Education News Roundup: Feb. 8, 2017

U.S. Department of Education

Today’s Top Picks:

Rep. Chaffetz signs on as a cosponsor of a bill to abolish the U.S. Department of Education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/90w (PDH)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/91X (Gephardt Daily)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/90R ([Washington, DC] The Hill)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/91Z (Washington Examiner)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/90S (International Business Times)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/92e (Education World)
or a copy of the bill
http://gousoe.uen.org/90y (Congress)

Park City students design a mobile classroom in a bus.
http://gousoe.uen.org/928 (PR)

2014 Utah Teacher of the Year Allison Riddle calls for more teacher leaders.
http://gousoe.uen.org/92d (Teacher magazine)

Betsy DeVos begins her work as Secretary of Education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/91H (WaPo)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/91I (USAT, video)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/91R (Ed Week)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/91L (AP)

The House votes to block ESSA rules.
http://gousoe.uen.org/91M (AP)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/91Q (Ed Week)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Is proposed tax increase 1% or 17.5%? Depends on what you count, which could affect $750M ballot initiative
Initiative » Poll says when voters are told of a total impact of the tax hike, they are hesitant.

Hillyard would like to get more money to teachers of at-risk students

Lawmakers support bill aimed at curbing bullying of teachers

House wants Volkwagen settlement to help replace dirty diesel school buses

House hears the deaf, votes to change how law refers to them

Jason Chaffetz co-sponsors bill to abolish U.S. Department of Education

Chaffetz urges Trump to revoke Bears Ears in meeting, oversight not discussed
Oval Office meeting » President ruled out talk of any Oversight Committee activity even before they began their meeting, Utah Republican says.

Park City High School students design mobile classroom in a bus
Project earns them facetime with Utah Gov. Gary Herbert

East High students create toy-block sensors to detect pollution

Utah is spreading hope across the nation to prevent suicide

Utah Breakfast Expansion Team provides meals to hungry children

New calendar approved by Alpine School District Board of Education for next school year

Sterling Scholars: Valuable and commendable

Apply now for Utah Jump$tart Financial Literacy scholarships

How this local school is revolutionizing the way teens learn

Utah junior high school teacher arrested, accused of sexual conduct with students
Ogden » He allegedly enticed female minors to send nude photos, engage in sexual activity.

Former Hurricane teacher sentenced to 22 years in prison for child porn

Spanish Fork teacher reportedly had sex with another underage male student

Man charged with Eagle Mountain school bomb threat likely has mental health issues

Measles case detected in Salt Lake County, first since 2011
Health » General public is at minimal risk, but those with symptoms are urged to contact health officials.

How to support children with dyslexia, boost their confidence

New principals announced in Alpine School District

Weber School District offering ADHD parenting classes at Majestic Elementary

Utah Valley Educator of the Week: Michelle Hatch

Utah Valley Student of the Week: Blake Bauer

January 2017 Students of the Month Honored by St. George Exchange Club

OPINION & COMMENTARY

2017 session shows Utah legislators are crummy listeners

Driving Change in Education

Teachers, Time to Step Up

We owe it to children to take digital citizenship seriously

If you must raise taxes, make sure the money goes to teachers

In “School Choice,” Pick Quality Over Quantity

Betsy DeVos Teaches the Value of Ignorance

The Comforts of the Betsy DeVos War

DeVos vote bodes ill for bipartisanship
Americans should ask why more Republicans didn’t join Murkowski and Collins in opposing her.

Opponents have DeVos backwards
She’s no threat to traditional public education, but she could be a disaster for charter schools if she doesn’t act fast.

The DeVos confirmation vote suggests Trump will have a tough time passing a school voucher law

Advice for Betsy DeVos From Canada
Good public education doesn’t require uniformity

NATION

‘Students first’: new Education Secretary Betsy DeVos seeks common ground

House Votes to Block Obama Rules on Public Lands, Education

CCSD struggles for solutions to special education teacher shortage

Moody’s expresses concern over NM school district cuts

New Report on Teacher Education

Study: Teacher Evaluation Scores Linked to Job Satisfaction

FCC Revokes Decision Allowing Companies to Provide Low-Income Families With Subsidized Broadband

Majorities in all major religious groups support requiring childhood vaccination

Sex education for teen boys linked to higher dual contraceptive use

First Amendment Support Climbing Among High School Students

Preteens who mistrust teachers less likely to reach college

Mother sues Pennsylvania school district over lead-tainted water

Two UK schools trial use of police-style bodycams for teachers
Secondary schools to offer teachers use of cameras to film ‘when legitimate, proportionate and necessary’ to resolve problems

 

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UTAH NEWS
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Is proposed tax increase 1% or 17.5%? Depends on what you count, which could affect $750M ballot initiative
Initiative » Poll says when voters are told of a total impact of the tax hike, they are hesitant.

