Education News Roundup: Jan. 23, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

The Legislature has begun and school funding is near the top of the agenda.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8OZ (SLT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8P0 (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8Pu (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8P1 (PDH)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8P9 (LHJ)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8OY (UP)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8PU (Utah Business)

President Trump hits the pause button on ESSA regulations.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8PN (Ed Week)

A vote on Education Secretary-nominee Betsy DeVos is delayed another week.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Pf (WaPo)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8Ph (Detroit Free Press)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8PQ (Ed Week)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8Pl (AP)

Michigan may close 38 underperforming schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Pd (AP)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8Pe (Detroit Free Press)

ED says no to Wisconsin and Wyoming on using ACT for accountability.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8PS (Ed Week)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Education funding tops legislators’ agenda during the coming session
Starting Monday, there will be plenty of tough, possibly contentious debates as lawmakers tackle homelessness, public lands, medical marijuana and more.

King Fears Income Tax Hike to Help School Funding Could Backfire

Hillyard considers Public Education funding

Only 3% of Utah campaign money came from constituents, 92% from special interests
Election financing > Only 3% of donations came from residents, raising questions about outside influence.

HS Transfer Rule Hearing Leads to Calls for Repeal

Westminster College, elementary students team up to serve

Ogden School District puts $160,000 into new website over next five years

Student leaders from Utah visit Washington for inauguration

Tooele coach resigns amid ‘inappropriate communication’ investigation

Bomb threats disrupt classes at 2 Salt Lake City schools

USU & Cache, Logan schools now closed, as well as Logan Canyon, CVTD service

Cache County School District announces make-up days

National School Choice week underway

Sky View, North Cache parent-teacher conferences set for Monday

OPINION & COMMENTARY

They’re baaaack …! Lawmakers reappear tomorrow

This might as well be Greg Hughes’ speech opening the Utah Legislature
Politics > Let’s Make Utah Great Again.

Try these tax changes instead of raising income tax

Utah’s economic vitality will continue with the right blueprint

Creating better outcomes for Utah’s families in the cycle of poverty

More than money, Utah schools need disruptive innovation

A glimmer of hope for Utah schools

Revise school schedules to save duel-immersion programs

The full picture of DeVos

NATION

Trump White House Hits Pause on Obama’s ESSA Accountability Regulations

Trump: American Schools ‘Flush With Cash,’ But Failing Students

Democrats request another hearing for Betsy DeVos, Trump’s education pick, before confirmation vote

At Women’s March, Some Teachers Target Betsy DeVos’ ‘Grizzly’ Hearing

Michael Moore tears up copy of Washington Post at women’s march

Trump education pick blames staff for poor word choice on Twitter

Michigan Says 38 Underperforming Public Schools Could Close

U.S. Ed. Dept. Defers Approval of ACT for Accountability in Wyoming, Wisconsin

Schools Grappling With Fee Hikes for AP Exams

Are abusive parents hiding behind Iowa’s home-school laws?

Freedom From Religion Foundation sues Mercer school board over Bible classes

Is marijuana money the answer to fund Washington schools?
In a flashback to 2015, some Republican legislators are looking to marijuana revenue as a possible solution to Washington’s education-funding problems. Democrats aren’t totally opposed but say there’s not nearly enough pot money to fill the school funding holes.

 

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UTAH NEWS
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Education funding tops legislators’ agenda during the coming session
Starting Monday, there will be plenty of tough, possibly contentious debates as lawmakers tackle homelessness, public lands, medical marijuana and more.

Utah Republican and Democratic legislative leaders often disagree. But they are unanimous about what the biggest topic facing the Legislature is as it convenes Monday: education funding.
“It’s one of our greatest challenges,” says House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper.
House Minority Leader Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, agrees, and adds that while leaders often give lip service to education, “It’s time to put our money where our mouth is.”
It will have extra emphasis because the Our Schools Now initiative is waging a petition drive to put on the ballot a $750 million state income-tax increase for education, and many lawmakers would like to avoid that and push other alternatives instead.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8OZ (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8P0 (DN)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/8P1 (PDH)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8P9 (LHJ)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8OY (UP)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8PU (Utah Business)

 

