Education News Roundup: Dec. 16, 2015

Education News Roundup/4th Grade Parodies of the Scream.

Education News Roundup/4th Grade Parodies of the Scream.

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

KSTU prognosticates a very busy 2016 legislative session.

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

or Education Interim Committee report

http://go.uen.org/5tQ (Legislature)

or bills already anticipated in the 2016 Legislature

http://go.uen.org/5u7 (Legislature)

 

Democrats react to Gov. Herbert’s education budget.

http://go.uen.org/5uG (UPR)

 

So does Prosperity 2020.

http://go.uen.org/5tS (UP)

 

Utah Foundation surveys business owners about Utah’s workforce.

http://go.uen.org/5u4 (SLT)

or a copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/5u5 (Utah Foundation)

 

Bad news: College enrollment drops for the fourth straight year nationally. Good news: College enrollment in Utah is actually up by more than 8 percent, second-highest growth in the nation.

http://go.uen.org/5u1 (Chronicle of Higher Ed)

and http://go.uen.org/5uw (Hechinger Report)

or a copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/5u2 (National Student Clearinghouse Research Center)

 

Today’s mass media writing assignment: Compare and contrast New York and Los Angeles reactions to e-mailed threats to school systems there.

http://go.uen.org/5uk (NYT)

and http://go.uen.org/5ul (LAT)

and http://go.uen.org/5um (WaPo)

and http://go.uen.org/5ut (WSJ)

and http://go.uen.org/5uv (CSM)

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

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

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

The Utah State Legislature is breaking records

 

Democrats Respond To Herbert’s Education Plan

 

Bosses give Utah workers high marks, but say some positions remain hard to fill

 

Federal judge rules that voting districts will be redrawn for school board

 

School District signs on to new insurance

 

Altice victim files suit in federal court, tries to circumvent Utah’s immunity law

Brianne Altice, sentenced for sexual abuse of students, and school district named in suit.

 

Prep football-game kindness returned with $1,000 donation to food pantry

 

Alpine School District looking at ways to deal with growth

 

Student saved by officer heads to Boston for surgery

 

Blessed Sacrament School presented with its 7th National Promising Practices award

 

The top 10 stories that impacted north Utah County residents

 

Family, friends mourn death of 15-year-old London Layton

 

Pearl Harbor vet’s name found 80 years after being carved in schoolhouse stone

 

NFHS to Award 2015 Citations to Eight Athletic Directors in Orlando

 

Students get invaluable character-based training through ‘School of Life’

 

Park City Education Foundation donates more than $55,000 in grants for teachers

Teachers say the grants are crucial to fund programs that otherwise couldn’t exist

 

St. Marguerite School in Tooele creates an endowment

 

St. Joseph Schools complete annual Thanksgiving tradition

 

Schools start late due to snowstorm; almost no one complains, except Max Roth and Brett Benson

 


 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Prosperity 2020 Lauds Governor’s Commitment to Education in Proposed 2017 Budget

 

Teachers first, then technology

 

Naming names

 

The Sorry State of Education Funding

Leaving school funding to the states entrenches inequities.

 

Federal lands, public dilemma

 

Promoting Student Achievement through Improved Health Policy

 


 

 

NATION

 

College Enrollment Declines for 4th Straight Year

 

Los Angeles and New York Differ in Their Responses to a Terrorism Threat

 

The Every Student Succeeds Act includes some new ideas on how to train better teachers

But are they good ideas?

 

Tech-focused Phoenix high school aims to prepare students for entry-level jobs

 

Survey Highlights American Teacher Demand for Bigger Role in Ed Tech Decision-Making

 

The city’s plan to let unruly kids get away with bullying and vandalism

 

U.S. teens smoked, drank, used drugs less in 2015: study

 

Family of girl who killed herself sues school

 

Politics In The Classroom: How Much Is Too Much?

 

The Fear of Islam in Tennessee Public Schools

Concerns about religious indoctrination have emerged in several overwhelmingly white, Christian counties. Why?

 

Islamic faith statement outrages county parents

 

Jury finds Massachusetts teen guilty in teacher’s 2013 murder

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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The Utah State Legislature is breaking records

 

SALT LAKE CITY — The 2016 Utah State Legislature could be the biggest in history.

Not necessarily because of the issues, but because of how many bills state lawmakers are filing.

“Last year, we had a record number of bills that were filed. More than 1,200. With the pace that we’re on, we’ll exceed that,” House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, told FOX 13 on Tuesday.

With that many bills expected, the House Speaker said he expected there would be more scrutiny of the legislation that was being proposed for the 45-day legislative session that begins in January.

“The vetting of bills and the bills that will get that finite time will be more critical and crucial this coming session than ever before,” he said.

On Tuesday, the Legislative Management Committee met to prioritize bills that were debated over the past year in interim committees. Interim committees focused more on specific issues — hearing hours of debate.

