Education News Roundup: Jan. 5, 2017

Six new State Board of Education members were sworn in during the January Board meeting.

Six new State Board of Education members were sworn in during the January 2015 Board meeting.

Today’s Top Picks:

Study finds school boards are the exception to the rule where women in Utah are lagging in politics.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8G2 (KUER)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8G7 (UPR)

Deseret News looks at sex ed in Utah schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Fy (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8Fz (DN)

Utah County’s birthrate declines for second straight year. Don’t worry too much. It’s still higher than the state average.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8FF (PDH)

Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos will face a Senate hearing on Jan. 11.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Fl (WaPo)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8Fr (Detroit News)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8Fs (MLive)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Study: Number Of Women In Utah Politics Still Lagging

What’s the right approach to sex-ed curriculum?

Sex-ed may be a class, but experts say the best education begins at home

Utah County’s birth rate declines for a second year

School board holds public hearing on proposed boundary changes

Revisiting A Conversation With Michael Copperman And “Teacher” On Wednesday’s Access Utah

How The McGillis School Goes Beyond Traditional Education

Grant to help Provo buy 8 new school buses

Education still a priority after service

Blocked plan for Granite High property gets new life in ‘phases’

Newly updated recess guidance

Report: Fewer Utah teens drink alcohol, those who do may have easier access to it

School closures and delays in Utah due to overnight snowstorm

South Utah County Samaritans rescue bus, save each other from snow

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Utah Governor Renounces Support of Common core, Easily Wins Re-election

‘Move to a four-day school week? It would reduce the time I spend working at night and on weekends’
A four-day school week seems like the perfect solution to a multitude of financial and academic issues facing many of our schools, writes one charter school teacher

Kids don’t deserve attention for doing what they’re supposed to do

Taking Stock of Educational Progress Under Obama
Secretary John King’s exit memo offers a first look at what the administration thinks it has—and hasn’t—achieved.

A Compelling Case for Curriculum
Growing evidence suggests high-quality curriculum is a key component of student success.

How Design Thinking Became a Buzzword at School
The trendy concept is in high demand among educators, but its specifics are vague.

NATION

Senate schedules confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick for education secretary

In Michigan, a test case for US public schools under Trump?
Betsy DeVos, a billionaire philanthropist and prominent Republican fundraiser, has been among the nation’s foremost advocates for school choice. Her home state offers perhaps the best preview of free-market style education policies.

Arne Duncan: Part of Federal K-12 Role Is Protecting Kids From ‘Bad Things’

Virginia lawmaker proposes North Carolina-style bill to restrict transgender bathroom access

Lawmakers struggle to find a solution to school construction shortfall

House, Check. Shul, Check. Now Jared and Ivanka Hunt for a School.

A teacher and his husband were found dead in August.
Police say they had sexually abused 8 boys.

North Carolina video puts police in schools back in the spotlight
Officials are investigating a video showing a school police officer slamming a student to the ground, echoing similar incidents in recent years.

Dodgeball turns violent, and Wisconsin student charged with felony battery

Pearson Releases Rights to its Learning Design Principles

 

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UTAH NEWS
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Study: Number Of Women In Utah Politics Still Lagging

Utah has made slight progress in the number of women in politics over the past two years, but a new study says there’s still work to be done.
For example, after a steady decline since 2009, the number of women in the Utah state legislature increased by almost 4 percent last year, to 19 percent. Nationally, the average state house is about 25 percent female.
These numbers are part of an updated study called the “Status of Women in Utah Politics” co-authored by Utah Valley University professor Susan Madsen.
“In most areas we’re still below [the national average],” says Madsen. “So in the state executive office—we are zero percent of our state executive offices compared to around 23 percent nationally.”
One area where Utah does rank close to the national average is on boards of education. Utah is at 73 percent compared to 50 percent nationally for women in educational leadership.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8G2 (KUER)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8G7 (UPR)

 

What’s the right approach to sex-ed curriculum?

