Education News Roundup: Jan. 9, 2017

Cost of Raising a Child via USDA

Today’s Top Picks:

Legislators suggest studying Utah school funding amid push for increase from Our Schools Now.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8HN (UP)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8HO (AP via Washington Times)

Ogden District to open a mental health pilot program.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Hr (OSE)

Mitt Romney pens an op-ed supporting Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Hd (WaPo)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8Hm (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8HA (KSTU)

U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a Colorado special education case on Wednesday.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8HE (Ed Week)

The bad news: It now takes an estimated $233,610 to raise a child in the U.S. The good news? Child care and education account for only 16 percent (or a little more than $37,000) of that total.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Hf (AP)
or a copy of the report and a calculator
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Hg (USDA)

————————————————————
TODAY’S HEADLINES
————————————————————

UTAH

Lawmakers Pushing Back Against Income Tax Hike Proposal to Fund Schools

Ogden School District to launch mental health pilot program

Questions surround school trust lands in Bears Ears National Monument

Small town student wins big in state investing contest

Thinking outside the block: Student create Lego robots

Box Elder School District cancels school Monday due to winter weather

Plans Move Forward To Demolish And Develop Granite High School

What’s the right approach to sex ed curriculum?

Treasury Auctions Set for the Week of Jan. 9

United Way Presents Public Policy Agenda for 2017 at Legislative Preview Breakfast

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Our Schools Now is full speed ahead.

Private land grab in rural Utah may be a sign of things to come

I Have Questions with Bryan Schott: Senate President Wayne Niederhauser

Brilliant advice from the sidelines

News and reactions highlight our worst, best and worst again

Fears of coming out dissolve with acceptance from peers

A moral obligation to better education

Mitt Romney: Trump has made a smart choice for education secretary

Education Is Not a Marketplace You Can Game With Vouchers
First, the system needs more subtlety, and parents need better information

Supporters and Skeptics of Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Nominee for Education Secretary

For better schools, abolish the politicized Department of Education and give local districts more control

It’s Time to Reclaim America’s Leadership in Education

Why surging high school graduation rates might be a mirage

NATION

Sen. Patty Murray seeks update on ethics review for Trump’s education pick, Betsy DeVos

Warren letter to Trump education pick highlights ‘lack of experience’

Trump’s possible USDA secretary targets waste in National School Lunch Program

‘Schools Can Save Lives’: An Exit Interview With The U.S. Education Secretary

High Court Argument to Center on Level of Benefits for Spec. Ed.

Bill would require Tennessee spend minimum amount per student

Senate looking for ways to streamline Florida school testing

Proposed bill will seek to make Indiana school chiefs appointed, not elected

Mylan’s EpiPen Sales Plan: Schools Today, Everywhere Tomorrow
Drugmaker could expand into restaurants, youth sports

Ousting Paladino will be tough task, legal experts say

The 74 Co-Founder Campbell Brown Says She Is Taking a Job at Facebook

Parents, Save Up: Cost of Raising a Child is More Than $233K

————————————————————
UTAH NEWS
————————————————————

Lawmakers Pushing Back Against Income Tax Hike Proposal to Fund Schools

What do state legislators do well?
Study stuff.
And Sen. Howard Stephenson and Rep. Steve Eliason announced in a pre-legislative conference Monday that they want to form a special education funding task force in the 2017 Legislature, now just a few weeks away.
Stephenson, R-Draper, and Dr. Richard Kendell, who is a leader in the Our Schools Now citizen initiative petition group, debated the proposed OSN 7/8th of 1 percent increase in the state income tax rate for public schools.
Speaking at the annual Utah Taxpayer Association conference, held in the Little America Hotel, Stephenson, and the new Senate co-chairman of the public education budget committee, Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, said increasing the income rate is the wrong way to go, at least for now.
But Kendell said his group is ready to push for the tax hike – aimed at being on the ballot in 2018 – with any number of statistics that show Utah school children are falling behind, not getting ahead.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8HN (UP)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8HO (AP via Washington Times)

 

