Education News Roundup: March 20, 2017

Gall-Peters Projection by Daniel R. Strebe

Today’s Top Picks:

Our Schools Now will move ahead with a ballot initiative to raise taxes for school funding.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9r8 (AP via SLT)

Daily Herald looks at the GIANT Steps Autism Preschool.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ry (PDH)

They also look at charter schools in Utah County.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rv (PDH)
or sidebar: 7 facts about charter schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rx (PDH)

Salt Lake District hopes to keep its Peer Assistance Review teacher mentor program running.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rj (SLT)

Timpview High senior Joseph Sandholtz performs with the 2017 Jazz Band of America.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rw (PDH)
or hear him perform Freddie Hubbard’s “Up Jumps Spring” on the flugelhorn.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9s5 (YouTube)

Secretary DeVos discusses choice and flexibility with the National Association of State Boards of Education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rR (Ed Week)

For all the map nerds out there (all three of them?): Boston public schools become the first in the nation to ditch Mercator Projection maps in favor of the Gall-Peters Projection.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rW (Science Alert)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9rX ([Manchester] Guardian)

And if you need a little pick-me-up on Monday — and who doesn’t on a Monday? — check out this promposal.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rM ([Stauton, VA] Daily News Leader)

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

UTAH

Push to raise Utah income tax to help schools moving ahead
Ed funding » Our Schools Now plans to raise ballot initiative.

What This Session Means for Education & Taxes

GIANT Steps makes progress with autism

The state of charter schools in Utah County

SLC schools hope to keep teacher mentoring after state funding cut
Despite success in lowering teacher turnover, funds for the pilot program have been cut by state lawmakers.

Federal budget cuts could end after-school programs

Later start times for Utah high schools? Medical science says yes, but logistics can be tricky

Ogden immigrant advocates ask school reps for protections for undocumented kids

Student takes talent for music, jazz across U.S.

Weber School District Sends Four Teams to International Robotics Competition

Provo school district encourages interactive STEM learning through Tech High Day

Biology teacher brings research from Antarctica to Timpanogos High

Eight School District Employees Settle Sexual Harassment Suit

UVU student organizes prom for alternative high school students

Escape room business owner creates experience for visually impaired students

Ogden city, school district put up fence separating students and homeless adults

Ogden School District taps state administrator as next superintendent
Deputy Superintendent Rich Nye is expected to assume post in June.

Teaching Turnover Rates Are Higher In Utah But The Cause Remains Unclear

2 Davis County high schools receive major STEM donation

A Thing or 3: Teaching driver’s ed is scary

Local Middle & High School Students Tour College Campuses Through TRIO Program

What You Need to Know About Cardiac Arrest in Schools

Treasury Auctions Set for the Week of March 20

Utah Virtual Academy Invites Students to Enroll for 2017-18 School Year
Statewide Online School Open to Students in Kindergarten Through 12th Grade

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Who deserves praise and criticism this week in Northern Utah?

The importance of a story on nude selfies

Battlebot robots slug it out at Ogden-Weber ATC competition

School board needs to step back

Secretary DeVos should make the education of minority children her No. 1 priority

NATION

Betsy DeVos Emphasizes Choice and Flexibility to State Education Leaders

‘Your child is safe’: Schools address deportation fears among immigrant families

Teachers of color in high demand in Minnesota
There are 629 Hispanic teachers across the state, making up just 1 percent of a total teaching workforce of 60,090.

Texas AG sued to keep a Bible quote in school. Now he’s troubled by Muslim prayers.
School officials said they were blindsided when the state’s governor and attorney general called out Muslim students’ use of a spare classroom.

Mercer Board of Education asks federal judge to dismiss Bible class lawsuit

Missouri school district loses lawsuit over field trips to Christ-centered community center
Lawsuit brought by American Humanist Association

How voucher dollars kept coming as a private school collapsed

A Muppet with Autism to be Welcomed Soon on ‘Sesame Street’

Canadian Wins $1M Global Teacher Prize for Work with Inuit

It’s Official: Boston’s Public Schools Have Ditched This Distorted and Misleading World Map
Everyone else, take note.

Palo Alto: Two schools named after eugenics advocates to get new names

Prom? Draft student with special needs gets surprise

 

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

Push to raise Utah income tax to help schools moving ahead
Ed funding » Our Schools Now plans to raise ballot initiative.

A group backed by business leaders said this week they plan to move ahead with a push to get Utah voters to raise the state income tax to generate an extra $750 million annually to address a teacher shortage, crowded classrooms and other school needs.
Officials with the group Our Schools Now said they appreciate an extra $120 million lawmakers put in the new budget toward enrollment growth and teacher pay this year, but said it’s not enough.
They plan to start gathering signatures this summer for a ballot initiative that would ask voters in 2018 to raise the individual income tax rate 7/8 of a percentage point. That would raise the rate to 5.785 percent, up from 5 percent.
The group has powerful, well-funded backers, including Zions Bank CEO Scott Anderson, Questar CEO Ron Jibson and Gail Miller, whose family owns the Utah Jazz.
Legislators who oppose the effort but fear it could end up before voters next year instead passed a law this year that will require the initiative to let people know that the initiative amounts to a 17.5 percent increase.
Utah’s Republican legislators and Gov. Gary Herbert have not supported the proposal, saying raising Utah’s income tax rate would hurt the state’s ability to compete for companies looking to open offices or relocate.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9r8 (AP via SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9r9 (AP via DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9rt (AP via OSE)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9rB (AP via LHJ)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9rD (AP via KUTV)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9rH (AP via KSL)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9rc (AP via USN&WR)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9s0 (AP via Ed Week)

