Education News Roundup: Jan. 31, 2017

U.S. Department of Education

Today’s Top Picks:

Senators says Utah schools can be ‘kept whole’ in budget this year.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8VC (SLT)

The Legislature may take up the high school athletic transfer rule.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8UK (UP)

Legislature considers a bonus for successful teachers.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Vc (KSL)

Utahns protest against Education Secretary-nominee Betsy DeVos.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8UP (SLT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8UV (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8Vx (CVD)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8V6 (KUTV)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8Vs (KTVX)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8Vb (KSL)

Her nomination, however, passes committee in a strictly party-line vote with Sen. Hatch being the tie-breaker.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Vf (NYT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8Vm (Ed Week)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8Vl (Reuters)

Trib takes a closer look at the school turnaround program.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Vy (SLT)

The Trump administration is delaying rules that accompany the new ESSA.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8UW (AP)

Special education enrollment is on the rise nationally.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Vn (Ed Week)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Senators say Utah schools will be ‘kept whole’ without a tax increase

Lawmakers hoping to cut $30 million from base budget

Hughes set to take on Utah high school athletic transfer issue

Bill to protect teachers from abusive parents and students clears House committee
Schools » Bill would adjust policies to address untoward treatment from students, parents.

Teachers could get $5K bonus for improving student performance

Bill that limits use of physical restraint of students by school employees moves to House

Utah Lawmaker Files Opt-In Sex Education Bill

Bill to create runoff elections in Utah starts down fast-track toward passage
Proposal would require runoff if primary has 4 or more hopefuls, and no one wins 35% of vote.

House GOP broke rules on Bears Ears hearing, but keeps pushing bill down fast track
Utah Legislature » Democrats protest but lose vote seeking a do-over after improper hearing.

Poll: Utahns divided over Bears Ears, land-transfer lawsuit

Tech Day on the Hill brings bright minds, cool toys to Capitol

Utah protesters urge senators to deny Betsy DeVos nomination
Politics » Hundreds gather in downtown Salt Lake City to speak out against Trump nominee for secretary of education.

As $7M turnaround program wobbles, educators eye lower-cost alternatives to help Utah’s struggling schools

North Elementary enrolling new students as STEAM building nears completion

Davis School District looks to implement fusion learning model

Jazzing up math education

Edith Bowen Laboratory School ranked first among Utah’s charter elementary schools

Mountain Crest students explore mythology, legends and folklore

Two new members join School Board

Utah teacher charged with rape for allegedly having sex with student

Trespassing citations to be issued for Syracuse students skipping seminary on school grounds

Daniels Fund gives $3.3 million in grants, scholarships in Utah

1,500 paper cranes show support for boy with cancer

Students work together to feed hungry with Souper Bowl of Caring

Great sportsmanship

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Utah must find ways to encourage retirement savings

DeVos has no idea how public schools work

Common-sense consensus

Why Betsy DeVos is the most polarizing education secretary nominee ever

Dangerous for Charter Advocates to Embrace Elizabeth Warren and Trash School Vouchers

NATION

Trump Education Department Delays Accountability Regulations

Betsy DeVos’s Nomination for Education Secretary Clears Committee

DeVos questionnaire appears to include passages from uncited sources

Special Education Enrollment Rose in 2015-16
2015-16 numbers boosted by students with autism

Texas Mulls Changing Science Standards Questioning Evolution

Few school supplies but a lavish party: At charter school, teachers saw a clash between scarcity and extravagance

No Free Lunch: Donors Come Forward to Erase Students’ Debts

 

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UTAH NEWS
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Senators say Utah schools will be ‘kept whole’ without a tax increase

