Education News Roundup: Feb. 14, 2017

Utah State Legislature

Utah State Legislature

Today’s Top Picks:

Public Education Appropriations will ask for a 3 percent hike in school spending.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95e (SLT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/95f (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/95g (UP)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/95M (KUER)
or a copy of the subcommittee’s recommendations
http://gousoe.uen.org/95h (Legislature)

Speaker Hughes says it’s unlikely that the Legislature will act on the nonpartisan state school board bill.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95i (SLT)

Rep. Poulson’s bill to end school grading advances.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95p (SLT)

KSL looks at teacher pay in Utah.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95I (KSL)

ESSA regulations are now in the hands of Congress. What does that mean?
http://gousoe.uen.org/95U (Ed Week)

President Trump defends his choice of Education Secretary.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95Y (WaPo)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/95Z (Voice of America)

When should a sick child stay home from school?
http://gousoe.uen.org/95W (Ed Week)
or a copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/95X (C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Free teacher licenses and 3% school spending bump in latest budget numbers More money spent per student, free licenses for teachers among recommendations.

Speaker: Lawmakers won’t act on nonpartisan ed-board bill Legislation on hold » Next year school-board elections to be partisan.

House committee approves bill to end Utah school grading New program would maintain statewide accountability, but with consideration given to schools with high levels of at-risk students.

Utah bans ‘advocacy of homosexuality’ in the classroom. This bill would strike that law.

Rooftop solar tax credits will be phased out under bill OK’d by House Bill supporters say industry no longer needs help, but solar provides only 1 percent of Utah energy, critic says.

Bill providing protections in overdose reversals advances

Bill would allow sunscreen use at public schools

Dismal pay forces Utah teachers to take 2nd jobs to support families

New charter school to open in northwest Ogden area

Utah teen pleads guilty to firing shotgun inside school Courts » Fifteen-year-old boy pleads guilty to two felonies; prosecutors no longer trying to move his case to adult court.

Awaiting competency hearing, Orem teen accused of stabbing 5 remains in custody

Honors high school students take Austad Auditorium

Weber County teen wants to make every girl feel ‘special and beautiful’ today

Local high schools differ in approach to Valentine’s Day

Spring Creek Middle School students create 1,000 valentines

Schools In Salt Lake Co. Will Help The U Monitor Air Pollution

Students receive red carpet treatment for first day at new Legacy Elementary

‘She’s my best mom’: Single mom dresses as a guy for dads’ event at son’s school

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Utah juvenile justice reforms should be approved

Tax hike for schools? It’s all in how you ask the question

Watching crocuses sprout while trying to outguess the Legislature

Skip the politics

Facts work better than abstinence

Wrestling and gender

Tim Kaine’s appalling smear of vouchers
School choice is a tool for poor kids, not a return to the states’ rights era.

NATION

Uncertainties as Congress Takes Aim at ESSA Regulations

Trump praises Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, saying she endured a ‘very unfair trial’

Trump, DeVos and Spicer addressed school choice — without publicly using the word ‘voucher’

Betsy DeVos: I’ll Look for Unnecessary Programs to Cut at the Education Dept.

Chicago Public Schools sue over ‘discriminatory’ state funding

Study: Most Texas School Districts Have Scant Sex Education

Secretly Recorded Comments Lead to Teachers’ Reprimand

Quaker School Suspends 2 Teachers Over Palestinian Speaker

When Should a Sick Child Stay Home?

 

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UTAH NEWS
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Free teacher licenses and 3% school spending bump in latest budget numbers
More money spent per student, free licenses for teachers among recommendations.

Utah lawmakers are looking to increase per-student education spending by roughly $90 million this year, a 3 percent increase, and end the practice of charging fees for educator licenses.
Those budget recommendations were finalized Monday by the Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee in a list of funding requests totaling more than $190 million.
Subcommittee co-chairman Rep. Dan McCay, R-Riverton, said lawmakers are committed to prioritizing the weighted pupil unit, or WPU, Utah’s per-student funding formula.
School districts have asked for a minimum per-student increase of 2.5 percent in order to keep pace with inflated costs, but previous drafts of the education budget listed only a 1 percent bump to the WPU.
“There was never a serious conversation, in front of the scenes or behind the scenes, that we would ever be below what the state [school] board has requested — which is 2.5 [percent],” McCay said.
At $90 million, a 3 percent per-student increase shrinks the revenue left for other legislative funding requests.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95e (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/95f (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/95g (UP)

http://gousoe.uen.org/95M (KUER)

A copy of the subcommittee’s recommendations
http://gousoe.uen.org/95h (Legislature)

 

Speaker: Lawmakers won’t act on nonpartisan ed-board bill
Legislation on hold » Next year school-board elections to be partisan.

