Education News Roundup: March 1, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

School grading and school turnaround bills advance.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9f1 (SLT)

House Education Committee advances the High School Activities Association bill.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9f6 (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9fW (SLT)

Park City School Board President assures Latino community that schools there are a safe place for all students.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fR (PR)

Vouchers come up in President Trump’s address to Congress.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9f8 (LAT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9fG (Ed Week)
or http://gousoe.uen.org/9fC (ED)

Will federal special education funding become portable?
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fc (Ed Week)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Tweaks to school grading and turnaround programs get early OK of Utah Senate

Utah lawmaker abandons pledge to run bill only with state school board’s support
Education funding > Rep. Kennedy says private chats with agency confirm its support, despite formal opposition.

Senate panel OKs property tax freeze to fund schools
Education funding > Bill would allow property tax revenue to increase in line with rising property values.

Senate shrinks $60M manufacturing tax break to $1.8M, pushes for cleaner-burning fuels
Win-win > New version of SB197 sees change from $60M manufacturing incentive to $1.8M measure aiming to tackle Utah’s air pollution.

Earned income tax credit finally coming to Utah’s working poor?
Helping hand > House passes bill to give incentive to avoid welfare and work.

Bill to study, address homelessness among children advances

UHSAA bill will go before house education committee without association support despite weeks of meetings

Utah House Votes To Make Hiring Elementary School Counselors A Priority

Bill to eliminate criminal penalties for truant students’ parents defeated on tie vote

Kindergarten enrichment program endorsed by Senate panel

Bill Calls For More Testing For Teachers

Our Schools Now: 2018 Ballot Quickest Way To Pass Reforms

Park City School District shows support for Latino community
Board president: ‘Schools should be a safe place for all children’

Parent says school now on probation has had problems all year: ‘It was a nightmare’

Former employee sent to jail for stealing from Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind

Police ID body found in Mill Creek near Bountiful elementary school

Celebrating 90 Years of TV with a Play

For award-winning South Summit educator, teaching is an art
Stephanie Clegg named 2017 Utah Art Educator of the Year

Bountiful Junior High student wins money, trip to D.C. for volunteer work

A Utah band director hides the fact he can’t fully hear the music

Construction begins on Eagle Mountain high school

Hillcrest HS Students Learn Dangers of Distracted Driving

Rodeos and reading go hand and hand in Spanish Fork

East students spend the day in service to others

7 facts you may not have known about charter schools in Utah

Utah Valley Educator of the Week: Vickie Ahlstrom

Utah Valley Student of the Week: Annalynn Cannon

Broadcaster inducted into Nebo Hall of Fame; Elk Ridge flag design; student chosen for Jazz Band of America

Taylorsville administrator turned into human ice cream sundae

Senate passes sharply curtailed pre-k funding plan

OPINION & COMMENTARY

This is no time for Legislature to piddle around with message bills

3 reasons schools should make their own transgender policies

Ms. DeVos’s Fake History About School Choice

States Take the Lead in School Reform
Almost all now allow charters, and the next step is education savings accounts.

The Fight Over Charter Schools Is a Distraction
Teachers’ unions and education reformers should join in solidarity

NATION

Trump repeats his push for a school voucher program.
But how would it be accomplished?

Weighing Special Ed. as a School Choice Option

States Wrangle Over K-12 Funding Formulas

Pot sales pay for schools and road repairs, but Trump might take that away

Students’ worry: education technology might predict failure before they have a chance to succeed
Predictive software is marketed as a way to help students before they fail, but some students see a potential downside

Remedial-Education Reform May Fall Short Without More Focus on Nonacademic Support

Franken introduces bill to help teacher shortages

Income Disparities Seen in Extracurricular Activity Rates for Girls

Orange County Schools rejects Confederate flag ban

Sharing Some Food is Off the Table in Connecticut Schools

Michelle Obama Surprises Students on Visit to DC High School

Sex education to be compulsory in England’s schools

 

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UTAH NEWS
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Tweaks to school grading and turnaround programs get early OK of Utah Senate

Senators gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a pair of bills that adjust Utah’s school grading and turnaround programs.
The grading bill, SB220, would end the practice of grading schools on a curve, put more emphasis on student growth and expand performance metrics beyond standardized testing.
Bill sponsor Sen. Ann Millner, R-Ogden, said the bill allows for expectations to be set for each letter grade level, allowing any school to receive an A or B independent of the performance of their sister campuses.
“We’re trying to address the issue of moving targets,” Millner said. “Everybody would really understand where they are and what they need to do to get to the next level.”
And SB234, also sponsored by Millner, would amend Utah’s turnaround program, which sees private consultants hired to work with the worst-performing 3 percent of schools, based on school grading.
The bill would allow a turnaround school to use a portion of their program funding on teacher retention, and would define success as “statistically significant improvement” compared to the current requirement that a school improve its letter grade or face sanctions or possible closure.
Turnaround status would also be given to schools that are in the bottom 3 percent for two consecutive years, Millner said, in an effort to cut down on turnover as schools drop in and out of the low-performing threshold.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9f1 (SLT)

Utah lawmaker abandons pledge to run bill only with state school board’s support
Education funding > Rep. Kennedy says private chats with agency confirm its support, despite formal opposition.