Senate President Wayne Niederhauser reiterated Tuesday that before lawmakers will raise public school funding, they first need to know what the money would buy.
The Sandy Republican said it is unlikely the Legislature will approve anything beyond the traditional budget increases that stem from annual economic growth, despite a threatened ballot initiative that seeks $750 million in school funding though an income tax rate increase.
“Right now the discussions are about where the money would be spent,” Niederhauser said. “Once, I think, that is settled, we’ll talk about how we get that started.”
The Senate’s budget chairman, Layton Republican Sen. Jerry Stevenson, said lawmakers expect to have roughly $285 million in new funding to appropriate during the 2017 legislative session.
Updated revenue projections are due in February, but Stevenson said current figures suggest public schools will receive around $190 million.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8VC (SLT)

 

Lawmakers hoping to cut $30 million from base budget

Utah lawmakers think they will be able to free up about $30 million in the current budget to spend on other needs this year.
Senate Majority Leader Ralph Okerlund, R-Monroe, says that extra money will help meet other budgetary needs this year.
“We have some needs that we’ll be able to shift that money toward,” he says.
The extra funds will be helpful, especially since lawmakers have less extra money to spend this year than the past two sessions. Legislative estimates put that extra money at approximately $148 million, which is a far cry from the $500 million in extra money lawmakers had to spend the past two sessions.

Lawmakers are struggling to find extra money this session for education, especially in the face of a proposal by the Our Schools Now group to place a 7/8ths of 1-percent income tax hike on the 2018 ballot. If passed, the proposal is projected to raise approximately $750 million annually for schools. Legislators mostly oppose the Our Schools Now proposal, saying they would like to look for areas in the existing budget for extra cash instead of raising income taxes, which they argue could lead to an economic slowdown.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8UJ (UP)

 

Hughes set to take on Utah high school athletic transfer issue

Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes, a guy you really don’t want questioning how you’re running your operations, is turning his eye this session to the Utah High School Activities Association.
And it may end up that the other guy in the Utah Capitol who you really, really, don’t want looking at your organization, State Auditor John Dougall, could be looking the same direction.
Hughes, R-Draper, along with House Majority Whip Frances Gibson, R-Mapleton, will be looking to set up in state law procedures for the association to determine who can transfer to different schools to play sports.
This may sound like a rather boring topic.
It isn’t.
For thousands of high school boys and girls each year this is life-changing, and their parents – the voters in legislative races – are critically concerned.
Hughes says he’s working drafting the bill now. And it will be carried by Gibson, a former high school football coach and BYU football player, adds the speaker.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8UK (UP)

 

Bill to protect teachers from abusive parents and students clears House committee
Schools » Bill would adjust policies to address untoward treatment from students, parents.

When she was a teacher, Rep. Marie Poulson said Monday, there was a time when she had to chase a student down a hall after he stole her purse.
The student’s pockets were stuffed with her cash and credit cards, Poulson said, but after the chase ended, she still had to deal with the child’s family.
“I turned him in and then received abusive phone calls from his parents the rest of the year,” Poulson, D-Salt Lake City, said.
Poulson was speaking in favor of a bill that would require school districts to create policies to address teacher abuse from students and family members.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8UQ (SLT)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/8V9 (KSL)

 

Teachers could get $5K bonus for improving student performance

SALT LAKE CITY – A new legislative bill is paving the way to reward teachers for working harder and getting better results at lower income schools. Sponsors of HB212 say their hope is to cut down on the high turnover rate at those schools.
The idea for HB212 came as administrators with the Granite School District talked with Rep. Mike Winder, R-West Valley City, who is now sponsoring the bill.
“There’s accountability measures within the Legislature itself, wherein these schools have higher accountability; there’s more pressure,” said Ben Horsely, spokesman for the Granite School District. “Why aren’t we rewarding these teachers for coming in to this challenging environment and, in turn, being successful?”
HB212 aims to do just that.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Vc (KSL)

 

Bill that limits use of physical restraint of students by school employees moves to House

SALT LAKE CITY – Restraint of unruly students by school employees would be limited to certain circumstances under a bill endorsed Monday by the Utah Legislature’s House Education Committee.
HB92, sponsored by Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay, would limit the circumstances under which an educator or other school employee could restrain a student to self defense, to obtain possession of a weapon or to protect another student from physical injury.
The prohibitions would not apply to school resource officers.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8UU (DN)

