Education News Roundup: Aug. 20, 2015

BoarddistrictsEducation News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

Legislature continues its discussion on how to elect the Utah State Board of Education.

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

and http://go.uen.org/4qC (DN)

 

Alianza Academy charter school closes its doors.

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

and http://go.uen.org/4r1 (KUTV)

and http://go.uen.org/4r3 (KSL)

 

Six of the GOP presidential contenders talk education in New Hampshire.

http://go.uen.org/4qI (Politico)

and http://go.uen.org/4ra (NYT)

and http://go.uen.org/4rb (WaPo)

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

and http://go.uen.org/4rd (AP)

 

Should students learn to code? There’s disagreement, according to a new poll.

http://go.uen.org/4qW (USAT)

and http://go.uen.org/4rg (Wired)

or a copy of the poll

http://go.uen.org/4qX (Google)

 

Hechinger Report looks at the “course choice” phenomenon, which has some Utah connections.

http://go.uen.org/4rf (Hechinger)

 

New report says Chromebooks are gaining on iPads in the school sector.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Redrawing state school-board districts considered

 

Alianza Academy charter school closing only days after school begins

 

Bills would seal information on administrative disciplinary actions

 

Utah leads in defense, aerospace jobs thanks to STEM focus

 

Students enthusiastic for first day of school

 

Salt Lake school district under federal investigation for claims of discrimination

 

Salt Lake City School District honors teachers

 

School District bus maintenance wins Utah Highway Patrol award

 

New Sandy middle school opens doors after 2 years of construction

 

How to be safe going back to school

 

Back-to-school immunizations have new state requirements

 

Inside our schools

 

Americans vote no to Common Core but yes to tougher standards

 

Do high grade-level expectations make students brilliant? Not necessarily

 

One community’s promise makes kids’ college dreams happen

 


 

 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Data do not support expansion of Utah charter schools

 

Education = Economic Growth

 

Is a Drive for Power Engulfing the State Board of Education?

 

Confessions of an elementary school teacher

 

Charter schools? Buyers beware

 

The Bright Students Left Behind

While everyone focuses on boosting the weakest students, America’s smartest children are no longer being pushed to do their best.

 

America’s Top High Schools 2015

 

 


 

 

NATION

 

Union bashing, Common Core trashing: Takeaways from the GOP education forum

 

Should students learn coding? Students, schools disagree, poll finds

 

School choice on steroids

New state programs allow students to opt out of their local public schools part time, taking classes online instead

 

Common Core likely to be tweaked, not thrown out, in Louisiana

 

Chromebooks Gaining on iPads in School Sector

 

PSD denies football team’s plan to honor military

 

 

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Redrawing state school-board districts considered

 

Utah state Sen. Scott Jenkins is proposing to give each of the state’s 15 largest school districts their own seat on the state school board, and make all the other smaller districts share four to six other seats among them.

“What drives voting is interest,” he said, adding that people in a local district would have more interest in state school-board elections if they essentially had their own seat to represent local interests.

“No one knows who’s on the school board now.”

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

 

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

 

 


 

 

Alianza Academy charter school closing only days after school begins

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Alianza Academy, a K-8 charter school in West Valley City and South Salt Lake, will be closing at the end of this week after the Utah State Charter School Board proposed last week to close the school, school leaders announced late Wednesday.

Alianza started classes Tuesday, but since the board’s Aug. 20 proposal, the school’s enrollment dropped from roughly 315 students to about 270 students, below the 290 enrollment level needed to have a surplus budget, according to Alianza Board of Trustees chairwoman Cindy Phillips.

The school will not place students in other schools. That responsibility now lies with each student’s family, Phillips said. Most of the students will likely enroll in their local public school districts.

State funding for teacher supplies and the School Land Trust have also been withheld from the school “due to actions taken by the Utah State Charter School Board,” according to a statement by the Alianza Board of Trustees.

Because of the school’s worsening financial woes, school leaders decided not to appeal the State Charter School Board’s proposal to close the school, which was put on probation in March along with the Wasatch Institute of Technology for budget and academic problems.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/4r1 (KUTV)

 

http://go.uen.org/4r3 (KSL)

 


 

 

Bills would seal information on administrative disciplinary actions

 

The Utah Legislature is considering two bills that would shield from public view government records of administrative disciplinary actions against individuals.