King Fears Income Tax Hike to Help School Funding Could Backfire

School funding is sure to be a hot topic during the 2017 Utah Legislature. That’s mostly because of a threat by an outside group to put an income tax hike on next year’s ballot which would significantly boost funding for Utah’s schools.
The “Our Schools Now” group is pushing the 7/8ths of one percent income tax hike, which they say would provide an additional $750 million annually for Utah’s public schools. Surprisingly, House Minority Leader Rep. Brian King says he’s not entirely thrilled with the “Our Schools Now” proposal, but it’s better than no funding increase at all.
“Democrats have, for years, talked about the need for more funding for education and more new revenue for public education, and we continue to believe that’s true,” said King. “I think most Democrats would prefer to see something more progressive in nature. That it is, just to say that we’re going to raise the single rate we have from 5 to 5 7/8ths is unduly difficult for working class families.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8OX (UP)

 

Hillyard considers Public Education funding

There are many issues to tackle during the 2017 session of the Utah State Legislature, but lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree that the issue expected to take the most time and deliberation during the new session is funding for public education.
Utah Republican State Senator Lyle Hillyard of Logan is chairman of the Public Education Subcommittee, and he said it is a major challenge to determine how to spend the limited amount of money available and maintain quality education.
“As I listen to the discussion,” Hillyard said, “it’s pretty clear that having better trained students to take the jobs that are available and having education facilities more focused on the jobs that are coming up is really going to be an important thing to continue our economy doing as well as it’s doing.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8PA (CVD)

 

Only 3% of Utah campaign money came from constituents, 92% from special interests
Election financing > Only 3% of donations came from residents, raising questions about outside influence.

Utah voters elected the 104 members of the 2017 Legislature, but special-interest groups supplied 92 percent of the campaign money they raised last year.
A mere 3 percent of the total donated came from regular people who live in the district of the member benefiting, according to analysis of campaign financial disclosures by The Salt Lake Tribune.
“If that isn’t an indictment of our current system, I don’t know what is,” says Kim Burningham, a former member of the Legislature and past chairman of Utahns for Ethical Government. “It says clearly that there’s a lot of allegiance owed to special interests, and we need to change that.”
As the Legislature convenes Monday, such statistics again raise questions of what donors receive for their money. Critics such as Burningham say it buys access and influence, but members say they listen to all sides of issues and are not unduly swayed by special-interest money.

The largest individual donors – besides the Utah Association of Realtors – were: Education First, $93,673 to 62 members; the House Republican Election Committee (which raises most of its money from special interests), $81,508; Reagan Outdoor Advertising, $72,630 to 75 legislators; and the Utah Auto Dealers Association, $55,867 to 63 members.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Po (SLT)

HS Transfer Rule Hearing Leads to Calls for Repeal

SALT LAKE CITY – Parents, coaches, principals and superintendents packed a hearing with the Utah State Board of Education Thursday night pleading with them to repeal a rule that is barely a month old.
“The adoption of these rules is an anomaly,” said Mark Van Wagoner, attorney for the Utah High School Activities Association, who said the action deviated from four decades of cooperative effort on the part of the two organizations. “It is unprecedented.”
The rule (R277-409) passed its final reading in December and provided new oversight to the UHSAA, as well as putting into state board rule for the first time, regulations governing the transfer of high school athletes from one school to another.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Pn (Athletic Business)

 

Westminster College, elementary students team up to serve

SALT LAKE CITY – Westminster College opened its campus to children from South Salt Lake schools Friday to participate in acts of service.
The groups of students and staff supervised children who prepared hygiene kits for homeless individuals and families. Children also spent time working with the American Red Cross to write letters to service members stationed abroad.
The event capped off a week of service events and celebrations in honor of Martin Luther King Jr.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Pt (DN)

 

Ogden School District puts $160,000 into new website over next five years

OGDEN – The Ogden School District Board of Education approved spending $160,000 on a new website over the next five years.
At a board meeting Thursday evening, the board approved hiring Finalsite, a Connecticut-based company, which was selected from a group of 10 applicants.
The endeavor will cost $40,000 for the first year and $30,000 annually after that for a total of five years. The new sites are expected to launch this summer.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Px (OSE)

 

Student leaders from Utah visit Washington for inauguration

WASHINGTON D.C. — Hundreds of thousands of people gathered around the U.S. Capitol Friday to witness the inauguration of Donald Trump. Among them were 18 students from American Fork High School.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8PK (KSTU)

 