Education is expected to be the biggest budget item, but Tuesday’s meeting provided a glimpse into other big legislative issues:

*Draft legislation is being considered for educator professional development, as well as revisiting student testing requirements;

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

 

Education Interim Committee report

http://go.uen.org/5tQ (Legislature)

 

Bills already anticipated in the 2016 Legislature

http://go.uen.org/5u7 (Legislature)

 


 

 

Democrats Respond To Herbert’s Education Plan

 

When Republican Gov. Gary Herbert rolled out his proposed state budget for the 2016 general legislative session, he made it clear that education was his top priority. One of the proposals is to put $422 million into the state’s public and higher education. State Democrats have issued their response to the Governor’s proposals.

Peter Corroon, Chair of the Utah Democratic Party, said that while the increased funding is a step in the right direction, problems still confront any attempt to spend more on education.

“The problem is it’s still less than a five percent increase in the weighted [pupil] unit. That really means that we’re not significantly increasing our funding for education,” Corroon said. “Our state legislature has spent the last 20 years slowly defunding our education system and now we’re in such a deep hole that hundreds of millions of dollars, while that sounds like a whole lot, has not made up for the billions of dollars that were taken out of the system.”

While $422 million represents 70 percent of the state’s increased tax revenues. That amount only comes to about a $206 increase in per-pupil spending. Corroon said that lawmakers will need to find a more stable funding base if they want to solve the problems associated with public education.

http://go.uen.org/5uG (UPR)

 


 

Bosses give Utah workers high marks, but say some positions remain hard to fill

 

Utah’s pro-business credentials remain impeccable, according to a new survey, but there are signs some employers are having trouble finding qualified workers.

Nearly 72 percent of 151 Utah employers recently reported difficulty in locating adequately skilled candidates to fill job openings, the new poll by the nonprofit Utah Foundation found.

About a third of those employers said worker shortages were the single greatest obstacle to their companies’ growth, while a comparable share called it “the single worst quality of Utah’s labor pool.”

The study found that difficulties in finding workers tended to be limited to employers trying to fill positions requiring graduate degrees. Companies most often reported the hardest jobs to fill were in information technology and skilled labor positions.

The Utah Foundation report also cited a separate analysis by the state Department of Workforce Services that found that nearly 70 percent of companies trying to hire for hard-to-fill positions were offering below-median wages.

Concerns in the Utah Foundation report over the state’s labor force were offset by a host of more generally favorable attitudes from employers. Most harbor positive views toward the productivity and education levels of Utah workers. Many said they felt support for business from elected officials and confidence in the state’s general direction.

http://go.uen.org/5u4 (SLT)

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/5u5 (Utah Foundation)

 


 

 

Federal judge rules that voting districts will be redrawn for school board

 

The voting districts for the San Juan School District will be adjusted after a recent ruling in a federal court.

In a ruling released on December 9, Federal Judge Robert Shelby determined that the five voting districts must be adjusted to be roughly the same size.

As a result, San Juan County will now be responsible to submit a plan that will balance the number of people in each of the five districts. The redistricting project will likely be completed before the 2016 school board election.

The ruling was made as part of ongoing litigation in a lawsuit filed against San Juan County by the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation argues that the voting districts for the Commission and school districts are not balanced and should be restructured after each Census.

The ruling by Shelby is only for the voting districts in the school district.

http://go.uen.org/5uy (San Juan Record)

 

A copy of the ruling

http://go.uen.org/5uz (U.S. District Court)

 


 

 

School District signs on to new insurance

 

The Washington County School District is signing on with a new health insurance company, with the school board voting Monday to move on after it was announced this fall that beleaguered co-op Arches Mutual Insurance Co. would be shutting down.

The new deal takes Southern Utah’s largest employer over to SelectHealth, the insurance arm of Intermountain Healthcare, starting Feb. 1, said Lyle Cox, human resources director for the district.

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

 


 

 

Altice victim files suit in federal court, tries to circumvent Utah’s immunity law

Brianne Altice, sentenced for sexual abuse of students, and school district named in suit.

 

A victim of former teacher Brianne Altice has filed a second lawsuit against her and the Davis School District, this time in federal court.

The boy, one of three teens who had sexual contact with Altice in 2013, was joined by his parents as plaintiffs in the lawsuit, filed Tuesday — about six months after the same family dropped a lawsuit against the school district and Altice in Utah’s 2nd District Court.

The family’s attorney in June did not disclose the reason the family withdrew the lawsuit, but they moved to dismiss the case shortly after the Utah attorney general’s office filed arguments that Utah’s governmental immunity laws protected the district from being sued by Altice’s victims.

At the time, the family’s lawyer declined to comment “as it remains undetermined on whether the [Utah Governmental Immunity Act] grants immunity in this case. Once the matter is adjudicated, we will gladly comment.”

The matter was adjudicated about two weeks ago, when 2nd District Judge John Morris threw out the case of another of Altice’s victims. Morris agreed with state lawyers who argued school districts are protected from liability when students are assaulted, and the damage suffered by Altice’s victims stem from behavior that amounted to “assault and battery.”

Altice, now 36, pleaded guilty to forcible sexual abuse and was sentenced in July to at least two years and up to 30 years in prison.

http://go.uen.org/5u3 (SLT)

 


 

 

Prep football-game kindness returned with $1,000 donation to food pantry

 

West Valley City, Utah — Two high schools are feeling a little merrier after the completion of a Christmas service project at West Valley’s Granger High School. By the end of the afternoon, Tuesday, an entire room behind the office was filled with cans of food.

