Education News Roundup: Aug. 1, 2016



Summer/Education News Roundup

Summer/Education News Roundup

Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:


Will Utah schools have after-school Satan clubs? (SLT)

and (KUTV)

and (KSTU)

and (WaPo)

and (USAT)

and ([Washington, DC] Daily Caller)


Associated Press picks up on the Academic Pathway to Teaching license. Pick your favorite outlet, but it’s the same AP story at each. (OSE)

and (PDH)

and (LHJ)

and (CVD)

and (SGS)

and (MUR)


Ed Week does not expect K-12 education to make much of a splash in the presidential election. (Ed Week)


Alabama is not only going to require cursive writing instruction in school, they’re going to track cursive proficiency levels. Suggestion: The final exam should be trying to decipher one of ENR’s college papers from the olden days when he wrote them out in longhand as a first draft before typing them on his Olympia portable typewriter. Anyone who can read that writing is beyond proficient in cursive. (NYT












An After School Satan Club could be coming to your kid’s elementary school — yes, even in Utah


Plan to address teacher shortage draws ire


Weber sheriff’s Lt. Findlay resigns to take role at Weber School District


Weber Basin Job Corps celebrates 50 years helping forests and changing lives


Program helps Utah youth learn how to design video games


Latino youths gain leadership experience at camp


How One Woman Went From Lunch Lady To Leader Of The Country’s Biggest Union


The States That Spend the Most (and the Least) on Education Several factors are behind the drastic differences in funding.


Middle school teacher, accused of trying to have sex with student, sentenced to 1-15 years


Ex-bus driver sentenced to 20 days in jail for DUI with students on board


Polygamous towns gradually becoming conventional American community More businesses, students and private property have plural-marriage town looking more like mainstream USA.


UPSTART program receives $2 million grant


Stuff The Bus Fundraiser Event


How To Make the Perfect Back to School Breakfast


Why it might be a good idea to start saving for five or more years of college now


Will text updates help parents get involved in their child’s education?


Does Trump nomination culminate a 180-degree turn on education reform?






The disappearing single-income Utah household


Who deserves praise and criticism this week?


Back to school opportunities


Testimony in support of R277-511 (Academic Pathway to Teaching Level 1 License)


Another study of teacher shortage? How about a raise?


Teach sex ed and chastity


Hillary Clinton’s School Choice

She used to support charters. Now she’s for the union agenda.


Common Core Regrets?


Insiders or outsiders: who runs public school districts better?






Early childhood education gets push from $1 billion federal investment


K-12 Fights for Airtime as Presidential Election Issue Competing concerns, candidate priorities may tamp down topic’s profile


How tough should schools be on teen drinking?


Butler suspends hairstyle bans in dress code


The Importance Of Getting Things Wrong


Can You Sign Here? Alabama Law Aims to Keep Cursive in Schools


Tantrums over ‘Sesame Street’ laying off beloved characters force producers to reconsider


For a Child’s Dreams, Are Parents Going for Gold, or Broke?


Red Sox Slugger Ortiz Records Wake-up Calls for Boston Kids


Turkey’s anti-Gulen crackdown ripples far and wide








An After School Satan Club could be coming to your kid’s elementary school — yes, even in Utah


Salem Mass. • It’s a hot summer night, and leaders of the Satanic Temple have gathered in the crimson-walled living room of a Victorian manse in this city renowned for its witch trials in the 17th century. They’re watching a sepia-toned video, in which children dance around a maypole, a spider crawls across a clown’s face and eerie, ambient chanting gives way to a backward, demonic voice-over. The group chuckles with approval.

They’re here plotting to bring their wisdom to the nation’s public elementary school children. They point out that Christian evangelical groups already have infiltrated the lives of America’s children through after-school religious programming in public schools, and they appear determined to give young students a choice: Jesus or Satan.

“It’s critical that children understand that there are multiple perspectives on all issues, and that they have a choice in how they think,” said Doug Mesner, the Satanic Temple’s co-founder.

