Education News Roundup: March 8, 2017

The Utah State Capitol at sunsetToday’s Top Picks:

Legislature approves a 4 percent boost in school funding.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kw (SLT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9kx (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9lc (KSL)

The school grading bill passes.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lx (SLT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9kF (DN)

You can see how school grades are progressing nationally over at Ed Week.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kL (Ed Week)

Legislature passes the bill to remove references to the prohibition of discussion of homosexuality in sex ed classes.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lG (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9kC (SLT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9l1 (OSE)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9ly (Q Salt Lake magazine)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9la (KUTV)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9lv (KSTU)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9lw (Vox)

Legislature also approves the High School Activities Association bill.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lH (SLT)

Salt Lake Board looks for more information before passing any measure on immigration.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kR (SLT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9lg (KSTU)

Members of the Washington, D.C. city council are upset with Rep. Jason Chaffetz’s bill extending a school voucher program there.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lB (WaPo)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9lC (DCist)

Salt Lake City’s East High opens a washroom and laundry facility for homeless students.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ld (KSL)

Florida appeals court deals the out-out movement a set back.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kJ (Orlando Sentinel)
or a copy of the ruling
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kK (Florida 1st District Court of Appeal)

 

————————————————————
TODAY’S HEADLINES
————————————————————

UTAH

Legislature approves state budgets, bulk of new funding reserved for education

Lawmakers want to tie online course funding to classroom funding formula

Utah lawmakers give final approval to this year’s school-grading overhaul

Senate approves $5,000 bonuses for teachers at high-poverty schools
Public schools » Pilot program would reward top-performing teachers in the 100 most high-poverty schools $5.000.

Senate approves symbolic bill letting state school board ask for money
Education » State could compensate funds lost for ignoring federal mandates.

Bill passage affirms ‘all students are equal,’ Equality Utah member says

Utah Senate approves restructuring of high school sports

Utah Senate rejects $350,000 federalism course

Governor: Utah tax reform delayed, not dead
Looking forward » Herbert says he expected policy changes would take at least two years.

Complaints accuse Utah lawmaker of bullying, berating school officials in front of students
Draper lawmaker urged to “be more aware of how he comes across,” says Senate president.

Salt Lake City schools seek more input before vote on immigration-enforcement policy
Details to be worked out about how schools can respond to immigration enforcement.

House Republicans’ school voucher bill exposes rift between D.C. mayor, council

East High School opening washroom and laundry facilities for homeless students

Park City School District readies for round of teacher negotiations
Sides are hoping for agreements by end of May

In robotics, Park City girls are programmed for success
PCHS students fight back against gender stereotype

Davis High’s Richard Swanson appointed to lead new Farmington high school

Grants, donations fund all-abilities playgrounds at Weber district schools

Red Mountain Elementary educator named finalist in national award

Got a favorite educator? Nominations open through March 17 for Huntsman Awards

Bingham High among 4 finalists to win $25K national award for best school spirit

Everyday Learners: Utah County joins in celebrations for Read Across America

A pig going to the pokey?

Meet the gurus behind Park City School District’s ‘Resilience Week’

How You Can Give Back While Seeing The Lion King

Utah Valley Educator of the Week: Deon Bradford

Utah Valley Student of the Week: Brody Howarth

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Our legislators have failed Utah’s children once again

In Utah Legislature it’s pet projects, pork vs. people – and pork wins

Equality Utah’s lawsuit and the role of federal courts

We do our part to pay for schools

A volunteer is …

Which States Are Ready for ESSA?
Some states appear more prepared to implement ESSA than others

Betsy DeVos’ Holy War
Her appointment as education secretary marks the crowning achievement of the Christian right’s campaign to infiltrate America’s secular institutions

Go Small on School Choice
How Trump can avoid the big risks of a federal school choice push.

Have the Unions Benefited From the DeVos Confirmation Fight?

Radical change for struggling schools? It’s reliably doable.

NATION

A-F School Rankings Draw Local Pushback
Critics call method simplistic; backers tout transparency

As Trump Renews Push for School Choice, Specifics Still Scarce
Tells Congress such options aid disadvantaged youth

Federal Budget Knife Could Slash Into K-12 Programs

Florida appeals court overturns 3rd-grade retention, testing ruling

Educators Prepare for Immigration Agents at the Schoolhouse

‘Day Without a Woman’ strike puts some parents in a bind amid school closures

How the governor and music heavy hitters plan to make sure every Colorado kid has access to an instrument and instruction
Take Note Colorado’s warm-up act will be a fundraising concert headlined by Nathaniel Rateliff, Todd Park Mohr, Isaac Slade

Suspending Students Costs Billions in Economic Losses, New Study Finds

A Tale of Two Betsy DeVoses
The generous Grand Rapids resident and the tone-deaf Trump official

Head of DeVos-backed group resigns in wake of domestic abuse comments

U.S. Department of Education Announces 2017 National Professional Development Grant Competition to Support Educators of English Learner Students

 

————————————————————
UTAH NEWS
————————————————————

Legislature approves state budgets, bulk of new funding reserved for education

Utah lawmakers gave their final votes to a series of budget bills on Tuesday, securing funding for public services like education, healthcare and law enforcement.
The bulk of new state revenues were awarded to public education, with lawmakers approving a 4 percent bump in per-student spending – at a cost of roughly $120 million – and $68 million to mitigate the effects of enrollment growth.
State Superintendent Sydnee Dickson said the budget addresses most of the state school board’s funding priorities.
“We feel good about the direction that the legislative session has taken this year,” she said. “It’s been very collaborative and transparent.”
In a first this year, lawmakers approved a $2.6 million budget item that will cover the cost of educators’ licenses, currently paid by individual teachers.
“It seems counterproductive to have teachers pay to work,” said Sen. Lyle Hillyard, R-Logan.
The 4 percent bump in per-student spending matches the recommendations made by Utah Gov. Gary Herbert. School districts say a minimum increase of 2.5 percent was needed to address growth in health care and retirement costs, with funding beyond those costs allowing for teacher salary increases and investment in educational programs.
Herbert said Tuesday he was encouraged by the Legislature prioritization of education funding.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kw (SLT)

