Education News Roundup: Nov. 19, 2015

"Preschool Workbook" by Corie Howell/CC/Flickr

“Preschool Workbook” by Corie Howell/CC/Flickr

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

The Charter School Funding Task Force is recommending some changes in the way charter schools are funded http://go.uen.org/5dr (DN)

 

Legislature looks to expand public preschool in Utah.

http://go.uen.org/5dq (SLT)

or a discussion draft copy of the bill

http://go.uen.org/5ds (Utah Legislature)

 

Utah Sen. Lee pushes for more school choice in the ESEA rewrite.

http://go.uen.org/5do (Ed Week)

and http://go.uen.org/5e6 (AP)

or http://go.uen.org/5dp (Sen. Mike Lee)

 

Utah’s educational equity plan is approved.

http://go.uen.org/5dI (Education Week)

or a copy of the approval

http://go.uen.org/5dJ (ED)

 

Youth drug overdose deaths tripled in Utah between 1999-2011.

http://go.uen.org/5e1 (USAT)

or a copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/5e2 (Trust for America’s Health)

 

WaPo looks at opt outs in seven states.

http://go.uen.org/5dB (WaPo)

 

Idaho judge rules against the use of student fees there.

http://go.uen.org/5dA (Idaho Statesman)

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Task force recommends changes to charter school funding model

 

Utah lawmakers eye $7 million expansion for public preschool

 

ESEA Conference Committee Kicks Off, NCLB One Step Closer to Extinction

 

Education Department Approves Nine More States’ Teacher-Equity Plans

 

Report: Youth drug overdose deaths up in 35 states over a decade

 

New Davis schools add new boundaries, but parents oppose changes

 

School Board adjusts requirements for high school graduation

 

Weber officers train to handle school shootings

 

East High teacher Leigh VandenAkker a crucial assistant for Leopard football team

 

George Washington Academy students design, build hydroponic gardens

 

Leadership Academy students embrace technology, business

 

USU extension program awarded $7.6 million grant

 

Families of teen crash victims encourage safe driving

 

Beloved Farmington JH basketball coach honored

 

Top 50 Local Education Foundations Ranked in New National Study

 

Lone Peak football star discusses the tough decision he faced ahead of semi-final game

 

Weber High students benefit needy families, suicide prevention program

 

Kearns High students offer warmth, winter clothes to peers in need

 


 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Administrators face a difficult balance between sensitivity and safety in schools

 

Why teachers embrace Kentucky science standards

 

The new ESEA, in a single table

 


 

 

NATION

 

At least 500,000 students in 7 states sat out standardized tests this past spring

 

District judge finds West Ada school fees violate Idaho Constitution

 

Feds: IEPs Should Align With Grade-Level Standards

 

Mark Zuckerberg Gives $20 Million to Help Schools Get Faster Internet

 

Is homelessness among U.S. kids declining, or surging? It depends on who you ask.

 

You probably can’t afford to live near good schools It’s the holy grail of parenting: Moving to a town or neighborhood with a good public school system.

 

Under 16 and ordered deported — with no lawyer Public records obtained by POLITICO show the steep toll of the Obama administration’s ‘get tough’ approach on Central American child migrants.

 

Texas: We don’t need academics to fact-check our textbooks The latest controversy of Texas textbooks involved African slaves being described as ‘workers.’  Texas education officials rejected a proposal that would require university academics to fact-check the textbooks.

 

Oregon school safety task force calls for database of school floor plans, tip line, threat assessments

 

Gates Foundation Puts New Focus on Transforming Teacher Prep

 

Does It Pay To Pay Teachers $100,000?

 

SBOE: Trustees Can’t Hire Just Anyone as Superintendent

 

Why Denver superintendent Tom Boasberg landed an unprecedented six-month break

 

Slow U.S. tuition growth is ‘new normal’ for higher education: Moody’s

 

Jewish teacher stabbed in Marseilles by Islamic State supporters – prosecutors

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Task force recommends changes to charter school funding model

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers may be changing the way charter schools are funded in the hope of improving equity between charters and district schools.

The Charter School Funding Task Force on Wednesday made several recommendations to the Education Interim Committee, one of which is to require charter and district schools to follow the same process in determining enrollment.

Currently, most charters choose to receive per-pupil funding based on an annual Oct. 1 student census, which then sets funding for the rest of the year, even if students leave the school or new students enroll. Districts, on the other hand, are given funding based on average daily membership, an ongoing measurement that allows funding to be adjusted.

Since the one-time head-count system used by charters is scheduled to sunset next year, those schools could move toward the same system used by district schools.

