Education News Roundup: Feb. 15, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

A bill to give teachers at low income schools a bonus advances.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96Y (SLT)

D-News looks at the governance of the Utah High School Activities Association.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96u (DN)

Ed Week notes that nationally there are lots of new state superintendents and lots of new chairs of state legislative education committees.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96Q (Ed Week)

More students are using apps like DoorDash to order food into high schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96X (Sacramento Bee)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Bill to give teachers at low-income schools a bonus clears Utah House committee without a vote to spare

Restoring full sales tax on food ‘still a possibility,’ Senate president says

School funding remains hot topic at Utah Legislature
Controversial initiative Our Schools Now seeks to increase income tax for education

Wording on abortion yanked from Utah telemedicine bill
Eager to preserve telemedicine measure, legislator axes problem-prone provision.

Utah MEA Rally to Support Music Education

Legislature Day 24: Bill would boost salaries for teachers in high-poverty areas

Provo school board OKs $1.7 million land purchase, adjusting bus policy

School district employees to pay for health insurance for the first time

Lisa Rowley joins Nebo School Board

The debate about who should govern high school sports continues as UHSAA votes to change governing board

Girls not allowed on Utah wrestling team, so they’re taking the match to court
Federal lawsuit filed by a teen athlete’s mother calls the ban on female wrestlers at the middle school level unconstitutional.

Utah high school baseball coach charged with showing pornographic material to minors

Utah teen gives chocolates to all 537 girls in school on Valentine’s Day

Students arrange flowers and bake treats for Valentine’s Day

Murray educators, employees receive awards

Art students recognized at state exhibit

Groundbreaking scheduled for first Eagle Mountain high school

Utah’s top youth volunteers of 2017 selected by national program
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards honors Orem student with $1,000, medallions and trip to nation’s capital.

Utah Valley Educator of the Week: Samantha Wilson Peterson

Utah Valley Student of the Week: Teni Worthen

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Our elected officials are unwilling to do what it takes to fund public schools

Betsy DeVos — and you — will destroy children’s education

SB 235: An innovative public-private partnership is already having a real impact

Elevate student performance by changing high school graduation requirements

Vulgar Language

Strong public schools made America great

Students should get to bed earlier

Here’s who Trump invited to the White House to talk about schools. The list says a lot about his education priorities.

What’s Up With the Staffing of Betsy DeVos’ Education Department

Are Teachers Becoming Obsolete?
A veteran educator reflects on the personalized-learning trend that’s left him wondering if a computer is more capable of doing his job than he is.

NATION

Steep Learning Curve on K-12 as State Leaders Take New Seats
New faces in key K-12 policy slots

Washington State Lawmakers Attempt to Strip Powers From State Board

Influential conservative group: Trump, DeVos should dismantle Education Department and bring God into classrooms

Alabamans warn WV against switching school tests to ACT

Study: Vouchers kept Milwaukee Catholic parishes open, but at a cost to religious activity

Parents of Transgender Students appeal to Trump on Bathrooms

Scientists Take on New Roles in K-12 Classrooms
Standards help spur collaborations

Intel Drops Its Sponsorship of Science Fairs, Prompting an Identity Crisis

Free Tool Lets Schools Test Encryption of Ed Tech Software

Businessman Who Homeschooled Kids to Lead Schools Department

Granite Bay High students used the service to get food delivered, then the principal banned it

 

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UTAH NEWS
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Bill to give teachers at low-income schools a bonus clears Utah House committee without a vote to spare

It’s human nature to look for work environments that are safe and comfortable, Weber State University education professor Forrest Crawford said Wednesday.
But in the context of schools, Crawford said, that natural inclination results in many of Utah’s best teachers working in affluent and homogeneous classrooms that have the least academic needs.
“Teachers are not necessarily inclined to graduate from a program and go to a high-risk [school],” he said. “We have to be able to encourage that in as many ways as we can.”
Crawford was speaking in favor of HB212, which would create a pilot program to pay $5,000 to effective educators who teach at low-income schools. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Mike Winder, R-West Valley City, relies on a metric called median growth percentile, or MGP, to identify teachers who show high levels of student growth on standardized tests.
Roughly 5 percent of Utah teachers would be eligible — described as Utah’s “rock stars” by Winder — with bonuses awarded if those teachers remain at or transfer to one of the state’s 100 most economically impacted campuses.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96Y (SLT)

