Education News Roundup: March 2, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

Legislature looks at a 4 percent boost for public school funding.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9h3 (UP)

Bill offering bonuses for some teachers in high-poverty schools advances.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9hm (SLT)

A student from Layton’s Northridge High named top military child.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gB (DN)

A teacher leader from St. George’s Crimson View Elementary named a top agricultural teacher.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9hs (Successful Farming)

Secretary DeVos says President Trump is delivering on his campaign promises on education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9h5 (USAT)

The Chair of Stanford’s Graduate School of Education says vouchers don’t help students.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9hk (New York Daily News)

President Trump plans to visit a Catholic school in Florida on Friday.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gm (Washington Times)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9gl (NYT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9gn (USN&WR)

Ummm ….. and about those bears …
http://gousoe.uen.org/9hj (Detroit Free Press)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Lawmakers set to boost public school funding by $200 million next year

Lawmakers closing in on budget deal

GOP tax reform plan includes only partial food tax restoration

Senate approves lifting ban on ‘advocacy of homosexuality’ in Utah schools
Education > Nearly unanimous approval sends bill to the House.

‘Good teachers deserve to be rewarded’: Bonus bill sails through Senate committee

High school activities association bill passes out of House Education Committee despite objections

Life-saving training may be required to coach student athletes

Committee approves bill aimed at stopping ballot alphabet games
Election edge? > Some say the order of candidates’ listing affects vote’s result.

Education advocates push for ballot initiative

Boundary changes approved for 3 Weber high schools, 2 elementaries

Anonymous donor gives teacher $10K in memory of Ogden woman

Elementary students create objects with 3D printer

8 Best Teacher for Agriculture
Here Are the Winners of the National Excellence in Teaching About Agriculture Award for 2017

Northridge High student named Military Child of the Year

Former Franklin Discovery Academy director says he didn’t resign over grooming allegations against teacher

Orem student arrested on reports of assaulting another student

Former employee sentenced to jail for stealing $67,000 from Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind
Courts > Former financial analyst also must repay the $67,000 she pilfered.

Construction begins on new Eagle Mountain high school

Schools under construction across Utah County

7 interview for Weber School Board seat

NSMS career and technical education reviewed

Event to help families dealing with ADHD

Students invited to enter elementary state chess tournament

Water fair set to educate children about conservation

Multicultural Day aims to inspire ethnic youths to reach higher

Krissy Lunt Wins Outstanding Female Vocalist at National Competition

Meet new Nebo school board member Lisa Rowley

Merit Academy introduces Project Based Learning

Ryan Andrew Stream performs for American Leadership Academy

Albrecht to retire, Willes accepts new position

Dr. RaShel Anderson Shepherd appointed Payson High School principal

Robert Fleming appointed as human resource coordinator

Nebo student wins first place in art contest

Nebo district students challenged to read

Salem Hills FFA students advance to state

Salem Hills FFA member receives grant

Payson High featured on national radio show

Nebo PEAK Award winners announced

SFHS students pledge not to text while driving

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Franklin needs to take a long look in the mirror

Restore the sales tax on food and implement an earned income tax credit

President Trump delivers on education promises
We cannot rely on throwing money at education like administrations past.

Trump’s school voucher con job:
The President and Betsy DeVos talk up private school choice – but it doesn’t help kids

Two Possible Paths for a Tax-Credit School Choice Plan in Congress

NATION

Trump to tout voucher plan for disadvantaged children at Catholic school in Florida

Both sides urge Supreme Court to hear transgender case

Companies back transgender rights in Supreme Court fight

Educators Join New Fight to Block Guns in Schools
Effort to prevent laws to arm school staff is under way

Kansas Supreme Court rules school funding inadequate

Study: When Tenure Is Taken Away, Teachers Leave

Are Charter Schools Overrated? Experts Debate the Question

Measure to Overturn ESSA Accountability Rules Introduced in Senate

Concerns Arise About President Trump’s Commitment to End Common Core

School Led Locker Room Assault Investigation

Parent Alert! Your Child Just Skipped Class

More Than Two Hours of TV Daily Affects Children’s School Readiness, Study Find

Betsy DeVos was right! Bear puts schools on lockdown
Many ridiculed the Secretary of Education a few weeks ago for suggesting a gun could be needed in schools to protect from ‘grizzlies’

 

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UTAH NEWS
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Lawmakers set to boost public school funding by $200 million next year

Utah lawmakers are looking to boost spending for public education by 4% this year while fully funding expected student growth.
UtahPolicy.com has learned budget negotiators have agreed to a 4% boost in the weighted pupil unit, the basic unit of school funding. Most of that increase will likely go toward raising teacher salaries. The appropriations committee tasked with setting the budget for public education only asked for a 3% boost in the WPU.
That new money would be on top of the $68 million needed to cover the expenses of the 10,000 additional students who will flood into Utah’s public schools next year. Legislators say they plan to fully fund that new growth.
Lawmakers have also decided to spend $8 million in ongoing money to provide classroom supplies for teachers.
Those three things bring total new spending on Utah’s schools to close to $200 million. Sources say other education-related spending will push that total higher.
The new spending is significant, but it’s not remotely close to the major boost for public schools sought by the “Our Schools Now” group. They are advocating for a 7/8ths of 1% increase in the personal income tax, which would generate an estimated $750 million annually in additional money for public schools. The group plans to take that issue to the ballot in 2018.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9h3 (UP)

 

GOP tax reform plan includes only partial food tax restoration

SALT LAKE CITY – House Republicans spent nearly two hours in a closed caucus meeting Wednesday poring over a thick document titled “Tax Reform Options,” but they still aren’t ready to sign off on the leadership-driven proposal.
“It’s simple to do. Whether it’s simple to execute politically is another question,” said House Majority Leader Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville.
House Republicans are set to meet again Thursday night.
GOP leaders have been talking throughout much of the 45-day session that ends March 9 about a tax reform package that would restore the full sales tax on food and reduce the amount Utahns can earn before losing income tax exemptions.
The package, intended to be revenue neutral for the first year, would also cut both the sales and income tax rates. It was put together in response to a proposed ballot initiative to raise income taxes to bring in $750 million for schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gi (DN)

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

 

Senate approves lifting ban on ‘advocacy of homosexuality’ in Utah schools
Education > Nearly unanimous approval sends bill to the House.