 

Utah Lawmaker Files Opt-In Sex Education Bill

The Democratic leader in the Utah House of Representatives is making another attempt to pass a sex education bill. Rep. Brian King, D-Salt Lake City, tried to run a comprehensive sex education bill last year but it failed.
The bill he’s drafted this year would develop an opt-in curriculum that includes sex education, but also lessons on communication, bodily autonomy and setting personal boundaries.
“When we’re talking about intimate physical contact, that’s something that people should be taught at a very early age as something they’re in control of,” King says.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Ve (KUER)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8Vr (Salt Lake City Weekly)

 

Bill to create runoff elections in Utah starts down fast-track toward passage
Proposal would require runoff if primary has 4 or more hopefuls, and no one wins 35% of vote.

A bill to create runoff elections in Utah started down a possible fast track Monday toward passing through both houses of the Legislature by the end of this week.
The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously endorsed SB144 and sent it to the full Senate.
Its chairman, Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, said leaders hope to pass it through the Legislature this week to possibly stop long-running legal challenges by the Utah Republican Party to recent election law changes that could allow primary candidates to win with small pluralities.
The party sued over that issue, among others, so far unsuccessfully. But the party’s executive committee meets Saturday, and Chairman James Evans said it could act to drop its lawsuits if the bill passes.
However, some concerns arose at the hearing that could slow its consideration.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8UO (SLT)

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

 

House GOP broke rules on Bears Ears hearing, but keeps pushing bill down fast track
Utah Legislature » Democrats protest but lose vote seeking a do-over after improper hearing.

Republicans conceded Monday that they violated Utah House rules last week when they held what turns out to be an improper hearing on resolutions asking President Donald Trump to erase the Bears Ears and alter Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments.
But then they voted to say, essentially, that it doesn’t matter.
They voted 55-17 to reject Democratic calls for a do-over proper hearing, and now plan to debate the resolutions Tuesday before the full House – without the normally required proper public hearing on a bill.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8UL (SLT)

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

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

 

Poll: Utahns divided over Bears Ears, land-transfer lawsuit

With protesters noisily chanting nearby Tuesday, Republican lawmakers passed controversial resolutions seeking to erase the new Bears National Monument and trim the Grand Staircase.
On a largely party-line 60-to-14 vote, the Utah House sent HCR11 to the Senate where leaders promised a full committee hearing on the measure that asks President Donald Trump to rescind the 1.35-million-acre Bears Ears designation proclaimed by his predecessor last month.
As state leaders continue mobilizing against Bears Ears, new polling shows a majority of Utahns opposes the designation and supports legal, executive or legislative action aimed at overturning the designation.
The Salt Lake Tribune/Hinckley Institute of Politics survey polled 605 residents between Jan. 9 and 16 to gauge their position on Bears Ears and other subjects.
Fifty-two percent of respondents opposed the monument designation compared to 34 percent in support, with a margin of error of 4 percentage points. The split was narrower for women, with 45 opposed vs. 37 percent in favor.
Thirty-nine percent of all respondents said they strongly opposed the declaration, in contrast with the 22 percent who voiced strong approval.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8VB (SLT)

 

Tech Day on the Hill brings bright minds, cool toys to Capitol

Student Kingston Kuita of Neil Armstrong Academy holds a rabbit as Paul Brewer, “The STEM Guy,” places a dove on his head during Tech Day on the Hill at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Monday. Tech companies led hands-on demos and activities with students and legislators, and talked about the impact and reach of Utah’s tech communities.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8V0 (DN)

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

 

Utah protesters urge senators to deny Betsy DeVos nomination
Politics » Hundreds gather in downtown Salt Lake City to speak out against Trump nominee for secretary of education.

