Education News Roundup: July 28, 2015

Colored pencils

Crayons (4)/Ginger Me/CC/flickr

Today’s Top Picks:

There is follow up on Utah getting its ESEA waiver renewed.
http://go.uen.org/4eO (SLT)
and http://go.uen.org/4eP (DN)
and http://go.uen.org/4gs (OSE)
and http://go.uen.org/4g9 (KSL)
and http://go.uen.org/4eV (KCSG)

School districts are trying to cut back on watering.
http://go.uen.org/4fr (SLT)

Education Next poll finds more than two-thirds of Americans support required annual testing in schools.
http://go.uen.org/4fb (Ed Next)

WaPo finds the dreaded “c” word is being used in trying to pass an update to ESEA. The “c” word? Compromise.
http://go.uen.org/4gj (WaPo)

Study finds that if you really want to hire a quality teacher, wait until there’s a recession.
http://go.uen.org/4fc (Ed Week)
or a copy of the report
http://go.uen.org/4fd (National Bureau of Economic Research)

Key and Peele reimagine Sports Center as Teaching Center … y’know, as if teaching mattered as much as sports does. As if.
http://go.uen.org/4gp (Comedy Central, video)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Utah gets its fourth exemption from No Child Left Behind
Education » Board is determined to maintain state control of schools.

Salt Lake County schools trying to cut water use, bills
Drought » Students, specialists finding new ways to cut back on brown spots, gallons and costs.

Back to school to-do list: meningitis shot
Health » So far this year, Utah has logged 10 cases of the infectious disease that results in inflammation of membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.

MIT, Harvard students cycle across country to mentor high schoolers

Intervention camp provides support, fun for young students

Cache District to offer community preschools

‘Enough already’: Anti-bullying event launched in Ogden

Jury convicts former Utah school bus driver of 19 counts of molesting two young riders
A jury finds Carrell not guilty of 14 other counts; defense said the videos did not tell the whole story.

Ex-teacher gets 2017 parole hearing in Utah student sex case

Ex-teacher accused of sex abuse argues for case dismissal

Fire erupts at abandoned Midvale Middle School

New income guidelines announced for free, reduced-price school meals

WCSD premiers documentary Aug. 1 to kick off its 100th year celebration

BYU study finds negative academic outcomes from comparing children

Madeleine Choir School breaks ground on $5M renovation
Education » An eight-year plan aims to double school’s enrollment.

Sandy mailman’s plea for books gets worldwide response

Helping underprivileged kids get ready for school

Days of ’47 Parade to feature massive multi-school marching band

Wellness tips for back-to-school

How to improve kid’s manners before they go back to school

Dayspring Montessori; teaching unstoppable learners

Utah Connections Academy Hosts Free Information Session in St. George

Teacher unions and civil rights groups battle over future of No Child Left Behind

OPINION & COMMENTARY

School libraries need funding, innovation to help turn recent trends

Lunch without embarrassment

Thumbs up, thumbs down

Thousands served by one good idea

Obama has you cornered with K-12 test data

What is going on at State BOE?

Nonpartisan elections for state school board members

Constitutionally elected

One-size-fits-all model

First day of school reason to celebrate

13 teachers from pop culture you can’t help but love

Public Supports Testing, Opposes Opt-Out, Opposes Federal Intervention

Responding to Opt Out Requests
The Opportunity for State Boards

The survival of public education is at risk. Here’s what LAUSD needs to do.

The Path Least Taken II
Preparing non-college goers for success

Engineering a STEM mentoring moonshot

The case for shortening high school
Here’s an idea: eliminate a couple of high school years and spend the money on pre-K.

Using the Restroom: A Privilege—If You’re a Teacher
Educators seldom have enough time to do their business. What’s that doing to the state of learning?

The Toughest Job In Education? Maybe Not

Teaching Center

NATION

To get support for education bill, senators conjure lost art: Compromise

Battle of the sex ed? Versions of NCLB rewrite clash

Quality of Teacher Hires Improved During the Recession, Analysis Finds

New GAO Report: Teacher Prep Programs Lack Performance Data

Colorado State Board of Education at crossroads after contentious run

New Tool Maps School Attendance Zones Across U.S.

Education Department Celebrates ADA’s 25th Anniversary

Why the AT&T-DirecTV merger might actually limit choices for consumers

Bombed the SAT or the ACT? Here are colleges that are ‘test-optional.’

Teachers terminated based on ineffective evaluation ratings are appealing charges

Judge hears arguments to stop standardized testing payments

NC Supreme Court upholds public money for private tuition

Arizona private-school families cash in on state’s tax-credit program
A program that legislative budget staff in 1997 estimated would cost $4.5 million a year now tops $140 million

Mississippi school district fined $7,500 for opening prayer
According to a Pew Research Center survey, non-Christians and those unaffiliated with any religion are on the rise. Are we helping children learn the importance of interfaith dialogue?

Principal commits suicide amid Common Core test scandal

What Do We Value More: Young Kids Or Fast Food?

Jeb Bush on Hispanic student achievement in Florida

Is Spike in Kids with Autism Just a Shirt in Diagnosis?

Schools Face the Teen Cutting Problem
Efforts to stem a rise in the number of adolescents found to be engaging in self injury, especially cutting

Minneapolis mayor hires staffers to focus on youth, early education initiatives
The two new hires will address mayor’s Cradle to K effort and focus on city’s racial disparities.

New officers elected at EI Congress

Education company Blackboard seeks $3 billion sale – sources

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UTAH NEWS
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Utah gets its fourth exemption from No Child Left Behind
Education » Board is determined to maintain state control of schools.

As federal lawmakers work to replace the No Child Left Behind Act, Utah has again gotten a waiver from the controversial education law.
The state Office of Education announced Thursday that its requested one-year waiver extension had been accepted by the U.S. Department of Education.
Utah first received a waiver from No Child Left Behind in 2012. That exemption allowed the state to develop its own school accountability system and avoid diverting funds to federally mandated turnaround strategies for failing schools.
Because of annually increasing performance thresholds, virtually every school in Utah is failing under the provisions of No Child Left Behind.
Utah’s latest waiver application included new language asserting the state’s sovereignty in overseeing its public education system — a statement made by a changing school board in response to perceptions the federal government is reaching too far into local schools.
http://go.uen.org/4eO (SLT)

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

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

http://go.uen.org/4g9 (KSL)

http://go.uen.org/4eV (KCSG)

Salt Lake County schools trying to cut water use, bills
Drought » Students, specialists finding new ways to cut back on brown spots, gallons and costs.

Sandy • Alta High School senior Joseph Hawkins stood with a clipboard in hand at Albion Middle School.
From his vantage point on the soccer field Tuesday, he could see most of the property’s sprinklers going on and off in rhythmic two-minute test cycles.
Several weeks ago, Hawkins explained, the school’s lawn was marked with large dry patches.
But after repeated observation, adjustment and equipment repair, the grass was thriving again — despite a leaner liquid diet.
“For the most part, it’s greened up now,” Hawkins said. “And it’s using a lot less water.”
Water needs for a school district are significant — from the meal preparation, bathrooms and drinking fountains of the academic year to the turf maintenance during Utah’s hot and dry summer months, when school fields function as de facto parks.
In Salt Lake County, Granite School District used more than 778 million gallons of metered water in 2014, according to district utility data.
Granite is the county’s largest school district, enrolling more than 67,000 students in fall 2014 and covering 1,311 acres.
On the smaller side, Murray School District used more than 52 million gallons of water last year — nearly 1 million gallons for each of its 54 acres.
http://go.uen.org/4fr (SLT)

Back to school to-do list: meningitis shot
Health » So far this year, Utah has logged 10 cases of the infectious disease that results in inflammation of membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.