A Utah lawmaker is taking heat online for breaking a promise to abandon legislation if it didn’t earn the support of the Utah Board of Education.
In late January, Rep. Mike Kennedy, R-Alpine, posted on Instagram and Facebook about pitching his bill, HB136, to the school board.
The bill directs the school board to review federal education mandates and, if those mandates conflict with state goals, to request funding from lawmakers to allow Utah schools to ignore the federal Department of Education and the resources it provides.
“I will not push this bill through the legislature unless I receive majority support from this body,” Kennedy wrote, referring to the Utah board of Education.
School board members initially split on the issue in a tied 7-7 vote. But during a subsequent board meeting on Feb. 9, the board voted 8-2 to oppose the bill. There are 15 members on the state school board.
Despite the board’s formal opposition, Kennedy continued to promote the bill, most recently Monday during a Senate Education Committee hearing, where it advanced to the full Senate on a 4-1 vote. It already passed the House 59-14.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9f0 (SLT)

 

Senate panel OKs property tax freeze to fund schools
Education funding > Bill would allow property tax revenue to increase in line with rising property values.

Members of the Senate Education Committee approved a bill Tuesday that would boost school funding through a statewide property tax rate freeze.
Current law requires tax rates to remain revenue-neutral by adjusting down as property values increase.
But Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, an architect of and advocate for Utah’s “Truth in Taxation” laws, said taxing entities are expected to raise rates and capture inflation every five to eight years. Except for a $75 million increase in 2015, he said, lawmakers had passively allowed Utah’s statewide property tax rate to be cut in half over the last two decades.
“For bedroom communities in particular, that has reduced the yield from the property tax for the statewide education system,” he said. “The buying power is reduced even though the costs of educating are increasing.”
Stephenson’s bill, SB255, would freeze the tax rate through 2022, allowing schools to capture the revenue generated by increases in property values. Based on current trends, the freeze would generate roughly $20 million in its first year and continue to grow until 2022.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9f4 (SLT)

 

Senate shrinks $60M manufacturing tax break to $1.8M, pushes for cleaner-burning fuels
Win-win > New version of SB197 sees change from $60M manufacturing incentive to $1.8M measure aiming to tackle Utah’s air pollution.

A proposal to bolster Utah’s manufacturing sector through a $60 million tax break turned into a clean-air initiative Tuesday after lawmakers swapped out a bill on the Senate floor.
The new version of SB197 would cost the state roughly $1.8 million in sales tax revenue, used as an incentive for refineries that move toward the production of Tier-3 fuel.
“It’s probably one of the more significant air-quality bills we can deal with,” said Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, the bill’s sponsor.
Senators gave preliminary approval on Monday to the original version of the bill, which would have expanded an existing manufacturing sales tax credit to include equipment with an economic life of three years of less.
Adams said that proposal is still good tax policy, but its large price tag has been a sticking point as Utah continues to experience volatility in its sales tax receipts.
“The challenge is funding it,” Adams said.
During debate Monday, Adam’s Senate colleagues questioned the optics of handing a sizable tax cut to corporations at the same time that a proposal is being considered to hike the sales tax Utahns pay on food.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9eZ (SLT)

 

Earned income tax credit finally coming to Utah’s working poor?
Helping hand > House passes bill to give incentive to avoid welfare and work.

Poor working Utahns finally would qualify for a state earned income tax credit (EITC) to make it worth their while to avoid assistance programs and work under a bill passed Tuesday by the House.
Representatives voted 61-7 for HB294 and sent it to the Senate.
“Twenty thousand families in Utah would be helped,” said Rep. John Westwood, R-Cedar City, the sponsor of the bill. “This is an opportunity to help those who are trying to help themselves by working.”
The EITC is designed to encourage people to leave public assistance programs to work. Without it, some people who work at low wages figure they would actually do better financially not to have a job and stay on assistance.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9f3 (SLT)

 

Bill to study, address homelessness among children advances

The House voted Tuesday to look at the causes of child homelessness, and to study how best to address it.
Representatives voted 73-0 for HB283, and sent it to the Senate for consideration.
Rep. Robert Spendlove, R-Sandy, said his bill would ask a current state task force studying intergenerational poverty to address homelessness among children – and said little data exists now about the causes.
The bill also would allow using current cash assistance programs for the poor specifically to avoid homelessness for children.
“Currently, we have 620 children living in homelessness from 298 families in our state,” Spendlove told the House. “Over the course of the year, about five times as many children will experience some form of homelessness in Utah.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9f2 (SLT)

