Education News Roundup: Nov. 23, 2015

26Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

Canyons District prepares a big expansion of its dual immersion programs into its high schools.

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

 

Standard completes an extensive series on teacher-pupil sexual abuse cases.

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

and http://go.uen.org/5fm (OSE)

and http://go.uen.org/5fO (OSE)

and http://go.uen.org/5fn (OSE)

and http://go.uen.org/5fR (OSE)

 

Washington Post is predicting school accountability debates will quickly take over the public education debates in all 50 states as the ESEA rewrite shifts responsibilities to the states.

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

 

New Secretary of Education King sees it as an opportunity for states.

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

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Canyons to place Dual-Immersion Language programs in all 5 of its high schools

 

Predatory teachers might be few but impact on profession is huge

 

What is the hiring practice for teachers in Utah?

 

Licenses of 20 Utah teachers revoked in Utah since 2010

 

Two Utah bills add teeth to laws against child sex predators

 

Kaysville woman speaks out after sexual abuse from teacher

 

Number of students enrolled in Davis District schools now exceeds 70,000

 

Founding member of Ballet West choreographing high school’s musical production

 

Minority groups taking issue with Salt Lake School District

 

Dave Ure bids Summit County Council farewell Long-time local public figure accepts state position

 

Officials: Logan High attendance policy reducing tardiness

 

West Jordan teacher charged in child pornography case

 

Security tight after threat against Alta High School

 

Police investigate gun threat at Uintah County school

 

$97M cost surprise: Utah school enrollment surges

 

Feedback on Facebook: Salem Junior High apologizes for terrorist propaganda misstep

 

Utah school cancels assignment asking students to create Islamic State propaganda Education » Teacher tasked ninth-graders with creating extremist posters after attacks in Paris.

 

Devils support good cause, get to chase angels at Springville High 5K fundraiser

 

Brighton High School students raise funds for 2-year-old cancer patient

 

Red Rock Canyon School invites everyone for annual feast

 

Canyons District OKs high school boundary adjustments for 2017-18

 

Lee fights broken education reauthorization process

 

Homelessness among school children in Utah

 

New student-created sculpture revealed at Edith Bowen

 

Winter jazz and percussion concert at Cedar High

 

West Jordan dad is ‘ultra’ supportive of elementary school’s food drive

 

Davis District seeks comment on proposed 2016-17 calendar

 

New school lunch regulations could turn food into something kids won’t eat

 

The raisin-cup game to test your kid’s future academic successes

 


 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Let’s talk about hope

 

Thumbs down

 

Why Nonpartisan Elections for the Utah State Board of Education?

 

Envision Utah and a Vision for the Future

 

I teach

 

Louisiana’s School Voucher Victory

A sordid Justice Department lawsuit gets a judicial rebuke.

 

Urban Charter Schools Often Succeed. Suburban Ones Often Don’t.

 

Hillary betrays charter schools

 

Accountability and the ESEA Reauthorization Deal: Your Cheat Sheet

 

Schools sing praise to Allah, create propaganda posters for ISIS

 

From Crawling to Walking

Ranking States on Birth-3rd Grade Policies that Build Strong Readers

 


 

 

NATION

 

The fight over K-12 education appears headed back to the states

 

John King Urges State Chiefs to Seize Momentum if ESEA Overhaul Passes

 

Massachusetts’s Rejection of Common Core Test Signals Shift in U.S.

 

Colorado’s education waiver including high testing opt-out flexibility approved Among other things, state will not punish schools with high test opt-outs

 

Appeals Court Rejects Injunction Requiring Training on School Searches

 

What Roadblocks Stand in the Way of a Digital K-12 Market?

 

Measure would report school crime data next to test scores, graduation rates

 

Despite oil bust, Texas prepares more students for oil jobs

 

Mojave High to reopen Monday with more police, grief counselors

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Canyons to place Dual-Immersion Language programs in all 5 of its high schools

 

SANDY — The Canyons School District will place Dual-Language Immersion programs in all five of its high schools beginning in the 2016-17 school year, when some of the students who began the program as first-graders start high school.

The statewide program is aimed at preparing students for college and career in a second language. The Canyons’ current programs are available in Spanish-English, French-English and Mandarin Chinese-English at eight elementary schools and six middle schools.

In the ninth grade, dual-language students will take one Advanced Placement class in the target language. Students in 10th, 11th and 12th grades will take one 3,000-level college course each year in the target language.

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

 


 

 

Predatory teachers might be few but impact on profession is huge

 

One bad apple may not spoil the whole bunch, but he or she can make life more difficult for the good apples.

