Education News Roundup: May 20, 2016



Living Traditions Festival School Day Program/Education News Roundup

Living Traditions Festival School Day Program/Education News Roundup

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:


Gov. Herbert discusses the transgender bathroom issue. (SLT)

and (LHJ)

and (SGS)


Tribune looks at charter school management companies in Utah. (SLT)


Legislature discusses competency-based education. (BYU Universe)


A 2014 finalist for the Utah State Superintendent of Public Instruction, who was later named Colorado’s state education commissioner, resigns after just four months on the job. (Denver Post)


Sen. Hatch joins 24 other GOP senators in writing a letter to President Obama on the transgender guidance letter from the departments of Justice and Education. (The Hill)

and (CNN)


House Republicans also look to send a letter on the same topic. (Washington Times)


And Oklahoma wants to impeach the President over the issue. (Reuters)

and (Tulsa World)


Poll finds the public divided on the issue. (NYT)












Herbert says transgender restroom directive may harm children


Herbert signs monument resolution, education funding bill Legislature » He opposes Obama’s authority to designate lands without state’s approval.


Analysis: Utah charter schools move millions of public dollars to the coffers of a few private companies


Competency-based learning the focus of Utah education meeting


Governor Herbert says Utah can become best state for public education achievement


Utah communities still among fastest-growing in country, Census estimates show


IP video earns high grade at Utah school district


Freedom Prep graduates its first batch of seniors


Graduates steal the spotlight at Tuacahn


Northern Utah high school graduation 2016: Send us your selfies


Vehicle Day gives students a look at possible careers


School at Alta High cancelled following power outage


City of Layton makes improvements to crosswalk where teen died


Lawyers for victim in teacher sex case withdraw from lawsuit


Inside our schools







The special session supports education and opposes a national monument


Bernick and Schott on Politics


Governor thanks Utah’s outstanding teachers


Fighting against suicide, kids are helping kids


Principals give era of specialization a boost


Bathroom controversy defies biblical principles


U.S. education reimagined: Why Bernie’s plan won’t work


Nevada School Choice Victory


Mapping education research and judging influence







GOP senators: Obama bathroom guidance is ‘not appropriate’


House Republicans to pen letter denouncing Obama’s bathroom order


Oklahoma introduces measure to impeach Obama over bathroom rights


Public Is Divided Over Transgender Bathroom Issue, Poll Shows


Students Want STEM, but Schools Can’t Find the Teachers While there’s high interest in science, technology, engineering and math, schools are struggling to recruit teachers for the subjects.


How Can Schools Get Common-Core Assignments Up to Snuff?


Who’s hacking schools now? The students


Arizona governor declares victory in $3.5-billion education vote


Colorado education commissioner resigns suddenly after 4 months on job Rich Crandall announced resignation just four-and-a-half months into job


Georgia’s Deal to push ahead on education agenda despite veto backlash


All Kansas schools reaccredited, but their world is about to change


Is It Time to Move Away From the Traditional School Calendar?


Elite Math Competitions Struggle to Diversify Their Talent Pool


Exams Around the World

Pen, paper, and a time limit









Herbert says transgender restroom directive may harm children


Gov. Gary Herbert said Thursday that he is concerned that a directive from the Obama administration regarding the use of school restrooms by transgender students could exacerbate the bullying of those children.

“I don’t understand bullying at all, but we know that bullying goes on,” Herbert said during his monthly KUED news conference Thursday. “What I would want not to happen is if, in fact, someone is forced to use a bathroom that’s not private and ends up exacerbating the bullying problem [schools] have that they’re trying to get away from anyway.”

Herbert said that’s why local schools and districts are better equipped to deal with the issue and have “a better grasp of what’s in the best interest of their students when it comes to privacy, dignity, safety for all the students.”

Herbert has been critical of the Department of Justice and Department of Education for sending a memo to states regarding the use of school restrooms by transgendered students and a threat to withhold federal education funding from states that do not comply.