“It’s good policy for both of them to be on the same playing field,” said Rep. Steve Eliason, R-Sandy, House chairman of the task force.

But the change would come with a price. If charters switch over to the same enrollment model used by districts, charters could collectively lose about $6 million in annual student funding. Having districts adopt the one-time Oct. 1 headcount as their per-pupil funding model, however, would cost the state an extra $65 million each year.

http://go.uen.org/5dr (DN)

 


 

 

Utah lawmakers eye $7 million expansion for public preschool

 

Both inside and outside Utah, public preschool programs have come under recent scrutiny as skeptics question the long-term academic benefit.

Earlier this month, a panel of national experts discounted the reported success and methodology of the state’s School Readiness Initiative, in which private investors foot the bill for preschool expansion and are repaid with interest if at-risk students avoid special education.

And a study by Vanderbilt University, published in October, found no evidence that academic gains carried beyond the third grade for students who enrolled in Tennessee’s public preschool program.

That study was frequently mentioned on Wednesday, when members of the Education Interim Committee debated a proposal to fund a $7 million expansion of public preschool in Utah.

http://go.uen.org/5dq (SLT)

 

A discussion draft copy of the bill

http://go.uen.org/5ds (Utah Legislature)

 

Park City Preschool report

http://go.uen.org/5dt (Utah Legislature)

 

Granite School District report on school readiness http://go.uen.org/5du (Utah Legislature)

 

A copy of the Vanderbilt study

http://go.uen.org/5dv (Vanderbilt University)

 


 

 

ESEA Conference Committee Kicks Off, NCLB One Step Closer to Extinction

 

School districts and state officials have been pleading with Congress for years to update the much-maligned No Child Left Behind Act, the current version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. And now it looks like they are finally on the verge of getting their wish.

Lawmakers on the U.S. Senate education committee and more than a dozen House members met in a conference committee Wednesday to begin reconciling two bills—one a Republican-only measure that barely passed the U.S. House of Representatives in July, and the other a Senate version that cleared the U.S. Senate with big, bipartisan support a few days later.

Even before the official start of the conference, the lead negotiators, Reps. John Kline, R-Minn., Bobby Scott, D-Va., and Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Patty Murray, D-Wash., came to a preliminary agreement or “framework” to jump-start negotiations. The agreement, called the “Every Student Succeeds Act” is not the final word, but it will help guide the conference process, which could conclude this week. The legislation is expected to be on the floor of both chambers shortly after the Thanksgiving recess.

The deal has the potential to get big bipartisan support in both chambers. But it could divide Republicans in the House, where a new speaker, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, has just stepped up to the plate. And indeed, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah took to the floor of the Senate Wednesday to complain, saying the bill was essentially already a done deal. Alexander assured him the process will be open.

During the committee meeting, Alexander stressed that voting against the bill is a vote to continue the current Obama-eduregime: “the common-core standards, the national school board, and the waivers in 42 states.”

For now, at least, it looks like legislation based on the framework will sail through the conference committee.

But the Heritage Fund, a conservative group which helped kill an earlier version of the House bill in March, is unhappy with this latest attempt. What’s more, three GOP senators, Lee of Utah, David Vitter of Louisiana, and Tim Scott of South Carolina, sent a letter to the lawmakers who crafted the framework, asking for further support for school choice.

http://go.uen.org/5do (Ed Week)

 

http://go.uen.org/5e6 (AP)

 

http://go.uen.org/5dp (Sen. Mike Lee)

 


 

 

Education Department Approves Nine More States’ Teacher-Equity Plans

 

The U.S. Department of Education announced Wednesday that it has approved nine more states’ plans to ensure that all students, and low-income students in particular, have access to high-quality teachers.

The newly approved plans come from Idaho, Illinois, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Utah, and Wyoming, and are states’ responses to the department’s Excellent Educators for All Initiative, which began in 2014. The initiatives’ three parts include the creation of comprehensive teacher-equity plans, an “educator equity support network” to help support teachers in high-need schools, and equity profiles to help states identify gaps in access to high-quality teaching.

Highlights of the approved plans include Illinois’ pledge to work with teacher-preparation programs to develop “best practices” to get new teachers ready to teach in high-poverty and high-minority schools. Idaho said it will provide financial incentives for teachers to stay in the state. And Montana said it will expand the eligibility for a program that provides student-loan forgiveness for teachers working in rural, high-poverty areas.

http://go.uen.org/5dI (Education Week)

 

A copy of the approval

http://go.uen.org/5dJ (ED)

 


 

 

 

Report: Youth drug overdose deaths up in 35 states over a decade

 

Thirty-five states saw youth drug overdose deaths increase dramatically in the past decade, according to a new report. And in five states – Kansas, Montana, Ohio, Wisconsin and Wyoming – the overdose death rates more than quadrupled.