Depending on how Utahns look at the Our Schools Now ballot initiative, their income taxes would go up by seven-eighths of 1 percent, or by 17.5 percent.
Both figures are accurate, as Our Schools Now would lift the income tax rate from 5 percent to 5.875 percent – a bump of less than 1 percent. But the practical impact of that change is a 17.5 percent increase in the dollars an income earner owes the state each year.
“Seven-eighths of 1 percent, from a marketing perspective, sounds really, really small,” said Rep. Dan McCay, R-Riverton. “But when you put it in totality and put it into context, which I think people need, it may change opinions.”
McCay is sponsoring legislation that would require organizers of a tax initiative, like Our Schools Now, to list and explain both figures.
But a new poll, released Monday by Libertas Institute and the Utah chapter of Americans for Prosperity, suggests a requirement to provide extra tax information could stop Our Schools Now’s push to raise $750 million for public schools in its tracks.
The poll showed 50 percent of participants in support of raising the income tax rate by seven-eighths of 1 percent. But when told the change would cost the average Utah family of four $900 each year, 69 percent of participants said they were less likely to back the initiative.
http://gousoe.uen.org/90E (SLT)

 

Hillyard would like to get more money to teachers of at-risk students

Utah lawmakers want the best teachers available to teach the state’s large number of students but with limited money that can be a difficult issue. State Senator Lyle Hillyard, R-Utah, is chairman of the Public Education Appropriations Committee.
He says deciding how to appropriate the money can be extremely challenging.
“The question is do we just grant across-the-board salary increases, do we target teachers who accept assignments in schools where there are a lot of at-risk kids and the teaching is more difficult,” ponders Hillyard. “What we have found is that often really good, experienced teachers don’t want to teach in that environment.
“They’d rather teach where there are more stable children from more stable homes and because they have seniority they make a choice.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/91p (CVD)

 

Lawmakers support bill aimed at curbing bullying of teachers

The Utah House voted unanimously Tuesday to give teachers some protection against students and parents who bully them with ongoing abusive behavior.
HB62’s sponsor, Rep. Keven Stratton, R-Orem, said it requires school districts or charter school boards to enact a grievance procedure for employees who suffer “abusive conduct” from students or parents.
It defines such abusive conduct as verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct that, based on its severity, nature and frequency would lead a reasonable person to determine it is intended to cause intimidation, humiliation or unwanted distress.
http://gousoe.uen.org/90G (SLT)

 

House wants Volkwagen settlement to help replace dirty diesel school buses

The House called Wednesday for Utah to use at least some of its from a settlement over emissions cheating by Volkswagen to buy new low-pollution schools buses.
It voted 69-4 to pass HCR5, now on its way to the Senate.
The resolution originally called for using $20 million for school buses out of an expected $32 million coming to Utah from Volkswagen.
But its sponsor, Rep. Steve Handy, R-Layton, removed specific numbers from the resolution at the request of the governor’s office and the Department of Environmental Quality while they are reviewing competing proposals for the money.
Now, it calls for replacing “at least a portion of the 433 dirty diesel school buses,” which are at least 11 years old in the state, with clean-fuel alternatives.
http://gousoe.uen.org/929 (SLT)

 

House hears the deaf, votes to change how law refers to them

The House endorsed on Tuesday changing the way Utah Code refers to the deaf, using terminology preferred by the deaf community.
It voted 73-0 to pass HB60, and sent it to the Senate.
It erases the phrase “hearing impairment” throughout Utah law, and replaces it instead with “deaf or hard of hearing.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/90B (SLT)

 

Jason Chaffetz co-sponsors bill to abolish U.S. Department of Education

U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz is listed as a co-sponsor on a bill that aims to do away with the U.S. Department of Education.
H.R. 899 was introduced Tuesday by U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, the same day Betsy Devos was confirmed by the Senate to serve as Secretary of Education in the administration of President Donald Trump.
The bill is only one sentence long and says: “The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018,” according to a press release from Massie’s office.
In a prepared statement, Chaffetz said the Department of Education is not needed at the federal level.
“The one-size-fits-all cookie cutter approach to education has failed,” Chaffetz said in the statement. “Utah has some of the greatest teachers and administrators in the country. We need to get out of their way and let them innovate.
“Those who have the greatest stake in a student’s success – parents, teachers, administrators – will always be more invested in that child’s success than a federal bureaucrat thousands of miles away.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/90w (PDH)

http://gousoe.uen.org/91X (Gephardt Daily)

http://gousoe.uen.org/90R ([Washington, DC] The Hill)

http://gousoe.uen.org/91Z (Washington Examiner)

http://gousoe.uen.org/90S (International Business Times)

http://gousoe.uen.org/92e (Education World)

A copy of the bill
http://gousoe.uen.org/90y (Congress)

 

Chaffetz urges Trump to revoke Bears Ears in meeting, oversight not discussed
Oval Office meeting » President ruled out talk of any Oversight Committee activity even before they began their meeting, Utah Republican says.

Washington . Rep. Jason Chaffetz urged President Donald Trump on Tuesday to reverse the designation of Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah during a face-to-face White House meeting and discussed a host of measures to reform the federal bureaucracy, but they did not venture into any potential oversight of the Trump administration.
Chaffetz, who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said the president warned at the outset of the meeting – before the Utah Republican could sit down – that any oversight issues would not be part of their conversation. Chaffetz didn’t push back, he said.
“At the appropriate time, perhaps [I will], but while we have ongoing investigations that’s not what I was there to talk to the president about,” Chaffetz said, referring to probes he began when Barack Obama was president. While Chaffetz hasn’t launched any Trump-specific investigations, he noted that the new president told him during a Republican retreat in Philadelphia previously that he shouldn’t shy away from doing his job as Oversight chairman.
http://gousoe.uen.org/90z (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/90A (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/91o (PDH)

http://gousoe.uen.org/91x (KSL)

http://gousoe.uen.org/91A (KSTU)

http://gousoe.uen.org/91E (MUR)

 

Park City High School students design mobile classroom in a bus
Project earns them facetime with Utah Gov. Gary Herbert

