Education News Roundup: Dec. 2, 2016

Starting the Day Right report

Starting the Day Right report

Today’s Top Picks:

New report looks at getting more students to eat school breakfast.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8qO (DN)
or a copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/8qP (Utahns Against Hunger)

Ed Week looks at the University of Utah College of Education’s accreditation process.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8rr (Ed Week)
or a copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/8rs (Ed Week)

Utah Policy’s Bob Bernick looks into the upcoming politics in a drive to put higher income tax for public schools on the ballot.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8qM (UP)

Jeb Bush’s National Summit on Education Reform looks at ways to put states in the spotlight.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8qQ (Ed Week)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8qR (The 74)

Politico looks at the probable new chair of the House education committee.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8qY (Politico)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Report outlines how to get more Utah students to eat school breakfast

Reflecting on First-Round Accreditation Reviews Under ‘Tougher’ Standards

Student accused of shooting boy outside Utah middle school to remain in custody
Courts » Juvenile has been held since the incident on Oct. 25.

Changes in teens’ behavior, mood may signal difficulties managing stress, emotions

Utah parents discuss pros, cons of metal detectors in schools after recent incidents

Hughes Middle School hears Rachel’s Challenge
Organization promotes compassion, kindness to students across the country

‘Behind the Headlines’: Voter fraud accusations, education funding and liquor stores

Logan High alumni ask their partners to Centennial Ball

Santa flies to Hurricane Elementary with toys, school supplies and more

Davis district announces MLK speech winners

People on the Move

5th grader leads push to ban SLC retailers from plastic bags

S.L. libraries offing computer-coding workshops

Choir Singing On-Air!

Help Students Stay Warm This Winter

Inside our schools

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Thursday could’ve been a bloodbath in Bountiful. We are grateful it wasn’t

Thumbs up, thumbs down

Who Will Oppose a Tax Hike for Schools?

Here Comes a Tax Hike!

Utah needs to shore up teacher salaries

Low school funding is a recipe for failure

Why the U.S. Education Department Never Dies

Will Trump Overhaul Public Education?
From privatization to civil rights, his Department of Education could transform the American system.

Let Poor Parents Choose Too
Why don’t education reformers allow poor parents the same school choice decisions as rich parents?

NATION

Education Summit Lifts Up State’s Role in Education

Many State Report Cards Leave Parents in the Dark About School Achievement

Meet the congresswoman poised to tear up Obama’s education legacy
‘I’m going to push to diminish the role of the federal government in everything … that isn’t in the Constitution,’ says the expected House Education chair.

Wyoming public school funding faces ‘real crisis,’ governor says

Finally, the College Board makes it easier for students with disabilities to get SAT accommodations

Feds: Fatal Wreck Shows Need for Seat Belts on School Buses

Toymakers want to bring STEM to playtime, filling gaps from schools

Warning Sounded on Tech Disrupting Student Sleep

School District Temporarily Pulls Classics after Complaint

Hillsboro school memo stirs Santa controversy

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UTAH NEWS
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Report outlines how to get more Utah students to eat school breakfast

SALT LAKE CITY — Many Utah schools have increased participation in school breakfast programs using tried-and-true methods employed across the United States.
But, the state ranks last in the number of children who qualify for the program but aren’t taking part.
A new report released this week recommends ways for the state to change the numbers and help more children start their school days ready to learn.
“This is a huge area to be improved,” said Utahns Against Hunger advocate Marti Woolford. “We really need our education leaders, school district leaders and Legislature to support changing this.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8qO (DN)

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/8qP (Utahns Against Hunger)


Reflecting on First-Round Accreditation Reviews Under ‘Tougher’ Standards

The first round of accreditation decisions for teacher prep programs under a new set of so-called “tougher” standards is now over. This was a big test for the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), which was conceived in 2010, and whose job it was to unite the embattled field behind one set of standards. So how did it go?
Out of 21 teacher preparation programs from 14 states that were seeking accreditation under the new standards, 17 have met all expectations and gained accreditation, while four programs have failed to meet all the required standards, according to an inaugural report that CAEP released on Monday.