 

UHSAA bill will go before house education committee without association support despite weeks of meetings

SALT LAKE CITY – For more than a month, legislators met with representatives of the Utah High School Activities Association in hopes of finding common ground for legislative action.
On the eve of the bill that was born of those discussions, House Speaker Greg Hughes, R-Draper, and House Minority Whip Francis Gibson, R-Mapleton, appeared surprised and offended that the UHSAA leadership said it would not lend its support to the bill that Hughes said simply seeks to provide “transparency and accountability” to an organization that is doing the public’s business.
“We’re in the public education space,” Hughes said, noting that he and Gibson made no secret of their intention to run some kind of legislation to create more oversight for the association that oversees high school sports. “This hasn’t been heavy handed; this is what we feel is good policy. This bill is creating structure. These decisions we’re making are not ancillary and so distant from our public schools that they don’t affect all of our students and their families.”
Hughes said he originally intended to run a much more detailed bill, one that included rules about when and how students athletes could transfer between schools. But discussions with the group, which included school board members, coaches and superintendents, convinced him to offers suggestions on that subject and leave the actual rule-writing to the UHSAA’s governing bodies.
The bill does, however, spell out what the board of trustees makeup will be, and it subjects the group to the open meetings and records laws of governmental bodies, as well as creating an independent appeal panel that would ensure the group’s hearing panels abided by its own rules.
The two legislators clearly thought they’d built consensus with the group through the work meetings that resulted in the UHSAA’s already acting on some of the suggestions.
But what emerged from the polite, effusively complimentary but tense discussion Tuesday afternoon was that the UHSAA’s board of trustees was adamantly opposed to any legislation – regardless of content.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9f6 (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9fW (SLT)

 

Utah House Votes To Make Hiring Elementary School Counselors A Priority

Utah’s House of Representatives voted in favor of a bill that would increase the number of elementary school counselors in the state.
The sponsor of HB223, Republican Representative Steve Eliason, said he’s never been lobbied more for a bill that’s he’s crafted.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fA (KUER)

Bill to eliminate criminal penalties for truant students’ parents defeated on tie vote

SALT LAKE CITY – A bill that would eliminate criminal penalties for a parents of truant children was defeated in the Senate on Tuesday but could be revived after the sponsor preserved the option of bringing back the legislation for reconsideration.
A substituted version of SB115, sponsored by Rep. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi, was a defeated on a tie vote.
Anderegg said the legislation was a “companion bill” to the juvenile justice initiative legislation being carried by Rep. Lowry Snow, R-Santa Clara.
The bill passed without debate on its second reading in the Senate, but on final reading Tuesday, Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, questioned whether there were any consequences to a parent who kept a school-age child home from school to work.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9f5 (DN)

 

Kindergarten enrichment program endorsed by Senate panel

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Legislature’s Senate Education Committee on Tuesday endorsed a bill that creates an optional kindergarten enrichment program intended to help struggling students gain the skills they need to perform on grade level by third grade.
HB168, sponsored by Rep. Lowry Snow, R-Santa Clara, creates a grant program to support kindergarten enrichment programs. The program would be supported by about $200,000 in state funds and more than $2.8 million in federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Family funds.
The optional program would provide additional instruction to some 2,560 kindergartners who perform below peers on kindergarten entry assessments.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ff (DN)

 

Bill Calls For More Testing For Teachers

Salt Lake City, UT – A bill moving through the state House requires teachers to take the equivalent of a board exam. Under the proposal, graduates of a university education program would have to pass a test of skills like lesson planning and classroom management. It would cost teachers up to 300 dollars to take the test. Critics say the bill comes when the state is having a tough time hiring and holding onto public school teachers.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fB (MUR)

 

Our Schools Now: 2018 Ballot Quickest Way To Pass Reforms

Approaching the end of the 2017 state legislative session, Austin Cox, the campaign manager for Our Schools Now, admitted that it is becoming clear that the quickest path to passing the initiative will be through the ballot box in 2018. Lawmakers have criticized the proposal’s 7/8ths of one percent state income tax increase, calling it a 17 and a half percent hike. Cox said that opponents of Our Schools Now are using language that is somewhat misleading.
“If you take that increase, it is a 17 and a half percent of an increase in the rate. What we’re troubled with is that people are saying, ‘Well, it’s an increase in the rate of 17 and a half percent so it must mean that my taxes are going to go up 17 and a half percent.’ That’s where we take issue with that because that’s not true,” Cox said. “There’s some people that may pay a 17 and a half percent increase, there’s some people that would pay less than that. That’s just because it’s the income tax. So, it’s going to be contingent on what your personal income is.”
The Our Schools Now initiative would allow local schools to have a say in how the money that is generated through the initiative is spent. New funds would be required to be used in ways that improve student learning. Research from the Utah Foundation estimates that $1.2 billion in education spending has disappeared over the last 20 years.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fU (UPR)

