Education News Roundup: Feb. 1, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

Sen. Fillmore looks to limit the amount of revenues redevelopment agencies can take from Utah schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8VL (UP)

The online sales tax bill advances.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8VQ (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8VR (SLT)

Lehi asks a Utah charter school to halt construction.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8W1 (PDH)

Betsy DeVos may face a fight in the full Senate.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Wr (Reuters)

Ed Week looks at the education record of President Trump’s new Supreme Court nominee.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Wn (Ed Week)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Lawmaker wants to stop redevelopment agencies from tapping school tax levies

Online sales tax bill advances while discussions underway on education funding

New bill would bring big changes in how youth are treated in Utah’s juvenile justice system

Lawmakers advance resolutions asking Trump to take action against Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante Monuments

What Will Become of Federal Public Lands Under Trump?

Digital recording could replace government minutes

Lehi asks military academy to halt construction

Review faults Park City School District special education program
Report states disconnect exists between parents, district

Layton family sues junior high that wouldn’t let daughter try out for wrestling

Opposition To Betsy DeVos In Utah Brings Unexpected Unity

Utah group wants town hall with Sen. Orrin Hatch

7th Graders Build Devices For Kids With Disabilities
STEAM Class Won $25,000 from Samsung

Utah teacher who had sex with teens to remain in prison until at least 2019
Crime » Parole body orders sex-offender treatment and that restitution be paid.

Payson dance teacher charged with raping male student

Lockdown at Midvale’s Hillcrest High, but cops don’t find alleged gunman

Empowering education: Software company Atomic Jolt finds custom solutions for customers

Grant teacher helps students learn facts with original lyrics

Utah students staying indoors due to poor air quality

Behind the wheel: County school bus drivers recognized for focus on student safety and happiness

Utah Valley Educator of the Week: Rachel Hill is a ‘master’ with student engagement

Utah Valley Student of the Week: Zachary Johansen has responded to challenges with smiles

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Utah should explore different options of education reform as well as increased funding

We need local politicians to show leadership on education

Utah needs to increase its funding for public schools

What Could Betsy DeVos Really Get Done as Education Secretary?

Here’s What Works for Teacher Accountability
Professional accountability merits more attention

What are Education Savings Accounts?
Jonathan Butcher, education director for the Goldwater Institute answers your questions

NATION

Trump’s embattled education department pick may face Senate fight

DeVos: Special Ed. Choice ‘Empowers Parents,’ But Freedom Comes With Cost

Senate Democrats ‘deeply troubled’ by ‘racist, bigoted’ views shared by Trump education appointees

President Trump Names Neil Gorsuch to U.S. Supreme Court Vacancy

New Orleans Spending More on Admins, Less on Teachers Since Charter Takeover

Not All Fun And Games: New Guidelines Urge Schools To Rethink Recess

Digital media firms search for revenue in high-school bleachers

 

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UTAH NEWS
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Lawmaker wants to stop redevelopment agencies from tapping school tax levies

Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, R-South Jordan, wants to prevent redevelopment agencies from tapping school tax levies for economic development purposes.
Fillmore says his SB142 would prevent RDA’s from using those funds to give tax breaks to companies for economic development because the state provides matching funds to keep them at a minimum level. For instance, if the minimum basic levy falls short, the state will kick in money as part of the WPU calculation to keep it at a certain level.
Fillmore argues that it’s not fair for RDA’s to tap those funds for tax incentives because they’re appropriating state money for a purpose that was not intended.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8VL (UP)

 

Online sales tax bill advances while discussions underway on education funding

SALT LAKE CITY – A bill aimed at extending sales tax collections on online purchases to more businesses was approved unanimously Tuesday by the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee.
The sponsor of SB110, Sen. Curt Bramble, R-Provo, said the bill would require companies with at least $100,000 in online sales in the state to charge sales tax on purchases, even if they have no other tie to Utah.
Because existing court rulings don’t require companies without a physical presence in a state to collect sales taxes, the bill is expected to be challenged. Bramble said he believes Utah and other states with similar legislation will win a court battle.
He said companies are already voluntarily collecting sales taxes from Utah customers. That includes Amazon.com, which began charging sales taxes on purchases made in Utah at the beginning of the year.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8VQ (DN)

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

 

New bill would bring big changes in how youth are treated in Utah’s juvenile justice system

