Education News Roundup: October 27, 2016

nationsreportcard-logoToday’s Top Picks:

Utah eighth graders top the nation and Utah fourth graders turn in a top 10 performance in 2015 NAEP science tests.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8cC (SLT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8dq (Ed Week)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8cD (WaPo)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8df (NPR)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8ds (CSM)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8dt (San Jose Mercury News)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8dy (Stars and Stripes)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8dz (Scientific American)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8dk (AP)
or http://gousoe.uen.org/8dF (Utah Public Education news release)
or a copy of the results http://gousoe.uen.org/8dG (NAEP)

Alliance for a Better Utah pushes back against the Utah Technology Council for its State Board of Education endorsements.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8cH (SLT)

Southern Utah is avoiding the teacher shortage.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8cY (SGS)

Utah State Board of Education First Vice Chair Thomas writes in support of Amendment B.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8cB (DN)

Nationally, a report finds one in four teachers are absent 10 or more days per school year.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8cE (WaPo)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Utah students lead the nation in science scores, Nation’s Report Card shows
Education » Math and reading tests from 2015 also show state’s students outperforming the national average.

Alliance for a Better Utah criticizes tech group for opposing UEA-backed school board candidates
Elections » Alliance for a Better Utah says endorsements are a litmus test for school board contests.

Weinholtz Challenges Governor Herbert On Commitment To Funding Education

Southern Utah unaffected by statewide spike in teacher turnover rate

Utah unemployment rate drops to 3.4%

Provost Elementary rebuild set to go out to bid again

Utah teachers say School Turnaround Program is hurting schools

Mountain Crest gets A from State Board of Education

Police pace the halls of Utah middle school a day after a student shot another teen
Crime » Teen shot by 14-year-old Union Middle School student is expected to recover.

Police: Man arrested for firing shot during fight behind Orem High School

Competency of Eagle Mountain man charged with school bomb threat to be reviewed

Kearns Junior High adviser named Utah School Counselor of the Year

Dixie State creates science scholarship in late educator’s honor

Kane School Board Candidate Debate

Mountain View High mourns death of volleyball coach’s baby

Pretty pictures: Beaver Dam students capture Zion’s beauty

Utah Homeschool Adventure Club

Steve Young signs excuse note for 9-year-old student

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Utah’s system of grading schools just makes everything worse

Utah Constitutional Amendments: Yes, Yes and No

Amendment B balances current, future students’ needs

Utah school board has invented a flat tire

Nancy Blair would bring a fresh perspective to the Ogden School Board

A Lawsuit Challenges Utah’s Ban on Students and Teachers Saying Nice Things About Gay People

How the Internet Is Complicating the Art of Teaching
Educators design lots of lessons and other learning resources, and increasingly they’re being shared online—often free of cost and in ways that are too personalized to be universally applicable.

NATION

1 in 4 U.S. teachers are chronically absent, missing more than 10 days of school

Citing campaign tenor, schools cancel class for Election Day

Union-Member Teachers Put Muscle Behind Clinton
Along with endorsements, Clinton gets shoe-leather aid

Free Online Assessment Evaluates a School’s Technology Needs

New 3D printed microscope lets kids ‘play’ microbiology

Oregon Weighs Whether All Kids Should Get Outdoor Education

Principal brutally beaten by student vows quick return to job

‘Pastry Gun’ Case Involving Maryland Student Settled

An Annuity for the Teacher — and the Broker
A look inside the high­pressure job of selling workplace annuities to public school teachers

Why do Finnish pupils succeed with less homework?

France says Syria or Russia responsible for strike on school in Syria’s Idlib

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UTAH NEWS
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Utah students lead the nation in science scores, Nation’s Report Card shows
Education » Math and reading tests from 2015 also show state’s students outperforming the national average.