Utah parents can add one more item to their children’s back-to-school checklists.
Following a health department policy change in December, seventh-grade students now are required to get a meningitis vaccination, according to Amy Johnson, a provider relations specialist with the Utah Department of Health.
“It’s one that has always been needed,” she said. “The [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] recommends they get it at 11 or 12.”
So far this year, Utah has logged 10 cases of meningitis-related diseases, according to the most recent health department communicable disease report.
http://go.uen.org/4fs (SLT)

MIT, Harvard students cycle across country to mentor high schoolers

SALT LAKE CITY — For aspiring high achieving students, getting the opportunity to interact with and learn from some of the best and brightest young scientific minds in America for two whole days — for free — would be one of the “coolest things ever,” as one student put it.
About 50 local students took advantage of that opportunity by enrolling in a two-day program on Friday and Saturday at The Leonardo that focused on technology and engineering.
Seven MIT and Harvard engineering students led an engineering learning festival at The Leonardo museum of science, innovation and art where they mentored young students about the possibilities of education in STEM — science, technology, engineering and math.
http://go.uen.org/4fz (DN)

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

Intervention camp provides support, fun for young students

Students raced in sacks, threw horseshoes and lassos and learned dances reminiscent of the pioneers in honor of Pioneer Day as part of Wilson Elementary’s summer intervention camp.
Circling the rope above his head, Jeffrey Morrell, 6, was one of many kids who lined up to take his best shot at lassoing a small bull made out of wood in the morning sun outside the school.
The 7-week camp, estimated to have seen approximately 130 different kids ages 4-12 across different schools in Cache Valley, is part of the AmeriCorps VISTA Public School Partnership. Sky View and Mountain Crest High Schools and Bridger and Wilson Elementary Schools are part of program.
http://go.uen.org/4fP (LHJ)

Cache District to offer community preschools

Spots are filling up fast for the first year of community preschools offered by the Cache County School District.
The district is offering community preschool classes at Lewiston, Park and Nibley elementary schools. However, only the afternoon classes at Lewiston are available.
http://go.uen.org/4fQ (LHJ)

‘Enough already’: Anti-bullying event launched in Ogden

OGDEN — A pair of broken glasses and a suicide — two incidents of bullying that have sparked a local awareness campaign.
A pair of co-workers said they’re not going to sit back and let such incidents happen to others if they can help it.
Mark Ryan of Ogden and Craig Christensen of Willard are holding a free event Aug. 15 to bring more awareness to the problem of bullying and teen suicide. The event will be held at Pioneer Stadium and Lorin Farr Park, 668 17th St., from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and will include a monster truck freestyle show, a car show, a Foley’s Mixed Marshal Arts demonstration, a motivational speaker, RWR wrestling, local bands and an attorney who will speak about accountability with bullying.
http://go.uen.org/4fJ (OSE)

Jury convicts former Utah school bus driver of 19 counts of molesting two young riders
A jury finds Carrell not guilty of 14 other counts; defense said the videos did not tell the whole story.

West Jordan • After close to 16 hours of deliberation over two days, a jury late Thursday afternoon convicted a former Canyons School District bus driver of 19 counts of molesting two of his young passengers, but found him not guilty of 14 other counts.
John Martin Carrell, 62, was on trial in 3rd District Court on 33 counts of first-degree felony aggravated sexual abuse of a child. Twenty-three of the counts are tied to alleged acts with the girl in the first of two sets of videos. Another 10 counts are related to a second girl.
Both girls were special needs students at Altara Elementary School students in Sandy and were 5 years old when the alleged offenses took place in March and April 2014.
http://go.uen.org/4fv (SLT)

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

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

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

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

http://go.uen.org/4g5 (KTVX)

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

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

Ex-teacher gets 2017 parole hearing in Utah student sex case

A former Davis High School teacher sent to prison for having sexual contact with three of her students will get her first chance to be paroled in 2017.
Utah Board of Pardons spokesman Greg Johnson said Monday that Brianne Altice’s original hearing date in front of a parole board officer is scheduled for January 2017. After that hearing, the board will decide either a release date for the former English teacher, or they could schedule a re-hearing.
Earlier this month, Altice was sentenced to spend at least two years and up to 30 years in prison after she pleaded guilty to three counts of forcible sexual abuse.
http://go.uen.org/4fu (SLT)

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

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

http://go.uen.org/4g6 (KSL)

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

http://go.uen.org/4gx (NY Daily News)

Ex-teacher accused of sex abuse argues for case dismissal

OGDEN — The defense attorney for a former Highland Junior High School teacher accused of having sex with a student wants the criminal charges dismissed.
Justin Davenport appeared in 2nd District Court with his attorney, Kevin Richards, on Thursday to announce they have filed a motion to dismiss the case.
Davenport, 34, is charged with forcible sodomy, rape and forcible sexual abuse. The former geography and U.S. history teacher is accused of engaging in a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old female student.
On July 15, Richards filed the motion to dismiss, arguing that the accusations against his client were too broad and did not list specific dates for the alleged offenses.
http://go.uen.org/4fK (OSE)

Fire erupts at abandoned Midvale Middle School

Flames erupted Saturday at the abandoned Midvale Middle School, which was already set for demolition.
The fire began about 7 p.m. at the school, 7852 S. Pioneer St. Firefighters were containing the flames to the old gymnasium and swimming pool area, which are on the north side of the building, said Unified Fire Authority spokesman Dave Ulibarri.
Firefighters received second-hand statements that people may have been inside the building. But firefighters searched the safe areas of the school and did not find anyone, Ulibarri said.
The school was scheduled to be demolished at the end of the month.
http://go.uen.org/4fW (SLT)

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

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

http://go.uen.org/4g0 (CVD)

http://go.uen.org/4g2 (KUTV)

http://go.uen.org/4g3 (KTVX)

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

http://go.uen.org/4g1 (KSTU)

New income guidelines announced for free, reduced-price school meals

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Office of Education on Wednesday announced new income guidelines for families whose children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals at school.
The policy is released prior to the start of every school year with income distributions adjusted for inflation. But parents won’t see any major changes in the application process from last year, according to Kathleen Britton, child nutrition programs director at the Utah State Office of Education.
http://go.uen.org/4g8 (KSL)

WCSD premiers documentary Aug. 1 to kick off its 100th year celebration

ST. GEORGE, Utah — In conjunction with the 100-year anniversary of the Washington County School District, each school throughout the district has a variety of activities planned during the coming 2015-16 school year.
http://go.uen.org/4ge (KCSG)

http://go.uen.org/4gu (SGN)

BYU study finds negative academic outcomes from comparing children

PROVO, UTAH — A parent’s belief about his or her child has a greater impact on the offspring’s life than many might think, researchers out of Brigham Young University recently found.
Researchers looked at how parents’ opinions of their children — in comparison to siblings — affects their children’s behavior in the future.
http://go.uen.org/4fA (DN)

A copy of the study
http://go.uen.org/4fB (Journal of Family Psychology)

Madeleine Choir School breaks ground on $5M renovation
Education » An eight-year plan aims to double school’s enrollment.

