Education News Roundup: March 10, 2017

Courtesy: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Today’s Top Picks:

The early reviews show it was a good legislative session for education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mY (SLT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9n1 (UP)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9n5 (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9nA (KUER)

A team from Navajo Mountain High School will be at the annual Utah Regional FIRST Robotics Competition.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nb (SLT)

The state of America’s schools — that’s the buildings, not what goes on inside them — gets a poor grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9n9 (CNBC)
or a copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/9na (American Society of Civil Engineers)

And the CDC finds mumps cases on the rise nationally, though not yet in Utah.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nB (USAT)
or http://gousoe.uen.org/9nC (CDC)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Utah teachers see give-and-take during legislative session
Public education > Teachers union laments narrow scope of bonuses; lawmakers reject comprehensive sex education – despite repealing earlier ban on “advocacy of homosexuality.”

It was a kinder, gentler legislative session for education in Utah

2017 Utah Legislature ending without tax reform, but with action on other key issues

Utah’s $16B budget boosts school spending, state worker wages, Medicaid growth

Changes to effort to turn around struggling schools win legislative approval

Utah students age 8 and up will sign document acknowledging school bullying policies

‘No-Promo Homo’ Bill Passes Out of Utah House

Tiny Navajo Mountain school reaches Utah robotics contest
Luck and determination bring the San Juan County high school team to Utah robotics contest, which opens Friday.

Sky View robotics wins state championship

Cedar City elementary school’s First Lego League team to compete in Arkansas

Ridgeline junior selected for prestigious MIT summer research program

West High School student wins statewide culinary competition

SUU professor receives award for integrating arts into education

Northridge senior named Military Child of the Year

West High science whiz named 2017 Sterling Scholar

Parents alleging daughter was raped on overseas school trip sue Juan Diego High, Catholic diocese

5-year-old on bike collides with vehicle near Little Valley Elementary; crossing guard criteria

We are all in this together! School where High School Musical was filmed installs a laundry room and showers for their homeless students

Seventh Annual Utah High School Musical Theatre Awards Feature Best in High School Performances from Across the State

Four new works by Utah writers to be produced by Plan-B Theatre for 2017-18 season
Stage > The playwrights are familiar to Utah audiences.

Local 5th grader launches “Turn Your Key” campaign to clean air at her school

Nonprofit helping girls put their best foot forward

South Eastern Utah Regional Spelling Bee event

Bingham High in the running for nation’s most spirited school

Inside our schools

DaVinci Academy Of Science & the Arts, UT Series 2017 Revenue And Refunding Bonds Rated ‘BBB-‘, Stable Outlook

In first test of vouchers under DeVos, D.C. bill advances in House committee

Group with charter school credentials sole proposal for Rule High School

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Schools must be a safe place for immigrants and their families

Moving the ‘Big rocks’

What Gov. Gary Herbert would have said if I were his speechwriter

House panel OK’s school voucher bill
Jason Chaffetz, committee vote brush aside D.C. Council

Congress Tossed Obama’s ESSA Rules; How Could Betsy DeVos Redo Them?

Want to Fix Schools? Go to the Principal’s Office

American Teachers unions Oppose Innovative Schools — in Africa
Bridge Academies show promising results in Kenya and Uganda, but unions see them only as a threat

NATION

America’s school facilities get a near-failing grade

DeVos praises Orthodox schools as model after meeting Agudah leaders

Americans oppose bathroom laws limiting transgender rights: poll

How Many Transgender Children Are There?

Study Finds Gender, Race, Income Gaps in Dual-Enrollment Programs

Helping Immigrant Students Catch Up, Fast – It Takes A Whole School

Parent in Norman North assault case sues school district

Denver FBI Honors Youth Program Partly Funded by Pot Taxes

Mumps outbreaks reported across the country

 

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UTAH NEWS
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Utah teachers see give-and-take during legislative session
Public education > Teachers union laments narrow scope of bonuses; lawmakers reject comprehensive sex education – despite repealing earlier ban on “advocacy of homosexuality.”

The 2017 legislative session was boom and bust for education advocates on all sides of the ideological spectrum.
Included in more than $230 million in new public school spending, lawmakers voted to cover the cost of teacher license fees and offer $5,000 bonuses to high-performing educators in high-poverty schools.
But while organizations such as the Utah Education Association have long advocated for higher teacher pay, the UEA opposed the $5,000 performance bonus for its reliance on test scores and the narrow scope of the program, which is limited to English, math and science teachers in grades four through eight.
“It actually fractures our teaching force when we have one educator able to receive a bonus that another wouldn’t,” UEA President Heidi Matthews said.
Lawmakers approved new money for classroom technology and supplies, but cut the funding for a peer-mentoring program that has boosted teacher retention rates in Salt Lake City School District.
Comprehensive sex education was rejected – though Republican lawmakers described Utah’s abstinence-based program as “broken” – while a repeal of the ban on “advocacy of homosexuality” in schools earned near-unanimous approval.
Equality Utah has sued the state over the so-called “No Promo Homo” law. Equality Utah Executive Director Troy Williams described the repeal as historic for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mY (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9n1 (UP)

