Education News Roundup: March 14, 2016

Utah State Office of Education/ Education News Roundup

Utah State Office of Education/ Education News Roundup

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

 

Trib and D-News do some final legislative wrap ups.

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

and http://go.uen.org/6mz (SLT)

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

 

Sen. Hillyard discusses the future of Utah State Board of Education elections.

http://go.uen.org/6n5 (CVD)

 

Education First PAC discusses education funding in Utah.

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

 

Senate confirms John King as Secretary of Education.

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

and http://go.uen.org/6nA (WaPo)

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Utah lawmakers adopt $15.1 billion budget, boost school funding

 

Changes ahead for parents, students and teachers

 

Future school board elections will be partisan so candidates can be ‘vetted’

 

Education First PAC seeks revenue package from Utah Legislature

 

Utah lawmakers approve update to open-records law’s intersection with student privacy

 

Washington County facing road bumps with bus drivers

 

Cedar North Elementary adopts school improvement plan

 

Parowan High School seeks qualified volunteers for Wednesday morning tutor program

 

GOP candidate John Kasich to stop at Davis High ahead of Utah debate, caucus

 

Man crashes into Garland Elementary School, in critical condition

 

Man hit by school bus in Ogden remains in critical condition 10 days later

 

Utah teachers turning to charity organization to fulfill classroom needs

 

Utah Shakespeare Festival presents ‘Hamlet’ tour, educational outreach program

 

Girls explore science at UVU’s SheTech Explorer Day

 

High school students helping each other 1 meal at a time

 

Elementary school choir sings at State Capitol in honor of classmate killed in tragic accident

 

Springville and Juab high schools to be featured in KBYU-TV musical special

 

Valley schools play host to German students in cultural exchange

 

Granite School District hosts Pacific Islander Family Night

 

Reading pays off for Am. Fork students

 


 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

In the Utah Legislature, money talks

 

A ‘good’ legislative session comes to an end

 

A gay-straight alliance may have saved this teen’s life, and all Utah schools should have them

 

How education fared in the 2016 legislative session

 

10 questions your child’s teacher would love to answer

 

Lawmakers have a duty to protect Utah kids from sexually explicit material

 

Education Is Absent From the 2016 Presidential Race

 

What the Candidates Get Wrong About Charter Schools Fact-checking Bernie Sanders—and the other presidential contenders—on their understanding of the public education institutions

 


 

 

NATION

 

Senate Votes to Confirm King to Head Education Department

 

States’ Accountability Systems Flawed for College Readiness, Report Finds

 

A student asks a teacher if she believes in God. What is the right response?

 

These Christian teachers want to bring Jesus into public schools

 

Hillary Clinton Urges Effort to Improve Struggling Schools

 

Efforts to repeal Common Core gain steam in Kansas

 

Will Common Core undermine an elite college-prep program’s goal of diversity?

Some educators say the Common Core tests spell doom for the students most in need of support; others say the international baccalaureate’s intensive college-prep curriculum will save the day

 

Schools continue struggle with exodus of students under school choice

 

A Texas Candidate Pushes the Boundary of the Far Right

 

Catholic Memorial students chant anti-Jewish taunt at game

 

School Superintendent Stepping down Amid Player Rape Case

 

Poughkeepsie to close schools for student’s funeral

 

Home visits can boost brain development for low-income kids

 

Football grew more than any other U.S. youth sport -survey

 

Palestinian Teacher Wins $1 Million Global Teacher Prize

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Utah lawmakers adopt $15.1 billion budget, boost school funding

 

Utah legislators passed a balanced budget of $15.1 billion before adjourning Thursday. It includes $440 million in new public and higher education spending, expanded health care for the poorest Utahns and a 3 percent compensation hike for state workers.

That extra $440 million for education is about $18 million more than the governor requested. Senate Budget Chairman Lyle Hillyard said legislators swept corners looking for unused money or unneeded programs, and found $40 million to help schools.

The budget pays for the roughly 9,700 new students expected to enroll in Utah schools in the fall and increases overall per-pupil spending by about 3.75 percent.

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

Utah Education Association President Sharon Gallagher-Fishbaugh said a 2.5 percent increase is the minimum required to maintain current school funding levels. That means little is left over, she said, for districts to increase teacher salaries or hire additional staff to shrink class sizes.

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

 

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

 


 

 

Changes ahead for parents, students and teachers

 

SALT LAKE CITY — From testing to technology, Utah’s classrooms will see several changes next year as a result of Utah’s 2016 legislative session, which adjourned last week. And there is much for parents and students to pay attention to.

For some families, it will bring more opportunities to enroll their children in preschool.

High school juniors in some schools will spend less time on end-of-level testing.

