Education News Roundup: Oct. 26, 2015

Students planting at the Mountain View Elementary School garden. Photo courtesy of Glendale-Mountain View Community Learning Center.

Students planting at the Mountain View Elementary School garden. Photo courtesy of Glendale-Mountain View Community Learning Center.

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

The Envision Utah survey is released, complete with education results.

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

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

and http://go.uen.org/4YC (SGS)

and http://go.uen.org/4Yy (KTVX)

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

or a copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/4Xm (Envision Utah)

 

Utah’s 3 millionth resident was born today. What does that mean for schools in six years?

http://go.uen.org/4Y6 (KSTU)

and http://go.uen.org/4Y7 (SLT)

and http://go.uen.org/4Y8 (DN)

and http://go.uen.org/4YB (KTVX)

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

and http://go.uen.org/4Yc (KNRS)

 

Fox 13 looks at teacher turnover in Utah.

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

 

Utah wins grant to help identify gifted readers in Title I schools.

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

and http://go.uen.org/4Xp (SLT)

and http://go.uen.org/4Xr (PDH)

and http://go.uen.org/4Xs (CVD)

and http://go.uen.org/4Xu (UP)

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

and http://go.uen.org/4Xq (KCSG)

 

Obama administration calls for a limit on required testing in schools.

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

and http://go.uen.org/4XB (Fox)

and http://go.uen.org/4XA (USAT)

and http://go.uen.org/4XC (WSJ)

and http://go.uen.org/4XD (CSM)

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

and http://go.uen.org/4XE (NPR)

or http://go.uen.org/4Yd (ED)

 

How much testing is there anyway?

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

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

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

 

Florida superintendents still have a problem with their tests, which made use of Utah’s tests.

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

 

Urban Institute tries to control for student demographics in determining which states really are best in reading and math.

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

and http://go.uen.org/4Yw (Vox)

or a copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/4Yq (Urban Institute)

 

How well aligned are NAEP tests with the Common Core?

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

and http://go.uen.org/4XQ (PRWeb)

or a copy of the study

http://go.uen.org/4XP (AIR)

 

Huffington Post takes a look at Hispanic segregation in schools.

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

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

How Utahns want to change the state by 2050

Starting point » With goals in mind, state can start planning for a future that includes doubling the population by 2050.

 

Utah welcomes 3 millionth resident as Gov. Herbert talks on growth challenges

 

Educators discuss causes as teacher turnover increases at Utah schools

 

Grant Helps Poorer Schools Identify Talented and Gifted Students

 

PCSD bond debated once more as Election Day closes in

Atmosphere occasionally tense as many of the same controversial issues are heard

 

Herriman student voices get attention of national security officials

 

Local schools top Shakespeare Competition

 

Davis schools weave diversity through curriculum and activities

 

David Ure named new SITLA director

 

Desert Hills runners turned one kind act into an annual team tradition

 

Harry Potter Club hosts night at Hogwarts

 

Probation ordered for track coach who admitted sexual activity with student

 

Vandals spray-paint obscenities, vulgar images on Alta High, Corner Canyon High before schools’ ‘rivalry’ football game

Crime » Alta, Corner Canyon report vulgar graffiti, investigate.

 

Officials: Talking about suicide is helping Utah prevent it more often

 

City youth experience Zion for the first time

 


 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Clarifying the Davis school bond proposal

 

Here’s the ‘application’ an FLDS school told girls to fill out

 

Davis schools weave diversity through curriculum and activities

 

Ure will serve SITLA well

 

Boehner’s Voucher Legacy

The House Speaker saved scholarships for poor kids in Washington.

 

Obama’s Empty Testing Talk

The president’s pledge to reduce school tests is meaningless.

 

Our real charter school nightmare: The new war on public schools and teachers

Our kids deserve strong schools and great teachers under local control. That’s what the charter fight is all about

 

Are smartphones dumbing down school, or are they vital learning tools?

 


 

 

NATION

 

Obama Administration Calls for Limits on Testing in Schools

 

Study: Kids Take 100–plus Required Tests Through 12th Grade

 

Superintendents in Florida Say Tests Failed State’s Schools, Not Vice Versa

 

Surprise: Florida and Texas Excel in Math and Reading Scores

 

Latino School Segregation: The Big Education Problem That No One Is Talking About

Separate and unequal.

 

NAEP and Common-Core Math Show ‘Reasonable’ Overlap, Study Says

 

How will Mark Zuckerberg’s new school challenge education?

The Primary School, spearheaded by Mark Zuckerberg’s wife Priscilla Chan, is designed to embrace a holistic perspective on education with its combination of health care services and early childhood programming.

 

Many Schools Failing on Type 1 Diabetes Care

 

Pro-Common Core side stays in charge at Louisiana school board

 

Common Core changes closer after Arizona education board vote

 

Girl with Service Dog Wants US Supreme Court to Take Case

 

It’s Fine For Districts to ‘Say Dyslexia,’ According to New Ed. Dept. Guidance

 

Bullied Teens Face Roadblocks to Mental Health Services

 

Limiting Tackling Limits Concussions: Study

 

With about 1,760 infected, officials hope fall school break stops norovirus outbreak

 

Mistrial for School Exec Hired After Sex Abuse Charges

 

USDA Sees 20 Percent Increase in Schools Offering Free Meals to All Students

 

Story Time from Space: Astronauts Getting New Picture Books

 

Texas homecoming brings displays of full-frontal corsages

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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How Utahns want to change the state by 2050

Starting point » With goals in mind, state can start planning for a future that includes doubling the population by 2050.