On Monday, the group plans to introduce its After School Satan Club to public elementary schools, including one in Prince George’s County, petitioning school officials to allow them to open immediately as the academic year starts. Chapter heads from Utah, New York, Boston and Arizona were in Salem on July 10 talking strategy, with others from Minneapolis, Detroit, San Jose, New Orleans, Pittsburgh and Florida participating online. The promotional video, which feels like a mash-up of a horror movie trailer and a “Saturday Night Live” sketch, will serve to promote the new club along with its website —

The Satanic Temple — which has been offering tongue-in-cheek support for the fallen angel in public arenas that have embraced prayer and parochial ceremonies — is bringing its fight over constitutional separation of church and state to the nation’s schools.

But the group’s plan for public schoolchildren isn’t actually about promoting worship of the devil. The Satanic Temple doesn’t espouse a belief in the existence of a supernatural being that other religions identify solemnly as Satan, or Lucifer, or Beelzebub. The Temple rejects all forms of supernaturalism and is committed to the view that scientific rationality provides the best measure of reality. (SLT) (KUTV) (KSTU) (WaPo) (USAT) ([Washington, DC] Daily Caller)




Plan to address teacher shortage draws ire


SALT LAKE CITY — Public school teachers are pushing back against a state school board plan intended to address teacher shortages.

The Utah State Board of Education unanimously decided to allow schools to hire people with expertise in subject matter but no teaching license or classroom experience.

Many spoke against the plan at an overflowing board meeting last week. Their concerns included a lack of preparedness and burdening other educators, among others. (OSE) (PDH) (LHJ) (CVD) (SGS) (MUR)




Weber sheriff’s Lt. Findlay resigns to take role at Weber School District


OGDEN — Two communication specialists in Weber County law enforcement and education are taking different jobs.

Weber County Sheriff’s Lt. Lane Findlay said Friday he is resigning from the sheriff’s office to become the communications specialist at Weber School District. In the interim, Sgt. Matt Jensen will be taking over Findlay’s job as public information officer until the sheriff’s office hires a replacement.

Nate Taggart, who was the communications specialist for the school district, said Friday he has accepted a position as assistant principal at the Northern Utah Academy for Math, Engineering & Science on Weber State University’s Layton campus.

Taggart has been with Weber School District in some community relations capacity for more than 17 years.

Findlay has been in law enforcement for the past 14 years, 10 of those years with the Weber County Sheriff’s Office.  His roles have been spokesman for the office and commander over the west precinct of Weber County. (OSE)




Weber Basin Job Corps celebrates 50 years helping forests and changing lives


OGDEN — A lot has changed in the last half century, but not the U.S. Forest Service’s commitment to building bright futures for young people.

The Weber Basin Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center in Ogden set up its campus at the mouth of Weber Canyon 50 years ago this year. Friday, students and faculty celebrated five decades of helping at-risk and underprivileged young adults gain skills, find jobs and get a push forward in life.

Beyond career support, the U.S. Forest Service’s goal with Job Corps is to encourage communities that have historically been marginalized.

“As you can see, I’m African-American. I’m a female and I’m an urban person,” said Tina Terrell, national director of the U.S. Forest Service Job Corps, at the anniversary celebration.

She grew up in Philadelphia. Working on the forest first sparked her interest at age 19, she said.

“I have a forestry degree. How did that all come together? Because someone looked at me, as me as I’m looking at you, and said … ‘we have a place for you,’” Terrell said. “That’s what the Forest Service is offering each one of you.”

The U.S. Job Corps offers no-cost career training, technical certification and GED diplomas for eligible youth ages 16 to 24. It’s administered through the U.S. Department of Labor, although the Weber Job Corps is operated by the U.S. Forest Service. (OSE)




Program helps Utah youth learn how to design video games


SALT LAKE CITY — Spy Hop Productions is a Utah nonprofit that mentors youth in the digital media arts, and they just staged their second “Power Up, Party Down” event to honor some exceptional teens.

The event celebrated the release of a game called “Gray,” which eight teenagers spent 10 months developing.

The game is a lot of fun to play, and it teaches kids about perseverance and self-discovery.

“A lot of people, when you really think about it, have not been able to actually complete something like this in the past, and so it’s really exciting that myself and so many other people on the development team were able to do this at such a young age,” Bryan Smith said.

Along with teaching youngsters how to build video games, Spy Hop also has courses on film, audio, and music.