Restoring full sales tax on food ‘still a possibility,’ Senate president says

SALT LAKE CITY — Restoring the full state sales tax on food purchases remains an option this session to counter a proposed education funding initiative, even though tax exemptions will likely be studied over the interim, Senate leaders said Tuesday.
“There might be a surprise. We might come out with something. Or it might be, we end up doing nothing. We’re actually working on some things,” Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, told reporters.
That includes looking at passing a “more incremental” tax increase before the 2017 Legislature ends next month to raise more money for schools, such as collecting the full state sales tax on food, Niederhauser said.
“That’s a broadening of the base and potentially a lowering of the rate so that is on table. It’s something we’re discussing,” he said. “I say it’s still a possibility. How probable it is, is still up for debate.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/96a (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/975 (KSTU)

 

School funding remains hot topic at Utah Legislature
Controversial initiative Our Schools Now seeks to increase income tax for education

To Todd Hauber, business administrator of the Park City School District, there’s no question: Public schools in Utah need more money.
Even in Park City, the best-funded district in the state, the pressures of the budget are extraordinary, he said.
“It’s critical,” he said. “When we look at the budget conversations that are just forming up now for our school district, we have escalating costs in maintaining our facilities, we’ll be going into negotiation conversations with our teachers and we want to treat them well for the costs they experience living up here or commuting up here to service our children.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/96g (PR)

 

Wording on abortion yanked from Utah telemedicine bill
Eager to preserve telemedicine measure, legislator axes problem-prone provision.

In an effort to prevent a “great” telehealth measure from getting mired in potential lawsuits, Sen. Brian Shiozawa prompted a legislative panel Tuesday to strip out prohibitive wording on abortion.
“We need this telehealth bill,” said Shiozawa, R-Cottonwood Heights. This move “is not pro-choice or pro-life, I want to take that off the table.”
HB154, sponsored by Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, largely deals with reimbursement models for physicians using telecommunications to deliver health care remotely. But the last few lines of the proposed legislation — barring clinicians from prescribing abortion-inducing medication through telemedicine — were drawing opposition among abortion-rights proponents, who argued those medical services were important to rural residents.
But the Senate Health and Human Services Committee eliminated that problem Tuesday by overwhelmingly approving Shiozawa’s amendment to cut that portion of the bill. The committee then passed the amended legislation, sending it to the full Senate for debate.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96c (SLT)

 

Utah MEA Rally to Support Music Education

SALT LAKE CITY – In recent months, Canyons District parents, students, and arts educators have shown that when voices combine in support of arts education, they can make a difference for all. New mandates for sixth and eighth graders in the state have left school districts scrambling to maintain strong arts programs, while making hard decisions that leave students with fewer and fewer choices regarding their own education. Limiting student choice limits music education programs.
Music and arts advocates, like those in the Canyons District, can unite in letting our legislatures know that we believe in a well-rounded education that supports the student’s choice of participating in music education classes.
Music on the Hill is an invitation for all music and arts advocates around the state to show their support of music education in our public schools! Join students, educators, parents, and local advocates in the Utah State Capitol Rotunda on February 15th, 2017 at 4:30 pm.
http://gousoe.uen.org/970 (KCSG)

 

Legislature Day 24: Bill would boost salaries for teachers in high-poverty areas

Utah Legislature 2017
• Rep. Mike Winder, R-West Valley City, is sponsoring a bill that would reward teachers at schools with high-poverty rates with salary bonuses. The House Education Committee is scheduled to discuss HB212 Wednesday morning.

• More than 400 high school students are expected to visit the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon to meet with state lawmakers about policies that help curb youth usage of tobacco and alcohol. The students are members of OUTRAGE!, a statewide youth anti-addiction advocacy group.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96w (DN)

 

Provo school board OKs $1.7 million land purchase, adjusting bus policy

Provo City School District is banking property for the future.
The Provo City School District Board of Education voted Tuesday evening to approve an 11-acre property purchase in northwest Provo. The land, Bunnell Farms, will be purchased for $1,650,000.
“We know Provo is growing,” Board Member Julie Rash said. “We know there is a future population. We know there is a need for this.”
Superintendent Keith Rittel said the property purchase has been in the works for some time and will be used for a future elementary school.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96B (PDH)

 

