Education News Roundup: Feb. 6, 2017

Utah State Capitol

Utah State Capitol/Education News Roundup

Today’s Top Picks:

House Education Committee takes no action on bill that would give bonuses to teachers in low-income schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YF (SLT)

Sen. Stephenson wants education technology money spent correctly.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YH (SLT)

Parents want middle schools brought back to Nebo District.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YV (PDH)

Senate Democrats plan an all-night protest against Betsy DeVos, likely putting off the vote until Tuesday afternoon.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Zl (The Hill)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8Zm (MLive)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8Zn (Politico)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/8Za (AP)

Need a challenge today? Try to college-ready math quiz associated with this Times story on college algebra.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Z8 (NYT)
Sidebar: Take a math quiz to see if you are college ready
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Z9 (NYT)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Lawmakers take aim at proposal to hike income taxes for public schools

Is it Time to Raise Income Tax for Education? Supporters Say Yes

House panel punts on plan to reward teachers working in low-income schools

Lawmaker says schools shouldn’t get technology funding if they don’t spend it correctly
Innovation » Draper Republican, governor’s office say state should spend money only after considering what students really need.

Art matters economically, Utah leaders say
Cutting budgets would eliminate jobs and community programs, arts advocates say.

Grand Staircase: Boon or bust?

Hatch’s voicemail box was full, so Utah voter tried a pizza box
Ham-and-pineapple politics » SLC resident gets a call back — from a federal officer.

Parents vote to bring back middle schools in Nebo School District

Davis School District inventories properties for potential new schools

One last chance: educating incarcerated children

School production of ‘The Lion King’ provides unique experience for deaf showgoers

Utah teens compete to produce art on a deadline

Layton girl wins court ruling letting her try out for junior high wrestling team

Salem Hills Principal Bart Peery named Utah Principal of the Year

Renaissance Academy students to compete in state archery competition

Stansbury High student suspended, may face charges for having gun in backpack

SafeUT crisis prevention app grows in popularity

Gunnison Valley Elementary School Cancels School for the Day Due to Water Main Break

Cache County School District shifts make-up days to June

Leaders in Education Prepare Future Teachers

VHS launches new school website

Mountain View High school resource officer promoted, leaving school

Granite School District raises more than $15,000 for classmates in need

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Runoff bill is a reasonable compromise

Who deserves praise and criticism this week in Northern Utah?

And my annual survey of constituents says …

The disruption and transformation of public education

The heart of the sex-education debate

State Board of Education shouldn’t be partisan

Those who burden the system should pay for it

Educating all our children

School start times are all about the money

Betsy DeVos Would Take Ed. Department’s Helm With Clipped Wings

Regulations Are Strangling Charter Schools
For the charter sector, progress has come at a price

NATION

Democrats plan all-night protest ahead of DeVos vote

Trump Orders on Immigration Rattle Some Educators
Travel ban and uncertain fate for DREAMers stoke fears

U.S. Supreme Court Sets March 28 to Weigh School Transgender-Rights Case

In an age of ‘alternative facts,’ a massacre of schoolchildren is called a hoax

Trying to Solve a Bigger Math Problem

 

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UTAH NEWS
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Lawmakers take aim at proposal to hike income taxes for public schools

You just knew there was going to be some GOP legislative blowback this session to the Our Schools Now citizen initiative petition, aimed at voters raising their own personal income taxes.
And here it is.
Rep. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, has introduced HB255, which would change petition-gathering law to say that in cases of tax hikes, the petition one signs must say in clear writing the PERCENT increase of the tax hike proposal.
In addition, the new bill would require that on the general election ballot, over the section where you vote on such a tax hike, would be printed that voting yes means you are raising taxes by that certain percentage.
Now, which sounds better to you:
— Raise your income tax rate from 5 percent to 5 and 7/8th percent, or a 7/8th of a percent increase?
— Or raise your income tax rate by 17.5 percent?
Of course, if you were trying to sell an income tax hike to voters, you would want to say you were raising the tax by 7/8th of a percent, or from 5 to 5.875, not by 17.5 percent.
A 17.5 percent tax hike sounds like a considerable increase.
Both calculations are correct, actually.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YD (UP)

