Education News Roundup: Aug. 17, 2015

Miss Utah International Thelina Smith volunteered at the 2015  Healthy STEM 5K Run event.

Miss Utah International Thelina Smith volunteered at the 2015 Healthy STEM 5K Run in June.

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

D-News looks at high school students preparing themselves for college.

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

Sidebar: Parent resources

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

 

Trib digs deeper into school demographics; this time the focus is on Pacific Islander students.

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

 

Daily Herald and Spectrum both decry the fees and expenses associated with secondary schools in Utah.

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

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

 

The Atlantic and National Journal give Utah some kudos for its rising Latino graduation rate.

http://go.uen.org/4pk (Atlantic)

http://go.uen.org/4pl (National Journal)

 

Opt-outs are giving New York problems with data interpretation.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Avoiding senioritis: What your high school student needs to know about college prep

 

Utah’s Pacific Islander students face getting stuck on educational ‘island’

Academics » Athletic prowess aside, testing shows Polynesian students lag white peers.

 

New policies passed by the Logan City School District

 

Civics Tests as a Graduation Requirement: Coming Soon to a State Near You?

 

Utah guv orders state agencies to stop disbursing federal funds to Planned Parenthood

Grants » Herbert’s decision to stop disbursing federal funds to the group came in response to the scandal over using fetal tissue from abortions for medical research.

 

Park City School District to seek a $56 million bond

Some details, such as direction of high school expansion, still to be determined

 

School district passes 2015-2016 budget, awards bid for site prep

 

2 charter schools asked to shut down

 

15 children become U.S. citizens in ceremony at fire station

 

Students work to raise awareness about sex trafficking locally, globally

 

Miss Utah International: From poverty to STEM advocacy

 

How to relieve back-to-school stress

 

New West Weber to hold open house for 2015-16 school year

 

New school in Utah polygamous community grows larger

 

Governor Herbert urges parents, students to ditch the carpool for UDOT’s Walking School Bus App

 

Backpack Bonanza 2015: filling up book bags and hearts

 

Epic SchoolKids comes to Utah

Utah students eligible for free skiing

 

High flyers: Local students hitch ride with stunt pilot

 

Where are Americans having their babies? 3 Utah cities in top 5

 

CDC: Start school later, teenagers need more sleep

 


 

 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

New state program has potential to turn around ‘underperforming schools’

 

State’s support for education is just plain sad

 

Children come first

 

‘Back to school’ wishes for students, teachers, parents and community members

 

Utah universities striving to prep for teaching challenges

 

Teach for America stumbles because its teachers aren’t prepared

 

If schools were restaurants

 

Summer school taught patriotism, love, faith

 

Spending your tax dollars on education

 

Teacher tax breaks

 

High school schedule change disturbing

 

Fancy new schools aren’t the solution

 

How States Rank on High-School Graduation Rates

Nationwide, the percentage of students getting their diplomas is at an all-time high. But while some states have made incredible strides, others have struggled to keep up.

 

Opting Out of Standardized Tests Isn’t the Answer

 

How to handle school stress without blaming it all on Advanced Placement

 

Teachers Want Better Feedback

 

Three Ways Software Is Empowering Teachers

 


 

 

 

NATION

 

Test­Refusal Movement’s Success Hampers Analysis of New York State Exam Results

 

Oregon teacher evaluations to count student improvement on Common Core tests

 

Pencils down: More U.S. colleges drop standardized tests

 

As Budget Battle Looms, Education Department Warns Against Early-Ed. Cuts

 

Handcuffing of Students Reignites Debate on Use of Restraint

ACLU sues over school shackling

 

Nebraska school district asks teachers to sign pro-America pledge; ACLU objects

 

Bush: ‘Common Core’ Is ‘Poisonous’

At the Iowa State Fair, the former Florida governor degrades the name of a policy he supports.

 

NC commission wants Common Core changes

 

Even big fine is unlikely to uncork logjam on school funding, lawmakers say

 

Florida schools get failing grade due to re-segregation, investigation finds

 

Arizona education board shuts down Diane Douglas hiring plans

 

It’s still summer, but some students are getting ready for AP and IB courses

 

Why an Iowa barber gives free haircuts

Barber Courtney Holmes gave free haircuts to children who read books to him on Saturday during the second annual Back to School Bash in Dubuque, Iowa.

 

On ‘POV,’ a Swiss Approach to Educating Immigrant Students

 

 

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Avoiding senioritis: What your high school student needs to know about college prep

 

SALT LAKE CITY — On a recent morning, Logan Woodhouse and Lauren Bryson added their audible excitement for what lies ahead to the chatter of students and advisers in the counseling office at Olympus High School.

Homecoming, prom and school sports are just a few things that make the senior year a coveted age for many teenagers, one that Woodhouse and Bryson are just beginning. It’s also a time when students are faced with an expanded field of options — whether to embrace “senioritis” and run out the clock, jump into harder courses for college credit, or strike a balance somewhere in between.

After finalizing their schedules with an adviser, the two friends left feeling optimistic that when they go back to school Wednesday, it will be the start of a successful launch into college, with some opportunities for fun along the way.

“I want to focus on my studies,” Woodhouse said. “I know that a lot of people just slack off for senior year, but it’s actually one of the most important because it’s right before college.”

Both students agreed that high school, especially their senior year, has become an extension of the college education they’re anticipating.

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

 

Sidebar: Parent resources

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

 


 

 

Utah’s Pacific Islander students face getting stuck on educational ‘island’

Academics » Athletic prowess aside, testing shows Polynesian students lag white peers.

 

For Tevita Tauteoli, the best hours of high school were those spent on the football field.

A recent graduate of Hunter High, where he excelled as an offensive lineman, Tauteoli enjoyed the academic side of his education but also counted down the hours until Friday night’s game.

“After football season [ended], it was kind of a drag,” he said. “That was the only thing that got me through school.”

Tauteoli’s grandparents emigrated from Tonga, and like many Pacific Islanders in Utah, their grandson found a bridge to higher education through athletics.

