utah?

How to Elect the State Board of Education

Not schools’ role to offer public bathrooms

Education Insiders Change Their Tune on ESEA Following Passage of Senate Bill

State Homeschool Policies: A patchwork of provisions

NATION

Arizona school admins scrambling, again, to hire teachers

Legislative power key issue in arguments over teacher evaluation law Appeals panel hears arguments in union suit against DPS

U.S. charter school default rate up, but sector sound: report

The new frontier for Advanced Placement: Online AP lessons, for free

Nevada to pick new vendor after Common Core testing debacle

What Schools Can Learn About Privacy

Racial achievement gap costs Oregon $2 billion a year, study says

NYC’s Elite-School Debt Boom Swells as Brearley Seeks to Borrow

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UTAH NEWS
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Driven 2 Teach: two teachers experience history over the summer

Judy Baird’s fifth graders this fall may have never traveled much outside of Utah, but they will be able to experience emigrating to the U.S., and almost reach out and touch Ellis Island.
Baird and Kerri Hacking, a fellow fifth grade teacher at Riverview Elementary in Saratoga Springs, experienced the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island firsthand during the last week of June, and feel completely changed by the experience.
Baird and Hacking went to New York and Philadelphia as part of the Larry H. Miller Driven 2 Teach summer program. The program is open to all Utah educators in grades 5-12 who specialize in American History or historical literature. Teachers are given the opportunity to visit the historic sites that shaped our nation at no cost to the teachers or the schools, and can choose to do a tour in Boston and Philadelphia, Colonial Williamsburg and Washington, D.C., or New York and Philadelphia.
http://go.uen.org/4dS (PDH)

Utah Kids Compare Favorably in the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2015 ‘KIDS COUNT’ Data Book

The Annie E. Casey Foundation released its annual KIDS COUNT Data Book and Utah ranks in the top ten for the first time in several years.
“2011 was the last time we were in the top ten so a ranking of nine is good news for Utah,” says Terry Haven, deputy director for Voices for Utah Children.
The rankings are based on 16 child well-being indicators in four domains. Utah stayed the same in two domains, Education (29th) and Family and Community (2nd), dropped in its Health ranking from 4th to 7th, and improved in Economic Well-Being from 10th to 8th. Education remains Utah’s lowest ranking in a domain indicator at 29.
http://go.uen.org/4dF (UP)

http://go.uen.org/4dT (SGS)

http://go.uen.org/4dW (MUR)

Ex-bus driver testifies: ‘I did not ever’ sexually abuse students

WEST JORDAN — A Draper bus driver accused of sexually abusing two 5-year-old girls when he drove them to school testified Tuesday that while he was friendly with the children, he never touched them inappropriately.
In his second day of testimony at his trial, John Martin Carrell stood with his attorney and answered questions about surveillance footage that prosecutors say is evidence of the charges against him: 33 counts of aggravated sexual abuse of a child, a first-degree felony. Video from the first girl’s bus route shows Carrell taking what prosecutors say is an unnaturally long time unbuckling the girl’s seat belt, then heading to the driver’s seat where the child joins him.
http://go.uen.org/4dU (KSL)

http://go.uen.org/4dV (KSTU)

U.S. wins international Math Olympiad for first time in 21 years

The U.S. won the math International Mathematical Olympiad last weekend for the first time in 21 years, edging out China with South Korea in third place. The victory was compared by some to the 1980 U.S. hockey victory of the Soviets, known as the “Miracle on Ice.”
http://go.uen.org/4dR (DN)

Some charter schools require kindergarteners to take admissions tests

A New Orleans parent whose kindergartener took a test for admission to a selective public charter school wants to know more about the test and how it’s used. And the state attorney general may be looking into it.
http://go.uen.org/4dQ (DN)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Does state school board election proposal show how politics operates in Utah?
Deseret News op-ed by Richard Davis, professor of political science at Brigham Young University

