Education News Roundup: March 6, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

Looks like schools will be in for a 4 percent funding bump, presuming there are no changes to the budget between now and Thursday at midnight.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9io (SLT)

Legislators are still working out the details on the future of school grading.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ip (SLT)

Herald Journal looks at how Utah schools deal with transgender students.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9iQ (LHJ)

Nationally, the Supreme Court kicks the transgender bathroom issue back to the 4th Circuit Court.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ix (WaPo)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9jr (WSJ)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9iy (Bloomberg)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9iz (Reuters)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9jb (AP)

Congress may overturn ESSA regulations as early as this week.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9j9 (WaPo)

President Trump and Secretary DeVos visit a Catholic school in Florida.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9is (NYT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9it (Washington Times)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9iu (Orlando [FL] Sentinel)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9jf (Ed Week)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9j8 (ED)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Final budget boosts school funding, gives state workers a raise
Spending » The blueprint would provide half of the money needed for rape kits, recoup $1M subsidy for the lost Outdoor Retailer.

Senate combines property tax freeze, school funding equalization proposals

House, Senate Republicans reach deal to restore food tax, offer income tax credits for poor

Lawmakers will hold a first-ever joint committee to hear bill to restore sales tax on food

Senate panel clings to school grading despite push to end practice
Despite opposing testimony, committee votes to block bill that would end the practice.

Utah House approves ranked choice voting for primary elections

Candidates might have to choose between caucus system and signature-gathering

1 of every 4 bills in Legislature poses potential conflict-of-interest for sponsors
Ethics » One of every four bills poses potential conflict of interest for sponsors.

Transgender residents ask for empathy amid conflicting national rhetorics

Utah Children’s Theater Fills Seats With A Focus On Common Core

An Option For Kindergartners Who Want More

Ben Lomond high gyms in need of repairs

Maeser rallies around soccer star with leukemia

Two Moab teens killed in weekend San Juan County crash identified

Utah teacher faces child-abuse charge for scratch

Ogden School District Superintendent Sandy Coroles Announces Retirement

Utah girls get hands-on experience at SheTech

Student chefs prove good food doesn’t have to be junk food

Orbital ATK donation encourages STEM learning In Utah schools

Legacy Elementary Ribbon Cutting and Open House

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Take 2017 to attack Utah’s school funding gap

Communities helping to solve intergenerational poverty

Who deserves praise and criticism this week in Utah?

Texas wrestler forces us to confront complexities of transgender teens competing in high school sports

Adding more teacher tests won’t improve Utah classrooms

Utah employee had no constitutional right to continued employment

Utah Engineers Council awards 13 scholarships

The Senate Should Undo Obama’s Education Power Grab
A law meant to curb federal power is being used to expand it. Congress must strike it down.

Today’s education debate ignores a child’s starting line
The failure to read aloud to America’s children from birth is a public health crisis in the making.

NATION

Supreme Court sends Virginia transgender case back to lower court

Congressional Republicans poised to overturn Obama-era education regulations

For Trump and DeVos, a Florida Private School Is a Model for Choice

Nationwide Voucher Program Could Cripple Most Districts, Report Argues

Teacher shortage in Colorado reaches critical condition
Legislation pending to remedy crisis

Shortage forces Twin Cities schools to find creative ways to hire teachers and keep them
A troublesome teacher shortage has Minnesota public schools fighting for hires and scrambling to hold on to newcomers.

Teachers, Parents Struggle To Comfort Children Of Color Fearful Of Targeted Raids

What to do When Pulled Over: A New Chapter for Driver’s Ed?

Flip the Script: Cursive Sees Revival in School Instruction

 

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UTAH NEWS
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Final budget boosts school funding, gives state workers a raise
Spending » The blueprint would provide half of the money needed for rape kits, recoup $1M subsidy for the lost Outdoor Retailer.

Utah’s legislative budget writers decided Friday to use $100 million extra in revenue than previously projected to help Utah schools, give state workers a raise, fund Medicaid growth and build new university buildings — among a wide variety of other projects.
That includes helping to fund a 4 percent bump in per-student education funding, plus $68 million to cover expected costs from seeing enrollment growth of 10,000 students next year — for a combined increase of $120 million.
“That’s huge,” said Executive Appropriations House Chairman Dean Sanpei, R-Provo.
Lawmakers earlier had proposed only a 3 percent increase in per-pupil spending, but were able to step it up because of higher-than-expected revenue. It now matches the 4 percent that Gov. Gary Herbert had proposed.
“Our schools and teachers must have the funding and resources they need to provide students with a first-rate education,” Herbert said in a prepared statement. “My budget proposal included a 4 percent increase in the WPU [weighted pupil unit], and I appreciate that the Legislature has adopted our recommendation.”
School districts say a minimum 2.5 percent increase is needed just to cover inflation in retirement and health care costs. The remaining 1.5 percent — roughly $45 million — can be used at the discretion of local districts for salary increases or other priorities.
“To prioritize that new money for the WPU is just something that we’re so grateful our Legislature has recognized,” said Utah Education Association President Heidi Matthews.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9io (SLT)