 

What This Session Means for Education & Taxes

Michelle Price, Associated Press and Robert Gehrke, Salt Lake Tribune, joined this week’s Panel Discussion on Inside Utah Politics.
Some of the issues tackled were education spending, tax reform, alcohol reform and medical marijuana.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9s3 (KTVX, video)

 

GIANT Steps makes progress with autism

Do it for the kids.
The age-old cliché meant to convey the love and sacrifice that adults have for their innocent, pure counterparts, doesn’t ring any truer than at GIANT Steps Autism Preschool in Orem.
“We have parents coming in on a constant basis to help out with things even without us asking,” said Michael King, the program manager at GIANT Steps. “It’s really an awesome team.”
GIANT Steps Autism Preschool is an ambitious program, aimed at helping students on the autism spectrum to get a leg up at an early age and to learn basic skills that will help them for the rest of their lives.
The school is located at Foothill Elementary, with two other locations in Provo and Saratoga Springs. The Foothill school has 3 classrooms, each with 12 students. Within each classroom, students enjoy a ratio of 1 adult to every 2 children, which offers an intimate and enriching experience at the preschool stage.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ry (PDH)

 

The state of charter schools in Utah County

Walking down the halls of Freedom Preparatory Academy’s elementary campus in Provo, Executive Director Lynne Herring seems to know the name of every child she passes.
Freedom Preparatory Academy is a small school with strong parent partnerships, Herring said, where parents are expected to volunteer 40 hours a year and be deeply involved in the school.
“We don’t view ourselves as a school where the kids are plopped on the bus and sent off,” Herring said.
The elementary schools have reached 100 percent attendance at parent-teacher conferences.
In Freedom Preparatory Academy’s 14 years of being a public charter school, that model has proven to be a success. This fall, the school opened its Vineyard elementary campus, which joins the elementary and seventh through 12th grade campuses in Provo.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rv (PDH)

Sidebar: 7 facts about charter schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rx (PDH)

 

SLC schools hope to keep teacher mentoring after state funding cut
Despite success in lowering teacher turnover, funds for the pilot program have been cut by state lawmakers.

Backman Elementary teacher Daniel Mills doesn’t mince words about his lack of teaching experience, limited to a year as an assistant educator and two years overseeing gym classes.
“I want to teach,” Mills said, “but I have zero knowledge about theory and skills.”
Since last fall, he has been in charge of his own fourth-grade classroom through the state’s Alternative Routes to Licensure program, which allows teachers to complete on-the-job certification in lieu of a university education program.
He also has the help of 40-year classroom veteran Pat Draper, who mentors Mills as part of the Salt Lake City School District’s Peer Assistance Review, or PAR, program.
“It’s for me. I love education,” Mills said of his career choice. “I’m never going to rich, but I get to wake up every day and I don’t dread going to work.”
The school district has benefited from $400,000 in state funding each year to keep PAR running. That funding was cut by state lawmakers last week, putting the mentoring program’s future in question — just as some districts are struggling to retain teachers.
A new report by the University of Utah’s Education Policy Center found that among the teachers who entered the public education system in 2007, 56 percent were gone by 2014. Younger teachers — age 25 or less — were the most likely to leave the profession, with one out of every five quitting education by their second year.
Mills has a statistical advantage through the PAR program, which launched in 2011. Among the program’s first batch of educator, currently in their fifth year, 77 percent are still teaching.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rj (SLT)

 

Federal budget cuts could end after-school programs

For hundreds of students at Monroe Elementary in West Valley City, the final bell doesn’t signal the end of the school day.
Almost a third of Monroe’s 650 students participate in the school’s 35 extracurricular activities, which include everything from tutoring and reading, to coding and science.
Thursday, the Trump administration announced budget cuts that could put an end to after school programs across the nation.
“It’s devastating. How can you abandon our children? They’re the future of America,” said Margaret Peterson, executive director of the Community Education Partnership of West Valley City, Inc.
In Utah, budget cuts would eliminate the 21st Century Community Learning Center program, which provides funding to 19 programs and would impact 5,000 students in Granite School District.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rE (KUTV)

 

Later start times for Utah high schools? Medical science says yes, but logistics can be tricky

PARK CITY — This week, the Park City Board of Education will take another step toward pushing back the start time of its high school.
A growing number of high schools across the country are making the shift to later start times, which experts say is more in tune with teenagers’ natural sleep-wake cycles, resulting in fewer disciplinary referrals and, for some, improved academic achievement.
The Park City school board has determined the change will not happen this coming fall, but it has committed to an ongoing process of studying costs and other logistical changes needed to implement a later high school start time, a practice a growing body of evidence says is developmentally appropriate for teens.
A transportation consultant is scheduled to report to the school board Tuesday.
An increasing number of high schools across the country are making the shift, some of which have experienced the added benefits of reduced automobile accidents among teen drivers, anecdotal evidence suggests.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ra (DN)