Drug overdoses were the leading cause of injury death in 2013,  exceeding that of motor vehicle crashes,  says the report released Thursday from Trust for America’s Health, a national non-profit group that watchdogs public health issues.

Of the 35 states that have seen an increase in youth overdose deaths from 1999 to 2011, rates more than tripled in 12 states (Arkansas, Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, Utah and West Virginia).

http://go.uen.org/5e1 (USAT)

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/5e2 (Trust for America’s Health)

 


 

 

New Davis schools add new boundaries, but parents oppose changes

 

FARMINGTON — Davis School District is opening two new elementary schools next fall, to ease overcrowding. With the new schools come new boundaries, and not everyone’s happy about where the lines have been drawn.

Members of the Davis School Board discussed the proposed new boundaries during a work meeting held on Tuesday, Nov. 17, in the district offices at 45 E. State St., in Farmington.

“Growth along the west corridor created the need for two new buildings,” said Helene Van Natter, an elementary school director for the district.

Four schools will be split and made into six. The four that are being split are Eagle Bay, Endeavour, Snow Horse and Heritage elementary schools. The two new buildings don’t yet have names, but are referred to by the numbers 61 and 62. Elementary School 61 is at about 650 West and Glover Lane, in Farmington, and Elementary School 62 is at 200 North and Bonneville Drive, in Kaysville.

http://go.uen.org/5dQ (OSE)

 


 

 

School Board adjusts requirements for high school graduation

 

The Carbon School District Board of Education has changed the number of credits a student needs to graduate from high school and approved a new diploma that the district can award for basic credit completion.

The move was to align the district with state requirements for graduation, something many districts across the state have been doing in the last year. The state requirements say that a student must have 24 credits, 18 required and six electives, to earn a diploma. A graduate of Carbon High School still needs 30 credits, but now there will be a new option.

With the policy changes made at board meeting, the district will be awarding three diplomas and one certificate for completing high school.

http://go.uen.org/5ei (Price Sun Advocate)

 


 

 

Weber officers train to handle school shootings

 

WEBER COUNTY — Officers and deputies in Weber County are training this week to learn how to stop an active shooter in a school.

Since 1980, nearly 300 people have died in more than 130 school shootings across the United States. There have been 15 school shootings in 2015 alone, including the community college shooting in Oregon last month.

Officers practiced some lifesaving techniques in an abandoned school Wednesday. A national training program gets officers working together to shut down a deadly situation.

“We learn how to make entries, communicate with hand signals,” explained deputy Daniel Zisumbo of the Weber County Sheriff’s Office.

http://go.uen.org/5dU (KSL)

 

 


 

 

East High teacher Leigh VandenAkker a crucial assistant for Leopard football team

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Who is a fixture on the East High sidelines and, in the words of head coach Brandon Matich, is his most important assistant even though she doesn’t call any plays?

That would be Leigh VandenAkker, a teacher of eight years at the Salt Lake City high school.

But “teacher” only begins to describe the relationship VandenAkker has with Matich’s players.

http://go.uen.org/5dP (DN)

 


 

 

George Washington Academy students design, build hydroponic gardens

 

The goals for the seventh- and eighth-grade science students in Kent Schwager’s class at George Washington Academy were simple. Create a hydroponic garden requiring the least amount of money for materials; create one that required the least amount of time and resources to operate; and create one that utilized the most sustainable greenhouse principles.

More than a couple dozen students took on the challenge with a variety of designs using materials provided for them by their science teacher or brought from home. In the end, a partnership of two seventh-grade students took the grand prize.

http://go.uen.org/5dS (SGS)

 


 

 

Leadership Academy students embrace technology, business

 

Twenty-five Washington County high school students attended an off-campus field trip today to learn from industry professionals on how social media impacts news and marketing.

The students make up an elite educational and leadership training program known as Leadership Academy. Five students from five local high schools — Desert Hills, Dixie, Hurricane, Pine View and Snow Canyon — are hand selected each year to attend the program.

http://go.uen.org/5dR (SGS)

 


 

 

USU extension program awarded $7.6 million grant

 

Healthy Relationships Utah, a Utah State University extension program, recently received a $7.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Family Assistance. This grant will provide statewide healthy relationship and family life education as well as offer USU students the chance to get involved.