A Utah lawmaker unveiled a bill this week that would make sweeping changes in how youth are treated in the state’s juvenile justice system.
HB239 emphasizes early intervention, with the goal of keeping low-risk youth offenders in their homes instead of detention centers. The bill would also limit the amount of time youth can spend in detention centers, put a cap on fees and service hours that a juvenile judge can order, and require that lawyers be provided to all juveniles charged criminally.
The legislation is a result of six months of study by the Utah Juvenile Justice Working Group, which is composed of juvenile judges, attorneys, legislators and others appointed by the governor to study how youths are treated in the state’s justice system.
The working group’s study found that Utah youths who were deemed “low-risk” often were progressing deeper into the juvenile justice system. And if juveniles are placed out of the home – whether that be in a detention center, a group home or other placement – they fared worse and reoffended more often than those who were allowed to stay in their homes, according to the working group’s report.
Bill sponsor Rep. V. Lowry Snow, R-Santa Clara, said Tuesday that the lengthy and “very complex” bill proposes broad changes that will impact youths. He said that as the working group conducted their study last year, many youths reported that they felt isolated from their families and hopeless in the current system.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8VN (SLT)

 

Lawmakers advance resolutions asking Trump to take action against Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante Monuments

As expected, the Utah House on Tuesday adopted two resolutions asking GOP President Donald Trump to rescind the newly-created Bears Ears National Monument and reduce the size of the 20-year-old Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, both in southeastern Utah.
It was a partisan vote – taken as protesters in the Capitol Rotunda shouted, “hands off our monument” and protesters walked through the House gallery booing and yelling “shame, shame.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8VK (UP)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/8W5 (SGS)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8Wz (San Juan Record)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8W6 (UPC)

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

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

What Will Become of Federal Public Lands Under Trump?

Last January, during what now seem like the halcyon days of the Presidential primaries, Donald Trump and his son Donald, Jr., sat down for an interview with Field & Stream at the Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade Show, in Las Vegas. The discussion, though brief, was packed with vintage Republican rhetoric. The elder Trump declared himself “very much into energy” and “very much into fracking and drilling,” called gun violence “a mental-health problem,” decried President Obama’s frequent use of executive orders (“you have to go through Congress”), and twice noted that New York City had awarded him one of its ultra-scarce concealed-carry handgun permits. The younger Trump talked about how “hunting and fishing kept me out of so much other trouble I would’ve gotten into throughout my life.” On one point, however, the Trumps departed from G.O.P. dogma. Asked whether the federal government should transfer some of the six hundred and forty million acres of public land it manages to state control, Trump demurred. “I don’t like the idea because I want to keep the lands great,” he said. Trump, Jr., spoke of “refunding” public lands in order to improve maintenance, and preserving hunting access by keeping them out of private hands. Compare that with the Republican Party platform, released seven months later, which called it “absurd” for “official Washington” to control so much acreage, and enjoined Congress to “immediately pass universal legislation” redressing the issue.

Congress, meanwhile, has been quietly pursuing the vision laid out in the G.O.P. platform. Current rules require that any legislation that costs the federal government money must be offset by budget cuts or new sources of revenue. Under a measure passed in early January as part of a House rules package, however, all federal-land transfers will be labelled as cost-free. Rob Bishop, the Utah congressman who proposed the measure, has said that fears of extensive land transfers are “bullshit,” and that he and his colleagues have simply eliminated a “stupid accounting trick”-a reference to the Congressional Budget Office’s method of assessing the value of public lands, long the subject of partisan disagreement. But Bishop, who chairs the House Natural Resources Committee, is one of the most powerful members of a movement dedicated to weakening federal management of Western lands, and that movement has lately pressed the advantages it gained in the November election. Senator Orrin Hatch and Governor Gary Herbert, both of Utah, are backing a bid for the B.L.M. directorship by Mike Noel, a current state representative and former bureau staffer known for his fervent commitment to land transfers and his extreme disdain for his onetime employer. (Appointing Noel as B.L.M. director “would be like having an atheist teach Sunday school,” the former director Pat Shea told the Salt Lake Tribune.) Last week, Representative Jason Chaffetz, also of Utah, introduced a bill that would transfer 3.3 million acres of public land across ten states, drawing protests from conservation and hunting groups.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Wv (New Yorker)

 