 

It was a kinder, gentler legislative session for education in Utah

SALT LAKE CITY – No one sang kumbaya, but the general consensus among the state’s education leaders was that public and higher education were treated well during the Utah Legislature’s 2017 general session.
In House debate on a bill on special education the final day of the session Thursday, Rep. Eric Hutchings, R-Kearns, noted widespread support for many major education initiatives this year.
“It’s been a pretty cool session,” Hutchings said. “A lot of education stuff got bipartisan support on some pretty big bills.”
A letter from the Utah State Board of Education, Utah Education Association, Utah PTA and other members of the education community that expressed gratitude to lawmakers was read on the floor of each legislative house Thursday afternoon. Veteran lawmakers and educators said it was an unprecedented gesture.
The letter thanked state lawmakers for approving a 4 percent increase to the value of the weighted pupil unit, the basic funding unit for public schools. It also expressed gratitude for $68 million to fully fund enrollment growth; $2.6 million for teacher license fees, which teachers have previously paid themselves; and $5 million in ongoing funding for classroom supplies.
“Your commitment to student achievement and positive outcomes in schools is commendable,” the letter said.
Education coalition members, seated in the gallery, rose to their feet and applauded lawmakers. Legislators responded in a like fashion.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9n5 (DN)

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

 

2017 Utah Legislature ending without tax reform, but with action on other key issues

SALT LAKE CITY – Tax reform, the most debated issue at the 2017 Legislature, never even had a public hearing after closed-door negotiations among Republicans failed to produce agreement on a plan that included restoring the sales tax on food.
As the 45-day session was ending Thursday, lawmakers had, however, approved a $16.1 billion budget that provides some $239 million in new spending for education, and passed hundreds of bills and resolutions.

The effort on tax reform was prodded by a proposed ballot initiative, Our Schools Now, that would increase the state’s 5 percent income tax rate by seven-eighths of a percent, or 17.5 percent, to raise an additional $750 million annually for education.
For the business and community leaders behind the initiative, the plan didn’t go far enough. Utah Jazz owner Gail Miller told the Deseret News earlier this session they were looking for something “that’s significant and not just a stopgap.”
In a statement released Thursday, Our Schools Now campaign manager Austin Cox said the group “remains committed to providing meaningful, long-term funding in Utah to improve the success of our teachers” and plans to go forward with the initiative.
“We will be in neighborhoods this summer to gather signatures and on the ballot in November of 2018,” Cox said. The group will need to collect nearly 114,000 voter signatures from around the state by mid-April 2018 to qualify for the ballot.
The governor said he wants to see tax reform completed during the 2018 Legislature. Lawmakers are set to study taxes, particularly the exemptions, credits and earmarks already in place, during the legislative interim.
“One of the challenges we started this year is tax reform. It is kind of a corollary to education funding,” Herbert said. “As you heard me say time again and time again, it is not all about the money, but it is some about the money.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9n0 (DN)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9n2 (UP)

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

 

Utah’s $16B budget boosts school spending, state worker wages, Medicaid growth

Utah received a bit of a windfall during the 2017 Legislature – projections that it would receive $100 million in extra revenue beyond earlier estimates.
So lawmakers added it to a $16 billion budget to help Utah schools, give state workers a raise, fund Medicaid growth and build new university buildings – among a variety of other projects.
Even then, lawmakers said money did not stretch quite far enough.
So they authorized bonding for $1 billion over four years to accelerate highway projects statewide, with the expectation that Interstate 15 along the Wasatch Front will see much of that money. And they approved borrowing $100 million more for the new state prison, bringing the total bonding allowed for that project now to $575 million.
The main budget includes helping fund a 4 percent bump in per-student education funding, plus $68 million to cover expected costs from seeing enrollment growth of 10,000 students next year – for a combined increase of $120 million.
Lawmakers earlier had proposed only a 3 percent increase in per-pupil spending – the same as last year – but were able to step it up because of higher-than-expected revenue. It now matches the 4 percent that Gov. Gary Herbert had recommended.
Combined with colleges and universities, public education would see an increase of more than $300 million this year, said Sen. Jerry Stevenson, R-Layton, the Senate’s budget chairman.
“A big, big percentage of our budget has gone to education,” Stevenson said, “more than normal.”
School districts say a minimum 2.5 percent increase in per-student spending is needed just to cover inflation in retirement and health-care costs. The remaining 1.5 percent – roughly $45 million – can be used at the discretion of districts for salary increases or other priorities.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9n4 (SLT)

 

