Education News Roundup: Sept. 3, 2015

SAGEEducation News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

Trib digs deeper into SAGE data to look at charter school performance.

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

 

UVU is having some success in reaching out to Latino students in Utah.

http://go.uen.org/4zt (Fox News Latino)

 

Davis Districts hosts an education forum for residents.

http://go.uen.org/4zu (DCC)

 

Spectrum takes a closer look at property taxes and education funding.

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

 

College Board reports SAT scores are down this year.

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

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

or national and state results

http://go.uen.org/4yP (College Board)

 

Meanwhile, New Jersey parents are suing to keep ACT or SAT tests from being a graduation requirement.

http://go.uen.org/4zo (NJ.com)

 

Chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee won’t seek reelection.

http://go.uen.org/4yK (Minneapolis Star Tribune) and http://go.uen.org/4yL (WaPo) and http://go.uen.org/4z9 (AP) and http://go.uen.org/4ze (Ed Week)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

SAGE tests: Utah charters among the state’s best- and worst-performing schools SAGE scores » Utah charter schools have challenges similar to public schools but face higher expectations.

 

Cedar City high school rated #1 in the nation for low-income students

 

Utah university triples its Latino student population through community outreach

 

Issues in education get airing at forum

 

Property tax hikes leave some scratching their heads

 

StartFEST participants point to need for computer science education

 

Results: Cache Valley ACT scores steady

 

University of Utah launches new institute to help inform public policy decisions

 

Utah 4-H nationally highlighted as career preparation program

 

Lehi High School softball coach dies three days after lightning strike

 

School pays tribute to janitor ‘Mr. Steve’ with memorial bench

 

New Utah app unites high school students against hunger

 

Student of the Week: Cooper Christensen

 

 


 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Why is high school achievement flat?

 

Why Summer Vacations Should Be Shorter

For parents, summer break often means expensive extracurriculars and an incredibly inconvenient schedule.

 

 


 

 

NATION

 

SAT scores at lowest level in 10 years, fueling worries about high schools

 

As states change use of SAT and ACT, disadvantaged students get boost At least 14 states currently use the SAT or ACT as their statewide achievement test for high-schoolers. That has helped increase college enrollment for disadvantaged students.

 

Parents sue N.J. Education Department over graduation requirements

 

New Online Teacher-Certification Program Plans for Rapid Expansion

 

New report finds ongoing iPad and technology problems at L.A. Unified

 

Dyett hunger strikers share concerns with Arne Duncan in D.C.

 

Teacher Evaluation: An Issue Overview

Teacher evaluations matter a lot—both to teachers and to those holding them accountable. But how can schools measure the performance of all teachers fairly? And what should they do with the results?

 

Food giants call truce with Michelle Obama Companies that once fought school-lunch standards are backing down now that their whole-grain cinnamon rolls and reduced-fat pizzas are bringing in the profits.

 

Facebook working with charter schools on software

 

Social Media Not a Priority for Classroom Teachers, Survey Finds

 

U.S. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., will not seek re-election

 

Parents Want Son with Down Syndrome to Attend Local School

 

Nevada high school student wins right to form anti-abortion group

 

Renowned Stanford professor launches new education think tank

 

The new face of Democrats who support education reform

 

4 Men Accused of Stealing Nearly 1,200 Student Laptops

 

Pastor: Mass Baptism on School Football Field was Voluntary

 

King cobra hunt continues, school on alert for 8-foot-long venomous snake Missing king cobra snake keeps elementary kids inside today

 

Unicef Warns of Lost Generation of War Children Out of School

 

 

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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SAGE tests: Utah charters among the state’s best- and worst-performing schools SAGE scores » Utah charter schools have challenges similar to public schools but face higher expectations.

 

South Salt Lake • Angela Rowland said she wasn’t surprised by her school’s SAGE scores.

As principal of Utah International Charter School, she got an early look at the numbers last spring. And she witnessed firsthand as her students struggled on the computer-adaptive assessment.

“You can tell when a kid is completely blown out of the water,” she said. “One girl was crying.”

Statewide, roughly four in 10 Utah students had scores considered proficient on SAGE last year, according to data released Monday by the state Office of Education.