Digital recording could replace government minutes

A unanimous vote from a Senate committee Tuesday afternoon pushed forward a bill to make online indexed audio recordings of public meetings an acceptable substitute for written minutes.
“Our openness and ability for the public to witness and find the information online” enhances accessibility, said sponsoring Sen. Kevin Van Tassell, R-Vernal.
SB97 waives the longstanding requirement in law for government entities to provide written minutes of an open meeting if the entity maintains an online, publicly available digital recording that is indexed to show each agenda item, identifies each individual speaking and is easy to navigate.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8VM (SLT)

 

Lehi asks military academy to halt construction

Construction has stopped at the site of a military school just as soon as it began.
Lehi has asked the Utah Military Academy to stop construction on its Valdez-Peterson Campus, which is at the corner of Center Street and Pioneer Crossing. A groundbreaking for the campus was held Friday afternoon.
Cameron Boyle, spokesman for Lehi, said the school came to the city’s planning commission in November with a concept design that was denied because it was potentially a safety hazard for the area due to the increased traffic it would bring to a neighborhood. It was recommended that the school come up with an alternative plan.
Instead, the school got permission for the project from the state.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8W1 (PDH)

 

Review faults Park City School District special education program
Report states disconnect exists between parents, district

An independent review of the Park City School District’s special education services found glaring deficiencies in how the district operates the program.
The review was conducted over the course of a week in the fall by 12 staff members of the Utah State Board of Education Special Education Section who studied the district by interviewing parents, teachers and administrators; holding focus groups; and observing classrooms. The group last week delivered a report on its findings to the Park City Board of Education, which commissioned the review in the summer, after a series of criticisms were levied against the special education program.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Wx (PR)

 

Layton family sues junior high that wouldn’t let daughter try out for wrestling

SALT LAKE CITY – The mother of a 15-year-old female wrestler has asked for a court injunction ordering Central Davis Junior High to allow the girl to try out for the wrestling team Friday, Feb. 3.
The Layton school prohibits girls from wrestling on the team, which attorneys for Kelly Janis and her ninth-grader daughter – identified in court documents as K.J. – argue is a violation of federal civil rights and sex discrimination laws.
In April 2016, the Davis School District denied K.J.’s attempt to try out for the team as an eighth-grader. District officials said the refusal was justified by a provision of the federal Title IX law that permits schools to limit mixed-team participation in certain contact sports. That led Janis to seek legal representation, which culminated in the filing of a U.S. District Court lawsuit Monday, Jan. 30.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8VX (OSE)

 

Opposition To Betsy DeVos In Utah Brings Unexpected Unity

As Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos moves through confirmation hearings in Congress some Utahns are speaking out in opposition.
On Monday a group of about 150 protesters gathered in downtown Salt Lake City to voice their disapproval of DeVos.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Wk (KUER)

 

Utah group wants town hall with Sen. Orrin Hatch

SALT LAKE CITY – A newly-organized group in Utah pushed for a town hall meeting with Sen. Orrin Hatch Tuesday, saying it was frustrated with the senator’s policies and decisions.
“I think that what we all want is accountability and access,” said Madalena McNeil of Utahns Speak Out. “I just don’t feel that it’s too much to ask that an elected representative take one evening to make (himself) available to the people.”
McNeil said Hatch staffers told her he was not considering scheduling a town hall while in Utah.
The group had set up an event on Facebook, which had over 400 planning to attend the hypothetical town hall meeting and another 1,400 interested in attending as of late Tuesday night.
McNeil suggested Hatch should be more open to spending time hearing from his constituents on the issues that concern them, including several of President Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees.
She expressed particular reservations about the qualifications of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General and Betsy DeVos as Education Secretary.
“I don’t feel that being a major donor to education makes you qualified to lead a department,” McNeil said. “I don’t feel that (DeVos) proved that she was qualified in her confirmation hearings.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Ww (KSL)

 

7th Graders Build Devices For Kids With Disabilities
STEAM Class Won $25,000 from Samsung

ST. GEORGE, Utah — Students in southern Utah are innovating practical ways to help children with disabilities.
A new class aims to infuse empathy into science, technology, engineering, arts and math subjects (STEAM). The unique class already earned the school $25,000 worth of technology from one of the world’s largest tech companies.
At Sun Rise Ridge Intermediate School Tuesday, physical therapists and engineers work alongside 7th graders to find a better way for a Mesquite two-year-old to sit upright, after she suffered a stroke in the womb.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Wa (KTVX)

 

Utah teacher who had sex with teens to remain in prison until at least 2019
Crime » Parole body orders sex-offender treatment and that restitution be paid.