Education schools are judged on five standards, which place a strong emphasis on outcomes, including the academic achievement of students taught by each program’s graduates. Each standard contains multiple benchmarks. Fail to meet just one of those benchmarks, and CAEP withholds its accreditation stamp of approval for two years, until the program can provide proof that it has remedied the problem and now meets all parts of the standard.
That’s exactly what happened to the education college at the University of Utah, in Salt Lake City. CAEP gave the program “probationary accreditation” for failing to meet one part of standard 4. The goal of standard 4 is to measure graduates’ impact in the classroom. A program must provide student test scores, along with evidence that graduates and graduates’ employers are satisfied with the preparation the teachers received. The graduates’ satisfaction might be shown through surveys they complete about how prepared they were for the realities of teaching, while employer satisfaction might be shown through retention data.
The University of Utah’s college of education provided evidence for all of the above. But it failed to meet one part of standard 4: “indicators of teaching effectiveness.” This part requires programs to show “through structured validated observation instruments and/or student surveys, that completers effectively apply the professional knowledge, skills, and dispositions that the preparation experiences were designed to achieve.” Simply put, the program needed to send a professor to the graduates’ classrooms, either to observe the graduates’ teaching or elicit feedback from the graduates’ students through a survey.
“I’ll be honest with you,” said Mary Burbank, an assistant dean for teacher education at the University of Utah, “to miss the entire standard when we have provided data that shows we meet multiple benchmarks, it’s frustrating.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8rr (Ed Week)

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/8rs (Ed Week)


Student accused of shooting boy outside Utah middle school to remain in custody
Courts » Juvenile has been held since the incident on Oct. 25.

West Jordan • A 14-year-old boy who is accused of shooting another teen outside a Sandy middle school will remain in a juvenile detention center as the criminal case against him moves forward.
The boy is charged in 3rd District Juvenile Court with first-degree felony attempted murder and several weapons charges, accused of shooting a 16-year-old boy twice in the head on Oct. 25 outside of Union Middle School. The victim survived the shooting.
At the defendant’s first court appearance on Thursday, defense attorney Sophia Moore asked Judge Tupakk Renteria if her client could be released from custody, where he has been since the shooting.
“He is a first-time offender in juvenile court,” Moore said. “He is only 14 years old. He’s having a lot of problems being held in detention. We do believe this is a very severe case of bullying.”
Prosecutors opposed the release, saying the crimes he is accused of are severe.
“This is a very, very serious offense,” Deputy Salt Lake County District Attorney Thaddeus May said. “But for the grace of God, we would have a dead child. I think that seriousness can’t be overstated, and I think that holding [him in custody] is the only responsible path for the court.”
Renteria agreed with prosecutors, saying that because of the nature of the crime, the teen would be held in custody until at least his next hearing, which is scheduled for Jan. 3.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8r0 (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8r8 (DN)

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

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

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


Changes in teens’ behavior, mood may signal difficulties managing stress, emotions

SALT LAKE CITY — As a parent who helped his children navigate their teenage years, Barry Rose admits it can be hard to differentiate between adolescent angst and the emergence of a more pressing problem.
As a licensed clinical social worker, Rose says changes in behavior, even subtle differences, may indicate a more pressing issue.
“What the professionals would say, what we would say, is you look for changes in patterns, changes in behavior, increased isolation, increased anger, difficulties with relationships or difficulties in school. It’s the normal kinds of things you would think of,” said Rose, a seasoned crisis worker.
Then, parents need to engage their child in conversation and reach out for professional help, he said.
“It’s trying to communicate, getting your kids to communicate more about what they’re feeling, which is really tough these days,” said Rose, crisis services manager for University Neuropsychiatric Institute.
In recent weeks, adolescent boys ages 14 to 16 have been in a number high-profile incidents along the Wasatch Front involving firearms and other weapons.
Rose said he does not “pretend to have the answers” regarding the recent spate of events, but “there just seems to be more extreme behavior.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8r5 (DN)


