Education News Roundup: Feb. 16, 2016

Amir A. H. Jackson, founder of the nonprofit organization Nurture the Creative Mind, speaking at the USOE's Martin Luther King Jr., contest awards luncheon.

Amir A. H. Jackson, founder of the nonprofit organization Nurture the Creative Mind, speaking at the USOE’s Martin Luther King Jr., contest awards luncheon.

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

D-News takes a closer look at the proposed education budget.

http://go.uen.org/644 (DN)

 

State Board of Education and State Charter School Board consider West Ridge Academy.

http://go.uen.org/63Y (SLT)

 

New poll of Utah GOP delegates finds schools and education the top issue, but with just 21 percent of delegates naming it as the top issue.

http://go.uen.org/64Q (UP)

 

GOP gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Johnson wants to see “the Utah State Board of Education coming up with five or six different standards and letting each school board choose what should be implemented into schools.”

http://go.uen.org/64s (SGS)

and http://go.uen.org/64V (SGN)

 

Here’s your chance to have a say about the next Salt Lake City superintendent.

http://go.uen.org/63Z (SLT)

 

The story about Sky View High student Hayden Godfrey giving a flower to every girl in the school goes viral.

http://go.uen.org/645 (DN)

and http://go.uen.org/64h (OSE)

and http://go.uen.org/64p (LHJ)

and http://go.uen.org/655 (San Francisco Chronicle)

and http://go.uen.org/652 (USAT)

and http://go.uen.org/656 (Business Insider)

and http://go.uen.org/64Y (People)

and http://go.uen.org/657 (Mashable)

and http://go.uen.org/64Z (ABC)

and http://go.uen.org/650 (CNN)

and http://go.uen.org/653 ([London] Daily Telegraph)

 

Sen. Dabakis discusses education funding in the Trib.

http://go.uen.org/642 (SLT)

 

Chamber President Beattie speaks of it in the D-News.

http://go.uen.org/64c (DN)

 

New survey finds the median salary of a superintendent is $131,000, and average is $140,021.

http://go.uen.org/63N (AASA)

 

USA Today does a big article on teacher discipline tracking systems.

http://go.uen.org/63P (USAT)

and sidebar teacher data audit

http://go.uen.org/63Q (USAT)

and http://go.uen.org/64F (CSM)

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Slicing and dicing money for your child’s education

 

Charter schools find ally in Gov. Herbert in fight for more funds

 

State Senator would like to shift the way education is funded and focused

 

Lawmakers balk at bill that would give A grades to Utah schools scoring above 64 percent

 

Citing parents’ constitutional rights, Utah lawmaker moves to decriminalize school truancy

 

Millner pushes ‘teacher leader’ bill to retain Utah educators

 

Preschool and kindergarten are hot topics on the Utah hill

 

Vaccinations and the HB221 Bill: What you need to know

 

Legislation funding school technology grants moves forward

 

Allegations of abuse at prospective charter school splits Utah’s top school boards.

Troubled-youths center » West Ridge Academy wants to become a charter school, but former students’ allegations divide officials who have say over move.

 

Poll: What is the Top Issue in Utah for GOP Delegates?

 

Gubernatorial candidate wants more local power

 

SLC School District asks public to weigh in on search for new superintendent

Education » The community can connect with the consulting team in a series of open houses.

 

Maple Ridge students are piloting coding program that hopes to go statewide

 

Logan District reconsidering costs in wake of national field trips

 

“Unspoken: America’s Native American Boarding Schools” On Tuesday’s Access Utah

 

Utah elementary schools send kids outside for recess, despite red air quality

 

Utah colleges not graduating enough teachers for demand

 

$500K Apple grant provides technology to Salt Lake school

 

Nebo District makes 5 administrative appointments

 

Basketball tourney clashes with ACTs, splitting sites and hampering hookies

 

Smithfield teen makes Valentine’s Day special for classmates

 

Granite High School could become a WalMart

 

Donation from Utah Jazz, local credit union helps school for students with special needs

 

Counseling team, principal receive education awards

 

Local kindergarten teacher named 2016 Utah Mother of the Year

 

TestOut honored as a top business by Zions Bank

 

Utah high schools retire jerseys of two players who went pro

 

January 2016 Students of the Month honored by St. George Exchange Club

 


 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Education is the key to lifting Utah children out of poverty

 

Delicate issues facing Utah’s lawmakers

 

Trump both for and against Common Core: Candidate flip flops three minutes later in speech

 

Woods Cross basketball camp, scrimmage spreads joy to special-needs children

 

Here’s how we can get another $700 million for Utah schoolchildren

 

Voters must make a generational decision

 

By its actions, Utah shows it undervalues its children

 

Helping to protect children who are not vaccinated

 

Don’t politicize high school civics education

 

Volunteers are under-used resource for schools

 

Satan’s free rein

 

Supreme Court’s Scalia Brought Conservative Outlook to Education Cases

 

Untold story: How Scalia’s death blew up an anti-union group’s grand legal strategy

 

How Many Education Secretaries Have Been K-12 Classroom Teachers?

 

How New York Made Pre­K a Success

 

2015 AASA Superintendents Salary & Benefits Study

 


 

 

NATION

 

Broken discipline tracking systems let teachers flee troubled pasts

A Fragmented System for Checking the Backgrounds of Teachers Leaves Students at Risk

 

Should Ohio schools be held harmless if students opt out of state tests?

 

Could $1 Billion Make Teaching the Best Job in the World?

 

Free-range education: Why the unschooling movement is growing

A once-utopian idea – allowing kids to ‘discover’ their own education path while learning at home – goes mainstream.

 

Kindergarten Today: Less Play, More Academics

 

Should Computer Education Cover More Than Just Coding?

 

Private groups step in to show teachers how to use technology in the classroom

Lots of dollars and tech but not enough teacher training to blend classrooms

 

Anti-Common Core activists seek control of teachers union

 

Amazon Education to Launch New Website for Open Education Resources

 

Google Quietly Shutters Play For Education

 

Standards, Grades And Tests Are Wildly Outdated, Argues ‘End Of Average’

 

More Low-Income Children Eating School Breakfast, Report Says

 

Ex-students Say Boarding School Kept Them in Isolation Boxes

 

Columbine killer’s mother: ‘The greatest mercy I could pray for was . . . for his death’

 

 

 

————————————————————

UTAH NEWS

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Slicing and dicing money for your child’s education

 

SALT LAKE CITY — A committee of lawmakers settled last week on a preliminary funding proposal that would give about $300 million in new money to public schools, with more than $266 million of it as ongoing funding.

That amount would include more than $94 million to accommodate enrollment growth in Utah’s K-12 classrooms. It also designates an increase of 2.5 percent, or $70 million, to the weighted pupil unit, Utah’s formula for equalized school funding distribution.

Some schools could benefit from the equivalent of a 4 percent weighted pupil unit increase because of legislation that improves funding equity between district and charter schools.

The combined increase in discretionary money from the formula and equity funding would be about $112 million overall — more than the $90.7 million increase to the weighted pupil unit requested by the Utah State Board of Education but short of the $130 million increase proposed by Gov. Gary Herbert.

“It’s in the ballpark of what we’re asking for,” said State School Board Chairman David Crandall. “Hopefully the districts will use the flexibility wisely in targeting student achievement, which is our ultimate goal. The more we can see that that’s the priority of districts, I think the more we’ll be able to continue requesting that flexibility from the Legislature.”

But dollar amounts in the final education budget could likely fall short of what the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee recommended Thursday. Revised income tax revenue estimates won’t be available until the end of February, and they’re projected to produce less than the $266 million of ongoing funds included in the subcommittee’s proposal, Crandall said.

http://go.uen.org/644 (DN)

 


 

 

Charter schools find ally in Gov. Herbert in fight for more funds

 

Charter Schools are advocating for an increase in funding in the state of Utah, and they may have just found a powerful ally in Governor Herbert.

http://go.uen.org/64u (KUTV, video)

 


 

 

State Senator would like to shift the way education is funded and focused

 

Education is an important issue for new Utah State Senator Lincoln, R-District 10, who was a guest on KVNU’s For the People program.

Fillmore says instead of looking at education as a system of funding a school system, we should be looking at it from the standpoint of funding the education of a specific child.

“The value of that child’s education really doesn’t change,” said Fillmore, “based on where he lives or what model of school he chooses to attend, that our commitment as a state is to that child to make sure he or she gets the education they need to be successful later in life.

“I think if you focus on the student aspect of education, particularly on the individual aspect of education, then the equalization argument follows naturally.”

http://go.uen.org/64X (CVD)

 


 

 

Lawmakers balk at bill that would give A grades to Utah schools scoring above 64 percent

 

An “A” grade for a score of 64 percent would be music to most students’ ears, but a panel of Utah lawmakers was hesitant to give the same grading curve to the state’s public schools on Tuesday.

The Senate Education Committee opted to hold for further review a bill that would amend Utah’s school grading system, potentially the sixth change in as many years to the law that first passed in 2011.

Sponsored by Ogden Republican Sen. Ann Millner, this year’s tweak would set in statute more generous metrics for the letter grades, which are based on a point system that includes year-end test scores, graduation rates and student performance on the ACT.

The bill would also empower the State Board of Education to incrementally raise the bar for “A” and “B” grades without legislative action.

http://go.uen.org/63X (SLT)

 


 

 

Citing parents’ constitutional rights, Utah lawmaker moves to decriminalize school truancy

 

Utah’s public education system would be a little less compulsory under a bill that received preliminary approval from the Senate on Tuesday.

The bill, sponsored by Highland Republican Sen. Alvin Jackson, would remove the criminal penalty for parents whose children rack up unexcused school absences.

Currently, a parent can be fined or charged with a class B misdemeanor if they fail to meet with school administrators after being notified of truancy.

But Jackson said the government’s role in education is secondary to that of a child’s family, and the compulsory education law inappropriately interferes with parents’ rights.

“Education is not a constitutional right,” Jackson said, “but being able to raise your kids the way you see fit is a constitutional right.”

http://go.uen.org/64L (SLT)

 


 

 

Millner pushes ‘teacher leader’ bill to retain Utah educators

 

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill crafted in an effort to retain more Utah teachers moved to the House floor Friday after a slight modification the day before by the House Education Committee.

Senate Bill 51, sponsored by state Sen. Ann Millner, R-Ogden, creates criteria for “teacher leaders” who will ”work with a student teacher and a teacher who supervises a student teacher; assist with the training of a recently hired teacher; and support school-based professional learning.“

”I want to keep great teachers,“ Millner told the committee, adding that if the bill passes, she expects the state board to report back to legislators by November.

http://go.uen.org/64g (OSE)

 


 

 

Preschool and kindergarten are hot topics on the Utah hill

 

State leaders say early childhood education programs could be a key factor in breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty, and several proposed bills could change how districts run and fund preschool and kindergarten.

Primarily, the goal of the bills is to get more kids in preschool, provide the option for a longer kindergarten school day and set statewide standards for testing kindergarten preparedness.

“I agree that we do need some bills to focus on early childhood and school readiness,” said Adam McMickell, who is the assessment and instructional technology coordinator for Ogden School District.

McMickell pulled data from Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) assessments to compare scores among kids who entered kindergarten in 2010 and were still in the Ogden School District by fifth grade. Over that five year span, 72 percent of kids who scored well below on the test in kindergarten were still “below” or “well below” the benchmarks according to the fifth grade scores.

About 75 percent of students who scored at or above benchmarks when entering kindergarten were still at or above benchmarks in fifth grade.

“Is readiness everything? No,” said McMickell, noting there are many variables, “but it does set students up for future success and greatly reduces some of the compounding issues.”

http://go.uen.org/64e (OSE)

 


 

 

Vaccinations and the HB221 Bill: What you need to know

 

Lacey Eden visited the 2News studio to inform parents about vaccinations. According to 2014 Immunization Coverage Report, released by the Utah Department of Health, 95 percent of all school exemptions from vaccinations are due to the personal beliefs of the parents.

Based on a report released from Utah.gov, “Vaccinations By School District and School Utah 2014,” 23 percent of schools in Utah don’t fall under “herd immunity” for measles.Herd immunity is a form of protection from vaccine-preventable diseases that occurs when a the larger population is immune to certain infections. An estimated 51,000 infants depend on herd immunity because their unable to receive immunizations.

A new bill, HB221, will require all those who choose to exempt on personal belief to complete an online module. The purpose of the module is to help parents prepare in case of a disease outbreak, not to try to change parent’s minds.

http://go.uen.org/64R (KUTV)

 


 

 

Legislation funding school technology grants moves forward

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Legislators have given a preliminary nod to a plan for investing in statewide classroom technology.

The bill would create a $100 million grant fund for districts to enhance digital infrastructure at schools, train teachers to use technology, and provide learning devices for students.

http://go.uen.org/64m (PDH)

 

http://go.uen.org/64W (Education News)

 

http://go.uen.org/654 (Ed Week)

 


 

 

Allegations of abuse at prospective charter school splits Utah’s top school boards.

Troubled-youths center » West Ridge Academy wants to become a charter school, but former students’ allegations divide officials who have say over move.

 

Josh Graham remembers his first day at West Ridge Academy in December 1998, when the treatment center and private school for troubled youths was known as the Utah Boys Ranch.

His parents didn’t tell him where he was going, or why. They dropped him off in the lobby, and he was taken into a room to meet with a member of the school faculty.

Graham refused to speak, and he claims the staff member responded by wrestling him to the ground and placing chair legs on his wrists to pin him down.

Graham was 11 years old.

“I was scared, and I was angry and I was alone,” he said.

Another West Ridge alumnus, Maria Olsen, said her first day began in February 2012, with two men entering her bedroom, startling her awake and carrying her out of her home.

Over the next six months, she was made to sleep on floors, go days without speaking and was limited to reading only textbooks and scriptures.

She said desks and chairs were thrown at students, and children as young as 9 years old were pressed facedown on the ground with the knees of adult staffers in their backs.

“I had arrived at an unregulated prison,” she said.

Graham and Olsen shared those stories and others with members of the state school board earlier this month in anticipation of a vote to approve the latest transformation of the Utah Boys Ranch.

Rebranded as West Ridge Academy in 2005, the school is applying to become a charter school named Eagle Summit Academy, which would receive public funding on a per-student basis. Children from West Ridge’s West Jordan residential treatment center would be enrolled at the charter, which would also recruit more troubled youths from the surrounding area.

Eagle Summit’s application was approved by a 5-1 vote of the state Charter School Board. But, in a rare move, the State Board of Education reversed the charter board’s recommendation and denied the application to investigate the accusations of physical and sexual abuse and financial insolvency.

http://go.uen.org/63Y (SLT)

 


 

 

Poll: What is the Top Issue in Utah for GOP Delegates?