Ogden School District to launch mental health pilot program

OGDEN — The Ogden School District is implementing a pilot program to address its students’ mental health needs.
At a Board of Education work session Wednesday, Jan. 4, Special Education Director Karen Harrop said she has seen a drastic increase in the number of students with serious mental health concerns including bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety.
To address this, the district is partnering with Weber Human Services Mental Health to provide a day treatment program.
“It’s not a fix, it’s not a cure, but it’s a program to teach them the skills to manage their mental health issues,” Harrop said.
The pilot program is slated to open to elementary school children next fall. The first class will have five students, but Harrop said she knows 20 to 25 elementary school-aged children who could benefit from it.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Hr (OSE)

 

Questions surround school trust lands in Bears Ears National Monument

SALT LAKE CITY — Board members of the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration held an emergency session Friday to discuss what to do about 109,000 acres of school trust lands contained within the new Bears Ears National Monument.
After a long, closed-door discussion, the board ultimately decided not to act, citing lack of information.
Tom Bachtell, SITLA’s vice chairman, said the board had yet to “receive and comprehend the information necessary” to make an informed decision in the interest of the trust’s beneficiaries regarding a land swap.
The board’s inaction came the same day a group called Stewards of San Juan sent a letter to SITLA’s board of trustees, Gov. Gary Herbert, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, imploring a halt to any actions related to a potential land exchange with the Bureau of Land Management.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8HS (KSL)

 

Small town student wins big in state investing contest

SALT LAKE CITY — While many so-called experts were surprised at the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, some people were savvy enough to see it coming all along. Take Freddie Gonzales, 17, of Fort Duchesne, who parlayed his belief of a Donald Trump victory into a big win for himself as well, beating out hundreds of other Utah high school students to claim the top prize in the high school division of the annual Stock Market Game competition.
The statewide virtual investment contest pits students throughout the Beehive State against each other to determine who can pick the best stocks and achieve the greatest returns over an eight-week period. The game challenges students to invest a hypothetical $100,000 in common stocks on the New York and American stock exchanges, along with the NASDAQ index.
The competition — sponsored by the Utah Division of Securities — includes elementary, junior high/middle and high school divisions. Teams work interactively to research and trade stocks and mutual funds, with the winners in each category recognized during a ceremony on Friday at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City. Gonzales is a senior at Uintah River High, a charter school on the Northern Ute Indian Reservation.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Hn (DN)

 

Thinking outside the block: Student create Lego robots

Although many kids in Cache Valley had two snow days in a row this weekend, some of them took their Saturday to pit their robotics skills against one another at the third annual FIRST Lego League.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Ht (LHJ)

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

 

Box Elder School District cancels school Monday due to winter weather

Due to winter weather predicted for the area, Box Elder School District announced it’s canceling school Monday.
In a post on its Facebook page, the district said classes are canceled Monday, Jan. 9, and will resume Tuesday.
The snow day announcement came after the National Weather Service of Salt Lake City issued a winter storm warning for much of Northern Utah, including parts of Box Elder County. The warning will remain in effect until 10 p.m. Monday.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Hp (OSE)

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

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

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

 

Plans Move Forward To Demolish And Develop Granite High School

Despite continued community pushback, plans are moving forward to demolish Granite High School in South Salt Lake to make way for single-family homes.
The city’s planning commission approved a developer’s proposal with a unanimous vote Thursday night.
The developer, Garbett Homes, plans to use a little more than half of the schools 27 acres for the new homes.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8HC (KUER)

 

What’s the right approach to sex ed curriculum?

SALT LAKE CITY — 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-by-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.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Hs (OSE)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/8Hw (SGS)

 

Treasury Auctions Set for the Week of Jan. 9


The following tax­exempt fixed­income issues, valued at $50 million or more, are scheduled for pricing this week:
TUESDAY
Alpine School District Board of Education, Utah, $150.4 million of unlimited tax general obligation refinancing bonds. Competitive.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8HP (NYT)

 

United Way Presents Public Policy Agenda for 2017 at Legislative Preview Breakfast

