Education News Roundup: Jan. 13, 2017

Bureau of Indian Affairs

Today’s Top Picks:

Senate President Niederhauser calls a hike in state income tax “the worst thing we can do.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Kq (DN)

Utah State Board of Education will discuss waivers for schools who declared snow days this year.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8KM (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8KX (KSL)

Deseret News editorial board opens a discussion in sex education in Utah.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Kr (DN)

Bureau of Indian Affairs faces a lawsuit over the performance of Indian education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Kz (WaPo)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8KZ (Ed Week)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8L6 (Atlantic)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8KA (AP)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Lawmaker calls income tax hike ‘worst thing we can do’ to bolster school funding

Homeless-shelter controversy, tax hike for education and Hatch at attorney general confirmation hearing

State school board member seeks school attendance waiver for emergency school days

Snow days in Utah County? School officials don’t expect closures this winter

For Utah Immigrants With DACA Status, The Future Is Uncertain

Flagged Bill: HCR 5 – Concurrent Resolution on Clean Fuel School Buses – Rep. Stephen Handy

Weber School District receives EPA grant for low-emission school buses

St. Joseph Catholic High School sends seniors out for week of service

American Fork High School students get opportunity of lifetime at U.S. Army All-American Bowl

How communities are rescuing teens from suicide’s deadly river

Logan approves school fees; Cache making preparations

High school students visit campus for annual concert

After School Satan club holds Utah open house at Vista Elementary

Utah dating homework tells girls: be ‘feminine’ and ‘don’t waste his money’
Assignment outlining guidelines for ‘$5 Date’ providing separate instructions for boys and girls is example of misogynistic lessons common in the state, critics say

DSU to turn East Elementary into entrepreneurial center

Timpview High Students Let Home Early After Water Main Break

Inside our schools

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Better understanding of sex education results hold promise and challenge

Thumbs up, thumbs down

That Means I’ll Start Having to Wear Pants – Bernick and Schott on Politics

Students do not give up their constitutional rights

Kudos to students, teachers in Ben Lomond mentoring program

The Leftward Tilt of Education Scholarship

Milwaukee’s Voucher Verdict
What 26 years of vouchers can teach the private-school choice movement—if only it would listen

NATION

Trump’s Pick for Education Could Face Unusually Stiff Resistance

Trump’s Anti-Immigration Rhetoric Fuels Data Concerns

Ed. Deans to Trump Administration: Uphold the Role of Public Schools

Analysis Details DeVos Family’s Campaign Donations to Republican Senators

U.S. government has ‘dismally failed’ to educate Native American children, lawsuit alleges

The civil rights divide over charter schools

Alabama State Board of Education backs MPS intervention

Ratings agency says big tax hike is ‘most likely’ CPS fix

School Bus Safety: New Federal Report Tracks Fatal Crashes

Aspen School District removes seat belts from large buses to improve safety
School district hasn’t budgeted $330,000 to replace the lap belts that were removed

Survey: In Literacy, What’s Trendy Isn’t Always What’s Important

What’s Hot: 9 Major Ed Tech Trends for 2017
Education technologies are, by their nature, capricious. So it makes sense to consider what could drive innovation among classrooms for the new year. Our panel of K-12 experts weighs in.

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UTAH NEWS
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Lawmaker calls income tax hike ‘worst thing we can do’ to bolster school funding

SALT LAKE CITY — The president of the Utah Senate says he can list “a dozen ways” to boost revenue for public education “without raising the income tax rate.”
Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, speaking on a panel Thursday during the United Way’s annual legislative preview breakfast, said hiking the state income tax rate, as a proposed citizen initiative suggests, “is the worst thing we can do.”
“I think it will be a negative for the economy that generates the money we have to spend on our schools,” Niederhauser said.
Our Schools Now, a group backing an increase in the income tax rate to raise $750 million for education, is considering putting the issue to Utah voters through the state’s initiative process.
Leaders of the group met later in the day with Niederhauser, Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, and other lawmakers for more than an hour behind closed doors about how to move forward.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Kq (DN)

 

Homeless-shelter controversy, tax hike for education and Hatch at attorney general confirmation hearing