“We can have 10,000 outstanding educators that are doing what they should be doing … who are working hard, and are diligent in helping students learn, and then one thing happens. A bad educator does something inappropriate — and it’s inexcusable — but boy, it gives us all a black eye,” said Terry Jackson, the Box Elder Assistant Superintendent/Personnel.

Many educators decline talking about such a difficult subject, but Jackson compared it to the current distrust police officers say they’re dealing with because of the actions of a few.

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

 


 

 

What is the hiring practice for teachers in Utah?

 

School districts try to keep children safe, but there’s only so much that can done to spot a bad apple.

“Of course we do background checks, and of course we hire no one that we would feel there would be any problem with, but sometimes you just don’t know what somebody is thinking,” said Nate Taggart, spokesman for Weber School District.

Utah law requires background checks for anyone applying for a Utah Educator License, or to renew or upgrade the license. The Utah Administrative Code also requires local education agencies to adopt background check policies for non-licensed school employees. In addition, there are laws and rules requiring school employees to quickly file reports with their employer if arrested or convicted for sex offenses, as well as for stalking, assault, domestic violence, harassment, child abuse and other crimes.

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

 


 

 

Licenses of 20 Utah teachers revoked in Utah since 2010

 

She can’t prove it, but Heidi Nestel believes there are more sex abuse cases being reported involving teachers.

“I don’t know if it is because it’s in the news more and there’s more exposure, or if there are actual more cases,” said Nestel, executive director of the Utah Crime Victims Legal Clinic.

She has represented many victims of sexual abuse in Utah courts, including victims in which the perpetrator was a teacher.

A search of the Standard-Examiner’s archives shows at least nine teachers or teacher’s aides in Weber, Davis and Box Elder counties have been convicted of various charges related to sexual misconduct since 2009.

Statewide, the state Office of Education has investigated 38 cases of inappropriate educator-student relationships in the past five years, according to officials. There doesn’t appear to be a trend — the number of reports varies from year to year.

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

 


 

 

Two Utah bills add teeth to laws against child sex predators

 

One consequence of the Brianne Altice case in Davis County, in which a teacher caught international attention and was convicted of having sex with several teenage students, was legislators seeking ways to strengthen efforts to keep sexual predators out of Utah schools.

Two bills were passed and signed into law by Gov. Gary Herbert this year.

House Bill 277, sponsored by Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, extended the statute of limitations for sexual abuse of children. As a result, a victim of a crime could sue a perpetrator in civil court for up to 22 years. Until the law was changed, civil action was only permissible until age 22.

Ivory hopes to extend the statute of limitation even further in next year’s legislative session. He says he regularly gets calls for abuse victims, mostly women in their 40s, who are finally able to talk about the abuse and trauma they suffered as teens, but have no legal recourse.

“This is not a red state-blue state issue,” says Ivory, who adds he’s optimistic the extension will become law.

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

 


 

 

Kaysville woman speaks out after sexual abuse from teacher

 

When Jaime Heiner was a young teenager, her basketball coach and tutor, Stephan Paul Niedzwiecki, began paying special attention to her.

Heiner, from Kaysville, said she was having issues with her self-worth during that time in her life. The deployment of her older brother to Afghanistan was putting her in a mentally and emotionally difficult place.

Niedzwiecki, who was 33-years-old at the time, began spending a lot of ”one-on-one“ time with her, talking to her about her life. He would give her extra credit on assignments for no reason or write overly-personal notes on her papers.

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

 

 


 

 

Number of students enrolled in Davis District schools now exceeds 70,000

 

FARMINGTON – Davis School District passed a major milestone on Oct. 1, as this year’s student count indicates the district now serves more than 70,000 students.

“It was one of those real marker days,” Superintendent Bryan Bowles reported to the Davis School District Board of Education at a meeting Nov. 3. “As we look at all of the students for whom we are responsible, there are 71,910 students and preschool students, an increase of 800 students in the same categories over last year.”

http://go.uen.org/5gs (DCC)

 


 

 

Founding member of Ballet West choreographing high school’s musical production

 

WEST JORDAN, Utah — He’s a legend in the state of Utah when it comes to dancing, and the Utah man who is a founding member of Ballet West has volunteered to choreograph a local school’s production.

Rowland Butler has agreed to choreograph West Jordan High School’s run of “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

Butler, 76, was a founding member of Utah’s Ballet West more than 55 years ago and part of the Odyssey Dance Theater.

He later taught classes at the University of Utah and ran the musical theater program there. He also choreographed for Pioneer Theater for 14 years.

With all that experience, Butler jumped at the chance to work with high school students.

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

 


 

 

Minority groups taking issue with Salt Lake School District

 

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Members of racially diverse groups in the Salt Lake community are upset with the Salt Lake School District because of the lack of people of color in leadership positions.  The school board says while their concerns are valid a lot of the information out there to support their claims is misrepresented.

