Education News Roundup: March 8, 2016

capitol with buses 1

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

The end of the Legislature is near. Here’s the education bill news roundup:

SB244, which pushes funding to poorer school districts: http://go.uen.org/6il (SLT)

HB460, school-to-prison pipeline bill, http://go.uen.org/6ij (SLT)

SB45, the school truancy bill, http://go.uen.org/6j7 (SLT), and http://go.uen.org/6j8 (DN)

HB181, physical restraint of students, http://go.uen.org/6iK (KUER)

HB423, federal education programs, http://go.uen.org/6j5 (Salt Lake City Weekly)

SB101, public preschool bill, http://go.uen.org/6im (DN)

 

eSchool News looks at Utah’s digital learning readiness.

http://go.uen.org/6j2 (eSchool News)

 

And is broadband coming to some of Utah’s most remote schools?

http://go.uen.org/6j3 (San Juan Record)

 

Elsewhere, Connecticut considers severing standardized test scores and teacher evaluations.

http://go.uen.org/6ip (Hartford Courant)

 

What kind of preschool gets Beyoncé as a headliner for its fund-raiser?

http://go.uen.org/6iY (LAT)

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Senate passes bill to push new education funding to poorest school districts

School money » Bill is approved despite opponents’ warnings.

 

Can training school principals and police officers break the school-to-prison pipeline?

Education » Under bill, program would teach cultural awareness, outline expectations of police.

 

School truancy would be a lesser crime, but still a crime, under latest tweak to Utah compulsory education bill

 

Bill Would Limit Teachers’ Right to Use Force on Unruly Students

 

Playing Chicken with Education Money

House Dem accuses GOP colleague of picking fights using education funding.

 

Public preschool expansion gets early OK from House

 

Utah Rep. Carol Spackman Moss defies the odds

 

States assess their readiness for digital learning

 

Broadband project may bring hi-tech connections to isolated areas throughout San Juan County

 

Utah high school principal apologizes for choir’s participation at rally for Finicum, Bundy

Apology » Sky View principal, choir director say they don’t support the rancher’s cause; the choir just happened to be visiting the Capitol.

 

Emery High rejects racism claims by Summit Academy coaches, players

Boys prep basketball » School, district investigation finds no wrongdoing by Emery fans, team members, but acknowledges possible isolated incidents.

 

Northern Utah students dive into engineering at underwater robotics contest

 

Davis High’s one-armed football player wins UHSAA honor

 

Utah Students to be Featured on PBS for Anti-Bullying

Sunset Ridge Middle School’s anti-bullying play to be featured on PBS

 

Granite School District announces new administrative assignments

 

Top students compete for Sterling Scholar title

 

Car rear-ended, pushed underneath school bus in Salt Lake City

 

Man hit by school bus in Ogden remains in critical condition Monday

 

Spring break dates vary by school district

 


 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Students fight teen suicide with HOPE at Clearfield High School

 

What happened at the state tournament?

 

SAGE testing — Farewell and goodbye

 

Testimony removing our opposition to SB 101 S2 (High Quality School Readiness Program Expansion)

 

Testimony in support of SB 143 S1 (Competency-Based Learning Amendments)

 

Pass the bill

 

Tech Integration Is The Future Of Public Education

 

Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand Common Core (and Neither Do His Rivals)

 

Where Does Hillary Clinton Stand on Education Reform?

 

A New Era for the Battle Over Teacher Evaluations

The Obama administration encouraged more robust ways of assessing which educators were doing a good job. Will its legacy last?

 

Academic expectations around the country, updated for Common Core

Only three states expect their 8th graders to be on a college-ready path in both math and reading

 

The Best States for Charter Schools

 

Let’s End Professional Development as We Know It

 

The Case for White History Month

 


 

 

NATION

 

Legislators Rethink Linking Tests And Teacher Evaluations

Legislators have pointed questions on the linkage between state tests and teacher evaluations

 

A principal met a student she expelled, and it changed her approach to discipline

 

Harvard University Has A Bold Plan To Transform K-12 Education

The school is working with six cities to reinvent their education systems.

 

Students running small-town market know business

 

Florida Passes Bill to Deal with Legacy of Notorious School

 

Kids who skip lunch are missing out on essential nutrients

 

Danish 16-year old girl charged with planning to bomb schools

 

Some schools have bake sales. This West Hollywood fundraiser got Beyoncé.

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Senate passes bill to push new education funding to poorest school districts

School money » Bill is approved despite opponents’ warnings.

 

Beginning in 2017, one-third of new state public education dollars could be set aside and parceled out to Utah’s lowest-funded school districts.

That’s the vision of SB244, sponsored by South Jordan Republican Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, which passed the Utah Senate in an 18-10 vote on Monday.

The bill would steadily raise the tide for school district budgets, using the state’s income tax to fill in the gaps left by unfavorable local property values.

“The school districts funded at the lowest level are falling further and further behind,” Fillmore said.

But sequestering one-third of new education funding for poor districts would leave two-thirds for investing in the state as a whole. That would mean smaller increases to per-student spending, for which Utah currently ranks lowest in the nation.

http://go.uen.org/6il (SLT)

 


 

 

Can training school principals and police officers break the school-to-prison pipeline?