Changes to effort to turn around struggling schools win legislative approval

SALT LAKE CITY – Members of the Utah Legislature gave overwhelming approval Thursday night to legislation that changes to the state’s ongoing process to turn around low-performing schools.
SB234, sponsored by Sen. Ann Millner, R-Ogden, spells out the process for low-performing schools to develop turnaround plans and defines the roles of state, local and private partners.
The state’s school turnaround program has been in place a year, but changes were needed to ensure its financial viability, Millner said during committee debate.
Under the legislation, the Utah State Board of Education will select facilitators who are experts in identifying causes of school failure, as well as specialists who would work with school communities to address their specific weaknesses.
School communities would select specialists they believe can best help them address their particular challenges.
The legislation directs the Utah State Board of Education to determine outcomes for schools that meet the statistical targets in their turnaround plans.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ni (DN)

 

Utah students age 8 and up will sign document acknowledging school bullying policies

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah students ages 8 and up will sign documents acknowledging they are aware of their school’s bullying policies under SB161, which won final approval in the House of Representatives in the waning minutes of the Utah Legislature’s general session Thursday.
House debate on the bill sponsored by Sen. Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, was divided between representatives who said the requirement was burdensome and personal accounts of lawmakers who know children who have been bullied.
Rep. Sandra Hollins, D-Salt Lake City, said her daughter was bullied at school, as was another child in her neighborhood. Hollins advocated for her daughter and the matter was addressed.
“The emotional toll it takes on our kids far outweighs the process it takes for the school” to collect disclosure forms, she said.
But Rep. Jim Dunnigan, R-Taylorsville, questioned whether signing a disclosure form would make any difference.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nh (DN)

 

‘No-Promo Homo’ Bill Passes Out of Utah House

A measure striking down a school curriculum statute known as “no-promo homo” passed through the Utah House with only one dissenting vote on Wednesday, making its way to Gov. Gary Herbert’s desk with bi-partisan support.
Senate Bill 196 stems from a lawsuit filed in October 2016 by Equality Utah, an LGBTQ rights organization, against the Utah State Office of Education. The group called language in state code prohibiting the “advocacy of homosexuality” discriminatory and unconstitutional.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nQ (UPR)

Tiny Navajo Mountain school reaches Utah robotics contest
Luck and determination bring the San Juan County high school team to Utah robotics contest, which opens Friday.

Everyone stood around with blank stares, not knowing where to start that first day of robot building at Navajo Mountain High School.
The newly formed team only had five weeks before their deadline to enter the annual Utah Regional FIRST Robotics Competition – taking place Friday and Saturday at the Maverik Center in West Valley City- and nobody in the room had actual experience assembling a robot.
But science teacher and team supervisor Daniel Conrad was hopeful. His students translated the instructions and constructed it together, stepping well out of their comfort zones in the process.
“It’s been a journey for all of us,” Conrad said as the team readied for this week’s competition. “The students were just happy to see things they created with their own hands turn into something they didn’t think was possible.”
Competing in the FIRST Robotics event was something of a twist of fate for students from the 300-strong Navajo Mountain community, perched near the Utah-Arizona border.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nb (SLT)

 

Sky View robotics wins state championship

Five robotics enthusiasts from Sky View High will be taking a trip to the VEX Robotics World Championship in Louisville, Kentucky, next month after winning the state championship in Farmington last weekend.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9no (LHJ)

 

Cedar City elementary school’s First Lego League team to compete in Arkansas

CEDAR CITY – East Elementary’s Microbots team recently placed first in the Utah South First Lego League Championship at Southern Utah University, earning it the chance to compete at the Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in May.
The Microbots are the only team from southern Utah to earn a chance to compete.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nk (DN)

 

Ridgeline junior selected for prestigious MIT summer research program

His day usually starts with two courses at Utah State University – biology and calculus II – before he heads to Ridgeline High for two hours of classes. After school, he goes to work at software engineering company Lightning Kite, where he works on data structure and backend storage systems for mobile apps.
Then, after he finishes homework, it’s time for self study and private projects. In his spare time, he reads up on research and developments in experimental neural networks.
But it’s not all about work. He saw the movie “Logan” over the weekend. He said he liked it.
Radovan is one of 50 young scholars across the nation to be selected for a six-week summer research program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
From June 25 to Aug. 5, Radovan will take intensive coursework, conduct research and present his findings during the 34th annual Research Science Institute, a collaboration between MIT and the Center for Excellence in Education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9np (LHJ)

 

West High School student wins statewide culinary competition

SALT LAKE CITY – A West High School junior won Utah’s statewide culinary competition and the $80,000 scholarship that goes with it.
Lexi Glenn, 17, said she’s always been passionate about cooking. “Since I was little my grandma used to make me peel potatoes, so eventually she let me start cooking more and more and when I got older, I just loved it,” she said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nx (KSL)

 