 

Utah Republican delegates rank education as the top issue facing the state of Utah.

A new UtahPolicy.com survey shows 21% of current Utah Republican delegates say schools and education are the state’s #1 issue. 14% picked the economy, and 11% said the fight over control of public lands within the state’s borders.

Government overreach was the top concern for 10% of Utah GOP delegates, and 5% said immigration was their top issue.

http://go.uen.org/64Q (UP)

 


 

 

Gubernatorial candidate wants more local power

 

Jonathan Johnson, a Republican candidate for Utah governor, spoke to the public during a town hall in St. George on Saturday to discuss his plan to improve Utah by getting control of lands back from the federal government and updating the educational system.

Johnson, the chairman of the board for Overstock.com, is running for political office for the first time — a factor that hasn’t deterred him from going up against current Gov. Gary Herbert.

Johnson emphasized a need to restrict the amount of power the federal government has when it comes to decisions within the state.

He said because states have looked to the federal government for solutions and funding, citizens now have to deal with the implementation of regulations not determined by the state.

Johnson went on to explain the lack of say local school districts have by using the Common Core State Standards as an example, saying he would like to remove it from the Utah school system.

“It’s become a hot-button issue in the state where the federal government has held out federal funds to get the governor on board,” said attendee John Olsen of St. George. “Between the governor and the state boards of education, we’ve been signed on to something that the people never had a vote in.”

Johnson said he would like to see education decisions return to the county school districts, with the Utah State Board of Education coming up with five or six different standards and letting each school board choose what should be implemented into schools.

http://go.uen.org/64s (SGS)

 

http://go.uen.org/64V (SGN)

 


 

 

SLC School District asks public to weigh in on search for new superintendent

Education » The community can connect with the consulting team in a series of open houses.

 

Salt Lake City needs a new school superintendent, and the district is asking the public for help.

Four open houses are scheduled this week to connect community members with a consulting team hired by the Salt Lake City Board of Education to screen candidates for the district’s top job.

School board President Heather Bennett said the meetings are intended to both answer residents’ questions and generate feedback on qualifications people expect for a new superintendent.

“It will give us information as we evaluate applications to try and match the skills of the applicant with the desires of the community,” Bennett said.

The meetings will be held at West High School on Tuesday, Highland High School on Wednesday, and both East High School and Glendale Middle School on Thursday. All four meetings are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. in the schools’ libraries.

http://go.uen.org/63Z (SLT)

 


 

 

Maple Ridge students are piloting coding program that hopes to go statewide

 

It was quiet in the classroom. The fifth graders’ attention was on their laptops, headphones over their ears. Ten-year-old Lilly Atkin arranged a set of instructional blocks in the correct order on her screen, and an Angry Bird character reached a grumpy green pig.

“We are coding, and there are lots of ways to do it,” Atkin said. “There’s not just one right way to try to get the Angry Bird to the pig.”

Since Jan. 29, volunteers from InsideSales.com have been teaching fourth, fifth and sixth graders at Maple Ridge Elementary School how to code every Friday. The lessons began with foundations of coding, like logical thinking and following directions.

http://go.uen.org/64n (PDH)

 

 


 

 

Logan District reconsidering costs in wake of national field trips

 

As a large number of students and teams in the Logan City School District have qualified for national competitions over the past couple of years, the district has decided to cut some of the costs it covers in future travel expenses and have students raise the funds.

In the past, the cost for individuals who qualified for national competitions, in addition to the cost for field trip chaperones, were always covered by the district, Logan City School District Superintendent Frank Schofield said. In the midst of a possible increase in insurance premiums for the district next year, financial worries have surfaced; the district is looking for ways to properly allocate and spend its funds.

“We can’t afford to continue with the same practices we have in the past,” Schofield said. “It gets very costly very fast.”

http://go.uen.org/64o (LHJ)

 


 

 

“Unspoken: America’s Native American Boarding Schools” On Tuesday’s Access Utah

 

By the late 1800s, Native American culture was under attack from a variety of sectors.  As westward expansion continued, the U.S. government adopted a policy to the eradicate culture, language and spirituality of America’s indigenous people by taking children from their families, isolating them, and forcing them to deny their heritage. The policy of assimilation transported the children to boarding schools for cultural transformation.  Everything Native was to be stripped away. The goal was integration into Anglo society.  Their language, as their culture, was to be “unspoken.”

KUED is presenting a new film, “Unspoken: America’s Native American Boarding Schools.” The film, produced by John Howe, tells the story of Native American boarding schools including one in Brigham City, and airs on KUED on Tuesday, February 16 at 8:00 p.m.

On Tuesday’s Access Utah we’ll talk with filmmaker John Howe and hear clips from the movie; and our guests will also include Davina Spotted Elk, who is featured in the film.

http://go.uen.org/64M (UPR)

 


 

 

Utah elementary schools send kids outside for recess, despite red air quality

 

SALT LAKE COUNTY, – Most elementary schools continue sending students outside for recess, despite this week’s orange- and red-level air quality.  So, at what point should administrators keep kids inside?

ABC 4 Utah first started asking questions, Thursday, when some viewers expressed concern for their children.  Friday, Good 4 Utah’s Ali Monsen took those concerns to  one of the school districts involved.

“We’re not air quality experts, we do rely on the expertise of the Department of Environmental Quality and the Dept. of Health,” said said Ben Horsley, spokesperson for the Granite School District.

Horsley makes it clear that school principals do not make the rules but follow them.

http://go.uen.org/64J (KTVX)

 


 

 

Utah colleges not graduating enough teachers for demand

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s public schools need more teachers to fill their classrooms, but state colleges say young students are showing hardly any interest in the profession.

Though undergraduate degrees from Utah colleges have grown 25 percent in the past decade, teaching diplomas have grown only a fraction of that rate with only a 5 percent increase in the same period, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

Last year, the Utah System of Higher Education graduated 1,350 teachers with bachelor’s degrees.

http://go.uen.org/64l (PDH)

 

http://go.uen.org/64r (SGS)

 

http://go.uen.org/64U (Ed Week)

 


 

 

$500K Apple grant provides technology to Salt Lake school

 

SALT LAKE CITY — For teachers, getting the latest technology to help students advance their education is something to celebrate. This week, a group of Salt Lake City School District educators had lots of reason to cheer and shout.

Jackson Elementary, 750 W. 200 North, became just the second school in the state Friday to receive a grant from Apple Inc. as part of the nationwide ConnectED program. The approximately $500,000 award will allow Jackson to provide technology for every student and teacher at the school, including Apple hardware, software and services.

http://go.uen.org/646 (DN)

 

http://go.uen.org/64v (KSL)

 


 

 

Nebo District makes 5 administrative appointments

 

SPANISH FORK — The Nebo School Board of Education has appointed five people to fill positions in the district.

The board named John DeGraffenried as the director of College, Career and Technical Education; Ann Anderson was appointed secondary director; Ken Van Ausdal will be the human resources director; Suzanne Kimball will be the coordinator of human resources; and Michael Larsen was named director of Special Education and Federal Programs.

http://go.uen.org/649

 


 

 

Basketball tourney clashes with ACTs, splitting sites and hampering hookies

 

The early games at the 4-A and 5-A boys basketball tournaments can sometimes be the most exciting because of how much student support there is.

What student wouldn’t want to go watch a high school basketball game in a college arena with a bunch of friends instead of sitting in class?

Well, say goodbye to them. There will be no class skipping for early boys basketball games this year.

The Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) has split the first-round sites for the 4-A and 5-A boys basketball tournaments between Weber State University and Utah Valley University with each classification’s games starting at 2:30 p.m. The first round of the 4-A tournament will be played on Monday, February 29 while the first round of the 5-A tournament will be played on Tuesday, March 1.

The quarterfinals, semifinals and championships for each classification will all be played at the University of Utah from March 2 to March 5.

In the past, the first rounds for 4-A and 5-A – which include eight games for each classification – were held at one site over the course of two days with one classification’s games being played on Monday and the other’s on Tuesday. The first game would start at 9:30 a.m. and the final game would start at 9:10 p.m.

The reason for the split, according to UHSAA executive director Rob Cuff, is ACT testing.

“Right now the state legislature in Utah allows all juniors to take the ACT test the first Tuesday of March, and they fund that, so (the students) get to take it for free,” Cuff said, “and so we decided because the eight-game days were affecting performance on that Tuesday – because people were playing so late Monday night and then also there were games at 9:30 and 11 on Tuesday – that we decided to take the eight-game days and split them up into two sites with four games (at each site on each day).”

http://go.uen.org/64j (OSE)

 


 

 

Smithfield teen makes Valentine’s Day special for classmates

 

SMITHFIELD — Valentine’s Day isn’t always rosy at any age, but it can be especially tough when you’re a teenager.

“All through middle school I’d never really had a Valentine,” Hayden Godfrey, a senior at Sky View High School, explained. “I’d seen a lot of heartbreak over the years, and I wanted to kind of devote myself to kindness each year.”

An idea that started small for Hayden eventually grew to something much bigger. In past years, he bought flowers for every girl in the drama club, but he knew he wanted to reach out to more people.

“I wanted to make as many people happy as possible,” Hayden said. “And this year, I was finally in a position where I could do that.”

http://go.uen.org/645 (DN)

 

http://go.uen.org/64h (OSE)

 

http://go.uen.org/64p (LHJ)

 

http://go.uen.org/655 (San Francisco Chronicle)

 

http://go.uen.org/652 (USAT)

 

http://go.uen.org/656 (Business Insider)

 

http://go.uen.org/64Y (People)

 

http://go.uen.org/657 (Mashable)

 

http://go.uen.org/64Z (ABC)

 

http://go.uen.org/650 (CNN)

 

http://go.uen.org/653 ([London] Daily Telegraph)

 


 

 

Granite High School could become a WalMart

 

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah – Residents of South Salt Lake have mixed feelings about demolishing the old Granite High School and placing a WalMart in its place.

It’s been a staple in the community for over a hundred years.  Ever since the old Granite High School closed its doors back in 2009 the city has been trying to figure out what to do with the land.

“There are some people in the community that are fed up and want to see it developed,” says South Salt Lake Mayor Cherie Wood.

But, a new proposal to place a WalMart there has many residents saying “no!”

http://go.uen.org/64P (KTVX)

 


 

 

Donation from Utah Jazz, local credit union helps school for students with special needs

 

WEST JORDAN, Utah – A donation to a school for children with special needs will help them build more accessible swings, and the donation came along with a visit from the Utah Jazz Bear.

The $5,000 donation will help the Kauri Sue Hamilton School build new swing sets for children in wheelchairs.

http://go.uen.org/64w (KSTU)

 


 

 

Counseling team, principal receive education awards

 

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Association of Career and Technical Education has awarded the counseling team at Provo School District’s Timpview High School as team as Counseling Team of the Year.

http://go.uen.org/648 (DN)

 

 


 

 

Local kindergarten teacher named 2016 Utah Mother of the Year

 

As a child, Renee Hawkes had conflicting dreams — inspired as a child by Maria von Trapp of “The Sound of Music,” Hawkes found the lifestyle of a nun as an idyllic way to live. However, Hawkes also yearned for a large family, aspiring to one day be the mother of 12 children.

“I soon realized that those two dreams were incompatible,” Hawkes joked.

Hawkes, now 52, ultimately had three children of her own — Marc, 30, Stephen, 28, and Amber, 13 — and later helped to care for six stepchildren. But 2016’s Utah Mother of the Year has also applied her maternal spirit toward her kindergarten students at North Park Elementary for the past 23 years. The North Logan resident added over 1,200 five-year-olds to her extended family in the process — a process leading her down paths she never expected to take after becoming widowed at age 30 with two young sons to care for.

http://go.uen.org/64q (LHJ)

 


 

 

TestOut honored as a top business by Zions Bank

 

TestOut Corporation, based in Pleasant Grove was honored as a Top Business at the Zions Bank “Speaking on Business” luncheon on Feb. 5. TestOut was among 15 companies recognized by Zions Bank President and CEO Scott Anderson for its example of entrepreneurship in Utah.

In business for 25 years, CEO Noel Vallejo oversees TestOut, which provides IT training and certification to 200,000 students around the world each year. With 90 full-time employees, TestOut provides training to students in grades kindergarten through 12th, junior colleges and universities, as well as information technology professionals. TestOut serves 25 countries with major markets including India, Brazil, South Africa, the U.K. and Australia.

http://go.uen.org/64k (PDH)

 


 

 

Utah high schools retire jerseys of two players who went pro

 

UTAH — A pair of professional athletes were in town this weekend upon invitation from their respective alma maters. Zane Beadles and C.J. Wilcox both had their jerseys retired.

Beadles is an offensive lineman for the Jacksonville Jaguars and played at Utah before that. Hillcrest High honored Beadles on Friday night during halftime of the boys basketball game against rival Murray.

And over in Pleasant Grove, the Vikings retired Wilcox’s jersey during halftime of their win over Riverton. Wilcox is in his second year with the Los Angeles Clippers.

http://go.uen.org/64K (KTSU)

 


 

 

January 2016 Students of the Month honored by St. George Exchange Club

 

  1. GEORGE, Utah — The January Students of the Month recipients were recently honored by the St. George Exchange Club. The St. George Exchange Club sponsors the Student of the Month Program, which honors one student from the area high schools each month.

http://go.uen.org/64x (KCSG)

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Education is the key to lifting Utah children out of poverty

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

 

They call it “intergenerational poverty.” And basically, it means you’re trapped.

You grow up poor, dependent on welfare, and you never escape.

A third of Utah’s children may never overcome poverty, according to the Utah Intergenerational Welfare Reform Commission’s annual report, released in October. That’s slightly more 48,000 kids.

Sen. Ann Millner, an Ogden Republican, wants to break the cycle.

Millner intends to sponsor a bill in the 2016 Legislature setting up an Intergenerational Poverty Scholarship, administered by the Department of Workforce Services.

The initiative also establishes a student readiness program. Essentially, Millner wants to make sure more low-income kids start kindergarten with math and reading skills.

Why? Because math and reading are the keys to escaping poverty.

http://go.uen.org/64f

 


 

 

Delicate issues facing Utah’s lawmakers

Deseret News commentary by columnists LaVarr Webb & Frank R. Pignanelli

 

The legislative session is already nearly half over, with some delicate issues facing Utah’s lawmakers. Here are some of the trickiest.

Should major policy issues like Medicaid expansion and tax increases for education be placed before voters if the Legislature won’t pass them?