 

Ogden immigrant advocates ask school reps for protections for undocumented kids

OGDEN — A coalition of immigrant advocates have put a request to Ogden school officials: Make federal immigration officials give forewarning of action in schools and create a team to help students manage when their parents are detained on immigration charges.
“The political climate in the United States makes this proposal a matter of urgency,” said AnnaJane Arroyo, chairwoman of IMAGE de Northern Utah, one of four groups seeking the action. “Undocumented students and students of undocumented parents are being bullied and harassed in schools. They watch the news, they hear their parents and their neighbors and other children speaking of deportation, loss of their parents.”
The proposed resolution, she said, aims to counter the fear and provide protections in schools for undocumented students and kids of undocumented parents.
Arroyo and representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah and two Latino advocacy groups put the request to the Ogden School District Board of Education at the body’s meeting Thursday. The officials listened, but took no action, and Jer Bates, the district spokesman, said they’d take the request under advisement.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rq (OSE)

 

Student takes talent for music, jazz across U.S.

Timpview High School senior Joseph Sandholtz has an ear and a love for music that’s already taken him far.
Last weekend, he joined a carefully selected group of 20 students from across the country to perform with the 2017 Jazz Band of America in Indianapolis.
Sandholtz, who plays trumpet, said playing with the band was a special experience that he appreciated.
“It was cool that there were people from all over (in the band), and we got to work with the famous director composer Michael Tomaro,” he said.
The band gets the opportunity to work with Tomaro, the director of Jazz Studies at Duquesne University, take classes from renowned musicians and then perform.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rw (PDH)

 

Weber School District Sends Four Teams to International Robotics Competition

OGDEN — The large metal robot aggressively tossed square beanbags and large rubber jacks over the fence. Although the machinery smacked into the floor and knocked against other jacks in the field, it stayed together.
At the helm Tuesday, March 14, with a video game controller in the Weber Innovation Center, Fremont High School senior Madison Wadsworth guided the robot back and forth to collect more objects and toss them over the fence during the 60-second trial run.
“Thirty-six points,” CTE Coordinator John Donley said. “You’re rusty!”
After a few more runs through the course, Wadsworth easily scored 40 points.
The team is one of four in the Weber School District that qualified to compete April 19-22 in the Worlds VEX Robotics Competition in Kentucky.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rr (OSE)

 

Provo school district encourages interactive STEM learning through Tech High Day

It’s never too early to encourage active participation in science, technology, engineering and math education, according to Provo City School District and the partners behind the second annual “Tech High Day.”
Tech High Day was hosted Saturday at Provo High School by the district, Google Fiber, DevMountain and other pillars in tech from across the valley.
The hands-on tech experience is designed for junior high students who are eager to learn how to code, design and create with technology.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rz (PDH)

 

Biology teacher brings research from Antarctica to Timpanogos High

OREM — Josh Heward was all smiles and laughs as he described his expedition to Antarctica and the trip’s research focus: a highly resilient, plate-armored, claw-legged monstrosity that crawls along the frosted earth.
To some, the nearly unkillable tardigrade, or “water bear,” might conjure the image of a sci-fi horror monster. Luckily, this creature is only about a millimeter in size, and Heward was able to study the creatures in relative safety. The only danger, surviving one of the most remote research sites in the world.
Heward, a Timpanogos High School biology teacher, spent the month of January in Antarctica as part of the Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating, or Polar TREC, program. As part of a 10-person team living at the McMurdo Station research facility, Heward worked to study an organism of miniscule size but of tremendous scientific significance.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rl (DN)

 

Escape room business owner creates experience for visually impaired students

LEHI, Utah — Preston Smith owns a company called “Eskaped.”
His clients have 45 minutes to get out after being locked inside one of several trailers, but recently a teacher challenged Smith to create an escape room for her visually impaired students.
“I lock people inside and they have to figure out how to escape,” Smith said of his profession.
Shirly Jimenez, who teaches at the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind, initially asked Smith to modify one of his rooms for her students.
“I have a soft spot, I don’t know, whenever teachers call me, I get very—their passion kind of translates over to me, I love being creative, and thinking of new things,” Smith said.
He decided to build a whole new set-up instead, and he said the challenge was figuring out how to design a puzzle and communicate the clues without relying on visual cues.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rY (KSTU)

 

Ogden city, school district put up fence separating students and homeless adults

OGDEN — The city and Ogden School District are putting the finishing touches on a chain-link fence that will keep schoolchildren and homeless adults separated.
Last October, Ogden City and Ogden School District were wrestling with how to deal with an increase in the number of homeless individuals around Odyssey Elementary School, at 375 Goddard St.
Back in June 2015, when Lantern House — formerly St. Anne’s Center — opened its greatly expanded homeless shelter and soup kitchen at 269 W. 33rd St., educators say the area around the school saw an “immediate impact.” There were reports of drug addicts passed out in school entryways, transients panhandling around the school and homeless wandering into the building looking for restrooms.
Last fall, signs were posted around the school’s outdoor play area that read, “No entry by unauthorized persons during school hours. Violators will be prosecuted.” The signs were erected as a temporary fix until a more permanent solution could be devised.
That permanent solution is now being implemented.
Mark Johnson, chief administrative officer for Ogden, said the city and the school district decided a fence would be the best fix to the problem.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rp (OSE)

