Education News Roundup: Jan. 6, 2016

Education News Roundup

Utah Legislature and Education

Utah Legislature and Education/Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

House Speaker Hughes says there are more bill requests ahead of the legislative session this year than ever before.

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

 

Park City district likes the Governor’s education budget proposal.

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

 

Rep. Powell considers a bill that would create a separate property tax levy for charter schools.

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

 

Utah State Board of Education will take a look at student-counselor ratios.

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

or a copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/5DD (USOE)

 

Ed Week looks at Utah’s new biliteracy seal.

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

 

Ed Week also gathers up all its articles on ESSA for one convenient, albeit extra-long, read.

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

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Legislative Leaders Grappling with a Glut of Proposed Bills in the 2016 Session

 

Governor’s proposed budget could be boon for schools Park City School District optimistic, but some worries remain for legislative session

 

Rep. Kraig Powell prepares for legislative session Plans to introduce bills on smoking, drones

 

Report: Utah student-to-counselor ratio high but improving

 

Utah Unveils New Wrinkle For Seal of Biliteracy Honor

 

Lawmaker’s bill would let 17-year-olds vote in Utah primaries

 

Proposed bill aims to teach middle school students about firearm safety, active shooter preparedness

 

Governor appoints Republican Lincoln Fillmore to Utah Senate

 

South Ogden Junior High teacher running for Utah Education Association president

 

Never too young to develop coding skills

 

Utah college savings plan exceeds 300,000 accounts

 

High school students to participate in SUU Honor Band

 

Educator of the Week: Heather Rockwood

 

Utah Valley Student of the Week: Darci Ramirez

 


 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Positive at-home learning environments

 

Civic test shouldn’t be grad requirement

 

To Change Education, Change the Message

 

Conservative Christians Are on a Mission in Public Schools How anti-bullying, sex ed, and even science programs aim to convert students.

 

Do We Have to Send Our Kid to a Bad Public School?

 


 

 

NATION

 

Inside the Every Student Succeeds Act

 

He’s acting, but the nation’s new education secretary is for real

 

Ambitious Student-Data-Privacy Law in California Attracts National Attention

 

Vouchers encourage shift from public to private schools, study shows

 

In Mass. schools, a focus on well-being

 

WV testing panel eyes replacing Smarter Balanced with ACT

 

Back off parents: It’s not your job to teach Common Core math when helping with homework What should parents do when they don’t understand their kids’ Common Core homework?

 

Education Department Gets Slight Boost in FY 2016 Deal

 

The Schools Taking in Syrian Refugees

In Connecticut, communities have welcomed those searching for a home and set up systems to help them rebuild.

 

New study rethinks which kids can stop bullying

 

Colorado girl charged with plotting to kill high school classmates

 

Bucks coach head butts ref, finds job on the line

 

Nebraska Catholic group urges schools to back proposal requiring students to take part in sports based on gender at birth

 

A day of pride for Afghan girl grads amid growing threats

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Legislative Leaders Grappling with a Glut of Proposed Bills in the 2016 Session

 

Well, the 45-day, 2016 Utah Legislature is less than three weeks away, and while no one is probably totally ready for this 7 ½ week budget-setting, law-making gush of politicking (including your intrepid UtahPolicy reporters), there will be several changes in the first few weeks of this session in an attempt to get more bills heard in House and Senate standing committees.

The same time will be spent in the joint budget committees, says House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper.

But, hopefully, time should be better spent in standing committees, where bills are heard, debated and voted on, he adds.

Several reasons for that, one being consistent – despite leaders’ moaning – increases in the number of bills requested by the 104 part-time legislators.

Hughes says the Office of Legislative Research and General Council tells him there are more bill requests at this time pre-session than ever before.

So unless many lawmakers change their minds and drop bills, more bills will get less of a hearing and more bills will become law without what some lawmakers say is the proper consideration.

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

 


 

Governor’s proposed budget could be boon for schools Park City School District optimistic, but some worries remain for legislative session

 

The 2016 Utah State legislative session set to begin Jan. 25 could mean good news in the form of more money for the Park City School District.

Last month, Gov. Gary Herbert released his recommended budget for the 2017 fiscal year, and it included a $281 million increase for public education. That includes a 4.75-percent increase to the weighted pupil unit (WPU), the amount of money school districts get for each student.