(Pignanelli) “These things [gang warfare] gotta happen every five years or so … helps get rid of the bad blood.” — Peter Clemenza, “The Godfather Part I”

Experience has taught me occasional use of the “Clemenza Rule” makes for good policymaking.

For several years, various business, community and political groups have been battling each other over education, transportation, planning and Medicaid issues. Legislators have served as tireless proxy warriors for these conflicts, but per Clemenza, the battlefield needs to be expanded to the general public.

http://go.uen.org/64d

 


 

 

Trump both for and against Common Core: Candidate flip flops three minutes later in speech

Deseret News commentary by columnist Eric Schulzke

 

“Common core is a total disaster,” Donald Trump emphatically told an audience in South Carolina this week, in video posted by the Washington Post. “And by the way, Jeb Bush loves Common Core. He wants people educated from Washington. Right there he loses.”

Three minutes later, he tells the same audience, “We are going to do something special. OK, are you ready? Common Core we’re going to keep.” Some supporters arrayed behind him appeared to have bemused expressions when Trump reversed field, and at least one leaned over to whisper to another. But most remained inscrutable.

http://go.uen.org/63U

 


 

 

Woods Cross basketball camp, scrimmage spreads joy to special-needs children

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner commentary by columnist Mark Saal

 

WOODS CROSS — Friday night, a buzzer-beating layup gave Woods Cross High School an important 57-55 win at Highland High, keeping the Wildcats atop the Region 5 boys basketball standings.

The next morning, back at the team’s home gym, a slightly less-athletic-looking — but no less important — layup gave them an even bigger victory in the community.

Saturday morning was the school’s third annual Special Needs Camp and Basketball Game. Each year, the team invites special-needs students from throughout Davis School District to participate in a free basketball camp and scrimmage.

http://go.uen.org/64i

 


 

 

Here’s how we can get another $700 million for Utah schoolchildren

Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Sen. Jim Dabakis

 

Utah’s education system is desperate for another billion dollars a year. Every year. Just to get above water. I am proposing two bills, Senate Bill 104 and Senate Joint Resolution 4, which together present a serious and fair plan to change the paradigm on education funding for both higher ed and K-12 for the next generation.

The scope of the crisis in education funding should cause parents, young people, the business community and all Utahns to shudder. Over the last generation Utah’s lack of commitment to education funding has had a devastating effect.

Utah ranks 50th for school funding in per-child spending at $6,800. The national average is $10,800. Wyoming spends $15,800 per student. We have the largest classroom sizes in the United States, with the lowest number of administrators (principals, counselors and nurses) and the lowest paid teachers per student in the country. The problem does not lie with our education professionals. Given the starvation funding they receive they are Utah’s heroes!

Among the disturbing outcomes from years of funding neglect is a declining high school graduation rate, a fall from near the top in fourth grade scores to 20th in the nation in math and 14th in reading.

The time for piecemeal solutions is over. We have been squeezing, readjusting and computerizing education for a generation. What is needed now is a large and sustained revenue stream increase.

http://go.uen.org/642

 


 

 

Voters must make a generational decision

Deseret News op-ed by Lane Beattie, president of the Salt Lake Chamber

 

At times necessity dictates that we come together as a state to make a tough decision — a generational decision that will have lasting consequences, potentially changing the trajectory of Utah’s future. Today is one of these moments.

Let’s look at some of these moments in our past.

In 1989, the Utah Legislature asked voters to weigh in on public investment that would position Utah as a winter sports capital and help the state secure the Olympic Winter Games. Voters approved and we invested in a speed-skating oval, ski-jumping facilities, and a luge and bobsled track even before we were selected as the U.S. Olympic bid city. It was a bold decision that continues to pay dividends today. We are now home to the largest ski resort in the United States, international exports are soaring, and Utah’s reputation in the world continues to climb.

In 2006, voters approved a sales tax increase for transportation investment. This investment brought us TRAX light rail and FrontRunner commuter rail, as well as improved roads. The greater Salt Lake metropolitan area now has one of the best rail systems for any area of its size in North America. Utah commuters spend less time stuck in traffic, and we took an important step to improve air quality.

In both cases the Legislature wisely turned to the public and invited them to weigh in on a major public decision. It is now time to invite voters to make a generational decision about education.

A group of business and community leaders is asking the Utah Legislature to place a seven-eighths of one percentage point income tax increase on the ballot. The increase would yield about $550 million in additional education investment each year that would be used to improve educational outcomes. Importantly, the ballot decision will inspire a statewide discussion about investment in our children and grandchildren and a prosperous economy.

http://go.uen.org/64c

 


 

By its actions, Utah shows it undervalues its children

Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Nathan Florence, an artist and board member of the Alliance for a Better Utah

 

Several years ago I was invited, by the head of a private school, to enter the teaching profession. I am a working artist and, having seen colleagues distracted from their art by their teaching, had previously avoided that route. I do enjoy working with kids, though, and had an interest in sharing the sense of wonder and powerful expression that come through creating art. I am also deeply concerned with the way our culture educates our children and wanted to be a part of changing that.

This idealism also led me to change to working with a public school. I was not naive to the difficulties of teaching, nor to the bureaucratic frustrations that accompany it. However, as much as I love watching young eyes light up with discovery, I have often questioned if it was worth it. It is no wonder that around 30 percent of new teachers leave the profession within the first five years.

By now we are familiar with the facts: Utah spends less money per pupil than any other state in our nation. I have heard this defended by many politicians who claim that it is because we are frugal and efficient. We can also hold up the reports of certain tests to boast that our students perform better than some. Is that what we really want for our children? To perform better than some? We don’t settle for that in touting our economic success, or even our snow quality! “Ski Utah, our snow is better than some other places.”

Our state leaders, like any politicians, will wax eloquent about their concern for the welfare of children. In reality, professionals are given respect according to the age of the clients they work with. The younger the person they teach or treat, the less respect and earnings they receive.

http://go.uen.org/641

 


 

 

Helping to protect children who are not vaccinated

Deseret News op-ed by Rep. Carol Spackman Moss

 

Imagine having a son who, at the tender age of 5, is diagnosed with leukemia. During a year of treatments, he fights for his life, enjoys brief moments of smiles and laughter that accompany a normal childhood, and then, happily, goes into remission. That same year he enters school, surrounded by his classmates, finally leading a life free of hospitals and painful treatments. But because of his compromised immune system, he cannot be immunized against vaccine-presentable diseases.

Another family, a few blocks away, enrolls their son in kindergarten. They have decided, for personal reasons, not to vaccinate him. He is a happy, healthy boy who makes friends with the boy in remission. In fact, they become best friends — throwing snowballs on the playground, coloring the same pictures and sharing the same table as they learn to count to 100.

Both boys have parents who love them dearly and want them to be healthy and safe from harm. Both parents have made decisions about their child’s health care that are stamped with the approval of state law. While Utah law requires all children to be immunized before starting kindergarten or attending a private or public preschool or day care, the law also allows a parent to apply for an exemption based on religious, personal/philosophical or medical reasons.

What happens to children like these two boys when there is an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease?

http://go.uen.org/64a

 


 

 

Don’t politicize high school civics education

Salt Lake Tribune letter from Daniel Day

 

I am a senior attending Hillcrest High School. Recently, I was required to take the civics test mandated by the recently passed Senate Bill 60, the American Civics Education Initiative, sponsored by the far-right Sen. Howard Stephenson.

I like this bill because it is important for students to be knowledgeable about their country’s history and its government.

However, I did take issue with one question asked on the test. The question was “What is the economic system in the United States?” I put “mixed economy” for my answer, and I got the question wrong. The correct answer was “market economy.”

This disturbed me because the United States clearly has a mixed economy. It seems as though the mandatory civics test contains a partisan bias — many conservatives would like the economy to be a market economy, or think that it is, but this is not true.

http://go.uen.org/640

 


 

 

Volunteers are under-used resource for schools

Salt Lake Tribune letter from Jon Titus

 

Utah might need more teachers and it certainly needs to pay them more (“The learning curve,” Feb. 10). But school districts ignore an educational resource already at hand and that costs nothing: volunteers. Volunteers must find teachers of a subject and contact each about a volunteer opportunity. Likewise, teachers have no easy way to find volunteers in, say, computer programming, chemistry, accounting, and so on. Thus we have teachers who need volunteers and professionals with real-world experience ignorant of each other.

We should have a statewide online matching service such as eHarmony or Linkedin that makes it easy for volunteers and teachers to see who needs what and to start a conversation. In my experience, cold calls to teachers rarely work, and no one in the my school district has shown much active interest in a volunteer-teacher matching system. Sad indeed.

http://go.uen.org/643

 


 

 

Satan’s free rein

(St. George) Spectrum letter from R. L. Kane

 

When I went to school in the 1930s, the teacher started each morning with Bible reading and a short prayer. But objectors sent the nation into shock when they got all religion removed from the schools. That left Satan with a free rein to romp among the students.

As I understand, the presence of righteousness works best by invitation through prayer. On the other hand, the presence of Satan will occur at any opportunity and without invitation. And, believe it, how he romps over the wide world today!

http://go.uen.org/64t

 


 

 

Supreme Court’s Scalia Brought Conservative Outlook to Education Cases

Education Week commentary by columnist Mark Walsh

 

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who was found dead Saturday at age 79, brought his conservative and originalist outlook to scores of education cases during his nearly three decades on the high court.

On the major education cases of his era, Scalia consistently voted against the consideration of race in higher education and K-12 schools, backed a low wall of separation between church and state, and generally favored school administrators over students and their rights.

http://go.uen.org/64D

 


 

 

Untold story: How Scalia’s death blew up an anti-union group’s grand legal strategy

Los Angeles Times commentary by columnist Michael Hiltzik

 

The anti-union lawsuit known as Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Assn. is widely viewed as one of the leading casualties of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death.

What’s less well-known is how the anti-union plaintiffs connived to fast-track the case through the federal judiciary in order to get it before the court while it still harbored a conservative majority. Their method was to encourage the lower courts to rule against them, so they could file a quick appeal. But Scalia’s passing is likely to leave a 4-4 deadlock over the case, so the last ruling, in which the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled for the teachers union, remains in force.

This wasn’t how the anti-union group behind the lawsuit, the Center for Individual Rights, expected things to work out. As we write, the group’s website still features a photograph of nominal plaintiff Rebecca Friedrichs and the center’s lawyers standing in front of the Supreme Court on Jan. 10, looking plenty chuffed about that morning’s oral arguments, which plainly went their way. The poet Robert Burns had a line for the subsequent developments: “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley.”

http://go.uen.org/64H

 


 

 

How Many Education Secretaries Have Been K-12 Classroom Teachers?

Education Week commentary by columnist Alyson Klein

 

Newly minted acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. , who has been officially nominated to head up the Education Department, loves to weave his background as a social studies teacher into his speeches (especially when he’s talking about how government works.) And a couple times lately, he’s even played the former principal card (including when getting the attention of a room full of edu-advocates eager to hear about the president’s budget proposal).

It turns out King is the very first former principal to serve as education secretary (or acting secretary). That got us wondering—how many other former classroom teachers have been at the helm of the department? How many had other sorts of teaching backgrounds?

And it seems that just four out of the eleven, or less than half of, the officials who have led the department as secretary or acting secretary since its inception in 1980 were full-time K-12 classroom teachers at one point in their careers, according to our research team. Others though had done work in K-12 schools (like serving a big city superintendent) or taught at the university level.

Want specifics? Here you go, in chronological order:

Terrel H. Bell (served under President Ronald Reagan, a Republican)

K-12 classroom teacher? Yup. He taught high school chemistry, physics, and athletics in Eden, Idaho. Plus, he served as the superintendent of a bunch of school districts in the western U.S., including Salt Lake City. And he was the Utah state chief.

http://go.uen.org/64S

 


 

 

How New York Made Pre­K a Success

New York Times Magazine commentary by David L. Kirp, professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley

 

BORSCHT isn’t found on most prekindergarten menus, but it’s what the cooks were dishing up for the 35 children at Ira’s Daycare in Briarwood, Queens, on a recent school day. Many families in this neighborhood are Russian émigrés for whom borscht is a staple, but children from half a dozen countries, including a contingent from Bangladesh, are also enrolled here.

These youngsters are among the 68,547 4­year­olds enrolled in one of the nation’s most ambitious experiments in education: New York City’s accelerated attempt to introduce preschool for all.

In 2013, Bill de Blasio campaigned for mayor on a promise of universal pre­K. Two years later, New York City enrolls more children in full­day pre­K than any state except Georgia, and its preschool enrollment exceeds the total number of students in San Francisco or Boston.

“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever been part of,” Richard Buery, the deputy mayor who oversaw the prekindergarten expansion, told me. “Every aspect has been a challenge.” Two thousand teachers had to be recruited, 3,000 classrooms opened and 300 community providers vetted as prekindergarten partners.

Simply getting more children in the door doesn’t guarantee successful outcomes. Still, New York’s experience in trying to institute the program so quickly provides some valuable lessons for other pre­K efforts across the country.

New York decided early to make pre­K available to every child, rather than just poor kids.

http://go.uen.org/63M

 


 

 

2015 AASA Superintendents Salary & Benefits Study

AASA analysis

 

The 2015 AASA Superintendents Salary & Benefits Study marks the fourth edition of this study. This survey tracks the demographics, salary, benefits and other elements of the employment contracts of school superintendents throughout the country. This year’s study is based on 728 responses, a 5.6 percent return rate. This is lower than previous years, and does lead to some limitations in drawing conclusions from the findings. However, the report is rich with information and serves as a useful snapshot of the superintendency. For a more detailed examination of the superintendency, be sure to read the Study of the American Superintendent: 2015 Mid-Decade Update, available at my.aasa.org.

This year, as in the last four years, nearly 70 percent of respondents reported that they work in rural districts. This is close to the U.S. Department of Education data, which found that 57 percent of districts were defined as rural in 2010-11.1 Black and Hispanic/Latino respondents serve in suburban and urban districts more than their counterparts.

Also consistent with findings of the previous years, male respondents outnumbered females by a four to one ratio. Respondents were also overwhelmingly White (nonHispanic). Female respondents also tended to be older than males. The average and median age of all respondents was 53.

The median salary was $131,000, average was $140,021, which both increased around 15 percent from 2014. It is important to note the smaller sample size in this study before making conclusions. All positions from superintendent to teacher show that salaries increase relative to district enrollment size.

http://go.uen.org/63N

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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Broken discipline tracking systems let teachers flee troubled pasts

A Fragmented System for Checking the Backgrounds of Teachers Leaves Students at Risk

USA Today

 

Georgia officials revoked a teacher’s license after finding he exchanged sexual texts and naked photos with a female student and was involved in physical altercations with two others.