 

Is it Time to Raise Income Tax for Education? Supporters Say Yes

Is it time to raise the income tax to help fund education in Utah? Our Schools Now is a citizens initiative seeking increased funding for Utah’s public schools. Rick Kendell, Executive Committee Member, Our Schools Now, joined Inside Utah Politics to discuss why the business community is advocating for more funding for education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Zi (KTVX)

 

House panel punts on plan to reward teachers working in low-income schools

The House Education Committee adjourned abruptly Thursday, leaving in limbo a bill that would offer bonus pay to effective teachers willing to work with low-income students.
HB212 would pay a bonus of $5,000 — with annual increases up to $10,000 — when one of the state’s top-performing 5 percent of teachers works at one of the 92 most economically-challenged schools.
Teacher performance would be based on their median growth percentile, or MGP, a measurement of how much improvement students make year-to-year on standardized tests.
“These are the rock stars that can really go in and stand and deliver,” said Rep. Mike Winder, R-West Valley City, the bill’s sponsor.
But committee member seemed initially skeptical of the proposal, with questions about its reliance on test scores, its roughly $670,000 price tag and its premise that low-income children are in greater need of effective educators.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YF (SLT)

 

Lawmaker says schools shouldn’t get technology funding if they don’t spend it correctly
Innovation » Draper Republican, governor’s office say state should spend money only after considering what students really need.

The story of an old man saving stranded starfish on a beach, one by one, got a retelling recently by Sen. Howard Stephenson.
The Draper Republican’s version of the tale — made into a parable on Utah education — focuses less on each starfish tossed to safety in the ocean and more on the countless more left dying on the sand.
“I’m asking you to discard that warm feeling when you consider the tens of thousands that didn’t get saved,” Stephenson told members of the House Democratic Caucus. “There are millions of kids tonight who will be crying over 30 algebra problems they don’t know how to work.”
Stephenson visited his Democratic colleagues to stress the need for an education system personalized to the needs of every child. That conversation included his concerns about classroom technology and a new grant program aimed at helping schools modernize education.
He has made similar presentations to various groups in recent weeks, accusing school districts, charter schools and the state school board of failing to meet the requirements of state law and preparing technology plans that fall short of expectations.
On Thursday, he suggested that funding for the grant program should be restricted unless participating schools are able to meet a list of 53 criteria that he believes lead to effective use of classroom technology.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YH (SLT)

 

Art matters economically, Utah leaders say
Cutting budgets would eliminate jobs and community programs, arts advocates say.

As the threat of another battle over federal arts funding looms, Utah’s advocates are gearing up to broadcast the deep roots of the local cultural economy.
From the Utah Symphony and Utah Opera to Ballet West, Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company, Utah Shakespeare Festival and scores of nonprofits in between, local arts leaders are talking about the cultural sector’s relevance.
Fears of funding cuts resurfaced in news stories last month reporting that President Donald Trump’s administration was considering slashing the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as privatizing the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The arts funding cuts were pitched as part of efforts to slash the federal deficit by $10.5 trillion over 10 years, drawing upon long-simmering proposals from the conservative Heritage Foundation.
That’s why, in the uncertain environment of an administration led by a businessman president, Utah’s advocates are increasingly framing their arguments in the language of economic progress, underscoring educational tours and community-based programs.

Federal grants, for example, have allowed Rapier’s small Salt Lake City professional theater company to expand its free elementary-school tour to reach 15,000 kids in 40 schools across seven Utah counties. For the venerable Utah Shakespeare Festival, federal funds help support an annual tour, which in 14 weeks, plays to some 25,000 students in five states.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Zg (SLT)

 

Grand Staircase: Boon or bust?