Utah parents discuss pros, cons of metal detectors in schools after recent incidents

BOUNTIFUL, Utah – Thursday’s gun incident in Bountiful marks the third time in the past six weeks a Utah student has brought a deadly weapon onto a school campus, and it has parents wondering whether it’s time to start thinking about installing metal detectors.
“If a metal detector helps our children stay safe, then yes, let’s pay the tax dollars to do that,” parent Susi Mabey said.
Sarah Lee, another parent, agreed.
“I’d rather them be alive and feel like they are in prison than be dead,” she said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8rj (KSTU)


Hughes Middle School hears Rachel’s Challenge
Organization promotes compassion, kindness to students across the country

In March 1999, Rachel Joy Scott wrote an essay titled, “My Ethics, My Code of Life,” in which she said, “I have this theory that if one person would go out of their way to show compassion, that it would start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.”
For Rachel, a student who made a point to befriend the special needs students, new students, and the students who got picked on at Columbine High School in Colorado, her essay was more than just a collection of warm words. It was the guide she lived by. She often told teachers, friends, and family that she was going to make the world better before she died.
One month after writing her essay, while eating lunch outside with a friend, Rachel became the first person murdered during the now-infamous Columbine shootings.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8rd (SGS)


‘Behind the Headlines’: Voter fraud accusations, education funding and liquor stores

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. considers a run for Senate. Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox responds to President-elect Donald Trump’s baseless claims of voter fraud. State business leaders focus their efforts on education funding. And Utah communities see a growing demand for liquor stores.
On Friday at 9 a.m., Salt Lake Tribune reporters Kathy Stephenson, Lee Davidson and Benjamin Wood, as well as government and politics editor Dan Harrie, join KCPW’s Roger McDonough to talk about the week’s top stories.
Each Friday morning, stream “Behind the Headlines” on KCPW.org or tune in to KCPW or Utah Public Radio for the broadcast.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8r1 (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8r2 (KCPW, audio)


Logan High alumni ask their partners to Centennial Ball

The Logan High gymnasium was bedecked with rose petals, red and gold balloons and cheerleaders Thursday afternoon as two sweethearts surprised their lovers by asking them to the Centennial Ball.
And, surprise, these weren’t high school students. Lizette Villegas, a Logan High 2005 alumna, recruited the cheerleading squad to help ask her fiance, Fonzie Salazar, to the dance. Sonia Cardena, a Spanish teacher at Logan High, helped organize the surprise.
As the cheerleaders lined up alongside the balloons and efficiently worked and their chant — “Hey Fonzie let’s go, to Centennial Ball” — Villegas spoke to Salazar on the phone to try to convince him to walk into the gym.
“He’s like, ‘I hate surprises; you’re doing something,’” Villegas said after she ended the call.
Salazar sauntered into the gym over the red petals and, flanked by enthusiastic cheerleaders, kissed Villegas.
As the two embraced, Jesse Cardena, Sonia’s husband and a Logan High alumnus, sprung a surprise of his own. He walked through the opposite side of the gym and asked his wife to the Centennial Ball. It seemed only the cheerleaders knew what was coming.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8rb (LHJ)


Santa flies to Hurricane Elementary with toys, school supplies and more

ST. GEORGE — Students at Hurricane Elementary School will meet nearly two dozen of Santa’s helpers next week when volunteer pilots of the Utah Wing of Angel Flight West deliver a special package during the team’s annual “Santa Flight.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8re (SGN)


Davis district announces MLK speech winners

FARMINGTON — The Davis School District Educational Equity Department has announced the winners for the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Speech Contest.
The competition gave students the opportunity to reflect on King’s legacy and use his words to inspire them to make a positive community difference.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8r7 (DN)