The idea to help stock the Granger food pantry came several months ago with the concept, one good turn deserves another.

Carla Grow, the assistant softball coach at Lehi High School, was at a backyard BBQ when she was hit and killed by a lightning strike in September.

A week after Grow’s death, Lehi and Granger’s football teams met for their scheduled matchup at Granger. The teams and schools were not particularly close before that game, and yet that game tied the two schools from different counties, together forever.

During the half time, Granger held what they call a “Miracle Minute” which means they asked the crowd to dig deep and help out a coach from a school they’d never met. In that minute, the crowd donated $800 dollars to the family of Carla Grow. This simple act of kindness did not go unnoticed by the students at Lehi.

Today was their day to pay it forward as they dropped off $1000 worth of groceries purchased for Granger’s food pantry, used by dozens of families at the school.

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

 


 

 

Alpine School District looking at ways to deal with growth

 

AMERICAN FORK — The Alpine School District is looking at ways to deal with a burgeoning student population during the 2016-17 school year.

The district is proposing that Skyridge High School in north Lehi, which will open in August 2016, house students in grades nine through 12. Students who attend Traverse Mountain Elementary would feed into Lehi Junior High rather than Willowcreek Middle. While Willowcreek would maintain grades seven through nine, Lehi Junior would house only grades seven and eight. In order to accommodate ninth-grade students at Skyridge, an additional 16 classrooms would be added to the construction plan.

The district is also proposing to build a sixth- and seventh-grade intermediate school in Saratoga Springs east of Redwood Road and south of 400 South. The new school would reduce enrollment at Sage Hills, Saratoga Shores, Thunder Ridge, Riverview and Harvest elementaries, and Vista Heights Middle School.

http://go.uen.org/5u8 (DN)

 


 

 

Blessed Sacrament School presented with its 7th National Promising Practices award

 

SANDY — Blessed Sacrament School this year earned its 7th Promising Practices award; it is one of two schools in Utah to participate in the national education program through Character.org, which awarded 235 Promising Practices awards to schools, districts and youth-serving organizations from across the United States and six foreign countries.

The awards are for unique and specific exemplary practices that encourage the ethical, social and academic growth of kindergarten through senior high school students through character education.

The other Utah school that participates in the program is Mountainville, in Alpine.

http://go.uen.org/5uA (IC)

 


 

The top 10 stories that impacted north Utah County residents

 

  1. Population explosion

The technology boom is reverberating with a cause and effect throughout Utah County in apartment, condominium and single-family home construction.

By 2050, three cities — Eagle Mountain, Lehi and Saratoga Springs — are projected to outpace the rest of the county with more than 400,000 combined residents, nearly one-third of the projected total county population.

The Utah Foundation Report estimates there will be 1.2 million people living in Utah County by 2050. Put in perspective, the population of Salt Lake County is now at 1 million.

  1. Gunman hoax

Pleasant Grove High School went into lockdown for more than two hours when reports emerged Dec. 3 of a suspicious individual with a gun on campus.

One day after a mass shooting that killed 14 people in San Bernadino, California, parents, students and teachers were anxious and fearful of the false rumors. Nearly 200 officers in SWAT gear converged on the high school, clearing the area room by room.

The report was a hoax, and the student who fabricated the story was charged with a crime.

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

 


 

 

Student saved by officer heads to Boston for surgery

 

A Dixie Middle School student who brought attention to her own medical condition as well as the life-saving efforts of the school’s resource officer last week will undergo heart surgery in Boston on Monday.

St. George Police Officer Matt Schuman has drawn wide praise since then for recognizing that her illness might be something more insidious than the flu and calling an ambulance prior to her collapse — and then performing CPR when the student went into cardiac arrest. Megan Rowley collapsed last Wednesday during school after suffering from “flu-like symptoms” during her gym class.

“It’s an electrical problem with her heart,” said Luke Rowley, Megan’s uncle and the principal of Enterprise Elementary School. “Usually they can just go in and zap it, but she has an unusual problem because (the flaw) is on the outside of the heart instead of inside it.”

Schuman was able to revive Megan once, but the girl experienced a second cardiac arrest incident and needed additional CPR before ambulance personnel arrived, according to information provided by Dixie Middle’s administration.

The emergency medical technicians used a defibrillator twice to restore a regular pulse before she arrived at Dixie Regional Medical Center, according to the report provided to The Spectrum & Daily News last week.

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

 


 

 

Family, friends mourn death of 15-year-old London Layton

 

FARMINGTON — Students at Farmington Junior High are mourning the loss of a classmate and doing what they can to support her family.

London Layton, who was just 15 years old, passed away in her sleep Saturday, Dec. 12. Friends of the family say her death was related to Type 1 diabetes.

http://go.uen.org/5u9 (OSE)

 


 

 

Pearl Harbor vet’s name found 80 years after being carved in schoolhouse stone

 

Though Ernal Underwood died in 2012 in Salem, he still is reaching out to his family in Springville.