It’s an improvement over 2014, but little comfort to a school such as Utah International, where fewer than 4 percent of students met grade-level expectations in science, math and English.

Rowland said her school is effectively doomed to fail. The charter’s students are primarily English language learners and refugees, who struggle with standardized tests.

She said she could recruit more affluent and English-speaking students to boost scores, but then the school would be failing its educational mission.

“We’ve had a few kids you wouldn’t consider at-risk,” she said. “They come for a year, kind of like study abroad.”

Not every charter school is as challenged as Utah International, but the new test scores show that many struggle with SAGE.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/4zA (DCC)

 

 


 

 

Cedar City high school rated #1 in the nation for low-income students

 

CEDAR CITY – A high school in Cedar City is receiving national recognition. Newsweek’s  “Beating the Odds” list has recently rated Success Academy number #1 out of 500 schools in the nation for helping low-income students.

http://go.uen.org/4z2 (KTVX)

 

 


 

 

Utah university triples its Latino student population through community outreach

 

Six years after launching a plan to attract more Latino students, Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah, has tripled the number of such students on its rolls by reaching out to Hispanic communities.

“In 2007, UVU authorities knew it was necessary to approach the Latino population, and that year and the next they worked on that. Then in 2009, Dr. Matthew Holland (became) president of UVU and pushed for the authorization of funds, resources and personnel for that project,” Yudi Lewis, the director of the institution’s Latino Initiative, told EFE.

“Since then, there has been an official UVU focus on Latinos via multiple activities, events and projects both within and outside the university,” Lewis said.

As a result, UVU has gone from 1,066 Latino students in 2007 to more than 3,000 at the beginning of the current school year, representing 10 percent of the student body. By way of comparison, Hispanics represent 13 percent of Utah’s 3 million residents.

The number of Latino students who successfully complete their studies and graduate with a bachelor’s degree has also tripled during the same period.

To accomplish that, the Latino Initiative is holding community events and presentations in churches, non-profit organizations and schools to make people aware about the process of admission, what classes students must take while they are still in high school, how to prepare the essays they need to write for their applications and how to find scholarships and financial aid.

http://go.uen.org/4zt (Fox News Latino)

 

 


 

 

Issues in education get airing at forum

 

BOUNTIFUL—Will Utah’s education system improve with more money, more charter schools or more state laws?

Three leaders discussed those issues, along with a variety of topics related to education, at a recent forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Davis County.

Barbara Smith, a member of the Davis School District Board of Education, talked about the growing number of students in the county and the drop in state funding during the recession that hasn’t entirely been restored.

http://go.uen.org/4zu (DCC)

 

 


 

 

Property tax hikes leave some scratching their heads

 

CENTRAL As residents in the Dixie Deer Estates opened their “Notice of Property Valuation and Tax Changes” statements in recent weeks, many were hit with some hard-to-swallow news — their property tax bills would be climbing by close to 30 percent.

Taxes are up all over in Washington County this year, with new statewide and local increases in place to help fund education.

The Washington County School Board approved a 6 percent tax increase in 2014, and the Utah Legislature added some $100 million in new taxes during its general session this spring, including $75 million in property tax increases to fund education.

Statewide, analysts said they expected the typical owner of a $250,000 home to see a $50 increase on property tax bills.

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

 

 


 

StartFEST participants point to need for computer science education

 

PROVO — Utah’s flourishing tech and startup scene is unprepared to meet the projected demands of the marketplace. But that could change with a focused effort on educating the workforce early and finding ways to attract women and minorities into the field.

Those are among the conclusions of some of the speakers at StartFEST, a weeklong conference bringing together successful entrepreneurs with those who have ideas and young companies seeking advice and money to grow.

Code.org chief operating officer Cameron Wilson and Cotopaxi founder and COO Stephan Jacob said in presentations Tuesday that a lack of access to computer science education and a lack of diversity will hamstring further growth in both the tech and startup sectors.

Wilson said computer science courses are needed in K-12 education in the U.S.