Todd Hauber, business administrator for the Park City School District, said that increase would amount to about $1 million for the district, which would represent a substantial windfall.

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

 


 

 

Rep. Kraig Powell prepares for legislative session Plans to introduce bills on smoking, drones

 

As Republican Rep. Kraig Powell, Heber City, prepares for the upcoming Utah legislative session, he said he can only hope it goes more smoothly than last year. In 2015, he said, he experienced the most difficult session of his time in office.

“2015 was the most contentious year since I’ve been in the Legislature, just because there were so many hot-button issues like Medicaid, which we have met several times on and not been able to solve,” he said. “And then with 2016 being an election year, with a presidential election, there has been a lot of bleed-over of those issues into Utah. For example, we were recently asked to take a position on Syrian refugees.”

Polarizing issues, Powell said, made 2015 a year of high tensions and “more partisanship in the Utah Legislature than I’ve seen in my six years in office.” Powell said the new Count My Vote primary election system will be a big change for the Legislature, as signature gathering to get on the primary ballot began Monday.

Powell said he also plans to introduce a bill that would create a separate property tax levy for charter schools, which he said is necessary because charter schools currently eat into the tax money that is meant for traditional public schools.

“Right now each school district is required to cover 25 percent of the cost of charter school kids who live in their districts,” he said. “This takes away money from traditional public schools. Essentially what we’ve done is create a system where a good share of the money we know is needed to fund public schools is being taken away. This bill is asking the Legislature to be honest and upfront about charter school funding. If we’re going to have a separate system, charter schools, then we ought to have a way to pay for it.”

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

 


 

 

Report: Utah student-to-counselor ratio high but improving

 

SALT LAKE CITY — About six years ago, middle school and high school counselors in the Jordan School District were each responsible for more than 600 students.

It’s a job that includes providing academic assistance and college preparation resources, as well as bullying, dropout and suicide prevention efforts — all of it on a one-on-one level with students.

“That’s kind of an overwhelming task,” said Jerry Payne, lead counselor at Riverton High School. “It was very difficult for us to see everybody that we needed to see.”

Following a statewide push from education leaders, the district hired an additional 30 counselors between 2011 and 2014, reducing its student-to-counselor ratio by almost half, according to Nancy Karpowitz, a secondary counselor specialist for the district.

Fourteen of Utah’s 41 school districts currently don’t meet the state’s required ratio for students to counselors, which is 1-to-350 or less. But the Jordan School District is now well below that mark.

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

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/5DD (USOE)

 


 

 

Utah Unveils New Wrinkle For Seal of Biliteracy Honor

 

Utah is the 15th state to adopt an official seal of biliteracy, an honor that promotes bilingualism among K-12 students by offering special recognition for graduates who demonstrate fluency in two or more languages.

But it may the first in one respect. Following the recommendation of the nation’s leading bilingual education groups, officials in the Beehive State will establish a two-tier seal of biliteracy to separately honor advanced and intermediate speakers.

The two-tier biliteracy seal was among the recommendations presented by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and other organizations that drafted recommendations for the seal of biliteracy in spring 2015.

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

 


 

 

Lawmaker’s bill would let 17-year-olds vote in Utah primaries

 

A proposal that Utah lawmakers will consider later this month could see the state join 20 others to allow 17-year-olds to vote in June primary elections if they’ll turn 18 by the general election in November.

Salt Lake City Democratic state Rep. Joel Briscoe, a former high school civics teacher, said he hopes his proposal will help boost voter participation and get more young people engaged.

Briscoe said if someone will be 18 and eligible to vote in November, “Why not get them involved in the primary election? Why not get them involved even earlier that year and get them more pumped for what’s going to happen in November?”

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/5E3 (KSL)

 

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

 


 

 

Proposed bill aims to teach middle school students about firearm safety, active shooter preparedness

 

SALT LAKE CITY – A Woods Cross senator wants middle school students to be part of a discussion regarding gun safety.

Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, is set to propose a bill the educational pilot program for eighth graders.

“This type of training would say: don’t touch a gun, don’t pick it up, don’t pull the trigger, don’t point it at anybody. Just notify an adult,” Weiler said.