Senate combines property tax freeze, school funding equalization proposals

Senators played matchmaker on Friday, joining a bill to raise money for education with a dormant proposal to equalize school district funding.
The Senate gave a preliminary vote of 26-0 to SB255, which would freeze the statewide property rate and capture roughly $21 million for schools — and potentially more each year — through inflation.
But before that vote, the bill was substituted to include elements of SB80, which aims to supplement school districts with low property tax yields by creating, and lifting, a statewide funding floor.
SB80 passed the Senate in early February, but has remained untouched in the House amid concerns from educators that diverting resources to low-funded school districts would leave the education system as a whole with less ability to address rising costs.
SB80 sponsor Sen. Lincoln Fillmore, R-South Jordan, said the property tax freeze in SB255 creates a new revenue source, leaving intact the 4 percent bump in per-student spending planned by legislative leaders.
“This would be a better source of funding for that equity project,” he said.
The property tax freeze, sponsored by Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, puts a five-year lock on a statewide property tax rate that would otherwise adjust down to remain revenue-neutral as property values increase.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9iC (SLT)

 

House, Senate Republicans reach deal to restore food tax, offer income tax credits for poor

SALT LAKE CITY — A deal reached Friday by House and Senate Republicans would restore the full sales tax on some food, reduce the 4.7 percent rate and provide some income tax credits for the poor.
Legislative leaders said a bill is being drafted over the weekend and what will likely be a joint House and Senate committee hearing will be held as soon as possible. The 45-day session ends at midnight Thursday.
The deal comes after two days of closed-door caucuses on the issue by House Republicans, including a late-night meeting Thursday to discuss a tax reform package from the Senate GOP that also included income tax changes.
Senate Republicans had backed both restoring the state sales tax on food and reducing the amount of money that can be earned before losing income tax exemptions, while cutting both the 4.7 percent sales and 5 percent income tax rates.
But GOP members of the House had little interest in dealing with the income tax this session, even after a proposal surfaced to leave the rate intact for the wealthy while giving tax cuts to low- and middle-income Utahns.
Instead, the House pushed for both a state earned income tax credit as well as another credit for low-income Utahns to take on their state income tax returns to offset the sales tax paid on groceries.
The tax reform package is intended to be revenue neutral initially.

The tax talk began in response to a proposed 2018 ballot initiative, Our Schools Now, that would raise the income tax rate by seven-eighths of a percent — a 17.5 percent increase — to bring in $750 million for schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ij (DN)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9il (UP)

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

 

Lawmakers will hold a first-ever joint committee to hear bill to restore sales tax on food

Utah GOP legislative leaders will use a first-time-ever committee strategy to push through a sales tax increase on unprepared food before adjournment Thursday night.
As noted in a previous UPD story, an internal rules change will allow for a joint meeting of a House and Senate standing committee – in this case, the members of the House and Senate Revenue and Taxation committees.
The meeting will take place Tuesday night at 6:10 p.m. – and to anyone’s knowledge will be the first such standing committee joint session.
For years the Legislature has met in joint budget committees – where members of the House and Senate join to hear and pass budgets. In those committees, a motion must pass one or both memberships of each body, or pass one body and tie in the other.
As of Monday morning, the sales tax bill to be heard Tuesday night has yet to see the light of day.
Its formal filing must come before 6:10 p.m. Monday night, to meet the 24-hour public notice required by law.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9jm (UP)

 

Senate panel clings to school grading despite push to end practice
Despite opposing testimony, committee votes to block bill that would end the practice.

A brewing showdown over school grading may have ended Friday, when the Senate Education Committee voted to stop a bill from reaching the Senate floor that would end the controversial practice of awarding letter grades to schools.
Both the House and Senate have passed legislation aimed at reforming school grading — HB241 and SB220, respectively.
But while both proposals would broaden the performance areas used to measure school quality, HB241 would end the practice of assigning a single letter grade, which is largely based on standardized test scores.
HB241 sponsor Rep. Marie Poulson, D-Cottonwood Heights, said that since school grading was created in 2011, the program has created annually shifting targets for educators while revealing little more than the socioeconomic status of the student body.
“School grading has become the labeling or the public shaming of some of our hard-working schools and educators who must work with impoverished populations,” Poulson said.
During the Senate committee presentation, Poulson substituted her bill to merge HB241 with SB220, sponsored by Senate Education Committee Chairwoman Sen. Anne Millner, R-Ogden.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ip (SLT)

 

Utah House approves ranked choice voting for primary elections

Wow! How does this happen: The Utah House voting down a leading Republican’s election law reform bill and adopting a Democrat’s election law reform bill – a really impactful voting reform measure?
Not often, 36 years of watching the Utah Legislature can tell you.
But then, how often do you see the Utah Republican Party’s Central Committee formally endorsing a Democrat’s election reform?
That’s the case with Rep. Rebecca Chavez-Houck’s HB349 and Ranked Choice Voting.
While not a new idea, RCV would be a revolutionary change in Utah – one of the reddest states in the nation.
She amended her bill Friday morning to have the law take effect in 2019 – so it would not apply to the next 2018 general election.
But the state Elections Office would have to start planning for that 2019 election this July – and make a report back to the Legislature next year on how things are going.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ii (UP)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9j5 (KUER)

 

