Education News Roundup: Feb. 22, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

Our Schools Now vows to be back if the school funding initiative fails next year.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ba (UP)

New UEA head Heidi Matthews discusses the legislative session.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9b8 (PR)

Salt Lake School Board hears from residents on immigration measures.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9al (SLT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9aM (KUTV)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9aO (KTVX)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9aP (KSL)

Trump administration looks at a federal tax credit for private schooling.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9aq (Politico)

It appears the federal transgender bathroom guidance is history.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9aT (AP)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9aY (Reuters)
Sidebar: Now what happens?
http://gousoe.uen.org/9aW (AP)

Supreme Court rules that service animals can be in the classroom.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9aU (AP)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9b0 (Reuters)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9b1 (Ed Week)
or a copy of the ruling
http://gousoe.uen.org/9b2 (U.S. Supreme Court)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

‘Our Schools Now’ vows to be back in 2020 if ballot initiative fails in 2018

Income tax changes may be put on hold; Lawmakers still eyeing sales tax on food

Bill would make sweeping changes to how public land is managed, and sold in Utah

House approves allowing concealed gun permits for Utahns as young as 18
Self-defense > Critics argue that the bill, now on its way to the Utah Senate, may create more violence than it could prevent.

Bill tweaks process to turn around low-performing schools

Utah moves to toss school ban on ‘advocacy of homosexuality’

Lawmakers Stand Behind Bill To Address Child Homelessness

Plan allowing sunscreen in school backed by Utah lawmakers

Utah Education Association president frustrated by legislative session
Heidi Matthews, former Park City educator, says schools need more funding

Immigration resolution elicits praise from community, SLC school board considers it
Resolution > SLC district will consider proposal to keep students’ status private and to demand warrants from the feds.

Report: Most Utah young adults ill-prepared for workforce, ineligible for military

String Project augments elementary music education

‘I got turned down. Sometimes, that helps’: Chris Hill’s path to Utah AD started at Granger High

School district ending early-out Fridays to make up hours

Loveland Aquarium launches new outreach program for sixth-graders

Spanish Fork students not to text and drive; new Exchange Club award; Charley Jenkins benefit concert

St. George Academy: College prep for postmillennial generation and beyond

Utah Valley Educator of the Week: Heather Butler

Utah Valley Student of the Week: Sam Garrison

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Finding common ground on sex education reflects well on lawmakers

House bills see Utah as a violent place, and seek to make it more so

Rush to reform taxes has lawmakers hurtling toward bad policy

What Vermont can teach us about schools

Have We Lost Sight of the Promise of Public Schools?

The Drive to Unionize Charter Schools
Trump’s nominees can help reverse a harmful new labor ruling

Eight Steps to Improve the Ed-Tech Industry
Education technology is worryingly disconnected from education research

The Venn Diagram of Staffing
Staffing the Education Department is much more complicated than it appears.

Lifting the Pension Fog: What teachers and taxpayers need to know about the teacher pension crisis

NATION

Trump considers tax credit to channel public money to private schools

Source: Administration to Life Transgender Bathroom Guidance

Justices Side with Michigan Girl in Dispute Over Service Dog

1 in 5 Public School Students in the Class of 2016 Passed an AP Exam

Lawmakers seek to give Washington schools chief more power

Arne Duncan says students need more STEM training ‘yesterday, not tomorrow’

U.S. attorney won’t file charges after probe of $1.3-billion iPads-for-all project in L.A. schools

College Board to Boost SAT Security Globally

Be careful what you post. It might just get you rejected from your dream school.

 

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UTAH NEWS
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‘Our Schools Now’ vows to be back in 2020 if ballot initiative fails in 2018

The Our Schools Now group is willing to discuss modifying their citizen initiative petition to include raising the sales tax, or a mix of sales and income tax hikes, or even a phase-in of tax increases for public education, UtahPolicy is told.
But for now, they are going full steam ahead, aiming to gather the 120,000 or so needed voter signatures to get their education reform plan on the 2018 ballot.
Even more, Nolan Karras of OSN tells UtahPolicy, that should their effort fail at the 2018 ballot box, they will be back in 2020 with another petition effort to save Utah’s struggling school system.
Karras and other OSN officials have been meeting with GOP legislative leaders off and on for several months.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ba (UP)

