Education News Roundup: Jan. 5, 2016

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Education News Roundup

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

Trib looks at Sen. Weiler’s gun safety bill.

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

 

Universe looks at gender disparities in the elementary education field.

http://go.uen.org/5Dl (BYU Universe)

 

ProPublica looks at Utah’s troubled-youth-home industry.

http://go.uen.org/5Dk (ProPublica)

 

Ed Week asks the question: What will state legislatures do with the new-found flexibility found in ESSA?

http://go.uen.org/5D9 (Ed Week)

 

Ed Week also preview’s next week’s Supreme Court oral arguments in the Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association case.

http://go.uen.org/5D8 (Ed Week)

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Bill calls for Utah middle school students to get training on gun safety, gunmen Bill » Proposed program would teach students about dangers of weapons, what to do in case of a shooting.

 

Elementary education: a female dominated field

 

Cache County birth rate plateaus as Utah’s rate declines

 

Juniors bound for Ridgeline can choose which high school to attend

 

The arson-damaged Layton Elementary computer lab is ready to go

 

Out of Options, California Ships Hundreds of Troubled Children Out of State One 14-year-old boy’s search for care takes him to Utah as his home state struggles to safeguard its most challenging children.

 

High School Seniors Take Week Off to Volunteer

 

Report Validates Utah’s UPSTART Initiative Helps Young Children Read at or above Grade Level Latest evaluation of statewide program shows high correlation with kindergarten readiness compared to control group

 


 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Federal government tells parents they are inferior

 

Effective teachers can have a tremendous impact

 

Why I adopted a fourth-grade class

 

Teaching guns in schools?

 

T.H. Bell administrators did not treat parents like children

 

Are charter schools the new subprime loans? (Think ‘The Big Short’)

 

Four Steps to Implement RTI Correctly

 

Salvaging Education in Rural America

Rural towns struggle with widespread poverty, limited opportunity, and low college-attendance rates. What role do schools play in improving the quality of life?

 

Sometimes ‘poor little rich kids’ really are poor little rich kids

 


 

 

NATION

 

New K-12 Law Adds to Buzz as Legislatures Set to Convene

 

High Stakes in Union-Fee Case Before Supreme Court

 

Feds quietly close long-running probe of Milwaukee voucher program U.S. investigated treatment of students with disabilities

 

Five Ways U.S. Education Differs From Other G-20 Countries

 

Amid growing anti-Muslim sentiment, Education Department urges schools to prevent discrimination

 

K-12 report urges significant finance, academic reforms Special legislative panel to take up efficiency report Tuesday at Statehouse

 

Clinton pushes broader health coverage for autism

 

‘A Bit Of A Montessori 2.0’: Khan Academy Opens A Lab School

 

Colorado Board of Education officially hires Crandall as commissioner Moderate Republican was sole finalist; will make $255,000 a year

 

Success Academy Principal Who Created ‘Got to Go’ List Takes Leave

 

First-of-its-kind school for LGBT youth to open in Atlanta

 

LEGO drops new WeDo 2.0 kit for school kids at CES 2016 The new set has been designed as a tool for STEM education, and will introduce kids to robotics and engineering.

 

Tennis great Agassi debuts ed-tech venture at CES

 

Too many American schools are using police officers to enforce classroom discipline Minorities bear the brunt of aggressive police tactics in school corridors

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Bill calls for Utah middle school students to get training on gun safety, gunmen Bill » Proposed program would teach students about dangers of weapons, what to do in case of a shooting.

 

Utah students will learn what to do in case they encounter a gun, or a gunman, if a new bill becomes law.

The proposal, sponsored by Woods Cross Republican Sen. Todd Weiler, calls for the creation of a pilot program to provide lessons on firearm safety and shooter scenarios for eighth-grade students.

“I think it’s always helpful for children and adults to think through what you would do in a situation before you encounter it,” Weiler said. “Unfortunately, it is probably a necessary reality in the society we live in these days.”

Weiler compared the bill to instruction that students receive about drug and alcohol safety, like the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, or D.A.R.E.

The program would be optional, he said, requiring parents to sign off on their child’s participation.

Classes would not demonstrate how to use a gun, Weiler said, but instead would focus on teaching children to contact an adult if they come across a firearm.

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

 


 

 

Elementary education: a female dominated field

 

Elementary education was listed as the 6th largest major at BYU last year, yet only eight out of the 328 students currently enrolled in the program are male.