Science education in Utah, according to Matt Smith, has come a long way in the past 20 years.
Where schools once relied on memorization, they now emphasize experimentation, said Smith, a physics teacher and assistant principal at Salt Lake Center for Science Education.
It’s a better approach, he said, because it focuses less on a body of content knowledge and more on understanding the world.
“It’s a way of answering questions,” he said. “Those skills transfer to all areas of life.”
Utah’s methods appear to be working.
According to new data, released Thursday by the National Center for Education Statistics, Utah’s eighth-graders lead the nation in the science portion of the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress, also known as The Nation’s Report Card.
Utah’s eighth-grade students scored an average of 166 on a 300-point scale, 13 points above the national average .
Fourth-graders in Utah scored 160 on the science test, seven points above the national average, to give them the No. 9 rank.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8cC (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8dq (Ed Week)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8cD (WaPo)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8df (NPR)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8ds (CSM)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8dt (San Jose Mercury News)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8dy (Stars and Stripes)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8dz (Scientific American)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8dk (AP)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8dF (Utah Public Education news release)

A copy of the results
http://gousoe.uen.org/8dG (NAEP)


Alliance for a Better Utah criticizes tech group for opposing UEA-backed school board candidates
Elections » Alliance for a Better Utah says endorsements are a litmus test for school board contests.

A Utah advocacy group is calling foul after an association of technology business leaders threw its support behind of slate of candidates for state school board.
The progressive-leaning Alliance for a Better Utah sent letters to members of the Utah Technology Council on Tuesday, criticizing the group’s use of Utah Education Association endorsements as a litmus test for school board elections.
The letter, signed by alliance founder Josh Kanter, said it is “odious” to oppose candidates not because of a substantive policy disagreement, but solely as a result of their being supported by Utah’s largest teachers union.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8cH (SLT)


Weinholtz Challenges Governor Herbert On Commitment To Funding Education

As Utah voters cast their ballots for Governor this year, one issue in particular will be on their minds regardless of their party affiliation and that is education. Incumbent Gary Herbert is proud of how much new money he’s put into the state’s education system. But large class sizes and low teacher salaries persist in Utah. Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Mike Weinholtz says he can change that.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8dg (KUER)


Southern Utah unaffected by statewide spike in teacher turnover rate

Teacher shortages and high turnover rates have been recorded in Utah, but Southern Utah has been virtually immune to the deficit.
Besides some deficiencies in specialties fields like science, math and special education, Washington County and Iron County school district officials said their districts haven’t been hit as hard as larger districts in Utah.
According to a study released this month by University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, Utah Education Policy Center and the Hinckley Institute of Politics, about 40 percent of Utah educators who started in 2011 were no longer teaching at the end of their fifth year.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8cY (SGS)


Utah unemployment rate drops to 3.4%

SALT LAKE CITY — The state’s nonfarm payroll employment for September grew by an estimated 2.9 percent, adding 39,800 jobs to the economy compared to the same time last year.
The Utah Department of Workforce Services reported that 1,434,200 Utahns were considered gainfully employed in September.
For the month, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined 0.3 percent from August to register at 3.4 percent. Approximately 50,700 Utahns were unemployed and actively seeking work. Nationally, the jobless rate crept up slightly to 5 percent.
The report showed that nine of 10 private sector industry groups measured in the establishment survey posted net job increases in September compared to last year, with the natural resources and mining industry losing 800 positions. On the positive side, the largest private sector job gains were in education and health services — which added 8,200 jobs, with financial activities gaining 6,300 positions, while trade, transportation and utilities added 6,000 jobs.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8dA (KSL)

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/8dB (DWS)


Provost Elementary rebuild set to go out to bid again

The rebuild of Provost Elementary School will go out to bid again Nov. 17.
This summer, the district didn’t accept a bid for Provost Elementary School after bids for the project came in too high. The district said the project would be rebid between the fall and the new year, when construction costs were estimated to decrease.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8cR (PDH)