Tooele coach resigns amid ‘inappropriate communication’ investigation

TOOELE – The head football coach at Tooele High School has resigned amid an ongoing investigation being conducted by the Utah Professional Practices Advisory Commission.
Kyle Brady submitted his resignation Thursday, and the Tooele School District accepted it in lieu of the investigation, according to district spokeswoman Marie Denson.
Brady is being investigated for having “inappropriate communication through the phone” with another student, according to Denson. She would not go into detail about what the inappropriate communication was.
The incident happened in 2015 with an 18-year-old woman who was a student at Tooele High School, but she was not in any of Brady’s classes, Denson said. The woman has since graduated.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Pv (DN)

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

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

 

Bomb threats disrupt classes at 2 Salt Lake City schools

Separate bomb threats disrupted classes at two Salt Lake City School District campuses on Monday.
District spokesman Jason Olson said “precautionary lockdowns” were put in place early Monday afternoon at both Highland High School and Hillside Middle School.
By 12:45 p.m., the lockdown at Hillside was lifted. However, due to the large size of the Highland High campus, district officials dismissed about 1,700 students for the remainder of the day.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8PD (SLT)

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

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

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

USU & Cache, Logan schools now closed, as well as Logan Canyon, CVTD service

Logan City, Cache County and West Side school districts as well as USU have announced there will be no school on Monday, Jan. 23, due to heavy snow in parts of the valley.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Pb (LHJ)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cache County School District announces make-up days

The Cache County School District (CCSD) has announced make-up days for the two days of school students missed earlier this month due to extreme weather conditions. Because state law requires Utah schools to be in session for a minimum of 180 days and 990 hours each year, the district will comply with this regulation by holding classes on Friday, Feb. 17 (Friday schedule), and Monday, Feb. 20 (regular school day schedule). These dates had been previously calendared as no-school days due to a professional development day and the President’s Day holiday, respectively.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8PV (CVD)

 

National School Choice week underway

National School Choice week takes place this week in Utah and across the country. There are 166 events planned in the Beehive State to raise awareness about K-12 school choice and 21,391 events nationwide. The events in Utah are independently planned and independently funded, including everything from information sessions and open houses at schools to rallies, policy discussions and movie screenings organized by community groups. Highlighted events include a large school choice celebration on Thursday, January 26, at 11:00 a.m. at the Utah State Capitol.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8PB (CVD)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8PW (Business Wire)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8PX (Business Wire)

 

Sky View, North Cache parent-teacher conferences set for Monday

Sky View High School will conduct parent-teacher conferences from 4-8 p.m. Monday in the Spectator Gym. A regular day of school will be held.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Pa (LHJ)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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They’re baaaack …! Lawmakers reappear tomorrow
Deseret News commentary by columnists Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb

Pignanelli & Webb: “This ain’t our first rodeo” is a nice colloquialism for the fact that your columnists have roughly 60 years of combined experience participating in, reporting on and otherwise engaging in the legislative process. (In other words, we’re old as dirt.) So, on the eve of the 2017 general session of the Utah Legislature, we offer a primer on the top issues, and perpetuate a few corny colloquialisms.
The elephant in the room. The Our Schools Now (OSN) group is considering a signature petition drive to place a proposal on the ballot that would increase income taxes for education. It is sponsored by many of the state’s most prominent business and community leaders. The mere existence of this effort will color legislative debate regarding education funding and tax policies, along with the merits of such initiative activities that circumvent the legislative process. (LaVarr believes the effort has a pretty good shot at success, while Frank believes the group is in for a rough road). OSN would be happy if lawmakers substantially increase education funding and eliminate the need for a ballot initiative.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8P6

 

This might as well be Greg Hughes’ speech opening the Utah Legislature
Politics > Let’s Make Utah Great Again.
Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist ROBERT GEHRKE

Editor’s Note: Each year, at the beginning of the Utah Legislature, it is tradition for the House Speaker to address the body and establish priorities for the upcoming 45-day session. Below is probably not the opening day speech of House Speaker Greg Hughes, but it could be.
HOUSE SPEAKER GREG HUGHES:
My fellow representatives;
As we convene the 2017 General Session of the Utah Legislature, we do so in a very different America – an America that my main man Donald is finally making great again.
So it is fitting, as Utahns and as elected officials, that we roll up our sleeves and do our part in the effort. I wanted to talk today about what we have done and what we will do in the coming weeks to #MakeUtahGreatAgain.
Let me start with education. Some in the business community have said we haven’t done enough for education, that our abysmal funding, overcrowded classes and poor teacher retention have stifled educational opportunities.
Well, in recent years we’ve taken this problem head-on. We raised the gas tax and made major earmarks, and today we now spend $1.5 billion every year in transportation, ensuring our children have more opportunity to learn about highways and on-ramps than any students this side of New Jersey.
We are preparing these children for a bright future, from being road engineers to working on road crews to being the guys who pick up roadkill. We can proudly tell our young people: In Utah, you can be anything you want to be, just as long as it involves roads.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Pp