A central Florida teacher’s credentials were suspended after she was charged with battery for allegedly shoving and yelling at a 6-year-old student.

In Texas, a middle school math teacher lost his job and teaching license after he was caught on camera allegedly trying to meet a teenage boy in a sting set up by NBC’s nationally aired TV program To Catch a Predator.

All three of those teachers found their way back to the front of public school classrooms, simply by crossing state lines. They’re far from alone.

An investigation by the USA TODAY NETWORK found fundamental defects in the teacher screening systems used to ensure the safety of children in the nation’s more than 13,000 school districts.

The patchwork system of laws and regulations — combined with inconsistent execution and flawed information sharing between states and school districts — fails to keep teachers with histories of serious misconduct out of classrooms and away from schoolchildren. At least three states already have begun internal investigations and audits based on questions raised during the course of this investigation.

http://go.uen.org/63P

 

Sidebar teacher data audit

http://go.uen.org/63Q (USAT)

 

http://go.uen.org/64F (CSM)

 


 

 

Should Ohio schools be held harmless if students opt out of state tests?

Columbus (OH) Dispatch

 

With more Ohio students refusing to take state assessments, a bill to protect schools from being penalized by the state for low participation could create bigger problems, educators warn.

Ohio House Bill 420 could inadvertently encourage fewer students to take state assessments, risking the loss of millions of dollars in federal aid for Ohio’s schools and undermining state efforts to ensure that all high school graduates are prepared for college or a career, they said.

There could be “unintended consequences” if districts suggest to parents that kids who don’t do well on the assessments should opt out, said State Board of Education President Tom Gunlock.

“That to me would be a real problem. The whole idea is to make sure all kids are doing well in school and find out where they are weak and getting them the help they need.”

State law penalizes schools and school districts when a student opts out of a state exam. That student is given a zero when the school’s score is being calculated for state report cards, affecting two of 10 measures.

HB 420, sponsored by Rep. Kristina Roegner, R-Hudson, would require the state to publish two scores: one with opt-out students and the other without them.

Although the statewide participation rate in the exams was 99 percent last school year, a handful of school districts saw as many as 30 percent of students opt out of testing. Officials in those districts have complained that their report-card grades will be lower as a result.

http://go.uen.org/63S

 


 

 

Could $1 Billion Make Teaching the Best Job in the World?

Education Week

 

Could $1 billion make teaching the best job in the world? Well, the U.S. Department of Education is banking that it can at least help make a dent in the perception of teaching as underpaid and not prestigious, anyway: It’s pitching a $1 billion program toward that end as part of its fiscal year 2017 budget request.

Under its proposal, districts would use the funds to improve teacher salaries, working conditions, and professional development. Overall, the initiative also aims to help improve the distribution of teacher talent, something the agency has struggled to get states to do.

“I think if we want to ensure that teaching, particularly in our highest-need schools is attractive, we’ve got to make sure the compensation reflects the complexity of the work. That’s why this initiative includes the opportunity for districts to increase salaries for effective teachers in high-needs schools,” Acting Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr., said in a press call with reporters Friday. “We have a lot of work to do as a country so that regardless of the ZIP code you’re in, you have access to an excellent education, and teacher salaries are a part of that. And so too are working conditions,” he said, noting the deplorable state of many Detroit school buildings.

The federal program, called RESPECT: The Best Job In the World, would give out competitive grants of $50 million to $250 million to states, which would then offer subgrants to school districts. With the cash, districts would aim to implement the following activities:

http://go.uen.org/64z

 

http://go.uen.org/64A (ED)

 


 

 

Free-range education: Why the unschooling movement is growing

A once-utopian idea – allowing kids to ‘discover’ their own education path while learning at home – goes mainstream.

Christian Science Monitor

 

MADISON, N.H. — On a late Monday morning in this rural New Hampshire town, Dayna and Joe Martin’s four children are all home. Devin, age 16, is hammering a piece of steel in the blacksmith forge he and his parents built out of a storage shed in the backyard. Tiffany, 14, is twirling on a hoverboard, deftly avoiding the kaleidoscope-painted cabinets in the old farmhouse’s living room. Ivy, 10, and Orion, 7, are sitting next to each other using the family’s two computers, clicking through an intense session of Minecraft.

It looks a lot like school vacation, or a weekend. But it’s not. This, for the Martin kids, is school. Or, to put it more accurately, it’s their version of “unschooling,” an educational theory that suggests children should follow their own interests, without the imposition of school or even any alternative educational curriculum, because this is the best way for them to learn and grow.

“I don’t even know what grades are,” says Orion, who has never spent a day in school, has never followed a lesson plan, and has never taken a test. (Tests, his mother says, can be degrading to children – an invasion of their freedom of thought.)

“We live as if school doesn’t exist,” Ms. Martin explains. “People are really brainwashed into seeing things in school form, with life breaking down into subjects. This life is about freedom and not having limits. It’s about really trusting your kids. And it’s amazing what they do.”

Martin says that, left alone to follow their own interests, her children have learned everything from history and ethics to trade skills and math. But what they learn isn’t her concern, she says. She doesn’t much care if her son knows how to read by age 8. She trusts he will read when he is ready to read. Her role, she says, is not to be her children’s teacher or judge, but a facilitator and perhaps partner in helping them follow their own passions.

http://go.uen.org/63R

 


 

 

Kindergarten Today: Less Play, More Academics

Education Week

 

Researchers at the University of Virginia compared the views and experiences of kindergarten teachers in 1998 with those of their counterparts in 2010, and found dramatic differences in what teachers now expect of pupils and how they have structured their classrooms. Generally, teachers now expect children to come in knowing much more, spend more of the day in literacy and math instruction, and devote less time to nonacademic subjects such as music and art. Some excerpts from the findings:

http://go.uen.org/64C

 


 

 

Should Computer Education Cover More Than Just Coding?

NPR

 

President Obama wants kids to learn to code. So much so, he’s pledged billions of dollars to teach them.

“Now we have to make sure all our kids are equipped for the jobs of the future – which means not just being able to work with computers, but developing the analytical and coding skills to power our innovation economy,” he said in his radio address on Jan. 30.

And adults are looking to learn, too. Coding academies, or “boot camps,” are cropping up across the country, promising to teach students to code in a few months or even a few weeks.

But computers are not just about coding. There’s also a lot of theory — and science — behind technology. And those theoretical concepts form the basis of much of computer science education in colleges and universities.

Lisa Singh, an associate professor at Georgetown University, stands behind that theoretical approach.

“We now need to train everybody to understand the basics of computer science,” she says, “and I don’t equate it to just coding. I equate it to principles of thinking.”

http://go.uen.org/63O

 


 

 

Private groups step in to show teachers how to use technology in the classroom

Lots of dollars and tech but not enough teacher training to blend classrooms

Hechinger Report

 

It seems a waste. Millions of educational apps, millions of lesson plans available online, millions of laptops in the hands of students.

Yet only a small segment of teachers nationwide find ways to infuse technology into their lessons.

“There’s a real hunger out there, about how do I get better at my craft?” said Jeff Liberty, the senior director of teacher development initiatives at BetterLesson, which trains teachers to use technology in class. “But there aren’t clear mechanisms for that to occur in a dependable way.”

The resources exist; the desire is there. So why aren’t more classrooms using digital models? One answer that teachers give is that there’s too little training, and traditional teacher training workshops just aren’t up to snuff.

A 2015 survey of teachers found that 90 percent felt technology was important for classroom success, while almost two-thirds wanted to integrate it into their lessons but said they needed more training.

The teachers that succeed in adding technology to their teaching usually spend their own time to figure out how to use new tools – sitting up late at night digging through YouTube videos and trolling Twitter chats. They don’t get paid or receive any credit for these extra hours of work. A whopping 38 percent of teachers nationwide said they learn about new technology through their own research, according to a December 2015 survey of more than 4,300 teachers nationwide.

http://go.uen.org/64G

 


 

 

Anti-Common Core activists seek control of teachers union

New York Post

 

As the Cuomo administration tiptoes back from its testing mandates for Grades 3 to 8, opt-out activists are trying to wrest control of the United Federation of Teachers and the state Board of Regents to push their anti-Common Core agenda to the limit.

Teacher Jia Lee, of Brooklyn, seeks to unseat powerful UFT President Michael Mulgrew in spring elections. “There’s a huge disconnect between leadership and membership,” Lee said. “We have a teacher evaluation system based on flawed metrics that force us to rank and sort our students. It’s totally counter to what brought us to the profession.”

The opt-out movement is a revolt against the Common Core — a set of learning benchmarks that New York adopted in 2010 to claim $696 million in federal education funds — and the matching standardized tests that kids as young as 8 must take every year.

http://go.uen.org/63V

 


 

 

Amazon Education to Launch New Website for Open Education Resources

Education Week

 

Phoenix – Amazon Education is working on a new platform that will allow schools to upload, manage, share, and discover open education resources from a home page that in some ways resembles the one shoppers are accustomed to accessing on the massive online retailer’s website.

School administrators learned about the site, to be called Amazon Inspire, during a “Transitioning to OER” session Friday as part of the National Conference on Education of the AASA, the School Superintendents Association, held here.

The new platform is in beta testing now, and is scheduled to be released publicly within the next two to three months, according to Andrew Joseph, vice president of strategic relations for Amazon Education.

http://go.uen.org/64E

 


 

 

Google Quietly Shutters Play For Education

Tech Crunch

 

Back in 2013, Google launched Play for Education, a program that made it easier for educators to purchase apps and books and distribute them to their students’ Android tablets. Now, this program is coming to an end. As first reported by CRN and also confirmed by us today, Google will stop selling Play for Education licenses on March 14.

From what we understand, Google will continue to support existing Play for Education users until the end-of-life date of their tablets and teachers will continue to have access to Play for Education to find content and push it out to their students.

http://go.uen.org/64I

 


 

 

Standards, Grades And Tests Are Wildly Outdated, Argues ‘End Of Average’

NPR

 

Todd Rose dropped out of high school with D- grades. At 21, he was trying to support a wife and two sons on welfare and minimum wage jobs.

Today he teaches educational neuroscience at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He’s also the co-founder of Project Variability, a new organization devoted to “the science of the individual and its implications for education, the workforce, and society.”

In other words, Todd Rose is not your average guy. But neither are you.

In fact, he argues, absolutely no one is precisely average. And that’s a big problem, he tells NPR Ed: “We’ve come to embrace a way of thinking about ourselves as people that was intentionally designed to ignore all individuality and force everything in reference to an average person.”

Admissions offices, HR departments, banks and doctors make life-changing decisions based on averages. Rose says that “works really well to understand the system or the group, but it fails miserably when you need to understand the individual, which is what we need to do.”

Rose talked with us about his new book: The End Of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness.

http://go.uen.org/64y

 


 

 

More Low-Income Children Eating School Breakfast, Report Says

Education Week

 

An average of 11.2 million low-income children ate school breakfasts daily during the 2013-14 school year, an increase of 320,000 children from the previous year, a report released Tuesday says. Also that year, a higher percentage of low-income children who participated in school lunch programs also ate school breakfasts than in the previous year, says the School Breakfast Scorecard by the Food Research and Action Center.

FRAC says it calculated its figures “by comparing the number of low-income children receiving school breakfast to the number of such children receiving school lunch. By this measure, nationally 53 low-income children ate school breakfast for every 100 who also ate school lunch, an increase from the previous school year’s ratio of 52:100, and far above the 43:100 ratio of a decade earlier,” the report says.

http://go.uen.org/64N

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/64O (FRAC)


 

 

Ex-students Say Boarding School Kept Them in Isolation Boxes

Associated Press

 

IOWA CITY, Iowa — A boarding school for troubled teenagers in Iowa that is being investigated by the FBI routinely kept pupils in small concrete “isolation boxes” for days or weeks and wouldn’t let them out unless they sat in a specific posture for 24 hours, according to several former students.

Six former students recently told The Associated Press about abuse they say they suffered while attending Midwest Academy in Keokuk, a city along the Mississippi River where Iowa borders Illinois and Missouri. They said the dark, cell-like punishment rooms were often filled with the sounds of students’ screams and motivational recordings piped in through speakers. Surveillance cameras and staff members kept watch.

“You spend your time pounding your head against the wall. You can’t sleep because there is a lot of noise. A lot of girls like to scream in there. You basically look forward to bathroom breaks and those moments when you can get out of your box,” said Emily Beaman, 17, of Wheaton, Illinois.

http://go.uen.org/64B

 

http://go.uen.org/64T (Des Moines [IA] Register)

 


 

 

Columbine killer’s mother: ‘The greatest mercy I could pray for was . . . for his death’

Washington Post

 

NEW YORK —“The terror and total disbelief are overwhelming. The sorrow of losing my son, the shame of what he has done, the fear of the world’s hate. There is no respite from the agony.”

Imagine the worst thing that can happen to a parent.

Far worse befell Sue Klebold.

Yes, that Klebold, a name as synonymous with the 1999 mass shootings as Columbine High School and the Denver suburb of Littleton, Colo.

It was Klebold’s son Dylan, along with his friend Eric Harris, who killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 24 more in a plan a year in the making and hidden from all.

As other mothers hoped for their children’s lives on that April day 17 years ago, “I knew the greatest mercy I could pray for was not for my son’s safety,” Klebold recalls, “but for his death.”

Moments past noon in the school library, the two shooters killed themselves.

The next day, Klebold wrote the words quoted above in her journal.