Construction kicked off at The Madeleine Choir School on Thursday after parents and school leaders broke ground for a $5 million renovation.
Plans for the school’s Jacquelyn M. Erbin Hall include seismic and electrical updates, additional classroom and rehearsal space and a new science laboratory, according to Matt Kitterer, director of advancement for the school.
The project is expected to be completed in time for the 2016-2017 school year.
http://go.uen.org/4ft (SLT)

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

Sandy mailman’s plea for books gets worldwide response

SANDY — A postal carrier has delivered more than the mail to a Sandy boy, collecting shelves full of books for the child to read as his story has unexpectedly spread around the world.
Ron Lynch was delivering the mail when he spotted 12-year-old Mathew Flores fishing advertisements and newsletters out of a junk mail bin. The boy told the mail carrier that he was looking for something to read.
Reading, he says, is interesting. “Plus, it gets you smarter,” he says.
“A young man was standing here reading junk mail and asked me if I had any extra,” recalled Lynch, who works for the Sandy Post Office.
Struck, Lynch started a conversation with the boy. Mathew told the mail carrier that he reads the advertisements because he doesn’t have books of his own and that bus fares made it difficult to get to the library.
If Mathew couldn’t get to the library, Lynch decided to bring the library to him.
http://go.uen.org/4fD (DN)

http://go.uen.org/4g7 (KSL)

Helping underprivileged kids get ready for school

Homelessness is not just a grownup problem. The Apple Tree program is working to help kids in need get a great start to their school year when they otherwise would go without new clothing, shoes and backpacks.
http://go.uen.org/4fV (KTVX)

Days of ’47 Parade to feature massive multi-school marching band

RIVERTON, Utah – Homeowners near Riverton High School had quite a wake up call, Thursday morning, when a massive marching band made its way through the neighborhood.
Nearly 300 young musicians from the Jordan School District say they will make history this Pioneer Day, as they march through Salt Lake City. Priding themselves as the biggest marching band ever featured in the Days of ’47 Parade, the kids are not wasting any practice time before the big performance.
http://go.uen.org/4g4 (KTVX)

Wellness tips for back-to-school

During the hot days of summer, the last thing we’re thinking about is the fact that school will be starting in just a few short weeks. However, now is the perfect time to start preparing for that school bell to ring. Along with shopping, haircuts and pictures, here are five back-to-school tips to help kids prepare for the classroom and give them a foundation of good health:
http://go.uen.org/4gy (SGN)

How to improve kid’s manners before they go back to school

Dawn Ramsey, Utah PTA School Board of Directors and Jordan School District Region PTA Director shares her tips on how to prep your kids for back to school with a manners checkup.
http://go.uen.org/4gw (KSTU)

Dayspring Montessori; teaching unstoppable learners

ST. GEORGE — Founded on the educational beliefs put forth over 100 years ago by Dr. Maria Montessori, Dayspring Montessori has been an early education staple in St. George for nearly 20 years. Now located in the Dixie Montessori Academy building, 1160 N. 645 W. in Washington City, the private preschool, pre-K and Kindergarten Montessori is accepting enrollment for the 2015-16 school year.
http://go.uen.org/4gv (SGN)

Utah Connections Academy Hosts Free Information Session in St. George

Enrollment is now open for the 2015-2016 school year at Utah Connections Academy (UCA), a tuition-free, fully accredited virtual public school, and it is hosting a free information session from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 28 at Hampton Inn St. George, 53 N. River Rd., St. George, UT 84790.
http://go.uen.org/4gz (Iron County Today)

Teacher unions and civil rights groups battle over future of No Child Left Behind

When the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed a new education bill to replace the increasingly unworkable and unpopular No Child Left Behind law last week, one key amendment lay on the cutting room floor.
http://go.uen.org/4fC (DN)

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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School libraries need funding, innovation to help turn recent trends
Deseret News editorial

In conducting 25 studies in 25 states, Debra Kachel, an instructor in the library and information technologies department at Mansfield University, found that school libraries staffed by a certified librarian performed better on reading, writing and math scores than schools lacking the same services. Yet school libraries consistently see their funds cut when budgets get tight.
With the Internet now commonplace, it’s tempting to see libraries as obsolete. Who needs books when you have interactive websites? The same people who choose to see an actual doctor instead of just self-diagnosing a disease on Mayoclinic.com. With such an overload of available online information, certified, educated librarians are a valuable asset in helping students discern what’s before them.
But even if having a librarian on staff is desirable, funding has become a problem.
http://go.uen.org/4fx

Lunch without embarrassment
(St. George) Spectrum editorial

Food, fun, friends! That’s how Utahns Against Hunger is advertising its brown bag lunch program across Southern Utah this summer.
A non-profit foundation supported largely by corporate donations and government grants, Utahns Against Hunger has been working to ensure that children whose families rely on the free lunch program for part of their sustenance will not be go without while school’s out for the summer. In an added stroke of genius, Utahns Against Hunger decided to make the program available for all children under the age of 18. There’s no need for applications — kids can show up at designated places at noon to eat and have fun.
In Cedar City, for instance, parents will first take their children to the library, then stroll over to the park at noon for lunch. The atmosphere is one of fun and excitement. Some children play on the swings, while others run through the grass. Most are accompanied by moms, but some come with dads or grandmas or babysitters. The adults aren’t served but no one seems to mind. This is about our children.
http://go.uen.org/4fS

Thumbs up, thumbs down
(Provo) Daily Herald editorial

THUMBS UP: When faced with no place to dispose of outdated textbooks, Windsor Elementary School contacted the United Way to find children in need who could use them in their informal learning.
http://go.uen.org/4fO

Thousands served by one good idea
Deseret News commentary by columnist Lee Benson

PARK CITY — Trish Alderman, mother of four, biding her time before school started up again in the fall, was watching the TV news when a story came on about a group elsewhere in the state raising money for back-to-school clothes and supplies for schoolkids who otherwise faced starting the year without such things.
Outfit one child for $100 was their pitch.
“A hundred dollars,” thought Trish. “I can do that.”
Her next thought was why not outfit a child closer to home. She knew Park City had deserving schoolkids too.
And why outfit just one?
She sent an email to her friends. Seven responded. Eight families, counting the Aldermans, contributed $100 apiece and took eight kids to Wal-Mart, where they got all new gear for the first day of school.
That felt so good that by the next summer, Trish decided to expand
http://go.uen.org/4fy

Obama has you cornered with K-12 test data
Deseret News op-ed by JaKell Sullivan, a member of Return to Parental Rights