The Judiciary Interim Committee voted 10-2 Wednesday to advance a bill that provides a way to seal administrative records in state agency files relating to a criminal conviction that has been expunged by the courts.

Under the measure, those records would be sealed and removed from public databases controlled by the agency involved. The agency still could retain the records internally and use them “in any manner consistent” with its procedures — such as deciding whether to issue a professional license to someone who previously had it revoked — but could not make the information accessible to the public.

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

 


 

 

Utah leads in defense, aerospace jobs thanks to STEM focus

 

With tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars at stake, it’s hard to understate the importance of science, technology, engineering and math jobs in Utah.

And at the moment, the state has an upper hand in attracting and keeping high-wage defense and aerospace industry jobs, according to Ben Hart, managing director for Business Services in the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

But that isn’t a reason to get complacent.

Hart’s comments were made in advance of his presentation at the Utah STEM Call-to-Action Forum, held Aug. 19-20 at Weber State University. Hart was scheduled to speak Thursday morning and will be followed by a panel discussion on the industry view of STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Math).

The number one issue for defense and aerospace industry employers is the availability of qualified workers in Utah.

“What we see now, more and more, is the wide diversity in occupation requirements,” said Hart. “We see the need for everything from electrical engineers and mechanical engineers, right on down to technicians and those who have composite skills.”

Even more employees will be needed in the future. According to Hart, aircraft structure and systems assembly fields are expecting 9.5 percent annual growth over the next ten years.

“That’s unheard of,” he said. “The historical state average is around 3.2 percent.”

Software developers who can work in aviation will also be needed, he said, estimating growth of that field at 4.1 percent.

Part of the forum’s aim is to develop STEM focus for elementary and secondary schools. As far as postsecondary options go, the list is growing.

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

 

 


 

 

Students enthusiastic for first day of school

 

More than 100,000 students in Utah County returned to school Wednesday with enthusiasm in their steps.

In most cases they were met with an equal amount of enthusiasm from the teachers and staff members at their schools.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/4r2 (KTVX)

 


 

 

Salt Lake school district under federal investigation for claims of discrimination

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Federal education authorities are looking into allegations of racial discrimination and unfair treatment against minority students in the Salt Lake School District.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights will investigate the district in response to a complaint of disproportionate discipline for black, Latino, Polynesian and Native American students in the district, among other issues, according to a Wednesday announcement by the American Civil Liberties Union.

Many of the issues in the complaint are based on research by the University of Utah, which reveals a similar problem statewide of a “school-to-prison pipeline” for minority students.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/4r0 (KUTV)

 

http://go.uen.org/4r4 (KSL)

 

http://go.uen.org/4r7 (KSTU)

 

http://go.uen.org/4r8 (KUER)

 

http://go.uen.org/4r9 (KNRS)

 

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

 

 


 

 

Salt Lake City School District honors teachers

 

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake City School District has announced its 2016 District Teachers of the Year.

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

 

 


 

 

School District bus maintenance wins Utah Highway Patrol award

 

Carbon School District bus maintenance personnel were recently awarded the highest award for the care of the vehicles in their charge by the Utah Highway Patrol.

The Golden Service Award was shown to the Carbon Board of Education by District Transportation Director Kerry Jensen during the August 12 board meeting.

http://go.uen.org/4ri (Price Sun Advocate)

 


 

 

New Sandy middle school opens doors after 2 years of construction

 

SANDY — After two years of construction, the rebuilt Mount Jordan Middle School welcomed its first 320 students on Tuesday.

http://go.uen.org/4r6 (KSL)

 

 


 

How to be safe going back to school

 

It’s that time of the year again: when students get back on bikes, buses, cars or their own two feet and make the daily trip to school.

But going back to school can also be intimidating to students and parents alike who recognize the all-to-real threats to the safety of children.

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

 

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

 

 

 


 

 

Back-to-school immunizations have new state requirements

 

The Utah Department of Health has established new immunization requirements for incoming students this 2015-16 year, with incoming kindergarteners and 7th-graders required to have two doses of the chickenpox vaccine and 7th-graders also requiring one dose of a meningococcal vaccine.