She has now published “A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy,” culled in part from that journal and the 39 that followed, chronicling the life she was forced to live after her old one was extinguished. She always knew that she would write the book. “The big decision was to publish,” she says. All the profits are earmarked for mental-health and suicide-prevention organizations, her new community.

http://go.uen.org/63W

 

 

 

 

 

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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

 

 

February 16:

Senate Education Committee meeting

8 a.m., 210 Senate Building

http://le.utah.gov/~2016/agenda/SEDU0216.ag.htm

 

House Revenue and Taxation Committee meeting

8 a.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/~2016/agenda/HREV0216.ag.htm

 

House Education Committee meeting

2 p.m., 30 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/~2016/agenda/HEDU0216.ag.htm

 

House Health and Human Services Committee meeting

2 p.m., 20 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/~2016/agenda/HHHS0216.ag.htm

 

 

February 17:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

4 p.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2016/html/00001548.htm

 

 

February 18:

Utah State Board of Education legislative meeting

Noon, 210 Senate Building

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

 

 

March 10:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

http://go.uen.org/62M

 

 

March 17:

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

 

 

March 18:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

Today’s Top Picks:

 

D-News takes a closer look at the proposed education budget.

http://go.uen.org/644 (DN)

 

State Board of Education and State Charter School Board consider West Ridge Academy.

http://go.uen.org/63Y (SLT)

 

New poll of Utah GOP delegates finds schools and education the top issue, but with just 21 percent of delegates naming it as the top issue.

http://go.uen.org/64Q (UP)

 

GOP gubernatorial candidate Jonathan Johnson wants to see “the Utah State Board of Education coming up with five or six different standards and letting each school board choose what should be implemented into schools.”

http://go.uen.org/64s (SGS)

and http://go.uen.org/64V (SGN)

 

Here’s your chance to have a say about the next Salt Lake City superintendent.

http://go.uen.org/63Z (SLT)

 

The story about Sky View High student Hayden Godfrey giving a flower to every girl in the school goes viral.

http://go.uen.org/645 (DN)

and http://go.uen.org/64h (OSE)

and http://go.uen.org/64p (LHJ)

and http://go.uen.org/655 (San Francisco Chronicle)

and http://go.uen.org/652 (USAT)

and http://go.uen.org/656 (Business Insider)

and http://go.uen.org/64Y (People)

and http://go.uen.org/657 (Mashable)

and http://go.uen.org/64Z (ABC)

and http://go.uen.org/650 (CNN)

and http://go.uen.org/653 ([London] Daily Telegraph)

 

Sen. Dabakis discusses education funding in the Trib.

http://go.uen.org/642 (SLT)

 

Chamber President Beattie speaks of it in the D-News.

http://go.uen.org/64c (DN)

 

New survey finds the median salary of a superintendent is $131,000, and average is $140,021.

http://go.uen.org/63N (AASA)

 

USA Today does a big article on teacher discipline tracking systems.

http://go.uen.org/63P (USAT)

and sidebar teacher data audit

http://go.uen.org/63Q (USAT)

and http://go.uen.org/64F (CSM)

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Slicing and dicing money for your child’s education

 

Charter schools find ally in Gov. Herbert in fight for more funds

 

State Senator would like to shift the way education is funded and focused

 

Lawmakers balk at bill that would give A grades to Utah schools scoring above 64 percent

 

Citing parents’ constitutional rights, Utah lawmaker moves to decriminalize school truancy

 

Millner pushes ‘teacher leader’ bill to retain Utah educators

 

Preschool and kindergarten are hot topics on the Utah hill

 

Vaccinations and the HB221 Bill: What you need to know

 

Legislation funding school technology grants moves forward

 

Allegations of abuse at prospective charter school splits Utah’s top school boards.

Troubled-youths center » West Ridge Academy wants to become a charter school, but former students’ allegations divide officials who have say over move.

 

Poll: What is the Top Issue in Utah for GOP Delegates?

 

Gubernatorial candidate wants more local power

 

SLC School District asks public to weigh in on search for new superintendent

Education » The community can connect with the consulting team in a series of open houses.

 

Maple Ridge students are piloting coding program that hopes to go statewide

 

Logan District reconsidering costs in wake of national field trips

 

“Unspoken: America’s Native American Boarding Schools” On Tuesday’s Access Utah

 

Utah elementary schools send kids outside for recess, despite red air quality

 

Utah colleges not graduating enough teachers for demand

 

$500K Apple grant provides technology to Salt Lake school

 

Nebo District makes 5 administrative appointments

 

Basketball tourney clashes with ACTs, splitting sites and hampering hookies

 

Smithfield teen makes Valentine’s Day special for classmates

 

Granite High School could become a WalMart

 

Donation from Utah Jazz, local credit union helps school for students with special needs

 

Counseling team, principal receive education awards

 

Local kindergarten teacher named 2016 Utah Mother of the Year

 

TestOut honored as a top business by Zions Bank

 

Utah high schools retire jerseys of two players who went pro

 

January 2016 Students of the Month honored by St. George Exchange Club

 

 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Education is the key to lifting Utah children out of poverty

 

Delicate issues facing Utah’s lawmakers

 

Trump both for and against Common Core: Candidate flip flops three minutes later in speech

 

Woods Cross basketball camp, scrimmage spreads joy to special-needs children

 

Here’s how we can get another $700 million for Utah schoolchildren

 

Voters must make a generational decision

 

By its actions, Utah shows it undervalues its children

 

Helping to protect children who are not vaccinated

 

Don’t politicize high school civics education

 

Volunteers are under-used resource for schools

 

Satan’s free rein

 

Supreme Court’s Scalia Brought Conservative Outlook to Education Cases

 

Untold story: How Scalia’s death blew up an anti-union group’s grand legal strategy

 

How Many Education Secretaries Have Been K-12 Classroom Teachers?

 

How New York Made Pre­K a Success

 

2015 AASA Superintendents Salary & Benefits Study

 

 

 

NATION

 

Broken discipline tracking systems let teachers flee troubled pasts

A Fragmented System for Checking the Backgrounds of Teachers Leaves Students at Risk

 

Should Ohio schools be held harmless if students opt out of state tests?

 

Could $1 Billion Make Teaching the Best Job in the World?

 

Free-range education: Why the unschooling movement is growing

A once-utopian idea – allowing kids to ‘discover’ their own education path while learning at home – goes mainstream.

 

Kindergarten Today: Less Play, More Academics

 

Should Computer Education Cover More Than Just Coding?

 

Private groups step in to show teachers how to use technology in the classroom

Lots of dollars and tech but not enough teacher training to blend classrooms

 

Anti-Common Core activists seek control of teachers union

 

Amazon Education to Launch New Website for Open Education Resources

 

Google Quietly Shutters Play For Education

 

Standards, Grades And Tests Are Wildly Outdated, Argues ‘End Of Average’

 

More Low-Income Children Eating School Breakfast, Report Says

 

Ex-students Say Boarding School Kept Them in Isolation Boxes

 

Columbine killer’s mother: ‘The greatest mercy I could pray for was . . . for his death’

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Slicing and dicing money for your child’s education

 

SALT LAKE CITY — A committee of lawmakers settled last week on a preliminary funding proposal that would give about $300 million in new money to public schools, with more than $266 million of it as ongoing funding.

That amount would include more than $94 million to accommodate enrollment growth in Utah’s K-12 classrooms. It also designates an increase of 2.5 percent, or $70 million, to the weighted pupil unit, Utah’s formula for equalized school funding distribution.

Some schools could benefit from the equivalent of a 4 percent weighted pupil unit increase because of legislation that improves funding equity between district and charter schools.

The combined increase in discretionary money from the formula and equity funding would be about $112 million overall — more than the $90.7 million increase to the weighted pupil unit requested by the Utah State Board of Education but short of the $130 million increase proposed by Gov. Gary Herbert.

“It’s in the ballpark of what we’re asking for,” said State School Board Chairman David Crandall. “Hopefully the districts will use the flexibility wisely in targeting student achievement, which is our ultimate goal. The more we can see that that’s the priority of districts, I think the more we’ll be able to continue requesting that flexibility from the Legislature.”

But dollar amounts in the final education budget could likely fall short of what the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee recommended Thursday. Revised income tax revenue estimates won’t be available until the end of February, and they’re projected to produce less than the $266 million of ongoing funds included in the subcommittee’s proposal, Crandall said.

http://go.uen.org/644 (DN)

 

 

 

Charter schools find ally in Gov. Herbert in fight for more funds

 

Charter Schools are advocating for an increase in funding in the state of Utah, and they may have just found a powerful ally in Governor Herbert.

http://go.uen.org/64u (KUTV, video)

 

 

 

State Senator would like to shift the way education is funded and focused

 

Education is an important issue for new Utah State Senator Lincoln, R-District 10, who was a guest on KVNU’s For the People program.

Fillmore says instead of looking at education as a system of funding a school system, we should be looking at it from the standpoint of funding the education of a specific child.

“The value of that child’s education really doesn’t change,” said Fillmore, “based on where he lives or what model of school he chooses to attend, that our commitment as a state is to that child to make sure he or she gets the education they need to be successful later in life.

“I think if you focus on the student aspect of education, particularly on the individual aspect of education, then the equalization argument follows naturally.”

http://go.uen.org/64X (CVD)

 

 

 

Lawmakers balk at bill that would give A grades to Utah schools scoring above 64 percent

 

An “A” grade for a score of 64 percent would be music to most students’ ears, but a panel of Utah lawmakers was hesitant to give the same grading curve to the state’s public schools on Tuesday.

The Senate Education Committee opted to hold for further review a bill that would amend Utah’s school grading system, potentially the sixth change in as many years to the law that first passed in 2011.

Sponsored by Ogden Republican Sen. Ann Millner, this year’s tweak would set in statute more generous metrics for the letter grades, which are based on a point system that includes year-end test scores, graduation rates and student performance on the ACT.

The bill would also empower the State Board of Education to incrementally raise the bar for “A” and “B” grades without legislative action.

http://go.uen.org/63X (SLT)

 

 

 

Citing parents’ constitutional rights, Utah lawmaker moves to decriminalize school truancy

 

Utah’s public education system would be a little less compulsory under a bill that received preliminary approval from the Senate on Tuesday.

The bill, sponsored by Highland Republican Sen. Alvin Jackson, would remove the criminal penalty for parents whose children rack up unexcused school absences.

Currently, a parent can be fined or charged with a class B misdemeanor if they fail to meet with school administrators after being notified of truancy.

But Jackson said the government’s role in education is secondary to that of a child’s family, and the compulsory education law inappropriately interferes with parents’ rights.

“Education is not a constitutional right,” Jackson said, “but being able to raise your kids the way you see fit is a constitutional right.”

http://go.uen.org/64L (SLT)

 

 

 

Millner pushes ‘teacher leader’ bill to retain Utah educators

 

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill crafted in an effort to retain more Utah teachers moved to the House floor Friday after a slight modification the day before by the House Education Committee.

Senate Bill 51, sponsored by state Sen. Ann Millner, R-Ogden, creates criteria for “teacher leaders” who will ”work with a student teacher and a teacher who supervises a student teacher; assist with the training of a recently hired teacher; and support school-based professional learning.“

”I want to keep great teachers,“ Millner told the committee, adding that if the bill passes, she expects the state board to report back to legislators by November.

http://go.uen.org/64g (OSE)

 

 

 

Preschool and kindergarten are hot topics on the Utah hill

 

State leaders say early childhood education programs could be a key factor in breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty, and several proposed bills could change how districts run and fund preschool and kindergarten.

Primarily, the goal of the bills is to get more kids in preschool, provide the option for a longer kindergarten school day and set statewide standards for testing kindergarten preparedness.

“I agree that we do need some bills to focus on early childhood and school readiness,” said Adam McMickell, who is the assessment and instructional technology coordinator for Ogden School District.

McMickell pulled data from Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) assessments to compare scores among kids who entered kindergarten in 2010 and were still in the Ogden School District by fifth grade. Over that five year span, 72 percent of kids who scored well below on the test in kindergarten were still “below” or “well below” the benchmarks according to the fifth grade scores.

About 75 percent of students who scored at or above benchmarks when entering kindergarten were still at or above benchmarks in fifth grade.

“Is readiness everything? No,” said McMickell, noting there are many variables, “but it does set students up for future success and greatly reduces some of the compounding issues.”

http://go.uen.org/64e (OSE)

 

 

 

Vaccinations and the HB221 Bill: What you need to know

 

Lacey Eden visited the 2News studio to inform parents about vaccinations. According to 2014 Immunization Coverage Report, released by the Utah Department of Health, 95 percent of all school exemptions from vaccinations are due to the personal beliefs of the parents.

Based on a report released from Utah.gov, “Vaccinations By School District and School Utah 2014,” 23 percent of schools in Utah don’t fall under “herd immunity” for measles.Herd immunity is a form of protection from vaccine-preventable diseases that occurs when a the larger population is immune to certain infections. An estimated 51,000 infants depend on herd immunity because their unable to receive immunizations.

A new bill, HB221, will require all those who choose to exempt on personal belief to complete an online module. The purpose of the module is to help parents prepare in case of a disease outbreak, not to try to change parent’s minds.

http://go.uen.org/64R (KUTV)

 

 

 

Legislation funding school technology grants moves forward

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Legislators have given a preliminary nod to a plan for investing in statewide classroom technology.

The bill would create a $100 million grant fund for districts to enhance digital infrastructure at schools, train teachers to use technology, and provide learning devices for students.

http://go.uen.org/64m (PDH)

 

http://go.uen.org/64W (Education News)

 

http://go.uen.org/654 (Ed Week)

 

 

 

Allegations of abuse at prospective charter school splits Utah’s top school boards.

Troubled-youths center » West Ridge Academy wants to become a charter school, but former students’ allegations divide officials who have say over move.

 

Josh Graham remembers his first day at West Ridge Academy in December 1998, when the treatment center and private school for troubled youths was known as the Utah Boys Ranch.

His parents didn’t tell him where he was going, or why. They dropped him off in the lobby, and he was taken into a room to meet with a member of the school faculty.

Graham refused to speak, and he claims the staff member responded by wrestling him to the ground and placing chair legs on his wrists to pin him down.

Graham was 11 years old.

“I was scared, and I was angry and I was alone,” he said.

Another West Ridge alumnus, Maria Olsen, said her first day began in February 2012, with two men entering her bedroom, startling her awake and carrying her out of her home.

Over the next six months, she was made to sleep on floors, go days without speaking and was limited to reading only textbooks and scriptures.

She said desks and chairs were thrown at students, and children as young as 9 years old were pressed facedown on the ground with the knees of adult staffers in their backs.

“I had arrived at an unregulated prison,” she said.

Graham and Olsen shared those stories and others with members of the state school board earlier this month in anticipation of a vote to approve the latest transformation of the Utah Boys Ranch.

Rebranded as West Ridge Academy in 2005, the school is applying to become a charter school named Eagle Summit Academy, which would receive public funding on a per-student basis. Children from West Ridge’s West Jordan residential treatment center would be enrolled at the charter, which would also recruit more troubled youths from the surrounding area.

Eagle Summit’s application was approved by a 5-1 vote of the state Charter School Board. But, in a rare move, the State Board of Education reversed the charter board’s recommendation and denied the application to investigate the accusations of physical and sexual abuse and financial insolvency.

http://go.uen.org/63Y (SLT)

 

 

 

Poll: What is the Top Issue in Utah for GOP Delegates?

 

Utah Republican delegates rank education as the top issue facing the state of Utah.