 

Eight School District Employees Settle Sexual Harassment Suit

Iron County, UT — Eight female employees and the Iron County School District have agreed to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. The women sued the district after another employee, Samuel Naim El-Halta, made repeated lewd comments to them and administrators at Cedar Middle School did nothing more than ask him to stop. The district will pay out 340-thousand dollars as part of the settlement. El-Halta served a month in jail for harassing the women and was fired in 2014 for looking at pornography while at school.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rL (MUR)

 

UVU student organizes prom for alternative high school students

Different groups and companies came together Friday night to give alternative school students a prom to remember.
“The kids are the same as anybody else,” said Dalton Boley, a senior at Utah Valley University in Orem studying social work.
Boley is the president of the Social Work Students Association at UVU, which had talked about hosting a prom last year. While it didn’t happen last year, the prom event was mentioned again in the fall.
It came together this year, with donated photography, dresses, suits, desserts and DJ services. Boley is hoping more members of the community will come together next year so the event can be bigger.
On Friday, the students came to UVU for the prom, themed “To the moon and back.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rA (PDH)

 

Ogden School District taps state administrator as next superintendent
Deputy Superintendent Rich Nye is expected to assume post in June.

One of Utah’s top public education managers is headed back to the Ogden City School District.
The district announced Thursday that Rich Nye, currently a deputy state superintendent for the Utah Board of Education, would succeed Sandy Caroles as Ogden’s superintendent.
Nye previously worked as the Ogden district’s director of assessment under then-Superintendent Brad Smith. After Smith was appointed to the state superintendency in 2014, Nye was hired as part of Smith’s executive team at the Utah Office of Education (now renamed the office of the Utah Board of Education).
Following Smith’s resignation last year, Nye remained as a deputy to state Superintendent Sydnee Dickson.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rk (SLT)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9rI (DN via KSL)

 

Teaching Turnover Rates Are Higher In Utah But The Cause Remains Unclear

Recent data released by the Utah Education Policy Center at the University of Utah shows that nearly half of new teachers in the state leave the profession within the first five years. That puts Utah’s overall turnover rate above the national average.
About 8 percent of all teachers leave the profession nationwide. In Utah that number is 12 percent. And it’s most apparent with beginning teachers. Allison Nicholson, one of the researchers who put the study together, says one thing in particular jumped out at her.
“93 percent were not long in the Utah public education system and only 7 percent moved into administration or other specialist roles,” says Nicholson.
So, the vast majority are not moving into administration or district jobs. They’re leaving education altogether. And while these numbers paint a vivid picture, the causes for the turnover are still unclear.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rK (KUER)

2 Davis County high schools receive major STEM donation

SYRACUSE — School administrators know it’s not every week that you have a huge windfall come walking through the front door. But for students, faculty and staff at two Davis County high schools, good fortune came knocking in a big way on Friday afternoon.
The National Math and Science Initiative, the Northrup Grumman Foundation and Hill Air Force Base partnered to donate $1.7 million for science, technology, engineering and math education and training, with most of the money targeted for college readiness curriculums at Syracuse and Northridge high schools over the next three years.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rm (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9s4 (DN via KSL)

 

A Thing or 3: Teaching driver’s ed is scary

Teaching Logan High School students to drive isn’t something Grant Calverley takes lightly.
“You get your driver’s license and gain some independence, but it’s also a huge responsibility to be in charge of a 2,000-pound vehicle,” he said. “Your decisions can impact lives.”
Calverley sat down with The Herald Journal in his office earlier this week to impart three things he wants people to know about being a driving instructor:
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rC (LHJ)

 

Local Middle & High School Students Tour College Campuses Through TRIO Program

CEDAR CITY, Utah – Students that participate in the TRIO Educational Talent Search Program through Southern Utah University have been busy exploring their college options this school year.
The students range in age from 7th grade through 12th grade and are from Beaver, Iron, Kane and Coconino (AZ) counties. The school year started off with 75 8th graders visiting Dixie State University and Dixie Applied Technology College on October 11, 2016.
On October 13-14, 2016 – 40 high school students experienced college life at Weber State University and Utah State University. Students also toured the Adobe facility and learned about careers and what it takes to work there.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rJ (KCSG)

 

What You Need to Know About Cardiac Arrest in Schools

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — It may be shocking to see a young, seemingly healthy child go into sudden cardiac arrest. Although it’s one of the leading causes of death for adults, it’s rare for children. School nurse Suzan Tibbitts joined Good Morning Utah to explain how schools in the canyons district help children experiencing cardiac trauma.
She says if a student or teacher goes into sudden cardiac arrest they need defibrillation, along with CPR. It’s the only way to restore the victim’s heart rhythm to normal in a lot of cases of cardiac arrest. Yet only 17 percent of the nation’s schools and government offices make AED’s available in their facilities. Fortunately in Canyons School District, all of their schools have at least one AED that we can use in case of an emergency.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rG (KTVX)