 

Try these tax changes instead of raising income tax
Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Mike Edmonds, chairman of the board of directors for the Utah Taxpayers Association, and Billy Hesterman, vice president of the Utah Taxpayers Association

Raising the state’s income tax rate to gain additional funding for Utah’s education system is too big of a risk to take.
Despite Utah being one of the most fiscally conservative states in the nation, our tax burden is higher than the national average. According data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Utah’s income tax burden is 15th highest in the nation. There is an economic danger in increasing that burden.
In the mid 2000’s, Utah lowered its income tax rate from 7 percent to 5 percent. Since then, Utah has seen tremendous economic growth. We survived the Great Recession better than any other state, were named the best-managed state in the union and have been acknowledged as the top state for business multiple times.
The education fund has also grown over that same period. From 2007 to 2014 the state’s education fund grew by more than $750 million, or by 26 percent.
If we want to ensure that Utah remains competitive with other states for top jobs, if we want to continue to expand “Silicon Slopes,” if we want to make certain our children and grandchildren have jobs that keep them here, we need to look for ways to lower Utah’s income tax rate.
If there is a desire across the state to increase education funding there are a number of other options to consider.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8P2

Utah’s economic vitality will continue with the right blueprint
Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Lane Beattie, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber

With several wonderful partners, the Salt Lake Chamber recently held its annual Economic Review and inaugural Policy Summit. More than 500 business and community leaders gathered to hear about the state of Utah’s economy and consider what we can do to enhance our communities and advance business opportunity. I left feeling grateful and determined.
Here are a few things I learned:
First, the Beehive State is abuzz with economic activity. For the sixth time in seven years, Forbes Magazine has designated Utah as “the Best State for Business and Careers.” CNBC has for the second consecutive year named Utah the “Top State for Business.” These recognitions are important. They come because business leaders across sectors and industries collaborate with government leaders to make purposeful decisions that drive our economy.
Second, staying at the top is often harder than getting there. National rankings are praiseworthy and underscore our state’s success. However, we must not become complacent because of national praise. Critical issues need to be addressed today. Areas requiring our attention include adequately funding our education system, modernizing our tax code and regulatory system, addressing air quality, and moving forward with a comprehensive solution for homelessness that honors and respects this vulnerable population.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8P3

 

Creating better outcomes for Utah’s families in the cycle of poverty
Deseret News op-ed by Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, Jon Pierpont, executive director of the Utah Department of Workforce Services, and H. David Burton, chairman of the Intergenerational Poverty Advisory Committee

This week, the Intergenerational Welfare Reform Commission released its revised five- and 10-year plan addressing the complex issue of intergenerational poverty in our state. Included are recommendations and opportunities for public and private sectors to make a difference in the lives of children at risk of remaining in the cycle of poverty.
More than one-third of Utah’s child population is at risk of remaining in poverty into adulthood, according to Utah’s Fifth Annual Report on Intergenerational Poverty, Welfare Dependency, and the Use of Public Assistance. These are Utah’s most vulnerable children. If Utah doesn’t put into place necessary interventions, the cycle of poverty in Utah will continue generation after generation, jeopardizing the growth of our communities and economy.
Using a data-driven approach, Utah has pulled comprehensive local data from multiple state agencies to understand the entire scope of the issue. The data reveal that poverty is a web of challenges and barriers, including childhood abuse and neglect, poor academic outcomes and economic instability. The data have been used to establish goals that, when met, will remove barriers and improve outcomes.
Considering the complexity of intergenerational poverty, it’s a significant undertaking.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8P7

A copy of the plan
http://gousoe.uen.org/8P8 (DWS)

 

More than money, Utah schools need disruptive innovation
Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Christine Cooke, education policy analyst for Sutherland Institute

