Education News Roundup July 31, 2015

Juab High SchoolToday’s Top Picks:

Suicide prevention program aimed at elementary students. (PDH)

Juab High School counselor Derrin Owens nominated to fill House seat vacated by Jon Cox. (KUTV)
and (KSL)
and (SLT)
and (DN)
and (PDH)
and (CVD)

College Board revises its AP history course and test. (LAT)
and (WaPo)
and (CSM)
and (Ed Week)
or more information on course and test description, FAQs, rubrics (College Board)

Two plays clearly stand out as among the most produced by high schools over the past 80 years. Perhaps surprisingly, neither one is “Waiting for Godot.” (NPR)



It’s OK to talk about suicide with kids
Utah schools to launch program for elementary-aged kids

School board moves forward with new elementary school

High school counselor picked to fill vacant House seat

Schools offer free meals to children in summer

Utah teens make duct tape prom attire, earn scholarship money

One state’s plan to keep exceptional teachers in the classroom


Swastika tagging disturbing

In education, there needs to be room for both local and federal control

Read, read, read

Same-Sex Marriage: What the Obergefell Decision Means for School Districts

A Few Lessons That AP U.S. History Can Teach the Common Core

What the New Education Buzzwords Actually Mean “Grit,” “mindsets,” and “stereotype threat”: a primer


Revised U.S. history curriculum addresses criticism, but conservatives still object

Whiteboard Chats: Student Privacy with Amelia Vance of NASBE

As McGraw-Hill Education Leaves State Testing, Market Thrives for Classroom Assessments Company’s focus is now on classroom-based products

What’s Next for Immigrant Families in Detention?

California’s New Vaccine Law May Drive Up Homeschooling Numbers

Schools are starting to teach kids philosophy—and it’s completely changing the way students think

The Most Popular High School Plays And Musicals


It’s OK to talk about suicide with kids
Utah schools to launch program for elementary-aged kids

With the beginning of the school year approaching, a group of educators, social workers and counselors are gearing up to pilot a new program centered on preventing suicide in elementary-aged children.
It is not easy to accept the fact that young children think about suicide, and the issue is largely ignored until adolescence and secondary school. Because of the prevalence in teenagers, there has been much research on the topic and prevention programs have been focused on this age group.
However, it is becoming more and more apparent that elementary-aged children are in need of help as well. One study published in the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing in 2008 titled “Suicide Ideation Among Later Elementary School-Aged Youth” stated that nationwide, 18 percent of sixth grade students had thoughts of killing themselves.
According to Hope4Utah Director Greg Hudnall, two fifth graders completed suicide during the 2014-15 school year in Utah. During the 2012-13 school year, 15 elementary-aged children attempted or threatened suicide in Provo School District alone. (PDH)

School board moves forward with new elementary school

The St. George City Council on Thursday was presented with plans for a new elementary school next to the Sun Bowl.
The proposed school will be built downtown on six acres that the City Council voted to sell in January. The Elks Baseball Field currently sits on the plot where the school will be built.
The new school will take the place of East Elementary, which is currently the oldest school in the district. (SGS) (SGN)

High school counselor picked to fill vacant House seat

Republican Party delegates have chosen a new representative for House District 58. Derrin Owens, a counselor at Juab High School, received 53 percent of the vote after two rounds to win the seat formerly held by Jon Cox who resigned this month to become spokesman to Gov. Gary Herbert.
“I’m humbled by the voice of the people,” said Owens. “I want to represent Juab and Sanpete County the best I can.”
Owens defeated four other candidates during a caucus meeting at Snow College in Ephraim Thursday evening. Sanpete County Commissioner Claudia Jarrett came in second place.
Owens will be the third representative for the seat in as many years. Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox held the position for nine months in 2013 before Herbert tapped him for his current job. His fourth cousin, Jon Cox, took over and occupied the seat until his recent resignation. (KUTV) (KSL) (SLT) (DN) (PDH) (CVD)

Schools offer free meals to children in summer

With warmer weather, many people enjoy eating lighter meals during the summertime.
Unfortunately, summer can also mean a period of hunger for some, as needy children do not have access to free or reduced lunches at school.
There have been 15 sites in Utah County, however, providing meals for children up to age 18 since school let out in May. There is no charge for the meals, and no need to be enrolled at a school or to provide documentation of income.
The sites are at schools in Alpine and Provo City school districts. Independence High in Provo provides lunches; the rest offer both breakfast and lunch.
And the numbers being served are not insignificant. (PDH)

