Education News Roundup: Dec. 4, 2015

Education News Roundup

Utah State Board of Education at its December meeting.

Utah State Board of Education at its December meeting.

Today’s Top Picks:


Trib and KUER take a closer look at the passage of ESSA. (SLT)

and (KUER)


San Bernardino schools trying to help students cope with the situation there. (LAT)


Google appears to be putting more and more of its devices in schools at the expense of Microsoft and Apple. (CNBC)












No Child Left Behind replacement still has too much federal flavor for Utah delegation Education » Utah representatives say NCLB changes don’t go far enough.


Scientists: Updated Standards Omit Key Climate Facts


Utah Middle Schoolers Chat With NASA Astronaut on International Space Station


Proposed Davis school boundaries may be changing again


School district to celebrate 100 years with DSU


False report of man with gun sparks lockdown at Pleasant Grove High School


Grandmother charged for crack pipe found in school backpack


Bienvenue! Dual language immersion students host French ambassador


People on the Move


Inside our schools






Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down


Remembering Olene Walker, a governor with no guile but lots of guts


Reforming No Child Left Behind


States v. districts in the Every Student Succeeds Act


Why more education won’t end poverty, in one chart






What San Bernardino teachers are doing to help their students cope


Education 101: Google Chromebooks Multiply in U.S. Classrooms


Online Classes Appeal More to the Affluent


For A Schoolboy With AIDS, A Principal Opened Doors — By Opening His Arms








No Child Left Behind replacement still has too much federal flavor for Utah delegation Education » Utah representatives say NCLB changes don’t go far enough.


Seven years beyond its intended shelf life, the federal No Child Left Behind act is poised for an update after a landslide bipartisan vote in the U.S. House of Representatives.

House members voted 359-64 in favor of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which shrinks the role of the federal government in dictating education policy and returns power to the states to determine how and when to intervene with struggling schools.

The Senate is expected to vote on the bill next week, with bipartisan support, and the Obama administration issued a statement endorsing the proposal Wednesday following the House vote.

But included among the 64 opposing votes on Wednesday were all four of Utah’s elected members of the House of Representatives. (SLT) (KUER)




Scientists: Updated Standards Omit Key Climate Facts


Members of Utah’s State Board of Education will be hearing  from practicing scientists on Friday who say that proposed science standards ignore some critical concepts about climate change.

The standards are benchmarks aimed at preparing students for college and work, but 6th- through 8th-graders in Utah’s public schools are currently being tested on science standards developed more than a decade ago.

On Friday, the Utah Board of Education is set to update the standards – including sections that have students address the natural greenhouse effect in the 6th grade and the human role of climate change in the 8th grade. Board members will hear from Barry Bickmore, a professor of geochemistry at Brigham Young University who says the standards omit key points that students need to learn. (KUER)




Utah Middle Schoolers Chat With NASA Astronaut on International Space Station


SALT LAKE CITY – NASA astronaut Scott Kelly has spent the past 250 days in space and he’s not finished yet. That’s already a record for an American and he plans on saying for one full year.

Some Utah middle schoolers got to ask Kelley all about it Thursday.

“We came here to ask astronaut Scott Kelly, we get to interview him and ask him some questions,” said Leilani Unta, 6th grader at Glendale Middle School. (KTVX)




Proposed Davis school boundaries may be changing again


FARMINGTON — Davis School Board President Gordon Eckersley said no matter what decision is made on proposed school boundary changes, some people will be disappointed.

“We hope that once it’s determined, and you can see that most people will benefit from what we choose to do, we do hope that you will support us in that,” he said in a public hearing Tuesday, Dec. 1.

Eckersley ended the meeting admitting he was concerned enough not to support the current proposal on its first reading. In spite of his “nay” vote, the motion did carry, but things are far from settled.

“In the next few weeks ahead there will still be room for discussion and change,” Eckersley said, stressing that boundary decisions are not set in stone by accepting a proposal on its first reading. (OSE)




School district to celebrate 100 years with DSU


Dixie State University will be playing host to the Washington County School District as both facilities come together to celebrate the school district’s 100-year anniversary.

The university will be holding an open house on Dec. 7 to honor the district’s historic milestone and look back on its educational achievements. (SGS)




False report of man with gun sparks lockdown at Pleasant Grove High School


Pleasant Grove High School in Utah County was on lockdown for several hours Thursday afternoon following a false report of a person with a gun.

The lockdown was lifted at about 4:15 p.m., according to Pleasant Grove police, and all students were being released.

Kimberly Bird, an Alpine School District spokeswoman, said no weapon was found and the report was later retracted by the person who made it.

KUTV reported that police confirmed a student who claimed he saw a man in a trench coat with a gun made up the story.

Officers had cleared the school room-by-room, with students escorted out by officers, police said.