 

Park City School District shows support for Latino community
Board president: ‘Schools should be a safe place for all children’

The Park City Board of Education issued a show of support for its Latino students after the capture of four undocumented residents by federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials on Feb. 17 shook the town’s Hispanic community.
At a public meeting Tuesday, board member Petra Butler read a statement that said the district wants to ensure schools are a safe place for all students at a time when many immigrant families are fearful of sending their children to class. She said the district is not aware of ICE officials entering any schools in Utah to arrest students, but school officials are considering creating a policy to ensure that any such action would have to first go through a school resource officer.
“The Park City School District supports all its students,” Butler said in the statement. “We have students in our district that have been affected by immigration laws, and we work with students and their families to address their needs, often with community partners.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fR (PR)

 

Parent says school now on probation has had problems all year: ‘It was a nightmare’

State charter school officials have set a June deadline for a Utah County school to get its act together after serious allegations involving student safety emerged.
The State Charter School Board imposed probation on Franklin Discovery Academy over the weekend, but parents say they’ve had concerns about the school since it opened last summer.
“It’s been a nightmare,” said Franklin Academy parent, Kendra, who asked for her last name not to be published.
She pulled her first grader from the school last week amid the allegations, many of which she said she knows first-hand to be true.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fq (KUTV)

 

Former employee sent to jail for stealing from Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind

OGDEN – A former financial analyst for the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind was ordered Tuesday to serve 30 days in jail for stealing thousands of dollars from the program.
Leslie Sue White, 45, will serve 30 days in jail followed by 60 days in a restitution program. She pleaded guilty last month to a single count of unlawful use of a financial transaction, a second-degree felony.
White must pay $67,000 in restitution as part of the agreement.
In exchange for her plea, additional charges of communication fraud and unlawful use of a financial transaction, second-degree felonies, and one count of theft, a third-degree felony, were dismissed.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fg (DN)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9fQ (USN&WR)

 

Police ID body found in Mill Creek near Bountiful elementary school

BOUNTIFUL – Police have identified the body of a man found Monday in a creek near a Bountiful elementary school.
Jeremy Shane Isaacson, 38, of Marriott-Slaterville, was found at 2:40 p.m. Monday, Feb. 27, partially submerged in the Mill Creek channel that runs alongside Washington Elementary School, 340 W. 650 South, according to a press release from the Bountiful Police Department. Children on the school’s playground noticed his body and the playground supervisor called 911.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fs (OSE)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9fy (KSTU)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9fz (Gephardt Daily)

 

Celebrating 90 Years of TV with a Play

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Television is celebrating a big anniversary this year. If you didn’t know,TV was invented by a Utah man, Philo T. Farnsworth, back in 1927. Valley View Elementary is celebrating by producing a play.
Producer Megan Becker, director Matt Kjar, Nathan Blanchard; who plays Philo, and Andie Kjar who plays his wife Pem joined Brian Carlson on Good Morning Utah to talk about everything that’s going into this production.
They decided to commemorate the day by acting out Philo’s life and what got him to his biggest achievement, inventing the TV.
The play is original, written and composed by parents of students at the school with the purpose to educate, inspire and entertain.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fS (KTVX)

 

For award-winning South Summit educator, teaching is an art
Stephanie Clegg named 2017 Utah Art Educator of the Year

For many people, winning an elementary school poster competition in first grade is not an achievement that would linger into adulthood. For Stephanie Clegg, though, it changed the course of her life.
“That recognition that I had talent piqued my interest in art,” she said. “Prior to that, I always doodled and colored, but that was the first time someone told me I was good at this.”
That realization – and a later discovery that she enjoyed fostering creativity in others just as much as creating her own artwork – shaped her future, leading her to become an art teacher. And in that role, she recently won an award that carries a bit more heft than her poster triumph in first grade.
The National Art Education Association named Clegg, who has taught at her alma mater South Summit High School since 2011, the 2017 Utah Art Educator of the Year. She was given the award at a ceremony last week in St. George and said it was a thrill to receive the honor.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fT (PR)

Bountiful Junior High student wins money, trip to D.C. for volunteer work

BOUNTIFUL – A 13-year-old Bountiful Junior High School student was honored for her volunteer work at an assembly Tuesday.
Kara Hughes, an eighth-grade student, was awarded a medal, $1,000 and a trip to Washington D.C. as one of two Utah recipients of the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards while her classmates cheered for her.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fh (OSE)

 

