Education News Roundup: March 9, 2017

Utah State Capitol at duskToday’s Top Picks:

Tick tick tick. The Legislature ends at midnight tonight.

Speaker Hughes and President Niederhauser consider public education funding as a success in this session.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lM (UP)

Nationally, the Senate voted to rescind Obama-era rules on ESSA.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mu (AP)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9mv (Ed Week)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9mM (Politico)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9mJ ([Washington, DC] The Hill)

Families of transgendered students meet with Secretary DeVos.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lZ (WaPo)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9m0 (Washington Blade)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9mH (NBC)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9mt (ED)

A Michigan commission studying ways to improve education there will recommend, among other items, eliminating the elected Michigan State Board of Education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mK (Crain’s Detroit Business)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9mV (Detroit News)

Alabama State Board of Education has some strong words with its state superintendent, Michael Sentence, who was a 2012 finalist to be Utah State Superintendent.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9m5 (Montgomery Advertiser)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Hughes, Niederhauser pick the highs and lows of the 2017 session

Senate gives final passage to grant program for kindergarten enrichment programs

Utah Legislature strikes so-called ‘no-promo homo’ law

House passes ‘We got your back’ bill involving federal funds

Bill to change governance of Utah High School Activities Association heads to final passage

Proposed election changes are fizzling out as 2017 session comes to an end

Bill providing $350,000 to develop study materials on federalism fails in Senate

Latinos in Action conference draws thousands of students to Weber State

Middle school artists showcase talent at Young Writers & Artists Fest

Davis School Board approves spending on new land, building repairs

New washing, laundry room for East High students in need

Career, technical education celebrates 100-year anniversary

Family sues Juan Diego Catholic High School after student says she was raped on school trip
Sexual assault > Student says she was attacked on field trip.

Mourners hold vigil honoring teens killed in southern Utah crash

Students “Take a Stand in History”

3rd Annual Leadership Day at Cherry Creek Elementary

Technology in the Classroom Equate to Success
CenturyLink Invests $50k a year in education grants in Utah

Nevada schools could get bilingual education option

House Panel to Vote on D.C. Voucher Reauthorization

OPINION & COMMENTARY

New playgrounds are good for Northern Utah kids – all Northern Utah kids

Bullying and the press

St. George Academy will benefit Southern Utah

Diffendoofer Day

Understanding the Promise of Dual-Language Education in SAISD

Kudos to legislators

The Republican Rush to Gut Education Rules

How Trump Can Expand School Choice
A scholarship tax credit would put poor kids in good private schools-and relieve packed public ones.

Education for Sale?
School choice and the future of American education

Why the Left Should Work With Betsy DeVos
The left and Betsy DeVos share skepticism of top-down education reform

A School Where Raising the Bar Lifts Hope

NATION

Senate Votes to Rescind Obama Rules on School Accountability

Trump Education Adviser Wants ‘Robust Portfolio of Options’ For K-12 Students

NEA Criticizes Supreme Court Nominee’s Judicial Record on Special Education

‘We are angry’: Families of transgender children meet with Betsy DeVos

State Chiefs Group Says Superintendents Have Final Say on State ESSA Plans

Louisiana Rep. Ralph Abraham Co-Sponsors Bill to End U.S. Education Department

CODeLLA Aims to Teach Latina Girls Another Vital Language: Coding

Study: To Get High School Students Interested in STEM, Invest in Parents

Amid Partisan Divide, Teachers Turn to Digital Game for Civics Lessons

The State of State Teachers’ Pension Plans

Milwaukee Public Schools bracing for $50 million-plus budget gap

State Commission: Consider abolishing Board of Education

‘You work for this board’: State BOE airs grievances with Sentence

What will the future of L.A. Unified look like? Two very different visions are battling it out

Top turf company faces mounting lawsuits in N.J., across U.S.

TV may take biggest toll on school readiness for poor kids

10 of the most exclusive boarding schools for the super-rich are in one country

 

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UTAH NEWS
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Hughes, Niederhauser pick the highs and lows of the 2017 session

Last day of the 2017 Utah Legislature – lawmakers adjourn at midnight – and what are the high and low points as seen by House Speaker Greg Hughes and Senate President Wayne Niederhauser?

Hughes and Niederhauser also list this session’s public education funding as a top achievement.
Lawmakers finally met GOP Gov. Gary Herbert’s 4 percent increase in the WPU – the state’s public school funding formula.
Hughes also likes freshman Rep. Mike Winder’s HB212, which will start a new program where teacher’s who volunteer in poor schools, and see student success, may get up to $5,000 bonuses.
Niederhauser pointed to the money lawmakers freed up to pay for teacher supplies and eliminate license fees.
“It’s not a huge amount of money, but it helps,” he said.
The school grading bill was another big win for lawmakers according to Niederhauser.
“The stakeholders got together, and we came up with a much more fair and transparent system,” he noted. “The grades will still be there, but they won’t be a moving target anymore. Schools will know where they need to get their students.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lM (UP)

 

Senate gives final passage to grant program for kindergarten enrichment programs

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Senate gave final approval Wednesday evening to legislation that creates a grant program to support kindergarten enrichment programs.
HB168, sponsored by Rep. Lowry Snow, R-Santa Clara, is optional for parents but would grant schools resources to help struggling students gain the skills they need to perform on grade level by third grade.
The program would be supported by about $200,000 in state funds and more than $2.8 million in federal Temporary Assistance to Needy Family funds.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lU (DN)

 