The Utah Senate gave near-unanimous approval on Wednesday to ending a state ban on the advocacy of homosexuality in public school sex education courses.
Senators voted 24-1 in favor of SB196, which replaces the homosexuality language with a restriction against advocating “premarital or extramarital sexual activity.”
Utah law already restricts sex education to a format focused on abstinence and marital fidelity. But Adams has described SB196 as adding “belts and suspenders” to the law, while also decreasing the state’s vulnerability to litigation after court rulings that legalized same-sex unions nationwide.
“Utah is abstinence-based,” Adams said. “And the [school districts] are in control of their curriculum of choice.”
The advocacy group Equality Utah is currently suing the state over its so-called “no promo homo” laws. And critics of the current statute have argued that it puts educators in a position where they can not acknowledge the existence of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender individuals, or intervene if an LGBT student is being bullied by their peers.
Both Equality Utah and the state’s attorneys agreed to suspend the lawsuit while lawmakers debated SB196, but representatives of Equality Utah have suggested removal of the “advocacy of homosexuality” language from state code may not be enough to satisfy the concerns of their lawsuit.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gx (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9hl (KPCW)

 

‘Good teachers deserve to be rewarded’: Bonus bill sails through Senate committee

A proposal to pay high-performing teachers extra to work in high-poverty schools is headed to the Senate after a warm committee reception on Thursday.
HB212 narrowly cleared the House Education Committee last month – ahead of a 51-23 vote in the House – but the Senate Education Committee gave the bill unanimous support, bolstering its odds of passage in the final days of the legislative session.
“This may not be everything but it’s a little,” said Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper. “It has the potential for moving the needle significantly.”
Under the bill, roughly 150 teachers would be eligible for an annual $5,000 bonus if they remain at or move to one of Utah’s 100 most economically impacted schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9hm (SLT)

 

High school activities association bill passes out of House Education Committee despite objections

SALT LAKE CITY – A bill that would change the governing board of the Utah High School Activities Association, create a new panel for adjudicating appeals and imposing government standards for open meetings and records passed the House Education committee despite objections from the UHSAA.
The sponsor of HB 413, Rep. Francis Gibson, R-Mapleton, and collaborator Rep. Greg Hughes, R-Draper, told the committee that the bill is the result of nearly a month of twice a week meetings that included UHSAA officials, coaches, state school board members, superintendents and lawmakers.
“This bill is only about transparency and accountability,” said Speaker Greg Hughes, who participated in a work group that created the compromise legislation. “All this does is create certainty for the public.”
UHSAA officials, on the other hand, said they see it as “overreach” and an attempt by the Legislature to take over management of the association, which is a private, non-profit formed by the 149 member schools to manage prep sports and some activities.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gk (DN)

 

Life-saving training may be required to coach student athletes

SALT LAKE CITY – A Utah student athlete’s life was saved last year when two teachers performed CPR and revived the teen’s heart after he collapsed in a school hallway.
Now, a Utah lawmaker wants to ensure all students have access to the life-saving measures and training that likely saved the life of Layton teen Connor Moss.
Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, is backing a bill that would require the Utah State Board of Education to establish guidelines to prevent sudden cardiac arrest that is common among student athletes.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9hn (SLT)

 

Committee approves bill aimed at stopping ballot alphabet games
Election edge? > Some say the order of candidates’ listing affects vote’s result.

A rose by any other name smells as sweet, but a political candidate by another name could have an advantage on the ballot.
That’s the premise behind SB269, which would have the state elections office wait until after the candidate filing deadline to generate its randomized alphabetical order for ballot listing.
“The order a person appears on a ballot, especially in a nonpartisan race or in a primary, can affect the outcome of an election,” said Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, the bill’s sponsor.
Because the current practice sees the ballot alphabet released ahead of the filing deadline, Stephenson said, candidates are able to tweak their names for better positioning in the voting booth.
He didn’t name any specific officeholders, but it is widely suspected that alphabet gamesmanship occurred in last year’s crowded Utah Board of Education District 7 race. That race saw incumbent Leslie Castle file under the name Leslie Brooks-Castle, and her challenger – and eventual winner – Carol Lear file under the name Carol Barlow-Lear.
“That happened in a number of elections this last year,” Stephenson said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9hr (SLT)

Education advocates push for ballot initiative

ST. GEORGE – An advocacy group that plans to launch a ballot initiative to raise money for education in Utah has released a draft plan offering details about how the money would be spent.
Our Schools Now is planning to gather signatures for a ballot initiative in 2018 that, if passed, would raise state income tax .008 percent, from 5 percent to 5.875 percent.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9h2 (SGN)

 