Males make up as little as two percent of the students in the elementary education major.

Mike Tunnell, chair of BYU’s Teacher Education Department, explained the large gap is expected for the major.

“It’s always been that way historically. If you go back, working with children was something that women did from a societal point of view,” Mike said.

Elementary education has long been a field predominantly taught by women, according to a report by the Consortium for Policy Research in Education. The statistics from that report started in 1980 up until last year and show that females have always had at least a 65 percent majority over male teachers since the 1980’s.

http://go.uen.org/5Dl (BYU Universe)

 


 

 

Cache County birth rate plateaus as Utah’s rate declines

 

New data for the year 2014 released by the Utah Department of Health show Cache County’s birth rate has stayed consistent since around 2004, although rates for the rest of the state continue to decline from its 2008 peak.

While the state’s number of births fell to 51,164 in 2014, a decrease from the peak of 55,605 in 2008, data for Cache County from the Utah Department of Health shows a steady rise in births from 1990 onward before reaching a plateau at 2004, with numbers falling between 2,337 and 2,516 and no significant increases or decreases from there.

“Our births were going up fast until we saw a dip around 2011, but Logan has stayed pretty steady since then,” said Jolene Kobe, director of Logan Regional Hospital’s Women and Newborn Care.

Utah remains the state with the highest birth rate, but also follows a national trend of birth rate decreases since the national peak in 2007. Utah’s statewide birth rate was 17.4 births per 1,000 residents in 2014, higher than the national average of 12.5. However, Utah’s rate is an 18 percent decrease from 2007, a greater overall decrease from the national average of 13 percent.

Cache County, however, has seen smaller decreases. The county’s birth rate was at 19.7 births per thousand for 2014, and while this is a decrease from 2008’s peak of 22.4, the statistic is slightly misleading given the county’s 5.5 percent increase in population since 2008.

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

 


 

 

Juniors bound for Ridgeline can choose which high school to attend

 

A number of juniors attending Mountain Crest High School have a tough choice to make by the end of the week.

The Cache County School District Board of Education released a memorandum early in December stating current Mountain Crest juniors will have the opportunity to remain at Mountain Crest, in Hyrum, for their senior year instead of going to the new Ridgeline High School in Millville, if they choose to do so.

“They’re juniors this year, and it’s only referring to if they would be a senior at Ridgeline,” said Mike Liechty, the deputy superintendent of secondary education at the Cache County School District. “It gives them an option if they want to complete their senior year at Mountain Crest.”

Members of the class of 2017 who wish to remain at Mountain Crest must make their request in writing by submitting a senior declaration form to the Mountain Crest counseling center by Friday, Jan. 8. All other students who live in the Ridgeline High School boundaries will be automatically enrolled at Ridgeline for the 2016-17 school year.

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

 


 

 

The arson-damaged Layton Elementary computer lab is ready to go

 

LAYTON — Layton Elementary School’s fire-damaged computer lab is almost ready for students.

“The computer lab should be up and running” this week, said Chris Williams, spokesman for Davis School District. “Right now we have some electricians doing some final work before everything’s plugged in.”

Police officers believe the Dec. 21 fire, in a portable classroom at 369 W. Gentile St., was set intentionally by Coleman Lowell Harris and David Anthony Teasley.

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

 


 

 

Out of Options, California Ships Hundreds of Troubled Children Out of State One 14-year-old boy’s search for care takes him to Utah as his home state struggles to safeguard its most challenging children.

 

At 14, Deshaun Becton’s life is a roadmap to California’s faltering efforts to care for its most troubled children.

Over more than a dozen turbulent years, he lived with a half-dozen foster families and in five different group homes. Now he is among the more than 900 children that California sends to out-of-state residential facilities, most of them in Utah, a ProPublica analysis shows.

Each of these children represents a surrender of sorts: a tacit acknowledgement that California — the nation’s biggest and, by some measures, richest state — somehow has no good answer for them.

In the late 1990s, after a 16-year-old boy died from abuse at an Arizona boot camp, California pledged not to export its troubled youth to out-of-state group homes and juvenile detention facilities that didn’t meet certain standards. The number of kids sent away plummeted.

Today, however, the state is grasping for options anew.