A Utah band director hides the fact he can’t fully hear the music

A high school music teacher has accomplished an amazing task. He’s directing an award-winning band without being able to fully hear the music.
Jacob Bradshaw, 33, is a band director at West Jordan High School. Music has been a part of his life since he was born.
“I did grow up in a house full of music. My parents owned and operated a live theater in California,” Bradshaw said. “I fell in love with music from my mother, and being in that environment a lot.”
Bradshaw’s specialty is the drums, which he is called upon to play for a variety of outside performances. He also plays several other instruments.
He also directs an award-winning high school band and has a college music degree. And, he is partially deaf in his right ear.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fX (KUTV)

 

Construction begins on Eagle Mountain high school

For now, Eagle Mountain’s high school is just a snowy field within eyesight of Frontier Middle School.
In two years, well, that will be a different story.
“This, which looks like a pile of dirt, will be where all the beautiful children will go to school here,” Paula Hill, a member of the Alpine School District Board of Education, said during the school’s groundbreaking Tuesday afternoon.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fi (PDH)

 

Hillcrest HS Students Learn Dangers of Distracted Driving

MIDVALE, Utah – 4.6 seconds is the average time a distracted driver has his/her eyes off the road when texting or looking at texts. That time equals driving the length of a football field at 60mph.
AT&T brought a virtual reality simulator to Hillcrest High School to show students the dangers of distracted driving.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fu (KTVX)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9fx (KSTU)

 

Rodeos and reading go hand and hand in Spanish Fork

While reading and rodeos may not sound like they go together, they do in Spanish Fork where rodeos are a tradition.
Through the Champion Rodeo Reading Challenge students at each of the nine elementary schools in Spanish Fork are being encouraged to read as much as they can for a chance to participate in the June rodeo and win some cowboy gear.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fj (PDH)

 

East students spend the day in service to others

East High School student Addie Johnson writes to a member of the military during a Day of Service in Salt Lake City on Tuesday. While juniors at the school were taking the ACT exam, freshmen, sophomore and senior students sorted donated clothing, wrote the letters and packed lunches for local food pantries. While many other schools allow students not taking the ACT to stay home, East High School decided the time could be put to better use.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fe (DN)

7 facts you may not have known about charter schools in Utah

Charter schools have been around in Utah for nearly two decades, yet many people still do not understand what exactly charter schools are. Are they public or private? Are they paid for by taxpayer funds? Are they religious schools?
Here are seven facts about charter schools in Utah that you may not have known.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fk (PDH)

 

Utah Valley Educator of the Week: Vickie Ahlstrom

Exploration, discovery, teamwork, inquiry and technology are the cornerstones of Vickie Ahlstrom’s instruction. She is a nationally board certified teacher and continues to examine and reexamine her craft, making adjustments each year so she is on the path of continual improvement. She has won many awards during her career because of her commitment to students.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fl (PDH)

Utah Valley Student of the Week: Annalynn Cannon

Annalynn Cannon is an outstanding sixth-grade student who makes life more enjoyable for everyone. She was chosen as the Daily Herald’s Student of the Week.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fm (PDH)

 

Broadcaster inducted into Nebo Hall of Fame; Elk Ridge flag design; student chosen for Jazz Band of America

Former Springville student inducted into Nebo Hall of Fame
Wesley Ruff was inducted into the Nebo School District Hall of Fame in February at the Springville High School boys’ basketball game.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fn (PDH)

 

Taylorsville administrator turned into human ice cream sundae

A competition between two Taylorsville Elementary schools ended with one school principal drenched in ice cream, chocolate and sprinkles.
Calvin Smith Elementary raised more money for Souper Bowl of caring this year, and as a reward got to make their principal into a human ice cream sundae.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fr (KUTV)

 

Senate passes sharply curtailed pre-k funding plan

INDIANAPOLIS- The Indiana Senate has approved a bill slashing a request by Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb to increase funding for a program sending needy kids to preschool.
The bill passed Tuesday on a 41-9 vote. It trims Holcomb’s $10 million requested increase to $3 million.
It also sets aside $1 million for an online preschool program that House Speaker Brian Bosma is skeptical of. Lawmakers are looking at a program by Utah-based Waterford Institute that offers 15-minute-long daily online lessons for preschoolers.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fV (AP via Education Week)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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This is no time for Legislature to piddle around with message bills
(Logan) Herald Journal commentary by columnist Thad Box


Having a minority elected president who doesn’t understand or appreciate us is not a time for grief, it is a call for action. With uncertainty of support from our president, our Legislature should not piddle around funding pet projects and message bills. Their best move this year is to fund the basic operations of the state and increase financial support in a few important areas.
Above all, we need to improve our public schools. For decades, our per-pupil funding for education is near the lowest in the nation. We have been fortunate to have good teachers that bring student performance to near average. Teachers are in short supply. If we do not pay our teachers more, we may lose many of our best. If the Legislature can fund only one area adequately, let it be education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fo

 

3 reasons schools should make their own transgender policies
Sutherland Institute commentary by William C. Duncan, director of Sutherland Institute’s Center for Family and Society