School district employees to pay for health insurance for the first time

ST. GEORGE – Rising health care costs have hit the Washington County School District, the county’s largest employer, and as a result, over 3,000 school district employees will have to pay for a traditional health insurance plan out of their own pockets.
This is the first time that the employees will be required to pay for health insurance, said David Stirling, Washington County School Board of Education president.
“As far as I know, (employee health insurance) has always been district-funded,” Stirling said.
While the district will also offer a high-deductible option with no premium, insurance costs have risen so much that employees wanting a conventional policy will now have to contribute part of the premium.
http://gousoe.uen.org/974 (SGN)

 

Lisa Rowley joins Nebo School Board

Lisa Rowley and her husband, Chad, have had many opportunities to volunteer and serve in public schools. Rowley was involved in the PTA on a school and district level, room mother, school community councils at the elementary, junior high, and high school levels. She also served on the Nebo Education Foundation Board as vice president. Rowley enjoyed working at Santaquin Elementary in the ESL program for 12 years.
“I believe that our children need the input and support of parents in conjunction with teachers and administration in order for students to succeed. The board has the responsibility to support the good things that are happening within our district — support the outstanding educators and administrators and also look for ways to continually improve the quality of education in our schools. Our community and businesses can be a great resource, we need to encourage their support and input,” Rowley said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/971 (PDH)

 

The debate about who should govern high school sports continues as UHSAA votes to change governing board

SALT LAKE CITY — The governing body of the state’s high school sports could look a lot different after July.
Whether those changes are made because the Utah High School Activities Association board of trustees believes it would make them more responsive and effective, or if the reorganization is part of a law that significantly revamps the state’s relationship to the association is still to be determined.
The board of trustees, which creates and enforces the rules that govern high school sports, voted to reduce its membership from 30 to 15 during an emergency meeting Tuesday morning, but it did so after discussing possible legislation that would mandate the change.
“Personally, as far as the size of the board, I think it’s a good direction,” said North Summit Superintendent Jerre Holmes, who is a member of the board and a participant in a group discussing possible legislation that would change aspects of the UHSAA. “Not because I don’t want anyone in here to have a seat at the table … but I think there is value in making it smaller. There is a need to be more proactive and to be able to move.”
The move comes after months of discussion about whether the association is accountable to anyone besides its member schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96u (DN)

 

Girls not allowed on Utah wrestling team, so they’re taking the match to court
Federal lawsuit filed by a teen athlete’s mother calls the ban on female wrestlers at the middle school level unconstitutional.

Layton • Sitting on the edge of the mat before their first meet of the season, the two wrestlers discussed strategy and braided each other’s hair.
By the end of the competition, both would be declared victorious — one by pin, the other by forfeit — but for Kathleen Janis and Gabbi Serrao, Central Davis Junior High School’s newest wrestlers, the real fight has been over being allowed to wear their school’s singlets.
“To get here, it’s been tough,” Kathleen said. “But we’re good. Me and Gabbi, we’re going to get through what’s happening.”
Kathleen, a ninth-grader, and her family have been fighting the administration for more than a year to be allowed to try out for the once all-male wrestling team, but she had been rebuffed by officials who said it was against district policy. So last month, the girl’s mother, Kelly Janis, filed a federal lawsuit, seeking to declare the policy unconstitutional, a violation of her daughter’s 14th Amendment rights. The case is being litigated, but U.S. District Judge Robert J. Shelby earlier this month ordered the school district to allow girls to wrestle while the lawyers argue.
As her daughter and the girl’s classmate did Tuesday on the mat, Kelly Janis is confident that they will prevail in court.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96q (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/96H (KSL)

http://gousoe.uen.org/96Z (USAT)

 

Utah high school baseball coach charged with showing pornographic material to minors

Woods Cross High School’s baseball coach is accused of showing pornographic images and videos to minors.
Trevor Amicone showed pornographic materials to three juvenile males in Davis County “between September 15, 2015, and June 1, 2016,” according to charges filed in 2nd District Court on Friday.
Amicone is charged with three counts of dealing in harmful materials to a minor by an adult, a third-degree felony.
Two minors said they were shown videos in which a naked woman performed sex acts, and one boy said he was shown pictures of a naked woman.
Amicone’s initial court date is scheduled for March 27.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96s (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/96v (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/96y (OSE)

http://gousoe.uen.org/96G (KTVX)

 

Utah teen gives chocolates to all 537 girls in school on Valentine’s Day

A Utah teen devised a Valentine’s Day plan to gift every girl in his school a sweet reminder that they are “special and unique.”
Tryston Brown, 14, was first inspired a couple of weeks ago when thinking up what he could do to boost his female friend’s experiences on the special holiday, his mother, Anissa Brown, told ABC News.
From there, his plan transformed into a grand plot to ensure every girl in his junior high school felt loved on Valentine’s Day.
http://gousoe.uen.org/976 (ABC)