SALT LAKE CITY – Education continues to be one of the TOP POLICY CONCERNS for Utah. We know we must do more to ensure Utah kids reach their potential.
As our state continues to grow and become more diverse, it is essential that we take action NOW to improve our future.
Join us for an in-depth panel discussion, moderated by Nadine Wimmer of KSL News, on how education will be addressed during the 2017 Session.
This event will be held at the Hilton Salt Lake Center at 255 South West Temple in Salt Lake City on Thursday, January 12, 2017 starting at 7:30 a.m. for Registration with the Program and Education Panel Discussion starting at 8 a.m to 9:30 a.m.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8HQ (KCSG)

 

————————————————————
OPINION & COMMENTARY
————————————————————

Our Schools Now is full speed ahead.
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

Utahns may well quibble over the specific means that the business all-stars of Our Schools Now are proposing to deal with the fiscal starvation of the state’s public schools. But there is no arguing the need.
Apologists for the status quo argue at length that Utah schools are chugging along admirably despite wearing a hole in the bottom rung of state rankings for per-pupil spending. Any necessary improvements, we hear, can come from some technological or other miraculous reform that will accomplish much at little cost.
That’s snake oil. And the Who’s Who of Utah business, financial, educational and public service folks who have founded Our Schools Now aren’t fooled.
That’s why they are beginning the process of putting on the 2018 state ballot an initiative that would increase the state’s basic income tax rate from 5 percent to 5.875 percent. Such a hike would yield some $750 million a year which, according to the plan, would be allocated directly to local schools in return for annual demonstrations that each school’s students are showing improvement over previous years.
Even that much money, Our Schools Now figures, falls short of the $1.2 billion a year that public eduction has lost over the past several years as the Legislature has fiddled with the state’s property and income tax structures.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Hb

 

Private land grab in rural Utah may be a sign of things to come
Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist PAUL ROLLY

A recent Salt Lake Tribune story about a private company buying state land — and then gating off a county road intersecting the property — should raise alarms about the Utah Legislature’s efforts to gain control over federally managed public acres.
The story noted that Lyman Family Farm LLC acquired a 391-acre parcel in San Juan County from the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA), which sold the property at an auction last October.
The now-blocked-off parcel traditionally has been used by the public to access scenic areas, including the recently designated Bears Ears National Monument.
Here’s the disturbing trend: Since Lyman Family Farm was established in 2014, it has spent $6.4 million to acquire 19 parcels from SITLA, totaling 5,214 acres and often bordering sensitive protected turf, including Zion National Park.
The executive of Lyman Family Farm, Joe Hunt, has roots in San Juan County, a center of the protest movement against federal protections of public lands in rural Utah.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8HR

 

I Have Questions with Bryan Schott: Senate President Wayne Niederhauser
Utah Policy commentary

Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser talks with Managing Editor Bryan Schott about the 2017 Legislature, how best to boost funding for Utah’s schools and the Bears Ears monument.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Ha (video)

 

Brilliant advice from the sidelines
Deseret News commentary by columnists Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb

We have a brand spanking new year ahead — but Utah faces many of the same old challenges. Since we have no responsibility to solve anything, it’s easy for us to offer brilliant advice to those who do.
Gov. Gary Herbert delivered his inaugural address last Wednesday. What should be his top priorities now that he has won a strong mandate for a final term?

Webb: Herbert is getting plenty of advice to go big, to be visionary, to use his mandate and ample political capital to accomplish great and wondrous things that change the trajectory of the universe.
I share some of those sentiments. I like big ideas. But the truth is, most progress in public policy is incremental, not dramatic. Success doesn’t come in one fell swoop. Herbert will certainly tackle big, far-reaching goals and opportunities like moving the state prison and developing the old site and the area around the new prison; creating an inland port; improving air quality; developing large highway and water infrastructure projects; and protecting Count My Vote/SB54.
I believe the leading issue facing Utah is public education, and Herbert’s greatest legacy and biggest long-term impact could come by significantly advancing public education — by boosting education funding far beyond just coping with growth. Any intelligent adult who actually looks at the evidence, contrary to the assertions of knee-jerk, anti-public education groups like the Sutherland Institute and the Libertas Institute, understands that Utah public education needs a big funding boost if we’re going to prepare our students for 21st century jobs.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Hc

 

News and reactions highlight our worst, best and worst again
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner commentary by columnist MARK SAAL

Cold enough for you?
No, I’m not talking about the weather — although I suppose that has been nippier than Frosty the Snowman’s junior-prom date. Rather, I’m referring to the metaphorically ice-cold, heartless world we find ourselves living in these days.