California has shuttered most of its secure facilities for youth and done away with almost all beds for children in psychiatric hospitals. It has moved to curtail the use of group homes, partly because, as ProPublica has reported, several have melted down into chaos in recent years. Most recently, the state has adopted reforms meant to keep children in need of acute care as close to home as possible, pumping money into county programs to create new centers and recruit foster families.

At the same time, California is sending more and more children to facilities out of state — some as far away as Florida. Indeed, the number of children sent from probation and child welfare agencies across the state has more than tripled since 2008.

“What’s happening in California is dishonest,” said Ken Berrick, the founder of Seneca Family of Agencies, a major child services agency based in Oakland. “We’re saying we don’t want locked facilities here and we don’t want group homes, so instead we’re sending kids to Utah where we can’t monitor them. What’s that about? It’s just wrong.”

http://go.uen.org/5Dk (ProPublica)

 


 

High School Seniors Take Week Off to Volunteer

 

SALT LAKE CITY – For one week only seniors at Juan Diego Catholic High School won’t have to go to class.

Students are spread out across the Wasatch Front volunteering for 30 non-profit organizations.

“The whole service program is about giving them opportunities to get into the community, become face to face with real life situations. Communities that are marginalized, communities of people that they may not come in touch with, so that they actually have the experience of understanding what service is not just thinking about it,” said Dave Brunetti Director of Campus Life/Service, Juan Diego Catholic High School.

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

 


 

 

Report Validates Utah’s UPSTART Initiative Helps Young Children Read at or above Grade Level Latest evaluation of statewide program shows high correlation with kindergarten readiness compared to control group

 

SALT LAKE CITY–A report shows that UPSTART, a statewide kindergarten readiness initiative in Utah, helps participating children develop early literacy skills before they start kindergarten, and it does so at higher rates than among children who don’t participate.

The UPSTART program, developed by Waterford Institute, uses an early literacy curriculum delivered in the home through educational technology. The report suggests that technology has considerable merit for delivering curriculum, teaching critical early reading skills that are known predictors of later school performance, and closing early learning gaps that disproportionately affect disadvantaged children.

http://go.uen.org/5Dm (Business Wire)

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/5Dn (Waterford)

 

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Federal government tells parents they are inferior Deseret News op-ed by Connor Boyack, president of Libertas Institute

 

Parents, ask yourself this question: who has stewardship over your child — you, or the government? Think it’s you? Apparently, the federal government disagrees.

In a draft policy statement jointly issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education, federal bureaucrats have — on their own initiative — subordinated parents to a secondary role in the rearing of their children. While the draft is neither finalized nor binding (yet), it serves as a clear shot across the bow of every freedom-loving parent who naively believes that his parenting principles, priorities and practices will be protected and respected by government.

The entire purpose of the 18-page statement is to explain, promote and bureaucratically implement what the departments call “family engagement.” This term sounds like something every good parent would inherently want, but here’s how the government defines it: “the systematic inclusion of families as partners in children’s development, learning and wellness.”

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

 


 

 

Effective teachers can have a tremendous impact Deseret News op-ed by Randy Shumway, CEO of the Cicero Group

 

Most of us fondly remember a teacher who helped us achieve to a degree we hadn’t previously thought possible.

The evidence-based impact of teachers is called the “teacher effect.” Repeated studies have demonstrated that a high-quality teacher can measurably improve student learning more than any other variable within the purview of a school. In fact, research shows that a high-quality teacher can elevate student learning by two and even three grade levels in one year. Effective teaching, therefore, must be a central feature of any state-guided strategic plan to help students master 21st-century knowledge and skills and obtain a post-high school credential.

To begin, public education should attract some of the best candidates into teaching. Today, 100 percent of school teachers in high-achieving countries such as Singapore, Finland and South Korea come from the top third of college graduates. But in the U.S., only 23 percent of new teachers graduated in the top third of their classes.

Shorten

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

 


 

 

Why I adopted a fourth-grade class

Deseret News commentary by columnist Jason F. Wright

 

On Tuesdays at noon, I park in a visitor’s spot at Orchard View Elementary School in Winchester, Virginia. After being buzzed in the front door, I stop at the office, sign in and get my sticky, oversized nametag.

Then I practically jog to the opposite end of the school for my favorite hour of the week. (Yes, among other things, I’ve been asked to not run in the halls.)

Inside Jennifer Wolfe and Jess Hoyt’s shared tidy classroom, I find 27 children buzzing in, around and over their tiny desks like giddy bees at the end of the honey shift.