At several of Utah’s colleges and universities, new facilities will give students a better place to learn and practice their craft in both science and the arts.

Public and higher education in Utah will get an overall funding increase of $445 million in the next fiscal year, bringing the state’s total funding increase for education in the past five years up to $1.7 billion.

While Utah still remains among the lowest in the country for per-pupil spending, student performance has climbed higher than most states in some subjects. Lawmakers hope this year’s budget will lead to further gains in student proficiency and prosperous economic outcomes.

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

 


 

 

Future school board elections will be partisan so candidates can be ‘vetted’

 

On the final day of the Utah legislative session Thursday, lawmakers voted to change the way state school board members are elected. State Senator Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, says it is too late to make the change this year so the races will be the same as before.

The bill provides that anyone can file for a seat on the board, the race will be non-partisan, and the two highest vote-getters will be on the ballot in November.

“It also provides after this election, in 2018 and on, it will be a partisan election,” says Hillyard. “Anyone running after this year on…will have to run as a Republican or a Democrat. That has a lot of people concerned. My personal feeling is that anyone running for any office needs to be vetted.”

http://go.uen.org/6n5 (CVD)

 


 

 

Education First PAC seeks revenue package from Utah Legislature

 

OGDEN — Education First, a Utah political action committee, failed in its effort to convince Utah legislators to OK a ballot initiative that would have offered a seven-eighths percent increase in the state income tax dedicated for education. However, the PAC says it has made a deal to work with Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, on a revenue plan for education next year.

Rich Kendell, Education First co-chairman, said Niederhauser asked the PAC to work with him on outlining policy for next year’s session. As to the original request for a ballot initiative, “they (legislators) were a little reluctant,” Kendell said.

But he maintains enthusiasm exists to boost education funding. Niederhauser’s outline should be ready in a couple of weeks, setting a framework for future legislation. “We will bring in our executive committee, (and) top business leaders to meet with the governor and leaders of the Senate,” Kendell said.

If an initiative had been approved by voters, Education First estimated the tax would have raised $518 million annually. Kendell says Education First wants Niederhauser’s effort to raise the same revenue. If not, the state won’t have the resources to attract new teachers and meet needed increases in education funding, he maintains.

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

 


 

 

Utah lawmakers approve update to open-records law’s intersection with student privacy

 

Utah lawmakers approved a bill aimed at restricting public access to school district records.

The proposal, sponsored by West Valley City Republican Rep. Craig Hall, would clarify that records governed by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, FERPA, are subject to that law’s disclosure rules and not those of Utah’s Government Records Access and Management Act, also known as GRAMA.

Hall sponsored the bill in response to a 2012 decision by the State Records Committee. In that decision, The Salt Lake Tribune was granted access to witness statements from an administrative investigation of an alleged inappropriate relationship between a teacher and student. Granite School District officials disagreed with the decision, arguing the statements should not be classified as law-enforcement records, which are excluded from FERPA protections.

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

 


 

 

Washington County facing road bumps with bus drivers

 

There is a concern about bus drivers in the Washington County School District and it’s coming from both the district and the parental side.

Hiring and keeping quality bus drivers is an issue WCSD Transportation Director Launi Schmutz-Harden is trying to address.

It’s a problem she said lies within the 30-hour rule of the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, which makes employers give benefits to anyone who works at least 30 hours.

“We gave people positions when we had money to give benefits and other than that they were able to work 40, 45 hours a week,” Schmutz-Harden said. “When the 29 hours came out, the school district couldn’t afford it so they were bound to 29 (hours).”

http://go.uen.org/6n6 (SGS)

 


 

 

Cedar North Elementary adopts school improvement plan

 

CEDAR CITY — Rising to the challenge of raising test scores and improving student outcomes at Cedar North Elementary, school administrators recently adopted a “school improvement plan.”

Cedar North Elementary was named a “focus school” by the Utah State Office of Education, according to a press release issued by Utah Title I coordinator Ann White in October. While the office identified “priority schools” as the lowest 5 percent of Title I schools as far as their performance on SAGE testing, a “focus school” is a Title I school in the lowest 5-15 percent in test scoring. Additionally, Title I high schools with a two-year graduation rate of less than 60 percent fall into this category.

An appraisal of the school was conducted by a Salt Lake City consulting firm, Education Direction, to determine how to best help Cedar North Elementary administrators and educators perform at a higher achievement standard.

http://go.uen.org/6n8 (SGN)

 


 

 

Parowan High School seeks qualified volunteers for Wednesday morning tutor program

 

PAROWAN — Late-start Wednesdays at Parowan High School have become a time for educators to connect students who struggle academically with additional time to finish work under the supervision of a tutor — and they could use some extra hands.

http://go.uen.org/6n9 (SGN)

 

http://go.uen.org/6ni (KCSG)

 


 

 

GOP candidate John Kasich to stop at Davis High ahead of Utah debate, caucus

 

KAYSVILLE — Leading up to next week’s Republican presidential debate in Salt Lake City and the Utah caucuses, presidential hopeful Gov. John Kasich will be campaigning in Utah on Friday, March, 18, including a stop at Davis High School.