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

 


 

 

Results: Cache Valley ACT scores steady

 

Cache Valley high schoolers maintained steady ACT scores that line up with the state averages this past year, in most cases even surpassing the state average.

The state of Utah pays for all high school juniors to take the ACT at least once. While the number of students taking the test increased 14 percent from 2014 to 2015, the state saw a drop in the average composite score from 20.8 to 20.2. The state average for English was 19.4, 19.8 in mathematics, 20.9 in reading and 20.4 in science.

“While I’m pleased to see we’re doing a better job of getting more Utah students to take the ACT, there’s no doubt there is work ahead of us in getting more of those students fully prepared to succeed in college and careers,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Brad C. Smith.

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

 


 

 

University of Utah launches new institute to help inform public policy decisions

 

SALT LAKE CITY — “I believe firmly that this policy institute can make life better for our state and for our children.”

Those words came from prominent businessman and community leader Kem Gardner as he spoke to more than 100 local, state and national leaders Wednesday at the state Capitol to celebrate the launch of a new University of Utah institute formed to drive better-informed public policy solutions.

Those who attended included former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, Sen. Orrin Hatch, state legislators, local mayors, and leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including Elder M. Russell Ballard, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

The Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute — named after Gardner as its top donor — will work with the university’s Center for Public Policy and Administration and Bureau of Economic and Business Research, as well as partner with the Hinckley Institute of Politics to help make informed decisions to strengthen Utah’s economy.

The institute will help elected officials, business and community leaders make informed decisions by developing economic, demographic and public policy data, said U. President David Pershing.

That will include preparing state population projections; analyzing economic trends; researching current public policy topics such as education, taxes and economic development; and conducting survey research on public issues.

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

 

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

 

 


 

 

Utah 4-H nationally highlighted as career preparation program

 

LOGAN — Members of the Utah State University Extension 4-H program recently participated in the National 4-H Partner Summit in order to showcase the work Utah 4-H is doing in computer science and technology development.

Jessica Ivie, Utah 4-H state ambassador and a senior at Copper Hills High School, and Dave Francis, USU Extension 4-H youth development specialist, spoke on a panel to several stakeholders about their involvement in science, technology and engineering. Ivie developed a kit and curriculum to teach engineering and programming skills to youth. She has distributed over 2,000 of these kits and has enabled wider disbursement with investors from all over the world.

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

 


 

 

Lehi High School softball coach dies three days after lightning strike

 

A 50-year-old Lehi woman, in a medically induced coma since being struck by lightning last weekend, has died.

Alpine School District officials on Thursday confirmed that Carla Grow, a popular assistant softball coach at Lehi High School, was pronounced dead Wednesday night at Mountain Point Medical Center.

“Alpine School District and Lehi High School are saddened by the new of the passing of Carla Grow,” District spokesman David Stephenson stated. “She was loved by players and the community and this is a great loss for all. We extend our condolences to the family.”

Stephenson said school administrators met with teachers at LHS Thursday morning, and grief counseling was being made available to any staff or students who wished it.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/4z0 (KUTV)

 

http://go.uen.org/4z1 (KTVX)

 

http://go.uen.org/4z3 (KSL)

 

http://go.uen.org/4zy (Prescott [AZ] Daily Courier)

 

 


 

 

School pays tribute to janitor ‘Mr. Steve’ with memorial bench

 

HOLLADAY— Crestview Elementary students and teachers gathered in front of the school Wednesday to witness a memorial dedication for a janitor who affected their community.

Steve Anderson died in January from a lung disease. He won’t remembered for the windows, desks, floors or bathrooms he cleaned; he will be remembered for his friendship, said teacher and friend Kelly Kline.

Before he died, Anderson advised community and family members to make donations to Crestview instead of bringing flowers to his funeral. A committee made up of Anderson’s family members and work colleagues used those funds to purchase a memorial bench. Kline believes Anderson would approve of its usability.

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

 


 

 

New Utah app unites high school students against hunger

 

SALT LAKE CITY — High schools all over the state are joining forces in the fight against hunger with a new app.

The Time Machine app was created by a Utah company and allows people to give their time to increase social awareness of various campaigns. That time is then converted into points and gives the person a chance to win several prizes.