Utah Legislature strikes so-called ‘no-promo homo’ law

Utah’s Legislature has passed a bill repealing possibly unconstitutional language prohibiting advocacy of homosexuality in public schools’ health classes.
SB196 won final Senate approval Wednesday 27-1 with only Sen. Margaret Dayton, R-Orem, voting against it.
The bill removing the so-called “no-promo homo” language was introduced in the Legislature after Equality Utah sued the state for what it said was a discriminatory policy. A federal judge stayed the lawsuit in late February pending the outcome of the legislation.
Equality Utah executive director Troy Williams called it “a historic day for LGBTQ students in Utah.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lR (SLT)

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

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9mO (Washington Blade)

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

 

House passes ‘We got your back’ bill involving federal funds

SALT LAKE CITY – HB136, whom some have dubbed the “we got your back bill,” won final passage Wednesday in the Utah House of Representatives.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Mike Kennedy, R-Alpine, provides assurances to the Utah State Board of Education that after analyzing the fiscal impacts of foregoing federal grants with requirements it deems contrary to Utah’s education objectives, it can turn to the Legislature to help make up the difference.
The Legislature may have the State School Board’s back philosophically, but lawmakers would not be obligated to fund requests, “and we note that in statute,” said Sen. Deidre Henderson, R-Spanish Fork.
Sen. Jim Dabakis, D-Salt Lake City, questioned the need for the legislation, saying both bodies already have the authority to do what the bill states.
“Why is it necessary?” Dabakis asked.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lS (DN)

 

Bill to change governance of Utah High School Activities Association heads to final passage

SALT LAKE CITY – The governance and operations the Utah High School Activities Association face significant changes upon final passage of HB413.
The bill, which reduces the governing board from 32 members to 15, creates an independent appeals board and requires the organization to comply with state open meetings and records laws.
HB413 was approved Wednesday by a 22-4 vote of the Utah Senate and returned to the House to address a clarifying amendment.
The bill does not address transfers of student athletes to other schools but makes many other needed changes that ensure transparency and accountability of the organization, said Sen. Dan Hemmert, R-Orem, HB413’s Senate sponsor.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lT (DN)

 

Proposed election changes are fizzling out as 2017 session comes to an end

As UtahPolicy readers know, the issue of a plurality winner in a primary election is dead in the 2017 Legislature.
But still alive, embodied in SB114 now in the House, is changing filing deadlines for candidates: Specifically a different deadline for candidates who are taking the SB54 routes of petition-gathering only, or taking the routes of petition and convention routes at the same time – and a different filing deadline for candidates only going to old caucus/delegate/convention route.
And the philosophical and hard politics of having two filing deadlines – one for petition-gathers and a later filing for the convention route candidates only – is playing out in the back-room GOP debates.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lN (UP)

 

Bill providing $350,000 to develop study materials on federalism fails in Senate

SALT LAKE CITY – A bill that would have given the state Commission on Federalism $350,000 to develop study materials available to the public failed to pass Wednesday in the Senate.
The appropriation in HB207, sponsored by Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, the House chairman of the commission, would have enabled the hiring of consultants, including Utah Valley University.

The bill’s Senate sponsor, Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, urged support, saying, “Yes, there’s a fiscal note, but when you consider the cost of doing nothing, this is a real bargain.”
But questions were raised about the cost associated with producing the study materials, which Christensen said would be available to K-12 students, as well as the public, but not as part of school curriculum.
“My concern comes from the fact that this is totally not necessary,” said Sen. Jake Anderegg, R-Lehi, noting there is already “plenty of curriculum available,” including copies of the U.S. Constitution that are handed out “like candy.”
“Let’s read them,” Anderegg said, asking how spending $350,000 on something duplicative can be justified by conservatives “when there is a plethora of existing material.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lO (DN)

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

 

Latinos in Action conference draws thousands of students to Weber State

OGDEN – Xitlali-Vanessa Ramirez was breathlessly excited as she stood backstage waiting to perform at the Latinos in Action Youth Leadership Conference Wednesday.
Ramirez, a ninth-grade student at Ogden Preparatory Academy, was getting ready to perform a traditional Afromexicano dance. Dressed in torn black clothing to represent years of oppression and red accents to represent blood and sacrifice, she said she was proud to give her people a voice.
“I’m doing this because my stepdad is in the audience and he’s Afromexicano and he had to cross the border to spend time with us and my mother who is fighting cancer,” she said.
Ramirez was one of about 1,300 junior high and high school students gathered at Weber State University for the event. A total of 33 schools were represented there.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mb (OSE)

 

Middle school artists showcase talent at Young Writers & Artists Fest

Nearly 300 aspiring artists and writers from local middle schools had an opportunity to showcase their talents and learn from the pros at the 26th annual Young Writers and Artists Fest on Wednesday at the USU Conference Center.
Young writers shared their stories and poetry and received feedback from panels of professional writers and educators, while others attended workshops on storytelling, writing and creating art on the fly.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mf (LHJ)

Davis School Board approves spending on new land, building repairs

Oak Hills Elementary School Principal Ruthanne Keller said the water at her school isn’t really a problem unless the pipes sit unused over a long vacation. If that happens, it has a tendency to come out orange.
At a meeting Tuesday, March 7, the Davis School District Board of Education approved putting $327,483 in capital projects funds toward repairing the school’s water pipes.
District Assistant Superintendent Craig Carter said leaky pipes have also been an issue.
“We have had lots of repairs,” Keller said. “I’m grateful the district has money they put up to build our infrastructure up. It’s really nice.”
The board also approved spending about $1 million on 16 acres of land in the West Point City boundaries. According to board documents, the district already owns 59 acres to the south and west of this property they anticipate will be used for a new junior high and high school.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9m9 (OSE)