Income tax changes may be put on hold; Lawmakers still eyeing sales tax on food

Lawmakers may be pumping the brakes on a massive tax reform package they started floating last week.
As first reported by UtahPolicy.com, legislators were a few moves to make Utah’s tax revenue base more stable, including restoring the state portion of sales tax on food, dropping the income tax rate, while phasing out exemptions for higher-income earners and re-indexing the gas tax so that any increase will kick in earlier.
Right now, the income tax portion of the reforms seems to be on shaky ground, while restoring the sales tax on food, collecting sales taxes on internet sales and re-indexing the gas tax a much more likely proposition this year.
“This might take longer than we thought,” said Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, during an interview with UtahPolicy.com.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bb (UP)

 

Bill would make sweeping changes to how public land is managed, and sold in Utah

Utah’s leading fighter for state control of federal lands, state Rep. Mike Noel, has introduced a bill that gives sweeping powers over state land to a new Land Department “director,” who would be elected to the post by county commissions and councils.
HB407 would also dictate how state-owned lands would be sold or “exchanged” for other public or private lands.
And the Legislature, by a super-majority of two-thirds, would approve the sale or exchanges of public lands.
Of course, Utah state and congressional officials are trying to get the federal government to turn over millions of acres of Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service lands to state control
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ai (UP)

 

House approves allowing concealed gun permits for Utahns as young as 18
Self-defense > Critics argue that the bill, now on its way to the Utah Senate, may create more violence than it could prevent.

The Utah House was debating allowing 18- to 21-year-olds to obtain permits to carry concealed guns, mainly based on arguments that it would allow young women to defend themselves against rapists. Rep. Kim Coleman then said a few words Tuesday that silenced the chamber.
Hesitating, Coleman, R-West Jordan, said that when she was 19 – which she noted is the same age as her daughter now – “I was a statistic.”
Later, she told The Tribune that she was attacked in an attempted rape. She said she never told anyone about it for 20 years out of fear. But she strongly believes HB198 will help young women protect themselves, so she decided to tell colleagues now.

Its sponsor, Rep. Karianne Lisonbee, R-Clearfield, said young Utahns between ages 18 and 21 may legally openly carry guns in Utah – such as in a hip holster – but cannot obtain concealed carry permits until age 21. Because most Utah colleges ban the open carrying of guns, she said it prevents young women from carrying guns on campus.

Rep. Carol Moss, D-Holladay, noted the bill could allow some still in high school to carry concealed weapons, and questioned whether they are mature enough at that age to carry guns. “I think it is a step too far.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9aj (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9aA (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9aN (KUTV)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9aQ (KSL)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9aR (KUER)

Bill tweaks process to turn around low-performing schools

SALT LAKE CITY – A Utah Senate committee gave unanimous support Tuesday to a bill the sponsor says “tweaks” the ongoing process to turn around low-performing schools.
SB234, sponsored by Sen. Ann Millner, R-Ogden, spells out the process for a low-performing school to develop a turnaround plan and the roles of state, local and private partners in the process.
After a year of a school turnaround program in place, the bill “will allow us to make sure our program and approach are financially sustainable, that it best meets the needs of our schools, that it helps to accelerate our turnaround effort and makes sure we’re achieving our goals,” Millner said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9an (DN)

Utah moves to toss school ban on ‘advocacy of homosexuality’

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah lawmakers took the first step Tuesday to get rid of a state law that bans the “advocacy of homosexuality” in schools, a move driven by a court challenge from gay rights groups.
The Senate Education Committee voted unanimously in favor of a Republican bill cutting the phrase from sex education law. The National Center for Lesbian Rights and Equality Utah sued last fall, saying the law creates a “chilling culture of silence that stigmatizes LGBTQ students” and exists only to express disapproval of being gay.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9aI (CVD)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9aK (UPC)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9aX (AP)

 

Lawmakers Stand Behind Bill To Address Child Homelessness

Legislation designed to take a deeper look at child homelessness was unanimously passed out of the House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee Tuesday.
HB 283 – Child Homelessness Prevention, sponsored by Representative Robert Spendlove (Republican – Sandy), adds addressing child homelessness to the duties of the Utah Intergenerational Welfare Reform Commission. The bill also provides that cash assistance available under the Family Employment Program can be used to reduce and prevent child homelessness.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9aL (UPC)

 

Plan allowing sunscreen in school backed by Utah lawmakers

SALT LAKE CITY – A plan that would allow students in Utah to use sunscreen in school without a parent and doctor note, has received full support from a panel of lawmakers.
Members of a Senate health and human services committee on Tuesday voted unanimously in support of the proposal.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9aH (CVD)