A proposal to keep state school board elections nonpartisan is currently stuck in the House Rules Committee and likely to stay there, House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, said Monday.
Without legislative action, elections for state school board are scheduled to become partisan in 2018, the result of what Hughes called a “hard-earned” compromise approved last year.
But after years of debate on the issue, Hughes said the state needs to see its existing law put into effect before looking to make changes.
Previously, school board candidates were nominated by a committee and placed on the ballot by the governor.
But that process was struck down on constitutional grounds by a federal judge in 2014, leading to two years of debate among lawmakers over how to seat members of the state school board.
Last year, a proposal was adopted that allowed for direct, nonpartisan elections in 2016, followed by direct, partisan elections beginning with the 2018 campaign cycle. Eliminating the nominating committee and the role of the governor resulted in a lively election cycle last year, with elected leaders, including Hughes, endorsing candidates and the Utah Education Association coming under fire for offering financial and networking support to individual campaigns.
Hughes said the nonpartisan elections had the “flavor” of partisanship, without the structure and vetting of the party nomination process.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95i (SLT)

 

House committee approves bill to end Utah school grading
New program would maintain statewide accountability, but with consideration given to schools with high levels of at-risk students.

Utah’s school grading system launched with good intentions of helping schools, Rep. Marie Poulson, D-Cottonwood Heights, said Monday,
But six years of the controversial and perennially-altered program has produced little more than a socio-economic survey of students and frustrating moving targets for teachers, she said.
“School grading has become the public shaming of hardworking schools and educators,” Poulson said. “Basically, it’s a zip code system.”
On Monday, members of the House Education Committee sided with Poulson, voting 6-4 in favor of her bill to end the practice of assigning letter grades to public schools.
Her bill, HB241, would maintain a statewide school accountability system. But rather than measure school performance based on standardized testing, her bill would use additional metrics like Advanced Placement participation and elementary reading levels to rate schools, without a letter and with consideration given to campuses with high levels of at-risk students.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95p (SLT)

 

Utah bans ‘advocacy of homosexuality’ in the classroom.
This bill would strike that law.

If there is a problem with Utah’s sex education law, Sen. Stuart Adams said Tuesday, it should be the Legislature, and not the courts, that fixes it.
“I don’t really love the fact that courts have the opportunity to legislate,” said Adams, R-Layton. “We need to do that job.”
Adams was referring to a lawsuit filed against the Utah Board of Education by Equality Utah, which challenges a prohibition in Utah law against “the advocacy of homosexuality” during classroom discussions.
The senator is sponsoring legislation this year, SB196, that would strike the homosexuality provision from law, while preserving abstinence before marriage and fidelity after marriage as the basis of sex education within the state.
SB196 was scheduled for its first hearing Monday, but was removed from the agenda of the Senate Education Committee. Adams did not say why the bill was pulled from Monday’s agenda, but added that he hopes to present the bill in committee within the next few days.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95q (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/963 (KTVX)

http://gousoe.uen.org/95L (KSTU)

 

Rooftop solar tax credits will be phased out under bill OK’d by House
Bill supporters say industry no longer needs help, but solar provides only 1 percent of Utah energy, critic says.

The House voted Monday to phase out tax credits for Utahns installing rooftop solar-energy systems over the next four years.
Representatives approved the policy change 60-14 and sent HB23 to the Senate.
Currently, Utahns may seek tax credits of up to $2,000 for installing a residential solar system. The bill would limit that to $1,600 beginning in 2018, then ratchet down the amount yearly by $400 until it reaches zero by Dec. 31, 2021.
That comes after runaway growth in solar installations in 2016 threatened to drain up to $60 million from state coffers this year, hurting school funding.
Currently, the state is spending about $5.5 million on these tax credits, according to the bill’s fiscal note. That money comes out of the education fund, made up of revenues from state income tax.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95k (SLT)

 