You might call them fourth-graders, but I call them my pint-sized focus group.

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

 


 

 

Teaching guns in schools?

KNRS commentary by Rod Arquette

 

I know right? It’s crazy. Logically bringing unloaded guns to schools in the hands of trained instructors is only going to lead to wild west shoot outs that will leave an entire school full of kids slaughtered. I mean what other possible outcome could there possibly be if we condone this?

Oh wait…except for that whole thing about gun safety being the primary objective…and for that small and almost insignificant detail that trained professional instructors would be the ones teaching gun safety. Oh and such education would also involve survival instruction in the event of an active shooter showing up on the school grounds. So yea…I’m failing to see the problem with the idea.

As is State Senator Todd Weiler. He’s now introduced legislation that would allow for qualified instructors from groups dedicated to gun safety to come in to class and instruct students on how to properly handle a firearm to ensure their safety and that of others. But oh my gosh how could we allow such a radical thing to occur?

http://go.uen.org/5D1

 


 

 

T.H. Bell administrators did not treat parents like children

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Amy Morgan

 

I keep thinking I should just leave this alone and let it be, but I can’t get it off my mind.

Taking a cue from the Standard-Examiner Editorial Board, a thumbs down is in order regarding the editorial “Don’t treat parents like children — especially after a threat,“ published Sunday, Dec. 20.

I’m dismayed by the way the T.H. Bell administrators and resource officer were portrayed in this editorial and in the two news stories leading up to the editorial.

There was never a threat to our students’ safety. Had there been, parents would have been informed and all measures to protect our children would have been exhausted, of that I am sure. I trust these administrators and faculty members with my children every day, and I have no doubt that my children are safe and are in very capable hands.

Proper protocol was followed regarding the hoax.

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

 


 

 

Are charter schools the new subprime loans? (Think ‘The Big Short’) Washington Post commentary by columnist Valerie Strauss

 

With “The Big Short” doing well in theaters — a film about the near collapse of the financial system because of the bursting of a housing and credit bubble — here’s a piece that asks the simple question: “Are charter schools the new subprime loans?” The post by Jennifer Berkshire refers to a new study by four academics titled, “Are We Heading Toward a Charter School ‘Bubble’?: Lessons From the Subprime Mortgage Crisis.” This is a Q & A with Preston C. Green III, the lead author of the report and the John and Carla Klein Professor of Urban Education at the University of Connecticut’s Neag School of Education. Berkshire, a freelance journalist and public education advocate, worked for six years editing a newspaper for the American Federation of Teachers in Massachusetts. She writes the EduShyster blog, where this first appeared. (The other three authors of the report are Bruce Baker of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey; Joseph Oluwole of Montclair State University; and Julie F. Mead of the University of Wisconsin at Madison.)

http://go.uen.org/5D4

 

A copy of the study

http://go.uen.org/5D5 (Social Science Research Network)

 


 

 

Four Steps to Implement RTI Correctly

Education Week op-ed by Amanda VanDerHeyden, president of Education Research & Consulting, Matthew Burns, associate dean for research for the college of education at the University of Missouri, Rachel Brown, associate professor of educational and school psychology at the University of Southern Maine, Mark R. Shinn, professor of school psychology at National Louis University, Stevan Kukic, consulting director for school transformation at the National Center for Learning Disabilities, Kim Gibbons, associate director of the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement at the University of Minnesota, George Batsche, director of the Institute for School Reform, & W. David Tilly, deputy director at the Iowa Department of Education

 

With the 2001 passage of the No Child Left Behind Act, the national education agenda shifted from a focus on process and access to a focus on results. In this new education climate, Response to Intervention, or RTI, spread like the latest diet fad because it offered schools a way to get better results for students.

RTI refers to a collection of practices that involve identifying academic risk, intervening prior to full-blown academic failure with increasingly intensive interventions, and monitoring student growth. RTI is designed to remove the oh-so-human temptation to speculate and slowly mull over learning problems, and instead spur teachers into action to improve learning, see if the actions worked, and make adjustments in a continuous loop.

Guided by assessment data, children progress through a series of instructional tiers experiencing increasingly intensive instruction as needed. We—a group of education leaders and researchers—have heard it said, “Being against RTI is like being against motherhood.” After all, who does not want children to grow?