In the midst of all this sad, chilling news, the occasional story surfaces that fills me with warmth and hope.
Standard-Examiner reporter Anna Burleson recently wrote a wonderful story about Evelyn Morales, a Ben Lomond High School student who just a year or two ago was well on her way to becoming yet another dropout. But then along came Achievement Club — and the school’s Own Your Future mentor Nora McCroby, who wouldn’t take “whatevs” for an answer.
Today, Evelyn is a junior at Ben Lomond, headed toward graduation and a bright future. It’s my favorite story of the year so far.
Of course, the icy winds of hatred will ever howl, attempting to snuff out any light and heat that might be generated by such feel-good tales. Because just a day or two after the piece about Evelyn came out, some hater wrote a letter to the editor questioning our coverage.
“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,” the letter-writer complained, later asking, “Why don’t you focus on the students who are doing what they are supposed to be doing as teenagers instead of the ones who are forcing the Ogden School District to take resources away from everyone else?”
Why indeed.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Hq

 

Fears of coming out dissolve with acceptance from peers
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner op-ed by ALEX JOHNSON, a senior at Clearfield High School

When I first decided to come out, I was terrified.
At the time, I was 16 and just starting to move up the social ladder at my school. I was passing all my classes, looking for my first job, and had finally started to feel settled in after moving here a year earlier. I had come from the conservative state of Idaho to the equally conservative state of Utah, and both states were heavily dominated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormons.
Again, I was terrified.
My middle school in Idaho seemed to be a breeding ground for the conservative culture I was so afraid off. My peers drove tractors after school for their farms, went hunting on weekends for wild ducks, and voiced their support for the Second Amendment whenever the issue was discussed.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Ho

 

A moral obligation to better education
Salt Lake Tribune letter from M. Donald Thomas

Reading “Educators should make snowflakes, not ice cubes” (Lynn Stoddard and Jim Strickland, Jan. 1) is an excellent beginning for 2017. Providing an equal opportunity for school success for all children is a dream that has not yet been achieved. Education traditionalists believe that doing so sacrifices excellence. Excellence, they claim, is developed by overcoming adversity. Individuals, through self-determination, hard work and dedication conquer obstacles and rise to the top. Hence schools have become competitive arenas with rigid courses of study that homogenize students into ice cubes.
The opposite view (expressed by Stoddard and Strickland) is more compatible with our historical desire for equity: To establish schools that utilize a variety of measures to determine school success. The full measure of human attributes cannot be determined by a rigid curriculum that ends in a test score.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Hl

 

Mitt Romney: Trump has made a smart choice for education secretary
Washington Post op-ed by Mitt Romney

The nomination of Betsy DeVos for secretary of education has reignited the age-old battle over education policy. The heat is already intense not just because it involves the future of our children but also because a lot of money is at stake. Essentially, it’s a debate between those in the education establishment who support the status quo because they have a financial stake in the system and those who seek to challenge the status quo because it’s not serving kids well.
Both sides will take their case to the public hoping to sway senators who will vote on confirmation. Here’s my take.
First, it’s important to have someone who isn’t financially biased shaping education. As a highly successful businesswoman, DeVos doesn’t need the job now, nor will she be looking for an education job later. Her key qualification is that she cares deeply about our children and will do everything in her power to offer them a brighter future. She founded two of the nation’s leading education reform organizations and helped open the door to charter schools in her home state of Michigan. I have known her for many years; she is smart, dynamic, no nonsense and committed. That’s why the education establishment is so animated to stop her.
Second, it’s important to have someone who will challenge the conventional wisdom and the status quo. In 1970, it cost $56,903 to educate a child from K-12. By 2010, adjusting for inflation, we had raised that spending to $164,426 — almost three times as much. Further, the number of people employed in our schools had nearly doubled. But despite the enormous investment, the performance of our kids has shown virtually no improvement. The establishment predictably calls for more spending and smaller classrooms — in other words, more teachers and more pay. But more of the same is demonstrably not the answer.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Hd