The game designers had to master the skills to build a game that meets industry standards. (KSTU)




Latino youths gain leadership experience at camp


SALT LAKE CITY — Kimberly Membreno grew up in a home she called “really rough.”

Neither of her parents graduated high school, and family problems permeated into her own self-confidence.

After participating in service activities, and with the help of mentors and fellow students in Latinos in Action, the 17-year-old has found the courage to become involved in her community and speak her mind.

“It gave me a lot of confidence,” said Membreno, who will be a senior at Bonneville High School this fall. “I have the courage to do it.”

Her newfound courage helped her earn a scholarship to Weber State University and a free laptop, which will kickstart her career goals of using her musical talents to inspire others.

Membreno is just one of 250 student leaders for Latinos in Action who attended its leadership training boot camp Monday and Tuesday at Camp Tracy in Millcreek Canyon. (KSL)




How One Woman Went From Lunch Lady To Leader Of The Country’s Biggest Union


Lily Eskelsen Garcia’s story isn’t exactly a rags-to-riches tale in the traditional sense. There was never any fairy godmother waiting in the wings for her.

But that doesn’t mean that there was no magic in her rise.

In her more than 40 years in the education system, Garcia, 61, has gone from lunch lady to the highest-ranking Latina woman in labor — rising through the ranks of education to serve as the president of the National Education Association, the largest labor union in the United States.

Garcia’s launch started in 1989, when she was named teacher of the year in Utah.

“I’m pretty outspoken,” she told Refinery29, so when she was given a public platform and asked what she thought of policies surrounding education in her home state of Utah, the chance to speak her mind was a little too tempting.

“I never call people names, but you can let people know that you think the governor is not doing a very good job in some very nice ways,” she said, laughing. ([New York] Refinery29)




The States That Spend the Most (and the Least) on Education Several factors are behind the drastic differences in funding.


Public school spending varies dramatically from one part of the country to another. New York is the biggest spender, doling out more than $20,000 per student each year, counting teacher salaries, support services and all the other costs associated with public schools. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Idaho and Utah spend only about one-third as much.

Financial figures published by the U.S. Census Bureau depict wide variation in spending across states, regions and individual districts. Several factors help to explain the vast differences in spending. Here are a few key drivers: (Governing magazine)




Middle school teacher, accused of trying to have sex with student, sentenced to 1-15 years


A Judge has sentenced a Park City middle school teacher after he pleaded guilty to trying to have sex with a minor student, police say.

Former Ecker Hill Middle School Band Teacher Derek Spitzer, 53, will serve one to 15 years in prison for luring a minor via internet or text.

Spitzer, was accused in January of creating a fake scientific sex study in an attempt to build trust and lure a 13-year-old male student into a sexual relationship. (KUTV) (SLT)




Ex-bus driver sentenced to 20 days in jail for DUI with students on board


AMERICAN FORK — A former Alpine School District bus driver will spend 20 days in jail after pleading guilty to driving drunk with students on board.

Sherry Lee Lund, 52, pleaded guilty Tuesday to driving under the influence and two counts of reckless endangerment, all class A misdemeanors. In exchange for her plea, three additional reckless endangerment charges were dismissed.

Lund, of Lehi, was sentenced the same day. Each of the three charges carried the potential for a year behind bars. Fourth District Judge James Brady chose to suspend all but 20 days of each sentence, running them concurrently. (DN) (KSL) (KSTU)




Polygamous towns gradually becoming conventional American community More businesses, students and private property have plural-marriage town looking more like mainstream USA.


Colorado City, Ariz. • The train is running again in Cottonwood Park — the small engine pulling kids in miniature cars on the thin tracks of steel that circle the park.

The park looks good, too. After years of atrophy, tables and benches were painted for the July Fourth community party. Broken windows have been replaced in the restrooms and outbuildings.

On Central Street, the new Dollar General store is open. In adjoining Hildale, Utah, a dentist plans to open a practice.

A music festival is set for October. More parents are enrolling their children in the public schools. (SLT)




UPSTART program receives $2 million grant


Utah’s UPSTART program is expanding to include more families thanks to a $2 million grant awarded to the Waterford Institute, which runs the technology-based program.