 

Utah Education Association president frustrated by legislative session
Heidi Matthews, former Park City educator, says schools need more funding

A former Park City school librarian has a front-row seat to state lawmakers’ efforts to address education issues this legislative session.
Heidi Matthews, who spent years working for the Park City School District, is in her first term as president of the Utah Education Association (UEA), the statewide union that advocates for teachers and education in Utah, giving her a prime position to examine how the legislative process impacts education.
But in an interview, Matthews said she’s frustrated so far by what she sees as a lack of willingness among legislators to address the most important challenge facing educators in the state: a dearth of funding. The state is last in the country in per-pupil spending and is in the midst of a teacher shortage, but lawmakers have done little to indicate they intend to boost funding in a meaningful way, she said.
“I’m surprised there isn’t more attention being paid to this crisis of funding in education,” she said. “The house is on fire. It’s not time to re-tile the kitchen. We have all these bills that are well intended but don’t address the fundamental problem of what we’re facing here in Utah, which is providing adequate funding for our students and schools.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9b8 (PR)

 

Immigration resolution elicits praise from community, SLC school board considers it
Resolution > SLC district will consider proposal to keep students’ status private and to demand warrants from the feds.

The calls West High School teacher Valerie Gates receives from worried parents are coming more and more frequently.
The callers wonder whether it’s safe to send their undocumented children to school, Gates said, terrified that that day is the day their boys and girls will be deported.
“I talk to [parents] every day, and when I say send them to school, am I telling them the right thing?” Gates asked Tuesday at a Salt Lake City School District Board of Education meeting. “Can I truly protect them when they come to school?”
Gates spoke in favor of a resolution presented to the district Tuesday by advocacy group Unidade Inmigrante, urging officials to maintain the privacy of students’ citizenship records and to demand warrants for any Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) actions carried out on school grounds.
About 100 people attended the meeting Tuesday night as board members heard public testimony about the group’s resolution, which the elected officials did not take action on.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9al (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9aM (KUTV)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9aO (KTVX)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9aP (KSL)

Report: Most Utah young adults ill-prepared for workforce, ineligible for military

SALT LAKE CITY – An overwhelming majority of Utah’s young adults ages 17-24 are ineligible for military service because they are overweight, have a criminal history or can’t pass the test, according to a new report.
The Council for America hosted a panel discussion Tuesday at the state Capitol to detail why so many young adults in the state are not “citizen ready,” or readily equipped to take on the challenges of adult life.
A citizen readiness index shows Utah is among the more than three-fourths of states in the country that earned a C grade or worse based on the number of young adults who missed the mark.
“The ambivalence we sometimes see out there needs to change,” said Utah Gov. Gary Hebert, who gave closing remarks at the event.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ax (DN)

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ay (Council for a Strong America)

 

String Project augments elementary music education

Fourth grades bands and painting classes are becoming extinct as increasing budget cuts are leaving public schools without money to fund the arts. Additionally, low standardized test scores in math and reading have shifted the focus in schools from extracurricular learning to strictly school subject application.
In an article published on PBS, entitled “The Benefits of Music Education,” writer and blogger Laura Lewis Brown notes that music education for children provides students with improved language development, higher IQs, spatial and temporal skills and better test scores.
However, the benefits of music education do not seem to outweigh the cost for public schools, leaving many American schools without the option to provide music in the classroom.
Weber State University has taken a proactive approach in bringing music into public schools. The String Project at WSU works under the National String Project Consortium, an organization that, “focuses on increasing the number of students presented with the opportunity to learn a stringed instrument, and to ensure the best experience for future educators,” according to the project’s website.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9b9 (WSU Signpost)

 

‘I got turned down. Sometimes, that helps’: Chris Hill’s path to Utah AD started at Granger High