The Ohio governor will make three town hall appearances, according to his campaign website. The first will be held at noon at Utah Valley University, the second at 3:30 p.m. at the University of Utah and the last one at 6 p.m. at Davis High School.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 


 

 

Man crashes into Garland Elementary School, in critical condition

 

A 52-year-old man is in critical condition after crashing into a Box Elder County elementary school, police say.

At around 5:30 a.m. Sunday morning, Garland police responded to a vandalism call from a woman who claimed her ex-husband slashed the tires on her car.

The man was gone when police arrived, said Chief Chad Soffe with Garland Police. Police went to the suspect’s house, but the man sped off in a car when police arrived.

The suspect crashed the car into Garland Elementary School at 60 to 70 mph. He was not wearing a seat belt and suffered head trauma, officials say.

Medical crews took him to the hospital in critical condition.

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

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/6n3 (LHJ)

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/6n0 (KSL)

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/6nj (MUR)

 

 


 

 

Man hit by school bus in Ogden remains in critical condition 10 days later

 

OGDEN — About a week and a half after he was hit by a school bus, an auto-pedestrian crash victim remains in the hospital.

Ogden Police Department Lt. Will Cragun said as of Monday, March 14, the man was still in critical condition.

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.

The bus driver has not been issued a citation pending a fit-for-duty review by the Weber School District, which was requested by investigators, Cragun said.

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

 


 

 

Utah teachers turning to charity organization to fulfill classroom needs

 

Teachers across the country are raving about a website that allows donors to give to school projects. A growing number of Utah educators are turning to the site to provide extra classroom resources for their students.

Donors Choose, currently features more than 300 requested grants at Utah schools — teachers asking for books, science tools, flash cards, desks, iPads — anything individual teachers can think of that will enhance the learning experience for their students.

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

 


 

 

Utah Shakespeare Festival presents ‘Hamlet’ tour, educational outreach program

 

WEST VALLEY CITY — To see, or not to see?

For more than 25,000 students in Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming, the choice to see the Utah Shakespeare Festival’s touring production of “Hamlet” is one that will expose them to the classic story in a modern, compelling way, according to a news release.

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

 


 

 

Girls explore science at UVU’s SheTech Explorer Day

 

Girls got a chance to explore exciting science Friday at the third annual SheTech Explorer Day on the Utah Valley University campus.

The event aimed to introduce more than 1,000 high school girls in grades nine-12 to programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Girls learned about aerodynamics, forensics, robotics, digital animation and more.

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

 

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

 

http://go.uen.org/6n1 (PDH)

 

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

 


 

 

High school students helping each other 1 meal at a time

 

KEARNS — Something life-changing is going on at Kearns High School. It has very little to do with the grades students are getting, but everything to do with survival and gratitude.

A junior at Kearns High, Ashley Gonzales, remembers being nervous when her family moved into the school boundaries last year.

“(The school) has a lot of bad rep, and I think that was discouraging when I was coming here,” Gonzales explained.

Now she loves it.

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

 


 

 

Elementary school choir sings at State Capitol in honor of classmate killed in tragic accident

 

SALT LAKE CITY — There was a special musical presentation at the Utah State Capitol this week, as an elementary school choir paid tribute to a young boy recently hit and killed by a car.

Wednesday was “Music Day on the Hill”, and while the choir from Northridge Elementary School had been chosen to perform earlier, a tragedy a week prior gave the kids a new reason to sing.

Eric Longhurst, 11, was hit and killed earlier this month as he was crossing 1600 North with his friend. He was a member of the choir, and his classmates sang one of his favorite songs, “Seize the Day” in his honor.

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

 


 

 

Springville and Juab high schools to be featured in KBYU-TV musical special

 

Two local high school choirs will make a television debut Friday night as a part of a musical special set to air on KBYU-TV at 7 p.m.

The special, titled “Tim Janis: Celebrate America Across Utah,” is produced by renown composer Tim Janis, who is well-known for his work with Celebrate America, a national program focused on producing high-quality programs that give youth an opportunity to share their talents. The 90-minute special will air Friday at 7 p.m. and again on March 19 at 5:30 p.m. on KBYU-TV channel 11, and will feature 12 total Utah high school choirs, as accompanied by special guests Alex Boye, GENTRI and Dallyn Vail Bayles.

http://go.uen.org/6n2 (PDH)

 


 

 

Valley schools play host to German students in cultural exchange

 

Students at two local high schools are immersed in a cultural exchange this month that their teachers say is a valuable learning experience.