Danny Naylor from Olympus High and Raleigh Sorbonne from Skyline High have been friends for years and decided to team up on a campaign once they both found out they would be student body presidents at their schools.

http://go.uen.org/4z4 (KSL)

 


 

 

Student of the Week: Cooper Christensen

 

Cooper Christensen, 11, was chosen as this week’s Student of the Week. He is from Payson and is a sixth-grader at Barnett Elementary.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Why is high school achievement flat?

Fordham Institute commentary by Institute President Michael J. Petrilli

 

The latest SAT scores are out today, and as I remarked to Nick Anderson at the Washington Post, education reform appears to be hitting a wall in high school.

In truth, we already knew this. The SATs aren’t even the best gauge—not all students take them, and those who do are hardly representative.

But a variety of sources show much the same thing. Twelfth-grade NAEP: Flat. Long-term NAEP for seventeen-year-olds: Flat. ACT scores: Flat. Percentage of college-ready graduates: Flat.

What makes this so disappointing is that NAEP shows respectable gains for younger students, especially in fourth grade and particularly in math. Yet these early gains seem to evaporate as kids get older.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/4zq (Mother Jones)

 

 


 

 

Why Summer Vacations Should Be Shorter

For parents, summer break often means expensive extracurriculars and an incredibly inconvenient schedule.

Atlantic commentary by LAURA MCKENNA, a former professor of political science at Ramapo College

 

I’m shaking sand from the beach towels and tucking bathing suits into plastic storage bins in the hall closet. The paperwork for fall sports and music classes is waiting on the kitchen counter. Tomorrow, we’ll make the obligatory annual trips to Supercuts for new hairdos and Staples for $300 worth of three-ring binders, tissue boxes, and other supplies.

The last week of summer—the week before school starts up again—is always bittersweet. We certainly need a break from homework, class projects, and the relentless after-school schedule. This summer, my family and I spent seven supremely lazy days on the Jersey shore. There were spontaneous trips to Manhattan and sleepovers at Grandma’s house. I taught my oldest how to drive as my youngest composed music on his Garage Band app. Indeed, summers not only relieve us from grueling routines, they also provide opportunities for the kids to learn skills that can’t be taught in a classroom.

But for me, summer also means weeks of expensive camps, summer reading packets, and the challenge of trying to write articles amid dozens of interruptions. At several points during this year’s summer break, I found myself wishing that my kids were back in school.

Why is the school year almost always limited to 180 days? And why do most schools still operate on an agrarian calendar with a huge 12-week break in the middle?

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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SAT scores at lowest level in 10 years, fueling worries about high schools Washington Post

 

Scores on the SAT have sunk to the lowest level since the college admission test was overhauled in 2005, adding to worries about student performance in the nation’s high schools.

The average score for the Class of 2015 was 1490 out of a maximum 2400, the College Board reported Thursday. That was down 7 points from the previous class’s mark and was the lowest composite score of the past decade. There were declines of at least 2 points on all three sections of the test — critical reading, math and writing.

The steady decline in SAT scores and generally stagnant results from high schools on federal tests and other measures reflect a troubling shortcoming of education-reform efforts. The test results show that gains in reading and math in elementary grades haven’t led to broad improvement in high schools, experts say. That means several hundred thousand teenagers, especially those who grew up poor, are leaving school every year unready for college.

“Why is education reform hitting a wall in high school?” asked Michael J. Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a think tank. “You see this in all kinds of evidence. Kids don’t make a whole lot of gains once they’re in high school. It certainly should raise an alarm.”

It is difficult to pinpoint a reason for the decline in SAT scores, but educators cite a host of enduring challenges in the quest to lift high school achievement. Among them are poverty, language barriers, low levels of parental education and social ills that plague many urban neighborhoods.

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

 

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

 

National and state results

http://go.uen.org/4yP (College Board)

 

 


 

As states change use of SAT and ACT, disadvantaged students get boost At least 14 states currently use the SAT or ACT as their statewide achievement test for high-schoolers. That has helped increase college enrollment for disadvantaged students.

Christian Science Monitor

 

Minorities and low-income students are getting a boost in college enrollment as more states expand access to SAT and ACT college entrance exams, according to several recent studies.

