Education News Roundup: Feb. 23, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

"Taxes" by Tax Credits/CC/flickr

“Taxes” by Tax Credits/CC/flickr

Senate pulls back on income tax reform.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bg (SLT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9bh (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9bF (KSL)

And that includes Sen. Dabakis’s progressive income tax bill.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bi (SLT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9bj (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9bG (KSL)

U.S. District Judge Dee Benson grants a joint motion to put a lawsuit challenging Utah’s law on discussion of homosexuality in sex ed classes on hold.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bn (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9bA (OSE)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9bE (KUTV)

Utah’s own Mathematics Vision Project’s MVP online materials are being considered for math classes in North Carolina.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ca (Raleigh [NC] News & Observer)

Utah students do well at the National Chinese Math & Science Competition held in Florida.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9c6 (DCC)

As you read here yesterday, the Trump Administration has rescinded Obama Administration guidance on transgender use of bathrooms. The story behind the story, apparently, is the debate between Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions on the measure.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bo (NYT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9bq (Business Insider)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9br (LAT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9bM (Christian Post)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9c2 (Fox)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9bZ (Breitbart)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9bQ (Ed Week)
or a copy of the statement
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bp (ED)

RealClearPolitics looks at Rep. Virginia Foxx, chairwoman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, and how she, DeVos, and the Trump Administration might work together on education policy.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bY (RealClearPolitics)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Utah Senate sees sales tax change as priority, puts income tax reform on pause

Utah won’t ‘soak the rich’ to fund schools – income tax increase dies without debate in committee

House calls for more frequent school bus inspections

Equality Utah says bill sponsor ‘acknowledged merit’ of lawsuit against State School Board

Senate bill would create school program for computer science, engineering

Bill requiring athletic trainers at high schools fails to advance

USBA Day on the Hill

Students present resolution to protect undocumented classmates

Wake County considering competing math products for high schools

Chinese immersion students win big in national competition

Roy High hosts first of several Weber School District boundary change forums

Herriman teacher, coach changes lives

Professionals introduce Mt. Jordan sixth-graders to careers

Utah teen to be sentenced for firing gun at school

Friends, strangers donate thousands to help woman and her newborn injured in Utah crash

‘In their shoes’: Sky View student aims to help young refugees through shoe auctions

Retired history teacher spends all his time helping refugees in Utah

Nominations sought for Huntsman Awards for Excellence in Education

Senator welcomes Wasatch Peak Academy students to the Capitol

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Dabakis’ school finance bill deserves support

High school playoffs interfere with learning

Want more jobs? Give high school students more exposure to training for a variety of careers

Dismal Results From Vouchers Surprise Researchers as DeVos Era Begins

No Student Deserves the Bureau of Indian Education

If our grandparents learned personal finance in school, why can’t our kids?
Our grandparents learned more in school about personal finance than our children do now. What they needed to know about the nation’s financial system was included in math class.

NATION

Trump Rescinds Rules on Bathrooms for Transgender Students

End of Transgender Bathroom Rule Gets Conservative Praise

Did Democrats Waste Time Fighting Betsy DeVos More Than Other Nominees?

Senator Asks DeVos to Clarify Remarks About Ed Dept Staff

In Foxx, Trump & DeVos Have a Staunch Education Ally

Rhode Island Announces Statewide K-12 Personalized Learning Push

School integration in 2017: PTA takeovers, PE programs and parents who know the system

When Does the Racial Achievement Gap First Appear?
According to a new study, Latino kindergarteners are about three months behind their white peers in math.

English Language Learners: How Your State Is Doing

New report: 80 percent of Washington’s novice teachers still in class after five years
In a new report about the state’s 60,000 teachers, University of Washington researchers found that just a fifth of new teachers leave within five years in the profession.

What Happens When Superintendents Sue Their School Boards? Usually Splitsville.

Transgender Wrestler’s State Bid Spotlights Texas Policy

South Washington School District probes hacking by student
Files for 15,000 people were downloaded but probably not shared.

Elmo and Friends Lead Education Effort for Refugee Children

Paris Teens Block Schools to Protest Alleged Police Rape

 

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UTAH NEWS
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Utah Senate sees sales tax change as priority, puts income tax reform on pause

Restoring Utah’s sales tax on food is still a “high priority” of Senate Republicans, Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, said Wednesday.
But a corresponding adjustment to the income tax needs more time and consideration, he said, as lawmakers review the cost to Utahns under different scenarios.
“We’ve now discovered what impact that would have on different populations and that caused us some pause,” Niederhauser said. “I think we may take a more incremental approach to broadening the base and lower the rate with the income tax.”
At issue is the phase-out schedule of income tax deductions, which currently begin at income levels above $150,000.
Senate Republicans are looking at moving that threshold to $100,000 or lower, meaning Utahns at lower income levels would be excluded from some or all tax deductions, and offsetting the new revenue from that change by decreasing the state’s income tax rate.
The move is part of a multi-pronged approach to stabilize state revenue streams, led by the Senate, that could also see a hike in the sales tax on food, paired with a drop in the overall sales tax rate, a freezing of property tax rates to capture inflation, and an adjustment to gas taxes that would trigger the indexing of tax rates at lower fuel prices.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bg (SLT)