SUU professor receives award for integrating arts into education

SUU professor Alisa Petersen was named the 2016 Higher Education Art Educator of the Year Award at the Utah Arts Education Association’s recent conference.
Southern Utah University’s Alisa Petersen was named the 2016 Higher Education Art Educator of the Year Award at the Utah Arts Education Association’s recent conference.
Petersen is the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Endowed Chair of Elementary Arts Education at Southern Utah University. Within that role, she spends half her time teaching students studying elementary education how they can integrate art into their classroom and the rest of her time helping established elementary school teachers do the same.
Some of her efforts include coordinating a summer day camp for children focused on the arts, running a professional development workshop for elementary school teachers and facilitating connections between artists and rural schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nj (DN)

 

Northridge senior named Military Child of the Year

LAYTON-Exceptional youth today will become the leaders of tomorrow. Northridge High School senior Jamal Braxton is well on his way. Braxton was named Air Force Military Child of the Year for 2017.
Braxton was selected from among applicants from around the world who have a parent in the military. Recipients are chosen from each branch of the military.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nR (DCC)

 

West High science whiz named 2017 Sterling Scholar

SALT LAKE CITY – West High student Kathy Liu wants to change the world, and she thinks she’s figured out how she’ll do it – science.
Take, for example, the process Liu has developed to incorporate natural sugars into batteries, improving their performance and extending their lifetime to more than 1,000 charges – enough to charge a cellphone daily for almost three years.
“These are problems that I care about, that I can really go out and make a difference for everybody, really, who uses this technology,” Liu said. “It’s my way that I can give back to the communities that I care about.”
Honored for her outstanding academic record and her passion for science, Liu was named the winner in the Science category in the 2017 Deseret News/KSL Sterling Scholar Awards Program, as well as the General Sterling Scholar among the 14 Wasatch Front winners announced Thursday.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ne (DN)

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

Sidebar: Wasatch Front winner
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nf (DN)

Sidebar: Wasatch Front runners up
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ng (DN)

 

Parents alleging daughter was raped on overseas school trip sue Juan Diego High, Catholic diocese

SALT LAKE CITY – Parents of a Juan Diego High School student are suing the school and the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City after they say their daughter was violently raped in her hotel room when she was left alone on a school trip.
Filed Wednesday in 3rd District Court, the lawsuit alleges the private Catholic school and church leaders of negligence – including in hiring, insufficiently training and then in retaining the teacher accused of failing to watch over the girl.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nm (DN)

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

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

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

 

5-year-old on bike collides with vehicle near Little Valley Elementary; crossing guard criteria

ST. GEORGE – A 5-year-old boy riding his bicycle near Little Valley Elementary School sustained minor injuries after colliding with a vehicle Wednesday afternoon.
Shortly after 3 p.m. officers and emergency personnel were dispatched to a reported collision between a kindergarten student from the school and a motorist in a pickup truck, St. George Police Traffic Sgt. Craig Harding said.
Intersection of Crimson Ridge Road and Little Valley Drive in St. George, Utah, Mar. 9, 2017 | Photo by Nakavius Jakwon, St. George News
Officers determined that the driver of the pickup truck was heading north on South Little Valley Road when he approached the intersection of East Crimson Ridge Drive and pulled up behind another vehicle stopped for a stop sign at the all-way stop.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nr (SGN)

 

We are all in this together! School where High School Musical was filmed installs a laundry room and showers for their homeless students

A high school in Utah has installed a laundry room equipped with showers and washing machines for its homeless students.
East High School in Salt Lake City has at least 80 homeless students who don’t have access to a shower or a place to wash their clothes on a daily basis.
The school, which is where Disney movie High School Musical was filmed, decided to transform two locker rooms for the students to use before, during or after school.
They have been installed with a shower, as well as a washing machine and dryer.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nV ([London] Daily Mail)

 

Seventh Annual Utah High School Musical Theatre Awards Feature Best in High School Performances from Across the State

Broadway meets Utah on May 13, 2017 when more than 250 performers from 29 high schools productions across the state compete in the seventh annual Utah High School Musical Theatre Awards at the new George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Theater in Salt Lake City.
Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre, in partnership with Broadway at the Eccles, produces, sponsors and organizes this event. Throughout the year, UFOMT sends professional judges to adjudicate and respond to participating high school productions. Finalists, including schools and individuals, will perform and receive awards in front of a live audience on May 13th at 7 p.m in the Eccles Theater.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nN (Broadway World)

 

Four new works by Utah writers to be produced by Plan-B Theatre for 2017-18 season
Stage > The playwrights are familiar to Utah audiences.

As part of its 2017-18 season, Plan-B Theatre company will present three premieres by Utah writers as well as its fifth free elementary-school tour.