A renovated social hall, a pharmacy, a dentist office, a clinic, a home center, an organic grocery, a manufacturer of natural finishes, paddle-board rentals.
These are some of the businesses that have popped up in recent years in Escalante, the historic Garfield County ranching town that has become the focus in Utah’s rancorous debate over national monuments.
Local business leaders credit the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument for this boom, yet Utah lawmakers and county commissioners contend that Escalante and others rimming the monument have been stunted economically thanks to President Bill Clinton’s surprise designation in 1996.
The number of students at the local high school, which includes seventh- and eighth-graders, has plunged from 140 to 51 in 2016, Garfield County Commissioner Leland Pollock said Thursday to a Senate panel hearing a resolution calling for shrinking the 1.9-million-acre monument straddling Kane and Garfield counties.
“Obviously there are tourism jobs. We aren’t against tourism, but minimum-wage jobs don’t support a family,” Pollock said.
The Senate Business and Labor Committee advanced Rep. Mike Noel’s HCR12 on a party-line vote. Its next stop is the Senate floor.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YE (SLT)

Hatch’s voicemail box was full, so Utah voter tried a pizza box
Ham-and-pineapple politics » SLC resident gets a call back — from a federal officer.

When Julia Silge couldn’t reach Sen. Orrin Hatch’s office by phone, she thought of another way to get her message through: a ham-and-pineapple pizza.
“It seemed as if all the avenues of communication were shut down or unavailable,” Silge said with a laugh as she explained the snap decision.
The unconventional vehicle for her thoughts, she said, came out of weeks of frustration in trying to get a hold of the senator’s staff to express her concern over President Donald Trump’s pick for secretary of education, Betsy DeVos. All eight calls Silge had made to the office ended at a full voicemail box and then an abrupt hang-up.
Silge, 38, ordered the pizza on GrubHub, an online food service. In the instructions for the $12.99 pie, she included the room number to Hatch’s Salt Lake City office and a $10 tip as “extra motivation” for the company to follow through with the order.
The note she requested be taped on top of the greasy cardboard box? “From a Salt Lake constituent in 84105: Please vote NO on Betsy DeVos. She is an inappropriate choice to lead our public schools.”
But it didn’t deliver.
About two hours after Silge placed the order, a federal security officer reached out to her. “I got a call about a suspicious pizza,” he said over the phone. Hatch’s office, it turns out, had refused the delivery and reported it to police — and Silge’s name and number were on the receipt.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Zk (SLT)

 

Parents vote to bring back middle schools in Nebo School District

Middle schools will return to Nebo School District if residents vote to approve a bond next year.
More than 65 percent of people who responded to a survey from the school district indicated they would prefer a grade configuration model that would usher in the return of middle schools and bring back a direct feeder pattern between schools.
More than 2,300 people voted in the survey on grade reconfiguration plans last year. If the bond passes, kindergarten through fifth graders will be in elementary schools, sixth and seventh graders will be in middle schools, eighth and ninth graders will be in junior high schools and 10th through 12th graders will be in high schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YV (PDH)

Davis School District inventories properties for potential new schools

FARMINGTON -— The Davis School District has several locations on which to build schools as it continues to grow.
At a Board of Education retreat Monday, Finance Director Tim Leffel said the district has tracts of land in North Salt Lake, Layton, Clinton, West Point and Syracuse that are going to house even more growth.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YQ (OSE)

One last chance: educating incarcerated children

Karen had what you could call a rough start at her new job.
“I did notice a takedown right in front of my classroom,” she said. “I was shaking the rest of the day, my adrenaline was going. I wasn’t fearful of the beginning, I wasn’t even fearful that day. That’s when it got real.”
Karen, who asked to be identified by only her first name, is one of seven teachers who work at Slate Canyon School inside the Slate Canyon Youth Center, a detention facility in Provo.
Teachers are employees of the Provo City School District, but the faculty’s experiences there are unlike anything found in a traditional school, yet, at the same time, not too different.
The center, which houses students from 12- to 18-years-old, provides short-term secure care for boys and girls and long-term secure care for boys. From 2015 to 2016, there were 757 short-term enrollments.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YW (PDH)

 

School production of ‘The Lion King’ provides unique experience for deaf showgoers

SOUTH JORDAN — Putting on a quality production musical can be tough to pull off. It can be even tougher when the actors are children.
“We knew we wanted a show that had a lot of kids,” said Elk Ridge Middle School drama teacher Kristie Wallace.
On Friday night, students were performing “The Lion King.”
“This is a huge production,” said Wallace. “We did ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,’ and I was like, ‘Let’s do an easier one next year,’ and we went even bigger with this.”
From the very beginning, you can see the production and performance is top notch. But you can also see double characters on stage, and if you look closely, one of them is using sign language.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Z2 (KSL)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8Z4 (KSTU)