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

 

 


 

 

Inside our schools

 

Arrowhead Elementary

Utah Online High School

Snow Canyon High

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

 


 

 

Americans vote no to Common Core but yes to tougher standards

 

Two separate polls released Tuesday revealed Americans want more rigorous standards, just not by way of the Common Core.

For the first time, the majority of the general public does not support Common Core, a poll by EducationNext found. Meanwhile, “90 percent of voters agree that we should raise our nation’s academic standards so that the United States can be more competitive with other countries,” the other poll, commissioned by the Center for American Progress, concluded.

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

 

 


 

 

Do high grade-level expectations make students brilliant? Not necessarily

 

Favorite foods, catch phrases and emojis aren’t the only things difficult to predict from state to state.

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

 


 

 

One community’s promise makes kids’ college dreams happen

 

For the 2015 graduating class of Baldwin Senior High in Baldwin, Michigan, the pursuit of academic excellence started with a promise.

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

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Data do not support expansion of Utah charter schools Deseret News commentary by columnist Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh, president of the Utah Education Association

 

Charter schools have certainly been in the news lately with stories about tax increases, closures and funding. As an educator and taxpayer, I am compelled to share a few facts.

In 1998, the Utah Legislature passed HB145 calling for the creation of up to eight charter schools for a three-year pilot program with an assessment of those schools at the end of the pilot. Certain purposes were defined for these schools, including improved student learning, the use of innovative teaching methods, the creation of new professional opportunities for educators to allow them to participate in the design and implementation of the learning programs, creating new forms of accountability measuring learning outcomes and providing opportunities for greater parental involvement in decisions at the school level.

It is through the lens of this original law that I find gaping holes. While there was no assessment of charter school performance at the end of the initial three-year “pilot” period as originally requested, scrutiny of Utah’s charter schools has increased of late and is yielding interesting results.

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

 


 

 

Education = Economic Growth

Utah Policy commentary by Salt Lake Chamber

 

There is one surefire way to boost growth and improve equity: improve the quality of K-12 education, says Robert Lithan in a recent Wall Street Journal article. He cites evidence that a nation’s future economic growth can be predicted by student performance.

Research shows that relatively small improvements in the skills of a nation’s labor force can impact future well-being in a big way. However, because returns on educational investments are often seen only in the future, it is possible to underestimate the value and importance of improvement and allow education to slip down on the policy agenda.

Targeted investments that lead to real reforms and improvement in the quality of institutions of public education, if sustained, can lead to yield large positive effects on economic development. In fact, at some point the returns on education investment exceed any conceivable costs of improvement.

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

 


 

 

Is a Drive for Power Engulfing the State Board of Education?

Utah Policy commentary by Kim Burningham, former member of the Utah State Board of Education

 

I am convinced many actions in the public arena are motivated by the desire for power, and I have concluded the true measures of a public official may well be, “Is power for power’s sake the goal? How did they use power? Was the power used to serve the community? Or was the power used to drive a politician’s personal ambition?”

Two observations:

The American dream seeks to limit the abuse of power

The Utah State Board of Education’s current actions appear to consolidate power http://go.uen.org/4qE

 


 

 

Confessions of an elementary school teacher KSL commentary by Lyndsi Frandsen, creator of the Facebook page For All Momkind

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Whether you are a parent, student or teacher, in some way or another, you are probably saying “goodbye” to summer and “hello” to a brand new school year.

Elementary school teachers everywhere are working hard to prepare for a new batch of students. Before they completely revert back to “teacher mode,” I thought it would be fun to reminisce of school years gone by and asked them to reveal classroom confessions, both humorous and heartfelt.

Grab an apple, tuck a pencil behind your ear, and try to enjoy “back to school” from a teacher’s point of view (names have been withheld to protect the innocent).

http://go.uen.org/4r5

 


 

 

Charter schools? Buyers beware

Salt Lake Tribune letter from Kathleen Riebe

 

The Utah State Charter School Board is experimenting with children at a time in their lives when they need a strong foundation. In response to the board’s decision to close two charter schools, the board’s chairman states, “We move on and try something else.”

The students who are leaving these failing schools are woefully behind their peers. This experiment has real-life consequences. They do not get to just move on and away from the problem, and neither do their new teachers.