Each time health instructor Konstance McCaffree started her junior high unit on human sexuality, she would open it up to questions from the 15-year-old students.
Shy and embarrassed about the “taboo” subject, they’d either stay quiet or protest that they’d heard it all before. So she handed out 3×5 cards and asked them to write down their now-anonymous questions.
“I kept every single one of those cards for years,” says McCaffree, a certified sexuality educator with more than 35 years of school-teaching experience. “I had hundreds and hundreds of those cards, in case anybody came back and said, ‘Why are you teaching this?’ (I could say) ‘Here’s the card. This is what kids are asking me.'”
McCaffree’s students were always inquisitive, but one question came up over and over throughout her career, and remains a pertinent question today, she says.
“How does someone get pregnant, or not get pregnant?”
“That kind of question doesn’t get answered a lot,” she said. “The answer is ‘just don’t do it and you won’t get pregnant,’ instead of taking the time to explain it.”
But the “right way” to explain sex and healthy sexuality to teenagers has been a decades-long debate involving parents, teachers, school districts and advocates with a variety of opinions.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Fy (DN)

 

Sex-ed may be a class, but experts say the best education begins at home

Whether Josh Jaime and his 17-year-old son, Solomon, are in the car, jogging around Kensington Metropark or powering through strawberry waffles at IHOP, they always end up talking sports.
It’s usually recapping the recent Detroit Tigers game or running through stats for Tigers catcher Brian McCann, Solomon’s favorite player. But occasionally there are deeper topics — like when Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punched his then-fiancé into unconsciousness in an Atlantic City casino elevator.
“We’ll take those examples and we’ve turned them over into conversations we can have about sex,” says Jaime, a single dad from Novi, Michigan. “(And topics like) drinking and how to treat a woman. To him, it’s very relevant. He follows baseball, he follows football, these are his heroes. (I tell him) ‘This is the way you wanna be and this is the way you don’t wanna be. If you are this way, this is what the consequences are.'”
Jaime wasn’t always so comfortable bringing up sex and healthy relationships — despite a deep parental desire to do so. But thanks to some training and parent education through his local school district in Michigan, he’s now got solid information and said he feels empowered to talk, and keep talking, about these crucial topics — blending them almost seamlessly into the regular conversational cadence of life.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Fz (DN)

 

Utah County’s birth rate declines for a second year

Utah County appears to be following the national trend of declining birth rates.
Births for 2016 look unlikely to top those in 2015, according to data from the Utah County Health Department updated on Dec. 13, when 11,240 births had been reported in the county for the year. Official birth numbers won’t be available for months.
There were 11,906 babies born in Utah County in 2015, down from 12,181 babies born in 2014. In 2013, there were 11,222 babies born in the county.
But that doesn’t mean the county’s traditionally high birth rate has changed dramatically. The county’s birth rate remains high, at 21.3 babies born per 1,000 people in 2015, topping Utah’s rate of 17.4 and the national rate of 12.5.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8FF (PDH)

 

School board holds public hearing on proposed boundary changes

ST. GEORGE — The Washington County Board of Education will conduct a special public hearing Tuesday at 5 p.m. to discuss possible school boundary changes.
The meeting will be held in the Washington County School District office, 121 W. Tabernacle St., St. George.
The proposed boundary changes will affect students living in the Crimson View, Horizon, Legacy, Little Valley, Majestic Fields, Panorama, Riverside, Sandstone and Washington elementary school areas.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8FK (SGN)

 

Revisiting A Conversation With Michael Copperman And “Teacher” On Wednesday’s Access Utah

When Michael Copperman left Stanford University for the Mississippi Delta in 2002 – recruited by Teach for America – he imagined he would lift underprivileged children from the narrow horizons of rural poverty. Well-meaning but naïve, the Asian-American from the West Coast says he soon lost his bearings in a world divided between black and white. Trying to help students, he often found he couldn’t afford to give what they required―sometimes with heartbreaking consequences.
In his memoir, “Teacher: Two Years in the Mississippi Delta” (University Press of Mississippi), Copperman considers the distance between the idealism of Teach for America’s creed that “One day, all children in this nation will have the opportunity to attain an excellent education and reach their full potential” and what it actually means to teach in America’s poorest and most troubled public schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8G6 (UPR, audio)