People on the Move

Salt Lake City—Cicero Group, a premier data-driven strategy firm, announced today that Dr. Trent Kaufman will assume the role of CEO, succeeding the company’s founder, Randy Shumway, effective January 1, 2017. Cicero’s unique, data-driven approach to management consulting has fueled the company’s rapid 30 percent annualized growth since the firm was founded in 2001. Kaufman assumes leadership at an exciting time as Cicero continues to precipitously expand its services both domestically and globally. Kaufman has been the President and COO of Cicero since 2007. Prior to joining Cicero, Kaufman was the CEO and Founder of Education Direction, a firm that specializes in change leadership consulting. In 2007, Cicero Group acquired Education Direction. Kaufman holds graduate degrees from both University of California, Berkeley and Harvard University. He is the author of two influential and globally renowned books: Collaborative School Improvement and The Transparent Teacher. He is a popular speaker on using evidence-based strategies and implementation science to improve organizational performance. Shumway will continue at Cicero as the Chair of the company’s Board of Directors and as an actively engaged partner in the firm. He will be responsible for new business development and community engagement along with Cicero’s continuing global expansion. This change of role will also allow Shumway to devote more time to his family, as well as to his community service, teaching, and philanthropic endeavors.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8ru (Utah Business)


5th grader leads push to ban SLC retailers from plastic bags

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Local shoppers could soon find fewer bagging options at checkout lines — that is, if a local 5th grader has his way.
Ten year-old, Liam Mountain LaMalfa is proposing to ban Salt Lake City retailers from using plastic bags.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8rk (KTVX)


S.L. libraries offing computer-coding workshops

SALT LAKE CITY — A series of weekly computer-coding workshops for youths are being held at libraries across the city.
The Code Club allows students 8 to 18 to work through a self-guided programming curriculum with the help of library staff.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8r6 (DN)


Help Students Stay Warm This Winter

You can help kids in need stay warm and fed this holiday season. Scott Karren and Lisa Frigm talk more about the Adopt a Box program.
The goal this year is to provide a box of food, a coat and a pair of shoes for each child at Redwood Elementary in West Valley City.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8rh (KTVX)


Choir Singing On-Air!

For the next few weeks, ABC 4 will be showcasing local high school choirs from around the state of Utah!
The West Jordan High School Choir is among the best in the state and has earned recognition in California, New York and Washington for their outstanding performances.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8rg (KTVX)


Inside our schools

Enoch Elementary
North Elementary
Three Peaks Elementary
Canyon View Middle
Cedar Middle
Vista School
Tuacahn High
Arrowhead Elementary
http://gousoe.uen.org/8rc (SGS)


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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Thursday could’ve been a bloodbath in Bountiful. We are grateful it wasn’t
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

A 15-year-old boy walked into Mueller Park Junior High School in Bountiful about 8 o’clock Thursday morning. He was wearing a long coat and a backpack.
Beneath the coat, he concealed a 12-gauge shotgun and a 9 mm pistol. In the backpack, he carried a box of ammunition for each weapon.
Upon entering a classroom filled with 26 students, he fired the shotgun into the ceiling.
But no one died Thursday. No students. No administrators or staff.
Mueller Park did not become another Sandy Hook or Columbine.
And for that, we are grateful.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8r9


Thumbs up, thumbs down
(Provo) Daily Herald editorial

THUMBS UP: American Fork High School had a 97 percent graduation rate in 2016. Administrators at Alpine School District said the staff know the name, situation, even the couch color of every student who didn’t graduate after giving them multiple home visits.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8ra


Who Will Oppose a Tax Hike for Schools?
Utah Policy analysis by columnist Bob Bernick