Utah teachers say School Turnaround Program is hurting schools

Teachers are saying a recently passed law is hurting their schools.
In 2015, Utah lawmakers approved the School Turnaround Program, which set aside $8 million dollars for the worst-performing three percent of public schools based on school grading.
But most of that budget is being spent on private consultants and small annual bonuses.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8dD (KUTV)


Mountain Crest gets A from State Board of Education

Mountain Crest is the only non-charter, non-early-college public high school in the state of Utah to receive an A grade last school year from the Utah State Board of Education.
“This doesn’t happen in a year,” Mountain Crest Principal Teri Cutler said.
Cutler, who has been the top administrator at Mountain Crest since the 2014-15 school year, said the A grade is largely a result of looking at and responding to data. She works with administrators and teachers to take an honest look at data — from the PSAT, ACT and SAGE tests — to drive their instruction. Cutler said it is a team effort that brings more accountability to the school.
This is the second year in a row Mountain Crest scored an A.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8cU (LHJ)


Police pace the halls of Utah middle school a day after a student shot another teen
Crime » Teen shot by 14-year-old Union Middle School student is expected to recover.

Police officers paced the hallways of Union Middle School throughout Wednesday to reassure students that all was well — one day after a 16-year-old boy was shot twice outside the north doors.
That air of safety engendered by the police presence contrasted with the commotion that occurred at about 3 p.m. Tuesday when a 14-year-old student of the middle school allegedly fired at the victim before a large group of witnesses. After hearing the gun go off, teachers ran outside to usher students into the building.
“They literally ran toward the incident to ensure the students were safe,” said Canyons School District spokesman Jeff Haney.
The victim, a student at Hillcrest High School, remained in critical condition Wednesday. Charges were pending for the suspect.
The two boys “had been involved in a conflict” and agreed to meet for a fight on the north field of the middle school, said Sandy police Sgt. Dean Carriger.
After an argument, the suspect apparently pulled out a gun — police aren’t saying how he got it — and shot the victim two times. The older student was transported to a hospital and went into surgery. He is expected to recover.
The 14-year-old was arrested and taken to a juvenile-detention center on suspicion of one count of attempted murder, a first-degree felony, and two counts of discharge of a firearm causing serious bodily injury, also first-degree felonies.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8cI (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8cK (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8cV (LHJ)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8d3 (KUTV)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8d7 (KTVX)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8d8 (KSL)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8dC (KSTU)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8dm (AP)


Police: Man arrested for firing shot during fight behind Orem High School

OREM — A fight behind Orem High School last week resulted in a shot being fired, leading to an arrest of the alleged shooter and two others Monday, police said.
A fight on Oct. 20 involved several people and was “basically a gang fight,” said Orem Police Lt. Craig Martinez. Two rival gangs showed up to fight with each other, Martinez said, and one side brought baseball bats and a gun with them.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8cN (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8da (KSL)


Competency of Eagle Mountain man charged with school bomb threat to be reviewed

An Eagle Mountain man charged with threatening a school with explosives will be evaluated for competency to proceed to trial.
Christopher Craig appeared Tuesday with his attorney, Dustin Parmley, in American Fork’s Fourth District Court.
Parmley filed a competency petition Monday asking that Craig, 35, be evaluated by state psychologists to determine his competency to proceed legally.
Judge James Taylor filed an order Tuesday afternoon to determine Craig’s competency. State examiners have just under a month to make their inquiries into Craig’s competency, though the examinations can be continued out further based on availability and other circumstances.
Craig’s competency will be reviewed at his next hearing on Nov. 22.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8cS (PDH)


Kearns Junior High adviser named Utah School Counselor of the Year

KEARNS — Corianne Reynolds, a counselor at Kearns Junior High School, has been named the 2016 Junior High Utah School Counselor of the Year.
Reynolds, who has worked at the school since 2007, is involved with the school’s AVID program, a global nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the achievement gap by preparing all students for college and other post-secondary opportunities. She’s also known for her thoughtful and caring approach to helping students succeed.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8cL (DN)