But that bridge can become a dead end for students uninterested in sports or who fall short of a scholarship.

While Utahns of Polynesian descent got here long before newer minority populations, in many ways they still struggle — particularly in school. Like other immigrant groups, Pacific Islanders lag on standardized tests. But they graduate from high school in relatively high numbers. Averaged out, their performance hovers just above that of other minority groups, leading, some say, to a sort of benign neglect.

Unless they play football.

But football only goes so far. It helps just about half of Utah’s island student population — few Polynesian women benefit from the kind of financial assistance Tauteoli and other football standouts receive.

Educators and advocates argue that, to combat the academic gaps between Pacific Islanders and their white peers, students need programs that both embrace the Pacific Islander culture and promote pathways beyond the gridiron.

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

 


 

 

New policies passed by the Logan City School District

 

The Logan City School District Board of Education passed three new policies last week concerning religious freedom, financial contributions and students’ use of electronic devices. All three policies were discussed at length during the board’s first meeting since June.

http://go.uen.org/4oT (LHJ)

 


 

 

 

Civics Tests as a Graduation Requirement: Coming Soon to a State Near You?

 

Eight states—Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, and Wisconsin—passed laws in 2015 that require students to pass some version of the test given to immigrants applying to become naturalized U.S. citizens in order to graduate from high school, according to a recent article in The New Yorker.

And the Joe Foss Institute, the Arizona nonprofit that has led the effort to pass such laws, plans to lobby to bring that requirement to every state by 2017.

Education Week also has tracked the growing movement to include a civics test as part of a graduation requirement. The first laws were passed last January in Arizona and North Dakota. Seventeen states’ legislatures considered such laws in their 2015 sessions.

The New Yorker’s Vauhini Vera traces the Institute’s shift from a more personal approach to encouraging civic-mindedness in students—introducing them to veterans—to a remarkably successful lobbying effort for requiring testing in schools. The Institute says this is a way to address a national crisis in civic literacy. From its website: “Today, 4 out of 5 8th graders aren’t proficient in civics and only 9 percent of 4th graders can identify Abraham Lincoln.”

The effort hasn’t been without critics. Utah teachers raised concerns about introducing a new test just as the legislature was resolving to reduce the number of high-stakes standardized tests.

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

 


 

 

Utah guv orders state agencies to stop disbursing federal funds to Planned Parenthood

Grants » Herbert’s decision to stop disbursing federal funds to the group came in response to the scandal over using fetal tissue from abortions for medical research.

 

Gov. Gary Herbert has ordered all state agencies to stop funneling federal funds to the Planned Parenthood Association of Utah.

The federal government provides grants to Planned Parenthood, which are distributed through the Utah Department of Health. Utah law bars any organization from using state funds for abortions, and that prohibition extends to Planned Parenthood’s federal grants, Herbert said in a statement Friday afternoon.

The move came in response to the release of secretly recorded videos by an anti-abortion group showing Planned Parenthood officials in Houston describing how they provide fetal tissue from abortions for medical research.

The governor noted that other government agencies and nonprofits will still provide education and prevention programs for sexually transmitted diseases.

According to numbers released by the governor’s office, Planned Parenthood’s budget for fiscal 2015 includes about $100,000 for STD testing and reporting, $115,000 for “abstinence education and personal responsibility education” and $1,339 for providing pregnancy tests and STD screenings to victims of rape and sexual assault.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 


 

 

Park City School District to seek a $56 million bond

Some details, such as direction of high school expansion, still to be determined

 

The Park City School District is going to ask taxpayers to support a $56 million bond to fund a set of projects that would dramatically alter the district’s footprint.

The Board of Education, in a meeting Tuesday, Aug. 11, voted unanimously to approve a list of projects and the cost of each. The list includes: Park City High School expansion and gym remodel ($27.5 million); a new fifth- and sixth-grade school at Ecker Hill campus ($24.8 million); improvements to McPolin Elementary School, including moving the parking lot ($1.4 million); demolition of Treasure Mountain Junior High ($606,336); athletic facilities ($12 million).

The cost of the total proposal adds up to roughly $66 million. A 20-year bond would pay for $56 million, with the rest coming from the district’s capital reserves.

http://go.uen.org/4ou (PR)

 

 


 

 

 

School district passes 2015-2016 budget, awards bid for site prep

 

  1. GEORGE – The Board of Education for the Washington County School District approved the budget for fiscal year 2015-2016 and awarded a bid for site preparation at its regular meeting Tuesday at the school district offices, 121 West Tabernacle Street in St. George.

The budget covers all government funds, which include maintenance and operation, debt services, capital projects; along with three special revenue funds: Non-K-12 programs, food services and student activity.

The total of budgeted expenditures for 2015-2016 is $282.4 million, compared to the 2014-2015 total of $276 million.

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

 


 

 

2 charter schools asked to shut down

 

Salt Lake City —A first in Utah, as administrators from two charter schools are being asked to close their doors. One of the schools is appealing the decision, the other is shutting down for good.

Alianza Academy, which has two location and 300 students set to start classes on Wednesday, plans to open for school as usual. But the 60 students at Wasatch Institute of Technology in Murray, will have to find another place to go to school, because administrators say they will be closing.

http://go.uen.org/4p0 (KUTV)

 

http://go.uen.org/4p1 (KSL)

 


 

 

15 children become U.S. citizens in ceremony at fire station

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Fifteen children ages 7 to 12 obtained their citizenship certificates on Friday at a Salt Lake fire station, with parents, family members and parents proudly watching.

“That I will perform non-combatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law,” said the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services representative, waiting for the group of children to repeat the phrase.

Silence. Then laughter from the adults in the audience.

Recognizing that the phrase was a little too long and complicated for the children to repeat, the immigration representative broke the phrase down into shorter segments.