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

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

 

Lawmakers want to tie online course funding to classroom funding formula

There’s an interesting little clause tucked away inside the public education budget that has the state’s largest teachers union wary.
HB2 contains some intent language that ties the amount of money appropriated to pay for online courses used by private and homeschooled children to the weighted pupil unit, the basic integer of school funding.
The reason for the change is to better deal with paying for the anticipated increase in the number of students who might take advantage of those programs beginning in the 2018-2019 fiscal year. In 2015, more students than anticipated used the online education programs, which resulted in a funding deficit.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kv (UP)

 

Utah lawmakers give final approval to this year’s school-grading overhaul

A seven-year tradition of passing school grading bills continued Wednesday when the Utah Senate gave the final vote of approval for SB220.
The new proposal, which awaits the signature of Gov. Gary Herbert, creates a report card listing various performance metrics in addition to labeling schools with a single grade of A, B, C, D or F.
Under SB220, the calculation for grades would place greater emphasis on student performance growth, and would be expanded to include additional metrics beyond standardized test scores. And each grade level would be tied to a set of criteria, eliminating the grading curve that sees schools punished based on statewide trends.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lx (SLT)

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

 

Senate approves $5,000 bonuses for teachers at high-poverty schools
Public schools » Pilot program would reward top-performing teachers in the 100 most high-poverty schools $5.000.

Both the House and Senate have approved a bill that would give a $5,000 bonus to top-performing teachers who work in high-poverty schools.
Senators voted 25-0 on Tuesday for HB212, but amendments require an additional vote in the House, which voted 51-23 in favor of the bill last month.
Under HB212, roughly 100 high-performing Utah teachers – identified through a test score metric called median growth percentile, or MGP – would be eligible for an annual bonus when they remain at or move to one of the 100 most economically impacted schools in the state.
The bill is a pilot program aimed at mitigating teacher turnover in the state, which is typically more severe at high-poverty campuses.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kB (SLT)

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

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

 

Senate approves symbolic bill letting state school board ask for money
Education » State could compensate funds lost for ignoring federal mandates.

The Utah Board of Education’s ability to request state funding to cover the cost of ignoring federal mandates would be enshrined in law under a bill approved by the Utah Senate on Tuesday.
Senators voted 20-8 for HB136, which directs the state board to review federal programs and determine whether those programs comport with state goals.
Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork and the Senate sponsor, said federal funding often has “strings attached” that can be onerous to local schools. She gave the hypothetical example of the federal Department of Education requiring schools to adopt comprehensive sex education or face sanctions.
“The state [school] board might choose to come to the Legislature to ask the state to backfill those lost funds,” she said.
But Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, questioned the need for the bill. Members of the school board already can, and frequently do, meet with lawmakers about policy and advocate for public school resources.
And in 2015, school board members considered abandoning Utah’s No Child Left Behind waiver, which freed schools from sanctions under federal law. Part of that discussion included the possibility that Utah lawmakers would compensate the education system for lost federal funds.
“What do we need a new law for, doing what probably they can do anyway?” Dabakis said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kT (SLT)

 

Bill passage affirms ‘all students are equal,’ Equality Utah member says

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Senate gave final passage Wednesday to a bill that removes the homosexuality reference from prohibited topics in sex education instruction in public schools.
Professor Cliff Rosky, a member of Equality Utah’s Advisory Council, said passage of SB196 on a 27-1 vote affirms that “all students are equal.”
“We are confident that in the coming weeks we can work with the attorney general’s office, the Utah State Board of Education and local school districts to bring an end to our lawsuit by ensuring that the intent of SB196 is carried out in all of our state’s public schools and charter schools,” Rosky said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lG (DN)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9l1 (OSE)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9ly (Q Salt Lake magazine)

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

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9lw (Vox)

 

Utah Senate approves restructuring of high school sports

The Utah Senate on Wednesday approved a bill requiring the Utah High School Activities Association to shrink its board and install an appellate panel.
Senators voted 22-4 in favor of HB413, which compels UHSAA – a voluntary school association that oversees prep sports and extra-curricular actives – to shrink its governing board from 32 members to 15 members, comply with Utah’s open records and open meetings laws, and allow an appeals committee appointed by the Utah Board of Education to adjudicate decisions on transfers and conference designations.
If UHSAA does not approve those changes, public schools would be prohibited by HB413 from joining and paying dues to the association.
The bill was already approved by the House in a 62-13 vote on Monday. But amendments in the Senate require an additional House vote before the bill is sent to the governor.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lH (SLT)

 

Utah Senate rejects $350,000 federalism course

Senators voted Wednesday against spending $350,000 to create a refresher course on federalism – the constitutional relationship between states and the federal government.
The Senate voted 11-17 for HB207, which would add a second phase to a previously created federalism curriculum developed by the state and Utah Valley University. Lawmakers and elected leaders would be encouraged to use the curriculum, and the possibility of making it publicly available for schools and Utahns was discussed.
Senators objected to the cost of the program, and the ambiguity of how that funding would be used and what information the federalism course would include.
“Not everyone who studies the constitution agrees with what federalism means,” said Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lA (SLT)

 

Governor: Utah tax reform delayed, not dead
Looking forward » Herbert says he expected policy changes would take at least two years.