Mountain Crest High School and Logan High School are hosting two groups of students from Germany as part of an exchange program that has been going on for more than 30 years. In addition to language skills, Logan High German teacher Mike Mudrow said it is an experience that teaches cultural awareness and shows students that beyond a language barrier, they aren’t so different after all.

http://go.uen.org/6n4 (LHJ)

 


 

 

Granite School District hosts Pacific Islander Family Night

 

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – Granger High School had a strong Pacific Island vibe this week as the campus played host to Pacific Islander Family Night.

The event featured songs and the spoken word in the languages of the Pacific Islands. Dottie Alo, assistant principal at Granger High, said the event was also about outreach.

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

 


 

 

Reading pays off for Am. Fork students

 

Students at Shelley Elementary School in American Fork cheer as they are rewarded for their reading efforts with a visit from KSL’s Chopper 5 on Friday as part of the National Education Association’s Read Across America Week.

Friday also kicked off a new summer reading program sponsored by Read Today, a nonprofit initiative run by KSL, Deseret News and Deseret Management Corp. The program — a collaboration between Read Today, the Governor’s Reading Program, the Salt Lake Bees, McDonald’s and the Utah State Library — will reach all students in Utah.

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

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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In the Utah Legislature, money talks

Salt Lake Tribune editorial

 

Keeping track of all the moving parts that figured in the just-concluded regular session of the Utah Legislature is not a job for the faint of heart or the easily confused. But a few basic themes emerge.

Money talks. In fact, it drowns out just about everything else.

Coal has clout. So does the LDS Church.

But, as a great man once sort of said, the problems of the people who want to live in a cleaner and more humane Utah — who worry about the poor, the sick and the victimized — don’t amount to a hill of beans in this one-party state.

The best news out of the 45-day marathon of political log-rolling and back-scratching is that lawmakers found enough money to boost spending on education by even more than the school-centric Gov. Gary Herbert had sought.

This core function of government, in which Utah has long trailed the nation in funding, will receive a basic 3 percent boost, worth an additional $80 million. It’s barely enough to keep up, but this year the Legislature seemed eager not only to up the governor’s ante but also to provide the money with a minimum of the kind of strings and restrictions they have been wont to attach in years past.

But it could be argued that the hike in school funding was completely in keeping with the Legislature’s eagerness to comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted, as school funding is increasingly sold in this state as something the mainstream business community supports.

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

 


 

 

A ‘good’ legislative session comes to an end (St. George) Spectrum op-ed by Sen. Evan Vickers

 

The 2016 legislation is now completed and a lot of good things were done this year.

There were tough policy issues decided concerning Medicaid coverage for people without insurance, medical marijuana, water infrastructure funding for future projects, wildland fire policy and funding, critical school needs, just to name a few.  The budget is once again balanced. Not everyone got the funding they requested but there is nothing wrong with that.

Public education once again was a significant portion of the budget. Overall, there was $440 million in new funding, including $90 million for new student growth, a 3 percent increase in the WPU (weighted pupil unit) which is the basic funding mechanism for public education, $3 million to the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Program, $6 million to teacher supplies, $2 million to the Upstart pre-kindergarten program and $23 million to digital learning. The increase is $22 million more than was requested in the governor’s budget.

http://go.uen.org/6n7

 


 

A gay-straight alliance may have saved this teen’s life, and all Utah schools should have them Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Paul C. Burke, Brett L. Tolman and John W. Mackay, of Ray Quinney and Nebeker

 

Alex Cooper returns to Utah this week to tell her story of surviving conversion therapy and prevailing in an extended legal battle to establish her right to live under the law’s protection as an openly gay teenager. Her testimony bears witness to the evils of conversion therapy and the need for a Gay Straight Alliance in every high school in Utah.

As chronicled in her new book, “Saving Alex,” which was co-written with Joanna Brooks, Cooper was living in California when she came out to her Mormon family at age 15. She was kicked out of the family home and then transported to St. George, where her parents signed over legal custody of her to a couple running an unlicensed residential treatment facility in their home.

Over several harrowing months, Cooper was tortured and abused in an effort to change her sexual orientation. She was required to wear a backpack filled with heavy rocks, meant to symbolize her supposed sin of her homosexuality, and forced to stand at attention, facing a wall for long hours. She was told that there was no place for her in God’s plan.

Cooper endured this emotional and physical “therapy” for several months before being permitted to enroll at Snow Canyon High School. There she met Jason Osmanski, a brave teenager who had overcome scorn and community opposition to start a gay-straight alliance, a school club meant to provide support and a safe place for LGBT teens.