 

How The McGillis School Goes Beyond Traditional Education

If public school is not the best fit for your child and family, perhaps an independent school the better option. Melanie Battistone, Interim Head of The McGillis School joined us to discuss this K-8 school in the University of Utah area. The school consists of roughly 435 students.
The McGillis School goes beyond traditional education, putting a heavy focus on ethics, academics and community. One aspect of the middle school Melanie takes pride in is its unique project-based and hands-on-learning curriculum. Also a highlight are the teachers. Each teacher is open to innovative ways of teaching, passionate about what they do and their students’ education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8G3 (KTVX)

 

Grant to help Provo buy 8 new school buses

PROVO — The buses in Provo School District are going green with the help of a new grant from the Utah Department of Environmental Quality.
In December, the department received $5 million out of the $20 million available in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Targeted Airshed Grants program.
Through that grant, the Provo district will have enough funding to purchase eight new school buses.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8FB (DN)

 

Education still a priority after service

FARMINGTON—While they may be retiring from their service on the Davis School District Board of Education, three former board members say they will not lose their focus on education or their commitment to making it better.
Barbara Smith and Kathie Bone didn’t run for another term last year, and Liz Mumford and Brigit Gerrard were elected to take their places. Larry Smith lost his re-election bid to challenger John Robison.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8G1 (DCC)

 

Blocked plan for Granite High property gets new life in ‘phases’

SOUTH SALT LAKE, Utah — After seven years of fighting, the former home of Granite High School is probably about to come down. But what will go in its place is a question that has divided South Salt Lake.
Now, a Get Gephardt investigation has found that some creative moves are currently underway that may have a once-blocked plan moving forward.
The 16 acres off 3300 South in South Salt Lake was once the home of the Granite Farmers. It will be, in part, home to a shopping district if developers get their way.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8FM (KUTV)

 

Newly updated recess guidance

To help bring us all to date on air quality and a new set of recess guidelines, Brittany Guerra of the Utah Department of Health came to 2News.
Poor air quality can affect your health. Every person has a different sensitivity to air pollution, but populations that are especially vulnerable include children, the elderly and those with chronic lung or heart conditions.
Recess Guidance is a set of air quality guidelines for schools to use in determining whether to cancel outdoor recess on bad air days. The guidance was updated in 2016 by a group of stakeholders, including the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, the Utah Department of Health, and parent, school, and air quality stakeholders across Utah.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8FZ (KUTV)

A copy of the guidance
http://gousoe.uen.org/8G0 (Utah Department of Health)

 

Report: Fewer Utah teens drink alcohol, those who do may have easier access to it

Underage drinking in Utah is lower than half of the national rate, according to a new report, but the teens who are drinking alcohol are having an easier time getting their hands on it.
A 2016 brief on underage drinking in Utah from the Department of Human Services reveals youth in Utah drink much less frequently than youth in other states. According to the report, this is true of lifetime alcohol use (if the student has ever used alcohol in his or her lifetime,) past 30 day use, and binge drinking (five or more drinks in a row.)
The brief is based on data gathered through the Student Health and Risk Prevention survey, which is administered to Utah students in each county every other year. Jeff Marrott, public information officer for the Division of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, said the information helps local administrators and civic leaders determine what they can do to influence risk and protective factors.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8FJ (SGS)

School closures and delays in Utah due to overnight snowstorm

CACHE COUNTY — As a result of Wednesday night’s snowstorm, Logan, Box Elder and Cache County schools are canceled Thursday and other districts have announced delays.
The school districts took to social media and their respective websites to inform parents about the snow day.
Below is a list of schools and districts including any closures or delays due to Thursday morning’s weather conditions. The list compiled will be updated as soon as alerts are received.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8FA (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8FV (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8FC (OSE)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8FE (PDH)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/8FI (CVD)