Park City High School students Natalie Haerter, Ishan Chho and Cole Stanton heard from many naysayers.
The students had been tasked with designing a mobile STEM classroom out of a bus for their semester-long project in the PCCAPS (Park City Center for Advanced Professional Studies) program. The goal was to create a model the STEM Action Center – a Utah organization dedicated to teaching students science, technology, engineering and math – could build and take to schools throughout Utah.
The students, inspired by the challenge, dreamed of something innovative. They imagined a bus with large “modules” that pull out from each side – like many RV campers – expanding the amount of space available for learning. But when they presented their idea to various teachers and other adults, many said it wasn’t practical, or that it would cost too much money.
http://gousoe.uen.org/928 (PR)

 

East High students create toy-block sensors to detect pollution

SALT LAKE CITY – Before the latest series of storms, many areas along the Wasatch Front were shrouded in pollution. To get better information about the quality of the air, two University of Utah professors were at East High School Tuesday to show students how to build portable air quality sensors.
“The pollution downtown is very, very bad,” said Mason Henrie, a senior at East High School. “You can just feel it with heavy breathing.”
Building air quality sensors out of toy blocks teaches students the scientific concepts behind pollution monitoring. “(It furthers) our knowledge of what can be done about air pollution, especially because ours is so bad,” said Alexandra Feliz, a junior at the school.
http://gousoe.uen.org/91b (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/91w (KSL)

 

Utah is spreading hope across the nation to prevent suicide

Many people in Utah know what Hope Squads are, especially students in junior highs, high schools and now elementary schools throughout the state. But now, Hope Squads are popping up across the map, helping kids and adults fight against suicide.
Hope Squads, part of the Hope4Utah Community Suicide Prevention Model, have been going strong in Utah since 2005. The squads are groups of students who are nominated by their peers because they are good listeners, easy to talk to, friendly and kind. The peer-to-peer model works because youth are more likely to tell peers that they are considering suicide than to tell adults.
Now, other states like Alaska, Wyoming, Texas, North Carolina and Idaho have Hope Squads in some of their schools. Schools elsewhere – Indiana, Ohio, Montana, Tennessee and California – are in the process of working to implement the program.
http://gousoe.uen.org/91m (PDH)

 

Utah Breakfast Expansion Team provides meals to hungry children

One of the main issues involving childhood hunger in Utah is only 34 percent of students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals are getting school breakfast, according to No Kid Hungry.
This national organization works with state legislators and school systems to ensure children are getting healthy, adequate meals.
Students start the day without a nutritious meal, and this affects their overall health and ability to focus in school.
Utah ranks last in the nation for school breakfast participation, according to the Food Research and Action Center.
http://gousoe.uen.org/927 (BYU Universe)

 

New calendar approved by Alpine School District Board of Education for next school year

The Alpine School District Board of Education has approved a “compromise calendar” for the upcoming 2017-18 school year.
The decision comes after about 8,800 people signed an online petition in November to extend the length of the Christmas break for the current school year.
The calendar approved Tuesday evening at the board’s meeting has school starting on Tuesday, Aug. 22, and Wednesday, Dec. 20 as a half day. The previous calendar had been approved in 2015 and had school starting on Tuesday, Aug. 22 with the winter break starting on Thursday, Dec. 21.
http://gousoe.uen.org/91i (PDH)

 

Sterling Scholars: Valuable and commendable

By definition, “sterling” is something pure and valuable, synonymous with adjectives like, “exceptional,” “outstanding,” and “commendable.” Certainly, all these words apply to the many students throughout Utah who participate in the Sterling Scholar Award program.
“Sterling Scholar was really a life changing experience for me,” said Annie Henrie, the 2004 visual arts Sterling Scholar. “I had always wanted to be a professional artist, and the Sterling Scholar awards looked like a great opportunity to see if I could be qualified for this type of career, to see if I could ‘make it’ in a sense, and the scholarships available made it an exciting challenge.
“Winning in the state finals for Sterling Scholar gave me an enormous amount of confidence in my abilities and hope for success in the art field.”
Today, Henrie is a professional artist whose work can be found in the Bronze Coast Gallery in Cannon Beach, Oregon, Deseret Bookstores throughout Utah and the Authentique Gallery in St. George.
Since 1962, Deseret News has sought to honor the high school seniors who live up to that standard and will continue to do so. Deseret Management Corp., the parent company of Deseret News and KSL Broadcasting Group, has continued this tradition 55 years later. Funding for the scholarships is provided through the charitable arm of DMC, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Foundation, which supports this philosophy of recognizing sterling qualities in Utah’s students.
http://gousoe.uen.org/917 (DN)

Sidebar: Candidates
http://gousoe.uen.org/918 (DN)

Sidebar: Advice
http://gousoe.uen.org/919 (DN)

Sidebar: Award
http://gousoe.uen.org/91a (DN)

 

Apply now for Utah Jump$tart Financial Literacy scholarships

RIVERDALE, Weber County – America First Credit Union is once again providing six $1,250 scholarships as part of the Utah Jump$tart Coalition Financial Literacy Scholarship contest.
The scholarships will be awarded to Utah high school students scheduled to graduate in 2017. Submissions will be accepted through 6 p.m. Friday, March 17.
http://gousoe.uen.org/91c (OSE)

 

How this local school is revolutionizing the way teens learn

DeLaina Tonks, principal and director of Mountain Heights Academy, talks about how her online school is able to personalize learning for teens and better prepare them for college and a career.
http://gousoe.uen.org/91B (KSTU)

 

Utah junior high school teacher arrested, accused of sexual conduct with students
Ogden » He allegedly enticed female minors to send nude photos, engage in sexual activity.