Utah teens make duct tape prom attire, earn scholarship money

AMERICAN FORK — The perfect dress for prom, as any high school junior and her mom will tell you, is very hard to find.
But an American Fork teen and her date went to the prom in style with their attire made entirely of duct tape, as previously covered by Now that the contest has been completed, Mecham has not only a great story to tell, but a little extra money in the bank for school.
Rebekah Mecham has many great memories of her junior prom, especially after learning her dress won second place in a national contest.
“I heard about it my sophomore year and I was like, no way. I am not that person,” she said.
But with pressure growing to earn scholarship money, she kept thinking about the “Stuck at Prom” contest, intended for those brave enough to make and wear duct tape attire to prom.
“I thought it would just be another form of art,” Mecham said. “And maybe I could get money for it.”
She talked her friend Wyatt Burns into the project and together they spent 175 hours creating a very unique dress and tux that didn’t cost a fortune. (KSL)

One state’s plan to keep exceptional teachers in the classroom

Keeping teachers in the classroom by rewarding them with leadership opportunities and financial incentives can measurably improve learning outcomes, according to early results from a North Carolina-based program. (DN)


Swastika tagging disturbing
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

Ben Lomond High School in Ogden was tagged with graffiti. That’s not unusual; schools play pranks, particularly during rivalry sports events. However, the tagging at Ben Lomond High included the swastika, which is extremely disturbing.
Ben Lomond High senior Saul Reyes was correct when he told the Standard-Examiner that inclusion of swastikas “crosses a line.” We hope law enforcement can locate these taggers.
Ever since the Nazis appropriated the symbol, the swastika represents anti-Semitism, as well as the Holocaust that resulted in the genocide of 6 million Jews. We wonder if the individuals who tagged the school with the swastika are aware of the evil it represents?
At this point, no one is accusing a student of having tagged the school with the symbol. It’s possible the taggers were not from the district. But someone did tag Ben Lomond High with this symbol. If it was done through ignorance, rather than hate, it’s an opportunity for the schools to explain to children what the swastika represents and why it should never be used.

In education, there needs to be room for both local and federal control
Southern Utah Independent commentary by Marianne Mansfield, a former public school educator

Before long, school buildings across the state will welcome back their students. Some return after a several month break, others a hiatus of just a few weeks. As a former elementary principal, I looked forward to this time with a mix of excitement and melancholy. Students aren’t the only ones who enjoy the freedom and flexibility of summer.
As the doors to the school houses crank open this fall, those who care about public education need to be particularly vigilant this school year, as federal legislators once again try to “help” states manage how they educate their students.
There are few, either inside the ranks of educators or beyond, who would deny that the last attempt by the feds to try to “help” was a miserable failure. That attempt, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) act of 2001, was disastrous.

Read, read, read
Deseret News letter from Joe Andrade

Thanks for the column on Sunday by McKenzie Romero and Sandra Yi (“Sandy mailman’s plea for books gets worldwide response,” July 26). It’s wonderful to hear a little good news.

Same-Sex Marriage: What the Obergefell Decision Means for School Districts
National School Boards Association commentary

FAQs for school systems and employees on the United States Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage.

A Few Lessons That AP U.S. History Can Teach the Common Core
Education Week op-ed by Rick Hess

This morning, the College Board released its newly revised version of the AP U.S. History framework. As readers may recall, last year marked the first time that the College Board put out an extensive framework for AP U.S. History. The resulting framework had real problems. The College Board initially went into a defensive crouch and dismissed critics as uninformed know-nothings. However, the College Board then shifted gears. It talked to critics, acknowledged the problems, and went back to the drawing board. The result was the revised framework released this morning. As one who was quite critical of the initial version, I’ll just say that the result has fully answered my concerns.
If you’re interested in the particulars, check out this analysis that Max Eden and I published this morning over at National Review. Meanwhile, as I’ve been noodling on this outcome, it struck me that there are some intriguing parallels to the Common Core kerfuffle. The most obvious is that the president of the College Board who so deftly managed the AP U.S. History imbroglio is David Coleman . . . the same guy who was point on the Common Core state standards (the management of which has not been nearly as deft). At a glance, you might think the history situation would’ve been tougher to handle. After all, history is more politically fraught than reading and math. AP U.S. History is the work of one none-too-beloved private vendor, whereas the Common Core enjoyed the sponsorship of the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Yet the College Board seems to have learned from, benefited from, and largely defused the blowback . . . while the Common Core’s path looks quite different.
I think that there are at least four insights worth noting here.