Salt Lake City’s plan for four new homeless resource centers meets more opposition from Sugar House residents and Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams. Utah legislators try to find a way around an income tax hike to increase education funding. And Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch weighs in on President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for U.S. attorney general.
On Friday at 9 a.m., Salt Lake Tribune reporter Matthew Piper, columnist Paul Rolly and government and politics editor Dan Harrie join KCPW’s Roger McDonough to talk about the week’s top stories.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8L7 (KCPW, audio)

 

State school board member seeks school attendance waiver for emergency school days

SALT LAKE CITY — In the wake of recent severe winter storms that forced administrators in some Utah school districts to cancel classes, one State School Board member will ask the full board to consider granting affected districts one-time waivers of the state’s school attendance rule.
School districts are required to conduct school a minimum of 180 days and 990 hours a year.
Given what District 1 board member Terryl Warner describes as recent “weather anomalies,” she will ask the Utah State Board of Education on Friday to consider waivers to the requirement as long as school districts meet the 990-hour minimum standard.
“If they are hitting that 990 hours, should we give them a break on the days?” she asks.
Warner’s district includes hard-hit Box Elder, Cache, and Morgan counties as well as parts of Weber and Summit counties. This year, even Park City schools closed for a day because school buses were unable to travel snow-covered secondary roads.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8KM (DN)

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

 

Snow days in Utah County? School officials don’t expect closures this winter

The first Tuesday of the year was busy for Utah County school districts and plow crews. With at least four inches of snow covering the area, there were questions on if students would be returning for their first day back to school in the new year at their scheduled time, or at all.
Plows in Provo City School District were out until 10 p.m. Jan. 2 and started again at 2 a.m. Jan. 3, that Tuesday, to clear the snow.
“They were out plowing for hours and hours,” said Caleb Price, spokesman for Provo City School District.
In the end, Nebo School District had a two-hour delay that day. Two days later, as storms continued to dump snow across the county, the Provo district issued a two-hour delay.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8KO (PDH)

Sidebar: What constitutes a snow day?
http://gousoe.uen.org/8KQ (PDH)

 

For Utah Immigrants With DACA Status, The Future Is Uncertain

As Donald Trump takes office later this month, many are wondering how his administration might change immigration policy, specifically the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or DACA. It protects children who came to the U.S. illegally before they were 16-years-old.
At Glendale Middle School on the outskirts of Salt Lake City, Yessenia Sontay is helping a classroom of 7th and 8th graders after school with their homework. It’s a diverse group. Hispanic and black kids, and Pacific Islanders and Asian-Americans. She asks for prompts for them to write in their journals. One boy, Edgar chimes in.
“What kind of car would you want when you grow up?” he asks.
“Meaningful stuff, Edgar!” Sontay says.
“Fine, I have one idea,” Edgar says. “What kind of college would you go to and why?”
“That’s a good one!” Sontay answers.
Sontay teaches part-time at Glendale. She’s also a junior at the University of Utah where she’s studying elementary education. Sontay came to the U.S. from Guatemala when she was seven years old and like some of the kids she teaches, she’s undocumented.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8L9 (KUER)

 

Flagged Bill: HCR 5 – Concurrent Resolution on Clean Fuel School Buses – Rep. Stephen Handy

Last month we reported that Representative Stephen Handy (Republican – Layton) had aspirations to direct $20 million in new funds received from the recent Volkswagen settlement towards the replacement of old, dirtier, diesel school buses across the state. Well, Handy is making it official with HCR 5 – Concurrent Resolution on Clean Fuel School Buses.
In the resolution, Handy makes a strong case for the use of these funds going towards replacing the school bus fleet with more efficient vehicles: Utahns are concerned with fine particulate matter in the air; the Wasatch Front and Cache Valley have some of the worst fine particulate matter air in the country; the geography of the Wasatch Front and Cache Valley lends itself to inversions; emissions from fossil fuels account for nearly half of all air pollution; that nearly 32 million miles are driven annually by school buses and that these diesel exhaust engines spew out more soot and is worse on lungs when compared to gasoline engines; and that the Division of Air Quality estimates an 80 percent reduction in particulate matter pollution from buses if a switch is made.
But this isn’t as hopeful as it may first appear – you may have noticed that we said HCR (House Concurrent Resolution), and not HB (House Bill) – and this has a dramatic result on what the state can expect if Handy’s resolution were to pass.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8KV (UPC)