 

Treasury Auctions Set for the Week of March 20


The following tax­exempt fixed­income issues, valued at $50 million or more, are scheduled for pricing this week:
WEDNESDAY
Davis School District Board of Education, Utah, $80 million of unlimited tax general obligation bonds. Competitive.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9s1 (NYT)

 

Utah Virtual Academy Invites Students to Enroll for 2017-18 School Year
Statewide Online School Open to Students in Kindergarten Through 12th Grade

MURRAY, Utah–Utah Virtual Academy (UTVA), an accredited online public charter school, is now accepting enrollment applications for the 2017-18 school year. UTVA is open to students statewide in kindergarten through 12th grade.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9s2 (BusinessWire)

 

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

Who deserves praise and criticism this week in Northern Utah?
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner editorial

THUMBS UP: To the Latino advocacy groups who petitioned the Ogden School Board to take a stand on protecting Hispanic kids at school. IMAGE and LUPEC want a measure adopted requesting federal immigration officials to give school representatives notice before they attend business on school grounds.
They are also seeking a school policy for all students to have a right to an environment free from harassment, regardless of their citizenship status.
This policy should address actions of not only the government, but also other students. The taunting and bullying of Latino students that has resulted from the emotional debate over immigration hurts everyone. No child should go to school afraid, and no child should feel entitled to frighten a schoolmate. These groups are doing the right thing by standing up for vulnerable kids.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rs

 

The importance of a story on nude selfies
Deseret News commentary by columnist Doug Wilks

SALT LAKE CITY — Pat Reavy is the type of reporter you expect to go home each day smelling of ink.
But it’s 2017, so he tweets, he searches the web, he’s a go-to for cross-talk on radio as the expert crime guy. His reporting instincts are old school, built on years of tough reporting. He builds trusted sources and great contacts, beats the turf, scans documents and is willing to work all hours and go where the story takes him.
There’s one other thing he does: He writes stories that are important for you to read.
He can spot a trend and this past week he wrote about a disturbing one, gleaned from items he kept seeing as he worked the beat.
From a single police affidavit: “The tipster indicated 14-year-old female … had sent some nude photographs of herself via text message to several other male students. The photos had allegedly then been sent out to multiple persons by subsequent recipients.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rn

 

Battlebot robots slug it out at Ogden-Weber ATC competition
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner commentary by columnist MARK SAAL

OGDEN — At the rate technology is advancing, they say that robots will one day become our not-so-benevolent overlords.
Pray we don’t end up being ruled by Samurai.
Samurai is a “battlebot” — a very real battling robot — built by a bunch of high school students from St. George.
Of course, these high school students aren’t doing this all on their own. They’re being egged on by reckless mentors like Mike Shrout, a STEM instructor at Dixie Applied Technology College, where the students attend an early-morning tech class.
“We like to give them a glimpse of all the technology that’s out there while they’re still in high school, instead of finding out 10 or 20 years down the road the paths they might have taken,” Shrout said. “We’re showing them all these paths now. We’re showing them a whole bunch of ways to make more than $100,000 a year.”
Apparently, one of those paths is helping them to use all of the STEM skills (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) they’re learning to build their own battlebot.
The students drove all the way from St. George to Ogden to take part in the 2017 Rocky Mountain Battlebot Competition, held Tuesday, March 14, at the Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College. The event attracted about a dozen teams, mostly from local places like Davis Applied Technology College, Ogden-Weber ATC, along with Fremont, Ogden, St. Joseph, Weber, Bonneville and Roy high schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ru

 

School board needs to step back
Park Record letter from Meg Leaf

Over the last four years, the Park City School District has undergone intense change with dual language immersion (DLI), all-day kindergarten, removing 25 Reading and ESL instructors in grades 1 through 5, new curricula, new grading system, new testing and assessment tools.
Currently waiting in the pipeline are: new start times, a high school expansion, new curriculum (again), grade realignment, new elementary school, maybe a second high school, and new 5th/6th grade school.
Change is appropriate when fully understood and vetted, thoughtfully planned with stakeholders, and well executed across a timeline that works. Fundamental project management tools nicely pave the way. Our district leadership did not employ such care over the last four years, however, and, as a result, we lost quality in our classrooms and the ability to retain teachers.
To precisely evaluate our losses in numbers and exact comparisons is nearly impossible, but the following information helps paint a picture about the state of our district.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rZ

 

Secretary DeVos should make the education of minority children her No. 1 priority
Fox News commentary by Dr. Andrea Ramirez, executive director of the Faith and Education Coalition

Now that Betsy DeVos is settled in as America’s new Secretary of Education she holds the reins of the U.S. Department of Education and, with it, the future of America’s 55.6 million students.
An advocate of school choice, Secretary DeVos is poised to bring major policy changes to our country’s lagging education system. Despite Bush and Obama-era revamps to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, America still struggles to create equitable, high-quality education, accessible to all students.
According to the last World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report, in terms of quality and enrollment of primary education, the United States is ranked 46th in the world. This low scoring is not a new trend — from 2011 to 2016, our global rank has ranged from a high of 34 to a low of 58.
It’s evident that change in America’s education system is needed. But as Sec. DeVos works to reform education policy, and the minutiae of her every move is debated by the American public, one thing we should all be able to agree upon is that the education of minority and low income students in America cannot be an afterthought. Should we continue to ignore this issue, our country is likely to pay a high price.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rV