The Race to the Top Initiative created an opportunity for President Barack Obama’s administration to wrest control over K-12 testing — from the international level to the classroom level — aligning most testing to Common Core “college and career ready” standards. Despite trying, states like Indiana and Oklahoma have found it impossible to exit Common Core because of this testing takeover. Just as Obamacare was intended to push states towards a single-payer system, Race to the Top was designed to push children into personalized learning programs that can assess personal beliefs in real-time.
According to the Bill Gates-funded KnowledgeWorks, which supports the Obama administration’s efforts, the end goal is to get all children online and into personalized learning and competency-based programs where teachers’ teaching and students’ learning can be controlled from pre-K through higher education.
Parents who are concerned about preserving religious liberty in education, and in America, should evaluate how Obama’s Race to the Top Initiative took over K-12 testing at every level so that assessments can assess and adapt individual values, as opposed to simply testing academics.
http://go.uen.org/4fG

What is going on at State BOE?
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Kim R. Burningham

During the past year, a series of terminations and changes at the Utah State Office of Education may cause some readers to wonder what is happening. I do not intend to explain. I am not sure I could.
Instead I simply want to applaud the excellent work of those people who labor there. For 16 years I served as a member of the State Board of Education, and for seven of those years I was the chair. In close, nearly daily observation, I can speak with some authority when I describe the commitment, the unwavering devotion and the hard work delivered by those people.
http://go.uen.org/4fw

http://go.uen.org/4gt (UP)

Nonpartisan elections for state school board members
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Patrick Holman

In any election, voters deserve to be represented by the best candidate for the job.
Recently, state Sen. Alvin Jackson, R-Highland, introduced a proposal for a hybrid system to appoint and elect members to the Utah State School Board of Education. His idea entails a 13-member board. Five of those members would be appointed by the governor, then confirmed by the state Senate. Four would run in nonpartisan elections, and the remaining four would run in partisan elections.
Concerning those partisan seats, these elections, if approved, would be based on Utah’s four congressional districts, representing the same area and voters as our members in the U.S. House of Representatives. It would not be feasibly possible for these board members to visit every school, the students, teachers and administrators and to work with the cities that fall within their boundaries. This would only spread the board members too thin, unable to adequately satisfy the responsibilities of their job.
http://go.uen.org/4fw

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

Constitutionally elected
Deseret News letter from Fred Ash

It would have been nice if our state Legislature had figured out a way to select the state school board constitutionally during the last legislative session, but they didn’t. And what is kind of interesting is that our current state school superintendent was selected by the state school board, which includes unconstitutionally selected board members who continue in their positions, even though they were illegally selected, which doesn’t seem right.
And now, Gov. Gary Herbert has nominated Stan Lockhart, a lobbyist for a Utah-based memory chip manufacturer, to fill the board seat, which was held by an unconstitutionally selected board member. As I remember, the company Mr. Lockhart lobbies for would have benefited if Becky Lockhart’s plan to use $300 million of the education budget to purchase personal electronic devices for all Utah students had been approved, which would have caused another drop in pay for public school teachers and an increase in class size. Wouldn’t his selection be kind of a conflict of interest?
http://go.uen.org/4fF

One-size-fits-all model
Deseret News letter from Robert Holland

Do textbook publishers ever fail to deliver all the content they advertise? Undoubtedly. However, when you report about textbooks being insufficiently aligned with the Common Core national standards, you omit important information about the agenda of the organization leveling that charge (“The textbook industry just keeps making people mad,” July 15).
Specifically, EdReports is a nonprofit that styles itself as the education world’s Consumer Reports, but in reality it is mainly out to hawk a solitary model of education: Common Core. One of its major bankrollers is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has sunk more than $200 million into creating and then selling Common Core.
http://go.uen.org/4fH

First day of school reason to celebrate
(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Chad Hawkes

Hooray for the first day of school! As the time draws nigh for this annual event I thought it might be helpful if I shared a few ideas and advice on preparing your child for the first day of school.
As a parent of six teenagers still living at home and an educator ( I’ve been repeating 5th grade for over 20 years now) these may indeed ease your concerns.
http://go.uen.org/4fR

13 teachers from pop culture you can’t help but love
KSL commentary by Utah Online Schools

Any student can attest to the importance of good teachers in the classroom. It isn’t surprising that teachers in pop culture often carry many of the qualities we love in our real life teachers. This can make them memorable, relatable, and most importantly: loveable.
The following are 13 teachers from pop culture you can’t help but love.
http://go.uen.org/4gr

Public Supports Testing, Opposes Opt-Out, Opposes Federal Intervention
Education Next commentary by Paul E. Peterson, Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government and Director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University, and Martin R. West, associate professor of education at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

Testing and accountability have become a focal point of the congressional debate over the new federal education bill designed to replace No Child Left Behind (NCLB), originally scheduled to expire in 2007. The Senate and the House have each passed a bill revising the law, but disagreement persists on a key testing provision. The Senate bill, passed by a bipartisan supermajority of 81-17, continues the current requirement that states test students each year in grades 3 through 8 and again in high school, but the House bill, passed along strict party lines, allows parents to “opt out” of state tests, despite the fact that the federal government does not require that the tests be used to evaluate the performance of individual students. The difference is critical because one cannot assess school performance accurately unless nearly all (or a representative sample of) students participate in the testing process.
Even if the two houses of Congress reach agreement, another issue complicates the enactment of a new education law. The Obama Administration, backed by civil rights groups, has threatened to veto the legislation unless it gives the federal government a say in defining what constitutes a failing school and in proposing remedies, something not provided for in the current bills.
Given the timeliness of the testing controversy, we are releasing now (prior to the release of our full results in August) relevant information on public opinion obtained as part of the ninth annual Education Next survey administered in May and June, 2015. In that survey we asked nationally representative samples of 700 teachers and 3,300 adult members of the general public the following question: Do you support or oppose the federal government continuing to require that all students be tested in math and reading each year in grades 3-8 and once in high school?
No less than 67% of the public said they supported required annual testing, while just 21% opposed the idea, with the remainder taking a neutral position. Parental support (66%) was nearly as high as that for the public as a whole. Teachers were divided down the middle, with 47% favoring testing but 46% expressing opposition.
http://go.uen.org/4fb

Responding to Opt Out Requests
The Opportunity for State Boards
National Association of State Boards of Education commentary

Dissatisfaction with the time students spend on standardized state and local tests has led parents across the country to seek the right to opt their children out of them. Some states have responded with comprehensive policies and implementation guides, but others have been less clear. The mixed responses have confused parents and educators and, worse, represent a missed opportunity for states to communicate the tests’ importance and the consequences of a failure to assess all students.
State boards of education have an opportunity to prepare local districts to explain policies and their basis to parents, teachers, and school leaders.
http://go.uen.org/4eT

The survival of public education is at risk. Here’s what LAUSD needs to do.
Los Angeles Times op-ed by DIANE RAVITCH, author of, most recently, “Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools”

