Education News Roundup: August 12 – 2016

 

 

Utah History Day students, program organizer and Board Member Laura Belnap (Brown shirt) pose for a picture at the Utah State Board of Education office.

Utah History Day students, program organizer and Board Member Laura Belnap (Brown shirt) pose for a picture at the Utah State Board of Education office.

Today’s Top Picks:

Education News Roundup

 

Weber District discusses needs for its tax increase.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7KY (OSE)

 

The transgender bathroom guidance issue goes to court in Texas today.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7KI (Reuters)

and http://gousoe.uen.org/7L7 (AP)

and http://gousoe.uen.org/7Lc (Vice)

and http://gousoe.uen.org/7Ld (CSM)

 

CDC reports on the levels of violence directed at gay high school students.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7KJ (NYT)

and http://gousoe.uen.org/7KK (ABC)

and http://gousoe.uen.org/7L8 (AP)

or a copy of the study

http://gousoe.uen.org/7KL (CDC)

 

Idaho delays submitting new science standards.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7KM (AP)

 

 

 

 

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TODAY’S HEADLINES

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UTAH

 

Weber district official: tax hike needed to fill unmet needs

 

Texas, other states to ask judge to halt Obama transgender policy

 

Canyons launches new initiative to help students graduate

 

First day of school brings excitement, nerves

 

ICSD teachers meet to prepare for upcoming semester

 

SUV crashes fence at elementary on first day of school

 

Crews quickly douse fire on roof of Clearfield High School

 

Kids get free ‘cuts and ‘dos at back-to-school event organized by WSU group

 


 

 

OPINION & COMMENTARY

 

Thumbs up, thumbs down

 

Back-to-school help: Teaching kids time-management techniques

 

Don’t fire struggling teachers, help them

 

Schools should teach critical thinking

 

Why American Schools Are Even More Unequal Than We Thought

 

Don’t need no education

What Danes consider healthy children’s television

 


 

 

NATION

 

Gay and Lesbian High School Students Report ‘Heartbreaking’ Levels of Violence

 

Idaho to delay submitting new science standards State officials say new K-12 science standards — which include for the first time references to global warming and the Big Bang theory — won’t be submitted to the conservative Idaho Legislature until 2018 after receiving a surprise rejection from lawmakers earlier this year.

 

Colorado PARCC tests show concerns in opt-outs, small gains in second year of scores

 

Which States are Leading the Way in Supporting Rural Schools?

 

VT schools now have more computers than kids

 

Federal lawsuit challenges South Carolina’s disturbing-schools law

 

Gov. Scott announces Zika education effort for students

 

GoFundMe account set up for Arizona teacher with cancer who was fired by the state

 

 

 

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UTAH NEWS

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Weber district official: tax hike needed to fill unmet needs

 

WASHINGTON TERRACE — The business administrator for the Weber School District said a new property tax increase will keep well-maintained buses and up-to-date textbooks available to students.

On Wednesday night, the school board passed a tax increase of about $2.5 million annually. Almost $1 million of that — $903,000 — is for buses. It adds to roughly $700,000 annually collected for buses from a 2011 tax increase.

With $1.6 million annually, “we establish an ongoing fund stream” for the 144 district buses used daily to take students to and from school, as well as about 40 others used for special events, Dr. Robert Petersen said.

With a $700,000 budget, only five buses are rotated in annually. That leaves buses in operation for 36 years, something Petersen said is not sustainable. With the additional $900,000, 12 to 13 buses a year can be rotated annually, reducing the use span of the buses to “every 14 or 15 years,” Petersen explained.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7KY (OSE)

 


 

 

Texas, other states to ask judge to halt Obama transgender policy

 

FORT WORTH, TEXAS | Texas and a dozen other states plan to ask a U.S. judge in Fort Worth on Friday to halt Obama administration recommendations regarding bathroom access for transgender students, arguing they are unlawful “radical changes” being foisted on the nation.

The U.S. Justice Department in legal filings said the policies are recommendations that do not have the force of law, and the plaintiffs, including 13 states led by Texas, have no standing to request an injunction to suspend them.

