Education News Roundup: March 9, 2016

Utah public education students at the Capitol/Education News Roundup.

Utah public education students at the Capitol/Education News Roundup.

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

Legislature approves a 3 percent increase in Utah public school funding.

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

and http://go.uen.org/6jc (DN)

and http://go.uen.org/6jP (KTVX)

 

And today’s ed bill news roundup:

SB125, early childhood education, http://go.uen.org/6jf (SLT)

HB201, unlinking SAGE results and teacher evaluations, http://go.uen.org/6jg (DN) and http://go.uen.org/6jO (KTVX)

HB460, school resource officer training, http://go.uen.org/6jL (KUTV) and http://go.uen.org/6jU (KUER)

SB43, gun safety in schools, http://go.uen.org/6jy (DN) and http://go.uen.org/6jQ (KSL)

SB45, compulsory education, http://go.uen.org/6jJ (SGN) and http://go.uen.org/6jR (KSL)

 

Park City District gives notice on a tax increase that may — or may not — happen.

http://go.uen.org/6kd (PR)

 

In tech news, Weld North has bought Performance Matters and will merge it with Sandy-based Truenorthlogic. For tech newbies, this is about combining into one platform student assessment and teacher performance data.

http://go.uen.org/6kb (Ed Week)

and http://go.uen.org/6kc (Mergers & Acquisitions)

 

Arizona may be looking to offer districts and charters a choice of year-end assessment.

http://go.uen.org/6ji (AZ Republic)

 

Senate committee OKs President Obama’s nominee for Education Secretary. Next stop: The full Senate.

http://go.uen.org/6jX (WaPo)

and http://go.uen.org/6k2 (AP)

 

Here’s your essay question for the day: Whither the SAT?

http://go.uen.org/6k5 (NewsHour)

 

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Utah lawmakers adopt public education budget with 3 percent bump in per-student funding

 

Lawmakers turn down funding for after-school programs, early kindergarten

 

Bill to remove SAGE from evaluations would give more power to Utah teachers

 

Bill says the role of school police officers should be clearly defined

 

Lawmakers advance gun safety proposal for Utah students

 

Legislature considers if parents ought face fine, criminal charges, jail time when child misses too much school

 

Treasurer David Damschen Commends Legislature’s Passage of Plan to Put More Money into Utah Schools at No Cost to Taxpayers

 

Johnson wants to see more localization in education

 

Park City School District tax notice to county not what it may seem

Move, which does not necessarily mean the district will raise taxes, was in response to bills in the Legislature

 

New North Elementary Improvement Plan presented

 

Principal: Sky View choir’s presence at Utah Capitol rally ‘right place, wrong time’

 

Weld North Acquires Performance Matters, Merging It With Truenorthlogic

Move Combines Student Assessment, Teacher Performance Data in One Platform

 

Inside the Story: Teens jump-start Herriman’s Chamber of Commerce

 

Utah school bus driver found drunk with students on board, police say

Crime » Four students were on board while she “was impaired,” police say.

 

Student chefs face off in cooking competition

 

Utah Valley Educator of the Week: Tawnicia Stocking

 

Utah Valley Students of the Week: Sara and Ella Thompson

 


 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Parents who don’t vaccinate need the knowledge HB221 would provide

 

Time for a teacher (me) to sit in the Oval Office

 

With ESSA, States Should Partner With Districts

 

3 Things Parents Should Know About Obama’s New Education Boss

What does John B. King Jr.’s confirmation as secretary of education mean for students?

 

A Constitutional Right to Pre-K?

 

New school lunch standards are working. So why does Congress want to knock them down?

The school cafeteria has long been a political battleground.

 

The Presidential Campaign and Its Lessons on Bullying

What politics—and my daughter—are teaching me about schoolyard harassment

 

Why Conservatives Increasingly Care Where You Pee

There’s alarming overlap between states where bathroom access is being debated and those with contested Congressional seats

 

50-state Review

Constitutional obligations for public education

 

Teacher Career Advancement Initiatives

Lessons Learned from Eight Case Studies

 

61 Million Immigrants and Their Young Children Now Live in the United States

Three-fourths are legal immigrants and their children

 


 

 

NATION

 

Legislation to let schools use tests other than AzMERIT passes

If Gov. Doug Ducey signs the bills, Arizona will become the first state to offer options to standardized testing.

 

Governor signs bill to cut back on standardized tests

 

Governor to decide on state-subsidized scholarships

 

Group pushes voter repeal of ‘sinister’ Common Core

 

Congress Weighs Federal Footprint as ESSA Rolls Out

 

Acting Ed. Secretary Pushes Perkins Act Renewal, Unveils New Tech Challenge

 

As the SAT evolves, so do opinions on its value

 

A new nonprofit takes aim at ed tech pricing. First target: The iPad

New organization invites districts to join

 

Schools more wary of shady computer bomb threats

 

Baltimore school police officers charged with assault, misconduct in incident on video

 

In Charters, Using Weighted Lotteries for Diversity Hits Barriers

 

New study contends voucher students less likely to commit crimes

 

School That Honors Virginia Segregationist Could Be Renamed

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Utah lawmakers adopt public education budget with 3 percent bump in per-student funding

 

In what has become an annual tradition for the last week of the legislative session, Utah lawmakers rejected a last-ditch effort by Democrats to boost per-student spending before adopting a new education budget on Tuesday.

The approved budget includes $90 million to address enrollment growth, and a 3 percent increase, roughly $80 million, in the weighted pupil unit — unrestricted funds that are distributed statewide on a per-student basis.