“First, it was wrong for him to weigh in, second, it would be even wronger for him to say we’re going to take away the money,” Herbert said.

The governor has said previously that he “will not hesitate” to fight the letter from the administration. (SLT) (LHJ) (SGS)




Herbert signs monument resolution, education funding bill Legislature » He opposes Obama’s authority to designate lands without state’s approval.


Gov. Gary Herbert signed a legislative resolution Thursday expressing strong opposition to President Barack Obama using his authority under the Antiquities Act to create a national monument to protect 1.9 million acres of sacred American Indian lands without approval from state officials.

The governor also signed a bill restoring $4.7 million in education funding from items he vetoed earlier in the session. Herbert agreed to convene a special session and restore the funding to avoid a veto override session that the Legislature was poised to call.

The money was earmarked for early reading programs and a high school cooking competition. (SLT) (CVD) (Business Wire)




Analysis: Utah charter schools move millions of public dollars to the coffers of a few private companies


Farmington • When 75 mph winds swept through northern Utah this month, Ascent Academy was left with broken windows, a damaged fence and no power.

“We couldn’t hold school and the servers were all down,” said Lani Rounds, the charter school’s principal.

For help, Rounds turned to Academica West and Eminent Technical Solutions, which went to work filing insurance claims and patching up the school property.

The next day, classes were in session and Ascent Academy was back on its feet.

“If I didn’t have anyone to rely on, I don’t know how I would have pulled yesterday off,” Rounds said. “I worked and everybody else did their thing and we were up and running later in the afternoon.”

Public schools of all types regularly direct funds toward private businesses — like software companies, food-service distributors and textbook publishers — for specific services. But Ascent Academy and many other charter schools take it a step further, abdicating administrative and academic functions to private companies.

Academica West and Eminent Technical Solutions aren’t simply ground-maintenance companies — they function as the information technology and human resources departments for Ascent Academy and 16 other charter schools, which on paper are their own school districts.

Together, the two companies received at least $6.9 million from charter schools last year, according to a Tribune analysis of charter school expense reports.

Though these and other private charter-management companies receive public education funds, they do not have to disclose how they spend their money. And any surplus funds are collected as profit rather than returned to the schools the company serves.




Competency-based learning the focus of Utah education meeting


The Utah Education Interim Committee met on Wednesday, May 18 to discuss the role of competency-based education in Utah schools.

Representatives from Juab school district schools explained how competency-based education practices help each student to learn what they need to learn in order to advance to the next subject. It lets students take their own pace in education so they learn what is required on their own terms.

Utah Senate bill 143 defines competency based learning as “A system where a student advances to higher levels of learning when the student demonstrates competency of concept and skills regardless of time, place or pace.” (BYU Universe)




Governor Herbert says Utah can become best state for public education achievement


Salt Lake City, Utah – Governor Gary Herbert is setting a lofty goal for public education in Utah.

He wants the state to be number one in the country for public education achievement. He unveiled that goal at his monthly news conference at KUED on Thursday. The governor believes it can happen by focusing on three key points.

Parental engagement, more resources for teachers and a new spirit of collaboration and cooperation. He also believes bridging the divide over Common Core is key first step. He says it’s tearing the state apart and he called for it to stop. (KTVX)




Utah communities still among fastest-growing in country, Census estimates show


SALT LAKE CITY — Several Utah communities remain among the top in the country for population growth, according to estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

The new data features a tale of two cities: South Jordan maintains its rank as one of the fastest-growing cities in the country and one of the most populous in Utah, while Vineyard, a town of 5 square miles, is seeing its much smaller populace skyrocket.

Both places, though vastly different, speak to overall economic opportunity and ideal conditions for families, according to Pamela Perlich, director of demographic research at the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.

The city’s schools are among the most crowded in the state. Enrollment growth led to 13 school boundary changes last year in the Jordan School District, which has 15 year-round schools and 250 portable classrooms to accommodate as many students as possible.