Utah’s Republican legislators don’t like citizen initiative petitions.
In fact, if the state Constitution didn’t guarantee such a process to bypass the Legislature to create new laws, I’d guess the GOP-controlled House and Senate would repeal any statute that allowed for such a challenge to the lawmakers’ supreme power.
But citizen initiative petitions are in the Constitution.
Over the last several decades that I’ve reported on the 102-member, part-time Legislature, the Republican majority has several times taken steps to further restrict citizens’ ability to run voter-approved initiatives successfully.
At one point someone sued, and the Utah Supreme Court changed the manner of petition signatures, and sharply warned the Legislature not to further restrict the petition process. The justices said the requirements imposed by lawmakers were getting close to making it too hard to gather the signatures, and thus thwart the constitutionally guaranteed right.
All of this history comes into play now as a new pro-education group – Our Schools Now – this week announced it would attempt to gather petition signatures to raise the state’s personal income tax rate from 5 percent to 5.875 percent – or 7/8th of 1 percent.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8qM


Here Comes a Tax Hike!
Utah Policy commentary by columnists Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick


A group of prominent Utah business people want to put a tax hike to fund education directly to the voters, bypassing Gov. Gary Herbert and the Utah Legislature. Something has to be done as a new study shows Utah’s schools are losing $1.2 billion per year because of various tax breaks and changes to Utah’s tax code.
Plus, Gov. Gary Herbert will release his proposed budget next week. What can we expect?
http://gousoe.uen.org/8qN (video)


Utah needs to shore up teacher salaries
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Ann Brisk

Wow. The irony is overwhelming. The front page lead Tribune article on Nov. 27 is “Working two jobs is simple math for teachers,” and then a column from the Sutherland Institute is titled “Facts show Utah schools don’t need a big tax increase.”
So the brilliant scholars at the Sutherland Institute conclude that because our children are in fact doing better than average nationwide that we should not increase the taxes that pay the very teachers who must work two or more jobs to survive. Let me be clear: If there is no one left willing to teach the children there will be no schools to send our children to. I am not a teacher and I do not have any children but I am very vested in the future of the children in Utah and I want them to have a good educational experience with teachers who are able to support a family on their teaching salary.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8r4


Low school funding is a recipe for failure
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Rob O’Neill

Christine Cooke’s piece in The Tribune (“Facts show Utah schools don’t need a big tax increase,” Nov. 27) demonstrates the dubious usefulness of focusing on relative standards in judging outcomes in the educational arena.
Utah students may be doing relatively well compared to other states in some basic subject matter knowledge. But that still leaves large proportions of students in our state doing relatively poorly compared to where they could and should be performing. This holds especially true for students from diverse backgrounds and/or who experience socioeconomic disadvantage.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8r3


Why the U.S. Education Department Never Dies
Bloomberg commentary by columnist Paula Dwyer

Ever since President Jimmy Carter created the U.S. Department of Education in 1979, conservatives have been trying to abolish it. Rick Perry, the Texas governor who in a 2011 presidential debate couldn’t remember all the U.S. agencies he wanted to shutter, had total recall over one — the Education Department.
Will conservatives finally get the job done? Donald Trump, who also calls for the agency’s demolition, will be in the White House, and Republicans have a majority in Congress. Betsy DeVos, an activist for school vouchers and critic of public education, has been nominated for education secretary.
Before answering that question, let’s run down what the department does. Its discretionary budget is all of $68 billion. Of that, $22 billion is for Pell Grants, awarded in amounts up to $5,800 to 8 million financially needy college students. If the department disappears, some other body would still need to determine eligibility for the grants and ensure their proper distribution.

Another of the department’s jobs is distributing $15 billion in Title I funds to school districts that serve disadvantaged children. The districts, in return, must meet performance criteria such as lower dropout rates and higher graduation numbers. The agency distributes an additional $13 billion to 5 million students with physical and mental disabilities.
Without the federal money, states would have to come up with these funds, yet some will surely have other priorities besides educating low-income and disabled kids. The same goes for many of the smaller federal programs that help schools in rural areas, expand early-childhood education, recruit and train teachers, offer computer-science classes and the like.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8qX


Will Trump Overhaul Public Education?
From privatization to civil rights, his Department of Education could transform the American system.
Slate commentary by Dana Goldstein, author of The Teacher Wars