Other budget items include $20 million for charter schools and a $15 million grant program for classroom technology.

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said Tuesday he was pleased with the budget and applauds the Legislature for its focus on education.

“Approximately 70 percent of all the new money that we have in the budget is going to education,” Herbert said. “So again, I think we are prioritizing correctly.”

Herbert’s proposed budget called for $422 million in new money for education.

While some final appropriations have yet to be made, he said the bills approved Tuesday would top his recommendation by roughly $10 million.

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

 

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

 

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

 


 

 

Lawmakers turn down funding for after-school programs, early kindergarten

 

SALT LAKE CITY — A proposal to expand after-school programs to offer extra academic help and supervision for students at risk of academic shortfall likely won’t be funded by the Utah Legislature this year.

But Sen. Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, said she hopes setting a high bar for what after-school programs should look like is a good start to giving more students a safe place to learn after regular class is out.

Members of the House Education Committee on Tuesday advanced SB125, which would direct the Utah State Board of Education to establish standards for after-school programs that use state and federal dollars. The intent is to ensure that they provide “a safe, healthy and nurturing environment,” which many students don’t enjoy when they’re left unattended after school, Escamilla said.

Those programs also give students who are behind in their coursework more one-on-one time with an instructor to help them catch up with their peers, she said.

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

 


 

 

Bill to remove SAGE from evaluations would give more power to Utah teachers

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Some teachers could have more say in how they are evaluated if a proposal to take SAGE out of the evaluation process passes the Utah Legislature this week.

That proposal was advanced in a unanimous vote Tuesday morning by the Senate Education Committee, sending HB201 to the Senate floor for a final vote.

The bill is one of several that arose this year to address concerns with SAGE, Utah’s year-end assessment for students. Rep. Marie Poulson, D-Cottonwood Heights, said many teacher constituents have expressed frustration that the test is used in their evaluation when many factors that impact test results are out of their control.

Some of those factors include student truancy, language barriers, parents who opt their children out of the test, or students who don’t give the test an honest effort because it doesn’t count on their grade, Poulson said.

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

 

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

 


 

 

Bill says the role of school police officers should be clearly defined

 

A bill sponsored by State Representative Sandra Hollins of Salt Lake City seeks to clearly define the role of school resource officers in Utah. On Thursday, the bill was unanimously approved by a house committee.

Hollins said when a crime has occurred in school, resource officers should definitely get involved. When other disruptive behavior occurs, it should be the role of administrators and parents to determine discipline. Hollins said a recent University of Utah Study showed that too often, children in Utah schools are referred to law enforcement for behavioral problems, arrested, then put through the criminal justice system.

“That means that we have students on track to go into the prison system because of their behaviors at school,” said Hollins.

House Bill 460 would require local school boards to work with local police agencies that provide school resource officers to draw up contracts that clearly define their roles. The bill asks that the contracts be created in the spirit of not criminalizing students and placing value on the officers as mentors and role models for students.

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

 

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

 


 

 

Lawmakers advance gun safety proposal for Utah students

 

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah parents may have the option of opting their children into a gun safety course next year through their child’s school.

That’s the intent of SB43, which passed the Senate last month and was given an early endorsement from the House on Tuesday.

The bill provides $75,000 to create a pilot program to teach students what to do if they encounter a firearm, what to do if a they learn of a threat against a school, and how to respond in other scenarios. The money could be used to provide live instruction or to develop a video that could be shared publicly.

Firearms would not be used in the instruction.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/6jQ (KSL)

 


 

 

Legislature considers if parents ought face fine, criminal charges, jail time when child misses too much school

 

  1. GEORGE — Utah legislators are considering whether parents should face a fine, criminal charges and jail time if their children are excessively absent from school without a valid excuse.

The bill introduced to the Senate proposes Compulsory Education Revisions to Utah law. The bill would eliminate the criminal penalty for a parent of a truant school-age child and the ability of schools to direct parents to meet with them over their child’s attendance problems.

The bill, 2016 SB 45, passed the Senate as introduced Feb. 17 in a 22-5 vote with two senators not voting and has just two days to pass the House before the Utah Legislature adjourns. The House Standing Committee has presented a substitute draft of the bill for consideration by the House and subsequent approval, as amended, by the Senate.

The amendment would allow parents whose children are repeatedly absent from school to be charged with a class C misdemeanor, which carries jail time, as a maximum penalty.

http://go.uen.org/6jJ (SGN)

 

http://go.uen.org/6jR (KSL)

 


 

 

Treasurer David Damschen Commends Legislature’s Passage of Plan to Put More Money into Utah Schools at No Cost to Taxpayers

 

Utah State Treasurer David Damschen commended the Utah legislature for passing SJR 12, an important amendment to the state’s constitution that if approved by voters at the next general election – will increase and stabilize distributions from the permanent State School Fund through the School LAND Trust program.

Most educational endowment funds distribute between 4 and 5 percent annually, which is considered a fair amount to both grow the funds and provide appropriate distributions to current beneficiaries. The rate of distribution from Utah’s permanent State School Fund averaged 2.5 percent over the last ten years.  SJR 12 caps distributions at 4 percent.

“The fund has grown to approximately $2 billion in market value and this plan ensures distributions better meet the current needs of Utah’s school children – while continuing to grow the fund for future generations,” said Treasurer Damschen.  “I thank the legislature for doing their part in helping us bring more money into Utah schools at no cost to the Utah taxpayer.”