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

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

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

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

 

South Utah County Samaritans rescue bus, save each other from snow

Loads of snow can mean loads of stress and headaches for those needing to get to school and work, and the weekend’s storm thoroughly dumped on the Spanish Fork/Springville area.
But as is often the case in Utah, snowstorms can actually bring out the best in people. Many residents in the southern part of the county were helped in digging out walkways, cars — and even the occasional bus and recycling truck.
Tuesday morning, brothers Nathan and John Kramer of Driven Auto Sales in Springville, knew they weren’t really going to sell cars, so instead of going to work, they drove around Spanish Fork with the express purpose of helping people out. One of those vehicles assisted was a Nebo School District bus.
“I live up on the east bench in Spanish Fork, and I saw the bus stuck. Some people were trying to dig him out, so Nathan and I grabbed our Hummer and I hooked him up. And away we went,” John said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8FG (PDH)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Utah Governor Renounces Support of Common core, Easily Wins Re-election
Heartland Institute commentary by Jenni White, cofounder of Restore Oklahoma Public Education

Utah incumbent Gov. Gary Herbert (R) will begin his third term after switching positions on Common Core during a contentious campaign for the Republican nomination.
Formerly a proponent of the Common Core State Standards, a national program dictating what students should know at the end of each grade level, Herbert expressed opposition to the standards in May 2016 after primary challenger and outspoken Common Core opponent Jonathan Johnson said, “Utah’s students will benefit greatly from more localization and personalization.”
Herbert wrote a letter to members of the Utah State Board of Education before the primary elections in May saying, in part, “I am asking the State Board of Education to consider implementing uniquely Utah standards, moving beyond the Common Core to a system that is tailored specifically to the needs of our state.”
Herbert defeated his Democratic opponent, Mike Weinholtz, 67–29 percent in the November 2016 election.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Fx

 

‘Move to a four-day school week? It would reduce the time I spend working at night and on weekends’
A four-day school week seems like the perfect solution to a multitude of financial and academic issues facing many of our schools, writes one charter school teacher
(London) TES commentary by Joni Newman, who teaches at the American Leadership Academy

I teach in a charter school in Utah. Most charter schools that are featured in films are in inner cities, where charters appear primarily to provide an option to get out of gang-ridden district schools.
However, in my corner of the world, families seem to choose charter schools in the hope of finding a more conservative education – not necessarily a “safer” one.
Dress codes, school names and mascots are almost universally centered around Americana. This means that charters in Utah have a unique challenge: how do they differentiate themselves not only from district schools, but from each other?
My school, American Leadership Academy (ALA), is the oldest and most established of the charters in Utah County. True to form, it has the red, white and blue-dominated dress code.
Our mascot is the eagle. Our status in the community is solidified enough that no one fears closure, and our enrollment is high.
All the same, ALA has faced the same problems every school in the state of Utah faces.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8FX

 

Kids don’t deserve attention for doing what they’re supposed to do
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Tracie Gale

I really wish we, as a society, would stop glorifying and rewarding people who fail and give a little more attention to those who use the good old-fashioned hard work to get somewhere.
In a story that was worthy of the front page Dec. 27, 2016, the Standard-Examiner profiled a student who is working on doing all the things a teenager is expected to do — going to school and passing her classes (”Ben Lomond High student goes from dropout to success through Achievement Club”). It is frustrating to see you focus on someone who continually was not doing what she was supposed to and now, because she has chosen to finally do what she were supposed to be doing all along, is worthy of a front-page story.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8FD

 

Taking Stock of Educational Progress Under Obama
Secretary John King’s exit memo offers a first look at what the administration thinks it has—and hasn’t—achieved.
Atlantic commentary by columnist EMILY DERUY