The gay-straight alliance at Snow Canyon High School may have saved Alex’s life.

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

 


 

 

How education fared in the 2016 legislative session Sutherland Institute commentary by education policy analyst Christine Cooke

 

Legislators were busy with education this legislative session. Somewhere over 180 education bills were numbered, upwards of 32 education bills were passed, and several made a significant splash in Utah education policy. Here are some highlights.

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

 


 

 

10 questions your child’s teacher would love to answer

KSL commentary by Utah Online School

 

Many parents are searching for the balance between helicopter parenting and not taking enough interest in their child’s learning. Each person learns differently, which also adds a challenge to an already complex task.

Luckily for you, Utah Online School and KSL have teamed up to help parents be more involved without feeling overwhelmed. If you have the opportunity to attend a parent-teacher conference or even contact your child’s teacher informally, here are 10 great questions to ask:

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

 


 

 

Lawmakers have a duty to protect Utah kids from sexually explicit material

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Jen Brown

 

I am proud of the Utah Legislature for having the courage to discuss pornography and the wide societal effects it produces. One of the Legislature’s responsibilities is to weaken or extinguish forces that are destructive and cause instability in our communities. The issue of pornography falls in the Legislature’s jurisdiction and it would be an oversight on their part to ignore this topic.

Lawmakers also have the responsibility to protect children and adolescents. The ability of pornography to derail healthy sexual development and the horrendous sexual crimes pornography fuels against minors reiterates the call for decisive action on the part of the Legislature.

The comprehensive sexuality education bill that failed in committee shows a consistency on the part of the Legislature to protect minors from sexually explicit inundation.

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

 


 

 

Education Is Absent From the 2016 Presidential Race Education Week op-ed by T. Robinson Ahlstrom, chairman of the George Washington Scholars Endowment

 

The 2016 presidential race may prove to be the first in more than half a century in which education emerges as a key national issue, but not because the candidates demonstrate any particular concern over or passion for the quality of America’s schools. Rather, it will happen because the campaign itself calls into question that quality. In 1985, the social critic and educator Neil Postman divined a day “when cultural life is redefined as a perpetual round of entertainments, when serious public conversation becomes a form of baby-talk, when, in short, a people become an audience, and their public business a vaudeville act.” This is the election that fully vindicates that ominous prophecy—the day when, for all the world to see, we are, in Postman’s phrase, “amusing ourselves to death.”

In 1960, when Republican Vice President Richard M. Nixon squared off against Democratic Sen. John F. Kennedy in the first-ever televised presidential debate, education was a hotly—and openly—contested issue. In lengthy and well-informed exchanges, the candidates bore into the state of America’s schools and sparred over their respective proposals. Kennedy argued for a new federal role, insisting, “There is no greater return to an economy or to a society than an educational system second to none.” Nixon, while essentially agreeing with Kennedy’s analysis, expressed deep concern over “giving the federal government power over education, … the greatest power a government can have.”

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

 


 

 

What the Candidates Get Wrong About Charter Schools Fact-checking Bernie Sanders—and the other presidential contenders—on their understanding of the public education institutions Atlantic commentary by columnist EMILY RICHMOND

 

At the Democratic Town Hall on Sunday night in Columbus, Ohio, Senator Bernie Sanders was asked whether he supported charter schools. The Democratic presidential candidate’s answer—imprecise at best—set off a flurry of responses in the Twittersphere, if not the audience at the CNN broadcast.

“I believe in public education, and I believe in public charter schools,” Sanders said to applause. “I do not believe in private—privately controlled charter schools.”

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

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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Senate Votes to Confirm King to Head Education Department Associated Press

 

WASHINGTON — The Senate has narrowly voted to confirm John B. King Jr. as the nation’s education secretary.

The vote was 49-40.

King has served as acting secretary at the Education Department since Arne Duncan stepped down in December. President Barack Obama nominated King last month, saying there was “nobody better” to continue leading efforts to work toward preschool for all, preparing kids so that they are ready for college and careers and making college more affordable.

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

 

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

 


 

 

States’ Accountability Systems Flawed for College Readiness, Report Finds Education Week

 

As states press hard to ensure that all students graduate from high school ready for college or good jobs, many are hobbled by the very accountability systems they designed to leverage improvement, according to a report released Monday.

The new study, by Achieve, argues that in reporting K-12 performance to the public, states often aren’t including factors that matter the most in college readiness, such as the proportion of students who are completing rigorous high school courses, how well students are accumulating credits toward graduation, and whether they’re earning college credit while in high school.

Achieve, which works with states on standards and accountability, has been tracking the 50 states’ college-readiness policies in a series of reports for a decade, but shifted its analysis this year. Instead of focusing on what policies states adopt, it chose to examine how students are actually performing, state to state, on key indicators that correlate with the chance of college success.