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

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

 

Utah won’t ‘soak the rich’ to fund schools – income tax increase dies without debate in committee

A Senate committee made quick work Wednesday of shutting down a bill that would lift the income tax rate for wealthy Utahns.
Without debate, from lawmakers or members of the public, the Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee voted 4-2 against SB141, which would create a 7 percent income tax for individuals earning more than $250,000, or couples earning more than $500,000.
Utahns below those earning levels would continue to be taxed at a 5 percent rate.
“This isn’t about class warfare,” said bill sponsor Sen. Jim Dabakis. “This is about a tremendous gap in education funding, and we’ve got no plan.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bi (SLT)

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

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

 

House calls for more frequent school bus inspections

After school buses performed relatively poorly on random inspections, the Utah House voted Wednesday to require more frequent checkups. It comes after representatives voted last week to eliminate all safety inspections on other non-commercial passenger vehicles.
It voted 74-0 to approve final passage of SB40, the school-bus bill, and sent it to Gov. Gary Herbert for his signature or veto.
Rep. Eric Hutchings, R-Kearns, the House sponsor of the bill, said school buses now are inspected randomly – resulting in checking about one of every five buses annually.
Of those that are inspected, he said one of every five fail and have mechanical problems serious enough that they should not be on the road.
He said the bill would require all school buses to be inspected every year. On top of that, random inspections would continue.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bk (SLT)

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

 

Equality Utah says bill sponsor ‘acknowledged merit’ of lawsuit against State School Board

SALT LAKE CITY – By sponsoring legislation that eliminates a specific prohibition against advocacy of homosexuality in health instruction in Utah schools, Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, “acknowledged the merit” of Equality Utah’s lawsuit against the Utah State Board of Education, the organization said in a letter to the Deseret News and others Wednesday.
“Sen. Adams acknowledged the merit in our legal complaint and recognizes that discrimination has no place in public schools. He understands that LGBTQ students must be treated equally to all students. With that, he presented us with SB196, which accomplishes exactly that,” wrote Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah.
Adams did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Senate Education Committee unanimously endorsed the legislation Tuesday, sending it to the full Senate for its consideration.
During committee debate, Adams said the legislation is intended to treat all students equally with respect to health education instruction in Utah public schools.
The amended legislation emphasizes instruction that encourages sexual abstinence and fidelity in marriage.
Equality Utah’s lawsuit against the State School Board, filed in October, cites experiences of three unnamed Utah students in elementary, middle and high schools as examples of other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youths’ experiences in Utah public schools, according to the complaint.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bn (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9bA (OSE)

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

 

Senate bill would create school program for computer science, engineering

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Legislature is considering a bill that would create a grant program encouraging a focus on computer science, information technology and computer engineering in schools.
Sponsored by Sen. Ralph Okerlund, the bill (SB 190) would create the Computer Pathways Grant Program and encourage schools to work with the STEM Action Center and industry partners to introduce courses and content focusing on various facets of computer science.
“We had about 15 or 16 members of the business community saying, ‘We really need this.’ Industry is willing to get into the class and teach these computer skills,” Okerlund said.
The focus of SB 190 is on grades K-8, but the program is intended to support secondary and post-secondary education as well, particularly in smaller districts and rural areas.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bH (KSL)

 

Bill requiring athletic trainers at high schools fails to advance

SALT LAKE CITY – After nearly an hour of debate and discussion, the Utah Legislature’s House Education Committee voted Thursday to hold in committee a bill that would require high schools with athletic programs to employ full-time licensed athletic trainers.
After passage of legislation requiring a concussion protocol in high school sports, HB305 would be the next logical step in ensuring the safety of athletes who can suffer injuries with lifelong consequences, said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield.
“If you’re going to put student athletes at risk, if we’re going to use these athletes to represent the school, we need to invest in these athletes and have some protections,” Ray said.
Even with a provision to phase in the requirement by the 2020-21 school year and language in the bill to suggest ways to fund it – repurposing salaries of retiring school employees – commitee members and members of the public expressed concerns about the costs and impacts on small rural schools and charter schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9c8 (DN)

 

USBA Day on the Hill

On February 19, 2017, the Utah School Boards Association (USBA) held their annual Day on the Hill at the Utah State Capitol. Lisa Livingston represented the Kane School Board at the meeting where we heard from Representative Brad Last, Representative John Knotwell, Senator Lyle Hillyard, and Governor Gary Herbert.
Each of these legislators discussed the importance of education and the need to fund it at appropriate levels across the state. Senator Hillyard said 65 percent of the state budget will go to education, which correlates to approximately $165 million for both K-12 and colleges organizations.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9c5 (SUN)