Last week, President-elect Donald Trump announced a strongly ideological pick for secretary of education: Michigan philanthropist Betsy DeVos. Unlike the current secretary, John King, or the previous one, Arne Duncan, DeVos has never led a state education department or school district. As an advocate and donor, she has been committed to the concept of school choice, not necessarily as a driver of improved student achievement—she has supported for-profit and virtual charter schools, as well as private school vouchers, all of which have disappointing academic track records—but to choice as a good in and of itself. DeVos is also a social conservative. She and her husband, Amway heir Dick DeVos, have funded anti–gay marriage and anti–affirmative action efforts. If she is confirmed, which is likely, she will inherit a department that spends $68 billion per year.
As I wrote last week, DeVos will certainly try to direct federal education dollars toward vouchers that parents could use at any school, private or public. However, the work of the Department of Education is much broader than that, encompassing a number of areas, from school discipline to campus sexual assault to pre-K, where DeVos has essentially no record. Trump will have the opportunity to appoint at least seven other high-level officials to the Department of Education, who in turn will hire dozens of political appointees. What could happen to President Obama’s legacy on education, which emphasized civil rights and school accountability? What can the Trump administration do on its own, and what would require action from Congress? The most radical outcome would be a federal government that vastly increases profit-making opportunities in public education while declining to investigate discrimination in schools. But what is actually likely to happen?
http://gousoe.uen.org/8rn


Let Poor Parents Choose Too
Why don’t education reformers allow poor parents the same school choice decisions as rich parents?
U.S. News & World Report commentary by Robert Pondiscio, senior fellow and vice president for external affairs at the Thomas B. Fordham Institute

The election of Donald Trump has fundamentally shifted the ground of the education debate. The teachers unions don’t have a seat at the table, and the arguments of anti-school choice interest groups risk ringing hollow. Trump’s selection of Betsy DeVos to serve as his education secretary also exposes another potential schism in the ranks of education reformers: those whose preferred flavor of school choice emphasizes charter schools, strong authorizers and performance-based accountability versus those who think the ultimate control should rest with parents – and that private schools are very much part of the mix. Battle lines are already being drawn.
“If we’re going to have a national debate about choice/vouchers under DeVos/Pence,” Thomas Toch, a longtime education reform hand, tweeted after the nomination was announced, “let’s focus on evidence, not adult self-interest, ideology.”
Not so fast. Adult self-interest is the heart of this debate, and the ideological question is whether we trust poor parents to exercise it.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8ro


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NATIONAL NEWS
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Education Summit Lifts Up State’s Role in Education
Education Week

Washington – The latest National Summit on Education Reform is taking place at a time when the federal role in education is receding before the power of states.
And that’s just the way Jeb Bush, the founder of the organization that has hosted the summit for the past seven years, likes it.
“This new administration and this Congress have a real opportunity to bring wholesale disruption to education,” said Bush, the chairman of the Foundation for Excellence in Education, during a keynote address at the summit’s Thursday session.
“They can start by lifting the federal government’s heavy hand in setting education policy. The real place for change is in the states, and the real power should be with parents,” he said.
The foundation supports reform efforts such as A-F grades for public schools, school choice in the form of education savings accounts, charter schools, and vouchers for special education and low-income students, and requirements that 3rd graders show reading proficiency before being promoted.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8qQ

http://gousoe.uen.org/8qR (The 74)


Many State Report Cards Leave Parents in the Dark About School Achievement
Education Week

Say you are a parent who is planning to move from Ohio to Delaware for a job, and you just have a few weeks to figure out where to live, find a house and move with your school age kids. How easy will it be to quickly compare schools and districts to find the ones that will best fit your family?
Even for a parent willing to buckle down with spreadsheets, it could be an uphill slog. While Ohio’s online district report cards, like the one excerpted above, include data on achievement and growth for different groups of students in a dashboard, Delaware, like many states, does not show students’ performance levels, graduation rates, teacher quality measures, or other data on its report cards, according to a new study by the Data Quality Campaign.
“As a nation, we have not yet prioritized getting this information into the hands of the people who need it to help them understand whether schools are serving all students well,” said Aimee Guidera, the president and chief executive officer of the campaign.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8qT