Former English teacher Brianne Altice, who was convicted of having sexual relationships with three teenage students, will remain behind bars until at least spring 2019 under a decision by the Utah Pardons and Parole.
During her first parole hearing on Jan. 24, the 37-year-old Altice said she was “extremely remorseful” for her behavior.
On Monday, the board set an April 2019 rehearing on Altice’s request for parole and ordered that a report from a sex offender treatment program be submitted by March 1, 2019. In addition, Altice was ordered to pay about $767 in restitution.
Altice was sentenced in July 2015 to at least two years and up to 30 years in prison after she pleaded guilty in 2nd District Court to three counts of second-degree felony forcible sexual abuse. She admitted in a plea agreement that she touched the genitals of one 16-year-old and two 17-year-olds. The teens testified at preliminary hearings that they had sexual intercourse with the then-teacher.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8VU (SLT)

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

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/8W8 (KUTV)

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

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

 

Payson dance teacher charged with raping male student

PROVO – A teacher at Landmark High School in Spanish Fork was charged Tuesday with raping one of her students.
Sarah Lindsay Lewis, 27, of Payson, was charged in 4th District Court with rape, a first-degree felony; tampering with a witness, a third-degree felony; and two counts of supplying alcohol to a minor, a class A misdemeanor.
Lewis is accused of having sexual intercourse with a 17-year-old boy on Jan. 4 in her home.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8We (KSL)

 

Lockdown at Midvale’s Hillcrest High, but cops don’t find alleged gunman

Unified Police officers rushed to Hillcrest High School in Midvale late Wednesday morning on a report of a gunman on campus, but within a hour they had cleared the high school and lifted a lockdown.
UPD Detective Ken Hansen said that the school was put on lockdown about 10:10 a.m., as officers cordoned off the campus at 7350 S. 900 East. A subsequent sweep of the high school and its classrooms turned up no evidence that the report was legitimate.
Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder said the calls – the first reporting a gunman barricaded inside the school, then a second claiming gunshots had been fired – were a horrible hoax.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8VT (SLT)

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

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/8W9 (KTVX)

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

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

 

Empowering education: Software company Atomic Jolt finds custom solutions for customers

Being custom software designers, it’s no surprise that Joel Duffin and his business partner, Justin Ball, used software to help them come up with the name for their new company, Atomic Jolt.
Previously, the men had worked with the person responsible for the “Logan on the Edge” and Utah’s “Life Elevated” marketing campaigns, but Duffin and Ball knew coming up with a name took time. So, instead, they gave themselves just three hours during an afternoon to come up with one.
“We knew we wanted a name that was strong, easily understood and expressed energy,” Duffin said.
The duo, who met while graduate students at Utah State University, felt “atomic” had a nice ring to it because it meant power.
“We help companies get going. We build them powerful tools to power their learning, startups,” Duffin said. “We make a difference.”
With a focus on education, Atomic Jolt, located at 965 S. 100 West, Suite 203, Logan, provides custom software solutions for K-12 schools, colleges and universities and start-up companies in the United States and around the world.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8WA (LHJ)

 

Grant teacher helps students learn facts with original lyrics

Ask a Grant Elementary fourth-grader in Ginger Shaw’s class how many pounds are in one ton, the difference between adjectives and adverbs and the different kinds of clouds and they may respond with a song.
Shaw sets lines about these and other subjects her students are expected to learn to familiar melodies, such as “Old McDonald Has a Farm” or “Camptown Races.” She has about 50 of them, many she is writing this year.
“When I teach my students, I want them to remember what they’re learning for life so I realized through these songs, they will remember the words when they hear the familiar tunes,” Shaw said. “The words have just been coming to me so I write them down to the melody. I hear my students singing songs we sang early in the school year and have even heard some former students humming along.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Wy (Murray Journal)

Utah students staying indoors due to poor air quality

Poor air quality is to blame for causing districts along the Wasatch Front to offer indoor recess to students Tuesday.
When the health department or the Department of Air Quality report PM2 particulate levels as moderate or above, schools will begin offering indoor recess to their students.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8W7 (KUTV)

 

Behind the wheel: County school bus drivers recognized for focus on student safety and happiness