A former Ogden junior high school teacher has been arrested for allegedly committing sexual offenses with girls he met through his position as a teacher.
Drew Tutt, 28, was arrested Monday for allegedly enticing several minor female victims to send him nude photos and engaging in sexual conduct with at least two students, a news release from the Weber County Sheriff’s Office said.
Tutt met the alleged victims through his position as a teacher at Mound Fort Junior High School in Ogden, the news release said
http://gousoe.uen.org/90U (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/90V (OSE)

http://gousoe.uen.org/90W (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/911 (KUTV)

http://gousoe.uen.org/90Y (KTVX)

http://gousoe.uen.org/91y (KSL)

http://gousoe.uen.org/910 (KSTU)

http://gousoe.uen.org/90X (Gephardt Daily)

 

Former Hurricane teacher sentenced to 22 years in prison for child porn

ST. GEORGE – A former Washington County teacher has been sentenced to more than two decades in prison for making child pornography.
Chad Huntsman, 34, of Cedar City, was sentenced to 22 ½ years in federal prison Monday, the Spectrum reported. Huntsman taught at Diamond Ranch Academy in Hurricane before his arrest in 2015.
Authorities say they found several hundred pictures of child pornography on Huntsman’s iPhone. He pleaded guilty to production of child pornography in August.
http://gousoe.uen.org/91d (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/91q (SGS)

http://gousoe.uen.org/91r (SGN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/91g (OSE)

http://gousoe.uen.org/91s (KUTV)

http://gousoe.uen.org/91v (KSL)

http://gousoe.uen.org/91F (MUR)

 

Spanish Fork teacher reportedly had sex with another underage male student

Another male student has reported to police that he had sexual intercourse with a Landmark High School teacher who is already charged with allegedly raping another male student.
Police reports state a 17-year-old Landmark student told police he had sexual intercourse with Sarah Lewis on Dec. 28, 2016. Lewis, 27, reportedly drank whiskey with the student prior to the sexual intercourse. A few days after the New Year, Lewis reportedly provided whiskey and champagne to the same minor at her Payson home.
The student told police he communicated with Lewis over Snapchat, and at some point, she sent him a picture of herself consuming alcohol, telling him “let’s party,” reports state.
http://gousoe.uen.org/91h (PDH)

http://gousoe.uen.org/91z (KSL)

Man charged with Eagle Mountain school bomb threat likely has mental health issues

An Eagle Mountain man charged with threatening to blow up a school has been determined to have mental health issues and is likely not competent to legally proceed in his case.
Christopher Craig appeared Tuesday in American Fork’s Fourth District Court with his attorney, Dustin Parmley, who told Judge Roger Griffin his client has had several psychological evaluations and all have drawn the conclusion he has mental health issues.
“He is not competent to proceed,” Parmley said, asking the court to evaluate if Craig, 35, can be admitted to the Utah State Hospital to regain competency.
Griffin declined to issue a ruling on competency as he had not yet had time to read one of the three psychologists’ reports, which Parmley cited specifically in his opinion of Craig’s competency.
Griffin asked to wait a week for him to read the psychologist’s analysis and to rule on Craig’s competency, though he will likely find him incompetent to proceed.
Craig will be back in court on Feb. 14.
Craig reportedly entered Eagle Valley Elementary School in Eagle Mountain at 2:15 p.m. on Sept. 26, 2016 and told school officials to evacuate the school.
Craig, a former basketball coach at Utah State University Eastern in Price, drove his vehicle, which he said contained explosives, up to the school, according to police. No explosives were found.
http://gousoe.uen.org/92f (PDH)

 

Measles case detected in Salt Lake County, first since 2011
Health » General public is at minimal risk, but those with symptoms are urged to contact health officials.

A child from Salt Lake County is recovering from the measles this week after traveling abroad, making it the first confirmed case of the disease in county since 2011.
County health department officials announced the case Tuesday, calling on residents to make sure their measles vaccinations are up to date.
“Being fully vaccinated against measles does more than just protect the person who receives the vaccination,” said Dagmar Vitek, department medical director. “It also protects their family and friends, including children who may be too young to be vaccinated, and helps to limit the spread of disease in the community.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/912 (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/91e (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/91u (KUTV)

http://gousoe.uen.org/92a (KTVX)

http://gousoe.uen.org/92b (KSTU)

 

How to support children with dyslexia, boost their confidence

Seven-year-old Susie is one of the smartest girls in her class. She has a fantastic vocabulary and can tell you all about different species of animals and their habitats. But when it comes to reading about animals, or reading anything else, Susie has a difficult time. Reading for Susie is frustrating; she struggles to sound out unfamiliar words and still has a hard time knowing which letters of the alphabet make which sounds. Susie avoids reading aloud in fear of embarrassment. Susie has dyslexia.
http://gousoe.uen.org/91n (PDH)

 

New principals announced in Alpine School District

Alpine School District announced multiple administrative assignments Wednesday morning. The assignments will begin July 1.
http://gousoe.uen.org/91j (PDH)

Weber School District offering ADHD parenting classes at Majestic Elementary

OGDEN – A family class for parents whose children have attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder is being held in February.
Held from 6:30-8:30 p.m., the series of classes start Thursday, Feb. 16, and take place every Thursday night through March 30. The first class on Feb. 16 will begin at 6:15 p.m., according to a news release.
http://gousoe.uen.org/91f (OSE)

 

Utah Valley Educator of the Week: Michelle Hatch

Michelle Hatch, a fifth-grade teacher at Wasatch Elementary School in Provo, has been selected as-this week’s Daily Herald Educator of the Week.
http://gousoe.uen.org/91k (PDH)

 