Bill providing protections in overdose reversals advances

SALT LAKE CITY — A Senate committee gave a favorable recommendation to a bill that would tighten liability protections for people administering opiate overdose reversal drugs.
HB66 passed the Senate Health and Human Services Committee with a 7-0 vote, and now heads to the Senate floor.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Carol Spackman Moss, D-Holladay, said when lawmakers passed the Opiate Overdose Response Act last year to help prevent overdose deaths, they thought they had included ample liability protections for providers who administer the naloxone drug.
“Some felt like it wasn’t absolutely explicit,” she said, so HB66 adds some more specific protections.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95l (DN)

 

Bill would allow sunscreen use at public schools

SALT LAKE CITY — Rep. Craig Hall, R-West Valley City, is hoping to reduce the risks of skin cancer by allowing students to bring sunscreen to school.
“I know everyone’s first reaction to this bill is probably, ‘What? Seriously? We have to have a bill to let kids bring sunscreen to school?'” Hall said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95J (KSL)

 

Dismal pay forces Utah teachers to take 2nd jobs to support families

OGDEN — Traci Parkinson has 28 years of classroom experience and a master’s degree. But when she finishes teaching for the day, she changes into a T-shirt, grabs a garbage bin and starts her part-time job as school custodian.
“The pay just is not there,” she said. “It’s wrong that they can have a master’s and have to do something like this.”
She does it to help support her family while doing the job she loves.
Fellow elementary teacher David Cichoski shares her passion. And that’s why he works part-time at Costco.
“It takes away 25 hours a week that I could be spending with my own kids,” he laments. “That’s the toughest part for me.”
These teachers illustrate why many Utah schools face what is becoming a crisis: they can’t hire and retain quality teachers.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95I (KSL)

 

New charter school to open in northwest Ogden area

OGDEN — A new charter school is going to open in the northwestern Ogden area.
Capstone Classical Academy was unanimously approved by the Utah State Board of Education at a meeting Friday. The school is slated to open in August 2018 and serve students in grades six through 12.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95v (OSE)

 

Utah teen pleads guilty to firing shotgun inside school
Courts » Fifteen-year-old boy pleads guilty to two felonies; prosecutors no longer trying to move his case to adult court.

Farmington • A 15-year-old Bountiful boy pleaded guilty Monday to accusations that he took a shotgun to Mueller Park Junior High School in December and fired it into the ceiling before his parents wrestled him to the floor.
The teen pleaded guilty in 2nd District Juvenile Court to third-degree felony shooting towards a building and second-degree felony theft of a firearm. Several other firearms-related charges were dismissed as part of a plea deal.
Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 23. Because the case was resolved in the juvenile court, the maximum sentence that Judge Janice Frost can impose is secure confinement in a youth detention center. The youth could remain in Juvenile Justice Services custody until he is 21 years old, although attorneys believe that is unlikely due to the boy’s lack of any prior criminal history.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95r (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/95t (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/95w (OSE)

http://gousoe.uen.org/95z (LHJ)

http://gousoe.uen.org/95F (KUTV)

http://gousoe.uen.org/95G (KTVX)

http://gousoe.uen.org/95K (KSL)

http://gousoe.uen.org/966 (Gephardt Daily)

http://gousoe.uen.org/95P (MUR)

 

Awaiting competency hearing, Orem teen accused of stabbing 5 remains in custody

OREM — An Orem teen accused of stabbing five classmates will remain in detention while he waits another month for a competency review.
Shackled at his waist, hands and ankles, the 16-year-old boy seemed in good spirits Tuesday as he greeted 4th District Juvenile Judge Douglas Nielsen. The teen had been scheduled to appear in court to address whether he is capable of understanding the charges against him and participating in his own defense.
However, Neilsen explained that attorneys are addressing a “fairly unique legal issue” before the case can proceed. No details about the issue were given in court.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95s (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/95x (OSE)

http://gousoe.uen.org/95y (PDH)

http://gousoe.uen.org/95H (KSL)

http://gousoe.uen.org/95O (MUR)

 

Honors high school students take Austad Auditorium

Around 75 participating students came from across Utah to collaborate in the Third Annual Honors Orchestra performance at Weber State University. Students were nominated by their conductors and then auditioned with a medley piece from “The Phantom of the Opera” for seat positioning.
The Honor Orchestra, held this year on Feb. 11, is organized by Stephanie Strait, who began organizing the event three years ago. “There has been an honor band for 30 years but nothing for strings. I went from honor band to honor orchestra,” said Strait, who had previously been involved with the band at Weber State.
http://gousoe.uen.org/962 (WSU Signpost)