Wednesday night the Trump administration reversed the one-size-fits-all approach the Obama administration took last year on student privacy in sex-segregated facilities.
The Obama mandate, issued by the departments of Justice and Education, claimed to interpret a 1972 statute on sex discrimination in education, Title IX, and warned schools federal funding was on the line if they did not allow use of locker rooms, restrooms, and other facilities on the basis of a student’s “gender identity” rather than biological sex.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fp

 

Ms. DeVos’s Fake History About School Choice
New York Times editorial

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos offered a positively Orwellian explanation Monday of why historically black colleges and universities were created in the United States. Incredibly, she suggested that they were “real pioneers” in the schoolchoice movement and “started from the fact that there were too many students in America who did not have equal access to education.”
The Education Department’s own website – on a page titled “Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Higher Education Desegregation” – offers a more accurate history. These colleges, it shows, were created, beginning in the 19th century, as a direct response to rigid racial segregation when the doors of white colleges were typically closed to AfricanAmericans.
Rather than integrate colleges, the Southern and border states established parallel, Jim Crow systems in which black college students were typically confined to segregated campuses handicapped by meager budgets and inferior libraries and facilities. Litigation over the funding equity issue continues to this day.
Ms. DeVos’s insulting distortion of history, which she tried to pull back after furious criticism, grows out of her obsession with marketdriven school policies including the idea of a publicly funded voucher program that public school students
could use to pay for private education.
But as Kevin Carey reported in The Times just last week, new research shows that voucher programs may actually harm many students by shunting them into low-quality private schools. Taken together, three of the largest voucher programs in the country, enrolling nearly 180,000 children nationwide, showed negative results.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9f7

 

States Take the Lead in School Reform
Almost all now allow charters, and the next step is education savings accounts.
Wall Street Journal op-ed by Jason L. Riley, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute

It may come as a shock to some readers, but there are bigger education stories to report these days than where transgender students should shower and go potty.
After years of federal overreach through No Child Left Behind, Common Core and Obama administration “guidance” on lavatory usage, the states-where Republicans now occupy 33 of the 50 governors’ offices-are not only reasserting local control of K-12 education but reimagining it.
Kentucky and Montana might soon be crossed off that ignominious list of seven states that don’t allow public charter schools. The Bluegrass State is considering a bill that could make charters an option for families as early as next year. On Monday, charter-school legislation sponsored by a Democrat passed the Montana House with bipartisan support. “The Constitution does not guarantee the unions in our schools the right to control them and the money that are there, and that’s the scenario we have today,” said Montana state Rep. Fred Thomas, a Republican supporter of the bill, at a hearing.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fd

 

The Fight Over Charter Schools Is a Distraction
Teachers’ unions and education reformers should join in solidarity
Education Week op-ed by Jia Lok Pratt, chief operating officer of the Sweet Water Foundation

I left corporate America more than 10 years ago to join the education reform movement. I took an administrative leadership position within a high-performing charter network because, as a first-generation college graduate, I knew firsthand the power of education to shape one’s life trajectory. I wanted to be part of the solution to improve public education for all children, and charter schools seemed a promising catalyst to transform public schools.
A decade later, my passion for the movement has changed. Somewhere along the way, the narrative of charter schools seemed to shift from “inspire and innovate” to “why can’t all schools succeed?” The goal switched from establishing a proof point to gaining market share.
I had not joined the education reform movement to fight for charter expansion. And I definitely didn’t join because I believed teachers in traditional public schools were less talented, motivated, or passionate educators than teachers in charter schools, or that they cared more about their jobs and pensions than the children they teach.
The discourse on public education has boiled down to a war between reformers and teachers’ unions, and the arguments on both sides serve as examples of reductive reasoning at its worst.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fP

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Trump repeats his push for a school voucher program.
But how would it be accomplished?
Los Angeles Times

President Trump announced steps toward creating a national school voucher program during his speech to Congress on Tuesday night.
“I am calling upon members of both parties to pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African American and Latino children,” Trump said. “These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school that is right for them.”
Trump didn’t provide details, but experts have said that the most likely way to do this at a national level would be through a tax credit program.
Tax credit programs allow people and corporations to allocate some of their tax money to nonprofits that administer scholarships, and student recipients can choose from a list of private schools. The nonprofits then cover the students’ tuition or school expenses. According to the National Conference on State Legislatures, 17 states currently have such programs.
But if his choice in guests is any indication, his model could be Florida. In Florida, corporations can allocated up to 75% of their income tax toward scholarship programs, and most students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch qualify.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9f8

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9fC (ED)

 