By 4:30 p.m., buses were picking up students at 400 E. 200 South in an LDS Church parking lot. (SLT) (DN) (PDH) (BYU Universe) (KUTV) (KTVX) (KSL) (KSTU) (ABC)





Grandmother charged for crack pipe found in school backpack


A grandmother is facing felony charges after authorities say a meth pipe was found in her 8-year-old grand daughter’s backpack.

Linda Wiese is charged with three counts of child endangerment. 2News reporter Chris Jones spoke with the woman in October where she seemed to admit the pipe belonged to her. (KUTV)




Bienvenue! Dual language immersion students host French ambassador


Ari Halverson, left, Maya Yrungaray and Madisen Barnes read through a skit in French for French Ambassador Gérard Araud at Oak Hollow Elementary, a French-English dual language immersion school in Draper on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. Aruad’s visit gave the students a chance to showcase their language skills and cultural understanding through songs, skits and a science lesson — all performed en Français! (DN) (KSTU)





People on the Move


Salt Lake City—Some of Utah’s most prominent leaders within the startup and tech community have come together to launch Start Foundation. The 501(c)(3) non-profit organization hopes to move Utah forward by stimulating collaboration amongst entrepreneurs, promoting diversity in tech, advocating for innovation, building relationships with startup communities around the world, developing branding and recruiting campaigns for the Beehive State’s tech ecosystem, and improving STEM education at the K-12 and university levels. (Utah Business)



Inside our schools


East Elementary

Fiddlers Elementary

South Elementary

Three Peaks Elementary

Canyon View Middle

Arrowhead Elementary

Riverside Elementary

Utah Online High

Heritage Elementary

Valley Academy Charter

Dixie Middle (SGS)










Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

(Provo) Daily Herald editorial


THUMBS UP: The police force handling the lockdown and gun threat at Pleasant Grove High School on Thursday did a great job of communicating and handling the situation with professionalism and care. We echo the statements others have made: we’re grateful for their thoroughness the day after the mass shooting in California ocurred.

THUMBS DOWN: To the young Pleasant Grove High student who fabricated gun story and forced the high school into a four-hour lockdown Thursday, you will sadly find great consequences follow. Children’s lives, their psyches and emotions were damaged, as well as thousands of taxpayer dollars spent.




Remembering Olene Walker, a governor with no guile but lots of guts Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist PAUL ROLLY


With education always her top priority, she pushed through funding for an early-reading program to give young students a head start — despite reluctance from a Republican-dominated Legislature. When she threatened to veto the budget bill if it didn’t include that funding, lawmakers saw her resolve and included the money.

She decided in 2004 to run for governor in her own right after completing Leavitt’s third term, but ran into Utah’s peculiar nominating system.

That year, the GOP delegates were strongly represented by home-schoolers, private-school advocates and others suspicious of public education. Endorsing vouchers to subsidize private-school tuition with public tax money became the litmus test for candidates seeking the governor’s seat.

Jon Huntsman Jr., who later proved he was no big fan of vouchers, nevertheless told delegates that he would support a voucher bill.

Olene, true to form, said she would not, because she didn’t.

The result: The sitting governor, with an 84 percent approval rating, was dumped by the delegates at the Utah Republican Convention, and Huntsman eventually won the prize.




Reforming No Child Left Behind

Wall Street Journal commentary


Center for Education Reform Senior Fellow Jeanne Allen on the Every Student Succeeds Act. (video)




States v. districts in the Every Student Succeeds Act Fordham Institute commentary by Bernard Lee Schwartz Senior Policy Fellow Andy Smarick


The dominant narrative about the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is that it shifts authority over schools back to state governments. But this belies a key feature of the legislation. Indeed, my biggest complaint about ESSA is that it leapfrogs the state government in important places, creating an unwelcome federal government-school district relationship.

My objections are both legal and practical.

Excepting for issues involving federally protected rights (such as discrimination), state governments are ultimately responsible for K-12. This is a matter of the Tenth Amendment’s reserved powers and its education-related case law, like San Antonio v. Rodriguez.

It’s also explicit in state constitutions, which give state governments authority over primary and secondary schooling and place them squarely on the hook for delivering results. This is why, when plaintiffs sue over school funding or tenure rules, state governments—not districts—are the defendants. It’s also clear from state statutes. State laws create school districts and delegate power to them. State governments can decommission districts, consolidate them, take control of them, create new ones, or authorize other entities to deliver or oversee K-12 education.

When a federal education law does an end-run around the state to establish a DC-district link, it undercuts the state’s position and confuses lines of responsibility.




Why more education won’t end poverty, in one chart Vox commentary by columnist Matthew Yglesias


The United States has made great strides over the past few decades in increasing the educational attainment of its populations. Millennials are the best-educated generation in American history and the baby boomers were themselves much better-educated than the “greatest generation.” This means that the share of high school dropouts has greatly declined and the share of college graduates in the population has sharply increased.

One consequence of this is that we have massively improved the educational credentials of people living below the poverty line, as shown by this great chart from Matt Bruenig of the progressive think tank Demos:

During this time, the overall poverty rate has risen by 1.1 percentage points. This ought to cast some doubt on the idea that further increases in educational attainment are going to cure poverty over time.