Candidates might have to choose between caucus system and signature-gathering

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that would require candidates to choose between competing for delegate support through their political party’s caucus and convention system or gathering voter signatures passed its first hurdle Friday.
Under a two-year-old compromise with backers of the Count My Vote ballot initiative that would have done away with the party nominating system, candidates can use both methods to get on a primary ballot.
The sponsor of HB447, Rep. Marc Roberts, R-Salem, told the House Government Operations Committee that “having it both ways currently, to a certain extent, disenfranchises caucus goers.”
Roberts said delegates invest a lot of time vetting candidates before deciding who to support at a nominating convention. But if a losing candidate at convention also has gathered signatures, they still end up on the ballot.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ir (DN)

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

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

 

1 of every 4 bills in Legislature poses potential conflict-of-interest for sponsors
Ethics » One of every four bills poses potential conflict of interest for sponsors.

Examples are seen every day in the Utah Legislature about how the day jobs and personal interests of Utah’s part-time citizen lawmakers affect bills.

It’s a common refrain at the Legislature, where one of every four bills this year is sponsored by a lawmaker with a deep professional or personal interest in them, according to a Salt Lake Tribune analysis.
And that’s only the bills that they personally sponsor. Lawmakers have conflicts on many other bills, too — and under Utah law they cannot abstain from voting on any of them.
Leaders see this intersection of professional and legislative interests as generally an advantage — allowing lawmakers to utilize special expertise that colleagues offer from a wide variety of professions. They also see the potential for self-dealing, but say they have seen no abuses.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9iq (SLT)

 

Transgender residents ask for empathy amid conflicting national rhetorics


In May 2016, President Obama released a “Dear Colleague” letter directing schools to treat transgender students the same way as other students of the same gender identity. The letter states schools have a responsibility to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students, which includes letting transgender students use sex-segregated restroom facilities that correspond to their gender identity. The letter tied that responsibility to a school’s Title IX compliance and ability to receive federal funds.
On Feb. 22, President Donald Trump released a Dear Colleague letter that withdrew the guidance in Obama’s letter.
Logan City School District Superintendent Frank Schofield said Trump’s letter was interesting in that there were immediate legal challenges.
“Once it’s wrapped up in the court system and you have conflicting decisions, the Dear Colleague letter is kind of put on hold … until the issue is resolved by the court,” Schofield said.
Schofield said Logan schools work on a case-by-case basis with students and families to identify solutions that protect the privacy and security of students.
“We’ve been able to come up with workable solutions with families in the past, and we plan to continue doing that same thing as we move forward,” Schofield said.
Tim Smith, Cache County School District spokesperson, said when students or parents present concerns, they look at the matter from multiple angles. He expects they will continue to do the same going forward.
“We have students every day in our schools that come from different backgrounds and need different accommodations for individual circumstances, and so I think that’s something we’ve always done with students and will continue to do,” Smith said.
He said several schools have unisex bathrooms for students with special needs, faculty members or families.
“We try to utilize those facilities for students who may have felt uncomfortable,” Smith said.
Although these federal guidelines are geared toward schools, the social issues facing people of all ages who are transgender are very real.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9iQ (LHJ)

 

Utah Children’s Theater Fills Seats With A Focus On Common Core

Over the past few years the Utah Children’s Theater in South Salt Lake has seen a dramatic decrease in elementary school classes signing up for field trips. And then they decided to embrace common core.
It’s a Thursday morning at the Utah Children’s Theater and it’s nearly a full house. Around 150 first and second graders are here to see a performance of Aesop’s Fables.
They spend a few minutes on each fable. This one is called the Monkey and the Dolphin. Which involves a monkey accepting a ride on the back of a dolphin to get to Athens.
But, when the dolphin finds out the monkey has been lying about being an Athenian, she gets upset. The monkey is dropped into the sea to fend for himself.
The actors recite the moral of the story in unison, “Those who lie will end up in trouble.”
“The arts are not just important, they’re vital,” says Meighan Smith, one of the actors “It’s vital that these students have these artistic experiences.”
Meighan Smith is also the theater’s education specialist. She wants as many students as possible to have a real theater experience. Which is why she was concerned as the number schools attending their daytime performances began dropping.
Amanda Smith, who helps run the theater, says the reason they arrived at was pretty simple.
“Our program doesn’t coincide with common core,” says Amanda.
Since budgets are tight, schools are very picky about how they use their field trip money. So, Amanda and Meighan adjusted their approach.
They began choosing plays based on common core literature, like Aesop’s Fables. They also made the performances more interactive. And offered schools supplemental teaching materials.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9j6 (KUER)

 

An Option For Kindergartners Who Want More

In Canyons District, there’s an option available for kindergartners who would benefit from a class that goes beyond the usual half-day of learning. Leigh Ann Fisher is a curriculum specialist from the Canyons School District, and joined GMU to talk about the option.
Traditional half-day kindergarten programs are approximately two hours and 40 minutes. Students enrolled in the supplemental hours of instruction program will receive nearly four hours of additional instruction. Students in the program, which will be offered in at least six Canyons District elementary schools, will begin and end school at the same time as the school’s first through fifth grade students.
The program is tuition-based, but Canyons will continue to to provide regular, half-day kindergarten classes at no cost. Tuition for the full day optional program is $2,950 per year. Parents can may in monthly installments. Of course, several dozen of those spots are reserved for children who qualify needs-based scholarships – as we do for all fee-associated programs.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9jk (KTVX)