Enrollment forecasts show the district could climb from 52,324 to 61,575 students in the next five years. For that reason, district leaders are proposing a $245 million bond to build six new schools in the area. (DN)




IP video earns high grade at Utah school district


With nearly 70,000 students on 87 different campuses, Davis School District is the second largest in Utah and ranks 52nd in the U.S. The district’s administration, based in Farmington, Utah, is responsible for meeting the educational needs of a growing population of students, which has increased more than 20 percent in the last decade.

Given its large student population spread across 299 square miles, the school district has placed a high value on maintaining the safety and security of its schools, each of which is equipped with a video surveillance system. Until recently, those systems were analog across the district – but given the performance and quality of video those systems generate, Davis School District is changing that. Beginning more than two years ago, individual schools’ video systems have been upgraded to IP systems incrementally to take advantage of the superior performance and quality benefits of IP. At present, upgrades have been completed at roughly a quarter of the district’s schools, with an additional three systems currently in the process of being upgraded. (Security InfoWatch)




Freedom Prep graduates its first batch of seniors


It might not have been the biggest graduating class, but it was the first. (PDH)




Graduates steal the spotlight at Tuacahn


Tuacahn High School for the Performing Arts seniors stepped onto the school’s amphitheater stage Thursday night in what would be the final act of their high school years before setting off on the next part of their journey. (SGS)




Northern Utah high school graduation 2016: Send us your selfies


As the school year comes to a close, the time has come for high school graduates to walk across one stage and into the next life has in store for them.

In honor of the class of 2016, we’re asking northern Utah’s high school grads to mark their accomplishment with the ultimate form of self-celebration — the selfie, of course. (OSE)




Vehicle Day gives students a look at possible careers


Students at Bonneville Junior High School look inside a Jenkins-Soffe hearse during Vehicle Day at the Holladay school Thursday. Vehicle Day is a college and career awareness activity that exposes seventh-graders to different careers in an interactive way. (DN)




School at Alta High cancelled following power outage


School has been cancelled for Alta High Students after a generator blew out Friday morning. (KUTV) (KTVX)




City of Layton makes improvements to crosswalk where teen died


LAYTON, Utah – The city of Layton teamed up with a local business to make safety improvements at a crosswalk where two teens were hit by a distracted driver.

Just steps away from a business called Object Systems International sits a crosswalk on 199 North Fort Lane. It was the scene of a horrible accident in January.

Police say Leroy Clark was distracted as he drove through the crosswalk. Clark hit two teens, killing one of them: 17-year-old BaiLee DiBernardo. (KSTU)




Lawyers for victim in teacher sex case withdraw from lawsuit


KAYSVILLE — Attorneys representing a teen and his parents in a federal lawsuit against the Davis School District for allegations that it failed to protect the boy from sex abuse by a teacher are withdrawing from the case.

Attorneys Matthew Feller and Mark Carlson filed papers in court Tuesday, saying they’re leaving the case without their clients’ permission. (DN)




Inside our schools


Arrowhead Elementary

Coral Cliffs Elementary

Lava Ridge Intermediate

Valley Academy Charter

East Elementary

Enoch Elementary

Fiddlers Elementary

North Elementary

Three Peaks Elementary

Canyon View Middle (SGS)









The special session supports education and opposes a national monument Deseret News editorial


Education spending priorities can be a source of considerable debate which, in the political arena, sometimes hinges as much on perceptions as merits.

Gov. Gary Herbert’s vetoes earlier this year of bills providing $4.7 million in supplemental funding for a public preschool program, a reading intervention program for elementary students and a televised culinary arts program remain, to a large part, mysterious. He didn’t give any indication of his displeasure with these funding proposals before vetoing them at the last possible minute.

His decision to negotiate with lawmakers to restore that funding, which was carried out during a special session Wednesday, was the right thing to do.