What San Bernardino teachers are doing to help their students cope Los Angeles Times


As they arrived at school Thursday morning, teachers in San Bernardino received an email from district headquarters — a tip sheet to guide the conversations that they’d surely have with their students the day after 14 people died and 21 were injured in a mass shooting in their city.

The guidelines encouraged teachers to stick to the facts and to reassure students that they were safe at school and that the school district and school police were committed to keeping them safe. The email also included advice from the National Assn. of School Psychologists on talking to children about violence.

The district has a crisis team to support students and staff in some schools and at the district headquarters, said Laura Strachan, director of alternative programs for the San Bernardino City Unified School district.

The crisis team is trained to deal with situations like this one, and accompanies and observes school police during live shooter trainings.

“We have had other events where there’d be, say, a student’s family involved in a shooting where we would deploy [the crisis team],” Strachan said. “But nothing of this scope.”

How teachers and counselors talk to students will depend on their age and proximity to the attack; regardless of whether they were close to the Inland Regional Center, though, being on lockdown — as all San Bernardino schools were on Wednesday — can stoke students’ fear.




Education 101: Google Chromebooks Multiply in U.S. Classrooms CNBC


Google, Microsoft and Apple have been competing for years in the very lucrative education technology market. For the first time, Google has taken a huge lead over its rivals.

Chromebooks now make up more than half of all devices in U.S. classrooms, up from less than 1 percent in 2012, according to a new report from Futuresource Consulting. To analysts, this comes as a big surprise.

“While it was clear that Chromebooks had made progress in education, this news is, frankly, shocking,” said Forrester analyst J.P. Gownder. “Chromebooks made incredibly quick inroads in just a couple of years, leaping over Microsoft and Apple with seeming ease.”

Combine Chromebooks with devices running on Android, and Google’s share of the edtech market is even more impressive. As of the third quarter of this year it had 53 percent of the market for K-12 devices bought by schools and school districts.




Online Classes Appeal More to the Affluent New York Times


Free online educational courses may not be democratizing education as much as proponents believe, a new study reports.

John D. Hansen, a doctoral student at Harvard University’s School of Education, and his colleagues looked at registration and completion patterns in 68 massive open online courses, or MOOCs, offered by Harvard and M.I.T. The data covered 164,198 participants aged 13 to 69.

In a study published in the journal Science, Mr. Hansen and his colleagues reported that people living in more affluent neighborhoods were more likely to register and complete MOOCs. Each increase of $20,000 in neighborhood median income raised the odds of participation in a MOOC by 27 percent, the researchers found.

Yet the vast majority of MOOC participants are not the very affluent, who are comparatively small in number


A copy of the study (Science)




For A Schoolboy With AIDS, A Principal Opened Doors — By Opening His Arms NPR Morning Edition


John Graziano, a second-grader in 1986, was diagnosed with HIV in a Chicago suburb called Wilmette. He had contracted the disease from his biological mother, but he had been adopted by the Graziano family.

“John was one of the first children in the state of Illinois to be diagnosed as HIV-positive,” his adoptive father, Tom, remembers. Tom Graziano recently spoke with John’s elementary school principal, Paul Nilsen, on a visit with StoryCorps.

“We went to our pediatrician, and the doctor said he did not want to be John’s doctor,” Tom Graziano continues. “It was an indication of what might be ahead of us, of how John would be treated and how we as a family would be treated.”

Nilsen recalls that shortly after Christmas vacation, Tom Graziano came to speak with him about John. And Nilsen says he was firm on the matter: “John stays in the school,” he recalls saying at the time.

“There was no question in my mind that that’s where he should be,” Nilsen says.





High school football: What’s the coach get paid? At Bay Area public schools, not much San Jose (CA) Mercury News


Call it crunch time. Or glory days. But as the elite of Bay Area high school football battle for championships and state playoff berths, just don’t call it money time. At least not around coaches at public high schools.

When it comes to stalking the sidelines, plotting X’s and O’s, and helping steer kids toward college, there’s very little money in prep football coaching, this newspaper’s first-of-its-kind survey of public high school athletic coaches’ pay in the region shows.

“I think if you put in enough time, you could take a net loss on your income taxes,” said Chris Walsh, president of the California Coaches Association. “A football program is a year-round endeavor.”

The average coaching stipend in the 2014 season was just more than $3,700, public records show, with 22 percent of coaches paid less than $3,000. Of course, no coach could survive on that stipend alone. Most also work as teachers or hold other school jobs; the figures exclude those salaries.











USOE Calendar



UEN News



December 4:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

8 a.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City



December 7:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

2 p.m., 445 State Capitol



December 10:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City



January 6:

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting

8 a.m., 445 State Capitol


Utah State Board of Education study session and committee meetings

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City



January 25:

Utah Legislature

First day of the 2016 general session

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