 

Weber School District receives EPA grant for low-emission school buses

OGDEN — The Weber School District has received a $100,000 grant to replace old school buses.
More than 500 school bus fleets applied to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2016 School Bus Rebate Program, according to its website. Recipients were randomly selected and the Weber and Washington County school districts were the only two in Utah to receive funding.
Weber School District spokesman Lane Findlay said the district has applied to spend $20,000 of their grant on five new school buses with clean-burning diesel engines. The district’s entire fleet consists of 185 school buses.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8La (OSE)

 

St. Joseph Catholic High School sends seniors out for week of service

OGDEN— Seniors at St. Joseph Catholic High School in Ogden didn’t attend their regular classes this week. Instead, they spent the week doing service at several service organizations around the community.
This is a new tradition St. Joseph started just last year.
“I think it really opens our students’ eyes,” said Clay Jones, principal of St. Joseph Catholic High School. “It gives them an experience they wouldn’t otherwise have. Not many schools are going to let their seniors out for a week of school to serve in their community.”
“I feel it’s our job to educate the whole person. St. Joseph’s does an amazing job with this, by providing all of our students service opportunities throughout the year,” said Kari Lane, enrollment manager at St. Joseph. “We appreciate these organizations giving our students the opportunity to better themselves and to help them develop the desire to serve.”
In total, 37 students spent the week outside the classroom and in the Ogden community doing acts of service.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8KL (DN)

 

American Fork High School students get opportunity of lifetime at U.S. Army All-American Bowl

To have two All-American marching band members selected from the state is an achievement, but to have two representing a single school is remarkable recognition.
Two American Fork High School students, Connor Jacklin and Spencer Dean, were selected in 2016 to join the U.S. Army All-American Band, which performed at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio on Saturday.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8KP (PDH)

 

How communities are rescuing teens from suicide’s deadly river

If you tell your iPhone to find a bridge you can jump from, Siri will ask if you want her to dial a suicide crisis line. Query Google about ways to kill yourself, and the first response is a link to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, with a button to launch live chat. A teenager struggling at most Utah schools can readily find a trained peer from Hope Squad to listen and help. Even a Facebook post that indicates suicidal thought may be answered by a crisis counselor from the national crisis line.
These personal and technological prompts mark progress in a journey to prevent teen and other suicides, but policymakers, legislators and others say the road to reducing suicides is very much under construction.
In Utah, existing efforts range from the in-school Hope Squads of trained peers to suicide-specific continuing education for health care providers. But the authors of those efforts say there’s more to be done — by parents, schools, communities and by the Utah Legislature, which provides important funding and is expected to consider several bills when the new session begins Jan. 23.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8KK (DN)

 

Logan approves school fees; Cache making preparations

The Logan City School Board approved the 2017-18 high school fee schedule Tuesday night with a $5 increase in the required activity fee and a few other minor changes.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8KS (LHJ)

 

High school students visit campus for annual concert

High school students from all over Utah and southern Nevada will be traveling to Cedar City this weekend for the High School Honor Band Concert on Saturday at 6 p.m. in the Heritage Center Theater.
The founder and administrator of the event, Director of Bands Adam Lambert, said he is excited to watch these performances from talented young musicians.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Lc (SUU News)

 

After School Satan club holds Utah open house at Vista Elementary

Salt Lake City —The After School Satan club has arrived at a Utah elementary school.
The Satanic Temple, a group that describes itself as “an atheistic religious organization that uses the symbol of Satan to inspire civil justice”, said the decision to spread their message in elementary schools is in direct response to Christian groups who operate after-school clubs in public schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8KW (KUTV)

 

Utah dating homework tells girls: be ‘feminine’ and ‘don’t waste his money’
Assignment outlining guidelines for ‘$5 Date’ providing separate instructions for boys and girls is example of misogynistic lessons common in the state, critics say