Gov. Gary Herbert put a positive spin Tuesday on the death of several tax reform initiatives in the Legislature in recent days – including an attempt to raise sales tax on food, reform income tax credits and deductions and better collect tax on online sales.
“I’ve always suggested this would probably take us two legislative sessions to get right,” the governor said of reform efforts.
So all is not lost by this session’s setbacks.
“By the end of the next legislative session, we should have a good tax policy for Utah to go forward in the next generation,” he said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ky (SLT)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9l2 (OSE)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9l5 (LHJ)

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

 

Complaints accuse Utah lawmaker of bullying, berating school officials in front of students
Draper lawmaker urged to “be more aware of how he comes across,” says Senate president.

Students who visit Utah’s Capitol during the legislative session get a civics lesson on state history and government, and, for at least one group of Utah County fifth-graders, a front-row view to rancorous politics.
That’s what Jenna Wood described in a letter to Senate President Wayne Niederhauser, R-Sandy, after witnessing an “agitated” Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, threatening to sue Alpine School District administrators during a Feb. 24 confrontation in the Capitol Rotunda with several of her daughter’s Foothill Elementary School classmates nearby.
“It was evident that he was verbally attacking them,” Wood wrote. “His voice was loud, and his mannerisms were aggressive.”
In a separate letter, Alpine Superintendent Sam Jarman complained about the incident and alluded to other confrontations with Stephenson, noting that the Feb. 24 meeting was notable for occurring in a public place.
“I feel like Senator Stephenson used threatening and bullying tactics to try and force his will on [School Board Vice President] JoDee [Sundberg], others and me,” Jarman wrote. “It is time to take action against his poor behavior since this time it was in front of many kids and adults!”
The letters were obtained by The Tribune through an open-records request.
Niederhauser said Tuesday he had met with Stephenson to discuss the complaints from Alpine School District.
“Senator Stephenson is a zealous education reformer,” Niederhauser said. “In our discussion of recent complaints, I encouraged him to continue to work on the issues but be more aware of how he comes across to others.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kA (SLT)

Salt Lake City schools seek more input before vote on immigration-enforcement policy
Details to be worked out about how schools can respond to immigration enforcement.

The Salt Lake City Board of Education declined Tuesday to pass a resolution that lays out what school district employees can do to protect students from immigration officials, opting instead to gather more input.
Passing such a resolution is a priority that supporters said gained urgency after people recently parked four unmarked vehicles and donned U.S. Department of Homeland Security vests and guns on Salt Lake City School District property.
Yet postponing the vote is exactly what supporters who got the resolution on the agenda wanted.
“The resolution that they’re trying to pass right now, we feel, doesn’t have legal power behind it,” said Amy Dominguez, a spokeswoman for Unidad Inmigrante, the group that is proposing the measure.
Backers wanted more clarity before the board passed the proposal, which would inform the district’s employees how to respond if they were contacted by immigration officials.
But board members first debated whether matters were urgent enough to pass the resolution Tuesday.
The push for the district to support undocumented students comes after school districts in other states have passed similar resolutions.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kR (SLT)

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

 

 

House Republicans’ school voucher bill exposes rift between D.C. mayor, council

A majority of the D.C. Council is urging House Republicans to phase out the federal school voucher program, splitting with D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser over the system that lets low-income families in the city use federal dollars to pay private school tuition.
A congressional committee is slated to take up legislation Wednesday to renew the D.C. voucher program.
The divide between the council and the mayor comes as city leaders struggle over how to deal with intervention into local affairs by congressional Republicans.
Bowser on Tuesday reaffirmed her support for the only federally funded voucher program, which gives money to 1,100 students each year to leave low-performing public schools for private schools.
In a letter sent Tuesday to House Republicans, the council majority argued that there is no evidence that private school vouchers have resulted in better academic outcomes for students and that the program amounts to an inappropriate use of tax dollars.
“We have serious concerns about using government funds to send our students to private schools that do not adhere to the same standards and accountability,” said the letter signed by eight of 13 council members. “We call on you to respect the wishes of the District’s elected officials on the quintessentially local matter of education.”
The council members also pointed out that public education in the District has improved markedly since Congress created the voucher program in 2004 and that parents can choose among traditional neighborhood schools, public charter schools or out-of-boundary schools through a city lottery.
The letter amounted to a reversal from a year ago, when eight council members joined Bowser to support a continuation of the voucher program.
Observers said that with Bowser fighting off congressional interference into city marijuana laws, gun control and other measures, the mayor saw little benefit to fighting the voucher program, which is a priority for House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.). The voucher program also brings in additional federal dollars for D.C. public schools and charter schools.
“It’s a delicate balance in the District that I think is a model for choice across the nation,” Bowser said.
But council member David Grosso, chairman of the council’s Education Committee, blasted the House bill filed by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) to continue the voucher program for another five years.
Grosso (I-At Large) called the bill an affront to the city’s improving public school system and a potential vehicle for President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a longtime advocate for school choice, to make good on a promise to expand private school vouchers, beginning in D.C.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lB (WaPo)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9lC (DCist)

 