Last Tuesday the Salt Lake School Board approved the assigning of three administrators by the superintendent, all of which were Caucasian, and all part of a recent reorganization plan.  And with more than half of the student population in the district composed of minorities, they believe they’re not being properly represented in the leadership.

“We view it as a form of discrimination and as a need for us as a diverse group,” said Josie Valdez a Salt Lake City resident, “We need a diverse group and culture.”

“Everything is being handled politically by people who just want one thing and they are not willing to listen or be flexible,” added Jose Enriquez, the former title 3 school director of Utah.

http://go.uen.org/5g7 (KTVX)

 


 

 

Dave Ure bids Summit County Council farewell Long-time local public figure accepts state position

 

Ask around, most people know Dave Ure.

The long-time resident and East Side advocate has served 14 years as a representative to the Utah Legislature and a seven as a County Council member. He is a fourth-generation rancher in the Kamas Valley and his wife, Mae, is a school teacher at South Summit Elementary School.

However, this week Ure is stepping down from his role with the council with three years left in his term to accept a state-level position.

Earlier this month, Ure delivered his resignation letter to the county after Utah Governor Gary Herbert announced that he had been appointed the new director of Utah’s School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA). He will be responsible for 75 staff members and procuring money for the state’s schools.

http://go.uen.org/5fo (PR)

 


 

 

Officials: Logan High attendance policy reducing tardiness

 

A new attendance policy at Logan High School has reduced the number of students arriving to class late.

An update on the the effectiveness of the policy was presented to the Logan City School District Board of Education during Tuesday’s meeting.

The school changed to a more aggressive policy and procedure after teachers complained to administration that too many students were arriving to class tardy and loitering in the halls during class. The administration responded by forming the Positive Behaviors and Interventions Support Team.

http://go.uen.org/5g1 (LHJ)

 


 

 

West Jordan teacher charged in child pornography case

 

WEST JORDAN — A West Hills Middle School teacher arrested earlier this month for investigation of child pornography was charged this week with two felonies in the case.

Jeffrey Thomas Patterson, 31, is charged with two counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, both third-degree felonies.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/5fM (KUTV)

 

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

 


 

 

Security tight after threat against Alta High School

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Bomb-sniffing police dogs and police officers were at Alta High School in Sandy Sunday searching for incindiary devices following a bomb threat made against the school.

No devices were found during the search and school officials said the threat may be a hoax. Classes are scheduled to take place Monday without interuption. But district officials said “we are opting to err on the side of caution. Per our security protocols, we immediately contacted police and have continued to work with law enforcement on an investigation,” states part of a message sent to parents Sunday.

The threat was apparently made on a wall inside the school last week and said the school would be targeted Monday, according to Jeff Haney, spokesman for the Canyons School District.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/5g5 (KUTV)

 

http://go.uen.org/5g6 (KTVX)

 

http://go.uen.org/5g8 (KSL)

 

 


 

Police investigate gun threat at Uintah County school

 

NAPLES, Uintah County — A student at Naples Elementary School threatened to bring a gun to school and shoot at least two students, but never brought a weapon on campus, police said.

A “disgruntled fifth-grader” made the threats Wednesday after another student “said something that made him mad,” said Naples Police Chief Mark Watkins. Officers learned about the threats after class was out for the day. They intercepted the boy Thursday morning before school.

“There was no threat to the school,” Watkins said, adding that the boy did not have any weapons when officers made contact with him.

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

 


 

 

$97M cost surprise: Utah school enrollment surges

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah needs to find more than $90 million in state coffers to pay for public schools next year amid a jump in enrollment.

The Deseret News reports there was an unexpected influx of new students this year and nearly 10,000 additional children are expected when the next school year starts.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/5fX (PDH)

 

http://go.uen.org/5g2 (CVD)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 


 

 

Feedback on Facebook: Salem Junior High apologizes for terrorist propaganda misstep

 

What do you think is the best way for students to learn about terrorism in schools?

There are no longer any terrorist propaganda posters being assigned to students in Salem, Utah.

A Salem Junior High School teacher tasked approximately 60 ninth-graders on Wednesday with creating a terrorism propaganda poster as an in-class assignment.

http://go.uen.org/5gp (PDH)

 


 

 

Utah school cancels assignment asking students to create Islamic State propaganda Education » Teacher tasked ninth-graders with creating extremist posters after attacks in Paris.

 

Administrators at Salem Junior High School canceled an assignment this week that asked ninth-grade students to create a propaganda poster for extremist groups like the militant Islamic State group.

Nebo School District spokeswoman Lana Hiskey said Friday that the assignment was the idea of a “very naive but enthusiastic” first-year educator who was teaching her class about the Middle East.