This week begins Utah’s legislative session – a time when, according to a new poll, 50 percent of Utahns want the Legislature’s top priority to be improving education.
This week is also National School Choice Week – a time when students nationwide are celebrating educational options and taking to social media to bring public awareness to school reform.
The point is – there’s a lot of talk about education reform right now.
At Sutherland Institute, we believe we should invest in education. But students need an investment of disruptive innovation more than they do money.
Utah’s public schools need an investment of the best ideas, creativity, ingenuity, and the most thought-provoking questions of the status quo to ensure our education system meets every student’s unique needs.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8P4

 

A glimmer of hope for Utah schools
(Logan) Herald Journal letter form Ron W. Smith

Victoria Grieve’s superb letter on our underfunded schools (HJ 1/18) is a perfect example of what Thad Box, in his column right next to her letter, says about letting our legislators know what they’re doing well or not. Let me add a few details to what Grieve says in the hope that you’ll write or phone them now.They’ve balanced the state’s budget on the backs of our children long enough, trotting out the same lame excuses year after year as the situation in public education here gets worse and worse. This year, for the first time in my recollection, there’s a glimmer of hope thanks to Our Schools Now. Finally, a proposal from a group of prominent people the Legislature has no choice but to listen to. Finally, an attempt to create an annually reliable, dedicated stream of revenue for K-12 to add to the inadequate sources currently available. Finally (and miraculously), even more suggestions for that stream from legislators. Finally, in other words, an attempt to put our children first.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Pc

 

Revise school schedules to save duel-immersion programs
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Katie Smith

The state of Utah has invested significant resources into building strong dual-immersion programs in Mandarin, French, German and Portuguese or Spanish. Children begin this program in first grade and continue throughout high school. However, the Canyons School District currently stands to lose a significant number of their students at the middle school level.
While many other districts utilize a seven- or eight-period schedule, many Canyons middle schools are choosing a six-period schedule. This means dual-immersion students at these middle schools are only able to take one half credit elective each year.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Pr

 

The full picture of DeVos
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Marjory Beaudin

What happened to the rest of the facts concerning Betsy DeVos and her Senate hearing? The Tribune article published Jan. 18 gave a glorious review of the person Donald Trump has nominated as secretary of education, billionaire DeVos. I listened to the televised hearings and came away with a different picture.
First, she has contributed $200 million to the GOP, essentially buying the position. Second, she didn’t bother to have her paperwork completed for the ethics committee prior to her hearings. Third, she is painfully ignorant of the concerns of the K-12 public education system. And last, she would not commit to using current federal laws and rules to prevent waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer dollars. The complete picture of DeVos is much more complicated than it appeared in your article.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Pq

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Trump White House Hits Pause on Obama’s ESSA Accountability Regulations
Education Week

The Trump administration hit the pause button late Friday on a host of Obama administration regulations, including one detailing how accountability and state plans will work under the Every Student Succeeds Act.
The regulation, which was finalized in November, doesn’t take effect until Jan. 30. On Inauguration Day, the White House issued an executive order delaying for up to 60 days the implementation of any Obama regulations that haven’t yet taken effect.
The delay in the accountability regulations, which would seem to last until late March, could throw a monkey wrench into states’ efforts to submit their accountability plans by April 3, the first of two deadlines set by the administration. The regulations outline the process for submitting plans, and flesh out details that aren’t included in the law. So far, 17 states and the District of Columbia have said they want to submit their plans in April.
What’s more, it’s not clear what will happen to these regulations after the end of the “pause” period. The Obama administration’s final version of the accountability regulations won plaudits both from groups representing practitioners, including the Council of Chief State School Officers and AASA, the School Administrators Association, and folks that are often on the opposite side on accountability issues, including the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
But congressional Republicans still had concerns about them. And Betsy DeVos, Trump’s pick to lead the U.S. Department of Education, wouldn’t commit to keeping the accountability regulations in their present form on the books when asked about it during her confirmation hearing.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8PN

 

Trump: American Schools ‘Flush With Cash,’ But Failing Students
Education Week

Washington, D.C. — In his first speech to the nation as president, the newly inaugurated Donald Trump painted a dark picture of an America that has left struggling middle-class families behind, including a public school system that spends big while getting poor results for students.
“Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families and good jobs for themselves,” Trump said in his address from the U.S. Capitol to a packed crowd of onlookers. “But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists. … An education system flush with cash but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge.”
Trump–who in his final campaign push promised to “drain the swamp” of special interests in Washington–also pledged to make Washington a place where the needs of people, not politicians, are paramount.
“While they celebrated in our nation’s capital, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land,” Trump said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8PO