 

Students present resolution to protect undocumented classmates

SALT LAKE CITY – Executive orders. Deporation. The wall. A lot of the national discussion on immigration has Utah students worried.
Students, parents and activists crowded a meeting of the Salt Lake City Board of Education held at Glendale Middle School Tuesday to propose a resolution designed to protect undocumented classmates.
“This resolution will keep our students’ documentation information private,” said Amy Dominguez of the pro-immigrant group Unidad Inmigrante.
Dominguez said her group worked with West High School students to craft the resolution, which is aimed at preventing schools from sharing documentation information with Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
“These are people above all, and we just want to make sure we are keeping them safe in our community,” Dominguez said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bm (DN)

Wake County considering competing math products for high schools

One of the nation’s largest textbook publishers and a group formed by several Utah math teachers are vying to have their materials used in Wake County high school math courses.
The Wake County school system is holding community input sessions this week to get feedback on whether to use McGraw-Hill Education’s “Core-Plus Mathematics” series or the Mathematics Vision Project’s MVP online materials. Both vendors made the school system’s short list, but only one will be picked and be used beginning as soon as July.

Core-Plus is a more traditional curriculum resource where students would have a hardbound textbook. But the material can also be accessed online and offline.
McGraw-Hill is also offering access to ALEKS, an online tutoring and assessment program, if Wake picks Core-Plus.
On the other hand, MVP is an online product that was originally developed by several Utah teachers who were concerned about the lack of instructional materials that were aligned with the Common Core. The material is free to use, but Wake would have to pay for things such as teacher answer keys and professional development for teachers.
MVP is used by the Chapel Hill-Carrboro school system. MVP says it’s resulted in math gains in the district.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ca (Raleigh [NC] News & Observer)

 

Chinese immersion students win big in national competition

FARMINGTON-Tackling a difficult math or science question can sometimes be daunting – but imagine doing it in another language. That is just what 10 Davis County students had to do at a recent competition – in Chinese.
Students ranging in age from 8 to 13 recently attended the first annual National Chinese Math & Science Competition held in Fort Lauderdale, Florida Jan. 27 and 28. The group came home with 12 medals.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9c6 (DCC)

Roy High hosts first of several Weber School District boundary change forums

ROY – Audience members voiced both concern and support after potential Weber School District boundary adjustments were presented at an open house Wednesday.
There are two proposals for the boundary between Fremont High School and Roy High School, the first of which would send all students within the boundaries of Roy city and West Haven Elementary School to Roy High.
The second plan, which was less preferred by the committees that developed the plans, would send students living within Roy city boundaries east of 4300 West and south of 4800 South to Roy High.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bz (OSE)

 

Herriman teacher, coach changes lives

Lisa Jensen, a psychology teacher and coach at Herriman High School, was nominated for the National Life Group’s LifeChanger of the Year award. While there are more than 700 nominees, Jensen’s students said they’re convinced she should win.
“If they don’t pick her, they picked the wrong person,” said Abbie Champman, a senior who’s worked with Jensen through the school’s bullying prevention club called CURE.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9c7 (South Valley Journal)

Professionals introduce Mt. Jordan sixth-graders to careers

Several hands shot up when nurse and dietitian Susan Lindberg asked Mt. Jordan sixth-graders how many servings are in a Twix candy bar.
The answer, four, may have surprised some students, along with learning there are 500 calories.
Lindberg, along with wildlife officer Ray Loken and videographer and entrepreneur Parker Walbeck, shared some insights of their jobs with students during a career assembly.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9c9 (Sandy Journal)

 

Utah teen to be sentenced for firing gun at school

SALT LAKE CITY- A Utah teenager who pleaded guilty to firing a shotgun into the ceiling of a junior high classroom before being disarmed by his parents is set to be sentenced Thursday.
The 15-year-old boy pleaded guilty earlier this month to two felony charges: theft of a firearm and shooting toward a building. He had been charged with five felony and misdemeanor counts.
Police say the teenager walked into a science classroom and fired into the ceiling on Dec. 1 before his parents caught up him with him and disarmed him. No one was hurt.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9cc (KUTV)

 

Friends, strangers donate thousands to help woman and her newborn injured in Utah crash

