Education News Roundup: March 14, 2017

UEPC Teacher Turnover Report

Today’s Top Picks:

Utah Education Policy Center at the University of Utah finds teacher turnover in Utah really is high.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9p1 (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9pa (KSL)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9pi (USN&WR)
or a copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/9p2 (UEPC)

Utah State Board of Education keeps the Utah High School Activities Association rule in its amended form.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9p3 (SLT)

Latino advocates in Ogden seek action on the immigration issue from the Ogden School District.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9p8 (OSE)

Secretary DeVos speaks with urban district superintendents.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9p5 (WaPo)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9p6 (USN&WR)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9p4 (AP)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9pc (Ed Week)

President Trump will be in Nashville tomorrow to tout school choice.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9pe (Tennessean)

And in case you hadn’t noticed, it’s Pi Day today.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9pg (Pew Research Center)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Teacher turnover in Utah exceeded 55 percent over 8 years; turnover for young teachers 73%

Utah school board passively repeals revision for student-athlete transfers
Prep sports > Members decide existing policies and state law make a separate rule unnecessary.

Ogden Latino advocates seek school action on immigration issue

Nude selfies a big problem in Utah schools, officials warn

Lehi High students qualify for national business competition

East High School Opens Laundry Facility For Students In Need

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Lawmakers kicked tough tax questions to next year

How a DeVos-Founded School Benefitted from Michigan’s Ranking System
In two years, some of the state’s top-performing schools plunged by 50 percentile points. West Michigan Aviation Academy rose from the 32nd percentile to the 87th.

For Pi Day, key figures on math and education in the U.S.

NATION

DeVos tells big-city school superintendents she believes in ‘great public schools’ – but some remain skeptical

Trump to talk health care, school choice at Nashville rally

Here’s What You Should Know About That Voucher Bill From Rep. Steve King

Chronic absence is the most important education problem in Minnesota that no one is talking about

 

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UTAH NEWS
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Teacher turnover in Utah exceeded 55 percent over 8 years; turnover for young teachers 73%

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah’s state and local policymakers “should be alarmed at the high numbers of teachers leaving the state teaching core, particularly in the first few years,” recent public policy reports caution.
More than half – 56 percent – of the public school educators who started teaching in 2008 left the profession by 2015, according to a recent report by the Utah Education Policy Center at the University of Utah.
“Compared to the national average, beginning teacher turnover rates are very high in Utah,” the report says.
The report “Beginning Teacher Turnover in Utah Between 2008-09 and 2014-15,” followed nearly 2,700 teachers over eight years.
The analysis showed a stark differences in the percentage of teachers who leave according to their age.
Among teachers ages 25 and younger, 73 percent left the profession over the eight years.
“We really have more questions than answers after doing these reports,” said Andrea Rorrer, director of the public policy center.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9p1 (DN)

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

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

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/9p2 (UEPC)

 

Utah school board passively repeals revision for student-athlete transfers
Prep sports > Members decide existing policies and state law make a separate rule unnecessary.

The Utah Board of Education walked back three months of debate over transfer rules for student-athletes on Monday, effectively repealing a new policy adopted in December.
Board members have debated transfer rules since September, including various proposals to eliminate or loosen restrictions on athletes switching teams. Those proposals generated significant resistance, including near-unanimous opposition from school administrators and prep sports representatives.
But in a debate Monday, board members determined that their priorities – student privacy, appellate procedures, clear transfer guidelines for families – could be achieved through a combination of existing policies, state law and collaboration with the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA), which oversees extracurricular programs, including athletics.
The board exercised the equivalent of a pocket veto Monday, allowing the more controversial elements of its new rules to expire without taking formal action.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9p3 (SLT)

 

Ogden Latino advocates seek school action on immigration issue

OGDEN – Two Latino advocacy groups want Ogden school officials to take a stand in connection with the simmering national immigration debate.
Anna Jane Arroyo, chairwoman of IMAGE de Northern Utah, said group leaders plan to ask school officials to adopt a measure calling on federal immigration officials to advise schools reps ahead of time when they have business on school grounds. Wording and specifics were still being worked out, but broadly, the aim would be to reduce potential anxiety caused by the presence of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials at Ogden schools.
“We’re asking the school board to adopt this proposal so our children will feel safer, because the children of undocumented workers are going to school very afraid,” Arroyo told a gathering of Latino immigrants and their backers on Sunday. Those seeking change plan to address Thursday’s meeting of the Ogden School District Board of Education.
Latinos United Promoting Education and Civic Engagement, or LUPEC, also backs the initiative, according to Azenett Garza, a member of the group. She would also like to see officials adopt language in school policy spelling out that all students have a right to an environment free from harassment at school, regardless of their citizenship status.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9p8 (OSE)

 