The organization received the grant through a contract for the High Quality School Readiness Program Expansion for High Quality Education Software in order to use the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families funds throughout the next three years.

With the newly-received funds, around 10,000 children, approximately 20 percent of Utah’s 4-year-olds, will be able to receive academic training through UPSTART’s kindergarten-readiness curriculum. (SGS)




Stuff The Bus Fundraiser Event


United Way representatives and Allconnect employees gather school supplies for Washington County School District students during the second annual Stuff the Bus Friday, July 29, 2016. (SGS) (SGN)




How To Make the Perfect Back to School Breakfast


LDS Hospital Registered Dietitian Ali Spencer says healthy back to school breakfasts can be made in a snap.  Breakfast is essential for both kids and adults to help regulate energy levels and hunger throughout the day. So many times breakfast gets pushed aside because there just isn’t any time.

When building your breakfast, think about balance. Include foods that are going to provide both protein and carbohydrates. Also, to speed things up, try using foods that you can make ahead that can be served cold or reheated easily. (KTVX)




Why it might be a good idea to start saving for five or more years of college now


When a student takes longer than the expected four years to graduate college, which is becoming more common, it’s not just the parents’ savings that could suffer, but the student’s as well.

The National Center for Education Statistics says that only about 40 percent of those seeking a bachelor’s degree received it within four years, with 60 percent earning it within six years, according to NerdWallet.

That’s not good news for parents involved in paying for their child’s education — about a quarter of parents are dealing with paying for a fifth, sixth or even seventh year of college, according to a recent student loan lender survey, Reuters said.

It’s become so common that some financial planners are telling their clients to prepare by saving for five or six planned years, instead of just four, according to Reuters. And some parents are taking proactive measures by having their children take high school classes that count for college credit, it continued. (DN)




Will text updates help parents get involved in their child’s education?


Texting parents about a child’s academic performance may be the simple, inexpensive answer to improving student achievement, but is it the right one?

A new British study from researchers at the University of Bristol and Harvard University found texting to be an effective way for parents to get involved with their child’s education. (DN)




Does Trump nomination culminate a 180-degree turn on education reform?


A bipartisan education reform agenda that reaches back 20 years may have shattered in the past two, if the GOP and Democratic platforms are any indication.

Education reformers from both parties are concerned, as Democrats lean against standardized testing to align with the teacher union pressure, who refer to such tests as “test and punish.” Meanwhile, Republican leaders criticize any form of centralization, both federal oversight and the state-coordinated Common Core.

Last week the Deseret News addressed the shift in Democratic politics, as laid out in the new party platform, but the Republican shift is also raising eyebrows. (DN)










The disappearing single-income Utah household Deseret News editorial


By common economic measures Utah is experiencing economic prosperity that is the envy of the nation. But for the state with the largest portion of its population under 18 years old, one metric should be of great concern: the disappearing single-income household. When households can reliably depend on one income, they can more efficiently allocate time and talent to the care and nurturance of children. Apart from urging employers to make greater accommodations for dual income households, the only other practical antidote is to increase both the quality and quantity of educational attainment. Addresssing this issue has unique urgency for Utah.

Utah unemployment rates are among the lowest in the nation and job growth rates are among the highest. The housing market is strong and the state is running an admirable budget surplus. So what’s not to like about the Utah economy?

Buried in the positive economic numbers for Utah is a trend that is devastating to a number of Utah households that should be a concern for all Utahns over time.

Much has been said about the declining coal industry in Utah. The magnitude of this decline is stunning. In just one year between December 2014 and December 2015, over 20 percent of all jobs in the mining, quarrying and extraction industries in Utah disappeared. This rate of employment collapse is unusual in any industry. It is particularly significant for Utah because these are some of the highest-paying jobs in the state, with an average weekly wage of almost $1600. The result was a decline in statewide wages of nearly $200 million on an annualized basis. And for those who lost good-paying jobs, their former income levels are likely gone forever.

Why did this sharp decline in jobs and total wages go almost unnoticed at the state level? Because the state created so many jobs in other industries that the loss of these jobs was more than compensated for by increases elsewhere.

The current employment and wage trends are broad-based and not unique to Utah. However, since Utah has the youngest average age in the nation and one of the largest average household sizes, these trends are particularly challenging to many of its households.