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/8qU (Data Quality Campaign)


Meet the congresswoman poised to tear up Obama’s education legacy
‘I’m going to push to diminish the role of the federal government in everything … that isn’t in the Constitution,’ says the expected House Education chair.
Politico

BANNER ELK, N.C. — Virginia Foxx pulled herself up by her own bootstraps and wants every American child to be able to do the same.
As the 73-year-old GOP lawmaker and former community college president is poised to assume the leadership of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, she plans to help deliver on that idea — or at least, erase what she regards as Barack Obama’s wrongheaded approach.
Foxx, who boasts she was “tea party before the tea party started,” is blunt about her agenda: She says she will do everything possible to expunge most of Obama’s education legacy. She is a strong supporter of school choice as President-elect Donald Trump rolls out his $20 billion school choice plan emphasizing vouchers — and she expects to have an ally in Trump’s pick for education secretary, Betsy DeVos.
“I’m going to push to diminish the role of the federal government in everything it’s in that isn’t in the Constitution,” Foxx said in an interview in her district. “That’s education, health care. All the things that the federal government does that it should not be doing. I’m happy to diminish its role.”
Foxx’s small-government views are rooted in the Blue Ridge Mountains in a slice of Appalachia where she grew up without power and running water and began working as a weaver at age 12 to help support her family — experiences that convinced her it’s an individual’s hard work, and not federal programs, that lead to success.
She said she would love to dismantle the federal Education Department altogether, but acknowledges that that is unlikely in the near term.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8qY


Wyoming public school funding faces ‘real crisis,’ governor says
Casper (WY) Star-Tribune

Wyoming’s public school system could face a shortfall of up to $700 million in the next two-year budget cycle, Gov. Matt Mead said Wednesday.
Mead told reporters the state could not sustain existing levels of education spending amid an economic downturn brought on by declines in the energy sector. Some school districts could face cuts of $10 million to $15 million, he said.
“I can’t stress enough that we have a real crisis on our hands,” he said.
Mead’s press conference came two weeks after a report by the Joint Education Interim Committee showed the state’s education system is projected to be in a $1.8 billion hole by the 2022 fiscal year.
In his budget recommendations to the Wyoming Legislature, Mead acknowledged the shortfall in the school foundation program account. To fill some of that gap, he said, $567.9 million has been taken from the Permanent Land Fund Holding Account.
Given the shortfall, Mead said lawmakers have suggested examining several options to address the budget crunch, including larger class sizes, consolidating school districts, looking at special education and transportation.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8qS


Finally, the College Board makes it easier for students with disabilities to get SAT accommodations
Washington Post

For many years, students with disabilities and their counselors often complained about how hard it is to win testing accommodations during the administration of the SAT, Advanced Placement and other standardized exams from the College Board. That’s going to change, the organization said.
The College Board, which owns the SAT, just announced that starting Jan. 1, “the vast majority” of students who have special-education plans that already include accommodations for testing — such as extra time, sitting in a separate room, and/or having the test read to the student — will receive automatic approval for the same accommodations when taking the SAT, PSAT 10, PSAT/NMSQT, SAT subject tests and AP exams.
College counselors expressed delight at the changes, with some noting that they will especially help students who do not have the resources to fight the College Board for accommodations. In the past, winning accommodations for the SAT was often a timely and laborious process requiring extensive documentation of a disability.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8qV


Feds: Fatal Wreck Shows Need for Seat Belts on School Buses
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on Thursday re-emphasized the agency’s call for seat belts on school buses in the aftermath of a crash in Chattanooga that killed six students.
Administrator Mark Rosekind said at a transportation safety conference in Washington that while school buses remain the safest way for children to get to and from school, they “can be safer.”
“And as the recent tragic crash in Chattanooga reminds us, there is no more heartrending, dreadful, tragic crash than when children are involved,” he said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8qZ