West Valley City * The students in Mr. Hill’s class understood they needed the math credit to graduate from Granger High School. Yet they wondered how they ever would use anything he taught them, continually asking, “Why do we need to know this?”
That explains why Chris Hill piled about a dozen boys into his Volkswagen van without the principal knowing about the impulsive field trip, driving to the site of their home building class. They showed him how they measured the joists and did other calculations, realizing they were applying math skills.
Standing in the library of the newly rebuilt school, Hill likens the story to a “Welcome Back, Kotter” scene. The show, starring Gabe Kaplan as a teacher who returned to his old school in Brooklyn, featured diverse characters in a remedial class and aired from September 1975 to May 1979. That run matched Hill’s tenure at Granger, where he taught algebra and geometry to college-bound students and used creative methods with others who needed to pass basic math. “They were just a blast,” he said.
He took over a downtrodden basketball program in Utah’s highest level (Class 4A) at age 25, bringing his New Jersey intensity, Catholic high school education and thick accent to Granger. “We couldn’t understand what he was saying half the time,” said Jeff Thurman, a member of Hill’s first team.
Hill has blended in well in the Salt Lake Valley, staying longer than he ever imagined. In March, he’ll turn 67. In October, he’ll observe his 30-year anniversary as the University of Utah’s athletic director. Yet he never may have launched a circuitous route toward that job if not for failing in his effort to move from Granger to Olympus, with a stronger basketball culture.
“I got turned down,” he said. “Sometimes, that helps.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9au (SLT)

 

School district ending early-out Fridays to make up hours

Last week the Cache County School District finalized how it will make up lost hours due to cancelled school days on January 5th, 6th and 23rd. On February 10th, the Utah State School Board agreed with the Cache, Box Elder and Logan school districts who sought to make up hours, rather than add days to their school calendars.
The Cache County School Board voted to extend hours on Fridays to match the hours typically spent in the classroom on Monday-Thursday. The district typically releases students early on Fridays.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9aG (CVD)

 

Loveland Aquarium launches new outreach program for sixth-graders

DRAPER – Loveland Living Planet Aquarium is furthering its mission to inspire people to explore, discover and learn about Earth’s diverse ecosystems by launching a new program, the Eco-Van, for sixth-grade students along the Wasatch Front.
The Eco-Van program demonstrates how the stability of populations is affected by changes to an ecosystem. The aquarium has five animal ambassadors for this program that students can interact with up close – a giant cave cockroach, an African pygmy hedgehog, a Bredli carpet python, a Southern three-banded armadillo and an Argentine black-and-white tegu.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9aB (DN)

 

Spanish Fork students not to text and drive; new Exchange Club award; Charley Jenkins benefit concert

On Feb. 17, students from Spanish Fork High School took a pledge to put their cellphones down and focus on the road as part of Allstate’s national “X the TXT” campaign. The Allstate Foundation partnered with Health World and the Utah Highway Patrol to urge students to stay distraction-free behind the wheel and raise awareness of the dangers of texting and driving.
Allstate Agency Owner Ryan Larsen and Trooper Blake Bradford presented a safe driving halftime event during Spanish Fork High School’s varsity basketball game.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9aF (PDH)

 

St. George Academy: College prep for postmillennial generation and beyond

ST. GEORGE – It is no secret that students of today learn differently from students just a decade ago. In the new digital age, information is easier to access and more available than it has ever been. But though the world’s facts and figures can be carried around in the palm of the hand, independent critical thinking and communication skills are necessary to achieve success in higher education; unfortunately, these critical skills often fall by the wayside.
Students enjoy the comfortable students spaces for studying and collaborating at St. George Academy, Washington City, Utah, date not specified | Photo by Jim Speth Photography courtesy of St. George Academy, St. George News
Enter: St. George Academy. St. George Academy is a tuition-free charter school opening in the fall for the 2017-18 school year. The academy is enrolling students in 8th-11th grade for this first full academic year.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9aJ (SGN)

 

Utah Valley Educator of the Week: Heather Butler

Heather Butler teaches 11th and 12th grade Socratic Seminars at Maeser Preparatory Academy. Her humanities background gives her the perfect combination of historical background and literary expertise to make her classes engaging.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9aD (PDH)

 

Utah Valley Student of the Week: Sam Garrison

Sam Garrison is a junior at Maeser Preparatory Academy, who excels at basketball, track, and in the classroom.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9aE (PDH)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Finding common ground on sex education reflects well on lawmakers
Deseret News editorial

It’s not easy to unearth common ground on the contentious issue of sex education.
That’s why the coalition of lawmakers and community leaders responsible for SB196, which amends the state’s sexual education law, deserves praise. Together they have fashioned a policy that now boasts the backing of affiliates from both the Utah Eagle Forum – a well-known social conservative group – and Equality Utah – the state’s largest LGBT rights advocates.
SB196 deserves the full Legislature’s support.
The amendment, which received unanimous approval from the Senate Education Committee on Tuesday, emphasizes “abstinence before marriage and fidelity after marriage” while also excising controversial language that explicitly prohibited any classroom instruction in the “advocacy of homosexuality.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9am