Dixie State creates science scholarship in late educator’s honor

ST. GEORGE — Dixie State University is honoring the late Max Rose with a scholarship fund established in his name.
School officials say that just as Rose, who died in June at age 71, worked to lift students, the Max Rose Memorial Scholarship will help science students accomplish their educational dreams by relieving some of their financial pressures.
“This really does allow us to select students who would have been in Max’s classes and, in his tradition, empower them to find fulfillment in their careers and lives,” John Bowler, development officer at Dixie State, said in a statement.
Rose began his career teaching match and chemistry at Dixie State in 1972. Eventually, he became vice president of academic affairs at the school, a position that he held until he became superintendent of the Washington County School District in 2003.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8cM (DN)


Kane School Board Candidate Debate

A Kane School Board Candidate Debate will be held Thursday, October 27 at 7 p.m. at the Kanab City Library. Everyone is invited to attend. The debate is sponsored by the Kanab Area Chamber of Commerce.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8dE (SUN)


Mountain View High mourns death of volleyball coach’s baby

About half the student body wore their Sunday best or baby blue and white Tuesday at Orem’s Mountain View High School in honor, not of a student, but of a coach’s baby.
Head volleyball coach Jaicee Roden’s nine-month-old baby, Jay, died of a rare disease over the weekend, but students returned from their fall break in full dressed-up style, thanks to social media communication.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8cQ (PDH)


Pretty pictures: Beaver Dam students capture Zion’s beauty

A picture isn’t worth a 1,000 words at Beaver Dam High School.
It might be worth something even better: An “A” grade.
Seventeen students are enrolled in the Arizona school’s newest class, photography, taught by Greg Johnston, who also oversees BDHS’ student government.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8cZ (SGS)


Utah Homeschool Adventure Club

Natalie Ririe, a homeschooling mother and member of the Utah Homeschool Adventure Club shares her tips for making homeschooling a success.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8de (KSTU)


Steve Young signs excuse note for 9-year-old student

SALT LAKE CITY — Nine-year-old Cade Draper thought his father was taking him to the dentist on Tuesday afternoon. Instead, Cade went to go meet a football legend that even helped excuse Cade for missing school.
Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young was going to be in downtown Salt Lake City at Deseret Book on Tuesday, signing copies of his new book, “QB: My Life Beyond the Spiral.” Cade’s dad, Jake Draper, found out about the signing and checked Cade out of school, originally telling his son he was going to the dentist.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8db (KSL)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8dd (KSTU)


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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Utah’s system of grading schools just makes everything worse
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

Teachers who give grades are expected to set clear, attainable goals for their students. Everyone needs to know going in what is expected of students if they want to pass, to excel, to move on.
Teachers who get grades should expect no less.
But, as was explained — again — to the Utah Board of Education the other day, the state’s method of assigning grades to its public schools has been difficult to understand and sets standards that seem deliberately hard to meet.
If we didn’t all know better, it would be easy to suspect that undermining teachers’ confidence in their own abilities, and the public’s confidence in those teachers, was the whole goal of the Legislature’s school grading scheme.
The problem is apparently worst in the schools where the most attention is needed.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8cA


Utah Constitutional Amendments: Yes, Yes and No
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

Another reason why these vote-by-mail elections are such a good idea is that, when voters have a chance to consider the whole ballot at their leisure, the sudden appearance of a surprise question isn’t so much of a problem. People have a chance to research and reflect.
Such is the case in Utah this year, as voters will be confronted with three proposed amendments to the state Constitution.
No. We didn’t know about them, either. But detailed information is available in the 2016 Voter Information Pamphlet, to be found at vote.utah.gov.
All three of the questions were placed on the ballot by an act of the Legislature, meaning a majority of both houses thought the changes were a good idea. The argument here is that they were right two out of three times.