Utah Valley Student of the Week: Blake Bauer

Blake Bauer, a second-grade student at Wasatch Elementary School in Provo City School District, has been selected as this week’s Daily Herald Student of the Week.
http://gousoe.uen.org/91l (PDH)

 

January 2017 Students of the Month Honored by St. George Exchange Club

ST GEORGE, Utah – The January Student of the Month recipients were recently honored by the St. George Exchange Club.
http://gousoe.uen.org/91D (KCSG)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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2017 session shows Utah legislators are crummy listeners
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

If one thing has been clear in Utah politics this year, it’s that lawmakers aren’t listening.
We’ve seen bill after bill directly contradict Utahns demands and values and still wiggle through committees and onto to the floor. Meanwhile, the things Utahns do value are brushed aside.
A bill that would have allowed parents to opt their kids into more comprehensive sex education died in committee this week, despite previous surveys showing two-thirds of Utahns support an option to provide more than a push for abstinence with a bare minimum curriculum for safe sex and STD prevention.
http://gousoe.uen.org/90H

 

Driving Change in Education
Salt Lake Tribune editorial cartoon by Pat Bagley

http://gousoe.uen.org/913

 

Teachers, Time to Step Up
Teacher Magazine op-ed by Allison Riddle, 2014 Utah Teacher of the Year

My state is struggling.
Utah has the largest class sizes in the nation, and we spend the least per pupil. Our current funding model cannot adequately provide for the ever-growing number of students in our communities. Teachers are paid .70 on the dollar compared to others who earn a Bachelor’s Degree. On top of that, our state board recently approved yet another alternative licensing route that will result in even more teachers entering classrooms unprepared to teach. It’s no wonder more than 40% of our newest teachers leave in the first five years.
As a veteran educator and teacher leader, I am angry about the seemingly willful disregard of our situation by policy makers. Conversations regarding salaries, licensing, funding and teacher prep are generously reported in the media, but progress feels painfully slow. Exhausted by their efforts in the classroom, our teachers have little passion left to speak out and share their stories. Yet we cannot escape this important truth: our profession desperately needs teachers willing to lead the difficult discussions. We need teacher leaders.
http://gousoe.uen.org/92d

 

We owe it to children to take digital citizenship seriously
Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Carrie Rogers-Whitehead,

At the end of 2016, an NPR report examined a recent study by Stanford’s Graduate School of Education about how teens and young adults evaluated online sources of information. The results were surprising and unsettling.
According to the study, more than 80 percent of middle-schoolers believed that paid advertiser content was a real news story. When asked to verify the source of a picture, students didn’t research the content. They simply accepted the picture as truth. Students also failed to examine bias or political agenda in ads, and in one exercise more than half of the students thought the article from the suspect and biased organization was more reliable than a well-established organization.

Utah is one of a few states that has a law around digital citizenship. The Safe Utilization and Digital Citizenship in Public Schools (HB213) asks charter school governing boards or school community councils to fulfill certain duties related to digital citizenship. In 2017 Utah will be hosting the National Digital Citizenship Summit.
http://gousoe.uen.org/915

 

If you must raise taxes, make sure the money goes to teachers
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Dennis Christiansen

Now that the state Legislature is in session I thought it would be a good time to express my thoughts regarding the push to raise the flat income tax rate to put more money into education.
First of all, the fact that they are going for an increase of 7/8ths of 1 percent “sounds” like a minor bump in the rate. It’s like a retailer putting .99 at the end of a price, it appears to be less than it really is. The 7/8ths percent is a 17.5 percent increase on the current 5 percent. So, if you have $50,000 in taxable income, that is $437 in additional tax. Add that to the increased gas tax and the ever-increasing property taxes, etc. and it becomes a burden to a lot of citizens who can use that money to live on.
I’m a senior, retired, living alone, paying on a mortgage, car, utilities and all of the other necessary payments that it takes to live.
http://gousoe.uen.org/916

 

In “School Choice,” Pick Quality Over Quantity
Daily Utah Chronicle letter from Sean Williams

When it comes to the future of education, it is vital to look past slogans. Though the promise of additional “school choice” certainly sounds tempting, the devil is in the details. Some school reformers have illustrated the massive benefits that can come from innovative teaching styles and parental involvement. Unfortunately, school choice is also sometimes pushed as a goal itself as advocates work to expand the number of choices without enough concern for quality. Moving forward with changes in public schooling requires us to slow down and reevaluate how to make these “choices” the best they can be.
The “school choice” movement hasn’t passed Utah by and we can now begin to evaluate the practical effects it has had. One tenet of the movement is the expansion of “charter schools,” public schools run by non-governmental groups less beholden to bureaucracy. Utah has witnessed the massive growth of charter schools fueled in part by relatively lax laws governing them.
In theory, these charter schools are supposed to offer much-needed choice over traditional education options. It doesn’t always work as planned.
http://gousoe.uen.org/926

 

Betsy DeVos Teaches the Value of Ignorance
New York Times editorial

“Government really sucks.” This belief, expressed by the just­confirmed education secretary, Betsy DeVos, in a 2015 speech to educators, may be the only qualification she needed for President Trump.
Ms. DeVos is the perfect cabinet member for a president determined to appoint officials eager to destroy the agencies they run and weigh the fate of policies and programs based on ideological considerations.
She has never run, taught in, attended or sent a child to an American public school, and her confirmation hearings laid bare her ignorance of education policy and scorn for public education itself. She has donated millions to, and helped direct, groups that want to replace traditional public schools with charter schools and convert taxpayer dollars into vouchers to help parents send children to private and religious schools.
While her nomination gave exposure to an honest and passionate debate about charter schools as an alternative to traditional public schools, her hard­line opposition to any real accountability for these publicly funded, privately run schools undermined their founding principle as well as her support.
http://gousoe.uen.org/90J