A Utah high school homework assignment directing students to “go on a date” and telling girls to be “feminine and lady-like” and not to “waste” a boy’s money has caused an uproar over what some said was an example of misogynistic lessons common in the state.
The handouts from Highland high school in Salt Lake City, copies of which spread on Facebook this week, outlined guidelines for a “$5 Date” and provided separate instructions for boys and girls.
The lesson, which came from a Utah teachers’ database of assignments and has since been removed, told girls, “Don’t keep checking in the mirror combing hair,” “Don’t fish for compliments,” “Don’t criticize his driving” and “If you think you’re too fat etc, keep it to yourself.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8KG (Manchester) Guardian

http://gousoe.uen.org/8KH (International Business Times)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8KI (GOOD magazine)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8L8 (Us Weekly)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8Le (NBC)

 

DSU to turn East Elementary into entrepreneurial center

As Dixie State University prepares to move into the East Elementary facility, plans for how the school building will be put to use are taking shape.
Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Michael Lacourse told a crowd gathered for Thursday’s What’s Up Down South annual economic summit that university officials plan to make the facility a magnet for community entrepreneurs that will eventually provide access for would-be patent builders 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“We will be converting East Elementary school in the next several months, opening in the fall, using the title … Innovation Plaza,” Lacourse said. “We are going to create an infosystem on campus that is available to students, faculty and staff and members of the community to come and engage with each other (for) those who want to be entrepreneurs.”
Shorten
http://gousoe.uen.org/8KT (SGS)

 

Timpview High Students Let Home Early After Water Main Break

PROVO, Utah -Timpview High School students are getting an early start to the weekend after a water main break.
Provo School District said the students will be released at 10:50 after a water line next to the school broke.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Lb (KTVX)

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

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

 

Inside our schools

Arrowhead Elementary
Valley Academy Charter
Snow Canyon High
Utah Online
http://gousoe.uen.org/8KU (SGS)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Better understanding of sex education results hold promise and challenge
Deseret News editorial

Public health officials have been worried for some time over a sharp increase in the rates of sexually transmitted disease in Utah, including among teenagers, which many experts believe can be traced to a deficiency in sex education both in the home and as a part of formal schooling. A recent look in-depth at the issue by the Deseret News detailed the contentious debate over just what kind of education about sexuality is appropriate, and whether there is a clear answer to what type of curriculum is most effective.
Regardless of one’s point of view, the evidence suggests rates of sexually transmitted disease, as well as rates of teenage pregnancy, are correlated to how much teenagers know about sexual behavior. There is evidence that both abstinence-based curricula and what is referred to as “comprehensive” sex education can be effective. However, because of differences in individual backgrounds and cultural orientations, it is not possible for a “one-size-fits-all” program to attain a desired degree of effectiveness among all kids.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Kr

 

Thumbs up, thumbs down
(Provo) Daily Herald editorial

THUMBS DOWN: Do I believe the Provo City School District bus driver singled out a student because she was wearing a hijab? No. I believe it was a misunderstanding. But I do believe some sensitivity training is beneficial. Everyone can benefit from sensitivity training, let’s be real.
THUMBS UP: Utah’s eighth-graders are the tops in the nation in science — and for the tech hub that is our state, this is fabulous news.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8KR

 

That Means I’ll Start Having to Wear Pants – Bernick and Schott on Politics
Utah Policy commentary by columnists Bryan Schott and Bob Bernick

Utah voters could have an exciting political year in store in 2018.
Our approval ratings for Sen. Orrin Hatch show he might have some work to do before he runs for an 8th term in Washington. At the same time, our polling shows former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman could give Hatch a run for his money if he decides to run next year.
Donald Trump squares off with the media for the first time since July. He has taken to calling any news outfit that does not report on him favorably as “fake news,” which is extremely troubling.
The 2017 Legislature is just around the corner, and one of the big fights looming is over education funding. Lawmakers are wary of a group that wants to put an income tax hike on the ballot in 2018 to fund schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Kp

 

Students do not give up their constitutional rights
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Isaac Reese