 

New washing, laundry room for East High students in need

Students at East High are getting an education in life. Thanks to the generosity of community donors and funding from the Salt Lake County School District, the school installed two private washrooms for homeless students and students in need to use.
The result of a three-year long endeavor, two small locker rooms were transformed into individual washrooms. Each is fitted with a private shower, lockers filled with donated clothes, a toilet, a sink, and – most notably – a brand new washer and drier.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mj (KUTV)

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

 

Career, technical education celebrates 100-year anniversary

MT. PLEASANT – On Feb. 23, 1917 Congress signed The Smith Hughes Act into law. It was originally called the National Vocational Education Act.
This marked the start of federal investment in secondary vocational education or as it is known today, Career and Technical Education (CTE). This act provided vocational classes to be taught in high schools throughout the United States and provided funding for these classes.
In the beginning, most of the vocational classes centered around farming and the need to improve practices that were becoming out dated as the population increased and the need for food and fiber continued to grow.
In addition, growing the same crop year after year in the same place was depleting farming resources.
At North Sanpete High School there are 10 teachers who teach CTE classes in the areas that range from architectural design, woodworking, photography, engineering, foods and nutrition, computer programming, business, sewing and design, natural resources and agricultural science.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mQ (PDH)

 

Family sues Juan Diego Catholic High School after student says she was raped on school trip
Sexual assault > Student says she was attacked on field trip.

A family is suing Juan Diego Catholic High school, the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City and a former Juan Diego faculty member, saying a chaperon of a school-sponsored trip dismissed a sexual assault as something that “happens all the time.”
According to court documents filed Wednesday in 3rd District Court, a female faculty member chaperoned the trip to Europe in June 2015 and didn’t alert police when a student reported that she had been raped and held against her will at a hotel in Germany.
Because she was the only female on the trip besides the faculty member, the student didn’t have a roommate, according to court documents, and she woke up during the final night of the trip to see an intruder, who sexually assaulted her in her hotel room. He allegedly blocked her from leaving for several hours, the suit states. When he left, the student sent a text message to a friend in Utah, who alerted the student’s parents, according to the lawsuit; the parents contacted the chaperon.
When the student told the faculty member about the attack, the chaperon dismissed the claims, according to court documents, and instead told the student to prepare for the bus to the airport. The student brought up the assault again at the airport, and the faculty member allegedly said, “Unfortunately, this kind of thing happens all the time.”
When she returned to Salt Lake City, the student’s parents took her to Primary Children’s Hospital, where medical staff performed a rape evaluation and found evidence consistent with a violent sexual assault, states the suit.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9m7 (SLT)

Mourners hold vigil honoring teens killed in southern Utah crash

MOAB – About 150 students gathered on the football field of Grand County High School on Wednesday to mourn the deaths of two teenagers killed in a crash over the weekend.
Connor Denney, 16, and Taylor Bryant, 14, died after being ejected from a Subaru Impreza on La Sal Loop Road about 7:30 a.m. Sunday.
As they remembered their friends, students huddled together with lit candles and commiserated with each other Wednesday.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mc (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9mm (Moab Times Independent)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9mn (Moab Sun News)

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

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

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

 

Students “Take a Stand in History”

“Taking a Stand in History” is the theme of the annual History Fair that was held on February 22 at the Utah State University Eastern campus in Blanding.
Students from Monticello and Blanding participated in the annual event, with the top finishers qualifying for a spot at the state History Fair in April.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mo (San Juan Record)

 

3rd Annual Leadership Day at Cherry Creek Elementary

Cherry Creek Elementary is a Leader in Me school therefore, we live Stephen Covey’s 7 habits. These habits are: be proactive, begin with the end in mind, put first things first, think win-win, seek first to understand then to be understood, synergize, and sharpen the saw.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9me (Serve Daily)

 

Technology in the Classroom Equate to Success
CenturyLink Invests $50k a year in education grants in Utah

SANDY, Utah — Each year, the telecom company, CenturyLink, commits $50,000 dollars to education in Utah through its Teachers and Technology Grant Program. Teachers are awarded up to $5,000 dollars each.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ml (KTVX)

 

Nevada schools could get bilingual education option

Nevada students would have the opportunity to become bilingual as part of a dual-language immersion program presented to the Assembly Education Committee.
Assembly Assistant Majority Whip Heidi Swank, D-Las Vegas, presented Assembly Bill 139 on Wednesday. It originated in the Interim Legislative Committee on Education and relies heavily on a model from Utah.
“The future our students face is not the future we grew up in,” said Gregg Roberts, the dual-language immersion program specialist for Utah who testified Wednesday. “These are truly the students we need to produce in the future.”
Utah’s program serves 32,000 students in 161 schools this year, and Roberts said he expects between 35 and 40 more schools to implement programs in the coming years. Utah students who complete the program often begin to earn foreign language college credits while in high school.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mP (Las Vegas Review Journal)

 

House Panel to Vote on D.C. Voucher Reauthorization

The House Oversight Committee is set to vote today on a bill that would fund a private-school voucher program for D.C. school children for another five years – and widen the pool of students eligible to take part in the program. A vote to advance the bill would be an early signal that Republicans are likely to back Donald Trump’s “school choice” priorities. The so-called D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program is the only federal voucher program in the country and has long been championed by Republican leaders such as former House Speaker John Boehner. It was staunchly opposed by the Obama White House and hasn’t been fully reauthorized in six years.
In a hearing on the bill Wednesday, Republicans argued the voucher program has shown great success. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the chairman of the committee who authored the reauthorization bill, said 89 percent of high school seniors who participated in the program in 2014 graduated. “Almost nine out of 10 students participating in the program graduated from high school,” Chaffetz said. “We know that SOAR is working.”
Democrats opposed the bill, arguing it would drain money from public schools and doesn’t provide protection from discrimination for students who attend private schools. They also pointed out that the majority of D.C. city council members oppose the program, though D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser supports it. “It seems clear to me after several months in Congress now that there is an ideological offensive against public things,” Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said. “There’s an attempt to defund and strip public schools and put money into private education.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mU (Politico)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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New playgrounds are good for Northern Utah kids – all Northern Utah kids
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