As they prepare to leave office, members of President Barack Obama’s cabinet are beginning to file their exit memos. Partially a chance to take credit for progress made and partially a final opportunity to call for changes in policy they’ve yet to push through, the memos offer insight into what the administration’s top officials think they have—and haven’t—accomplished over the last eight years.
On Thursday, Education Secretary John King delivers his memo. Entitled “Giving Every Student a Fair Shot: Progress Under the Obama Administration’s Education Agenda,” the 14-page document is divided into two sections: One outlines notable progress and the other lays a framework for sustaining that progress.
Clearly, some of what King touts as “progress” (say, Race to the Top grant competitions), others (for instance, teachers’ unions and labor groups) see as mistakes or failures. But, as a whole, the memo paints an initial picture of what the administration—and King, personally—would like its education legacy to be.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8FT

A copy of the memo
http://gousoe.uen.org/8FU (ED)

 

A Compelling Case for Curriculum
Growing evidence suggests high-quality curriculum is a key component of student success.
U.S. News & World Report op-ed by Charles Sahm, director of education policy at the Manhattan Institute

One of the odd features of education policy is that while a plethora of research exists on the effects of systemic reforms (e.g., class size, charter schools, teacher and school accountability mechanisms), on student achievement there is very little data on whether curriculum – what kids are actually being taught – makes a difference. As the Urban Institute’s Matthew Chingos notes: “It’s as if the medical profession worried about the administration of hospitals and patient insurance but paid no attention to the treatments that doctors give their patients.”
Slowly, however, the notion that curriculum counts is beginning to gain traction. At a recent Hopkins/Hunter forum (a collaboration between the Johns Hopkins Institute for Education Policy and Hunter College), Harvard professor Thomas Kane discussed a recent five-state study he oversaw that showed high-quality instructional materials produced a larger effect than having an experienced teacher versus a novice teacher. Kane plans to follow up with a national study in 2017. Other researchers, such as the Urban Institute’s Chingos and the University of Southern California’s Morgan Polikoff, are conducting studies on curricular effectiveness, but states don’t make it easy: Most states don’t collect information regarding which instructional materials schools are using.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Fn

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Fq (Brookings)

 

How Design Thinking Became a Buzzword at School
The trendy concept is in high demand among educators, but its specifics are vague.
Atlantic commentary by JESSICA LAHEY, author of The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed

At a recent teaching conference in Richmond, Virginia, a session on “design thinking” in education drew a capacity crowd. Two middle-school teachers demonstrated how they had used the concept to plan and execute an urban-design project in which students were asked to develop a hypothetical city or town given factors such as population, geography, the environment, and financial resources.
The teachers in the audience were enchanted by the details of the project; and if the photographs in the presentation were any indication, the students who participated in the lesson enjoyed it, too. The presenting teachers were bubbling over with enthusiasm for what they saw as the potential inherent in teaching design thinking.
Many of the teachers in attendance were flummoxed, however. As we filed out of the room and headed toward our next sessions, I overheard one woman remark to another that while the urban-design project looked like something she’d like to try in her own classroom, “I think I missed something. I still don’t understand what design thinking is. Do you?” The other teacher shook her head and said, “I think it’s a curriculum, but I’m not really sure.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8FS

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Senate schedules confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick for education secretary
Washington Post

The Senate education committee has scheduled a confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to helm the education department, for Jan. 11.
DeVos, who has spent more than two decades advocating for charter schools and taxpayer-funded school vouchers, is one of eight Trump nominees that Democrats have singled out for additional scrutiny. Two of the others are Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s pick for attorney general, and ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, Trump’s pick for secretary of state.
DeVos’s hearing is scheduled to take place on the second day of Sessions’s scheduled two-day hearing with the Judiciary Committee and the same day that Tillerson is tentatively scheduled to face the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Fl

http://gousoe.uen.org/8Fr (Detroit News)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8Fs (MLive)

 

In Michigan, a test case for US public schools under Trump?
Betsy DeVos, a billionaire philanthropist and prominent Republican fundraiser, has been among the nation’s foremost advocates for school choice. Her home state offers perhaps the best preview of free-market style education policies.
Christian Science Monitor