Toymakers want to bring STEM to playtime, filling gaps from schools
Chicago Tribune

Having a mouse in the house can be a good thing.
That’s what Vernon Hills-based Learning Resources is trying to convince parents as the company tries to sell its new Code & Go Robot Mouse Activity Set. The $60 toy encourages programming, allowing players to use directional tiles to direct a robot mouse to a cheese wedge-shaped game piece.
“It teaches them the fundamentals of coding,” said Ellen Metrick, educational marketing manager. “They’ll already have the fundamentals, learning step by step. They’ll have done it with their hands, and it will be ingrained in their muscles.”
Learning Resources is among toy companies playing into parents’ desires to develop science, technology, engineering and math — aka STEM — skills in their children at earlier ages. STEM toymakers were among the playmakers who descended for Chicago Toy & Game Week in mid-November, which included industry conferences, the Toy & Game Innovation Awards, a fashion show and the Chicago Toy & Game Fair.
STEM and arts toy sales saw a 7 percent growth in 2015 to $28.6 billion, according to consumer research firm Euromonitor.
The toy industry is looking to fill a gap where schools might not be teaching STEM, said Robin Raskin, founder of lifestyle technology conference producer Living in Digital Times.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8qW


Warning Sounded on Tech Disrupting Student Sleep
Education Week

Educators who promote the use of education technology are working harder to caution students and parents about the impact of digital devices and the “blue light” they emit, which can disrupt student sleep patterns.
A recent meta-analysis by British researchers has brought renewed attention to the issue, calling increased use of mobile devices at bedtime a “major public-health concern” for children and teenagers.
As many schools and districts shift to 1-to-1 device programs, often allowing students to take those devices home each night, education leaders are looking for ways to incorporate warnings about the detrimental effects of mobile devices on sleep.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8rm


School District Temporarily Pulls Classics after Complaint
Associated Press

ACCOMAC, Va. — A Virginia school district has temporarily pulled two classic novels from its classrooms after a parent filed a formal complaint over language contained in the books.
A parent of an Accomack County Public Schools student filed the complaint over “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” because of their use of racial slurs, local media outlets reported.
The district has temporarily suspended the use of the books while officials examine the issue. A committee that includes a principal, librarian and others will review the books and make a recommendation to the superintendent.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8rl

http://gousoe.uen.org/8rp (CBS)


Hillsboro school memo stirs Santa controversy
(Portland, OR) KGW

HILLSBORO, Ore. — A memo sent to staff members at the Hillsboro School District has stirred a controversy over whether images of Santa Claus should be welcomed in schools.
The memo reads, in part:
“We will not be holding a door decorating contest this year. You may still decorate your door or office if you like, but we ask that you be respectful and sensitive to the diverse perspectives and beliefs of our community and refrain from using religious-themed decorations or images like Santa Claus. ”
Hillsboro School District spokeswoman Beth Graser told KGW the memo was only sent to secondary principals as a reminder to be sensitive about the environments created in the school over the holiday season.
“We were NOT banning Santa, nor were we going to be the ‘decorations police’ and scold people if they happened to have decorations up that might be too Christmas-y,” Graser said, “unless they were totally over the top.”
“If a classroom turns into the Christmas version of a haunted house and you have to walk down candy cane lane then that’s a different story.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8rq


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UEN News
http://www.uen.org

December 8:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
9 a.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/charterschools/State-Board.aspx

Utah State Board of Education study session, USDB and committee meetings
3:30 p.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.boarddocs.com/ut/usbe/Board.nsf/Public

December 9:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
8 a.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.boarddocs.com/ut/usbe/Board.nsf/Public

December 13:
Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
2:30 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2016&com=APPEXE

December 19:
Education Interim Committee meeting
8 a.m., 1575 S State Street, Salt Lake City
http://le.utah.gov/interim/2016/pdf/00004304.pdf

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