However, knowing what works and doing what works are two different endeavors.

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

 


 

 

Salvaging Education in Rural America

Rural towns struggle with widespread poverty, limited opportunity, and low college-attendance rates. What role do schools play in improving the quality of life?

Atlantic commentary by columnist RACHEL MARTIN

 

Alvin C. York Agricultural Institute sits in the heart of Fentress County, Tennessee, high on the Cumberland Plateau within spitting distance of the Kentucky border. The area is a beautiful, bucolic place characterized by rising hills and encroaching forests, tumbling creeks and hard-won farmland. It can also be a pretty bleak place to live.

When teachers, theorists, and pundits analyze America’s educational system, they usually focus on urban centers, but rural school systems make up more than half of the nation’s operating school districts, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Like many of their urban peers, children there fight to overcome scant funding, generational poverty, rampant malnutrition, and limited job prospects.

As the Southern Education Foundation announced last January, a majority of the schoolchildren attending the nation’s public schools now come from low-income families. The implications, for rural, urban, and suburban children alike, are serious. Students who come to school hungry often find it difficult to focus on learning. Students without computers or Internet access may have trouble with their homework. Students who are homeless or need clothing or lack medical care can develop behavioral problems.

Compared to students in urban or suburban schools, students in rural areas and small towns are less likely to attend college. Part of this is because of financial concerns.

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

 


 

 

Sometimes ‘poor little rich kids’ really are poor little rich kids Reuters commentary by Suniya S. Luthar, Professor Emerita at Columbia University’s Teachers College, and Barry Schwartz, Professor of Psychology at Swarthmore College

 

The “affluenza” defense of Ethan Couch, a 16-year-old Texas boy who killed four pedestrians while driving drunk, has received a great deal of ridicule, much of it justified. That said, it would be foolish to allow an absurd effort to minimize one teenager’s responsibility for a horrific tragedy to obscure growing evidence that we have a significant and growing crisis on our hands. The children of the affluent are becoming increasingly troubled, reckless, and self-destructive. Perhaps we needn’t feel sorry for these “poor little rich kids.” But if we don’t do something about their problems, they will become everyone’s problems.

One of us has spent about 20 years studying and documenting the growth of dysfunction among affluent youth, and the other has written about one large source of the problem. High-risk behavior, including extreme substance abuse and promiscuous sex, is growing fast among young people from communities dominated by white-collar, well-educated parents. These kids attend schools distinguished by rich academic curricula, high standardized test scores, and diverse extracurricular opportunities. Their parents’ annual income, at $150,000 and more, is well over twice the national average. And yet they show serious levels of maladjustment as teens, displaying problems that tend to begin as they enter adolescence and get worse as they approach college.

What kinds of problems?

What can we do to begin to stanch these problems? First, we, upper middle class parents, need to be resolute about appropriate limit-setting, and not succumb to fears about incurring the wrath of our teenage kids, or allowing a blemish on the child’s school records. Second, we have to watch very carefully for our achievement expectations. If our children come to feel that our love for them is integrally tied to the splendor of their accomplishments, they will inevitably become deeply anxious about failing, and disappointing us. Third, we have to watch out for our own emotional well-being. A psychologically depleted, exhausted parent cannot rise to the many challenges that parenting inevitably demands. And affluent parents tend to be more reluctant than others to admitting to distress: after all, those at the top should be better able to cope than others.

We also urgently need action from educators. K-12 schools need to look at the degree to which they truly value their students’ all-round well-being, and not just their achievements, grit, and perseverance. They need to help their students see that there are multiple options for them in life, rather than pushing toward the most challenging, competitive colleges and careers. Students need to assess the price they could be paying for the relentless pursuit of affluence, status, and power.

http://go.uen.org/5D6

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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New K-12 Law Adds to Buzz as Legislatures Set to Convene Education Week

 

For more than a decade, state legislators say they’ve stood on the sidelines while their education departments followed the federal government’s blueprint in rolling out demanding accountability systems.

So legislators let out a collective sigh of relief when President Barack Obama signed the Every Student Succeeds Act last month. The first new version of the nation’s main K-12 law since 2002 rolls back the direct federal role in improving student outcomes and hands much of that power to governors and legislatures.

And with the 2016 state legislative season about to begin in 46 states, lawmakers throughout the country will be looking closely at that opening as they wrestle with a range of K-12 issues, from academic standards and teacher evaluations to testing and the turnaround of low-performing schools.