 

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

Betsy DeVos Emphasizes Choice and Flexibility to State Education Leaders
Education Week

Washington — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos delivered what’s become her standard prescription for K-12 education—school choice, state flexibility, and rollback of federal intrusion—to a roomful of state school board members gathered for a legislative conference here Monday.
“Common sense doesn’t win out in Washington,” she said to members of the National Association of State Boards of Education. “The [U.S. Department of Education] has created roadblocks for states in the past, and it’s not right or acceptable. It’s time for the department to get out of the way to let you do your job.”
Her remarks came just weeks before states’ first due date for submitting accountability plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act that will guide state education policy and the distribution of millions of federal dollars to public schools in the coming years.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rR

 

‘Your child is safe’: Schools address deportation fears among immigrant families
Washington Post

The schools superintendent in Harrisonburg, Va., was meeting parents this month when a mother broke down in tears, explaining that she was undocumented. What would the school do, she asked, if she became separated from her children?
“I remember walking up to her and putting my arm on her shoulder and saying, ‘Your child is safe at our school,’ ” said Scott Kizner, the city schools chief. But he also advised those at the meeting in the Shenandoah Valley that any parents worried about deportation “need to make plans.”
Across the country, President Trump’s promise to crack down on illegal immigration is leading schools with large immigrant communities to consider how to care for children whose parents could be detained in federal raids. Parents, teachers and administrators have raised questions about how schools should respond if U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents come to a school to take away students or obtain records — even though the agency’s policy restricts enforcement actions on school grounds.
Officials in Sacramento, Denver, Chicago and Miami have declared their schools havens, out of reach of ICE agents without special permission or a warrant.
The Los Angeles school board voted days after the November election to resist any Trump administration attempts to use student data against students or families in immigration matters. A Wisconsin school district sent information home advising parents to keep their doors shut, stay silent and refuse to sign anything if ICE agents visit their home.
In Virginia, the state schools chief urged local superintendents this month to ensure schools have current emergency contact information for parents and to prepare for situations in which children are stranded at school. The Maryland State Department of Education has not issued similar guidance, but a spokesman said the state’s long-standing policies mirror Virginia’s. D.C. Public Schools put out a statement in six languages urging advance preparation: “Discuss whether you would wish your children to remain here, in the United States, or whether you would want your children going with you.”
Educators say connecting parents to community resources to help them prepare for family-separation scenarios is part of their job to ensure that children feel as secure as possible in class.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ri

 

Teachers of color in high demand in Minnesota
There are 629 Hispanic teachers across the state, making up just 1 percent of a total teaching workforce of 60,090.
Minneapolis Star Tribune

As a child, Carmen Higueros was proud of her Guatemalan roots, but she came to dread when teachers tried to pronounce her name.
A native Spanish speaker could handle it, of course, but she had just one teacher of color during her 13 years in the Anoka-Hennepin School District.
Today, the push is on to boost the ranks of minority teachers, and Higueros, an English language teacher at Birch Grove Elementary School for the Arts in Brooklyn Park, now is one of them. But she’s a rarity: There are 629 Hispanic teachers across the state, making up just 1 percent of a total teaching workforce of 60,090.
Minnesota is in a “very deep hole” when it comes to providing a growing number of students of color with teachers who look like them, said Paul Spies of the School of Urban Education at Metropolitan State University. He’s part of a group, the Coalition to Increase Teachers of Color and American Indian Teachers in Minnesota, that is coordinating efforts to double the percentage of minority teachers — Hispanics among them — from 4 percent to 8 percent of all state teachers.
“Even at 8 percent we are still in a crisis given the demographics of our student population and the need going forward in the 21st century,” Spies said recently.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rb

 

Texas AG sued to keep a Bible quote in school. Now he’s troubled by Muslim prayers.
School officials said they were blindsided when the state’s governor and attorney general called out Muslim students’ use of a spare classroom.
Washington Post

Every day at lunch, a handful of teenagers in Frisco, Texas, would pop into room C112, face a whiteboard and kneel for one of their five daily prayers.
It was just a spare classroom, used for everything from teachers’ grading to Buddhist meditation, school officials say. But Muslims at Liberty High seemed to like it.
“Takes like five minutes, instead of having to leave school, get in a car and go to my parents,” junior Sarah Qureshi told the school news site early this month.
“This is the seventh year we’ve been doing this, and we’ve never had one issue,” school principal Scott Warstler said.
Last week, however, top state officials learned about the room — and suddenly Liberty High had a big issue indeed.
The Texas attorney general’s office — famous for once suing a middle school principal to keep a Bible quote on a door — sent the Frisco school district superintendent a letter Friday raising “concerns.”
“It appears that the prayer room is ‘dedicated to the religious needs of some students,’” a deputy attorney general wrote in the letter, quoting an article written by an 11th grade student, “namely, those who practice Islam.”
In a news release the same day, the attorney general’s office went further: “Recent news reports have indicated that the high school’s prayer room is … apparently excluding students of other faiths,” the release said.
That would be a constitutional violation, the Texas AG’s office noted.
And totally untrue, according to Frisco Independent School District officials, who say state officials didn’t even ask them about the prayers before the letter ended up in Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s tweet.
“This ‘press release’ appears to be a publicity stunt by the OAG to politicize a nonissue,” schools superintendent Jeremy Lyon wrote in reply to the state. “Frisco ISD is greatly concerned that this type of inflammatory rhetoric in the current climate may place the District, its students, staff, parents and community in danger of unnecessary disruption.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9re

http://gousoe.uen.org/9rg (Fox)