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

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

 

Education Is Not a Marketplace You Can Game With Vouchers
First, the system needs more subtlety, and parents need better information
Time op-ed by John Katzman, founder and former CEO of The Princeton Review and 2U

School choice is a terrific slogan and an even better policy—when it works. All parents should have the option of sending their child to a place that is a good fit for that kid. One initiative in the choice movement—charter schools—has made an enormous difference in the lives of millions of children. Currently, more than 2.5 million K-12 kids are enrolled in charters: public schools operating outside the confines of union rules. That’s 5.1% of all public school children, up from just 1.6% ten years ago. Another 500,000 are on waiting lists to join them. Parents are voting with their feet.
Now, with President-elect Donald Trump’s nomination of Betsy DeVos to be Secretary of Education, “choice” is likely to get super-charged. Ms. DeVos is a major supporter of school vouchers. School vouchers are dollar-based credits that parents can use to pay for schools beyond their neighborhood. Those options may include public schools in nearby districts, private schools and, occasionally, parochial schools. Unfortunately, the education “marketplace” is not ready to handle this game-changer. That’s because what makes a real marketplace work—good information, pricing flexibility and low friction—just doesn’t exist. And without it, the parents who need better options most—low-income parents whose kids are stuck in bad schools—will be the worst served.
Twelve states and the District of Columbia allow vouchers, so we have a little data about the results and where the pitfalls lie with the various approaches. After 35 years of working in the K-12 and college markets, and often being called a bomb-thrower for the changes I’ve helped implement in standardized-test prep and online education, I see three main problems with vouchers.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8HL

 

Supporters and Skeptics of Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Nominee for Education Secretary
Education Week commentary by columnist Andrew Ujifusa

Since President-elect Donald Trump nominated her to be his education secretary, Betsy DeVos has attracted a host of support and criticism, which could make her confirmation process quite different from past confirmation hearings for that position. But who’s in her corner, and who’s been throwing punches?
The public-relations squabbling about DeVos has various facets. At least two groups, America Rising and Friends of Betsy DeVos, have been defending her nomination from critics and sharing supportive statements since Trump announced his pick. By contrast, End Citizens United and Every Voice have been attacking DeVos by arguing that senators who have received campaign contributions from DeVos and her family should recuse themselves from considering her nomination. (The situation of senators having received contributions from a nominee is not unique to this nominee and the incoming Trump administration, however.)
And over the weekend, Democrats sought to delay the confirmation hearing for DeVos, on the grounds that the the Office of Government Ethics had yet to finish its review of DeVos’ financial and other disclosures.
It’s also worth noting that many of the alphabet-soup professional education associations in Washington tend not to take official positions on cabinet nominees like DeVos.
Below are examples of both supporters and those who have criticized DeVos, in no particular order.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8HF

 

For better schools, abolish the politicized Department of Education and give local districts more control
Los Angeles Times op-ed by Bruce Meredith, former general counsel to the NEA-affiliated Wisconsin Education Assn. Council and Mark Paige, an assistant professor of public policy at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth

Republicans opposed the Department of Education from its beginning and regularly threaten to abolish it now, arguing that educational policy should be reserved to the states. Two respected Democrats also objected to the department’s creation almost 40 years ago. New York Sen. Daniel Moynihan warned that it would become a partisan sword. New York Rep. Shirley Chisholm worried about divorcing education from other policy areas vital to student success, such as making sure they had decent housing and enough to eat.
History has proved the critics right. It’s time for the department to be dismantled. It has done some good, especially in pointing out education inequity. But more often it has served political, not educational, interests.
In fact, the Department of Education was created by President Carter in part as a gift to the National Education Assn., for the union’s early support of his candidacy. Politics was the department’s original sin, and that reality has gotten only worse.
Although President Reagan opposed the department’s existence, he recognized its political utility. His secretary of Education, William J. Bennett, used the influence of the office as a weapon in the culture wars by promoting “traditional” curriculums. Betsy DeVos, President-elect Trump’s choice for secretary, is likely to continue its politicization. She has a track record of advancing school vouchers and charter schools. It seems probable that she will advocate for a privatization agenda, no matter the views of local communities.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8HJ