Of course single-income households are not universally preferred. But looking toward the future, Utahns who want to enjoy a single-income household lifestyle may have only one practical course of action: increase their level of education attainment. In the meantime, employers and policy makers should look for ways to better accommodate families with two incomes and little spare time.

Gov. Gary Herbert’s focus on improving the quality of education in Utah is not only good policy, it may be essential to fostering healthy families – a characteristic that uniquely distinguishes Utah from many other states in the country.




Who deserves praise and criticism this week?

(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial


The Standard-Examiner Editorial Board hashes out the positions we take on the Opinion page. Here’s what members recommended last week for praise and criticism:

THUMBS UP: To former Northridge High School football star Colby Bockwoldt for his free two-day football camp at Weber State University.

After high school, Bockwoldt starred at BYU and played several seasons in the NFL.

Once, when Bockwoldt was a young fan, a Weber State University football player threw him a glove after a game. “I just thought that was the coolest experience. I was like, ‘This guy saw me and noticed me,’” he told the Standard-Examiner’s Ryan Comer.

The camps were a way for Bockwoldt to give back to the kids and, as he put it, “focus on very basic skill development and just have some fun.”

A lot of Northern Utah football talent helped Bockwoldt with the camps, including Weber State coaches Jay Hill, Jerry Graybeal and Dave Arslanian, Roy High coach Fred Fernandes, and Daniel Coats, a former Northridge/BYU alum who also played in the NFL.

We’re sure a lot of youngsters treasured the personal attention from Bockwoldt and others at camp.

THUMBS UP: To the Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College and Ben Lomond High School for starting a composites class.

The aerospace industry needs workers skilled in composites.

A $193,000 grant from the Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership covers the cost of a lab and 210-hour class at Ben Lomond, said Jim Taggart, vice president for instructive services at OWATC.

A student who thrives in the course can finish composites training at OWATC for free.

By taking classes summers and weekends, students who earn a composites certificate can move into the workplace after graduation, earning $15 to $20 an hour. “It’s a seamless passage,” Taggart said.

It’s a great opportunity.




Back to school opportunities

Deseret News op-ed by Lynn Stoddard, a retired educator who writes and speaks about changing to a student-centered system


At the beginning of August, it’s a custom for parents, students and teachers to start thinking about another school year. Teachers start the month with eager anticipation of another year of interacting with students — and getting their classrooms ready. Teachers hope to have the best school year ever — with a smaller number of students, the most supportive parents, and the freedom to practice their profession without worthless testing and impossible requirements.

Parents and students anticipate another school year for different reasons. Will it be business as usual, or will the 2016-17 year be special? Nearly everyone is hoping the next school year will be the best ever.

What can teachers and parents do to ensure some changes that everyone will welcome and be excited about? Shall we stay with the conventional subject-oriented system, or do we dare to take steps toward a personalized student-focused system?




Testimony in support of R277-511 (Academic Pathway to Teaching Level 1 License) Sutherland Institute commentary by education policy analyst Christine Cooke


Testimony as prepared by Christine Cooke, Sutherland Institute education policy analyst, who presented it Jul. 26, 2016, before the Utah State Board of Education Law and Licensing Committee in support of R277-511 Academic Pathway to Teaching (APT) Level 1 License.




Another study of teacher shortage? How about a raise?

Salt Lake Tribune letter from Pat Thomas


The State Board of Education does not need yet another study on why there is such a great teacher shortage. They already conducted one almost a decade ago in 2007 by Dr. David J. Sperry of the University of Utah. Did the board forget about this?

In his research, Sperry correctly predicted that Utah would see an unprecedented teacher shortage if concerns over pay remained unaddressed. Apparently, the board and Legislature missed his message.

Why would another survey change anything if they refuse to listen? (DN)




Teach sex ed and chastity

Salt Lake Tribune letter from Chelsea Hicken


As a member of both The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Mormons for Agency, I stand with Planned Parenthood in designing CTR-branded condoms to offer in our communities.

Church policy allows for family planning and birth control in all forms. Mormons for Agency advocates that comprehensive sex education, including discussions on consent, should be taught side by side with the law of chastity. Without a true knowledge of all things, we cannot fully exercise our free agency.