 

Students arrange flowers and bake treats for Valentine’s Day

SALT LAKE COUNTY – Students with and without disabilities of Granite School District prep, cook and work in the Jones Center Gift Shop year-round.
Alison Milne, principal of Granite Transition Services, said students work with products they learn how to make and provide out of the Jones Center Gift Shop.
This time, Milne said, students focused on Valentine’s Day.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96I (KSTU)

 

Murray educators, employees receive awards

MURRAY — The Murray Education Foundation has announced the recipients of its annual Pinnacle Awards, which recognize excellence in educational service in Murray School District.
This year’s recipients are: Stephanie Benware, Liberty Elementary School first-grade teacher; Christin Jacketta, Riverview Junior High School social worker; John Johnston, Riverview Junior High School industrial arts teacher; Shauntel Page, Longview Elementary School second- and third-grade teacher; Will Saxton, Murray High School theater and communications teacher; Rod Pace, district buildings and grounds coordinator; and Rebecca Westenskow, McMillan Elementary School volunteer.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96x (DN)

 

Art students recognized at state exhibit

Three local students have received awards for their artwork at the 45th Annual Utah All-State High School Art Show at the Springville Museum of Art.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96F (LHJ)

 

Groundbreaking scheduled for first Eagle Mountain high school

A high school in Eagle Mountain is becoming a reality.
Alpine School District has scheduled a groundbreaking for the school for 2:30 p.m. Feb. 28 at the school’s location, 5000 N. Pony Express Parkway.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96A (PDH)

 

Utah’s top youth volunteers of 2017 selected by national program
The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards honors Orem student with $1,000, medallions and trip to nation’s capital.

Rebekah Reno, 16, of Orem was named one of Utah’s top two youth volunteers of 2017 by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, a nationwide program honoring young people for outstanding acts of volunteerism. As a State Honoree, Rebekah will receive $1,000, an engraved silver medallion and an all-expense-paid trip in early May to Washington, D.C., where they will join the top two honorees from each of the other states and the District of Columbia for four days of national recognition events. During the trip, 10 students will be named America’s top youth volunteers of 2017.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96E (ServeDaily)

Utah Valley Educator of the Week: Samantha Wilson Peterson

Samantha Wilson Peterson is a fifth-grade teacher at Hobble Creek Elementary and is being recognized as the Daily Herald’s Educator of the Week.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96D (PDH)

 

Utah Valley Student of the Week: Teni Worthen

Teni Worthen, 11, is a sixth grader from Larsen Elementary in Spanish Fork, who is being recognized as the Daily Herald’s student of the week.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96C (PDH)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Our elected officials are unwilling to do what it takes to fund public schools
Deseret News op-ed by Chase Thomas, policy and advocacy counsel for Alliance for a Better Utah

By now, the standard talking points on education funding are well-known. Utah is fifty-first in the nation for per-pupil funding. Over $1 billion has been taken from the annual K-12 education budget. And we have a teacher shortage coupled with problems retaining teachers exacerbated by low starting salaries for those majoring in education.
As we head into the legislative session, almost everyone agrees more needs to be done to adequately fund our public schools. A Utah Policy poll recently showed that 83 percent of Utahns feel it is important to increase per-pupil spending, with 55 percent saying it is “very important” to do so. Community groups and associations continue to advocate for more funding year after year. And high-profile business leaders are rallying behind a ballot initiative to raise the income tax to invest a much-needed $750 million into our schools.
With such overwhelming public support behind providing our schools with the money they need to succeed, why then are we still dealing with the most poorly funded education system in the country? Because when push comes to shove, our elected officials are simply unwilling to do what it takes to have quality, adequately funded public schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96e

Betsy DeVos — and you — will destroy children’s education
Deseret News op-ed by Stephanie Lauritzen, a former Utah public school teacher

I am a former high school history teacher. I spent eight years working in Utah schools, and here’s what all Americans should know about the fragile state of public education:
When newly confirmed Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her henchmen annihilate the Department of Education, you won’t notice. A year from now, two years from now, four years from now, you might even be tempted to say, “Nothing has changed; we didn’t have anything to worry about.”
Because good teachers in public education will not stop. They will keep fighting; they will keep teaching your kids. They will circumvent laws and regulations on the district, state and federal levels. They will spend their own money. They will die on the hill of free and equitable education so your students receive the resources they need and absolutely deserve.
And you won’t see it happen.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96f