YPSILANTI, MICH.—Last fall, Ben Edmondson, the charismatic new superintendent of the long-struggling public school district in Ypsilanti, Mich., received an unusual visitor. It was a representative from a for-profit charter school management company, offering to buy a district building that had previously been listed for sale.
“The guy comes in and says, ‘We’ll offer you $1 million,’ ” Dr. Edmondson recalls. “ ‘That’s more than what you want.’ ”
Ypsilanti had been losing some 300 kids per year, about half its student population. Most enrolled in area charter schools under Michigan’s Schools of Choice law, which allows K-12 students to use state funding to enroll in other public districts or charter schools. The visiting representative told Edmondson a new charter school in the area could enroll 300 in its first year.
Edmondson declined.
“I will not sell any building here to any organization that doesn’t help make this city better,” he says.
From his embattled vantage point, charter schools have robbed many of Michigan’s public schools of money, students, and vitality, all while showing doubtful evidence of academic achievement and virtually no accountability for the money they spend.
“A charter school’s not going to make [this city] better,” he scoffs. “Are you kidding me?”
But next week, congressional confirmation hearings will begin for a woman who has precisely the opposite vantage point. Betsy DeVos, a billionaire philanthropist and prominent Republican fundraiser, has been among the nation’s foremost advocates for giving parents the broadest possible options for where to educate their kids – whether in charter schools, private schools, or homeschooling. She is President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of Education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Ft

 

Arne Duncan: Part of Federal K-12 Role Is Protecting Kids From ‘Bad Things’
Education Week

Washington — Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said Wednesday that a big part of the federal role in education is protecting kids from “bad things, and unfortunately we have to do a lot of that.”
“It’s no secret that bullying and harassment is up right now. [President-elect Donald] Trump has, I’m not blaming him, but Trump has unleashed a lot of bad things in our schools that I don’t think we can afford to turn a blind eye to,” Duncan said at a forum at the Brookings Institute on the future of the federal role in K-12 education.
He talked about the efforts of the office for civil rights during the Obama years to stand up for students in special education, English-language learners, students who have been victims of sexual assault, and more.
Duncan’s comments come amid worries by some advocates that the incoming Trump administration won’t be as aggressive as the Obama administration has been in standing up for students’ civil rights.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Fo

Video of the conference
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Fp (Brookings)

 

Virginia lawmaker proposes North Carolina-style bill to restrict transgender bathroom access
Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch

A Virginia lawmaker has filed a bill to force transgender people to use the bathroom corresponding to the sex on their birth certificate and require school principals to notify a student’s parents if the student makes any attempt to be “treated as the opposite sex.”
Del. Robert G. Marshall, a Prince William County Republican and one of the General Assembly’s most socially conservative members, filed a bill he’s titled the “Physical Privacy Act” for the legislative session that begins next week.
The proposal mirrors North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2, which prompted business boycotts and outcry from LGBT groups. However, the Virginia version faces long odds, and Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who has tried to lure business prospects away from North Carolina over the HB2 fallout, said he will veto “any bill that restricts the rights of Virginians based on sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Marshall’s bill, HB1612, would block transgender people from accessing restrooms corresponding to their gender identity in all government buildings, including schools and universities. The bill also would enable people who encounter a transgender person in the wrong bathroom to sue the government entity for failing to take “reasonable steps” to strictly separate bathrooms by birth sex.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Fm

 

Lawmakers struggle to find a solution to school construction shortfall
Casper (WY) Star-Tribune

The money that pays for Wyoming school construction and maintenance is running out, and legislators say they still have no firm plan to address the pending shortfall.
For more than a decade, capital construction on schools has been funded through coal lease bonuses, money paid to the state for the rights to mine land. More than $2.3 billion has been spent on school facilities during that time, lawmakers and Gov. Matt Mead have said, and around 100 buildings were built or renovated.
But a downturn in the energy economy has dried up that revenue stream, with the final $121 million coming in the current two-year budget cycle.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Fu