Many people go about doing good deeds in their families, neighborhoods, organizations and church congregations. “Utah Valley’s Everyday Heroes” celebrates these unsung community members and brings to light their quiet contributions.
While large yellow school buses snake through neighborhoods across Utah County on a daily basis, carrying students to and from school and activities, the bus driver is often someone only the students know much about.
In Alpine School District, one of those drivers crisscrossing the north part of the county is American Fork resident Mel Crow.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8W2 (PDH)

 

Utah Valley Educator of the Week: Rachel Hill is a ‘master’ with student engagement

Rachel Hill is a sixth-grade teacher at Freedom Elementary School and was selected as the Daily Herald’s Educator of the Week.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8W4 (PDH)

 

Utah Valley Student of the Week: Zachary Johansen has responded to challenges with smiles

It’s said that it is our trials that define us. It’s how we respond to our challenges in life that define our character. Like the refiner’s fire, whose purpose is to burn away the impurities only to leave the most pure and precious of medals behind which is most prized above all others.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8W3 (PDH)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Utah should explore different options of education reform as well as increased funding
Deseret News editorial

At Utah’s State Capitol, education seems to be on everyone’s mind, thanks in large measure to the group Our Schools Now. Driven by the state’s business community, Our Schools Now seeks to increase public education funding by some $700 million through a ballot initiative that would raise Utah’s income tax by 17 percent – that is, unless the Legislature tackles the issue first.
The business community, according to Our Schools Now, is concerned about the state of school funding and its ability to produce a competitive, 21st century workforce. Yet, according to conservative scholars, improving schools is as much about reform as it is about money.
Before pouring more cash into the current public school system, a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, Eric Hanushek, argues that Utah might first put in place policies that provide proper incentives for school improvement.
Such reform, according to Hanushek, starts with robust accountability. It sounds basic, but the idea is to reward teachers and administrators who perform with significant raises and to ask those who do not perform to seek other opportunities. This kind of incentive-based model is sometimes absent in public school settings.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8VP

 

We need local politicians to show leadership on education
Deseret News op-ed by Chase Thomas, policy and advocacy counsel for Alliance for a Better Utah

By now, the standard talking points on education funding are well-known. Utah is 51st in the nation for per-pupil funding. Over 1 billion dollars have been taken from the annual K-12 education budget. And we have a teacher shortage coupled with problems retaining teachers exacerbated by low starting salaries for those majoring in education.
As we head into the legislative session, almost everyone agrees more needs to be done to adequately fund our public schools. A Utah Policy poll recently showed that 83 percent of Utahns feel it is important to increase per-pupil spending, with 55 percent saying it is “very important” to do so. Community groups and associations continue to advocate for more funding year after year. And high-profile business leaders are rallying behind a ballot initiative to raise the income tax to invest a much-needed $750 million into our schools.
With such overwhelming public support behind providing our schools with the money they need to succeed, why then are we still dealing with the most poorly funded education system in the country? Because when push comes to shove, our elected officials are simply unwilling to do what it takes to have quality, adequately funded public schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8VO

 

Utah needs to increase its funding for public schools
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner op-ed by RON W. SMITH, a retired Utah State University professor

In his state of the state address, Gov. Gary Herbert didn’t exactly throw a wet blanket on prospects for real improvement in the funding of public education this year. He certainly did move, though, to squelch premature enthusiasm that it will happen during the current legislative session. Fiscally-inspired fears on Capitol Hill could yet again trump development of a long-needed annually reliable and dedicated stream of revenue for K-12 to add to the usual sources for funding. The best interests of our children in K-12 might again be the victim of the state’s budget balancing trick – the underfunding of public education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8W0

 

What Could Betsy DeVos Really Get Done as Education Secretary?
Education Week analysis by columnist Alyson Klein

The prospect of Betsy DeVos as U.S. Secretary of Education has some school choice supporters riding high, while many educators, members of the civil rights community, and disability advocates are taking to the streets in anger, literally.
But what if her nomination is approved? (That looks more likely than not for now, even though a couple of GOP lawmakers said Tuesday they’re not sure about the nominee heading into the full Senate vote.) How much could DeVos really do at the U.S. Department of Education without the help of Congress or state policymakers?
The short answer: Maybe not quite as much as you might think.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Wm

 

Here’s What Works for Teacher Accountability
Professional accountability merits more attention
Education Week op-ed by Brian Gill, senior fellow at Mathematica Policy Research, & Jennifer Lerner, professor of public policy and management at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government