 

Utahns looking to the not-so-distant future want a resilient state less reliant on the outside world for food and energy, with an economy diverse enough to weather a downturn. They want shorter commutes and cleaner air, top-quality education and greater access to the state’s natural wonders.

To achieve these goals, they are willing to live on less land, tap less water and pay more in taxes, all while accommodating 2.4 million new neighbors.

Envision Utah has released the final results of its two-year “Your Utah, Your Future” study, an unprecedented effort to gauge the views of residents with an eye toward 2050. Among those invested in this project are Gov. Gary Herbert and the Salt Lake Chamber, among numerous local elected officials and nonprofit groups. Nearly 53,000 Utahns responded to a survey offering different paths forward on issues ranging from agriculture to the cost of living. To view the results, go to yourutah­yourfuture.org.

‘People prepared for the future’ • Nearly 78 percent of respondents say Utah should make major investments in education with the goal of cracking the top 10 in U.S. academic performance. That would take a 5 percent increase in school funding each year through 2020 (25 percent total) and a greater effort to offer publicly funded preschool programs and voluntary all-day kindergarten.

Residents want state leaders to expand financial assistance for higher education and to keep tuition as low as possible.

Schools should act as community centers, offering after-school programs, job and language training, and health services.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/4Xm (Envision Utah)

 

 


 

 

Utah welcomes 3 millionth resident as Gov. Herbert talks on growth challenges

 

LEHI, Utah – Utah has welcomed its 3 millionth resident as Gov. Herbert and his wife, Jeanette, visited Utah’s newest hospital to mark the milestone Monday.

Gov. Herbert met with two families who just had baby girls in the last couple of days at Mountain Point Medical Center.

At the center that opened in June, Gov. Herbert talked about how Utah is going to see 4 million people in the next 16 years.

He said Utah is the fifth fastest-growing state in the country, and the youngest, with the average being 30 years old.

The governor said Utah has a lot of preparations ahead to ensure the state is ready for the growth.

“Investing in education to keep up with the growth pressures is a significant challenge when it comes to the actual dollars we have to invest,” Gov. Herbert said. “We have challenges ahead of us but I’m confident we will meet those challenges going forward.”

http://go.uen.org/4Y6 (KSTU)

 

http://go.uen.org/4Y7 (SLT)

 

http://go.uen.org/4Y8 (DN)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 


 

 

Educators discuss causes as teacher turnover increases at Utah schools

 

SALT LAKE CITY – With Utah’s high population of students and lower salaries for educators compared to other states, more teachers are leaving Utah after their first year. Education advocates say it could be because there’s not enough incentive for teachers to stay.

Nearly 2,500 new teachers joined Utah’s school districts in 2010. And, as of last year, more than 1,000 quit their jobs.

“For the first time this year, we had 500 vacancies,” said Ben Horsley, a Spokesman for the Granite School District. “That’s one-seventh of our teaching force that turned over, and we had 500 new teachers in Granite School District starting this last fall.”

Horsley said it could be because teachers in Utah don’t make as much money as teachers in other states.

“Teacher pay is part of that,” he said. “I think the stress of the job; it’s a very difficult job to manage upwards of 30 kids in a classroom. If you’re a secondary teacher, you’re going to be having upwards of 200-plus students to manage and grade.”

Mindi Layton, a teacher at Woodrow Wilson Elementary in Salt Lake City, said teachers also feel pressure to keep test scores up.

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

 

 


 

 

Grant Helps Poorer Schools Identify Talented and Gifted Students

 

Title 1 schools usually get a boost from programs that help kids struggling academically to catch up to their peers. But a new program aims to help them put a spotlight on kids who are gifted and talented.

Moya Kessig is Utah’s gifted and talented education specialist. She says a lot of students in Utah may be exceptional readers, but they’re not being identified for a number of reasons.

“Maybe they’re limited English speaking, maybe it’s because they come from an under resourced community,” Kessig says. “Let’s try and see if we can pick up some kids and kind of get them in the pipeline early so that when they get into the middle school and high school, they’re not afraid to take challenging classes.”

The Utah Center for the Advancement of Reading Excellence or UCARE is aimed at finding talented readers in 60 of Utah’s low-income Title 1 schools. The program is funded in part by a grant from the Jacob K. Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program. Kessig says kids who participate in gifted and talented programs are likely to be more invested in academics.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 


 

 

PCSD bond debated once more as Election Day closes in

Atmosphere occasionally tense as many of the same controversial issues are heard

 

With disagreements swirling about the Park City School District’s $56 million bond as Election Day nears, voters got to see supporters and detractors face off in a public setting Tuesday one last time before heading to the polls.

Residents packed the school district office Tuesday for the second of two public hearings about the bond, many directing their opinions to the Board of Education and some perhaps hoping to sway any undecided voters in attendance.

Many of the arguments residents offered, both in favor of the bond and against it, were the same ones that have been thrown around in recent months as the controversy over the measure has intensified. But some of the fireworks were new.

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

 

 


 

 

Herriman student voices get attention of national security officials

 

HERRIMAN — When Ryan White asked his high school government class last year to show whether they thought their voices matter, only 1 in 5 students raised their hands.

It was a response that worried White. So he and his students started a “voice crusade” to make their voices heard with world and national leaders.

