Education News Roundup: Aug. 31. 2015

Utah's SAGE AssessmentsEducation News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

Utah’s Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence (SAGE) results are out and they show improvement.  (SLTrib)  (SLTrib)  (D-News)  (D-News) (UTPo) (UTPublicEd)

Check out how these U.S. kids react to what other students around the world have for school lunch.   (D-News)

Salt Lake City Superintendent McKell Withers announces his retirement.  (SLTrib)  (AP)

Utah’s Success Academy tops Newsweek’s “Beating the Odds 2015″ list. (SGS)

Take a guess at what a New Jersey teacher said was the reason for being late to school at total of 111 times.  (SE)  (AP)

This news article will have you scratching your head. (St. Louis Post- Dispatch)










SAGE scores improve throughout Utah, with biggest gains in high school math


SAGE scores: Top and bottom schools by subject



Salt Lake City schools boss plans to resign next year



Students see ‘great growth’ in second year of SAGE assessment


Utah’s top 25 schools in each subject based on SAGE results


Utah Students Improve on Language Arts, Math, Science SAGE Tests



Quiz: Can you define Oxford Dictionaries’ newest entries?



The 25 most educated cities in America: Where did Provo rank?


Startup hopes to help children with autism in rural areas



U.S. kids react — hilariously — to international school lunches


Timpanogos Storytelling Festival is setting a new standard in youth involvement



Success Academy ranks No. 1 in nation for ‘beating the odds’


School safety tips



Herriman father, daughter upset over makeshift dressing room








Letter: Withers will be missed in SLC schools


Letter of the week: Utah children need more sex education


School cafeteria rule on drinks ridiculous


A new casualty of high-stakes testing: student teachers


Words of Wisdom for the Introverts in the Classroom


Let’s Kickstart Food Education









Late 111 times, New Jersey teacher still keeps his job

School makes guns available to trained staff this year

U.S Department of Education Announces New Grants for Charter Schools Serving Low-Income Students

Board Accepts Albuquerque School Chief’s Resignation

New strain of lice could put schools in scratchy situation

New bill would ban minors from using tanning beds

When Mindfulness Meets the Classroom

Many educators are introducing meditation into the classroom as a means of improving kids’ attention and emotional regulation

The Economic Cost of Truancy

Initial Common Core goals unfulfilled as results trickle in






SAGE scores improve throughout Utah, with biggest gains in high school math Education » Math scores jumped the most, improving 5.4 percent in the second year of testing.

Lincoln Elementary School science teacher Cara Baldree quizzed a group of fourth-graders on Friday while they created the Wasatch Mountains out of Play-Doh.

She asked about the state’s three major ecosystems — marshy wetlands, dry deserts and elevated mountains — and what the brine shrimp in the Great Salt Lake like to eat.

“Allergies?” offered one student.

“That’s right, algae,” Baldree said with a subtle, but encouraging, correction.

Baldree is one of two new science teachers at the Salt Lake City elementary school, which until last year included teaching science with the other duties of a student’s primary classroom teacher.

Principal Peggy Patterson said the shift has already generated results, giving children two hours each week of targeted science instruction while their regular teachers meet in planning groups.

And the proof is in the school’s 2015 SAGE test results.

“Science scores doubled,” Patterson said. “They’re still pretty low, but doubling is good.” (SLTrib)




SAGE scores: Top and bottom schools by subject


Top 10 Math (percent proficient) 1. Cherry Hill Elementary GT Program, Alpine School, District, 94 2. Bonneville Elementary, Salt Lake District, 84 3. Uintah Elementary, Salt Lake School District, 83.4 4. Success Academy, SUU, 81.3 5. Granite Elementary, Canyons School District, 78.8 (SLTrib)



Salt Lake City schools boss plans to resign next year


Amid a federal civil rights investigation of his district and allegations of racial bias from a colleague, the chief of Salt Lake City schools is stepping down.

Superintendent McKell Withers announced in a letter Friday to Salt Lake City School Board members that he will retire at the end of the school year.