“Accountability” has become a four-letter word to many educators, who are frustrated with steadily increasing consequences attached to student test scores. A year ago, responding in part to growing dissatisfaction with accountability in the form of high-stakes testing, Congress jettisoned the much-maligned No Child Left Behind Act after 14 years. The new Every Student Succeeds Act continues testing requirements, but now allows states to determine consequences attached to the results.
States are now working on accountability plans to conform to the new law, and most states will reduce the influence of tests. But lowering the stakes of tests need not-and should not-mean reducing accountability. Instead, policymakers and educators should take advantage of the opportunity to create richer and more constructive systems for evaluating and supporting those who are educating our nation’s children.
Accountability need not be defined exclusively as high-stakes testing. Outside of education policy, accountability means more than just attaching consequences to outcomes. Markets make firms accountable through customers’ ability to choose competitors; reviewers make restaurants accountable by publicizing their ratings; medical rounds make doctors accountable to their colleagues by requiring explanations of treatment.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Wq

 

What are Education Savings Accounts?
Jonathan Butcher, education director for the Goldwater Institute answers your questions
The American Spectator commentary by columnist JOHN BOUDER

Could Education Savings Accounts change public education?
The Pennsylvania-based Commonwealth Foundation asked Jonathan Butcher, education director for the Goldwater Institute in Arizona and nationally-known expert on ESAs, for his expertise on this cutting edge school choice policy.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Wt

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Trump’s embattled education department pick may face Senate fight
Reuters

WASHINGTON | Billionaire philanthropist Betsy DeVos, already known as one of the most controversial nominees for education secretary in U.S. history, now risks a rare congressional rejection.
The deeply divided U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Tuesday agreed to send her nomination to the full chamber for a vote, the final step in the confirmation process.
But the committee’s executive session showed DeVos faces choppy waters ahead for a post for which there is typically little congressional debate or public attention.
The chairman, Republican Lamar Alexander, acted as tie-breaker after all 11 Republicans voted for Republican President Donald Trump’s pick and all 11 Democrats voted against.
Two Republicans – Maine’s Susan Collins and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski – expressed grave misgivings about the charter school advocate’s limited experience with public schools. They said they voted yes only so the entire Senate can debate whether DeVos is the right fit. Murkowski said she may not support DeVos in the Senate vote.
Democrats said the nomination was rushed, with DeVos providing answers they described as vague and noncommittal to hundreds of written questions only 24 hours before the vote.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Wr

 

DeVos: Special Ed. Choice ‘Empowers Parents,’ But Freedom Comes With Cost
Education Week

Betsy DeVos, the former chairman of the American Federation for Children and the Trump administration’s pick for U.S. Secretary of Education, cleared her first hurdle Jan. 31 when the Senate education committee voted to send her nomination to the full Senate (but not without some drama!).
The night before the committee’s vote, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., released DeVos’ responses to 139 questions relating to various aspects of educational policy. There was one question that offered DeVos’ most substantive views on special education policy to date.
But, as is common with special education, the topic is complex.
During DeVos’ nomination hearing earlier this month, she was pressed on whether students with disabilities enrolled in private schools should enjoy the same rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act as students enrolled in public schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8VS

 

Senate Democrats ‘deeply troubled’ by ‘racist, bigoted’ views shared by Trump education appointees
Politico

Six Senate Democrats said Wednesday they’re “deeply troubled” by “racist, bigoted, and misogynistic statements” made on social media by several of President Donald Trump’s Education Department hires.
In a letter to Jason Botel, new senior White House adviser for education, and Acting Education Secretary Phil Rosenfelt, the senators said they want a briefing on the agency’s “efforts to promote a diverse and inclusive workforce free of prejudice or malice, the administration’s vetting procedures for appointees, and how the department intends to handle reports of inappropriate communications or behavior from staff.”
The letter comes after POLITICO reported that several of Trump’s political appointees, prior to being given jobs at the Education Department, shared unflattering views about African-Americans, transgender people and “fat chicks” on social media. The letter was led by Sen. Patty Murray and signed by Sens. Tammy Baldwin, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Al Franken.
At least one of the employees cited by POLITICO, Teresa UnRue, appears to no longer be working at the Education Department.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Ws

 