Lawmakers clearly did not see the programs as wasteful, but the special session led to greater scrutiny of them, which always is a good thing. The sponsor of the bill to restore the funding, Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, said 1 in 4 Utah students is affected in some way by one of the five programs in question. Many of them are children from low to middle-income homes who are among the most at-risk for failure.

In the big scheme of things, the $4.7 million appropriation is a tiny part of the state’s $4.6 billion education budget.

Significantly, the governor and lawmakers decided not to consider questions about either the Common Core or Utah’s standardized testing, known by the acronym SAGE, as part of the special session. Both items deserve the full debate and consideration a regular legislative session can provide.




Bernick and Schott on Politics

Utah Policy commentary by columnists Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick


Lawmakers pass a resolution opposing a possible Bears Ears national monument, but President Barack Obama really doesn’t care what the Utah Legislature has to say on the issue.

A poll shows most Utahns oppose a Bears Ears Monument, but some (Sen. Jim Dabakis) think the Dan Jones & Associates survey was biased. We explain why those people (Sen. Jim Dabakis) are wrong.

It looks like Utah Republicans are starting to line up behind Donald Trump as the nominee as polling shows he now has a lead over both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders in Utah.

Legislators weigh into the debate over transgender bathrooms in Utah public schools. (video)




Governor thanks Utah’s outstanding teachers Commentary By Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert


Gov. Gary R. Herbert is enlisting Utah’s top teachers to help meet his new statewide goal to take education in Utah to the top.

At an event to honor 44 outstanding teachers Wednesday, Gov. Herbert talked about the goal he set 7 years ago, during one of the worst economic downturns in history, for Utah to become America’s top economy. He said Utahns responded by working together to lift Utah out of the Great Recession and make Utah’s economy the strongest in America.




Fighting against suicide, kids are helping kids

(Provo) Daily Herald commentary by columnist Laura Giles


As this school year comes to a close, 22 elementary schools in Utah are finishing up their first year with suicide prevention teams called Hope Squads. The Junior Hope Squads, as they are called in these younger grades, are similar to the Hope Squads in many secondary schools in the state.

The squads are groups of upper-grade elementary students, nominated by their peers as good listeners, easy to talk to and kind, who are trained to watch for warning signs in other students. Through literature-based lessons, they learn about topics such as anti-bullying, safe and unsafe secrets, how to be good listeners, inclusion and when to go to adults with concerns. The Junior Hope Squads are part of the Hope4Utah suicide prevention program.

Is there a need for suicide prevention in elementary schools? Two fifth-grade students in Utah completed suicide during the 2014-15 school year, according to Greg Hudnall, Hope4Utah director. Additionally, 15 elementary-aged children attempted or threatened suicide during the 2012-13 school year in Provo School District alone.




Principals give era of specialization a boost Deseret News commentary by columnist Doug Robinson


Everyone seems to agree that the era of specialization in high school athletics is unhealthy, but nothing changes — except to get worse.

Effective Dec. 1, 2015, the Utah High School Activities Association’s executive board, which is composed of one principal from each region, voted to loosen rules that previously limited what prep football coaches could do with their players in the offseason.

You expect the problem to be perpetuated by overzealous coaches, stage parents and misguided teenagers, but who thought it would ever come from high school principals.

The former rules were bad enough — then they made them worse. (Athletic Business)




Bathroom controversy defies biblical principles

(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Robert Bolton


“For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” (Romans 1:21–25, ESV)

If ever there were a period in the history of the United States of America where moral chaos was more starkly in evidence than it is today, it would be difficult to identify that time.




U.S. education reimagined: Why Bernie’s plan won’t work Des Moines (IA) Register op-ed by John E. Butler, emeritus professor of microbiology/immunology at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, and David G. Gerleman, retired engineer with the UI Carver College of Medicine


The American system of education spends more per pupil than nearly every advanced country in the world. Yet we are told that American graduates are unprepared for the workplace of the 21st century. We are told our businesses need graduates with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) proficiency. Public education policy has responded with revised STEM curricula and rounds of student achievement testing. Will this fix the problem? Perhaps the problem isn’t how much we are spending, or even who is doing the spending, but what we are buying with our educational dollars.