 

Ben Lomond high gyms in need of repairs

OGDEN — At first glance, the large, primarily used gym at Ben Lomond High School looks like any other gymnasium.
But that wasn’t the case in January when, after heavy snow and rain, water started dripping through the ceiling and pooling on the south end of the gym floor. Principal Dale Wilkinson said a boy’s basketball game had to be rescheduled.
“There has always been a water issue, it has just never been enough to affect our games,” he said.
A total of $26,016 has been spent on the gym’s repairs since fiscal year 2008, which includes a $5,350 roof repair this school year, according to district data. Other repairs have been in the areas of electrical, lighting and plumbing, doors and the gym’s air and ventilation system.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9iL (OSE)

 

Maeser rallies around soccer star with leukemia

During a morning prayer, 18-year-old Sophie Cannon thanked God for her cancer diagnosis.
“They say leukemia gives you so much empathy for people, and I really believe that,” Sophie said. “It might not be super hard for me, but I have it, and people are willing to listen and be there for me and be a support. We can help and serve each other all of the time, and even if people don’t have cancer, we still need to help them, too. It makes me realize how many people need help. Even though I’m the one with the cancer, there is still a kid in the hallway who may need a smile, who might be having a bad day, who might be having a worse day than I am.”
Sophie is a senior at Karl G. Maeser Preparatory Academy, a public charter school in Lindon, who was diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia about two weeks ago. Almost immediately, the school rallied around her, filling social media with #SophieStrong and following the Facebook page her mother, Shannon, set up to narrate the family’s journey.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9iO (PDH)

 

Two Moab teens killed in weekend San Juan County crash identified

The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office has identified two Moab teens killed in a one-vehicle rollover crash this weekend.
Sheriff Rick Eldredge said that 17-year-old Connor Denny and Taylor Bryant, 14, were ejected from a Subaru Impreza that went out of control and crashed about 7:30 a.m. Sunday on the Lasal Loop Road, just north of Ken’s Lake in northern San Juan County.
The two were dead at the scene, while a third ejected occupant of the car, identified as 17-year-old Daniel McCray, also of Moab, remained in critical condition at a hospital Monday.
Two others in the car, 17-year-old Gage Moore and Tierney Demille, both of Moab, were not ejected but also were in critical condition, Eldredge said.
Excessive speed and alcohol are believed to be contributing factors to the crash, but it remained under investigation, the sheriff said.
Some of the teens reportedly had attended a prom at Grand County High School Saturday night.
In a statement on Facebook, Grand County School District confirmed that four of the five were students at the high school, while a fifth attended Grand County Middle School.
Counselors were on both campuses Monday “to help students grapple with this tragedy,” the district confirmed, adding that, “It is important that we come together as a community and lean on each other for support.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9jn (SLT)

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

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9iS (SGN)

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

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

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9j1 (KSTU)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9j7 (MUR)

 

Utah teacher faces child-abuse charge for scratch

A junior high school teacher who allegedly scratched a student in a classroom Wednesday faces a charge of child abuse.
Mapleton Junior High school English teacher Adam Chappell asked a student to stay after class, said Mapleton Police Chief John Jackson on Friday. When the student tried to leave the classroom, Chappell blocked his way and scratched the student in the process, Jackson said.
Mapleton police cited Chappell, 28, with a Class B misdemeanor for reckless child abuse because of the scratch, which Jackson said didn’t require medical attention.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9iB (SLT)

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

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9j0 (KSL)

 

Ogden School District Superintendent Sandy Coroles Announces Retirement

OGDEN, Utah – Following an incredible 33-year-career in education, Ogden School District Superintendent Sandy Coroles announced her retirement, to take place at the end of this school year, at the March 2, 2017 board of education meeting.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9j3 (KCSG)

 

Utah girls get hands-on experience at SheTech

OREM— American Fork High School senior Abbie Rogers has a plan for the future, and it’s one that was shaped in part by a novel effort to boost the number of young Utah women seeking careers in technology fields.
On Friday, the SheTech Explorer event drew almost 1,200 girls from 90 high schools to the Utah Valley University campus for a day of activities designed to show them that tech careers are not just for boys.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9iG (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9iP (PDH)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9j2 (KSTU)

 

Student chefs prove good food doesn’t have to be junk food

Quinn Hubert, left, crushes crackers for squash casserole as Eliah Anderson makes turkey meatball sliders during the Future Chefs National Challenge at Granite Education Center Cafe in Salt Lake City on Friday. The competition, which was live-streamed online, invited fourth-graders to create their favorite “Healthy Comfort Food” recipe to show their peers that good food doesn’t have to be junk food. Each participant was given approximately an hour and a half to create their recipe with the help of Granite School District chefs and food service workers. Event judges then decided whose cuisine took the top spot based on the following criteria: taste, originality, healthy attributes, ease of preparation, kid appeal and plate presentation. The winner will move on to a regional competition, and perhaps a shot at the national level. Last year, Granite student Madysun Christensen won the national competition.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9iH (DN)

 