“Legislators are super-excited,” said Michelle Exstrom, the education program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures. “They’ve been asking for a decade for some of these changes, and they have been very frustrated that we’ve been limping along with the [No Child Left Behind Act] waiver system that enticed states to put in place policies they wouldn’t put in place otherwise.”

At the same time, many states will have more locally specific concerns to address, such as reversing teacher-staffing shortages, fixing school funding formulas that courts have deemed unfair, and, in a handful of cases, cutting state money bound for school districts’ budgets.

http://go.uen.org/5D9

 


 

 

High Stakes in Union-Fee Case Before Supreme Court Education Week

 

The face of the movement seeking to upend the public-employee labor sector has had a back-and-forth relationship with her own local teachers’ union.

Rebecca Friedrichs, the lead plaintiff among a small group of California teachers whose case goes before the U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 11, started her teaching career in a small school district in Orange County by refusing to join the local union. Later, she joined the union and even became an officer.

Friedrichs is now back to her roots as a so-called agency-fee payer—a nonmember of the union who must pay the proportion of dues that goes for collective bargaining and a few other related costs. The main legal question in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association (Case No. 14-915) is whether a key Supreme Court precedent authorizing such agency-fee arrangements should be overruled.

“The unions have core values that are in direct opposition to my core values,” Friedrichs said in an interview. “They’re using those fees to support their core values and their agenda.”

Friedrichs and nine other teachers are asking the Supreme Court to overrule that 1977 precedent, Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, and hold that states may not allow unions to exact such fees from public employees who refuse to join.

http://go.uen.org/5D8

 


 

 

Feds quietly close long-running probe of Milwaukee voucher program U.S. investigated treatment of students with disabilities Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

 

The U.S. Department of Justice has closed a long-running investigation into whether the Milwaukee private school voucher program discriminates against students with disabilities, with no apparent findings of major wrongdoing.

In a quiet conclusion to a probe that’s drawn national attention, the Justice Department sent a letter to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction on Dec. 23, saying that no further action is warranted beyond the materials it reviewed, meetings it conducted and changes it requested the DPI make to its administration of the Milwaukee voucher program two years ago — directives the DPI largely could not act upon under state law.

The Justice Department left the door open to investigating future complaints, according to the letter.

Disability Rights Wisconsin, one of the agencies that brought the 2011 complaint that spurred the investigation, may still pursue individual action on behalf of aggrieved families, managing attorney Monica Murphy said.

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

 


 

 

Five Ways U.S. Education Differs From Other G-20 Countries Education Week

 

It’s become common to dismiss the United States’ lackluster performance on global tests like the Program for International Student Assessment by arguing that America has a different education context. So it’s worth looking at how that context compares to those of other industrialized countries.

Last week the National Center on Education Statistics released its sixth comprehensive international comparison report, for the first time comparing the United States not just to the G-8 countries but to the G-20, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

Leaving aside test scores (which you can dig into via NCES’ International Data Explorer), the data show some interesting areas in which the United States seems to stand out from other industrialized countries.

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

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/5CQ (NCES)

 


 

 

Amid growing anti-Muslim sentiment, Education Department urges schools to prevent discrimination Washington Post

 

The U.S. Education Department is urging the nation’s colleges and K-12 schools to guard against harassment and discrimination based on race, religion or national origin, a response to anti-Muslim and anti-refugee sentiments that appear to be on the rise.

“A focus on these protections, while always essential, is particularly important amid international and domestic events that create an urgent need for safe spaces for students,” reads the Dec. 31 open letter to school leaders, which was signed both by Arne Duncan, who stepped down as U.S. Education Secretary that day, and John B. King Jr., who is now serving as acting secretary.

The letter described the kind of behavior that schools should look out for, from name-calling to physical attacks, and singled out students who are most likely to need protection: “Those who are, or are perceived to be, Syrian, Muslim, Middle Eastern, or Arab, as well as those who are Sikh, Jewish, or students of color.”

http://go.uen.org/5D3

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/5Di (Breitbart News)

 

A copy of the Dear Colleague letter:

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

 


 

 

K-12 report urges significant finance, academic reforms Special legislative panel to take up efficiency report Tuesday at Statehouse Topeka (KS) Capital-Journal

 

A report prepared for consideration Tuesday by the Kansas Legislature’s committee on K-12 education declares the current testing approach fails students, describes the method of identifying at-risk students as discriminatory and urges state government oversight of school bond proposals before they are placed on a local ballot.

