Education News Roundup: Feb. 28, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

Senate advances $60 million manufacturing tax exemption.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9dV (SLT)

House advances bonus for some teachers at low-income schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9dW (SLT)

Duchesne School District takes a closer look at its preschool program.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ea (Uintah Basin Standard)

President Trump has invited the recipient of a Florida private school voucher to attend his address to Congress this evening.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ey (WaPo)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9eT (Tampa Bay Times)

School leaders try to figure out how best to engage with Secretary DeVos.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9eF (Ed Week)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Senate gives early approval to $60 million manufacturing tax break as food tax hike waits in wings
Give and take > Skeptics question plan for large corporate tax cut while pushing to raise food taxes.

House backs $5k bonuses to draw top teachers to low-income schools
Bill excludes educators whose students don’t take standardized tests, says retired teacher.

House panel OKs requiring teachers to pass a skills test
Different standards > Graduates of education program would have to pass the test but teachers using alternative route would get two years without taking it.

Utah legislators take a crack at changing Utah High School Activities Association’s governing body, hearing process

Utah House kills redistricting, petition gathering proposals without a public hearing

Robots to help teach children with autism? A House committee decides it is worth a shot

School district divided on preschool

How Utah’s growing tourism industry has helped state tax revenue

Students return to Franklin Discovery Academy after school put on probation

Refugee students find new friends and family at Clayton Middle School

Weber students choose brains over beaches

‘It was perfect’: Edith Bowen director announces retirement, reflects on career

East Elementary Leads the State in Dual Language Immersion Spanish Proficiency

Horace Mann Elementary receives 20 laptops from local tech company

Why One School Embraces Art For Curriculum’s Sake

Weber School District proposed boundaries finalized, with vote coming this week

American Fork High drill team program on the chopping block

Roy high school teens bring healthy, family fun to their community

Utah teacher accused of sex with teen

Case of unconscious bus driver resolves insurance issue in Utah

Using psychology to get kids to eat their veggies

Ben Ford Appointed Peak Center Administrator

Frank Daybell Appointed Operations Coordinator

Alicia Rudd Appointed Elementary Coordinator

Rodeo assembly aims to rope in young readers

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Talking with babies may be the best way to solve Utah’s child achievement gap

Americans voted for disruption, so let’s cut federal education power

Quit making excuses for shafting schools

Tax-averse advocates should do their homework

The ‘Shaming’ of Betsy DeVos
The education secretary should use what her critics fear most: the bully pulpit.

Five Predictions for Education in 2017
Here is what’s ahead for school choice, ed tech, and more

How Pop Culture Misrepresents Educators
The new documentary Teacher of the Year pushes against Hollywood’s hack-or-hero portrayals of the profession.

NATION

Trump invited a student to his joint address. Her story says a lot about his views on education reform.

What Could Trump’s Broad Budget Plans Mean for Education?

Groups Press DeVos on Civil Rights

DeVos Faces Anger Over Remark on Historically Black Colleges

School District Leaders Weigh How-and Whether-to Engage DeVos

Alarmed by Trump, schools protect vulnerable students

Thriving State Economies Support Robust Public Education Systems
States ranking highly in education have strong economies and public financial commitments to schools.

Schools Often Fail to Educate, Support English-Language Learners

It’s Time to Rethink School Schedules, Report Says

Michigan students performing at the bottom of the pack nationally

The Non-White Student Behind the White Picket Fence
Racial diversity is rising in America’s suburban public schools, and many institutions are struggling to provide necessary resources.

Judge issues injunction against Pennsylvania district in transgender case

Most U.S. high schools lack athletic trainers

Texas teen sentenced in Dietrich assault, but victim’s deposition highlights case’s murky facts

Leaders of 2017
Recognizing Excellence in School District Leadership

 

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UTAH NEWS
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Senate gives early approval to $60 million manufacturing tax break as food tax hike waits in wings
Give and take > Skeptics question plan for large corporate tax cut while pushing to raise food taxes.

Utah’s manufacturing industry would see a roughly $60 million tax break under a bill that gained preliminary approval of the Utah Senate on Monday.
Senators voted 21-4 in favor of SB197, which extends an existing tax exemption to include manufacturing equipment with a depreciation term of three years or less.
Bill sponsor Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, said that manufacturing is at the core of economic development.
Excluding short-term investments from tax credits, he said, has prevented existing companies from expanding and new companies from launching within Utah.
“They are less competitive,” he said. “It’s hard to bring them into the state.”
But critics questioned the optics of a large corporate tax break at a time when lawmakers are considering an increase to the tax that residents pay on groceries.
Senate Republicans are currently working on a package of tax reform bills, with the primary objective of combining a restoration of the state sales tax on food with a decrease in the general sales tax rate.
“I wonder about the signal we give to the population,” said Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan, “that we want to raise sales tax on food at the same time we want to give corporations a break like this.”
And Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, said the $60 million benefit to manufacturers comes at a cost to state services, particularly public education.
“Where do we put our money? Where do we put our souls?” Dabakis said. “I suspect it’s a better investment to put it in our classrooms.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9dV (SLT)

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

 

House backs $5k bonuses to draw top teachers to low-income schools
Bill excludes educators whose students don’t take standardized tests, says retired teacher.