Education » Under bill, program would teach cultural awareness, outline expectations of police.

 

During a legislative committee hearing on Monday, lawmakers remarked, without specifics, on the rules they broke and mischievous deeds they committed in their younger years.

Rep. Sandra Hollins, a Salt Lake City Democrat, said teenagers act out, even those who later grow up to be members of the Utah House of Representatives.

“The only difference between us and the kids today is we didn’t get caught doing what we were doing,” Hollins said.

The conversation surrounded HB460, which was unanimously endorsed by the committee and later approved by the full House. Sponsored by Hollins, the bill would create a training program for school administrators and school resource officers.

The proposal is aimed at diverting the so-called “school-to-prison pipeline,” in which children, and particularly those of minority groups, are placed on a trajectory of academic failure and criminality by disproportionate contact with law enforcement and disciplinary actions.

http://go.uen.org/6ij (SLT)

 


 

 

School truancy would be a lesser crime, but still a crime, under latest tweak to Utah compulsory education bill

 

A proposal to decriminalize school truancy was amended on Tuesday to lessen, but maintain, the criminal penalties for parents whose children’s absences from school go unexcused.

Under the new version of the bill, a first offense could result in an infraction, with parents subject to a class C misdemeanor if absences continue.

Truancy is currently punishable as a class B misdemeanor, although schools typically rely on the threat of criminal action, and not charges, to incentivize attendance.

Kearns Republican Rep. Eric Hutchings, who sponsored the amendment, said changing to an infraction would be “like a parking ticket,” offering an appropriate response to absences while maintaining compulsory attendance laws.

“It doesn’t show up on a criminal background check,” he said. “It doesn’t carry any jail time for any reason of any kind.”

http://go.uen.org/6j7 (SLT)

 

http://go.uen.org/6j8 (DN)

 


 

 

Bill Would Limit Teachers’ Right to Use Force on Unruly Students

 

A bill that would ban teachers from using physical force to stop a student from damaging school property passed out of a house committee Monday. But the legislation may not make it to the Senate before the session ends on Thursday.

Right now state law allows teachers to use physical force against a student in self-defense or to protect other students or property. House Bill 181 would confirm that property damage isn’t reason enough to initiate a physical confrontation with a student. Democratic State Representative Carol Spackman Moss is sponsoring the bill. She says since September 2011, the Utah Disability Law Center has received about 45 complaints about school discipline.

http://go.uen.org/6iK (KUER)

 


 

 

Playing Chicken with Education Money

House Dem accuses GOP colleague of picking fights using education funding.

 

One member of the Utah House of Representatives might be using the state school board to try and pick a fight with the federal government, with education funding hanging in the balance.

Rep. David Lifferth’s, R-Eagle Mountain, proposed House Bill 423 says that if the U.S. Government hands down a new rule or policy for schools that do not “advance state goals” and objectives, the State School Board must ignore the policy, determine how much federal education money Utah schools would lose out on, and ask the Utah Legislature to cover the costs.

“This is a whole new level of bureaucracy added into our education system,” Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake City, tells City Weekly. “This is just a poorly written bill, it doesn’t even say who is the one making the decision of whether or not a Federal education level doesn’t advance state goals. Does the legislature determine that? Is it the state school board? The Superintendent? We don’t even know.”

Lifferth says his bill is all about empowering the state school board. “They are elected by the people to set policy in the state of Utah. I don’t want them to be influenced by strings that are attached to federal dollars,” he says. “If there is a policy that [the Feds] set that doesn’t align with Utah’s goals, the State School Board needs to do something about that.”

So what are these education policies that the Feds are handing down that the State School Board should be defying? That question was left unanswered as Rep. Lifferth told his colleagues during the House floor debate that “I can’t think of anything right now.”

http://go.uen.org/6j5 (Salt Lake City Weekly)

 


 

 

Public preschool expansion gets early OK from House

 

SALT LAKE CITY — A proposal to expand public preschool offerings for Utah’s youngest students is on its way to the House after getting unanimous support from a committee of lawmakers Monday.

The bill also received financial backing from legislative leaders last week as they pieced together a final budget proposal for the state.

Lawmakers hope more than $11 million set aside in SB101 will help an additional 3,000 to 4,000 preschoolers develop foundational academic skills, especially if they show early signs of struggling in school.

The bill is also intended to give parents more options in helping their children prepare for kindergarten. Those additional preschool options could include private schools, in-home online programs, or charter schools, which previously haven’t been allowed to administer preschool under state law.

http://go.uen.org/6im (DN)

 


 

 

Utah Rep. Carol Spackman Moss defies the odds

 

Sitting in a large meeting room, Carol Spackman Moss smiled from across the table, making idle chatter about how she lived in the same LDS Ward as former BYU President Cecil Samuelson, and how it was nice to see him finally able to spend time with his grandkids. Though it was early in the morning, she exuded enthusiasm.