Continuing a string of local protests against President Donald Trump’s recent actions, about 100 people gathered in front of the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building downtown Monday to speak out against the nomination of Betsy DeVos as education secretary.
Many in the group said DeVos’ lack of public education experience makes her a poor choice to lead the agency that oversees U.S. public education policy.
The event marked at least the third straight day opponents to Trump’s actions gathered in Salt Lake City, and they came amid protests around the nation and world.
“This is all about getting and harnessing that energy,” said Kellie Henderson, who helped organize the event through the month-old activist group Utah Indivisible.
Monday’s was the third event Utah Indivisible organized at the federal building, home to the Utah office of Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee. Hatch has supported DeVos, while Lee hasn’t publicly expressed an opinion on the nominee.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8UP (SLT)

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

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/8V6 (KUTV)

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

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

 

As $7M turnaround program wobbles, educators eye lower-cost alternatives to help Utah’s struggling schools

West Valley City . After years of low performance, West Lake Junior High School principal Tyler Howe is optimistic that his school is on the rise.
Test scores are trending up, he said, and teachers have a renewed drive, thanks in part to coaching from the consulting firm Ed Direction.
But Howe said it is still hard to hire and retain teachers at a school that is considered failing by the state.
“It’s definitely got a label,” he said. “I think that makes our staffing that much more challenging.”
West Lake is among the first 26 schools named to the state’s $7-million-a-year turnaround program, which hires private consultants to provide training, recommendations and feedback to teachers and administrators at Utah’s worst-performing schools.
Most of the turnaround schools, including West Lake, are also Title 1, a designation given to campuses with high levels of poverty.
Educators say the combination of challenging demographics and demands from the turnaround program provide little incentive for teachers to remain in low-performing schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Vy (SLT)

 

North Elementary enrolling new students as STEAM building nears completion

North Elementary is accepting additional students for the upcoming school year as construction the construction of the new STEAM school building nears completion.
The Iron County School District is hoping to enroll more than 100 students for the 2017 school year at the new school building on W. 200 North in an attempt to alleviate over-crowding at other elementary schools throughout the district.
Principal Ray Whittier is optimistic that the opening of the state of the art STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and science) building will help attract a new generation of students to the school.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8V5 (SGS)

Davis School District looks to implement fusion learning model

FARMINGTON – The Davis School District is looking at teaching a totally new way.
Fusion Learning would take one master teacher and two full-time teaching assistants and put them in charge of 60 to 80 students.
Title I Director John Zurbuchen said the model is a drastic change from the current model of having one teacher per every 26.875 students in a traditional classroom setting where every student is expected to learn at the same pace.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8V1 (OSE)

Jazzing up math education

Members of the Utah Jazz help teach math to local students through basketball during an NBA Math Hoops Live event on Monday at the Zions Bank Basketball Center. Math Hoops is a fast-paced board game that teaches students fundamental math skills through basketball stats of their favorite players. A full-size, live version Monday featured Jazz guards Shelvin Mack and Raul Neto.
The court mimics the board game, with numbers placed around the floor as shot locations. Students complete fundamental math problems, which unlock different locations for the players to shoot from on the court. Once the math problem has been solved correctly, the students direct their Jazz teammate to the shot location to earn points on the scoreboard.
The Jazz, with support from Larry H. Miller Charities, introduced this first-year program at the start of the season into 15 schools and non-profits in the Salt Lake Valley. More than 500 youth have been learning basic arithmetic, geometry, percentages and statistical analysis through an engaging curriculum.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8UZ (DN)

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

 

Edith Bowen Laboratory School ranked first among Utah’s charter elementary schools

Edith Bowen Laboratory School has been listed among the top three percent of America’s charter elementary schools, recently receiving a first place ranking from Niche.com among Utah’s 58 charter elementary schools and a ranking of 68 among 2,636 charter elementary schools evaluated nationwide.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8VA (CVD)

 