Pamela Morrill, the project manager over the family life educators, said that this grant will allow the program to add a new class called Love Notes, as well as teach young adults in Utah’s youth detention centers and alternative high schools. Healthy Relationships Utah wants to show these youth ways to get to a better place in their relationships and in their communication.

http://go.uen.org/5eg (USU Statesman)

 


 

 

Families of teen crash victims encourage safe driving

 

SALT LAKE CITY — The Hancock family was heading to a Pioneer Day barbecue in Tooele when a drunken driver struck their vehicle, sending them spinning on state Route 73. The father’s first response was to call out to his children.

“I remember my boys responding and answering me,” David Hancock said. “Katie didn’t respond. She was slumped over the dashboard, and I looked at her, and I knew at that point she was gone.”

That was more than a year ago, but Hancock said he experiences continual grief and pain from the loss of his 15-year-old daughter. What makes her death even more tragic, Hancock said, is that the crash was preventable.

“The person who decided to drink and drive that day made a terrible mistake that cost the life of my daughter.”

“The message that we have that we would like to tell everyone is never, ever, ever drive impaired,” Hancock said. “If you’ve taken medication, if you’ve taken drugs, if you’re distracted, don’t be behind the wheel.”

Katie Hancock was one of 29 teens who died on Utah roads in 2014. The Utah Department of Health and Utah Department of Transportation included her story in their annual memorial book, “We’ll Never Forget,” which honors 10 teens who lost their lives.

Each year state and local agencies and driver education classes use the most recent edition of the book to teach young drivers about driving safety.

http://go.uen.org/5dO (DN)

 

http://go.uen.org/5dV (KSL)

 

http://go.uen.org/5dX (KSTU)

 

 


 

 

Top 50 Local Education Foundations Ranked in New National Study

 

A new study of the top 50 local foundations that support K-12 districts found that Florida and Texas are home to some of the top-performing nonprofits that support students and teachers in districts. It also shows that the Pinellas Education Foundation in Florida has, for the second year, taken the number-one spot among foundations with $2 million or more in revenues.

The foundations of the 200 most populous school districts were evaluated by dewey & associates, a management and strategy consulting firm, as were high-performing foundations in smaller districts in 2013. These nonprofits raised $350 million in revenues, held $425 million in assets, and spent $181 million on programs and grants. They also benefited from the services of 67,000 volunteers that year.

In “Stepping Up: The Nation’s Top K-12 Education Foundations 2015,” report author Dewey Caruthers indicated that his organization looked at foundations’ performance as reported in the 990 forms they filed with the Internal Revenue Service in 2013 on eight metrics. Those metrics included total revenues; per-student revenues; total assets; per-student assets; grant and program expenses; per-student grant and program expenses; investment income; and a measure of volunteer involvement.

Caruthers’ study also looked at foundations affiliated with smaller districts, and divided the foundations into four divisions. The Spring Branch Education Foundation in Texas ranked first in the division for foundations with between $1 million and $2 million in revenues; the Ogden School Foundation in Utah was number one among foundations with $500,000 up to $1 million, and the IPS Education Foundation in Indiana ranked first for foundations with less than $500,000 in revenues.

http://go.uen.org/5e8 (Ed Week)

 

Utah foundations in the list

  1. Ogden School Foundation (UT)
  2. Alpine School District Foundation (UT) 46. Davis Education Foundation (UT)

http://go.uen.org/5e9 (dewey & associates)

 


 

 

Lone Peak football star discusses the tough decision he faced ahead of semi-final game

 

HIGHLAND, Utah — Jackson McChesney has been a human highlight reel for the Lone Peak Knights, and undefeated Lone Peak will play Herriman for the 5A football championship on Friday at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

McChesney has been an instrumental part of that run, but the junior wide receiver was faced with a difficult decision last week during Lone Peak’s semi-final win over Bingham: Stay and play, or attend the funeral of his cousin, who died just days before of a tragic car accident.

http://go.uen.org/5dW (KSTU)

 


 

 

Beloved Farmington JH basketball coach honored

 

FARMINGTON, Utah — Coach Vance Downs has coached at Farmington Junior High for 35 years. He’s retiring at the end of the year, but not before impacting countless players over that time.

Many of those same players overcame difficult logistics to plan a ceremony for Downs that took place after Tuesday’s basketball game. Hundreds packed the gymnasium in Farmington to be part of it.

Among the surprises was the announcement that they had raised enough money to redo the floor and name the gymnasium after Downs.

http://go.uen.org/5dY (KSTU)

 


 

 

Weber High students benefit needy families, suicide prevention program

 

PLEASANT VIEW — While some Utah families are able to provide an abundant Christmas full of goodies and toys for their loved ones, others struggle to afford the same.