For children, becoming a U.S. citizen is different than the process for adults, since many children do not have the skills to pass a test with questions about how the federal government operates and U.S. history.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/4p6 (KSTU)

 


 

 

Students work to raise awareness about sex trafficking locally, globally

 

SALT LAKE CITY — In a small conference room at the shared work space Impact Hub, a group of high school students tackled the weighty issue of sex trafficking Saturday afternoon.

The students are the latest members of Backyard Broadcast, a youth resistance movement dedicated to fighting sex trafficking in the United States. Teens interested in becoming advocates and teaching others about the issue came together to learn more about sex trafficking and effective means to inform fellow students, policymakers and others how they can reduce its incidence.

The organization, launched three years ago, has clubs or “stations” at Cottonwood, Kearns, Skyline, Davis and Judge Memorial Catholic high schools. Backyard Broadcast director Terry Palmer said the organization plans to reach out to other Wasatch Front schools this fall to further the reach of the organization.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/4p2 (KTVX)

 

http://go.uen.org/4p4 (KSL)

 


 

 

Miss Utah International: From poverty to STEM advocacy

 

SALT LAKE CITY — When Thelina Smith was growing up in Utah, there wasn’t much money in her family to go around.

Her family moved many times in Salt Lake Valley but even though her living situation wasn’t consistent, the messages from her mother were.

“My mom would make up extra worksheets in addition to my homework… She always emphasized education,” Smith recalled.

Smith’s mother was a businessperson who owned a salon, bakery and more — all without a college education. Smith said her mother wished for her children to not only be educated, but work hard.

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

 


 

 

How to relieve back-to-school stress

 

Dawn Ramsey, from the PTA Board of Directors serving over the Jordan School District shared tips on helping students transition through stressful school situations smoothly.

http://go.uen.org/4p7 (KSTU)

 


 

 

New West Weber to hold open house for 2015-16 school year

 

WEST WEBER — West Weber Elementary has been a school on the move for the past few years, but that transient life is coming to an end.

A ribbon cutting will kick of an open house, which will run 6 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18 at 4178 W. 900 South. Classes begin one week later, on Aug. 25.

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

 


 

 

New school in Utah polygamous community grows larger

 

HILDALE, Utah— For children from the polygamous sect on the Utah-Arizona border, the school year began Thursday with handshakes, fist-bumps and hugs from Principal Darin Thomas.

“We are going to have so much fun here,” Thomas announced over the public address system.

The K-12 Water Canyon School has nearly doubled in size for the start of its second year serving the small desert town of Hildale, Utah, reported The Spectrum in St. George.

http://go.uen.org/4p3 (KSL)

 

http://go.uen.org/4p9 (MUR)

 

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

 

 


 

 

Governor Herbert urges parents, students to ditch the carpool for UDOT’s Walking School Bus App

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Governor Gary R. Herbert and the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) Student Neighborhood Access Program (SNAP) gathered with parents and students today to encourage Utahns to ditch the carpool and create walking groups using UDOT’s Walking School Bus App. The free app allows parents to coordinate walking groups to and from school and notifies them when their children have arrived safely.

http://go.uen.org/4p8 (KCSG)

 


 

 

Backpack Bonanza 2015: filling up book bags and hearts

 

OGDEN — Like so many other students this time of year, Nathaniel Pack has an extremely important decision to make about his educational future.

The 6-year-old stands in front of several tables piled high with school backpacks. Jill Garner, wife of Ogden City Council member Neil Garner, is helping him pick out just the right bag for his books and other school supplies.

“Would you like this blue one?” she asks, holding up a brightly-colored bag. “Or maybe this camouflage one?”

But Nathaniel can’t take his eyes off one particular backpack on top of the pile.

“I want that one,” he says excitedly, pointing to a black backpack with a photograph of a famous bearded crew from a popular reality television show. “My grandma and I watch ‘Duck Dynasty’ all the time, and we love it.”

Thus begins yet another of the hundreds of success stories spawned by the Backpack Bonanza, an annual event by Catholic Community Services of Northern Utah and the United Way of Northern Utah. The Backpack Bonanza program helps struggling families by providing free backpacks and school supplies to students, all donated by local businesses, organizations and individuals.

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

 


 

 

 

Epic SchoolKids comes to Utah

Utah students eligible for free skiing

 

Elementary school kids in Utah will now be eligible for free skiing and riding earlier than ever before. Vail Resorts announced it is bringing its “Epic SchoolKids” program to Utah, which provides free skiing and riding to all kindergarten through fifth graders. The program provides five days of free skiing and riding at Utah’s Park City, which will combine with Canyons Resort this winter to form the largest resort in the U.S. In addition to five free days, Epic SchoolKids also receive a free, full-day beginner lesson and equipment rentals during the month of January as part of Learn to Ski & Ride Month.

“Utah kids are fortunate to have access to ‘The Greatest Snow on Earth’ right in their backyard'”, said Utah Governor Gary Herbert. “Through its Epic SchoolKids program, Vail Resorts is providing a tremendous opportunity for our families and our kids to get outside, explore the mountains, and learn and play in the outdoors. Along with Ski Utah’s 5th and 6th Grade Passport, more of Utah’s kids will be able to participate in snow sports — some who may never before have dreamed that they could enjoy such an experience — and will help our kids connect with Utah’s 14 amazing ski areas and Olympic legacy for generations to come.”

http://go.uen.org/4pt (PR)

 


 

 

 

High flyers: Local students hitch ride with stunt pilot

 

Two Preston boys had the ride of a lifetime after going up with stunt pilot Brad Wursten as part of the July’s Skys Air Show on July 31.

Riley, son of Todd and MaryAnn Reid, and Dax Talbot, son Eleanor and Denny Talbot, wrote and submitted essays to the Ryan J. Poe Foundation. The subject was “Elevate Your Life.” Out of all the essays the two Preston Junior High students’ papers rose to the top.

“It was really fun and not really too scary,” Talbot said of the flying experience. “He talked to me most of the time and told me how to fly it. It wasn’t bad at all. I would do it again.”