 

Mercer Board of Education asks federal judge to dismiss Bible class lawsuit
West Virginia Record

BLUEFIELD – The Mercer County Board of Education has filed a motion to dismiss in a lawsuit filed by the Freedom From Religion Foundation attempting to end its Bible in the Schools program.
Mercer claims none of the plaintiffs’ have ever attended or even been eligible to attend such classes, according to the March 13 memorandum in support of its motion to dismiss.
“Even if plaintiffs had standing to bring this care, it should be dismissed for failure to state a claim,” according to the memorandum. “Plaintiffs ask for an injunction to end Bible classes in Mercer County Schools, despite the fact that over a half century of well-settled law holds that the Constitution permits Bible classes in public schools.”
The board claims the complaint does not even say that Jamie Doe attends one of the 15 elementary schools where the course is offered, as opposed to one of the four where it is not.
Even if Jamie Doe currently attends an elementary school where the Bible course is offered, “the complaint does not say that he is unable to attend one of the elementary schools in Mercer County where the course is not offered.
FFRF is challenging the constitutionality of the “Bible in the Schools” program that is administered by Mercer County schools and provides Bible study to elementary and middle school students at public schools in the county, according to a complaint filed Jan. 18 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rS

http://gousoe.uen.org/9rT ([Washington, DC] Christian Post)

 

Missouri school district loses lawsuit over field trips to Christ-centered community center
Lawsuit brought by American Humanist Association
Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc.

JOPLIN, Mo.– A federal judge ruled Thursday in favor of a group that sued the Joplin, Missouri, School District over two 2015 field trips to a Christ-centered community center, alleging the students’ First Amendment rights were violated.
The American Humanist Association filed the lawsuit in 2015 against the district on behalf of a parent of two Joplin students over the field trips to Victory Ministry and Sports Complex, formerly the Bridge, which the group contended violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
The lawsuit stemmed from a May 8 field trip to the center. The permission slips sent home to parents, according to the lawsuit, said to “understand their children may be invited to Bible studies and local churches while at Victory.” The same permission slip, the suit alleges, “required parents to allow their child to participate in worship services, Bible studies or any other activities that may pertain to the Christian faith.”
According to court documents, the school district had contended the trip served a secular purpose — rewarding students for positive standardized test scores and good behavior during testing. But, the court said, “these valid secular objectives can be readily accomplished by other means.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rd

 

How voucher dollars kept coming as a private school collapsed
Indianapolis Star

The Indiana Department of Education and the attorney general’s office both had been warned.
Teachers at the tiny Todd Academy weren’t getting paid. Parents complained that classes were being held in an unsafe building without heat, and the school appeared to be promoting children who weren’t ready, in an effort to secure more state money.
Yet after two visits by the education department and an investigation by the attorney general’s office, the troubled Indianapolis private school still received thousands of dollars in public funds through Indiana’s school voucher program and remained eligible to receive state voucher money until it collapsed under the weight of its unpaid debts.
“That’s obviously unacceptable,” said state Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, when IndyStar informed him of the conditions at the school. “They were clearly in violation of the standards required under any normal circumstances.”
An IndyStar examination of Todd Academy’s experience with school vouchers exposes a serious lack of basic fiscal controls in Indiana’s highly popular school choice system. While both traditional public schools and charter schools must open their budgets to public scrutiny, voucher schools are exempt from any financial vetting — to the point that even when mismanagement has been repeatedly alleged, state officials are loath to intervene.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rh

 

A Muppet with Autism to be Welcomed Soon on ‘Sesame Street’
Associated Press

NEW YORK — Folks on Sesame Street have a way of making everyone feel accepted.
That certainly goes for Julia, a Muppet youngster with blazing red hair, bright green eyes – and autism. Rather than being treated like an outsider, which too often is the plight of kids on the spectrum, Julia is one of the gang.
Look: On this friendliest of streets (actually Studio J at New York’s Kaufman Astoria Studios, where “Sesame Street” lives) Julia is about to play a game with Oscar, Abby and Grover. In this scene being taped for airing next season, these Muppet chums have been challenged to spot objects shaped like squares or circles or triangles.
“You’re lucky,” says Abby to Grover. “You have Julia on your team, and she is really good at finding shapes!”
With that, they skedaddle, an exit that calls for the six Muppeteers squatted out of sight below them to scramble accordingly. Joining her pals, Julia (performed by Stacey Gordon) takes off hunting.
For more than a year, Julia has existed in print and digital illustrations as the centerpiece of a multifaceted initiative by Sesame Workshop called “Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children.”
She has been the subject of a storybook released along with videos, e-books, an app and website. The goal is to promote a better understanding of what the Autism Speaks advocacy group describes as “a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences.”
But now Julia has been brought to life in fine Muppet fettle. She makes her TV debut on “Sesame Street” in the “Meet Julia” episode airing April 10 on both PBS and HBO.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rN

http://gousoe.uen.org/9rQ (Reuters)