The Los Angeles Unified School District has at most a year to replace Ramon C. Cortines as superintendent. This is a crucial time for the district, which has weathered many controversies in the last decade. It is also a crucial time for American public education, which has been under assault for 30 years.
What should the next superintendent bring to the job? Start with the vision and skills to revive public confidence in Los Angeles’ public schools. The ideal superintendent would have the courage, and the support of the board, to resist those who seek to undermine and privatize public schools.
I write as a historian who has studied American education for almost 50 years. There has never before been a time such as now, when the very survival of public education is at risk. A powerful coalition of billionaires, libertarians and religious zealots has converged to challenge the legitimacy of public education in Los Angeles and across the nation.
When Arnold Schwarzenegger was California’s governor, he appointed a majority of charter school advocates to the state school board, even though at the time only 5% of the state’s children attended these privately managed schools. The Legislature and the state board strongly supported the creation of more charter schools, and the California Charter Schools Assn. became a major player in Sacramento, pushing pro-charter policies.
During the last school year, of LAUSD’s nearly 644,000 students, 138,672 attended 264 charter schools, more than any other city in the nation. Some charters are good schools, but what is the value of having two publicly funded school systems? In general, charter schools operate with minimal oversight, receiving public funds but not necessarily acting like public schools.
http://go.uen.org/4f3

The Path Least Taken II
Preparing non-college goers for success
Center for Public Education commentary

Much is known about the tools high school graduates need to do well in college. We know much less about the impact of high school on career readiness, however. This study looks at the credentials and high school experiences of non-college going high school graduates in an attempt to identify those factors that relate to success after school in both work and life.
In Part 1 of the Path Least Taken we compared the characteristics of non-college going 2004 graduates to their college going peers. The first finding was that just 12 percent of high school graduates had not enrolled in college by age 26. Even then, nearly a third of these non-college enrollees reported that they still expected to attend college sometime in the future. We also found that non-college enrollees are distinctly different from their college going classmates. In high school, for example, they had typically earned lower grades, took fewer academic courses, and did less homework than the college goers.
In this second study in the series, we explore various job-related and social outcomes of the non-college goers by age 26, and relate these to the preparation they had in school in order to gain insights into what defines “career readiness” for high school graduates.
http://go.uen.org/4eU

Engineering a STEM mentoring moonshot
(Washington, DC) The Hill op-ed by Kirsten Weeks, who leads Cisco’s global STEM mentoring efforts

In 1961, President John F. Kennedy laid out an ambitious goal for our nation – to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade. In doing so, he inspired a new generation and helped ensure U.S. global leadership in technology for years to come.
Today, we have an earthbound, but no less important, challenge. We face a massive skills gap — by 2018, our nation will have 1.8 million unfilled jobs requiring technical skills. Our nation’s business community is uniting to address the challenge.
We need to make sure that students of all backgrounds have the skills and opportunities to pursue a career in STEM– Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. This requires a national strategy, a chief component of which is STEM mentoring by STEM professionals.
Why mentoring? Because students won’t do what they can’t see. It’s one thing to teach math and science in the classroom. It’s another thing to build, explore, and engage the incredible world of science and technology that is transforming our society in real-time. Hands-on learning is the way to get a diverse group of students excited about STEM.
Cisco – as a founding member of US2020 – has pledged that 20 percent of our U.S. workforce will participate in STEM mentoring by the year 2020. Over the course of the past two years, we have engaged over 2,500 US employee volunteers who have spent 28,000 hours working with students.
http://go.uen.org/4f0

The case for shortening high school
Here’s an idea: eliminate a couple of high school years and spend the money on pre-K.
Baltimore (MD) Sun op-ed by Kalman R. Hettleman, a former member of the Baltimore school board

School is out for the summer, and so are prospects nationally for meaningful K-12 school reform. Political debates are stale and stalemated, including congressional deliberations over re-authorization of the No Child Left Behind Act. But here, to relieve the doldrums, is a big idea for a policy breakthrough: Eliminate a year or two of high school and use the time and money to add pre-kindergarten classes.
Actually, the reinvention of high school is not all that far-fetched. True, the idea seems counterintuitive. Many if not most American students are notoriously behind peers in other countries and unprepared for college and the workplace. Still, there is abundant evidence that less time in high school can mean more successful graduates.
http://go.uen.org/4fn

Using the Restroom: A Privilege—If You’re a Teacher
Educators seldom have enough time to do their business. What’s that doing to the state of learning?
Atlantic commentary by columnist ALIA WONG

It’s common knowledge that teachers today are stressed, that they feel underappreciated and disrespected, and disillusioned. It’s no wonder they’re ditching the classroom at such high rates—to the point where states from Indiana to Arizona to Kansas are dealing with teacher shortages. Meanwhile, the number of American students who go into teaching is steadily dropping.
A recent survey conducted jointly by the American Federation of Teachers and Badass Teachers Association asked educators about the quality of their worklife, and it got some pretty harrowing feedback. Just 15 percent of the 30,000 respondents, for example, strongly agreed that they’re enthusiastic about the profession. Compare that to the roughly 90 percent percent who strongly agreed that they were enthusiastic about it when they started their career, and it’s clear that something has changed about schools that’s pushing them away. Roughly three in four respondents said they “often” feel stressed by their jobs.
The survey’s results were largely what one would expect. Among the “everyday stressors” in the workplace and classroom, the most-cited were time pressure and mandated curricula, respectively, for example.
But perhaps the biggest takeaway is somewhat buried in the summary report: Of the various everyday workplace stressors educators could check off, one of the most popular was “Lack of opportunity to use restroom.” In fact, a fourth of the respondents—which amounts, presumably, to 7,500 educators—cited the bathroom issue as an everyday stressor, putting it in third place only after time pressure and disciplinary issues. What’s more, roughly one in two teachers reported having inadequate bathroom breaks, while about the same ratio said they’re unable to use the breaks they do get.
http://go.uen.org/4ff

A copy of the survey
http://go.uen.org/4fg (AFT)

The Toughest Job In Education? Maybe Not
NPR commentary by columnist Steve Drummond

It’s been a theory of mine that the assistant principal has the toughest job in education.
I got that idea a long time ago, when I was a student teacher at a middle school.
It seemed the assistant principal’s job goes something like this:
She’s on duty well before the school day starts with a walkie-talkie on her belt, making sure the buses arrive on time and that the drop-off lane is running smoothly. Then, once the bell rings, she sits in a tiny office, dealing mostly with discipline: playground scuffles, lunchroom infractions and the occasional serious problem, like a knife in the backpack. Bullying. Drugs. A mixture of traffic cop and county judge: calling the parents here, a three-day suspension there, letting others off with a stern warning.
At 3:30 p.m., it’s back outside for the afternoon rush. Once the parking lot clears out, off to the JV soccer game, coordinating and keeping the peace. Then into the night with a meeting of the PTA or the regional basketball tournament.
That’s my theory, anyway. But I may have it all wrong.
“I’d say that’s the best job,” says Doug Anthony. He’s the associate superintendent for talent management with the Prince George’s County, Md., schools, and a former assistant principal himself.
http://go.uen.org/4gf

Teaching Center
Comedy Central satire from Key and Peele

Boyd Maxwell and Perry Schmidt report on the latest developments in the exciting world of pro teaching.
http://go.uen.org/4gp

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NATIONAL NEWS
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To get support for education bill, senators conjure lost art: Compromise
Washington Post