The boys wrote what their dreams were, and how they were going to accomplish them. They had to tell how education would play a role and lastly, what they will do to help others once they accomplish their dream.

Parents and other family members watched as the boys were strapped into parachutes before walking on the wing next to the fuselage and into the cockpit of the Extra 330 LX aerobatic airplane. Each took their turn and both were wide-eyed while climbing into the German built two-seat, low-wing stunt plane. They traveled down the runway and climbed into the air.

http://go.uen.org/4oW (LHJ)

 


 

 

Where are Americans having their babies? 3 Utah cities in top 5

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Which cities are producing the most babies?

A Bloomberg Business study calculated the top 20 cities that had the most births per 1,000 people. Provo-Orem came in at the No. 1 spot, and two other Utah cities joined it in the top five: Ogden-Clearfield at No. 3 and Salt Lake City at No. 5.

http://go.uen.org/4p5 (KSL)

 


 

 

CDC: Start school later, teenagers need more sleep

 

SALT LAKE CITY – Getting more sleep will likely help middle and high school students in Utah and across the country do better in school, be healthier and make healthier choices, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Epidemiologist Anne Wheaton with the CDC says only one in six students in Utah gets the recommended amount of sleep – between eight-and-a-half and nine-and-a-half hours per night. She says sleep deprivation is linked to drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco and using drugs as well as poor academic performance.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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New state program has potential to turn around ‘underperforming schools’

Deseret News editorial

 

Education leaders launched a program this month that bears close watching for its potential to help so-called “underperforming schools” considered to be lagging in academic achievement. If nothing else, the program could help identify just what it means for a school to be successful.

The Utah State Board of Education implemented new policies under the School Turnaround and Leadership Development Act passed in the Legislature last year, although there remains some discussion about just what criteria should be used to identify the schools needing the most help. The success of the program will depend on whether its implementation builds a database of knowledge that allows education leaders to better hone in on the root causes of underperformance.

As it stands, the policy will use the state’s school grading system, which has been somewhat controversial, as the principal standard of measure for struggling schools. Board members have agreed that as the program progresses, other metrics should be added, including attendance data and other methods of measuring academic success.

http://go.uen.org/4or

 


 

 

State’s support for education is just plain sad

(Provo) Daily Herald editorial

 

The annual rites of August passage are now here for parents of Utah County schoolchildren.

“Mom, I need new clothes and shoes.”

“Mom, I need pencils and notebooks and a backpack.”

“Mom, I need $250 to pay for my school fees.”

Does that last one bother you? It should.

The guarantee of a free public education is now nothing but a pipe dream in Utah. Gone are the days when kids piled into the school bus, knowing they could arrive on campus and have all the necessities available to receive a quality education.

Money is tight for Utah schools, just like it is in several corners of the economy. So it’s at least somewhat understandable that parents might be asked to chip in $20 to make sure there is enough glue, scissors and other basic essentials to go around.

But in the Beehive State’s never-ending quest to remain at the bottom of national rankings when it comes to spending per pupil, the costs being passed on to parents are much more significant than pulling the occasional Ben Franklin out of the wallet.

http://go.uen.org/4os

 


 

 

Children come first

(St. George) Spectrum editorial

 

For parents of middle and high school students, the start of the school cycle is exciting — and pricy.

With an administrative fee of $25, a book rental fee of $20 and an average of three additional fees (such as lab fees for classes like biology, food and nutrition, etc.) of $15 each, the beginning of a new school year can also become a financial challenge.

The total per child in Washington County, for example, is already $95 and that’s not including lunch fees, yearbook fees and other additional fees for sports, drill team or music classes. The parents of 15- and 16-year-olds also must contend with the $100 fee for drivers’ education, which must be paid as quickly as possible before the classes are full.

The fees can add up in a hurry and become quite hefty, particularly for parents with more than one child.

We understand that education costs money, and we are thankful for the administrators, teachers and other school officials throughout Southern Utah who dedicate their professional lives to the future of the next generation. But, we can’t help but wonder if the school districts in Washington and Iron counties might be able to find ways to ease what can be an intense and immediate burden on families at the start of each new school year.

http://go.uen.org/4oY

 


 

 

‘Back to school’ wishes for students, teachers, parents and community members

Deseret News editorial

 

It’s mid-August, and the collective community mind is “back to school.” Classes at most traditional-calendar elementary, middle, junior high and high schools will begin this week or next, although many year-round schools started their 2015-16 scholastic calendar a month ago. Even the state’s universities and colleges launch their fall semester courses within the next month — in fact, nearly all by the end of August.

Energy and enthusiasm abound in classrooms as students arrive anxious to learn and instructors stand ready to share expertise. Parents watch school-bound children exit out the front door of the home or out the passenger door of the car, mindful of the potential and promise that education can provide. Community members watch school playgrounds fill with children and school parking lots fill with cars and school buses.

And so, at the start of a new school year, we wish for the following —

http://go.uen.org/4oK

 

 


 

 

Utah universities striving to prep for teaching challenges

(Provo) Daily Herald op-ed by Fran Djoukeng and Lindsey Williams, BYU McKay School of Education

 

While it likely won’t help calm first-day-of-school jitters, parents and kids can rest easing knowing that qualified teachers educated at Utah universities have been carefully prepared and are ready to meet challenges in today’s classrooms.

“BYU and all of the universities and colleges in Utah attend diligently to professional standards to ensure their graduates have the necessary entry skills to begin teaching,” said Mary Anne Prater, dean of BYU’s McKay School of Education. “Then over time teaching experience coupled with professional development opportunities help teachers refine and enhance their skills.”

The Utah State Office of Education, the Utah Council of Education Deans and The Utah Teacher Education Accreditation and Assessment Council are just a few of the statewide organizations contributing to quality teacher education in Utah by coordinating university standards.

http://go.uen.org/4po

 

 


 

Teach for America stumbles because its teachers aren’t prepared

Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Eric Ruiz Bybee, assistant professor of teacher education at BYU and a former New York City public school teacher

 

Teach for America is celebrating its 25th anniversary, but, for the second time in two years, its recruitment numbers are down. The program, which handpicks college graduates to teach in high-need schools, has been so popular that 18 percent of the graduating class at Yale applied in 2010. So what happened?