 

Canadian Wins $1M Global Teacher Prize for Work with Inuit
Associated Press

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — A Canadian school teacher who encourages hope and acts of kindness in an isolated corner of Quebec won a $1 million prize Sunday in what has become one of the most high-profile awards for teaching excellence.
Maggie MacDonnell was awarded the annual Global Teacher Prize during a ceremony in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, beating out thousands of applicants from around the world.
She has worked for the past six years in a remote Arctic village called Salluit teaching middle and high schoolers. According to her biography, Salluit is home to the second-northernmost Inuit indigenous community in Quebec, with a population of just over 1,300, and can only be reached by air.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rO

http://gousoe.uen.org/9rU (CSM)

 

It’s Official: Boston’s Public Schools Have Ditched This Distorted and Misleading World Map
Everyone else, take note.
Science Alert

Last Thursday, social studies teachers in Boston’s public schools ditched the widely used – but horribly distorted – Mercator Projection map in favour of a more accurate depiction of the world’s landmasses.
The move puts an end to more than four centuries of misleading representations of the world, because the map you’re used to seeing on the news and in atlases makes South America look like it’s the same size as Europe – when it’s almost twice as large – and Greenland looks equal to Africa, when it’s actually 14 times smaller.
The shift towards the more accurate Gall-Peters Projection sees Boston’s public schools follow the lead of the United Nations, which has advocated the map as a more ‘fair’, less Eurocentric representation of the world, as have several aid agencies.
And while some individual schools across the United States have already made the switch, Boston is thought to be the first public school district in the country to make it official.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rW

http://gousoe.uen.org/9rX ([Manchester] Guardian)

Palo Alto: Two schools named after eugenics advocates to get new names
San Jose (CA) Mercury News

Two Palo Alto middle schools named after leading advocates of eugenics will be renamed by the 2018-19 school year, school board members unanimously decided Friday.
Trustees voted 5-0 to rename Jordan Middle School, which is named after David Starr Jordan, and Terman Middle School, which is named after Lewis Terman.
Trustees asked school district officials to return this spring with a recommendation on the process of renaming the schools.
The board initially considered a recommendation to form an advisory committee that will suggest three new names by Jan. 1. Trustees ultimately decided it was best to have school staff determine if such a timeline is feasible before proceeding.
Board members agreed, however, that the district’s schools must incorporate a unit about California and Palo Alto’s role in the history and impact of the eugenics movement into the history curriculum of secondary schools by next school year.
The board also decided that the cost of renaming the two schools, estimated to be up to $60,000, will be paid out of bond funds whenever possible. Funding for curriculum cannot be paid with bond money.
The decision culiminates a year-long debate in which proponents of the name changes classified the eugenics movement and its advocates as racist and out of line with the district’s values.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rP

 

Prom? Draft student with special needs gets surprise
(Stauton, VA) Daily News Leader

STUARTS DRAFT — It’s not every day that the prospect of eating catfish is an enticement to go to prom with someone.
But Rachel Sauder knew that if she was going to ask one of the most popular guys at her school to go to prom with her, she should put her best foot forward. And Tyler Hemp is indeed one of the most popular guys at Stuarts Draft High School. The ladies love Tyler.
It was a Friday mid-morning. The frenetic energy in the sunny cafeteria was what you would expect the day before the weekend. High energy, and a certain lack of focus. Rachel, with the same energy, touched with a hint of nerves, entered the cafeteria, a box of doughnuts in hand. She was fully aware of what she was about to do, and the fact that her friends would be watching, glued to the scene as if it were the finale of The Bachelor.
She pushed through the nerves, reached the person she was looking for, and with her head back, said simply, “Tyler, I have something to ask you. Would you eat some catfish and go to prom with me?” Rachel turned the box of doughnuts upside down to reveal a sign that read “PROM?”
Sophomore Tyler Hemp, a special needs student, received a surprise recently when senior Rachel Sauder gave him a promposal at Stuarts Draft High School. Wochit
Tyler, seemingly caught off guard, at first, gave Rachel a quick, but enthusiastic, “Yeah!”
And the tumult that broke out throughout the Draft cafeteria was enough to bring tears to the eyes of the most cynical of bystanders, even those who see the trend of “prom-posals” as silly and unnecessary. Because the look on Tyler’s face was that of pure joy and exultation.
The teen, who has special needs, clapped his hands, stood up from his seat. He jumped up and down as cheers reigned down on them both. He took the donuts from a laughing Rachel’s hands, and at the suggestion from someone watching, gave Rachel a big hug.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9rM

 

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

USBE Calendar
http://www.schools.utah.gov/main/CALENDAR.aspx

USBE Legislative Tracking Sheet
http://www.schools.utah.gov/law/Legislative-Session.aspx

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

March 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

Related posts:

Leave a Reply