 

Weber County teen wants to make every girl feel ‘special and beautiful’ today

Fourteen-year-old Tryston Brown has a lot of friends at Rocky Mountain Jr. High in Weber County, and he wanted them all to feel the love this Valentine’s Day.
According to Tryston’s mother, Anissa, he was inspired to make all 537 girls in his school feel “special and beautiful” after learning about teen suicide and the impact a negative self image can have on young people.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95E (OSE)

 

Local high schools differ in approach to Valentine’s Day

High school students hoping to surprise their valentine with a flower delivery in the middle of class may end up with a broken — or slightly disappointed — heart. Local schools have different Valentine’s Day policies, but all agree that disrupting class is not OK.
Logan High administrators sent an email to parents and teachers Friday that said the school will “not be making or allowing deliveries of any kind on Valentine’s Day.”
Administrative Assistant Stephanie Olsen said if a student wants to give a card or a gift to their valentine, that’s fine, but the front office doesn’t have the resources to deliver gifts to students.
“This isn’t the first year we’ve done it; it’s been this way for quite a while,” Olsen said. “It’s just too disruptive for class.”
The administrative staff deals with deliveries throughout the school year — like parents wanting to give their child balloons or a note on their birthday — but they only have a few student aides in the office to handle those special requests.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95A (LHJ)

 

Spring Creek Middle School students create 1,000 valentines

Spring Creek Middle School in Providence has 1,000 lockers. Tomorrow morning when students arrive, they will be greeted by handmade valentines taped to every one of them.
The idea for the “heart attack” came from Jenna Adams, an eighth grader at the school who wanted to help draw students closer together on Valentine’s Day.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95B (CVD)

Schools In Salt Lake Co. Will Help The U Monitor Air Pollution

The University of Utah is partnering with middle and high schools along the Wasatch Front to monitor winter air pollution.
The project is called AirU and the plan is to install around 50 particulate matter sensors at schools this coming spring. Each device will provide real time air quality.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95N (KUER)

 

Students receive red carpet treatment for first day at new Legacy Elementary

ST GEORGE — The brand new Legacy Elementary School building officially opened for classes Monday morning and students from first through fifth grades were welcomed to the new school in a “red carpet” ceremony.
The students transitioned from the 1950s-era East Elementary School, which was sold to Dixie State University to expand the institution’s growing campus.
The new school is a two-story facility located next to the historic Dixie Sunbowl on 100 South in downtown St. George.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95D (SGN)

 

‘She’s my best mom’: Single mom dresses as a guy for dads’ event at son’s school

As a single mom, Whitney Kittrell is committed to doing everything she can to give her two young kids a great childhood full of opportunity, even if that means getting a little uncomfortable sometimes.
“I want to be able to give them the life they deserve, and be there for them and not feel like they missed out on anything because they didn’t have a dad,” said Kittrell, 27, who works as a hospital housekeeper while attending school full time to become a respiratory therapist.
http://gousoe.uen.org/965 (NBC Today Show)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Utah juvenile justice reforms should be approved
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

The Utah Legislature has been handed another chance to spend some money now on a program that promises to save a lot more money — and a few lives — over the long run.
Lawmakers don’t necessarily have a laudable record of follow-through on similar proposals in the past. Still, the package of juvenile court reforms that came out of the recommendations of the Utah Juvenile Justice Working Group deserves to be approved.
A House committee last week passed House Bill 239, a package of reforms that follows the whole theory of having a separate juvenile court system in the first place. That’s the idea that young people who get into scrapes with the law still have a chance to turn their lives around, saving not only themselves and their families much grief but also saving taxpayers many millions of dollars.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95j

 

Tax hike for schools? It’s all in how you ask the question
Deseret News commentary by columnist Jay Evensen

SALT LAKE CITY — Presentation is everything. At least a lot of Utah lawmakers believe that’s true when it comes to tax increases.
Last summer, an opinion poll published by Utah Policy asked Utahns how they would feel about raising the income tax by seven-eighths of 1 percent, from a rate of 5 percent to 5 7/8 percent, to add more funding for public schools. About 64 percent said they were at least somewhat in favor of this, which emboldened the Our Schools Now effort that is planning a petition drive to get such an increase on ballots in 2018.
But a bill that passed a House committee Monday would force them to put it a little differently. The difference between 5 percent and 5 7/8 percent is actually 17.5 percent. If the bill passes, that’s the figure the initiative would have to list on ballots.
This makes a huge difference.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95m