The Utah House took a step Monday to a create a pilot program to offer a $5,000 bonus to help recruit and keep effective teachers at low-income schools.
Members passed HB212 on a 51-23 vote, and sent it to the Senate.
Sponsored by Rep. Mike Winder, R-West Valley City, HB212 relies on a metric called median growth percentile, or MGP, to identify teachers who show high levels of student growth on standardized tests.
Roughly 5 percent of Utah teachers would be eligible – described as Utah’s “rock stars” by Winder – with bonuses awarded if those teachers remain at or transfer to one of the state’s 100 most economically impacted campuses.
Winder’s bill, as amended, requires participating school districts to match the program’s state funding, which would cut the measure’s initial state price tag from roughly $900,000 to $365,000.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9dW (SLT)

 

House panel OKs requiring teachers to pass a skills test
Different standards > Graduates of education program would have to pass the test but teachers using alternative route would get two years without taking it.

A bill requiring the equivalent of a board exam for Utah teachers passed a House committee on Monday after a lengthy debate.
The proposal was approved by the Senate earlier this month in a 22-3 vote. But it split the Republican members of the House Education Committee and would have failed if not for supporting votes by the committee’s two Democrats.
Sponsored by Sen. Ann Millner, R-Ogden, SB78 would require graduates of a university education program to pass a test of pedagogical skills – such as lesson planning and classroom management – prior to obtaining a teaching license.
Teachers who enter the profession through an alternative route, like the new Academic Pathway to Teacher, would be required to complete the pedagogical assessment before their third year in the classroom.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9dX (SLT)

 

Utah legislators take a crack at changing Utah High School Activities Association’s governing body, hearing process

SALT LAKE CITY – A day after the group that governs high school sports considers finalizing changes to it’s policy-making board, Utah legislators will consider whether to make those changes part of Utah law.
The bill, entitled Public School Membership in Associations is sponsored by Rep. Francis Gibson, R-Mapleton, but it’s the result of several weeks of work by Gibson; House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper; and a collection of people; including state school board members; superintendents; the Utah High School Activities Association’s executive director; the chairman of the UHSAA’s Board of Trustees; and four coaches.
Hughes and Gibson gathered the group to address issues that Hughes said have cropped up repeatedly for years.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9dZ (DN)

 

Utah House kills redistricting, petition gathering proposals without a public hearing

So much for Democratic-sponsored major election law reform this general session.
Monday, The GOP-controlled House Rules Committee effectively killed two bills by Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck, D-Salt Lake – and they won’t even get a hearing this year.
HB403 would have allowed electronic signatures for citizen initiative petitions.
And HB411 would have set up a bipartisan redistricting advisory commission to recommend boundary lines changes for the Legislature, U.S. House and State School Board every 10 years after the Census.
Chavez-Houck, who sits on the Rules Committee, asked its GOP majority to at least allow her to have public hearings on the bills.
“I know they won’t pass, but the issues are important and should be heard,” she said.
But there is no way GOP legislative bosses even want to discuss allowing electronic signatures on citizen initiative petitions.
For such electronic signings would make it much easier for advocates to gather the approximate 120,000 voter signatures needed to get an issue on the ballot.
It is no secret that political bosses DON’T want the Our Schools Now citizen initiative movement to get their 7/8th of 1 percent personal income tax hike for public schools on the 2018 ballot.
GOP Gov. Gary Herbert and House and Senate GOP legislative leaders have already come out against OSN.
And any kind of compromise with OSN leaders seems dead this session.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9eJ (UP)

 

Robots to help teach children with autism? A House committee decides it is worth a shot

Schools looking to purchase humanoid robots for work with autistic children would get extra help from taxpayers under a bill that gained committee approval Monday.
Members of the House Education Committee signed off on HB418, which would set aside $200,000 to reimburse school districts and charter schools for half the cost of a robot designed for the treatment of autism spectrum disorder.
At a cost of $5,000 each, bill sponsor Rep. Brad Last, R-Hurricane, said: “The districts or the charters would have to come up with a significant amount of money as well if they want to try this.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9eP (SLT)

 

School district divided on preschool

On April 14, 2016, the Duchesne County School District decided to expand their preschool services. Now, almost a year later, the fate of the preschool program has board members and district administrators at odds.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires all school districts to offer preschool services for special education students beginning at age three. Duchesne County School District has been offering those services for more than 30 years, but last year made the move to incorporate typically developing students into the preschool program.
“There’s been a lot of research done on inclusive preschools,” said Lola Stansfield, Con Amore Principal, at a school board meeting in April 2016. “One of the facts is that students with and without disabilities can benefit from inclusive classrooms. They can learn a lot from each other. It also doesn’t really cost any more if you have a preschool that is an inclusive preschool than it would any other way.”
However, the inclusive preschool classes are costing the district more money, and board members are concerned that it may not be the best use of resources. For the 2016-2017 school year, the district increased the funds going to the preschool program by 10 percent. That money was diverted out of the district’s general fund.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ea (Uintah Basin Standard)

 

How Utah’s growing tourism industry has helped state tax revenue

SALT LAKE CITY – With natural wonders, skiing and more, it’s no surprise that the tourism industry is a valuable asset to Utah’s economy.
How valuable is tourism in Utah? According to the Utah Office of Tourism, travelers spent $8.17 billion in 2015 – leading to $1.15 billion in tax revenue for the state.
That is, according to the bureau, an equivalent to each household in Utah paying an extra $1,235 in taxes to the state.