She loves her work, including the details. When Carol Spackman Moss, a veteran lawmaker elected in 2000, spoke of concept of “herd immunity” her face lit up. She explained how a decrease in immunized children in schools can eventually reach a tipping point where too few immunizations can create health risks for all.

Like the immunization bill, Spackman-Moss has witnessed thousands of bills move through Utah’s House. “I’ve been in 16 years now, and so I’ve worked on a number of issues, many related to education,” she said.      “Now my focus this session, and for a couple sessions, has been to try and reduce the rate of overdose deaths in our state from opiate-based drugs.”

Well known for her career as an educator, Spackman Moss is beloved by Democrats and Republicans alike, for being fair and honest.

http://go.uen.org/6iF (BYU Universe)

 


 

 

States assess their readiness for digital learning

 

When Ray Timothy, executive director of the Utah Education and Telehealth Network, saw the results of a new statewide inventory of technology deployed across all 989 Utah public schools, one figure jumped out at him in particular.

It was the 100-percent response rate from the survey.

“We knew most districts and schools would respond, but a 100-percent response rate shows that technology is a high priority for education leaders throughout the state,” he said.

State leaders were less surprised to learn that, on average, there are only about six devices for every 10 Utah students, or that the wireless infrastructure is not adequate in many schools.

Utah lawmakers had wanted to get a clearer picture of the ed-tech strengths and needs of the state’s school districts and public charter schools. They commissioned a school technology inventory that was completed by Connected Nation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring affordable broadband to all Americans. Connected Nation released the results of the survey last month.

http://go.uen.org/6j2 (eSchool News)

 


 

 

Broadband project may bring hi-tech connections to isolated areas throughout San Juan County

 

The Six County Coalition has turned their focus on San Juan and Daggett counties for a fiber-based broadband project. These two counties have been identified for broadband capability needs, specifically at Manila High School and Flaming Gorge Elementary School in Daggett County. The need in San Juan County is at all schools south of Blanding.

Listed on the project paperwork are Bluff, Montezuma Creek, and Tse’bi’nidzisgai elementary schools, and Whitehorse, Monument Valley, and Navajo Mountain high schools. It is also proposed that the service be extended to the communities in White Mesa, Montezuma Creek, Bluff, Mexican Hat, Monument Valley and Navajo Mountain.

Brian Barton, of Jones and DeMille Engineering, presented the proposal to the county commission. He said, “Broadband has become almost as necessary to education as transportation and other such services.”

The proposal is for a 1-gigabyte service line to be run from Blanding to Navajo Mountain and all points listed between.

http://go.uen.org/6j3 (San Juan Record)

 


 

 

Utah high school principal apologizes for choir’s participation at rally for Finicum, Bundy

Apology » Sky View principal, choir director say they don’t support the rancher’s cause; the choir just happened to be visiting the Capitol.

 

During a visit to the Utah Capitol on Saturday, Sky View High School choristers broke into song, eager to hear the sound of their voices reverberate under the towering Rotunda. A woman approached as they were exiting and handed them pamphlets of the U.S. Constitution.

Impressed with their singing, she asked the Smithfield school’s choir director, Karen Teuscher, if the students, all wearing T-shirts identifying them as members of the school’s choir, would sing the national anthem in front of the 200 people gathered outside the south steps of the famous domed building.

The educator quickly agreed, eager to give her two dozen students another chance to perform before an appreciative audience. What Teuscher didn’t know was this crowd was gathered for a rally in support of outlaw rancher Cliven Bundy and those arrested in the Malheur, Ore., bird refuge occupation led by Bundy’s sons and LaVoy Finicum, the Arizona rancher killed by police in January.

http://go.uen.org/6ii (SLT)

 


 

 

Emery High rejects racism claims by Summit Academy coaches, players

Boys prep basketball » School, district investigation finds no wrongdoing by Emery fans, team members, but acknowledges possible isolated incidents.

 

Emery High School has rejected claims of racism made against the school and its fans by Summit Academy players and coaches who said they endured racially-loaded insults during and after a Class 2A semifinal game between the two schools last month in Richfield.

Emery principal Larry Davis said in a statement released late last week that an internal investigation conducted by the school confirmed one instance of “inappropriate” behavior, and he acknowledged there may have been other possible isolated incidents. But he denied claims by Summit Academy coaches Evric Gray and Hector Marquez, and three of their players, who said they were the victims of multiple racially-motivated attacks by Emery team members or fans on Feb. 26.

“Our school has been impugned based on a single cowardly post,” Davis said in the statement, referring to a Feb. 27 Facebook post by Marquez. “Any school administrator will tell you that there are those few within each student body who maintain less than the highest standards of ethical behavior. To condemn an entire school, school district, or rural region because of that is unjustified. Where we have erred, we apologize. Where we have been erred against, that is a matter of personal conscience beyond our control.”

Gray, who was one of four coaches who raised concerns with the Utah High School Activities Association in January about their teams receiving racially-motivated abuse during road games, said Monday that he wanted to put the issue behind him.