Treasurer Damschen joined bill sponsors Senator Ann Millner, Representative Melvin R. Brown, the Utah State Board of Education, the board of trustees of the School and Institutional Trust Land Administration and the School and Institutional Trust Fund board of trustees in public support of SJR 12 and its companion bill, SB 109.  SB109 details the formula that will be used for the distributions.

http://go.uen.org/6k9 (UP)

 


 

 

Johnson wants to see more localization in education

 

A Republican candidate for Utah governor was in Logan Monday and while here Jonathan Johnson told local residents why he is challenging fellow Republican Governor Gary Herbert, who is seeking a third term this fall.

Johnson, who is Overstock.com chairman and business-builder, said he feels that Utah is a great place to live and it has a good education system but he feels that system could be made better.

On KVNU’s For the People program Monday, Johnson said there is no silver bullet for improving education.

“I think that there are principals, like localizing it more, pushing more decisions closer to the parents and the children,” said Johnson. “And then, trying to personalize education.

“If your kids are like mine, they may have the same nature and the same nurture but they all learn differently. I’ve got five children, five sons, and they just all learn things differently. We’ve had to, within the public school system, try to tailor their education. I think we can do that better.”

http://go.uen.org/6jI (CVD)

 


 

 

Park City School District tax notice to county not what it may seem

Move, which does not necessarily mean the district will raise taxes, was in response to bills in the Legislature

 

The Park City Board of Education voted last week to give notice to the county courthouse that it may call for a Truth in Taxation hearing later this year, a required step prior to raising property taxes. But, school leaders say, residents should not take it as a signal that the Board has decided to increase taxes.

The vote was in response to S.B 38 and H.B. 193, identical bills under consideration in the Utah Legislature that seek to change the way the state collects funding for charter schools. The bills would impose a new local property tax to fund charter schools, replacing the current system that forces school districts to give a portion of their tax levies to the state for charters.

Todd Hauber, business administrator for the Park City School District, said the bills are not designed to bring in new revenue, so residents would pay the same amount of taxes as they do in the current system. Likewise, school districts, which would reduce their local levies, would reap the same tax revenue.

“It’s just changing who’s imposing the tax and how it is directed to charter schools,” he said. “It’s kind of neutral. It creates an opportunity for transparency for charter schools and for taxpayers to see how much of their tax dollar is supporting charter schools statewide.”

But the Board’s vote to inform Summit County that it may eventually hold a Truth in Taxation hearing stems from a clause in the bills that would bar a school board from raising its local tax levy in 2016 unless it had given public notice by March 4.

http://go.uen.org/6kd (PR)

 


 

 

New North Elementary Improvement Plan presented

 

CEDAR CITY – North Elementary Principal Ray Whittier recently addressed the Iron County School District Board to update its members on the North Elementary School Improvement Plan.

The extensive plan focuses more on building the students rather than the building itself and consists of several objectives aimed to “create a school culture and climate that is focused on student learning and inclusive for all students, families, and school staff,” Whittier said.

http://go.uen.org/6ke (Iron County Today)

 


 

 

Principal: Sky View choir’s presence at Utah Capitol rally ‘right place, wrong time’

 

SMITHFIELD — What was meant to be an educational service tour for 30 Sky View High School choir students was misinterpreted as participation in a political rally at the Utah Capitol on Saturday, March 5, according to the school’s principal.

Principal David Swenson said he began receiving complaints via email Sunday with senders questioning why dozens of the school’s choir students were at a rally for politically outspoken rancher Cliven Bundy and Oregon wildlife refuge occupation leader LaVoy Finicum, who was shot dead as FBI agents attempted to arrest him and other occupation leaders Jan. 26 in eastern Oregon.

Swenson said none of the complaints he received were from Sky View or Cache County School District parents.

“We’re neutral. We do not endorse anything political or anything controversial,” Swenson said. “School- and district-wide we don’t endorse anything religious or political agendas that are out there.”

http://go.uen.org/6jh (LHJ)

 


 

 

Weld North Acquires Performance Matters, Merging It With Truenorthlogic

Move Combines Student Assessment, Teacher Performance Data in One Platform

 

The investment company Weld North Holdings LLC today announced its acquisition of Performance Matters, a student assessment and data analytics company that it will merge with Truenorthlogic, a K-12 ed-tech business focused on continuous educator improvement.

The move will give Truenorthlogic, which provides data on teachers’ performance and tracks their professional development, the ability to take student assessment results and combine them with educator performance data on one platform, using an analytics engine to surface information and trends.

“The platform combines teacher and student data so principals can manage schools better,” said Jonathan Grayer, Weld North’s chairman and CEO, in a a phone interview. Previously, Grayer was CEO of Kaplan, the education company that grew into a $2 billion business over his 14-year tenure.

While terms of the agreement were not disclosed, the combined acquisition and merger will result in doubling the size of Truenorthlogic’s revenues and staff, according to Grayer. The company’s 2015 revenues have not been made public, but its 2014 revenues of $11.9 million were reported to Inc. magazine, which ranked Truenorthlogic 2,345th on its Inc. 5000 list last year. The Sandy, Utah-based business has appeared on the list of the fastest-growing private companies for the past eight years,

http://go.uen.org/6kb (Ed Week)

 

http://go.uen.org/6kc (Mergers & Acquisitions)

 


 

 

Inside the Story: Teens jump-start Herriman’s Chamber of Commerce

 

What teenager out there would be interested in working an extra 20 hours a week on a city government project and not get paid?

There are three of them at Herriman High School.

They are the brains behind the beginnings of the new Herriman City Chamber of Commerce.

They are meeting with city leaders to organize the city’s first Chamber of Commerce.