The U.S. government’s directive, issued in May, said public schools must allow transgender students to use bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity, as opposed to their birth gender, or face federal funding loss.

The policy added fuel to a national debate on transgender rights and enraged social conservatives who say federal civil rights protections encompass biological sex, not gender identity.

“Defendants have conspired to turn workplaces and educational settings across the country into laboratories for a massive social experiment, flouting the democratic process, and running roughshod over commonsense policies protecting children and basic privacy rights,” said the complaint.

The other states are Alabama, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, Arizona, Maine, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Utah, Georgia, Mississippi and Kentucky.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7KI (Reuters)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/7L7 (AP)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Lc (Vice)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Ld (CSM)

 


 

 

Canyons launches new initiative to help students graduate

 

MIDVALE — Hillcrest High School’s graduation rate last school year was only 76 percent, according to statistics reported in a U.S. News and World report.

In an effort to bump up graduation rates there, the Canyons School District launched a new initiative this year with a seven-week summer boot camp at Hillcrest, 7350 S. 900 East, for about 80 incoming freshmen.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7KV (DN)

 


 

 

First day of school brings excitement, nerves

 

On Thursday morning, Washington County School District students were back at it again with the first day of classes for the 2016 school year.

Though some schools, like Vista Elementary, had started on Wednesday, the majority of the schools welcomed the return of students two days before the start of the weekend. While some students were returning to familiar buildings and old friends, others found themselves in a new classroom setting with a different set of classmates.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7L1 (SGS)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/7L3 (SGS, video)

 


 

 

ICSD teachers meet to prepare for upcoming semester

 

With Iron County School District students heading back to school next week, educators and administrators began preparing for the upcoming semester during a district-wide opening institute Thursday.

The five-hour gathering is the first opportunity teachers from the 16 preschool, elementary, middle and high schools throughout the district have to meet and discuss the goals for the upcoming semester

http://gousoe.uen.org/7L2 (SGS)

 


 

 

SUV crashes fence at elementary on first day of school

 

WASHINGTON CITY – A vehicle crashed through a fence at Riverside Elementary School on the first day of school Thursday morning.

The single-vehicle crash happened a little before 10 a.m., Washington City Police spokesman Ed Kantor said, when a Honda SUV was northbound on Harvest Lane near 2500 South.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7L4 (SGN)

 


 

 

Crews quickly douse fire on roof of Clearfield High School

 

The state Fire Marshal’s Office is joining an investigation into an early Thursday fire at Clearfield High School.

Clearfield Fire Chief John Taylor said that while the 12:39 a.m. blaze was not considered suspicious, apparently having begun in a ventilation shaft, its cause remained undetermined. A thorough probe will help identify how the fire started, and whether any safety issues remain.

The building has been subject to ongoing renovation work that included some welding.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7KS (SLT)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/7KW (DN)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/7KZ (OSE)

 

 

 

Kids get free ‘cuts and ‘dos at back-to-school event organized by WSU group

 

Thursday afternoon, 18 local barbers and hairstylists gave more than 130 free haircuts to kids at Washington Terrace Elementary school.

The event, put on by Weber State University social work students, aimed to provide free haircuts to low income families before the new school year. With lines out the door, the event donated more than $1,800 worth of free haircuts.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7KX (OSE)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY

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Thumbs up, thumbs down

(Provo) Daily Herald editorial

 

THUMBS UP: It’s August, that wonderful time of the year when parents, teachers and kids all are eager for the same thing — back to school. Kids are ready to see their friends and get back into routines; teachers, in their amazing way, are eager to mold and shape another batch of young minds; and parents are just exhausted, ready to be done with the fighting, teasing and “I’m bored” conversations.

THUMBS DOWN: Time to think about back-to-school shopping. Ugh.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7L0

 


 

 

Back-to-school help: Teaching kids time-management techniques KSL commentary by columnist Nicole Carpenter

 

SALT LAKE CITY — In the late 1990s, during my high school days, I lived and died by my Franklin Covey planner.