Hillary Clinton’s School Choice

She used to support charters. Now she’s for the union agenda.

Wall Street Journal editorial


No one would call the 2016 election a battle of ideas, but it will have policy consequences. So it’s worth noting the sharp left turn by Hillary Clinton and Democrats against education reform and the charter schools she and her husband championed in the 1990s.

Mrs. Clinton recently promised a National Education Association (NEA) assembly higher pay, student-loan write-offs, less testing and universal pre-K. She had only this to say about charter schools, which are free from union rules: “When schools get it right, whether they are traditional public schools or public charter schools, let’s figure out what’s working” and “share it with schools across America.”

The crowd booed, so Mrs. Clinton pivoted to deriding “for-profit charter schools,” a fraction of the market whose grave sin is contracting with a management company. Cheering resumed. When she later addressed the other big teachers union, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), she began with an attack on for-profit charters.




Common Core Regrets?

New York Times commentary by Jack Markell, Richard M. Frauenglass, Walt Gardner, Mindy L. Kornhaber, Chris Hayes, and Kathleen Elvin


Readers say progress has mostly been made under national education standards




Insiders or outsiders: who runs public school districts better?

Washington Post commentary by Larry Cuban, professor emeritus of education at Stanford University


In Los Angeles Unified School District, the school board appointed an insider — Michelle King — superintendent earlier this year after a string of prior superintendents came from outside the district.

In New York City, Mayor Bill De Blasio appointed an insider – Carmen Farina –   as chancellor in 2014 after then Mayor Michael Bloomberg had appointed three outsiders since 2000.

These appointments of insiders to big-city districts, people who spent their careers within the district as teachers, principals, and district office administrators, are the exception, not the rule. For large urban districts, the rule has been to appoint outsiders who promise major changes in course to solve serious problems.

Why is that?










Early childhood education gets push from $1 billion federal investment Washington Post


Early education across the United States is a mishmash of day care, Head Start and preschool programs with a wide range of quality and effectiveness. But a federally sponsored program in 20 states has been effective at giving those states a way to assess and quantify early-childhood education options and make that information available to parents, educators and legislators, according to a study the U.S. Education Department plans to release Monday.

The report looks at data from the 20 states that received more than $1 billion in federal aid to make quality education accessible to high-needs preschool children — those from low-income families or those in need of special assistance, including children with disabilities or developmental delays. The funding, the study says, has rapidly improved the quality of learning for the students while simultaneously enrolling a significant number of new students in top-tier programs.

It also has allowed health screenings for thousands of preschoolers to help identify and treat medical and developmental issues earlier, including ones that might have affected their ability to learn. (ED)




K-12 Fights for Airtime as Presidential Election Issue Competing concerns, candidate priorities may tamp down topic’s profile


Is K-12 education poised to catch fire in the policy debates leading up to November’s presidential election, now less than 100 days away?

Don’t bet on it.

Based on the dynamics at the just-finished Democratic and Republican conventions—and the profiles of the two nominees—K-12 is likely to lag behind other issues in a tumultuous election year dominated by national-security concerns, immigration, and sheer force of personality.

Donald Trump, the Republican standard-bearer, and a succession of other speakers at the GOP convention in Cleveland July 18-21 barely discussed education beyond a few perfunctory nods to school choice.

At the Democrats’ convention, where Hillary Clinton accepted the nomination July 28, there were plenty of shout-outs to early-childhood education and college access, along with a trumpeting of her long record on children’s issues. But she and other Democratic luminaries in Philadelphia mostly bypassed K-12 policy talk, even though the party made some waves over how it handled standardized tests in its platform.

But Jeffrey Henig, a professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, who focuses on education and politics, doesn’t expect K-12 policy to get much more of the spotlight between now and Nov. 8.




How tough should schools be on teen drinking?

Washington Post


As schools grapple with how to deter underage drinking at prom and other events, some elected officials and parents in Montgomery County are urging tougher punishments for students when they are caught, such as limiting their involvement in school activities or barring them from graduation ceremonies.

They have looked to neighboring Fairfax County, Va., where those found using alcohol or drugs at school events face suspension from athletic teams, clubs and other activities for 30 days for a first offense. They also have eyed policies in Anne Arundel County, where drug and alcohol violations during the weeks before graduation mean students lose their chance to attend commencement and other senior events.