Every kid looks forward to recess.
But not every kid can play with everyone else.
Traditional playground design typically separates able-bodied kids from those with special needs.
Those divisions are slowly ending in Northern Utah.
The Weber School District is using donations and grants to build new all-abilities playgrounds at Roy, North Ogden and Uintah elementary schools, along with a fourth school selected this fall.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ma

 

Bullying and the press
UtahPolicy commentary by columnist Jordan Garn

In case you missed it, the Salt Lake Tribune recently engaged in the tattle tell business–“reporting” on an anecdote between an educator and Senator Stephenson, where the former accused the latter of being a bully. It seems a Legislator’s manners when discussing policy are now newsworthy.
I wonder how far this news nuance will go. I, for one, would love to see my encounter with Robert Gehrke go to print. I once gave him a blue salt water taffy and he ingested it without so much as a “thank you.” Or, that time when I invited Robert Kirby to speak at a dinner event and he had the nerve to show up with what appeared to be a furry rodent on his upper lip. The public needs to know the audacity of Trib employees and Legislators alike.
I do understand the educator’s concern. Things escalated to the point where Senator Stephenson’s face went red. There were children present and nobody bothered measuring off a ten-foot moat. We can’t let the kids see how passionate adults are about kids’ education and well-being.
I also know first-hand what it’s like to face the red-faced ire. I once discussed education policy with him. His face was red. I saw him speak to a bill that raised taxes. His face was red. I watched him eat a piece of toast. His face was red. In fact, the shade of red didn’t dim at all even when he was cuddling a kitten.
I determined right then and there Senator Stephenson had anger issues.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lQ

 

St. George Academy will benefit Southern Utah
(St. George) Spectrum op-ed by R. Neil Walter, board president for St. George Academy

As a new public charter school authorized for 8th-12th grades opening in August of this year, St. George Academy will benefit all of the students in Southern Utah.
Michael Dee Martineau titled his 2013 Department of Economics Ph.D. dissertation at the University of Utah, “The Competitive Effects of Charter Schools in Utah.”
In his paper, Martineau concluded “districts that have seen a greater degree of charter competition tend to see increases in traditional public school achievement.”
St. George Academy is designed to be an educational experience with the goal of better preparing students for college and the rest of their life. The Salt Lake Tribune published an article on March 5 titled, “Struggling Students Forced to Wait as Utah’s Public Colleges Don’t Have Enough Therapists.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mg

Diffendoofer Day
Sutherland Institute commentary by President Boyd Matheson

Education continues to be a topic of great concern, and the conversations around it tend to be filled with fiery and sometimes divisive rhetoric. Lawmakers, business leaders, education professionals and parents often end up pitted against each other in the debate about how to best pursue a better education system. Sadly, there are also many outside interest groups who seem much more interested in their interests than they are in the interests of our students. It is time for a different kind of conversation about education.
As with so many things that need fixing in our society, the solutions are not likely to be found in marbled halls or legislative chambers but in places and spaces where children learn and play. Last week we celebrated the birthday of the beloved children’s book author Dr. Seuss. Helping children not only learn to read, but to love it, was his passion. A book finished after Dr. Seuss passed away may well hold the solution to improving education in our state and the nation.
Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! is the fabulous story of a community school, where local administrators empower and reward innovative teachers to deliver a unique and powerful approach to learning – for the students!
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mi

 

Understanding the Promise of Dual-Language Education in SAISD
(San Antonio, TX) Rivard Report op-ed by Mary Field, who has worked in the field of Chinese-language education in Austin and San Antonio since 2015

San Antonio ISD’s plan to convert Mark Twain Middle School to a fully dual-language program, starting with pre-K through second grade for the 2017-2018 school year signals a new direction. The district will have more than 20 dual-language schools in the future. At this juncture, the community should be asking what dual-language education is and what it has to offer.
Dual-language education, sometimes referred to as immersion, has two goals: acquisition of the target language and content learning. Many people believe that children pick up languages more easily than adults, and by extension, regularly exposing a child to a second language will produce a flawless bilingual speaker. This ability is likely overblown and misunderstood. Infants have the ability to distinguish the full range of sounds produced by any type of human speech. By the age of 1, babies know the phonemes (sounds) of their native language, and this universal capacity to distinguish sounds seems to fade.