Boundary changes approved for 3 Weber high schools, 2 elementaries

OGDEN – The Weber School District Board of Education unanimously approved changes to school boundary lines at a meeting Wednesday evening.
The new lines expand the boundaries for Weber and Roy high schools into what was formerly Fremont High School territory in an effort to ease overcrowding there.
Fremont High’s building is at 118 percent capacity. With the use of 11 portables, capacity actually sits at 101 percent, according to district data.
Four high school boundary change ideas were presented to the board with the note that the committees that developed them preferred moving the largest number of students possible.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gD (OSE)

 

Anonymous donor gives teacher $10K in memory of Ogden woman

BOUNTIFUL – Heidi Martin inspired those who knew her.
She was born with a rare heart condition and despite constant health struggles throughout her life, became a nurse and wanted to help others. But a donation given to a Bountiful elementary school in her name Wednesday showed she also inspired those she didn’t know as well.
Martin, who received the nickname “Meidi Hartin” to reflect her mighty compassionate and kind heart, died one day shy of what would have been her 30th birthday in January. Not long after, her family learned that someone wanted to honor Martin by donating a $10,000 grant to a teacher at Valley View Elementary in Bountiful.
Wendi Stringfellow, a fourth-grade teacher in the accelerated learning program, was surprised with the grant Wednesday at a special assembly at the school.
It will be up to Stringfellow to decide how the $10,000 grant will be spent at the school.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9h4 (KSL)

 

Elementary students create objects with 3D printer

In her 33 years as a teacher, Theo Anderson said she never expected to have a 3D printer in her fifth-grade classroom.
Anderson stumbled across the New Matter Mod-t 3D printer on her Facebook feed last year and though it would cost thousands of dollars. She was surprised to learn it costs under $500, which just happened to be the amount her students won for taking fifth place in a Thermo-Fisher competition. So, she bought her Providence Elementary students a special Christmas present.
Her students have been printing a simple object – like a snowflake, a horseshoe or a fish that fits together like puzzle pieces – every day since the printer arrived. Spools of biodegradable plastic are slowly fed through an extruder that melts the material onto a platform from the bottom up.
A typical print might take five hours.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gK (LHJ)

 

8 Best Teacher for Agriculture
Here Are the Winners of the National Excellence in Teaching About Agriculture Award for 2017

The National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization (NAITCO), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Farm Credit announced that eight general education teachers from around the country have been selected as winners of the National Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award for 2017.
These kindergarten through 12th grade teachers won the award for the innovative ways they use agricultural concepts to teach core subject areas of reading, writing, math, science, social studies, STEM, and more.
“These teachers exemplify how easily connections to agriculture can be made in classroom instruction,” said Chris Fleming, president of NAITCO. “We honor them for the strides they make in agricultural literacy in their classrooms every day.”
The eight teachers selected for the National Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award are:

5. Utah elementary teacher Tiffany Porter implemented a school-wide program involving a greenhouse, aquaponics system, and weather station in which students design irrigation systems, determine the best plants to grow in these systems and the nutrients created from the aquaponics system, among other efforts.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9hs (Successful Farming)

Northridge High student named Military Child of the Year

LAYTON – Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit serving America’s military families, named Jamal Braxton, a student at Northridge High School in Layton, its 2017 Air Force Military Child of the Year.
Braxton, 18, was honored for filling numerous leadership positions for the northern Utah Red Cross, including youth co-chairman for services to armed forces, youth co-chairman for international services, student staff for the organnization’s Leadership Development Camp, a member of its board of directors, and the youth co-president.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gB (DN)

 

Former Franklin Discovery Academy director says he didn’t resign over grooming allegations against teacher

The former director of a Vineyard public charter school said he didn’t know he was asked to resign over his response to reports of an employee reportedly grooming a student for a sexual relationship.
Karl Bowman, the second director of Franklin Discovery Academy since it opened in August, resigned Feb. 17. He said he wasn’t told why he was being asked to resign, but was told he wasn’t a good fit for the school moving forward.
“They said, ‘We’re not at liberty to discuss it,'” Bowman said. “I said, ‘OK, I’ll sign the paper.'”
Franklin Discovery Academy was placed on formal probation by the Utah State Charter School Board on Saturday after three days of meetings centered on the school. The school will be on formal probation until June and will report monthly to the school board on its progress.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gG (PDH)

 

Orem student arrested on reports of assaulting another student

Orem police officers arrested a man Tuesday morning on reports he and a juvenile beat a teenage boy.
Police reports state a Summit High School student, Brayn Flores, rode a school bus Monday afternoon following another student. When the other student got off the bus, Flores, 18, and a juvenile, followed the student. Flores then walked behind the student and punched him in the back of the head, reports state.
The assaulted student confronted Flores and Flores slipped, providing the assaulted student a chance to leave the confrontation. But the juvenile who accompanied Flores pursued and again assaulted him, this time with a handgun, reports state.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gH (PDH)

 

Former employee sentenced to jail for stealing $67,000 from Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind
Courts > Former financial analyst also must repay the $67,000 she pilfered.

