Education News Roundup: Jan. 6, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

Ogden District discusses a bond and asks why so many students are leaving at the junior high level.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Gr (OSE)

How often does one see a pension fund for Utah teachers (and other state government workers) and espionage both mentioned in the same news story?
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Ga (SLT)

Utah Policy’s Bob Bernick again urges Gov. Herbert to spend some political capital on school funding.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8GX (UP)

Should schools get in the landlord business so teachers can find affordable house in a high-cost district?
http://gousoe.uen.org/8GO (Atlantic)

Ms. Frizzle (if you don’t know who she is, you didn’t have kids in the 90s) is coming back. This time on Netflix.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8GL (Ed Week)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Ogden education admins talk bond initiative options, problems facing district

Congressman raises Chinese espionage alarm over deal involving Utah pension fund
Utah Retirement Systems » Lawmaker, union warn sale of the Long Beach hotel that the fund owns to foreign buyers could lead to spying.

Federal judge blocks Obamacare’s protections for transgender patients

Expert: Americans Need Better Understanding Of Other Languages, Cultures
Wisconsin Seen As A Leader In Helping Students Prepare For Global Environment

In the age of online bullying, Maeser Prep students are tweeting compliments instead

Summer program offers hands on learning

Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology Winners Announced
The award program is celebrating its 30th anniversary

South Salt Lake gives initial OK for piece of Granite High plot to become homes
Development » Some residents fear big-box presence, want whole parcel planned.

Cache County and Logan City districts cancel school Friday morning

Good Samaritans in Humvee rescue school bus stuck in snow

Inside our schools

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Maybe the 4th time’s a charm for Handy’s clean school bus bill

Time for Herbert to Become a ‘Big Idea’ Guy

Everyone is Hopped Up on Antidepressants! Bernick and Schott on Politics

Vote for school funding is a vote for us

Do the math: Education is the most effective jobs program. Let’s invest in it

ALEC Pay to Play on Display in Washington, DC

People who say geography means rural areas can’t share in Trump’s school choice vision are wrong. Here’s why

Schools are Getting Rid of Snow Days Because Nothing Is Sacred Anymore
These are dark (and cold!) times, my friends.

NATION

Texas leaders unveil transgender ‘bathroom bill’ panned by business, decried as discriminatory

Snyder vetoes bill to allow schools to erect advertising billboards
Governor says Michigan could have lost federal road funding money if he signed the bill

Bill to Ease Path for Repeal of Obama-Era Education Regulations Advances

Democrats Demand Betsy DeVos Reveal ‘Complicated Web’ of Money, Lobbying

Trump’s education nominee signals support for Daines plan

Trump Taps Rob Goad as White House Education Adviser

In final speech, Michelle Obama tells young people “Don’t be afraid. Be focused.”

Working Toward a Science of Teaching

Why School Districts Are Operating as Landlords
Rising housing costs in Colorado are making it hard for teachers to stay in the area, so officials are moving in to help.

This ransomware scheme is targeting schools, colleges and head teachers, warn police
Police warn about scam that begins with cybercriminals phoning schools for details of head teachers.

Girls from low-income families often unprepared for puberty

Brain-injury Deaths in High School Football Players Rising

‘The Magic School Bus’ Will Return to Teach New Generations About STEM

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UTAH NEWS
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Ogden education admins talk bond initiative options, problems facing district

OGDEN — Ogden School District administrators discussed a 2017 bond initiative with Board of Education members at a work session Wednesday evening.
Board president Jeff Heiner said along with addressing overall facility improvements, the district needs to figure out why they lose students at the junior high level. Many on the board and in attendance attributed it to the district’s public image and perceived safety problems.
Board member Jennifer Zundel said she lives in a neighborhood where few people send their children to Highland Junior High School, choosing instead to move or enroll at a charter school.
“I never once hear about class size or programs offered, everything is ‘I’ve got to get out of here before my kids have to go to that scary school,'” she said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Gr (OSE)

 

Congressman raises Chinese espionage alarm over deal involving Utah pension fund
Utah Retirement Systems » Lawmaker, union warn sale of the Long Beach hotel that the fund owns to foreign buyers could lead to spying.