After a pregnant woman was critically injured in a head-on crash last week in Salt Lake City, her family initially did not consider launching a fundraiser to cover medical bills, according to her brother.
But Matthew Stevenson, of Kaysville, said news of his sister’s situation brought a flood of calls to media outlets from people asking how they could help out. So the family set up a fundraising page (https://www.gofundme.com/amyandbabywilson), and the funding-raising effort “just exploded,” he said.
As of Wednesday afternoon, the donations totaled more than $39,000 toward a $50,000 goal. Many of the contributors have no connection to the family, Stevenson said.
“People all across the U.S. have been donating,” Stevenson said. “It’s been a huge miracle.”
His sister, 32-year-old Amy Stevenson Wilson, was on her way to the Salt Lake Temple on Feb. 16 when a sedan carrying three West High School seniors collided head-on with the SUV she was driving.
Police say the sedan was traveling north in excess of 70 mph and might have been racing another car on 300 West when it skidded and jumped a landscaped island near 700 North into the southbound lane.
The crash killed two passengers in the sedan, 17-year-old Vidal Pacheco and 18-year-old Dylan Hernandez, and seriously injured the driver.
Wilson was 34 weeks pregnant and gave birth to a girl at University Hospital via emergency C-section, according to Stevenson. Mother and daughter were listed in critical condition on Wednesday.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bw (SLT)

 

‘In their shoes’: Sky View student aims to help young refugees through shoe auctions

NORTH LOGAN – Sky View High School student Chandler Schramm remembers listening to an LDS General Conference talk entitled “Refuge from the Storm.”
Fifteen-year-old Schramm remembers the talk’s core question: What if you were in their shoes?
The question stuck with Schramm, and when she moved from Missouri to the Beehive State last summer, it inspired her to start an initiative called shipshoes4refugees. The initiative has celebrities – mostly athletes – signing a pair of their shoes to be auctioned off, so the profits go to Catholic Community Services of Utah.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bB (LHJ)

 

Retired history teacher spends all his time helping refugees in Utah

Don Ward is a retired teacher who taught AP History at Alta High School for 35 years.
Now, he spends his time helping refugees in Utah, which he calls “addictive.”
“Once you start doing this, it’s hard to stop,” Ward said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9cb (KUTV)

Nominations sought for Huntsman Awards for Excellence in Education

SALT LAKE CITY – Nominations for the 2017 Huntsman Awards for Excellence in Education are now being solicited by the awards committee and will be accepted through 5 p.m. on Friday, March 17.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bx (DN)

 

Senator welcomes Wasatch Peak Academy students to the Capitol

Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, shakes hands with students from Wasatch Peak Academy after their tour of the Capitol during the Utah Legislature in Salt Lake City on Wednesday. Wasatch Peak Academy is a public K-6 charter school in North Salt Lake with the aim of providing students a genuine appreciation for community and country; a perpetual enthusiasm for learning; a willingness to embrace leadership opportunities; and a standard of individual academic excellence.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9by (DN)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Dabakis’ school finance bill deserves support
(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Ron W. Smith

Senator Jim Dabakis’ Senate Bill 141 would raise approximately $340 million a year for K-12 in Utah, a nice start in the catch-up game made necessary by decades of under-funding. Those with incomes of $250,000 or more a year would pay 7 percent in state income tax instead of the currently flat 5 percent paid by everyone (based on federal taxable income). The bill deserves your support, so phone your legislators now.
Additionally, I have an immodest proposal. Those of us who don’t make that much a year might very well feel good about adding to that new pot for education by having our taxes hiked by, say, 1/2 percent or even the 7/8ths proposed by Our Schools Now if those making more take a bigger hit. I know my wife and I would – even on fixed income that every year purchases less.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bC

 

High school playoffs interfere with learning
(Logan) Herald Journal letter from Virgil Parker

The matter that I would like to address you with today is the high school basketball team that is going to state this week. The problem with this game is that it is during school. There are good things with this and there are bad things with this. One problem is that it is held when school is in session. The problem is that there is a lot of people skipping school. That is not so bad. The part that is bad it that there are the people that are going to the game and not getting their work done. So therefore the students don’t get the education they need and deserve. So their life shouldn’t be affected buy the school’s high school team.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bD

 

Want more jobs?
Give high school students more exposure to training for a variety of careers
Washington Post commentary by Jeffrey J. Selingo, author of There Is Life After College

Last year’s presidential election exposed a much-discussed rift in the electorate along education lines. President Trump won three previously blue states-Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin-by appealing in part to working-class communities with a largely non-college-educated population left behind in an information economy that rewards workers with a college degree.
Despite Trump’s campaign promises to revive the industrial North and Midwest by bringing back manufacturing jobs lost to trade, it’s highly unlikely he can deliver on that pledge. Of the factory jobs that disappeared since 2000, nearly nine in ten were lost to machines, not to workers in other countries.
There are still plenty of factory jobs available, however. Some 80 percent of U.S. manufacturers report they have a moderate or serious shortage of qualified applicants for skilled and highly skilled production positions. The problem is only likely to get worse in coming years as a generation of blue-collar workers reach retirement. Nearly 2 million manufacturing jobs are expected to go unfilled due to a shortage of skilled labor.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bJ