How many of the schools’ students are appearing at their neighborhood schools this week? This large influx at a late date will cause class size to explode until new teachers can be hired, and classes may have to be split.

District neighborhood schools are losing funding to charter schools. Taxpayers — buyers — beware.

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

 


 

 

The Bright Students Left Behind

While everyone focuses on boosting the weakest students, America’s smartest children are no longer being pushed to do their best.

Wall Street Journal op-ed by CHESTER E. FINN JR., senior fellow at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, And  BRANDON L. WRIGHT, managing editor at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute

 

A great problem in U.S. education is that gifted students are rarely pushed to achieve their full potential. It is no secret that American students overall lag their international peers. Among the 34 countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, whose students took the PISA exams in 2012, the U.S. ranked 17th in reading, 20th in science and 27th in math.

Less well known is how few young Americans—particularly the poor and minorities—reach the top ranks on such measures. The PISA test breaks students into six levels of math literacy, and only 9% of American 15-year-olds reached the top two tiers. Compare that with 16% in Canada, 17% in Germany and 40% in Singapore.

Among the handful of American high achievers, only one in eight comes from the bottom socioeconomic quartile. In Canada it’s one in four; Germany one in six; and Singapore one in three.

What has gone wrong? Thanks to No Child Left Behind and its antecedents, U.S. education policy for decades has focused on boosting weak students to minimum proficiency while neglecting the children who have already cleared that low bar. When parents of “gifted” youngsters complained, they were accused of elitism. It is rich that today’s policies purport to advance equality, yet harm the smartest kids from disadvantaged circumstances.

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

 

 


 

 

America’s Top High Schools 2015

Newsweek analysis

 

The Newsweek High School Rankings assess schools based on a broad range of data to determine which institutions do the best job of preparing students for college. A star next to a school’s name indicates that it meets our Equity measure by helping low-income students score at or above average on state assessments.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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Union bashing, Common Core trashing: Takeaways from the GOP education forum Politico

 

LONDONDERRY, N.H. — Teachers unions were a punching bag and Common Core standards not quite the bogeyman you’d expect as six 2016 Republican presidential contenders subjected themselves to back-to-back questioning on education policy Wednesday at a daylong forum here.

The moderator? Former CNN anchor Campbell Brown, whose “The 74 Million” news advocacy site sponsored the event with the pro-school choice group American Federation for Children.

Outside in the heat, a few dozen members of the local teachers’ union in New Hampshire and from across New England protested the Republican candidates’ education plans. Inside, the rented air conditioning unit for the Londonderry High School gym struggled to cool off the sweating candidates and rapt crowd.

Here are five takeaways from the hours of wonky K-12 discussion.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 


 

 

 

Should students learn coding? Students, schools disagree, poll finds USA Today

 

SAN FRANCISCO – Parents across the U.S. are eager for their children to learn coding and other computer science skills, but their message hasn’t yet hit the in-box of school administrators.

That’s the finding of a new Gallup study commissioned by Google that spotlights a potentially perilous economic disconnect as tech companies struggle to enlarge their engineering talent pools.

In the works for 18 months, the survey, called “Searching for Computer Science: Access and Barriers in U.S. K-12 Education,” polled 15,000 people ranging from students to superintendents.

Among key and contrasting findings are the facts while 90% of parents see computer science, or CS, as “a good use of school resources” (and 66% say CS should be required learning alongside other core classes), fewer than 8% of administrators believe parent demand is high. They also cite a lack of trained teachers as a top barrier to offering CS courses. Three quarters of principals report no CS programs in their school.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/4rg (Wired)

 

A copy of the poll

http://go.uen.org/4qX (Google)

 

 


 

 

School choice on steroids

New state programs allow students to opt out of their local public schools part time, taking classes online instead Hechinger Report

 

Chatfield High School in Minnesota doesn’t offer sociology (or German, or criminology, for that matter), but when senior Keagan Clarke, 18, finished a fall semester class in psychology, his teacher suggested he try sociology.

Thanks to a relatively new state policy, all spring Clarke went to the school library during second period for an online sociology class.

“It was very cool,” said Clarke, noting it lived up to his psychology teacher’s description: “It was a very interesting topic with some things that will tie back to psychology.”