“She wanted to teach a little bit about propaganda,” Hiskey said. “I think what happened was she got excited, with all this stuff in the news right now, and this was one way to get kids excited about an assignment.”

Students were asked to create a propaganda poster for one of the terrorist groups discussed in class. The assignment sheet, provided to The Salt Lake Tribune by the school district, included a note that students uncomfortable with the directions could request an alternate assignment.

School administrators learned of the assignment after classes ended Wednesday when parents of four children contacted the school, Hiskey said.

Students were told the next day that the assignment was canceled, and a message was posted to the school’s Facebook page.

“After consultation, the assignment was immediately withdrawn,” the statement read. “If parents have any concerns, please call the administration at Salem Junior High.”

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

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/5gx (CSM)

 

http://go.uen.org/5gA (NY Daily News)

 

http://go.uen.org/5gB (New York Magazine)

 

http://go.uen.org/5gC (Daily Beast)

 

http://go.uen.org/5gD (AOL News)

 


 

 

Lee fights broken education reauthorization process

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Mike Lee delivered a speech Wednesday on the Senate floor regarding what a press release from his office characterized as the fraudulent manner in which the conference process has unfolded with respect to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act Reauthorization bill.

http://go.uen.org/5gv (SGN)

 


 

 

Homelessness among school children in Utah

 

  1. GEORGE — Mike Carr officially carries the title “Student Support Services Coordinator” for the Washington County School District, but he’s generally known by the much simpler label “homeless student liaison.”

Carr, in his second year at the post, has the task of gathering and distributing resources that will hopefully keep children in school and able to focus on their studies when the stresses of uncertain living conditions outside the school weigh heavily on their minds.

For the resources to help a student, they often have to help a family as a whole.

http://go.uen.org/5fV (PDH)

 


 

 

New student-created sculpture revealed at Edith Bowen

 

Over the past three weeks, students at Edith Bowen Laboratory School have been working with a visiting artist to create a sculpture to hang in the school’s library. On Friday afternoon, the sculpture was officially revealed to the student body, staff and guests.

http://go.uen.org/5g0 (LHJ)

 


 

 

Winter jazz and percussion concert at Cedar High

 

The Cedar High School Winter Jazz/Percussion Concert will be Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the Cedar High Auditorium, 703 W. 600 South. The Redmen Jazz Ensemble and Percussion Ensembles will be performing. Admission is free.

http://go.uen.org/5g4 (SGS)

 


 

 

West Jordan dad is ‘ultra’ supportive of elementary school’s food drive

 

WEST JORDAN — A lot of parents are willing to support charity and fundraising efforts undertaken by the schools their children attend.

But Danny Widerburg might be setting a new standard of commitment.

For the last three years, his wife Courtnie has spearheaded the food drive benefiting the Utah Food Bank at Mountain Shadows Elementary, the school their two sons attend.

“It’s just an idea I had on a morning run,” Widerburg said. “The last few years, I’ve offered to do it. But then I backed out. Every morning the last few months, it kind of plagued me. I kept feeling that jab, ‘You need to do it. You need to do it.’”

What Widerburg is going to do next Saturday, Nov. 28, seems brutal, even for an ultra runner who said one of his favorite aspects of endurance events is the suffering. The West Jordan man will run 400 laps around the Copper Hills High School track in what he’s calling a “100 Mile Hunger Run to support the Utah Food Bank.”

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

 


 

 

Devils support good cause, get to chase angels at Springville High 5K fundraiser

 

The third annual Devils and Angels 5K Chaseathon Run and Walk had an eager crowd of 119 devils chasing a lone angel off and onto the Springville High School track field on Saturday.

Springville High School cross country coach Sam Smith, who also is the race director, said the goal was to exceed the 2014 numbers of 60 devils, and they did that and more.

http://go.uen.org/5fW (PDH)

 

 


 

Brighton High School students raise funds for 2-year-old cancer patient

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Brighton High School students are participating in regular events for the next two months to raise money for a 2-year-old being treated for cancer at Primary Children’s Hospital.

Nevada resident Tyce Campbell was diagnosed with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma in July after his parents noticed his left leg had swollen, his dad, Bradley Campbell, said.

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

 

 


 

 

Red Rock Canyon School invites everyone for annual feast

 

ST GEORGE, Utah – The Red Rock Canyon School will again be holding their annual Thanksgiving feast on Thursday, Nov. 26 at 11 a.m. This will be the 44th year of giving back to the community for the holiday by serving a meal to any who attend. School’s founder Frank Habibian started this tradition over 40 years ago. Each year it only gets bigger and better!

http://go.uen.org/5gc (KCSG)

 


 

 

Canyons District OKs high school boundary adjustments for 2017-18

 

SANDY — The Canyons Board of Education on Nov. 17 unanimously approved boundary adjustments aimed at balancing enrollment at the district’s high schools and slowing future growth at Hillcrest and Corner Canyon.

