Education News Roundup: March 16, 2017

President Trump’s proposed budget

Today’s Top Picks:

Iron County School Districts settles a sexual harassment lawsuit with some of its middle school employees.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9qd (SGN)

Hill Air Force Base, the Northrup Grumman Foundation, and the National Math + Science Initiative will be helping out STEM initiatives in Davis tomorrow.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9qr (Hill Air Force Base)

Hechinger Report looks at why Utah and five other states don’t — for the most part — publicly fund preschool.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9qq (Hechinger Report via [Boise] Idaho Statesman)

Hechinger report also looks at online preschool, including Utah’s UPSTART program.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9qs (Hechinger Report via eSchool News)

President Trump’s budget proposal includes a 13 percent cut at the Education Department, but a $1.4 billion increase in school choice spending.
Here’s the short take for K-12 education:

* Title I – $ 1 billion increase
* New private school choice program – $250 million (increase since it’s new)
* Charter schools – $168 million increase
* Title II A, Supporting Effective Instruction Program – $2.4 billion cut
* 21st Century Community Learning Centers – $1.17 billion cut
* Striving Readers Comprehensive Literacy Program – $190 million cut
* Impact Aid Payments for Federal Property – $66.8 million cut
* Teacher Quality Partnership – $43.1 million cut

Here’s the long take:
http://gousoe.uen.org/9qb (Ed Week)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9qg (WaPo)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9qh (USAT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9qj (USN&WR)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9qe (NPR)
and here’s a copy of the budget
http://gousoe.uen.org/9qc (White House)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

School district pays $500,000 to settle sexual harassment lawsuit

Military, business leaders give $1.7 million for STEM education

Why do Idaho, five other states spend nothing on preschool? Political and family culture

Are online preschools signaling the future of education?
Do online preschools offer the same learning benefits to children and cost savings to family budgets that online ed claims to offer for older learners?

Video Campaign Seeks To Educate Utahns About Education Issues

Davis campus hosts student tech competition

Provo school district sees kids show less hesitance towards eating vegetables through tower gardens

Utah teen accused in locker-room stabbings may soon resolve his criminal case
Courts > A lack of agreement at April hearing could move matter to competency hearing, adult court.

Springville High student wins financial gaming contest

WSU to host regional science fair for 350 students March 23, 24

Big bands to perform concert in Gunnison

OPINION & COMMENTARY

California’s Teacher Tax Break
Sacramento moves to exempt public-school teachers from state income tax

NATION

Trump Budget Would Make Massive Cuts to Ed. Dept., But Boost School Choice

Why Oil and Coal States Are Slashing Their Education Budgets
Wyoming is the latest state to cut spending for K-12 schools.

60 Years Ago, Resistance to Integration in Texas Led to School Voucher Plan

Canadian schools and Girl Guides are nixing their trips to the US

Assimilation under threat as children of immigrants flood U.S. public schools

Heavily-armed student opens fire in French high school, three injured

 

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UTAH NEWS
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School district pays $500,000 to settle sexual harassment lawsuit

CEDAR CITY – Eight Cedar Middle School employees have collectively received $320,000 as part of a lawsuit settlement with Iron County School District in addition to recovering their attorney’s fees and costs.
The settlement came after the female employees filed a federal civil rights action against the district alleging that school officials failed to protect them from sexual harassment by a colleague, thereby forcing them to remain in a hostile work environment for several years.
Also listed as defendants were: Principal Kendall Benson, Vice Principal Trent Nielsen and school counselor Samuel El-Halta. All three men were employees working at Cedar Middle School at the time. Benson has since retired and El-Halta was terminated following a police investigation that later led to a criminal conviction in 2016. Nielsen, who is still employed with the district, now works elsewhere.
The eight Jane Does, now listed by name in court documents, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court Sept. 19, 2016. They include the following: Lisa Allred, Vickie Bolton, Aleese Cardon, Jarica Hunter, Anita Jolley, Kasey Reese, Regina Weeks and Ashley Whiting.
Plaintiffs in this type of a case often remain confidential, listed only as Jane Does. However, the attorneys for the women chose to list their clients’ names after their identities became known during the criminal case against El-Halta, plaintiffs’ attorney Scott Burns previously told Cedar City News.
The settlement agreement provided to Cedar City News via a records request shows a total of $320,000 paid out, with each of the plaintiffs receiving $40,000.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9qd (SGN)