In addition to its regular season shows, Plan-B will produce Elaine Jarvik’s “River. Swamp. Cave. Mountain.” in the fall as part of its fifth annual elementary-school tour, scheduled to be performed for K-3 students at 40 Utah schools in seven counties. Jarvik is the author of Plan-B’s “Based on a True Story” and “Marry Christmas” and SLAC’s “Two Stories” and “(a man enters).” River” is a story about JJ (a 5-year-old with lots of questions) and her sister, Izzy (an 8-year-old know-it-all), who are trying to make sense of their grief after the death of their grandmother.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nM (SLT)

 

Local 5th grader launches “Turn Your Key” campaign to clean air at her school

A fifth grade student at William Penn Elementary School just launched a campaign to help clean up the air at her school.
2News photojournalist Mike Stephen visited Hailey Martin while she and her classmates encouraged parents to “Turn Their Key and Be Idle Free” when waiting to pick up their kids.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ns (KUTV)

 

Nonprofit helping girls put their best foot forward

Daja Concha, a fifth-grader at Jackson Elementary School in Salt Lake City, examines her new running shoes from Girls on the Run Utah on Thursday. Girls on the Run is a nonprofit after-school character development program that inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident through a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running. This spring, Girls on the Run will deliver its program to 120 teams and 1,800 girls across seven counties in Utah. Over half of its participants fall below the poverty line, and thanks to community partners such as athletic footwear company ASICS, the Orthopedic Specialty Hospital and SelectHealth, the organization will provide scholarships and new running shoes to more than 600 girls. Along with the curriculum and lesson plans, Girls on the Run hopes the shoes will give the students the confidence and support to make healthy choices and to accomplish their goal of finishing Girls on the Run’s annual 5K race on May 20 at Sugarhouse Park. ASICS donated 700 pairs of shoes.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nl (DN)

 

South Eastern Utah Regional Spelling Bee event

March 9, 2017, Garrett Bryner, 7th grader from Mont Harmon Middle School in Carbon School District, earned the designation as top speller after a competitive twenty-two rounds in the annual Southeast Educational Service Center Regional Spelling Bee. Garrett began the bee, correctly spelling words such as: interrupt, pretzel, diorama, embargo, matinee. Some of his other words included: anomaly, pernicious, tchotchke, galjoen, and muishond.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nS (Emery County Progress)

 

Bingham High in the running for nation’s most spirited school

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah – Bingham High School is among four schools vying for the title of the most spirited school in the United States.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ny (KSTU)

 

Inside our schools

Valley Academy Charter
Iron Springs Elementary
Parowan Elementary
North Elementary
Cedar Middle School
South Elementary
Enoch Elementary
Three Peaks Elementary
Canyon View Middle
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nq (SGS)

 

DaVinci Academy Of Science & the Arts, UT Series 2017 Revenue And Refunding Bonds Rated ‘BBB-‘, Stable Outlook

CHICAGO — S&P Global Ratings assigned its ‘BBB-‘ rating and stable outlook to DaVinci Academy of Science & the Arts (DA), Utah’s series 2017 revenue and refunding bonds and affirmed its ‘BBB-‘ rating, with a stable outlook, on DaVinci’s existing debt.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nU (S&P)

 

In first test of vouchers under DeVos, D.C. bill advances in House committee

A House committee this week advanced a bill to renew D.C.’s federally funded vouchers program – the only one like it in the country – raising larger questions about whether the federal government should promote the use of tax dollars for private schools.
The Scholarships for Opportunity and Results Reauthorization Act, known as SOAR, gives federal dollars to low-income D.C. students who want to transfer from struggling public schools to a private school. The program, created by Congress in 2004, also provides additional federal dollars to traditional public schools and public charter schools in the District.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform debated the bill Wednesday and voted Friday to extend the program for five more years. The legislation will next go to the full House for a vote.
The bill represents the first fight over vouchers to play out on a national stage since President Trump, a proponent of education alternatives he calls “school choice,” won the election.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is a champion of private school vouchers, and Trump has said he wants to spend $20 billion to help states expand such programs.
The Oversight Committee took up the bill, sponsored by Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), after debating another Chaffetz proposal that would encourage federal agencies to move out of the nation’s capital.
Chaffetz said vouchers allows low-income students to “attend private schools that might otherwise be beyond their parents’ financial means.”
“The District of Columbia school system has consistently had a host of challenges and certainly rankings near the bottom in terms of its performance,” he said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nT (WaPo)

 

Group with charter school credentials sole proposal for Rule High School

The sole proposal for a defunct Knoxville high school came from a group with charter school credentials.
In January, Knox County started accepting proposals for the old Rule High School, which closed in 1991.
By the proposal deadline of 2 p.m. Thursday, only one had come in.
Rule K-12 Charter School Group made the lone bid. It’s comprised of three entities: American Charter Development and Finance, Architects Weeks Ambrose McDonald and Knoxville non-profit organization Genesis Rock.
American Charter Development is a Utah-based charter school developer. According to its website, “ACD provides its services with no upfront cost to the school, and meets the financial obligations required to deliver a fully-functional, customized charter facility to our client-partners.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nO ([Knoxville, TN] WBIR)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Schools must be a safe place for immigrants and their families
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