It kept track of every homework assignment, shift at work and to-do item. I relied on that zip-around-organized-bundle-of-goodness so much that during my senior year, my friends thought it would be funny to steal it from me. They watched me walk around clueless, unsure of my next move for an entire week. And then finally one night, they surprised me with it.

It was so funny (insert sarcasm).

http://gousoe.uen.org/7L5

 


 

 

Don’t fire struggling teachers, help them Salt Lake Tribune letter from Richard Buck

 

Utah’s schools need to do better. We are last in education spending per pupil and some of our teachers can’t keep up with the needs of our many Utah children.

Let’s be smarter about education and try a new idea. Economist Raj Chetty, considered one of the top economists in the world, estimated that replacing the bottom 5 percent of teachers (as measured by value added) with average teachers would increase the average total income of that classroom by more than $250,000 over a lifetime.

But we should not fire our struggling teachers and send the students into uncertainty. Instead, we need to turn our struggling teachers into productive teachers.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7KU

 


 

 

Schools should teach critical thinking

Salt Lake Tribune letter from Raymond A. Hult

 

A recent July 2016 Purple Slice online poll for Bloomberg Politics showed, “Among all college educated voters including those with post-graduate degrees,” Hillary Clinton leading the race for president by 54 percent to 32 percent for Donald Trump.

I have a theory why that is. In my last years of college and throughout obtaining my post-graduate degree, a major difference from my earlier education was the increased requirement of critical thinking. We were told to carefully analyze subject matter on various topics to determine the validity of what was being asserted. That required research including fact-finding to justify any disagreement with what was being claimed.

I’m not implying those less educated are incapable of determining the truth of what a candidate is contending. It’s just that they haven’t had the same critical thinking training and too often take for granted what they’re being told by their party’s candidates and supporters like Fox News without any attempt to fact-check for truthfulness.

A possible solution might be to teach critical thinking earlier in the educational process.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7KT

 


 

 

Why American Schools Are Even More Unequal Than We Thought New York Times commentary by SUSAN DYNARSKI, professor of education, public policy and economics at the University of Michigan

 

Education is deeply unequal in the United States, with students in poor districts performing at levels several grades below those of children in richer areas.

Yet the problem is actually much worse than these statistics show, because schools, districts and even the federal government have been using a crude yardstick for economic hardship.

A closer look reveals that the standard measure of economic disadvantage — whether a child is eligible for a free or reduced­price lunch in school — masks the magnitude of the learning gap between the richest and poorest children.

Nearly half of students nationwide are eligible for a subsidized meal in school. Children whose families earn less than 185 percent of the poverty threshold are eligible for a reduced­price lunch, while those below 130 percent get a free lunch. For a family of four, the cutoffs are $32,000 for a free lunch and $45,000 for a reduced­price one. By way of comparison, median household income in the United States was about $54,000 in 2014.

Eligibility for subsidized school meals is clearly a blunt indicator of economic status. But that is the measure that policy makers, educators and researchers rely on when they gauge gaps in academic achievement in schools, districts and states.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7Lb

 


 

 

Don’t need no education

What Danes consider healthy children’s television The Economist commentary by Robert Lane Greene

 

A DAY into my holiday (spent with my wife’s family) in Denmark, and the changes are striking enough to move me back to the keyboard. Perhaps it was the display of life-sized nude photographs of young women, kicking off discussion about whether the choice of bodies was representative enough. Or perhaps it’s the casual way Danes use the English word “fuck”, not because they’re especially foul-mouthed but because the word was imported without much of its taboo force. On the flight over I heard a nicely dressed middle-aged mother use it with her young daughters, in mild irritation but not anger.

But perhaps the most striking raw difference is on television, and specifically Ramasjang, the public children’s television channel. (It is part of DR, Denmark’s equivalent of the BBC.) It is everything that American or British kids’ programming is not.