A former financial analyst for the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind has been sentenced to jail time and ordered to repay $67,000 she stole from school accounts.
Leslie Sue White, 44, of Ogden, was charged last year in 2nd District Court with communications fraud and two counts of unlawful use of a financial transaction card, all second-degree felonies, as well as third-degree felony theft.
In November, White pleaded guilty to the two counts of unlawful use of a financial transaction card and the other charges were dismissed.
On Tuesday, Judge Noel Hyde sentenced White to 30 days in jail followed by 60 days in a jail restitution program.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gy (SLT)

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

 

Construction begins on new Eagle Mountain high school

EAGLE MOUNTAIN – A community that’s only been in existence for 20 years will soon have its very own public high school.
A groundbreaking ceremony was held Tuesday along Pony Express Parkway, north of the City Center neighborhood, for the new high school in Eagle Mountain.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gz (DN)

 

Schools under construction across Utah County

As Utah County continues to experience growth, school districts and charter schools continue to struggle to accommodate increasing student enrollment. The following map depicts schools under construction across the county and various school districts and boundaries. As new announcements are made with physical addresses, future schools will also be added.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gI (PDH)

 

7 interview for Weber School Board seat

OGDEN – The Weber School District Board of Education interviewed the seven people who applied for a seat on the board Wednesday.
The interviews were done in an open, public meeting. Those who applied for the position include former educators, those in the business community and parents.
The applicants are seeking Richard Favero’s spot on the board representing Precinct 4 after he died unexpectedly in January. Precinct 4 includes the western part of the county including parts of Plain City, Hooper and Marriott-Slaterville.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gE (OSE)

 

NSMS career and technical education reviewed

MORONI – North Sanpete Middle School (NSMS) students learn hands on technical skills on a daily basis as part of the school’s amazing and thriving Career and Technical Education (CTE) department.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ht (PDH)

 

Event to help families dealing with ADHD

ADHD is a common behavioral disorder that affects around 11 percent of school-aged children. Boys are about three times more likely than girls to be diagnosed with it, though it’s not yet understood why.
Kids with ADHD act without thinking, are hyperactive and have trouble focusing. They may understand what’s expected of them but have trouble following through because they can’t sit still, pay attention or focus on details.
Join us for an evening of conversation with Dr. Ronald Jones on Monday, March 27, at 7 p.m. at Merit Academy, 1440 W. Center, Springville. Dr. Jones is a pediatrician whose practice focuses on helping youth with ADHD, ADD, depression and social and academic challenges.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gW (Serve Daily)

 

Students invited to enter elementary state chess tournament

The Elementary State Chess Tournament will be held at Brigham Young University this year. On March 18, young chess players from all over the state of Utah will join together to challenge each other. Several hundred players are expected, from nearly 100 schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9h0 (Serve Daily)

 

Water fair set to educate children about conservation

CEDAR CITY – The Central Iron County Water Conservancy District is hosting a water fair to help local students learn about water and conservation in a fun way.
The fourth annual Water Fair is scheduled for March 6-7 at the Heritage Center Theater, 96 N. 100 East in Cedar City. The fair will teach fourth graders about water and conservation in a fun and engaging way, organizers said in a news release.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9h1 (SGN)

 

Multicultural Day aims to inspire ethnic youths to reach higher

Julien Canales and Jose Urioso, both students at Pine View High School, tour the Capitol in Salt Lake City during Multicultural Youth Leadership Day on Wednesday. During the event, more than 200 educators, sophomores, juniors and seniors from throughout Utah spent the day learning about civic engagement and the Utah Legislature while developing their own leadership skills. During Wednesday’s general session, participants heard from Gov. Gary Herbert, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and other leaders before attending breakout sessions that included panel discussions and tours of the Capitol. In addition, the student and teacher winners of the Excellence in Education awards for civic learning and engagement were honored.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gA (DN)

 

Krissy Lunt Wins Outstanding Female Vocalist at National Competition

American Leadership Academy sports the only competing show choir from any Utah High School.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gQ (Serve Daily)

 

Meet new Nebo school board member Lisa Rowley

Lisa Rowley is now serving as a member of the Nebo School District Board of Education.
Rowley and her husband, Chad, have had many opportunities to volunteer and serve in public schools. Lisa was involved in the PTA on a school and district level and has also served as a room mother and on School Community Councils at the elementary, junior high and high school levels. She also served on the Nebo Education Foundation Board as vice president. Lisa enjoyed working at Santaquin Elementary School in the ESL program for 12 years.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gP (Serve Daily)

 

Merit Academy introduces Project Based Learning

Merit Academy teachers and administration in Springville work closely with students to develop an exciting learning environment and a curriculum that uses Project Based Learning. This is an exciting and innovative process that will be ongoing for many years.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gO (Serve Daily)

 

Ryan Andrew Stream performs for American Leadership Academy

Motivational speaker, musician and soldier Ryan Andrew Stream performed for the American Leadership Academy in Spanish Fork recently. Stream speaks about his life before and after being adopted. Ryan and his brother slept in a homeless shelter and foster care homes before being reunited and adopted by the same family.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gN (Serve Daily)

 

Albrecht to retire, Willes accepts new position

Some major changes are set to hit Sevier School District’s administration in the summer of 2017.
Gail Albrecht, the assistant superintendent of schools, has announced her retirement effective in June.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9hq (Richfield Reaper)

 

Dr. RaShel Anderson Shepherd appointed Payson High School principal

With the recent administrative move of Payson High School Principal Ben Ford to become the PEAK Center administrator, the Nebo School District Board of Education has appointed RaShel Anderson Shepherd as the new principal of Payson High School.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gL (Serve Daily)

 

Robert Fleming appointed as human resource coordinator

Robert Fleming was recently appointed by the Nebo School District Board of Education as human resource coordinator for the district. He will fill the vacancy left by Sandra Jarvis upon her retirement.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gM (Serve Daily)

 

Nebo student wins first place in art contest

Congratulations to Maple Mountain High School student Cadence Peterson who won first place and $5,000 in the Utah State Senate Landscape Visual Arts Scholarship competition. Cadence’s oil piece is entitled, “Dead Horse Point.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gY (Serve Daily)