 

Watching crocuses sprout while trying to outguess the Legislature
(Logan) Herald Journal commentary by columnist Thad Box

Crocuses were in full bloom in my front yard on Feb. 1 last year. This year, after weeks of burial under the deepest snow in decades, the green leaves of crocuses barely poke through the mess of winter. Those little shoots bring promise for brightening our lives. The ground hog didn’t see his shadow. Mark Twain said no man’s life, liberty or property was safe when the legislature was in session. Tweets from Washington dominate the nightly news.

Now is a good time to contact our legislators because their most important decisions will be made in the next three weeks. They will decide how to divide the state income, largely from our taxes, to what they reckon is best for Utah. I think their most important decisions shaping the future of Utah will be those about public education and land use.
Improving Utah’s public schools should be our highest priority. For decades per pupil funding for Utah’s schools has ranked last, or near last, in our nation. Our students’ performance, measured by standardized tests, has usually been slightly about average. There’s something very wrong with a legislature and parents who accept an average education as good enough for our children in a complex world. Our kids deserve better than that.
The key to improving our schools is more good teachers. There is a national teacher shortage. To keep our teachers we need to increase salaries, and do it now. We should add enough new help to allow teachers adequate time to understand the needs and ability of each student. Then give them tools necessary to apply their craft.
http://gousoe.uen.org/964

 

Skip the politics
(St. George) Spectrum letter from Sheryl Allen

It’s actually pretty simple. Our State Board of Education members should put the educational needs of our children first and foremost. That’s been the guiding principle of Utah education for decades.
But, if board members are partisan (ie., they run for this office as a member of a political party), they are obligated as an elected official of their party to pay close attention to their party platforms.
Due to a bill enacted by our legislature last year, in 2018, State Board of Education elections are going to be partisan. Candidates will be judged in their county and state party conventions by their adherence to those platforms and party principles.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95C

 

Facts work better than abstinence
Salt Lake Tribune letter from James A. Marples

I read The Salt Lake Tribune article, “Utah sex ed needs attention, legislators say, but abstinence angle will continue” (Feb. 6).
I think it is irresponsible for legislators to hide their heads in the sand and simply let young people rely on an “abstinence only” curriculum when it comes to sex education. Modesty may be a virtue, but ignorance is a worse vice in some situations in which a lack of proper education can affect a young person’s entire life if they are uninformed or misinformed about human sexuality.
It is highly ironic that lawmakers, parent http://gousoe.uen.org/95o s and church officials have no problem with reading, writing, arithmetic and even biology — but they blush if the biology might include pertinent facts about human mating and reproduction.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95o

 

Wrestling and gender
Deseret News letter from By Kendall Barrowes

In America, girls and women have proven beyond a doubt that they are equally capable as their male counterparts in academics and in the workforce. There are gifted female athletes who compete and excel in many sports. But they are different, and most people accept the “equal but different” status.
Because I have experience as a high school and college wrestler, the idea of a girl’s family getting a judge to grant an injunction in order to force an all-male wrestling team to accept her on the team makes me uncomfortable. Some boys will forfeit their winning season rather than wrestle a girl in a tournament.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95u

 

Tim Kaine’s appalling smear of vouchers
School choice is a tool for poor kids, not a return to the states’ rights era.
USA Today op-ed by Christian Schneider, a columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

If Sen. Tim Kaine harbors any sour grapes over his failed vice presidential campaign last year, those grapes have now become poisonous.
Last week, the Virginia Democrat attempted to smear school choice programs by tying them to the unconscionable segregation of his home state in the 1950s and 1960s. In fighting the nomination of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Kaine waved the bloody flag of segregation, likening school choice to the “states’ rights” movements of a half a century ago. DeVos is a staunch supporter of allowing parents to send their children to private schools using government-funded vouchers.
“I come from a state that understands what a states’ rights argument is because my state made states’ rights arguments when the Supreme Court said we should have equality for all students,” Kaine said. “The leaders in my state said, ‘No, that should be up to the states.’ And so we set up a whole realm of private schools that got taxpayer dollars so kids could flee integrated schools and avoid the law of the land.”
Perhaps Kaine inhaled too many jet fumes on his campaign trips around the country last year, but his attempt to equate school choice with segregation is appalling.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95n