 

Dismal Results From Vouchers Surprise Researchers as DeVos Era Begins
New York Times op-ed by Kevin Carey, who directs the education policy program at New America

The confirmation of Betsy DeVos as secretary of education was a signal moment for the school choice movement. For the first time, the nation’s highest education official is someone fully committed to making school vouchers and other market-oriented policies the centerpiece of education reform.
But even as school choice is poised to go national, a wave of new research has emerged suggesting that private school vouchers may harm students who receive them. The results are startling – the worst in the history of the field, researchers say.
While many policy ideas have murky origins, vouchers emerged fully formed from a single, brilliant essay published in 1955 by Milton Friedman, the freemarket godfather later to be awarded a Nobel Prize in Economics. Because “a stable and democratic society is impossible without widespread acceptance of some common set of values and without a minimum degree of literacy and knowledge on the part of most citizens,” Mr. Friedman wrote, the government should pay for all children to go to school.
But, he argued, that doesn’t mean the government should run all the schools. Instead, it could give parents vouchers to pay for “approved educational services” provided by private schools, with the government’s role limited to “ensuring that the schools met certain minimum standards.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9c3

 

No Student Deserves the Bureau of Indian Education
Wall Street Journal op-ed by Naomi Schaefer Riley, author of “The New Trail of Tears: How Washington Is Destroying American Indians”

Ruth Hopkins, a writer at Indian Country Today, set off a small firestorm last month when she tweeted that a Washington source had told her President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos “have plans to scrap” the Bureau of Indian Education. There hasn’t been any official indication from the Trump administration that the tweet is correct, but frankly there are few agencies more worthy of elimination than the one in question.
Just ask Keith Moore, who led the bureau from 2010-12. He told me it was “an inefficient, ineffective, poorly structured bureaucracy,” which was also the gist of a memo he sent to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar shortly before resigning.
The first problem he sees is purely structural: The Bureau of Indian Education is part of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, not the Education Department. This means the same agency that oversees natural-resource use and land development also is in charge of education. Mr. Moore said, “I found it interesting that it was hard to track how the dollars were spent when they were allocated by Congress.”
Only about 7% of Native children attended BIE schools in 2013, according to Education Week. That’s approximately 48,000 students at 183 schools. The education they receive is abysmal. A lawsuit filed in federal court last month by the Havasupai tribe near the Grand Canyon offers a useful example. The tribe is suing the government over its terrible management at the tribe’s elementary school. In the 2012-13 school year, students scored in the third percentile for math and the first percentile for reading.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9c0

 

If our grandparents learned personal finance in school, why can’t our kids?
Our grandparents learned more in school about personal finance than our children do now. What they needed to know about the nation’s financial system was included in math class.
MarketWatch op-ed by Ted Beck, president and CEO of the National Endowment for Financial Education

I’ve got three editions of “Hamilton’s Essentials of Arithmetic,” a nifty little series from 1919 that focused its lessons on “the broader fields which the child is likely to enter after leaving school – fields in which problems of taxation, insurance, investments and other business and social enterprises make a practical demand on arithmetical knowledge.”
These texts go far beyond math drills (although there are many, many pages of those, too). Fifth-graders learned that the money they would be depositing in their school savings banks “should be earned by the labor of the pupil or saved by self-denial,” and then calculated how much profit a student deposited by making jelly from “windfall apples.”
Seventh-graders learned that “people insure their lives so that their families may be provided for in case the breadwinner should die,” and then compared the cost and benefits of premiums for ordinary, term and endowment life policies.
Because society expected children to go on to jobs on farms and in businesses, schools made sure they were ready by the time they left eighth grade. An entertaining reading primer from 1915, “Stories of Thrift for Young Americans,” declares “…not until each grammar-school graduate knows how to practice true thrift will the highest prosperity of the country be assured.”
A hundred years ago, we already knew what our children needed to be competitive in the world. So how did we get from then to now, where our 15-year-olds scored ninth out of 18 countries in financial literacy in 2012?
http://gousoe.uen.org/9c4

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Trump Rescinds Rules on Bathrooms for Transgender Students
New York Times