Students would not handle guns in the classroom. Gun experts would teach an approved curriculum. School districts and parents could choose to opt into the course.

http://go.uen.org/5E4 (KSTU)

 

http://go.uen.org/5En (Washington Times)

 


 

 

Governor appoints Republican Lincoln Fillmore to Utah Senate

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert appointed the president of a charter school management company Tuesday to fill a vacancy in the Utah Senate.

Lincoln Fillmore, a South Jordan Republican, will replace Sen. Aaron Osmond, R-South Jordan, who resigned last month. Osmond initially stepped down to head the Utah College of Applied Technology but then changed his mind to stay with his current employer.

Fillmore, a University of Utah graduate, founded Charter Solutions in 2007.

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

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/5E0 (KUTV)

 

http://go.uen.org/5E1 (KTVX)

 


 

 

South Ogden Junior High teacher running for Utah Education Association president

 

OGDEN — Kim Irvine, a teacher at South Ogden Junior High School, has filed to run for president of the Utah Education Association.

“It’s an audacious goal,” said Irvine, of Ogden. “I’m running for president now because, more than ever, it’s important to defend the integrity of our profession. Too many decisions regarding Utah education are being influenced by too many non-educators, and I’m uniquely qualified, based on my leadership experience and classroom experience, to ensure that teachers’ voices rise above the din of this ‘test and punish’ paradigm.”

In addition to her work in the classroom, according to an online biography, Irvine has served in leadership positions with the State Democratic Education Caucus, the Utah Council of Teachers of English, and the Utah Education Association. She is also a former member of the Standard-Examiner Editorial Board.

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


 

 

Never too young to develop coding skills

 

WOODS CROSS —“You can think of an idea that no one else has. Then you can model it and put it in a program and make it real.”

Matthew Nielsen gave that encouragement to sixth graders at Odyssey Elementary last month while they watched his 3-D printer create a plastic mask like those seen in Halo video games.

Students were all eyes and ears at Nielsen’s display and the demonstrations of his fellow employees from Deseret Book, who came to the school to help them see what they can do if they understand coding – writing a set of instructions to program a computer.

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

 


 

Utah college savings plan exceeds 300,000 accounts

 

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Educational Savings Plan announced the number of accounts under its management has passed 300,000, as a growing number of families invest in Utah’s official 529 College Savings Plan for their children.

The number of accounts has almost doubled since the financial crisis ended in 2009, when the plan managed 152,400 accounts. Nationally, the number of 529 plans increased by about 21.8 percent in that time, rising to 12.3 million accounts from 10.1 million accounts, according to the College Savings Plans Network.

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

 

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

 


 

 

High school students to participate in SUU Honor Band

 

CEDAR CITY – The Southern Utah University Music Department will host “In Flight: SUU’s High School Honor Band Concert” Jan. 9 at 6 p.m. in the Heritage Center Theater, where 75 of the best band students from 18 high schools will perform together after two days of intense rehearsals.

The concert is free and open to the public, and everyone is welcome.

http://go.uen.org/5Ej (Iron County Today)

 


 

 

Educator of the Week: Heather Rockwood

 

Heather Rockwood, a passionate and caring kindergarten teacher at Greenwood Elementary in American Fork, was chosen as the Daily Herald’s Educator of the Week. She received her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Utah Valley University, and her master’s degree from Southern Utah University.

http://go.uen.org/5Ek  (PDH)

 


 

 

Utah Valley Student of the Week: Darci Ramirez

 

Darci Ramirez is a 9th grade student at American Fork Junior High and was chosen as the Daily Herald’s Student of the Week. She has a bubbly, outgoing personality and is friendly to all. She makes sure other students feel included and loves going to school.

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

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Positive at-home learning environments

Deseret News op-ed by Erik Albertine, assistant principal of Utah Connections Academy

 

I still smile when I hear the ringing of a school bell. That sound takes me back to my younger days when the classroom and learning were synonymous — the two going hand-in-hand. I was excited about what that bell meant, as it signified traveling from one universe of learning to the next, getting to explore more and more about math, science, history and language arts.

Unfortunately, too many young students don’t experience this same feeling toward school and learning. While children are innately curious and love to learn, as they get older they begin to lose the joy that goes along with discovering an “ah-ha” moment or finding the right answer — simply because we put too much pressure on them and treat studying almost like a punishment. But that doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, if parents took the time to create a positive learning environment at home, children would have a much better chance at retaining that joy of learning as they get older and thus become better overall students.