The document obtained Monday by The Topeka Capital-Journal is due to be reviewed by the Special Committee on K-12 Student Success at the Statehouse.

“I think the committee did a good job,” said Rep. Ron Highland, a Wamego Republican and chairman of the panel. “The efficiencies need to be dealt with. No. 2, the (student academic) outcomes were disturbing to many of us.”

Senate Minority Leader Anthony Hensley, a Topeka Democrat on the K-12 committee, said material and conclusions in the report closely resembled recommendations offered by the Kansas Policy Institute, a conservative think tank that has sought for years to reorganize public education. Dave Trabert, president of KPI, testified to the K-12 committee.

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

 


 

 

Clinton pushes broader health coverage for autism Reuters

 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton would work with states to ensure that private health insurers cover behavioral and developmental services for those with autism, her campaign said on Tuesday.

At a campaign stop in Iowa later Tuesday Clinton will roll out a multipoint plan to assist the more than 3.5 million Americans with autism, calling for nationwide screening and a ban on the use of mechanical restraints in schools.

http://go.uen.org/5D7

 


 

 

‘A Bit Of A Montessori 2.0’: Khan Academy Opens A Lab School NPR

 

In 2015, Khan Academy, which pioneered free, online video tutorials and lectures that have reached millions of students around the world, sought new ways of reaching new people.

It had already partnered with everyone from NASA to the Museum of Modern Art, and this past year Khan joined forces with the SAT’s overlord, the College Board. The goal, in the parlance of our times, is to disrupt the billion-dollar test prep industry.

As we’ve reported, students anywhere now can get free SAT test prep both online and in person at some Boys & Girls Clubs of America. The move may help level the playing field by improving test prep for less-affluent students to get them ready for the newly revamped SAT, which remains a pillar of college admissions despite the growth in 2015 in “test optional” schools.

It’s part of what Khan Academy calls its core duty to help provide “a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere.”

But where does the new $23,000 a year ($25,000 for grades 6-12) brick-and-mortar Khan Lab School in Silicon Valley fit into that mission?

http://go.uen.org/5D0

 


 

 

Colorado Board of Education officially hires Crandall as commissioner Moderate Republican was sole finalist; will make $255,000 a year Chalkbeat Colorado via Denver Post

 

The State Board of Education voted unanimously Monday to appoint former Arizona lawmaker Richard Crandall as Colorado’s next education commissioner.

Crandall, 48, was the sole finalist for the position. He will begin Jan. 19 and will be paid $255,000 a year. Considered to be a moderate Republican, Crandall played a key role in ushering in major changes to education policy in Arizona, including backing the state’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards and crafting a teacher evaluation law.

Crandall is poised to begin work in Colorado at a critical juncture, as a rewrite of the nation’s signature education law shifts responsibilities away from the federal government to states.

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

 


 

 

Success Academy Principal Who Created ‘Got to Go’ List Takes Leave New York Times

 

The principal at a Success Academy charter school who created a “Got to Go” list of difficult students is taking a personal leave of absence, a Success Academy spokeswoman said on Monday.

Critics of Success Academy, the high­performing New York City charter school network, have said its high test scores are partly a result of weeding out underperforming and disruptive students. The existence of the list, reported by The New York Times in October, appeared to support the accusations.

At a news conference that month, Success Academy’s founder, Eva S. Moskowitz, said the list was an anomaly and that it existed for only three days in 2014 before the principal, Candido Brown, was chastised for it. Mr. Brown apologized, saying he was doing what he thought was needed to fix an unsafe school and that the list was his idea alone.

Still, nine of the 16 students on the list eventually left the school, Success Academy Fort Greene, in Brooklyn.

http://go.uen.org/5D2

 


 

 

First-of-its-kind school for LGBT youth to open in Atlanta Atlanta Journal-Constitution

 

A first-of-its kind private school in Georgia aimed at attracting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth and teachers is being established in Atlanta for students who feel bullied or not accepted in traditional schools.

Pride School Atlanta is a K-12 institution designed to be an alternative for LGBT students, though the school is open to any student who feels like they’re not getting the support they need for “being different,” says Pride School founder Christian Zsilavetz.