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

 


 

 

Utah school bus driver found drunk with students on board, police say

Crime » Four students were on board while she “was impaired,” police say.

 

Saratoga Springs police have arrested a school bus driver for allegedly driving drunk with special-needs children on board.

Police received a call about 4 p.m. Tuesday about the Alpine School District driver, whom officers found parked on the side of the road near Pony Express Parkway and Redwood Road, said city spokesman Owen Jackson.

There were four elementary schoolchildren on the bus, added Kimberly Bird, assistant to the superintendent.

Officers “observed the driver was impaired [and] smelled of alcohol,” Jackson said.

The 52-year-old driver was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence. She has been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation, Bird said.

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

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/6jC (PDH)

 

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

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/6jS (KSL)

 

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

 


 

 

Student chefs face off in cooking competition

 

Students from Westlake High School prepare dishes during the Utah ProStart state finals in Sandy on Tuesday. The students were required to prepare a three-course meal in teams of two, three or four. They were judged on their knife skills, plating and food safety, as well as other factors. ProStart, which helps prepare high school juniors and seniors for the culinary and hospitality management industries, was founded by the Utah Restaurant Association.

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

 


 

 

Utah Valley Educator of the Week: Tawnicia Stocking

 

Tawnicia Stocking is a sixth grade teacher at Wasatch Elementary School. She was chosen as the Daily Herald’s Utah Valley Educator of the Week.

http://go.uen.org/6jD (PDH)

 


 

 

Utah Valley Students of the Week: Sara and Ella Thompson

 

Twin sisters Sara and Ella Thompson are third grade students at Canyon Crest Elementary School. They were chosen as the Daily Herald’s Utah Valley Students of the Week.

http://go.uen.org/6jE (PDH)

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Parents who don’t vaccinate need the knowledge HB221 would provide

Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by William E. Cosgrove, president of the Utah Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics

 

The Utah Legislature is debating a bill from Rep. Carol Spackman-Moss (House Bill 221) that seeks to provide education to the parents of Utah’s un-immunized children. There are more than 87,000 Utah kids who are not protected by vaccines and who remain vulnerable to dangerous diseases. The parents of these kids will need to know how to protect them when outbreaks occur.

While HB 221 does not require vaccines and seeks only to provide the needed protective information to parents, the swirling discussions have identified some fear and confusion about how vaccines actually accomplish protecting our children.

First, vaccines are not magic, just well-focused science and technology. Second, various microbes (bacteria, viruses, etc.) are still a real danger to humans, particularly to children. For all of recorded history, humans have been at war with various microbes. Germs have killed and maimed more humans than all of our wars. In the American Civil War, a third of the soldiers killed were killed by guns, swords or cannons. Two out of three died from infections.

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

 

 


 

 

Time for a teacher (me) to sit in the Oval Office

(Logan) Herald Journal commentary by columnist Chad Hawkes

 

After watching some of the presidential “debates” on TV recently and getting sick to my stomach amidst breaking out in hives, I’ve finally decided that enough is enough and I need to step up as a citizen and do something! Therefore, as of this morning, I’m announcing my candidacy for the president of the United States. I mean, why not? I meet ALL the requirements for becoming president:

  1. I’m at least 35 yrs of age.
  2. I was born in the United States (Texas) and am a U.S citizen.
  3. I have lived in the U.S. for more than 14 years and …
  4. I know NOTHING about politics and am a lousy golfer.

All I need to do now is to garnish the votes of all 13 of my Facebook followers and win the nomination of my neighborhood cul de sac (no small feat as there are four of them)

I believe it’s high time there was a teacher (m) in the Oval Office. Just think of all the advantages there would be in such a move!

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

 


 

 

With ESSA, States Should Partner With Districts

Education Week op-ed by Michael V. McGill, visiting clinical professor of leadership at the Fordham Graduate School of Education in New York City

 

In theory, the Every Student Succeeds Act is a lot better than what it replaces. Whether this new federal education law heralds “a new era of innovation and excellence,” as U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., has said, is another matter.

By moving responsibility for education back to the state level, the law eases the way for policies that will lead to real progress. But, as history shows, just shifting authority from one level of government to another is no guarantee that teaching or learning will improve.

In the 1980s, schools were struggling with the challenges of inequality and student diversity. States stepped in with so-called “corporate” reforms: accountability, metrics, and competition. Policymakers looked for replicable—or “scalable”—programs and teaching methods that would raise test scores.

The overhaul of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that Congress passed in 2001, also known as No Child Left Behind, was essentially a federalized version of state laws from Florida and Texas. As with the state laws, NCLB assumed that reform was something smarter higher-ups should impose on feckless subordinates. Race to the Top, the Obama administration’s 2009 education initiative, perpetuated its approach.

The result: an overemphasis on uniform practices in many schools and even less progress on the National Assessment of Educational Progress than during the pre-NCLB era.

Top-down reform doesn’t work, regardless of who is at the top. Instead, it has reflected a disconnect between policymakers and practitioners and failed to solve underlying problems like the wide variation in teacher quality. Too often, it has gotten in the way of schools’ educating children well.

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

 


 

 

3 Things Parents Should Know About Obama’s New Education Boss

What does John B. King Jr.’s confirmation as secretary of education mean for students?

Mother Jones commentary by columnist Kristina Rizga

 

The Senate Education Committee confirmed John B. King Jr. as the US secretary of education on Wednesday morning. Until now, King was the acting secretary appointed by President Barack Obama in the wake of Arne Duncan’s resignation in October last year. King steps into the nation’s highest education policy post at a crucial time, when the states are working to implement the new Every Student Succeeds Act passed last December and will depend on King’s guidance.