“I’m kind of over it,” Gray said after reading the Emery High statement. “We won. Let’s just everybody move on. The response I have is, there really is no response.”

http://go.uen.org/6iv (SLT)

 


 

 

Northern Utah students dive into engineering at underwater robotics contest

 

OGDEN — Building robots may teach students about math, science and engineering, but those aren’t the only lessons that come with the process.

One such student, seventh-grader Saray Pichardo, mentioned a few during a northern Utah robotics competition held Monday, March 7 — keep moving forward, don’t be afraid of failure and “never give up.”

Pichardo, who attends Wahlquist Junior High in Farr West, was part of a team that competed in the SeaPerch North Utah Underwater Robot Competition, held in the pool at Weber State University’s Swenson Gym. The competition, which requires students to build remotely operated vehicles (ROV), aims to get them excited about learning robotics, engineering, science and mathematics.

Eighty-four junior high and elementary school teams from Box Elder, Davis, Ogden and Weber school districts took part in the competition. The students were tasked with creating vehicles that could withstand an underwater challenge — helping investigate and clean up a make-believe airplane crash into Lake Powell.

http://go.uen.org/6iC (OSE)

 


 

 

Davis High’s one-armed football player wins UHSAA honor

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Matthew Beecher spent the last three years playing football at Davis High School despite missing his left arm below the elbow — a situation that occurred before he was born.

During halftime of the 5-A boys basketball semifinal between Layton and Bingham at the University of Utah on Friday, Beecher was honored by the Utah High School Activities Association with the “Spirit of Sport” Award.

“I guess there’s a lot of people that think I’m an inspiration to them and a good example,” Beecher said. “It’s humbling just to know that people watch you and people look up to you. I’m just a kid trying to do my best with everything I do and hopefully help people around me do their best, so it’s great to get some recognition.”

http://go.uen.org/6iA (OSE)

 


 

 

Utah Students to be Featured on PBS for Anti-Bullying

Sunset Ridge Middle School’s anti-bullying play to be featured on PBS

 

WEST JORDAN, Utah- Utah Students are being recognized yet again on national television for their efforts against anti-bullying.

Last year, Sunset Ridge Middle School’s play on anti-bullying was featured nationally on the Disney Channel and this year it’s getting the attention of PBS.

This year’s message is to have empathy and students are showing how to do so through singing, dancing and acting.

http://go.uen.org/6iI (KTVX)

 


 

 

Granite School District announces new administrative assignments

 

SOUTH SALT LAKE — Granite School District has announced changes in administrative assignments effective July 1.

Rick Anthony, the director and principal at Granite Peaks and Granite Connection High School, has been named assistant superintendent of educator support and development. He replaces John Welburn, who was named assistant superintendent of school accountability services.

Welburn replaces Mike Fraser, who announced his retirement.

http://go.uen.org/6j9 (DN)

 


 

 

Top students compete for Sterling Scholar title

 

Grand County High School will host the annual Southeastern Utah Sterling Scholar competition on March 10. The event is sponsored by Deseret News, Zions Bank Corp. and Emery Telcom.

Twenty-four San Juan County seniors will vie for the coveted title of Sterling Scholar against 61 seniors from Carbon, Emery and Grand counties. The program begins at 4:30 p.m. at Carbon High School. No charge to attend.

http://go.uen.org/6j1 (San Juan Record)

 


 

 

Car rear-ended, pushed underneath school bus in Salt Lake City

 

SALT LAKE CITY — A car stopped in traffic was hit from behind and pushed under the back bumper of a school bus Tuesday.

The incident happened about 7:40 a.m. near 700 East and 1700 South. Salt Lake police detective Greg Wilking said a school bus was stopped at a traffic light as well as the car behind it, when a pickup rammed into the back of the car and sandwiched it between the bus.

There were six children on the school bus at the time. No one in any of the three vehicles suffered serious injuries, Wilking said.

http://go.uen.org/6iy (DN)

 

http://go.uen.org/6iG (KUTV)

 

http://go.uen.org/6iH (KTVX)

 

http://go.uen.org/6iJ (KSTU)

 


 

 

Man hit by school bus in Ogden remains in critical condition Monday

 

OGDEN — A 26-year-old man hit by a school bus Friday was in critical condition as of Monday afternoon, police say.

Ogden City Police Department Lt. Danielle Croyle confirmed the victim’s condition Monday, March 7, and said police are still investigating the incident. The bus driver involved had not been charged or issued a citation as of Monday afternoon.

The man was hit by a Weber County School District bus at about 5:45 a.m. Friday, March 4, while crossing Canyon Road, just east of 12th Street and Harrison Boulevard’s intersection, according to Ogden police. In a news release, policy say they did not immediately know if the man was using the nearby crosswalk.

http://go.uen.org/6iB (OSE)

 


 

 

Spring break dates vary by school district

 

Spring’s just around the corner, and students are looking forward to taking a break from classes.

Local school districts don’t necessarily align spring break with the celebration of Easter, instead selecting dates that work with their schedules:

http://go.uen.org/6iD (OSE)

 

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Students fight teen suicide with HOPE at Clearfield High School

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

 

Students at Clearfield High School spent a week in late February spreading HOPE.