Sidebar: Six policy areas to watch
http://gousoe.uen.org/8PP (Ed Week)

Democrats request another hearing for Betsy DeVos, Trump’s education pick, before confirmation vote
Washington Post

Senate Democrats are formally asking Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) to hold a second confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s education nominee, arguing that they need an opportunity to further scrutinize her potential conflicts of interests and preparedness to lead the Education Department.
“Education is too important an issue, and the Secretary of Education is too important a position for the country and for this Committee, to jam a nominee through without sufficient questioning and scrutiny,” they wrote to Alexander in a letter Monday. “This is not about politics, it should not be about partisanship – it should be about doing the work we were elected by our states to do to ask questions of nominees on behalf of the people we represent.”
Those signing the letter included 10 Democrats and Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who caucuses with Democrats. They are all members of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), which is overseeing DeVos’s confirmation.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Pf

http://gousoe.uen.org/8Ph (Detroit Free Press)

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

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

 

At Women’s March, Some Teachers Target Betsy DeVos’ ‘Grizzly’ Hearing
Education Week

Washington — Scores of educators joined hundreds of thousands of people who participated in the “Women’s March” in Washington Saturday to protest President Donald Trump on his first full day in office.
And a handful of the teachers in the crowd wanted to talk about one thing: Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee for secretary of education, who had a sometimes-rocky confirmation hearing last week, and has since become something of a social media celebrity.
The most-mocked comment: DeVos’ assertion that a remote school in Wyoming might need guns to protect from “potential grizzlies.”
“We’re all going to have PLC’s on how to kill a grizzly,” joked Lynn Tankersley, a 7th grade teacher at Easthall Middle School in Gainesville, Ga., referring to professional learning communities, which are usually geared towards teacher collaboration and unpacking student learning data.
On a more serious note, Tankersley is worried that DeVos intially appeared not to understand that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act applies to all public schools. “She doesn’t know what IDEA is,” Tankersley said. “That just infuriates me.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Pg

 

Michael Moore tears up copy of Washington Post at women’s march
(Washington, DC) The Hill

Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore tore up a copy of Saturday’s Washington Post with the headline “Trump Takes Power” as an act of protest while speaking at the Women’s March on Washington.
“I don’t think so! We are here to vow to end the Trump carnage!” Moore said before ripping the newspaper.
During his speech, Moore asked attendees to contact lawmakers Monday and ask them to vote against President Trump’s Education Secretary nominee Betsy Devos.
“We do not accept Betsy DeVos as our secretary of education!” he shouted.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8PL

 

Trump education pick blames staff for poor word choice on Twitter
CBS

Betsy DeVos, President Trump’s pick to lead the Department of Education, blamed her staff earlier this week for a message sent out via her Twitter account that misused the word “historical.”
DeVos originally tweeted out that she was “[h]onored to witness the historical inauguration and swearing-in ceremony for the 45th President of the United States.”
The tweet was later deleted after several users noted on Twitter that the adjective “historical” is a reference to past events. “Historic,” the word DeVos later used in a corrected tweet, is used to refer to important events.
Users on Twitter were quick to criticize the education secretary nominee for that and what appears to be at least one other grammatical misstep.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8PT

 

Michigan Says 38 Underperforming Public Schools Could Close
Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan announced Friday that it plans to close up to 38 underperforming schools in Detroit and other urban communities, potentially affecting 18,000 students and marking the first time that the state could close traditional public schools explicitly for academic reasons.
Despite the announcement, some schools likely will remain open. State officials next will determine whether a closure would be an “unreasonable hardship” for children with no better schools to attend. Lawsuits challenging any closures also are likely.
The announcement came in conjunction with the release of Michigan’s school rankings, which are based on standardized test results, students’ improvement over time and the gap between the best and worst pupils. Michigan law says the state can close schools that have been in the bottom 5 percent for at least three consecutive years if other forms of state intervention have not worked.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Pd

http://gousoe.uen.org/8Pe (Detroit Free Press)

U.S. Ed. Dept. Defers Approval of ACT for Accountability in Wyoming, Wisconsin
Education Week