A new UtahPolicy.com survey shows 21% of current Utah Republican delegates say schools and education are the state’s #1 issue. 14% picked the economy, and 11% said the fight over control of public lands within the state’s borders.

Government overreach was the top concern for 10% of Utah GOP delegates, and 5% said immigration was their top issue.

http://go.uen.org/64Q (UP)

 

 

 

Gubernatorial candidate wants more local power

 

Jonathan Johnson, a Republican candidate for Utah governor, spoke to the public during a town hall in St. George on Saturday to discuss his plan to improve Utah by getting control of lands back from the federal government and updating the educational system.

Johnson, the chairman of the board for Overstock.com, is running for political office for the first time — a factor that hasn’t deterred him from going up against current Gov. Gary Herbert.

Johnson emphasized a need to restrict the amount of power the federal government has when it comes to decisions within the state.

He said because states have looked to the federal government for solutions and funding, citizens now have to deal with the implementation of regulations not determined by the state.

Johnson went on to explain the lack of say local school districts have by using the Common Core State Standards as an example, saying he would like to remove it from the Utah school system.

“It’s become a hot-button issue in the state where the federal government has held out federal funds to get the governor on board,” said attendee John Olsen of St. George. “Between the governor and the state boards of education, we’ve been signed on to something that the people never had a vote in.”

Johnson said he would like to see education decisions return to the county school districts, with the Utah State Board of Education coming up with five or six different standards and letting each school board choose what should be implemented into schools.

http://go.uen.org/64s (SGS)

 

http://go.uen.org/64V (SGN)

 

 

 

SLC School District asks public to weigh in on search for new superintendent

Education » The community can connect with the consulting team in a series of open houses.

 

Salt Lake City needs a new school superintendent, and the district is asking the public for help.

Four open houses are scheduled this week to connect community members with a consulting team hired by the Salt Lake City Board of Education to screen candidates for the district’s top job.

School board President Heather Bennett said the meetings are intended to both answer residents’ questions and generate feedback on qualifications people expect for a new superintendent.

“It will give us information as we evaluate applications to try and match the skills of the applicant with the desires of the community,” Bennett said.

The meetings will be held at West High School on Tuesday, Highland High School on Wednesday, and both East High School and Glendale Middle School on Thursday. All four meetings are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. in the schools’ libraries.

http://go.uen.org/63Z (SLT)

 

 

 

Maple Ridge students are piloting coding program that hopes to go statewide

 

It was quiet in the classroom. The fifth graders’ attention was on their laptops, headphones over their ears. Ten-year-old Lilly Atkin arranged a set of instructional blocks in the correct order on her screen, and an Angry Bird character reached a grumpy green pig.

“We are coding, and there are lots of ways to do it,” Atkin said. “There’s not just one right way to try to get the Angry Bird to the pig.”

Since Jan. 29, volunteers from InsideSales.com have been teaching fourth, fifth and sixth graders at Maple Ridge Elementary School how to code every Friday. The lessons began with foundations of coding, like logical thinking and following directions.

http://go.uen.org/64n (PDH)

 

 

 

 

Logan District reconsidering costs in wake of national field trips

 

As a large number of students and teams in the Logan City School District have qualified for national competitions over the past couple of years, the district has decided to cut some of the costs it covers in future travel expenses and have students raise the funds.

In the past, the cost for individuals who qualified for national competitions, in addition to the cost for field trip chaperones, were always covered by the district, Logan City School District Superintendent Frank Schofield said. In the midst of a possible increase in insurance premiums for the district next year, financial worries have surfaced; the district is looking for ways to properly allocate and spend its funds.

“We can’t afford to continue with the same practices we have in the past,” Schofield said. “It gets very costly very fast.”

http://go.uen.org/64o (LHJ)

 

 

 

“Unspoken: America’s Native American Boarding Schools” On Tuesday’s Access Utah

 

By the late 1800s, Native American culture was under attack from a variety of sectors.  As westward expansion continued, the U.S. government adopted a policy to the eradicate culture, language and spirituality of America’s indigenous people by taking children from their families, isolating them, and forcing them to deny their heritage. The policy of assimilation transported the children to boarding schools for cultural transformation.  Everything Native was to be stripped away. The goal was integration into Anglo society.  Their language, as their culture, was to be “unspoken.”

KUED is presenting a new film, “Unspoken: America’s Native American Boarding Schools.” The film, produced by John Howe, tells the story of Native American boarding schools including one in Brigham City, and airs on KUED on Tuesday, February 16 at 8:00 p.m.

On Tuesday’s Access Utah we’ll talk with filmmaker John Howe and hear clips from the movie; and our guests will also include Davina Spotted Elk, who is featured in the film.

http://go.uen.org/64M (UPR)

 

 

 

Utah elementary schools send kids outside for recess, despite red air quality

 

SALT LAKE COUNTY, – Most elementary schools continue sending students outside for recess, despite this week’s orange- and red-level air quality.  So, at what point should administrators keep kids inside?

ABC 4 Utah first started asking questions, Thursday, when some viewers expressed concern for their children.  Friday, Good 4 Utah’s Ali Monsen took those concerns to  one of the school districts involved.

“We’re not air quality experts, we do rely on the expertise of the Department of Environmental Quality and the Dept. of Health,” said said Ben Horsley, spokesperson for the Granite School District.

Horsley makes it clear that school principals do not make the rules but follow them.

http://go.uen.org/64J (KTVX)

 

 

 

Utah colleges not graduating enough teachers for demand

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s public schools need more teachers to fill their classrooms, but state colleges say young students are showing hardly any interest in the profession.

Though undergraduate degrees from Utah colleges have grown 25 percent in the past decade, teaching diplomas have grown only a fraction of that rate with only a 5 percent increase in the same period, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.

Last year, the Utah System of Higher Education graduated 1,350 teachers with bachelor’s degrees.

http://go.uen.org/64l (PDH)

 

http://go.uen.org/64r (SGS)

 

http://go.uen.org/64U (Ed Week)

 

 

 

$500K Apple grant provides technology to Salt Lake school

 

SALT LAKE CITY — For teachers, getting the latest technology to help students advance their education is something to celebrate. This week, a group of Salt Lake City School District educators had lots of reason to cheer and shout.

Jackson Elementary, 750 W. 200 North, became just the second school in the state Friday to receive a grant from Apple Inc. as part of the nationwide ConnectED program. The approximately $500,000 award will allow Jackson to provide technology for every student and teacher at the school, including Apple hardware, software and services.

http://go.uen.org/646 (DN)

 

http://go.uen.org/64v (KSL)

 

 

 

Nebo District makes 5 administrative appointments

 

SPANISH FORK — The Nebo School Board of Education has appointed five people to fill positions in the district.

The board named John DeGraffenried as the director of College, Career and Technical Education; Ann Anderson was appointed secondary director; Ken Van Ausdal will be the human resources director; Suzanne Kimball will be the coordinator of human resources; and Michael Larsen was named director of Special Education and Federal Programs.

http://go.uen.org/649

 

 

 

Basketball tourney clashes with ACTs, splitting sites and hampering hookies

 

The early games at the 4-A and 5-A boys basketball tournaments can sometimes be the most exciting because of how much student support there is.

What student wouldn’t want to go watch a high school basketball game in a college arena with a bunch of friends instead of sitting in class?

Well, say goodbye to them. There will be no class skipping for early boys basketball games this year.

The Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) has split the first-round sites for the 4-A and 5-A boys basketball tournaments between Weber State University and Utah Valley University with each classification’s games starting at 2:30 p.m. The first round of the 4-A tournament will be played on Monday, February 29 while the first round of the 5-A tournament will be played on Tuesday, March 1.

The quarterfinals, semifinals and championships for each classification will all be played at the University of Utah from March 2 to March 5.

In the past, the first rounds for 4-A and 5-A – which include eight games for each classification – were held at one site over the course of two days with one classification’s games being played on Monday and the other’s on Tuesday. The first game would start at 9:30 a.m. and the final game would start at 9:10 p.m.

The reason for the split, according to UHSAA executive director Rob Cuff, is ACT testing.

“Right now the state legislature in Utah allows all juniors to take the ACT test the first Tuesday of March, and they fund that, so (the students) get to take it for free,” Cuff said, “and so we decided because the eight-game days were affecting performance on that Tuesday – because people were playing so late Monday night and then also there were games at 9:30 and 11 on Tuesday – that we decided to take the eight-game days and split them up into two sites with four games (at each site on each day).”

http://go.uen.org/64j (OSE)

 

 

 

Smithfield teen makes Valentine’s Day special for classmates

 

SMITHFIELD — Valentine’s Day isn’t always rosy at any age, but it can be especially tough when you’re a teenager.

“All through middle school I’d never really had a Valentine,” Hayden Godfrey, a senior at Sky View High School, explained. “I’d seen a lot of heartbreak over the years, and I wanted to kind of devote myself to kindness each year.”

An idea that started small for Hayden eventually grew to something much bigger. In past years, he bought flowers for every girl in the drama club, but he knew he wanted to reach out to more people.

“I wanted to make as many people happy as possible,” Hayden said. “And this year, I was finally in a position where I could do that.”

http://go.uen.org/645 (DN)

 

http://go.uen.org/64h (OSE)

 

http://go.uen.org/64p (LHJ)

 

http://go.uen.org/655 (San Francisco Chronicle)

 

http://go.uen.org/652 (USAT)

 

http://go.uen.org/656 (Business Insider)

 

http://go.uen.org/64Y (People)

 

http://go.uen.org/657 (Mashable)

 

http://go.uen.org/64Z (ABC)

 

http://go.uen.org/650 (CNN)

 

http://go.uen.org/653 ([London] Daily Telegraph)

 

 

 

Granite High School could become a WalMart

 

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah – Residents of South Salt Lake have mixed feelings about demolishing the old Granite High School and placing a WalMart in its place.

It’s been a staple in the community for over a hundred years.  Ever since the old Granite High School closed its doors back in 2009 the city has been trying to figure out what to do with the land.

“There are some people in the community that are fed up and want to see it developed,” says South Salt Lake Mayor Cherie Wood.

But, a new proposal to place a WalMart there has many residents saying “no!”

http://go.uen.org/64P (KTVX)

 

 

 

Donation from Utah Jazz, local credit union helps school for students with special needs

 

WEST JORDAN, Utah – A donation to a school for children with special needs will help them build more accessible swings, and the donation came along with a visit from the Utah Jazz Bear.

The $5,000 donation will help the Kauri Sue Hamilton School build new swing sets for children in wheelchairs.

http://go.uen.org/64w (KSTU)

 

 

 

Counseling team, principal receive education awards

 

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Association of Career and Technical Education has awarded the counseling team at Provo School District’s Timpview High School as team as Counseling Team of the Year.

http://go.uen.org/648 (DN)

 

 

 

 

Local kindergarten teacher named 2016 Utah Mother of the Year

 

As a child, Renee Hawkes had conflicting dreams — inspired as a child by Maria von Trapp of “The Sound of Music,” Hawkes found the lifestyle of a nun as an idyllic way to live. However, Hawkes also yearned for a large family, aspiring to one day be the mother of 12 children.

“I soon realized that those two dreams were incompatible,” Hawkes joked.

Hawkes, now 52, ultimately had three children of her own — Marc, 30, Stephen, 28, and Amber, 13 — and later helped to care for six stepchildren. But 2016’s Utah Mother of the Year has also applied her maternal spirit toward her kindergarten students at North Park Elementary for the past 23 years. The North Logan resident added over 1,200 five-year-olds to her extended family in the process — a process leading her down paths she never expected to take after becoming widowed at age 30 with two young sons to care for.

http://go.uen.org/64q (LHJ)

 

 

 

TestOut honored as a top business by Zions Bank

 

TestOut Corporation, based in Pleasant Grove was honored as a Top Business at the Zions Bank “Speaking on Business” luncheon on Feb. 5. TestOut was among 15 companies recognized by Zions Bank President and CEO Scott Anderson for its example of entrepreneurship in Utah.

In business for 25 years, CEO Noel Vallejo oversees TestOut, which provides IT training and certification to 200,000 students around the world each year. With 90 full-time employees, TestOut provides training to students in grades kindergarten through 12th, junior colleges and universities, as well as information technology professionals. TestOut serves 25 countries with major markets including India, Brazil, South Africa, the U.K. and Australia.

http://go.uen.org/64k (PDH)

 

 

 

Utah high schools retire jerseys of two players who went pro

 

UTAH — A pair of professional athletes were in town this weekend upon invitation from their respective alma maters. Zane Beadles and C.J. Wilcox both had their jerseys retired.

Beadles is an offensive lineman for the Jacksonville Jaguars and played at Utah before that. Hillcrest High honored Beadles on Friday night during halftime of the boys basketball game against rival Murray.

And over in Pleasant Grove, the Vikings retired Wilcox’s jersey during halftime of their win over Riverton. Wilcox is in his second year with the Los Angeles Clippers.

http://go.uen.org/64K (KTSU)

 

 

 

January 2016 Students of the Month honored by St. George Exchange Club

 

  1. GEORGE, Utah — The January Students of the Month recipients were recently honored by the St. George Exchange Club. The St. George Exchange Club sponsors the Student of the Month Program, which honors one student from the area high schools each month.

http://go.uen.org/64x (KCSG)

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Education is the key to lifting Utah children out of poverty

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

 

They call it “intergenerational poverty.” And basically, it means you’re trapped.

You grow up poor, dependent on welfare, and you never escape.

A third of Utah’s children may never overcome poverty, according to the Utah Intergenerational Welfare Reform Commission’s annual report, released in October. That’s slightly more 48,000 kids.

Sen. Ann Millner, an Ogden Republican, wants to break the cycle.

Millner intends to sponsor a bill in the 2016 Legislature setting up an Intergenerational Poverty Scholarship, administered by the Department of Workforce Services.

The initiative also establishes a student readiness program. Essentially, Millner wants to make sure more low-income kids start kindergarten with math and reading skills.

Why? Because math and reading are the keys to escaping poverty.

http://go.uen.org/64f

 

 

 

Delicate issues facing Utah’s lawmakers

Deseret News commentary by columnists LaVarr Webb & Frank R. Pignanelli

 

The legislative session is already nearly half over, with some delicate issues facing Utah’s lawmakers. Here are some of the trickiest.

Should major policy issues like Medicaid expansion and tax increases for education be placed before voters if the Legislature won’t pass them?

(Pignanelli) “These things [gang warfare] gotta happen every five years or so … helps get rid of the bad blood.” — Peter Clemenza, “The Godfather Part I”

Experience has taught me occasional use of the “Clemenza Rule” makes for good policymaking.