East High School opening washroom and laundry facilities for homeless students

SALT LAKE CITY – Downstairs below the gym at East High School, two old small locker rooms are being transformed. Each now has fresh paint, a washing machine and clothes dryer, lockers with donated clothing and a shower with red and white tile – the school’s colors.
The importance of the lockers: they are for homeless students.
Principal Greg Maughan says these facilities should open this month. The school has at least 80 homeless students within the student body of 2,000.
“The kids I’ve talked to about it, they are so excited,” Maughan said. “They are going to help get the word out to the others because they can be a tight-knit group.”
The washroom and shower facilities were the idea of East High’s Parent Teacher Association, which made a goal to help their vulnerable population this year, said co-chair Kris Barta.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ld (KSL)

Park City School District readies for round of teacher negotiations
Sides are hoping for agreements by end of May

The Park City School District and the union that represents the district’s teachers are beginning another round of negotiations.
According to Tim McConnell, the district’s human resources director, the district will be separately negotiating with the Park City Education Association (PCEA) on both a compensation package and the licensed professional agreement (LPA) that governs day-to-day operations. Compensation bargaining was last held in the spring of 2015, while the current LPA was signed last summer and is set to expire June 30.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lF (PR)

 

In robotics, Park City girls are programmed for success
PCHS students fight back against gender stereotype

Like the rest of her peers, Kristina Schiffman knows that robotics, like many STEM programs, has long been seen as an arena largely reserved for boys.
But not anymore.
Schiffman and a group of girls at Park City High School are fighting back at that stereotype. Their teams – the Ladybots, which has been around for years in various forms, and the first-year Ultimum Dominarium (meaning “ultimate ladies” in Latin) – both qualified for the Utah state competition and are proving that girls, too, are programmed for success in robotics.
Schiffman, for one, got involved precisely to send that message.
“I knew already that it was a field that was populated by boys, so that kind of motivated me,” she said. “I wanted to be a girl putting my foot forward and kind of starting a movement.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lD (PR)

 

Davis High’s Richard Swanson appointed to lead new Farmington high school

FARMINGTON — Richard Swanson is going to be the principal of the Davis School District’s newest high school.
The district’s 10th high school is under construction off of Glovers Lane in Farmington. Currently the principal at Davis High School, Swanson will switch positions July 1, according to a news release, with the new school slated to open in August 2018.
The Board of Education made the announcement at a meeting Tuesday, March 7. Afterward, Swanson said it was Davis Superintendent Reid Newey who approached him about giving him the job.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kZ (OSE)

Grants, donations fund all-abilities playgrounds at Weber district schools

Thanks to grant money and donations, the number of Weber School District elementary schools with inclusive playground equipment for special-needs children is going to double.
Roy, North Ogden and Uintah elementary schools have been chosen to receive all-abilities playgrounds, which are built so children with special needs and those without disabilities can enjoy the equipment together. A fourth school will be selected after the district pursues a bond initiative this fall.
Weber School Foundation Executive Director Chris Zimmerman said each playground costs about $100,000 to build, with half going toward resurfacing and ramps and the other half going to play apparatus chosen by a committee of educators and parents at the school.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9l0 (OSE)

 

Red Mountain Elementary educator named finalist in national award

IVINS – The lunchroom/gymnasium at Red Mountain Elementary in Ivins was decorated with posters and balloons and filled with the excited energy of children Tuesday afternoon for a surprise assembly honoring Jay Porter, the school’s assistant principal.
Porter was recognized as a top five finalist for the LifeChanger of the Year award given by National Life Group.
The LifeChanger of the Year award is a national award open to educators, administrators and school district employees for grades kindergarten-12 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9l8 (SGN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9l6 (SGS, video)

 

Got a favorite educator? Nominations open through March 17 for Huntsman Awards

The Huntsman Awards for Excellence in Education – now celebrating 25 years of honoring Utah educators ­- are open for nominations through 5 p.m. on March 17.
The awards committee selects 11 winners from around the state, including six teachers, three administrators, a special education teacher and a volunteer. The Jon M. Huntsman family presents a crystal obelisk and a check for $10,000 to each of the winners.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kU (SLT)

 

Bingham High among 4 finalists to win $25K national award for best school spirit

SOUTH JORDAN – Bingham High School, along with three schools across the country, is a finalist for $25,000 in a competition for the best school spirit.
Grand prize award finalists for “Best School Spirit” was announced March 1 by Varsity Brands, a company that makes cheerleading apparel and sponsors the contest.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lf (KSL)

Everyday Learners: Utah County joins in celebrations for Read Across America

As Dr. Seuss knows, reading sets the stage for imagination, knowledge and discovery. Last Thursday, many children and families in our community celebrated Dr. Seuss’ legacy of literacy by participating in the annual Read Across America event.
Many people can attribute their childhood love of reading to Dr. Seuss books. With dozens of Dr. Seuss books to choose from (he wrote and illustrated 44 books), every child can find a story to love. Some of the perennial favorites are “Green Eggs and Ham,” “The Lorax,” “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Fox in Socks,” and “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish,” just to name a few.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lz (PDH)

 

A pig going to the pokey?