“Policy alone is insufficient,” the report says. “Implementation of policy at all levels—state, district, school, and classroom—matters … how do states—and their citizens—know whether their policies are having the intended impact?”

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

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/6nx (Achieve)

 


 

 

A student asks a teacher if she believes in God. What is the right response?

Washington Post

 

It’s not uncommon for curious elementary, middle and high school students to ask questions about their teachers’ lives — including their religious beliefs.

Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Do you worship Allah? Are you Jewish?

Such questions can be challenging for teachers, especially those working in public schools, where the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits officials from from establishing or promoting religion. But public school teachers do have the right to answer direct questions about their faith, according to experts and advocates. And some groups, like the Christian Educators Association International, encourage teachers to take the opportunity to explain how religion guides their lives.

In answering questions about their faith while in class, teachers should be both honest and brief, taking care not to turn a question into an opportunity to preach, according to Charles Haynes, a First Amendment expert at the Newseum Institute’s Religious Freedom Center.

“They can’t use it as an opportunity to proselytize or invite kids to their synagogue or their church,” Haynes said. “But they can just answer the question and then go on and say, ‘But I’m here to teach fairly about various perspectives.”

Haynes said that many Americans have the mistaken impression that public schools are supposed to be religion-free zones. While the Constitution says that government cannot establish religion, it also says that the government cannot inhibit religious freedom — a provision that allows students, and to a lesser degree, teachers, to express their faith openly in school.

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

 


 

 

These Christian teachers want to bring Jesus into public schools Washington Post

 

Finn Laursen believes millions of American children are no longer learning right from wrong, in part because public schools have been stripped of religion. To repair that frayed moral fabric, Laursen and his colleagues want to bring the light of Jesus Christ into public school classrooms across the country — and they are training teachers to do just that.

The Christian Educators Association International, an organization that sees the nation’s public schools as “the largest single mission field in America,” aims to show Christian teachers how to live their faith — and evangelize in public schools — without running afoul of the Constitution’s prohibition on the government establishing or promoting any particular religion.

“We’re not talking about proselytizing. That would be illegal,” said Laursen, the group’s executive director. “But we’re saying you can do a lot of things. . . . It’s a mission field that you fish in differently.”

Not everyone agrees that it’s acceptable for teachers to “fish” in public schools, where government officials are not allowed to promote or endorse any particular faith.

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

 


 

 

Hillary Clinton Urges Effort to Improve Struggling Schools New York Times

 

DURHAM, N.C. — Hillary Clinton made a pitch for public schools at a get-out-the-vote rally on Thursday, proposing to create a teaching task force that would recruit more young people and midcareer professionals to the country’s struggling public schools.

“I think public education needs some T.L.C.: Teaching, Learning and Community,” she told a rowdy crowd at Hillside High School, a predominantly black public school. “Thousands of teachers cannot make ends meet, are leaving the profession.”

Mrs. Clinton mentioned seeing crumbling schools in rural South Carolina and urban classrooms in Detroit infested with rodents and mold. She said that when she traveled across the country as first lady she would apply what she called “the Chelsea test” to public schools she would visit.

“I would say to myself ‘Would I send my daughter there?’” she said. “A lot of places, the answer was yes, and proud to do it, but too many times the answer was no.”

The plan came days after Mrs. Clinton defended teachers’ unions at a Democratic debate in Flint, Mich., on Sunday.

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

 


 

 

Efforts to repeal Common Core gain steam in Kansas Associated Press via Education Week

 

TOPEKA, Kan.— After years of controversy surrounding the Common Core standards for reading and math education, their Kansas supporters fear momentum is building this year for repeal.

The House Education Committee approved a bill earlier this month that would prohibit school districts from aligning any materials, tests or programs to Common Core or any other nationwide curriculum.

“Since last year it had no steam or momentum, and then all of a sudden it was passed out of the committee and on the agenda for a House debate,” said Brad Neuenswander, the state’s deputy education commissioner. “It’s a concern of ours because it still has some legs.”

The standards were developed by a group of states with the goal of making sure students were ready for jobs or higher education after graduation. Common Core is optional for the states, and the Kansas State Board of Education adopted them in 2010. The standards call for a classroom focus on analytical skills instead of rote memorization.

The standards have caused criticism from the start, with opponents calling them a national mandate and arguing the curriculum is a one-size-fits-all approach to education. Supporters say they encourage rigorous standards throughout the state.

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

 


 

 

Will Common Core undermine an elite college-prep program’s goal of diversity?