Our single-tract American system of higher education rations education based on educational achievement and ability to pay.  Little attempt is made to fit the educational system to either student aptitude or occupational suitability. Students with no desire to attend college or university are labeled as under achievers or losers. Students who do attend college are allowed to study in areas based on their interests but without a realistic prospect for gainful employment at the end of their course of study. It offers maximum freedom of choice and a good education for the highest achievers whose parents can afford it. However, it is a significant waste of money and educational resources on those students who drop out or discover late in the process that they are unsuited to their area of study. Is there a free public educational system that matches good jobs to both student achievement and occupational interests? We can learn much from the German Education System.




Nevada School Choice Victory

Wall Street Journal commentary


Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice Vice President Leslie Hiner on a court ruling that saves the state’s innovative education savings accounts. (video)




Mapping education research and judging influence Brookings Institute analysis by John T. Bruer, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, Center on Children and Families


Education research is a vast, multi-disciplinary field. In trying to understand it or make judgments about importance, influence, or where the action is, it can be helpful to see the big picture and not be swayed by where we happen to sit in the field. A map of education research derived from citation data can help us see the big picture. Responses to one of my recent Evidence Speaks postings and its relation to the annual Education Week Edu-Scholar Influence Rankings serve as an example of how a map might help.











GOP senators: Obama bathroom guidance is ‘not appropriate’

(Washington, DC) The Hill


Twenty-five Republican senators are firing back at the bathroom guidance from the Obama administration, saying the move was an executive overstep that can’t be enforced.

“It is not appropriate for a federal executive agency to issue ‘guidance’ for every school as if it were the law. Article I of the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the exclusive right to make laws,” the senators wrote in a letter Thursday to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Education Secretary John King.

The Obama administration last week issued guidance urging public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identities.

The move was met with a fierce backlash from GOP officials, sparking legislation to protect the authority of state and local governments to set school policy on bathrooms.

The senators noted Thursday that the Senate rejected an amendment similar to the Obama administration’s guidance during last year’s debate on the Every Student Succeeds Act, an overhaul of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind law.

“Every transgender person is someone’s child and should be treated with respect. But that does not justify a federal executive agency acting as a national school board telling 100,000 public schools how to resolve this issue,” the senators add.

The letter was signed by GOP Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Chuck Grassley (Iowa), Orrin Hatch (Utah), Thad Cochran (Miss.), James Lankford (Okla.), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Michael Enzi (Wyo.), James Inhofe (Okla.), John McCain (Ariz.), Dan Coats (Ind.), Bill Cassidy (La.), Mike Rounds (S.D.), John Barrasso (Wyo.), John Boozman (Ark.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Thom Tillis (N.C.), John Thune (S.D.), Bob Corker (Tenn.), Pat Roberts (Kansas), Steve Daines (Mont.), Joni Ernst (Iowa), Tom Cotton (Ark.), Tim Scott (S.C.), David Perdue (Ga.) and Roger Wicker (Miss.). (CNN)




House Republicans to pen letter denouncing Obama’s bathroom order Washington Times


A group of 73 Republican congressmen is repudiating President Obama’s order compelling public schools nationwide to permit restroom and locker room access on the basis of gender identity, rather than biological sex.

In the letter, which was authored by North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker and will be sent to Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and Education Secretary John King on Thursday, the House members call into question the constitutionality of Mr. Obama’s unilateral order, which forces schools to choose between federal education funds and the ability to regulate intimate facilities as they see fit.

“Americans are incensed by President Obama’s blatant executive overreach,” the letter says, the Daily Signal reported. “Now they are threatening school funding over an issue that should rightfully be left to the states. Their actions are politically motivated and Congress has every responsibility to challenge them.”