“I am not planning on retiring my advocacy work for young people, their families, and the incredible professionals that teach and support them in our public schools,” Withers wrote in the letter.

Withers, who has held the job since 2003, could not be reached for further comment Friday afternoon.

Withers has overseen Salt Lake City schools through a series of controversies, including the disposal of students’ lunches in 2014, longstanding friction with board member Michael Clara, and a Department of Education investigation of civil rights complaints against the district. (SLTrib) (AP)




Students see ‘great growth’ in second year of SAGE assessment


While most students in Utah are still performing below what’s now considered proficient, newly released SAGE results are giving education leaders reason to smile.

This year, 44.1 percent of students were considered proficient in English language arts, compared to 42.2 percent last year. Math scores saw the largest gains with 44.6 percent proficient, up from 39.2 percent last year. And 46.8 percent of students in Utah scored proficiently in science, compared to 44.2 percent last year, according to data released Monday by the Utah State Office of Education.

This is the second year of data for SAGE, formally known as the Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence, which tests students in English, math, science and writing. The test is administered annually to students in grades three through 11 using computer-adaptive technology, which adjusts to each student’s skill level.  (D-News)




Utah’s top 25 schools in each subject based on SAGE results

The Utah State Office of Education released the results from the most recent round of SAGE testing Monday.

SAGE (Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence) tests recently replaced the CRTs, and are based on the Utah Core Standards.

Students were tested in three areas: Language arts, mathematics and science.

We’ve compiled lists of the top 25 best high schools, junior high/middle/intermediate schools and elementary schools in each subject. Click the links below to see the lists: (D-News)




Utah Students Improve on Language Arts, Math, Science SAGE Tests

Utah public school students on average improved in language arts, math, and science end-of-level tests known as SAGE (Student Assessment of Growth and Excellence) assessments, according to data released today by the Utah State Office of Education.

Results showed 1.9 percent more students were proficient in English language arts, 2.6 percent more were proficient in science and 5.4 percent more were proficient in math. This brings the total of proficient students to 44.1 percent in English language arts, 46.8 percent in science and 44.6 percent in math. This marks the second year Utah students took computer-adaptive SAGE assessments, which are based on more rigorous academic standards adopted earlier by the Utah State Board of Education. The new standards set the proficiency bar at college-and-career readiness rather than mastery of subject matter.

“I’m very pleased the needle is moving in the right direction,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Brad C. Smith. “Our task now is to keep it moving in the right direction until all Utah students are proficient in core subjects.”

The SAGE results will be used with other data to produce both the Governor’s PACE report card and the statutorily required school grades. Those reports will be released in September, after school districts and charter schools have a chance to review the SAGE data for accuracy. (UTPo)




Quiz: Can you define Oxford Dictionaries’ newest entries?

Language traditionalists beware: Trying to define some of Oxford Dictionaries’ newest entries might make you “rage-quit.”

The online dictionary, created by the Oxford English Dictionary’s publishers, issued a quarterly update Thursday, according to The Associated Press.

Katy Steinmetz wrote for Time that Oxford Dictionaries focuses on modern language, “words that people are using now and how they’re using them.”

Because of the emphasis on how people communicate today, Oxford Dictionaries differs from the historical Oxford English Dictionary and shows through what mediums new words come from, Steinmetz wrote.  (D-News)




The 25 most educated cities in America: Where did Provo rank?

In a recent study, WalletHub ranked the 150 largest metropolitan areas in America to see which ones were the most educated. The metrics they used to separate the most from the least educated were “Education Level,” “Quality of Education” and “Attainment Gap.”

Not only did Provo rank high on the list, but it ranked 2nd for the “highest percentage of adults with some college or an associate’s degree” and tied for first when it came to the “lowest difference between the percentage of black and white bachelor’s degree holders.”

Where did Provo rank overall?