To explain the decline, Teach for America’s co-CEOs point to the improving economy, a broader decline in applications to teacher preparation programs and an “increasingly polarized public conversation around education” and “polarization around TFA.” However, this assessment overlooks another important factor: criticism and pushback from Teach for America alumni like me who felt ill-prepared to be classroom teachers.

http://go.uen.org/4oE

 


 

 

If schools were restaurants

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner op-ed by LYNN STODDARD, a retired, long-time experienced educator

 

“Imagine running a restaurant where each customer’s order is determined in advance — not by the customer, or even by the chef, but by an “order committee” at the restaurant’s corporate office. How often do you think these predetermined orders would match the tastes, appetites, and special dietary needs of each patron? Isn’t this what we are doing in our schools when we allow curriculum to be imposed from a distance by people who have never even met a single child in a given teacher’s classroom?” (Jim Strickland)

Five US Presidents, since the “Nation At Risk Report” in 1983, have set a pattern with “summits” of governors and business executives, that has continued to the present day — goals, curriculum and teaching methods are established by distant people who are deemed to be smarter than teachers.

http://go.uen.org/4ot

 

 


 

 

Summer school taught patriotism, love, faith

Deseret News commentary by columnist John Florez

 

Sister Sophia said, “March!” So that’s what I did on my summer vacation — marched to John Philip Sousa’s “The Washington Post.” It was only when I was in junior high that I realized it wasn’t a Catholic song.

It all began as a kid when I attended summer school at the old Catholic Guadalupe Mission. It was just a small red brick house turned into a church by the old 400 South viaduct on 500 West in Salt Lake City. But for me, it was big. It was my universe growing up. Father Collins was the priest who took the vows of poverty so seriously that when we buried him, we had to get him some new shoes and pants because his old ones all had holes in them. In addition, there were the sisters of The Perpetual Adoration who were there to serve the poor. It was a humble place and full of love.

The Catholic sisters taught us catechism classes after school and in the summer. Our half-day summer program started out with prayer and classes. After that, we all marched out to the backyard to John Philip Sousa marches, where we also had arts and crafts and played softball.

http://go.uen.org/4oQ

 

 


 

 

Spending your tax dollars on education

Utah PoliticoHub commentary by Rep. Jeremy Peterson

 

The Utah Taxpayer Association recently published data on Utah’s 41 school districts and how they spent tax dollars for the last fiscal year.

There is some really interesting information in this report.  I wanted to take a look at Ogden and Weber School Districts specifically to see how they compared to the state average.  Here are some charts I created from the data:

Let’s take a look at spending per student in various categories.  Instruction costs are less in Ogden School District compared to Weber School District and the State Average.  Yet, media costs are significantly more.  Ogden SD has higher student support costs while Weber has higher student transport costs.  Facility construction is extremely low for Ogden SD and high for Weber SD.  Ogden SD also has much higher nutrition expenses.

The data sets aren’t very surprising given that Ogden School District serves a very old urban center while Weber School District serves an area that is still growing in population and suburban sprawl.  I believe the spike in media spending in Ogden SD may be representative of the technology focus on ESL and improved learning.  Ogden SD has been involved in a very rigorous program focused on enhancing student achievement. You can read more about the results of that program.

http://go.uen.org/4oZ

 


 

 

Teacher tax breaks

Deseret News letter from David Erickson

 

Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, was interviewed a couple of times on the radio last week, and the Deseret News printed an editorial recently (“Teacher tax incentives,” Aug. 9) to discuss the senator’s idea to help teachers out by eliminating their state income tax.

This is a really bad idea. Granted, teachers deserve to be paid more, and we face a problem retaining the ones we have. So pay them more. Tinkering with the tax code just makes the code more complex and unfair.

http://go.uen.org/4oP

 

 


 

High school schedule change disturbing

(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Ed Jensen

 

“Less is more” is often quoted, but it certainly cannot apply to the announcement that Mountain Crest and the new Riverside high schools will be leaving the six-period trimester schedule and be adopting the five-period schedule. So far, no big issue, but when the announcement also stated that the core classes, math, English, science, and history would discontinue as full-year courses and be structured as two-trimester courses, that warrants careful examination. The devil of this shift is in the minutes of instruction lost in the vital core subjects: Under the five-period schedule, a two-trimester schedule running for 66 minutes per day yields 132 hours of instruction. Under the current six-period schedule, with core courses like math running full–year, there are 162 hours of instruction. In short, 30 hours less instruction in the core subjects.

http://go.uen.org/4oU

 

 


 

Fancy new schools aren’t the solution

(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Ray Sealy

 

I don’t know the status of the proposed $100 per year property tax increase in this unique little city, but I’m sure no one will oppose it because you think the Logan-Cache school system should keep building more and more fancy schools to accommodate the rampant amorous results of your 17-year old-marriages.

Do you really think these fancy buildings produce better educated kids? Don’t be naïve. Smarter kids are taught by better teachers, and better teachers go to teach where salaries are higher than the paltry sums you pay your instructors.

http://go.uen.org/4oV

 

 


 

 

How States Rank on High-School Graduation Rates

Nationwide, the percentage of students getting their diplomas is at an all-time high. But while some states have made incredible strides, others have struggled to keep up.

Atlantic commentary by MATT VASILOGAMBROS, staff correspondent at National Journal

 

More students are graduating from high school than ever before, and that number could rise again with this year’s seniors.

The national graduation rate for the 2012-13 school year was 81 percent, which was up from 80 percent the year before and 79 percent the year before that, according to the U.S. Department of Education. This sort of growth is possible as a result of the huge improvements in the numbers of black and Latinos getting their diplomas. But it’s also due to specific state improvements.