The letter compels the executive agencies to “explain why schools must disregard the privacy, ‘discomfort,’ and emotional strain imposed on other students during use of bathroom, showering, and changing facilities and overnight accommodations as these schools comply with this guidance.”




Oklahoma introduces measure to impeach Obama over bathroom rights Reuters


OKLAHOMA CITY | Oklahoma’s Republican-dominated legislature has filed a measure calling for President Barack Obama’s impeachment over his administration’s recommendations on accommodating transgender students, saying he overstepped his constitutional authority.

Lawmakers in the socially conservative state are also expected to take up a measure as early as Friday that would allow students to claim a religious right to have separate but equal bathrooms and changing facilities to segregate them from transgender students.

The bill introduced on Thursday night could force schools into costly construction, which would be difficult for them to complete after lawmakers significantly cut education funding to plug a $1.3 billion state budget shortfall.

The impeachment resolution also introduced on Thursday night calls on the Oklahoma members of the U.S. House of Representatives to file articles of impeachment against Obama, the U.S. attorney general, the U.S. secretary of education and others over the letter. (Tulsa World)




Public Is Divided Over Transgender Bathroom Issue, Poll Shows New York Times


The public is sharply divided along age, party and education lines over whether transgender people should be allowed to use public bathrooms that match their gender identity rather than their gender at birth, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.

While less than a majority, 46 percent of Americans say they think that transgender people should be allowed to use only public restrooms corresponding to their gender at birth. A smaller number, 41 percent, think transgender people should be allowed to use the restroom that matches the gender they identify with.

Democrats, college graduates and those under the age of 45 are more supportive of allowing for gender identity in bathroom choice, while their counterparts take the opposite stance.

The nationwide poll was conducted after President Obama issued a directive to public schools last week outlining ways to avoid discrimination against transgender students. The Obama administration contends that the issue is a federal civil rights question, while some states, such as North Carolina, say it is an issue for individual states to decide.

Nearly six in 10 Americans say they think decisions about which bathroom transgender students can use in public schools should be left to individual state or local governments to decide. While a slim 51 percent majority of Democrats think it is a federal issue, more than three­quarters of Republicans say the matter should be decided at the state or local level.




Students Want STEM, but Schools Can’t Find the Teachers While there’s high interest in science, technology, engineering and math, schools are struggling to recruit teachers for the subjects.

U.S. News & World Report


Students are expressing high interest in science, technology, engineering and math nationwide, but schools are facing a drought of educators to teach the subjects.

“Interest in teaching STEM subject areas is very, very low,” said Steve Kappler, vice president of brand experience for the ACT. In rural areas in particular, he added, “it is very difficult to find math and science teachers.”

Kappler was speaking Thursday at the U.S. News STEM Solutions Conference in Baltimore, leading a panel on recruiting “Great STEM Teachers.”

A lack of interest in teaching STEM is measurable while students are still in the classroom – long before they enter the workforce, let alone return to schools as teachers.

Of nearly 150,000 students surveyed by the ACT, only 606 expressed interest in teaching science, and 525 in teaching math.




How Can Schools Get Common-Core Assignments Up to Snuff?

Education Week


Baltimore — An analysis of 1,500 classroom assignments given at six urban middle schools last year yielded some disappointing results: Just 4 in 10 assignments were found to meet the Common Core State Standards’ high bar for literacy. In high-poverty schools, the average was closer to 3 in 10.

The Education Trust, the research and advocacy think tank that conducted the study, is working to expand on those findings in the hopes of eventually helping schools ratchet up the rigor of classroom work.

At an event here Monday, about 200 K-12 educators, most of whom hailed from the District of Columbia and Maryland, convened to learn how to scrutinize assignments in their own schools and districts.




Who’s hacking schools now? The students



The cyberattack that knocked hundreds of school networks offline in Japan last week had at least one novel feature: It was allegedly instigated by a student.