I am a student in the Canyons School District. It has come to my attention that my constitutional rights as a public school student are uniformly compromised as a matter of routine policy.
According to case law and constitutional interpretations cited by the ACLU and various legal scholars, students do not lose their rights guaranteed by the Constitution simply by attending a public school. Furthermore, school administrators are not allowed to punish me for being critical of them, yet there are instances of administrators punishing students for criticizing them through social media. Administrators are also allowed to search me without probable cause.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8KJ

 

Kudos to students, teachers in Ben Lomond mentoring program
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Judee Stanley

I am writing in response to what to me was a mean-spirited letter from Tracie Gale complaining about giving attention to the current success a Ben Lomond student is finding through a mentoring program at the school (”Kids don’t deserve attention for doing what they’re supposed to do,:” Jan. 5). I hope the student will continue to find success and that other students will be served this program.
Kudos to the program and the mentors. We all need to be invested in educating all children in America. We are building communities for the future.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8KN

 

The Leftward Tilt of Education Scholarship
Education Week commentary package

For the 2017 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence Rankings, Education Week Commentary and Frederick M. Hess, the creator of the rankings, decided that the politics of scholarship on the eve of the Trump presidency would prompt an interesting and important conversation for those inside and outside the academy.
For this special section, Hess offers his own thoughts on “the leftward tilt” of education scholarship, while three education and policy scholars were invited to respond to the following query:
It’s no great secret that the American professoriate tilts to the left, particularly in the social sciences and humanities. The disjuncture between the academic mainstream and a large swath of the American public was especially evident during the heated presidential campaign and, more recently, in the course of the Trump transition. What should public-minded academics make of this? Is it a problem if academic sentiment generally aligns with one side of the political spectrum? Does it create challenges for the academy or limit the ability of academics to offer policy ideas or engage in a more robust public debate? What, if anything, should publicly engaged academics try to do about any of this?
http://gousoe.uen.org/8L0

 

Milwaukee’s Voucher Verdict
What 26 years of vouchers can teach the private-school choice movement—if only it would listen
American Prospect analysis by Erin Richards


THANKS TO MORE THAN TWO generations of school choice, Milwaukee’s educational system is arguably one of the most open in the nation for children of any urban ZIP code and income level to choose conventional, charter, private, virtual, or even suburban schools, all with taxpayer dollars following them—exactly what DeVos imagines. Incoming Vice President Mike Pence has overseen a rapid creation and expansion of private-school vouchers in his home state of Indiana, which could serve as a blueprint as Trump and his team assess how to put more dollars toward choice options. Understanding Milwaukee’s experience is therefore all the more urgent now that school-choice proponents are in charge of America and its education policies.
The energy behind private-school choice got a major boost in 2010, when the GOP started making gains in statehouses across the country. At that time, 15 states and the District of Columbia hosted 24 private school–choice programs. By 2016, 28 states and D.C. had passed a total of 61 programs, according to the nonprofit advocacy group EdChoice, formerly known as the Friedman Foundation.
For school vouchers specifically, more programs have been created in the past six years than in the two decades since 1990, when Milwaukee launched its landmark program. Specifically, 11 voucher programs were created between 1991 and the 2010 midterm elections. Fourteen have been approved between 2011 and today, according to statistics from EdChoice.
School-voucher programs historically have allowed taxpayer-funded subsidies to support low-income students in private schools. But new laws passed in states such as Wisconsin and Indiana have relaxed eligibility requirements to allow more middle-class families to participate. Other legislation indirectly benefits private schools with tax dollars. States such as New Hampshire, Montana, and South Dakota offer tax credits to businesses that donate to nonprofits that award grants for qualifying students to attend private schools. Wisconsin, Indiana, Minnesota, and Louisiana now offer individual income tax deductions to parents who pay for private schooling.
The latest voucher-like iteration, education-savings accounts, debuted in 2011 and quickly spread to four more states, including Nevada, where the program is in legal limbo, and Tennessee, where a new program will launch in 2017.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8L1

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Trump’s Pick for Education Could Face Unusually Stiff Resistance
New York Times