Some educators say the Common Core tests spell doom for the students most in need of support; others say the international baccalaureate’s intensive college-prep curriculum will save the day Hechinger Report

 

As districts across the country brace themselves for low student scores on tough Common Core tests this spring, the staff at Sturgis Charter Public School in Hyannis, Massachusetts, isn’t sweating it. On state assessments, their students have been outperforming peers at other schools — with 10th-graders, for example, ranking first in English language arts, 12th in math, and sixth in science in 2014 — and it’s not because they’ve been prepping intensely.

Paul Marble, associate director at Sturgis, said he attributes the high test scores to the school’s international baccalaureate (IB) program: “We teach habits of mind like being reflective, caring and taking risks. We spend more time cultivating these traits than on data.”

He said it’s all about how you define success: Is it by a test score, by growth or by putting forth your personal best? Sturgis focuses on the latter, and has faith that the test scores will follow.

IB schools, as they’re known, are springing up around the country. Since 1999, the number of U.S. schools offering IB programs for students age 3 to 19 has grown from 300 to 1,698. Diversity is a centerpiece of the program’s educational philosophy, and “IB for All” is its rallying cry. “All” includes groups that lag behind on standardized tests: students with learning disabilities, those from low-income backgrounds and students learning English.

Yet while educators, like those at Sturgis, say IB’s rigorous curriculum can prepare all students simultaneously for standardized tests, college, and career, others say not so fast. The new Common Core tests still rely heavily on multiple-choice-type questions that don’t reflect the rigor of the IB curriculum or, for that matter, the Common Core standards. This disconnect could be harmful to students in groups that have traditionally underperformed on standardized tests, especially as these tests become the primary tools for measuring student performance.

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

 


 

 

Schools continue struggle with exodus of students under school choice Charleston (SC) Post and Courier

 

For almost 30 years, the Charleston County School District has added more and more public school-choice options for parents: magnet schools, charter schools, Montessori schools, you name it.

New online school-choice applications this winter made seeking spots for next year’s classes easier than ever. And parents responded: They submitted more than twice as many applications as the previous year.

The district’s latest data shows thousands of students are crisscrossing the 100-mile-long district this school year to pursue those choices, often leaving behind neighborhood schools that serve mostly black low-income students even though their campuses sit in gentrifying areas.

“We’re an intentionally resegregated school district,” said the Rev. Nelson Rivers III, a North Charleston pastor and vice president of the National Action Network.

In 2014, he filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s civil rights office over the lack of black students at the district’s top-performing magnet schools.

“The school board has made it clear, despite the rhetoric and “Kumbaya” stuff, that the priority students in Charleston County are the white students,” Rivers said.

In August, The Post and Courier examined these issues in its series “Left Behind: The unintended consequences of school choice,” which found that local policies have had serious impact on the poorest children who often cannot, due to a lack of transportation and other factors, transfer to other schools. Civil rights leaders also contend students have a right to quality educations without transferring to magnet or charter schools outside their communities.

“We’ve ignored these schools and not put forth any effort,” school board member Chris Collins said. “We have some board members who don’t mind segregated schools.”

Superintendent Gerrita Postlewait, who took the helm seven months ago, is examining how the choice system was created — and why.

“We absolutely take that criticism seriously,” she said. “I haven’t seen anything that leads me to believe that the effect was intentional. But it is nonetheless real. So we have to confront that, acknowledge it, address it and move on.”

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

 


 

 

A Texas Candidate Pushes the Boundary of the Far Right New York Times

 

MINEOLA, Tex. — On Super Tuesday, Dale Clark voted for a local Republican who claimed on social media that President Obama had worked as a gay prostitute in his youth, that the United States should ban Islam, that the Democratic Party had John F. Kennedy killed and that the United Nations had hatched a plot to depopulate the world.

Mr. Clark, 75, was unaware that the candidate he had supported — Mary Lou Bruner, 68, a former kindergarten teacher running for a seat on the State Board of Education — held such views. But as he sat with his wife eating lunch in this East Texas city, Mr. Clark was ready to give Ms. Bruner the benefit of the doubt.

“I would not discount her on the basis of having those beliefs,” said Mr. Clark, a retired pilot. “It convinces me, though, that she’s quite conservative, and if I were going to err either way, I would want to err toward the side of the conservative.”

Ms. Bruner’s anti­Obama, anti­Islam, anti­evolution and anti­gay Facebook posts have generated national headlines and turned an obscure school board election into a glimpse of the outer limits of Texas politics. In a part of the state dominated by conservative Christians and Tea Party activists, Ms. Bruner’s candidacy has posed a question no one can answer with any certainty — how far to the fringe is too far for Texas Republicans?

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

 


 

 

Catholic Memorial students chant anti-Jewish taunt at game Boston Globe

 

NEWTON – The chanting started with a rude taunt: Newton North High School students cheering for their basketball team Friday night shouted, “Where are your girls?” to the fans of Catholic Memorial School, an all-boys school.