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Uncertainties as Congress Takes Aim at ESSA Regulations
Education Week

A push by Republicans in Congress to overturn accountability regulations for the Every Student Succeeds Act could have far-reaching consequences for how the law works in states, and the potential end of the much-contested rules is dividing the education community.
Groups supporting the move argue that it would free schools from unnecessary burdens, while opponents contend that overturning the rules could hurt vulnerable students and create turmoil in states and districts trying to finalize their transition to ESSA, the 2015 law that replaced the No Child Left Behind Act.
Last week, the House of Representatives approved a joint resolution that would overturn ESSA accountability rules issued by President Barack Obama’s administration. Those rules, which became final in November, are intended to detail for states the timeline for addressing underperforming schools, how schools must be rated, the ways English-language learners must be considered in state accountability plans, and other policy issues.
Another resolution, also approved last week by the GOP-controlled House, would overturn final rules issued in October on teacher-preparation programs.
The Senate is expected to consider a similar move on the accountability rules as soon as this week.
Groups including the National Governors Association and AASA, the School Superintendents Association, hailed the move.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95U

 

Trump praises Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, saying she endured a ‘very unfair trial’
Washington Post

President Trump praised his new education secretary, Betsy DeVos, on Tuesday morning, saying that she had endured “a very unfair trial” before her confirmation last week and pledging an effort to overhaul education.
“We want every child to have an opportunity to climb the ladder to success,” Trump said at the White House before a meeting with parents and teachers. “It all begins with education and that’s why we’re here this morning.”
Trump criticized “failing schools,” echoing language he used on the campaign trail. “Millions of poor, disadvantaged students are trapped in poor, failing schools,” he said. “We’re going to change it around, especially for the African American communities.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/95Y

http://gousoe.uen.org/95Z (Voice of America)

 

Trump, DeVos and Spicer addressed school choice — without publicly using the word ‘voucher’
Los Angeles Times

On the campaign trail, Donald Trump said little about education, but he did propose an expensive plan for expanding school vouchers, which allow public money to go toward tuition at private, often religious, schools.
Then he picked Betsy DeVos, a long-time voucher advocate , as his secretary of Education.
Since DeVos’ confirmation, there has been a flurry of legislative activity around charter schools and vouchers in some states.
But on Tuesday, in what was billed as a “parent-teacher conference listening session,” Trump and DeVos met with educators and parents, and vouchers weren’t mentioned once — at least not according to White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s briefing, the White House pool report and a transcript provided by the White House.
“I want every single disadvantaged child in America, no matter what their background or where they live, to have a choice about where they go to school,” Trump said. “And it’s worked out so well in some communities.”
He praised charter schools, which are publicly funded but can be privately run and tend to garner some bipartisan support.
“Under the current system, the president believes too many of our children are trapped in failing schools, especially in the African American community,” Spicer said in his briefing.
DeVos did thank those gathered for “representing traditional public schools, charter public schools, home schools, private schools, a range of choices.” But private schools didn’t get much more play than that.
http://gousoe.uen.org/961

 

Betsy DeVos: I’ll Look for Unnecessary Programs to Cut at the Education Dept.
Education Week

For the third time since she was confirmed as education secretary, Betsy DeVos spoke with a Michigan media outlet to discuss her confirmation process and her priorities. And she made it clear she’s looking for ways to reduce the size and scope of the U.S. Department of Education.
In a Tuesday interview on the Michael Patrick Shiels radio program, DeVos said the confirmation was an “interesting and protracted” process, and that she was glad to get started as secretary. Asked by Shiels about the education department’s responsibilities, DeVos noted that it was only her fourth day on the job at the department. Then she said:
“I can’t tell you today what is being done that’s unnecessary. But I can guarantee that there are things that the department has been doing that are probably not necessary or important for a federal agency to do. We’ll be looking at that. We’ll be examining and auditing and reviewing all of the programs of the department and really figuring out what is the core mission, and how can the federal department of education really support and enhance the role of the departments in the states. Because really, when it comes down to it, education and the provision of education is really a state and local responsibility to a large extent.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/95V

 