What the New Education Buzzwords Actually Mean
“Grit,” “mindsets,” and “stereotype threat”: a primer
Atlantic commentary by MIKHAIL ZINSHTEYN, a program manager at the Education Writers Association

Education writing is famous for its alphabet soup of acronyms and obscure terms, but it could just as well be faulted for trafficking buzzwords in search of clear definitions.
Ideas like grit, motivation, fitting in, and learning from one’s mistakes—often summarized as noncognitive factors—are just some of the concepts that are coming up more frequently these days. A new paper from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching provides definitions for many of these new terms, which arose in part because of the recent push by psychologists, economists, and education experts to delve more deeply into what compels students to understand complex new material.
Each concept has its own section and is accompanied by summaries of key experiments that gave rise to the ideas’ relevance (as well as reference points for reporters whose inboxes are inundated with the latest efforts to boost student grades and college prospects).


Revised U.S. history curriculum addresses criticism, but conservatives still object
Los Angeles Times

Last year, critics decried the new Advanced Placement U.S. history curriculum, saying it promoted anti-American perspectives.
This year, people on social media are up in arms about additional changes, saying the designers of the course gave in to revisionist history.
In truth, history teachers and professors said, the College Board has managed to walk a fine line in the changes it announced Thursday. They said the 2015 curriculum tells a nuanced story of American history, not “whitewashing” it nor making it all “flag waving.”
The revisions come after a year of intensive public comment, including from teachers who said the detailed framework released in August 2014 forced them to race through topics and didn’t give them the space or freedom to address key people, events or documents.
The revisions consolidate learning objectives — 19 are listed this year, down from 50 last year — and, according to the College Board, seek to make sure “statements are clearer and more historically precise, and less open to misinterpretation or perceptions of imbalance.”
They broaden how the curriculum explores American national identity and unity and how it looks at ideals of liberty, citizenship and self-governance. This includes considering American exceptionalism, which was not explicitly mentioned in last year’s curriculum — an absence that became a rallying point for conservative critics.
The new changes also highlight the nation’s founding documents and founding political leaders, including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and Benjamin Franklin. The curriculum includes considering the productive role of free enterprise, entrepreneurship and innovation in shaping U.S. history. It explores America’s role and sacrifices during World War I and II and U.S. leadership in ending the Cold War. (WaPo) (CSM) (Ed Week)

More information
Course and test description, FAQs, Rubrics (College Board)

Whiteboard Chats: Student Privacy with Amelia Vance of NASBE
Whiteboard Advisors

Student privacy continues to be a hot topic in Congress, and Amelia Vance with the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) has been all over the issue. She created a superb overview of the federal education data privacy law and related bills, which you can view here, and she will be busy keeping it up to date.
One recent bill to follow is the Student Privacy Protection Act (H.R. 3157), introduced by Todd Rokita (R-IN) and Marcia Fudge (D-OH) on July 22. The bill is an effort to update student privacy protections under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). In brief, the bill:
* Prohibits marketing or advertising to students using information gathered from the education record;
* Includes requirements on data security; requires vendors to list all third-party subcontractors and not share data with any other third parties;
* Allows vendors to use personally identifiable information (PII) to improve current products and services but not make new ones; and
* Creates financial penalties for districts not complying.

As McGraw-Hill Education Leaves State Testing, Market Thrives for Classroom Assessments
Company’s focus is now on classroom-based products
Education Week

Many assumed—rightly or wrongly—that the common-core era would bring a windfall for companies in the state testing business. But one of the biggest shifts in the landscape so far has been the decision by a hugely recognizable provider to steer in the opposite direction, abandoning its work in high-stakes assessments entirely.
McGraw-Hill Education/CTB announced this summer that it is selling off its assets in summative testing—tests that typically carry high stakes, and are given at the end of a course or year—to focus instead on developing classroom resources and tools for teachers and students.
Many industry observers say the decision by McGraw-Hill Education, which has been linked to CTB for a half-century, is not especially surprising, given recent changes in the former company’s business focus and ownership.
Yet the move also underscores broader forces at work in the assessment market, which as states decide whether or not to use common-core-aligned exams, and vendors fight to secure that work, is still a long way from shaking out.