WASHINGTON – President Trump on Wednesday rescinded protections for transgender students that had allowed them to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity, overruling his own education secretary and placing his administration firmly in the middle of the culture wars that many Republicans have tried to leave behind.
In a joint letter, the top civil rights officials from the Justice Department and the Education Department rejected the Obama administration’s position that nondiscrimination laws require schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms of their choice.
That directive, they said, was improperly and arbitrarily devised, “without due regard for the primary role of the states and local school districts in establishing educational policy.”
The question of how to address the “bathroom debate,” as it has become known, opened a rift inside the Trump administration, pitting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos against Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Mr. Sessions, who had been expected to move quickly to roll back the civil rights expansions put in place under his Democratic predecessors, wanted to act decisively because of two pending court cases that could have upheld the protections and pushed the government into
further litigation.
But Ms. DeVos initially resisted signing off and told Mr. Trump that she was uncomfortable because of the potential harm that rescinding the protections could cause transgender students, according to three Republicans with direct knowledge of the internal discussions.
Mr. Sessions, who has opposed expanding gay, lesbian and transgender rights, pushed Ms. DeVos to relent. After getting nowhere, he took his objections to the White House because he could not go forward without her consent. Mr. Trump sided with his attorney general, the Republicans said, and told Ms. DeVos in a meeting in the Oval Office on Tuesday that he wanted her to drop her opposition. And Ms. DeVos, faced with the alternative of resigning or defying the president, agreed to go along.
Ms. DeVos’s unease was evident in a strongly worded statement she released on Wednesday night, in which she said she considered it a “moral obligation” for every school in America to protect all students from discrimination, bullying and harassment.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bo

http://gousoe.uen.org/9bq (Business Insider)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9br (LAT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9bM (Christian Post)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9c2 (Fox)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9bZ (Breitbart)

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

A copy of the statement
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bp (ED)

 

End of Transgender Bathroom Rule Gets Conservative Praise
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Conservatives are praising the Trump administration’s rollback of public school bathroom requirements for transgender students, saying the move corrects a legal overreach by the Obama administration that is best left for states to decide. Transgender rights advocates, meanwhile, are vowing to overcome a major setback.
“We’re not discouraged. And we’re going to keep fighting like we have been and keep fighting for the right thing,” said Gavin Grimm, a transgender teen who sued his Virginia high school over its bathroom access policy and whose case is set to be heard by the Supreme Court next month.
The Justice and Education departments said Wednesday that public schools no longer need to abide by the Obama-era directive instructing them to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms of their chosen gender. That guidance, issued in May, led to a spate of lawsuits over how it should be applied, according to a letter from the departments being sent to schools nationwide.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bK

 

Did Democrats Waste Time Fighting Betsy DeVos More Than Other Nominees?
Education Week

Senate Democrats, teachers’ unions, and other opponents of Betsy DeVos spent a tremendous amount of time opposing her nomination for education secretary. Ultimately, they were unsuccessful. Should they have directed more or much of that energy elsewhere in seeking to defend their K-12 priorities?
We’ve written recently that DeVos doesn’t have a huge amount of power under the Every Student Succeeds Act, at least compared to past education secretaries. And education secretaries in general tend not to have the same sway as some of their peers in a president’s cabinet. Take Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who appears to have wielded some early influence in education policy under the Trump administration.
A New York Times report Wednesday stating that DeVos initially resisted the push by Sessions and others in the Trump administration to repeal the Obama-era guidance protecting transgender students’ rights under Title IX. Eventually, DeVos decided to go along with Sessions and support repealing the guidance instead of resigning, a choice the Times reported she faced. (Repealing that guidance required approval from both DeVos and Sessions.) White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, however, subsequently told reporters Wednesday that there were discussions in the adminisration about the timing and wording of the announcement, not divisions over whether to rescind the guidance.
Ultimately, the Trump administration rescinded that guidance late Wednesday.
DeVos did put out a statement when the administration rescinded the guidance saying that although the issue of transgender students’ rights was best left to states and local jurisdictions, “I have dedicated my career to advocating for and fighting on behalf of students, and as Secretary of Education, I consider protecting all students, including LGBTQ students, not only a key priority for the Department, but for every school in America.” (Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the Senate education committee’s top Democrat, initially praised DeVos’ resistance to resciding the guidance on Wednesday, but later the same day criticized her for caving to Sessions.)
Because of the Times report about Sessions winning out over DeVos, as well as other political dynamics, there’s been some criticism of the intense opposition DeVos got compared to someone like Sessions, given his polarizing record on issues such as immigration.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bT

 

Senator Asks DeVos to Clarify Remarks About Ed Dept Staff
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A Democratic senator is expressing concern about Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her comments about employees.
In an interview last week, DeVos said some Education Department workers could “try to subvert” its mission and promised to act “swiftly and surely” on that matter.
Senator Patty Murray of Washington state sent a letter to DeVos on Wednesday, asking her to clarify the remarks.
Murray is the senior Democrat on the Senate Education Committee. She warns that such comments may be intimidating to some staffers. She also warns DeVos against going after civil servants hired by the previous administration.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bL

 