SB 235: An innovative public-private partnership is already having a real impact
Deseret News op-ed by Kirk Jowers, vice president of corporate relations and European markets for dōTERRA International, LLC

During the 2015 general legislative session, Senate President Wayne Niederhauser and Rep. Bradley Last pioneered an innovative public-private, pay-for-performance partnership to help the lowest-performing 3 percent of all schools in Utah. While several other states have achieved varying degrees of success by allocating significant money to their schools in greatest need, Niederhauser and Last’s model increased the likelihood of real, measurable improvement for students here in Utah by incorporating three unique components:
* Applying a methodology proven through a growing body of rigorous, national, empirical research — that student outcomes improve as schools are empowered to focus intently on implementing evidence-based, high-impact practices.
* Focusing the majority of resources on actual implementation; ensuring iterative practice and feedback mechanisms result in sustainable implementation of the most effective research-proven teaching and leadership practices at each school.
* Facilitating this improvement through a public-private, pay-for-performance partnership. A full half of the private partner’s fees are contingent on affecting measurable improvements in student learning at each school. And since partners are “outside of the system” they are able to more easily serve as objective, nonevaluative advisors to the school leaders and teachers.
http://gousoe.uen.org/972

 

Elevate student performance by changing high school graduation requirements
Deseret News op-ed by Lynn Stoddard, a veteran educator who advocates changing to a student-centered system of public education

Inasmuch as some legislators are now calling for “higher student performance” before they will allocate more funding for education, why don’t we change graduation requirements so that more Sterling Scholars can emerge?
At the present time, our subject-based system of credits and grades allows for only a small percentage of students to become outstanding students. A personalized learning and graduation plan will provide for virtually every student to become a “Sterling Scholar.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/96d

 

Vulgar Language
Salt Lake City Weekly commentary by columnist Katharine Biele

Vagina, masturbation, oral sex—expect to apologize if you use this kind of “vulgar” language in the presence of Utah legislators. The apology came from a woman testifying before the House Education Standing Committee, as they considered Rep. Brian King’s Reproductive Health Education and Services Amendments. Yes, excuse her for speaking in anatomical terms. The hours of testimony were sprinkled with eye-popping conservatism and a good bit of real statistics. “Sex makes us all crazy,” Rep. Eric Hutchings said. “There’s an inability to say ‘vagina’ … and they don’t understand that they’ve been assaulted,” Turner Bitton of the Utah Coalition Against Sexual Assault said. There were those who think comprehensive sex ed opens the door to the horrors of vaccinations and of course, porn. Rep. Carol Spackman Moss had to correct one woman who thought teachers would be handing out IUDs, explaining what they are. King himself was called a snake-oil salesman. Ultimately, guess what we’ll be teaching? Abstinence.
http://gousoe.uen.org/973

Strong public schools made America great
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from J.C. McLaughlin

We now have a president who wants to make America great again. I hear constantly about things that should be fixed, improved or rejected.
But I believe that strong public schools made the United States of America great in the first place.
Of course there is some room for private school and academies for special purposes. But they should not decrease the emphasis on financing our public schools. This is where the greatest overall learning occurs for a productive life.
Even so, President Trump’s education secretary, Betsy DeVos, has absolutely no experience with public education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96z

 

Students should get to bed earlier
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Robert Day

Regarding the recent issue of later school start times, there may be another viable option worth considering.
When I was a bit younger and working for the Utah Office of Rehabilitation, I had a problem of getting to work on time at 8:30 every morning. You know, I had to watch the news the night before, and a little bit of Letterman, and it was tough to get out of bed in the morning.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96t

 

Here’s who Trump invited to the White House to talk about schools. The list says a lot about his education priorities.
Washington Post commentary by columnist Valerie Strauss

President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos met with a carefully selected group of 10 teachers and parents at the White House on Tuesday, a list of participants that reveals a good deal about the administration’s education priorities.
DeVos is the controversial new education secretary who was confirmed by the Senate only when Mike Pence became the first vice president in history to break a tie for a Cabinet member. Also present at the White House education meeting were Pence, presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway and senior adviser Stephen Miller.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96K

http://gousoe.uen.org/96T (Ed Week)

 