Here are three things you need to know about the new chief of American schools:

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

 


 

 

A Constitutional Right to Pre-K?

Education Week commentary by James E. Ryan, dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education

 

As enrollment in publicly funded pre-K continues to rise in many states, it might be time to dust off a law review article I wrote about a decade ago, which argued that children have a constitutional right to pre-K education.  If you missed the article when it came out, no worries–you were surely not alone, as most law review articles are not widely read, and this article was not an exception.

The basic argument is straightforward.  All state constitutions guarantee a right to a public education, and most emphasize that public education should be free.  These rights have been enforced and explicated by courts, mostly in the context of school finance litigation.  A number of courts, for example, have read their state constitutions to guarantee a right to an adequate education or a right to equal educational opportunities.

Very few state constitutions specify, either by age or grade, what constitutes a “public education” or, more precisely, when it begins.  The key question, of course, is whether pre-K is or should be included within the definition of public education.  If it is considered part and parcel of a public education, four-year olds (and perhaps three-year olds) would presumably have a right to attend–and their case would be stronger in states whose courts have recognized a right to an adequate or equal education.

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

 


 

 

New school lunch standards are working. So why does Congress want to knock them down?

The school cafeteria has long been a political battleground.

Washington Post op-ed by Steven Czinn, chair of the department of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine

 

Five years ago, Congress passed legislation that transformed how the nation’s public schools feed students. The Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act required these schools to serve more fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and less sugar, fat and salt.

The new standards are among the most important efforts to improve children’s health in the past two decades. Since 1980, obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents. Nearly a third of children and adolescents are either obese or overweight. In some states, the combined rate is close to 40 percent; among African American and Latino children, these rates are particularly high. And millions more children consume more sugar and empty calories than is healthy.

As a pediatric gastroenterologist, I see firsthand every day the consequences of childhood obesity, so I was happy to see the law passed, and even more pleased that it’s working: A study published last year by researchers at Harvard, Columbia and George Washington University estimated that the updated meal standards could prevent more than 1.8 million cases of childhood obesity.

But Congress has not been as enthusiastic. Last month, the Senate Agriculture Committee approved a bill, sponsored by Sens. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), that would allow schools to include fewer whole grains and extend by two years when schools must reduce levels of salt.

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

 


 

 

The Presidential Campaign and Its Lessons on Bullying

What politics—and my daughter—are teaching me about schoolyard harassment

Atlantic commentary by CYNTHIA LEONOR GARZA, a writer and former teacher based in Washington D.C.

 

A few weeks ago, my first-grader told me another girl in her class called her the b-word during lunch. Not that b-word, although in my daughter’s six-year-old universe, this b-word probably stung even more. The girl had called my daughter a “butt-head.” I asked why someone she insisted just a few months ago was her BFF, or one among several, would call her that. “She doesn’t like me, I guess,” she said. “She always looks at me in a mean way.”

The mama bear inside me felt the instinctive urge to fight back. I can top “butt-head” as an insult a million lowbrow ways over—trust me. But I didn’t, at least not out loud, because as a parent that sort of behavior goes against everything I’m trying to instill in my daughter: to treat others with kindness and respect, to have manners, to be decent and to act responsibly. She’s watching everything we grown-ups do.

I want her to fight her own battles, to stand up for herself by using well-chosen words and not her fists, and to bite her tongue for the sake of civility. It means no name-calling, taunting, or belittling—or, essentially, none of the ad hominem attacks that have become the story of the current race to the White House.

Before this election, I thought I had this whole schoolyard taunting-and-teasing thing figured out. I thought that taking the high road was sound advice. After all, that’s what the experts on bullying recommend. The race for the presidency is one of the last places I ever thought I’d learn a lesson about bullying.

My daughter gives me a simple definition of what bullying is: “Being mean to someone or everyone all of the time.” It’s one of those beyond-academics safety lessons she’s learned at school, like knowing what to do in a lockdown drill and telling me what foods I have to avoid sending to school because of other children’s food allergies. This is the new normal for kids.

http://go.uen.org/6k8

 


 

 

Why Conservatives Increasingly Care Where You Pee

There’s alarming overlap between states where bathroom access is being debated and those with contested Congressional seats

Rolling Stone commentary by columnist S.E. SMITH

 

South Dakotans narrowly missed the detonation of a precedent-setting bomb on Super Tuesday when Gov. Dennis Daugaard vetoed a bill that would have been devastating for the transgender community. HB 1008, which was designed to “restrict access to certain restrooms and locker rooms in public schools,” would have required that students use bathrooms and locker rooms that match their “biological sex.” It’s just one of a number of so-called bathroom bills that target the trans community by forcing people into unsafe spaces that don’t align with their gender — a form of political dogwhistle that relies on fear of the trans community to whip up sentiments among conservatives.

With trans visibility growing year by year, so too are bathroom bills. Republicans aiming to capture or retain Congressional seats in this year’s election are particularly focused on promoting such bills in their home states. These lawmakers, known for campaigning on “values” platforms, are appealing to a deeply conservative base, and they’re set to do real damage to the trans community. (It should be noted that Gov. Daugaard didn’t veto the South Dakota bill out of concern for transgender rights — he was worried the bill might expose the state to litigation.)