And hope — or HOPE — can save young lives.

HOPE stands for “Hold On, Persuade, Empower.” HOPE squads, made up of students chosen for their openness and empathy, make it their mission to prevent suicides among their classmates throughout Utah.

http://go.uen.org/6iE

 


 

 

What happened at the state tournament?

Emery County Progress commentary by editor PATSY STODDARD

 

What happened in Richfield at the state basketball tournament? You’ve probably heard a lot of controversy surrounding the Emery High and Summit Academy semi-final game on Feb. 26. I have put a call into the Richfield police for the police reports. They said they would send them as soon as they’ve completed the investigation and I couldn’t get them while the case was still open. I also have a call into the detective handling the case but he hasn’t returned my call.

I was at the ball game in question. The Emery Student Section was loud and supportive of their team. There are really two issues here and I think they’ve somehow been blended into one.

Summit Academy is a private school that is open to players from all over. Some will even say they recruit players to come play at their school. This isn’t new to Emery fans for several years, they played Wasatch Academy, Juan Diego and their players did come from all over the world. I think the UHSAA needs to find a way to remedy this problem. Can the private schools all play in their own league?

http://go.uen.org/6ix

 


 

 

SAGE testing — Farewell and goodbye

Deseret News op-ed by Jennifer Hirschi, a mother who lives in Springville, Utah

 

SAGE testing has become the new game for our teachers. They understand an emphasized importance on the test, so they play the game, and they play it well. This game only brings problems that go unaccounted for and create a world of educational issues that continue to go unresolved. The irony? This is a game that cannot ever be won.

The game begins when the SAGE test comes out. Math, English and science curriculums are then completely focused on the material the children will need to know to pass the test. The children are even told this is important information they will need to know for the test. Sorry, if the information isn’t on a test, it’s not important. Any other class is merely just for the fun of it anyway. Right?

http://go.uen.org/6iz

 


 

 

Testimony removing our opposition to SB 101 S2 (High Quality School Readiness Program Expansion)

Sutherland Institute commentary by education policy analyst Christine Cooke

 

Sutherland appreciates the intent of the sponsor with this bill and her willingness to meet with and listen to groups with diverse views on the legislation, such as ours. We have communicated our concerns about the bill’s eligibility requirements in the past. However, because the new eligibility language requires a showing of both economic and academic risk for children who are not in intergenerational poverty, we think the bill properly targets at-risk children, and we no longer oppose the bill.

http://go.uen.org/6iL

 


 

 

Testimony in support of SB 143 S1 (Competency-Based Learning Amendments)

Sutherland Institute commentary by education policy analyst Christine Cooke

 

We agree with many of the comments that have been made here today that education should be student-centered, which means that it honors the unique needs of children, and that it offers different modes of learning that are customized instead of standardized. For this reason, we support the bill.

While digital learning presents its own challenges, and that has been brought up, we believe it offers parents and students the choices that they deserve.

For these reasons, we encourage you to support the bill as well.

http://go.uen.org/6iM

 


 

 

Pass the bill

(St. George) Spectrum letter from Ryan Hassan

 

On March 4, the House of Representatives passed the Immunization of Students Amendments, with a vote of 38 to 37. This bill requires that parents who want a Vaccine Exemption Form must first watch a video explaining how to protect unvaccinated children during an outbreak.

This education is sorely needed, as one woman testifying against the bill unintentionally made clear, when she proudly claimed that she took both of her unvaccinated children to Disneyland during last year’s measles outbreak. Had either of her children contracted the virus during that trip, we may have seen an outbreak in Utah, since our vaccination rates are below herd immunity levels in some counties.

http://go.uen.org/6j4

 


 

 

Tech Integration Is The Future Of Public Education

Daily Utah Chronicle letter from DALTON EDWARDS

 

From the influence of Arne Duncan to that of Mark Zuckerberg, the future of the United States’ education system seems to be at the cusp of something huge. Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education who resigned earlier this year, managed a tenure shrouded in controversy, though also bereft of the passé principles that made the Bush era so bad at education reform. The transition from No Child Left Behind to Common Core should be seen as one with historical precedent. Yet, Common Core is by no means an end-all education system suited to 21st century technologies. To see where we might be going and where we should go, I recommend we first look to tech-integration in schools.

A Silicon Valley startup known as Altschool is, like its spiritual predecessor Montessori, working at the fringe of student freedom and ability. Having been invested with over $100 million in the last several years, AltSchool now has six schools, with two more in beginning stages, and is educating children from pre-K up to the 8th grade. AltSchool, unlike its traditional public and private counterparts, lets much of its instruction come from the curiosity and ingenuity of its students.

http://go.uen.org/6j6

 


 

 

Donald Trump Doesn’t Understand Common Core (and Neither Do His Rivals)

New York Times commentary by Kevin Carey, education policy program director at New America

 

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has not been driven by detailed policy papers. But on one issue at least, his position is clear: He hates the Common Core State Standards. They are, he says, a “total disaster,” and he promises to abolish them upon assuming the presidency, because education “has to be at a local level.”