Over the following months, they reached out through emails, letters and phone calls to United Kingdom Prime Minister David Cameron, Queen Elizabeth II, Donald Trump, the Department of Homeland Security and other high-profile agencies.

This week, they got an answer.

Jeh Johnson, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, called Herriman High School.

“He just wanted to talk to the class. And he was ready to do so from wherever he was at on his cell phone,” White said. “He said, ‘Hey, put me on speaker, let’s talk to your students.’ And that was the attitude of Secretary Johnson. Just an amazing guy.”

On Friday, Johnson and the students talked again, this time for almost an hour through a web conference. Down the hall, about 400 students sat in the school auditorium and watched the conversation.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/4Y9 (KSL)

 

 


 

 

Local schools top Shakespeare Competition

 

While others debate whether schools should even teach the Bard, or change his language for today’s youth, local students are reveling and excelling in Shakespeare’s works.

As part of the Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, about 3,200 students from more than 110 schools from five states participated in the 39th annual Shakespeare Competition earlier this month at Southern Utah University. They competed in acting, dancing and even technical behind-the-scenes work in multiple categories over a three-day event.

Local Utah County schools had “greatness thrust upon them,” and performed amazingly well among their peers.

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

 


 

 

Davis schools weave diversity through curriculum and activities

 

WOODS CROSS — Davis School District’s Diversity Celebration opened with the posting of the colors, while a lone bagpiper played the national anthem and “God Bless America.” Marching away, he played “Scotland the Brave.” The program that followed included everything from traditional Polynesian and American Indian dances to an African percussion ensemble, Latino music and dance, and multicultural school choirs.

The celebration, held Thursday Oct. 22, at Woods Cross High School, was organized by the district’s Parent Equity Committee.

http://go.uen.org/4Y2 (OSE)

 

 


 

David Ure named new SITLA director

 

It’s official: Governor Gary Herbert announced his concurrence this week with the School and Institutional Trust Lands Board of Trustees on the appointment of David Ure as the next SITLA Director.

Ure replaces outgoing SITLA Director Kevin Carter, who’d served in that position since 2003, and he will have big shoes to fill. Under Carter’s leadership, SITLA earned more than $1.3 billion and helped grow the Permanent School Fund from $400 million in 2003 to just over $2 billion today. Also during his tenure, interest and dividends from the Permanent Fund have grown from $8 million in 2003 to $45.8 million this school year.

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

 

 


 

 

Desert Hills runners turned one kind act into an annual team tradition

 

SALT LAKE CITY – The man huddled under his jacket near the edge of Pioneer Park.

Joseph Buenning was following some of his Desert Hills cross country teammates in another direction when he saw the shivering man. Cradling a handful of socks and gloves, he approached the stranger.

“Would you like some socks?” Buenning asked.

The man stood up, his coat still draped on his head, and reached out for the socks before answering. He thanked the senior as Buenning walked back to a small group of teammates who were laying clothing on those sleeping in a group nearby.

“It’s a humbling experience to see that I really do have it good,” he said. “There is not much to complain about. I could be more grateful, that’s true.” What’s also true is that the Desert Hills cross country team turned a chance encounter into an event that’s grown each year in size and importance. Several years ago the team made it a tradition to eat dinner the night before the state cross country meet at Buca de Beppo in downtown Salt Lake City.

When they were boxing up the leftovers, they decided to take them over and give them to the homeless in Pioneer Park.

http://go.uen.org/4Y1 (DN)

 

 


 

 

Harry Potter Club hosts night at Hogwarts

 

It was a magical night Friday when Mountain Crest High School was transformed into Hogwarts as the Harry Potter Club at the high school put on a special event for elementary school children based around the Harry Potter series.

http://go.uen.org/4Y3 (LHJ)

 


 

Probation ordered for track coach who admitted sexual activity with student

 

TOOELE — A volunteer track coach at Tooele High School who pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a teenage girl on the team has been sentenced to probation.

Terrence Boone Johnson, 22, pleaded guilty in August to a reduced charge of unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old, a class A misdemeanor, as part of a deal with prosecutors. He was originally charged with forcible sexual abuse, a second-degree felony. A second charge of sexual abuse of a minor was dismissed.

A one-year jail sentence was suspended at a sentencing hearing Wednesday and Johnson was ordered to serve 36 months of probation, including counseling, with a $500 fine.

Police reported that Johnson engaged in sexual activity with the 15-year-old girl in the basement of his Tooele home in May. He was arrested and charged in June.

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

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/4Y0 (KSL)

 

 


 

 

 

Vandals spray-paint obscenities, vulgar images on Alta High, Corner Canyon High before schools’ ‘rivalry’ football game

Crime » Alta, Corner Canyon report vulgar graffiti, investigate.

 

Sandy • Principal Brian McGill estimates thousands of dollars of damage was caused at Alta High when obscenities and vulgar images were spray-painted on the building, sidewalks, stadium and sheds the night before Alta and rival Corner Canyon were scheduled to face off in football for the first time.

Corner Canyon Principal Mary Bailey confirmed vandalism in the same form and style occurred on that campus, too, but not to the extent of the damage at Alta. She said an investigation is underway and that “we should be able to wrap something up today.”

“We try not to let the kids who do the vandalism glorify in it, so the sooner we can get it cleaned up and get back to school, the better it is for all of us,” Bailey said. “We quickly addressed it and tried to focus getting our kids to class.”

Anticipation for the rivalry game has been three years in the making. Corner Canyon inherited large chunks of Alta’s population when it opened three years ago. The Hawks competed in the 5A classification for the past two seasons before moving down to Class 4A in the same region as the Chargers this year.