Sen. Lamar Alexander walked into Sen. Patty Murray’s office and closed the door.
Alexander, a Republican from Tennessee, had just taken control of the education committee in the new GOP-led Senate and was determined to rewrite No Child Left Behind, the main K-12 federal education law. It was early February, and he had released a draft of his ideal bill, inviting lawmakers to amend it with their own ideas in committee before bringing it to the full Senate.
Murray, the committee’s ranking Democrat from Washington state, was equally serious about crafting a new law. But she bluntly told Alexander that his way wouldn’t work.
Using a Republican draft as a starting point would only lead to yet another partisan logjam that has come to define Congress, and it would doom their chances of passing an education law that was eight years overdue, she said.
As their staffs anxiously waited in an ante room, Murray and Alexander made an old-school deal —they would find common ground and together write a bipartisan bill. They would compromise.
“I know the general atmosphere of Congress today is ‘Whatever they do is bad’ and ‘Whatever they do is bad’,” Murray said in an interview. The only way to slice through that dysfunction, she said, is to start with a “document at the outset that both of us said we could support and live with and work from.”
http://go.uen.org/4gj

Battle of the sex ed? Versions of NCLB rewrite clash
Dallas (TX) Morning News

Lawmakers are working on a massive overhaul of No Child Left Behind that would eliminate key provisions in President George W. Bush’s signature education law.
Among them is doing away with the adequate yearly progress measures, or AYP, that can trigger changes – such as principal replacement – at the lowest performing schools.
But tucked away in the details of this NCLB battle are vastly different approaches to sex education.
This weekend The Washington Post reported on a provision in the Senate’s version that would require public high schools to report how they teach students about safe relationships, such as what consensual sex means and how to avoid sexual violence.
http://go.uen.org/4f1

http://go.uen.org/4f2 (WaPo)

http://go.uen.org/4gq (HuffPo)

Quality of Teacher Hires Improved During the Recession, Analysis Finds
Education Week

Recessions are unquestionably tough on schools and on teachers—I’m thinking of the ridiculous pink-slip situation in California, for starters—but they might have a (thin) silver lining.
Teachers hired during recession periods appeared to be somewhat more effective boosting students’ math scores than those teachers hired in more secure times, according to a new working paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research. Why? Because during recessions, districts got an influx of better-quality applicants for jobs.
http://go.uen.org/4fc

A copy of the report
http://go.uen.org/4fd (National Bureau of Economic Research)

New GAO Report: Teacher Prep Programs Lack Performance Data
Education Week

We may have a winner of the Black Hole Award for transparency: Teacher preparation. It’s hard to tell if states are doing anything about poor teacher education programs, since many are not evaluating them like they’re required to.
Even the federal government’s watchdog arm seems a bit stumped by the absence of performance information on teaching programs. At least seven states aren’t complying with a key federal reporting requirement for teacher colleges—and the U.S. Department of Education hasn’t forced them to, the Government Accountability Office found in a newly released report.
Based on surveys and interviews with state officials, the GAO found:
http://go.uen.org/4eR

A copy of the report
http://go.uen.org/4eS (GAO)

Colorado State Board of Education at crossroads after contentious run
Denver (CO) Post

The item was not even on the agenda. The Colorado State Board of Education was supposed to spend the morning recognizing award-winning teachers and digesting a routine school-finance update.
But sitting to the right of the board chairwoman, an impatient new member with a reputation as a whip-smart, ruthlessly effective lobbyist and lawmaker wasted little time showing a new era had begun.
On that January day, Colorado Springs Republican Steve Durham sprung the first of many surprises that would shake the state’s education establishment, prevailing in a vote to allow school districts to skip a portion of new state tests required by federal law.
The drama stretched out for months, with 30 districts seeking the waiver; the state Attorney General concluding that the board had overstepped its authority; decisions being delayed; then finally the board backing off — weeks after the tests had already been given.
This is the 2015 state board of education in microcosm — unpredictable, contentious and pushing the boundaries of its limited power at a time of angst over testing, accountability and other issues.
http://go.uen.org/4f8

New Tool Maps School Attendance Zones Across U.S.
Education Week

Forget the common core or teacher salaries. Attendance zones may be the education topic most guaranteed to launch a debate in any school district in the country.
More than 4 out of 5 U.S. students attend the schools to which they were assigned by neighborhood. Many districts make at least some attendance-zone changes every few years.
“Every time you make a boundary change, someone is going to get angry,” said Tom C. Marshall, a Leesburg, Va., real estate agent. He served on the school board for the now-70,000-student Loudoun County district from 2007-11, a time when it gained about 10,000 students in four years. “A lot of people don’t understand the reasons a boundary is drawn. … They think somebody just makes a decision behind closed doors.”
Understanding who goes to which area school and why may soon become a lot easier for education officials and community members alike. The U.S. Department of Education plans to release the first nationwide map of school attendance boundaries this summer. Starting in November, school districts will be able to use an online tool to draw or upload their own maps and download or tweak existing maps.
In the process, districts will create the most detailed picture yet of how American schools define their communities. Education officials will also have new tools to plan new schools and transportation routes, and to identify equity problems across the district.
http://go.uen.org/4fl

More information
http://go.uen.org/4fm (NCES)

Education Department Celebrates ADA’s 25th Anniversary
Education Week

Washington – Twenty-five years after the Americans With Disabilities Act passed, schools and other public spaces have made strides to accommodate children and youth with disabilities, said the participants at ada25.pnga U.S. Department of Education event to honor the civil rights law Friday.
But there is still work to be done on making the promise of the ADA the “delivered reality of our kids in schools,” said Catherine E. Lhamon, the assistant secretary for civil rights at the department. She rattled off a list of settlement agreements that the department had entered into just this month:
*A Denver charter school disenrolled a kindergarten student after finding out on orientation day that he had a mobility issue that would require him to use the school’s elevator. The school officials told the department it only handles “mild disabilities,” and that they couldn’t ensure there would be an adult to ride the elevator with the student. “Well, they can now,” Lhamon said.
* Another student, with brittle-bone disease, was barred by her school from going on a field trip, because the school said it couldn’t guarantee her safety. The civil rights office intervened, and the school has purchased a special vehicle to accommodate her.
* In a Colorado school, students with emotional disabilities were sent to an “alternate learning lab” with no teacher. OCR worked with the school to make sure they were fully included.
“Our kids are fully part of our schools,” Lhamon told the audience of disability-rights advocates. “We need to make sure the rights of our kids are realized.”
http://go.uen.org/4eQ

Why the AT&T-DirecTV merger might actually limit choices for consumers
Consumer Reports via Fox

When it comes to pay TV service, bigger isn’t always better for consumers—especially when it reduces choice in an already consolidated business. But that’s about to happen again. Last week, the Federal Communications Commission signed off on the proposed AT&T-DirecTV merger, which has already received clearance from the Justice Department.
The resulting AT&T-DirecTV company will be the nation’s largest pay TV operator, with more than 26 million customers, surpassing Comcast, the current leader with about 22 million pay TV subscribers. To hear the companies talk about it, the AT&T-DirecTV merger will be a win for consumers. DirecTV will be able to offer broadband to many of its 20 million TV customers in about 21 states, and AT&T—which has about 6 million U-verse customers—will be able to develop new services and bundles that include TV, broadband, and both landline and cellular phone service.
The companies also contend that the combined entity will have more leverage for negotiating better content deals. “Combining DirecTV with AT&T is all about giving customers more choices for great video entertainment integrated with mobile and high-speed Internet service,” said Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, in a statement.