Constitutional Amendment B — Yes
This one is intended to keep the State School Fund, which is so important that it is laid out in the Utah Constitution, up with the times.
Today, the fund is directed to turn over to local schools a portion of proceeds of the “interest and dividends” it receives each year. But, like most investors, the fund receives income that isn’t interest or dividends. The most obvious other income stream is the profit it makes when it sells a stock for more money than it paid for it.

Constitutional Amendment C — No
This proposal would allow the Legislature to, by statute, exempt from property taxes certain kinds of property that is owned by private businesses and leased to public jurisdictions such as cities, counties and school districts. The exemption would apply to such things as vehicles and office equipment and furniture, not buildings or real estate.
While the impact on local budgets and overall tax burdens would be slight, there seems little need to further clutter up the tax laws — and the Constitution — with yet another special-interest exemption.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8cJ


Amendment B balances current, future students’ needs
Deseret News op-ed by Dave Thomas, first vice chairman of the Utah State Board of Education

We are responsible for providing a fair distribution for today’s students and continuing to provide a fair distribution to the children that will benefit from the trust in the future.
Utah Constitutional Amendment B is a simple change that would make a big difference. Amendment B passed the Legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support, is supported by the governor, state treasurer, State Board of Education, Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, School and Institutional Trust Land and Fund Boards of Trustees and Utah PTA, and is now on the ballot for Utahns to decide.
The amendment ensures distribution from the permanent state school fund reflects the needs of current beneficiaries as well as continuing to grow the fund balance for future beneficiaries.
Most educational endowment funds distribute between 4 percent and 5 percent annually, considered a fair amount to both grow the fund and provide an appropriate distribution to beneficiaries. Historic distribution from the permanent State School Fund has been closer to 2.5 percent. That has provided for rapid growth but may be unfair to current beneficiaries.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8cB


Utah school board has invented a flat tire
Salt Lake Tribune letter from J. Wyatt Frampton

Before the current Utah State Board of Education created the Academic Pathway to Teaching, or APT, there was and still is a pathway to teaching already in place called the Alternative Route to Licensure, or ARL.
Unlike APT, the ARL pathway allowed professionals with degrees and experience to enter the classroom but also required that these new teachers take college courses in pedagogy.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8cP


Nancy Blair would bring a fresh perspective to the Ogden School Board
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Richard and Doris Bosworth

It has been a long time since an experienced classroom teacher has served on the Ogden School Board. Knowing Nancy Blair, and knowing that she is a wonderful advocate for children and teachers, we feel she would bring a totally new perspective to the board. Nancy would serve with dignity and steadfastness.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8cO


A Lawsuit Challenges Utah’s Ban on Students and Teachers Saying Nice Things About Gay People
Slate commentary by columnist Mark Joseph Stern

Utah law prohibits the “advocacy of homosexuality”—including so much as a positive reference to gay people—in “any course or class” at public or charter schools, while banning student groups that promote LGBTQ tolerance. Is this legal? Of course not! And now Equality Utah, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the law firm Ropes and Gray are suing to invalidate the law as a gross violation of students’ and teachers’ constitutional rights.
What’s striking about Utah’s anti-gay school rules is that, unlike many free speech and equal protection violations, they are completely upfront about their (constitutionally proscribed) purpose. The clear intent of these regulations is to suppress all support of LGBTQ equality at school and forbid instructors and students from recognizing the existence of gay people. Utah’s school code does this by stifling any expression that would recognize the validity of the gay identity. That, in turn, prevents schools from addressing anti-gay bullying and intolerance among students. The result—as the tragic stories of the three terribly persecuted plaintiffs in this case demonstrates—is a school system that refuses to treat gay students with dignity and respect, leaving them with potentially lifelong trauma.
Unfortunately for Utah, the Constitution doesn’t actually permit any of this.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8dh


How the Internet Is Complicating the Art of Teaching
Educators design lots of lessons and other learning resources, and increasingly they’re being shared online—often free of cost and in ways that are too personalized to be universally applicable.
Atlantic commentary by ABIGAIL WALTHAUSEN, a writer and high-school English teacher