Nude selfies a big problem in Utah schools, officials warn

SALT LAKE CITY – To some it’s a sign of affection. To some it’s flirting. And to others, it’s just what their generation does.
But what many high school students are shocked to discover is that sending a nude selfie to another person can also be a felony crime.
“You could be charged with creating and distributing child pornography, even though it’s just a picture of yourself. If you are the boyfriend with that picture on the phone, you could be charged with being in possession of child pornography,” said Donald S. Strassberg, a professor at the University of Utah’s Department of Psychology.
The issue of sexting teenagers is not new. But according to Utah school and police officials, the issue is so widespread that many teens just accept it as commonplace for today’s generation of high schoolers.
School officials say, to a lesser degree, they have also dealt with sexting issues in junior high and middle schools.
But while many teens believe sending or receiving nude photos is harmless, most don’t see the potential problems such actions can create until it gets to the point that police become involved.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9p7 (DN)

 

Lehi High students qualify for national business competition

Lehi High School senior Hunter Erickson is the reason there is a DECA team at his school, and he qualified for the national competition in April in California. But he might not be able to go.
DECA, previously known as Distributive Education Clubs of America, but now just known by its acronym, is an education organization that “prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management.” Like Lehi, many high schools compete locally throughout the school year, hoping to qualify to go to the DECA International Career Development Conference from April 26-29 in Anaheim, California.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9p9 (PDH)

 

East High School Opens Laundry Facility For Students In Need

Salt Lake City’s East High School has found a way to make school more comfortable for their homeless students. What used to be a locker room for visiting sports teams is now a laundry room with a shower, lockers, sink and mirror.
Greg Maughan, the principal at East High, says its a way to provide basic comforts that students who struggle with homelessness might be going without.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9pb (KUER)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Lawmakers kicked tough tax questions to next year
Deseret News commentary by columnist Jay Evensen

When I asked Utah Senate President Wayne Niederhauser an obvious question near the end of the legislative session – “Won’t it be harder to pass a tax reform bill next year because it is an election year?” – he nodded without hesitation.
And when I added, “And won’t it be even harder if an initiative process is underway to raise taxes for schools?” he said, “Maybe that’s the kind of pressure we need.”
If the 2017 legislative session was relatively quiet – the most raucous hearing focused on a nonbinding resolution asking the president to undo the Bears Ears National Monument, and the most important pieces of legislation were liquor bills that generated relatively little controversy – 2018 could be a doozy.
Lawmakers failed to agree on a tax reform bill this year. Next year, they may face the pressure of simultaneously appearing tough on taxes and supportive of a lot more money for education, which could prove taxing, pun intended.
The “Our Schools Now” initiative aims to raise about $750 million more per year for schools by hiking income taxes 17.5 percent (or from the current flat rate of 5 percent to 5 7/8 percent). Legislative leaders hate raising the income tax, which they see as a tax on prosperity. But they will be hard-pressed to head off the initiative by finding that kind of money elsewhere.
And they will be debating how to do this knowing their own names and a tax-hike proposal for schools may be on the same ballot in November.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9pj

 

How a DeVos-Founded School Benefitted from Michigan’s Ranking System
In two years, some of the state’s top-performing schools plunged by 50 percentile points. West Michigan Aviation Academy rose from the 32nd percentile to the 87th.
Atlantic analysis by ERIN EINHORN, a writer based in Detroit

Some of Detroit’s most celebrated selective schools saw their standings plunge on Michigan’s recent school rankings.
Renaissance High School was one of the highest-ranked schools on the state’s 2014 Top to Bottom schools list, scoring better than 98 percent of state schools. But when the state released its latest ranking in January, based on 2016 test scores, the school had dropped to the 48th percentile.
And Renaissance isn’t alone. Another top school dropped 57 percentage points, from the 78th percentile in 2014 to the 21st percentile in 2016. (There was no 2015 list.) And a selective elementary school in northwest Detroit dropped from the 86th percentile in 2014 to the 34th percentile last year.
The nosediving rankings could be alarming to parents and educators, but testing experts say the dramatic swings say more about a rating system that’s been in turmoil in recent years than it does about individual schools.
The state’s decision to change both the way it tests students and the way it translates student scores into a ranking means that dozens of schools saw their standings sink or soar by 50 or more percentage points between 2014 and 2016-far more movement than experts say can be explained by typical changes in schools from one year to the next.
Yet the rankings have created image problems for schools like Renaissance. On the other hand, they’ve made schools like the Grand Rapids charter school (founded by billionaire Dick DeVos and his wife, Betsy, the U.S. education secretary) look like they’ve made extraordinary improvements in just two short years. And they’ve raised questions about how officials can use the rankings to make crucial decisions such as which schools should be targeted for closure or intervention.
“It’s a very crude measure that’s being used to make a very important decision,” said Edward Roeber, who served as Michigan’s top testing official from 2003 to 2007.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9pf

 