Nominees for secretary of education have typically breezed through confirmation by the Senate with bipartisan approval.
But Betsy DeVos, President­elect Donald J. Trump’s choice for the post, is no typical nominee. She is a billionaire with a complex web of financial investments, including in companies that stand to win or lose from the department she would oversee. She has been an aggressive force in politics for years, as a prominent Republican donor and as a supporter of steering public dollars to private schools.
Her wealth and her politics seem likely to make her confirmation hearing unusually contentious, and possibly drawn out.
The hearing, which was originally scheduled for Wednesday of this week, was postponed until Tuesday after Democrats complained she had not completed an agreement with the independent Office of Government Ethics that outlined a plan to deal with potential conflicts of interest. The ethics office has said it has not completed its review of Ms. DeVos, which is required before the office can make any agreement. A spokesman for Ms. DeVos said she had responded to a first round of questions from the office last weekend.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Ky

 

Trump’s Anti-Immigration Rhetoric Fuels Data Concerns
Education Week

Spurred by President-elect Donald Trump’s promise to deport millions of undocumented immigrants, some education officials are wrestling with the possibility that student data might be used in new ways that could have harsh consequences for some students and families.
In recent weeks, the boards of California’s Los Angeles Unified and Santa Cruz city schools passed resolutions vowing to resist any requests for student information from federal immigration officials. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson supported their stance, calling on districts throughout the state to become “safe havens” for immigrant students. The Denver, Minneapolis, and District of Columbia school systems also affirmed their commitments to not share student data that might imperil undocumented students and families, unless compelled by law.
“There are certainly records that could be part of our files that could be of potential interest in [deportation] proceedings,” said Los Angeles school board chair Steven Zimmer in an interview. “We are going to protect that information.”
Schools generally do not track whether students or their families are in the country illegally. They do, however, typically collect and store a wide range of related data, including students’ country of origin, home language, and date of entry into U.S. schools. Schools also typically maintain “directory information” that includes students’ home addresses and phone numbers. In some states, they may also collect and store some students’ Social Security numbers, although schools are by law not allowed to deny enrollment to a student without such information.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8KY

 

Ed. Deans to Trump Administration: Uphold the Role of Public Schools
Education Week

One week before President-elect Donald Trump is sworn into office, 175 education deans from across the country have a message for his administration: Uphold the role of public education in our democracy.
Education Deans for Justice and Equity—a recently formed alliance of current and former deans of colleges and schools of education—released a “Declaration of Principles” today, in partnership with the National Education Policy Center, a non-profit research center. The deans write that they are “seriously concerned” by Trump’s rhetoric that has reportedly led to an uptick of bullying and fear in classrooms across the country.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Ks

A copy of the declaration
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Kt (National Education Policy Center)

 

Analysis Details DeVos Family’s Campaign Donations to Republican Senators
Education Week

An analysis of campaign finance spending done by the left-leaning Center for American Progress states that Education Secretary-nominee Betsy DeVos and her family have given nearly $1 million directly to 21 senators over past election cycles. In addition, the analysis found ten senators on the Senate education committee have received donations from a political action committee controlled by the DeVos family, including Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the committee chairman.
The CAP analysis from Ulrich Boser, Marcella Bombardieri, and CJ Libassi also says that the DeVos family gave more than $3.1 million to two political action committess associated with GOP lawmakers, the Senate Leadership Fund and the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
Last month we highlighted direct donations to GOP senators from Betsy and Dick DeVos Jr., her husband, including five lawmakers on the Senate education commitee and other, mostly Republican, politicians. Democratic senators have requested more information from DeVos about her history of political donations, as well as her lobbying and advocacy on behalf of school choice programs. CAP, which has close ties to President Barack Obama’s administration, is not the only group to call for senators who have received DeVos campaign donations to recuse themselves from considering her nomination.
DeVos’ supporters, however, have argued that the same Democrats crying foul over DeVos had no similar qualms about Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, who was confirmed as Obama’s commerce secretary in 2013 and was a major Democratic campaign “bundler.” They also say Democrats who have taken donations from teachers’ unions are themselves tainted by conflicts of interest.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8L3

A copy of the analysis
http://gousoe.uen.org/8L4 (Center for American Progress)

 

U.S. government has ‘dismally failed’ to educate Native American children, lawsuit alleges
Washington Post