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

 

 


 

Davis District seeks comment on proposed 2016-17 calendar

 

FARMINGTON — The Davis Board of Education is seeking comment on the proposed 2016-17 school year calendar.

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

 

 


 

New school lunch regulations could turn food into something kids won’t eat

 

Generations of American students who lunched on mystery meat, sloppy Joes, limp pizza, creamed turkey and the ubiquitous pigs in a blanket may now look back with queasy nostalgia on bygone days their children will never know.

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

 


 

 

The raisin-cup game to test your kid’s future academic successes

 

Researchers indicated parents who want to test the future intelligence of the toddlers they’re raisin’ might just need a dried grape and cup.

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

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Let’s talk about hope

(Provo) Daily Herald editorial

 

For many years it was the problem Utah wouldn’t talk about.

We’re not alone in this issue — it’s a national problem — but it’s hurt and pain that frankly too many Utahns are acquainted with.

In the worst kind of way, it isolates.

During the past nine months, we have actively been researching and seeking stories that illuminate solutions regarding the suicides being committed by the young and old in Utah County. The purpose of this nine-part series was to provide resources and tools to help all of us both understand and reduce the rate of suicide in our towns.

Today marks the conclusion of our ongoing coverage, but that does not signal that we, as a community, no longer need to discuss suicide or address it. To the contrary, it’s more important than ever.

We’ve learned that our high schools are dealing with suicides and suicide attempts at a higher rate than we’ve seen in past years.

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

 


 

 

Thumbs down

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

 

To high school students who laced gummy worms with alcohol and prescription drugs, sending a Brigham City teenager to the hospital.

Police say three students could face charges in connection with the doctored candy. They’re lucky they didn’t seriously harm somebody.

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

 


 

 

Why Nonpartisan Elections for the Utah State Board of Education?

Utah Policy commentary by Davis Alliance for Public Education

 

In the upcoming session, the Utah Legislature will be considering a new system for selecting members of the Utah State Board of Education.

In September 2014, the U.S. District Court struck down the current system of selecting Board members as unconstitutional. Thereafter several proposals came before the 2015 legislative session for a new system, including partisan election, nonpartisan, and hybrids of both. None made it to the governor’s desk. Now the legislature will doubtless try again. Apparently, an attempt will be made to revive the unconstitutional “nominating-committee system” by tinkering with the wording of the law.

The Davis Alliance calls on the legislature to adopt nonpartisan direct election of the state Board of Education.

We favor nonpartisan elections for three reasons:

* Partisan elections for the state board violate the Utah Constitution.

* Utahns overwhelmingly favor nonpartisan elections for the state board.

* Partisanship has no place in public education.

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

 

 


 

 

Envision Utah and a Vision for the Future Utah Policy op-ed by Robert Grow, Envision Utah President and CEO

 

Thirty-five years from now, nearly twice as many people will call Utah home.

This growth will affect everything from our neighborhoods, cities, and roadways to our economy, our parks and trails, our natural resources, and our environment. But Utahns have high expectations for the future. We believe that Utah can get better even as our population gets bigger.

To that end, Envision Utah and Governor Gary Herbert recently released the Your Utah, Your Future vision for 2050 (see http://yourutahyourfuture.org/). The vision paints a clear picture for the future of the state—both in terms of what Utahns want the future to be, and what we can all do to get there. It covers 11 topics and is built on the work of 400 of Utah’s experts in those topics as well as the collective input of more than 52,000 Utahns.

Fourth, we need to ensure our education system prepares Utahns for the jobs and challenges of the future. With early childhood education, high-quality teachers, student assessments and assistance, and affordable post-high school education, we can have a workforce that attracts employers and spurs innovation, leading to a prosperous economy.

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

 


 

 

I teach

Deseret News letter from Lori Nickerson

 

I am greeted daily with 27 handshakes and am surrounded by smiles. Giggles and chitchat stifle the silence. I am constantly learning. I am creative and know how to adapt to change. I am challenged. I see hope and seek leaders. I create thinkers. I laugh and marvel as eyes ignite and hands rocket. Little things bring great joy. Innocence and trust prevail. Curiousity fills the room. Excitement erupts. Kindness is taught. Safety comes first. Humor and sarcasm are welcome. Bridges are literally made and gaps are figuratively bridged. Choices are given. Diversity is embraced. I make mistakes and encourage others to take risks. I mentor and praise my profession. I live comfortably and come home smiling. I know I am doing good in the world. I make a difference. I teach. By the way, when you find the error in this piece, thank a teacher.

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

 


 

 

Louisiana’s School Voucher Victory

A sordid Justice Department lawsuit gets a judicial rebuke.