The students at Weber High School are helping to alleviate the financial pressure of the holidays by organizing a charity that provides Christmas for about 15 families in their area and benefits another larger cause, according to Weber High teacher Quincey Pearce.

The annual Quarters & Cans charity has previously raised about $50,000 as students and community members have donated cash, spare change and canned goods.

http://go.uen.org/5dT (KSL)

 


 

 

Kearns High students offer warmth, winter clothes to peers in need

 

Members of the Kearns High School Key Club sort donated winter clothing in the school’s library Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015.

As the weather turned, members of the school’s student clubs noticed many of their peers don’t have adequate winter clothing. That observation ballooned into a cooperative project to get warm winter gear into the hands of students who don’t have it.

http://go.uen.org/5dN (DN)

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Administrators face a difficult balance between sensitivity and safety in schools Deseret News editorial

 

On Nov. 5 Bavarian police discovered a cache of weapons in secret compartments built into a car driven by a citizen of Montenegro. These included multiple handguns, eight Kalashnikov rifles, hand grenades and 200 grams of TNT. The car’s GPS system had a Paris address entered.

German police notified French police immediately. But the French did not respond until after the Paris attacks. It is premature to assume a link, but even the possibility is jarring.

This failure to promptly respond to a threat brings back sad memories of the 2001 World Trade Center attack.

“Across the government, there were failures of imagination, policy, capabilities and management,” the 9/11 Commission reported. On point after point, officials on the ground failed to connect dots. Some of these failures came because agencies were actually barred by law from communicating key signals to each other.

Which brings us, indirectly, to the curious case of the clock in the box and 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed, who apparently disassembled a vintage alarm clock, repacked it in a small case, and brought it to school in Irving, Texas. He showed it to his engineering teacher, who told him it was “really nice,” but advised him to keep it in his backpack.

http://go.uen.org/5dM

 


 

 

Why teachers embrace Kentucky science standards Louisville (KY) Courier-Journal op-ed by Tricia Shelton, a 2014 NSTA Distinguished Teaching Award winner for her contributions to and demonstrated excellence in science teaching

 

As a science educator for more than 20 years, I have seen countless new initiatives come and go. Some of these efforts, while well-intentioned, weren’t very effective in supporting student learning and igniting students’ innate curiosity.  But the Kentucky Academic Standards for Science (Science KAS) – which are based on the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) – have the potential to do both, and science teachers across our state have embraced them.

Kentucky and 25 other states were actively involved in developing the NGSS and Kentucky is now implementing the Science KAS statewide. But to successfully support students to achieve these standards, the way science is taught will have to change.

A classroom using Science KAS does not revolve around memorization of facts, worksheets, teacher lectures, and labs where everyone knows the expected, pre-planned outcome.  Instead, students lead the way through investigations and figuring out answers to their own questions with teacher guidance, gaining a whole picture of learning that connects to their own lives instead of learning a series of disconnected facts. Students focus on using evidence and communicating explanations through multiple means including media, modeling, speaking and writing.

The Science KAS classroom is driven by students figuring out instead of just knowing about the world, and most importantly, these classrooms provide supports so all students can engage in the same science and engineering practices that scientists and engineers use every day.

http://go.uen.org/5dD

 

 


 

 

The new ESEA, in a single table

Fordham Institute commentary by President Michael J. Petrilli

 

As first reported by Alyson Klein at Education Week’s Politics K–12 blog, Capitol Hill staff reached an agreement last week on the much-belated reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The conference committee is expected to meet today to give its assent (or, conceivably, to tweak the agreement further). Final language should be available soon after Thanksgiving, with votes in both chambers by mid-December. If all goes as planned, President Obama could sign a new ESEA into law before Christmas.

So what’s in the compromise? Here’s what I know, based on Education Week’s reporting and my conversations with Hill staffers.

http://go.uen.org/5eb

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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At least 500,000 students in 7 states sat out standardized tests this past spring Washington Post

 

About 500,000 public school students in seven states “opted out” and refused to take federally required standardized tests in math and reading in the spring, according to a national group that wants to reduce the use of standardized tests.

The National Center for Fair and Open Testing and its affiliated groups surveyed school districts and monitored state government reports to come up with “opt-out” estimates for seven states. They are New York (240,000 students opted out), New Jersey (110,000), Colorado (100,000), Washington state (50,000), Oregon (20,000), Illinois (20,000) and New Mexico (10,000).

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Education could not confirm those numbers, saying that states are not expected to report opt-out data to the federal government until December, and some have indicated they may not do so until February.

Test participation rates are important because the current federal education law, No Child Left Behind, requires every school to annually test at least 95 percent of its students in math and reading in grades 3 through 8 and once in high school.