 

House bills see Utah as a violent place, and seek to make it more so
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

The vision of Utah that arises from some of the bills making their way through the Legislature is one of a violent, dystopian jungle where public order and human decency have disintegrated to the point where it is every man, woman and teenager for themselves.
How else to explain a series of measures that assume a constant level of danger and a breakdown of the civil order in Utah such that encouraging more people to carry firearms and use deadly force is considered a step forward?
The Utah House on Tuesday passed a bill that would allow something called a “provisional permit to carry a concealed firearm” for people as young as 18. Passed on a party line 63-12 vote, House Bill 198 was sold by its sponsor, Clearfield Republican Karianne Lisonbee, as means for young women to defend themselves against rape.
In the movies, maybe.
In real life, the idea that more pistol-packing co-eds would deter sexual assault is a thin reed that ignores the infinitely more likely results: more accidental shootings. More arguments that otherwise would have resulted in hurt feelings and severed friendships culminating instead in bloodshed and death. And, of special concern to anyone who knows anything or cares at all about teenage life, another boost in the already alarming rate of youth suicide.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ak

 

Rush to reform taxes has lawmakers hurtling toward bad policy
Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist ROBERT GEHRKE

With the 2017 Legislature thundering down the homestretch, Republican leaders are scrambling to cobble together a sweeping tax plan they can get to Gov. Gary Herbert’s desk under the wire.
The talk of major tax reform is relatively new – there was no real discussion of it in the various meetings held since last session.
And there doesn’t seem to be a pressing need, since the new budget numbers released last week showed better-than-expected revenue for the state.
The driver seems to be lawmakers wanting to demonstrate that they are doing something in response to the push by the Our Schools Now initiative, an effort by prominent business leaders frustrated with education being constantly neglected, that would ask voters to raise their income taxes to pump $750 million a year into public education.
But in their haste to respond, lawmakers risk harming average Utahns without solving the problems the state is encountering.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9av

 

What Vermont can teach us about schools
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Ron W. Smith

While Utah’s senators and representatives are doing their thing during this year’s legislative session, I continue doing mine. Theirs is a bit like Sisyphus pushing his rock uphill in Hades. Mine is a bit more like worrying about those in the way of the rock since Sisyphus can’t see ahead.
Our legislators need to be a bit more like those in Vermont, a tiny state with way under a million in population but with an eye out for their kids anyway. Squashing the kids isn’t in the playbook for legislators in Vermont. Let me offer a few facts and some figures.
Public education in the Granite State ranks way up the list of our 50 states in just about every way despite a relatively puny tax base. Why? They’ve decided, those Vermonters, to fund K-12 handsomely by not using the playbook of the fiscally conservative. While population in Vermont was 624,594 last year, Utah’s was a whopping 3,051,217. While household income in Vermont was $59,494 in 2015, Utah’s was $66,250. Probably most important, the effective tax rate in Vermont currently tops out at over 8 percent; Utah’s flat rate at 5 percent.
Per-pupil funding on K-12 in Vermont? $16,377 in 2013. In Utah? $6,555 that year.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9aw

Have We Lost Sight of the Promise of Public Schools?
New York Times Magazine commentary by columnist NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES

In the days leading up to and after Betsy DeVos’s confirmation as secretary of education, a hashtag spread across Twitter: #publicschoolproud. Parents and teachers tweeted photos of their kids studying, performing, eating lunch together. People of all races tweeted about how public schools changed them, saved them, helped them succeed. The hashtag and storytelling was a rebuttal to DeVos, who called traditional public schools a “dead end” and who bankrolled efforts to pass reforms in Michigan, her home state, that would funnel public funds in the form of vouchers into religious and privately operated schools and encouraged the proliferation of for-profit charter schools. The tweets railed against DeVos’s labeling of public schools as an industry that needed to adopt the free-market principles of competition and choice. #Publicschoolproud was seen as an effort to show that public schools still mattered.
But the enthusiastic defense obscured a larger truth: We began moving away from the “public” in public education a long time ago. In fact, treating public schools like a business these days is largely a matter of fact in many places. Parents have pushed for school-choice policies that encourage shopping for public schools that they hope will give their children an advantage and for the expansion of charter schools that are run by private organizations with public funds. Large numbers of public schools have selective admissions policies that keep most kids out. And parents pay top dollar to buy into neighborhoods zoned to “good” public schools that can be as exclusive as private ones. The glaring reality is, whether we are talking about schools or other institutions, it seems as if we have forgotten what “public” really means.
The word derives from the Latin word publicus, meaning “of the people.” This concept – that the government belongs to the people and the government should provide for the good of the people – was foundational to the world’s nascent democracies. Where once citizens paid taxes to the monarchy in the hope that it would serve the public too, in democracies they paid taxes directly for infrastructure and institutions that benefited society as a whole. The tax dollars of ancient Athenians and Romans built roads and aqueducts, but they also provided free meals to widows whose husbands died in war. “Public” stood not just for how something was financed – with the tax dollars of citizens – but for a communal ownership of institutions and for a society that privileged the common good over individual advancement.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ap