Utah teens compete to produce art on a deadline

SALT LAKE CITY — Dozens of artists from eight different high schools in the Granite School District competed in the ‘art night Olympics’ earlier this week.
Students had four hours to complete works of art to earn awards and create memories.
The competition provides students the opportunity to work under a tight deadline and with professional artists, who also judged the competition.
More than 80 students competed in 11 different categories, including drawing, painting, photography, sculpture and mixed-media.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Zh (KSTU)

 

Layton girl wins court ruling letting her try out for junior high wrestling team

LAYTON — A federal judge has ordered Central Davis Junior High to allow a ninth-grade girl to try out for the school’s wrestling team.
Kathleen Janis, 15, of Layton, won a temporary restraining order Thursday, Feb. 2, from U.S. District Judge Robert Shelby in Salt Lake City. Kelly Janis, the girl’s mother, filed a civil rights lawsuit after the school rejected Kathleen’s attempt to try out. The Davis School District argued that junior high boys and girls can be segregated in contact sports under federal Title IX law, and that it is sufficient that Kathleen could try out for the Layton High School team.
“This is not just about my daughter — it is about all girls who have been denied these opportunities because of gender,” Kelly Janis said in an interview Friday. “In addition, there are boys out there who want to play volleyball. It is a civil rights case.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YT (OSE)

Salem Hills Principal Bart Peery named Utah Principal of the Year

Nebo’s own Bart Peery, principal at Salem Hills High School in Salem, was recently selected as Utah’s Principal of the Year.
“Mr. Peery possesses all of the skills, knowledge, values, personality and work ethic found in an administrator worthy of this honor,” said Nebo School District Superintendent Rick Nielsen. “Because of his commitment to students and his focus on best practices, Mr. Peery is truly a leader among his peers. He is well-respected and loved by his students, community members, fellow staff and district leadership. His genuine concern for others, instructional leadership abilities, commitment to building positive relationships and ability to communicate a vision of success have enabled him to be successful in all of his endeavors. Almost every student of his that I ever visit with talks about their gratitude journal, their focus on the positive and their efforts to lift others around them.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YX (Serve Daily)

 

Renaissance Academy students to compete in state archery competition

KAYSVILLE — The gym at Renaissance Academy was silent for a moment Thursday morning before the smack of arrows hitting soft, leathery targets peppered the air.
Some of the students in line at the other end of the gym shook their heads in frustration, but most of them smiled. They’ve all been shooting during the half-hour class every morning, and a dozen of them are going to compete in the statewide National Archery in the Schools Program competition Feb. 18.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YP (OSE)

Stansbury High student suspended, may face charges for having gun in backpack

STANSBURY PARK, Tooele County — A Stansbury High School student has been suspended and faces possible criminal charges after bringing a gun to school Friday.
The student told school administrators that he went camping with his parents over the weekend and forgot the gun was still in his backpack, Tooele School District spokeswoman Marie Denson said.
School district officials declined to provide the student’s name or age.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YK (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8Z3 (KSL)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8Z5 (KSTU)

SafeUT crisis prevention app grows in popularity

More people are taking advantage of a crisis prevention app in Utah.
The number of schools in the state using the SafeUT Crisis & Safety Tipline has doubled since September, climbing to more than 300 as of January, Crisis Services Manager Barry Rose said.
The app allows users to text licensed clinicians about any type of crisis including emotional problems, mental health issues and suicide.
The number of contacts made through the app to the University of Utah’s University Neuropsychiatric Institute has also increased from about 800 in September to about 1,500 in January, according to SafeUT Supervisor Tori Yeates.
She said those 1,500 points of contact turned into about 2,700 individual back-and-forth interactions.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YS (OSE)

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

 

Gunnison Valley Elementary School Cancels School for the Day Due to Water Main Break

Students at Gunnison Elementary School got an unexpected one day vacation on Monday after a problem with a main water line over the weekend. According to South Sanpete School District Superintendent Kent Larsen, a joint on a pipe under a thrust block failed, causing an elbow to rupture. Repairs were made over the weekend, but due to the cure time for the new joint and thrust block, school was cancelled for Monday. Larsen said he expects things to be back to normal on Tuesday.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Z7 (MUR)