On Dec. 7, Ashley Munn, a granddaughter-in-law to Underwood, was browsing Facebook in search of Pearl Harbor memories and mentions. During World War II, Underwood was stationed on the USS Helena when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. After the first torpedo hit the Helena, he manned a machine gun, firing on Japanese planes throughout the conflict. He lost his best friend that day, while his life was miraculously spared, twice.

Munn was thinking of his experiences as she scrolled through social media. She came across an old Facebook post from 2012 that mentioned Underwood. In it, Lee Taylor described finding a stone from the old Thistle, Utah, schoolhouse. In 2012, Taylor had been collecting stones from the Thistle schoolhouse to use in the landscaping at his cabin in Sanpete County. As he unloaded one of the cornerstones from the school’s foundation at his cabin’s site, he found it had a name carved into it.

“It’s probably a 250 pound stone, about one foot wide and about three feet long. The name carved is really small, only about three to four inches long,” Taylor said.

The name was Ernal Underwood’s. Taylor thought the name so unusual, he took pictures of it from multiple angles and set about trying to find those who knew Underwood. A few months later, he came across Underwood’s obituary, and knew it was the same person. He tried to reach out to family members, but never found a good contact number for them. So he posted pictures of the stone online, hoping someone might see it.

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

 


 

 

NFHS to Award 2015 Citations to Eight Athletic Directors in Orlando

 

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) will award NFHS Citations to eight high school athletic directors December 14 in Orlando, Florida, during luncheon festivities at the 46th annual National Athletic Directors Conference sponsored jointly by the NFHS and the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association (NIAAA).

NFHS Citations are presented annually to outstanding athletic directors in recognition of contributions to interscholastic athletics at the local, state and national levels. State associations nominate athletic directors for NFHS Citations, and the NFHS Board of Directors approves recipients.

This year’s award winners are Bruce Brown,CMAA, executive director, Ohio Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, Strasburg, Ohio; Lane Green, CMAA, director of school administration and athletics and activities, Blue Valley School District, Overland Park, Kansas; Bobby Hill, CMAA, athletic director, Hillside High School, Durham, North Carolina; Paul Neidig, CAA, district athletic director/chief of staff, Evansville (Indiana) Vanderburgh School Corporation; Ted Petersen, CAA, athletic director, Weber High School, Pleasant View, Utah; Robert Rossi, CMAA, supervisor of athletics, Hunterdon Central Regional High School, Flemington, New Jersey; Craig Rothenberger, CAA, athletic director, Junction City (Oregon) High School; and Ed Warken, athletic director, Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District, Cypress, Texas.

http://go.uen.org/5uI (National Federation of State High School Associations)

 


 

Students get invaluable character-based training through ‘School of Life’

 

SOUTHERN UTAH — “Raise your hands ‘School of Life’ high,” the instructor said, as about a dozen hands shot into the air. It was the second hour of the first session of School of Life Foundation’s after-school program that teaches high school students positive life principles and the students were starting to respond.

At its core, “School of Life” is an outreach program. The program goes into high schools where, for a large portion of the students, it is either “School of Life” or suspension, but it also reaches much, much deeper, not only throwing students a lifeline but teaching them how to swim.

“These are my most at-risk students,” Justin Keate, assistant principal at Desert Hills High School said of the group, many of whom have been, or are, in situations of abuse, abandonment and bullying. As a result, their grades have slipped, putting them in a position where they must act quickly or face not graduating or moving up to the next grade level.

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

 


 

 

Park City Education Foundation donates more than $55,000 in grants for teachers

Teachers say the grants are crucial to fund programs that otherwise couldn’t exist

 

For years, students at Park City High School have been publishing the school’s newspaper, the Park City Prospector, dishing out school news and creating journalists out of regular students.

But the edition set to be published this week will be different than any that have come before it. The issue is set to feature stories written in Spanish — something that has never happened in the history of the student newspaper.

Featuring stories in Spanish is made possible by a $2,000 grant for publishing costs the Park City Education Foundation awarded to Park City High English teacher Jacob Jobe. But that’s just one example of the influence the foundation wields with its annual grants. According to Sara Hutchinson, program officer for the foundation, the organization doled out 33 teacher grants this fall, totaling more than $55,000.

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

 


 

St. Marguerite School in Tooele creates an endowment

 

TOOELE — A “Journey to Forever and Always” is the goal of St. Marguerite Catholic School as it enters its fourth and newest phase of growth and development, according to Principal Lorena Needham.