What’s Up With the Staffing of Betsy DeVos’ Education Department
Education Week commentary by columnist Alyson Klein

When brand-new U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was selected to lead the Education Department, her fans and detractors agreed on one thing: It would be really important to see who she put in other key roles, including the deputy secretary and assistant secretaries that oversee policy, innovation, civil rights, K-12 education, and more.
That’s partly because DeVos, a billionaire GOP donor and school choice advocate, comes from a nontraditional background. Unlike nearly every past education secretary, she’s never worked professionally in federal or state government, for a school district, or at a university.
And while her supporters say she has deep knowledge when it comes to vouchers, charter schools, and other forms of choice, she appeared confused during her confirmation hearing about other areas of education policy, including special education. That could make staffing all the more important.
So far, key roles haven’t been filled. To be sure, it’s still early going—the secretary herself has been on the job for just over a week. And a deputy could be named sometime soon.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96R

 

Are Teachers Becoming Obsolete?
A veteran educator reflects on the personalized-learning trend that’s left him wondering if a computer is more capable of doing his job than he is.
Atlantic commentary by PAUL BARNWELL , a teacher, writer, and urban gardener based in Louisville, KY

Leaving my school building the other day, I had an unexpected realization: Perhaps a computer was a more effective teacher than I currently was. The thought unnerved me, and still does as I’m writing this. I’m a nearly 13-year veteran educator dedicated to reflecting upon and refining my teaching craft. But I’m now considering the real possibility that, for at least part of a class period or school day, a computer could—and maybe should—replace me.
For the past several weeks, I’ve begun class with a simple routine: Students enter the room, grab a new Chromebook, log on to the Reading Plus program, and spend roughly 20 minutes working at their own pace. I stroll around the room and help with technology troubleshooting or conference with students, quietly chatting about academic progress or missing work. I’ve also found myself pausing, marveling at what this program promises to accomplish: meeting students where they are academically and, at least in theory, helping a wildly diverse group of students improve their literacy skills.
Developments in education technology promise to assist teachers and school systems in supporting struggling students by providing individualized instruction. But at what cost? As a teacher, it’s difficult to adapt to and embrace a machine that—at least for part of the time—takes over for me. The processes of teaching and learning are complex and innately human; I value the time I take to develop relationships with my students. But it’s hard not to wonder if that time could better be spent with adaptive learning technology.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96U

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Steep Learning Curve on K-12 as State Leaders Take New Seats
New faces in key K-12 policy slots
Education Week

At a pivotal time for state education policy, half the nation’s state legislatures have at least one new education committee chairperson this year, and a quarter of state schools chiefs are less than a year into the job, according to an Education Week analysis.
This year’s large freshman class of key education policymakers has advocates and district leaders on edge as state leaders scramble to finalize the accountability plans due by next fall under the Every Student Succeeds Act.
The plans cut across the policy arena, and state officials have plenty of flexibility to chart their own courses, while still making sure they live up to the federal education law’s requirements. Those new to the job have a steep learning curve and—as suggested by the controversy over the qualifications of newly confirmed U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy Devos—little margin for error.
“For new chiefs coming in, they’re potentially walking into a firestorm,” said Stephen Bowen, the Council of Chief State School Officers’ strategic-initiative director for innovation.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96Q

 

Washington State Lawmakers Attempt to Strip Powers From State Board
Education Week

One of the big hurdles to pushing for education change in states is that, oftentimes, it’s not exactly clear who’s in charge. This has become a big issue as states craft their accountability plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act. The law dictates who has to be consulted, but doesn’t specify who has the final say and state constitutions aren’t always clear.
Enter Washington state, where an ongoing legal battle over school funding and the pending ESSA plan has collided in a way that could lead to fundamental changes to the Evergreen State’s power structure for the coming years.
Currently, local school board members and the state’s superintendent of public instruction are elected. Seven of the state’s 12 school board members are appointed by the governor and the other five are appointed by local school board members. Local school board members report to the state superintendent, who reports to the state school board. But who crafts and approves policy has been pretty murky—and it could soon get murkier.
The legislature’s House of Representatives heard a bill Monday that essentially would gut the state board of most of its powers and hand those powers to the state’s superintendent.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96S

 

Influential conservative group: Trump, DeVos should dismantle Education Department and bring God into classrooms
Washington Post