Click through this list for a countdown of the 25 most educated cities in America, according to WalletHub’s 2015 rankings. (D-News) (WalletHub)



Startup hopes to help children with autism in rural areas An uncle’s love for his nephew, who has autism, inspires a business idea.

SALT LAKE CITY — On his parents’ 150-acre homestead in Fritz Creek, Alaska, 4-year-old Joshie has the world.

On the floor of the living room, he’s built a pretend toy village, where he and his parents live just down the street from their family’s old home in Georgia, and around the bend from his uncle Jeremiah, whose house has been transplanted from Farmington to Fritz Creek, population 1,932.

It was his beloved uncle, Jeremiah Riley, who first thought that Joshie might have autism. It was Riley who convinced his brother and sister-in-law to take Joshie to a neuropsychologist to get tested. And when Joshie was finally identified as having moderate autism, it was Riley who was determined to make sure other kids like his nephew, who are a 4.5-hour drive from the nearest major city, could get advice and support from an autism professional.

“My brother (is on the autism spectrum),” said Riley, who is a father and a government relationships consultant. “My brother’s son is. Autism is, in a real way, it’s a part of my life.” (D-News)




U.S. kids react — hilariously — to international school lunches

When it comes to school lunches from across the globe, a new clip by Cut Video shows not all of them are created equal — in the eyes of U.S. students, at least.

According to BuzzFeed, the Cut Video staff gathered “a bunch of American kiddos” and offered them a diverse slate of dishes typically served at schools in other countries, including India, France and Sweden.

Between the students’ remarks and faces after eating foreign selections, it’s no wonder the clip has collected more than 1 million views since its release Wednesday, Khaleda Rahman wrote for the Daily Mail.

The video might even include a lesson for a younger audience, noted Rahman.

“Kids are notoriously picky eaters,” Rahman wrote. “But perhaps American children will appreciate their meals a bit more after seeing this delightfully funny video of seven contemporaries trying school lunches from around the world.” (D-News)




Timpanogos Storytelling Festival is setting a new standard in youth involvement

Speaking in front of hundreds of people is no easy task. Not child’s play, right? Tell that to Karen Acerson.

The Board President of the Timpanogos Storytelling Institute watched in amazement last year during the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival as a 3-year-old participated in the festival’s “Tall Tales” competition.

“She was spot on,” Acerson remembered, adding that the girl’s 6-year-old sister placed first in the contest.

OK, so maybe it can be child’s play sometimes.

Kicking off its 26th year on Thursday, the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival has not only become one of the country’s most prominent storytelling festivals, but a trailblazer in incorporating youth and storytelling education. The festival’s efforts go far beyond the four days it descends on Mt. Timpanogos Park. (PDH)




Cedar High band tours Europe

Twenty-one students from Cedar High School, along with seven parents, spent 16 days on a European performance tour this summer with the Utah Ambassadors of Music (UAM).

The once-in-a-lifetime trip featured stops in London, Paris, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Italy and Germany, and included visits to landmarks such as Windsor Castle, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the Eiffel Tower, Champs Elysees and St. Olaf’s Church. The group also visited the skiing village of Crans-Montana and the Nazi concentration camp of Dachau.

The 2015 UAM trip totaled 308 band and choir students and staff members from across Utah, including CHS band director Steve Shirts. Students must be nominated by their high school band or choir directors to be invited on the trip. (SGS)




Success Academy ranks No. 1 in nation for ‘beating the odds’

GEORGE — Newsweek recently ranked Success Academy at Southern Utah University in Cedar City the top school in its “Beating the Odds 2015″ list and ranked Success Academy in Utah, which has programs at both SUU, Dixie State University and online, No. 18 in its “America’s Top High Schools 2015″ listing.

The annual “Beating the Odds” list identifies the 500 public high schools in the United States that are the best at preparing economically disadvantaged students for college. Both SUU and Dixie State University currently have Success Academy programs.

In the listing, the academy received a 100 percent rating for all three categories, including college readiness, graduation rate and college bound. According to Newsweek, 44.9 percent of the program’s students live in poverty.