What’s Next for Immigrant Families in Detention?
New Yorker

In late June, Maria, a twenty-five-year-old mother from Honduras, sat on a wooden bench inside a trailer at the South Texas Family Residential Center, in the small oil town of Dilley. She held a colorful paperback Bible, the same one that she had travelled with atop trains and in trucks through Guatemala and Mexico. It was the same one that she had brought with her to the trailer weeks earlier, when a judge at the Denver Immigration Court had told her via televideo that she and her eight-year-old daughter, Hilda, had lost their case; failing an appeal, they would be deported from the United States. (The family members’ names have been changed.) “My daughter is not doing well here,” Maria had told the judge, according to court transcripts. “She’s hardly eating, and she’s really desperate.” Now, in the empty room, she lifted Hilda’s shirt, revealing a thick scar—traces of a brutal beating from the girl’s father. Then she pointed to her own wrist, made a cutting gesture, and told me, “I can’t. My little daughter.”
Maria and Hilda have been at Dilley since just after Christmas. It is the largest immigration detention center in the United States and is run by the nation’s largest for-profit prison company, Corrections Corporation of America. Almost all of the mothers and children here come from the Northern Triangle countries—Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. Most, including Maria and Hilda, who fled their home because of extreme domestic and gang violence, are seeking asylum. (The facility sits on fifty acres of gravel and dirt about an hour and a half southwest of San Antonio, on the same strip of highway as a state prison and a set of oil-field workers’ quarters. Unmarked white buses and vans, used to transport detainees, are parked in one corner, and at the end of the lot is a row of trailers and a tan fence. Maria and Hilda haven’t been outside of it for seven months. Soon, though, they might get out, and for good.
Last Friday, U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee, of the Central District of California, ordered that any children in immigration detention be released, along with their parents, unless they can be shown to pose a significant flight risk or threat to the community or national security. Facilities like the one at Dilley, Gee wrote, violate the standard established by Flores v. Meese, in 1997. In that case, a legal settlement to a class-action lawsuit stipulated that the federal government must release immigrant minors into the custody of a relative or guardian, regardless of their immigration status, while they await trial; if no such person exists, then the child must be held in the “least restrictive environment” possible—a nonsecure facility run by a licensed child-care provider. “It is astonishing that defendants have enacted a policy requiring such expensive infrastructure without more evidence to show that it would be compliant with an agreement that has been in effect for nearly 20 years,” Gee wrote. “The order didn’t tell the government it was illegal—it was reminding them,” Jonathan Ryan, the director of the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), told me.

California’s New Vaccine Law May Drive Up Homeschooling Numbers
Education Week

For parents hoping to avoid California’s strict vaccination laws for school children, homeschooling their children may soon be their only option.
California’s new vaccine law, SB 277, requires all children enrolled in public or private schools and daycares to be vaccinated for chicken pox, whooping cough, polio, Hepatitis B and more. Students who are homeschooled are not subject to the law.
Effective July 1, 2016, families will no longer be given immunization exemptions for personal or religious beliefs.

Schools are starting to teach kids philosophy—and it’s completely changing the way students think
Business Insider

America may be great at many things, but education isn’t one of them.
It’s here that standardized testing creeps behind students like a shadow and where fun experiments take a back seat to rote memorization.
But in some ambitious K-12 schools across the country, philosophy courses have made tangible improvements to the way students learn.
In these classrooms, teachers tackle big concepts like ethics and epistemology. They ask, How can we know what we know? — a classic epistemological quandary — but they use Dr. Seuss to get there.

The Most Popular High School Plays And Musicals

True, I never basked in the glow of the high school stage. But I have fond memories of working behind the scenes, as stage crew. Dressed in black, I rushed the bed onstage for Tevye’s dream sequence in Fiddler on the Roof.
I’ve also spoken with many people who weren’t involved in theater at all but can still — for some reason — remember the shows their schools performed.
There’s just something about the high school stage.
Recently, my mom told me that she and her best friend, Chris, had been reminiscing about McDowell High School’s performance of South Pacific in 1965. She wasn’t in the show but can still name friends and classmates who were.
All of this got me wondering: Were other high schools performing the same shows that year?
As it turns out, the answer is in Dramatics — a monthly magazine for theater students and teachers. It’s been publishing an annual ranking of the most popular high school plays and musicals since 1938.


USOE Calendar

UEN News

August 6:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
3 p.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

August 7:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
8 a.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

August 13:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

August 18:
Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
2 p.m., 445 State Capitol

August 19:
Education Interim Committee meeting
8:30 a.m., 30 House Building

August 27:
Charter School Funding Task Force meeting
1 p.m., 210 Senate Building

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