Testing advocates say the public needs a clear annual measure of whether schools are educating all students, including those who have been historically underserved, and testing every student provides the best indication of school performance.

Critics say a test score does not fully measure what a student knows and blame the federal emphasis on math and reading tests to a narrowing of curriculum, an unhealthy focus on test preparation and an explosion in other tests designed to measure whether students are ready for the federally required exam.

http://go.uen.org/5dB

 


 

 

District judge finds West Ada school fees violate Idaho Constitution

(Boise) Idaho Statesman

 

When Russell Joki and family members filed suit against the West Ada School District three years ago, they alleged that requiring certain fees violated the constitutional rights of Joki’s grandchildren to a free public education.

This week, a 4th District judge agreed.

“The question here is whether the defendant is providing a general, thorough and free education to Peyton Joki,” Judge Richard Greenwood said Monday, referring to a grandson of Joki’s who has since graduated from high school. “The court concludes it is not.”

Greenwood wrote that his findings of facts and conclusions of law “are intended to be the end of this case.” The lawsuit initially named the state Department of Education and numerous other Idaho school districts as defendants and included plaintiffs from other districts, but in 2013 Greenwood dismissed those portions of the case, narrowing it to West Ada.

http://go.uen.org/5dA

 

 


 

 

Feds: IEPs Should Align With Grade-Level Standards Disability Scoop

 

Beyond offering a free appropriate public education, individualized education programs for students with disabilities should meet grade-level requirements, federal education officials say.

In guidance released Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Education said that all IEPs should conform to “the state’s academic content standards for the grade in which the child is enrolled.”

The directive comes ahead of the 40th anniversary of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act — the federal law requiring appropriate school services for children with disabilities — later this month.

http://go.uen.org/5dE

 

http://go.uen.org/5dG (Ed Week)

 

A copy of the guidance:

http://go.uen.org/5dF (ED)

 

 


 

 

Mark Zuckerberg Gives $20 Million to Help Schools Get Faster Internet New York Times

 

Mark Zuckerberg, who has made global Internet access a top priority through Facebook’s Internet.org project, is now using some of his personal wealth to expand high­speed Internet access in the United States.

On Monday, a nonprofit group that helps kindergarten through 12th grade schools tap federal funds to acquire and improve high­speed Internet connections announced that Mr. Zuckerberg and his wife, Dr. Priscilla Chan, had agreed to donate $20 million to its work. The nonprofit group, called EducationSuperHighway, had received a gift of $3 million from Mr. Zuckerberg and Dr. Chan in 2013.

Mr. Zuckerberg, co­founder and chief executive of Facebook, supports the group’s goals as a means to his ultimate goal of spreading “personalized learning” — the idea of using online platforms to help tailor education to the needs and interests of individual students. He and his wife are hoping to accelerate school district adoption of the telecommunications infrastructure needed to support those kind of customized digital education programs.

http://go.uen.org/5ec

 

http://go.uen.org/5ed (Wired)

 


 

 

Is homelessness among U.S. kids declining, or surging? It depends on who you ask.

Washington Post

 

Is child homelessness declining, or is it skyrocketing? If you are looking at federal government figures for the answer, you could be forgiven for being confused.

According to new data the Department of Housing and Urban Development released Thursday, family homelessness has declined 12 percent since 2008. And on a single night in January, there were 127,000 homeless children nationwide, according to the data, which comes from HUD’s annual point-in-time count.

But data from another branch of the federal government paints a very different and far less rosy picture: There are 1.36 million homeless students in the nation’s K-12 public schools, 70 percent more than in 2008 and double the number in 2006, according to the Education Department.

The discrepancy is due to the two agencies’ differing definitions of what it means to be homeless. HUD counts families who are living in shelters and on the streets, whereas schools also include students in more hidden situations, such as families who are paying for motel rooms or are doubled up with other families.

http://go.uen.org/5e0

 

 


 

 

You probably can’t afford to live near good schools It’s the holy grail of parenting: Moving to a town or neighborhood with a good public school system.

CNN Money

 

For most families, though, the major obstacle is cost. Neighborhoods with the best schools also tend to be the most expensive.

The country’s least affordable? Atherton, California, 94027, which is located in San Mateo County.

To live near the highly rated Encinal Elementary School there, parents would be faced with a median home price just north of $6 million, which translates to monthly payments near $37,000, according to housing data provider RealtyTrac. That’s a mere 412% more than the average monthly wage of $8,953 for the area.

RealtyTrac scanned more than 1,800 zip codes nationwide that have at least one “good” elementary school. “Good” is defined as schools that post higher-than-average test scores for their given state. Then RealtyTrac compared median home prices in those zip codes with the average wage for the area.