 

Nebo district students challenged to read

Nebo School District is excited to partner with the Champion Rodeo team to challenge our students in the Spanish Fork area to read.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gR (Serve Daily)

 

Salem Hills FFA students advance to state

On Jan. 30, the Salem Hills High School FFA competed in the Utah Area 5 Leadership Development Events. New to Utah this year is the Conduct of Chapter Meetings event, which is designed for seventh-, eighth- and ninth-grade students to learn how to conduct an officer meeting and use parliamentary procedure. The Salem Hills team placed first in the event.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gX (Serve Daily)

 

Salem Hills FFA member receives grant

Isaac Evans, a member of the Salem Hills High School FFA Chapter, has been awarded a $1,000 grant from The Agricultural Experience Tracker in order to enhance his Supervised Agricultural Experience, a requirement that all FFA members must complete.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gZ (Serve Daily)

 

Payson High featured on national radio show

The national radio show “This American Life” came to Payson High School recently to spotlight some amazing “Grand Gestures” going on at one of Nebo’s high schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gV (Serve Daily)

 

Nebo PEAK Award winners announced

Nebo School District has announced the winners of its February 2017 PEAK Awards. The PEAK (Positive Energy and Kindness) Awards are designed to focus on “raising the bar” on providing exceptional customer service.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gS (Serve Daily)

SFHS students pledge not to text while driving

On Feb. 17, students from Spanish Fork High School took a pledge to put their cell phones down and focus on the road as part of Allstate’s national “X the TXT” campaign. The Allstate Foundation partnered with Health World and the Utah Highway Patrol to urge students to stay distraction-free behind the wheel and raise awareness of the dangers of texting and driving.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gU (Serve Daily)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Franklin needs to take a long look in the mirror
(Provo) Daily Herald editorial

All parents should have the right to choose a proper path for the education of their children.
Public school, private school, charter school, home-schooling … there are more options than ever before, and it is ultimately the parents’ responsibility to decide the best option for their little ones.
So it is that we have no vested interest in whatever educational model the directors and staff at Franklin Discovery Academy in Vineyard choose to utilize. The first-year charter school currently has an enrollment of about 500 students from kindergarten through sixth grade, which means it undoubtedly appeals to many Utah County parents.
However, as a charter school in Utah that receives at least some of its funding through the state government, there needs to be accountability and certain standards must be met. Which is why we fully support the decision of the Utah State Charter School Board, a part of the Utah State Board of Education, to place FDA on formal probation.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gJ

 

Restore the sales tax on food and implement an earned income tax credit
Deseret News op-ed by Natalie Gochnour, associate dean in the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah

A lot has been written on these pages about the problems with Utah increasing the sales tax on food. I would like to offer a different perspective. I think there are far better ways to help low-income Utahns. Legislators would be wise to tax unprepared food at the same rate as other commodities and find a much more tailored way to help Utahns in need.
Approximately 12 percent of Utahns live in poverty. The reasons for their financial struggles vary, but they all need public assistance. It’s right that we band together as a generous society and give of our means. The question is, what is the best way to help?
In 2007, Utah joined many other states in charging a lower sales tax on unprepared food (groceries with many exceptions). Since food is a necessity, supporters argued that we shouldn’t charge sales tax on it. It was too expensive to remove the entire sales tax on unprepared food and so we dropped the state sales tax rate from 4.75 percent to 1.75 percent. Today, state tax collections are approximately $175 million less each year because of this tax change.
I support helping low-income Utahns, but think we should do it in a way that is targeted to match our policy goal. By removing the sales tax on food, we gave everyone a tax break even though our policy goal was to help a subset of the population. We used a blunt policy tool instead of a tailor-made approach. As is often the case with blunt policy tools, we created lots of unfortunate unintended consequences.
The biggest unintended consequence is that instead of giving a $30 million tax break to those in need (the estimated revenue from low-income Utahns who paid the sales tax on food), we gave a $175 million tax break to all Utahns. This action leaves $145 million in revenue each year out of state coffers that could have been used to keep tuition costs lower, pay for more social workers, help with high quality preschool, invest in infrastructure that keeps our economy strong, or other public benefits that help Utah prosper.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gC

 

President Trump delivers on education promises
We cannot rely on throwing money at education like administrations past.
USA Today op-ed by Betsy DeVos, secretary of Education

President Trump’s first address to the joint session of Congress was clear: promises made, promises kept. The president promised to shake up the status quo in Washington, and he has. From keeping Carrier in the United States to nominating the highly qualified Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, our president continues to follow through on his word.
He’s also delivering on his promises for education.
The president made a point during the campaign to highlight the problems low-income families face in accessing a quality education. We cannot hope to get America back on track if we do nothing to improve education for the poorest among us.
The achievement gaps in education result in hundreds of billions of dollars of lost economic potential every year. And these gaps disproportionately harm minority students. Currently, more than 40% of African-American male students do not graduate high school.
These are more than just stats. They are the product of long-term trends.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9h5

 

Trump’s school voucher con job:
The President and Betsy DeVos talk up private school choice – but it doesn’t help kids
New York Daily News op-ed by MARTIN CARNOY, Vida Jacks Chair of Education and Economics at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education