“Kids have full permission to be themselves – as well as educators. Where there’s no wondering, ‘Is this teacher going to be a person for me to be myself with?’ ” said Zsilavetz, who is transgender and a veteran teacher with nearly 25 years of experience. “This is a place where they (students) can just open up and be the best person they can be.”

Pride School will initially operate out of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta church and is expected to open by September 2016. Tuition to attend the school will cost around $13,000, though Zsilavetz says financial assistance is available for students who need it.

It is part of a small but growing group of schools popping up nationally geared toward educating LGBT youth, who feel disenfranchised from public education.

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

 


 

 

LEGO drops new WeDo 2.0 kit for school kids at CES 2016 The new set has been designed as a tool for STEM education, and will introduce kids to robotics and engineering.

Toy News

 

LEGO Education is set to unveil a new version of its WeDo robotics kit for school kids at CES 2016 today.

Designed as a tool for teaching STEM, WeDo 2.0 will introduce students to robotics, engineering and programming.

The set will feature LEGO bricks, a Bluetooth low energy-based hub that pairs up with a motor, and motion and tilt sensors.

WeDo also boasts a drag-and-drop interface for writing applications that connect to the hub and sensors.

WeDo 2.0 is available now, and the software will run on iPads, Macs, PCs, and Android devices.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/5Dg (ZDNet)

 


 

 

 

Tennis great Agassi debuts ed-tech venture at CES USA Today

 

LAS VEGAS – Andre Agassi is serving up a tech-powered education tool that he hopes will give young children a reading advantage early in life.

Square Panda leverages a user’s existing tablet and combines proprietary hardware (a tray with eight squares where children place letters) and software (which keeps track of a student’s progress and gradually increases difficulty) to teach pre-kindergarten age kids how to spell.

The tennis legend and longtime education activist announced his investment in Square Panda on Monday alongside the Sunnyvale, Calif., company’s CEO Andy Butler at the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, which runs through Jan. 9.

The $99 product, which has been nearly three years in development, is on sale at squarepanda.com and will ship in April. It comes with four apps, and while it is initially iOS only, an Android version will follow later in the year.

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

 


 

 

Too many American schools are using police officers to enforce classroom discipline Minorities bear the brunt of aggressive police tactics in school corridors The Economist

 

OFFICER Curtis Brown reckons 2015 was a fairly peaceful year at Furr High School, in the hardscrabble east side of Houston. True, five of its pupils died violently, including the school’s first-pick quarterback, Michael Davis, who was murdered in a gang fight, and two female students, who were killed in a school-bus crash. In the state that executes more people than any other, a recent old boy was also charged with three murders. Yet Mr Brown, one of the school’s two police officers, with a revolver, canister of pepper foam and a truncheon hanging from his belt, says he has known worse over his eight years at Furr: “It’s a tough place.”

It was with violent schools like Furr in mind that Texas began stationing police officers in its schools in the early 1990s, which helped start a national trend. It proceeded to accelerate on the back of persistent concerns over law and order during the decade; in 1999, after 13 people were massacred at Columbine High School, in Colorado, the federal government launched a supportive funding programme, Cops in Schools. By 2007 there were an estimated 19,000 school policemen, known as School Resource Officers, plodding the corridors of America’s schools, in addition to many regular police and private security officers.

How many there are now is unclear; there has been little study of the phenomenon, a gap the Department of Education is struggling to fill. But there may be as many as ever, encouraged by yet more federal largesse in the form of a scheme launched under Barack Obama, in response to yet another school shooting, in Connecticut in 2012, in which 20 children were killed. Most American public high schools now have a permanent police presence.

It is not clear why.

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

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

January 6:

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting

8:30 a.m., 210 Senate Building

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2016/html/00000003.htm

 

Utah State Board of Education study session and committee meetings

3 p.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

 

January 7:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

8 a.m., 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/

 

 

January 26:

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting

8 a.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2016&Com=APPPED

 

Senate Education Committee meeting

2 p.m.,  210 Senate Building

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2016&Com=SSTEDU

 

 

January 27:

House Education Committee meeting

2 p.m., 30 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2016&Com=HSTEDU

 

 

January 28:

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting

8 a.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2016&Com=APPPED

 

Utah State Board of Education legislative meeting

Noon, 210 Senate Building

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

 

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

5 p.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2016&Com=APPEXE

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