The $1.15 billion in taxes funded more than $100 million for Utah’s public schools, according to the Gardner Policy Institute.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9eK (KSL)

 

Students return to Franklin Discovery Academy after school put on probation

To the eye, Monday looked like a normal day at Franklin Discovery Academy.
But given what happened in Salt Lake City over the weekend, the normal flow of students in classrooms wasn’t a certainty only a few days earlier.
“We have our parents we will never make happy, we are a school of choice, and we are OK with that,” said Jennifer Price, the chair of the school’s board. “We are grateful for those who do love the model that we have and are still here and we are able to serve their students.”
The Utah State Charter School Board placed the Vineyard public charter school on formal probation Saturday evening during a meeting where it could have voted to close the school.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ei (PDH)

 

Why One School Embraces Art For Curriculum’s Sake

In the age of common core standards it’s getting harder for educators to justify teaching art for art’s sake. Especially at Title 1 schools that enroll a high number of children from low-income households. But at Escalante Elementary in Salt Lake City’s Rose Park neighborhood, one teacher is trying to make it work.
In a fourth grade classroom, students are learning about the water cycle. Specifically, the different kinds of clouds that form. But this isn’t science class. This isn’t even a science teacher. The teacher’s name is Meighan Smith and she teaches theater.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ep (KUER)

 

Refugee students find new friends and family at Clayton Middle School

SALT LAKE CITY – The friendships made at Salt Lake’s Clayton Middle School this year could last a lifetime, even if the students end up living a world apart. A unique program is helping Utah students connect with refugees in their communities.
Language arts and ESL teacher Stephanie Hunt describes the addition of 28 refugee students from 20 countries to Clayton’s school body in this way: “It’s a bigger and better neighborhood now.”
It is a community where a boy from Salt Lake City and a refugee from Thailand can quickly become close friends.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9eQ (KSL)

 

Weber students choose brains over beaches

OGDEN – This spring break, a group of Weber State University psychology students will skip the traditional exodus to sunny locales and, instead, help guide Utah youngsters on an educational journey to exotic territories much closer to home.
Now in its 15th year, Brain Awareness Week, March 6-10, matches WSU students with elementary, junior high and high school students for interactive learning workshops focused on brain health and safety.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ee (DN)

 

‘It was perfect’: Edith Bowen director announces retirement, reflects on career

In the six years since Dan Johnson was invited to lead Edith Bowen Laboratory School, it has risen to the top elementary charter school in Utah. Last Wednesday, Johnson announced his retirement as director of the school on the campus of Utah State University effective in June.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9em (LHJ)

 

East Elementary Leads the State in Dual Language Immersion Spanish Proficiency

CEDAR CITY, Utah — East Elementary’s Spanish Dual Immersion program is now leading the state, with the highest score possible in the Dual Language Immersion Spanish Proficiency test.
Dual immersion students all over the state each year take a state-mandated test for proficiency called the AAPPL (ACTFL Assessment of Performance toward Proficiency in Languages). This usually happens at the end of the year but this year it was administered in late October. Final results were received in February.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9eo (KCSG)

 

Horace Mann Elementary receives 20 laptops from local tech company

OGDEN – Horace Mann Elementary School students will be using 20 computers donated to the Utah STEM Action Center by the tech company Orbital ATK.
Action Center Executive Director Tami Goetz said Horace Mann was selected to receive this round of computer donations because the center had a standing partnership already providing a supplemental math class.
“We’re targeting the schools that don’t have enough computers to access the math program,” she said.
Bryan Warren, senior manager of communication with Orbital ATK, said the donation is intended to foster science, technology engineering and math – more commonly known as STEM – because the company already has a need for more people in that field.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9eg (OSE)

 

Weber School District proposed boundaries finalized, with vote coming this week

OGDEN – Weber School District boundary change proposals were finalized at a meeting Monday.
The proposals expand the boundaries of Roy and Weber high schools, shrinking the boundary of Fremont High School to ease overcrowding there.
Boundary adjustments are also being proposed to send more students to Country View Elementary School and fewer to Kanesville Elementary School.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9eh (OSE)

 

American Fork High drill team program on the chopping block

AMERICAN FORK – After more than 50 years performing, the American Fork High School drill team, known as the “Cavettes,” now struggle to keep the program alive.
On Friday – the day after their final event of the season – the team members were shocked when school administrators announced that the Cavettes will no longer be performing.
“The administration came in and instant tears flowed when they told us the Cavettes will no longer be around here at (American Fork High School),” said Jordan Tidwell, a member of the Cavettes.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9en (KSL)

Roy high school teens bring healthy, family fun to their community

ROY – Lilly Greenwood, Sara Tesch and Zoe Heslop are student leaders from Roy High School’s Family, Career and Community Leaders of America club who have teamed up with Utah State University Extension’s service to bring a four-week health class to the community.
Dressed in their red jackets the three leaders give healthy tips and directions for the dinner on Tuesday, Feb. 13. On the menu? Pizza, with a healthy whole wheat crust and all the healthy toppings, as well as a green smoothie.
The kids voted on tonight’s meal, but some of the little ones were not too sure about the smoothie.
So many Roy families have signed up for this free hands-on experience that there’s now a waiting list.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9eM (KSL)