“This ranking is a real compliment to the partner universities and the students,” said Principal John Tripp. “They work very hard. They take 15 college hours and push themselves to be active in their boundary schools.”  (SGS)




School safety tips

WEST JORDAN, UT (ABC 4 UTAH) – School is starting back up and safety is one of the biggest concerns.

School children in Westland Elementary got a hands on course about staying safe by the West Jordan Police Department and Utah Department of Transportation.

A lot of the school kids know that their school resource officers are someone they can talk to, but most children don’t know they can approach police officers on the street as well.

Chief Doug Diamond with the West Jordan Police Department has some safety tips for children who walk or bike to school.

“Be aware of what’s going on. Don’t get tied up in your conversation or on a phone or anything else. Look, listen and make sure that traffic is safe,” Chief Diamond said.

Chief Diamond recommends you, look left, right and left again, when crossing streets.

He also said if you plan on riding your bike to school, make sure to wear a helmet and follow bicycle laws. (KTVX)




Herriman father, daughter upset over makeshift dressing room

A Herriman High School senior said she felt “exposed” after Lifetouch photo staff and volunteers at Herriman High School forced her to change in a makeshift dressing room instead of the bathroom during a photo shoot for senior pictures.

Ari Roche, 17, says she is an artist, so she understands what it takes to get a picture just right.

“I’m an aspiring makeup artist,” said Roche. “I draw in multiple styles.”

On Wednesday, Roche said she was wearing a shirt with a collar that was too high for off-the-shoulder velvet drapes required for senior pictures with Lifetouch Photography.

“They told me that I would have to take my shirt off in order for the black velvet top to look the way it should,” said Roche.

Roche said she asked to change in the restroom, instead “they told me they had a dressing room,” she said. “There was no dressing room.” (KSL)






Withers will be missed in SLC schools

Salt Lake Tribune letter from John H. Brandt

Regretfully, the Tribune recently reported the end of school year 2016 departure of Salt Lake School District Superintendent McKell Withers. This is a substantial loss for the district. Withers has been an outstanding leader throughout the past 12 years. He is respected within the district as well as statewide.

The Tribune cites the Uintah Elementary School lunch incident and the recent civil rights complaint filed by school board member Michael Clara as contributing to his resignation.

If indeed these two events were the primary contributors to Withers’ decision, I cannot help but comment concerning their unfairness.




Letter of the week: Utah children need more sex education Salt Lake Tribune from Susan Ashley

During the Planned Parenthood rally at the state Capitol, a small counter-demonstration was held inside.

According to the article in the Tribune, a woman spoke of having an abortion thinking she was just carrying a cluster of cells. Much later she discovered that the embryo would have been two inches long and, knowing that, she would have changed her mind about aborting.

She claims that she was misled by the information she received at Planned Parenthood. That may or may not be true. What is true is that a sex education class would have prevented such misunderstanding. The pregnancy and childbirth unit of the class would have taught the stages of development from conception to birth.




School cafeteria rule on drinks ridiculous Herald Journal letter from Jose Manuel Barragan

Hi, I am an 8th grade student at South Cache 8/9 Center and I would like to complain about our rules in the cafeteria. I wanted to buy a Gatorade in the ala carte line, but they wouldn’t sell me one because they said, “Michelle Obama doesn’t allow it. You have to be in 9th grade to buy a Gatorade.” That’s ridiculous.



A new casualty of high-stakes testing: student teachers Washington Post By Jennifer Wallace Jacoby, assistant professor of psychology and education at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts.

As children return to K-12 classrooms, some will find that the emphasis on standardized testing that has caused stress for teachers and students now has a new casualty: student teachers. Teacher education programs around the country are beginning to feel the impact of testing standards, as master teachers pull back from their traditional role as trainers. Many of them feel that the pressures of “teaching to the test” mean they no longer have time to manage new teachers in their classrooms.