But the response from the Catholic Memorial fans to their opponents, many of whom are Jewish, left the Newton North crowd horrified and upset: “You killed Jesus!” shouted about 50 to 75 Catholic Memorial students. “You killed Jesus!”

The Newtown North students fell silent, their faces registering surprise and anger.

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

 

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

 


 

 

School Superintendent Stepping down Amid Player Rape Case Associated Press

 

A Tennessee school superintendent is stepping down amid criticism over how his district handled reports of a rape of a high school basketball player by three teammates.

Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Rick Smith issued a statement Monday saying he was retiring July 1 and that he was taking leave effective immediately.

“It has been my honor to serve Hamilton County Schools these many years,” Smith said in his statement. “I would like to thank students, parents and especially all Hamilton County Department of Education employees for their support. My family and I wish only the very best for our Hamilton County public school system.”

The school district, based in Chattanooga, has come under scrutiny over its response to the Ooltewah High School rape case. Police say a freshman basketball player required emergency surgery after teammates held him down and assaulted him with a pool cue Dec. 22 at a Gatlinburg cabin while the team was participating in a holiday tournament.

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

 


 

 

Poughkeepsie to close schools for student’s funeral Poughkeepsie (NY) Journal

 

Poughkeepsie City Schools will officially be closed Tuesday to allow students and staff to attend the memorial service for Caval Haylett.

During a special meeting held today, Monday, the Poughkeepsie City School District Board of Education voted unanimously to change the school calendar and allow for all Poughkeepsie City Schools to be closed Tuesday, according to Board of Education President Ralph Coates.

Haylett died Thursday after he was hit in the head when a spray of gunfire broke out on Winnikee Avenue Wednesday night, police said. He was an 18-year-old honor roll student at the school.

City of Poughkeepsie police continue to investigate Haylett’s death, and could not give any updated information Sunday. Police do not believe Haylett was the intended target of the shooting.

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

 


 

 

Home visits can boost brain development for low-income kids Reuters

 

Home visits designed to help parents work with young children on cognitive skills can give kids from low-income families a leg up in brain development, a study suggests.

Researchers examined the impact of home visits at age 3 for children in India, Pakistan, and Zambia who were either from low-income families or households with slightly more resources.

When parents received home visits to teach them age-appropriate activities to do with their babies and toddlers to encourage healthy development, the children from low-income families experienced much more dramatic gains than their peers from households with more resources, the study found.

It’s possible this happened because the parents with more resources had more access to things like toys, books, crayons, and paper and spent more time talking to their children, said lead study author Carla Bann of RTI International Research in Triangle Park, North Carolina.

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

 

A copy of the study

http://go.uen.org/6nn (Pediatrics $)

 


 

 

Football grew more than any other U.S. youth sport -survey Reuters

 

NEW YORK | Football was the fastest-growing American sport for young players last year, according to a survey sponsored by the sport’s governing body.

But it was the game’s no-tackle variety that showed the biggest increase – a finding that may reflect concerns about injury.

The number of participants in flag and tackle football grew in 2015 while most other sports, except baseball, posted a decline, USA Football said on Monday, citing the findings of a survey of 30,000 children and teenagers.

Participation in no-tackle flag football grew by 8.7 percent among children aged 6 to 14, while tackle football rose 1.9 percent. For that age group, the only other sport that grew was baseball, with a 3.3 percent increase. All told, there were 102 sports in the survey.

In the 15-to-18 age group, flag football rose 10.5 percent, while tackle grew by 2.5 percent. Basketball was third, with a 1.1 percent increase. Participation in all other sports shrank.

http://go.uen.org/6no

 

A copy of the report

http://go.uen.org/6np (Physical Activity Council)

 


 

 

Palestinian Teacher Wins $1 Million Global Teacher Prize Associated Press

 

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A Palestinian primary school teacher who grew up in a refugee camp and educates her students about non-violence won a $1 million prize for teaching excellence on Sunday, beating out 8,000 other applicants from around the world.

Hanan al-Hroub, a primary school teacher in the West Bank city of al-Bireh just outside Ramallah, was awarded the second annual Global Teacher Prize during a ceremony in the city of Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum was on-hand to present the prize to al-Hroub, however her name was announced by Pope Francis in a video message after he talked about the importance of education and teachers, especially for children who grow up amid war.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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Utah State Office of Education/ Education News Roundup

Utah State Office of Education/ Education News Roundup

————————————————————

 

USOE Calendar

http://www.schools.utah.gov/main/CALENDAR.aspx

 

 

UEN News

http://www.uen.org

 

 

March 17:

Utah State Board of Education study session and committee meetings

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

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

 

 

March 18:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

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

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

 

 

April 14:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

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