Cache County School District shifts make-up days to June

The Cache County School District has revised when it will make up school days that were lost because of heavy snow and cold temperatures last month. Their Calendar Committee, made up of parent and employee representatives, had previously recommended to the Cache County School Board that make-up days for January 5th and 6th take place on February 17th and 20th.
But then a third school day got cancelled on January 23rd. After that cancellation, and considerable feedback from parents and employees, the committee got back together to reconsider make-up days.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YZ (CVD)

 

Leaders in Education Prepare Future Teachers

CEDAR CITY, Utah – Recognizing a gap between what universities teach and what public schools actually need, Southern Utah University has created a solution by employing a corps of mentors in education.
Twenty-five education leaders have joined with the SUU Beverley Taylor Sorensen College of Education and Human Development as adjunct instructors – 14 are either currently or recently employed as school superintendents.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Z6 (KCSG)

 

VHS launches new school website

After several months of planning and working, the Business Web Page Design students at Valley High School (VHS) were able to see their hard work pay off as the new school website went live last week.
Like many other schools in the area, VHS had previously been using a content management system called Concrete 5 to build and maintain the school website. However, the students did not feel satisfied with the site or the program, and decided they wanted to do a complete overhaul. With the help of the Southwest Educational Development Center, VHS students were able to design a new website using WordPress, a more customizable online content management system.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Zj (SUN)

 

Mountain View High school resource officer promoted, leaving school

After years of tremendous service to the students of Mountain View High School, the school’s resource officer is getting a promotion, meaning an end to his time at the school.
Shane Fredrickson of the Orem Police Department has been promoted from sergeant to lieutenant after serving the past several years as the school resource officer at Mountain View High School.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YU (PDH)

 

Granite School District raises more than $15,000 for classmates in need

The Granite District has more than 40,000 students living at or near the poverty level, and Granite students are participating in the Souper Bowl of Caring to help make sure their fellow students have something to eat.
The Souper Bowl of Caring asks people to skip a soda, some chips or a pizza at your Super Bowl party and instead donate $1, $5 or $10 to feed hungry students.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Z1 (KUTV)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Runoff bill is a reasonable compromise
Deseret News editorial

A bill before the Legislature to allow for runoff elections in primary races reportedly enjoys solid support on Capitol Hill, which means we may finally and thankfully see an end to a tiresome three-year-old legal battle between the state and the Republican Party. The measure would address concerns about candidates being able to make it on a general election ballot by winning a primary race with a plurality, instead of a majority of votes. As written, the bill appears to be a reasonable way to settle a matter that’s been a source of exasperation for party leaders and state elections officials.
The measure, SB114, would require a runoff election in a primary race if no candidate receives at least 35 percent of the vote. As it stands, in a race with multiple candidates, the highest vote getter moves to the general election ballot regardless of the percentage of votes he or she receives. The issue arises from a controversial 2014 law passed in deference to a statewide initiative petition drive that would have replaced the GOP’s traditional convention-caucus system with mandatory primary elections. The 2014 bill created a dual path to nomination, allowing candidates to bypass the convention and get their names on a primary ballot by gathering a sufficient number of voter signatures.
But party leaders, protective of the caucus system, challenged the constitutionality of the law in court, sparking an expensive and time-consuming legal battle. Among their concerns is the possibility that a candidate could emerge from a race involving multiple candidates with a relatively small percentage of the vote. SB114 would address that issue by establishing a somewhat arbitrary threshold of 35 percent of the vote for a candidate to make it onto the general election ballot.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YL

 

Who deserves praise and criticism this week in Northern Utah?
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

The Standard-Examiner Editorial Board hashes out the positions we take on the Opinion page. Here’s what members recommended last week for praise and criticism:
THUMBS UP: To the Davis School District for considering fresh approaches to teaching and classroom management.
The district plans to start a fusion learning program this fall in first- and second-grade classrooms at Centerville Elementary School and Wasatch Elementary School. At each school, one master teacher and two teaching assistants will handle 60 to 80 students.
It’s smart to take success stories from teachers doing small-group teaching methods and apply them to scale; it’s smart to implement a way to measure success from the get-go; and it’s smart to innovate in the learning environment, especially when it offers teachers as much as a 30 percent increase in pay if they’re willing and qualified to become master teachers.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YR

