Education News Roundup: March 21, 2017

SB196 Health Education Amendments

Today’s Top Picks:

Gov. Herbert signs more bills including SB196 which ends the prohibition on homosexuality advocacy in sex ed classes, HB92, which restricts placing students in restraint, and HB119, which clarifies the process for filling vacant school board seats.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9se (SLT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9sf (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9ss (AP via OSE)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9sH (KSTU)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9t3 (UPR)

The Salt Lake School Board will look at an immigration resolution tonight.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sg (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9sD (DN via KSL)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9sX (AP via USN&WR)

Education was a main topic at a town hall meeting in Fillmore.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9t1 (KSL)

Several news organizations look at Trump administration plans to expand school choice and state flexibility.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sh (Politico)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9sN (NYT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9si (USN&WR)

Check out Indrani Das, the 17-year-old winner of the $250,000 Regeneron Science Talent Search. She’s been working on brain neurons and a process call astrogliosis, which is something you’ll need to Google just to figure out what it is.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sj (WaPo)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Gov. Herbert signs more education, public lands, election bills
Update » He has now signed 183 of 535 bills passed by Legislature and has until March 29 to act on the rest.

School board resolution affirms city schools do not collect info on students’ immigration status

Road to Understanding: Education, public lands major issues discussed at town hall

Our Schools Now to move forward

Late teacher honored with memorial scholarship

Utah teacher implements Google-inspired ‘Genius Hour’ to spark creativity in the classroom

Davis High pep band performs for North Dakota at NCAA tournament

Rob Cuff says frequency of realignment driven by ever-changing enrollment

How Utah’s new pitch count rules could change everyday games and the state tournament

ICSD pays $500,000 in sexual harassment settlement

Ogden school fences off homeless

Davis School District announces new administrative appointments

Giant cabbage a winner for Lehi student

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Utah should have kept teacher mentoring program

‘Talent Ready Utah’ is one solution to Utah’s workforce woes

Low tax burden is great – but more money needed for education

Garfield County should stop living in the past

States Plan for Sensible School Reform under an Obama-Era Law
Born of bipartisan concern over federal intrusion into K–12 education, the Every Student Succeeds Act may soon bear fruit.

Integrating schools by expanding choice

Do Private School Vouchers Pose a Threat to Integration?

Future schools: core subjects only, parents pay for the rest
It would perfectly suit Tory ideology for parents to pay for sport, music, extra reading … and for state schooling to be pared to the basics

NATION

Can DeVos sell school choice to America?

Betsy DeVos to State Chiefs: Time for Ed. Dept. to ‘Let You Do Your Job’

Republicans unveil new education savings account bill

Education groups to sue to stop private school funding in Michigan

ESSA Rules’ Rollback Complicates States’ Planning Obama-era regulations sent packing by Congress

She’s 17 years old and already helping patients.
Meet the Winner of one of the country’s most prestigious science fairs.

Should high school be more like the real world? These innovators think so
At Powderhouse Studios, students will work on research projects and go to school year-round.

How Universal Child Care Affects Boys vs. Girls
A case study from Quebec reveals surprising differences in how children—and their parents—respond to subsidized care.

In an Era of Fake News, Teaching Students to Parse Fact From Fiction

Court: Student Prayers OK at School Board Meetings

William Sanders, pioneer of controversial value-added model for judging teachers, dies

 

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UTAH NEWS
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Gov. Herbert signs more education, public lands, election bills
Update » He has now signed 183 of 535 bills passed by Legislature and has until March 29 to act on the rest.

Gov. Gary Herbert announced Monday that he has signed another 80 bills passed by this year’s Legislature — including some on federal lands, education and election reform.
He has now signed into law 183 of the record 535 bills passed by the Legislature. He has until March 29 to decide whether to veto, sign or allow the remaining bills to become law without his signature.
Among the newly signed bills are:
SB196 • Strikes the prohibition on “advocacy of homosexuality” from Utah’s sex education law.
The state is currently being sued over the law, dubbed the “no-promo homo” statute, which critics describe as discriminatory. Sponsor Sen. Stuart Adams, R-Layton, said the revision was needed to comply with recent court rulings regarding same-gender relationships and to lessen the state’s legal liability.
HB92 • Restricts the physical restraint of students to incidents where the child’s safety, or the safety of their classmates, is threatened.
It ends the ability of educators to use physical restraint when a student is damaging school property, but allows administrators to require restitution of costs for damages. School resource officers are excluded from the bill.

HB119 • Clarifies and accelerates the process for a school district board to fill midterm vacancies.
It allows a replacement candidate to be considered and selected after a board member submits his or her resignation but before the resignation takes effect, mitigating the lag between an outgoing board member and the successor.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Susan Pulsipher, R-South Jordan, pushed the bill after she was elected to the Utah House in November while serving as president of the Jordan School District Board of Education.