Last year, U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups ruled that Utah’s form of electing state school board members was unconstitutional. Since then, the Legislature has struggled with an issue that actually is a no-brainer. Unfortunately, rather than taking the best path, the Legislature may be on the verge of making things worse.
Indeed, the latest proposal for resolving the state school board election issue is a classic case study of how politics operates in Utah. This proposal, crafted by Sen. Alvin Jackson, R-Highland, would create a 13-person state school board. Five of the members would be selected by the governor with the approval of the legislature, four would be elected in non-partisan elections, and the rest would be elected in partisan elections based on Utah’s Congressional districts.
This is billed as a compromise proposal primarily between those who want partisan control of the state school board and those who don’t. To its supporters, it seems like the perfect compromise.
However, like so many other legislative proposals, it is a compromise basically between two camps, only of one of which should prevail. The camp that should dominate is the voters.
http://go.uen.org/4dG

How to Elect the State Board of Education
Senate Site commentary by Sen. Al Jackson

Last year, the process by which members of Utah’s Board of Education are elected was deemed unconstitutional by a federal district court judge. Ever since then, Utah Legislators have been working to find a solution to this issue.
Senator Al Jackson of District 14 has been drafting a bill to address this process. This week, he joined Rod Arquette on his radio show to introduce his proposal.
Listen closely, because this 7 minute clip could lead to some big time changes for Utah’s education community.
http://go.uen.org/4dX (audio)

Not schools’ role to offer public bathrooms
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Mark Hurst

Richard Hadlock’s letter to the editor (“Please unlock Cottonwood Heights bathrooms,” July 20) struck a negative chord with me.
As a former employee of Canyons School District, my part-time job involved responding to complaints from patrons of the district, many of which were legitimate concerns. In each case, district officials made every effort to respond quickly and positively to the concerns expressed.
Hadlock obviously didn’t take time to learn that during summer hours, the district operates on a “four 10s” schedule — working 40 hours Monday through Thursday. More importantly, I can’t count the number of people who called to express concern that school’s “public facilities” were not open to the public. Taxpayers assume that because they help to fund public schools, they should have unfettered access to every school’s facilities at any time. If it’s not a complaint about locked tennis courts, it’s a complaint about not having access to bathroom facilities.
The “public” in “public schools” does not mean that you can use the school’s gym, its auditorium, its woodworking shop or even its bathrooms. If Cottonwood Heights Recreation Center does not provide bathroom facilities, it is not the responsibility of nearby school properties to provide them.
http://go.uen.org/4dP

Education Insiders Change Their Tune on ESEA Following Passage of Senate Bill
Whiteboard Advisors analysis by Austin B. Dannhaus

On Thursday July 16, the Senate passed the Every Child Achieves Act by an 81-17 vote—a massive gust of wind in the sails of the effort to reauthorize ESEA. We polled Education Insiders to understand how this development affects the likelihood that a final renewal bill will be signed in to law. While there is still much work to be done, Insiders are significantly more optimistic about the prospects for ESEA reauthorization in the near future.
According to our latest poll, 70% of Insiders now believe a bill to reauthorize the nation’s K-12 education law will be signed before the end of Obama’s presidency. 43% believe the bill is likely to pass by December of this year, while the remaining 27% think next year is a more realistic timeline. However, some commenters continue to caution that a passage timeline extending into next year will run into the election season ramp-up and cause the bill to get lost in the wash.
This is a significant increase from a month ago, when only 43% of respondents reported believing ESEA would be renewed by December 2016.
Of the 30% who don’t see a renewal happening by the end of 2016, many point to the challenges and disagreements that will undoubtedly arise when the bill goes to conference. The House, they argue, is unlikely to accept the Senate’s bill—and after the revision process, it’s possible they will be unable to reach an agreement on a bill that will pass both legislative bodies.
http://go.uen.org/4dM

State Homeschool Policies: A patchwork of provisions
Education Commission of the States analysis

In the absence of federal homeschooling guidelines, states regulate homeschooling through a patchwork of provisions. Homeschooling policies vary widely from one state to the next and families’ homeschooling experiences will likely be very different depending on where they live. For example, some states have little or no homeschooling regulation — like Alaska, Idaho and Michigan — while others have more robust oversight policies — Washington, New York and Pennsylvania, for example. Although homeschooling occurs largely outside of the public education system, as states provide more online education options and allow homeschooled students to participate, the lines between public education and homeschooling are blurring.
http://go.uen.org/4dN