 

House, Check. Shul, Check. Now Jared and Ivanka Hunt for a School.
(New York) The Forward

Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have settled on a home in Washington, D.C. — a mansion right around the block from where President Barack Obama and his family will soon live. And now the question looms, which school will the couple’s three children attend?
As Orthodox Jews, it’s likely the two will opt to send their kids to Jewish day school, to give the children a fully rounded education in the faith. Kushner himself went to the Frisch School, a Modern Orthodox yeshiva in his native New Jersey.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8FW

 

A teacher and his husband were found dead in August.
Police say they had sexually abused 8 boys.
Washington Post

Aric Babbitt was not just a teacher to some of his former students; he was also a mentor.
To at least one of them, he was a father figure.
But authorities believe Babbitt used his position of authority to not only gain his students’ trust but also to exploit it.
Newly released police documents state that Babbitt, a 40-year-old elementary school teacher from Minnesota, and his 36-year-old husband, Matthew Deyo, sexually abused eight underage boys over the course several years, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.
The South St. Paul residents did not live to see any criminal charges against them. They were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide on an island in Washington state last August — shortly after they found out they were being investigated for sexual abuse.
Now, after a four-month investigation, the South St. Paul Police Department has released a 134-page investigative file detailing the extent of the alleged abuse. The St. Paul Pioneer Press, which obtained a copy of the documents, reported that underage boys were sexually abused at the couple’s home in South St. Paul, at Babbitt’s family cabin about 150 miles away, at Minneapolis hotels and at Deyo’s parents’ farm near Hastings, Minn.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Fv

 

North Carolina video puts police in schools back in the spotlight
Officials are investigating a video showing a school police officer slamming a student to the ground, echoing similar incidents in recent years.
Christian Science Monitor

A violent incident captured on video has prompted the largest school district in North Carolina to review its standards for police officers assigned to work in schools.
The video, recorded by a 15-year-old student at Rolesville High School, shows an officer picking up and slamming a teenage girl to the floor. The girl was reportedly trying to break up a fight between her sister and another student in the cafeteria.
The school’s agreement with local police allows officers to use force, but it cannot be “excessive, arbitrary or malicious.” The incident is currently under review by local law enforcement, authorities said, and the officer involved has been placed on paid administrative leave. But it has turned the spotlight back to the pros and cons of placing police officers in schools, now a widespread practice, after similar incidents made headlines in the last two years.
As of 2007, 40 percent of schools in America had assigned school resource officers (SROs), whereas just one percent of schools hosted officers in 1975. By 2013, there were 15,000 SROs in US schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8FR

 

Dodgeball turns violent, and Wisconsin student charged with felony battery
St. Paul (MN) Pioneer Press

ELLSWORTH, Wis. — A Maiden Rock, Wis., teenager was charged with a felony after a high school dodgeball game allegedly turned violent.
Pierce County prosecutors charged 18-year-old Jacob Sigler with one count of substantial battery in connection with the Oct. 11 incident at Ellsworth High School. A criminal complaint filed Dec. 15 alleges he slugged another student in the head after an intense volley of dodgeballs.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Fw

 

Pearson Releases Rights to its Learning Design Principles
Education Week

As part of a company-wide push for transparency in evaluating the efficacy of their products, executives at a major education corporation have publicly released the learning design principles that inform the creation of those educational products.
Pearson, a London-based educational multinational, announced in 2013 that it would begin issuing public audits of its products’ efficacy and financials in an effort to promote accountability by 2018.
That effort, which the company says is still on target, is buoyed by last month’s news—the release of what Pearson says are its research-backed learning design principles. These are meant to give outsiders an understanding of what guides the company’s development and effectiveness evaluations of products like its REVEL courseware.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8FQ

 

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

January 12:
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
9 a.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.boarddocs.com/ut/usbe/Board.nsf/Public

January 13:
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

January 23:
First day of the Utah Legislature
State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/

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