Dual-language programs might also be guilty of entrenching rather than solving the problems of inequality in American education. As result of 2007 state legislation that allowed for increased funding of dual-language programs, Utah, a state with less than 1% of the U.S. population, is home to 10% of American dual-language programs. This has made the state a leader in dual-language education, and educators from around the country have visited Utah schools. Recently, researchers from the University of Utah and Brigham Young University have looked at these programs and the state-wide policies and found that they tend to serve communities that are wealthier and whiter than average.
Their study, “The Gentrification of Dual-Language Education,” found such programs do little for heritage speakers of languages other than English. There is no acknowledgment in Utah’s legislation that some children arrive on the first day of school already bilingual. While it is often the goal of dual-language programs to have students with different home languages learning side by side, teachers in Utah are not required to have an ESL endorsement to teach in one of these programs. In Utah at least, teaching a second language to native English speakers takes priority over teaching all children to be bilingual.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mR

A copy of the study
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mS (The Urban Review $)

 

Kudos to legislators
Deseret News letter from Scott Bell

Please let me express my appreciation to all of our Utah Senators, Representatives, staffers and aides who work so hard up on the hill. As a Democrat I’m often at odds with Utah legislation, but I recognize the hard work and commitment that go into a grueling session.
In particular, I want to thank the Representatives and Senators who voted against HB207, “Federalism Amendments.” The bill died on March 8 in the Senate. Sponsored by Ken Ivory (R-West Jordan), it requested $350,000 in taxpayer money to fund a class for Utah legislators on the principles of Federalism.
With budget funds always tight, I applaud the bill’s opponents for their fiscal responsibility. This $350,000 can now either be saved or allocated to better uses such as clean air, education or other non-partisan issues.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9md

 

The Republican Rush to Gut Education Rules
Bloomberg editorial

In their ideological rush to slash red tape, congressional Republicans may end up making it harder for states to get money from Washington to turn around failing schools. Sometimes regulations make it easier, not harder, to comply with the law.
The law in question is the Every Student Succeeds Act, the successor to President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind program. The new law is far less hands-on than the old one, leaving almost all big decisions to the states. It focuses mostly on standards for accountability and transparency, and vastly increases the amount of information states will be required to share in annual “school report cards,” which will give parents better data on school performance and help guide where federal education money is most needed.
After the law was passed in 2015, President Barack Obama’s administration issued a series of rules clarifying the statute’s language. Now congressional Republicans would remove all those regulations — even the ones that make sense.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9m4

 

How Trump Can Expand School Choice
A scholarship tax credit would put poor kids in good private schools-and relieve packed public ones.
Wall Street Journal op-ed by TIMOTHY MICHAEL DOLAN, Archbishop of New York

While addressing Congress last week, President Trump called for passage of “an education bill that funds school choice for disadvantaged youth.” He added that families should be able to choose “public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home” schooling. These comments, and his subsequent visit to St. Andrew Catholic School in Orlando, Fla., are encouraging. I hope Mr. Trump will push Congress to make scholarship tax credits available to working-class families nationwide.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lV

 

Education for Sale?
School choice and the future of American education
The Nation commentary by Linda Darling-Hammond, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University

On February 7, Betsy Devos was confirmed as the nation’s new education secretary after a contentious 50-50 vote in the Senate, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking the tie. Coming to the job with no experience in public education-either as a student, parent, educator, or board member-DeVos’s only stated commitment is to expand “choice” nationally through charter schools and private-school vouchers, as she worked to do in her home state of Michigan.
There, DeVos was a key player in expanding a free-market system that features the largest number and percentage of for-profit charter schools in the nation: 79 percent of Michigan’s charters are for-profit. This is highly unusual, as more than 80 percent of charters nationwide are nonprofit. DeVos has also owned shares in K12 Inc., the nation’s largest operator of for-profit charter schools. In 2000, she helped fund an unsuccessful effort to change the state constitution in order to permit private-school vouchers.
In a recent interview about her goals as education secretary, DeVos stated that she intends to expand on this vision of choice, saying: “I expect there will be more public charter schools. I expect there will be more private schools. I expect there will be more virtual schools. I expect there will be more schools of any kind that haven’t even been invented yet.”
“Choice” has become a popular mantra in education-reform circles, used primarily to describe initiatives to increase the number of charter schools, which are publicly funded but privately operated, and to increase funding for private schools through voucher systems. The presumption in both of these instances is that they will expand high-quality options for parents and students.
Yet even among ardent charter-school supporters, DeVos’s approach to choice is controversial.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mI

 

Why the Left Should Work With Betsy DeVos
The left and Betsy DeVos share skepticism of top-down education reform
Education Week op-ed by Jennifer L. Steele, associate professor of education at American University

As many on the left decry U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, they overlook what they may have in common with the new secretary: a skepticism of test-based accountability policy and top-down reform. DeVos’ comment last month to the conservative website Townhall that the teachers she’d met during her first public school visit were in “‘receive mode'” was widely viewed as a criticism of teachers. But her intended target appeared to be the role that current federal education policy plays in the classroom.
In the controversial interview, DeVos referred to the teachers she had visited as “wonderful, genuine, sincere,” but noted: “They’re waiting to be told what they have to do, and that’s not going to bring success to an individual child. You have to have teachers who are empowered to facilitate great teaching.” When the Twittersphere blew up in frustration, which included a disgruntled tweet by the school and retweets by the school’s teachers, DeVos responded a couple of times on Twitter to clarify, including: “. at JATrojans Great teachers deserve freedom and flexibility, not to constantly be on the receiving end of government dictates.”
In fact, DeVos’ rhetoric from before and after the Townhall dustup calls for greater school and teacher autonomy. After 15 years of federal education policy aimed at sanctioning schools and teachers based on test scores, such statements should come as a breath of fresh air for critics of test-based accountability.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mE

 

A School Where Raising the Bar Lifts Hope
New York Times op-ed by Sarah Butrymowicz, a contributing editor for The Hechinger Report