Donald Trump’s speech to Congress Tuesday night hardly mentioned education, but the little there was, was all about educational choice. The choice message was directed right at African Americans and Hispanics. “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,” he said.
To dispel any doubt whether he was talking about the use of public money to attend private schools, the President pointed to a young black woman in the gallery, Denisha Merriweather. She had “struggled in (public) school and failed third grade twice,” he said. “But then she was able to enroll in a private center for learning, with the help of a tax credit scholarship program,” and went on to complete college.
However impressive Denisha’s accomplishments, the President’s explicit message that publicly funding private education can save disadvantaged black and Hispanic children is simply wrong. Extensive research in the U.S. on educational vouchers over the past 25 years shows that gains in student achievement from privatizing education with taxpayer dollars are at best small.
Studies of more recent programs in Indiana and Louisiana financing tens of thousands of low-income students to attend private schools show even worse results. These voucher students’ achievement is much lower than matched students who stayed in public schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9hk

 

Two Possible Paths for a Tax-Credit School Choice Plan in Congress
Education week analysis by columnist Andrew Ujifusa

Of the various school choice bills that might enter the arena in Congress, creating tax credits to fund private school choice might be the most logical, and it’s one of the options the Trump administration is considering.
There’s already a recent blueprint for such tax credits in the form of a 2015 bill, the Educational Opportunities Act, written by Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind, and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. And in his address to Congress Feb. 28, President Donald Trump specifically urged lawmakers to take up school choice legislation to help disadvantaged children, which could impact the policy specifics of any tax-credit bill.
But here’s a major X-factor for creating federally backed tax-credit scholarships: Congress probably wouldn’t use the House and Senate education committees to advance any tax-credit scholarship plan, according to two people we talked to. And it likely wouldn’t be proposed in a standalone bill. There are probably two feasible paths for Washington to create a federally backed tax-credit program.
A tax-credit school choice plan could be part of a major tax-reform plan, according to Christopher Cross, a former assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Education and Republican staffer in Congress who now runs an education consulting firm. That means the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees would be the ones dealing with education tax credits as part of any tax-reform plan, which the Trump administration and other conservatives have been discussing publicly for some time.
One major consequence of the different congressional route for a tax-credit plan is that those two committees are relatively unfamiliar territory for many (but not necessarily all) of professional education associations that might oppose or support tax credits. And for opponents of education tax credits in particular, it would probably be harder, Cross said, to get lawmakers on the relevant House and Senate committees worked up about a single tax credit in a larger tax-reform plan.
“They’ll be paying attention to the business tax rate, to the individual rate changes, to what’s going to happen to charitable deductions,” Cross said. “There’s a host of issues that will, frankly, eclipse an education tax credit for most members and the public and the media.”
Cross also said lobbyists representing big business and other groups who are more familiar with lawmakers on the Ways and Means and Finance committees might, if anything, look favorably on a tax-credit plan for education, even if they’re more focused on other issues.
The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee is Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who also happens to serve on the Senate education committee. Hatch did not cosponsor the Rokita-Rubio bill, but he did vote in favor of a voucher amendment to ESSA.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9hp

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Trump to tout voucher plan for disadvantaged children at Catholic school in Florida
Washington Times

On the heels of his call for an education bill to fund school choice nationwide, President Trump will visit a Catholic school in Orlando, Florida, on Friday to promote school vouchers.
The president will hold a “listening session” at St. Andrew Catholic School, a pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade school where 295 students receive scholarships funded by the state’s increasingly popular tax credit program. Students there are predominantly black and from low-income families.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday that the president will speak with parents, teachers and administrators on plans to achieve his goal of expanding school choice.
“He is determined to provide choice for every parent and opportunities for every child, regardless of their ZIP code,” Mr. Spicer said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gm

http://gousoe.uen.org/9gl (NYT)

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

 

Both sides urge Supreme Court to hear transgender case
USA Today

WASHINGTON – Lawyers for a transgender boy and the Virginia school district that blocked him from using the boys’ bathroom urged the Supreme Court on Wednesday to decide the case, despite a sudden change in the federal government’s position on the issue.
While lawyers for 17-year-old Gavin Grimm said the case should be argued later this month as scheduled, those representing the Gloucester County School Board suggested a delay to get the Trump administration’s full views. That could provide time for the Senate to confirm Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, who might be the swing vote.
The high court asked both sides to weigh in after the new administration announced last week that it was withdrawing Obama-era guidelines instructing school districts to let transgender students use bathrooms corresponding to their chosen gender. That guidance provided the basis for a federal appeals court’s ruling last year in Grimm’s favor.
But lawyers for both sides said the justices still should hear and decide the second question in the case: whether a 1972 prohibition against sex discrimination in education requires that students can use sex-separated facilities based on their gender identity.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gq

http://gousoe.uen.org/9gr (Politico)

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

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

 

Companies back transgender rights in Supreme Court fight
Reuters

WASHINGTON | A coalition of 53 companies on Thursday backed transgender rights at the U.S. Supreme Court, signing on to a brief supporting a Virginia student who is fighting to use the school bathroom that corresponds with his gender identity.
Among the companies participating are Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and IBM Corp.
The court has scheduled oral arguments for March 28 on whether the Gloucester County School Board in Virginia violated a federal anti-discrimination law when it blocked Gavin Grimm, a female-born transgender high school student who identifies as male, from using the boys’ bathroom. A ruling is due by the end of June.
The companies’ brief says they are “concerned about the stigmatizing and degrading effects” of the policy adopted by the school board.
“Gender identity discrimination is a form of sex discrimination,” the brief says.
Among other companies that signed on to the brief are Yahoo Inc, Intel Corp, Amazon.com Inc, and Twitter Inc.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ha