 

The Drive to Unionize Charter Schools
Trump’s nominees can help reverse a harmful new labor ruling
Wall Street Journal op-ed by Peter Schaumber, former chairman of the National Labor Relations Board

Are charter schools public or private? On the one hand, they’re designed to be an integral part of state public-education systems. On the other, charter schools are run by private boards, and their operations are exempt from many, though not all, of the regulations that govern traditional public schools.
How you answer seems to depend on whether you support charter schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ah

 

Eight Steps to Improve the Ed-Tech Industry
Education technology is worryingly disconnected from education research
Education Week op-ed by Susan H. Fuhrman, president of Teachers College, Columbia University

No responsible investor would invest in a health-care-technology product that wasn’t thoroughly researched by top medical scientists. No one would invest in energy technology whose potential was unsupported by the studies and practices of relevant experts. Yet when it comes to education technology, the logical connection between evidence of effectiveness and the wisdom of investment decisions is often ignored.
It’s not for lack of relevant research. Throughout my tenure as president of Teachers College, I have marveled at how disconnected the instructional technology products have been from the groundbreaking work of our faculty and students (and of researchers elsewhere) in the learning sciences, classroom use of technology, learning analytics, and evaluation. The work of other major research universities is similarly overlooked by the ed-tech industry. Investors in other sectors, such as health and energy, eagerly draw on a wealth of researcher consultants and even firms to facilitate the connection between evidence and investment decisions. In education, however, aside from some big companies that can afford substantial studies, I have noted a hesitancy to invest in research on effectiveness, particularly among startup developers and venture capitalists.
I’ve heard many reasons for this hesitancy: an insufficient rate of investment opportunity in ed tech; a dysfunctional market, where educator purchasers value user testimonies and personal connections over evidence of effectiveness; and concerns that sharing data with researchers will expand the circle of those who might endanger student privacy. I also infer some deeper issues, including the age-old sentiment that anyone who went to school knows what works, as well as a distrust of researcher jargon and studies that appear inaccessible.
I also suspect a lack of appreciation within the ed-tech industry for how much investment good research requires.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9at

 

The Venn Diagram of Staffing
Staffing the Education Department is much more complicated than it appears.
U.S. News & World Report op-ed by Andy Smarick, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute

In any new presidential administration, staffing up agencies is an exciting opportunity and a tough task. On one hand, it’s a chance for the president and a cabinet secretary to build a team of like-minded colleagues. Typically, they are able to gather lots of talent because high-energy candidates are attracted by the prospect of serving a new president with stores of political capital.
There are perennial challenges, too. The White House office of personnel and the cabinet official’s team always battle over who gets to make the final hiring decisions. There are always more interested suitors than jobs available. The process of thoroughly vetting and onboarding scores of appointees is a slog.
But, this year, the job of assembling a team of appointees at the U.S. Department of Education – about 150 in total, including the deputy secretary, assistant secretaries and chief of staff – will be especially testing. To understand why, think of a Venn diagram. There are five circles, each representing an important characteristic of a group of people who could serve. The key is the overlap of the circles – finding people who have all of the essential characteristics.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9b7

 

Lifting the Pension Fog:
What teachers and taxpayers need to know about the teacher pension crisis
National Council on Teacher Quality analysis

This report, Lifting the Pension Fog: What teachers and taxpayers need to know about the teacher pension crisis, evaluates state teacher pension policies, and includes policy profiles and tailored recommendations for each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Pensions remain a vexing public policy issue with direct implications for attracting and retaining a high-quality teacher workforce. This report, by NCTQ and EducationCounsel, examines the sustainability, flexibility, and fairness of each state’s current teacher pension policies, while also examining pension policy transparency.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9az

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Trump considers tax credit to channel public money to private schools
Politico