Traditionally, the SAT or ACT has been administered at testing centers on weekends at a cost of up to $50 – a barrier to disadvantaged students. But as states incorporate the use of SATs and ACTs as a statewide achievement test for high-schoolers, giving them at school and in many cases for free, they remove an important impediment to college eligibility.

At least 14 states now use the tests that way, and by next year the number is expected to top 22. Another handful of states either pay for or require students to take one of the two tests.

“Expanding access is the first step toward expanding opportunity,” said Cyndie Schmeiser, the College Board’s chief of assessment, in a conference call with reporters Aug. 25.

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

 

 


 

 

Parents sue N.J. Education Department over graduation requirements NJ.com

 

TRENTON — A group of New Jersey parents is suing New Jersey’s Department of Education over the use of new state exams and SAT and ACT tests to determine whether students meet graduation requirements.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday by the Newark-based Education Law Center on behalf of the parents and their children, alleges the state did not follow New Jersey Administrative Procedure Act requirements when it implemented new graduation requirements for 2016, 2017 and 2018.

The four parents and one grandparent, who are only identified by their initials in the lawsuit, are asking that PARCC, SAT, ACT and other tests not be used as a method for meeting graduation requirements until the state Department of Education formally proposes and adopts new regulations through the APA process.

“This is a matter of basic fairness to students and families,” said Linda Reid, the grandmother of a Paterson 10th grader and a petitioner in the suit. “Changes in high school graduation requirements require the adoption of new regulations by the State Board of Education, an opportunity for public comment about those regulations, and due notice for the parents and students who will be affected. None of that happened.”

The state Department of Education does not comment on pending litigation, spokesman Michael Yaple said.

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

 

 


 

New Online Teacher-Certification Program Plans for Rapid Expansion Education Week

 

A relatively new online teacher-certification program is planning a rapid expansion after meeting with initial success, its leaders say.

The newly rebranded TEACH-NOW Educatore School of Education (taking the go-big-or-go-home approach to capitalization) was founded in 2011 by Emily Feistritzer, a long-time analyst of alternative-certification programs. TEACH-NOW is a traditional certification program, however—it takes at least nine months to finish, leading to certification. The first class began in March 2013.

While the school has commenced or completed training more than 600 teaching candidates, it announced this week ambitious plans to prepare 10,000 new teachers over the next five years, and establish a master’s degree program. To help with the expansion, TEACH-NOW has hired Philip A. Schmidt, former dean of the teacher-training program for Western Governors University, a major nonprofit online school. At WGU, Schmidt helped oversee a similar scale-up over the past 14 years.

“It’s true that we’re in the relatively early years of this school of education [TEACH-NOW], but everything about what I see and hear tells me that the jury is no longer out,” Schmidt said in an interview. “This pedagogical approach is the real thing.”

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

 

 


 

 

New report finds ongoing iPad and technology problems at L.A. Unified Los Angeles Times

 

Had things gone according to plan, every public school student in Los Angeles would be working on his or her own iPad by now and textbooks would be largely a thing of the past.

What ensued instead was a costly debacle, and, in its wake, a fledgling, problematic recovery, described in a new report released Wednesday.

The analysis shows that serious challenges have persisted with technology in the L.A. Unified School District, including limited classroom use of iPads and other computers, inadequate support for teachers and partial or inconsistent access to the Internet.

The researchers also found limited use of online curriculum provided by Pearson, for which the district purchased a three-year license, at the added cost of about $200 per device.

The results were sobering but not altogether surprising. District officials have acknowledged difficulties with technology.

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

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/4zh (Document Cloud)

 

 


 

Dyett hunger strikers share concerns with Arne Duncan in D.C.

Chicago Sun-Times

 

WASHINGTON — On Day 17 of a hunger strike, two Dyett High School activists won a meeting on Wednesday with Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the former Chicago Public Schools CEO, escalating their battle against Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

“We shared our story,” Jitu Brown, the national director of the Journey for Justice Alliance, a network of community groups focusing on bolstering public schools, told the Chicago Sun-Times after he meeting.