Curly Pig – aka Kate McConkie – reacts after being found guilty of attempting to cook Big Bad Wolf during a mock trial in the case of Curly Pig vs. Big Bad Wolf at the 2nd District Court in Farmington on Tuesday. For 15 years, Judge Thomas Kay has worked with his wife, who is an educator, to open his courtroom to schoolchildren – like those from Endeavour Elementary School in Kaysville – to show them how the courts work.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kX (DN)

 

Meet the gurus behind Park City School District’s ‘Resilience Week’

Author Fatima Doman and CONNECT Summit County’s Shauna Wiest visited the FOX 13 Studio Tuesday morning to talk about unlocking inner strengths and empowering students in Park City School District’s “Resilience Week.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lh (KSTU)

 

How You Can Give Back While Seeing The Lion King

Garff Enterprises, Inc is giving back to the community in a fun way. They are selling exclusive seats and suites for several shows at the new Eccles Broadway Theater Downtown. Ken Garff Land Rover Jaguar (LRJ) purchased the seats and suites and have donated them to help Utah’s kids.
Success in Education is a charity benefiting from this program. They follow a three step program to help children learn: Emphasis on daily reading habits, post-secondary education, and Coding Boot Camp – 9 week intensive course, learning 3 languages.
If you are interested in making a donation call 801-257-3577. The suggested donation of $2,500 for 10 tickets, VIP parking and suite.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lE (KTVX)

 

Utah Valley Educator of the Week: Deon Bradford

Deon Bradford teaches special education to kindergartners through sixth-graders at Mt. Loafer Elementary in Salem.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9l4 (PDH)

Utah Valley Student of the Week: Brody Howarth

Brody Howarth, 11, is a sixth-grader at Orchard Hills Elementary in Santaquin. He is an outstanding student who works hard at school and home to succeed in class.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9l3 (PDH)

 

————————————————————
OPINION & COMMENTARY
————————————————————

Our legislators have failed Utah’s children once again
Deseret News op-ed by Richard Davis, a professor of political science at Brigham Young University

The Utah Legislature will adjourn tomorrow. Over the past 44 days, the Legislature has had the opportunity to enact major change in education funding. Once again, it has failed to do so.
According to news reports, the Legislature will agree to a nearly $200 million increase in the public education budget. That may sound like a lot, but it constitutes only a 4 percent increase over current spending. Since Utah is about $4,000 below the national average in per capita spending on public education, at the rate of a 3-4 percent increase (which is what the Legislature typically does in the rosiest of economic conditions), it would take 20 years for Utah to catch up to the national average.
Utahns want a solution to education spending now. Two months ago, a Utah Policy poll found that improving education was the top priority of Utahns. Moreover, in another Utah Policy poll, a strong majority of Utahns favored the Our Schools Now initiative that would increase the income tax rate from 5 percent to 5.875 percent and, therefore, provide a $750 million annual infusion to public schools.
The business community is advocating a major investment in education for the state. Zions Bank CEO Scott Anderson called on the governor and the Legislature to undertake a “moon shot” on public education or a major funding boost. Instead, they have funded enough for a backyard toy rocket.
Legislators are in the habit of kicking the can down the road.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kD

 

In Utah Legislature it’s pet projects, pork vs. people – and pork wins
Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist ROBERT GEHRKE


Lawmakers and the governor are turning over couch cushions trying to get the last cent they can, so the numbers could change, but the ink is drying fast.
Right now, for example, we are paying $30,000 to host the International Women’s Football League Worldwide Championship, because, apparently, supporting women who play football is a higher priority than supporting women who have been raped.
Lawmakers clearly have a soft spot for sports. After Sen. Lyle Hillyard got $1.5 million two years ago to help pay stipends to student-athletes at Utah State, the Legislature is spending $3.1 million to support athletes at Dixie, Utah Valley and Southern Utah universities, and Salt Lake Community College and Snow College.
Team spirit is important. More important, it appears, than funding air-quality programs.
Not only did lawmakers cut the staffing budget at the Department of Environmental Quality, they also defeated a bill by Rep. Steve Handy, R-Layton, to extend a wildly successful tax credit for electric vehicles – House Speaker Greg Hughes cast the deciding vote. They refused to provide money that Gov. Gary Herbert requested to replace air-monitoring equipment, and $250,000 the governor requested for air-quality research.
“We spent the money on Teen Chef instead,” said Rep. Patrice Arent, D-Millcreek, referring to a $250,000 appropriation for a reality TV-style cooking program for high school students that Herbert vetoed last year, only to have his veto overridden by the Legislature.
“This is the worst session since I’ve been here,” said Arent, who is in her 17th year in the Legislature.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kP

 

Equality Utah’s lawsuit and the role of federal courts
Sutherland Institute commentary by William C. Duncan, Director of The Center for Family and Society

Last November, Equality Utah filed a lawsuit that invited federal court oversight of the state’s health education curriculum. The lawsuit objected to language in the Utah Code, and resulting regulations, that forbid the “advocacy of homosexuality.” A bill that would remove that language from the law is pending approval by the Utah Legislature, removing any possible legal grounds for the federal case.
Notwithstanding this, some advocates are claiming their lawsuit should proceed and that the federal courts should still have power to remake Utah’s curriculum. Is that a valid claim?
The specific argument is that since Utah’s sex-education curriculum law says (not surprisingly) that schools must not “facilitate or encourage the violation of any State or federal criminal law by a minor or an adult,” schools could not mention a subject like same-sex marriage – since there are still laws on the books defining marriage as the union of a husband and wife and prohibiting sodomy.
There are basic logical problems with this argument.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9l9

 

We do our part to pay for schools
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Dale Larson

My family has never enjoyed the luxury of more than two exemptions on our joint tax forms, yet we support an increase in per-pupil spending and increased teacher salaries in Utah even though we are both now retired and on a fixed income. I have always wondered why large families are rewarded for populating the school system and about their limitless deductions. Is this a form of taxation without (responsible) representation?
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kV

A volunteer is …
(St. George) Spectrum letter from Edna Sampson

The definition of volunteers is “A person who chooses freely as do or offer to do something.”
So, how come the “volunteers” at the schools receive compensation for the service they do?
http://gousoe.uen.org/9l7

 