A 16-year-old high school student who said he was frustrated with his teachers unleashed an attack on the Osaka Board of Education server that took 444 elementary, junior high and high school networks offline, investigators said.

The student monitored the attack from his cellphone and later told authorities that he wanted to join hacktivist group Anonymous, according to the investigators.

Unusual until recently, student-launched attacks are becoming more common, said Radware security researcher Daniel Smith. The firm issued a threat advisory alert this week.

Like the rest of the world, schools and universities are increasingly reliant on cloud-based infrastructure to function, making them more vulnerable to attack. At the same time, the widespread availability of free or inexpensive hacking software and services means malicious students no longer need special skills to cause trouble.




Arizona governor declares victory in $3.5-billion education vote Reuters


PHOENIX | Arizona voters have narrowly approved a plan to pump $3.5 billion into education coffers over the next decade and put an end to a long-running legal battle, Republican Governor Doug Ducey said late on Thursday.

The measure, approved by state lawmakers and Ducey last year, provides for Arizona to tap its land trust fund and provide an additional $300 for each student, from kindergarten through 12th grade, in public and charter schools.

Arizona has historically ranked near the bottom of states in funding education.




Colorado education commissioner resigns suddenly after 4 months on job Rich Crandall announced resignation just four-and-a-half months into job Chalkbeat Colorado via Denver Post


Colorado Education Commissioner Rich Crandall announced his resignation on Thursday, just four-and-a-half months into the job.

The former Arizona Republican lawmaker who also served a brief stint as Wyoming’s top school officer said in a statement he was resigning for personal reasons.

“The realities of my large family being out of state, including school age children, as well as the demands of the position and the time required to fully serve a state as diverse and expansive as Colorado, lead me to this decision,” Crandall said in the statement. “I have enjoyed getting to know and work with so many supporters of public education, especially the staff at the Department of Education. I wish the state board and staff well as they work on implementation of ESSA and the many key policy issues facing the board.”

The State Board of Education will meet Friday to discuss appointing Crandall’s replacement. Crandall won unanimous support from the Republican-controlled board after being selected as sole finalist.




Georgia’s Deal to push ahead on education agenda despite veto backlash Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Gov. Nathan Deal has been painted as a closet liberal, blamed for Donald Trump’s ascent and even “censured” by west Georgia conservatives for a pair of controversial vetoes. But facing an outpouring of angst from fellow Republicans, he’s doubling down on an ambitious education overhaul that might take every ounce of political clout he has left.

The governor told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he doesn’t plan to scale back his education agenda an iota even as he braces for the fallout over his rejection of the two biggest-ticket measures that passed the Legislature this year. And he’s stepped up his pitch to persuade voters to give final approval to his school takeover plan in November.

Deal still has plenty of tools to bend lawmakers to his will. He sets the blueprint for billions of dollars in spending in the annual budget, makes dozens of sought-after appointments a year and, of course, has the final say on hundreds of pieces of legislation.

But his plan to “revolutionize” how Georgia schools are funded, what they teach and how they operate could be his biggest ask yet. And fellow Republicans in the Legislature seem newly emboldened to defy him after he nixed both a “campus carry” bill to allow concealed guns on public college campuses and a “religious liberty” measure that would have broadened legal protections for opponents of same-sex marriage.

The governor’s image among Republicans has taken a decisive hit. While an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll shows 52 percent of Georgians give him a positive approval rating thanks to a sharp increase in Democratic support, his favorable reviews among Republicans have plummeted 15 percentage points since January.




All Kansas schools reaccredited, but their world is about to change Lawrence (KS) Journal-World


TOPEKA — The Kansas State Board of Education gave a blanket renewal of the accreditation status of every public school in Kansas, as well as every private school that participates in the program, regardless of how their students performed on statewide reading and math tests last year.