Duncan dropped in the meeting, joined by senior adviser Ruthanne Buck and Khalilah Harris, the deputy director at the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, which is house in the Education Department.

“There were no commitments made. They were empathetic and said they are thinking about what they can do,” Brown said.

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

 

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

 

 


 

 

Teacher Evaluation: An Issue Overview

Teacher evaluations matter a lot—both to teachers and to those holding them accountable. But how can schools measure the performance of all teachers fairly? And what should they do with the results?

Education Week

 

In general, teacher evaluation refers to the formal process a school uses to review and rate teachers’ performance and effectiveness in the classroom. Ideally, the findings from these evaluations are used to provide feedback to teachers and guide their professional development.

While governed by state laws, teacher-evaluation systems are generally designed and operated at the district level, and they vary widely in their details and requirements. Traditionally, teacher evaluation systems relied heavily on classroom observations conducted by principals or other school administrators, sometimes with the help of rubrics or checklists. Samples of students’ work, teachers’ records and lesson plans, and other relevant factors were also often taken into account.

But many evaluation systems have undergone significant changes in recent years. Indeed, by the end of the 2000s, teacher evaluation, long an ignored and obscure policy element, had become one of the most prominent and contentious topics in K-12 education.

That surprise reversal can be attributed to at least four factors: a wave of new research on teacher quality, philanthropic interest in boosting teacher effectiveness, efforts by advocacy groups and policymakers to revamp state laws on evaluation, and political pressure to dismiss poorly performing teachers.

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

 

 


 

Food giants call truce with Michelle Obama Companies that once fought school-lunch standards are backing down now that their whole-grain cinnamon rolls and reduced-fat pizzas are bringing in the profits.

Politico

 

As the Republican battle against Michelle Obama’s school lunch standards resumes in Congress later this month, some food giants are quietly backing away from their fight with the first lady.

Many companies, such as Schwan’s, that once vigorously fought key elements of the initiative to trim sodium, fat and calories from school menus have actually done a bang up business since the requirements took effect by adapting their products for the $10 billion market.

And now that they have won acceptance for retooled recipes — among them, whole-grain rich Pillsbury breakfast cinnamon rolls, reduced-sodium Schwan’s Big Daddy’s pizza and reduced-fat Doritos — some food makers don’t want the rules to change again as Congress works to reauthorize the law that expires Sept. 30.

“I think a large percentage doesn’t want to change at all,” said Gary Vonck, vice president of the education division at KeyImpact Sales & Systems, a food service distribution company. “I think they feel like they’ve gone through all the changes they need to go through to follow the rules.”

Food companies have largely adapted to the regulations, so “it would probably be a mess if the pipeline changed dramatically,” said Jessica Donze Black, director of the Safe and Healthful Kids Food project at the Pew Charitable Trusts. “I think for some manufacturers, it’s been a great opportunity.”

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

 

 


 

 

Facebook working with charter schools on software (Washington, DC) The Hill

 

Facebook is developing software, which it hopes to one day make available to any school that wants it, that helps teachers run personalized lesson plans for students, the company said Thursday.

The company is helping to further develop the software used by charter school operator Summit Public Schools, which says it tailors lessons to each student.

“They told us that while this model was changing the way kids learn, the technology just wasn’t good enough,” said Chris Cox, the company’s product head, in a blog post. “So what if we could build this together and then give it away for free?”

The product appears to allow teachers to craft curriculums for students and for students to track their progress, according to screenshots offered by Facebook. Cox said that the technology gives teachers more time to work one-on-one with students in the classroom. The charter school network used Facebook’s version of the tool during the last school year — and the company says it is hoping to bring its work to a wider audience.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/4zs (Facebook)

 


 

 

Social Media Not a Priority for Classroom Teachers, Survey Finds Education Week

 

Many teachers are not keen on bringing social media into their classrooms, even though they appear to be quite comfortable using those forums in their personal lives, a new survey reveals.

Just 13 percent of K-12 teachers are weaving social media into classroom learning, according to the results of a national poll of educators released this week by the University of Phoenix’s College of Education.

That means an overwhelming majority of those polled, 87 percent, are not using those online platforms when they’re working with students.