Though it’s only March, South Dakota isn’t the only state peeking into children’s pants. An Illinois legislator just introduced a similar bill, another hit the Virginia House in January, and Oklahoma has joined the parade as well. After Washington’s Human Rights Commission determined that transgender people should be allowed to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender, the state Senate narrowly defeated a bill that attempted to repeal the ruling.

This continues a trend we saw last year, when Nevada, Minnesota, Kentucky, Wyoming, Florida, Missouri, Wisconsin, Colorado and Indiana all considered bathroom bills; thankfully, they all failed to pass, but some — if not all — of those states will likely reintroduce their bills in 2016. And prior to 2015, trendsetters Arizona and Utah also weighed bathroom bills.

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

 


 

 

50-state Review

Constitutional obligations for public education

Education Commission of the States analysis

 

Within the constitution of each of the 50 states, there is language that mandates the creation of a public education system. The authority for public education falls to states because of a 1973 Supreme Court case which determined that the federal government has no responsibility to provide systems of public education. These constitutional education provisions vary from state to state, with some states specifically laying out the

foundation of their education system while others leave the details to the legislature.

Because some state constitutions date back centuries, constitutions can contain outdated language, which can decrease the relevance of the constitution to current-day policy issues. State constitutions vary on whether they include language about public school funding, religious restrictions, the education of disabled students, the age of students, the duration of the school year and the establishment of state higher education systems.

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

 


 

 

Teacher Career Advancement Initiatives

Lessons Learned from Eight Case Studies

National Network of State Teachers of the Year and Pearson analysis

 

The purpose of this report is to describe what we learned from studying eight teacher career advancement initiatives implemented across a variety of contexts, including urban, suburban, and rural districts; high poverty and affluent districts; and in schools/districts both with and without strong union presence. We describe key principles for developing successful, sustainable teacher career advancement initiatives. This report is the product of a three-year study conducted by the Center for Educator Learning and Effectiveness at Pearson and the National Network of State Teachers of the Year (NNSTOY) in partnership with the National Education Association and Public Impact and with assistance from the American Federation of Teachers. It represents the second phase of our research into how the teaching profession needs to evolve to meet 21st century career expectations for a new generation of teachers and learners. This report provides our findings from case studies of schools and districts with established career advancement initiatives as well as several in the early stages of implementation. Our goal is to identify, based on our research, the components of a successful, sustainable teacher career continuum that has a positive impact on teacher recruitment, teacher retention, teacher job satisfaction, and student achievement. Our recommendations reflect the importance of intentional and systematic policies and strategies in order to create sustainable and long-term solutions that address the career aspirations of a new generation of teachers who want to be leaders from the classroom.

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

 


 

 

61 Million Immigrants and Their Young Children Now Live in the United States

Three-fourths are legal immigrants and their children

Center for Immigration Studies analysis

 

A new analysis of government data from December 2015 indicates that more than 61 million immigrants and their American-born children under age 18 now live in the United States; roughly three-fourths (45.3 million) are legal immigrants and their children. While the national debate has focused on illegal immigration, the enormous impact of immigration is largely the result of those brought in legally. These numbers raise profound questions that are seldom asked: What number of immigrants can be assimilated? What is the absorption capacity of our nation’s schools, health care system, infrastructure, and, perhaps most importantly, its labor market? What is the impact on the environment and quality of life from significantly increasing the nation’s population size and density? With some 45 million legal immigrants and their young children already here, should we continue to admit a million new legal permanent immigrants every year?

Among the findings of this analysis:

* In December 2015 there were 61 million immigrants (legal and illegal) and U.S.-born children under age 18 with at least one immigrant parent living in the United States.

* Immigrants allowed into the country legally and their children account for three-fourths (45.3 million) of all immigrants and their children.

* Almost one in five U.S. residents is now an immigrant or minor child of an immigrant parent.

* The numbers represent a complete break with the recent history of the United States. As recently as 1970, there were only 13.5 million immigrants and their young children in the country, accounting for one in 15 U.S. residents.

* Just since 2000, the number of immigrants and their children has increased by 18.4 million.

* The number of immigrants and their young children grew six times faster than the nation’s total population from 1970 to 2015 — 353 percent vs. 59 percent.

http://go.uen.org/6jm (Center for Immigration Studies)

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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Legislation to let schools use tests other than AzMERIT passes

If Gov. Doug Ducey signs the bills, Arizona will become the first state to offer options to standardized testing.

(Phoenix) Arizona Republic

 

Legislation that would make Arizona the first in the nation to adopt a “menu” of standardized tests gained final approval in the Senate on Monday afternoon and now heads to Gov. Doug Ducey’s desk ready to sign.

That means schools would be able to use tests other than AzMERIT, the state’s new standardized exam, to assess their students’ proficiency of Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards so long as they meet or exceed the state’s learning standards.

The legislation was been pushed by Rep. Paul Boyer, R-Phoenix, and Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake in companion bills, House Bill 2544 and Senate Bill 1321. Each chair the education committees in the House and Senate.

The House passed the legislation Wednesday afternoon. The Senate unanimously approved its version of the bill Monday with little discussion.

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

 


 

 

Governor signs bill to cut back on standardized tests

Albuquerque (NM) Journal

 

SANTA FE – New Mexico high school freshmen and sophomores will spend less time taking standardized tests, under a bill signed into law Monday by Gov. Susana Martinez.

The new law, which will be in effect for the 2016-17 school year, will do away with a requirement that ninth- and 10th-graders in public schools and charter schools take at least three periodic assessments during each academic year in reading, English and mathematics.

However, students at those grade levels will still face the computer-based PARCC exam, or Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, an annual state-required standardized test that is administered in April or May.