Wall Street Journal editorial

 

Bobby Jindal made a name for himself in the GOP by championing school choice. Upstaged by new candidates on the block, the Louisiana Governor this week dropped out of the Republican presidential race. But at least the education reformer can take heart that his private-school voucher legacy has finally been protected.

Last week a 2-1 majority of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a district court ruling that granted the Justice Department pre-clearance review of Louisiana vouchers. The “burdensome, costly, and endless” process imposed “a vast and intrusive reporting regime on the State without any finding of unconstitutional conduct,” wrote appellate Judge Edith Jones for the majority.

The rebuke punctuates a sordid, two-year case in which the Obama Administration sought to deny poor, black kids better educational opportunities under the pretext of promoting integration. In August 2013 Justice sued to block Louisiana’s vouchers, which the Administration claimed appeared “to impede the desegregation progress” of public schools under federal desegregation orders dating to the 1960s and ’70s.

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

 


 

 

Urban Charter Schools Often Succeed. Suburban Ones Often Don’t.

New York Times commentary by SUSAN DYNARSKI, professor of education, public policy and economics at the University of Michigan

 

Charter schools are controversial. But are they good for education?

Rigorous research suggests that the answer is yes for an important, underserved group: low­income, nonwhite students in urban areas. These children tend to do better if enrolled in charter schools instead of traditional public schools.

There are exceptions, of course. We can’t predict with certainty that a particular child will do better in a specific charter or traditional public school. Similarly, no doctor can honestly promise a patient she will benefit from a treatment.

Social scientists, like medical researchers, can confirm only whether, on average, a given treatment is beneficial for a given population. Not all charter schools are outstanding: In the suburbs, for example, the evidence is that they do no better than traditional public schools. But they have been shown to improve the education of disadvantaged children at scale, in multiple cities, over many years.

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

 


 

 

 

Hillary betrays charter schools

(Washington, DC) The Hill op-ed by Juan Williams, author and political analyst for Fox News Channel

 

My 5-year-old grandson goes to a big city charter school. But Eli and his classmates do not belong to a union. They do not give money to politicians. They can’t vote.

Maybe that is why Hillary Clinton has no problem doing a big political flip-flop on charter schools.

Until her recent endorsements from teachers’ unions, Clinton was a supporter of school choice. In her books and speeches, she spoke about the need to improve public school education with a special focus on helping minority and low-income children.

But in exchange for winning the endorsements of the two big teachers’ unions, the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers, Clinton has become an opponent of the choice and innovation provided by charter schools.

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

 


 

 

Accountability and the ESEA Reauthorization Deal: Your Cheat Sheet Education Week analysis by columnist Alyson Klein

 

The newest proposed version of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act—dubbed the Every Student Succeeds Act—is almost over the congressional finish line, with votes in both chambers of Congress imminent.

So how would accountability work under the ESSA, if approved? And how does it compare to No Child Left Behind Act, Classic Edition, and the Obama administration’s waivers?

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

 


 

 

Schools sing praise to Allah, create propaganda posters for ISIS FoxNews commentary by columnist Todd Starnes

 

Are American public schools on the verge of becoming taxpayer-funded Madrassas?

In 2001 the founder of the Institute on Religious and Civic Values boasted about a covert plan to conduct a “bloodless” revolution inside American public classrooms – promoting an increased emphasis on the Islamic faith.

I wrote extensively about their plans to wage a stealth academic jihad in my book, “God Less America.” Read the chapter titled, “One Nation Under Allah.”

Still, it might surprise many moms and dads at the extent of Islamic indoctrination that’s infected their local public schools.

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

 


 

 

From Crawling to Walking

Ranking States on Birth-3rd Grade Policies that Build Strong Readers New America analysis

 

Only about one-third of children attending school in the United States can read proficiently at fourth grade, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress, known as “the nation’s report card.”  If that is not dismaying enough, consider the outcomes for our most vulnerable students. For fourth graders from low-income families, the proportion of students reading on grade level plummets to less than 20 percent. Less than 10 percent of dual-language learners (DLLs) are meeting expectations. These children have difficulty understanding the more complex material covered in school at this age, and the ramifications can be serious.

The first eight years of children’s experiences, from birth through third grade (B–3rd), lay the critical foundation of cognitive, social, and emotional skills on which the entirety of their future learning rests. Children who have weak literacy skills at age eight face a series of potentially damaging short- and long-term consequences. Many will repeat a grade and some will drop out of school. Worse still, when they reach adulthood, their lack of a high school diploma makes it more likely that they will face incarceration and become dependent on social supports.  To improve children’s literacy skills and close opportunity and achievement gaps, federal, state, and local policymakers, along with other stakeholders, have centered on third grade as a pivotal point in academic and life trajectories.