For several years, various business, community and political groups have been battling each other over education, transportation, planning and Medicaid issues. Legislators have served as tireless proxy warriors for these conflicts, but per Clemenza, the battlefield needs to be expanded to the general public.

http://go.uen.org/64d

 

 

 

Trump both for and against Common Core: Candidate flip flops three minutes later in speech

Deseret News commentary by columnist Eric Schulzke

 

“Common core is a total disaster,” Donald Trump emphatically told an audience in South Carolina this week, in video posted by the Washington Post. “And by the way, Jeb Bush loves Common Core. He wants people educated from Washington. Right there he loses.”

Three minutes later, he tells the same audience, “We are going to do something special. OK, are you ready? Common Core we’re going to keep.” Some supporters arrayed behind him appeared to have bemused expressions when Trump reversed field, and at least one leaned over to whisper to another. But most remained inscrutable.

http://go.uen.org/63U

 

 

 

Woods Cross basketball camp, scrimmage spreads joy to special-needs children

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner commentary by columnist Mark Saal

 

WOODS CROSS — Friday night, a buzzer-beating layup gave Woods Cross High School an important 57-55 win at Highland High, keeping the Wildcats atop the Region 5 boys basketball standings.

The next morning, back at the team’s home gym, a slightly less-athletic-looking — but no less important — layup gave them an even bigger victory in the community.

Saturday morning was the school’s third annual Special Needs Camp and Basketball Game. Each year, the team invites special-needs students from throughout Davis School District to participate in a free basketball camp and scrimmage.

http://go.uen.org/64i

 

 

 

Here’s how we can get another $700 million for Utah schoolchildren

Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Sen. Jim Dabakis

 

Utah’s education system is desperate for another billion dollars a year. Every year. Just to get above water. I am proposing two bills, Senate Bill 104 and Senate Joint Resolution 4, which together present a serious and fair plan to change the paradigm on education funding for both higher ed and K-12 for the next generation.

The scope of the crisis in education funding should cause parents, young people, the business community and all Utahns to shudder. Over the last generation Utah’s lack of commitment to education funding has had a devastating effect.

Utah ranks 50th for school funding in per-child spending at $6,800. The national average is $10,800. Wyoming spends $15,800 per student. We have the largest classroom sizes in the United States, with the lowest number of administrators (principals, counselors and nurses) and the lowest paid teachers per student in the country. The problem does not lie with our education professionals. Given the starvation funding they receive they are Utah’s heroes!

Among the disturbing outcomes from years of funding neglect is a declining high school graduation rate, a fall from near the top in fourth grade scores to 20th in the nation in math and 14th in reading.

The time for piecemeal solutions is over. We have been squeezing, readjusting and computerizing education for a generation. What is needed now is a large and sustained revenue stream increase.

http://go.uen.org/642

 

 

 

Voters must make a generational decision

Deseret News op-ed by Lane Beattie, president of the Salt Lake Chamber

 

At times necessity dictates that we come together as a state to make a tough decision — a generational decision that will have lasting consequences, potentially changing the trajectory of Utah’s future. Today is one of these moments.

Let’s look at some of these moments in our past.

In 1989, the Utah Legislature asked voters to weigh in on public investment that would position Utah as a winter sports capital and help the state secure the Olympic Winter Games. Voters approved and we invested in a speed-skating oval, ski-jumping facilities, and a luge and bobsled track even before we were selected as the U.S. Olympic bid city. It was a bold decision that continues to pay dividends today. We are now home to the largest ski resort in the United States, international exports are soaring, and Utah’s reputation in the world continues to climb.

In 2006, voters approved a sales tax increase for transportation investment. This investment brought us TRAX light rail and FrontRunner commuter rail, as well as improved roads. The greater Salt Lake metropolitan area now has one of the best rail systems for any area of its size in North America. Utah commuters spend less time stuck in traffic, and we took an important step to improve air quality.

In both cases the Legislature wisely turned to the public and invited them to weigh in on a major public decision. It is now time to invite voters to make a generational decision about education.

A group of business and community leaders is asking the Utah Legislature to place a seven-eighths of one percentage point income tax increase on the ballot. The increase would yield about $550 million in additional education investment each year that would be used to improve educational outcomes. Importantly, the ballot decision will inspire a statewide discussion about investment in our children and grandchildren and a prosperous economy.

http://go.uen.org/64c

 

 

By its actions, Utah shows it undervalues its children

Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Nathan Florence, an artist and board member of the Alliance for a Better Utah

 

Several years ago I was invited, by the head of a private school, to enter the teaching profession. I am a working artist and, having seen colleagues distracted from their art by their teaching, had previously avoided that route. I do enjoy working with kids, though, and had an interest in sharing the sense of wonder and powerful expression that come through creating art. I am also deeply concerned with the way our culture educates our children and wanted to be a part of changing that.

This idealism also led me to change to working with a public school. I was not naive to the difficulties of teaching, nor to the bureaucratic frustrations that accompany it. However, as much as I love watching young eyes light up with discovery, I have often questioned if it was worth it. It is no wonder that around 30 percent of new teachers leave the profession within the first five years.

By now we are familiar with the facts: Utah spends less money per pupil than any other state in our nation. I have heard this defended by many politicians who claim that it is because we are frugal and efficient. We can also hold up the reports of certain tests to boast that our students perform better than some. Is that what we really want for our children? To perform better than some? We don’t settle for that in touting our economic success, or even our snow quality! “Ski Utah, our snow is better than some other places.”

Our state leaders, like any politicians, will wax eloquent about their concern for the welfare of children. In reality, professionals are given respect according to the age of the clients they work with. The younger the person they teach or treat, the less respect and earnings they receive.

http://go.uen.org/641

 

 

 

Helping to protect children who are not vaccinated

Deseret News op-ed by Rep. Carol Spackman Moss

 

Imagine having a son who, at the tender age of 5, is diagnosed with leukemia. During a year of treatments, he fights for his life, enjoys brief moments of smiles and laughter that accompany a normal childhood, and then, happily, goes into remission. That same year he enters school, surrounded by his classmates, finally leading a life free of hospitals and painful treatments. But because of his compromised immune system, he cannot be immunized against vaccine-presentable diseases.

Another family, a few blocks away, enrolls their son in kindergarten. They have decided, for personal reasons, not to vaccinate him. He is a happy, healthy boy who makes friends with the boy in remission. In fact, they become best friends — throwing snowballs on the playground, coloring the same pictures and sharing the same table as they learn to count to 100.

Both boys have parents who love them dearly and want them to be healthy and safe from harm. Both parents have made decisions about their child’s health care that are stamped with the approval of state law. While Utah law requires all children to be immunized before starting kindergarten or attending a private or public preschool or day care, the law also allows a parent to apply for an exemption based on religious, personal/philosophical or medical reasons.

What happens to children like these two boys when there is an outbreak of a vaccine-preventable disease?

http://go.uen.org/64a

 

 

 

Don’t politicize high school civics education

Salt Lake Tribune letter from Daniel Day

 

I am a senior attending Hillcrest High School. Recently, I was required to take the civics test mandated by the recently passed Senate Bill 60, the American Civics Education Initiative, sponsored by the far-right Sen. Howard Stephenson.

I like this bill because it is important for students to be knowledgeable about their country’s history and its government.

However, I did take issue with one question asked on the test. The question was “What is the economic system in the United States?” I put “mixed economy” for my answer, and I got the question wrong. The correct answer was “market economy.”

This disturbed me because the United States clearly has a mixed economy. It seems as though the mandatory civics test contains a partisan bias — many conservatives would like the economy to be a market economy, or think that it is, but this is not true.

http://go.uen.org/640

 

 

 

Volunteers are under-used resource for schools

Salt Lake Tribune letter from Jon Titus

 

Utah might need more teachers and it certainly needs to pay them more (“The learning curve,” Feb. 10). But school districts ignore an educational resource already at hand and that costs nothing: volunteers. Volunteers must find teachers of a subject and contact each about a volunteer opportunity. Likewise, teachers have no easy way to find volunteers in, say, computer programming, chemistry, accounting, and so on. Thus we have teachers who need volunteers and professionals with real-world experience ignorant of each other.

We should have a statewide online matching service such as eHarmony or Linkedin that makes it easy for volunteers and teachers to see who needs what and to start a conversation. In my experience, cold calls to teachers rarely work, and no one in the my school district has shown much active interest in a volunteer-teacher matching system. Sad indeed.

http://go.uen.org/643

 

 

 

Satan’s free rein

(St. George) Spectrum letter from R. L. Kane

 

When I went to school in the 1930s, the teacher started each morning with Bible reading and a short prayer. But objectors sent the nation into shock when they got all religion removed from the schools. That left Satan with a free rein to romp among the students.

As I understand, the presence of righteousness works best by invitation through prayer. On the other hand, the presence of Satan will occur at any opportunity and without invitation. And, believe it, how he romps over the wide world today!

http://go.uen.org/64t

 

 

 

Supreme Court’s Scalia Brought Conservative Outlook to Education Cases

Education Week commentary by columnist Mark Walsh

 

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who was found dead Saturday at age 79, brought his conservative and originalist outlook to scores of education cases during his nearly three decades on the high court.

On the major education cases of his era, Scalia consistently voted against the consideration of race in higher education and K-12 schools, backed a low wall of separation between church and state, and generally favored school administrators over students and their rights.

http://go.uen.org/64D

 

 

 

Untold story: How Scalia’s death blew up an anti-union group’s grand legal strategy

Los Angeles Times commentary by columnist Michael Hiltzik

 

The anti-union lawsuit known as Friedrichs vs. California Teachers Assn. is widely viewed as one of the leading casualties of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death.

What’s less well-known is how the anti-union plaintiffs connived to fast-track the case through the federal judiciary in order to get it before the court while it still harbored a conservative majority. Their method was to encourage the lower courts to rule against them, so they could file a quick appeal. But Scalia’s passing is likely to leave a 4-4 deadlock over the case, so the last ruling, in which the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled for the teachers union, remains in force.

This wasn’t how the anti-union group behind the lawsuit, the Center for Individual Rights, expected things to work out. As we write, the group’s website still features a photograph of nominal plaintiff Rebecca Friedrichs and the center’s lawyers standing in front of the Supreme Court on Jan. 10, looking plenty chuffed about that morning’s oral arguments, which plainly went their way. The poet Robert Burns had a line for the subsequent developments: “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley.”

http://go.uen.org/64H

 

 

 

How Many Education Secretaries Have Been K-12 Classroom Teachers?

Education Week commentary by columnist Alyson Klein

 

Newly minted acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. , who has been officially nominated to head up the Education Department, loves to weave his background as a social studies teacher into his speeches (especially when he’s talking about how government works.) And a couple times lately, he’s even played the former principal card (including when getting the attention of a room full of edu-advocates eager to hear about the president’s budget proposal).

It turns out King is the very first former principal to serve as education secretary (or acting secretary). That got us wondering—how many other former classroom teachers have been at the helm of the department? How many had other sorts of teaching backgrounds?

And it seems that just four out of the eleven, or less than half of, the officials who have led the department as secretary or acting secretary since its inception in 1980 were full-time K-12 classroom teachers at one point in their careers, according to our research team. Others though had done work in K-12 schools (like serving a big city superintendent) or taught at the university level.

Want specifics? Here you go, in chronological order:

Terrel H. Bell (served under President Ronald Reagan, a Republican)

K-12 classroom teacher? Yup. He taught high school chemistry, physics, and athletics in Eden, Idaho. Plus, he served as the superintendent of a bunch of school districts in the western U.S., including Salt Lake City. And he was the Utah state chief.

http://go.uen.org/64S

 

 

 

How New York Made Pre­K a Success

New York Times Magazine commentary by David L. Kirp, professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley

 

BORSCHT isn’t found on most prekindergarten menus, but it’s what the cooks were dishing up for the 35 children at Ira’s Daycare in Briarwood, Queens, on a recent school day. Many families in this neighborhood are Russian émigrés for whom borscht is a staple, but children from half a dozen countries, including a contingent from Bangladesh, are also enrolled here.

These youngsters are among the 68,547 4­year­olds enrolled in one of the nation’s most ambitious experiments in education: New York City’s accelerated attempt to introduce preschool for all.

In 2013, Bill de Blasio campaigned for mayor on a promise of universal pre­K. Two years later, New York City enrolls more children in full­day pre­K than any state except Georgia, and its preschool enrollment exceeds the total number of students in San Francisco or Boston.

“It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever been part of,” Richard Buery, the deputy mayor who oversaw the prekindergarten expansion, told me. “Every aspect has been a challenge.” Two thousand teachers had to be recruited, 3,000 classrooms opened and 300 community providers vetted as prekindergarten partners.

Simply getting more children in the door doesn’t guarantee successful outcomes. Still, New York’s experience in trying to institute the program so quickly provides some valuable lessons for other pre­K efforts across the country.

New York decided early to make pre­K available to every child, rather than just poor kids.

http://go.uen.org/63M

 

 

 

2015 AASA Superintendents Salary & Benefits Study

AASA analysis

 

The 2015 AASA Superintendents Salary & Benefits Study marks the fourth edition of this study. This survey tracks the demographics, salary, benefits and other elements of the employment contracts of school superintendents throughout the country. This year’s study is based on 728 responses, a 5.6 percent return rate. This is lower than previous years, and does lead to some limitations in drawing conclusions from the findings. However, the report is rich with information and serves as a useful snapshot of the superintendency. For a more detailed examination of the superintendency, be sure to read the Study of the American Superintendent: 2015 Mid-Decade Update, available at my.aasa.org.

This year, as in the last four years, nearly 70 percent of respondents reported that they work in rural districts. This is close to the U.S. Department of Education data, which found that 57 percent of districts were defined as rural in 2010-11.1 Black and Hispanic/Latino respondents serve in suburban and urban districts more than their counterparts.

Also consistent with findings of the previous years, male respondents outnumbered females by a four to one ratio. Respondents were also overwhelmingly White (nonHispanic). Female respondents also tended to be older than males. The average and median age of all respondents was 53.

The median salary was $131,000, average was $140,021, which both increased around 15 percent from 2014. It is important to note the smaller sample size in this study before making conclusions. All positions from superintendent to teacher show that salaries increase relative to district enrollment size.

http://go.uen.org/63N

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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Broken discipline tracking systems let teachers flee troubled pasts

A Fragmented System for Checking the Backgrounds of Teachers Leaves Students at Risk

USA Today

 

Georgia officials revoked a teacher’s license after finding he exchanged sexual texts and naked photos with a female student and was involved in physical altercations with two others.