Educators Join New Fight to Block Guns in Schools
Effort to prevent laws to arm school staff is under way
Education Week

Abbey Clements could hear the sounds of the nation’s deadliest K-12 school shooting as she huddled with her 2nd graders singing Christmas carols to drown out the terrifying noises coming from down the hall.
Gunman Adam Lanza had turned left after he entered Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., that day. If he had turned right, he may have ended up in Clements’ classroom. It took less than five minutes for Lanza to fire 154 shots from his Bushmaster rifle, killing 20 children and six adults on that December day in 2012. He shot himself as police arrived.
In the time since, the experience that Clements and her fellow Sandy Hook teachers shared has become a central argument for lawmakers around the country who push for less-restrictive gun laws to allow teachers and staff to carry guns in schools. It’s not unusual for a state legislator to assert that the shooting at Sandy Hook may have been prevented, or that fewer people could have died, if the school’s staff had been armed. It’s a suggestion Clements finds insulting.
“We’re not trained sharp shooters, we’re not trained first responders,” Clements said. “We are caregivers. … I’m sure every educator out there would say that we want school safety, but arming teachers is not the answer.”
Clements is among a growing number of educators-some of them survivors of school shootings-speaking out about gun laws on the state and national level. The interest has grown strong enough that Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a group that advocates for tougher gun laws, plans to launch Educators Demand Action, a campaign to help coordinate their efforts.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9hb

 

Kansas Supreme Court rules school funding inadequate
Topeka (KS) Capital-Journal

The Kansas Supreme Court on Thursday ruled unanimously that state funding to schools is inadequate and gave the Legislature a June deadline to enact changes, scrambling a legislative session already consumed by a sprawling budget debate.
The ruling in the Gannon lawsuit came as lawmakers were away for a week-long break at the traditional midpoint of the legislative session, but it sent shockwaves throughout the state.
“Under the facts of this case, the state’s public education financing system provided by the legislature for grades K-12, through its structure and implementation, is not reasonably calculated to have all Kansas public education students meet or exceed,” educational standards, the court ruled.
The court’s opinion doesn’t give an exact amount lawmakers need to spend. But an attorney for the plaintiff school districts, Alan Rupe, said $800 million or more is needed.
“Our adequacy test, as described in (an earlier case), rejects any litmus test that relies on specific funding levels to reach constitutional compliance,” the justices said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9h6

http://gousoe.uen.org/9hi (NYT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9h8 (AP)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9h9 (Reuters)

Sidebar: Reaction from State Board of Education:
http://gousoe.uen.org/9hh (TC-J)

A copy of the ruling
http://gousoe.uen.org/9h7 (Kansas Supreme Court)

 

Are Charter Schools Overrated? Experts Debate the Question
Education Week

Four experts faced off in a live debate Wednesday night on a range of issues that swirl around charter schools-whether for-profit schools work, what’s best for student achievement, and if charters lead to innovation.
But the discussion came down to a simple question: Are charter schools overrated? And the audience’s answer was “yes.”
The debate was put on by Intelligence Squared U.S., a nonprofit organization that hosts debates on controversial topics that have ranged from “Give Trump a Chance” to “Policing is Racially Biased.”
Online viewers, as well as the live audience, were asked to vote before and after the two-hour event in New York City.
The debaters “for the motion”-those in favor of charter reforms-were Gary Miron, a Western Michigan University education professor who has led charter school studies for the U.S. Department of Education and others, and Julian Vasquez Heilig, a California State University, Sacramento educational leadership professor and a founding member of the Network for Public Education. Vasquez Heilig spearheaded the NAACP’s call for a moratorium on new charter schools last year.
The debaters “against the motion”-those who support charters-were Jeanne Allen, the chief executive officer of the Center for Education Reform who served in the U.S. Department of Education under President Ronald Reagan; and Gerard Robinson, a former Florida education commissioner who was an education adviser to Trump.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9he

Video of the debate
http://gousoe.uen.org/9hf (Intelligence Squared U.S.)

 

Study: When Tenure Is Taken Away, Teachers Leave
Education Week

In 2012, the Louisiana legislature weakened teacher tenure, resulting in the loss of up to 1,700 public school teachers in the following two years, according to a new study by the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans at Tulane University.
Beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, Louisiana teachers could only earn tenure after getting a “highly effective” rating on their evaluations for five of six consecutive years. Even if a teacher earned tenure under this new system, it could be revoked with just one “ineffective” rating. Bottom line: No Louisiana teachers enjoy permanent job protections, according to the study’s authors.
The teachers who left in the two years that followed did not do so because of low ratings on evaluations, since those wouldn’t have been available until 2014, say the study’s authors. More likely, teachers viewed the changes to tenure, a benefit they highly regarded, as a loss in job value and headed for the door.
Schools with the lowest test scores, which are also the most difficult to staff, saw the highest number of teachers leaving. Teacher exits from F-rated schools increased by 2 percentage points per year, while exits from A-rated schools didn’t change. The authors could not determine from their data whether the teachers leaving were effective or not. But the authors point to research showing that experienced teachers typically don’t take positions in underperforming schools.
The authors warn districts looking to eliminate tenure to consider the negative effect that teacher exits could have on student achievement.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9go

A copy of the study
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gp (Education Research Alliance for New Orleans)

Measure to Overturn ESSA Accountability Rules Introduced in Senate
Education Week