The St. Marguerite Parish Council of Catholic Women is teaming up with the school to spearhead the formation of an endowment to help fund the school into the future. The endowment will be combined with all other endowments for parishes and schools in the Diocese of Salt Lake City into the Catholic Foundation of Utah to allow for maximum growth and return for its member schools and parishes.

http://go.uen.org/5uD (IC)

 


 

St. Joseph Schools complete annual Thanksgiving tradition

 

An eight-year tradition at Saint Joseph Catholic Schools in Ogden made its biggest impact to date the week before Thanksgiving. Students contributed to the schools’ “Buck for A Bird” campaign, which benefits Catholic Community Services’ Joyce Hansen Hall Food Bank. Marcie Valdez, director of CCS Northern Utah, told to school administrators that turkey donations were down this year, although the need would be even greater than in the past. With that in mind, principals Nancy Essary and Clay Jones, and St. Joseph Schools President Joanna Wheelton challenged the students to go the extra mile to earn their dollars to help those in the northern Utah community. Essary said that the elementary students were encouraged to do extra chores to earn their dollars. Even small donations made a difference; the schools’ combined efforts provided turkeys for more than 180 families in need.

http://go.uen.org/5uC (IC)

 


 

 

Schools start late due to snowstorm; almost no one complains, except Max Roth and Brett Benson

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Add up all of the students in Davis, Canyons, Tooele, and the parts of Granite that postponed class start times because of snow on Tuesday, and well over 115,000 Utah kids went to school two hours later than usual.

The postponement was a corrective, hoping to help parents and children avoid dangerous and busy roads, but those two hours encroach on the working schedules of many parents.

Must have caused big problems, right?

Apparently, wrong.

“It actually helped, yesterday was really hard to get out with all the snow,” said Danielle Varella as she dropped her children off at Bella Vista Elementary School in the Canyons District.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Prosperity 2020 Lauds Governor’s Commitment to Education in Proposed 2017 Budget

Utah Policy commentary by Alan Hall, Chairman of Prosperity 2020

 

The business community supports Governor Hebert’s thoughtful leadership in making education a priority for increased funding. His FY17 recommendation is in line with suggestions for strategic investments in Prosperity 2020’s newly updated five-year Prosperity through Education plan.

Now, more than ever, education is the surest path to economic success. We must move Utah’s education rankings back to the top-ten in the nation, and the Governor’s budget recommendations will support achieving this goal. Prosperity 2020 lauds Governor Herbert’s request for $10 million for early childhood education for at-risk kids, which supports Prosperity through Education’s 2016-2017 legislative objectives to support school readiness and success for at-risk students.

Funding adopted by the legislature during its 2015 general session marked the largest investment in education seen in decades and we applaud their leadership and foresight, but our education-funding deficit is not over. We must continue to take the proceeds of Utah’s thriving economy and invest in our state’s future workforce. Our current education performance in many key areas is average among states. With the recommendation of $422 million in new state funds, Utah will continue make progress to returning to the top ten.

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

 


 

 

Teachers first, then technology

Salt Lake Tribune letter from Mark A. Besendorfer

 

I am a fifth grade teacher who is fortunate to have a one-to-one classroom where every student has the use of his or her own laptop.

Technology is a wonderful way to engage students and familiarize them with tools they will use in their future endeavors. I have incorporated these devices into my everyday teaching, and the advantages of having them are too numerous to list.

That said, I would trade them in a heartbeat for a smaller class and/or more trained aides and teachers.

One of the many things that the Legislature is considering is purchasing technology devices for Utah students. Technology is great, but there are more critical needs that must be met first. While I can’t imagine teaching without these devices now, my students do not score significantly better or worse than my teammates in my school. I know this is because of the quality and dedication of the other teachers in my grade and school.

http://go.uen.org/5u6

 


 

 

Naming names

(St. George) Spectrum letter from Rick Franks

 

I grew up in northern Utah. A mandatory class in school was Utah History. Utah History was basically Church History. The teacher (who was LDS) spent much time on the brilliance of Brigham Young and how he had to be inspired by a higher power to accomplish the great things he did to lead the church in those early years.

One thing that was expounded on greatly was the laying out of Utah cities. The wide streets laid out in a grid that was practical and easy to understand even today. So now we have modern day St. George naming the streets with names. We hear of the dumbing down of America, say it isn’t so!

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

 


 

 

The Sorry State of Education Funding

Leaving school funding to the states entrenches inequities.

U.S. News & World Report op-ed by Ulrich Boser, senior fellow at the Center for American Progress

 

Education spending debates often make headlines. A rural district will argue that it does not receive equitable funding. A charter school might say it lacks school construction money or a city will simply roll back school funding due to declining enrollments.

These are important issues. But they all ignore one of the nation’s biggest funding problems: the tremendous difference in school expenditures across different states. A student in New York, for instance, gets three times more money on average than a student in Utah. Plus, these sorts of spending gaps often hit the poorest students the hardest.

The bottom line is that we’ve left education funding to states and districts for far too long, and the federal government should do more to help all students get a fair shot at school dollars.

Some argue that a more locally driven approach to education funding makes sense. After all, states are constitutionally required to oversee their education systems. But states and districts have clearly not done enough, especially in light of rising standards.

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

 


 

 

Federal lands, public dilemma

Washington Examiner op-ed by KARIM ELSAYED, a policy fellow at Federalism In Action

 

Imagine owning a house, and the town mayor controls two rooms simply because he is the mayor and believes he can put them to better use than you can. Not a very pleasant thought, right?

This situation is not so different from the ongoing battle between states and the federal government over federally-controlled public lands. As Utah State Rep. Ken Ivory, president of the American Lands Council and senior policy fellow at State Budget Solutions, explains: “For decades now, Washington has been progressively commandeering from local control, matters of land access, land use and land ownership, particularly, though not exclusively, throughout the western states. States, counties, municipalities, businesses and individuals have been reeling to defend against the metastasizing maze of federal policies, regulations and edicts.”