Where Dropping Out Is Going Up

If this trend continues, the national graduation rate could reach 90 percent by 2020, according to a report from Civic Enterprises and Johns Hopkins University, which is part of a coalition that’s spearheading the initiative to meet that goal. But stagnation in certain states could keep the national average down.

National Journal ranked and graded the states based on how their graduation rates changed between 2011 and 2013.

MOST IMPROVED STATES:

4) Utah

2011: 76 percent

2013: 83 percent

Grade: B+

Part of the growth in Utah is due to the 13.4 percentage-point rise in Latino graduation rates between 2011 and 2013. The state already has an above-average overall graduation rate of 83 percent, and it continues to rise.

http://go.uen.org/4pk

 

http://go.uen.org/4pl (National Journal)

 


 

Opting Out of Standardized Tests Isn’t the Answer

New York Times editorial

 

An alarming 200,000, or 20 percent, of the students in grades three through eight in New York State public schools this year refused to take the state’s standardized tests in reading and math that are supposed to measure progress in meeting national academic standards.

This ill­conceived boycott could damage educational reform — desperately needed in poor and rural communities — and undermine the Common Core standards adopted by New York and many other states. The standards offer the best hope for holding school districts accountable for educating all students, regardless of race or income.

http://go.uen.org/4ow

 


 

 

How to handle school stress without blaming it all on Advanced Placement

Washington Post commentary by columnist Jay Mathews

 

There is much for students, teachers and parents to learn from a new book by Stanford University experts on how to handle the stress of learning in our nation’s high-pressure high schools.

Only about 10 percent of U.S. schools fit that category, in contrast with the vast majority, which let most kids slide through. But in the Washington area, more than two-thirds of high schools provide the heavy focus on college-level courses that puts them on The Washington Post’s America’s Most Challenging High Schools list and creates the conditions that worry the authors of “Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy, Successful Kids.”

Those three Stanford authors — Denise Pope, Maureen Brown and Sarah Miles — offer excellent advice on how to improve school schedules, make homework sensible and helpful, encourage engaging student projects and create a friendly campus atmosphere so students under pressure can find fun and satisfaction. The authors also discredit a persistent and harmful myth that Advanced Placement courses are the central cause of academic stress in America.

I wish they had made more of an effort to make clear that they are addressing issues relevant to only that top 10 percent of pressure-cooker schools. Some readers may get the false impression that the central issue in American secondary education is asking students to do too much, when the truth is that our schools ask too little. That is particularly obvious in low- and middle-income communities such as the District and Prince George’s County. Those children from less-affluent families often feel pressured, but the causes have little to do with academics.

http://go.uen.org/4oA

 

 


 

 

Teachers Want Better Feedback

Education Week op-ed by Miriam Greenberg, director of education at the Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University

 

You’ve heard it before: “Your call may be monitored or recorded for quality assurance.” If you thought this message was just a stall tactic before reaching an actual person, let me assure you, the calls are taped.

For a short time, I worked as a telemarketer, selling reading supplies to dupable literates. At my call center, managers “listened in” to assess the impact of the sales conversation, to identify missed opportunities for upselling pen and ink refills, and to coach us on better advising customers to purchase lap desks they never knew they needed in the first place. Though I dubbed my supervisor “director of wiretapping,” my sales doubled after I implemented her feedback. Mousepads and folios flew off warehouse shelves. Never in my career, before or since, have I received more feedback on my own advice-giving than I did after those late nights by the phone.

These days, we give a lot of lip service to increasing the amount of feedback given to teachers. Research indicates that these efforts are worthwhile. Teachers’ improvement can be predicted by the extent of their interactions with those more expert in teaching and by the extent to which they seek instructional advice from their colleagues. Further, in order for classroom observations to be meaningful to teachers, they must be accompanied by high-quality feedback.

The problem is that districts and states are spending an increasing amount of time training observers to measure performance, but very little time training them to give useful feedback.

http://go.uen.org/4pg

 


 

 

Three Ways Software Is Empowering Teachers

Commentary by Bill Gates

 

Forty years ago, Paul Allen and I started Microsoft because we wanted to help everybody get as much out of computers as we did. Back then, only big business had access, and we thought millions of people would benefit from having that kind of power at their fingertips. Since then, the personal computer, software, and the Internet have revolutionized every aspect of life in the United States—almost.

It is still surprising to me how little technology has affected education. These days, I spend a lot of time thinking about what teachers can do if they get new tools in their hands, especially if they have a say in what those tools look like. A year ago, I wrote about six websites for teachers that had caught my eye, though I noted that it was “too early to say which ones are going to break through.” It’s still too early, but we’re starting to be able to identify patterns in the ways that teachers are using computers and the Internet to give their students a more dynamic education.

Here are three trends that teachers have been telling me about.

http://go.uen.org/4oG

 

 

 

 

 

————————————————————-

NATIONAL NEWS

————————————————————-

 

Test­Refusal Movement’s Success Hampers Analysis of New York State Exam Results

New York Times

 

With 20 percent of eligible students sitting out the New York state standardized tests this year, even some central organizers of the “opt out” movement were surprised at their own success.

But those numbers are more than just a thumb in the eye of state education officials. They also are a significant setback for the educational accountability movement in New York, which has sought to use data to evaluate educational progress on all levels, including the success of districts, schools and individual teachers. Now, in many districts with high rates of test refusals, the data has been badly crippled.

“We always said that compliance just means more of the same,” said Jeanette Deutermann, a central figure in Long Island’s test­refusal movement. “The hope was to disrupt it to the point where it cannot be used,” she continued, to where “there are not enough children taking the test to close a school, or not enough data to fire a teacher.”

Last year, about 95 percent of the 1.1 million eligible students sat for the exams, which test third through eighth graders in English and math. The state reported that 30.6 percent of students passed the English exam that year, and that 36.2 percent were proficient in math.