In fact, more teachers appear to have recently turned away from using social media in school than have embraced it, the poll found. Sixty-two percent of teachers today are reluctant to incorporate social media into classroom learning—up from 55 percent two years ago, when a similar poll was conducted, the university reports.

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

 


 

 

U.S. Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., will not seek re-election Minneapolis (MN) Star Tribune

 

Rep. John Kline announced he will not seek another term in Congress.

The Republican from Minnesota’s Second Congressional District in the St. Paul suburbs said in a statement that after “much thought and deliberation” he had decided not to run.

First elected in 2002, Kline has become an influential chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, where he has sought to reshape federal education and training policy, including an overhaul of the No Child Left Behind law.

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

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/4z9 (AP)

 

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

 

 


 

 

Parents Want Son with Down Syndrome to Attend Local School Associated Press

 

WESTHAMPTON BEACH, N.Y. — The parents of a 12-year-old New York boy with Down syndrome are going to federal court to try to force their school district to provide him a local education in a case that experts say happens frequently across the country.

“We strongly believe that, in 2015, and after 25 years of the passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, every public school should be able to accommodate a student with Down syndrome or another disability in the classroom,” said Sara Hart Weir, president of the Washington, D.C.-based National Down Syndrome Society. She said her organization hears of cases like Aiden Killoran’s “at least once a week” throughout the United States.

On Wednesday, Aiden was prevented from attending the first day of class with his friends at Westhampton Beach Middle School on eastern Long Island, according to his father, Christian Killoran. He and his wife, Terrie, claim Aiden has been given the option of attending classes in neighboring school districts – an alternative they find unacceptable.

They want him to be with the children with whom he attended elementary school.

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

 

 


 

Nevada high school student wins right to form anti-abortion group Reuters

 

A Las Vegas high school student has been allowed to form an anti-abortion group on campus, after a law firm dedicated to religious causes sued over a decision by school officials to deny her application for the club, the firm said on Wednesday.

West Career & Technical Academy student Angelique Clark’s struggle to create a club at the school and the opposition she faced from the Clark County School District was closely followed by her supporters in the anti-abortion movement.

The Chicago-based Thomas More Society, a law firm that describes itself as handling causes of religious liberty, last month sued Clark’s high school and the district.

It contended the decision to deny Clark’s application for an anti-abortion club violated her constitutional right to free speech, according to a statement on the society’s website.

An attorney for the district reached out to the Thomas More Society to discuss a settlement, and this week school officials approved Clark’s club, the law firm’s statement said.

http://go.uen.org/4z8

 

 


 

Renowned Stanford professor launches new education think tank Washington Post

 

Renowned Stanford education professor Linda Darling-Hammond is launching a new think tank aimed at shaping education policies nationwide.

With offices in Palo Alto, Calif., and Washington, the new Learning Policy Institute will seek to link research and policy, two worlds that are too often disconnected, Darling-Hammond said.

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

 

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

 

 


 

 

The new face of Democrats who support education reform Los Angeles Times

 

Shavar Jeffries, an attorney who lost his bid to be mayor of Newark, N.J., is the new president of Democrats for Education Reform.

Jeffries, who confirmed the news on Thursday, is black. His appointment comes as the self-titled education reform movement tries to look more like the children it aims to uplift.

“There are no black people who lead these … organizations,” said Derrell Bradford, the director of reform organization NYCAN (New York Campaign for Achievement Now), who is himself black. “I don’t see the world through that lens but it’s not lost on me.”

In California, DFER has sparred with the state Democratic Party but has recently kept a lower profile.

Jeffries is a lawyer who recently lost the election to become Newark’s mayor, despite DFER’s support. Jeffries grew up as a fifth-generation Newarker. After his mother was murdered, his grandmother took him in. He attended public schools in that low-income city, then earned a scholarship to a private preparatory school.