Orbital ATK donation encourages STEM learning In Utah schools

Orbital ATK announced an in-kind donation of approximately 500 personal computers to the Utah STEM Action Center, on behalf of the company’s Aerospace Structures Division in Clearfield and its 3,000 Utah employees.
The announcement took place at Horace Mann Elementary where the first 20 computers to be donated were given to students at the school.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9jj (UP)

Legacy Elementary Ribbon Cutting and Open House

Members of the community and the first class of students commemorate the opening of Legacy Elementary with a ribbon cutting and open house Friday, March 3, 2016.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9iR (SGS)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Take 2017 to attack Utah’s school funding gap
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

With less than a week to go in the 2017 Utah legislative session, it’s hard to say exactly where we’ll land on education funding once the smoke clears.
But it’s already crystal clear that it won’t be enough.
Polls have shown Utahns are willing to invest more in education, and a cadre of business leaders have advanced their own plan for raising the income tax to provide it. But both Gov. Gary Herbert and Utah legislators have declined to take any significant steps to increase education funding beyond that which comes from growth in the economy. They need encouragement.
The Legislature has been talking about taxes, including a plan to add back the sales tax on food, but that’s not to get money for schools. Adding food to the list of taxable items would be offset by lowering the overall sales tax rate. There’s a promise to protect low-income families from the added food tax, but those same families won’t see anything more in their classrooms. And neither will any other families.
Utah’s sales tax receipts have been falling short of expectations, so that has put a spotlight on the uncollected tax from internet sales. Everyone is on board with collecting more internet sales tax, but no one knows how much that really is and whether one state alone can really collect it. Schools can’t bank on that at this point, and it won’t be enough anyway.
And, while the governor mentioned it as a priority, we haven’t heard much talk this session about raising revenue by eliminating exemptions. In fact, there was talk during the session of adding another $60 million tax break for manufacturers, although that apparently died.
The fact is that Utah education needs a financial injection on the scale of $1 billion annually.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9in

 

Communities helping to solve intergenerational poverty
Deseret News editorial

It’s been five years since Utah took a leadership role in identifying and addressing the problems associated with intergenerational poverty, creating a commission to gather and analyze data to explain just how people become trapped in impoverishment that can span generations. Now, the commission has begun seeking input at the community level in a process that will hopefully help thousands of people escape from that cycle of hardship.
In Utah County, local leaders recently gathered for a workshop to brainstorm ways to draw together public agencies and private citizens to work toward solutions. Importantly and interestingly, the meeting focused on how solutions must come from a ground-up approach, including a discussion about the use of citizen volunteers to work alongside assistance agencies to help individual families. Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox addressed the group as to the importance of identifying and helping those in long-term need who may be living almost invisibly among a generally prosperous population. He gave the example of a mother working multiple jobs and unable to make sure her kids get to school. He said that’s something a neighbor can help with, giving a real-world example of how it takes a community to help a child out of poverty.
Indeed, the analytics show that intervention in early childhood is the most effective weapon against the forces that ensnare people into lifelong poverty.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9iD

 

Who deserves praise and criticism this week in Utah?
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

The Standard-Examiner editorial board meets weekly to hash out issues large and small. Here’s what it recommended last week for praise and criticism:
THUMBS UP: To “the Dr. Seuss Lady,” Angie Hall, and participants in Read Across America Day.
Lots of schools take a few minutes to read a book during class each March 2, but Hall pulls out all the stops.
Hall, a sixth-grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary School, has organized the event for eight years. Kids get excited about it every year and remember it long after their school days are done.
Clearly Hall is good at it. Miss Rodeo Utah, Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell, WSU football coach Jay Hill, Ogden Police officers and more role models all participated this year. Go ahead and watch the video (https://youtu.be/YLAb0-GfjEA): These kids are stoked about learning.
It may not happen with a fox, it may not happen in box. But rhyming is harder than it seems and this event deserves esteem.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9iK

 

Texas wrestler forces us to confront complexities of transgender teens competing in high school sports
Deseret News commentary by columnist Amy Donaldson

Texas high school wrestler Mack Beggs did what a lot of teens do when the reality of a state title hits them.
He raised his arms in triumph, and then he cried.
But unlike most other high school champions, he didn’t get to bask in a communal celebration of his accomplishment.
The boos that followed his victory were quickly overpowered by cheers, but he heard the expression of disapproval; he understood them, and then, after a quick internal conversation, he chose to ignore them.
Beggs, who was designated a female at birth but identifies as a male, was forced to wrestle in the girls state tournament last weekend because Texas’ high school rules force him to do so, even though he takes testosterone as part of his transition.
In an interview with ESPN this weekend, the 17-year-old junior discussed being forced to wrestle girls when he would rather wrestle boys, how it felt to win a state title, and what he thought of those who felt he shouldn’t be allowed to compete in high school sports at all. The prep governing body, the University Interscholastic League, passed a rule in 2016 that uses a student’s birth certificate to determine student athlete participation in sports.
“It’s not like I’m doing this because I want to, like, call myself a boy and just dominate all these girls,” Beggs told ESPN. “What do I get out of that? I don’t get anything out of that. I was put in this position. Change the laws and then watch me wrestle boys.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9iE

 