This is revealing, and not just because it shows Mr. Trump’s ignorance of how American education actually works. He is promising to solve a problem that doesn’t exist by using power the president doesn’t have. His plan may also have the unintended effect of stultifying American greatness.

The president can’t end the Common Core, because the federal government didn’t create the Common Core. Governors and state boards of education developed and voluntarily adopted the standards in reading, language and math. Some states subsequently un­adopted them, as is their right. When Congress passed a new version of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act last year, it prohibited the secretary of education from requiring or even encouraging states to adopt any uniform standards, Common Core or otherwise.

Mr. Trump has another claim about education: that America’s weak educational results will be improved by returning power to local school districts. That’s a notion, widely held, that is at odds with research, common sense and the education agenda of every president, Republican and Democrat, for the past 40 years.

http://go.uen.org/6iU

 


 

 

Where Does Hillary Clinton Stand on Education Reform?

New Yorker commentary by columnist JOHN CASSIDY

 

One of the most intriguing moments in Sunday night’s Democratic debate came when CNN’s Anderson Cooper asked Hillary Clinton, “Do you think unions protect bad teachers?” In the Democratic Party, few subjects are as incendiary as education. On one side of the issue are the reformers, such as Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, who support charter schools, regular testing, and changing labor contracts to make it easier to fire underperforming teachers. On the other side are the defenders of public schools, such as Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York City, who are seeking to impose limits on the charter movement, modify testing requirements, and stand up for teachers.

http://go.uen.org/6iX

 


 

 

A New Era for the Battle Over Teacher Evaluations

The Obama administration encouraged more robust ways of assessing which educators were doing a good job. Will its legacy last?

Atlantic commentary by THOMAS TOCH, senior partner at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching

 

The Obama administration has worked hard to strengthen public-school teaching—a $400 billion-plus workforce, and perhaps the single strongest lever in schools for raising student achievement. But just after Thanksgiving, the president signed a major new education law that largely abandoned the cornerstone of his teacher agenda: pressing states and school districts to take more seriously the task of identifying who in the profession was doing a good job, and who wasn’t.

Two powerful forces at opposite ends of the political spectrum had attacked the president’s strategy—teacher unions wanting to end the new scrutiny of their members and Tea Party members targeting the Obama plan as part of a larger anti-Washington campaign. As a result, the new Every Student Succeeds Act terminates the Obama administration’s incentives for states and school districts to introduce tougher teacher-evaluation systems. And the law effectively bans the U.S. Secretary of Education from promoting teacher-performance measurements in the future.

The teacher unions have dismissed the Obama strategy as ineffective, as more hurtful than helpful to the teaching profession. But over three dozen states have embraced more meaningful teacher-measurement systems under the Obama incentives, combining features like clearer performance standards, multiple classroom observations, student-achievement results and, increasingly, student surveys. And state and local studies, teacher surveys, and other evidence reveals that many of the new systems have been much more beneficial than the union narrative would suggest.

http://go.uen.org/6io

 


 

 

Academic expectations around the country, updated for Common Core

Only three states expect their 8th graders to be on a college-ready path in both math and reading

Hechinger Report commentary by columnist Jill Barshay

 

Last summer I pointed out how wildly different academic expectations were around the country, just before the introduction of the Common Core standards. Some states set the passing marks on their annual standardized tests more than four grade levels behind those of other states. For example, back in 2013, Alabama’s passing mark on its eighth-grade reading test was roughly equivalent to what fourth graders were expected to do in New York.

The Common Core was supposed to fix this. Its backers hoped that all states would insist that their students learn enough to be prepared for college when they graduated from high school. But a recent analysis of all the new tests administered by states in 2015, after the adoption of the Common Core, shows that most states are still not expecting their students to be on a college-ready trajectory, and that academic expectations continue to differ even among the 45 states that adopted the new standards.

“What I’m showing is that states have in fact raised their standards, but they’re not as high as they should be, and they’re still varied,” said Gary Phillips, a former commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics and the author of “National Benchmarks for State Achievement Standards,” published on Feb. 22, 2016, by the American Institutes for Research, where Phillips is a vice president.

http://go.uen.org/6it

 


 

 

The Best States for Charter Schools

Wall Street Journal commentary

 

National Alliance for Public Charter Schools President and CEO Nina Rees on a new analysis ranking charter schools nationally.

http://go.uen.org/6iZ (video)

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/6j0 (NAPCS)

 

 


 

 

Let’s End Professional Development as We Know It

Education Week commentary by Jal Mehta, Harvard education professor

 

Professional development is the rare policy that researchers, policymakers, and practitioners can agree on. Researchers consistently find small or no effects of large-scale conventional PD, policymakers resent spending money on something that has no proven effects, and teachers hate being hauled in for sessions that they perceive are disrespectful and of little value. It might be the only policy I can think of that literally no one wants to defend.

The amount of money at stake here is not trivial. One estimate finds that the listed amount is $3,000 – $5,000 per teacher, and that if the costs of supervisory staff, substitute teachers, transportation, and other expenses were included it would rise to $8,000 – $12,000 per teacher per year. That’s billions and billions of dollars–that achieve no results, or even negative results, if you consider the ways that current PD poisons the relationship between teachers and their districts.