It is naughty. Perhaps its most beloved character is Onkel Reje (“Uncle Shrimp”), a sailor-themed character in a red suit with a scruffy beard. He picks his nose. His stinky socks tell each other jokes. But much more than that, in the best Danish tradition, he mocks beloved institutions: his grandmother lights a fart on fire. He says the worst gift he ever got for Christmas—from Queen Margarethe herself—was the washbasin she washes her bare bottom in. And God he says, lives in heaven with Santa Claus and their dog Marianne, implying that the Supreme Being is not only imaginary, but also gay.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7L9

 

 

 

 

 

 

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NATIONAL NEWS

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Gay and Lesbian High School Students Report ‘Heartbreaking’ Levels of Violence New York Times

 

The first nationwide study to ask high school students about their sexuality found that gay, lesbian and bisexual teenagers were at far greater risk for depression, bullying and many types of violence than their straight peers.

“I found the numbers heartbreaking,” said Dr. Jonathan Mermin, a senior official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which includes a division that administered the survey.

The survey documents what smaller studies have suggested for years, but it is significant because it is the first time the federal government’s biennial Youth Risk Behavior Survey, the gold standard of adolescent health data collection, looked at sexual identity. The survey found that about 8 percent of the high school population described themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual, which would be about 1.3 million students.

These adolescents were three times more likely than straight students to have been raped. They skipped school far more often because they did not feel safe; at least a third had been bullied on school property. And they were twice as likely as heterosexual students to have been threatened or injured with a weapon on school property.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7KJ

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/7KK (ABC)

 

http://gousoe.uen.org/7L8 (AP)

 

A copy of the study

http://gousoe.uen.org/7KL (CDC)

 


 

 

Idaho to delay submitting new science standards State officials say new K-12 science standards — which include for the first time references to global warming and the Big Bang theory — won’t be submitted to the conservative Idaho Legislature until 2018 after receiving a surprise rejection from lawmakers earlier this year.

Associated Press via (Boise) Idaho Statesman

 

BOISE, IDAHO — State officials say new K-12 science standards — which include for the first time references to global warming and the Big Bang theory — won’t be submitted to the conservative Idaho Legislature until 2018 after receiving a surprise rejection from lawmakers earlier this year.

Lawmakers spiked the first version of the standards in February after criticism built at the beginning of the session that the Idaho Department of Education violated state laws while forming them. No evidence of wrongdoing was ever proven, but both lawmakers and the agency received accusations that the new standards did not mention creationism and skewed too heavily on topics like human involvement in climate change and evolution.

The state has since agreed to start the process over again, and this time it’s taking a slower pace.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7KM

 


 

 

Colorado PARCC tests show concerns in opt-outs, small gains in second year of scores Denver Post

 

The battle over persuading older and, in particular, white Colorado students to take a slew of standardized tests at the end of the school year rolls on.

Data released Thursday showed less than 90 percent of students in grades 7-10 in the 2015-16 school year took the exams, which include the Colorado Measures of Academic Success tests in math, English language arts, science and social studies.

According to the Colorado Department of Education report, 88 percent of seventh-graders took tests this past school year (down from 88.7 percent in 2014-15); 83.5 percent of eighth-graders (down from 85 percent); 73 percent of ninth-graders (up from 70 percent); and 88.3 percent of 10th-graders (up from 61 percent). This was the first year for sophomores to take a pre-Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) and the exclusion of language arts and math tests for 10th- and 11th-graders.

Colorado has been a national leader in the movement to opt out of standardized tests, with critics saying the tests don’t truly measure academic progress. The state allows parents to let their kids skip the exams without penalty.

Officials point out that participation rates stabilized for most grades over the past two years, and much like last year, nearly 95 percent of students in grades 3-5 took the tests. Those opting out of the 2015-16 exams were “disproportionately white, economically better off and more likely to be native English speakers,” according to the CDE report.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7KN

 


 

 

Which States are Leading the Way in Supporting Rural Schools?