 

Utah teacher accused of sex with teen

A former Duchesne County teacher has been charged after he allegedly had sex with a 16-year-old girl at his home.
Noah Christopher Behunin, 33, of Roosevelt, was charged Feb. 9 in 8th District Court with unlawful sexual conduct with a 16-year-old, a second-degree felony.
According to court documents, Behunin was a teacher at the time of the alleged sexual conduct, which reportedly happened multiple times from December to early February.
The 16-year-old victim told police she had sex with Behunin at his trailer, which was parked next to the home of one of his co-workers, according to a search warrant affidavit that was unsealed Monday.
School publications identify Behunin as an auto-technology instructor at Uintah Basin Applied Technology College, in Roosevelt.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9e9 (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9eb (Uintah Basin Standard)

Case of unconscious bus driver resolves insurance issue in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Supreme Court has decided Utah law overrules the common-law defense of sudden incapacity in a limited extent, doing so in a lawsuit regarding a bus driver who became unconscious transporting a high school band.
The case, Lancer Insurance Co. v. Lake Shore Motor Coach Lines Inc., Janna Crane, Elizabeth Hutchison, Mette Seppi and Tiffany Thayne involves a bus accident that occurred on Oct. 10, 2009.
The bus driver, Debra Jarvis, fell unconscious while returning to Utah from a high school band competition in Idaho. The bus, owned by Lake Shore Motor Coach Lines Inc., left the roadway, hit a ravine and rolled over after Jarvis fell unconscious. Several passengers were injured.
Crane, Hutchison, Seppi and Thayne filed separate lawsuits seeking damages for their injuries. Crane and Hutchison also filed motions for partial summary judgment, claiming that Lancer Insurance Co., Lake Shore’s insurer, was liable for any passengers’ injuries under Utah Code section 31A-22-303(1).
The motions were denied, with the court stating that the statute preserved the common-law “sudden incapacity” defense. With this defense, Jarvis would not be liable for her loss of consciousness and the injured parties could sue only if they showed fault on her part.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9eR (Legal Newsline)

A copy of the ruling
http://gousoe.uen.org/9eS (Utah Supreme Court)

 

Using psychology to get kids to eat their veggies

Most of us have heard the parental warning “don’t play with your food.” But some research being done at Utah State University is actually encouraging kids to do just that as a goal of eating healthier on a regular basis. Gregory Madden, a professor of psychology at USU, is part of a team working on a project known as FIT.
On KVNU’s For the People program, he explained that children are served healthy food that unfortunately gets thrown out. So a game was designed to grab their interest and increase their taking in more vegetables on a daily basis.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9eO (CVD)

 

Ben Ford Appointed Peak Center Administrator

Wade Tischner, the current administrator of the Advanced Learning Center, was called up to serve on tour in the Middle East with the National Guard. The Nebo School Board of Education appointed Ben Ford as the Peak Center and Advanced Learning Center (ALC) Administrator.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ej (Serve Daily)

 

Frank Daybell Appointed Operations Coordinator

With the appointment of Matt Gledhill as the Operations Director, the Nebo Board of Education appointed Frank Daybell as the Operations Coordinator. Mr. Daybell received his bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Utah Valley University and a master’s degree in Administrative Education from Southern Utah University.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ek (Daily Serve)

 

Alicia Rudd Appointed Elementary Coordinator

With the recent appointment of Dave Rowe as Elementary Director, the Nebo School Board of Education appointed Alicia Rudd as the new Elementary Coordinator.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9el (Daily Serve)

 

Rodeo assembly aims to rope in young readers

Rodeo clown Kevin Higley watches as Stephanie Benson, a teacher at Brockbank Elementary School in Spanish Fork, climbs into a rodeo clown barrel on Monday during the school’s Champion Challenge Rodeo assembly, which challenged students to read more. The Western-themed assembly was inspired after Spanish Fork announced it would host the Champions Challenge Rodeo on June 3. Top student readers in the Nebo School District will receive tickets to the rodeo, Justin boots and other Western clothing items, and they’ll get to be involved in the rodeo’s opening ceremonies.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ed (DN)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Talking with babies may be the best way to solve Utah’s child achievement gap
Deseret News editorial

Conversing with an infant can feel like a one-sided exchange. But, it turns out, keeping up the conversation may be one of the most effective methods for closing Utah’s child achievement gap.
Researchers have found that in the first three years of life, children born into affluent families will have heard 30 million more words than children born into poverty. This word gap correlates with an achievement gap when they enter school. But what should have parents and educators on the edge of their seats is that reducing the word gap also tends to reduce the achievement gap. It seems that verbal interaction – even baby talk – stimulates a child’s brain in a way that advances their capacity to learn.
With Utah’s high birthrate and unusually high percentage of young children in its homes, the Beehive State should take careful note. And it’s not simply listening to words that is most beneficial. The words with the greatest impact are interactive verbal exchanges where intonation, word selection and facial expression are specifically in response to the child’s own expressions – whether intelligible or not. Enhanced verbal interaction helps a child’s brain forge new neurological connections, leading to greater educational achievement in later years. This can result in more success and social stability throughout life.
The group Envision Utah has joined the rising tide of enthusiastic advocates of the 30 million word initiative that encourages parents, teachers and schools to take steps to build children’s brains by talking and reading with them.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ef