A California congressman and a labor union are questioning whether Utah Retirement Systems (URS) is about to jeopardize national security.
How? They say the pension fund for 200,000 public employees is considering selling the Westin Long Beach Hotel — which URS owns as an investment in California — to Chinese buyers. The critics further suggest that the Chinese might use the property to spy on next-door U.S. agencies at the busy port of Long Beach or on federal officials who have contracts with the hotel and use it often.
“The sale of the Westin Long Beach raises national security questions,” Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-Calif., who represents the Long Beach area, wrote last month to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew.
He asked that the department’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States review the sale, and block it if it presents undue risk.
The congressman said because of concerns raised by that committee last year, a sale was called off of the Hotel del Coronado near San Diego to Chinese insurance giant Anbang. Lowenthal speculated “that the hotel’s proximity to the U.S. naval base factored prominently.”
Meanwhile, the UNITE HERE labor union, which seeks to represent Westin’s workers, circulated Lowenthal’s letter and added in a news release this week that the sale “raises national security questions because the hotel is next door to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection” offices in Long Beach.
The Utah Retirement Systems — which provides retirement and insurance benefits for state, local government and school employees in Utah — acknowledges an ownership interest in the Westin Long Beach Hotel, but declines to say whether a sale is in the works.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Ga (SLT)

 

Federal judge blocks Obamacare’s protections for transgender patients

Three weeks before President Barack Obama leaves office, a federal judge dealt yet another blow to the president’s signature policy, siding with religiously affiliated health care providers over the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor on Dec. 31 blocked the Affordable Care Act’s so-called transgender mandate, which sought to end discrimination on the basis of gender identity within the health care system.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Gm (DN)

 

Expert: Americans Need Better Understanding Of Other Languages, Cultures
Wisconsin Seen As A Leader In Helping Students Prepare For Global Environment

About 20 percent of the United States’ population speaks a language other than English at home, according to U.S. Census Bureau data in a recent report, The State of Languages in the U.S.
However, of the more than 230 million people in the U.S. who speak English, “very few” become proficient in a language other than English in school, the report showed.
The low number of Americans learning another language may have to do with the country’s history of being fairly isolated from the rest of the world, said Martha Abbott, executive director of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages.
There’s also an attitude English is sufficient enough to communicate with people around the word, Abbott said.

Utah and Delaware are two states that have put “significant funding” into elementary dual-language programs, Abbott said.
“The reason, their governors say, is so that they can raise a multilingual citizenry that will attract international businesses and allow them to do business worldwide,” Abbott said. “I think that we need to see more states, more activity at the state level happening.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8GZ (Wisconsin Public Radio)

 

In the age of online bullying, Maeser Prep students are tweeting compliments instead

When Hayden Webb sees one of his classmates doing good, he says something about it. He’ll send out a tweet, which is then liked, retweeted and sometimes printed out and put on the doors or windows of his school.
But spreading kindness, especially on social media, where “anonymous” accounts at schools often turn to posting rumors or belittling comments, is what the students at Karl G. Maeser Preparatory Academy in Lindon do.
“We are always looking out for each other,” said Dustin Simmons, the dean of the high school students.
There are about 600 students at the public charter school, which serves the seventh through 12th grades.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Gs (PDH)