The federal government now controls over 50 percent of public lands, primarily in the western United States, and only 5 percent east of the United States. This poses a rather unsettling question about Washington’s unwarranted breach of states’ rights.

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

 


 

 

Promoting Student Achievement through Improved Health Policy

National Association of State Boards of Education analysis

 

Promoting Student Achievement through Improved Health Policy is a quick primer of the CDC’s “Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child” model, which highlights 10 important areas for connecting health and learning: health education; physical education and physical activity; nutrition; school health services; counseling, psychological, and social services; employee wellness; safe physical environments, social and emotional school climate; family engagement; and community involvement. By adopting policies that are sensitive to these connections, state boards of education can create pathways for schools and districts to better meet children’s physical, social, and emotional needs and ensure their academic success.

http://go.uen.org/5u0

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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College Enrollment Declines for 4th Straight Year

Chronicle of Higher Education

 

Overall college enrollment has dipped for the fourth straight year, according to an annual report released Wednesday by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

According to the report, overall enrollment dropped 1.7 percent from last fall, a slightly sharper decline than the one measured in the previous year. The steepest drop by sector was at four-year for-profit institutions (13.7 percent) and two-year public colleges (2.4 percent).

The report notes that the decline was driven primarily by students over the age of 24 leaving higher education.

http://go.uen.org/5u1

 

http://go.uen.org/5uw (Hechinger Report)

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/5u2 (National Student Clearinghouse Research Center)

 


 

 

Los Angeles and New York Differ in Their Responses to a Terrorism Threat

New York Times

 

LOS ANGELES — The nation’s two largest school systems confronted threats of a terrorist attack on Tuesday and reacted in sharply different ways: New York City reviewed the warning and dismissed it as a hoax, but officials here abruptly shut down all public schools, upending the lives of parents, students and teachers.

The emailed threats to school officials on both coasts — which spoke of teams of jihadists using guns, bombs and nerve gas to attack public schools — were largely identical in their wording, and both had been routed through a server in Frankfurt, apparently by the same person, officials said.

The Los Angeles schools chancellor, Ramon C. Cortines, reviewed the threat, which came in to several school board members around 10 p.m. on Monday, with police officials here early Tuesday before deciding to send out an alert closing nearly 1,100 schools and asking parents to keep the district’s 640,000 children home. “I as superintendent am not going to take a chance with the life of a student,” he said at a 7 a.m. news conference.

In New York, the police commissioner, William J. Bratton, reviewed the New York version of the threat and decided it was “a hoax.” Later on Tuesday, officials said that they believed that the email in Los Angeles was also most likely a hoax and that schools will reopen Wednesday.

“We can now announce the F.B.I. has concluded this is not a credible threat,” said Mayor Eric M. Garcetti of Los Angeles. “It will be safe for our children to return to schools tomorrow.”

The contrasting responses, and the not­so­subtle cross­country backbiting that marked the day — Mr. Bratton said Los Angeles had overreacted, and officials here defiantly said they had not — was to some extent a reflection of the long and subtle competition between these two coastal cities, whose leaders have sometimes shuttled back and forth. Mr. Bratton once served as police chief in Los Angeles, and Mr. Cortines once ran the schools in New York. Both cities have grappled with major terror attacks and threats.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/5ul (LAT)

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/5ut (WSJ)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 


 

 

The Every Student Succeeds Act includes some new ideas on how to train better teachers

But are they good ideas?

Hechinger Report

 

The new federal education law known as the Every Student Succeeds Act could introduce new ways to prepare teachers for the classroom that bypass traditional programs.

The bill, signed by President Obama on Dec. 10, includes provisions that would allow states to set up new degree-granting academies for teachers outside of traditional higher education systems and would also encourage the creation of residency programs, in which teacher recruits are paired with veterans for a year of in-classroom training in addition to their coursework.

Alternative programs like these are already becoming more popular, especially in states with looming teacher shortages, such as California. But the new law might spur an even faster expansion, experts said.

And that expansion is likely to be controversial, Stephen Sawchuk of Education Week pointed out in a story first reporting the new programs.

“The idea is a bit like the ‘charterization’ of ed. schools,” he wrote, referring to publicly funded but privately run charter schools. “It’s the brainchild of folks at the New Schools Venture Fund, and it has in its mind’s eye programs like the Relay Graduate School of Education, the Match Teacher Residency, and Urban Teachers.”

In particular, the proposal for new state teacher academies has raised concerns.

“Some people are very worried that it’s a lowering of a standard in an enterprise where people try and raise standards,” said Linda Darling-Hammond, president and CEO of the Learning Policy Institute, a think tank, and a professor emeritus of education at Stanford University.

“The way the language is couched, you read it, it sounds so fabulous for prospective teachers and education generally. And then you stop and think, ‘Wait a minute. We’re talking about using money to support teacher preparation programs that aren’t accountable,’” said Pamela Carroll, dean of the University of Central Florida College of Education and Human Performance.