It was the fourth consecutive year the board has automatically renewed those accreditations. The first of those had to do with the state transitioning to new curriculum standards known as the Common Core, also known as the Kansas College and Career Ready Standards.

There were also issues with the new standardized tests that go along with those standards, the first year of which, in 2014, failed to produce reliable results because of technical issues in the web-based testing system.

But this year, the accreditations were renewed because the state is expecting to shift to a new accreditation model, one that puts less emphasis on yearly test scores and more emphasis on a wider range of factors such as how well students perform in college or whether they find jobs after graduation.




Is It Time to Move Away From the Traditional School Calendar?

Education Week


In just a few weeks, most schools around the country will be closing for the summer. As this happens every year, educators worry about the summer slide and how much learning will be lost while kids are out of school, particularly for students from low-income families.

But for students who attend year-round schools, summer means a few weeks off rather than three months. We recently talked to David Hornak about the issue. He’s the superintendent of Holt Public Schools in Holt, Mich., and the executive director of the National Association for Year-Round Education (NAYRE).

Below is a lightly edited version of our conversation:




Elite Math Competitions Struggle to Diversify Their Talent Pool Education Wee


Washington — Interest in elite high school math competitions has grown in recent years, and in light of last summer’s U.S. win at the International Math Olympiad—the first for an American team in more than two decades—the trend is likely to continue.

But will such contests, which are overwhelmingly dominated by Asian and white students from middle-class and affluent families, become any more diverse?

Many social and cultural factors play roles in determining which promising students get on the path toward international math recognition. But efforts are in place to expose more black, Hispanic, and low-income students to advanced math, in the hope that the demographic pool of high-level contenders will eventually begin to shift and become less insular.

“The challenge is if certain types of people are doing something, it’s difficult for other people to break into it,” said Po-Shen Loh, the head coach of last year’s winning U.S. Math Olympiad team and an associate professor of mathematics at Carnegie Mellon University. Participation grows through friends and networks and if “you realize that’s how they’re growing, you can start to take action” and bring in other students, he said.




Exams Around the World

Pen, paper, and a time limit



Examinations, tests, assessments—whatever the nomenclature, it’s hard to imagine schooling without them. Testing is the most popular method of quantifying individuals’ knowledge, often with the intention of objectively measuring aptitude and ability.

Test-taking is a dreaded experience that the country’s kids and young adults share with their counterparts across the globe. The ritual at its core doesn’t vary much: Students sit at a table or a computer desk (or sometimes, as shown below, on the floor), pencil and/or mouse in hand, the clock ticking away mercilessly. America for its part is home to what The Atlantic has described as an “alphabet soup” of standardized tests, including: the NAEP, SBAC, PARCC, ACT, and, of course, SAT. Testing has become increasingly notorious in the U.S., to the point that tens of thousands of parents across the country have opted their kids out of standardized tests.

In America, perhaps all the testing helps explain why “all-nighters” and Adderall abuse are the norm on many college campuses. But there is an unhealthy obsession with acing the test abroad, too. Fraudulent college applications are reportedly rampant among students in China—the birthplace of the standardized test—aspiring to attend school in the U.S. And hundreds of people in India were recently arrested in connection with a massive cheating scandal. (Many of those arrested were believed to be family members of the 10th-grade test-takers.) Meanwhile, as NPR has reported, “the relentless focus on education and exams is often to blame” for suicide among teens in South Korea, the leading cause of death for that demographic.

Test-taking appears to be more prominent in certain parts of the world, such as Asia, than in others.










USOE Calendar



UEN News



May 20:

Veterans’ and Military Affairs Commission meeting

9 a.m., 765 N 2200 West, Salt Lake City



June 9:

Utah State Board of Education study session, USDB and committee meetings

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City



June 10:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City



June 14:

Education Interim Committee meeting

8 a.m., TBD


Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

2 p.m., 445 State Capitol



June 15:

Education Interim Committee meeting

1:15 p.m., 30 House Building



July 14:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City


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