 

It’s Time to Reclaim America’s Leadership in Education
Wired op-ed by Stanley S. Litow, president of the IBM Foundation and vice president of corporate citizenship and corporate affairs at IBM

WHEN THREE FEMALE African-American mathematicians—Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson—became unsung heroes at NASA during the 1960s space race, the US was engaged in a fierce competition to become the world leader in science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM. As told in the recently released movie Hidden Figures, the trio’s groundbreaking calculations for rocket trajectories required programming a complex, first-of-a-kind IBM computer that helped put astronaut John Glenn in orbit. Skip ahead 54 years, and the US is a world leader in scientific innovation and advanced technologies.
But in order for the US to remain at the forefront of innovation and not lag behind, we must address the disconnect between the skills required for 21st century jobs and young people’s ability to acquire those skills. Fixing this will require us to evolve our approach to public education and training. The latest results of the PISA exam, which assesses science, math, and reading performance among 15-year-olds around the globe, show American students noticeably behind in math scores (below the international average), with science and reading scores remaining flat. This is not a small problem.
In one way, Congress took a bold, bipartisan step toward reversing this downward trend and closing America’s skills gap last fall, when the House of Representatives voted 405-to-5 to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Technical Education Act, which had languished since 2006. The Perkins Act provides more than $1 billion in funding for career and technical education across the US. The bill aligns career and tech education programs with actual labor market demands. Updating this important legislation can and should be an early win for the 115th Congress and the incoming administration.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8HK

 

Why surging high school graduation rates might be a mirage
Washington Post commentary by columnist Jay Matthews

U.S. high school graduation rates are soaring. President Obama announced in October that the 2014-2015 rate was up to 83 percent in a fifth straight record-setting year. The D.C. public schools’ increase was the greatest anywhere, from 53 percent to 69 percent.
Sadly, as impressive as these numbers seem, there is no research indicating they reveal any learning gains in our high schools. Because of an accelerating use of a shortcut to graduation called credit recovery — used by 88 percent of school districts — most if not all of this much-publicized high school improvement might be an illusion.
I asked Russell Rumberger, a leading expert on high school dynamics, what he thinks of credit recovery. In many schools, these quick fixes allow students to substitute a few weeks of work online for a course that usually takes months in a classroom.
Rumberger said research on credit recovery generally “suffers from poor designs, which means it’s hard to draw strong conclusions and most research is carried out in higher education, not K-12.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8HD

 

————————————————————-
NATIONAL NEWS
————————————————————-

Sen. Patty Murray seeks update on ethics review for Trump’s education pick, Betsy DeVos
Washington Post

A key Democratic senator is seeking more information about the status of a required ethics review for Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary.
The Office of Government Ethics, which is responsible for examining nominees’ financial disclosures and resolving potential conflicts of interest, on Saturday sounded an alarm about the fact that Senate Republicans were planning confirmation hearings this week for Trump nominees whose ethics reviews remained unfinished.
Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), the ranking Democrat of the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, has said that DeVos’s confirmation hearing — currently scheduled for Wednesday — should be postponed until the Office of Government Ethics has a chance to complete its vetting.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Hi

 

Warren letter to Trump education pick highlights ‘lack of experience’
CNN

Washington — In a scathing 16-page letter addressed to Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary, Sen. Elizabeth Warren gave a preview Monday of the questioning that Democrats plan to engage in during cabinet confirmation hearings that are set to begin this week.
Warren slams US Department of Education Secretary nominee Betsy DeVos on her credentials for the position, but most notably her lack of experience concerning public education.
“There is no precedent for an Education Department Secretary nominee with your lack of experience in public education,” wrote Senator Warren. “While past nominees for Secretary of Education have served as teachers, school system leaders, and governors, and came to the Department of Education with deep executive experience in public education, you have held no such position. As such, your nomination provides the Senate and the public with few clues about your actual policy positions on a host of critical issues.”
When asked for response to Warren’s letter, Trump transition team responded with a statement: “The Secretary designate is looking forward to her confirmation hearing on Wednesday and responding to questions from all members on the Senate HELP committee.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8HI