In Foxx, Trump & DeVos Have a Staunch Education Ally
RealClearPolitics

With control of all three branches of government, Republicans are set on unraveling President Obama’s education legacy and pushing an unprecedented amount of funding and authority back to states.
Leading this charge is Rep. Virginia Foxx, the newly appointed chairwoman of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. Her mission, as she told RealClearPolitics in an interview for the new episode of the “First 100 Days” podcast series, is to make the federal government “as minimal as possible.”
In fact, the North Carolina Republican has no qualms about abolishing the entire Department of Education. “If the Lord put me in charge, I would do it,” Foxx said. But she admitted, “I do not think it’s politically feasible.”
Instead, the GOP is busy chipping away at specific Obama-era regulations related to the nation’s new education law, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). And the Trump administration just took an axe to Obama’s controversial Title IX transgender restroom rules. Foxx approved of the decision and added that Obama had circumvented the legislative process and tried to “interpret into the law something that was never intended.” (At the time of her interview with RCP, the administration’s decision was imminent but had not yet been issued.)
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bY

 

Rhode Island Announces Statewide K-12 Personalized Learning Push
Education Week

Rhode Island is moving forward with a statewide personalized learning initiative that aims to support a variety of efforts to tailor education to the unique needs of each student.
The $2 million public-private effort is being headed by Richard Culatta, the state’s chief innovation officer and the former director of the office of educational technology at the federal education department.
In an interview, Culatta said the early focus is on developing a common statewide vision for what personalized learning entails, supporting and expanding related models in Rhode Island schools, and establishing a research network that can help guide implementation.
The initiative could also signal broader shifts. With strong proponents of a smaller federal government now in the White House and U.S. Department of Education, the push for educational innovation will likely come from states, rather than Washington. And in Rhode Island, at least, the next stage of the personalized-learing movement appears focused on helping traditional schools to evolve, rather than attempting to create entirely new school models from scratch.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bR

 

School integration in 2017: PTA takeovers, PE programs and parents who know the system
(Pasadena, CA) KPCC

Last fall, Susan Savitt Schwartz, program director at the Pasadena Education Network, gave a presentation at the Caltech Children’s Center about Pasadena’s public schools, noting their STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and arts magnets, rich linguistic offerings (dual language programs in Spanish, Mandarin, and, soon, French), and recent honors (U.S. News & World Report awarded silver medals to both Blair and Marshall in 2015).
Afterwards, a mother approached her, and said she’d appreciated the talk.
“But I have to admit,” she told Savitt Schwartz. “I’m just kind of scared that my kid is going to get hurt in the public schools. Is that weird?”
“You know, it’s not weird,” Savitt Schwartz said back to her. “But it’s also not a valid fear.”
Since PEN incorporated in 2006 as an advocacy organization for public education, this has been one of its most central activities: assuaging the anxieties of middle class parents, cautious of a public school system in which their children would be in the minority.
These anxieties are not new. In fact, they are at least part of the reason white families are the minority in Pasadena’s public schools in the first place.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bU

 

When Does the Racial Achievement Gap First Appear?
According to a new study, Latino kindergarteners are about three months behind their white peers in math.
Atlantic

Latino students in kindergarten trail their white peers in math by approximately three months’ worth of learning, a new study by Child Trends Hispanic Institute has found.
Researchers drew a nationally representative sample of students from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Kindergarten Class of 2010-2011 who were followed through the end of their fifth-grade year. Sixty-two percent of the 2,199 Latino students studied had at least one foreign-born parent, and 45 percent spoke only Spanish or predominantly Spanish at home. Nearly half lived in poverty.
The study, titled “Making Math Count More for Young Latino Children,” found that while Latino and white kindergartners showed similar gains throughout the year, Latino students remain behind in the spring because of where they started upon entering school in the fall. What that three-month gap looks like in actuality is difficult to measure, David Murphey, a co-author of the report, said in an email; what children learn in math in preschool or kindergarten varies widely across the country.
And while students’ family incomes, parent education levels, primary languages, and quantity of books in the home all accounted for differences in math skills among Latino students, the achievement gap between Latino and white students is still evident after accounting for these background differences.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bs

A copy of the study
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bt (Child Trends)

 

English Language Learners: How Your State Is Doing
NPR

About 1 out of every 10 public school students in the United States right now is learning to speak English. They’re called ELLs, for “English Language Learners.”
There are nearly 5 million of them, and educating them – in English and all the other subjects and skills they’ll need – is one of the biggest challenges in U.S. public education today.
As part of our reporting project, 5 Million Voices, we set out to gather up all the data and information we could find about who these students are and how they’re being taught.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bI

 

New report: 80 percent of Washington’s novice teachers still in class after five years
In a new report about the state’s 60,000 teachers, University of Washington researchers found that just a fifth of new teachers leave within five years in the profession.
Seattle Times

It’s often said that beginning teachers leave their profession in droves within their first five years.
Even if that’s true elsewhere, it’s not the case in Washington state, according to a new study from the University of Washington.
Here, only about a fifth of new teachers leave before they’ve been in the classroom for five years. And the poverty level of the teacher’s school didn’t affect the likelihood of whether he or she would leave.
Those are some of the findings in a new, in-depth look at the makeup and retention of the state’s approximately 60,000 teachers that the UW’s College of Education prepared for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction. While the researchers didn’t look at why teachers stay or leave, the report does provide a snapshot of the statewide teacher landscape.
One concerning note: Even while the state’s teaching workforce is growing, it isn’t getting more racially diverse.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bW