 

The Comforts of the Betsy DeVos War
New York Times commentary by columnist Ross Douthat

In these distinctly abnormal times for the republic, with Donald Trump in the White House and a group of unprepared revolutionaries around him, one must be grateful for small doses of normalcy and politics as usual. Thank heavens, then, for Senate Democrats, who just gave us the most predictable of spectacles: a liberal holy war against Betsy DeVos, just confirmed as the new secretary of education by Mike Pence’s tiebreaking vote.
A visitor from Saturn might be puzzled by this particular crusade, since none of the things that liberals profess to fear the most about a Trump era revolve around education policy. If Trump is planning to surrender Eastern Europe to the Russians or start a world war with the Chinese, perhaps his secretary of state nominee deserved an all­night talkathon of opposition. If he’s bent on domestic authoritarianism with a racist tinge, then it’s Jeff Sessions, his attorney general, who presents the natural target for Democratic protest. If the biggest problem is that Trump will nominate allies who are unqualified for their responsibilities, then the choice of Ben Carson to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development seems like an obvious place to draw a line.
But somehow it was DeVos who became, in the parlance of cable­news crawls, Trump’s “most controversial nominee.” Never mind that Trump’s logorrheic nationalism barely has time for education. Never mind that local control of schools makes the Education Department a pretty weak player. Never mind that Republican views on education policy are much closer to the expert consensus than they are on, say, climate change. Never mind that the bulk of DeVos’s school­choice work places her only somewhat to the right of the Obama administration’s pro­charter­school positioning, close to centrist Democrats like Senator Cory Booker. None of that mattered: Against her and (so far) only her, Democrats went to the barricades, and even dragged a couple of wavering Republicans along with them
http://gousoe.uen.org/90K

 

DeVos vote bodes ill for bipartisanship
Americans should ask why more Republicans didn’t join Murkowski and Collins in opposing her.
USA Today op-ed by Linda Killian, executive director of Independent Americans United

We didn’t need more evidence that this country is in for a very rough couple of years, but we got some anyway with the squeaker Senate confirmation of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education.
DeVos, who married into the Amway fortune, has given $200 million to Republican candidates and causes over the years. She has long been a strong advocate for school choice, including vouchers and unregulated for-profit charter schools. She has demonstrated both unfamiliarity and hostility toward public education, even calling public schools a “dead end.”
Senate Democrats staged an all-night talk-a-thon against DeVos and every Democratic member opposed her confirmation. Two independent-minded Republicans, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, joined them in voting no. Their decision created a 50-50 tie and meant Vice President Pence had to deliver the 51st vote. According to the Senate historian, it was the first time in Senate history that a vice president was needed to break a tie on a Cabinet nominee.
http://gousoe.uen.org/91J

 

Opponents have DeVos backwards
She’s no threat to traditional public education, but she could be a disaster for charter schools if she doesn’t act fast.
USA Today op-ed by Richard Whitmire, author of several education books

In an historic squeaker, Betsy DeVos just won approval as our education secretary. Now, everyone is braced for what they assume is coming next: Traditional school districts get starved while school choice options flourish.
Actually, just the opposite is likely to play out.
DeVos presents no threat to traditional schools, especially those beloved suburban schools that parents seek out. But she does present a threat to public charter schools, which have proven to be the first-ever school reform that works at scale for poor kids.
Allow me to explain.
http://gousoe.uen.org/91K

 

The DeVos confirmation vote suggests Trump will have a tough time passing a school voucher law
Washington Post analysis by columnist Mona Vakilifathi

Despite thousands of phone calls, a pizza delivery and two Republican defections, the Senate has confirmed Betsy DeVos for as education secretary by a 51-50 vote. For the first time in U.S. history, a vice president cast the tiebreaking vote to confirm a Cabinet nominee. Still, the rocky confirmation suggests difficulty ahead for President Trump’s campaign promises on student vouchers. If we look closely at the confirmation votes – and the reasons behind them – we find a serious roadblock to Trump’s education agenda.
http://gousoe.uen.org/925

 

Advice for Betsy DeVos From Canada
Good public education doesn’t require uniformity
Education Week op-ed by Beth Green, education program director at Cardus

The newly confirmed U.S. secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, will take office during a tumultuous time in American education. As a school-choice advocate, she is well-positioned to put her stamp on the expansion of charter schools and other effective-but often controversial-education reforms. DeVos has invested millions of dollars in the school choice cause and in inner-city charter school initiatives.
If the grilling DeVos endured in last month’s confirmation hearing is any indication, any push from within the Trump administration for greater diversity of elementary and secondary school options will end in an acrimonious public vs. private debate. But it need not be that way.
In fact, one can advocate for a much more expansive definition of public education: one that offers greater parental choice in a system that is responsive to local community and parental demand, while absolutely shunning for-profit elementary and secondary schools. One can believe that public schools should not be uniform, but that in receipt for their funding-whether through vouchers, tax credits, or charter models-they should be properly regulated and held fully accountable.
If all of that sounds like having your cake and eating it too, then I would like to issue an invitation from Canada to take a look north of the 49th parallel. The Ontario-based public-policy think tank Cardus, for which I serve as an education program director, urges DeVos to check out the provinces of Alberta and British Columbia in particular.
http://gousoe.uen.org/91V

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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‘Students first’: new Education Secretary Betsy DeVos seeks common ground
Washington Post