“I think we need to send a serious message to kids that alcohol and drug use is serious, and there will be serious consequences,” said Philip Kauffman, a Montgomery School Board member who described the county’s approach as “broken.”




Butler suspends hairstyle bans in dress code Louisville (KY) Courier-Journal


Responding to outcry from some parents, students and community members, Butler Traditional High has immediately suspended the section of its dress code policy that regulates how students can wear their hair.

Butler’s school-based decision-making committee – a group of teachers, parents and administrators tasked with handling certain school decisions – met Thursday afternoon to address concerns from some that the school’s policy prohibits many of the hairstyles favored by black students with natural hair.

About 100 people came to Thursday’s hastily called SBDM meeting – a huge turnout, given that most SBDM meetings draw only a handful of public attendees at most.

But the attendees were not given an opportunity to speak during the meeting, which lasted only minutes.




The Importance Of Getting Things Wrong



Think about our planet for a second. Earth has an elliptical — oval-shaped — orbit. That means we’re closer to the sun for one part of the year and farther away another part of the year.

Does that fact explain why it’s hotter in the summer and colder in the winter?

Lots of kids think it does. Lots of adults think so, too. And they’re wrong.

Philip Sadler is both a professor of astronomy and the director of the science education department at Harvard University, and he is obsessed with wrong answers like these.

“Students are not empty vessels,” he says. “Students are full of all kinds of knowledge, and they have explanations for everything.” From birth, human beings are working hard to figure out the world around us.

But we go about it more like the early Greek philosophers than modern scientists: reasoning from our limited experience. And like those early philosophers — Ptolemy comes to mind — we’re often dead wrong.

Sadler says that cognitive science tells us that if you don’t understand the flaws in students’ reasoning, you’re not going to be able to dislodge their misconceptions and replace them with the correct concepts.




Can You Sign Here? Alabama Law Aims to Keep Cursive in Schools New York Times


Except when you sign a check — if you even do that anymore — you may hardly use the loops and swirls of cursive.

Many American schools have adjusted, with cursive lessons steadily declining for decades. The Common Core standards adopted by most states in 2010 do not require teaching cursive, and many districts have chosen to spend their limited time, money and resources on core subjects or more modern skills.

But some states are choosing to hold the line, passing laws to make sure cursive doesn’t become a totally lost skill.

“It’s really an art form that personally identifies you,” said Dickie Drake, a state representative in Alabama who introduced a bill requiring schools to teach it. “I think your cursive writing identifies you as much as your physical features do.”

That bill, named “Lexi’s Law” after Mr. Drake’s granddaughter, was signed by Alabama’s governor, Robert Bentley, in May and it takes effect on Monday. It requires schools to provide cursive instruction by the end of the third grade. While Alabama schools were already required to teach cursive, they must now report proficiency levels to the state at the end of each year.




Tantrums over ‘Sesame Street’ laying off beloved characters force producers to reconsider New York Daily News


“Sesame Street” is brought to you today by the letter U — for U-turn.

A day after news broke that three long-running human characters were being tossed out with Oscar the Grouch’s trash, the children show’s producers may be having second thoughts, Fox News Latino is reporting.

After Sesame Workshop announced that Bob McGrath (Bob), Roscoe Orman (Gordon) and Emilio Delgado (Luis) were being let go after serving 47, 42 and 45 seasons respectively, grown-up kids threw tantrums all over social media.

The backlash may have provided a teachable moment for the bean-counters.

“Due to your overwhelming reaction regarding the status of myself and others on the show, the new producers of ‘Sesame Street’ have reached out to us with an expressed desire to continue our longstanding relationship, to be initiated with a meeting in September,” Delgado told Fox News Latino by email.

“Hopefully, this will result in the inclusion of veteran cast members in upcoming productions.”




For a Child’s Dreams, Are Parents Going for Gold, or Broke?

Associated Press


The Olympics spark hope in many a child of going for the gold. But in financially supporting those dreams, some parents are going for broke.