A future when seasoned teachers are no longer able or willing to mentor pre-service teachers due to testing and teaching constraints is a grim prospect. This situation does a disservice to student teachers, teachers, schools and, most importantly, children.

There are plenty of published critiques of the U.S. model of teacher preparation and education that reveal why this trend could be damaging to our nation’s education system: better-trained student teachers serve as a foundation for better schools. Detailed reports from all sorts of stakeholders, including policy makers, administrators and teachers themselves reveal that one of the most authentic and valuable experiences pre-service teachers take part in is the student teaching placement.




Words of Wisdom for the Introverts in the Classroom Huffington Post blog from Katie Hurley, author of the Happy Kid Handbook

School can be difficult for the young introverts of this world.

The outspoken are repeatedly praised for their willingness to jump in and command the conversation. Quick thinkers, regardless of the accuracy of their answers, earn those coveted checks for class participation over and over again when report card time rolls around. They are often tapped as leaders because they almost never hesitate when called upon to complete a task. Their confidence soars and they thrive within the classroom because we live in an extrovert-dominant world where active engagement is interpreted as being a team player.

Meanwhile the introverts, the quiet ones lost in thought, tend to slip through the cracks. Viewed as shy, despite the fact that many introverts don’t actually identify as “shy”, the quiet ones are sometimes left to be, well, quiet. Or they are asked to be someone else…someone more like that kid who never ever puts his hand down, even when he doesn’t know the answer to the question.

I was one of the quiet ones. I enjoyed my rich internal world. I spent hours lost in imaginary play and wrote entire books in my head during particularly boring class lectures. I was thoughtful, studious and talkative in small groups but preferred solitary learning to group projects. I never felt the need to answer every question simply because I retained the information.




Let’s Kickstart Food Education

Huffington Post commentary by Laurie David, author, producer and advocate

This is the first generation of American children expected to live shorter lives than their parents.

If that’s not a call to action, I don’t know what is.

It’s what moved me four years ago to partner with Katie Couric and Director Stephanie Soechtig to produce the film Fed Up, so that every American would learn “the inconvenient truth” about the food we eat. It’s a painful prediction that leaves me unsatisfied with the pace of change, despite the overwhelming response to Fed Up from parents and their children across the country. Thousands of you came out to see the film in theaters and thousands more downloaded it on iTunes. You organized screenings and events in your homes and communities. You used to the film to lobby your elected officials, school boards, and local businesses. Most inspiring for us was to see how many of you signed up for the Fed Up Challenge. More than 65,000 people went sugar-free for 10 days.

But it’s not nearly enough.

Katie, Stephanie, and I made a promise to ourselves that we wouldn’t stop until every classroom in America had a copy of Fed Up. We knew that whatever success we had with the film wouldn’t translate into lasting change until every teacher, student, and parent had the opportunity to see Fed Up and weigh the information in the film against the relentless miseducation campaign they’ve been getting from the food industry. Only then might we start to turn the tide on this public health epidemic.







Late 111 times, New Jersey teacher still keeps his job

A New Jersey teacher who was late to work more than 100 times over the course of two school years may keep his job, according to an arbitrator’s decision.

The New Brunswick school district had tried to fire elementary school teacher Arnold Anderson from his $90,000-a-year job. But arbitrator David L. Gregory ruled that the district did not formally notify Anderson of his shortcomings and failed to give him a required 90-day period to improve.

Still, Gregory was clearly irked by Anderson’s defense of his poor attendance.

“At most, Respondent uses micro-quibbles of a few unpersuasive explanations, with a macro-default position that even when he is late he nevertheless delivers a superb educational experience to his grateful students,” Gregory wrote in his Aug. 19 decision.

“His self-serving inflated characterization of his substantive abilities misses the essential point,” Gregory wrote. “His students are fully entitled to receive Respondent’s very best efforts for the entire period, and not merely that remaining portion of the period following Respondent’s chronically late arrivals.” (OSE)




School makes guns available to trained staff this year

GARDEN VALLEY, Idaho (AP) — This academic year marks the first that a remote Idaho school district will make guns available to trained staff members in the event that an active shooter is on the 300-student campus.