This year, only 80 percent of eligible students participated. Of those, 31.3 passed the English test and 38.1 percent the math, the state said on Wednesday. And while there are ways to try to account for the differences, with such a substantial gap between the numbers year to year, some statisticians say it is difficult to be sure how much students improved over all.

http://go.uen.org/4ox

 

 


 

 

Oregon teacher evaluations to count student improvement on Common Core tests

(Portland) Oregonian

 

Oregon teachers this year will adjust to a new facet of the state’s fledgling evaluation system: How much did their students’ scores on rigorous Smarter Balanced exams improve?

Oregon districts have started to use the state’s new evaluation system designed to comprehensively look at teachers’ skills. About 80 percent of a teacher’s evaluation will cover professional duties, growth and goals, which can include instruction, lesson plans, data keeping and more, but now 20 percent will incorporate student growth on test scores.

http://go.uen.org/4oC

 


 

 

Pencils down: More U.S. colleges drop standardized tests

Reuters

 

WASHINGTON | Hey, high schoolers, scared of bombing on the SATs and not getting into college? Don’t worry, a growing number of U.S. schools are scrapping standardized test scores as part of admission.

Washington, D.C.’s George Washington University last month joined more than 850 U.S. colleges and universities that no longer require applicants to take the SAT or ACT, tests that have been a feature of American student life for decades.

Proponents of making the tests optional say the switch can help schools become more diverse and admit students who will thrive even though they may have lagged other applicants on scores.

“It was really about making sure that the right students, students for whom GW would be a great place, were not discouraged from applying,” said Karen Stroud Felton, George Washington’s dean of admissions.

The test-optional trend has accelerated in recent years, with more than two dozen schools dropping the requirement since the spring of 2014, according to the National Center for Fair and Open Testing, which advocates for test-optional admissions. They include Wisconsin’s Beloit College and Temple University in Philadelphia.

But defenders of the SAT and ACT tests of math, reading and writing say they level the playing field for applicants and provide an objective measure for scholarships.

http://go.uen.org/4oB

 

 


 

 

As Budget Battle Looms, Education Department Warns Against Early-Ed. Cuts

Education Week

 

The U.S. Department of Education went on the offense Monday to protect federal education programs ahead of looming spending battles in Congress to stave of a government shutdown prior to the end of the fiscal year, Oct. 1.

Specifically, the department took aim at the appropriations bills that passed through the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives that would slash funding for federal education programs by $1.7 billion and $2.8 billion, respectively.

Those bills, which passed through appropriations committee this summer, have not been voted on by the full chambers.

http://go.uen.org/4pm

 


 

 

Handcuffing of Students Reignites Debate on Use of Restraint

ACLU sues over school shackling

Education Week

 

Restraint and seclusion in schools, particularly when used with students with disabilities, has been a simmering national issue for years.

But when video of a Kentucky school resource officer handcuffing an 8-year-old boy was released earlier this month by the American Civil Liberties Union, debate over the practice of restraining students erupted anew. The ACLU filed a lawsuit against the school resource officer, Kevin Sumner, and his employer, the Kenton County, Ky., sheriff’s department.

The seven-minute video, which shows a whimpering and crying boy with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder cuffed at the biceps behind his back while Sumner stands nearby, is also stirring debate about disability, race (one of the children in the lawsuit is Hispanic, and one is African-American), and the role of school resource officers. And experts in school security say that the incident brings up another vexing issue: School resource officers are too often pulled into disciplinary issues that are better left to school staff.

“It’s hard for me to watch that video,” said Mo Canady, the executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers, who was a school resource officer for 12 years. “It doesn’t look good.”

But Canady said that it’s not clear what event or behavior led up to the boy’s cuffing. He also noted that Sumner did not go through the national association’s training program, which, Canady said, makes it clear that “school discipline is not the role of the SRO.”

http://go.uen.org/4pf

 


 

 

Nebraska school district asks teachers to sign pro-America pledge; ACLU objects

Lincoln (NE) Journal Star

 

The American Civil Liberties Union has told Hastings school officials that a state law requiring teachers to sign a pro-America pledge is unconstitutional, but the district superintendent says he’s just following legal advice.

The pledge says those who sign it believe in the U.S. government and will teach students “love and devotion” of America.

Amy Miller, legal director for ACLU of Nebraska, said that although the 1951 law remains on the books, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled several times that public employees cannot be required to sign such pledges because they violate the U.S. Constitution.

http://go.uen.org/4pa

 

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

 

 


 

 

Bush: ‘Common Core’ Is ‘Poisonous’

At the Iowa State Fair, the former Florida governor degrades the name of a policy he supports.

U.S. News & World Report

 

Jeb Bush on Friday called the name of the controversial education standards he has long supported “poisonous,” illustrating how damaging the program has become in the political dialogue and in his own eyes.

“The term ‘Common Core’ is so darn poisonous, I don’t even know what it means,” Bush said while campaigning at the Iowa State Fair, in response to a question on the standards before a gathering of fairgoers.

Bush’s support for Common Core – standards adopted by 43 states that aim to ensure students’ proficiency in English and math – has dogged him repeatedly on the campaign trail, as many conservatives see the measures as an example of federal government overreach. The Obama administration has used a grant program to incentivize states to use the standards, but has not required their adoption.

http://go.uen.org/4oF

 


 

 

NC commission wants Common Core changes

Raleigh (NC) News & Observer

 

Members of a commission reviewing public school educational goals want extensive changes to high school math and a streamlining of English/language arts goals to reflect what can be realistically covered in a school year.

The Academic Standards Review Commission meets Monday to discuss draft recommendations for changes to Common Core, national standards for English and math that cover kindergarten through 12th grade.

The state adopted Common Core in 2010. It is not a curriculum, but a set of detailed goals students should achieve by the end of each grade. Schools are entering their fourth year using the standards, but the goals continue to be a target of criticism. The commission, a group of political appointees, was charged with reviewing the standards and sending their recommendations for changes to the legislature and the State Board of Education. Two work groups, one for math and one for English/language arts, produced draft reports.

http://go.uen.org/4oD

 


 

 

Even big fine is unlikely to uncork logjam on school funding, lawmakers say

(Olympia, WA) Olympian

 

Even racking up $100,000 a day in court-ordered fines may not inspire Washington lawmakers to quickly solve a school-funding problem that has plagued the state for three decades.