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Arizona school admins scrambling, again, to hire teachers
(Phoenix) Arizona Republic

WASHINGTON — Arizona officials say there are at least 1,000 vacant teacher positions to fill, with just weeks left until the school year starts around the state.
It’s not the first time school districts have found themselves scrambling to hire teachers in Arizona, where officials say low salaries, lack of support and high turnover rates combine to make summers a stressful time for administrators.
‘’We’ve been working very hard since the spring to fill all our positions,” said Balsz School District Superintendent Jeffrey Smith.
He said this week that the district has “about four, maybe five” teacher openings, and no guarantees they will be filled by the July 27 start of school.
At Cave Creek Unified School District, Superintendent Debbi Burdick said, “It’s bad.”
Burdick said she is trying to fill six teaching slots, and the district’s governing board even approved a $4,000 signing bonus for qualified special education or middle school math teachers. But she’s still looking.
‘’We’re concerned, and for many of the positions we have open we do not even have one applicant,” Burdick said.
They are not the only schools in that situation, nor is this the only year it’s happened. The Arizona Department of Education created an Educator Retention and Recruitment Task Force in response to “rising concerns regarding the shortage of effective teachers and high turnover rates of educators in Arizona schools.”
http://go.uen.org/4dH

Legislative power key issue in arguments over teacher evaluation law
Appeals panel hears arguments in union suit against DPS
Chalkbeat Colorado

Differing views of the legislature’s powers over labor and contracts law were at the center of oral arguments Tuesday in a lawsuit that challenges one part of Colorado’s landmark 2010 teacher evaluation law.
“The Colorado legislature has plenary power to modify these teacher employment rights,” lawyer Eric Hall, representing the Denver Public Schools, argued to a three-judge panel of the Colorado Court of Appeals.
But Philip Hostak, a National Education Association lawyer from Washington, D.C., countered, “plainly there are” limits on legislative power to change contract law.
The two were pitching their arguments in the case of Masters v. DPS, filed in January 2014 by five former teachers and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association. The suit claimed district officials misused the mutual-consent provision of the evaluation law, violating both contract and due process sections of the Colorado Constitution.
http://go.uen.org/4dJ

U.S. charter school default rate up, but sector sound: report
Reuters

NEW YORK | U.S. charter schools are defaulting on bonds at a rate of 3.3 percent, a level higher than that recorded three years ago but still not one which should concern investors, according to the co-publisher of a report made available on Tuesday.
Charter schools, held in a number of municipal bond funds, are public schools that operate independently and are an alternative to schools run by local school districts. They are publicly funded but use private-sector lenders to fund buildings.
Of the $10.4 billion issued by charter schools, $346.9 million, or 3.3 percent, has defaulted, according to the report by community financing organization the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and Charter School Advisors. That compares to 2.7 percent recorded in a 2012 LISC report by the same author, CSA managing director Wendy Berry.
“I don’t think it should be concerning to investors if they’re looking at schools in the right way,” said Reena Abraham, LISC’s vice president of education programs.
“There is tons of growth in this sector. I think they should be asking the same questions that we have been asking around academic performance. A good school will not fail you.”
http://go.uen.org/4dK

The new frontier for Advanced Placement: Online AP lessons, for free
Washington Post

The explosion of free online education, known mainly for targeting adults, is reaching ever further into high schools.
On Wednesday, a new sequence of lessons for high school Advanced Placement courses in calculus, physics and macroeconomics went live on a free Web site founded by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University. The lessons, developed by Davidson College for the site called edX, represent a new step in the evolution of ties between the popular AP college-level program and the “massive open online courses” known as MOOCs.
Other MOOCs in recent months have targeted AP students in subjects such as biology, computer science and chemistry. They aim to prepare students for exams that offer potential college credit for high scores. One philanthropist, Steven B. Klinsky, has even suggested that these MOOCs can help create a pathway for students to obtain a full freshman year of college credit for free.
Davidson’s sequence is a bit different. The private college in North Carolina teamed with the College Board, which oversees the AP program, and with high school teachers in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg area and elsewhere to develop online lessons in difficult topics. These lessons are meant to supplement live teaching, not replace it. So teachers and students can pick and choose what they want to use.
Perhaps it is best to think of them not as MOOCs, but as massive open online lessons, or MOOLs.
http://go.uen.org/4dY