The federal government has repeatedly acknowledged and even lamented its failure to provide adequate education for Native American children. Now, nine Native children are taking to the courts to force Washington to take action.
The children are all members of the Havasupai Nation, whose ancestral homelands are in and around the Grand Canyon. They attend an elementary school that is run by the federal Bureau of Indian Education and is, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday, hardly recognizable as a school at all.
Havasupai Elementary School does not teach any subjects other than English and math, according to the complaint; there is no instruction in science, history, social studies, foreign language, or the arts. There aren’t enough textbooks or a functioning library or any after-school sports teams or clubs, according to the complaint. There are so many and such frequent teacher vacancies that students are allegedly taught often by non-certified staff, including the janitor, or they are taught by a series of substitutes who rotate in for two-week stints. The school shuts down altogether for weeks at a time.
The school has no system for evaluating or serving children with disabilities, who comprise about half of the student body, according to the complaint. And school officials are so incapable of meeting the needs of students with special needs that they often require those children to be educated at home, attending school as little as three hours per week.
The school excludes tribal community members from decisions about their children’s education, according to the complaint, and does not address Havasupai students’ unique cultural needs, as federal law requires. And in a community wracked by the historical trauma of displacement and discrimination, and the day-to-day trauma of poverty, the school allegedly failed to provide counseling for years and does not provide the mental health supports that children desperately need.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Kz

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/8L6 (Atlantic)

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

 

The civil rights divide over charter schools
Marketplace

Inside a small brick row house in northwest Baltimore, Md., Tiela Smith pulls on a parka, pink hat and gloves and a huge backpack. Then she heads out the door to walk one block to Langston Hughes elementary school.
But instead of going inside, she walks around the side of the building to a parking lot, where a yellow school bus is waiting. Langston Hughes closed last year, so Tiela, 8, now rides the bus a mile away to Arlington elementary.
Tiela doesn’t mind, she said, because “when you don’t walk your legs don’t feel tired.”
Her mom Nieasha Paige, a former teacher’s aide, does mind. Paige is legally blind, and said she misses the convenience and peace of mind of walking her daughter to the neighborhood school down the street.
“It was a good school,” she said. Classes were small, everyone knew each other. At Arlington, she said, “it’s okay and everything, but it’s not like Langston Hughes.”
The reasons Langston Hughes closed are complicated. Academically, it was one of the best-performing schools in its impoverished neighborhood of Park Heights. But enrollment had fallen over the years – partly, many believe, from competition from nearby charter schools.
About two miles away from where Langston Hughes sits empty, another elementary school is thriving. KIPP Harmony Academy, part of the national network of KIPP charter schools, has almost 800 kids, from kindergarten through fourth grade. The school is big on purpose, said principal Natalia Anderson.
“We believe our parents should be able to be educational consumers, like folks can do in more affluent communities,” she said.
More parents around the country are choosing charter schools. In the last six years, enrollment has grown by more than sixty percent. The schools are expected to get a boost if Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. Department of Education, is confirmed. DeVos has spent much of her career — and millions of dollars — promoting school choice.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8KB

Alabama State Board of Education backs MPS intervention
Montgomery (AL) Advertiser

Citing concerns with the “financial and academic performance” of Montgomery Public Schools, the Alabama State Board of Education on Thursday approved a resolution that could lead to a state takeover of the district.
The resolution gives the board’s backing to State Superintendent Michael Sentance to issue notice of possible intervention in MPS, the first step in any possible takeover. The document says the Montgomery County Board of Education “shares these concerns and has expressed a desire to cooperate with the State Superintendent of Education to correct the deficiencies that exist within MPS,” a feeling both Sentance and Montgomery County Board of Education President Robert Porterfield expressed at a news conference after the vote.
“We find ourselves at a time where we’re in need of support,” Porterfield said. “They have shown a willingness to come in with resources to aid us in terms of meeting the needs of our children.”
The state board’s action remains a first step, and both Alabama State Department of Public Education and MPS officials stressed that there was no specific plan in place, or sense of what “resources” might entail. But both sides anticipated a process that would take years, and would start with individual evaluations of schools and their needs.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Ku