For his 15-year old son’s travel hockey team, Tim Richmeier was spending about $5,000 a season: using his tax refunds, halting contributions to his 401(k), and putting travel expenses on a credit card – including $6,000 he’s still paying off. Richmeier said it was a great experience for his child. But after four years, it was a financial relief when his son didn’t make the team.

“I was kind of dreading the upcoming season, knowing I’d go deeper in the hole,” said Richmeier, a single father in Phoenix.

Competitive youth sports in the U.S. are rising in popularity. The exclusive club and travel teams come with added coaching and intense competition, as well as much higher costs than a school or community team.

A survey released Monday by TD Ameritrade of 1,000 parents whose children are involved in such elite endeavors finds most pay between $100 and $499 a month. For one in five, it’s more than $1,000.

Some parents can absorb the cost, but others are working second jobs, depleting their savings or otherwise compromising their own financial well-being to fund the activities. In the survey, 60 percent say the expense has them concerned about their ability to save for the future.

Parents largely say they don’t regret the spending because of the physical, mental and emotional benefits for their children. But financial and athletic experts suggest parents make a more objective assessment of at what cost the kids are pursuing these dreams.

Of nearly 8 million U.S. students currently participating in high school athletics, only 480,000 compete at the college level at an NCAA school, according to the organization. Few from that group will move on to compete at the Olympic or professional level.

And parents hoping for a scholarship to offset their sacrifices may be disappointed. NCAA schools awarded more than $2.9 billion in athletics scholarships last year. But a full ride is rare, and a partial scholarship may come to a fraction of what it cost to get a child to that level.


A copy of the report (TD Ameritrade)




Red Sox Slugger Ortiz Records Wake-up Calls for Boston Kids Associated Press


BOSTON — Nothing like a pre-dawn phone call from Red Sox slugger David Ortiz to get you out of bed in the morning.

At least that’s the idea behind a Boston Public Schools initiative that starts next month, when middle- and high-school students will be able to sign up for wake-up calls from Big Papi.

“Wake up! It’s David Ortiz of the Boston Red Sox. Get out of bed and get ready for school. Your future is yours,” he says on the calls.




Turkey’s anti-Gulen crackdown ripples far and wide Reuters


Barely 12 hours after a failed coup in Turkey, Somalia’s cabinet met in Mogadishu to consider a request from Ankara to shut down two schools and a hospital linked to Fethullah Gulen, the Muslim cleric Turkey blames for the attempted putsch.

Such is Turkey’s sway in the Horn of Africa nation, where it has spearheaded international reconstruction efforts after decades of war and instability, it was not a difficult decision.

Teachers and pupils – almost all of them Somali – at the two huge boarding schools run by Gulen’s Nile Academy educational foundation were given seven days to pack their bags and, if they were foreign, leave the country.

“Considering the request of our brother country Turkey, the cabinet ministers have agreed upon the following points – to stop the services provided by Nile Academy including schools, hospitals, etc,” a July 16 government statement said.

A week later the order had been carried out to the letter.

Turkey’s ties with Somalia are well established. President Tayyip Erdogan became the first non-African leader to visit Somalia in nearly 20 years when he traveled there in 2011 as Turkey’s prime minister. Turkey was a major contributor to the humanitarian aid effort during the 2011 famine and Ankara continues to build hospitals and dispatch aid across Somalia.

The closures in Somalia are part of a far wider effort to erode Gulen’s influence. Erdogan has vowed to “cleanse” Turkey of what he describes as the Gulenist cancer, going not only after the cleric’s followers at home but also his network of schools and other interests around the world.

Gulen’s schools have been a key source of influence and revenue for his “Hizmet” movement. It runs some 2,000 educational establishments in around 160 countries, from Afghanistan to the United States. The schools are generally well equipped, teach a secular curriculum in English, and are popular, especially in poorer countries, with the political and business elite.






Summer/Education News Roundup

Summer/Education News Roundup



USOE Calendar



UEN News



August 4:

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting

9 a.m., 445 State Capitol



August 11:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City


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

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City



August 12:

Utah State Board of Education meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City



September 13:

Joint Education Conference

8 a.m., 800 W University Parkway, Orem



September 20:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

2 p.m., 445 State Capitol



September 21:

Education Interim Committee meeting

1:15 p.m., 30 House Building


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