Summer program offers hands on learning

Dashton Gledhill is a bright, energetic kindergartener, who loves playing games and learning to ride his new skateboard. He also likes listening to books his mom reads to him, but was far behind his peers in learning the alphabet and being prepared to read.
Despite attending two years of preschool, Dashton was unable to make the connection between letters and sounds, or even recognize the letters in his name. His mom decided to homeschool him one more year before starting kindergarten, and he still struggled with pre-reading skills.
When his school, Garland Elementary, tested him in the spring before he would start kindergarten, it was clear he needed a little extra help to start kindergarten on track with his classmates.
Box Elder School District was getting ready to start a new summer pre-kindergarten program, partially funded by a grant from United Way of Northern Utah. The program was designed to give intensive summer teaching to the students who were behind in preparing for kindergarten. Each school was able to design their own program, but had to meet district requirements, including involving parents in the learning process.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8GY (Tremonton Leader)

 

Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology Winners Announced
The award program is celebrating its 30th anniversary

SALT LAKE CITY—Gov. Gary R. Herbert, along with the Utah Science Technology and Research (USTAR) initiative and the Governor’s Office for Economic Development (GOED), today announced the winners of the 2016 Governor’s Medals for Science and Technology. The medals will be presented to 11 individuals and one company at a 30th anniversary awards dinner on Jan. 18.
“The medal recipients are true leaders in innovation, serving as educators, mentors and influencers statewide,” Gov. Herbert said. “Innovation drives Utah’s thriving economy and unmatched quality of life. I commend the winners for excellence in their fields and for their important work, which will benefit Utah residents for generations.”
Since 1987, the Governor’s Medals for Science and Technology have been awarded to residents and companies who have provided distinguished service or made significant contributions to Utah’s advanced scientific and technological knowledge, education and industry. Nominations are reviewed by an advisory panel before formally presenting winners to the governor.
This year’s 12 medals are awarded in the categories of academic/research, higher education, K-12 education, industry, government and one special recognition. The 2016 recipients are:

K-12 EDUCATION:
Debra Spielmaker, Ph.D.—Professor, Utah State University | Project Director, USDA-National Agriculture in the Classroom Program and Team Leader, National Center for Agricultural Literacy
http://gousoe.uen.org/8H2 (Utah Business)

 

South Salt Lake gives initial OK for piece of Granite High plot to become homes
Development » Some residents fear big-box presence, want whole parcel planned.

South Salt Lake • A planning commission took a big step toward approving lots for 76 single-family homes on the old Granite High property Thursday night.
Despite objections from community members who want the entire 27 acres of the former campus to be plotted, the South Salt Lake Planning Commission voted unanimously to give preliminary approval for Garbett Homes to build on the 16 southernmost acres of the property.
The company’s Jacob Ballstaedt said that after it closes with property owner Granite School District this month, the school district would have six months to tear down the buildings that comprised the school until it closed in 2009.
Some residents and alumni, along with the Utah Arts Alliance, had hoped to preserve some or all of the school buildings.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Gk (SLT)

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

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

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

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

 

Cache County and Logan City districts cancel school Friday morning

CACHE COUNTY — Officials made the call to cancel schools Friday for Cache County and Logan City districts due to extreme cold, while schools in Southern Utah experienced delays.
A message displayed on the Cache County School District website said that there will be no school today “due to extremely low temperatures and difficulty getting transportation running reliably.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Go (DN)

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

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

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/8Gx (SGN)

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

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

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

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/8GG (KCSG)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8GH (KUER)

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

Good Samaritans in Humvee rescue school bus stuck in snow

SPRINGVILLE, Utah — When John and Nathan Kramer woke up Tuesday morning, they knew they weren’t going to be selling a lot of cars at their dealership, Driven Auto Sales in Springville.
“Early that morning we thought, there’s no use coming to work because there’s so much snow, so we thought, lets go out and clean some walks,” John Kramer said.
However, when the Kramers go out, they ride in a military Humvee, which they refer to as “The General”.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8GF (KSTU)

 

Inside our schools

Enoch Elementary
North Elementary
Three Peaks Elementary
Arrowhead elementary
Snow Canyon High
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Gw (SGS)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Maybe the 4th time’s a charm for Handy’s clean school bus bill
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