Adding more teacher tests won’t improve Utah classrooms
Salt Lake Tribune op-ed by Kelli Morrill, who is pursuing a masters degree in history at Utah State University

Last week, Sen. Ann Millner of Ogden introduced Senate Bill 78, which requires teachers to take an additional skills test before their initial licensure and requires those receiving an alternative license to take the test within their first three years of teaching. While this bill may have good intentions, it also has unintended consequences for teachers by adding cost, hassle and building distrust for the profession without improving student outcomes.
I recently graduated from Utah State University with an education degree and am very familiar with the licensing requirements already in place. I am against this bill because teachers are already required to pass at least two Praxis tests before they begin teaching. The Praxis is a national test that every teacher is required to pass for the subjects they teach. Teachers are also required to pass a second Praxis on teaching practices and theory.
The proposed bill would create a test that measures lesson planning and classroom management skills such as lesson planning and classroom management, which are already tested in the Praxis. This bill adds extra cost and hassle to a profession that is underpaid, underappreciated and understaffed. Teachers do not need more costly tests to prove themselves. They need the support of the state and parents to assist in a difficult job.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9im

 

Utah employee had no constitutional right to continued employment
Utah Employment Law Letter analysis by Brinton Wilkins of Kirton McConkie PC

Public employees who have a right to continued employment enjoy constitutional due-process protections that run-of-the-mill at-will employees do not. How can a public employer know if one of its employees enjoys constitutional protection? Well, the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose decisions apply to all Utah employers) recently clarified that looking at an employee’s employment contract is a good place to start.
In 2006, Kim Coleman helped found a public charter school: the Monticello Academy. In 2008, she became the school’s director and signed a contract explicitly stating she was an at-will employee. The school’s board of directors told her that it expected her to work to build a high school for the charter school.
During Coleman’s tenure as the school’s director, parents complained she did not provide required special education services at the school, and the Utah State Charter Board began an investigation. The charter board ultimately found that Coleman had created an environment in which special education services were not provided as required by law. The charter board directed the school’s board of directors to, among other things, remove Coleman from school operations. However, the school did not do so and elected to put her on adminis­trative leave and perform its own investigation.
Eight months after issuing its findings on Coleman, the charter board voided them. Shortly after that, however, the charter board issued new findings that reaffirmed its original determination and directed the school’s board of directors to remove Coleman as the school’s director. The charter board made the second set of findings public, and both the Utah Board of Education and the Utah State Office of Education ratified them. After receiving the second set of findings, the school’s board of directors let Coleman’s term of employment expire and did not renew her contract.
Coleman sued the charter board, its members, and its directors, alleging that issuing the findings and directing the school’s board of directors to remove her as school director violated her due-process rights under the U.S. Constitution. The trial court ruled against her, and she appealed to the 10th Circuit.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9jl

 

Utah Engineers Council awards 13 scholarships
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Charlie Vono

Across the country, Engineers Week is celebrated during a week close to George Washington’s birthday. Here in Utah, the Utah Engineers Council celebrated Engineers Week Feb. 21 to 25 by supporting the Hill Air Force Base Engineers Week events and holding our traditional banquet on the 25th at Rio Tinto Stadium. Numerous events were available in and near Hill AFB. They were well-attended by everyone from K-12 students to retired engineers, with participation from Logan to Cedar City.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9iN

 

The Senate Should Undo Obama’s Education Power Grab
A law meant to curb federal power is being used to expand it. Congress must strike it down.
National Review op-ed by FREDERICK M. HESS, director of education-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, & MAX EDEN, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute

In December 2015, Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act, dubbed the “largest devolution of federal control to the states in a quarter-century” by the Wall Street Journal. Republicans and Democrats alike had grown frustrated with the Obama Department of Education’s operating like a national school board, dictating everything from teacher evaluation to school-turnaround strategies. Massive bipartisan majorities passed ESSA with an eye to returning Washington to a more modest and appropriate role.
But before the ink on the law was even dry, Arne Duncan, Obama’s secretary of education, mocked the will of Congress, boasting that it would be easy to get around the law’s restrictions: “We have every ability to implement, to regulate the law. . . . Our lawyers are much smarter than many of the folks who were working on this bill.” Obama’s clever lawyers proceeded to do all they could to soften or undo key sections of the law meant to curb Washington’s reach.
Last month, however, the House voted to use the Congressional Review Act to overturn the Obama regulations on ESSA school accountability. The Senate now has until May to pass the legislation (it requires only a simple majority) and send it to the president’s desk. This may sound like dull, arcane stuff, but it isn’t. The question before the Senate is whether to reassert the role of Congress vis-à-vis Department of Education bureaucrats and whether to ensure, as far as possible, that school accountability is primarily the province of state and local leaders.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9jh

 

Today’s education debate ignores a child’s starting line
The failure to read aloud to America’s children from birth is a public health crisis in the making.
USA Today op-ed by Jennifer Bryan, co-founder and a board member of Read Aloud 15 MINUTES

The first few weeks of new parenthood are a blur. When my three children were born, I was laser-focused on keeping them alive and healthy. I counted wet diapers, performed late-night checks to make sure they were breathing, put them “back to sleep,” and worried about whether they were eating enough.
Like most parents, I was taught, and maybe even evolutionarily conditioned, to worry about the health of their little bodies. Less obvious, though, was that I also needed to worry about the health of their little brains, which were beginning the most rapid period of growth during their lives.
Too few parents get this message; too few understand the window of rapid brain development that occurs between birth and age 3. And that’s a problem leading to a public health crisis.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ji