 

Americans voted for disruption, so let’s cut federal education power
Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Christine Cooke, education policy analyst for Sutherland Institute

This month we saw Vice President Mike Pence cast a historic tie-breaking vote to confirm perhaps the most controversial secretary of education our nation has seen. Critics of Betsy DeVos are afraid of disrupting the status quo.
We also saw Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, sign on to a bill aimed at abolishing the U.S. Department of Education. Most people see the one-sentence bill as posturing, but the idea has sparked a conversation.
Dramatic as these events are, they may signal something even more dramatic – an upcoming shift in American thinking and a desire to get the federal government out of education.
I hope so.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9dU

Quit making excuses for shafting schools
(Provo) Daily Herald letter from Katie Palfreyman

This week I received an email update from my state legislator, Rep. Val Peterson. And again, I was disheartened to hear more excuses about why the Utah Legislature cannot better fund our schools, both public and charter.
In this week’s email, Rep. Peterson blamed the federal government because it controls 64 percent of Utah’s land, implying that if Utah controlled this land it would generate loads and loads of money and solve all of our educational system’s funding problems. Whatever. This is a poor excuse; it’s going to be many years before (if ever) that public land will be “returned” to Utah.
So what are we going to do in the meantime? What are we going to do when there are hundreds of classrooms managed by substitutes because of the soon-to-be-critical shortage of teachers?
Simply put, more money is needed in education now.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9eI

 

Tax-averse advocates should do their homework
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Ron W. Smith

Those who are paid by tax-averse special interests to persuade us that public education in Utah is not underfunded need to do more homework than they have.
It is not enough to talk about scores on standardized tests when they show more about test preparation than they do about what the educational journey should deliver.
It is not enough to talk about rising graduation rates when they say less about real improvement than they do about the pressure put on schools and standards to produce them.
And it certainly isn’t enough to use Utah’s position in rankings of states when international ones show all but a few states far, far down the list.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ec

The ‘Shaming’ of Betsy DeVos
The education secretary should use what her critics fear most: the bully pulpit.
Wall Street Journal commentary by columnist William McGurn

Here’s a suggestion for America’s new secretary of education: Forget about federal education policy.
Not that policy isn’t important. But if Betsy DeVos wants to make her time count, she’d do best to use what her critics fear most: her bully pulpit. Because if Mrs. DeVos does nothing else in her time but lay bare the corruption of a system failing children who need a decent education most-and shame all those standing in the way of reforming it-she will go down as an education secretary of consequence.
“The temptation for an education secretary is to make a few earnest speeches but never really challenge the forces responsible for failure,” says Jeanne Allen, founder and CEO of the Center for Education Reform.
“But the moms and dads whose children are stuck in schools where they aren’t learning need better choices now-and a secretary of education who speaks up for them and takes on the teachers unions and the politicians on their own turf.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9dT

Five Predictions for Education in 2017
Here is what’s ahead for school choice, ed tech, and more
Education Week op-ed by Anthony Kim, founder and CEO of Education Elements

As we reboot, rethink, and reassess our values in the first couple of months of 2017, I’d like to reflect on what this year will mean for education. In the months to come, we will face substantial shifts resulting from the elections of the past year, which not only brought us new politicians, but also demonstrated a deep division between the perceptions of the coastal cities and the rest of the country. As the CEO of a personalized-learning company, Education Elements, I use this time of reflection to consider what changes and shifts are afoot for our districts partners. For education as a whole, there are five major changes that I predict 2017 will bring:
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ew

 

How Pop Culture Misrepresents Educators
The new documentary Teacher of the Year pushes against Hollywood’s hack-or-hero portrayals of the profession.
Atlantic commentary by columnist ANDREW SIMMONS

On a family vacation to the woods, Angie Scioli can only spend a few days swigging Lime-A-Ritas and strumming her ukulele before the compulsion to plan lessons pulls her back to her profession. As an award-winning social-studies teacher at Leesville Road High School in Raleigh, North Carolina, Scioli dresses in goofy costumes for video lectures that have replaced the textbooks her school’s budget can no longer provide. Charismatic, intelligent, and droll, she organizes endearingly overly ambitious community-building events and slaps red tape over her mouth at Red4EdNC demonstrations. And so, when Scioli’s teacher colleagues Rob Phillips and Jay Korreck decided to make Teacher of the Year, a documentary about teaching, they saw her as a logical star.
Following Scioli as she navigates the challenges of the 2013-14 school year, Teacher of the Year offers an authentic portrait of a teacher’s life in the context of an academic appraisal of Hollywood’s familiar model: that of the heroic teacher performer, usually an untrained outsider who, encountering the resistance of skeptical peers, gets inspiring results. With its premiere set for March 2 at the Teachers, Teaching, and Media Conference at Wake Forest University and wider release to follow (after post-production costs are covered by a NEA grant and a Kickstarter campaign), I spoke with Scioli, Phillips, and Korreck to learn more about the film. The interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ez

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Trump invited a student to his joint address. Her story says a lot about his views on education reform.
Washington Post