Rep. Stephen Handy had the right idea in 2014.
And 2015.
And 2016.
But each time, the Utah Legislature turned its back on Handy’s proposal to reduce air pollution by replacing old, dirty school buses with modern, cleaner models.
This is the year.
Thanks to Utah’s share of the Volkswagen clean diesel cheating settlement, Utah has all the money it needs to invest in green school buses — and, at the same time, improve air quality along the Wasatch Front.
Utah stands to receive about $32 million from the Volkswagen settlement pool. That’s money the state can use to buy alternative-fuel trucks and buses and build charging stations.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Gq

 

Time for Herbert to Become a ‘Big Idea’ Guy
Utah Policy commentary by columnist Bob Bernick


Current Gov. Gary Herbert is a nice guy. As nice a guy as anyone who has sat in the governor’s office over the last half century.
And now with his last four years before him, Herbert would be well served to become a big idea guy – at least to put forward some big ideas, even if they aren’t accepted by the GOP-controlled Legislature.
Such an opportunity is before Herbert currently – even if it is not of his own making.
He can take charge, lead the way, to finding significant new monies for Utah’s public schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8GX

 

Everyone is Hopped Up on Antidepressants! Bernick and Schott on Politics
Utah Policy commentary by columnists Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott

We’re back after the holiday break! Congress is back in session, and the first thing Utah’s four House members did was vote to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics. That was even before they started to dismantle Obamacare.
Rep. Chris Stewart is still being mentioned as a possible candidate for Secretary of the Air Force. If he leaves his seat, that means a special election, which could liven up a boring 2017 election season.
The fight over the new Salt Lake City homeless shelters is getting intense. Could the issue be a political poison dart?
The 2017 Legislature is just a few weeks away. A few issues are starting to bubble to the top, but the biggest seem to be the budget and education funding. Lawmakers will have less to spend this year. How will that change the dynamic of this year’s session?
Bob Bernick and Bryan Schott analyze the “what” and “why” of the week in Utah politics.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8H1 (audio)

Vote for school funding is a vote for us
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Nelda Bishop

I disagree with Sen. Lyle Hillyard, chairman of the Legislature’s Public Education Appropriations Committee (“Full steam ahead: School funding ballot initiative is moving forward,” The Tribune, Jan. 2). Hillyard says that Utahns voting to pay a small tax increase to fund education is “people voting against themselves.” I think Utahns voting to pay more in taxes to adequately fund education is actually people voting for themselves.
I have no children in school any more and I live on a fixed income. But I would much rather pay more taxes to hire a great teacher to keep a teenager in school where he can learn how to fix my car than have the teenager drop out of school and support himself by breaking into my car.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Gl

 

Do the math: Education is the most effective jobs program. Let’s invest in it
Fox News commentary by Harold Levy, executive director of Jack Kent Cooke Foundation

Democrats and Republicans agree that creating good jobs for American workers must be a priority for the Trump administration and Congress. But a report issued at the end of December by the White House warns that millions of American jobs could be wiped out by automation in the next 20 years as machines and self-driving vehicles gain new abilities with the help of artificial intelligence.
The White House report reaches the same conclusion that many economists and educators across the partisan divide have called for: “American workers will need to be prepared with the education and training that can help them continue to succeed. Delivering this education and training will require significant investments” from preschool through college.
What is needed now is a bipartisan commitment by all levels of government to invest billions of dollars to improve kindergarten-12th grade schools and make college more accessible and affordable. This would be a powerful economic stimulus that would cut unemployment, create the educated workforce we need and transform lives. Having an educated workforce is how the United States got to be the leading economic engine on the globe and it’s how we can keep the engine roaring.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8GT

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/8GS (White House)

 

ALEC Pay to Play on Display in Washington, DC
PR Watch commentary by Steve Arnold, Mayor of Fitchburg, Wisconsin