Chicago Public Schools sue over ‘discriminatory’ state funding
Reuters

CHICAGO | The Chicago Public Schools sued Illinois on Tuesday claiming the state’s method of education funding discriminates against its largely black and Hispanic student body.
The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court, uses the state’s Civil Rights Act to seek to invalidate Illinois’ school funding system. The district wants to avoid the fate of previous school funding lawsuits that faltered in Illinois, which like CPS is reeling from deep financial problems.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who controls CPS, said the state funding formula is “in violation of the civil rights of our children.”
“It penalizes poor kids in poor school districts and rewards wealthy kids in wealthy school districts – just the opposite of what we should do,” Emanuel told reporters.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95T

http://gousoe.uen.org/960 (Chicago Tribune)

 

Study: Most Texas School Districts Have Scant Sex Education
Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — More than four-fifths of school districts offer no sex education or only teach abstinence in Texas, which has one of the country’s highest teen birth rates, according to a study released Tuesday.
The study commissioned by Texas Freedom Network, a left-leaning education watchdog group, found that 25 percent of roughly 1,000 school districts statewide didn’t offer any sex education during the 2015-2016 school year and about 58 percent only taught students to abstain from sex.
The remaining 17 percent, including eight of the 10 largest school districts in America’s second most-populous state, stress abstinence, which they are required to do under a 1995 Texas law. But they also teach students about other sexual topics, including birth control.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95Q

Secretly Recorded Comments Lead to Teachers’ Reprimand
Associated Press

BANGOR, Mich. — Six southwestern Michigan teachers have been reprimanded and a school secretary has resigned after they were secretly videoed joking about which co-workers they would marry, have sex with or kill.
Robert Huber, an attorney for the Bangor Public Schools, told The Associated Press Tuesday that a staffer whose name came up under the “kill” portion of the game complained to the police.
No criminal charges have been filed.
Huber says three students’ names also came up in chatter heard on the video, but that the teachers didn’t name them in their crude game.
The cellphone video was recorded in January at a tavern in Bangor.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95S

 

Quaker School Suspends 2 Teachers Over Palestinian Speaker
Associated Press

WYNNEWOOD, Pa. — Two teachers at a Quaker school outside Philadelphia have been suspended over fallout from a Palestinian speaker’s invitation to a school club they supervised.
The controversy is highlighting an issue for many Quaker schools: While the American Friends Service Committee supports putting economic pressure on Israel to end the occupation of Palestinian territories, many students at Quaker schools are Jewish.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95R

 

When Should a Sick Child Stay Home?
Education Week

Many parents struggle with deciding when to keep their sick children home from school.
That’s according to a report based on the findings of the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.
Three out of four parents surveyed reported that their child stayed home for at least one sick day during the past year.
The nationally representative poll found that parents’ top consideration for keeping a child home was concern that the illness will get worse (60 percent) followed by concern that the illness will spread to classmates (47 percent). Two out of five parents of high school students also say missing tests or instruction are very important considerations in keeping a child home. But parents didn’t give much consideration to their children missing after-school activities. Only 6 percent said that was very important.
Parents’ ability to get time off work or to secure child care did factor into their decisions. Eleven percent cited not wanting to miss work as very important, while 18 percent said not being able to find a sitter to stay at home with their child was very important.
http://gousoe.uen.org/95W

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/95X (C. S. Mott Children’s Hospital)

 

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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 14:

House Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee meeting
8 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HNAE0214.ag.htm

Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee meeting
8:30 a.m., 250 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SREV0214.ag.htm

Senate Education Committee meeting
2 p.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SEDU0214.ag.htm

House Government Operations Committee meeting
2 p.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HGOC0214.ag.htm

House Political Subdivisions Committee meeting
2 p.m., 450 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HPOL0214.ag.htm

House Revenue and Taxation Committee meeting
2 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HREV0214.ag.htm

Senate Health and Human Services Committee meeting
2 p.m., 250 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SHHS0214.ag.htm

February 15:

House Education Committee meeting
8 a.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HEDU0215.ag.htm

Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee meeting
8 a.m., 250 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SJLC0215.ag.htm

Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee meeting
9 a.m., 415 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SNAE0215.ag.htm

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
4:10 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/Interim/2017/html/00001664.htm

February 16:

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

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

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
4:10 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2017&Com=APPEXE

February 17:

House Education Committee meeting
8 a.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2017&Com=HSTEDU

March 9:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/charterschools/State-Board.aspx

March 13:

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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