Military, business leaders give $1.7 million for STEM education

HILL AIR FORCE BASE, Utah — Officials from Hill Air Force Base, the Northrup Grumman Foundation, and the National Math + Science Initiative are partnering on a $1.7 million investment for STEM education in the Davis School District. The presentation will be held at Syracuse High School March 17.
The majority of the investment will fund participation in the NMSI College Readiness Program at Northridge and Syracuse High Schools. The Department of Defense is contributing $1.2 million and Northrup Grumann is donating $250,000.
Hill AFB is also investing an additional $250,000 in a partnership with the State of Utah STEM Action Center to enhance and expand STEM programs in the local area.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9qr (Hill Air Force Base)

 

Why do Idaho, five other states spend nothing on preschool? Political and family culture

IDAHO CITY — In 1864, the tiny town of Idaho City was the biggest American settlement in the state. Now, with the gold rush long over, the logging industry nearly collapsed and few good jobs left in the area, the local K-12 school graduates fewer than 35 students a year.
Nevertheless, since 1999, every 4-year-old in town has been offered an option most in Idaho don’t get: a spot in a free, public preschool program.
“Preschool can be a great resource in rural communities,” said John McFarlane, the district superintendent who doubles as the seventh- through 12th-grade principal. “We can’t go to the museum; we can’t go to the Discovery Center. We don’t have licensed day care. We don’t want to assign (our kids) to a rural life for their whole life if they want something else.”
Initially, the 352-student district covered the preschool program, as well as a parent education program, with private funding from philanthropists. When that ran out, the district used federal money that comes in lieu of taxes on the national forests that surrounds Idaho City. That money from the Secure Rural Schools Act proved anything but secure, with less money from Congress every year since 2008.
So in 2014, educators asked residents to back the program directly through a local property tax. Voters in this hardscrabble town responded. They approved the measure with a 66 percent majority and renewed it in 2016 with a 67 percent majority. Today the optional preschool program serves 18 students – most of next year’s kindergartners – two or three days a week.
But despite the program’s local popularity, none of the $40,000 it takes to run Idaho City’s preschool comes from the state. And, due to the wording of the Idaho constitution, McFarlane and his team can’t even use any of the district’s state K-12 funding for the 4-year-olds they serve.
Idaho is one of just six states – the others are New Hampshire, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming and Montana – that offer no funding for preschool. A significant body of research shows that high-quality preschools produce long-term academic and social benefits for children. Nevertheless, resistance to spending on preschool runs deep in Idaho and the other hold-out states, not least because they are home to voters and politicians who strongly believe in family autonomy and minimal government intervention.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9qq (Hechinger Report via [Boise] Idaho Statesman)

 

Are online preschools signaling the future of education?
Do online preschools offer the same learning benefits to children and cost savings to family budgets that online ed claims to offer for older learners?

In education, there are always a host of programs and policies clamoring for funding. But of all the options policymakers could invest in, the most worthwhile may very well be universal preschool.
Recently, Nobel laureate James Heckman and his colleagues published a report that makes this point loud and clear. Their research analyzes the long-term benefits of a high-quality early-childhood program in North Carolina targeted at serving disadvantaged children and their families.
According to the researchers’ estimates, the long-term financial impact of the program-from labor incomes of participants, improved health and the quality of life, crime, education, and the labor income of the mothers of the participants through subsidizing their childcare-amounts to roughly a 13 percent annual rate of return.
Heckman and his colleagues show that investing in preschool makes strong financial sense. But that fact alone doesn’t provide states with the funding needed to foot the bill.
Preschool is still expensive. The programs examined in the report cost around $18,514 per student per year. Currently, states with preschool programs spend between roughly $1,700 and $16,400 per student per year. Those sticker prices are a big barrier for policymakers, who must weigh preschool against a wide array of other potential government programs while also trying to minimize or reduce taxes and government spending.
Since 2008, Utah has given its families an alternative to preschool called Upstart. Developed and administered through a state contract with the Waterford Institute, the Upstart program provides four-year-olds with in-home online curriculum.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9qs (Hechinger Report via eSchool News)