Weighing Special Ed. as a School Choice Option
Education Week

The notion of making federal special education funding “portable”-allowing money to follow individual students with disabilities so they can pay for the schools and services they choose-has been on the drawing board in conservative circles for several years.
Now, the idea has at least one well-placed supporter: U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who gave the concept a positive mention during a brief exchange at her confirmation hearing.
Much of the media focus during the run-up to DeVos’ razor-thin confirmation focused on her responses to questions about whether the rules of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act should apply to all schools that receive federal funds.
Less discussed was her response to Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who asked DeVos whether she would do anything to send more special education dollars to the states. “That is an action that would help every single school district in this country,” Collins said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fc

 

States Wrangle Over K-12 Funding Formulas
Education Week

Because education funding can account for up to half of states’ budgets, the debate over how much schools get tends to dominate legislative sessions, which are now in full swing.
The debate is especially heated in states looking to overhaul their education funding formulas, some in response to court rulings. And in some states, the picture is complicated by budget shortfalls that threaten deep cuts for K-12 education. Among the states to keep an eye on this year as they look to make fundamental changes to their funding formula are:
http://gousoe.uen.org/9f9

 

Pot sales pay for schools and road repairs, but Trump might take that away
McClatchy

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s plan to crack down on recreational marijuana could blow a hole in the budgets of states that have come to rely on new tax revenue from pot sales to pay for everything from road repairs to schools.
The Democratic governors of Washington state and Colorado, the first states that voted to legalize the drug for recreational purposes, in 2012, say their experiments have worked and that the federal government should not intervene.
“Money is now going into schools instead of marijuana dealers on the sidewalk, and frankly that is not an unhealthy thing,” said Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee, who returned home Tuesday after spending the weekend in Washington, D.C., at the winter meeting of the National Governors Association.
Marijuana tax revenues nearly doubled in Washington state in 2016 compared with the previous year, hitting $256 million. Inslee said they could exceed $700 million in the next two years.
In Colorado, Gov. John Hickenlooper last month proposed that his state – which collected nearly $200 million in marijuana tax revenue last year – increase the sales tax on recreational pot as a way to funnel more money to public schools.
With so much money now on the line, more states want to cash in: Lawmakers in another 18 states already have introduced bills this year to legalize recreational marijuana, though they’ve been defeated in Mississippi and Wyoming.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fa

 

Students’ worry: education technology might predict failure before they have a chance to succeed
Predictive software is marketed as a way to help students before they fail, but some students see a potential downside
Hechinger Report

A high-tech program designed to predict which students are at risk of failure might sound like a way to extend a helping hand.
Some students don’t see it that way.
They worry that the data will be used to label them before they have a chance to make their own impression on a teacher. That it will relegate them to the heap of students who are written off. That it will follow them long after they have improved, as a stigma that won’t allow them to chart their own course. They want their teachers to get to know them personally, not blindly usher them down a path set into motion by an algorithm.
“We don’t know who is choosing it and who is pulling the strings,” said Luis (known as Adrian) Manzano-Anzures, a student at Warren, Michigan’s Macomb Community College, who spoke last month on a panel at EduCon 2.9, an annual conference about education and technology at Philadelphia’s Science Leadership Academy, a public magnet school.
The panel of several students from the Macomb Community College explored “digital redlining and privacy.” There are already stereotypes and systems in place that can hold them back from reaching their full potential, and some students say they are not inclined to trust digital systems.
Advocates of these predictive programs say they help educators find and help students at risk of failure, but the students on the panel presented another side of the story. What happens if this information is used against us? Will a digital dossier – possibility with inaccurate, incomplete or out-of-context data – follow us forever?
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fO

 

Remedial-Education Reform May Fall Short Without More Focus on Nonacademic Support
Chronicle of Higher Education

The nation is unlikely to meet its ambitious college-completion goals unless remedial-education reformers spend more time examining the nonacademic factors that hold students back, according to a report being released on Wednesday by the National Center for Developmental Education.
Much of the focus of current reform efforts is on reducing the amount of time students spend in remedial classes before they can start earning college credit.
Not enough, the authors contend, is spent on financial insecurity, hunger, homelessness, and child-care worries that can derail the efforts of minority, low-income, and first-generation students.
Instead of blaming stand-alone courses for students’ failure to graduate, educators should examine more ways to integrate them with community support, they say in the report, “College Completion: Focus on the Finish Line.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fM

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fN (National Center for Developmental Education)

 