Which States Are Ready for ESSA?
Some states appear more prepared to implement ESSA than others
Education Week op-ed by Priscilla Wohlstetter, distinguished research professor at Teachers College, Columbia University, Darius R. Brown, a master’s-degree student in the school’s department of education policy and social analysis, & Megan Duff, a doctoral student in the same department

Uncertainty surrounds what lies ahead for education under the Trump administration, but one thing is for sure: The Every Student Succeeds Act will be fully implemented in the 2017-18 school year, devolving more decisionmaking authority to the states.
States are expected to submit plans to the U.S. Department of Education outlining their unique, respective goals around accountability, assessment, monitoring, and support. Furthermore, governors, legislatures, and state schools chiefs must agree on ESSA plans before the state chiefs submit them to the federal government for approval. So, are state education agencies-and, more important, state governments-up to the task?
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kM

 

Betsy DeVos’ Holy War
Her appointment as education secretary marks the crowning achievement of the Christian right’s campaign to infiltrate America’s secular institutions
Rolling Stone analysis by Janet Reitman

A few weeks after September 11th, 2001, with the nation reeling from the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, D.C., about 400 or so of the country’s leading Christian conservative investors convened at the luxury Phoenician resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. They were there for the 17th annual meeting of the Gathering, a four-day, invitation-only philanthropic and networking event for the Christian donor class, whose members often describe themselves, simply, as “believers.” The perks awaiting them in their off hours included a 27-hole golf course, nine crystalline swimming pools and a luxury spa. At dusk, the ruddy hues of the desert rippled across the stone patios where, warmed by fire pits, some of the most important funders of Christian charity, and the Christian right, sipped cocktails and talked about expanding the Kingdom of God.
Among the evangelical super-rich at the Gathering that weekend were Donald Trump’s recently appointed secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, and her husband, Richard “Dick” DeVos Jr., scion of the multilevel marketing behemoth Amway. The DeVoses are conservative Christian royalty with deep roots in Republican politics, and Betsy, a skilled political operator, had just finished a stint as chair of the Michigan Republican Party. During a talk one evening in the Phoenician’s elegant grand ballroom, DeVos mentioned her latest project: recruiting Christians to run for the state legislature. “It is critically important that we have believers involved in public life,” she said.
Politics was one facet of a much larger effort the DeVoses called the Shfela. This is the biblical name for the fertile crescent of land between Israel’s Judaean Mountains and the coastal plain, where David fought Goliath and other historic battles were waged between the Israelites and the Philistines. During a recent trip to Israel, the DeVoses had been highly impressed by a story about an archeological dig that unearthed a trove of ancient pig bones in layers of soil dating to the eras when the pagan Philistines held sway. But in other layers of the Shfela, the archeologists found no pig remains at all, suggesting that during these times, the Jews, who kept kosher, had come down from the mountain to spread their religious values among the people. For the DeVoses, the Shfela offered an essential metaphor of the challenges facing modern America. As Dick put it: “How do we get the pig bones out of our culture?”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lt

 

Go Small on School Choice
How Trump can avoid the big risks of a federal school choice push.
U.S. News & World Report op-ed by Nat Malkus, a research fellow in education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute

Evidence that the Trump administration will push for a major expansion of private school choice continues to mount. Initially, it was easy to scoff at Trump’s promise to invest an eye-popping $20 billion in school choice. But his repeated endorsements of school choice, his selection of choice advocate Betsy DeVos for secretary of education and his request for federal choice legislation in last week’s joint address to Congress provide plenty of reasons to take his promise seriously.
Skepticism of swinging for the school choice fences is not limited to opponents of school choice. Indeed, choice supporters including Lindsey Burke of the Heritage Foundation and my American Enterprise Institute colleague Rick Hess have written about the potential downsides of a federal effort. The Obama administration’s overwrought, and ultimately counterproductive, support for Common Core should be a cautionary tale. If a poorly executed federal choice push fails on the national stage, it could substantially damage the progress the school choice movement has built from the bottom up.
But some advocates are bullish on Trump’s push, sensing a rare opportunity to “go big” on school choice. The question for those supporters and the administration should be: How can a federal program push choice without risking the movement’s undoing?
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kH

 

Have the Unions Benefited From the DeVos Confirmation Fight?
(New York) The 74 analysis by Mike Antonucci, director of the Education Intelligence Agency

It has been a month since the U.S. Senate narrowly confirmed Betsy DeVos as secretary of education, with Vice President Mike Pence casting the tiebreaking vote. Despite unprecedented resistance, the teachers unions were unable to prevent the confirmation.
But did they come out ahead anyway? “The public in public education has never been more visible or more vocal, and it is not going back in the shadows,” said American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten after the vote.
“Today’s outcome marks only the beginning of the resistance,” added National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen García. She was specific about her reason for optimism.
“We have won hundreds and hundreds of thousands of new activists,” she told Vox, assembling a “contact list to die for” from the more than 1 million emails and 40,000 phone calls to the Senate during the confirmation process.
Those are impressive figures, and the opposition to DeVos was greater than we have seen in many years for a Cabinet nominee. But two questions about the union’s anti-DeVos campaign remain: (1) Was the strategy effective? and (2) Will it result in more effective future campaigns?
On the most basic level, the answer to the first question is no. The primary purpose of the campaign was to stop DeVos; that failed. Was the sheer volume of activism a victory? Well, yes and no.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kN

 

Radical change for struggling schools? It’s reliably doable.
Washington Post commentary by Mitchell Chester, commissioner of elementary and secondary education in Massachusetts, and John White, superintendent of education in Louisiana