 

Video Campaign Seeks To Educate Utahns About Education Issues

Last month the non-profit think tank Envision Utah has launched a video campaign aimed to teach Utahns about statewide education issues.
The five videos cover topics like the need for language development for children at home and the importance of post-high school career planning.
“We’ve had these videos watched over 1 million times over the last month and we hope it’s working,” says Jason Brown, Envision Utah’s PR manager.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9qf (KUER)

 

Davis campus hosts student tech competition

KAYSVILLE – Autmun Ferdig is a Hillcrest High School senior who has been working on a very ambitious to-do list: Finish high school. Get into MIT. Study engineering. Learn blacksmithing.
On Wednesday, she was one of more than 700 Utah high school students competing against each other in some three dozen tech-oriented categories as part of the annual Utah Technology Student Association Conference at the Davis Applied Technology College.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9q5 (DN)

 

Provo school district sees kids show less hesitance towards eating vegetables through tower gardens

Under Naomi Merritt’s watchful eye, students from Amelia Earhart Elementary in Provo carefully cut off leaves of bok choy for the cafeteria workers to use as they prepared lunch on Friday.
She advised them which leaves to cut and where before each of the handful of children grabbed a pair of scissors and stepped toward the tower garden growing in the corner of the lunchroom and starting to harvest.
“What are you going to use it for?” one student asked Merritt.
“Today I’m going to put it with some oil and garlic,” she answered. “Remember I gave you some samples of this vegetable before?”
The tower gardens are a newer addition to each of Provo’s 13 elementary schools and already the cafeteria workers at Amelia Earhart Elementary, and across the district, are seeing less hesitance as the students try the vegetables.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9qa (PDH)

 

Utah teen accused in locker-room stabbings may soon resolve his criminal case
Courts > A lack of agreement at April hearing could move matter to competency hearing, adult court.

Orem * A resolution may be in the works for a Utah teen charged in juvenile court with attacking five of his classmates with knives in an Orem high school in November.
The 16-year-old boy is charged in 4th District Juvenile Court with five counts of attempted murder, a first-degree felony, along with other misdemeanor charges, connected to the locker-room attack that left five students with serious injuries.
In court Wednesday, several victims of the attack and their families filled the Orem courtroom. The accused youth looked slightly disheveled, his shaggy brown hair and beard unkempt, and he sat quietly next to his attorney through the hearing.
Law enforcement officials allege that on Nov. 15, the boy brought five knives and a wooden staff with him to Mountain View High School. The boy allegedly attacked the first student with the wooden staff, which broke when he struck his classmate. He then stabbed four other students before stabbing himself, police have said.
A detective wrote in a search warrant affidavit that there appeared to be no motive for the stabbing, but noted the boy reported he had been suicidal from a young age.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9q4 (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9q7 (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9q9 (PDH)

 

Springville High student wins financial gaming contest

Springville High School student Serina Mumford and her classmates recently had a strong dose of financial know-how playing video games provided by Zions Bank.
Now Mumford is $250 richer as well.
Bryan Halverson, manager of the Spanish Fork financial center, surprised Mumford at the school with news that she had won the cash through the bank’s financial entertainment online game tournament.
Two award-winning video games from the nonprofit Commonwealth are featured online at zionsbank.financialentertainment.org. Players can serve as personal assistants to spendthrift movie stars in “Celebrity Calamity,” or manage farm resources to build savings and survive emergencies in “Farm Blitz.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9q8 (PDH)

 

WSU to host regional science fair for 350 students March 23, 24

OGDEN – Weber State University will host 350 students at the Ritchey Science & Engineering Fair on March 23 and 24 in the Dee Events Center.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9q6 (DN)

 

Big bands to perform concert in Gunnison

GUNNISON – Three award-winning bands from three schools, two conductors, and nearly 150 players will perform a musical extravaganza Tuesday, March 21, at 7 p.m., in the award-winning historic Casino Star Theatre, 78 South Main, Gunnison.
This musical concert features the Gunnison Valley Middle School and High School bands, conducted by musical wizard Matt Weidner, band director and soccer coach.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9qp (PDH)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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California’s Teacher Tax Break
Sacramento moves to exempt public-school teachers from state income tax
Wall Street Journal editorial