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Supreme Court sends Virginia transgender case back to lower court
Washington Post

The Supreme Court on Monday vacated a lower court’s ruling in favor of a Virginia transgender student after the Trump administration withdrew the federal government’s guidance to public schools about a controversial bathroom policy.
The justices were scheduled to hear the case later this month. But after the government’s position changed, the court said the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit should reconsider the dispute between the Gloucester County school board and 17-year-old Gavin Grimm.
The 4th Circuit had relied on the government’s guidance that schools should let transgender students use the bathroom that corresponds with the student’s gender identity.
The Trump administration withdrew that guidance, which was issued by the Obama administration.
When the case returns to the 4th Circuit, the court will consider whether Title IX’s prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sex extends to gender identity. The 4th Circuit deferred to the Obama administration’s guidance that it did. So far, the Trump administration has not addressed that question.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ix

http://gousoe.uen.org/9jr (WSJ)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9iy (Bloomberg)

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

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

 

Congressional Republicans poised to overturn Obama-era education regulations
Washington Post

Congress is pushing to overturn as early as this week regulations that outline how states must carry out a federal law that holds public schools accountable for serving all students.
Leaders of the Republican majority claim that the rules, written during the Obama administration, represent an executive overreach. Democrats argue that rescinding the rules will open loopholes to hide or ignore public schools that fail to adequately serve poor children, minorities, English language learners and students with disabilities.
The debate comes as Republicans are making a sweeping effort this year to roll back regulations finalized in the last few months of Barack Obama’s presidency. GOP lawmakers say that in this case they are targeting actions under Obama’s Education Department that contradict legislative intent.
“We said to the department, ‘You can’t tell states exactly what to do about fixing low-performing schools. That’s their decision.’ This rule does that,” Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate education committee, said in a statement last week. “And we said to the department, ‘You can’t tell states exactly how to rate the public schools in your state,’ but this rule does that.”
Democrats have voiced concern about loose federal oversight under President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who have promised deference to states on education issues.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9j9

 

For Trump and DeVos, a Florida Private School Is a Model for Choice
New York Times

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — President Trump on Friday hailed a Florida school tuition assistance program as the future of education, joining Betsy DeVos, his education secretary, at a Catholic elementary classroom to kick off an intense political battle on behalf of school choice in America.
The president and Ms. DeVos, who for years championed school vouchers as an antidote to failing schools and falling test scores, met with parents, teachers and students at St. Andrew Catholic School, which has embraced a Florida program that uses public money to allow low­income students to attend private schools.
Hundreds of low­income students, many of them African­Americans, attend the private religious school thanks to tuition assistance from the Florida Tax Credit scholarship program. Critics say it diverts money that would otherwise go to the state’s public school system.
Tuition at the school, just outside Orlando, is normally $6,260 per year, according to the school’s website. The Florida scholarship program allows businesses in the state to receive tax credits for donating to nonprofit scholarship organizations that give tuition assistance for students to attend schools like St. Andrew. The families’ portion of the tuition bill varies. The program’s goals, according to the website, are to “expand education opportunities for children from families that have limited financial resources; and to enable children to achieve a greater level of excellence in their education.”
Such programs are at the heart of the promised changes that Ms. DeVos and Mr. Trump have said they will bring to federal education policy.
But they are seen by teachers unions and many Democrats as destructive to the health of public education systems, offering a false promise of choice while undermining the financial stability of public schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9is

http://gousoe.uen.org/9it (Washington Times)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9iu (Orlando [FL] Sentinel)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9j8 (ED)

 

Nationwide Voucher Program Could Cripple Most Districts, Report Argues
Education Week

Any attempt by President Donald Trump to institute a federal voucher program would likely do major harm to nearly nine in 10 school districts, argues a report from a left-leaning Washington think tank.
“Vouchers Are Not a Viable Solution for Vast Swaths of America,” released by the Center for American Progress on Friday and written by Neil Campbell and Catherine Brown, finds that in 85 percent of U.S. public school districts, vouchers either may not work or are “highly unlikely” to work and could “decimate” those districts.
The Trump administration is considering various options to expand school choice, with vouchers and tax-credit scholarships among the ideas up for discussion. On the campaign trail, Trump pitched a $20 billion choice program, but since taking office he hasn’t offered more details. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is a long-time advocate for various forms of choice. She and other backers of choice have long argued that finding the appropriate education for students, especially those who are disadvantaged, is more important than propping up struggling traditional public schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9jd

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

 

Teacher shortage in Colorado reaches critical condition
Legislation pending to remedy crisis
Durango (CO) Herald