“This week we’ve been really trying to build up a healthy rivalry between both schools by doing a joint fundraising effort for the Utah food bank,” McGill said. “We’re trying to make this a fun rivalry, and I think that’s what it will be, but it was disappointing to come in this morning to see our school got tagged.”

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

 

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

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/4Y4 (KTVX)

 

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

 


 

 

Officials: Talking about suicide is helping Utah prevent it more often

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Beefed up prevention efforts, intervention and community events are helping to curtail Utah’s high suicide rate, according to state officials.

While the latest numbers aren’t yet available, “the numbers appear to be leveling off,” said Doug Thomas, director of Utah’s Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. He believes the successes are due to increased awareness and said “more people are talking about suicide.”

Suicide is the No. 1 cause of death for teens ages 10 to 17 and the sixth leading cause of death among all Utahns, making it a “major public health concern in Utah,” Thomas said.

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

 


 

 

City youth experience Zion for the first time

 

SPRINGDALE – An award-winning program at Zion National Park is changing the lives of city children. ‘Concrete to Canyon’ at Zion provides an opportunity for underprivileged children to explore nature.

Fifth-grade students from Rainbow Dreams Academy in Las Vegas had a chance to connect with the sights, sounds and scenery of Utah’s national park.

http://go.uen.org/4Y5 (KTVX)

 

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Clarifying the Davis school bond proposal

Deseret News editorial

 

Davis County voters, like those in the rest of the state, may feel a little overwhelmed by demands for more tax dollars. Beginning in January, gas will cost 5 cents more per gallon, thanks to an increase in the gas tax. The Legislature enacted a statewide property tax increase, and the November ballot asks for approval of a sales tax hike for roads and transit in 17 counties.

All of these could spell bad news for another ballot proposal to authorize the Davis School District to bond for $298 million. If so, that would be unfortunate.

Of all the tax increases this year, this one is a bargain, and it is urgently needed. It would provide facilities necessary to handle a fast-growing population, and at hardly any cost. We urge voters in the district to vote yes.

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

 

 


 

 

Here’s the ‘application’ an FLDS school told girls to fill out

Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist Nate Carlisle

 

Are you a girl in the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints applying for the job of mother?

Have you learned to put the priesthood first?

Have you acquired heavenly smiles? How about unshakable sweetness?

Those are all questions on a class exercise given to seventh grade girls in the FLDS, according to Jessica Rohbock.

Rohbock posted the pseudo job application this month on her blog. She said a friend sent it to her. Rohbock says the application was part of a business class.

The assignment wasn’t given to boys. The application articulates what’s expected of girls and women.

The application is filled with FLDS parlance, including a heading telling the girls, “YOU MUST BE TRAINED IN THE CELESTIAL WAYS.”

The FLDS removed their children from public schools years ago in favor of a sort of centralized homeschooling.

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

 

 


 

 

Ure will serve SITLA well

Salt Lake Tribune letter from Scott Loomis

 

I am 100 percent on board with Paul Rolly politically and enjoy his articles. I have been the executive director of an affordable housing non-profit in Summit County for more than 14 years.

Rolly’s article about “Capital gains for serving in the Legislature” features the appointment of David Ure to be the new director of the School and Institutional Trust Land Administration. The implication is that this appointment is some kind of a political reward for services rendered.

When Ure was in the Legislature, he would frequently be on Summit County’s local radio station KPCW. He was refreshing to hear because, in this age of political correctness, he would freely state his opinions, which often didn’t agree with the majority. I have admired his openness and hard work as a Summit County Council member for almost seven years. I could not honestly say if he is a supporter of what I do, but he has always been respectful of everyone’s opinion, collegial with his fellow commissioners and without a doubt hard working and well informed on issues at all levels of the state.

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

 


 

Boehner’s Voucher Legacy

The House Speaker saved scholarships for poor kids in Washington.

Wall Street Journal editorial

 

Paul Ryan seems set to succeed John Boehner as House Speaker as early as next week, but Mr. Boehner deserves credit for using his final days to renew and expand a successful school voucher program in Washington, D.C., that President Obama and Democrats in Congress have repeatedly tried to kill.

These Opportunity Scholarships provide poor kids—almost all black and Latino—with a lifeline out of failing schools. Originally passed in 2003 when Mr. Boehner chaired the House Education Committee, it has survived several Democratic assassination attempts. These included a 2009 poison pill amendment that Illinois Senator Dick Durbin attached to an omnibus spending bill designed to phase the program out.

It appeared Mr. Durbin’s nasty work would prevail, but Mr. Boehner kept the issue alive and persuaded Mr. Obama to agree to restore funding as part of the 2011 budget deal. On the House floor this week, Mr. Boehner pointed out that, of the 12th graders who used a scholarship last year, 90% graduated—and 88% enrolled in college. The House bill that passed keeps the program going for five years and removes limits on the number of eligible students.

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

 

 


 

 

Obama’s Empty Testing Talk

The president’s pledge to reduce school tests is meaningless.

U.S. News & World Report op-ed by Robert Pondiscio, senior fellow and vice president for external affairs at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute

 

Over the weekend, President Barack Obama received high praise from parents and teachers for acknowledging that testing is taking too much time away from teaching, learning and fostering creativity in schools, and recommending that standardized tests take no more than 2 percent of total school instructional time. Frankly, this is arrant nonsense. Here’s why.