Franken introduces bill to help teacher shortages
Brainerd (MN) dispatch

U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., on Tuesday helped introduce legislation that would reduce teacher shortages in rural Minnesota and in Indian Country, improving education for rural and Native American students across Minnesota, a news release said.
“Every kid should have access to a world-class education, no matter where they live,” said Franken. “But educators and students in rural Minnesota and in Indian Country often face unique challenges that schools in metro areas don’t. One of the major challenges I often hear about is that frankly there aren’t enough teachers in those communities. These two bills would help address that, and I’m going to be working to pass them into law so that we can get more teachers to work in these communities to ensure kids receive the education they deserve.”
The first bill Franken, a member of the Senate Education Committee, helped introduce with Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., called the Rural Educator Support and Training Act, would address teacher workforce shortages in rural America by providing scholarships, loan forgiveness, and professional development opportunities to educators who commit to work in rural schools. The bill would provide scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in education or school administration who contract with rural schools for at least three years to cover tuition, fees, books, and a living stipend, the release said.
Franken, who is a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, also helped introduce the Native Educator Support and Training Act to help recruit and retain teachers in Indian Country by providing new scholarships, federal student loan forgiveness, and teacher development courses to prospective and existing educators who are either Native American or who commit to teaching at schools that serve a high population of Native students, including local public schools and Bureau of Indian Education schools. The NEST Act would establish multiple incentive, scholarship, and loan forgiveness programs for Native American educators and educators who work in schools serving a high percentage of Native American students, the release said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fb

 

Income Disparities Seen in Extracurricular Activity Rates for Girls
Education Week

A report from the Girl Scout Research Institute finds that girls with lower socioeconomic status participate in extracurricular activities less often than their more affluent peers.
The report by the research arm of the Girl Scouts of the USA entitled “The State of Girls 2017: Emerging Truths and Troubling Trends,” uses data from national and government sources to take a look at girls’ well-being in the United States. The information was collected between 2012 and 2016.
While it covers a lot of ground, including demographic information, a look at the number of girls living in poverty, and the state of girls’ physical and mental health, our focus here is on girls’ participation in extracurricular and after-school activities.
Researchers found that among high school seniors, girls with lower socioeconomic status (SES) were less likely to participate in student government (6 percent versus 10 percent) and sports (17 percent versus 31 percent) than girls with higher SES backgrounds. Girls with lower SES were also less likely to do volunteer work “at least a few times a year” compared to girls who are more affluent (73 percent versus 86 percent).
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fI

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fJ (Girl Scouts)

Orange County Schools rejects Confederate flag ban
Raleigh (NC) News & Observer

HILLSBOROUGH — “Ban it now.”
It was the resounding refrain from dozens of individuals asking the Orange County Schools Board of Education to ban Confederate flags from school properties during the board’s Monday meeting.
But despite the pleas, the school board said it would not ban the Confederate flag, and instead would establish an equity committee of the school board to advise the board on several items, including symbolic speech. Board members and OCS will not tolerate hate speech, bullying or intimidation, stressed Chairman Stephen Halkiotis.
“We understand that improvement is an ongoing process and we are committed to collaborating with our community to support the health and well-being of all students,” he said.
The Northern Orange County NAACP asked the Orange County Schools Board of Education to ban the Confederate flag on school grounds during the board’s earlier meeting in February. It was the second time the NAACP chapter made the request, prompting a flurry of backlash on both sides of the issue.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fD

Sharing Some Food is Off the Table in Connecticut Schools
Associated Press

WALLINGFORD, Conn. — Those lessons about sharing? At lunchtime, in Connecticut schools, they come with an asterisk.
School officials in a Connecticut town are criticizing new restrictions on lunchroom “share tables,” which encourage students to donate uneaten food for any classmates who may be hungry.
The concept has been promoted by the U.S. Agriculture Department as a way to reduce waste, but it is up to local governments to determine what health codes will allow. Under a Connecticut policy updated in January, unopened milk, most fruits and the like are off the table.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fE

 

Michelle Obama Surprises Students on Visit to DC High School
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Former first lady Michelle Obama has made a surprise visit to a Washington high school.
Students and staff at Ballou STAY High School in southeast Washington were told their special guest Tuesday would be Antwan Wilson, the new chancellor of D.C. public schools. Then Mrs. Obama walked in, continuing her practice of dropping in unannounced at local schools to encourage students to focus on getting an education.
Her office says she met privately with about 14 students at the alternative high school on her first semi-official outing since leaving the White House.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fF

Sex education to be compulsory in England’s schools
BBC

Sex and relationships education is to be made compulsory in all schools in England, the government has announced.
All children from the age of four will be taught about safe and healthy relationships, Education Secretary Justine Greening said.
Children will also be taught, at an appropriate age, about sex. But parents will still have the right to withdraw their children from these classes.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9fK

http://gousoe.uen.org/9fL ([London] Telegraph)

 

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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

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

Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee meeting
4:10 p.m., 415 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SGOP0301.ag.htm

March 2:

Senate Education Committee meeting
8 a.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SEDU0302.ag.htm

House Government Operations Standing Committee
8 a.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HGOC0302.ag.htm

Senate Health and Human Services Committee meeting
8 a.m., 250 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SHHS0302.ag.htm

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

House Education Committee meeting
4:10 p.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2017&Com=HSTEDU

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
6 p.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2017&Com=APPEXE

March 3:

Senate Education Committee meeting
4:10 p.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2017&Com=SSTEDU

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
6 p.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2017&Com=APPEXE

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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