But the literacy and language gaps do not start in third grade, or even in kindergarten, for that matter. They start much, much earlier.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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The fight over K-12 education appears headed back to the states Washington Post

 

With Congress poised to pass a law that would shift power over K-12 public school policy from the federal government back to the states, the debate about improving schools is shifting from Washington to the 50 state capitals.

Congress is expected to take a final vote on a bill to replace No Child Left Behind, the current federal law, after Thanksgiving. House and Senate conferees endorsed the new legislation 39 to 1 on Thursday, and while some conservatives are unhappy with it, the bill is expected to pass and the White House has indicated that President Obama will sign it.

The greatest change in the proposed law is a dismantling of the federal accountability system that defined whether K-12 schools were successful, prescribed actions to improve struggling schools, and imposed penalties on states and schools that failed to make progress. It also prevents the federal government from requiring states to evaluate teachers and principals and adopt specific academic standards.

Decisions about how to identify successful and struggling schools and teachers, how much weight to give to test scores, and how and when to intervene in struggling schools will be left to each state.

“The governors and state legislatures in many states will likely face an onslaught of proposals from unions, school administrators and others seeking to leverage the new flexibility states will have under the new law,” said Charles Barone, education policy director at Democrats for Education Reform, a nonprofit group. “On the heels of everything else they’ve been facing on Common Core . . . comes a whole new wave of potential changes on how to rate and intervene in schools.”

Interest groups already are anticipating clashes in state capitals as the states create their own school accountability systems.

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

 


 

 

 

John King Urges State Chiefs to Seize Momentum if ESEA Overhaul Passes Education Week

 

Charlotte, N.C. – John B. King Jr., who is set to take over next month as acting U.S. Secretary of Education, told the states’ school chiefs Saturday that a reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act is long overdue and that he hopes if they are given more authority, state chiefs will continue President Barack Obama’s efforts to improve the quality of the nation’s teachers, identify and work to close achievement gaps, and raise learning standards.

“This is a huge opportunity for states to think greater about how they hold schools accountable,” King said about the proposed legislation at the Council of Chief State School Officers policy forum here. “This is an opportunity for important conversations around equity. We will be a source of technical assistance and promote sharing of resources across states.”

An ESEA reauthorization compromise that passed a congressional conference panel on Thursday stands to shift a great deal of accountability, assessment, and school turnaround work from the federal government to the states.

Neither King, who is currently filling the duties of deputy secretary, nor Roberto Rodriguez, who is Obama’s deputy assistant for education, tipped their hats in their conversation with CCSSO director Chris Minnich as to what in the wide-ranging reauthorization framework the administration liked or didn’t like. But both officials reminded the chiefs of the president’s legacy on education policy, while admitting several problems remain unsolved.

“If reauthorization passes, we’re excited about the work that’s ahead,” King said. “If it doesn’t pass, we’ll continue the good work we’ve done working with the waivers [from the No Child Left Behind Act]. It’s an ambitious agenda. Everybody feels a sense of urgency.”

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

 


 

 

Massachusetts’s Rejection of Common Core Test Signals Shift in U.S.

New York Times

 

BOSTON — It has been one of the most stubborn problems in education: With 50 states, 50 standards and 50 tests, how could anyone really know what American students were learning, or how well?

At a dinner with colleagues in 2009, Mitchell Chester, Massachusetts’s commissioner of education, hatched what seemed like an obvious answer — a national test based on the Common Core standards that almost every state had recently adopted.

Now Dr. Chester finds himself in the awkward position of walking away from the very test he helped create.

On his recommendation, the State Board of Education decided last week that Massachusetts would go it alone and abandon the multistate test in favor of one to be developed for just this state. The move will cost an extra year and unknown millions of dollars.

Across the country, what was once bipartisan consensus around national standards has collapsed into acrimony about the Common Core, with states dropping out of the two national tests tied to it that had been the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s education strategy.

But no about­face has resonated more than the one in Massachusetts, for years a leader in education reform. This state embraced uniform standards and tests with consequences more than two decades before the Common Core, and by 2005, its children led all states in the National Assessment of Educational Progress, often called the nation’s report card, and rose above all other countries, save Singapore, in science.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/5fx (CSM)

 

http://go.uen.org/5gk (NewsHour)

 

 


 

 

Colorado’s education waiver including high testing opt-out flexibility approved Among other things, state will not punish schools with high test opt-outs Denver (CO) Post

 

Colorado’s waiver from federal education laws will be renewed by the U.S. Department of Education, the department announced Friday.

The waiver from the so-called No Child Left Behind law was first approved in 2012 to give the state some flexibility in how it used test data to rate schools and districts.