 

And my annual survey of constituents says …
(St. George) Spectrum op-ed by Sen. Evan Vickers

Every year, I send out a constituent survey as we begin the legislative session. Your answers to the questions are very helpful to me as I consider bills and policies during the session and this year was no exception.
I send this survey out through an email service that I employ to all the registered voters (from all parties) in my senate district for which I have email addresses and always get a good response. Almost 900 people looked at the survey and 439 completed the survey this year. This isn’t scientific but it gives me a me a good cross-section of opinions.
I asked you to tell me what the most important topics in the state were for you and 41 percent said education, 20 percent water and 15 percent taxes.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Z0

 

The disruption and transformation of public education
Deseret News op-ed by Boyd Matheson, president of Sutherland Institute

We don’t need the destruction of public education — we need a disruption and transformation of public education. With an eye toward individualization, every child down every street in America must have the opportunity to learn in a way that unlocks his or her potential.
I hope you share my exasperation with the strident voices at both ends of the education debate. Those loud and usually shrill voices ensure we all stay a safe distance from actually solving the problems and challenges our education system faces today.
Those who believe public education is an evil system are wrong. Those who believe we shouldn’t raise another penny for education are wrong. Those who believe bureaucrats in Washington and powerful unions have all the answers are wrong. Those who advocate that more money alone will fix education are also wrong.
Will we need to invest more in education? YES! AND — before we make such an investment — we should have a serious and elevated conversation about what it is we are building, how we will invest, what we will measure and what we will achieve for our students as a result.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YM

 

The heart of the sex-education debate
Deseret News op-ed by Jenet Erickson, a family sciences researcher and a former assistant professor at Brigham Young University

At this point in the decades-long struggle, both abstinence education and comprehensive sex education use similar methods to reach adolescents and influence their behavior.
Arguments about sex education reflect a culture war, but it is one most families may be totally unaware of. The war is generally carried on between advocates from two different sides — one arguing for “abstinence education” and the other for “comprehensive sex education.” Decades of research findings are used to argue for one over the other, though there is evidence that both types can be effective (if only for a year) in positively influencing sexual behavior.
Often what is totally lost in the argument is the heart of the divide between them — that is, how each actually views sexual intimacy. Researcher Matt Evans, who has been involved in evaluating the effectiveness of sex-education programs for more than a decade, summarizes the difference this way: Those who advocate for abstinence education view sexual intimacy as sacred, a divine gift reserved for marriage, with power to harm or exploit others when expressed outside those bounds. Those who advocate for comprehensive sex education view sexual intimacy differently — as a natural urge that can, will and even should be explored and expressed, so long as it is consensual and doesn’t lead to teen pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YO

State Board of Education shouldn’t be partisan
(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Brigitte Brown

Because of a 2016 law, next year you and I will be forced to vote for a partisan State Board of Education. Until now we have always had a nonpartisan board. Now for the first time we’ll have to choose between a Republican and a Democrat. As a Cache County parent, I do not want political parties dictating to our Board of Education. Lyle Hillyard says in the Cache Valley Daily (Dec 20) that partisan elections are needed to provide “vetting” for candidates. But last fall we elected some excellent board members in a nonpartisan election. Guess what? We voters did the vetting for ourselves. We didn’t need Sen. Hillyard and his fellow party elites to tell us whom to vote for.
Rep. Ray Ward is sponsoring HB 151 to restore non-partisan elections. If you agree with me and don’t want your children indoctrinated at school by one political party, please contact your legislators and ask them to vote yes on HB 151.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YY

 

Those who burden the system should pay for it
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Mike Ramirez

Again I feel compelled to write in. I just can’t help myself when it comes to this topic. I think that Mike Edmonds and Billy Hesterman made some great points (“Try these tax changes instead of raising income tax,” Jan. 22). Especially by first addressing the negative impact raising income tax would have on everyone across the board, and also stating (what has already been proven in other states) that businesses often look at income tax rates when deciding where to locate their establishments.
It makes sense. It’s a no brainer. You want to place your businesses where people have more money to spend on your goods or services.
Edmonds’ and Hesterman’s first choice on how to increase funds for education probably will not go over well in this state, but too bad: It is the most logical and the most fair.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YI