A time-honored nugget of the political stump speech is the anecdote about the teacher who brings breakfast for a hungry student in need, or maybe the one who purchases supplies out-of-pocket for an underfunded classroom. These are sweet stories that build on teachers’ well-deserved reputations for sharing with students, but teachers’ work also thrives on the amount of behind-the-scenes sharing they do with one another. Whether it is a homework assignment, a rubric, or a classroom game, teachers build a lot of their curricula on shared materials, authored and tested by experienced peers.
In my first year teaching, I was saved by the binders upon binders of activities, quizzes, and other tools that seasoned teachers shared with me. I tailored what I found in these treasure troves to fit my own style of teaching and the needs of my specific classes. As the years passed and my larder of teaching materials grew fat, I started sharing digital copies of my tried-and-true materials with newer teachers over Google Drive, where they could easily edit to fit their needs and developing teaching styles. Digital platforms have use beyond just ease of editing, though: They are helping teachers bring their best ideas and materials to audiences much larger than the tight-knit communities of copy rooms and teacher’s lounges. As great assignments grow in their reach, though, it is hard to keep the personalization that individual teachers bring to the table from getting lost in translation.
As educators continue sharing with wider audiences, it will be important to figure out how teacher-generated resources will be received into the world of Open Educational Resources (OERs). According to the Department of Education, all OERs must be three things: digitized, free, and editable. Many commercially produced digital textbooks and resources are licenced for use in only one classroom, school, or district at a time. Digitized historical documents are wonderful assets to the open curriculum, but are rarely editable and therefore hard to loop into a classroom-friendly curriculum. The Google Drive scenario of sharing between colleagues represents an OER ideal on a small scale, but both effectiveness and ethics are become more complicated as teachers try to replicate similar exchanges with a larger district, the wider world, and otherwise for-profit technology giants. When suddenly laboratories of ideas need to take the form of finished products, both personalization and collaboration can get subsumed by ideas like intellectual property and compensation.
On the one hand, I am in love with the open culture of OERs.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8du


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NATIONAL NEWS
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1 in 4 U.S. teachers are chronically absent, missing more than 10 days of school
Washington Post

More than 1 in 4 of the nation’s full-time teachers are considered chronically absent from school, according to federal data, missing the equivalent of more than two weeks of classes each academic year in what some districts say has become an educational crisis.
The U.S. Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights estimated this summer that 27 percent of the nation’s teachers are out of school for more than 10 days of regular classes — some missing far more than 10 days — based on self-reported numbers from the nation’s school districts. But some school systems, especially those in poor, rural areas and in some major cities, saw chronic absenteeism among teachers rise above 75 percent in 2014, the last year for which data is available.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8cE


Citing campaign tenor, schools cancel class for Election Day
USA Today

Citing worries about the sharp rhetoric of the 2016 presidential campaign and other safety concerns, school districts across the country that host polling sites are opting to cancel classes on Election Day.
With ample parking and gymnasiums and cafeterias that provide the necessary space for voting booths, communities have long relied on schools to host polling stations.
But this year’s polarizing general election, as well as school security concerns that grew following the 2012 mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., has some school and law enforcement officials rethinking whether it’s prudent to have kids in school on Election Day.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8cG

http://gousoe.uen.org/8dw (Fox)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8dp (AP)


Union-Member Teachers Put Muscle Behind Clinton
Along with endorsements, Clinton gets shoe-leather aid
Education Week