When President Trump delivers his first joint address to Congress Tuesday night, Denisha Merriweather will be there as his invited guest – and her attendance offers a clue about how Trump might fulfill his promise to spend $20 billion on expanding vouchers and other alternatives to traditional public schools.
Merriweather is a young woman who twice failed third grade at a Florida public school before her godmother placed her in a private school. She paid tuition with help from Florida’s tax-credit scholarship program, which gives corporations tax breaks when they donate to nonprofits that then distribute the money in the form of scholarships to private and religious schools.
Attending private school turned her life around, Merriweather says. She graduated from college and expects to receive a master’s degree this spring.
Trump and his education secretary, Betsy DeVos, have both said they believe public education is failing too many students and that the solution is to make sure students have more access to alternatives, including private schools.
One of the easiest ways Trump could make good on his promise to expand that access is to create a federal tax credit that incentivizes corporations to donate to state programs such as Florida’s. Such a credit could be embedded in a broader tax code overhaul that would need a simple majority in Congress to pass.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ey

http://gousoe.uen.org/9eT (Tampa Bay Times)

 

What Could Trump’s Broad Budget Plans Mean for Education?
Education Week

After months of speculation about how President Donald Trump would approach the budget, we now have at least a general idea: Trump will seek a $54 billion increase for defense-related spending and a corresponding cut in other discretionary funding in fiscal 2018, according to published reports. So what could that mean for the U.S. Department of Education budget. We don’t know the crucial details yet, but one thing’s for sure: Many education advocates are concerned.
First, rememember that many funding advocates have been watching to see how the Trump administration handles those mandatory budget caps on defense and nondefense discretionary spending imposed, which is commonly called sequestration. Now we have a (perhaps unsurprising) answer: more money for defense and roughly a 10 percent cut for discretionary spending at domestic agencies like the Education Department. Also keep in mind that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said recently that she’ll look for places to make cuts in the department’s budget.
The Education Department’s current budget is just over $68 billion, so a 10 percent cut would be roughly $6.8 billion. What are the biggest programs by dollar amount that could lose money?
* Pell Grants to support low-income students attending college are funded at $22.5 billion.
* Title I funding for disadvantaged students is $14.9 billion.
* Individuals With Disabilities Education Act money for students in special education is funded at $12.9 billion.
Together, those three line items in the budget account for $50 billion, or about 73 percent of the Education Department’s total spending
http://gousoe.uen.org/9eC

 

Groups Press DeVos on Civil Rights
U.S. News & World Report

Civil rights groups are urging Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to select a head for the department’s Office for Civil Rights who has a track record of fighting discrimination against marginalized students.
“It is imperative that the administration demonstrate its commitment to civil rights through this appointment,” more than 60 civil rights groups wrote in a Monday letter to DeVos. “Our nation’s children deserve to be represented by a leader who will stand up for them, enforce core nondiscrimination statutes in schools, and ensure equal protection.”
The person chosen to fill the position of assistant secretary for civil rights will be nominated by President Donald Trump, though the education secretary historically has heavily influenced the choice.
The request comes on the heels of the Trump administration’s repeal of the President Barack Obama-era guidance that sought to ensure transgender students have access to bathrooms that match their gender identity.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9e2

 

DeVos Faces Anger Over Remark on Historically Black Colleges
New York Times

WASHINGTON – The education secretary, Betsy DeVos, is facing a fierce backlash after she called historically black colleges and universities “real pioneers when it comes to school choice.”
On Twitter, hundreds of angry users accused her of ignoring the fact that many of the schools were founded because black students were not allowed to attend segregated white schools, not because education pioneers wanted to give African-Americans more options in higher education. Ms. DeVos, an aggressive backer of publicly funded vouchers that public school students could use for private school tuition, released her comments Monday evening shortly after meeting with several presidents from historically black colleges and universities.
Ms. DeVos began the statement by praising the schools for making “tangible, structural reforms” that allow students, often underserved, to reach their full potential.
“They started from the fact that there were too many students in America who did not have equal access to education,” she said in the statement. “They saw that the system wasn’t working, that there was an absence of opportunity, so they took it upon themselves to provide the solution.”
Historically black colleges and universities “are real pioneers when it comes to school choice,” the statement continued. “They are living proof that when more options are provided to students, they are afforded greater access and greater quality. Their success has shown that more options help students flourish.”
On Twitter, users quickly took issue with Ms. DeVos, who is scheduled to speak at a luncheon for the school presidents at the Library of Congress on Tuesday afternoon, accusing her of using the nation’s history of segregation to advance a contemporary political agenda.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9eD

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

 

School District Leaders Weigh How-and Whether-to Engage DeVos
Education Week

As Betsy DeVos embarks on her role as the nation’s highest-profile education official, some K-12 leaders are trying to figure out how to engage with a new U.S. education secretary who’s an ardent proponent of school choice and who many believe holds a dim view of traditional public schools.
Should they invite DeVos to visit their districts, meet with educators, and see classrooms? Or take a more antagonistic stance to ward off potential policies that some see as a threat to traditional public schools?
Since DeVos squeaked through a tumultuous confirmation process, her debut has hit some potholes. A small group of protesters blocked her from entering a middle school in the District of Columbia, temporarily disrupting her first official visit as secretary to a traditional public school. Days later, teachers at the same school lashed out at DeVos for remarks she made in an interview suggesting they were waiting to be told what to do.
But to some K-12 leaders, keeping doors open to DeVos is essential to counter negative views she may hold on public education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9eF