Key lawmakers said Friday that months of work may lie ahead before the Legislature can agree on a plan to address the most vexing issue raised in the McCleary school-funding lawsuit: the unconstitutional use of local school district levies to pay teacher and school employee salaries.

Lack of progress on the salary issue is part of what prompted the state Supreme Court to issue sanctions in the McCleary case Thursday, fining state government $100,000 a day until the Legislature comes up with a detailed plan to fully fund basic education in Washington by 2018. The court ordered the fine money to be placed in a separate account to benefit basic education.

But while the court justices Thursday encouraged Gov. Jay Inslee to call the Legislature back to Olympia for a special session to produce a funding plan — even promising to forgive fines for days lawmakers spend in special session — a spokesman for Inslee on Friday said that lawmakers aren’t ready for that yet.

http://go.uen.org/4oy

 

 


 

 

Florida schools get failing grade due to re-segregation, investigation finds

NewsHour

 

This week, an investigation of five Florida elementary schools in low-income, predominantly black neighborhoods of St. Petersburg labeled the schools ‘failure factories,’ partially blaming racial re-segregation over the past eight years.

http://go.uen.org/4ph

 

http://go.uen.org/4pi (Tampa Bay [FL] Times)

 


 

 

Arizona education board shuts down Diane Douglas hiring plans

(Phoenix) Arizona Republic

 

The Arizona State Board of Education has nixed a plan by state schools chief Diane Douglas to begin the process of hiring two new board staffers.

Douglas and the board have been in court recently over whether the Arizona superintendent of public instruction has the power to hire and fire board staff.

On Friday, the board voted 7-1 — with Douglas casting the lone “no” vote — to allow board Executive Director Christine Thompson to take steps to hire a deputy director and a teacher certification investigator.

Also at Friday’s board meeting, Mary O’Grady, attorney for the board, said she is preparing to face an appeal of a July decision in Maricopa County Superior Court that the schools chief does not have the power to hire and fire board staff.

Douglas had sued the board in May after trying unsuccessfully to fire Thompson and another staff member.

She said in the suit that Arizona law gives her power over the board, which she views as an extension of the Department of Education.

http://go.uen.org/4pc

 


 

 

It’s still summer, but some students are getting ready for AP and IB courses

Washington Post

 

Summer break is still in its final stretch, but Asanat Odeyale was already at school in mid-August, brainstorming on a project with three other teenagers. In a matter of hours, they would have to make a convincing presentation. They had a ways to go.

“I was a little nervous,” the 15-year-old said.

So went the final day of “Camp IB” at Frederick Douglass High School in Prince George’s County, Md., one of many summer efforts around the country to prepare students for rigorous International Baccalaureate or Advanced Placement programs in the coming school year.

“It’s a great way to get kids ready and in the IB mind-set,” said Robin Khan, spokeswoman for IB Americ as. There is no data on how many IB camps operate nationally, she said, but they tend to grow from the interests of individual schools or educators. “It certainly portends better success for students,” she said.

Similarly, College Board officials say AP summer camps or bridge programs are among a variety of educator-created initiatives meant to expand access to AP and improve performance. “It’s great to see the enthusiasm from different corners of the country,” said John Williamson, vice president for AP curriculum and instruction.

http://go.uen.org/4oz

 

 


 

 

Why an Iowa barber gives free haircuts

Barber Courtney Holmes gave free haircuts to children who read books to him on Saturday during the second annual Back to School Bash in Dubuque, Iowa.

Christian Science Monitor

 

As the new school year is getting closer, a barber in Iowa has come up with a creative way to encourage reading among children.

Courtney Holmes gave free haircuts to children who read books to him on Saturday during the second annual Back to School Bash in Comiskey park in Dubuque. “I just want to support kids reading,” Mr. Holmes told the Associated Press.

During the event, St. Mark Youth Enrichment organization gave away books, and Caitlin Daniels, grade-level reading coordinator with the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, helped struggling readers in the barber chair.

“It’s great. All the kids, they want to have a good haircut to go back to school,” she said. “They’re paying through reading.”

http://go.uen.org/4pj

 


 

 

On ‘POV,’ a Swiss Approach to Educating Immigrant Students

Education Week

 

In the United States, school districts have relied on a variety of approaches to educating and counseling immigrant students. Still, there are potential lessons to be learned from how a country much less vast and diverse than our own deals with the issue.

In “Neuland,” an 87-minute documentary debuting Monday night on the “POV” series on PBS (check local listings), filmmaker Anna Thommen examines a program that helps young migrants in Switzerland learn one of the nation’s four official languages (German), as well as mathematics and job and life skills.

Switzerland seeks to preserve its national identity by instilling shared values and a common language among these high school age students, who are asylum seekers from world trouble spots such as Afghanistan, Cameroon, Serbia, and Venezuela.

http://go.uen.org/4pd

 

http://go.uen.org/4pe (KUED)

 

 

 

 

 

————————————————————

CALENDAR

————————————————————

 

USOE Calendar

http://www.schools.utah.gov/main/CALENDAR.aspx

 

 

UEN News

http://www.uen.org

 

 

August 17:

Administrative Rules Review Committee meeting

9 a.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2015/html/00003630.htm

 

 

August 18:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

2 p.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2015/html/00003644.htm

 

 

August 19:

Education Interim Committee meeting

8:30 a.m., 30 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2015/html/00003537.htm

 

Government Operations Interim Committee meeting

8:30 a.m., 20 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2015/html/00003552.htm

 

 

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

 

 

September 10:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

Moab Charter School, 358 E 300 South, Moab

http://go.uen.org/1pn

 

 

September 17-18:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Mee

 

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