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

 


 

 

Tech-focused Phoenix high school aims to prepare students for entry-level jobs

(Phoenix) Arizona Republic

 

Arizona’s first public high school specialized in technology, opening August 2016, will be primed to meet the needs of an emerging tech industry in the Phoenix metropolitan area, officials said.

Phoenix Coding Academy, on Central Avenue north of Indian School Road, will teach students industry-specific skills, such as computer languages, information security, Web and software development.

“The conversation (to start the school) was in response to companies releasing demographic information about low numbers of women and minorities in the tech-specific fields and also the high number of jobs projected in Arizona, in Phoenix in particular,” said Seth Beute, principal of Phoenix Coding Academy.

With Phoenix Union High School District’s student demographics, 95 percent of whom are minority, the school is in a good position to help increase diversity in the local tech industry. Beute said many young women  have expressed interest in the school.

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

 


 

 

Survey Highlights American Teacher Demand for Bigger Role in Ed Tech Decision-Making

(San Francisco, CA) TES Global

 

A new survey of over 4,300 American teachers reveals a desire to disrupt the status quo by moving ed tech decision-making closer to the classroom. Conducted by leading digital education company TES Global, in partnership with the Jefferson Education Accelerator, which was founded by the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education, the survey findings suggest teachers want to play a more active role in dictating what technology and materials are used in their classrooms.

The survey found that the majority of teachers (63 percent) believe they should be the primary decision maker for what technology enters their classroom, but only 38 percent are currently consulted during the process.  Respondents assert that teacher buy-in is not a major factor in ed tech purchasing decisions.

* Nearly 50 percent say that decisions are currently left to school, district, or regional leadership.

* Budgetary pressures appear to drive much of ed tech decision-making. Forty-eight percent of respondents believe that cost is the number one influence on ed tech selection, more so than student outcomes (22 percent) and teacher buy-in (9 percent).

* Only 12 percent of respondents say school-based technology experts currently make decisions, but 33 percent of respondents say they should play an important role (second only to teachers).

* Half (49 percent) say parents should play the smallest decision-making role, with District Leadership not far behind (24 percent).

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

 


 

 

The city’s plan to let unruly kids get away with bullying and vandalism

New York Post

 

A mayor-appointed committee on school safety is eyeing new rules that would bar the NYPD from arresting students for crimes that include graffiti, vandalism and harassment inside the buildings, documents show.

School administrators also would be prohibited from notifying school safety agents about other incidents of student misconduct — including bullying, disorderly conduct and refusal to provide identification — which are referred to in a draft proposal as “normative child and adolescent behaviors.”

“This is the most stupid thing I’ve ever heard of,” said New York City Parents Union vice president Sam Pirozzolo.

“If you can be arrested outside schools for this type of behavior, you should be arrested inside school as well.”

Even in cases where busts are allowed — such as felony assault — an arresting officer would need the permission of a principal before cuffing a kid, except in cases of “imminent danger to students or others,” according to a copy of the proposed initiative obtained by The Post.

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

 


 

 

U.S. teens smoked, drank, used drugs less in 2015: study

Reuters

 

A decades-long decline in teenage drinking and smoking continued in 2015 and use of some drugs by eighth-graders and high school students also fell, while marijuana consumption extended a five-year flat trend, according to results of a study released on Wednesday.

Teen cigarette smoking fell to its lowest level since the University of Michigan began doing its national survey on licit and illicit substances in 1975, according to a news release on the study, part of a series called Monitoring the Future.

Only 7 percent of students in grades eight, 10 and 12 who were polled reported smoking cigarettes in the previous month, down from 8 percent a year earlier and the lowest level in 41 years of annual tracking.

“Such a reduction can translate eventually into preventing hundreds of thousands of premature deaths as well as many serious diseases,” Lloyd Johnston, principal investigator of the study, said in a news release.

The study said increased taxes, advertising restrictions, smoking bans in many public places and quit-smoking campaigns are all paying off.

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

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/5uq (National Institute on Drug Abuse)

 


 

 

Family of girl who killed herself sues school

Cincinnati (OH) Enquirer

 

FAIRFIELD – A few days before she killed herself, a teacher noticed Emilie Olsen often sat by herself in the lunchroom and didn’t eat.

That teacher told Emilie’s father she rarely smiled and only responded to questions with one-word answers.

At the same time, messages such as “Emilie is a whore” and “Go kill yourself Emilie” were scribbled on bathroom stalls at the Fairfield Middle School.

Previously, a fake social media account entitled “Emilie Olsen is Gay” posted she loved to chew tobacco and have sex with random people in the woods.

She was 13 years old.

Her family is now suing the school district, saying in a federal lawsuit that school officials knew about the bullying, but did little to stop it. In addition to damages, the family is seeking reforms to the district’s practices and policies about bullying.

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

 


 

 

Politics In The Classroom: How Much Is Too Much?

NPR

 

Gun control. Climate change. Donald Trump. Affirmative action.

The first presidential primaries are just weeks away and with all these debates and issues in the headlines, there’s no question that students are going to want to talk about them.

But how should teachers handle these discussions?