“I feel a great swell of pity for the poor soul that comes to my school looking for trouble.”
– Charles Xavier, “X-Men”
Members of the Salt Lake City Board of Education are right to take their time and get the legalisms right. But, in the end, they must make it as plain as they can that, no matter what level of cruelty and depravity the war over immigration descends to in the rest of our society, the public schools are, now and forever, DMZ.
Immigrant rights activists had asked the board to adopt a formal resolution laying out the school district’s existing practice of keeping student records confidential and demanding a warrant before admitting or cooperating with agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency or any other federal department.
That is, of course, the proper thing for the board to do.
But even the activists were in agreement the other day when the board set the matter aside for some more study and legal advice. It is important to get these things right.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nd

 

Moving the ‘Big rocks’
UtahPolicy commentary by columnist Bob Bernick

This was the 37th year I’ve reported on the Utah Legislature.
And I like to ask myself at the end of each 45 days:
“What did lawmakers do that at least set in motion large changes for Utah citizens?”
In hindsight, that question is often much easier to answer. And it may take weeks or months looking back to get a better perspective.
Still, this past session I see two “big rocks” that have begun to move.

2) A general agreement, even among archconservatives in the House and Senate, that more money must be found for public schools.
Gone, at least for now, is the tendency for state legislators to look toward the elected State Board of Education and the 41 local schools districts to solve the problem of underfunding, overcrowding, and poor morale of teachers.
A big part of that is the Our Schools Now citizen initiative petition – for with polls showing support for raising the state personal income tax for schools, legislators and GOP Gov. Gary Herbert really can’t ignore what’s happening.
Yes, Herbert and lawmakers have been putting most of each year’s tax revenue growth and surplus revenues into public education.
But the effort, while yielding more than $1 billion the last few years, in reality is barely keeping pace with the growth in the number of new students, K-12.
OSN is forcing a broad review of the state’s tax system – and officials are looking squarely at an economy where only 40 percent of the gross product is taxable – where just a few decades ago 80 percent of the product was taxable.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9n3

 

What Gov. Gary Herbert would have said if I were his speechwriter
Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist ROBERT GEHRKE

Editors note: On the final night of the legislative session, it is customary for the governor to thank lawmakers for their work during the session. What follows are NOT prepared remarks to the Legislature by Gov. Gary Herbert, but they could be.
My dear legislators, friends and fellow Utahns,
We are here at the end of our annual 45-day legislative session to reflect on all the good work we have done and the accomplishments we have made on behalf of the people of the great state of Utah.

We plan to take Representative Brad Wilson’s novel Zion Moat approach and apply it to our sex education curriculum. Students will be told they have to keep their naughty bits at least 10 feet apart, or five feet if they are separated by a short wall or maybe a row of plants.
Our sex education policy also changed, because of a lawsuit, to acknowledge that homosexuality exists. We will, however, still teach our young people it is icky and weird.
[Applause]

If we have learned nothing from our nation’s new secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, it’s that our schoolchildren are confronting a dire threat – bears in schools. But you have addressed that this year, at least on our college campuses, by allowing our young people to get a concealed weapons permit on their 18th birthday. And I am happy to report that, since this bill passed, there has not been a single mauling at any of our colleges and universities. Next session, we should expand this program further to the K-12 level.
[Applause]
We entered this session with nearly $400 million in surplus funds and you spent every cent. So clearly what we, as Republicans, need to do, is raise taxes. You raised the gas tax for the second time in three years, raised the hotel tax and imposed new fees on things like cellphones, which are basically just like health care.
We didn’t raise the sales tax on food, but we’ll get those poor people next year.
But we need to unite to oppose the Our Schools Now initiative, because raising income taxes to benefit public education could hurt our economy.
[Applause]
http://gousoe.uen.org/9mZ

 

House panel OK’s school voucher bill
Jason Chaffetz, committee vote brush aside D.C. Council
Washington Times commentary by columnist Deborah Simmons

Supporters of vouchers for D.C. families won Round 1 of the ongoing battle to continue the Opportunity Scholarship Program, which the Obama administration tried to shoot down.
The push came Friday by way of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which renewed the program despite snickers from a majority of D.C. Council members. “Providing every possible opportunity for students to receive the best education available ensures that the next generation is on the pathway to success,” as Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, Utah Republican, explained earlier this week.
How right he is.
The vote followed a March 7th letter that eight D.C. lawmakers addressed to Mr. Chaffetz that said one of the reasons they oppose the voucher program is because the private schools the children attend are out of their purview.
Sniff, sniff.
As Mr. Chafftez said, vouchers provide parents a choice. If families want to pull their children out of the voucher program, they can.
What voucher critics really and truly oppose is that parents are no longer beholden to public schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nP

 

Congress Tossed Obama’s ESSA Rules; How Could Betsy DeVos Redo Them?
Education Week analysis by columnist Alyson Klein

Now that Congress has gotten rid of the Obama administration’s accountability regulations for the Every Student Succeeds Act, the Trump-controlled Education Department technically can start the regulation process from scratch, but it is prohibited from writing “substantially similar” rules until new legislation is passed.
That begs two questions: One, will the Trump administration re-regulate? And two, what exactly would constitute “substantially similar” regulations to the Obama ones that Congress just tossed?
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nI