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Wednesday delivered her first public message since her rocky confirmation hearing, promising her new staff that she is committed to working with them to “protect, strengthen and create new world-class education opportunities for America’s students.”
DeVos pledged in a 9-minute speech to challenge the Education Department to examine its policies and practices – and to listen to her new colleagues. “Let us set aside any preconceived notions and let’s recognize that while we may have disagreements, we can – and must – come together, find common ground and put the needs of our students first.”
DeVos addressed more than 200 employees at the headquarters in Washington, with others tuning in online for what was billed as an all-hands meeting. She enters office as a polarizing figure, with supporters calling her a change agent and critics charging that she is unqualified and would undermine public schools. She was confirmed Tuesday by the narrowest of margins, with Vice President Pence casting a tiebreaking vote after senators deadlocked on her fitness for the job.
http://gousoe.uen.org/91H

http://gousoe.uen.org/91I (USAT, video)

http://gousoe.uen.org/91R (Ed Week)

http://gousoe.uen.org/91L (AP)

 

House Votes to Block Obama Rules on Public Lands, Education
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Republican-controlled House voted Tuesday to overturn Obama-era rules on the environment and education as GOP lawmakers seek to reverse years of what they see as excessive government regulation during the past eight years of a Democratic president.
The House voted, 234-186, to repeal a rule that requires federal land managers to consider climate change and other long-term effects of proposed development on public lands. The rule also requires the federal Bureau of Land Management to use the best available science in making decisions about the 245 million acres of public lands it oversees, mostly in the West.
Lawmakers also voted, 234-190, to repeal a separate measure aimed at helping states identify failing schools and come up with plans to improve them. The rule provides a framework for states to develop their own accountability plans under a bipartisan education law signed by President Barack Obama in 2015.
The two measures now go to the Senate.
Republicans called both rules examples of government overreach.
http://gousoe.uen.org/91M

http://gousoe.uen.org/91Q (Ed Week)

 

CCSD struggles for solutions to special education teacher shortage
Las Vegas Review Journal

Ashlen Atkinson comes from a family of special education teachers.
That’s why it seemed natural for Atkinson, a first-year special education teacher at West Prep Academy in Las Vegas, to pursue the same career.
“As a kid, I enjoyed being the tutor in the classroom,” she said. “I would tutor the other students that might’ve been having difficulties with the material.”
Atkinson, a Las Vegas native and freshly minted college graduate, wants to give back to her community by working with students. She felt particularly pulled to teaching those with special needs.
“I feel like those are the students that are most often neglected,” she said. “I feel like it’s necessary that they have someone working with them that’s passionate about their learning.”
Across the Clark County School District, classrooms desperately need more teachers like Atkinson. Of roughly 478 teaching vacancies, 204 of them – or about 43 percent – are special education positions.
http://gousoe.uen.org/90O

Moody’s expresses concern over NM school district cuts
Albuquerque (NM) Journal

SANTA FE – A national credit rating agency has expressed concern about passage of a solvency bill that reduces funding for most New Mexico school districts.
In a credit outlook released Monday, Moody’s Investor Service warned that the state’s decision to reduce funding for school districts for the second time in four months – schools also faced spending cuts in a special session last fall – could put districts on precarious financial footing.
“Continued declines in state aid risk further narrowing cash reserves, which may result in downgrades across the sector,” the Moody’s report said.
The bill in question – one of three solvency bills signed into law last week by Gov. Susana Martinez – calls for reducing funding for most New Mexico school districts by a total of roughly $46 million. It specifically requires districts to offset the reduction out of cash balances.
http://gousoe.uen.org/90M

 

New Report on Teacher Education
Inside Higher Ed

The Teacher Education Task Force of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities has released a report outlining the problems facing teacher education programs and possible responses to them. Among the challenges facing programs, according to the report: low pay for teachers, teacher shortages, declining enrollment and federal and state policies requiring increased accountability.
http://gousoe.uen.org/920

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/921 (AASCU)

 

Study: Teacher Evaluation Scores Linked to Job Satisfaction
Education Week

High performance ratings lead to higher job satisfaction among Tennessee teachers, according to a new study by researchers at Vanderbilt University and the University of Missouri.
While these findings may sound intuitive, they are also the first to show that high effective ratings actually cause teachers’ perception of their work to improve, just as low performance ratings cause decreased job satisfaction, according to Matthew G. Springer, an assistant professor of public policy and education at Vanderbilt University.
Springer suggests the positive effect of high performance marks on job satisfaction could be the result of what he describes as a “more rigorous” evaluation system that Tennessee put into place beginning in 2011.
http://gousoe.uen.org/91S

A copy of the study
http://gousoe.uen.org/91T (American Educational Research Journal)

 

FCC Revokes Decision Allowing Companies to Provide Low-Income Families With Subsidized Broadband
Education Week

Nine companies will no longer be able to participate in a federal program offering subsidized broadband internet to low-income Americans.
The Federal Communications Commission revoked the designations of the companies that had been approved as broadband providers for the program, known as Lifeline. The decision limits the companies’ ability to provide subsidized broadband access for families, including students, who rely on home internet access to complete research and homework assignments, among other tasks.
Lifeline provides a $9.25 credit to qualifying low-income households that subscribers can apply toward communications services. Last year the FCC allowed the program, which has covered phone service since its launch in 1985, to be used for broadband services. That decision was made under the direction of former Chairman Tom Wheeler, a Democrat appointed by President Obama, who expanded the services covered by the credit to include stand-alone broadband service.
http://gousoe.uen.org/91U

 

Majorities in all major religious groups support requiring childhood vaccination
Pew Research Center