We need to end professional development as we know it. And we should do it Murder on the Orient Express style–with everyone who has been harmed getting in their licks. Let’s call today–March 7th, 2016–the day that traditional professional development finally, mercifully, died. The autopsy reveals an old geezer who was once full of promise but came to be widely despised by almost everyone he touched.

http://go.uen.org/6iq

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/6ir (National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future)

 


 

 

The Case for White History Month

The Progressive commentary by Sabrina Joy Stevens, founding member of EduColor, a collective that works to elevate the voices of people of color in the education policy dialogue

 

We have just finished the Blackest History Month ever, by multiple accounts. And thankfully, more folks of all colors are starting to wake up, developing a critical consciousness about the persistence of oppression in American society.

Still, there are still people out there who ask, “Why isn’t there a White History Month?” or “What about Men’s History Month?”

I spent a chunk of last Sunday sitting in a lefty congregation here in our nation’s capital. Outside, a banner proudly proclaimed that Black Lives Matter, and we had just heard a rousing sermon on appreciating the dignity of all work. Then a white woman explained how for Black History Month, the Sunday school kids had been learning about an opera singer who aspired to be famous. “But,” she said, her voice speeding up and climbing in pitch, “she was black, so she had a lot of obstacles to overcome.”

Does she really think about blackness as an “obstacle” to overcome? I thought. Why isn’t she talking about exactly who created those obstacles?

It reminded me of a 2015 New York Times article by Campbell Robertson, in which the author discussed the history of lynchings without ever mentioning the race of the murderers, only the murdered.

I set this thought aside. But then wall-to-wall coverage of Donald Trump, and his recent flirtation with the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacists revived a conversation my friends and I have been having for years: These people who claim to want to “take our country back,” we wonder—take it back from whom? What does it mean to make America “great again”? And for whom?

It’s not only Tea Partiers and Trump supporters, but bonafide progressives and members of the media who seem to avoid focusing on who created all the “obstacles to overcome.” It occurs to me that maybe there should be a White History Month after all.

What if, even for just a month, educators, public figures, and everyone else stopped erasing whiteness, and started talking explicitly about who, exactly, was responsible for the discrimination that the heroes of All-The-Other-People’s-History Months faced?

http://go.uen.org/6iV

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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Legislators Rethink Linking Tests And Teacher Evaluations

Legislators have pointed questions on the linkage between state tests and teacher evaluations

Hartford (CT) Courant

 

HARTFORD — Legislators had pointed questioning on Monday for opponents — including the state education commissioner — of a bill that would sever any tie between students’ performance on state standardized tests and teacher evaluations.

“Can you tell me where in the test we have statistically valid measures that measure instructional quality?” Sen. Gayle Slossberg, D-Milford, asked Education Commissioner Dianna Wentzell during a public hearing before the legislature’s education committee.

Wentzell said there are times when a teacher appears to be doing very well in a classroom, but it isn’t until test results are examined that it is clear that students aren’t learning enough.

“Student achievement results have always been a powerful part of figuring out whether instruction is effective,” Wentzell told Slossberg, co-chairwoman of the education committee.

“But we certainly do have lots of ways we measure achievement,” Slossberg replied and added that she is concerned that “we are holding our teachers responsible for a lot of things that are out of their control at a time when our most important job is to help support teachers and empower them and encourage them.”

http://go.uen.org/6ip

 


 

 

A principal met a student she expelled, and it changed her approach to discipline

Washington Post

 

Nancy Hanks was standing in an elevator, her eyes fixed on her cell phone, when the doors opened onto a familiar face. It was one of her former students, a boy she had expelled from the school she led in one of Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods.

She was flooded with fear. What had become of the student’s life? Had her decision helped set him on a path toward failure?

She also was flooded with regret. Why had she kicked him out of school? She could have chosen a different path, and a more courageous one, she said, recalling the encounter in a speech last month in Washington at the 25th anniversary summit for Teach for America.

She urged the other TFA alumni to examine their own contributions to the so-called school-to-prison pipeline, which disproportionately affects students of color and students with disabilities.

Hanks, now a top administrator for the school system in Madison, Wisconsin, addressed more than a thousand people in a huge convention-center hall — a place no one would consider intimate.

But the crowd hushed as she spoke, and soon, some teachers in the crowd were wiping away tears.

http://go.uen.org/6iN

 


 

 

Harvard University Has A Bold Plan To Transform K-12 Education

The school is working with six cities to reinvent their education systems.

Huffington Post

 

In order to fix schools, policymakers and administrators should maybe stop focusing entirely on them.

That’s the premise of a new, multiyear initiative from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, which is working with six cities to help improve their education systems. The project, “By All Means: Redesigning Education to Restore Opportunity,” will look at a host of community factors affecting children’s lives instead of solely concentrating on what’s going on inside the classroom.

Individual donations and foundations are supporting By All Means, which represents a departure from common education reform techniques that typically focus on improving teacher quality and other in-school factors.