As the assistant principal and science teacher at Utah Connections Academy, an online school that serves students in grades K-12, I’ve come to find what works and what doesn’t when trying to create a positive at-home learning environment for a child. Here’s a closer look at what I’ve discovered:

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

 


 

 

Civic test shouldn’t be grad requirement

(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Joe Tennant

 

With Utah’s legislative session beginning soon, we can assume many education bills will be promoted in the Legislature, and hopefully, one of these education bills will eliminate the civics test that is required for high school graduation because this particular test’s educational value isn’t worthy of a stand-alone high school graduation requirement, and the test is easily gamed.

In the first place, if we evaluate the legislative record of the civics test, we find that the proponents of this test were very reluctant to praise the educational value of this test — a dedicated supporter of the test described the test as a “floor” for civics education. Do we want this high school graduation requirement to be pegged to an educational “floor”? The best utilization of this civics test is a classroom assignment.

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

 


 

 

To Change Education, Change the Message

Education Week op-ed by Ron Wolk, founding editor of Education Week

 

In September, Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, committed $50 million to be shared by winners of a competition to redesign the American high school. The effort, known as XQ: The Super School Project, is an open call to students, teachers, and policymakers—anyone who thinks she or he may have a good idea—to rethink the core qualities that have defined high school education for decades, such as testing, grade levels, and school schedules. Proposals for the future of public high schools are accepted online and, by next fall, a team of judges will select five of the best ideas and support them for the next five years.

Commendable as Powell Jobs’ intention is, the grant does not address the real problem. Hundreds of innovative and successful high schools across the country are already succeeding, often with the most disadvantaged students. Combined, they incorporate all the innovative and best practices needed to completely transform the American high school.

Unfortunately, they have virtually no impact on the nation’s roughly 24,500 public high schools because most school boards, principals, and teachers have either never heard of them or are not interested in emulating them. And five new, innovative models are not likely to change that.

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

 


 

 

Conservative Christians Are on a Mission in Public Schools How anti-bullying, sex ed, and even science programs aim to convert students.

Slate commentary by Katherine Stewart, author of The Good News Club: The Christian Right’s Stealth Assault on America’s Children

 

Jason Evert, the founder of the Chastity Project, says the key to a happy life is for girls to dress modestly and abstain from sexual intimacy until marriage. He holds a number of inaccurate beliefs about sexually transmitted infections and has a habit of misrepresenting studies in the social sciences. What makes his story interesting is that he is paid to present his views on sexuality and relationships to public school students.

Evert is far from alone. Religious groups keen on getting their messages to teenagers have found an effective way to do it at public expense. They come into public schools under the banner of substance abuse programs, character education, anti-bullying education, or sex education. Then they set aside the education and get down to the business of promoting a religious message, sometimes along with a partisan political agenda.

The problem of faith-based assemblies in public schools is not new, but they are occurring under new guises, and their frequency appears to be growing. These publicly supported proselytizers take advantage of two key trends. Under relentless budgetary pressure, public schools increasingly allow outside groups to develop and manage courses that previously originated inside the school. At the same time, the Supreme Court has set a very high threshold for concerns related to the Establishment Clause, or the separation of church and state—or, in this case, church and school.

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

 


 

 

Do We Have to Send Our Kid to a Bad Public School?

New York Times Magazine The Ethicist column by columnist KWAME ANTHONY APPIAH

 

My wife and I are an interracial couple living in Oakland, Calif. We are both first­generation college graduates for whom solid public­school educations made all the dif erence. We are struggling with choosing a public school for our son, who will enter kindergarten this year. State test scores came out recently, and our neighborhood public school, which is filled with some of the city’s poorest kids, scored very low. I have to believe there is something seriously wrong with how the school is educating kids. (Otherwise, the school, which we know fairly well through volunteering, seems perfectly fine.) My wife and I both work full­time and also care for her mother and disabled sibling, so we know that we can’t put in the kind of time that would be required to turn the school around. We also fear that we cannot teach our son enough outside school hours to make up for a significant deficit in his education.