I first attended an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) winter policy meeting in 2014. There I learned that many so-called “model bills” in the ALEC library had become law in my state of Wisconsin. These include the “cable competition” (deregulation) bill, the “castle doctrine” allowing home owners to shoot intruders, and parts of a bill to make it harder for young, old, and poor people to vote.
Upon my return home, I found that corporate ideas flogged by luncheon sponsors while we ate and promoted at lobbyist tables between sessions at the 2014 meeting had subsequently followed the same well-worn path to “model bills,” then state law.
Last month, I again attended the ALEC States & Nation Policy Summit. I resolved to study some of the more heavily promoted initiatives that we’re likely to see from ALEC and our own corporate-owned legislatures in the next year or two.

School Privatization
McGraw Hill Education, one of the three largest providers of textbooks and digital content in the world, is an ALEC funder, and sponsored the 2016 winter meeting at the highest (Chair’s) level. It also sponsored the Friday breakfast and so had the attendees’ undivided attention to lay out its policy agenda for expanding its profits from on-line education.
The thrust of the on-line learning advocates was that digital/on-line learning can be delivered to students at lower cost than traditional classroom education, and it automatically adapts to the needs of each individual student.
McGraw Hill’s breakfast case study featured Waterford Upstart, “an in-home, technology-delivered kindergarten readiness program that gives preschool-aged children individualized reading, math and science instruction with a focus on reading.” Upstart is currently available only in Utah, and is state-funded.
Utah appears to be pretty far along in implementing the ALEC road map for diverting taxpayer funds from traditional public schools. Money formerly provided to teachers through local boards of education now goes to educational software and service companies. Waterford is a software company with out-sourced Indian coders and a domestic code-testing subsidiary. It made about $10 million in 2015, almost all from the State of Utah. It is technically a non-profit, but its owners are on the payroll and well paid.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8H0

 

People who say geography means rural areas can’t share in Trump’s school choice vision are wrong. Here’s why
Chalkbeat commentary by JOE NATHAN, Center for School Change director

Do some school choice programs make sense in rural America? For students like Paige Knutson, Daniel Lopez Gomez, and Merle Vander Weyst, the answer is certainly yes.
President-elect Donald Trump and his choice for secretary of education insist that private-school vouchers are a good idea. I strongly disagree. But there are examples across America that show how public school choice options can help rural students and families. Having worked with rural schools for 28 years, I know that geography isn’t an insurmountable hurdle.
These options include district schools-within-schools, alternative and magnet schools, charter schools, distance learning options, and dual high school/college credit programs. With federal support, the best of them should be identified, strengthened and replicated.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Gh

 

Schools are Getting Rid of Snow Days Because Nothing Is Sacred Anymore
These are dark (and cold!) times, my friends.
Good Housekeeping commentary by columnist Sarah Schreiber

Everyone remembers getting that 5:00 a.m. automated phone call, which relayed, in a monotone voice, that school was closed for the day thanks to a foot (or two) of snow. A few sleepy cheers and then back to bed, a feeling rivaled only by the thrill of running out of class on the last school day before summer break.
Sorry to pull you out of the nostalgic moment, but snow days — like 8-tracks and coming home when the streetlights turn on — might soon be a thing of the past. Several schools in the Northeast are responding to more frequent weather-related closings by offering — wait for it — virtual school days. Yep, kids are “going to school” from the warmth of their couches, wrapped in Snuggies.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8GU