Wisconsin and Wyoming have been notified by the U.S. Department of Education that they cannot win approval to use the ACT to measure high school achievement until they submit “substantial” amounts of evidence supporting its use.
The two states learned of the education department’s decision in letters in December and January.
Those letters came as part of the department’s “peer review” process, which requires states to undergo periodic, detailed evaluation of their assessment systems. Peer review has been in place under the previous two versions of the federal education law, the No Child Left Behind Act and the Improving America’s Schools Act of 1994, and continues under the newest version, the Every Student Succeeds Act.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8PS

 

Schools Grappling With Fee Hikes for AP Exams
Education Week

Low-income students across the country are facing a steep hike in the cost of taking Advanced Placement exams this year, and teachers are worried that the change could lead many promising students to bail out of the tests.
News of the price hike-from $5 or $15 per test to $53-is just beginning to reach students and counselors as they begin to talk about sign-ups for this spring’s AP tests. And it’s putting needy students in a bind.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8PR

 

Are abusive parents hiding behind Iowa’s home-school laws?
Des Moines (IA) Register

Seth Johnson, 7, of Plymouth, Minn., shared this in common with Natalie Finn, the West Des Moines teen who was starved to death allegedly by her parents: Both were adopted out of foster care and home-schooled.
Seth died in March 2015 on a vomit-stained mattress, bruises all over his underdeveloped frame, in the home of his mom and dad, Timothy and Sarah Johnson.
The official cause of Seth’s death was acute pancreatitis and possible sepsis. But the parents were charged criminally in December, after a yearlong investigation, because they treated their sick boy with prayer, Neosporin and “medical honey” instead of taking him to a doctor.
Authorities said they didn’t know about Seth’s death until almost nine months after it happened. He died in the presence of a 16-year-old sibling while his parents were at an out-of-town wedding.
Natalie Finn’s parents, Nicole and Joseph Finn of West Des Moines, face multiple felony charges in the death of their 16-year-old daughter and the alleged torture of two younger siblings, 14 and 15, who had to be hospitalized when discovered by authorities, according to a state senator briefed on the case last month.
Sen. Matt McCoy said the children were the subject of numerous reports of child abuse for years, mostly by school officials.
“But once they fell off the school radar, they lost them,” McCoy said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Pm

 

Freedom From Religion Foundation sues Mercer school board over Bible classes
(Charleston) West Virginia Record

BLUEFIELD – The Freedom From Religion Foundation is suing Mercer County Board of Education, Mercer County Schools and Superintendent Deborah S. Akers over a Bible classes program in the public school system.
FFRF is challenging the constitutionality of the “Bible in the Schools” program that is administered by Mercer County schools and provides Bible study to elementary and middle school students at 19 public schools in the county, according to a complaint filed Jan. 18 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
The program advances and endorses one religion, improperly entangles public schools in religious affairs and violates the personal consciences of nonreligious and non-Christian parents and students, according to the suit.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Pi

http://gousoe.uen.org/8Pj (Fox)

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

 

Is marijuana money the answer to fund Washington schools?
In a flashback to 2015, some Republican legislators are looking to marijuana revenue as a possible solution to Washington’s education-funding problems. Democrats aren’t totally opposed but say there’s not nearly enough pot money to fill the school funding holes.
Seattle Times

OLYMPIA – It’s a question that Republican senators have asked during state budget battles from time to time: Why can’t Washington, flush with marijuana tax revenue far outpacing old projections, use that money to help solve the state’s school-funding crisis?
Well, it can. To a small extent it already does. And there is at least surface-level bipartisan agreement that maybe the state should look at pot money as a partial solution to the education-funding gap that the Supreme Court has ordered the Legislature to fill.
But, Democrats are quick to point out, there’s not a big pile of marijuana tax money just sitting around – it’s already being spent in other ways.
And with Democrats and Republicans still unable to agree on how much money they need to satisfy the court’s McCleary decision, the question of where, specifically, that money should come from can feel secondary.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Pk

 

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

January 24:
Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2017&com=APPPED

January 26:
Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2017&com=APPPED

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

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
5 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2017&com=APPEXE

January 30:
Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2017&com=APPPED

February 1:
Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2017&com=APPPED

February 3:
Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2017&com=APPPED

February 9:
Utah State Charter School Board meeting
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
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.boarddocs.com/ut/usbe/Board.nsf/Public

February 10:
Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.boarddocs.com/ut/usbe/Board.nsf/Public

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