 

Want to Fix Schools? Go to the Principal’s Office
New York Times commentary by columnist David Leonhardt


Virtually every public school in the country has someone in charge who’s called the principal. Yet principals have a strangely low profile in the passionate debates about education. The focus instead falls on just about everything else: curriculum (Common Core and standardized tests), school types (traditional versus charter versus private) and teachers (how to mold and keep good ones, how to get rid of bad ones). You hear far more talk about holding teachers accountable than about principals.
But principals can make a real difference. Overlooking them is a mistake – and fortunately, they’re starting to get more attention The federal education law passed in 2015, to replace No Child Left Behind, puts a new emphasis on the development of principals. So have some innovative cities and states, including Denver, New Orleans and Massachusetts.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nL

 

American Teachers unions Oppose Innovative Schools — in Africa
Bridge Academies show promising results in Kenya and Uganda, but unions see them only as a threat
Wall Street Journal op-ed by Eric A. Hanushek, Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University

No longer content to oppose educational innovation at home, the unions representing America’s teachers have gone abroad in search of monsters to slay.
For nearly a decade, Bridge International Academies has run a chain of successful private schools in the slums of Kenya and Uganda. A for-profit company, Bridge has shown that it’s possible to provide high-quality, low-cost primary education to poor children in the developing world.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9n6 $

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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America’s school facilities get a near-failing grade
CNBC

Most parents aren’t very happy when their children bring home a report card with anything less than a C-.
They’ll be even less encouraged by the near-failing grade awarded to the nation’s school facilities Thursday by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Close to a quarter of all public schools in America are in “fair or poor condition,” according to the group’s latest report card, which gave most of the nation’s infrastructure a near-failing grade.
Much of the attention on infrastructure investment has been focused on transportation and public utilities like water systems and power grids. But the ASCE estimates that U.S. school facilities are second only to roads and highways in the overall funding gap required to bring them up to acceptable standards.
It would take some $380 billion over the next decade to overhaul the thousands of public schools where nearly 50 million K-12 students spend eight or more hours per day, five days out of the week, the report said.
Schools require more funding than airports, dams, rail and levees combined to get back to “good” condition, the engineers estimated.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9n9

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/9na (American Society of Civil Engineers)

 

DeVos praises Orthodox schools as model after meeting Agudah leaders
Jewish Telegraphic Agency

WASHINGTON- Education Secretary Betsy DeVos praised Orthodox Jewish schools as a model for publicly funded education.
“I applaud Agudath Israel for their leadership and commitment to providing their community with access to educational options that meet the academic and religious needs of their families,” she said Wednesday after meeting with leaders of the haredi Orthodox Agudath Israel of America at the Department of Education in Washington.
“I look forward to continuing to work with Agudath Israel of America, the Orthodox Jewish community and all who believe that every child, regardless of where they live or their family’s income, should have an equal opportunity to a quality education,” she said.
As a philanthropist who backed public funding for private education, DeVos had worked closely for years with Agudah and other Orthodox Jewish groups.
Secular and more liberal Jewish streams oppose programs like vouchers for private schools, in part to protect church-state separation, and because they argue that it diminishes funding and resources for public schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9n7

http://gousoe.uen.org/9n8 (WaPo)

 

Americans oppose bathroom laws limiting transgender rights: poll
Reuters

The majority of respondents to a new U.S. poll opposed laws barring transgender people from using bathrooms consistent with their gender identities and indicated growing acceptance for gay rights, a nonpartisan research group said on Friday.
Fifty-three percent of the Americans surveyed oppose laws requiring transgender people to use bathrooms that correspond to their sex at birth, according to the national poll by the Public Religion Research Institute.
The survey showed that 39 percent of respondents favored such laws, and almost one in 10 of the 2,031 adults surveyed in February by telephone had no opinion.
The issue of transgender bathroom rights has become the latest flashpoint in the long U.S. battle over lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights.
Significant partisan divisions remain, the survey found. While 65 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of independents oppose laws limiting transgender bathroom rights, 59 percent of Republicans support the laws, according to the poll. Thirty-six percent of Republicans oppose them.
“This is a case where it really is Republicans kind of pulling away and being more of an outlier to the rest of the country,” said Robert P. Jones, chief executive of the Washington-based group.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nG

 

How Many Transgender Children Are There?
Education Week

As policymakers and educators debate the rights of transgender children in schools, they have no federal data to answer even the most basic question: How many transgender children are there?
That’s because publicly collected data on transgender individuals-part of a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey-is not collected in every state, and participating states only survey adults.
Although it’s generally believed that transgender children make up a relatively small share of the population, advocates surmise some are now more likely to “come out” and transition at younger ages than in years past because of greater public awareness of the issue.
About 0.7 percent of 13- to 17-year-olds living in the United States identify as transgender, some 150,000 teenagers, according to an estimate released in January by the Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law. The think tank, which researches issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, based its estimates on statistical modeling rather than direct surveys of children.
More work is needed to gather more representative and demographic data about transgender youths, the organization says.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nH