SPOKANE, Wash. – – Two weeks before graduation last spring, Lori Wyborney, the principal at John R. Rogers High School, and her three assistant principals gathered around a table covered with papers and Popeyes takeout. On a screen facing them was a list of three dozen students who administrators believed could succeed in an Advanced Placement class. But the students were not yet scheduled to take one in the fall.
The principals looked at each student’s profile, which included the student’s answers to districtwide survey questions about what worried them about A.P. classes, what subjects interested them and which adults in the building they trusted. Wyborney, concentrating as she sat with her elbows on the table and one hand absentmindedly raised to her mouth, kept up a running commentary. “Boy, she’s not taking much next year,” she said of a student before placing her in A.P. digital photography. Of another: “He’s looking at a fouryear college. He has got to get into A.P. English.”
Over and over, she declared, “I’m on it” as she scribbled the names of students to whom she planned to propose scheduling changes.
The meeting was part of a broad effort across the district to decrease the gap between the number of students from highincome families and lowincome families who go to college. In Spokane, 48 percent of graduates in 2014 who received free or reducedprice lunch – a typical indicator of poverty – went on to higher education the next year, compared with 65 percent of those who didn’t receive subsidizedmeals, according to state data. Nationally, 52 percent of lowincome high school graduates immediately enrolled in college that year, compared with 81 percent of highincome students.
The district aims for all students to enroll in some sort of postsecondary program after high school – whether it’s a community college, a university, a liberal arts college or a vocational program – and to remain at those schools until they earn a diploma or degree.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lW

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Senate Votes to Rescind Obama Rules on School Accountability
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Senate has voted to repeal an Obama regulation that had created a framework to help identify struggling schools and students.
Senators voted 50-49 on Thursday to rescind rules issued in November. President Donald Trump is expected to sign the bill into law.
The accountability regulations were created to help states implement the Every Student Succeeds Act. The document addresses school ratings, student report cards and other ways to identify and help troubled schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mu

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

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9mJ ([Washington, DC] The Hill)

 

Trump Education Adviser Wants ‘Robust Portfolio of Options’ For K-12 Students
Education Week

Arlington, Va. — Jason Botel, a top adviser to President Donald Trump on education issues, sees school choice as a vehicle for furthering educational equity for all students. And he thinks a new pilot program in the Every Student Succeeds Act could help districts expand those student choices.
“We need to build more robust portfolio of school options,” said Botel in a speech Wednesday to the National Parent Teacher Association’s legislative conference. The White House and the U.S. Department of Education are working together, Botel, said, “on the best ways to ensure that all students have the resources they need, as some choose to attend public schools, some choose to attend public charter, public magnet schools, and some choose private schools, online learning.”
Botel didn’t say this specifically, but a federal tax credit scholarship program-like the one created in a bill introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., seems to be one likely route for furthering choice.
In kicking off his remarks, Botel framed school choice as a strategy to make sure all kids get access to an equitable education. Advocates need to collaborate to combat “our common adversaries, inequity of opportunity and inequity of outcome,” he said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9m1

http://gousoe.uen.org/9m2 (AP)

 

NEA Criticizes Supreme Court Nominee’s Judicial Record on Special Education
Education Week

The National Education Association issued a report Thursday that is sharply critical of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil M. Gorsuch’s judicial record in special education cases, saying “hard-won protections for students with disabilities could be in peril” if he is confirmed.
“Judge Gorsuch’s record on students with disabilities raises serious questions about whether he, as a Supreme Court justice, would understand and stand up for the rights” of such students,” says the nine-page report from the nation’s largest teachers’ union.
As a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, in Denver, for the past 10 years, Gorsuch has an extensive record of rulings on education, including several based on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Gorsuch “has ruled against students with disabilities in numerous cases and his record, when considered as a whole, shows a lack of regard for the struggles and rights of students with disabilities,” the NEA report says.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mz

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mA (NEA)

 

‘We are angry’: Families of transgender children meet with Betsy DeVos
Washington Post

With tears in their eyes, Vanessa and JR Ford recounted to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos the story of their transgender daughter Ellie, sharing the drawings where Ellie depicted herself as a stick figure in a little dress and telling her about Ellie’s fourth birthday, where she declared “I am a girl in my brain and my heart.”
In the Department of Education conference room, Ellie sat nearby sketching characters from Sonic the Hedgehog and munching on apple sauce. She had just met the secretary, the Fords later recalled, giving DeVos her classic fake-out handshake in which she ran her tiny fingers up the woman’s arm, squealing “squirrel!”
The Fords, who live in the District and send Ellie to a charter school, joined other families of transgender children at a Wednesday meeting hoping to persuade DeVos to do more to protect transgender students, whom they say have been imperiled by the Trump administration’s move to roll back Obama-era protections two weeks ago.
“It was very painful to have to do. Both my husband and I fought through tears trying to tel her how difficult the past two weeks have been,” Vanessa Ford told The Washington Post. “These are our families. These are our friends. And we are angry.”
The emotional meeting took place immediately before DeVos met with representatives of three LGBTQ groups – National Center for Transgender Equality; the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network; and Equality Michigan — who echoed the parents’ message and outlined policy recommendations.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lZ

http://gousoe.uen.org/9m0 (Washington Blade)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9mH (NBC)

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

 

State Chiefs Group Says Superintendents Have Final Say on State ESSA Plans
Education Week

As the first deadline for the Every Student Succeeds Act arrives, there have been sharp disagreements between advocacy groups and state-level politicians on key policy decisions.
Peter Zamora, director of federal relations for the Council of Chief State School Officers, reached out to me to provide some clarification on State Education Agencies’ authority in the coming months.
ESSA in several key areas requires stakeholder input through “timely and meaningful engagement.” Indeed, early on in the ESSA-planning process, many state superintendents traversed their states, engaging with parents, teachers, and administrators in hours-long town hall meetings. Governors get 30 days to review ESSA plans before their submission to the U.S. Department of Education.
But as departments have begun to release first, second, and third drafts of accountability plans to gather more feedback, constituents are inevitably split on policy decisions regarding statewide goals, testing and accountability systems.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9m3