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

 


 

 

Governor to decide on state-subsidized scholarships

Sioux Falls (SD) Argus Leader

 

In a legislative session dominated by discussion about increasing funding for the state’s public schools, the House of Representatives on Tuesday supported giving private and parochial schools a break.

The chamber approved a bill that would create state-subsidized scholarships for low-income non-public school students on a 45-23 vote with two lawmakers excused.

The measure now moves to Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s desk for his consideration. Senators approved the measure on a 24-11 vote last month.

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

 


 

 

Group pushes voter repeal of ‘sinister’ Common Core

Lowell (MA) Sun

 

BOSTON — Backers of a ballot question that would repeal Common Core in Massachusetts blasted the learning standards as “sinister” on Monday while opponents of the measure pushed back with the argument that the repeal effort is rooted in confusion over the standards.

An initiative campaign driven by a citizens group seeks to roll back the 2010 incorporation of the Common Core standards into the state’s curriculum frameworks and revert Massachusetts to its previous standards.

The group’s chairwoman, Worcester School Committee member Donna Colorio, told the Joint Committee on Education Monday that the newer standards represent an “educational death spiral,” reading figures showing that National Assessment of Educational Progress reading and math test scores of Massachusetts fourth- and eighth-graders dropped between 0.72 and 2.83 points since the state incorporated Common Core.

“The common theme here is that our state is doing worse, not better, since our state implemented Common Core,” Colorio said during a hearing on the legislative version of her petition (H 3929). “Common Core has not improved education for our kids. They deserve better.”

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

 


 

 

Senate committee votes to confirm John King, Obama’s nominee for education secretary

Washington Post

 

The Senate education committee voted 16 to 6 in favor of confirming John King Jr. as U.S. Education Secretary on Wednesday, cementing education as a rare area of bipartisan compromise in an otherwise deeply divided Congress.

King’s nomination now goes to the full Senate for final approval.

King, 41, has been serving as acting secretary since his predecessor Arne Duncan stepped down at the end of 2015. A former teacher, principal and charter-school founder, he led New York’s state education department from 2011 until 2014, when he joined the U.S. Education Department.

President Obama formally nominated King last month, saying at the time that “there is nobody better to continue leading our ongoing efforts to work toward preschool for all, prepare our kids so that they are ready for college and career, and make college more affordable.”

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

 

http://go.uen.org/6k2 (AP)

 


 

 

Congress Weighs Federal Footprint as ESSA Rolls Out

Education Week

 

Some of the first congressional oversight hearings about the Every Student Succeeds Act highlighted some of the divisions between lawmakers and the U.S. Department of Education over the best way to implement the new education law, especially when it comes to accountability and interventions in struggling schools.

Acting Secretary of Education John B. King Jr. told House education committee members that the new flexibility in ESSA for states and districts is an appropriate shift in power. But he also made it clear that the Education Department will still have significant responsibilities to ensure that all students, particularly special populations and traditionally disadvantaged students, are well-served by new policies and approaches.

“At times, states and districts haven’t lived up to their responsibility to serve all students well,” King told lawmakers on Feb. 25.

However, committee Chairman John Kline, R-Minn., pressed King on whether he would adhere to both the letter of the law and the law’s larger intent, which he stressed is, in many cases, to limit the Education Department’s role under ESSA to providing guidance and support for states.

“We wanted new policies that would empower parents, teachers, and state and local education leaders,” Kline said in discussing ESSA’s main principles.

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

 


 

 

Acting Ed. Secretary Pushes Perkins Act Renewal, Unveils New Tech Challenge

Education Week

 

Acting Education Secretary John B. King Jr. is urging Congress to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act, even though prospects for its revision and approval appear dim.

Last renewed in 2006, the Perkins Act funnels more than $1 billion a year into career and technical education in middle school, high school, and college. Lawmakers started the process of reviewing and reworking it several years ago, and wanted to focus in particular on building more consistency into the quality of CTE programs. But those efforts have largely stalled.

Echoing remarks he made Monday to a gathering of mayors, King plans to use an appearance in Baltimore Wednesday to draw attention to the need for Perkins Act reauthorization. His voice joins those of career-tech-ed advocates pushing Congress this week for more funding for the law.

“It’s time for Congress to reauthorize the Perkins Act so that every student, in every community has access to rigorous, relevant, and results-driven CTE programs,” King planned to say, according to remarks prepared for delivery.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/6jW (ED)

 


 

 

As the SAT evolves, so do opinions on its value

NewsHour

 

On Saturday, college hopefuls took a brand new SAT, marking the first time in over a decade the test curriculum has undergone major changes. While scores will still be submitted with many an application, there is growing skepticism of their value as predictors of college success.

http://go.uen.org/6k5

 


 

 

A new nonprofit takes aim at ed tech pricing. First target: The iPad

New organization invites districts to join

Hechinger Report

 

AUSTIN, Tex. – School districts lack information they need to get the best deals on education technology, according to leaders of a new nonprofit organization that was announced Tuesday at a large education conference here.

Harold O. Levy, executive director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation and a former New York City public schools chancellor, announced the Technology for Education Consortium, a Gates Foundation-funded nonprofit, during a panel discussion at South by Southwest.edu Tuesday. A broken education technology marketplace wastes taxpayer money and gives businesses perverse incentives, Levy said.

“In my judgment, this is an exercise in gouging,” said Levy, who is involved in the new nonprofit. “This is unacceptable, and we are here to address it.”

The new group’s leader, Hal Friedlander, has significant experience in school district technology purchasing. On Feb. 1 he left a job as chief information officer for the New York City Department of Education, the largest school district in the country.