In education, few questions matter more than what to do for students stuck in enduringly terrible schools.
Such schools produce more dropouts than graduates; they are associated with violence, community disorganization, and blunted futures for children. Bringing dramatic change to such schools has rightly become a national priority, in part because of the federal government’s multi-billion-dollar investment in School Improvement Grants, or SIG.
Now, however, the U.S. Education Department’s own research arm reports that the massive federal effort has not demonstrated meaningful gains. Despite local bright spots, some analysts issued a tough verdict: No one knows what to do about chronically struggling schools.
Not only is that false, it perpetuates an unproductive dichotomy: Throw more money into broken systems, or write off the schools we have today and focus exclusively on small-scale alternatives. The first is indefensible; the second fails to help kids stuck in awful schools where alternatives are unlikely to emerge in the near future.
With more than $1 billion available annually under the new Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA, now dedicated to improving bad schools, states cannot afford philosophical debates.
Radical change for students consigned to struggling schools is not only possible, it is reliably doable – in cities, suburbs and rural communities alike – but it takes a bolder and more disciplined approach than much of what was supported under SIG. States will need to apply proven principles in widely varying settings, starting now.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kO

 

————————————————————-
NATIONAL NEWS
————————————————————-

A-F School Rankings Draw Local Pushback
Critics call method simplistic; backers tout transparency
Education Week

As states overhaul their accountability systems under the new federal K-12 law, officials in some are pushing to replace or revamp A-F grading for schools, which supporters tout as an easy way to convey to the public how schools stack up.
In recent years, at least 18 states have adopted some version of a system that relies mostly on standardized-test scores and graduation rates to generate letter-grade report cards, similar to the ones students receive throughout the school year. Legislation is pending in a handful of states to join that group.
But in some states that already have them, A-F systems have received fierce backlash from local superintendents and school board members. They complain that the letter grades oversimplify student success or shortfalls, increase pressure to pay attention to tests, ignore school quality factors other than test scores, and demoralize teachers and parents.
Local officials in at least four states are using this year’s window of opportunity provided by the Every Student Succeeds Act to push back against A-F systems. ESSA, which goes into full effect for the 2017-18 school year, requires states to change several components of their accountability systems, including the measures states must use to calculate rankings and how often they report rankings to the public.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kL

 

As Trump Renews Push for School Choice, Specifics Still Scarce
Tells Congress such options aid disadvantaged youth
Education Week

Now that President Donald Trump has given his first big speech to Congress, it’s clearer than ever that he remains serious about his campaign-trail pledge to expand school choice.
Trump called on lawmakers to “pass an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth, including millions of African-American and Latino children. These families should be free to choose the public, private, charter, magnet, religious, or home school that is right for them.”
But the nitty-gritty details of what form that expansion might take remain elusive.
And beyond choice-Trump’s only specific discussion of K-12 in his Feb. 28 address-it remains tough to say what other policy proposals might be on the president’s K-12 priority list.
That’s a big shift from the past two presidents, Barack Obama and George W. Bush, both of whom were knee-deep at this point in their presidencies in the education initiatives that would define their K-12 legacies.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kG

 

Federal Budget Knife Could Slash Into K-12 Programs
Education Week

President Donald Trump’s push to drastically reduce domestic spending as a way to boost defense spending could have a significant impact on programs at the U.S. Department of Education, where the biggest streams of funding go toward low-income students and those with special needs. But its precise effect on overall federal K-12 aid remains unclear, as do the prospects for Trump’s budget plan in Congress.
Early last week, Trump announced a proposal to increase defense-related spending by $54 billion in fiscal 2018, which begins in October, and to cut nondefense discretionary spending by a corresponding figure. That amounts to a 10 percent across-the-board cut for domestic agencies like the Education Department. The Trump administration is expected to release more details about its spending priorities later this month, but it’s not certain how the cuts in discretionary spending would affect each agency.
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., the chairman of the House subcommittee that appropriates money for the Education Department, last week referenced the possibility of $18 billion to $20 billion in cuts to the portion of the budget that funds the departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education. “There’s no part of this budget that can escape unscathed” if the cuts are on that scale, Cole said in a subcommittee hearing.
But Congress may be unwilling to go along with Trump’s budget plan and make that deep a cut to domestic spending to fund defense-related activities. Among other things, passing Trump’s budget would require lawmakers to alter or toss out the Budget Control Act of 2011, which sets caps on federal discretionary spending.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lo

Florida appeals court overturns 3rd-grade retention, testing ruling
Orlando (FL) Sentinel

A Florida appeal court on Tuesday delivered a setback to the “opt out” movement, a group opposed to how the state uses high-stakes standardized tests for key educational decisions.
The 1st District Court of Appeal tossed out a lower court verdict in favor of the group and said the decision to hear the case in Tallahassee was wrong as well.
In the original ruling, a judge had blasted local school districts for not promoting third graders who had refused to take Florida’s reading test. The Orange, Osceola and Seminole school districts were among those named in the original lawsuit brought by 14 “opt out” parents.
The parents refused to have their children take the third-grade test, then sued when school districts would not promote them to fourth grade, despite report cards and classwork that showed they were decent readers.
The appeal court judges wrote that Florida has a “laudable purpose” in testing the reading skills of third graders and that the parents did a “disservice” to their children by telling them not to answer questions on the exam.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kJ

A copy of the ruling
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kK (Florida 1st District Court of Appeal)

 