Ratings agency says big tax hike is ‘most likely’ CPS fix
Chicago Tribune

A massive property tax hike is the “most likely” way for the financially teetering Chicago Public Schools to find its way out of a sea of red ink, a major Wall Street ratings agency said Thursday — a conclusion district officials were quick to reject.
A tax hike of “more than $400 million annually” is one of three “painful options” the district could consider if it fails to secure more state funding and runs out of rope in its ongoing practice of borrowing money and cutting costs to stay afloat, according to a pair of reports on city and school finances issued by Moody’s Investors Service.
The new tax revenue would be used to make debt payments now covered with state aid meant for the classroom. The two other options are pushing off contributions to an already underfunded teachers’ pension system or declaring bankruptcy, the reports state.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Kv

 

School Bus Safety: New Federal Report Tracks Fatal Crashes
Education Week

In spite of recent high-profile bus crashes, a new Government Accountability Office report suggests school buses are probably still a safer way to get your kids to school than driving them yourself.
From 2000 to 2015, there’s been on average 115 fatal crashes involving a school bus each year in the United States, the GAO found—that’s only a third of a percent of the nearly 35,000 fatal crashes during that time. The number of crashes remained relatively steady during that time:
The report comes as states debate requiring buses to include seat belts and other safety measures in the wake of high-profile fatal school bus crashes in Tennessee and Texas.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8KD

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/8KE (GAO)

 

Aspen School District removes seat belts from large buses to improve safety
School district hasn’t budgeted $330,000 to replace the lap belts that were removed Aspen Times via Denver Post

The Aspen School District removed all seat belts from its largest school buses during the past month and a half because of safety concerns, officials said.
“Lap belts can be more damaging to the human body in frontal accidents than none at all,” said Gary Vavra, the district’s transportation director. “For the safety of the children, … we decided it was safer to take them off than leave them on there.”
The district owns 22 large buses, which came equipped with lap belts, as opposed to three-point shoulder seat belts, he said. It would cost the district $15,000 per bus to retrofit them with the shoulder restraints, he said. The district has not budgeted the $330,000 needed to replace the seat belts.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8KF

 

Survey: In Literacy, What’s Trendy Isn’t Always What’s Important
Education Week

A new survey from the International Literacy Association finds that what many teachers note as being “hot” in national conversations about literacy isn’t what they think is most important.
Past and present members of the International Literacy Association, most of whom were teachers or literacy/instructional coaches, were asked to rate a set of 17 topics related to literacy on how “hot” and how “important” the topics are in their communities and in their countries.
Teachers reported that in both their communities and in the country as a whole, assessment and standards are the hottest topics in literacy conversations. Eighty-six percent said assessment and standards are “moderately,” “very,” or “extremely” hot in their communities, and 89 percent said the same about their country. But assessment and standards were not one of the top five topics that teachers rated as most important.
Digital literacy was also rated as more “hot” than “important” by the survey’s respondents.
Parent engagement, access to books and content, literacy in resource-limited settings, teacher professional learning and development, and early literacy, on the other hand, were rated as significantly more “important” than “hot.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Kw

A copy of the survey
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Kx (International Literacy Association)

 

What’s Hot: 9 Major Ed Tech Trends for 2017
Education technologies are, by their nature, capricious. So it makes sense to consider what could drive innovation among classrooms for the new year. Our panel of K-12 experts weighs in.
THE Journal

Figuring out just what will captivate educators from one year to the next is a fickle business. The thing everybody was trying one year is on the way out the next. Other movements seem to have the staying power of cork in a bulletin board — always there, always ready for some new take. So it goes for this year too.
The use of gaming, flipped learning, banning cell phones and purchasing tablets appear to be waning, while some new movements are definitely waxing. According to the 16 education experts THE Journal conferred with, you’ll be hearing a lot more about nine instructional areas in particular: active learning, augmented reality, maker spaces, Next Generation Science Standards, open educational resources, robotics and STEAM, coding and student privacy. Those last two are red hot. Among the nine, only two of those topics surfaced in last year’s list too: coding and OER.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8KC

 

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

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/

January 26:
Utah State Board of Education legislative meeting
Noon; 210 Senate Building
http://www.boarddocs.com/ut/usbe/Board.nsf/Public

February 2:
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

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

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