From time to time, I’m asked to give a talk about education. If I look at how I spend my time over the course of a year, giving presentations and speeches is a very small part of my job – less than 2 percent. However, if my effectiveness were to be judged on the audience response to those handful of talks I give each year, I’d spend a lot more time writing and practicing speeches. I’d fret endlessly over my PowerPoint slides and leave-behinds. I’d sprinkle in more jokes to be entertaining; I’d probably say whatever I thought would get audiences to like me more, rather than challenging my listeners. I’d definitely spend a lot more on suits and dry cleaning than I do now.

But most critically, I’d spend far less time on all the other things I do – writing, reading, teaching and learning, visiting schools to stay current – that might make any talk I give worth listening to in the first place. In short, if this minor part of my job, however useful, were to become the alpha and omega of how my effectiveness is measured, it would quickly change nearly everything else about my work. And not necessarily for the better.

It’s the same with testing

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

 


 

 

Our real charter school nightmare: The new war on public schools and teachers

Our kids deserve strong schools and great teachers under local control. That’s what the charter fight is all about

Salon.com commentary by DIANE RAVITCH, a historian of education, an educational policy analyst, and a research professor at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development

 

Peter Cunningham, who previously served as Arne Duncan’s assistant secretary for communications, is a very charming fellow. When he left the administration, he returned to Chicago. The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation invited him to start a blog defending “reformers” who advocate for charter schools, high-stakes testing, teacher evaluation based on student test scores, and the rest of the Race to the Top agenda. The blog, called “Education Post,” received $12 million from several billionaires, including the Broad Foundation, the Michael R. Bloomberg Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and an anonymous donor.

Peter just wrote a column that puzzled me. It appeared on Huffington Post. He says that teachers’ unions should embrace “reform” if they want public education to survive. I was puzzled because the major thrust of “reform” as currently defined is to privatize as many schools as possible and to eliminate teachers’ unions.

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

 


 

 

Are smartphones dumbing down school, or are they vital learning tools?

Washington Post commentary by columnist Jay Matthews

 

Benjamin Banneker Academic High School is a D.C. magnet school, established in 1981 despite grumbling that a school for only the best students was elitist. It has Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes and ranks in the top 2 percent on The Washington Post’s list of America’s most challenging high schools.

Its building near Howard University is old and creaky, but the 454 students — 60 percent of them low-income — are lively and engaged. Part of the reason is that Banneker appears to be one of the last bastions of resistance to personal smartphones, tablets and other such electronic devices in school.

I had a flood of responses to my sympathetic column on Fairfax County teachers Joe Clement and Matt Miles. They think electronic devices have turned their classes into uninspired rehashes of Google, with fewer student exchanges about important issues. I wondered how widespread was Fairfax County’s Bring Your Own Device program, letting students use their shiny screens during breaks, lunch and even in class if their teachers say it’s okay.

I could not find a school district in the Washington area that didn’t have such a policy. Private schools appear to have the same rules. Three public charter schools in the District forbid student use of such devices during the school day, but that is a hard rule to enforce.

Apparently only Banneker, in this region of nearly 200 public high schools, has cellphone lockers in the foyer where all electronics are kept until the students go home. The Parent Teacher Association paid for the lockers. Anita Berger, the school’s veteran principal, said the ban goes back many years. “Although we know there are many benefits to mobile technology,” she said, “the distractions outweigh the benefits.”

“We do not have social media drama, and students actually interact with one another during lunch,” she said. “Courtesy phones are provided throughout the building for student use for appropriate reasons and at appropriate times.”

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

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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Obama Administration Calls for Limits on Testing in Schools

New York Times

 

Faced with mounting and bipartisan opposition to increased and often high-stakes testing in the nation’s public schools, the Obama administration declared Saturday that the push had gone too far, acknowledged its own role in the proliferation of tests, and urged schools to step back and make exams less onerous and more purposeful.

Specifically, the administration called for a cap on assessment so that no child would spend more than 2 percent of classroom instruction time taking tests. It called on Congress to “reduce over­testing” as it reauthorizes the federal legislation governing the nation’s public elementary and secondary schools.

“I still have no question that we need to check at least once a year to make sure our kids are on track or identify areas where they need support,” said Arne Duncan, the secretary of education, who has announced that he will leave office in December. “But I can’t tell you how many conversations I’m in with educators who are understandably stressed and concerned about an overemphasis on testing in some places and how much time testing and test prep are taking from instruction.”

“It’s important that we’re all honest with ourselves,” he continued. “At the federal, state and local level, we have all supported policies that have contributed to the problem in implementation. We can and will work with states, districts and educators to help solve it.”

Teachers’ unions, which had led the opposition on the left to the amount of testing, declared the reversal of sorts a victory. “Parents, students, educators, your voice matters and was heard,” said Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/4XD (CSM)

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/4XE (NPR)

 

http://go.uen.org/4Yd (ED)

 


 

 

 

Study: Kids Take 100–plus Required Tests Through 12th Grade

Associated Press

 

WASHINGTON — Students, parents and teachers have long lamented the hours that kids spend taking standardized tests, especially since the introduction of the Common Core academic standards. But just how much time each year is it?

  1. Between 10-15 hours.
  2. Between 20-25 hours.
  3. Between 30-35 hours.

The correct answer is “B,” according to a comprehensive study of 66 of the nation’s big-city school districts by the Council of the Great City Schools. It said testing amounts to about 2.3 percent of classroom time for the average eighth-grader in public school. Between pre-K and 12th grade, students took about 112 mandatory standardized exams.