California schools have many problems, but a teacher shortage isn’t one of them. Democrats in Sacramento nonetheless want to throw millions of dollars at this fake problem by exempting veteran teachers from state income tax while ignoring the real systemic inequities in education.
Unions promote the conceit of a teacher shortage whenever they’re seeking more money, which is basically all the time. Over the last six years-that is, since California voters approved a tax hike on the wealthy-state spending on education and the per pupil allotment have increased by 55%.
Yet many school districts are now threatening layoffs. Santa Ana Unified School District this week is sending pink slips to nearly 300 teachers to save $28 million. In San Diego nearly 900 teachers received layoff warnings this month as the school district grapples with a $124 million deficit. It seems many school districts employ more teachers than even their bloated budgets will support.
Where is all the money going? Santa Ana’s school board spent $32 million on a teacher pay boost. Many districts have padded their payrolls, as more teachers were hired in 2016 than during any year in the last decade. Pension and retiree health costs are ballooning. Between 2013 and 2020, teacher pension bills will more than double to 19.1% of district payrolls.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9q3 $

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Trump Budget Would Make Massive Cuts to Ed. Dept., But Boost School Choice
Education Week

President Donald Trump’s first budget seeks to slash the Education Department’s roughly $68 billion budget by $9 billion, or 13 percent in the coming fiscal year, whacking popular programs that help districts offer after-school programs, and hire and train teachers.
At the same time, it seeks a historic $1.4 billlon federal investment in school choice, including new money for private school vouchers and charter schools, as well as directing $1 billion to follow students to the school of their choice.
But the proposal would completely scrap two big programs Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants, or Title II, which is currently funded at $2.25 billion and helps states and districts hire and provide professional development for teachers. The budget proposal would also get rid of the 21st Century Community Learning Centers program, which is funded at more than $1 billion currently and finances after-school and extended-learning programs. Trump’s budget says both programs are spread too thin to be effective.
The federal spending plan still need to go through Congress for approval, and cuts of this magnitude will almost certainly be a tough political lift. And it could be months before lawmakers decide which of these cuts to accept or reject. The proposal would set spending levels for federal fiscal year 2018, which begins Oct. 1 and generally impacts the 2018-19 school year.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9qb

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9qh (USAT)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9qe (NPR)

A copy of the budget
http://gousoe.uen.org/9qc (White House)

 

Why Oil and Coal States Are Slashing Their Education Budgets
Wyoming is the latest state to cut spending for K-12 schools.
Atlantic

Wyoming Governor Matt Mead signed legislation on Monday approving $34.5 million in cuts to the state’s K-12 education budget. The new spending plan also denies tax increases that would raise additional money for education, though it does establish a special committee to determine future modes of funding. Ultimately, the legislation seeks to address a shortfall in Wyoming’s education budget that could reach $1.8 billion by 2022.
“We’re going to need to think about funding education as a Chevy rather than a Cadillac in the future,” Jillian Balow, the state superintendent of public instruction, told The Casper Star-Tribune back in December.
Beyond overspending, there’s a larger explanation for why these budget cuts are necessary. The majority of Wyoming’s funding for public education comes from taxes and other revenue sources that depend on the state’s declining oil and coal industries.
In 2016, the U.S. Department of Energy reported that coal production had reached its lowest point in 35 years, forcing many coal companies to declare bankruptcy. Oil prices in the U.S. have also fallen from $99 a barrel in 2014 to $30 a barrel in January 2016.
As these industries struggle, states that depend on them like Wyoming, Alaska, and Oklahoma are forced to cut spending for education. According to data from 2011-2012, around 30 percent of Wyoming’s education spending comes from federal mineral royalties, while another 30 percent comes from property taxes often backed by these minerals.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ql

 