Do politics belong in the classroom at all, or should schools be safe havens from partisan battles? Can teachers use controversial issues as learning opportunities, and, if so, to teach what? And then, the really sticky question: Should teachers share with students their own political views and opinions?

In their book, The Political Classroom: Evidence and Ethics in Democratic Education, Diana E. Hess and Paula McAvoy offer guidelines to these and other questions, using a study they conducted from 2005 to 2009. It involved 21 teachers in 35 schools and their 1,001 students. Hess is the dean of the school of education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and McAvoy is the program director at UW-Madison’s Center for Ethics and Education.

Schools, they conclude, are and ought to be political places — but not partisan ones. I talked with them recently about how, in today’s highly polarized society, teachers can walk that very fine line.

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

 


 

 

The Fear of Islam in Tennessee Public Schools

Concerns about religious indoctrination have emerged in several overwhelmingly white, Christian counties. Why?

Atlantic

 

Williamson County, Tennessee, embodies demographic stereotypes about the South: The county just south of Nashville is overwhelmingly white, Christian, and Republican. But this fall, a curious controversy emerged there. Parents and school-board members have voiced worries about alleged Islamic indoctrination in the public schools.

In seventh grade, kids study world geography and history, including a unit on “the Islamic world” up to the year 1500 A.D. “Williamson County parents and taxpayers have expressed concerns that some social-studies textbooks and supplemental materials in use in Tennessee classrooms contain a pro-Islamic/anti-Judeo- Christian bias,” one school-board member, Beth Burgos, wrote in a resolution. She questioned whether it’s right to test students on the tenets of Islam, along with the state and district’s learning standards related to religion. She also said the textbook should mention concepts like jihad and not portray Islam as a fundamentally peaceful religion. “How are our children to reconcile what they’re seeing happening in the Middle East when they’re not even exposed to the radical sects of Islam like ISIS?” she said at a working meeting in mid-October. (Burgos did not respond to multiple emails and phone calls requesting comment.)

In interviews, a number of parents and school-board members used the word distraction to describe the local debate over “Islamic indoctrination.” “We have a shortage of bus drivers,” said a school-board member, Robert Hullett, at that October working meeting. “We have a problem with substitute teachers. We have things that are affecting our kids right now, and we’re fooling around with this.”

Ultimately, the resolution was withdrawn, but Islam and education continues to be a topic of discussion. This week, the local chapter of Glenn Beck’s nationwide advocacy organization, the 912 Project, is hosting a townhall about it. Other Tennessee counties are talking about this, too. In October, the school board in Maury County, which borders Williamson, submitted a resolution to the State Board of Education questioning whether basic knowledge of world history “requires the depth of study of the underlying contents or tenets of world religion to the extent that the State currently requires in sixth and seventh grade social studies, especially given the impressionable nature of students’ ages during such grades.” The resolution also called for units covering religion to be moved to high school. In White County, farther east, a group that calls itself Citizens Against Islamic Indoctrination placed an ad in the local paper, the Sparta Expositor, featuring all-caps text: “ISLAMIC INDOCTRINATION IS IN SCHOOLS ACROSS OUR STATE AND OUR NATION,” it read, inviting parents and citizens to attend a town-hall meeting with a self-identified Muslim convert to Christianity.

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

 


 

 

Islamic faith statement outrages county parents

Staunton (VA) News Leader

 

STAUNTON — About 100 people came to a forum Tuesday night to discuss a recent incident at Riverheads High School that has upset students and parents.

During a world geography lesson on Friday about world religions, including Islam, teacher Cheryl LaPorte had students complete an assignment that involved practicing calligraphy and writing a Muslim statement of faith, also known as the shahada, which translates as: “There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.” Students were also reportedly shown copies of the Quran.

Recitation of the shahada is a fundamental step in conversion to Islam.

Students were not asked to translate the statement or to recite it. The lesson was found to be in line with Virginia Standards of Learning for the study of monotheistic world religions.

However, when a few students refused to complete the assignment the word got out to the parent community. Parents are “outraged” over LaPorte’s lessons and say they will not have their students complete world geography in her class.

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

 


 

 

Jury finds Massachusetts teen guilty in teacher’s 2013 murder

Reuters

 

LOWELL, MASS. | A Massachusetts jury on Tuesday found a teenager guilty of raping and murdering a math teacher at his suburban high school in 2013, rejecting an insanity defense.

In finding 16-year-old Philip Chism guilty after about nine hours of deliberations, the jury rejected the defense’s argument that he was suffering from a psychotic episode at the time of the 2013 attack and therefore not criminally responsible for his actions.

Chism was 14 when he raped and cut the throat of 24-year-old math teacher Colleen Ritzer, who had stayed late to provide Chism additional help at his high school in Danvers, Massachusetts, north of Boston.

He was tried as an adult and could be sentenced to life in prison.

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

 

 

 

————————————————————

CALENDAR

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USOE Calendar

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

 

 

UEN News

http://www.uen.org

 

 

January 6:

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting

9 a.m., 445 State Capitol

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

 

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

 

 

January 7:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

 

January 13-14:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

 

January 25:

Utah Legislature

First day of the 2016 general session

http://le.utah.gov/

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