“Schools alone, as currently constituted and as currently conceived, are an insufficient intervention to bring about the goal we’re trying to achieve,” said Paul Reville, founding director of HGSE’s Education Redesign Lab, which is operating the project. “Schools alone can’t do the job. If we’re going to get all kids ready for success, it’s going to take a broader community effort.”

By All Means, which launched in February, will create a “children’s cabinet” composed of school superintendents, community leaders and government representatives in six cities. Each group will work to achieve a specific childhood development goal with the help of a consultant sent by Harvard.

http://go.uen.org/6iW

 


 

 

Students running small-town market know business

NewsHour

 

As a sparsely populated Nebraska town in an equally sparsely populated county, Cody is not where one might expect to find a thriving retail business. But the Circle C Market has been making a (small) profit there for the last three years. Its secret? It’s run by students from a nearby school, who work at the store as part of their curriculum.

http://go.uen.org/6iT

 


 

 

Florida Passes Bill to Deal with Legacy of Notorious School

Associated Press

 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida is offering to pay to rebury students whose remains were once interred on the grounds of a now shuttered reform school.

The Florida Legislature on Tuesday approved the bill, which is a measure to help the state deal with the notorious legacy of the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys. The school was in Marianna, 60 miles west of Tallahassee. It was shuttered in 2011, and some former students have accused school officials of physical and sexual abuse.

Officials investigating the allegations exhumed dozens of bodies from the campus.

The bill would provide up to $7,500 for funeral and burial expenses for each exhumed body. It also would require officials to preserve records, artifacts and remains found on the school site.

http://go.uen.org/6iS

 


 

 

Kids who skip lunch are missing out on essential nutrients

Reuters

 

Children who skip lunch may not be getting enough vitamins and minerals from the rest of their meals and snacks, a study suggests.

Researchers examined nutrition information for almost 4,800 school-age kids and found that about 7 to 20 percent skipped lunch at least once a week.

“Overall, the lunch meal is very important for helping children meet their nutrient needs, especially for fat-soluble vitamins A and D, minerals like calcium, phosphorus and magnesium that are important for healthy bones, and dietary fiber,” study coauthor Alison Eldridge of the Nestle Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, told Reuters Health in an email.

http://go.uen.org/6iP

 

A copy of the study

http://go.uen.org/6iQ (Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)

 


 

 

Danish 16-year old girl charged with planning to bomb schools

Reuters

 

COPENHAGEN – A 16-year-old Danish girl has been charged with planning a “terrorist” attack on two schools, one of them Jewish, after acquiring chemicals for bombs, police said on Tuesday.

A police press release said the girl’s 24-year-old friend, who local media have said was a former fighter in Syria, had also been charged with complicity in preparing the bombs.

Danish broadcaster TV2 said the girl had recently converted to Islam. She was arrested on Jan. 13 and her friend the following day, accused of, among other things, having provided the girl with manuals for bombs.

Both have pleaded not guilty. They have not been named by the authorities or media, according to Danish practice.

http://go.uen.org/6iR

 


 

 

Some schools have bake sales. This West Hollywood fundraiser got Beyoncé.

Los Angeles Times

 

If you’ve spearheaded a bake sale or donated a little money to your school lately, be prepared to feel inadequate.

Superstar Beyoncé performed at the 75th anniversary gala for the Center for Early Education, the private West Hollywood school that her 4-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy, may or may not attend. The gala raised money for financial aid at the school.

Reveta Bowers, the head of school, would not say whether Blue Ivy attends the center, or how much money the gala raised. Ticket prices varied based on a family’s ability to pay, Bowers said, though she declined to provide specifics.

“One of the main goals of the fundraising that evening was to raise money for financial aid,” Bowers said.

About 1 in 5 students at the school — 21% — receives financial aid or tuition remission, according to the school’s website.

The gala, which was held at the Shrine Expo Hall near USC, paid tribute to Bowers, who is retiring at the end of the school year after 44 years as a teacher and administrator, she said.

http://go.uen.org/6iY

 

 

 

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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

 

 

March 8:

Senate Education Committee meeting

7:45 a.m., 210 Senate Building

http://le.utah.gov/~2016/agenda/SEDU0308.ag.htm

 

House Education Committee meeting

10 a.m., 30 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/~2016/agenda/HEDU0308.ag.htm

 

Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee meeting

5 p.m., 250 Senate Building

http://le.utah.gov/~2016/agenda/SREV0308.ag.htm

 

Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee meeting

5:14 p.m., 415 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/~2016/agenda/SGOP0308.ag.htm

 

House Government Operations Committee meeting

7 p.m., 30 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/~2016/agenda/HGOC0308.ag.htm

 

House Political Subdivisions Committee meeting

7 p.m., 450 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/~2016/agenda/HPOL0308.ag.htm

 

House Revenue and Taxation Committee meeting

7 p.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/~2016/agenda/HREV0308.ag.htm

 

 

March 9:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

4:10 p.m., 210 Senate Building

http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2016/html/00001810.htm

 

 

March 10:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

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

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

 

Utah State Board of Education legislative meeting

Noon, 210 Senate Building

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

 

 

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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