The study analyzed the time spent actually taking the tests, but it did not include the hours devoted to preparation ahead of the testing required by the federal government, states or local districts. It also did not include regular day-to-day classroom quizzes and tests in reading, math, science, foreign languages and more.

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

 

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

 

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

 


 

 

Superintendents in Florida Say Tests Failed State’s Schools, Not Vice Versa

New York Times

 

MIAMI — When protests from parents and teachers erupted against the new Common Core tests here, Florida thought it had a solution: It dropped the tests.

But it abruptly switched sources for the exams, hoping the substitute would be more palatable.

Now, nearly six months after students finished taking their exams, Florida faces an even worse rebellion, led by the state’s 67 school superintendents. In speeches, letters to the editor and appeals to state officials, they are arguing that the tests were flawed — first, because they were developed for Utah schools and based on the curriculum taught there, and second, because of a string of disruptive technical glitches when they were rolled out here.

The superintendents are challenging the state’s plan to use the scores to give schools grades from A to F and to influence some teachers’ evaluations. Standing behind them are the Florida PTA, the state’s School Boards Association, teachers and administrators.

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

 

 


 

 

Surprise: Florida and Texas Excel in Math and Reading Scores

New York Times

 

When the Education Department releases its biennial scorecard of reading and math scores for all 50 states this week, Florida and Texas are likely to look pretty mediocre. In 2013, the last time that scores were released, Florida ranked 30th on the tests, which are given to fourth and eighth graders, and Texas ranked 32nd.

But these raw scores, which receive widespread attention, almost certainly present a misleading picture — and one that gives short shrift to both Florida and Texas. In truth, schools in both states appear to be well above average at teaching their students math and reading. Florida and Texas look worse than they deserve to because they’re educating a more disadvantaged group of students than most states are.

A report released Monday by the Urban Institute has adjusted the raw scores for each state to account for student demographics, including poverty, race, native language and the share of students in special education. The central idea behind the adjustments is that not all students arrive at school equally prepared, and states should not be judged as if students did

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

 

http://go.uen.org/4Yw (Vox)

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/4Yq (Urban Institute)

 

 


 

 

Latino School Segregation: The Big Education Problem That No One Is Talking About

Separate and unequal.

Huffington Post

 

Nearly a decade before the Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education made segregated schooling of black students unconstitutional, a group of five Mexican-American families fought for integrated schools in Mendez v. Westminster.

It was 1946. For years, the state’s Mexican-American students had languished in inferior “Mexican schools” to which they were assigned based on name and complexion. Plaintiffs in the case argued that their school facilities were severely under-resourced compared to nearby white schools, and experts testified on the negative impact segregation has on children’s self-esteem. Defendants in the case — four school districts — argued that Mexican students had poor hygiene, carried diseases and were intellectually inferior.

The case — which was decided in the plaintiffs’ favor — never made its way to the Supreme Court, and thus its impact was never felt on a federal level. But soon after, California became the first state to ban state-sponsored school segregation.

It’s now 2015, and while much has changed in California, much has remained the same. Segregation is no longer based on official policies or law — called de jure segregation — but based on voluntary housing or schooling choices. Still, the Golden State remains the most segregated one in the country for Latino students, according to research from the UCLA’s Civil Rights Project, which studies civil rights issues.

To be an average Latino student in California today means that you likely attend a school that is 84 percent nonwhite, with high rates of concentrated poverty. It means you live in a two-tiered society where only 20 percent of Latino students taking the SAT in California are deemed college-ready, compared to 41 percent of students statewide.

California’s situation is extreme. Its Latino population is exceptionally large and exceptionally segregated. But the state’s issues are symptomatic of a long-term, nationwide trend of Latinos quietly becoming the most segregated minority population of students in the country, the UCLA center has found.

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

 


 

 

NAEP and Common-Core Math Show ‘Reasonable’ Overlap, Study Says

Education Week

 

A new study looking at the relationship between the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the Common Core State Standards for mathematics finds that the two have “reasonable” overlap, but that the national test falls short on assessing some of the common standards.

The study, commissioned by the NAEP Validity Studies Panel, an independent panel run by the American Institutes for Research, was published in advance of this week’s release of the 2015 NAEP reading and math scores for 4th and 8th grade students. NAEP is administered to a nationally representative sample of students about every two years, and is seen as a barometer of student achievement across the United States.

For 4th grade math, the researchers found that 79 percent of NAEP’s test items matched material from the common-core standards at or below that grade level. And for 8th grade math, the correlation was even stronger: 87 percent of items matched the common core.

But when looked at from the other direction, there’s less alignment. Just 58 percent of the common-core standards from the 6th, 7th, and 8th grades are linked with at least one NAEP 8th grade test item.

“It looks like there’s material that is important to the common core which isn’t so far finding it’s way into NAEP,” Fran Stancavage, a lead researcher for the study, said in an interview. “And that would mean that there’s learning going on that isn’t being picked up by NAEP at this point.”

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

 

http://go.uen.org/4XQ (PRWeb)

 

A copy of the study

http://go.uen.org/4XP (AIR)

 


 

 

How will Mark Zuckerberg’s new school challenge education?

The Primary School, spearheaded by Mark Zuckerberg’s wife Priscilla Chan, is designed to embrace a holistic perspective on education with its combination of health care services and early childhood programming.