60 Years Ago, Resistance to Integration in Texas Led to School Voucher Plan
(Austin, TX) KUT

The Texas Senate Education Committee plans to discuss a bill next week that would allow parents to use taxpayer dollars to send their kids to private schools. The school voucher program is cited as a way to give students – especially low-income students – access to high-quality schools.
This isn’t the first time lawmakers have tried to pass a school voucher bill; lawmakers have introduced some kind of modern-day voucher program for at least 20 years.
But vouchers have a history in Texas that dates back to school integration. And it’s not pretty.
After the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, Texas was resistant to desegregating its public schools. Then-Gov. Allan Shivers appointed a committee to recommend ways to prevent integration. One proposal created a school voucher program that would give parents who opposed integration taxpayer money to send their children to a segregated private school.
“Such aid should be given only upon affidavit that the child was being withdrawn from the public schools due to the parents’ dislike of integration.”
The voucher proposal was part of a larger group of bills filed to circumvent desegregation, but the bill never passed.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9qk

 

Canadian schools and Girl Guides are nixing their trips to the US
(Minneapolis) Public Radio International

Uncertainty about the president’s newest, narrower executive order barring nationals from six Muslim-majority countries is already creating more confusion about who can and who can’t travel to the US.
A federal court in Hawaii blocked the measure on Wednesday. But some Canadians concerned about problems with crossing the border were already taking precautions.
This week, for example, Canada’s scouting organization, the Girl Guides of Canada, announced that it was canceling all trips to the US. In a statement posted on its website, Girl Guides said it didn’t want any girls to be denied entry at the US-Canada border.

The Girl Guides are not alone. A school in Montreal just canceled its planned class trip to the US over concerns that some students might be detained at the US border. The 100 high schoolers were planning to travel to Washington, DC, to visit places like the new National Museum of African American History and Culture and to Philadelphia to sample the famous Philly cheesesteaks, as CTV News reported.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9qn

 

Assimilation under threat as children of immigrants flood U.S. public schools
Washington Times

Miami, Los Angeles, New York – and Annandale?
The Virginia neighborhood of Fairfax County ranks with parts of those other cities as having the highest percentage of children from immigrants in its public schools, with 78 percent of students coming from immigrant households, according to a report that the Center for Immigration Studies is releasing Thursday.
Across the country, some 23 percent of students in public schools come from immigrant households. That has more than doubled in the past 25 years, from just 11 percent in 1990. But their numbers are heavily concentrated in big cities.
Miami-Dade County in Florida has four areas where at least 80 percent of students are from immigrant-led homes. In one of those, a part of Hialeah City, a staggering 93 percent of students belong to immigrant households.
Los Angeles County has 13 regions where students from immigrant homes make up at least 75 percent of the school populations.
“Immigration really has dramatically increased the number of children in public schools,” said Steven A. Camarota, research director at the center, which advocates for stricter immigration limits. “The biggest issue for me is: Can the level of immigration be so high that it overwhelms the assimilation process?”
That has long been a question in the immigration debate, particularly in the Annandale region, which also includes Bailey’s Crossroads and Culmore.
President Clinton, launching his race initiative in 1997, highlighted the surrounding Fairfax County as a model for integration. He sent his race commission to Bailey’s Elementary School, in the heart of Culmore, to study diversity and integration.
At the time Mr. Clinton highlighted the region, Fairfax’s public school system was 64 percent white, 14 percent Asian, 11 percent black and 10 percent Hispanic. Twenty years later, whites are 40 percent of the student population, while Hispanics have more than doubled to 24 percent, Asians have risen to 19 percent and blacks have held nearly steady at 10 percent. Five percent identify as multiracial.
Over the past two decades, costs of the diversity have emerged.
Culmore and surrounding areas have long been a breeding ground for ethnic gangs, with MS-13 in particular using it as a foothold in the region.
Although not a one-to-one correlation, immigrant population serves as an indicator of some costly special circumstances, such as a higher percentage of students who are struggling to learn English.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9qo

 

Heavily-armed student opens fire in French high school, three injured
Reuters

PARIS | A teenage student opened fire on Thursday at a high school in southeastern France injuring three people, including the headmaster, in an attack carried out after he had watched American-style mass shooting videos, the interior ministry said.
The incident, which does not appear to be linked to terrorism, comes with France on high alert after more than 230 people were killed in the past two years by attackers allied to the militant group Islamic State.
With a presidential election less than six weeks away, the attack by the 17-year-old armed with a hunting rifle seemed likely to further stimulate debate on security and fears of terrorism which are among big campaign issues.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9qi

 

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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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