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bX (University of Washington)

What Happens When Superintendents Sue Their School Boards? Usually Splitsville.
Education Week

When a rocky relationship between a superintendent and school board winds up in court, it can lead to the awkwardness of divorce-like when a splitting couple continues living together with their kids in the middle of the conflict.
As the relationship breaks down, it’s relatively common for superintendents to hit the escape hatches in their contracts, through resignation or retirement, or for school board trustees to get voted in or out as tensions air.
What’s more uncommon though are sitting superintendents suing the school board members who can hire, and in most cases, fire them. Conversely, it’s rare for a sitting trustee, or an entire board to sue a superintendent.
When it does happen, though, it usually doesn’t end well, according to a review by Education Week of such legal cases over the last decade.
The most recent case is unfolding now in the Howard County, Md., school district, where Superintendent Renee Foose has sued the school board in a dispute that is both professional and personal.
The suit, filed in January in Howard County Circuit Court, alleges that school board trustees passed a series of resolutions that aimed to “strip the superintendent of her lawful authority” since the newly elected board was sworn in December. The conflict has extended to Foose’s personal life, as she also claims in the suit that she has faced discrimination because of her sexual orientation as an out lesbian.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bu

 

Transgender Wrestler’s State Bid Spotlights Texas Policy
Associated Press

EULESS, Texas — A 17-year-old transgender wrestler who qualified for the girls state tournament while transitioning from female to male has become a high-profile test of a year-old Texas policy now being criticized by the attorney who tried to keep the athlete from competing.
Mack Beggs, a junior at Euless Trinity High School in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, won a regional championship after two opposing wrestlers forfeited, apparently over concerns that Beggs has an unfair advantage because of testosterone treatments that are part of the transition.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bO

South Washington School District probes hacking by student
Files for 15,000 people were downloaded but probably not shared.
Minneapolis Star Tribune

The South Washington County school district is tightening security after a high school student hacked into the district’s server and took names, Social Security numbers and some addresses.
According to a letter sent to teachers and staff last week by Superintendent Keith Jacobus, the student downloaded the data to an external hard drive in early January.
Files for more than 15,000 people were downloaded, said district spokeswoman Barbara Brown. Of that number, 478 people actually had their files opened.
But the district said that the student – who was not identified – provided a sworn statement that no personal data was shared, copied or misused. Forensic evidence collected so far indicates the same thing, said Bob Berkowitz, the district’s technology director.
Jacobus said in his letter that the district is investigating, with the help of law enforcement officers, and is in the process of tightening security.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bv

 

Elmo and Friends Lead Education Effort for Refugee Children
Voice of America

NEW YORK – In refugee camps everywhere, there is no shortage of curious young minds: more than half of the world’s displaced population are children. But the barriers to receiving a quality early education are huge.
“There are 250 million children whose developmental potential is at risk around the world,” said Sarah Smith, Director of Education at the International Rescue Committee (IRC), in an interview with VOA. “The global displacement crisis is bigger than ever before, and there are about 12 million children under eight who are displaced from their homes and in need of support.”
In response to the growing Syrian refugee crisis, the IRC, together with Sesame Workshop – the nonprofit behind the children’s program Sesame Street – have teamed up in a new initiative to provide quality education to young children displaced by conflict and persecution.
The pilot program, which is still in development, focuses primarily on refugees and other young children affected by conflict in Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and northern Iraq.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9c1

 

Paris Teens Block Schools to Protest Alleged Police Rape
Associated Press

PARIS — Paris teenagers blockaded high schools with burning garbage cans and skirmished with riot officers at an unauthorized protest Thursday, angered by the alleged rape of a young black man with a police baton and other police abuse.
Police fired tear gas on small groups of protesters and detained 11 people after a crowd of about 1,000 youth marched on the Place de la Nation, according to a police spokesman. The plaza in eastern Paris is associated with the French revolution.
Some protesters wore masks and lit flares. One group carried a banner reading “Vengeance for Theo,” the name of the alleged rape victim.
Students blocked 16 of the region’s 103 high schools with makeshift barricades and disrupted 12 others, a Paris school district spokesman said. Extra security measures were put in place at the affected schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9bN

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

 

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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 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

February 24:

House Transportation Committee meeting
7:30 a.m., 450 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HTRA0224.ag.htm

House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee meeting
8 a.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HLAW0224.ag.htm

Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee meeting
8 a.m., 415 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SGOP0224.ag.htm

Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee meeting
9 a.m., 250 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SREV0224.ag.htm

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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