DENVER –Public school teachers are in high demand in Colorado, but efforts to increase their numbers have so far fallen short by about 1,000 a year.
And the overall decline in salaries, when adjusted for inflation, over the past decade isn’t helping.
The teacher shortage is becoming critical as a third of Colorado’s more than 53,000 teachers will be eligible to retire in the next five years, and fewer students are enrolling in and graduating from teacher education programs to replace them.
A comprehensive review of education in Colorado and proposed remedies for the brewing crisis is underway, and legislation is pending that would assure it gets done and that new strategies are implemented.
In December, the Colorado Department of Education released a report on the state of teacher preparation programs that found in the 2015-16 academic year, the number of graduates of these programs had dropped 2.2 percent.
Not a big deal until you put it in context: It’s the sixth consecutive year that the completion rates have dropped.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9iv

 

Shortage forces Twin Cities schools to find creative ways to hire teachers and keep them
A troublesome teacher shortage has Minnesota public schools fighting for hires and scrambling to hold on to newcomers.
Minneapolis Star-Tribune

A troublesome teacher shortage has Minnesota public schools fighting for hires and scrambling to hold on to newcomers now testing their skills in classrooms across the state.
In St. Paul, that means offering jobs earlier than ever for 2017-18 and moving now to put candidates in the pipeline for 2018-19.
Teachers of color in the Anoka-Hennepin district are working together to fight the isolation that can torpedo careers.
Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan is bracing for retirements, while growing districts like Shakopee strive to help recent recruits build a foundation that will keep them in the fold for years to come.
Still, Minnesota, like many states, has a supply-and-demand problem — 200-plus teaching jobs were posted in February alone in the areas of math, science and special education — with no quick fixes guaranteed among the legislative proposals, one of which targets the licensing process itself and is aimed at boosting the teaching ranks.
Nearly 90 percent of the demand for teachers nationally is due to the need to replace those who have left, said Leib Sutcher, research associate for the Learning Policy Institute, a national education research nonprofit.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9iw

 

Teachers, Parents Struggle To Comfort Children Of Color Fearful Of Targeted Raids
NPR

In early December, Joann Lee and her family were crossing the street in front of The Los Angeles County Museum of Art. A white van was stopped at the light. Out of nowhere, Lee says, the driver of the van, a white woman, said to Lee’s 7-year-old daughter, “You are the most disgusting girl in the whole world. Your family killed my family so you could enjoy a day at the museum.”
Lee was shocked. Her daughter Terin was confused. “It wasn’t overtly racist, but there were overtones. … We were clearly a large group of Asians crossing the street,” Lee said. Bystanders chastised the woman and unsuccessfully tried to snap a photo of her license plate. Meanwhile, Lee wasn’t sure what to tell her daughter.
“I think at that point it hit me,” Lee said. “My kids were born during the Obama administration. It was nice for them to have an African American president. And I was looking forward to them having a female president. … It kind of made me sad. It made me realize I really have to prepare myself for how to explain things like that to them without becoming bitter and hateful of certain types of people.”
In the wake of the presidential election, parents, guardians, and educators are grappling with how the political climate affects children and youth.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9j4

 

What to do When Pulled Over: A New Chapter for Driver’s Ed?
Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — Deadly encounters between police officers and motorists have lawmakers across the country thinking driver’s education should require students to be taught what to do in a traffic stop.
Legislators in North Carolina and at least three other states are considering bills this year designed to teach new drivers how to interact appropriately with police. Another bill in Virginia awaits the governor’s signature.
Illinois passed a similar law recently. Its updated “Rules of the Road” publication could provide a model about proper driver behavior. A spokesman for the Illinois driver’s license agency says it’s all about using common sense and not being confrontational.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ja

 

Flip the Script: Cursive Sees Revival in School Instruction
Associated Press

NEW YORK — Cursive writing is looping back into style in schools across the country after a generation of students raised on keyboarding, texting and printing out letters longhand.
Alabama and Louisiana passed laws in 2016 mandating cursive proficiency in public schools, the latest of 14 states to require cursive. And last fall, the 1.1 million-student New York City school system encouraged teaching cursive to students in the third grade.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9jc

http://gousoe.uen.org/9jg (CSM)

 

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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 6:

House Education Committee meeting
8 a.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/hedu0306.ag.htm

House Business and Labor Committee meeting
8 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/hbus0306.ag.htm

House Public Utilities, Energy, and Technology Committee meeting
8 a.m., 450 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/hput0306.ag.htm

Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement, and Criminal Justice Committee meeting
8 a.m., 25 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/sjlc0306.ag.htm

Senate Transportation, Public Utilities, Energy, and Technology Committee meeting
8 a.m., 215 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/stpt0306.ag.htm

House Health and Human Services Committee meeting
8:30 a.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/hhhs0306.ag.htm

Senate Government Operations and Political Subdivisions Committee meeting
9:40 a.m., 415 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/sgop0306.ag.htm

House Transportation Committee meeting
11 a.m., 450 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/htra0306.ag.htm

Senate Education Committee meeting
2 p.m., 210 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/sedu0306.ag.htm

House Economic Development and Workforce Services Committee meeting
2 p.m., 20 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/hedw0306.ag.htm

House Government Operations Committee meeting
2 p.m., 30 House Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/hgoc0306.ag.htm

Senate Health and Human Services Committee meeting
2 p.m., 250 Senate Building
http://le.utah.gov/~2017/agenda/shhs0306.ag.htm

March 9:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/charterschools/State-Board.aspx

March 13:

Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.boarddocs.com/ut/usbe/Board.nsf/Public

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