To anyone who watches a lot of TV shows focusing on rich kids and housewives, it won’t be surprising to learn that zip codes in California dominate the top 16 least affordable “good school” areas.

http://go.uen.org/5ee

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/5ef (RealtyTrac)

 


 

 

Under 16 and ordered deported — with no lawyer Public records obtained by POLITICO show the steep toll of the Obama administration’s ‘get tough’ approach on Central American child migrants.

Politico

 

Newly released government records show the heavy cost imposed on the very youngest of the child migrants from Central America after President Barack Obama chose to accelerate their deportation hearings in the summer of 2014.

In the first 13 months, nearly 2,800 removal orders were issued by immigration judges for children who were afforded no defense lawyer and only a single hearing. In at least 40 percent of these cases, the defendant was 16 or younger.

The new numbers come from a Freedom of Information Act request filed by POLITICO with the Justice Department and provide a first look at the birthdates for thousands of juveniles prosecuted from mid-July 2014 through Aug. 31 of this year.

In this period, the data show that at least 392 children, all 14 or younger and without defense counsel, were ordered removed after a single hearing before an immigration judge.

The total jumps to 1,150 when 15- and 16-year-olds — also without counsel and afforded just one hearing — are counted. Adding 17-year-olds, under the same circumstances, brings the number to 1,883. The full universe including 18-year-olds reached 2,797, all ordered removed with no lawyer and a single hearing.

The swiftness of the process underscores the “get tough” approach taken by the White House as it scrambled to respond to the flood of border crossings in the first six months of 2014. But when applied to defendants so young, the record undercuts Obama’s promise of compassion for those caught in what he himself has described as a humanitarian crisis exacerbated by the poverty and violence in Central America.

http://go.uen.org/5dw

 

 


 

 

Texas: We don’t need academics to fact-check our textbooks The latest controversy of Texas textbooks involved African slaves being described as ‘workers.’  Texas education officials rejected a proposal that would require university academics to fact-check the textbooks.

Christian Science Monitor

 

The Texas Board of Education rejected a measure Wednesday that would require university experts to fact-check the state’s textbooks in public schools.

The board rejected the measure 8-7, reaffirming the current fact-checking system that relies on citizen review panels made up of parents, teachers, and other members of the general public.

The measure was likely proposed in response to a complaint last month, when a Houston mother found her child’s newly approved geography textbook referred to African slaves shipped to plantations in the United States between the 1500s and 1800s as “workers.”

Instead of requesting academic consultation, the board voted unanimously to require that review panels be made up of “at least a majority” of people with “sufficient content expertise and experience,” at the discretion of the Texas education commissioner.

http://go.uen.org/5dy

 

http://go.uen.org/5dz (Dallas Morning News)

 

 


 

 

Oregon school safety task force calls for database of school floor plans, tip line, threat assessments Portland Oregonian

 

To improve school safety, Oregon should provide ongoing funding to help create a statewide database of school floor plans, a school safety tip line and a standard way to assess threats.

A group of law enforcement, firefighters, educators and lawmakers made the recommendations in a report released Wednesday.

http://go.uen.org/5dK

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/5dL (Oregon Task Force on School Safety)

 


 

 

Gates Foundation Puts New Focus on Transforming Teacher Prep Education Week

 

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will invest some $34 million in cooperative initiatives designed to improve teacher-preparation programs’ overall effectiveness.

The Seattle-based philanthropy announced the three-year grants Nov. 18. Gates awarded the funds to five consortia through a competitive process—a change from its former strategy of one-off grants to individual teaching programs.

The winners will use the funding to create “transformation centers” based on four driving principles: developing strong partnerships with school districts; giving teacher-candidates opportunities to refine a specific set of teaching skills; using data for improvement and accountability; and ensuring that faculty and mentors are effective at guiding novices into the profession.

http://go.uen.org/5e7

 


 

 

Does It Pay To Pay Teachers $100,000?

NPR

 

We’re brought up to believe our teachers are modern-day saints.

Just look at how we portray them in the movies and on TV. From Dead Poets Society’s iconic Mr. Keating to resourceful LouAnne Johnson in Dangerous Minds, we reinforce time and again that teaching is a noble calling.

These teachers are heroes, we’re told. It’s hard to imagine them even thinking about money.

But their real-life counterparts aren’t getting rich, either. The average pay for a teacher in the United States? About $56,000, usually higher in urban districts, lower in rural ones. Add the fact that salaries fell in recent years, and it’s probably no surprise that more teachers are leaving the profession, with fewer entering it.