 

Louisiana Rep. Ralph Abraham Co-Sponsors Bill to End U.S. Education Department
Breitbart

Rep. Ralph Abraham (R-LA) is joining seven other House members as a co-sponsor of a bill that would terminate the federal education department.
In a statement to Breitbart News, Abraham, a physician, explains the U.S. Education Department “has become more interested in protecting the interests of unions, not the students it is supposed to serve.”
“It’s time for that to change, and the best way to initiate that change is to return education policy decision making to where it belongs, at the state and local levels,” he adds.
Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie (R) introduced the bill, H.R. 899, in February. The measure consists of only one sentence: “The Department of Education Shall Terminate on December 31, 2018.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mL

 

CODeLLA Aims to Teach Latina Girls Another Vital Language: Coding
NBC

MIAMI, Fla. – Multilingual people have better opportunities in the workforce, giving Latino children who are fluent in Spanish as well as English a leg up as they compete for future employment. But the language of dashes, brackets and equal signs – in other words, coding -is one of the best weapons in a young person’s educational arsenal.
One million STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math), field graduate jobs will be available in the U.S. by the year 2022, but the percentage of female computer science majors has gone down from 37 percent in 1984 to 18 percent in 2014. In Miami, the women of CODeLLA are working to reverse this trend.
“The majority of Latina girls ages nine to thirteen attending Title 1 schools in the United States do not have access to quality STEM learning or computer science.” said co-founder Josie Goytisolo, referring to schools where many of the students come from low-income families. “Learning to code ascertains our girls are fluent in one of the most widely used languages of today’s world. It’s a foundational literacy that’s a necessity,” said Goytisolo, who spent decades in broadcasting as a manager in both English and Spanish-language news.
Established in 2013, CODeLLa is an eight-week coding immersion program and tech entrepreneurship immersion program for Latina girls between the ages of 8 and 12. Aside from teaching the girls coding skills, the program aims to make the girls see a future in the fields of technology. The girls meet after school and they also have a summer immersion program.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lY

 

Study: To Get High School Students Interested in STEM, Invest in Parents
Education Week

When parents of high schoolers are given guidance on how to talk about the importance of science and math, their children are more likely to score well on a STEM standardized test and, years later, pursue a STEM career, according to a recent study from the University of Virginia and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“What’s really interesting is that an intervention that targeted students’ attitudes about particular topics-math and science-led to increases in their knowledge and changes in their behavior,” Chris Hulleman, a research associate professor at the university and a co-author of the study, explained in an interview. “And once we affected their behavior in high school, this cascade of things happened in college.”
The parents of 11th and 12th graders were randomly assigned to either the intervention or a control condition. Those in the intervention group received two brochures and a link to a website explaining how math and science are useful in everyday life and careers and encouraging them to share the information with their children. The control group did not receive any materials.
“If you ask a typical parent to say why chemistry is important to a teenager, they often can’t really come up with an answer other than ‘It will help you in college,'” said Hulleman. “This was a really light-touch intervention. We thought maybe we can have an effect if we just get the information to parents.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mB

A copy of the study
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mC (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America $)

 

Amid Partisan Divide, Teachers Turn to Digital Game for Civics Lessons
Education Week

Civics education is having an extended moment in the spotlight, and technology is playing a critical role.
On the one hand, technology is feeding new problems: The rise of digital news and social media means that students are now exposed to a torrent of highly partisan information (and misinformation) about politics and current events.
But technology is also offering fresh solutions.
Take iCivics, a set of free online educational games developed by a nonprofit organization founded by former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Last November, as the contentious presidential election came and went, the game was played roughly 3 million times, nearly twice as many as the year prior.
Much of that uptick was fueled by teachers hoping to engage their students without further inflaming often-raw emotions.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mD

 

The State of State Teachers’ Pension Plans
New York Times

As teachers across the country retire, their pensions are being subsidized by newly hired teachers to a surprising degree. Teachers’ pension plans have always rewarded long-serving veterans at the expense of short-termers. But now, as more and more plans develop shortfalls, states have been imposing cost-cutting measures, and recent research shows that the newest hires are bearing the brunt of the changes, raising questions of fairness.
The Urban Institute has graded America’s state-run pension systems on their performance in a few areas: their financial strength; how well they provide retirement security to short-term or long-term workers; the workplace incentives they offer various age groups; and whether participating branches of government are funding them properly. Grades for all types of public pensions are available on the Urban Institute’s website, where they can be filtered for individual strengths and weaknesses.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mG

 

Milwaukee Public Schools bracing for $50 million-plus budget gap
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Milwaukee Public Schools would need to slash at least $50 million from its 2017-’18 budget under current projections, Superintendent Darienne Driver said Wednesday.
Sources at individual schools say they are facing cuts of $200,000 or more.
Driver said the gap between projected revenues and expenditures is being driven in part by proposed cuts in federal funding and legacy costs for retiree health-care benefits.
She said the district is evaluating programs to ensure it is funding only those that are working and will continue to pursue philanthropic dollars, which have more than doubled to $36 million this year, to offset its costs.
“This requires us to make some difficult decisions,” said Driver who is in the midst of the district’s so-called budget carousels, brief meetings with every school and department as the budget takes shape.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9lX

 

State Commission: Consider abolishing Board of Education
Crain’s Detroit Business