Mountain Crest students explore mythology, legends and folklore

Thirty five students from Mountain Crest High School took a field trip last Friday, visiting Utah State University’s Merrill-Cazier Library to tour the facility’s Fife Folklore Archives. The students then visited the Logan City Cemetery, where they participated in a hands-on field research project to view several headstones and monuments in the cemetery with historical and cultural significance, including the legendary ‘Weeping Woman.’
The students’ teacher, Kimberly Sorensen, coordinated the midterm field trip as part of an assignment in her mythology classes.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8V4 (CVD)

 

Two new members join School Board

Emery County School Board met for their first meeting of the year at Canyon View Junior High. The new school board members, McKenzi Guymon and Tracey Johnson were sworn-in along with re-elected Laurel Johansen. Business Administrator Jared Black swore in the board members.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Vv (Emery County Progress)

 

Utah teacher charged with rape for allegedly having sex with student

A Utah County school teacher has been charged with rape and other crimes for allegedly having sex and providing alcohol to a 17-year-old student.
Sarah Lindsay Lewis, 27, was charged Monday in 4th District Court with the first-degree felony rape count, along with third-degree felony tampering with a witness and two counts of misdemeanor furnishing alcohol to a minor.
If convicted of the rape charge, Lewis could face a maximum penalty of up to life in prison.
Prosecutors allege that because the alleged victim is under the age of 18 and Lewis “occupied a position of special trust” as his teacher, the teen boy could not legally consent to any sexual contact.
Lewis, who was a social studies and dance teacher at Landmark High School in Spanish Fork, met the teenager in 2015 when he was a student in one of her classes, according to charging documents.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8UX (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8V2 (PDH)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/8V7 (KUTV)

 

Trespassing citations to be issued for Syracuse students skipping seminary on school grounds

SYRACUSE – While skipping class isn’t recommended for any student who wants to do well in school, not many think of truancy as criminal activity.
The LDS Seminary faculty at Syracuse High School, however, recently sent an email to parents of students reminding them that “any student caught at the high school during their seminary hour (would) receive a Trespassing Citation.”
The seminary faculty sent the email as a reminder from the school resource officer, who wished to remind parents and students of the consequences students would face if they were found cutting class.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Va (KSL)

 

Daniels Fund gives $3.3 million in grants, scholarships in Utah

DENVER – The Daniels Fund, a private charitable foundation established by cable television pioneer Bill Daniels, provided $2.5 million in grants last year to nonprofit organizations in Utah.
In addition, the fund awarded $848,000 in scholarships to Utah students.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8VF (DN)

 

1,500 paper cranes show support for boy with cancer

Nearly 1,500 origami cranes hang from the ceiling of a hallway at Greenville Elementary in North Logan in honor of fourth-grader Brigham Israelsen, who is battling cancer.
After Brigham Israelsen read “Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes” in his fourth-grade class at Greenville Elementary, he went home and started folding origami cranes.
The book tells the story of Sadako Sasaki, a young Japanese girl who developed leukemia after the U.S. dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. An ancient Japanese legend says whoever folds 1,000 paper cranes would be granted a wish, so she folded paper cranes hoping for a miracle.
“Since we read this book, we wanted a miracle,” said Greenville Elementary teacher Stacey Pugh.
Israelsen was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in December of 2013, when he was in first grade. His three-year treatment regimen is scheduled to end in March.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8V3 (LHJ)

 

Students work together to feed hungry with Souper Bowl of Caring

Students are banding together to feed hungry kids. As the number of hungry Utah students climbs, Herriman High students are focused on feeding Jordan District students. The student body officers organized a Souper Bowl of Caring event and they joined Amy Nay on a weekend edition of KUTV2 News to explain how, and why, they raised so much money. Watch the interview here and Wednesday, Feb. 1, you can watch several Utah businesses donate to the Souper Bowl of Caring all day long during KUTV newscasts.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8V8 (KUTV)

 