This initiative, often called “Course Choice” or “Course Access,” is, as one proponent described it, like “school choice on steroids.”

Proponents count at least 10 states that have adopted a collection of policies they began promoting as Course Access — policies that allow students to take classes part-time online (and sometimes in other off-campus classrooms) by choosing from a variety of providers, including charter schools and other districts, instead of being limited to their local course offerings or to one state virtual school. And the Course Access movement is gaining momentum as it expands across the country, with eight states adopting or considering such laws in just the last four years, according to a comprehensive report on Course Access sponsored by the conservative group the Foundation for Excellence in Education and the lobbying firm EducationCounsel.

For Clarke and other students, online schools mean options, but for school district officials, they can mean less revenue, as education dollars flow toward charter schools or other districts that offer the online courses.

And, not unlike what often happens with charter schools and vouchers, the Course Access policies can set up a competition for limited education dollars.

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

 


 

 

Common Core likely to be tweaked, not thrown out, in Louisiana New Orleans (LA) Times-Picayune

 

Louisiana children’s schoolwork might not be very different next fall from what it is now. A committee charged with reworking the state’s academic benchmarks indicated Thursday (Aug. 18) that it will likely tweak, not throw out, the Common Core standards.

It was the first meeting of a much-watched committee that carries the weight of the Legislature’s Common Core compromise. Lawmakers sought to lower the heat — and put the issue off past Election Day — by bidding the state Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to review the contentious standards. The rhetoric of Gov. Bobby Jindal, a strong states’ rights supporter, won out: Instead of the nationwide Common Core, the Pelican State would have “Louisiana standards and a Louisiana test” in 2016.

The state board OK’d 101 people to serve on three content-area subcommittees and a coordinating committee to synthesize the recommendations. Still, judging from Wednesday’s meeting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana’s exploration might not come up with more than a light edit of Common Core.

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

 

 


 

 

Chromebooks Gaining on iPads in School Sector New York Times

 

As school districts across the country increasingly invest in technology for their students, the volume of personal computers in the classroom is surging.

And it is Chromebook – notebook computers that run on Google’s Chrome operating system – an upstart in a sector dominated by Apple and Microsoft, that is largely responsible for the growth trend in schools, according to a new report from IDC, a market research firm.

Last year, the market for desktop, laptop, tablets and two­in­one computers shipped to kindergarten­through­12th­grade schools and institutions of higher education in the United States amounted to $7 billion, according to estimates from IDC.

In all, the company said, about 13.2 million systems were shipped in 2014 – about 33 percent more than the year before.

With its line­up of iPads, MacBooks and other higher­priced products, Apple reaped the greatest revenue in the sector last year, accounting for nearly half of the total dollars spent on personal computers in education, the report said.

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

 


 

 

PSD denies football team’s plan to honor military (Fort Collins) Coloradoan

 

Poudre School District has denied the Fossil Ridge High School football team’s request to individually honor fallen members of the U.S. armed forces.

The team hoped to memorialize those fallen service members by wearing their last names across the back of their uniforms in place of their own names, but the district won’t allow it.

The district’s decision comes after three months of military education by the team and ongoing requests for approval.

Fossil Ridge players had requested the school outfit the team with camouflage uniforms this season. Coach Brian Tinker required his team to undergo military training and education, including CrossFit activities and a rock walk. In addition, every player was required to research the family and background of a deceased member of the armed forces.

The uniforms will be worn on military appreciation night Oct. 15 vs. Legacy. They were purchased by the booster club.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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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 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 2:

House Education/Education Interim/Public Education Appropriations committees meeting

8 a.m., Southern Utah University, Cedar City

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Cal.asp?year=2015&month=9&comit=HSTEDU

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2015&Com=INTEDU

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2015&Com=APPPED

 

 

September 3:

House Education/Education Interim/Public Education Appropriations committees meeting

8 a.m., Southern Utah University, Cedar City

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Cal.asp?year=2015&month=9&comit=HSTEDU

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2015&Com=INTEDU

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2015&Com=APPPED

 

 

September 10:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

Moab Charter School, 358 E 300 South, Moab

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

 

 

September 15:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

5 p.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2015&Com=APPEXE

 

 

September 17-18:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspx

 

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