A central Florida teacher’s credentials were suspended after she was charged with battery for allegedly shoving and yelling at a 6-year-old student.

In Texas, a middle school math teacher lost his job and teaching license after he was caught on camera allegedly trying to meet a teenage boy in a sting set up by NBC’s nationally aired TV program To Catch a Predator.

All three of those teachers found their way back to the front of public school classrooms, simply by crossing state lines. They’re far from alone.

An investigation by the USA TODAY NETWORK found fundamental defects in the teacher screening systems used to ensure the safety of children in the nation’s more than 13,000 school districts.

The patchwork system of laws and regulations — combined with inconsistent execution and flawed information sharing between states and school districts — fails to keep teachers with histories of serious misconduct out of classrooms and away from schoolchildren. At least three states already have begun internal investigations and audits based on questions raised during the course of this investigation.

http://go.uen.org/63P

 

Sidebar teacher data audit

http://go.uen.org/63Q (USAT)

 

http://go.uen.org/64F (CSM)

 

 

 

Should Ohio schools be held harmless if students opt out of state tests?

Columbus (OH) Dispatch

 

With more Ohio students refusing to take state assessments, a bill to protect schools from being penalized by the state for low participation could create bigger problems, educators warn.

Ohio House Bill 420 could inadvertently encourage fewer students to take state assessments, risking the loss of millions of dollars in federal aid for Ohio’s schools and undermining state efforts to ensure that all high school graduates are prepared for college or a career, they said.

There could be “unintended consequences” if districts suggest to parents that kids who don’t do well on the assessments should opt out, said State Board of Education President Tom Gunlock.

“That to me would be a real problem. The whole idea is to make sure all kids are doing well in school and find out where they are weak and getting them the help they need.”

State law penalizes schools and school districts when a student opts out of a state exam. That student is given a zero when the school’s score is being calculated for state report cards, affecting two of 10 measures.

HB 420, sponsored by Rep. Kristina Roegner, R-Hudson, would require the state to publish two scores: one with opt-out students and the other without them.

Although the statewide participation rate in the exams was 99 percent last school year, a handful of school districts saw as many as 30 percent of students opt out of testing. Officials in those districts have complained that their report-card grades will be lower as a result.

http://go.uen.org/63S

 

 

 

Could $1 Billion Make Teaching the Best Job in the World?

Education Week

 

Could $1 billion make teaching the best job in the world? Well, the U.S. Department of Education is banking that it can at least help make a dent in the perception of teaching as underpaid and not prestigious, anyway: It’s pitching a $1 billion program toward that end as part of its fiscal year 2017 budget request.

Under its proposal, districts would use the funds to improve teacher salaries, working conditions, and professional development. Overall, the initiative also aims to help improve the distribution of teacher talent, something the agency has struggled to get states to do.

“I think if we want to ensure that teaching, particularly in our highest-need schools is attractive, we’ve got to make sure the compensation reflects the complexity of the work. That’s why this initiative includes the opportunity for districts to increase salaries for effective teachers in high-needs schools,” Acting Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr., said in a press call with reporters Friday. “We have a lot of work to do as a country so that regardless of the ZIP code you’re in, you have access to an excellent education, and teacher salaries are a part of that. And so too are working conditions,” he said, noting the deplorable state of many Detroit school buildings.

The federal program, called RESPECT: The Best Job In the World, would give out competitive grants of $50 million to $250 million to states, which would then offer subgrants to school districts. With the cash, districts would aim to implement the following activities:

http://go.uen.org/64z

 

http://go.uen.org/64A (ED)

 

 

 

Free-range education: Why the unschooling movement is growing

A once-utopian idea – allowing kids to ‘discover’ their own education path while learning at home – goes mainstream.

Christian Science Monitor

 

MADISON, N.H. — On a late Monday morning in this rural New Hampshire town, Dayna and Joe Martin’s four children are all home. Devin, age 16, is hammering a piece of steel in the blacksmith forge he and his parents built out of a storage shed in the backyard. Tiffany, 14, is twirling on a hoverboard, deftly avoiding the kaleidoscope-painted cabinets in the old farmhouse’s living room. Ivy, 10, and Orion, 7, are sitting next to each other using the family’s two computers, clicking through an intense session of Minecraft.

It looks a lot like school vacation, or a weekend. But it’s not. This, for the Martin kids, is school. Or, to put it more accurately, it’s their version of “unschooling,” an educational theory that suggests children should follow their own interests, without the imposition of school or even any alternative educational curriculum, because this is the best way for them to learn and grow.

“I don’t even know what grades are,” says Orion, who has never spent a day in school, has never followed a lesson plan, and has never taken a test. (Tests, his mother says, can be degrading to children – an invasion of their freedom of thought.)

“We live as if school doesn’t exist,” Ms. Martin explains. “People are really brainwashed into seeing things in school form, with life breaking down into subjects. This life is about freedom and not having limits. It’s about really trusting your kids. And it’s amazing what they do.”

Martin says that, left alone to follow their own interests, her children have learned everything from history and ethics to trade skills and math. But what they learn isn’t her concern, she says. She doesn’t much care if her son knows how to read by age 8. She trusts he will read when he is ready to read. Her role, she says, is not to be her children’s teacher or judge, but a facilitator and perhaps partner in helping them follow their own passions.

http://go.uen.org/63R

 

 

 

Kindergarten Today: Less Play, More Academics

Education Week

 

Researchers at the University of Virginia compared the views and experiences of kindergarten teachers in 1998 with those of their counterparts in 2010, and found dramatic differences in what teachers now expect of pupils and how they have structured their classrooms. Generally, teachers now expect children to come in knowing much more, spend more of the day in literacy and math instruction, and devote less time to nonacademic subjects such as music and art. Some excerpts from the findings:

http://go.uen.org/64C

 

 

 

Should Computer Education Cover More Than Just Coding?

NPR

 

President Obama wants kids to learn to code. So much so, he’s pledged billions of dollars to teach them.

“Now we have to make sure all our kids are equipped for the jobs of the future – which means not just being able to work with computers, but developing the analytical and coding skills to power our innovation economy,” he said in his radio address on Jan. 30.

And adults are looking to learn, too. Coding academies, or “boot camps,” are cropping up across the country, promising to teach students to code in a few months or even a few weeks.

But computers are not just about coding. There’s also a lot of theory — and science — behind technology. And those theoretical concepts form the basis of much of computer science education in colleges and universities.

Lisa Singh, an associate professor at Georgetown University, stands behind that theoretical approach.

“We now need to train everybody to understand the basics of computer science,” she says, “and I don’t equate it to just coding. I equate it to principles of thinking.”

http://go.uen.org/63O

 

 

 

Private groups step in to show teachers how to use technology in the classroom

Lots of dollars and tech but not enough teacher training to blend classrooms

Hechinger Report

 

It seems a waste. Millions of educational apps, millions of lesson plans available online, millions of laptops in the hands of students.

Yet only a small segment of teachers nationwide find ways to infuse technology into their lessons.

“There’s a real hunger out there, about how do I get better at my craft?” said Jeff Liberty, the senior director of teacher development initiatives at BetterLesson, which trains teachers to use technology in class. “But there aren’t clear mechanisms for that to occur in a dependable way.”

The resources exist; the desire is there. So why aren’t more classrooms using digital models? One answer that teachers give is that there’s too little training, and traditional teacher training workshops just aren’t up to snuff.

A 2015 survey of teachers found that 90 percent felt technology was important for classroom success, while almost two-thirds wanted to integrate it into their lessons but said they needed more training.

The teachers that succeed in adding technology to their teaching usually spend their own time to figure out how to use new tools – sitting up late at night digging through YouTube videos and trolling Twitter chats. They don’t get paid or receive any credit for these extra hours of work. A whopping 38 percent of teachers nationwide said they learn about new technology through their own research, according to a December 2015 survey of more than 4,300 teachers nationwide.

http://go.uen.org/64G

 

 

 

Anti-Common Core activists seek control of teachers union

New York Post

 

As the Cuomo administration tiptoes back from its testing mandates for Grades 3 to 8, opt-out activists are trying to wrest control of the United Federation of Teachers and the state Board of Regents to push their anti-Common Core agenda to the limit.

Teacher Jia Lee, of Brooklyn, seeks to unseat powerful UFT President Michael Mulgrew in spring elections. “There’s a huge disconnect between leadership and membership,” Lee said. “We have a teacher evaluation system based on flawed metrics that force us to rank and sort our students. It’s totally counter to what brought us to the profession.”

The opt-out movement is a revolt against the Common Core — a set of learning benchmarks that New York adopted in 2010 to claim $696 million in federal education funds — and the matching standardized tests that kids as young as 8 must take every year.

http://go.uen.org/63V

 

 

 

Amazon Education to Launch New Website for Open Education Resources

Education Week

 

Phoenix – Amazon Education is working on a new platform that will allow schools to upload, manage, share, and discover open education resources from a home page that in some ways resembles the one shoppers are accustomed to accessing on the massive online retailer’s website.

School administrators learned about the site, to be called Amazon Inspire, during a “Transitioning to OER” session Friday as part of the National Conference on Education of the AASA, the School Superintendents Association, held here.

The new platform is in beta testing now, and is scheduled to be released publicly within the next two to three months, according to Andrew Joseph, vice president of strategic relations for Amazon Education.

http://go.uen.org/64E

 

 

 

Google Quietly Shutters Play For Education

Tech Crunch

 

Back in 2013, Google launched Play for Education, a program that made it easier for educators to purchase apps and books and distribute them to their students’ Android tablets. Now, this program is coming to an end. As first reported by CRN and also confirmed by us today, Google will stop selling Play for Education licenses on March 14.

From what we understand, Google will continue to support existing Play for Education users until the end-of-life date of their tablets and teachers will continue to have access to Play for Education to find content and push it out to their students.

http://go.uen.org/64I

 

 

 

Standards, Grades And Tests Are Wildly Outdated, Argues ‘End Of Average’

NPR

 

Todd Rose dropped out of high school with D- grades. At 21, he was trying to support a wife and two sons on welfare and minimum wage jobs.

Today he teaches educational neuroscience at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. He’s also the co-founder of Project Variability, a new organization devoted to “the science of the individual and its implications for education, the workforce, and society.”

In other words, Todd Rose is not your average guy. But neither are you.

In fact, he argues, absolutely no one is precisely average. And that’s a big problem, he tells NPR Ed: “We’ve come to embrace a way of thinking about ourselves as people that was intentionally designed to ignore all individuality and force everything in reference to an average person.”

Admissions offices, HR departments, banks and doctors make life-changing decisions based on averages. Rose says that “works really well to understand the system or the group, but it fails miserably when you need to understand the individual, which is what we need to do.”

Rose talked with us about his new book: The End Of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness.

http://go.uen.org/64y

 

 

 

More Low-Income Children Eating School Breakfast, Report Says

Education Week

 

An average of 11.2 million low-income children ate school breakfasts daily during the 2013-14 school year, an increase of 320,000 children from the previous year, a report released Tuesday says. Also that year, a higher percentage of low-income children who participated in school lunch programs also ate school breakfasts than in the previous year, says the School Breakfast Scorecard by the Food Research and Action Center.

FRAC says it calculated its figures “by comparing the number of low-income children receiving school breakfast to the number of such children receiving school lunch. By this measure, nationally 53 low-income children ate school breakfast for every 100 who also ate school lunch, an increase from the previous school year’s ratio of 52:100, and far above the 43:100 ratio of a decade earlier,” the report says.

http://go.uen.org/64N

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/64O (FRAC)

 

 

Ex-students Say Boarding School Kept Them in Isolation Boxes

Associated Press

 

IOWA CITY, Iowa — A boarding school for troubled teenagers in Iowa that is being investigated by the FBI routinely kept pupils in small concrete “isolation boxes” for days or weeks and wouldn’t let them out unless they sat in a specific posture for 24 hours, according to several former students.

Six former students recently told The Associated Press about abuse they say they suffered while attending Midwest Academy in Keokuk, a city along the Mississippi River where Iowa borders Illinois and Missouri. They said the dark, cell-like punishment rooms were often filled with the sounds of students’ screams and motivational recordings piped in through speakers. Surveillance cameras and staff members kept watch.

“You spend your time pounding your head against the wall. You can’t sleep because there is a lot of noise. A lot of girls like to scream in there. You basically look forward to bathroom breaks and those moments when you can get out of your box,” said Emily Beaman, 17, of Wheaton, Illinois.

http://go.uen.org/64B

 

http://go.uen.org/64T (Des Moines [IA] Register)

 

 

 

Columbine killer’s mother: ‘The greatest mercy I could pray for was . . . for his death’

Washington Post

 

NEW YORK —“The terror and total disbelief are overwhelming. The sorrow of losing my son, the shame of what he has done, the fear of the world’s hate. There is no respite from the agony.”

Imagine the worst thing that can happen to a parent.

Far worse befell Sue Klebold.

Yes, that Klebold, a name as synonymous with the 1999 mass shootings as Columbine High School and the Denver suburb of Littleton, Colo.

It was Klebold’s son Dylan, along with his friend Eric Harris, who killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 24 more in a plan a year in the making and hidden from all.

As other mothers hoped for their children’s lives on that April day 17 years ago, “I knew the greatest mercy I could pray for was not for my son’s safety,” Klebold recalls, “but for his death.”

Moments past noon in the school library, the two shooters killed themselves.

The next day, Klebold wrote the words quoted above in her journal.

She has now published “A Mother’s Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy,” culled in part from that journal and the 39 that followed, chronicling the life she was forced to live after her old one was extinguished. She always knew that she would write the book. “The big decision was to publish,” she says. All the profits are earmarked for mental-health and suicide-prevention organizations, her new community.

http://go.uen.org/63W

 

 

 

 

 

————————————————————

CALENDAR

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USOE Calendar

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

 

 

UEN News

http://www.uen.org

 

 

February 16:

Senate Education Committee meeting

8 a.m., 210 Senate Building

http://le.utah.gov/~2016/agenda/SEDU0216.ag.htm

 

House Revenue and Taxation Committee meeting

8 a.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/~2016/agenda/HREV0216.ag.htm

 

House Education Committee meeting

2 p.m., 30 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/~2016/agenda/HEDU0216.ag.htm

 

House Health and Human Services Committee meeting

2 p.m., 20 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/~2016/agenda/HHHS0216.ag.htm

 

 

February 17:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

4 p.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2016/html/00001548.htm

 

 

February 18:

Utah State Board of Education legislative meeting

Noon, 210 Senate Building

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

 

 

March 10:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

http://go.uen.org/62M

 

 

March 17:

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

 

 

March 18:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

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