In the renewal request the state was, among other things, seeking flexibility not to punish schools or districts that had a low level of participation in state tests.

In an approval letter, Federal officials wrote that the waiver is in the state’s best interest but that they will grant the waiver for only one year. If the state meets certain conditions, approval for more years will be considered.

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

 

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

 


 

 

Appeals Court Rejects Injunction Requiring Training on School Searches Education Week

 

A federal appeals court has thrown out a trial judge’s injunction requiring a Tennessee school district to better train its school nurses to avoid unconstitutional searches and seizures of students.

The ruling stemmed from a 2009 incident in which a school nurse in the Nashville-Davidson County school system conducted a visual inspection of a 6-year-old girl’s genital area because the student had complained of itching and discomfort.

The student’s parents did not consent to the exam, and they sued the school district and the nurse alleging that the exam was an illegal search under the Fourth Amendment. The suit said the student was “confused, humiliated, and frightened” by the exam.

A federal district court in Nashville held that the exam was an unreasonable search, and it denied immunity to the nurse, Karen Sliwowski, based on cases outlawing strip searches of students for contraband.

But in a 2013 ruling, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, unanimously granted qualified immunity to the nurse, holding that it was not clearly established that a nurse’s visual inspection of a student’s genital area when done for medical purposes constituted a search.

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

 

A copy of the ruling

http://go.uen.org/5gh (6th Circuit Court of Appeals)

 

 


 

 

What Roadblocks Stand in the Way of a Digital K-12 Market?

Education Week

 

The transition from print to digital resources has been playing out unevenly across districts, with some school systems pressing ahead full-bore and others staying more entrenched in the paper-bound world, either by choice or necessity.

So what are some of the factors that are impeding schools’ movement into the digital space?

MDR, a market-research company, attempts to bring clarity to that question in a new report: “The Shift Toward Digital: Forcing Factors, Benefits, and Barriers.”

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

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/5gj (MDR $)

 

 


 

 

Measure would report school crime data next to test scores, graduation rates Associated Press via Milwaukee (WI) Journal Sentinel

 

Momentum is growing in the Wisconsin Legislature to require that data about crimes committed on school grounds be more readily available for parents and others to view alongside test scores and graduation rates.

The push for such a law comes on the heels of the voucher program expanding statewide and the lifting of enrollment caps. Advocates of the school choice program have used crime data to persuade public school students to transfer to voucher or charter schools, particularly in Milwaukee, saying their schools are a safer option than urban public schools.

School safety is a significant factor for parents when deciding where to send their children, said Jim Bender, president of School Choice Wisconsin, which represents private schools in the voucher program. The group analyzed police data from 2014 and issued a report comparing a higher number of calls to schools in the Milwaukee public school district with those to charter and private vouchers schools.

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

 


 

 

Despite oil bust, Texas prepares more students for oil jobs Associated Press via Houston (TX) Chronicle

 

HOUSTON— The oil industry is mired in its latest bust, with thousands of jobs evaporating like flares flaming out over natural gas wells. But in Texas, education officials are preparing more young people for the oil patch, showing the state’s unshakeable commitment to the energy sector despite the employment uncertainties.

The Houston school district is planning to expand its Energy Institute High School to around 1,000 students by 2017 and inaugurate a new 110,000 square-foot, $37 million facility. The three-year-old institute is the nation’s only high school fully specializing in oil and energy careers.

In the oil-rich Permian Basin, two Midland high schools have begun “petroleum academies.” And state officials have approved vocational classes in oil production, authorizing all schools districts across Texas to teach them.

“We are in this downturn, but as a society we have a responsibility to not let that affect our workforce and to keep ahead of the game,” said Energy Institute principal Lori Lambropoulos.

Other oil and gas states, including North Dakota, Louisiana and Wyoming, offer technical training for high school students interested in the oil industry, but Texas’ program is more extensive, despite questions about whether there will be jobs in the near future for its graduates.

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

 

 


 

 

Mojave High to reopen Monday with more police, grief counselors Las Vegas (NV) Review-Journal

 

Classes and activities at Mojave High School will go on as normal Monday after a fatal shooting during an after-school brawl next to the campus Friday, the school principal said.

But there will be a stronger police presence and grief counselors available throughout the week, Principal Antonio Rael said on the school’s Facebook account. “The safety and care of each and every Mojave student is my top priority,” he said. After-school activities were cancelled over the weekend.

On Friday, almost an hour after classes were dismissed, a brawl broke out among a group of 40 to 50 people, North Las Vegas police said. At least one gunshot rang out and Taylor Brantley, 16, was fatally wounded.

Police did not release many more details, but on Friday night said they were still interviewing witnesses and that a gun had not been recovered. Police had not announced any arrests on Sunday.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

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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