 

Educating all our children
Deseret News letter from Keith Homer

Over 100 years ago, the public committed itself to the idea of educating all our children using public funds, governed by public processes, and accountable to the public. We invested in and built a comprehensive system that would educate all who came to the doors regardless of merit, income level, ability to pay or learning aptitude. All children could receive this education as a right and privilege. What an audacious ideal matching our audacious vision as the American people.
Sure, there are other models and systems we could choose. Some countries distribute educational opportunities based on tests or other gating mechanisms. Others base it on a market system where you get what you pay for. Any model has pros and cons, benefits and costs.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YN

 

School start times are all about the money
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Cindy Christensen

I appreciated Laura Brown’s letter about school start times (Jan. 30). This has been an issue for years and statistics have shown the benefits of starting school later but, alas, the bottom line is bus schedules, parent work schedules and, believe it or not, money.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YJ

 

Betsy DeVos Would Take Ed. Department’s Helm With Clipped Wings
Education Week analysis by columnist Alyson Klein

School choice advocate and billionaire GOP donor Betsy DeVos, President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the U.S. Department of Education, has been at the center of a social-media maelstrom and stirred more opposition than any other nominee to lead the agency in its more than three-decade-long history.
But regardless of those strong feelings, it remains to be seen whether DeVos—if confirmed, as appears likely—would have the clout to be an effective education secretary.
The litany of prohibitions on the secretary’s role in the year-old Every Student Succeeds Act means DeVos would take office with far less executive firepower than such predecessors as Arne Duncan and Margaret Spellings, who used waivers and pilot programs to reimagine implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, the law’s previous version.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Ze

 

Regulations Are Strangling Charter Schools
For the charter sector, progress has come at a price
Education Week op-ed by Jeanne Allen, founder and CEO of the Washington-based Center for Education Reform

Panic struck the education establishment over the election of President Donald Trump and his selection of school choice advocate Betsy DeVos for U.S. secretary of education. There was fear that she would preside over a dramatic expansion of nontraditional forms of education, including charter schools. But even senators who opposed DeVos’ nomination concede that charters have become mainstream in the education world. While charters’ continued expansion is important, it’s also clear that their progress has come at a price. Charters are suffering from regulatory strangulation—not from foes, but from so-called friends. As a devoted advocate of charter schools, DeVos, once confirmed, could make her most important contribution to education by restoring sanity in charter school policy.
Charter schools began as a state effort to disrupt districts’ exclusive franchise over education. Since the first charter school law was passed in Minnesota a quarter-century ago, this school choice option has united people from diverse backgrounds and lifestyles who have wanted more personalized and innovative public education to meet student needs in ways that traditional public schools have often failed to do.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Zd

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Democrats plan all-night protest ahead of DeVos vote
(Washington, DC) The Hill

Senate Democrats are planning a rare all-night talkathon to protest Betsy DeVos’s nomination for Education secretary ahead of an expected vote on Tuesday.
“Democrats will hold the floor for the next 24 hours, until the final vote, to do everything we can to persuade just one more Republican to join us,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said from the Senate floor Monday.
Unless Democrats agree to yield back some debate time, a final vote on DeVos is expected for noon Tuesday, when Vice President Mike Pence will likely need to break a 50-50 tie.
A spokesman for Murray confirmed that “Democrats plan to keep the floor open and there will be speeches over the night in this final push.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Zl

http://gousoe.uen.org/8Zm (MLive)

http://gousoe.uen.org/8Zn (Politico)

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

 

Trump Orders on Immigration Rattle Some Educators
Travel ban and uncertain fate for DREAMers stoke fears
Education Week