In approving the AT&T-DirecTV merger, the FCC imposed several conditions, including a requirement that AT&T increase its fiber-broadband service, offer super-fast gigabit service to eligible schools and libraries within its footprint, provide discounted Internet service to low-income households, and count its own video services under any broadband data caps (AT&T is the only major Internet service provider to impose them on all its fixed broadband customers). The FCC is also requiring AT&T to submit its interconnection agreements for review by both internal and independent compliance monitors.
http://go.uen.org/4eY

Bombed the SAT or the ACT? Here are colleges that are ‘test-optional.’
Washington Post

So which colleges and universities will admit you without requiring or looking at test scores? If you’re aiming for the Ivy League or other national universities at the most elite level, forget about it. They not only demand SAT or ACT results, many also will look for other tests to show subject-matter mastery.
But there are plenty of schools that take a test-optional approach. On Monday, George Washington University became the latest. GWU said that with a few exceptions, students seeking freshman admission will no longer have to submit SAT or ACT scores.
The National Center for Fair and Open Testing, known as FairTest, is an advocacy group that tracks the test-optional movement. It has a list of more than 800 schools that admit substantial numbers of students to bachelor’s degree programs without using SAT or ACT scores.
http://go.uen.org/4fi

http://go.uen.org/4fk (NYT)

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

The list
http://go.uen.org/4fj (FairTest)

Teachers terminated based on ineffective evaluation ratings are appealing charges
Jackson (MI) Citizen Patriot

JACKSON, MI – Two Jackson Public Schools teachers are appealing tenure charges calling for the termination of their employment after receiving ineffective evaluation ratings.
Through their attorneys, Middle School at Parkside science teacher Wendy Allen and Jackson High School special education teacher Beth Borener have filed appeals with the Michigan Tenure Commission based on the charges approved by the Jackson School Board on June 22.
The recommendation for termination from JPS Superintendent Jeff Beal was made based on a contract ratified by the district and the Jackson Education Association teachers union a year ago. The contract stipulates teachers receiving two consecutive ineffective ratings on annual evaluations will be removed from the district.
In their appeals, both teachers requested private hearings, which will be scheduled before an administrative law judge. Either side can appeal the results of the hearings to the state’s full tenure commission.
By law, Allen and Borener will remain on paid leave from JPS until a ruling is made.
http://go.uen.org/4eZ

Judge hears arguments to stop standardized testing payments
Bismarck (ND) Tribune

The fight against North Dakota’s education standards arrived Monday in the Burleigh County Courthouse, where critics of the state’s new standardized tests sought to stop paying the organization that developed the assessments used in schools this spring.
South Central District Judge David Reich took the request under advisement, saying he will make a ruling as soon as he can.
Opponents of the Common Core standards and related tests asked for a preliminary injunction to prevent North Dakota from paying dues to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium while their lawsuit against the state plays out.
North Dakota is one of 18 states to have joined the consortium, which designed the new tests many students took on computers earlier this year. The state has a three-year contract with Smarter Balanced that comes with an annual membership fee of $553,900.
The opponents’ suit seeks to sever ties with the consortium. St. Louis-based attorney John Sauer, who’s waging a similar court battle in Missouri, argued on behalf of the plaintiffs Monday that the consortium is an illegal interstate compact.
http://go.uen.org/4fh

NC Supreme Court upholds public money for private tuition
Charlotte (NC) Observer

The N.C. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the state can continue awarding publicly funded vouchers to send low-income students to private schools.
The ruling overturned constitutional challenges to the Opportunity Scholarship program filed by the North Carolina Association of Educators and the North Carolina School Boards Association. Several local school boards also joined the challenge.
The scholarships pay up to $4,200 a year for children whose families meet income guidelines to switch from public to private schools.
http://go.uen.org/4eX

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

Arizona private-school families cash in on state’s tax-credit program
A program that legislative budget staff in 1997 estimated would cost $4.5 million a year now tops $140 million
(Phoenix) Arizona Republic

Arizona created the nation’s first tax credit for private education 18 years ago in a move hailed by school-choice advocates and replicated across the country.
Its architects, who promised the program would primarily benefit special-needs and low-income students, have watched it grow far larger than they ever imagined.
A program that legislative budget staff in 1997 estimated would cost $4.5 million a year now tops $140 million. And that doesn’t include $50 million in tax credits handed out separately for public-school extracurricular activities.
“The impact has been substantial on the number of kids who are getting to go to the school of their parents’ choice,” said state Sen. Steve Yarbrough, R-Chandler.
Yarbrough is among the program’s biggest supporters and also executive director of one of the non-profit school-tuition organizations that under the law accept the tax-deductible donations and distribute the funds as scholarships to private K-12 students. Arizona now has four private-school tax credits, two for individuals and two for corporations.
“It’s been better and more successful than even those of us who were enthusiastic from the get-go imagined,” he said.
Despite its explosive growth, the program has failed to keep its promise of primarily aiding special-needs and low-income students, and of expanding school choice. Meanwhile, as it grows, critics say, it is further depleting funding for public schools.
In fiscal 2014, the most recent year available, Arizonans claimed $84 million in individual tax credits. Corporations claimed another $39 million.
Only about 3 percent of the money is designated specifically for special-needs students. And 32 percent of the scholarship money given through the individual tax-credit programs goes to children of “low income” families, defined as those earning 185 percent of the federal poverty level, or $44,862 for a family of four, according to data acquired by The Arizona Republic. The corporate tax credit for “low income” families has a more-generous definition — a family of four can earn as much as $82,996.
Data also show private-school enrollment has actually fallen since the program was implemented, while public-school attendance continues to grow.
That trend, in particular, concerns critics of the program, who say every dollar donated to a school-tuition organization is a dollar that an individual or a corporation does not pay into the state’s general fund, which pays for public education.
http://go.uen.org/4f4

Mississippi school district fined $7,500 for opening prayer
According to a Pew Research Center survey, non-Christians and those unaffiliated with any religion are on the rise. Are we helping children learn the importance of interfaith dialogue?
Christian Science Monitor

The opening of a Mississippi school assembly honoring students who scored above 22 on their ACT college admissions has resulted in a $7,500 fine for the school district.
A US District Court fined the the Rankin, Miss. school district for inviting the assembly’s attendees to join in an opening prayer led by a Methodist minister after a student sued on First Amendment grounds.
As Fox News reported, this is not the first time this school district has been found to run afoul of the Constitution. In 2013, a court settlement ordered the district to stop “proselytizing Christianity.” The decision came after the same student took the school district and the school’s then-principal to court for forcing her to attend a series of assemblies that promoted Christianity.
This time, US District Judge Carlton Reeves said the assembly violated his prior ruling. He rejected arguments that he shouldn’t sanction the school district because the ceremony was voluntary:
“The district’s breach did not take very long and it occurred in a very bold way,” Mr. Reeves wrote in his judgment. “Its conduct displays that the district did not make any effort to adhere to the agreed judgment,” as the Associated Press reported.
The report also notes that the student who sued in both cases was raised by a Methodist mother and a Sikh father and does not consider herself an atheist or an anti-Christian. She says that she wants to develop religious beliefs free of government coercion.
More and more across the United States, universal adherence to Christianity can no longer be taken for granted. According to a Religious Landscape Study done by the Pew Research Center, 70.7 percent of Americans identify as Christian. In the South, 76 percent say they are Christian – the highest percentage in the US. But a May 2015 survey found that both non-Christian faiths and those who considered themselves unaffiliated with any religion had increased between 2007 and 2014, while the proportion of Christians has declined.
http://go.uen.org/4go