Superintendent Greg Alexander says it can take 45 minutes or longer for emergency responders to reach the 300-student Garden Valley School District, prompting officials to buy four rifles, put them in gun safes and train a few staff members in how to use them, KBOI-TV reported ( ).

“People all over the country have called us,” Alexander said. “We have had 75 positive comments from around the country compared to one single complaint about the weapons.”

Garden Valley’s actions are just one of many solutions schools across the nation have adopted to protect their campuses. Some have installed metal detectors, others have expanded school resource officers to secure not only high schools but also middle and elementary schools. (AP)




U.S Department of Education Announces New Grants for Charter Schools Serving Low-Income Students

The U.S. Department of Education announced today a $4 million grant competition for planning and launching high-quality public charter schools through the non-state educational agency grant program. In addition, operators of existing high-quality public charter schools can receive funding to share information with other schools about best practices.

“New charter schools across the country can serve the students who need high-quality public schools the most,” said Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement Nadya Chinoy Dabby. “These start-up funds help local educators design innovative new schools that serve their community.”

The Department’s Charter Schools Program has supported the launch of thousands of public charter schools across the country focused on high-need students. The purpose of the program is to increase financial support for the startup and expansion of these public schools, build a better national understanding of the public charter school model and increase the number of high-quality public charter schools across the nation.  (GovEd)




Board Accepts Albuquerque School Chief’s Resignation

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A board that oversees New Mexico’s largest school district unanimously voted Monday to accept the resignation of its embattled superintendent, who hired an administrator charged with child sex abuse in Colorado.

The decision regarding Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Luis Valentino follows a controversy that enveloped the troubled district just two months after he took the position.

Board members voted in a special meeting that followed hours-long, closed-door sessions on the matter.

“Given the parties differing views of the current incidents and challenges in the district, and believing they have fundamental differences regarding the future of the district, an agreement has been reached which allows Dr. Valentino the ability to pursue other career interests and permits the board to hire another superintendent,” the board and Valentino said in a joint statement.

Board members left without taking questions from reporters.

Under the agreement, the district will pay Valentino $80,000 within 10 days and keep him and his family on the district’s health insurance plan until Oct. 31. The settlement agreement must be approved by the New Mexico Public Education Department and a district court judge.

Valentino hired Jason Martinez to head the troubled district’s instruction and technology division. But the district never completed its background check on Martinez, who is charged in Colorado with felony sexual assault on a child. The case involves two children. (AP)




New strain of lice could put schools in scratchy situation

Get ready to feel itchy.

The discovery of a mutant strain of head lice in some states — including Missouri and Illinois — comes as many schools have loosened policies regarding attendance of students with the tiny pests.

The news that some lice are resistant to typical treatments also hit just as kids have headed back to school, a time when outbreaks often occur, tormenting parents unable to get rid of the scratch- and shame-inducing bugs.

“As a mom, it brought me to tears. I was so frustrated,” said Libby Lutz, who started a lice-battling business several years ago after her 4-year-old daughter got an infestation. She fought the lice for two months and heard the frustration and agony other parents were going through. “It’s this very emotional, hot-button thing.”

Many schools now follow guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which says that no child should miss school because of head lice — which, while annoying and contagious, are not a health hazard. As a result, many schools have done away with no-nit policies that did not allow a student to attend class if lice eggs were found on his or her head.

That’s the case in the Parkway School District, where the head lice protocol is changing to reflect the recommendations. In the past, Parkway would send students with head lice home and exclude them until they were treated.   (St. Louis Post- Dispatch)




New bill would ban minors from using tanning beds

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Children of all ages would be barred from using tanning beds in Wisconsin under a bill moving through the state Legislature.