Nevada to pick new vendor after Common Core testing debacle
Associated Press via Education Week

LAS VEGAS— Nevada is ending ties with the test-maker it blames for a debacle in the handling of Common Core assessments that halted the mandatory online exams this year.
For the last decade, the state had used New Hampshire-based Measured Progress to implement federally mandated standardized testing.
But the relationship soured this spring, as a widespread computer system outage crippled testing and derailed what was supposed to be a major shift in standardized testing. This was the first year for Nevada and many other states to move into an online test that allowed for questions to adapt in difficulty based on a student’s answers, with questions aligned across states to the hotly contested Common Core standards.
http://go.uen.org/4dO

What Schools Can Learn About Privacy
Wall Street Journal

As schools and universities get more serious about protecting sensitive personal data of students and employees, one attorney specializing in data security issues said the education sector can benefit from seeing what has worked in other industries before it crafts its own rules. “What the schools can learn from industry is they really don’t have to reinvent the wheel…there are plenty of examples within the different sectors of business,” said David Katz, a partner at law firm Nelson Mullins.
One principle educators should rally around is the need to harmonize policies and procedures to protect the privacy of student data, which carries with it a heightened sense of worry from parents as to how their children’s information is being handled, said Mr. Katz. Another is making sure there is enough money and resources allocated to deal with security. “How things get prioritized at the district or even collegiate level requires budget and requires people to process the technology. Depending on how those schools are funded…they may not have the resources to hire folks related to those areas,” said Mr. Katz. “There has to be some level of transparency and an assurance to students and parents about how their data are going to be used, how secured it is and who has access to it. One of the ways those assurances could be made is with good information governance.”
Educators should focus on three ways to design and implement comprehensive student data and security polices, said Mr. Katz. Step one is to establish internal ground rules, step two is managing third‐party vendor relationships and step three is committing to continuous improvement and transparency. “Wouldn’t it be a good idea for vendors and folks who wanted to be engaged with schools districts, and the districts themselves, to establish some kind of model for how data should be transferred?” he said. “It doesn’t seem to be that same sort of infrastructure exists within education in terms of the rules and what should parties expect from one another when sharing information.”
http://go.uen.org/4dZ

Racial achievement gap costs Oregon $2 billion a year, study says
(Portland) Oregonian

If Oregon’s public schools managed to elevate Latino, African American and Native American students to the same level of academic achievement as white students, Oregonians of all backgrounds would be more prosperous, a new study says.
Economists at consulting firm ECONorthwest estimate that Oregon’s economy would be nearly $2 billion bigger if all working-age Oregonians who came through the state’s public schools had been educated to the same level that white students are.
Working-age adults of color would have lower unemployment rates and higher pay due to higher skills, says study co-author Andrew Dyke, senior economist at ECONorthwest. The economic benefits would rub off on the rest of Oregonians, giving them lower unemployment and higher wages too, Dyke said.
The study says nothing about how Oregon could close its achievement gap or what it might cost to do so.
http://go.uen.org/4dI

NYC’s Elite-School Debt Boom Swells as Brearley Seeks to Borrow
Bloomberg

The Brearley School is poised to join the borrowing boom among New York City’s elite prep schools.
The all-girls academy, whose alumnae include Caroline Kennedy and actress Kyra Sedgwick, won approval Tuesday from a city agency to sell $50 million of tax-exempt bonds to help finance an expansion on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
New York’s private schools are moving toward selling record amounts of debt this year as endowments swell and interest rates are at generational lows. They’re replacing decades-old buildings and dangling the latest amenities to draw the children of the wealthiest, mirroring what’s been happening on college campuses. Brearley’s tuition is $43,680 a year.
“Money is available,” said Richard Anderson, president of the New York Building Congress, a construction trade group that’s been tracking spending by schools. “If Columbia and NYU can raise money, then Collegiate and Packer and Brearley and all these other places can raise money, too.”
Bond sales by New York’s private and religious schools may exceed the almost $280 million issued in 2002, the highest on record, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
http://go.uen.org/4dL

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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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