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Texas leaders unveil transgender ‘bathroom bill’ panned by business, decried as discriminatory
Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN — Cities like Dallas and Austin could have to undo local laws that protect transgender people from discrimination if Texas passes the so-called bathroom bill unveiled Thursday, a proposal panned by the business community that’s wreaked havoc on other states’ economies.
Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, a Republican from Brenham, will sponsor the bill. She announced her bill Thursday with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who has made passing a bathroom bill one of his top priorities for this year’s legislative session.
“Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter,'” Patrick said. “This legislation, the Texas Privacy Act, that Sen. Kolkhorst is filing today, is unquestionably one of the things that matters. It’s the right thing to do.”
The bill takes cues from legislation passed in North Carolina and Indiana in recent years, laws that have caused substantial political headaches for those states’ leaders and resulted in both states losing millions in business investment. Texas business leaders warn that similar efforts here would be seen as a discriminatory, too and could cost the Lone Star State up to $8.5 billion.
Kolkhorst and Patrick said public safety is their No. 1 aim, insisting they wouldn’t have had to tackle this issue if the Obama administration had not meddled in state affairs. Their proposal will provide the backdrop for what will likely be the most divisive and politically perilous issue of the legislative session that kicks off Tuesday.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Gb

http://gousoe.uen.org/8Gc (NYT)

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

 

Snyder vetoes bill to allow schools to erect advertising billboards
Governor says Michigan could have lost federal road funding money if he signed the bill
Detroit Free Press

LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder today vetoed legislation that would have allowed billboards to be built on school property and increased the total number of billboards permitted in Michigan.
Snyder expressed concern Senate Bill 953 would, “put Michigan in jeopardy of losing millions of dollars in federal highway funding at a time when we must continue to aggressively invest in our infrastructure.”

The bill to allow billboards on public school property along state-managed roadways, proposed by Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, cleared the Legislature in December. The Free Press examined concerns about the bill in a December report.
Cash-strapped school districts are looking for ways to raise revenue, Casperson said, and billboards can be an option “if it’s a good location, a fit for the company but also good for the school.”
But the bill faced a range of opposition, over concerns about children being bombarded with advertising, as well as environmental issues and local control.
In his veto letter, Snyder said federal law requires states to effectively manage outdoor advertising or face a 10% reduction in federal highway funds.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Gd

 

Bill to Ease Path for Repeal of Obama-Era Education Regulations Advances
Education Week

Republicans in Congress are already targeting several education-related regulations adopted under President Barack Obama. A bill recently passed by the House could make that job a lot easier.
On Wednesday, the House passed the Midnight Rule Relief Act, which would amend the Congressional Review Act by allowing Congress to overturn simultaneously multiple regulations finalized in the last 60 days of a presidential administration, according to the Hill newspaper. (Hat-tip to David DeSchryver of Whiteboard Advisors for highlighting this for us.)
The Congressional Review Act already allows for Congress to dump such regulations. But the legislation would make the process easier, from a Republican perspective, by allowing Congress to get rid of those rules in “batches” (as one commenter in the Hill puts it) and therefore more efficiently. The Midnight Rule Relief Act, co-sponsored by 14 GOP House lawmakers, was still awaiting action by the Senate as of mid-day Thursday. But it is clearly intended for President-elect Donald Trump to sign once he takes office. Democrats say the bill is being acted upon too quickly and could hurt protections on various fronts.
The Hill reported that it’s the second time in two months the House has approved the bill—the new session of Congress started Jan. 3.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Gg

 

Democrats Demand Betsy DeVos Reveal ‘Complicated Web’ of Money, Lobbying
Education Week

Six Senate Democrats have a message for Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary: You owe us a lot of information.
In a Thursday letter to DeVos, the Democrats asked her to provide them information about her role in founding advocacy groups supporting school choice, those groups’ expenditures and donor lists, and other connections she has to various organizations.
“Understanding your leadership roles in this complicated web of political and not-for-profit organizations is necessary for us to be able to evaluate any conflicts of interest you may bring to the position, and whether you should recuse yourself from any particular matters that may come before you as secretary,” reads a portion of the letter, which was signed by Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8GM

 