A policy manifesto from an influential conservative group with ties to the Trump administration, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, urges dismantling the Education Department and bringing God into American classrooms.
The five-page document produced by the Council for National Policy calls for a “restoration of education in America” that would minimize the federal role, promote religious schools and homeschooling and enshrine “historic Judeo-Christian principles” as a basis for instruction.
Names of the council’s members are closely held. But the Southern Poverty Law Center published a 2014 membership directory showing that Stephen K. Bannon — now chief White House strategist for President Trump — was a member and that Kellyanne Conway — now counselor to the president — served on the council’s executive committee.
DeVos was not listed as a member, but her mother, Elsa Prince Broekhuizen, was namedon the council’s board of governors. Her father-in-law, Amway founder Richard DeVos Sr., twice served as president, most recently from 1990 to 1993. And she and her husband have given money to the council as recently as 2007 through their family foundation, according to federal tax records.
The council’s “Education Reform Report” says it is intended to help DeVos and Trump map a path toward change.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96V

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/96W (Council for National Policy)

 

Alabamans warn WV against switching school tests to ACT
Charleston (WV) Gazette-Mail

The West Virginia Department of Education has removed from proposed policy changes its recommendation that the state Board of Education switch standardized tests in public high schools from Smarter Balanced to yet-to-be-developed end of course exams.
The move comes as the new governor and groups representing teachers and school administrators have expressed preference, instead, for using ACT assessments as the statewide standardized tests.
Local talk continues in favor of using not just the traditional ACT college-entrance exam to replace Smarter Balanced in high schools but also the newer ACT Aspire tests to replace Smarter Balanced in grades three through eight — the other grades the federal government requires math and English language arts standardized testing in.
Dave Sypolt, R-Preston and the former Senate Education Committee chairman, is the lead sponsor of a bill submitted last week (SB 18) to force the state to switch to the ACT and ACT Aspire next school year.
But Alabama Media Group’s AL.com reported Thursday that the U.S. Department of Education has placed a condition on Alabama’s Title I federal funding — school districts there received more than $210 million in Title I funds last fiscal year — over questions about whether ACT Aspire is aligned to that state’s education standards. The news outlet reported that no funding has been withheld, so far.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96h

http://gousoe.uen.org/96j (Alabama Media Group)

 

Study: Vouchers kept Milwaukee Catholic parishes open, but at a cost to religious activity
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

The expansion of private-school vouchers in Milwaukee prevented Catholic parishes from closing and merging, but also led to a significant decline in participating churches’ donations and religious activity, a new study says.
The study suggests the Milwaukee voucher program since 1999 led to a decline in non-school Catholic church revenue by $60 million, at least amid the more than 70 Milwaukee Archdiocese parishes studied by the authors. The findings raise new questions about the impact that expanding private-school voucher programs could have on religious life in America, at a time when voucher programs are expanding and the number of people claiming religious affiliation is declining.
“It’s a complicated story, because vouchers are good in terms of keeping parishes open, but they seem to be changing what happens within the parishes,” said Daniel Hungerman, an associate professor of economics at the University of Notre Dame who led the study released Monday. The National Bureau of Economic Research is circulating it as a working paper.
“We thought that if you eased the budget at the school, maybe there’d be a ripple effect,” Hungerman said in an interview. “But we didn’t find that. Even as the financial burden on the school is eased, we don’t see that turning into higher salaries for the parish staff outside the school, or buying the new (church) organ.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/96l

http://gousoe.uen.org/96k (Politico)

A copy of the study
http://gousoe.uen.org/96m (NBER $)

 

Parents of Transgender Students appeal to Trump on Bathrooms
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Hundreds of parents across the country have called on President Donald Trump to embrace Obama-era protections for transgender students that allow them use to school bathrooms in accord with their gender identity.
In a letter sent to the president by the Human Rights Campaign late Tuesday, more than 780 parents stressed that “all students deserve equal access to a safe, welcoming school and a high quality education no matter who they are.”
The call follows a decision by the Trump administration last week to abandon a defense of the guidelines that had been issued by the Obama administration. A court issued an injunction against those guidelines last summer in response to a lawsuit filed by 13 states. President Barack Obama appealed the injunction, but the Trump administration decided to back off from that appeal.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96N

 

Scientists Take on New Roles in K-12 Classrooms
Standards help spur collaborations
Education Week