Education Week

 

As the new school year launches, rural districts nationwide are dealing with the same chronic issues: teacher shortages, increasing poverty, and declining enrollments. These schools also tend to have less access to technology and fewer resources and course offerings for students. According to a new report by the National Association of the State Boards of Education, several states are succeeding at tackling some of these challenges and improving more opportunities for rural students. Here are some of the most promising efforts from the states highlighted in the report:

http://gousoe.uen.org/7KO

 

A copy of the report

http://gousoe.uen.org/7KP (NASBE)

 


 

 

VT schools now have more computers than kids Burlington (VT) Free Press

 

The number of laptops, tablet computers and other devices in Vermont schools has exploded in the last several years, according to a new Agency of Education technology survey.

Schools own about 85,000 devices for student use, up from about 45,000 in the same survey just two years ago. Vermont has about 77,000 students in kindergarten through high school, according to an online enrollment report for the most recent school year.

“We’re just pretty wired, is all I can say,” said Ellen Thompson, director of instruction and information services at Essex Town School District, where technology use starts in kindergarten and each student in grades 6-8 receives a dedicated computer.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7KQ

 


 

 

Federal lawsuit challenges South Carolina’s disturbing-schools law Charleston (SC) Post and Courier

 

Four current or recent students and a local nonprofit organization filed a federal lawsuit Thursday challenging the constitutionality of South Carolina’s disturbing-schools law for its “broad reach and arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement.”

The plaintiffs, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of South Carolina, allege the controversial statute “creates an impossible standard for school children to follow and for police to enforce with consistency and fairness” in violation of their 14th Amendment right to due process.

The disturbing-schools law, enacted nearly 100 years ago to protect girls’ schools from intruders, prohibits “obnoxious behavior” on school grounds. A misdemeanor, it carries a penalty of up to a $1,000 fine and a 90-day jail sentence.

But in the past 15 years, the law has been used to route thousands of adolescents, most of them black, through the state’s juvenile justice system. In 2015, disturbing schools was the third most common source of referrals to the state Department of Juvenile Justice.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7KR

 


 

 

Gov. Scott announces Zika education effort for students Tampa Bay (FL) Times

 

With many Florida children returning to school this week, Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday announced a new initiative to raise awareness of the Zika virus among students, parents and teachers.

Scott has directed the Florida Department of Health, the Florida Department of Education and the Florida Board of Governors to partner together to produce material on how to prevent the spread of Zika for pre-K, K-12 and higher-education students.

The effort will include posters, palm cards, door hangers and other materials to be displayed throughout campuses and sent home with students.

It also will include some classroom material that will adhere to state education standards and can be incorporated into a science curriculum, said Florida Education Commissioner Pam Stewart.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7La

 


 

 

GoFundMe account set up for Arizona teacher with cancer who was fired by the state

(Phoenix) Arizona Republic

 

A GoFundMe account has been created to assist Adobe Mountain School teacher Tarah Ausburn, who was diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer and was terminated this week by the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections because she was unable to return to work.

The fund, in less than two days, had raised $3,735 by late Thursday morning. It can be found at https://www.gofundme.com/2a2n5vdm.

The site also calls on supporters to contact Gov. Doug Ducey to express their thoughts on how Juvenile Corrections administrators handled Ausburn’s case.

The state agency considers her departure an involuntary resignation because she was unable for health reasons to perform her duties, said Matthew Contorelli, a Juvenile Corrections spokesman.

Ausburn, 36, is now out of a $57,000-a-year job and, more importantly, without medical benefits.

http://gousoe.uen.org/7L6

 

 

 

 

 

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CALENDAR

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USOE Calendar

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

 

 

UEN News

http://www.uen.org

 

 

August 12:

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

 

 

September 8:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

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

250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

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

 

 

September 13:

Joint Education Conference

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

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2016&com=SPEJEC

 

 

September 20:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting

2 p.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2016&com=APPEXE

 

 

September 21:

Education Interim Committee meeting

1:15 p.m., 30 House Building

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2016&com=INTEDU

 

 

September 22:

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting

9 a.m., 445 State Capitol

http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2016&com=APPPED

 

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