Trump’s education nominee signals support for Daines plan
Billings (MT) Gazette

With a confirmation hearing for education secretary nominee Betsy DeVos slated for next week, her advocacy for school choice initiatives in Detroit has taken center stage.
But DeVos, a Michigan billionaire and longtime education activist, indicated her support for an education proposal that split Republicans during the passage of a new federal education law, according to U.S. Sen. Steve Daines, who championed the plan.
The proposal, known as the A-PLUS Act, would have allowed states to opt out of federal accountability programs and receive their federal funding in the form of block grants, which would allow schools to spend the money with greater discretion. Federal funds are often tied to specific programs.
Daines and his Montana counterpart, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, met with DeVos in separate meetings Thursday. Her hearing is slated for Jan. 11.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8GR

 

Trump Taps Rob Goad as White House Education Adviser
Education Week

Rob Goad, a one-time top aide to Rep. Luke Messer, R-Ind., will serve as the education policy point person on the White House Domestic Policy Council under President-elect Donald Trump. The gig sounds a lot like the one that’s been filled by Roberto Rodriguez for the past eight years under President Barack Obama.
Goad took temporary leave from Messer’s office last year to help the Trump campaign with education issues, including a $20 billion school choice proposal.
Goad’s former boss, Messer, is one of the most prominent school choice champions in Congress. When Congress was considering what ultimately became the Every Student Succeeds Act back in 2015, Messer crafted an amendment that would have allowed federal Title I money for disadvantaged kids to follow students to the schools of their choice, including private schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8GN

 

In final speech, Michelle Obama tells young people “Don’t be afraid. Be focused.”
McClatchy

WASHINGTON — Michelle Obama spoke directly to young people in her last official speech as first lady on Friday, becoming emotional as she encouraged them to use their education to move the country forward.
“Don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered,” she said, her voice breaking. “Lead by example with hope, never fear. And know that I will be with you, rooting for you and working to support you for the rest of my life.”
Obama made a point of singling out Muslims and immigrants, groups that have been targeted by president-elect Donald Trump.
“Know that this country belongs to you, to all of you. From every background and walk of life. If you or your parents are immigrants, know that you are part of a proud American tradition…that has made us the greatest country on earth,” she said. “With a lot of hard work and a good education anything is possible, even becoming president.”
Obama made her final remarks at a White House event honoring the 2017 School Counselor of the Year. She started the tradition of honoring the school counselor of the year in 2015, as part of her Reach Higher initiative, which encourages post-secondary education. She has said she will continue working on education issues after she leaves the White House.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8GP

http://gousoe.uen.org/8GQ (CNN)

 

Working Toward a Science of Teaching
Education Week

Olympic athletes, elite chess players, virtuoso musicians and other masters of their craft achieve success, according to the science of expertise, through a process called “deliberate practice.” Can teachers use the same conscious effort to develop specific teaching strategies?
A new report, “Practice with Purpose: The Emerging Science of Teacher Expertise,” answers that question in the affirmative. The report comes from Deans for Impact, a group that aims to retool teacher training, and was written in collaboration with Anders Ericsson, a professor of psychology at Florida State University and an expert on expertise.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Ge

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Gf (Deans for Impact)

 

Why School Districts Are Operating as Landlords
Rising housing costs in Colorado are making it hard for teachers to stay in the area, so officials are moving in to help.
Atlantic

As Colorado’s housing costs skyrocket, a growing number of school districts, local leaders, and lawmakers are taking steps to make housing more affordable for teachers and staff.
For years, resort communities like Aspen, Colorado, and a rural district in the state’s Eastern Plains have leased housing to employees at below-market rates. More recently, subsidized housing for educators has cropped up in pricey urban areas such as San Francisco, Boston, and Baltimore.
But lately, Colorado districts big and small are looking at building their own housing or collaborating with external partners to do so. Such projects are underway now in three rural districts, and Denver Public Schools, the state’s largest district, is exploring the idea.
Driving these plans are fears that recruiting and retaining good teachers will shift from hard to impossible as housing costs rise. Compounding the problem is Colorado’s perennial school-funding squeeze and the lagging teacher salaries that go with it.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8GO

 