President Trump Names Neil Gorsuch to U.S. Supreme Court Vacancy
Education Week

Washington — President Donald J. Trump on Tuesday announced Neil M. Gorsuch, a conservative with a polished, Ivy League resumé who has confronted a wide range of education issues as a federal appeals court judge, as his choice to fill the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court created by the death of Antonin Scalia last year.
“Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline and has earned bipartisan support,” Trump said Tuesday evening at an event in the East Room of the White House.
“And his academic credentials, something very important to me, in that education has always been a priority, are as good as I have ever seen,” the president said.
Gorsuch, 49, was born in Denver but moved to the Washington suburbs and attended the elite Georgetown Preparatory School in Bethesda, Md., when his mother, Ann Gorsuch Burford was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. She resigned that post in 1982.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Wn

 

New Orleans Spending More on Admins, Less on Teachers Since Charter Takeover
Education Week

New Orleans schools have increased spending on administrators and reduced spending for teachers in the years since charter schools took over nearly every public school after Hurricane Katrina hit the city in 2005.
That’s according to a study done by the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans, based at Tulane University. The institute has previously found that charter schools have improved academic outcomes, but this new report undercuts the idea that the charterization of New Orleans schools reduced bureaucratic costs and sent more money directly into classrooms.
The researchers found that not only are there now more administrators but those administrators are also paid more. Earlier this year, The Times-Picayune found that at least five dozen New Orleans charter administrators were paid more than $100,000 during the 2013-14 school year. At the same time, the researchers found a $706 per pupil drop in instructional spending, largely driven by lower salaries and smaller benefit packages for educators. Doug Harris, the director of the Education Research Alliance and one of the study’s authors, was surprised by that finding.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Wo

A copy of the study
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Wp (Education Research Alliance for New Orleans)

 

Not All Fun And Games: New Guidelines Urge Schools To Rethink Recess
NPR

What’s the best time for students to have recess? Before lunch, or after? What happens if it rains? If students are misbehaving, is it a good idea to punish them by making them sit out recess?
Those are just a few of the issues addressed in new guidelines designed to help schools have good recess. The recommendations come from a group called SHAPE (Society of Health and Physical Educators) America and from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Recess might seem simple – just open the doors and let the kids run free. But only eight states have policies that require it, according to last year’s Shape of the Nation report. And when researchers started looking, they found very little consistency or guidance about what makes recess effective.
The new guidelines, in two documents, offer educators a list of 19 evidence-based strategies and a template to show them what a good recess policy looks like.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Wh

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Wi (SHAPE America)

 

Digital media firms search for revenue in high-school bleachers
Reuters

NEW YORK | Digital media companies looking for other sources of revenue growth are targeting high school sports licensing and content deals, hoping to tap into a surge in online viewing and crack a market too fragmented for most traditional networks.
Online viewing offers new ways to reach a rabid fan base of the about 2.5 million scholastic events held each year, according to PlayOn! Sports. Streaming games have a cost advantage over traditional television and produces a treasure trove of data that can be used to market to advertisers, executives said.
Digital platforms seeking to add or license high school sports content include Monumental Sports Network, a digital platform co-owned by Monumental Sports & Entertainment and NBC Sports, and Pluto TV, whose financial backers include German media giant ProSiebenSat.1, Scripps Networks Interactive and Sky Plc.
Time Warner Inc’s’s Bleacher Report, is searching for ways to identify student athletes and teams with stories that can attract a nationwide audience.
Bleacher Report is partnering with Facebook Live and Snapchat on videos featuring heavily-recruited high school athletes “committing” to colleges or universities of their choice.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Wl

 

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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

February 1:

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

Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8 a.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2017/html/00000799.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

House Health and Human Services Committee meeting
2 p.m., 20 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HHHS0201.ag.htm

Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee meeting
2 p.m., 250 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SJLC0201.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

House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee meeting
4 p.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HLAW0201.ag.htm

Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee meeting
4 p.m., 415 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SGOP0201.ag.htm

February 2:

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

Senate Education Committee meeting
2 p.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SEDU0202.ag.htm

House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee meeting
2 p.m., 20 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HEDW0202.ag.htm

House Revenue and Taxation Committee meeting
2 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HREV0202.ag.htm

House Education Committee meeting
4 p.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HEDU0202.ag.htm

House Health and Human Services Committee meeting
4 p.m., 20 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HHHS0202.ag.htm

Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee meeting
4:16 p.m., 415 State Capitol
http://gousoe.uen.org/8WC

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
6:10 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2017/html/00000964.htm

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

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
12:20 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2017/html/00000965.htm

Senate Education Committee meeting
4 p.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2017&Com=SSTEDU

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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