Great sportsmanship

“A touching human interest story is playing out in St George high schools with Pine View’s math teacher/JV basketball coach whose 3-month-old is at Primary Children’s (Hospital) and has heart surgery and is still battling. The community has really rallied behind their family. The freshmen, sophomore, junior and varsity basketball teams at PVHS all wrote “Jojo ” on their arms to honor her at both games last week.
“This week, the players all had matching “Jojo” socks. To top it, the Desert Hills players at tonight’s game (at least freshmen that I went to) were wearing purple on their jerseys in her honor. This is the type of story that transcends athletics and is a beautiful story of a community coming together to support.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Vd (KSL)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Utah must find ways to encourage retirement savings
Deseret News editorial

Utah has a problem. Too few of the state’s citizens are saving enough for retirement. Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross has a potential solution.
Weiler is again proposing legislation that aims to create a retirement savings plan for employees who don’t have access to a traditional 401(k) or IRA savings instrument through their work.
Though the bill passed the Senate last session it stopped in the House. The idea merits serious consideration from the Utah Legislature.
The so-called Small Employer Retirement Plan hopes to do for retirement savings what Utah’s 529 plan does for college savings.
The Utah Educational Savings Plan, or 529 plan, began in 1996 with a mere $154,000 in investments. Today it boasts more than $8 billion in total managed assets, and is consistently ranked among the top plans in the country.
Its model is simple, allowing families to invest for future college expenses exempt from federal and state tax. Although the Utah Educational Savings Plan was commissioned and authorized by the state, its assets are managed by professionals.
Weiler and others are hoping to create a similar plan for retirement in Utah.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8UR

 

DeVos has no idea how public schools work
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Heather Newell

I am the principal of a public Title 1 elementary school in Salt Lake City and a former special education teacher. We are doing amazing, innovative work with our students and community that we are extremely proud of. The federal funding we receive is vital to our work.
I am appalled by the lack of knowledge and experience Betsy DeVos has as the nominee for secretary of education. Her inability to answer questions about IDEA left me speechless.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8UY

 

Common-sense consensus
Deseret News letter from Starla Mehaffey

I am pleased that more funding for education is finally being discussed seriously. But I can’t help take issue with the flawed reasoning some lawmakers are using to not act.
For example, they like to say, “Washington, D.C., spends the most on education, and we wouldn’t want their outcomes.” Nobody in Utah is asking to spend more than every other state. In fact, it would take $2.9 billion a year just to get to the national average. Utah is different than D.C., but effective education still requires adequate funding.
Legislators also like to pat themselves on the back for increases to the education budget. But that doesn’t deduct the cost of inflation or new student growth. The Utah Foundation said that the majority of recent funding has simply gone to maintain existing needs and not provide new tools to our children.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Vz

 

Why Betsy DeVos is the most polarizing education secretary nominee ever
Washington Post commentary by columnist Valerie Strauss

President Barack Obama had two education secretaries who were highly divisive in the education world. In fact, the man who ran Obama’s Education Department for seven years, Arne Duncan, became so controversial that members of two teachers unions – long supporters of Democrats – approved resolutions against him in 2014. Duncan’s successor, John King, faced the closest confirmation vote, in March 2016, on the Senate floor of any education secretary nominee up to that time.
But Betsy DeVos, the Michigan billionaire chosen by President Trump to be education secretary, brings a whole new dimension to the discussion of polarizing figures in education leadership.
DeVos is clearly the most controversial education nominee in the history of the nearly 40-year-old Education Department. While the Senate education committee on Tuesday sent her nomination to the full Senate on a party-line vote, a few Republican senators said they are not certain if they will support her on the Senate floor. Democrats say they have 48 solid votes against her, but they need 51 to defeat the nomination.
No education secretary nominee before her was the target of such protests, mass email campaigns, petitions and impassioned denunciations at a Senate confirmation hearing.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Vo

 

Dangerous for Charter Advocates to Embrace Elizabeth Warren and Trash School Vouchers
The 74 commentary by DERRELL BRADFORD, executive director of the New York Campaign for Achievement Now