The Trump administration is considering a first-of-its-kind federal tax credit scholarship program that would channel billions of dollars to families from working-class households to enable their children to attend private schools, including religious schools.
The federal tax credit proposal is one of several ideas under review by the White House to fulfill Donald Trump’s campaign promise to promote the expansion of charter schools and vouchers that would allow families of low income to use public money for private school tuition, sources tell POLITICO. During a recent meeting with parents and teachers at the White House, Trump said he wants “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.”
But the federal tax credit proposal already has critics on the left and right. Public school advocates say such a tax credit is a voucher program in disguise and would divert tax dollars from struggling public schools.
“The end result is the same – federal tax dollars going to private schools,” said Sasha Pudelski, assistant director for policy and advocacy at AASA, The School Superintendents Association, who called the program “a backdoor voucher.”
“It’s just done through a more complex and less direct mechanism,” she said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9aq

 

Source: Administration to Life Transgender Bathroom Guidance
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration will revoke federal guidelines telling public schools to let transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms matching their chosen gender identity, a government official said Wednesday.
The decision, not yet announced, would be a reversal of an Obama-era directive issued in May requiring public schools to grant bathroom access even if the student’s chosen gender identity isn’t the same as what’s in the student’s record. That guidance will be rescinded, though anti-bullying safeguards will not be affected by the change, a government official with direct knowledge of the Trump administration’s plans told The Associated Press. The official was not authorized to speak publicly about the plans and did so on condition of anonymity.
Although the guidance carried no force of law, transgender rights advocates say it was necessary to protect students from discrimination. Opponents argued it was overreach.
President Donald Trump believes the issue is for states to decide without the involvement of the federal government, the White House said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9aT

http://gousoe.uen.org/9aY (Reuters)

Sidebar: Now what happens?
http://gousoe.uen.org/9aW (AP)

 

Justices Side with Michigan Girl in Dispute Over Service Dog
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Wednesday sided with a 13-year-old Michigan girl with cerebral palsy who spent years battling school officials for the right to bring her service dog – a goldendoodle named Wonder – to class.
The justices ruled unanimously that federal disability laws might allow Ehlena Fry to pursue her case in court without first having to wade through a lengthy administrative process.
The ruling is a win for advocacy groups that want to make it easier for disabled students to protect their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act. School officials had argued that administrative remedies are an easier and less costly way to resolve educational disputes.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9aU

http://gousoe.uen.org/9b0 (Reuters)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9b1 (Ed Week)

A copy of the ruling
http://gousoe.uen.org/9b2 (U.S. Supreme Court)

 

1 in 5 Public School Students in the Class of 2016 Passed an AP Exam
Education Week

In the high school graduating class of 2016, 1.1 million students took at least one Advanced Placement test at some point in their high school career.
And more than 20 percent of all U.S. public high school graduates that year earned a score of 3 or above on a scale of 1 to 5-thus giving them the possibility of receiving college credit for their work in high school-on at least one AP exam, according to a report released Wednesday by the College Board.
The board, which runs the testing program, also reports that it has continued a long-term trend of administering AP tests to increasing numbers of low-income students: While in 2003 just over 94,000 students from low-income families took an AP exam, in the class of 2016, more than 554,500 test-takers were low-income.
Trevor Packer, the College Board vice president who runs the AP program, said in a conference with reporters that the average score on all AP exams has held fairly steady over time, and was actually higher in 2016 than in some years when far fewer students took the test.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9b3

http://gousoe.uen.org/9b6 (WaPo)

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/9b5 (College Board)

Utah results
http://gousoe.uen.org/9b4 (USBE)

 

Lawmakers seek to give Washington schools chief more power
Spokane (WA) Spokesman-Review

EVERETT – The Washington state Board of Education could lose some of its authority over the state’s K-12 public education system under a controversial bill that would transfer some of its responsibilities to the state’s new chief of public schools.
The Daily Herald reported Monday that the House Education Committee approved the bill last week in an 11-7 vote.
Under the legislation, the board would no longer be charged with monitoring a school district’s compliance with education laws. The board’s ability to develop high school graduation requirements and hold schools accountable for students’ academic progress would also be impacted.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal says if he’s judged on student achievement and school performance, then he needs to have more authority.
But education board Executive Director Ben Rarick says the legislation represents a “sweeping change” and goes against the board.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ar

Arne Duncan says students need more STEM training ‘yesterday, not tomorrow’
Chicago Tribune