And yet, here and there, in a few places around the country, some teachers have attained what has long been considered a mark of success in this country: a six-figure salary.

One place you can find them is Washington, D.C. After 14 years teaching in the nation’s capital, Hope Harrod is closing in on that magic number.

“I didn’t expect to make the kind of money I’m making now,” she says.

Sure, $100,000 doesn’t put you up there with hedge-fund managers. But it’s still good money.

http://go.uen.org/5dZ

 


 

 

SBOE: Trustees Can’t Hire Just Anyone as Superintendent Texas Tribune

 

The State Board of Education on Wednesday rejected a rule change that would have allowed school boards to hire anyone they wanted as superintendent — even if the candidate had no public education experience — as long as they had some kind of post-baccalaureate degree and intended to pursue superintendent certification.

But the 15-member elected board still appears poised to drop a current requirement that would-be school district chiefs have classroom teaching experience. That’s something representatives from several teacher groups said Wednesday was crucial to effectively running a school district.

http://go.uen.org/5ea

 


 

 

Why Denver superintendent Tom Boasberg landed an unprecedented six-month break Chalkbeat Colorado

 

Denver superintendent Tom Boasberg is planning to do something that no big-city school chief has done in recent memory: Take six months off.

His announcement on Monday that he’ll be gone from January to July traveling in Latin America with his wife and three kids has raised questions about why he can take such an unprecedented break and how the district will weather his absence.

Boasberg will leave a district of more than 90,000 students and nearly 15,000 employees in the hands of a staff he’s built over his unusually long seven-year tenure. And he’ll leave with the blessing of a school board that universally backs his vision of reform.

The uncommon stability of Denver Public Schools is what makes his respite possible, observers said. For an urban district bent on drastic reform — including closing underperforming schools, welcoming new charter schools and paying teachers based on performance — Boasberg hasn’t dealt with the strife that has cut short the reigns of reform-minded superintendents elsewhere.

Jeff Henig, a professor of political science and education at Columbia University, credits Denver’s more even-keeled approach.

“It’s been politically astute, pragmatic, not ideological, less partisan, less got-to-do-it-now-at-all-costs,” said Henig, who has studied urban school reform. “And as a result of that, it’s avoided some of the backlash we’ve seen in other places.”

Several education advocates and DPS funders said they support the personal motivation behind Boasberg’s decision. But even some who understand why a devoted father would want a time out from his demanding job expressed concerns about what he’ll miss while he’s away.

http://go.uen.org/5dx

 

 


 

 

Slow U.S. tuition growth is ‘new normal’ for higher education: Moody’s Reuters

 

U.S. universities and colleges should expect to see sluggish tuition growth next year, according to a report released Thursday by Moody’s Investors Service.

Higher education institutions suffered the weakest tuition growth in the history of Moody’s survey last year. Such sluggishness “appears to be the ‘new normal,'” reported Moody’s, which is predicting another year of tuition revenue growth near levels of inflation, approximately 2 percent.

That is a significant departure from the booming years of 2005 to 2013, when schools saw net tuition grow by more than 5 percent annually.

Almost two-thirds of public universities will see tuition growth under 3 percent, in part because of state-imposed limits to keep tuition low and student enrollments that are either flat or declining.

http://go.uen.org/5e3

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/5e4 (Moody’s $)

 

 


 

 

Jewish teacher stabbed in Marseilles by Islamic State supporters – prosecutors Reuters

 

MARSEILLES –  A teacher at a Jewish school in the southern French city of Marseilles was stabbed on Wednesday by three people professing support for Islamic State, but his life was not in danger, prosecutors said.

Three people on two scooters, one of them wearing an Islamic State t-shirt, approached the teacher in the street, Marseilles prosecutor Brice Robin told Reuters.

Another showed a picture on his mobile telephone of Mohamed Merah, a homegrown Islamist militant who killed seven people in a series of attacks in southern France in 2012.

“The three people insulted, threatened and then stabbed their victim in the arm and leg. They were interrupted by the arrival of a car and fled,” Robin added.

http://go.uen.org/5e5

 

 

 

 

————————————————————

CALENDAR

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USOE Calendar

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

 

 

UEN News

http://www.uen.org

 

 

November 23:

Charter School Funding Task Force

1 p.m.,  445 State Capitol

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

 

 

November 24:

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting

7:59 a.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2015/html/00005184.htm

 

 

December 3:

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

 

 

December 4:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

 

December 7:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

2 p.m., 445 State Capitol

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

 

 

December 10:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

 

January 6:

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting

8 a.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2016&com=APPPED

 

 

January 25:

Utah Legislature

First day of the 2016 general session

http://le.utah.gov/

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