Christian Science Monitor

 

Under the leadership of Zuckerberg’s wife, Priscilla Chan, the couple is planning to open their own school in Palo Alto, Calif. The Primary School will serve the children of East Palo Alto and Belle Haven, Kindergarten through grade 12. More distinctively, the school will also provide its students health care services from birth to graduation.

“I’m so proud of Priscilla for starting The Primary School – a new kind of school that brings education and healthcare together,” Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post. “Health and education are closely connected. When children aren’t healthy, they can’t learn as easily.”

In partnership with Ravenswood Family Health Center, the school will even offer prenatal care for parents. There is no tuition.

The health center, located close to the school, will give comprehensive health and dental care for students and their families. The school will also have an on-site clinic.

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

 

 


 

 

Many Schools Failing on Type 1 Diabetes Care

New York Times

 

With twin boys ready for school, Jason and Jessica Pollard braced for paperwork, parent­teacher meetings and shopping trips for supplies. But they were not prepared for the reception their son, Owen, then 5, received from school administrators.

Officials at their neighborhood kindergarten and a nearby private academy said he would not be allowed to attend because he has Type 1 diabetes. The Pollards, doctors in Seattle, were flabbergasted.

One headmaster said that Owen would never be accepted because of his disability. “It took everything in me not give him the middle finger,” said Dr. Jessica Pollard, a pediatric oncologist.

The Pollards are hardly the first family to face this kind of discrimination. Too many schools are failing to provide the growing number of students who have Type 1 diabetes with the routine care they need, such as insulin shots or blood sugar monitoring, federal regulators and diabetes experts say. And often, parents do not know they have the legal right to insist on it.

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

 


 

 

Pro-Common Core side stays in charge at Louisiana school board

New Orleans (LA) Times-Picayune

 

There was a lot of noise at meetings, but in the end the pro–Common Core candidates stayed resoundingly in charge at the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education Saturday (Oct. 24).

Six of the eight races were won by a candidate who supports the mathematics and English standards — in most cases, by wide margins. And the losers included the current board’s loudest and most persistent critics of Common Core, charter schools, the Recovery School District and Education Superintendent John White: Lottie Beebe, R-Breaux Bridge, and in a squeaker, Carolyn Hill, D-Baton Rouge.

The other two races, in the 4th and 6th Districts, are headed to a runoff.

The results should be enough for White to keep his job: It takes an eight-member super-majority to fire or hire a superintendent. But he might have a rocky time, for the future governor has three appointed seats, and both Republican Sen. David Vitter and Democrat state Rep. John Bel Edwards oppose Common Core. In addition, the Legislature must confirm the superintendent every four years.

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

 

 


 

 

Common Core changes closer after Arizona education board vote

(Phoenix) Arizona Republic

 

The State Board of Education moved one step closer to meeting Superintendent Diane Douglas’ goal of scrapping Arizona’s Common Core-based standards following a vote Monday morning that authorizes changes to the curriculum.

The 6-2 vote was something of a technicality — albeit a significant one — in which Board of Education members repealed the copyright that accompanied the Common Core curriculum.

The vote Monday does not mean that there will be any immediate changes to Arizona’s College and Career Read Standards, many of which are based on Common Core. But repealing the copyright opens the door for the state to make changes to the comprehensive curriculum, a proposal that Douglas has pushed since she began campaigning to be the Arizona’s schools chief last year.

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

 


 

 

Girl with Service Dog Wants US Supreme Court to Take Case

Associated Press

 

DETROIT — The U.S. Supreme Court is being asked to take an appeal from an 11-year-old Michigan girl with cerebral palsy who switched schools after her service dog wasn’t welcomed in a district in Jackson County.

It’s a long shot; the Supreme Court rejects thousands of cases each year. But the American Civil Liberties Union believes it’s ripe for review because federal appeals courts have given different interpretations to laws protecting the rights of children with disabilities.

“To force a child to choose to between her independence and her education is not only illegal – it is heartless,” said Michael Steinberg, legal director at the ACLU in Michigan.

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

 

 


 

 

It’s Fine For Districts to ‘Say Dyslexia,’ According to New Ed. Dept. Guidance

Education Week

 

States and districts should not feel reluctant to use the terms dyslexia, dyscalculia, or dysgraphia when describing a particular child’s learning needs, says guidance released Friday by the U.S. Department of Education.

For those outside of the special education field, such guidance may seem obvious. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act names dyslexia as an example of a disability that would be included in the broader term “specific learning disabilities.” About 40 percent of the students who are covered under the IDEA are classified as having a specific learning disability.

But the department’s action was prompted by concerted efforts from parent groups such as Decoding Dyslexia and other advocacy organizations, which have recently rallied around the Twitter hashtag, #saydyslexia. Those groups say that the specific needs of students with dyslexia are too often glossed over, because educators don’t know enough about the disorder, or that they lump dyslexic students along with struggling learners who may have different challenges.

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

 

A copy of the guidance

http://go.uen.org/4Yo (ED)

 


 

Bullied Teens Face Roadblocks to Mental Health Services

HealthDay via U.S. News & World Report

 

Nearly one-third of American teens are bullied, but fewer than a quarter of them get mental health help, a new study indicates.

Victims of bullying are at risk for problems such as anxiety, depression and self-harm, said researchers led by Dr. Amira El Sherif, a pediatrician in Fayettville, N.C.

Her team surveyed 440 middle and high school students in Cumberland County, N.C., and found that 29 percent said they had been bullied. This included 54 percent of children aged 11 to 14 and nearly half of those aged 15 to 18.