 

Study Finds Gender, Race, Income Gaps in Dual-Enrollment Programs
Education Week

A new study of dual-enrollment programs finds that high-achieving white girls from financially secure homes are more likely to enroll in those college-credit programs than minority, male, or low-income students.
The study focused on community college dual-enrollment programs in Oregon, which has a particularly large share of its students-29 percent in the graduating class of 2013-participating in programs that enable high school students to earn simultaneous high school and college credit. The findings prompted the study’s authors to urge greater attention to diversifying the programs.
“Policymakers may want to shift their focus from expanding the number of participating schools and districts to increasing equitable student access within schools that offer these programs,” the paper said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nJ

A copy of the study
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nK (Institute of Education Sciences)

 

Helping Immigrant Students Catch Up, Fast – It Takes A Whole School
NPR

Even in a bean bag chair, 15-year-old Michelle sits up straight. With her hands on her knees, she looks down at the ground, smiling as she talks about her dreams of being a writer and a military doctor.
As a high school freshman, Michelle is already accomplishing a lot: She’s president of the student government association at the International High School at Langley Park. She also writes for the school newspaper and plays basketball. To protect her privacy, we’re only using using her first name.
Michelle came to the U.S. two and a half years ago from Puebla, Mexico. She says her mom came across the border eight years earlier. “We didn’t have anyone,” Michelle says in Spanish, talking about her and her older brother. So, they decided to make the trek to the U.S. despite knowing all the risks.
For many immigrant students, the trauma of crossing the border follows them into the classroom – affecting their performance and ability to learn. And that’s where Michelle’s school comes in.
At Langley Park, in Prince George’s County, Md., 87 percent of students are Spanish-speaking. Out of 176 students, 24 countries are represented and 15 languages are spoken at home, not including English.
Her school is part of a larger network across the country called Internationals Network For Public Schools. It serves English language learners, or ELLs, and recent immigrants.
For students like Michelle, the problem is two-fold: Not only are they dealing with trauma, but they also belong to one of the most marginalized student populations.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nz

 

Parent in Norman North assault case sues school district
(Oklahoma City) Oklahoman

NORMAN – The father of a boy police say was sexually assaulted by members of the Norman North wrestling team claims in a lawsuit that lax supervision led to his son being attacked three times during a school trip.
The parent filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Norman Public Schools in Cleveland County District Court, claiming his 12-year-old son sustained “bodily harm and emotional distress” as a result of the attacks. The assaults allegedly happened on a bus on the way back from a school-sanctioned trip to a wrestling tournament in Pauls Valley and in the high school parking lot in January 2016.
“Although the defendant school district had assigned coaches/employees and/or other agents to supervise members of the wrestling team during the school-sanctioned event, the district’s agents negligently failed to supervise them and negligently failed to provide adequate protection,” the lawsuit claims.
The lawsuit also says the school district failed to provide adequate training to staff, which could have prevented or stopped the incident.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nD

 

Denver FBI Honors Youth Program Partly Funded by Pot Taxes
Associated Press

DENVER — The Denver FBI honored a youth dropout prevention group Thursday, apparently without realizing it is partially funded with taxes from the marijuana industry.
The U.S. Justice Department, the FBI’s parent agency, considers the voter-approved marijuana industry operating in Colorado and other states illegal, and new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has indicated he wants stronger enforcement of federal law.
But Thursday’s episode reaffirmed that revenue from sales of the drug has gotten so widely dispersed that it can be tough to keep track of the scores of entities counting on it for at least some support.
Youth on Record Executive Director Jami Duffy mentioned the funding the group receives as she accepted the Director’s Community Leadership Award at Denver FBI headquarters.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nF

 

Mumps outbreaks reported across the country
USA Today

Hundreds of cases of mumps have been reported across the country since the start of 2017, according to the Centers for Disease and Control.
As of March 4, the CDC had received reports of 1,242 cases of mumps, a contagious viral infection which can result in swollen salivary glands and flu-like symptoms. In Washington state, Seattle and King County Heath officials said a dozen University of Washington students, all connected to sororities or fraternities, have contracted the illness, KING-TV reported. This year, there have been 563 reported cases of mumps and probable mumps statewide, an increase from last year when only 154 cases were reported in the state, according to the Washington State Health Department.
In Tulsa, Okla., officials are investigating five confirmed cases of mumps in the area, KFOR-TV reported. And in Illinois, Lake County Health Department announced its partnering with Barrington School District 220 to hold a vaccination clinic, after four cases of confirmed mumps were reported and 35 probable cases identified in the area.
While cases of the mumps fluctuate each year from a couple hundred to a few thousand, the high number of cases so early into 2017 has some health officials concerned.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9nB

http://gousoe.uen.org/9nC (CDC)

 

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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 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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