Principal commits suicide amid Common Core test scandal
New York Post

The principal of an innovative West Harlem public school killed herself the day after her students took the state Common Core exams — which were later tossed out because she cheated, The Post has learned.
Jeanene Worrell-Breeden, 49, of Teachers College Community School, jumped in front of a B train in the 135th Street station on St. Nicholas Avenue on April 17, police said.
She was pulled out from under the train and taken to Harlem Hospital, where she died eight days later. The city Medical Examiner’s Office ruled it a suicide.
The leap came at 9:20 a.m., less than 24 hours after her 47 third-graders wrapped up three days sweating over the high-stakes English exam — the first ever given at the fledgling school.
It was also the same day a whistleblower reported the cheating to DOE officials.
http://go.uen.org/4f9

http://go.uen.org/4fa (NYT)

What Do We Value More: Young Kids Or Fast Food?
NPR

New York state recently announced an increase in the minimum wage for fast food workers, to $15 an hour. It’s the fruit of a three-year labor campaign.
But there’s another group of workers out there that hasn’t had a real wage increase in decades. Right now, at preschool programs around the country, teachers are tapping infinite reserves of patience to keep the peace among children at various stages of development and need. They’re also providing meals, wiping noses and delivering a curriculum in math and reading that will get the kids ready for school.
And there are hugs. Lots of hugs.
A working parent like me would say these services are priceless. But according to a study from the University of California, Berkeley, the economy values them between $8.63 and $20.99 per hour.
That wide range depends largely on location and classification. Child care workers, who are more likely to work with younger children and in homes, have seen their real wages drop by a penny an hour compared with 1989, when this study was first conducted — from an average of $8.63 in West Virginia to $12.47 in Massachusetts. Preschool workers, who are more likely to work with older children in licensed centers and in publicly funded, school-based programs, earn more — from $11.57 an hour in Delaware to $20.99 in New York City.
Not only is the pay low, but the divisions within the profession are somewhat “arbitrary,” says Deborah Phillips, a professor at Georgetown University and a co-author of both the original study and this update.
http://go.uen.org/4gg

A copy of the report
http://go.uen.org/4gh (University of California at Berkeley Center for the Study of Child Care Employment)

Jeb Bush on Hispanic student achievement in Florida
Politico

In his first Spanish-language interview as a presidential candidate, Jeb Bush told Telemundo that his record on accountability and school choice are part of what distinguish him from others running for president. He told the channel’s Jose Diaz-Balart on Monday that “Hispanics in Florida are No. 1, compared to Hispanic students in the rest of the country. And we did so with accountability with school choice, with a much more open system, where parents could have more choosing power, and with that pressure, there was a better educational level, which is historical. I believe the federal government should be a partner in that type of reform. They should not try to delete the power or dilute the power from a state level but whatever there are states that want to have reforms. And the reforms in Florida are a manner in which Hispanics can be offered the possibility of having their children get more opportunities than what they received, which is whatever parent wants to have – parents I know in this state, in the U.S.’
http://go.uen.org/38P

http://go.uen.org/4fe (Telemundo, video, in Spanish)

Is Spike in Kids with Autism Just a Shirt in Diagnosis?
Futurity

The greater than three-fold increase in autism diagnoses among children in special education programs in the United States between 2000 and 2010 may be due in large part to a change in diagnosis.
For a new study, researchers analyzed 11 years of special-education enrollment data on an average of 6.2 million children per year.
The increase in students diagnosed with autism was offset by a nearly equal decrease in students diagnosed with other intellectual disabilities that often co-occur with autism. There was no overall increase in the number of students enrolled in special education.
The findings suggest the large increase in the prevalence of autism is likely the result of shifting patterns of diagnosis that are complicated by the variability of autism and its overlap with other related disorders.
http://go.uen.org/4f5

http://go.uen.org/4f7 (NBC)

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

A copy of the study
http://go.uen.org/4f6 (American Journal of Medical Genetics)

Schools Face the Teen Cutting Problem
Efforts to stem a rise in the number of adolescents found to be engaging in self injury, especially cutting
Wall Street Journal

Schools around the country have begun offering new classes and mental-health programs to help stem a sharp rise in the number of adolescents found to be engaging in self injury, especially cutting.
School officials, from high school to elementary levels, are working with adolescent psychologists to train their mental-health staff and teachers to counsel at-risk teens and to educate all students in dealing with stressful emotions. A growing number of the programs are based on a treatment called dialectical behavior therapy, or DBT, which aims to help people regulate their emotions and teach skills for avoiding self-injury when the urge arises.
What is believed to be the first randomized, controlled study of DBT in self-injuring adolescents was published in October and showed the treatment significantly lowered the frequency of self-injury in 77 teens compared with other common therapies.
http://go.uen.org/4fp

A copy of the study
http://go.uen.org/4fq (Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry)

Minneapolis mayor hires staffers to focus on youth, early education initiatives
The two new hires will address mayor’s Cradle to K effort and focus on city’s racial disparities.
Minneapolis (MN) Star Tribune

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges has hired two new staff members to help with her efforts on youth and early childhood education.
The mayor said Monday that Angela Watts, the former senior director of health prevention and promotion for the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, will serve as the mayor’s senior policy aide on early childhood education and youth development. Phillipe Cunningham, a former special education teacher in Chicago and member of Minneapolis’ Executive Committee on Youth Violence Prevention, will be the mayor’s senior policy aide for education and youth success.
Watts previously served as the director of the Minneapolis Health Department’s Healthy Start Program and is a licensed clinical social worker.
In a news release, the mayor’s office said Watts will work on “bringing together different sectors to implement the mayor’s Cradle to K initiative.”
The Cradle to K program aims to boost the health and living conditions of babies and young children and their families.
http://go.uen.org/4fo

New officers elected at EI Congress
Education International

A President, five Vice Presidents, and a General Secretary for Education International (EI) were all elected at the second plenary session of EI’s 7th World Congress in Ottawa, Canada, on Wednesday, 22 July.
Five vice presidents were also elected, one for each region:
· Lily Eskelsen García of the National Education Association (NEA) in the United States was elected Vice President (North America & Caribbean).
http://go.uen.org/4eW

Education company Blackboard seeks $3 billion sale – sources
Reuters

Blackboard Inc, a U.S. software company that provides learning tools for high school and university classrooms, is exploring a sale that it hopes could value it at as much as $3 billion, including debt, according to people familiar with the matter.
Blackboard’s majority owner, private equity firm Providence Equity Partners LLC, has hired Deutsche Bank AG and Bank of America Corp to run an auction for the company, the people said this week.
http://go.uen.org/4gk

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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:
Senate Education Confirmation Committee meeting
9 a.m., 450 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2015&com=SPEEDU

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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