A measure to block the Obama administration’s regulations governing accountability under the Every Student Succeeds Act was introduced on Tuesday by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Senate education committee.
Senate Joint Resolution 25, if it’s approved, would mean the end of regulations finalized late last year that govern state plans and issues ranging from testing opt-outs to school turnarounds. The House of Representatives approved a similar measure last month. In addition, not long after President Donald Trump was inaugurated in January, his administration paused these regulations.
If the Senate passes Alexander’s resolution and Trump gives the thumbs-up, the Obama-era rules for accountability and state plans would have no force, an alarming prospect for Democrats in Congress and civil rights advocates, who say these regulations include crucial protections for disadvantaged students. However, congressional Republicans and some school groups have supported the move, saying that state K-12 leaders and schools need more flexibility, and that the U.S. Department of Education can still provide nonregulatory guidance and technical assistance to states seeking more clarity or other help with accountability provisions of the law.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gu

 

Concerns Arise About President Trump’s Commitment to End Common Core
Breitbart

During every campaign stop he made last year, now-President Donald Trump assured parents he knew the education reform known as “Common Core” was a “disaster,” and that, if elected, he would help to get rid of it.
Trump was especially fond of throwing Common Core in the face of former GOP rival Jeb Bush, a prominent promoter of the unpopular K-12 standards and their aligned testing and data collection. Bush was forced out of the primary, largely because of his views on amnesty for illegal immigrants and Common Core.
Now, the words “Common Core” have just about disappeared from Trump’s speeches, including his most recent at CPAC last week and that to a joint session of Congress Tuesday evening. Instead, when education is the topic, Trump now focuses almost solely on “school choice.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9hg

 

School Led Locker Room Assault Investigation
Associated Press

BOISE, Idaho — The investigation into the sexual assault of a disabled black football player by his white teammates at a small-town Idaho high school showed that crucial evidence was collected by school employees, not law enforcement officials, and that the culture that led to the attack stretched far beyond the locker room.
John R.K. Howard and two teammates were charged with sodomizing the victim with a clothes hanger in 2015 in the locker room at the high school in the tiny farming village of Dietrich. The sex assault charge against Howard, who was 18 at the time of the incident, was later dropped. He was sentenced last week to probation for felony injury to a child. The other two cases are sealed because they are being handled in juvenile court.
An Associated Press review of roughly 2,000 pages of documents from the Idaho Attorney General’s office found that school officials did not immediately report the crime. Instead, Superintendent Ben Hardcastle gathered key evidence, including the hanger, and began interviewing the suspects and some of the 27 potential witnesses before notifying the sheriff’s department.
Fellow students, neighbors and even football coaches were allowed to pressure the 17-year-old victim about his testimony, in some cases telling him that the case could bring the town to ruin and send friends to jail.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9gw

 

Parent Alert! Your Child Just Skipped Class
NPR

My bank sends me a text alert when my account balance is low. My wireless company sends me a text alert when I’m about to use up my monthly data. Somebody – I guess the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration? -sends me a text alert when it’s going to rain a whole lot.
A few clever researchers said: “Hey! What if we could send text alerts to parents when students miss class or don’t turn in their homework?” And what do you know, it worked.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ho

 

More Than Two Hours of TV Daily Affects Children’s School Readiness, Study Finds
Education Week

Young children who watch more than two hours a day of television show decreased skills in math and executive functioning-the collective term for cognitive abilities related to attention, focus, and self-control-with low-income children faring the worst compared to children from higher-income families who viewed the same amount of TV.
The study was published online in February by the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. The association between television viewing and a child’s math and executive functioning skills was highest for children in families at or below about $21,200 a year, which was the poverty line at the time the data was collected about 8 years ago.The effects on middle-income children, which in this study was defined as an average of $74,200 a year for a family of four, were smaller than for less-affluent children, but statistically significant. But no effect on school readiness was noted on television-watching children who came from families at or above $127,200 a year, according to the research.
The study did not find any effect on preliteracy skills for children, regardless of their parents’ income. And watching more than two hours of television appeared to be the tipping point when the effects were most apparent. In guidelines released last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that children ages 2 to 5 should be watch no more than one hour a day of “high quality” programming, such as “Sesame Street.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9hc

A copy of the study
http://gousoe.uen.org/9hd (Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics $)

 

Betsy DeVos was right! Bear puts schools on lockdown
Many ridiculed the Secretary of Education a few weeks ago for suggesting a gun could be needed in schools to protect from ‘grizzlies’
Detroit Free Press

For those who ridiculed Betsy DeVos for mentioning “potential grizzlies” as a reason for keeping a gun in schools for safety, it may be time to start lining up to apologize: A bear put a pair of Connecticut schools on lockdown this week.
Two schools in Southington, Conn., were placed in “Secure School Mode” when a black bear was spotted nearby Tuesday morning, according to WFSB.com.
Though the bear eventually moved away from the schools and the “Secure School Mode” was only brief, the report says emails were sent out to parents and the schools took precautions to keep schoolchildren safe.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9hj

 

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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 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/~2017/agenda/HEDU0302.ag.htm

Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee meeting
4:10 p.m., 250 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SJLC0302.ag.htm

Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy, and Technology Committee meeting
4:10 p.m., 215 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/STPT0302.ag.htm

Senate Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Committee
4:17 p.m., 415 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SNAE0302.ag.htm

March 3:

House Judiciary Committee meeting
8 a.m., 20 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HJUD0303.ag.htm

House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee meeting
8 a.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/HLAW0303.ag.htm

Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee meeting
8 a.m., 415 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SGOP0303.ag.htm

Senate Revenue and Taxation Committee meeting
8:31 a.m., 250 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/SREV0303.ag.htm

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

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

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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