Gary Larson’s famous comic strip The Far Side was as insightful as it was hilarious. But given the recent consternation in the education reform movement, there is one of his best that comes to mind. In it, two bears are caught in the crosshairs of a rifle. The one most clearly in the hunter’s sights points nervously at the unsuspecting companion to his right.
The comic sheds a great deal of light on the behavior of many charter school advocates with the now-increased interest in private school choice bubbling up in D.C. with Betsy DeVos’s nomination as education secretary.
What’s unfortunate is that the self-preservation instinct in this instance, which would make private school choice the target, is shortsighted, both for our kids and for the politics of advancing “choice” for all America’s children not lucky enough to win the parent or ZIP code lotteries.
For starters and perhaps most poignantly – and again to Larson’s work – both bears are actually in danger, with the question being, simply, Whom will the hunter pull the trigger on first?
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Vw

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Trump Education Department Delays Accountability Regulations
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is moving to delay regulations aimed at helping states identify failing schools and come up with plans to improve them.
The delay was outlined Monday in the Federal Register. It is in line with the administration’s move to postpone the effective date of new regulations to give officials time to review them.
The Education Department rules provide a framework for states to develop their own accountability plans under the bipartisan education bill signed into law by President Barack Obama. They were released last November.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8UW

 

Betsy DeVos’s Nomination for Education Secretary Clears Committee
New York Times

WASHINGTON – After contentious confirmation hearings, protests across the country and two rounds of voting, Betsy DeVos cleared the first hurdle in her path to becoming secretary of education on Tuesday with a party­line vote in the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions that advanced her nomination to the Senate floor.
All 12 Republican senators on the committee voted for Ms. DeVos, a billionaire with a complex web of investments, including some in companies with connections to federal education policy. All 11 Democrats opposed her, calling her both dangerous and unqualified.
The committee voted twice on Ms. DeVos’s nomination after Democrats protested against a vote cast on behalf of Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, who was initially absent.
Ms. DeVos’s ultimate confirmation, while likely, is still not definite. Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, chairman of the committee, was visibly frustrated – by Democratic delaying tactics and arguments – as he defended Ms. DeVos and said she would be devoted not only to giving parents a choice about school options but also to protecting public schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Vf

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/8Vl (Reuters)

 

DeVos questionnaire appears to include passages from uncited sources
Washington Post

President Trump’s nominee for education secretary, in written responses to questions from senators, appears to have used several sentences and phrases from other sources without attribution – including from a top Obama administration civil rights official.
The responses from nominee Betsy DeVos were submitted Monday to the top Democrat on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, which is voting Tuesday morning on her confirmation.
In answering a set of questions from Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) on how she would address bullying of LGBT students, DeVos wrote: “Every child deserves to attend school in a safe, supportive environment where they can learn, thrive, and grow.”
That sentence is almost identical to language used by Vanita Gupta, head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division under President Barack Obama, in a news release announcing the administration’s controversial guidance to schools on how to accommodate transgender students.
“Every child deserves to attend school in a safe, supportive environment that allows them to thrive and grow,” Gupta said in the May 2016 release.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Vg

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

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

 

Special Education Enrollment Rose in 2015-16
2015-16 numbers boosted by students with autism
Education Week

The number of students ages 6 to 21 enrolled in special education rose in the most recent year for which the federal government has data, driven by increases in the number of students classified as having autism or “other health impairments.” It was the fourth year in a row for such an increase.
In fall 2015, about 5.9 million students enrolled in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Bureau of Indian Education Schools received services through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. A year ago, enrollment in that age group was approximately 5.8 million. The peak enrollment for special education was 6 million in fall 2004.
The proportion of special education students in the 6-to-21 age range is also going up. In fall 2015, students with disabilities made up about 8.8 percent of the overall population of U.S. residents those ages as calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau. In fall 2014, that proportion was 8.7 percent.
The proportion of students with disabilities in that age group has been as high as 9.1 percent, in fall 2004.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Vn

 