 

Trump’s possible USDA secretary targets waste in National School Lunch Program
McClatchy

WASHINGTON — If Sid Miller heads to Washington, he’s not done with the issue that vaulted him to statewide office in Texas: school lunches.
Miller, the Texas agriculture commissioner, said in an interview with McClatchy that he would cut portions of the National School Lunch Program if nominated as President-elect Donald Trump’s agriculture secretary.
“The free and reduced lunch program needs an overhaul,” Miller said. “It’s absolutely crazy to give free and reduced lunches to 60 percent of the people that get it. We’re just giving them away, and I’ve got a plan to address that. We can probably save several billion dollars, and I discussed that with the transition team.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Hk

 

‘Schools Can Save Lives’: An Exit Interview With The U.S. Education Secretary
NPR

He didn’t have long. Education Secretary John B. King Jr. was confirmed by the Senate in March 2016 after President Obama’s long-serving secretary, Arne Duncan, stepped down at the end of 2015. No matter the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, King knew that Obama would be out in a year and replaced by a president who, regardless of party, would almost certainly replace him.
At the helm of the Education Department, King followed the polestar that had guided him as a teacher, principal and as deputy secretary under Duncan: protect kids, especially those who have been traditionally marginalized — children of color, English language learners, students with disabilities and those living in poverty.
King knows all too well what it means to live on the margins. Raised in Brooklyn, he lost both of his parents by the age of 12 and found the stability he needed not at home, shuttling between family members, but at school. He credits several public school teachers with saving his life.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8HB

 

High Court Argument to Center on Level of Benefits for Spec. Ed.
Education Week

When the U.S. Supreme Court made its first substantive interpretation in 1982 of the main federal special education law, it was careful to say that courts should not impose their own view of education adequacy upon states and districts for children covered by the law.
In that case, Board of Education of the Hendrick Hudson Central School District v. Rowley, the court created a definition of a “free, appropriate public education” in the special education arena that has stood for decades. Under the definition, special education must confer “some educational benefit.”
But in a case set to be argued Jan. 11, the court is weighing in on what “some” should mean. The question at hand: What level of educational benefit must school districts provide to students with disabilities in order for them to receive that free, appropriate public education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act?
At the center of the latest case, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School Board, (Case No. 15-827), is a 17-year-old Colorado student with autism, called “Drew” in court briefs. His parents contend that the individualized education program created for him by the Douglas County district did not offer him an educational benefit.
The 66,000-student school district argued—and several courts agreed—that the district’s educational program was appropriate.
But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, in Denver, added another element to the debate when it rendered its verdict in August 2015. The appeals court said that the school district was responsible only for offering “some educational benefit,” using the terminology from Rowley, and went on to define that as “merely more than de minimis,” or trivial.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8HE

 

Bill would require Tennessee spend minimum amount per student
(Nashville) Tennessean

Rep. Charles Sargent, R-Franklin, will file a bill that would require the state to spend a minimum amount per student.
No baseline is currently in place, Sargent said at a Williamson County school board meeting Saturday.
But creating a baseline would help school districts who receive less than the state average of funding per student, said Sargent, who heads the state House finance committee.
School districts receive state funding based on a formula called the Basic Education Program, commonly known as the BEP.
The bill will propose a yearly 3 percent increase in BEP funding until districts receive $3,600 per student in state funds.
On average, the BEP formula currently allocates about $4,500 per student, Sargent said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8He

 

Senate looking for ways to streamline Florida school testing
Tampa Bay (FL) Times

Two years have passed since Florida lawmakers acknowledged, under mounting pressure from parents and teachers, that public school children might be overtested.
The Legislature took steps to limit testing hours and eliminate some exams, amid criticism over a botched spring computerized assessment cycle.
The technical problems largely dissipated in 2016. But the underlying concerns did not. Now, an influential state lawmaker aims to revisit the issue, with an eye toward further refining the system.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Hh