“Bullying should become a part of the normal conversation in the [pediatrician’s} office,” El Sherif said. “Doctors, parents and school officials should also work together to address bullying when it occurs and to make sure mental health services are accessible when needed.”

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

 


 

 

Limiting Tackling Limits Concussions: Study

HealthDay via U.S. News & World Report

 

Limiting tackling during high school football practices can significantly reduces players’ concussion rates, a new study indicates.

In 2014, new rules about tackling during football practice were introduced for Wisconsin high schools.

Full contact was banned during the first week of practice, and limited to 75 minutes during the second week. After that, full contact during practice was capped at 60 minutes for every week. Full contact means that tackles are made at a competitive level and players are taken to the ground, the researchers explained.

The number of concussions that occurred during practice was more than twice as high during the two seasons before the new rules began, the study said.

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

 

 


 

 

With about 1,760 infected, officials hope fall school break stops norovirus outbreak

Reno (NV) Gazette-Journal

 

An outbreak of norovirus has reached such heights in local public schools that health officials stopped counting the number of people infected by the highly contagious illness, which causes days of diarrhea and vomiting.

But the Washoe County Health District estimates – based on schools’ absenteeism and reported illnesses – that 1,760 students and staff have been afflicted at 20 schools and a few daycare centers, quadrupling the number of infections since the outbreak started at half as many schools on Oct. 1.

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

 


 

 

Mistrial for School Exec Hired After Sex Abuse Charges

Associated Press

 

DENVER — A judge declared a mistrial Monday in the case against a former Colorado school official who was hired by New Mexico’s largest school district despite being charged with sexually abusing two young boys – a case that led the Albuquerque superintendent to resign.

The Denver jury told the judge they could not reach a unanimous verdict in the case against Jason Martinez. Prosecutors said they would seek a retrial of Martinez on child sex assault charges.

Martinez worked for Denver Public Schools for 10 years, ending in 2012. He was arrested in Denver in 2013 and freed on bond conditions that included he stay in Colorado. Albuquerque Public Schools Superintendent Luis Valentino hired Martinez this year to head its instruction and technology division after the district failed to complete a background check.

The outcry over his hiring led Valentino to resign Aug. 31, just two months after getting the district’s top job.

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

 

 


 

 

USDA Sees 20 Percent Increase in Schools Offering Free Meals to All Students

Education Week

 

The number of schools offering free meals to all students through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s community eligibility provision jumped 20 percent this year, the second year the option has been available nationwide, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today.

More than 17,000 high-poverty schools now offer free federally subsidized meals to about 8 million students through the provision, Vilsack announced at a meeting of the American Academy of Pediatrics in Washington. He also announced that 97 percent of schools that participate in federal school meal programs are in compliance with heightened federal nutrition standards created under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

Under community eligibility, qualifying schools offer universal free meals without requiring any students to qualify through family-income verification. Districts have said that paperwork can be a hurdle that keeps otherwise eligible students from eating free or reduced-price meals. As a result, some students go hungry.

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

 


 

Story Time from Space: Astronauts Getting New Picture Books

Associated Press

 

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Once upon a time, when NASA’s shuttles were still flying, an astronaut read a children’s story from space.

Thus was born Story Time from Space, a program that takes bedtime stories to new heights in its effort to get children excited about science.

The latest bundle of picture books, mostly about space, is scheduled to rocket to the International Space Station in just over a month, joining five bedtime stories already there. The astronaut readings are posted online, available at any time for children to see.

The delivery, targeted for December, was delayed a year because of a Virginia launch explosion. Another launch accident, this one from Cape Canaveral in June, destroyed a set of science experiments meant to supplement the stories.

As always, there’s a moral to these hard-luck launch tales.

“One of the big takeaways from spaceflight is that it takes a fair amount of patience and just perseverance to make these things happen,” said Alvin Drew, the astronaut who kicked off the Story Time project during space shuttle Discovery’s final flight in 2011.

A cool plot twist: Two of the seven picture books going up – “Mousetronaut” and “Mousetronaut Goes to Mars” – were written by a former astronaut whose identical twin just happens to be spending a year in orbit.

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

 


 

 

Texas homecoming brings displays of full-frontal corsages

Reuters

 

HOUSTON | An annual homecoming rite of passage is unfolding in Texas high schools this month with the presentations of heavily ornamented corsages called “mums” that stretch from neck to knees and are festooned with trinkets often weighing several pounds.

The practice of exchanging homecoming corsages originated in the early 20th century when college men gave their homecoming dates a single, live chrysanthemum with a few short lengths of ribbon to pin on their dress.

Since then, the now apron-size mums – typically with no natural flowers – that are given by high school boys to their homecoming dates have grown bigger, more ornate and more expensive.

This has led some parents, students and school administrators to question whether the tradition has gotten out of hand and fostered what could be seen as an adornment competition among students.

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

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

October 29:

Education Interim Committee meeting

8:30 a.m., 30 House Building

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

 

Charter School Funding Task Force

1 p.m.,  445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2015/html/00004734.htm

 

 

October 30:

Administrative Rules Committee meeting

9 a.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2015/html/00004760.htm

 

 

November 5:

Utah State Board of Education study session and committee meetings

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

 

November 6:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

 

November 12:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

 

November 17:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

2 p.m., 445 State Capitol

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

 

 

November 18:

Education Interim Committee meeting

8:30 a.m., 30 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.a

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