Texas Mulls Changing Science Standards Questioning Evolution
Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Board of Education is hearing arguments over changing state science curriculums that critics say are designed to challenge the theory of evolution and leave students wondering whether a higher power created the universe.
After Tuesday’s public hearing, the board will hold preliminary votes later this week on whether to alter classroom standards in place since 2009. Texas is a large textbook market, so what it teaches can influence content nationwide.
A committee of science teachers and academics wants the Republican-controlled board to scrap requiring high school students to consider “all sides” of scientific theories such as evolution. Those opposing the standards say they let religious ideology take precedence over science.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Vj

http://gousoe.uen.org/8Vp (Texas Tribune)

 

Few school supplies but a lavish party: At charter school, teachers saw a clash between scarcity and extravagance
Los Angeles Times

The longer she worked for Celerity Dyad Charter School in South Los Angeles, the more Tien Le wondered where the public money the school received was going.
She taught in a portable classroom on an asphalt lot – not unheard of in this city of tight squeezes and little green space, but her students also had no library, cafeteria or gymnasium. The school didn’t provide most supplies, Le said, so when her sixth-graders needed books, or an extra pencil and paper, she spent her own money to buy them.
Months into her first year at Dyad, Le and her colleagues were invited by the organization that managed the school to a holiday party at a large house on a winding street in Hollywood. She parked in a lot rented for the occasion and took a shuttle to the house with other teachers and staff. Inside, there were two open bars, casino tables for poker and blackjack, and a karaoke room. At evening’s end, a limousine ferried guests back to their cars.
“I remember being really confused that night,” Le said. “When I asked for basic supplies, I couldn’t get those things, yet you have money for this expensive party? I know at big corporations and for-profit places these parties are normal, but for a public school it was not normal.”
Le, 29, is now a PhD candidate at USC. She quit Celerity after two years, in 2012. But she was not alone in her concerns about Celerity Educational Group’s finances. Last week, federal agents with the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security raided Celerity’s headquarters, confiscating computer equipment and records.
The focus of their investigation remains unclear. The search warrants are under seal. But the inspector general for the Los Angeles Unified School District has been looking into allegations of fraud and financial mismanagement by the charter school organization, a probe that L.A. Unified officials say is ongoing.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Vq

 

No Free Lunch: Donors Come Forward to Erase Students’ Debts
Associated Press

Ashley C. Ford felt driven to act by a sad fact of life in the nation’s school cafeterias: Kids with unpaid lunch accounts are often embarrassed with a substitute meal of a cold cheese sandwich and a carton of milk.
Ford, a New York City writer, appealed to her 66,000 Twitter followers with a solution. “A cool thing you can do today is try to find out which of your local schools have kids with overdue lunch accounts and pay them off.”
In the nearly two months since, people around the country have been inspired to donate thousands of dollars to erase debts owed by parents that can follow kids throughout their school careers.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Vk

 

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

USBE Legislative Tracking Sheet
http://www.schools.utah.gov/law/Legislative-Session.aspx

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

January 31:

Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee meeting
2 p.m., 415 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SGOP0131.ag.htm

Senate Education Committee meeting
4 pm., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SEDU0131.ag.htm

House Revenue and Taxation Committee meeting
4 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HREV0131.ag.htm

Senate Health and Human Services Committee meeting
4 p.m., 250 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SHHS0131.ag.htm

February 1:

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2017/html/00000855.htm

Senate Retirement and Independent Entities Committee meeting
12:15 p.m., 250 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SRIE0201.ag.htm

House Retirement and Independent Entities Committee meeting
12:45 p.m., 250 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HRIE0201.ag.htm

House Education Committee meeting
2 p.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HEDU0201.ag.htm

Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee meeting
2:04 p.m., 415 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SNAE0201.ag.htm

February 2:

Utah State Board of Education legislative meeting
11 a.m.; 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.boarddocs.com/ut/usbe/Board.nsf/Public

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
6:10 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2017&com=APPEXE

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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