 

Proposed bill will seek to make Indiana school chiefs appointed, not elected Indianapolis (IN) Business Journal

Gov.-Elect Eric Holcomb on Thursday announced that beginning in 2021, he wants to make Indiana’s elected superintendent of public instruction a governor-appointed position.
“This is not about the person, me or the superintendent,” Holcomb said, referring to incoming superintendent, Republican Jennifer McCormick. “This is about the position and how it can be aligned (with the governor’s office) and work truly together.”
Holcomb said at a news conference Thursday afternoon that House Speaker Brian Bosma, R-Indianapolis, would author the bill. Despite earlier comments from Bosma that he might not push for such a proposal this year, Bosma has said he’s long supported appointing the state superintendent.
Holcomb would not say whether McCormick supported the proposal. The secretary of education would report directly to the governor as part of the cabinet.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Hj

 

Mylan’s EpiPen Sales Plan: Schools Today, Everywhere Tomorrow
Drugmaker could expand into restaurants, youth sports
Bloomberg

Mylan NV got EpiPen allergy shots stocked in schools across America with free programs and special discounts.
The company made a fortune, and stirred controversy, as it raised EpiPen prices in the broader market six-fold since 2007.
Now the drugmaker wants to sell EpiPens to restaurants, sports venues and potentially even Boy Scout troops — by setting up its own pharmacy to cut out middlemen and lobbying for new laws that could expand sales of its biggest product.
The plan, obtained by Bloomberg News through public records requests, would bypass small-town pharmacists and chains like CVS and Walgreens and let Mylan sell the drug directly to public places. The company is looking to revitalize EpiPen sales that began slumping last summer, when Congress questioned EpiPen’s price.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8HM

 

Ousting Paladino will be tough task, legal experts say
Buffalo (NY) News

No matter how repugnant Carl Paladino’s comments about President Obama and the first lady may have been, they are not enough to kick him off the Buffalo School Board, legal and educational experts say. He has protection for his offensive speech under the First Amendment.
The board – which will petition the state education commissioner for Paladino’s removal – may be able to make the case that his comments violated policy or code of conduct as a sworn member of the Buffalo Board of Education. But so far, there hasn’t been much to hang that on, the experts added.
Even if state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia decides to remove the board member – something commissioners hesitate to do – there is likely to be a court challenge that could drag on for years.
One thing is for sure: It’s highly unusual to seek removal of a board member for what he said in the political arena.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8HH

 

The 74 Co-Founder Campbell Brown Says She Is Taking a Job at Facebook
Education Week

Campbell Brown, the co-founder and editor-in-chief of the education news site The 74, announced late last week that she is taking a news-related job at Facebook.
“I have some exciting news to share,” Brown wrote late on Jan. 6 on—where else?—her Facebook page. “This month I will be joining Facebook to lead its News Partnerships team. This is a different role for me, but one where I will be tapping my newsroom experience to help news organizations and journalists work more closely and more effectively with Facebook.”
Brown explained in a post at The 74 that she will be “stepping away from my editorial role” at the education news site, but will remain on its board.
“My excitement about the impact and growth of the site and its mission—standing up for America’s 74 million children—is unchanged,” said Brown, adding in the post that the project that “frankly seemed a little crazy” at its inception has now grown to several separate websites and 20 newsroom employees in New York City, Washington, and Los Angeles.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8HG

 

Parents, Save Up: Cost of Raising a Child is More Than $233K
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Expecting a baby? Congratulations! Better put plenty of money in your savings account.
The Department of Agriculture says the estimated cost of raising a child from birth through age 17 is $233,610, or as much as almost $14,000 annually. That’s the average for a middle-income couple with two children. It’s a bit more expensive in urban parts of the country, and less so in rural areas.
The estimate released Monday is based on 2015 numbers, so a baby born this year is likely to cost even more. It’s a 3 percent increase from the prior year, a hike higher than inflation.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Hf

A copy of the report and a calculator
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Hg (USDA)

 

————————————————————
CALENDAR
————————————————————

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/

Related posts:

Comments are closed.