Around a table at Chicago Vocational Career Academy Friday afternoon, the conversation between high school kids and former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan veered between violence and ideas for apps that might help.
Freshman Nikkita Baker told Duncan about an idea for an app that would let students report instances of bullying so teachers could interfere – and allow them to be anonymous so they wouldn’t be labeled as a snitch.
“How did you come up with that?” he asked her.
“It’s a lot of people being bullied…” she said.
The group discussed how bullying and social media posts can lead to tension and outbursts of violence. Then Duncan asked how many of the students knew one, five or 10 people who had been shot.
Hands were raised each time.
“I just want you guys to know that’s – that’s crazy,” he said. “That’s not OK. It’s not fair that you guys are growing up like that, and that we as adults have let you guys down. And we’ve got to do a lot better.”
Duncan, who was secretary for most of Barack Obama’s presidency and served as CEO of Chicago Public Schools before that, sees STEM education – curriculum in the science, technology, engineering and math fields – as one way to give kids exposure to life beyond violence.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ao

 

U.S. attorney won’t file charges after probe of $1.3-billion iPads-for-all project in L.A. schools
Los Angeles Times

The U.S. Attorney’s office has decided not to file charges after a lengthy FBI investigation into the bidding process that won Apple a contract to provide 650,000 iPads, one for every student, teacher and administrator in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
The decision, confirmed Tuesday by the school district and by sources in law enforcement, brings to a close an infamous chapter in the history of the nation’s second-largest school system — and one that continues to haunt it.
No officials from the agencies involved, including the FBI, would comment on the investigation or its conclusion.
The $1.3-billion iPad project was a flagship effort of then-Supt. John Deasy, who spoke of it as a question of equality.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9as

College Board to Boost SAT Security Globally
Associated Press

PITTSBURGH — The firm that oversees registrations for the SAT college entrance exam is boosting security around the world following test-stealing and other cheating in recent years.
The College Board told The Associated Press it’s reducing the number of international testing dates from six per year to four for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 school years. It says the move will reduce opportunities for test content to be stolen.
The New York-based college entrance exam provider, which planned to make a formal announcement Wednesday, also is taking steps to prevent past cheaters from retaking tests. In addition, it says it will alert law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad of companies and people it suspects of illegally obtaining test content.
Other planned reforms include an increase in audits of test centers worldwide and steps to make it easier for students and educators to anonymously report suspected cheating.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9aV

http://gousoe.uen.org/9aZ (Reuters)

 

Be careful what you post. It might just get you rejected from your dream school.
USA Today

If you’re applying to college, follow this golden rule of social media: Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your parents to see.
A new survey by Kaplan Test Prep released Feb. 10 found that out of more than 350 college admissions officers across the United States, 35% admit to checking an applicant’s social media profiles before making a decision. Sites such as Twitter and Facebook can be easily accessed by admissions officers, and the survey found nearly half of those who do check social media say it helps (or hurts) a students’ application.
One survey participant learned through an applicant’s Twitter page that the student ran an LGBTQ panel for her high school, which she failed to include in her application. The discovery of this missing piece sparked a deeper curiosity within the admissions committee, which boded well for the applicant.
But poor social media decorum can get a student removed from the pool of potential candidates. Students have been rejected from schools for posting nasty things about their peers or teachers or making racist remarks.
But that’s not a typical occurrence, according to Yariv Alpher, executive director of research at Kaplan Test Prep.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9aS

 

————————————————————
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 22:

House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee meeting
8 a.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HLAW0222.ag.htm

Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee meeting
8 a.m., 215 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/sedw0222.ag.htm

Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee meeting
8 a.m., 415 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/sgop0222.ag.htm

Senate Revenue and Taxation Standing Committee
8 a.m., 250 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/srev0222.ag.htm

Senate Rules Committee meeting
Noon; Senate Rules Committee Room
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/srul0222.ag.htm

Senate Education Committee meeting
4 p.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SEDU0222.ag.htm

Senate Business and Labor Committee meeting
4 p.m., 215 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SBUS0222.ag.htm

Senate Health and Human Services Committee meeting
4 p.m., 250 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SHHS0222.ag.htm

House Government Operations Committee meeting
4:10 p.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HGOC0222.ag.htm

House Revenue and Taxation Committee meeting
4:10 p.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HREV0222.ag.htm

February 23:

House Education Committee meeting
8 a.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HEDU0223.ag.htm

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

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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