A commission convened to offer reforms to Michigan’s troubled education system recommends a major shift in oversight power to the governor’s office – and the possible abolition of the State Board of Education.
Scheduled to be released Friday, the report by Michigan’s 21st Century Education Commission forwards two proposals that would grant the governor authority to appoint board of education members, while a third proposal would have the governor appoint the state superintendent and “abolish” the SBE. Currently, the eight-member board is elected directly by statewide vote.
“This approach recognizes that the governor is in charge of education and the public has clear accountability measures if they are not pleased with the outcomes,” the report states.
The highly anticipated report also appears to offer support for the continued use of a state assessment that is aligned with the Common Core state standards.
But commissioners could not reach a policy consensus on two other divisive issues in state public education – Michigan’s expansive charter school landscape, and the state’s generous schools-of-choice law, under which more than 120,000 students attend a public school outside of district boundaries.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mK

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

 

‘You work for this board’: State BOE airs grievances with Sentence
Montgomery (AL) Advertiser

The Alabama State Board of Education members are tired of saying, “I don’t know.”
At a special-called work session held Wednesday afternoon, State Superintendent Michael Sentance sat before the board members to receive an airing of grievances, a list of requests, and what amounted to a verbal lashing about what the board called a lack of communication.
District 3 board member Stephanie Bell led the charge, calling Sentance out for not telling the board about meetings with legislators or ongoing committee discussions, among other things.
“This board appointed you,” Bell said. “You work for this board. We have to be united but that’s an impossible task. I keep hearing you’re not only meeting with the governor without meeting with the board but also with legislators. …We’ve been getting beat up on. When somebody calls I have to say, ‘I don’t know.’
Perhaps the last straw for the board was news that broke Friday of Sentance’s intention to reorganize Career and Technical Education within the state department, an unintentional leak Sentance said released misinformation. Bell and other board members said they were “blindsided” by hundreds of phone calls and emails with questions to which they had no answers.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9m5

 

What will the future of L.A. Unified look like? Two very different visions are battling it out
Los Angeles Times

Beneath the mudslinging and big money that dominated this week’s school board elections, a serious battle is being waged over competing visions of local education: one sees progress and the need for stability; another sees failure and prescribes radical change.
Candidates supported by teachers unions’ financial muscle have positioned themselves as defenders of traditional schooling. Backers of charter schools, which are mostly nonunion, spent even more money to put forward an opposing group of candidates.
In recent elections, the two sides have been vying for control of the nation’s second-largest school district. On Tuesday, charter advocates won one race by reelecting Monica Garcia. The other two contests will be settled in a May runoff that could hand charter supporters control of the board.
Tuesday’s elections did little to answer the question of whether charter school supporters have mustered the political backing to overpower the unions. But they did all but assure that the lead-up to the runoffs will be more heated, more expensive, and nastier.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9m6

 

Top turf company faces mounting lawsuits in N.J., across U.S.
Newark (NJ) Star-Ledger

The country’s leading maker of artificial sports turf faces a growing number of lawsuits from across the country accusing it of misleading and defrauding customers, and the company has hired one of the National Football League’s go-to lawyers to defend against the claims.
Six complaints have been filed against Montreal-based FieldTurf in federal courts in New Jersey, Minnesota and California since a December investigation by NJ Advance Media revealed company executives kept selling a high-end brand of turf after knowing it was falling apart.
Four of the cases are seeking class-action certification.
Alexander Robertson IV, an attorney representing two California school districts that filed suit in February, said his firm was speaking with several dozen schools across the country and he expected “many, many” more lawsuits to be filed against FieldTurf in the near future.
“I anticipate in the next 30 to 60 days we’ll have cases filed all around the country,” said Robertson, noting that they will be litigated individually and not as part of a class action. “The facts are stunning in terms of what the company knew versus what it was telling its customers.”
The lawsuits accuse FieldTurf officials of failing to disclose to customers that the turf, sold across the U.S. from 2005 to 2012 and known primarily as Duraspine, was cracking, splitting, breaking apart and lying flat long before it should, and before advertisements had promised.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mw

 

TV may take biggest toll on school readiness for poor kids
Reuters

Doctors often tell parents of young children to limit television time because it can interfere with learning and language development. Now, a U.S. study suggests TV’s impact on school readiness might be worse for poor kids than for more affluent children.
Researchers examined test results for 807 kids between 5 and 6 years old assessed at the start of kindergarten for basic skills like counting, letter recognition and sorting blocks by pattern and shape. They also looked at parent surveys about how much time each day kids spent watching traditional television sets or other screens.
For kids at the highest income levels, there wasn’t any connection between the amount of TV children watched and how well they did on the tests. More television time was tied to just a modest drop in test results for students from average income households – about $74,000 a year for a family of four.
Children at or near the poverty line, about $21,200 a year for a family of four, had a pronounced drop in test scores when they watched a lot of TV each day.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mx

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

 

10 of the most exclusive boarding schools for the super-rich are in one country
Business Insider

When it comes to education, only the best will do for the offspring of the super-rich.
And, as it turns out, the creme de la creme of boarding schools are all situated in Switzerland.
The small country has the second best education system in the world, and is one of the most tolerant, prosperous, eco-friendly and progressive countries in the world. It boasts no less than four national languages: German (the Swiss speak both High German and Swiss German), French, Italian, and Romantsch.
It also has the highest boarding school fees in the world, making its schools the most expensive – and the most popular among children of the rich and famous.
While the fees may be steep, parents of Swiss boarding school kids get a lot in return.
From private boats to equestrian centres, scroll down to see some of the most exclusive and picturesque boarding schools in the world, ranked by tuition fee, from cheapest to most expensive.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mN

 

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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 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

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