As schools work to implement the Next Generation Science Standards, practicing scientists are also rethinking how they work with schools to advance understanding of their field.
The National Board on Science Education, part of the National Academies of Science, brought together science educators and members of professional science groups like the American Chemical Society last month to discuss guidance for developing partnerships between scientists and teachers.
“Almost all practicing scientists were trained in a system designed to keep people out,” said David Evans, the executive director of the National Science Teachers Association, noting that during the first week of class, college science lectures often include grim predictions of how many students will drop out. “Now we know [science education] is much more important than just who will get a job in a STEM field. Everyone needs to know how to look at evidence and engage in the practices of science,” he said. “The encouraging thing is there has been a real movement in recent years among young scientists to really participate more and give back to the community in K-12.”
The discussion comes as several winners of this year’s Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers plan projects to draft curriculum and materials for the science standards, which were developed by 26 states based on a framework by the National Research Council. The awards are the highest federal honor for scientists at the start of their careers, and they have recently given particular weight to researchers who partner with educators to improve STEM education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96P

 

Intel Drops Its Sponsorship of Science Fairs, Prompting an Identity Crisis
New York Times

The science fair has been an annual rite of education for generations of students, going back to the 1940s. But even the term “science fair” stirs stereotypical images of three­panel display boards and baking ­soda volcanoes. Its regimented routines can seem stodgy at a time when young people are flocking to more freewheeling forums for scientific creativity, like software hackathons and hardware engineering Maker Faires.
That is apparently the thinking at Intel, the giant computer chip maker, which is retreating from its longtime sponsorship of science fairs for high school students.
Intel ended its support last year for the national Science Talent Search, whose new sponsor is Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, a biotechnology company.
Now, Intel will drop its backing of the International Science and Engineering Fair. The nonprofit group that organizes both fairs, the Society for Science and the Public, is beginning its search on Wednesday for a new sponsor for the global
competition.
Intel’s move away from traditional science fairs leads to broader questions about how a top technology company should handle the corporate sponsorship of science and what is the best way to promote the education of the tech work force of the future. Intel’s move also raises the issue of the role of science fairs in education in the so­called STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics
http://gousoe.uen.org/96J

 

Free Tool Lets Schools Test Encryption of Ed Tech Software
THE Journal

Common Sense Education has made its encryption-checking tools available as open source so that anybody can check out the security settings of education technology products.
The release of its security scanning scripts follows on a project to check over the encryption practices of technology commonly used within schools. That effort, undertaken in October 2016, found that a “significant number” of companies don’t provide even the most basic support for encryption.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96o

 

Businessman Who Homeschooled Kids to Lead Schools Department
Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. — A businessman who homeschooled his children and has no professional background in public education is officially New Hampshire’s next education commissioner.
The Republican-led Executive Council voted along party lines Wednesday to confirm Frank Edelblut, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu’s pick to oversee the state’s public schools. Edelblut’s nomination sparked fierce public debate, mirroring the outcry over President Donald Trump’s nomination of school choice advocate and wealthy GOP donor Betsy DeVos to lead the federal education department.
Edelblut’s backers say his business background will be an asset to the department and that he’ll strengthen both traditional public schools and alternative options. But critics charge he is unqualified for the job and may undermine public education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96M

 

Granite Bay High students used the service to get food delivered, then the principal banned it
Sacramento (CA) Bee

Call it a recipe for chaos. Instead of dashing for the cafeteria at lunchtime, students at Granite Bay High School had been pulling out their smartphones and ordering chicken sandwiches, fries, spring rolls and much more from DoorDash, the food delivery app.
The Placer County school soon became inundated with couriers searching for their student customers, with dozens of deliveries arriving throughout the day, school officials said. School policy requires that visitors sign in at the office – including drivers from DoorDash.
“We had to stop what we’re doing, check them in and find the kid whose food it was,” Principal Jennifer Leighton said. “We’re not equipped to deal with that. It’s a disruption.”
The situation eventually became too much to handle, Leighton said. So just before winter break, she ordered a ban on DoorDash and all other food-delivery apps at the school.
“We can’t manage it, and we shouldn’t manage it,” she said. “It’s not our job to find a kid and make sure he knows his lunch is here.”
The ban has sparked an uproar among students who like the convenience of summoning up food on a smartphone. The school is considered a closed campus, so students are not allowed to leave during lunch.
http://gousoe.uen.org/96X

 

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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 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/~2017/agenda/SEDU0216.ag.htm

House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee meeting
2 p.m., 20 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HEDW0216.ag.htm

House Government Operations Committee meeting
2 p.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HGOC0216.ag.htm

House Revenue and Taxation Committee meeting
2 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HREV0216.ag.htm

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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