Indoor tanning is popular among high school students, especially in the days leading up to spring break and dances such as prom and homecoming. Wisconsin law already prohibits anyone under 16 from using tanning beds. Sen Fred Risser’s proposal would extend that prohibition to all minors. The Madison Democrat, a former U.S. Navy medic who spearheaded legislation creating a statewide smoking ban, said minors don’t understand that tanning could lead to skin cancer later in life.  (AP)




When Mindfulness Meets the Classroom

Many educators are introducing meditation into the classroom as a means of improving kids’ attention and emotional regulation.

A five-minute walk from the rickety, raised track that carries the 5 train through the Bronx, the English teacher Argos Gonzalez balanced a rounded metal bowl on an outstretched palm. His class—a mix of black and Hispanic students in their late teens, most of whom live in one of the poorest districts in New York City—by now were used to the sight of this unusual object: a Tibetan meditation bell.

“Today we’re going to talk about mindfulness of emotion,” Gonzalez said with a hint of a Venezuelan accent. “You guys remember what mindfulness is?” Met with quiet stares, Gonzalez gestured to one of the posters pasted at the back of the classroom, where the students a few weeks earlier had brainstormed terms describing the meaning of “mindfulness.” There were some tentative mumblings: “being focused,” “being aware of our surroundings.”

Gonzalez nodded. “Right. But it’s also being aware of our feelings, our emotions, and how they impact us.”

Arturo A. Schomburg Satellite Academy is what is known in New York City as a transfer school, a small high school designed to re-engage students who have dropped out or fallen behind. This academy occupies two floors of a hulking, grey building that’s also home to two other public schools. (The Atlantic)




The Economic Cost of Truancy

It doesn’t matter how good a school is if students don’t show up to class.

In 2012, about 7.5 million students were chronically absent from schools nationwide. According to a report from the Center for American Progress, truancy, defined as unexcused absence from school, is a growing problem.

The consequences of truancy aren’t limited to a few missed lessons, either—there is a litany of long-term side effects that affect not just the children, but also their communities and the nation’s economic health as a whole.

The children who are most likely to miss class are perhaps the children who need it most. Studies suggest that students of color, who make up a growing share of the nation’s students, and those living in poverty are more likely to be absent than their white or more affluent peers. These children are less likely to have access to educational resources outside of the classroom and at home. They have higher dropout rates and are less likely to go to college and to be employed as adults. These students are also more likely to end up in prison.  (The Atlantic)



Initial Common Core goals unfulfilled as results trickle in

LOS ANGELES – Results for some of the states that participated in Common Core-aligned testing for the first time this spring are out, with overall scores higher than expected. But they are still below what many parents may be accustomed to seeing.

Full or preliminary scores have been released for Connecticut, Idaho, Missouri, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia. They all participated in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, one of two groups of states awarded $330 million by the U.S. Department of Education in 2010 to develop exams to test students on the Common Core state standards in math and English language arts.

Scores in four other states that developed their own exams tied to the standards have been released. The second testing group, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, is still setting benchmarks for each performance level and has not released any results.

Even when all the results are available, it will not be possible to compare student performance across a majority of states, one of Common Core’s fundamental goals.

What began as an effort to increase transparency and allow parents and school leaders to assess performance nationwide has largely unraveled, chiefly because states are dropping out of the two testing groups and creating their own exams.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told state leaders in 2010 that the new tests would “help put an end to the insidious practice of establishing 50 different goal posts for educational success.”

“In the years ahead, a child in Mississippi will be measured against the same standard of success as a child in Massachusetts,” Duncan said. (AP)







USOE Calendar



UEN News



September 2:

Joint Education Conference

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



September 3:

Joint Education Conference

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



September 10:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

Moab Charter School, 358 E 300 South, Moab



September 17-18:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City



October 20:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

2 p.m., 445 State Capitol



October 21:

Education Interim Committee meeting

8:30 a.m., 30 House Building



October 29:

Charter School Funding Task Force

1 p.m.,  445 State Capitol

Charter School Funding Task Force

1 p.m.,  445 State Capitol

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