This raises a serious ethical quandary for us: Do we let our neighborhood kids and our own values down by fleeing to a higher­testing public school in a richer part of the city? Or do we let our son down by sending him to the neighborhood school, which we fear will not put him on solid educational footing? My instinct is that our higher duty is to our son. But I am also painfully aware that this kind of my­kid­comes­first mentality is exactly what created poor urban schools to begin with. We will probably feel lousy no matter what we decide to do. But from a purely ethical standpoint, should our child’s education or our neighborhood and its kids come first?

http://go.uen.org/5E5

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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Inside the Every Student Succeeds Act

Education Week

 

The year-end passage and signing of the Every Student Succeeds Act represents more than just a rare bipartisan agreement on the part of the nation’s chronically polarized policymakers. For the first time in more than a decade—and a half-century after enactment of the country’s main K-12 law—Congress has redefined the federal role in elementary and secondary education. And it’s done so in a way that aims to enhance the authority of states and school districts that had long chafed at the strictures of ESSA’s predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act.

Now comes the really hard part: implementation. This special report on ESSA looks at what the law will mean for virtually every aspect of public schooling when it takes full effect in the 2017-18 academic year. Topics include accountability and testing, teacher quality, research, regulation, funding, early-childhood education, and thorny issues involving student groups that often lag behind their peers.

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

 


 

 

He’s acting, but the nation’s new education secretary is for real Washington Post

 

John B. King Jr. settled into the rocking chair before a group of cross-legged kindergartners and fielded a question from a little boy.

“Wait, are you a president?” the boy asked the grown-up in the gray suit, who had been escorted into their small classroom at JoAnn Leleck Elementary School in Silver Spring, Md., by an army of photographers, cameramen, reporters, and assorted school and county officials.

“No, but I work for the president,” King said with a smile. “He’s very nice.”

King is the nation’s acting education secretary, replacing Arne Duncan, who relinquished the job last week after seven years as one of the most influential policymakers for the country’s 100,000 public K-12 schools.

King, who turned 41 Tuesday, will retain the “acting” modifier for the rest of President Obama’s time in office. He has not been nominated by the president, and he will not undergo the confirmation process required of Cabinet-level officers under the Constitution.

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

 


 

 

Ambitious Student-Data-Privacy Law in California Attracts National Attention Education Week

 

Educators and policymakers around the country will be keeping a close eye on an ambitious suite of K-12 data-privacy measures that went into effect Jan. 1 in California.

The law primarily aims to prevent third-party contractors from selling student data for advertising purposes, and restricts vendors from creating profiles of students for any non-educational purpose.  Companies doing business in California districts are now also required to meet basic cyber-security standards and be prepared to delete student data at school or district requests.

When SOPIPA, or the Student Online Personal Information Protection Act, was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2014, many experts predicted that the legislation would prompt a series of similar measures by other states also eager to curtail commercial use of student information.

That prediction is proving to be accurate.  Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, New Hampshire, Oregon, and Washington each passed state laws loosely based on SOPIPA, according to Brendan Desetti, the director of education policy for the Software & Information Industry Association, a trade association that represents the industry’s interests.

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

 

A copy of the bill

http://go.uen.org/5Eb (California Legislature)

 


 

 

Vouchers encourage shift from public to private schools, study shows New Orleans Times-Picayune

 

Low-income New Orleans families that apply for vouchers prefer private schools to public schools, but can be swayed by public schools with high academic performance, according to a new study by the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans at Tulane University.

“School voucher programs encourage families to exit public schools for private schools. Our goal is to understand how families make those decisions,” study co-author Jane Arnold Lincove, associate director of ERA-New Orleans, said in a statement.

Researchers drew on data from New Orleans’ OneApp system, a centralized application for public schools that low-income families can use to apply to certain private schools that offer vouchers through the Louisiana Scholarship Program.

“When comparing schools with similar student demographics and locations, the average family will choose a private one over a public one, even if the private school’s voucher recipients have lower performance on state standardized tests,” according to a Tulane news release about the report.

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

 

A copy of the study

http://go.uen.org/5DH (Education Research Alliance)

 


 

 

In Mass. schools, a focus on well-being

Boston Globe

 

READING — The only sound that could be heard in Maria Simon’s first-grade classroom one December morning was the soothing hum from a vibrating Tibetan singing bowl. Her students had gathered on a brightly colored rug at the back of the classroom, sitting with their eyes shut, their legs crossed, and their arms extended outward palms up.