For Pi Day, key figures on math and education in the U.S.
Pew Research Center commentary by MONICA ANDERSON, a research associate focusing on internet, science and technology

For almost 30 years, math enthusiasts have been taking part in festivities on March 14 to honor an infinitely long number beginning with 3.14 – the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, otherwise known as pi.
The first official Pi Day was March 14, 1988, when physicist Larry Shaw led staff and visitors to San Francisco’s Exploratorium in a celebration of all things pi-related. Since then, it has been celebrated across the globe, with universities, conferences and even pizzerias honoring the day.
To mark Pi Day, here are four findings about math and education in the United States:
http://gousoe.uen.org/9pg

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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DeVos tells big-city school superintendents she believes in ‘great public schools’ – but some remain skeptical
Washington Post

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told urban school superintendents on Monday that her agency intends to support their work and that “great public schools” should be among the education options available to families.
“I trust parents, I trust teachers, and I trust school leaders to do what is right for the students they serve,” she said, emphasizing her push to shrink the federal government’s role in local schools. “When Washington gets out of your way, you should be able to unleash new and creative thinking to set children up for success.”
It was a conciliatory message from an education secretary who has spent nearly three decades promoting vouchers, charter schools and other alternatives to traditional public schools. But it did not quell all the skepticism in the room at the annual legislative conference of the Council of the Great City Schools, a coalition of 68 big-city school systems.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9p5

http://gousoe.uen.org/9p6 (USN&WR)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9p4 (AP)

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

 

Trump to talk health care, school choice at Nashville rally
(Nashville) Tennessean

President Donald Trump is expected to focus his Nashville speech Wednesday on repealing Obamacare and on school choice, multiple sources confirmed to The Tennessean.
Trump timed his Wednesday campaign-style rally at Municipal Auditorium to coincide with the 250th birthday of Andrew Jackson, which is one reason why he’s visiting Nashville. As part of his visit, Trump plans to visit The Hermitage and lay a wreath at Jackson’s tomb, the White House confirmed Monday.
The health care component of the speech was to be expected because Trump and House Republicans are pushing a bill dubbed the American Health Care Act to replace Obamacare.
Nashville has been ground zero for debate about school choice. The expansion of publicly funded, privately run charter schools has defined the last three local school board races. And in the state legislature, bills to bring school vouchers are under debate. Trump’s Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is an ardent champion of charter schools and vouchers, which give parents public dollars to send their children to private schools.
“The primary focus is going to be health care, specifically repealing and replacing Obamacare,” said a source with knowledge of the event. “The secondary theme is going to be school choice.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9pe

 

Here’s What You Should Know About That Voucher Bill From Rep. Steve King
Education Week

Although he’s made headlines recently for controversial comments not directly about schools, Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa has also made waves for introducing a bill that would dramatically reshape K-12 and education policy. That’s House Resolution 610, and it would create federally backed vouchers for students.
We wrote about the bill earlier this year. The Choices in Education Act of 2017, the in-plain-English name of the bill, would repeal the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the main K-12 law, of which the Every Student Succeeds Act is the latest version. It would create vouchers funded by Washington for parents to use at private schools if they chose to do so, or to use for home schooling their child. Under King’s legislation, the federal government would fund those vouchers through creating block grants for states.
“As the spouse of a former Iowa teacher, I understand that it’s the right thing for our children to take their education decision[s] out of the hands of the federal government and put it back in the hands of parents who know how best to meet the educational needs of their students,” King said in a statement last year about a similar bill he introduced in 2016.
In addition, King’s bill would overturn nutritional standards published in 2012 for the national school lunch and school breakfast programs.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9pd

 

Chronic absence is the most important education problem in Minnesota that no one is talking about
(Minneapolis) Minnesota Post

Public districts or charters? Proficiency or growth? Graduation standards, credit loads, equity, homework, standardized tests. Name an issue in education and you’re likely to find partisans on either side of the debate willing to argue how their pet topic – and their stance on it – is the key to fixing the school system.
But there’s another education issue that’s less often talked about that might trump them all.
Last school year, at least one in six students in Minnesota school districts and charter schools missed 10 percent or more days of the school year (which includes both excused and unexcused absences), data from the Minnesota Department of Education show.
Experts call this chronic absenteeism, and their research finds that missing that many days of class is enough to seriously imperil kids’ academic proficiency, test scores, and their prospects of earning a high school diploma.
It’s a big problem that cuts across geography and age groups, and one that disproportionately affects the kids who can least afford to be missing a lot of school. And in recent years, the issue has increasingly attracted the attention of education officials and policymakers nationwide: after all, how effective can teachers be in teaching reading, writing or arithmetic if their students aren’t at school in the first place? Yet because chronic absences are not tracked and used in accountability measures, doing much about it is tough.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ph

 

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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 24:

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

May 4:

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

May 5:

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

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