This ransomware scheme is targeting schools, colleges and head teachers, warn police
Police warn about scam that begins with cybercriminals phoning schools for details of head teachers.
ZD Net

Cybercriminals are pretending to be government officials as part of a ransomware scheme which is targeting schools and demanding payments of up to £8,000 to unencrypt the locked files.
Action Fraud, the UK’s fraud and cybercrime centre, and the City of London police, have issued a warning over the activity, which begins with criminals contacting the targeted schools with a phone call.
Claiming to be from ‘The Department of Education’, the caller asks for the email address of the head teacher which they claim they need in order to send them sensitive information which is unsuitable for the school’s general email address.
The scammers usually claim the documents contain guidance for the head teacher, ranging from exam guidance to advice on mental health assessments.
Once those carrying out the scheme have the contact details they need, they’ll send an email containing a ransomware infected .zip file – often disguised as an Excel or Word document – to the intended victim. If the file is opened, it will execute the ransomware, encrypting files and then demanding a ransom be paid in order to retrieve the files.
Ransom demands have been made for up to £8,000, although the police haven’t confirmed if these ransoms have been paid, what ransomware variant is used, or which schools have been targeted.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8GV

 

Girls from low-income families often unprepared for puberty
Reuters

American girls from low-income families often feel unprepared for puberty and have mostly negative experiences during that time, a review of previous studies suggests.
Earlier research focused on experiences of middle-class and affluent girls in the 1980s and 1990s. The current study is one of the first to focus on girls from low-income urban areas in the U.S.
“Lower income girls do not feel adequately prepared for puberty and the beginning of menstruation (menarche), particularly girls who develop earlier than their peers,” study leader Ann Herbert told Reuters Health by email.
“By not adequately preparing girls for this transition, we are neglecting an opportunity to build a healthy foundation for sexual and reproductive health,” said Herbert, who is a researcher with the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.

Julianna Deardorff, a psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health who wasn’t involved in the new research, said the study has important implications for pubertal education, particularly for lower-income girls who are clearly missing out on key information.
“Puberty education often happens too late in schools, sometimes as late as the 6th or 7th grades, well after most girls have started breast development and have begun menstruating,” Deardorff told Reuters Health by email.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8GJ

A copy of the study
http://gousoe.uen.org/8GK (Journal of Adolescent Health $)

 

Brain-injury Deaths in High School Football Players Rising
Associated Press

NEW YORK — Two dozen high school football players died in recent years from traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries, and the annual death count has been growing slightly, according to a new study.
But such deaths remain rare, and are far lower than in decades past. Also, it’s not clear whether the recent uptick is the result of more widespread attention and better reporting, said Kristen Kucera, the study’s lead author.
The study, which examined the years 2005 through 2014, also counted four such deaths in college football players over the same period.
Most deaths occurred during games and were tied to tackling or being tackled. The study echoes other research that found such deaths were most common in running backs and linebackers.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Gi

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Gj (CDC)

 

‘The Magic School Bus’ Will Return to Teach New Generations About STEM
Education Week

Everyone’s favorite red-headed science teacher—and her pet lizard—will soon be back.
Netflix’s appeal to nostalgia continues with its upcoming reboot of the beloved ’90s Saturday morning cartoon “The Magic School Bus,” starring eccentric science teacher Ms. Frizzle and her eager students as they embark on out-of-this world field trips.
Netflix and Scholastic Media initially announced the new series, “The Magic School Bus 360°,” in 2014. In a recent interview with TMZ, Stu Stone, who voiced the character Ralphie on the original series and is one of the show’s producers, said the show’s production has just started, and that it’s a “top-secret field trip that Ms. Frizzle is taking the kids on.”
He also revealed that the reboot will incorporate many of its original actors as well as new younger voices. Stone also mentioned potential celebrity cameos: “There’s a whole generation of people who grew up on this series that want to be a part of it now that it’s back.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8GL

 

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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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