Each time a classmate struck the small bowl with a mallet — releasing a low sounding gong — the students breathed in. Then as the sound faded away, they breathed out. The exercise lasted about five minutes, and they started their math lesson.

“It helps give us a few minutes of peace and quiet so we can focus on our work,” said one student, Grace Hayes.

This moment of “mindfulness” in Simon’s classroom is part of a broader effort at Birch Meadow Elementary School and Reading’s eight other schools to help put students at ease and get them more in tune with their emotions, and one another, so they can concentrate on learning.

Across Massachusetts, schools are devoting more time to address the social and emotional well-being of their students. Educators stress the movement is not simply “feel good” education. They say teaching students at every grade to manage their emotions can help them deal with a multitude of serious issues, including bullying, mental illness, substance abuse, or trauma.

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

 


 

 

WV testing panel eyes replacing Smarter Balanced with ACT Charleston (WV) Gazette-Mail

 

Most members of the West Virginia Schools superintendent’s commission on testing want to move away from Smarter Balanced standardized exams, limit end-of-year testing in high school to only one grade and specifically explore using ACT tests as statewide assessments.

The recommendations came near the end of a nearly five-hour-long meeting that included commission members expressing worries about more students refusing to take tests this school year.

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

 


 

 

Back off parents: It’s not your job to teach Common Core math when helping with homework What should parents do when they don’t understand their kids’ Common Core homework?

Hechinger Report

 

While doing a math problem with my six-year-old recently during a classroom session for parents, I barked at her, “Just put the number in any circle.” She looked at me as if I was speaking a different language. Turns out, I was. Her teacher, who overheard the conversation, corrected me. The sum, she explained, goes in the top circle. Three circles form a pyramid and the bottom stack are for addition or subtraction while the top is for the total. I wrongly assumed order was insignificant.

For months, I had been baffled by “number bonds,” a way of expressing math in circles that my daughter had to complete for homework. I never bothered to ask the teacher how they work. Instead, I soldiered on, demoralized but thinking, ‘Surely, I can do first-grade math.’ I’m not alone in my confusion.

Parents across the country are trying to make sense of Common Core standards, a set of academic expectations that call for less focus on memorization and more focus on explaining how solutions were found and, in English, a deep probe of text.

Advocates of the program argue that the skills are still the basic ones we learned as children but in the new curricula developed around the standards, the questions are often presented differently.           That often means homework, an age-old source of angst for many families, has gotten even more complicated. Parents, like myself, are trying to guide children through questions that make little sense to adults who were taught math using other methods.

Before you throw up your hands and walk away from homework – a recent study in Psychological Science found that math-anxious parents who help children on homework breed math-anxious children – experts say there are several strategies you can try that don’t require relearning arithmetic.

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

 


 

Education Department Gets Slight Boost in FY 2016 Deal Education Week

 

Title I aid for the nation’s neediest students is getting a $500 million boost, up to approximately $14.9 billion, while state grants under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act are rising by $415 million, up to $11.9 billion, as part of the omnibus federal budget deal for fiscal 2016 signed into law by President Barack Obama last month.

Those and other spending increases are part of an overall budget increase for the U.S. Department of Education of $1.2 billion. The total increase for the U.S. Department of Education’s budget is about 2 percent, up to about $68 billion.

In addition, Head Start, which is under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is getting a $570 million increase, up to $9.2 billion, under the omnibus budget, and the Child Care and Development Block Grant under HHS is rising by $326 million, up to $2.8 billion.

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

 


 

 

The Schools Taking in Syrian Refugees

In Connecticut, communities have welcomed those searching for a home and set up systems to help them rebuild.

Atlantic

 

HARTFORD, Conn.— When N.A. told her three young daughters in 2010 that they were only going to New York City for a few weeks to visit their grandmother, she meant it. She left their summer clothes—along with most of their belongings—behind in the house she planned to return to in the city she loved.

But a few months after arriving on the East Coast, A realized it would be a long time before she could call Damascus, Syria, home again. The city, where mosques keep their doors open all night long for those in constant prayer and the pious gazed at the burial sites of ancient religious figures, had become the scene of a dangerous and brutal civil war.