 

Alarmed by Trump, schools protect vulnerable students
Boston Globe

Alarmed by President Trump’s increasingly hostile stances, several local school departments have sought to reassure parents, students, and teachers that protections remain in place for immigrant and transgender students.
School officials from at least seven cities and towns – as well as the state Education Department – have sent letters home to parents or posted statements in the last several weeks, after Trump’s moves to restrict immigration and limit protections for transgender students.
In Needham, Superintendent Dan Gutekanst welcomed high school students back from February break this week with a statement noting that “collectively these actions and pronouncements impact us all by sending a message that an individual is not welcome or wanted.”
“And that,” Gutekanst wrote, “is simply unacceptable.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9eG

 

Thriving State Economies Support Robust Public Education Systems
States ranking highly in education have strong economies and public financial commitments to schools.
U.S. News & World Report

States with robust education systems tend to have thriving economies with opportunities for advancement, a functioning government and healthier people – to name a few advantages.
It’s little wonder then, that when it comes to K-12 education, Massachusetts is king. The state’s success can largely be traced directly to a 1993 overhaul of its education system, which increased funding for districts with many impoverished students, introduced more rigorous academic standards and required students to pass a high-stakes test in order to graduate.
“They’ll tell you the biggest thing they’ve done is commit to a strategy and stick with it,” says Chris Minnich, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, the non-partisan organization that represents the heads of state education departments.
States that escape constant course corrections to their education systems upon changes in legislatures and governors, Minnich says, are typically the ones with the strongest systems. And that’s the case with many of the states that top the list for Best States in education.
“The states that have it figured out around governance actually tend to do better,” he says. “A lot of these states show stability does really help.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9eB

 

Schools Often Fail to Educate, Support English-Language Learners
Education Week

Schools across the United States often provide substandard instruction and social-emotional support to the nation’s English-language learners-and fail to properly train the educators who teach them, a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine finds.
Noting that limited English proficiency remains a substantial barrier to academic success for millions of children in K-12 schools, the study explores how under-resourced schools and under-prepared educators can hinder efforts to help those students learn and master English.
The committee behind the report-consisting of a who’s who of experts on language acquisition and educators-also explored the struggles of specific populations of English-learners such as those with disabilities, who are less likely than their native English-speaking peers to be referred to early intervention and special education programs. The report examined the challenges for long-term English-learners-those who are not considered proficient after being educated for seven or more years in U.S. schools.
One theme remains consistent throughout the wide-ranging, 143-page report: The nation’s schools must devote more resources and research to educating students who aren’t native English speakers.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9eu

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ev (National Academies Press)

 

It’s Time to Rethink School Schedules, Report Says
Education Week

Much of a teacher’s day is devoted to instruction, with precious little time set aside for collaborating with colleagues, planning lessons or reflecting on practice, according to a new report from the Center for American Progress.
The authors of “Reimagining the School Day” point out that U.S. educators spend far more time teaching lessons and less time planning them than educators in other top-performing countries. In a typical work week, U.S. teachers spend about 27 hours delivering lessons, compared with their counterparts in Singapore, who teach 17 hours each week, or to teachers in Finland, who log 21 hours a week.
The authors cite a survey of 120 U.S. school districts that shows that just 45 minutes of a typical teacher’s 7.5-hour workday is dedicated to planning. What’s more, the authors say, teachers could benefit from observing each other, but there’s no time built into the school day to do such observations. Unless, that is, schools begin to rethink the school day.
The report highlights five schedules that aim to revamp how teachers spend a typical school day. All the schedules include more time for teachers to work together to plan lessons, flexible instruction blocks that allow teachers to tailor instruction to students’ particular needs, and opportunities for small-group instruction and student-directed learning.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9e5

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/9e6 (Center for American Progress)

 

Michigan students performing at the bottom of the pack nationally
Grand Rapids (MI) Press

Line up Michigan’s standardized test scores to other states, and the results don’t look great.
The Great Lakes State ranks at or near the bottom of the pack in several important categories, including whether more students are meeting academic targets. And Michigan ranks dead last nationally in proficiency growth since 2003.
Those findings were laid out in a new research paper by Brian Jacob, an education policy professor at University of Michigan, who argues the U.S. Department of Education should highlight the performance gap between the highest and lowest performing states in hopes it will spur states like Michigan to improve.
“By shining a spotlight on states with particularly low student performance, the department can bring attention to the struggles facing public education in these states,” Jacob wrote. “The literature on school accountability suggests that this visibility alone can put pressure on educational actors to reform.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9e0

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/9e1 (Brookings)

 

The Non-White Student Behind the White Picket Fence
Racial diversity is rising in America’s suburban public schools, and many institutions are struggling to provide necessary resources.
Atlantic