York, Pa. – There are no misbehaving 2nd graders in sight, but teachers Molly Blankenstein and Missy Rhodes still have their work cut out for them: going door to door to get out the vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in this neighborhood peppered with signs for her GOP opponent, Donald Trump.
The pair of Hayshire Elementary School teachers work off a list of registered Democrats from the campaign. But at least a couple of the voters they visit won’t commit to supporting Clinton. Another tells the teachers he’s sitting out the election altogether. And many of the people they’re hoping to talk to just aren’t home on a beautiful Saturday in October.
Blankenstein isn’t surprised—she lives just a few blocks away and knows most of her neighbors in this southern Pennsylvania town lean Republican. Still, she said, “I had to do something. It’s small, it’s tiny. It’s just a little stone in a big huge wall.”
But, by making sure the campaign sends voter-reminder cards to just a few of her Clinton-leaning neighbors, Blankenstein may be having more of an impact than she thinks, according to Patrick McGuinn, a political science professor at Drew University in Madison, N.J.
In fact, he said, teachers’ shoe-leather turnout efforts may mean more to Clinton than the millions in campaign cash donated by their national unions, both of which endorsed Clinton more than a year before the election.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8dr


Free Online Assessment Evaluates a School’s Technology Needs
THE Journal

An educational technology consulting firm has created a 20-question online assessment tool it says will help schools and school districts determine if they are prepared to support the technology needs of K-12 students.
Networld Solutions has prepared the Education Technology Strategic Assessment (ETSA) as a tool available to K-12 educators and technology managers. Among the needs the company said the ETSA will assess are the 21st-century needs for one-to-one computing, BYOD (bring your own device), classroom technology, 10Gbps network infrastructure and WiFi demands.
The 20-question assessment, which can be taken at any time online, will also determine an institution’s potentially unmet demand for Internet access, private-cloud file storage and e-portfolios.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8cF


New 3D printed microscope lets kids ‘play’ microbiology
Reuters

PALO ALTO | Playing classic video games like Pac-Man with living single-celled microbes thinner than a human hair is now possible thanks to an interactive microscope developed by bioengineers at Stanford University.
After several prototypes, the researchers released blueprints earlier this month for a “LudusScope” in the international scientific journal PLOS ONE, offering kids of all ages a playful window into the world of microbiology.
“It’s a microscope that you can 3D print and build yourself,” Ingmar Riedel-Kruse, an assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford, told Reuters.
After it is assembled, tiny, light-responsive organisms called Euglena swim on a microscope slide surrounded by four LED lights. The lights are controlled by a joystick, allowing users to control the direction in which the microbes move.
“You turn microscopy from something that is purely observational into something that is interactive,” Riedel-Kruse said.
The final component is a smartphone that attaches to the eyepiece of the device, transforming it from a simple interactive microscope into a rudimentary gaming platform and research tool.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8dj


Oregon Weighs Whether All Kids Should Get Outdoor Education
Associated Press

MOUNT HOOD NATIONAL FOREST, Ore. — Each year, thousands of Oregon parents hug their kids goodbye and send them tramping into the wilderness for up to a week to learn about their state’s natural wonders.
The Outdoor School program was groundbreaking when it started more than a half-century ago. Since then, more than 1 million children have enjoyed – or endured – this rite of passage at campsites scattered from Oregon’s stormy coast to its towering evergreen forests to its rugged high desert.
At the program’s heyday, 90 percent of sixth-graders spent the week testing water samples, studying fungi and digging through topsoil. Today, just half of Oregon’s 11- and 12-year-olds take part, mostly through a patchwork of grants, fundraising, parent fees and charitable donations. Caps on property taxes, plus the recent recession, have forced many school districts to scrap the program or whittle it down to just a few days.
Now, backers of a statewide ballot measure want to use a slice of lottery proceeds to guarantee a week of Outdoor School for all children. If it passes, the measure would make Oregon the only state with dedicated funding for outdoor education, including students in charter, private and home schools, said Sarah Bodor, policy director for the North American Association for Environmental Education.
Opponents, however, say its passage would mean deep cuts to a state agency tasked with economic development by siphoning away millions in lottery money critical to expanding Oregon business.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8dn