He went on to attend Duke University and ultimately Columbia Law School, a narrative that plays into the organization’s credo that education can be an escape route from extraordinarily difficult life circumstances. He served as president of the Newark Public Schools Advisory Board and is a founding board member of TEAM schools, a charter school chain associated with KIPP schools, in New Jersey.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/4zp (WSJ)

 


 

 

4 Men Accused of Stealing Nearly 1,200 Student Laptops Associated Press

 

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — A pair of brothers and two other men have been charged with stealing nearly 1,200 laptops bound for public school students in New Jersey after investigators determined their story about a theft didn’t add up.

Anton Saljanin, 43, and Gjon Saljanin, 40, were due to appear in court Thursday with Ujka Vulaj, 54, and Carlos Caceres, 37, on charges including conspiracy and theft from an interstate shipment.

In January 2014, the Saljanins drove a truck from New York’s Yorktown Heights to Massachusetts to pick up a shipment of 1,195 Apple MacBook Air laptops worth more than $1 million that were meant for two public high schools in New Jersey, according to prosecutors.

The next day, Anton Saljanin reported to Yorktown police that the truck had been stolen. Later that day, he told police he spotted the truck in a Danbury, Connecticut, parking lot, but a window was smashed and the computers were missing, investigators said.

But prosecutors say the brothers’ story began to unravel as investigators looked into the case.

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

 


 

 

Pastor: Mass Baptism on School Football Field was Voluntary Associated Press

 

VILLA RICA, Ga. — The pastor of a Georgia church involved in a mass baptism before a high school football practice said Thursday the school had nothing to do with the ritual, except that it took place on a school football field.

Eighteen students and one coach were baptized that day, the Rev. Kevin Williams, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Villa Rica, told The Associated Press. The baptisms occurred after school, before football practice, he said.

“It was voluntary. Nobody was forced into anything,” Williams said.

The Aug. 17 baptisms drew criticism from a religious-freedom group after the church posted on the Internet video of the players being dunked into a small tub of water.

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

 

 


 

 

King cobra hunt continues, school on alert for 8-foot-long venomous snake Missing king cobra snake keeps elementary kids inside today Orlando (FL) Sentinel

 

The search continues today for an 8-foot king cobra snake that escaped from its owner’s home near Orlando.

Students at Clarcona Elementary — less than a mile from the owner’s house on the 4800 block North Apopka Vineland Road — will be kept inside today as officials continue searching.

Classes normally held in portable buildings will also be moved into the main building, a school spokesperson said.

The king cobra got out of its cage, made possibly of mesh and glass, sometime on Tuesday or Wednesday, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The green and yellow snake isn’t native to Florida and is venomous.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/4zx (Fox)

 


 

 

Unicef Warns of Lost Generation of War Children Out of School New York Times

 

War and upheaval across parts of the Middle East and North Africa in recent years have driven more than 13 million children from school — 40 percent of the affected area’s school­age population, the United Nations said Wednesday.

A report by Unicef, the United Nations Children’s Fund, cast a sobering new light on the subtle long­term destructive consequences of violent conflicts that have convulsed a region encompassing all or portions of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and the Palestinian territories, particularly Gaza.

In some countries — particularly Syria, which once had one of the world’s highest literacy rates — many children who ordinarily would be third or fourth graders by now have rarely if ever been inside a classroom.

“Attacks on schools and education infrastructure — sometimes deliberate — are one key reason many children do not attend classes,” Unicef said in a summary of the report.

http://go.uen.org/4z5

 

http://go.uen.org/4z7 (Reuters)

 

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

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/4z6 (UNICEF)

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

September 3:

Joint Education Conference

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

http://www.utah.gov/pmn/sitemap/notice/286089.html

http://le.utah.gov/jec/jec.html

 

 

September 8:

Legislative Management Audit Subcommittee meeting

1 p.m., 450 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2015/html/00003901.htm

 

 

September 10:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

Moab Charter School, 358 E 300 South, Moab

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

 

 

September 11:

Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee meeting

1 p.m., 3445 S Main Street, Salt Lake City

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2015/html/00003529.htm

 

 

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

 

 

October 20:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

2 p.m., 445 State Capitol

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

 

 

October 21:

Education Interim Committee meeting

8:30 a.m., 30 House Building

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

 

 

October 29:

Charter School Funding Task Force

1 p.m.,  445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2015&com=TSKCSF

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