As the nation’s capital continued to clean up from a historic blizzard last winter, five immigrant students-unaccompanied minors who had recently arrived from Central America-walked through almost two feet of snow to Montgomery Blair High School in Montgomery County, Maryland, a close-in Washington, D.C., suburb. Montgomery County Public Schools had canceled classes for students during the weather emergency. But the teens didn’t speak English and, coming from a tropical climate, didn’t know the meaning of a “snow day.” They arrived at the high school shivering and covered in snow from walking in the frigid cold without hats, gloves, or boots. School employees on duty gave them hot drinks, found leftover sweatshirts and hoodies to warm them up, and did their best to stave off hypothermia.
The episode still upsets Maria Portela, an advocate for immigrant students and families and the co-founder of Los Padres, the high school’s Hispanic outreach group. For five years Portela has served as a bridge between Blair’s Spanish-speaking families and school staff. The snow-day incident, she explained, is symbolic of a larger and deeper problem in the county’s schools-namely, the skyrocketing growth of non-English speaking youth in suburban school districts ill-equipped to meet the rapid pace of change.
Across the country, suburbs like Montgomery County are going through a metamorphosis, shedding the cocoon of highly educated affluence for a new identity that is browner, poorer, and far more ethnically diverse: “It’s a whole new scenario,” Portela said, “with the same rules and procedures we had from 30 years ago when the county was mostly white.” An influx of English-language learners and refugee students is altering the look and feel of suburban schools-as school districts respond to the dramatic shift with mixed results, and against the backdrop of a rising anti-immigrant climate.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9eA

 

Judge issues injunction against Pennsylvania district in transgender case
Reuters

Three transgender high school students in suburban Pittsburgh can use bathrooms that match their gender identity as their federal case against their school district proceeds in court, a judge ruled on Monday.
U.S. District Court Judge Mark Hornak ordered the Pine-Richland School District to stop enforcing a rule adopted in September for students to use facilities corresponding to their biological sex or unisex facilities, court documents showed.
The ruling comes five days after President Donald Trump’s administration revoked landmark guidance to public schools allowing transgender students to use bathrooms of their choice, reversing a signature initiative of former Democratic President Barack Obama.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9eq

http://gousoe.uen.org/9er (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

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

Most U.S. high schools lack athletic trainers
Reuters

Many U.S. high schools don’t offer athletic training services and few employ full-time athletic trainers, according to a new study.
Private institutions were even less likely than public schools to provide athletic training services or employ trainers, researchers found.
“Athletic trainers really provide the knowledge, security, expertise and education to keep athletes on the field and off the sidelines,” said lead author Alicia Pike, of the Korey Stringer Institute at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. “The students can really focus on the benefits, and enjoyment of safe and fair play.”
The researchers write in the Journal of Athletic Training that the number of student athletes rose for the 25th consecutive year from 2013 to 2014. At that time, nearly 8 million students were athletes.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9e3

A copy of the study
http://gousoe.uen.org/9e4 (Journal of Athletic Training)

 

Texas teen sentenced in Dietrich assault, but victim’s deposition highlights case’s murky facts
Twin Falls (ID) Times-News

DIETRICH – In a fiery, emotional court hearing Friday, the parents of a black, mentally disabled football player stormed out when a defense attorney accused them of fabricating the sexual assault of their son to pursue a $10 million lawsuit.
John R.K Howard, 19, was sentenced in Twin Falls County District Court to three years of probation and 300 hours of community service on a charge of felony injury to a child. The judge also granted a withheld judgement, meaning the conviction could eventually be dismissed.
The victim and his family, who are also pursuing a civil case, say Howard, other football players, coaches and the school led a racist campaign of hatred against him. They have garnered support from people around the nation who see the case as a gross injustice – a slap on the wrist for a privileged white teen who preyed on a disabled teammate from the only black family in town.
But Howard and his lawyers say there was no rape or assault and claims of racism are blown out of proportion or made up entirely.
“The racist stuff, it’s not there,” Howard’s defense attorney, Brad Calbo, told the Times-News. “They’re absurd allegations … this has all been blown out of proportion for the pursuit of money.”
New details, some made available Friday and others recently obtained by the newspaper, paint an even more complicated picture of what happened that October in a high school locker room. And both sides – the victim and his supporters, the accused and theirs – say the evidence supports their case.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9e7

http://gousoe.uen.org/9e8 (NPR)

Leaders of 2017
Recognizing Excellence in School District Leadership
Education Week

Every year, Education Week identifies some of the nation’s most exceptional school district leaders and shines a spotlight on their extraordinary impact on the success of educators and students in its Leaders To Learn From special report. We are proud to reveal our 2017 honorees. These leading-edge district leaders seized on smart ideas, executed them skillfully, and are seeing promising results for students and school communities.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ex

 

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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 28:

House Judiciary Committee meeting
7:30 a.m., 20 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HJUD0228.ag.htm

House Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee meeting
7:45 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HNAE0228.ag.htm

Senate Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee meeting
8 a.m., 215 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SEDW0228.ag.htm

Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee meeting
8 a.m., 415 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SGOP0228.ag.htm

Senate Education Committee meeting
4:10 p.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SEDU0228.ag.htm

House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee meeting
4:10 p.m., 20 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HEDW0228.ag.htm

House Government Operations Committee meeting
4:10 p.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HGOC0228.ag.htm

Senate Health and Human Services Committee meeting
4:10 p.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SHHS0228.ag.htm

March 1:

House Education Committee meeting
8 a.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HEDU0301.ag.htm

House Business and Labor Committee meeting
8 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HBUS0301.ag.htm

Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee meeting
8 a.m., 250 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SJLC0301.ag.htm

March 2:

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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