President Donald Trump’s sweeping order that halted residents of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States sent shock waves through some of the nation’s schools, leaving educators scrambling to assure frightened refugee and immigrant students that their schools should be safe places.
The effort to calm those fears comes as some educators grapple with uncertainty of their own: not knowing the next steps the White House will take on immigration and how it will affect their students. And that uncertainty had heightened even more over the weekend after a federal judge suspended Trump’s order, allowing those who had been previously banned to enter. That decision was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
“[There are] a lot of unknowns right now,” said Elizabeth Demchak, the principal at Claremont International High School in New York City. “Anytime you’re talking about people’s status in the country, there will be fear. We have to try and give [students] as much stability as possible.”
Based in the South Bronx, Demchak’s school is home to hundreds of Spanish-, Arabic-, and Bengali-speaking students, along with a growing population of refugees from Yemen, whose citizens are banned from U.S. entry for now under Trump’s executive order. The school is part of The Internationals Network for Public Schools, a nationwide nonprofit that serves about 9,000 newly arrived immigrant students.
Those students represent a sliver of those who may be gripped by fear and uncertainty. Trump has also signed executive orders to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, strip federal funding from “sanctuary cities” that shield undocumented immigrants, and establish new criteria to make more undocumented immigrants priorities for deportation.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Zb

 

U.S. Supreme Court Sets March 28 to Weigh School Transgender-Rights Case
Education Week

The U.S. Supreme Court has set March 28 as the date it will hear arguments in the major case over transgender rights in school and U.S. Department of Education authority to interpret its own regulations.
The justices will hear one hour of arguments on that Tuesday in Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. (Case No. 16-273), which stems from efforts by a transgender boy, Gavin Grimm, to use the boys’ restroom at his Virginia high school.
The high court granted review in the case in late October after getting involved last summer by granting the Gloucester County school district a stay of lower court orders that would have required it to allow Grimm to use the restroom corresponding to his gender identity.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Zc

 

In an age of ‘alternative facts,’ a massacre of schoolchildren is called a hoax
Los Angeles Times

If there is anything worse than losing a child, it is losing a child and having people taunt you over the loss.
This is what happened to the family of Noah Pozner, a 6-year-old student with tousled brown hair and lollipop-red lips, the youngest of the 26 children and staff members gunned down in 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
In the years since the massacre that shook the country and opened new anxiety over gun violence, the family has received hate-filled calls and violent emails from people who say they know the shooting was a hoax. Photos of their son — some with pornographic and anti-Semitic content — have been distributed on websites.
These outlandish theories, which hold that the Newtown school shooting was a staged mass murder engineered by gun control advocates, have lived until now in the dark corners of the Internet.
But they have gained fresh momentum in the last several months, residents here say, at a time when conspiracy theorists across the country have attained the status of celebrities and the nation as a whole is engaged in a contentious debate over the nature of truth.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8YG

 

Trying to Solve a Bigger Math Problem
New York Times

Algebra is clearly a stumbling block for many incoming college students. Nearly 60 percent of community college students end up in remedial math — that’s more than double the number in remedial English. Four­year public colleges are not far behind. According to government studies, 40 percent of their incoming students take at least one remedial class; 33 percent are in math.
One explanation is obvious: limited academic preparation. Another is that much of the community college population is older, and rusty at factoring quadratics and finding inverse functions. Less obvious is that students end up in remediation who don’t need to be there.
There’s evidence for this, most recently in an analysis published in September by the National Center for Education Statistics. To determine if students are ready for college­level work, colleges often rely on one thing: the score on a test, be it the ACT, SAT or Accuplacer, the most common of the placement tools.
But when the N.C.E.S. took a deeper look and considered two additional factors — grade­point average and level of math taken in high school — it found that 40 percent of “strongly prepared” students at public two­year colleges and 13 percent at four­year institutions had taken remedial math.
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Z8

Sidebar: Take a math quiz to see if you are college ready
http://gousoe.uen.org/8Z9 (NYT)

 

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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 6:

Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8 a.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2017/html/00001099.htm

Retirement and Independent Entities Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
12:15 p.m., 250 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2017/html/00001102.htm

House Retirement and Independent Entities Committee meeting
1 p.m., 250 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HRIE0206.ag.htm

House Education Committee meeting
3:40 p.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HEDU0206.ag.htm

House Business and Labor Committee meeting
3:40 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HBUS0206.ag.htm

February 7:

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2017/html/00001108.htm

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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