Levy and Friedlander presented highlights from the new group’s first analysis, and took aim at the technology behemoth Apple. They said that Apple charges districts different prices for identical iPads. Describing this as “price gouging,” they argued that districts are unable to access information they need to negotiate with Apple. The full report was not released; it will be released by the end of this week to member districts, the leaders said.

Lack of price transparency makes it difficult for school districts to negotiate with vendors, Friedlander said. In the case of Apple’s iPads, for instance, the Technology for Education Consortium said it had found that prices ranged from $367 to $499 for identical devices.

“This is just wrong,” Levy said. “This is taxpayer money. And these are school kids.”

http://go.uen.org/6k7

 


 

 

Schools more wary of shady computer bomb threats

USA Today

 

Shortly after he became police chief of Princeton, N.J. in 2014, Nicholas Sutter noticed that schools were reporting a “dramatic increase” in mysterious phone calls. In each of them, a computer-generated voice threatened violence.

Sometimes the voice was recorded and sometimes it was live, but each time it was a digitally synthesized, “robocall” voice. Most of the calls warned that bombs had been planted in schools, or that an active shooter was in the building. The threats never materialized, but police responded anyway.

What was different, Sutter said, was that the calls didn’t seem to be your typical kid trying to get out of a trigonometry test or harass a high school principal. They were “very descriptive in their nature, in terms of the destruction that they wanted to cause.”

Most troubling of all, they were coming from outside of Princeton.

“We knew we were dealing with something different,” he said.

Princeton’s experience is not unique. Schools across the USA — and across the world — are experiencing a sometimes dramatic uptick in high-tech threats, educators and law enforcement officials say. Those include a rash of bomb-threat calls last January in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Delaware and Virginia, and a flurry of e-mails last December to schools in New York City, Los Angeles and elsewhere.

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

 


 

 

Baltimore school police officers charged with assault, misconduct in incident on video

Baltimore Sun

 

The two Baltimore school police officers who were caught on video as one of them repeatedly slapped a student outside a city high school have been criminally charged in the incident.

Officer Anthony Spence, 44, who is seen in the video hitting a young man and then kicking him, was charged with second-degree child abuse, second-degree assault and misconduct in office. Officer Saverna Bias, 52, the officer behind Spence in the video, was charged with second-degree assault and misconduct in office.

A witness told investigators he saw Bias tell Spence, “You need to smack him because he’s got too much mouth,” according to charging documents.

Warrants were issued for their arrest on Tuesday and served Wednesday morning, according to court records.

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

 

http://go.uen.org/6k0 (WaPo)

 

http://go.uen.org/6k3 (AP)

 

http://go.uen.org/6k6 (CSM)

 

http://go.uen.org/6k4 (Ed Week)

 

 


 

 

In Charters, Using Weighted Lotteries for Diversity Hits Barriers

Education Week

 

While many of the nation’s public schools remain stubbornly segregated by race and income, charter schools are well-positioned to buck that trend: Untethered from neighborhood boundaries, they can draw students from across a city.

But the charter movement—fueled in part by high-profile networks geared strictly toward serving inner-city, low-income students—has mostly fallen short of creating schools that are more integrated than their traditional school counterparts. Even for charters built on a mission of serving a diverse mix of students, it can be hard to balance enrollment, especially in fast-gentrifying urban areas.

To counteract that trend, some charter school leaders and advocates are championing a broader use of weighted lotteries, a mechanism that can give certain groups of students—such as those from low-income families or English-language learners—a better chance of getting into a school. Currently, only a handful of schools use weighted lotteries for this purpose, according to research by The Century Foundation, a progressive think tank.

And although there has been some movement at the federal level recently to encourage the use of weighted lotteries and similar policies among charters, there remain barriers at the state level.

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

 


 

 

New study contends voucher students less likely to commit crimes

Milwaukee Journal

 

An Arkansas researcher tasked with tracking the achievement of students enrolled in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program released a study Tuesday saying those who attended private voucher schools were less likely to commit crimes than their peers in Milwaukee Public Schools.

Patrick J. Wolf of the School Choice Demonstration Project at the University of Arkansas said his findings suggest that voucher schools “have a positive effect on character traits and behaviors” of the students who attend them.

Milwaukee Public Schools officials issued a statement Tuesday dismissing the report as biased and lacking in scientific rigor. They noted the study was not peer reviewed.

“The authors admit that they cannot conclude that the voucher program affected criminality, but they treat the relationship as ‘causal’ anyway,” it said. “There are a number of serious issues that raise questions about the validity of this report.”

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

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/6jt (University of Arkansas)

 


 

 

School That Honors Virginia Segregationist Could Be Renamed

Associated Press

 

RICHMOND, Va. — Sixty-eight-year-old Gladys Williams went to a segregated, black-only school in rural Virginia decades ago because the law required it. Now her grandson is scheduled to attend a middle school named for the state’s most prominent champion of school segregation: Harry F. Byrd Sr.

A precocious child with a good grasp of history, the 10-year-old asked her, “Grandma, why do I have to go to a school that was named after a racist who didn’t want black people in the building?”

Questions like his and people like Williams are driving a spirited movement to have Byrd’s name erased from a suburban Richmond public school because of his staunch segregationist stance.

In an era when historical figures are being re-examined for their racial views, Byrd – Virginia’s most towering political icon of the mid-20th century – could be on the fast-track to infamy.

http://go.uen.org/6k1

 

 

 

 

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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 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/Agend

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