Large majorities of U.S. adults from all major religious groups say healthy children should be required to be vaccinated against measles, mumps and rubella to attend school because of the potential health risk to others when children are not vaccinated. Still, there are some modest differences between religious groups, a new Pew Research Center survey finds.
White evangelical Protestants and religiously unaffiliated people are somewhat less likely than members of other religious groups to support a school-based MMR vaccine requirement, although about three-quarters of white evangelicals (76%) and religious “nones” (78%) do favor these requirements, according to the survey.
About one-in-five white evangelical Protestants (22%) and unaffiliated (21%) say parents should be able to decide not to have their children vaccinated, a slightly higher share than for other religious groups. One-in-ten white mainline Protestants (10%) and nearly the same share of Catholics (11%), for instance, say parents should be able to decide not to have their children vaccinated for measles, mumps and rubella.
Most white evangelicals identify as Republican or Republican-leaning, while most of the religiously unaffiliated are Democrats or lean to the Democratic Party. The survey finds Republicans and Democrats (including those who lean to either party) are about equally likely to support a school-based vaccine requirement.
http://gousoe.uen.org/90T

 

Sex education for teen boys linked to higher dual contraceptive use
Reuters

Young men who receive sex education before age 18 are more likely to use more than one type of contraceptive method during sex, such as a condom in addition to their female partner’s hormonal birth control, according to a small U.S. study.
“The dual method significantly decreases the chances of contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or having an unplanned pregnancy,” said lead author Nicole Jaramillo, a public health researcher at San Diego State University in California.
“This is especially important among adolescent males with the growing use of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) methods among their female partners,” she told Reuters Health. “It is still very important to promote and educate about the use of condoms for STI prevention.”
Shorten
http://gousoe.uen.org/91Y

 

First Amendment Support Climbing Among High School Students
New York Times

Support among American high school students for the First Amendment is stronger today than it has been in the last 12 years, according to the latest in a series of large nationwide surveys of the nation’s rising voters.
Some 91 percent of high school students say they believe that individuals should be allowed to express unpopular opinions, according to a Knight Foundation survey of nearly 12,000 students conducted last year. The survey is the sixth in a series, the first of which was carried out in 2004, when 83 percent supported such rights.
“What we’ve seen since 2004 is a slow but steady increase in support,” said Kenneth Dautrich, the study’s lead author and the president of the Stats Group, a statistical and data services firm
http://gousoe.uen.org/90P

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/90Q (Knight Foundation)

 

Preteens who mistrust teachers less likely to reach college
Reuters

Students of color who perceive biased treatment from middle school teachers may be less likely to attend college than if they trusted instructors to treat them fairly, a small study suggests.
“We don’t think the discrimination and bias, by itself, had this effect,” said lead study author David Yeager, a psychology researcher at the University of Texas at Austin and co-chair of the Mindset Scholars Network at Stanford University in California.
“Instead, we think these experiences made students disengage from the system,” Yeager added by email. “Once you’re disengaged, you do worse, you get lower grades, you’re more likely to get in trouble, and so on, and once kids have low grades or high absences, they’re just less likely to go on and get higher SAT scores and eventually make it to college.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/91P

 

Mother sues Pennsylvania school district over lead-tainted water
Reuters

NEW YORK | A mother has sued a Pennsylvania school district for a delay in telling parents that the water at her daughter’s school was contaminated with toxic levels of lead, according to a complaint filed in U.S. federal court on Wednesday.
The Butler Area School District told parents in a letter on Jan. 20 that test results, which they acknowledged receiving five months earlier, had found leads levels at Summit Elementary School “exceeding acceptable water standards.”
Jennifer Tait, whose daughter attends the school, says officials should have said something as soon as the test results came through last August, according to her lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh.
http://gousoe.uen.org/91N

 

Two UK schools trial use of police-style bodycams for teachers
Secondary schools to offer teachers use of cameras to film ‘when legitimate, proportionate and necessary’ to resolve problems
(Manchester) Guardian

Teachers in two UK schools are trialling using body cameras in class because they are “fed up with low-level background disorder”, a criminal justice academic has revealed.
Tom Ellis, principal lecturer at the Institute of Criminal Justice Studies at the University of Portsmouth, said all classroom teachers at the two state secondary schools are being given the option of the cameras to film “when necessary”.
The technology, worn by police, parking wardens and even school crossing-patrol officers in Britain, was rolled out in US schools from 2015.
“Most schools now have some level of problems with low-level background disorder in classrooms and the teachers have become quite fed up with not being able to teach,” Ellis told the Guardian.
The former Home Office researcher said the three-month pilot scheme, started within the last month, securely stores footage on a cloud platform like ones used by police forces. The two schools are not being named so as not to interfere with the trial.
http://gousoe.uen.org/922

http://gousoe.uen.org/923 (Reuters)

http://gousoe.uen.org/924 ([London] The Sun)

 

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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 8:

Senate Education Committee meeting
3 p.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SEDU0208.ag.htm

Senate Health and Human Services Committee meeting
3 p.m., 250 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SHHS0208.ag.htm

House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee meeting
3 p.m., 20 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HEDW0208.ag.htm

House Government Operations Committee meeting
3 p.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HGOC0208.ag.htm

House Political Subdivisions Committee meeting
3 p.m., 450 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HPOL0208.ag.htm

House Revenue and Taxation Committee meeting
3 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HREV0208.ag.htm

February 9:

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2017/html/00001442.htm

Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environmental Quality Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8 a.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2017/html/00001412.htm

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

House Education Committee meeting
3 p.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HEDU0209.ag.htm

February 10:

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

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