Educators Prepare for Immigration Agents at the Schoolhouse
New York Times

In January, New York City’s schools chancellor, Carmen Fariña, sent a letter home to students’ families, reassuring them that the city was not keeping records of their immigration status and that immigration agents would not be roaming schools unfettered.
But that has not kept the questions from coming, said Maite Junco, a senior adviser at the city’s Education Department.
School administrators and parents who are worried about the Trump administration’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants want “details on exactly how the process works,” Ms. Junco said. “In a circumstance where ICE shows up at the school,” she said, using the acronym for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “what is the minute­by­minute protocol almost.” Ms. Junco said the department was planning to circulate more detailed guidelines to schools in the coming days.
Across the region – and the country – education officials are facing a similar flood of questions from principals and frantic parents, especially in districts with large numbers of immigrants, some of whom are undocumented. In response, states have distributed letters to superintendents about asking for warrants and subpoenas from Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Reminders have circulated that schools are never to ask families about their immigration status when they enroll their children. And districts have circulated memos about what to do if federal immigration officers show up at the schoolhouse door.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lr

 

‘Day Without a Woman’ strike puts some parents in a bind amid school closures
CNN

Organizers say it was intended in the same spirit of “love and liberation” that inspired women’s marches worldwide.
But many are complaining that “A Day Without a Woman” will leave many women in a bind.
The national strike movement on Wednesday coincides with International Women’s Day. It aims to draw attention to inequities working women face compared to men, from wage disparity to harassment to job insecurity.
Several school districts across the country are closing to allow staff and teachers the chance to participate. While some people in those communities applauded district leadership for the show of solidarity, others criticized them for leaving working families scrambling to find childcare.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lu

 

How the governor and music heavy hitters plan to make sure every Colorado kid has access to an instrument and instruction
Take Note Colorado’s warm-up act will be a fundraising concert headlined by Nathaniel Rateliff, Todd Park Mohr, Isaac Slade
Denver Post

Gov. John Hickenlooper smiled wide as he watched a video of 2-year-old Judah Alexander Slade air-drumming to his father’s band at Red Rocks Amphitheatre last summer.
“Watch the ending!” Hickenlooper said from his office Monday, as Judah’s dad and Fray lead singer Isaac sat next to him. “I’ve deleted like 80,000 things from my phone, but not this, because when I’m depressed I just want to watch Judah drumming.”
Hickenlooper’s goal of giving every Colorado child the same chance at musical self-expression moved a step closer to reality Monday with the unveiling of his ambitious new music-education nonprofit, with help from some of the region’s most powerful music-industry machinery and creative talent.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9kI

 

Suspending Students Costs Billions in Economic Losses, New Study Finds
Education Week

A growing cadre of public policy researchers and lawmakers agree that school discipline rates remain high for black and Hispanic students, and those with disabilities, but a new study from the University of California takes it a step further by connecting suspension rates to major economic impacts.
Researchers found that suspensions lead to lower graduation rates, which in turn leads to lower tax revenue and higher taxpayer costs for criminal justice and social services. The researchers followed a single cohort of California 10th grade students through high school for three years and found that those who were suspended had only a 60 percent graduation rate-compared to an 83 percent graduation rate for students who were not suspended.
The result: An economic loss of $2.7 billion over the lifetime of that single cohort of dropouts who left school because they were suspended, researchers found.
The study-“The Hidden Cost of California’s Harsh School Discipline: And the Localized Economic Benefits From Suspending Fewer High School Students”-calculates the financial consequences of suspending students in each California school district with more than 100 students, and for the state as a whole.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lp

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lq (UCLA)

 

A Tale of Two Betsy DeVoses
The generous Grand Rapids resident and the tone-deaf Trump official
Atlantic

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-Residents of this western Michigan town are having trouble reconciling the Betsy DeVos they know with the Betsy DeVos who serves as President Donald Trump’s controversial education secretary.
The former is widely seen as pragmatic and generous, even by those who dislike her political leanings and devotion to charter schools. The latter? “Unprepared,” “tone deaf,” and “insulated” were phrases that came up more than once during interviews with people who either know DeVos or her family or are familiar with her dealings in this part of the state.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ls

Head of DeVos-backed group resigns in wake of domestic abuse comments
Detroit Free Press

The head of a school choice advocacy group founded by Betsy DeVos, the newly minted U.S. Secretary of Education, has resigned in the wake of comments he made about domestic violence during a legislative committee hearing last week.
The official statement from the Great Lakes Education Project, where Gary Naeyaert was executive director, says the organization “is taking some time to reorganize to best continue the advocacy of quality school choice options for all Michigan K-12 students.”
But Naeyaert drew fire after a Feb. 28 Senate Education Committee meeting in which he talked about his frustration with Natasha Baker, the state school reform officer whose office has drawn fire for identifying 38 chronically failing schools for potential closure.
“I wanted to shake her, like I like to shake my wife when every option in front of you is not possible. They’re all equally unattractive to you. Like when I ask her where to go to dinner and she says anywhere, and I say Steak and Shake, and she says, not Steak and Shake.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lk

http://gousoe.uen.org/9ll (Detroit News)

 

U.S. Department of Education Announces 2017 National Professional Development Grant Competition to Support Educators of English Learner Students
US. Department of Education

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of English Language Acquisition (OELA), announced recently in the Federal Register, the availability of $20 million for its National Professional Development (NPD) grant competition to support educators of English Learner (EL) students.
“These grants are great investments in helping prepare new teachers improve their content skills to better serve the needs of English learner students,” said Supreet Anand, deputy director of OELA. “Our English Learners benefit by having competent and capable instructors in the classroom.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lj

 

————————————————————
CALENDAR
————————————————————

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 9:

Utah State Board of Education legislative meeting
Noon; 210 Senate Building
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ku

March 13:

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

March 24:

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

Related posts:

Leave a Reply