Principal brutally beaten by student vows quick return to job
New York Post

The principal who was slugged in the face by a music-blasting student penned a heart-felt letter to his other students on the Murry Bergtraum High campus, telling them he’ll be back as soon as possible.
“As many of you know, I was injured yesterday during an incident in school,” said Dr. Matthew Tossman in the letter addressed to kids at Manhattan Early College School for Advertising, one of four schools on the Lower Manhattan campus.
“I am writing to thank you for the outpouring of support that I received from this community; your phone calls, emails, and kind words have lifted my spirits.”
Tossman added he was recovering at home and “will be back at school as soon as I am able.”
The principal was beaten Monday by an 18-year-old student, whose lawyer said is acting out because his mother died of a brain aneurysm in his arms last year.
The student, Luis Penzo – who was arraigned on charges of second degree assault and held on $5,000 bail – was in the hallway blasting music from his headphones when Tossman asked him to turn it down.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8dl


‘Pastry Gun’ Case Involving Maryland Student Settled
Associated Press

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — An official says the family of a then 7-year-old who was suspended from school from nibbling his breakfast pastry into the shape of a gun has reached a settlement with the school department.
A spokesman for Anne Arundel County schools and the boy’s family’s attorney confirmed the settlement Tuesday to local news media, but neither would release any details.
In 2013, school officials said Park Elementary student Josh Welch nibbled the Pop-Tart-like pastry into the shape of a gun and pointed it at another student. The boy was suspended from the Brooklyn Park-based school for two days.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8do


An Annuity for the Teacher — and the Broker
A look inside the high-­pressure job of selling workplace annuities to public school teachers
New York Times

Bradley Bergeron’s first professional job out of college was selling retirement savings investments to public schoolteachers in Connecticut. The applications he carried in his black leather briefcase, however, were for one type of product only: a high­priced variable annuity.
“From the teacher’s standpoint, they really miss out getting quality advice,” said Mr. Bergeron, 27, who sold the plans for Axa Advisors’ retirement benefits group. “People who are in the schools pitching them and positioning themselves as retirement specialists are really there just to sell them one product.”
Workers at private companies typically enroll in a 401(k) retirement plan approved by the employer, which is held responsible for the menu of investment options offered. But public school employees and people working for nonprofits and religious institutions are often exposed to brokers who operate in a more unruly marketplace under different rules, which are defined by a patchwork of state laws and less stringent securities regulations.
Brokers and insurance executives say it has become more difficult to walk into schools freely in recent years — the Los Angeles Unified School District, for instance, strictly forbids soliciting on campus.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8di


Why do Finnish pupils succeed with less homework?
BBC

How do Finnish youngsters spend less time in school, get less homework and still come out with some of the best results in the world?
The question gets to the heart of a lot of parental angst about hard work and too much pressure on children in school.
Parents facing all those kitchen table arguments over homework might wonder about its value if the Finns are getting on just fine without burning the midnight oil.
As the OECD think tank says: “One of the most striking facts about Finnish schools is that their students have fewer hours of instruction than students in any other OECD country.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8dv


France says Syria or Russia responsible for strike on school in Syria’s Idlib
Reuters

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said either Russia or the Syrian government were responsible for an air strike on Syria’s Idlib province that led to the deaths of 26 civilians, most of them school children.
“Who is responsible? In any case it is not the opposition because you need planes to launch bombs. It’s either the Syrians – the regime of (President Bashar) al-Assad – or the Russians,” Ayrault told a news conference.
“It’s yet another demonstration of the horror of this war, which is a war against the Syrian people, which we cannot accept.”
Russia’s foreign ministry said earlier on Thursday that Moscow was not responsible for the attack on Idlib.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8dx


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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

November 3:
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

November 4:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/board/Meetings/Agenda.aspx

November 10:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://go.uen.org/62M

November 15:
Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
2 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2016&com=APPEXE

November 16:
Education Interim Committee meeting
1:15 p.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2016&com=INTEDU

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