Uprisings against President Bashar al-Assad’s repressive regime turned deadly as opposing factions fought for control of the country and in the process claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands of Syrians—including A’s cousin and her sister-in-law’s husband. Millions more were displaced.

Soon after A’s arrival, her husband also fled Syria to join his family in the United States. He had learned authorities were looking to arrest him and—he feared—kill him for being a nonviolent protester.

While the young mom choked up at television sets blaring the violence taking place in her homeland, she sought to build a life for her family in America. She landed in Connecticut after a local lawyer there helped them get asylum. Everything from figuring out how to get immunization records so her daughters could register for school to learning English to securing asylum was a struggle, A said.

“I also had to find a way to live here,” said the 28-year-old. “I have three young girls. I need to find them a life. They don’t understand that there is a war. We have lost everything. We have lost our house. They have nothing to do with it… They deserve to go to school and have everything they want.”

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

 


 

New study rethinks which kids can stop bullying Philadelphia Inquirer

 

How can schools get kids to cut down on bullying?

Go to the kids, according to the results of a new study, published Monday.

Researchers from Princeton, Rutgers and Yale Universities engaged groups of students in 56 New Jersey middle schools to spread messages against bullying and social conflict during the 2012-13 school year. The summary of the study did not include the names of the schools.

Schools where students were identified by their peers in surveys as socially influential saw a 30 percent reduction in student conflict reports, according to the findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The greatest drop in conflict was found to coincide with the groups with the largest proportion of social influencers.

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

 

A copy of the study

http://go.uen.org/5DQ (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)

 


 

 

Colorado girl charged with plotting to kill high school classmates Reuters

 

DENVER | One of two 16-year-old girls accused of plotting to kill classmates and staff at their Colorado high school last month was formally charged as an adult on Tuesday with conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, prosecutors said.

Sienna Johnson appeared in Douglas County Court to face allegations that she and another girl planned to attack Mountain Vista High School in the Denver suburb of Highlands Ranch, said District Attorney George Brauchler.

Brauchler told Reuters he decided to charge Johnson as an adult based on evidence seized by police, including a journal in which he said the girl drew a map of the school, made detailed notes about where people congregated and tracked the movements of security personnel.

He said she also posted pictures of other school shootings to her page on the social networking website Tumblr, “took steps to acquire firearms and went target shooting with a pellet gun.” Prosecutors have not said whether either suspect had actually obtained a firearm or had access to weapons.

http://go.uen.org/5E6

 

http://go.uen.org/5E9 (AP)

 

http://go.uen.org/5E7 (Denver Post)

 


 

 

Bucks coach head butts ref, finds job on the line Philadelphia Inquirer

 

Neshaminy High School basketball coach Jerry Devine has been placed on leave both as coach and a teacher and faces possible disciplinary action after head butting a referee, knocking him to the floor, during a game Tuesday night.

Devine was ejected from the game following the incident in the final seconds of his team’s 49-42 loss to visiting Pennsbury High School.

Videos show Devine head butting the referee after a charging call against a Neshaminy player.

The referee got up after being knocked down and the game continued after Devine was ejected.

The Neshaminy School District said Wednesday morning it is conducting a review of the incident and that Devine, the high school’s basketball coach for 10 years, has been placed on “administrative leave pending the outcome of that review for both his teaching and coaching positions.”

http://go.uen.org/5E2

 


 

 

Nebraska Catholic group urges schools to back proposal requiring students to take part in sports based on gender at birth Omaha World-Herald

 

With competing proposals regarding transgender athletes up for consideration this month, one faith-based group is urging support for a proposal that would require students to participate in sports based on their gender at birth.

In a press release issued Monday, the Nebraska Catholic Conference “strongly urged” all Nebraska School Activities Association member schools to vote in favor of a bylaw amendment requiring students to participate in sports or activities based on the gender listed on their birth certificate.

“The Nebraska Catholic Conference supports this proposal, and diocesan high schools that are members of the NSAA will be voting in favor of it,” said the group, which represents Nebraska’s three Catholic bishops.

http://go.uen.org/5E8

 


 

 

A day of pride for Afghan girl grads amid growing threats NewsHour

 

It was a very special day for the Zabuli Education Center, located about 100 miles north of Kabul. For the first time, girls in that village graduated from high school.

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

 

 

 

 

 

————————————————————

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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