HB160 • Clearly prohibits a person from using the email of a public entity to solicit a campaign contribution.
SB13 • Allows unopposed candidates to skip primary elections, with no need to appear on the ballot. They would still appear on the final general election ballot.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9se (SLT)

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

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9su (AP via PDH)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9sw (AP via CVD)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9sE (AP & DN via KSL)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9t3 (UPR)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9sJ (AP via MUR)

 

School board resolution affirms city schools do not collect info on students’ immigration status

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake City School Board is expected to act Tuesday on a proposed resolution that acknowledges some residents’ fear of possible immigration enforcement actions but offers reassurance the district does not ask students to disclose immigration status.
The Salt Lake City Board of Education is scheduled to address “The Safe School Resolution,” which affirms the school district’s philosophy and practice that “all children in the United States have the right to a free and appropriate public elementary and secondary education, regardless of their or their parents’ actual or perceived national origin, citizenship or immigration status.”
The resolution also affirms that the school district “cannot and does not” inquire about a student’s immigration status nor that of their parents or guardians as part of its admissions process.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sg (DN)

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

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

 

Road to Understanding: Education, public lands major issues discussed at town hall

FILLMORE — State officials, county leaders, educators, business owners were among a group who got together Monday night to talk about concerns impacting communities all around Utah.
The town hall meeting took place at the original Territorial Statehouse in Fillmore and lasted about an hour and a half. People who attended the meeting raised concerns about clean air, better salaries for teachers, public lands, growth and economic hardships.
“Getting us all to think together about the others in the state, and how we’re all one as we solve these problems is a great beginning,” said Robert Grow, CEO of Envision Utah.
According to the University of Utah Education Policy Center, 56 percent of new teachers who started in 2008 left the classroom by 2015.
“It’s a crisis that our class sizes are growing and our kids are being taught by teachers who don’t have the rich experience, when we think back to the teachers we were taught by,” said Sara Doutre, a mother attending the meeting.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9t1 (KSL)

 

Our Schools Now to move forward

The Utah Legislature’s commitment of $120 million in new funding won’t be enough to dissuade backers of a proposal to raise Utah’s income taxes to fund education.
Organizers with Our Schools now say they plan to move forward with a ballot initiative that would ask voters to raise the state income tax to address teacher shortages, crowded classrooms and other issues tied to the state’s last-in-the-nation per-pupil spending.
The Legislature voted to put some $120 million in new money toward education in its new budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, but the money is only a fraction of the $750 million that backers say they could generate through Our Schools Now.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sy (SGS)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9sz (AP via CVD)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9sK (AP via MUR)

 

Late teacher honored with memorial scholarship

OGDEN — The loss of a beloved Ogden High School teacher, Clay Christensen, has spurred a fundraiser for a memorial scholarship.
The public is invited to a spaghetti dinner fundraiser and silent auction with entertainment by a live band from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, March 24.
The event will be in the Ogden High cafeteria, 2828 Harrison Blvd, Ogden. Cost is $8 for adults, $5 for children and students.
Funds will go toward scholarships for students interested in pursuing higher education in health science fields, according to information released by organizers.
“Clay Christensen taught at Ogden High School for over a decade and positively impacted many lives,” stated the information.
Christensen, 40, died Feb. 18, just seven months after being diagnosed with colon cancer. He taught a variety of health sciences classes, including anatomy, medical terminology, biology and chemistry.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9st (OSE)

 

Utah teacher implements Google-inspired ‘Genius Hour’ to spark creativity in the classroom

HOLLADAY — Tech companies across the nation have emulated a strategy at Google intended to boost productivity and creativity, and now one Utah teacher is bringing it to the classroom.
Years ago, Google engineers were given the opportunity to devote 20 percent of their time on the job to work on whatever interested them. This policy, now known in the world of education as “Genius Hour,” worked so well that about 50 percent of Google’s projects, including Gmail and Google News, stemmed from the independent projects created during this time.
Joanne Brown, a science teacher at Olympus Junior High School in Holladay, hoped to inspire that same creativity and independence in her students, so “Genius Hour” at Olympus was born.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sF (KSL)

 

Davis High pep band performs for North Dakota at NCAA tournament

SALT LAKE CITY — Upon closer inspection, the faces of the University of North Dakota pep band at last week’s NCAA basketball match-up against the University of Arizona might have looked a little young.
Davis High School Pep Band Director Steven Hendricks said he thinks most people didn’t realize their group was actually a high school band.
“The kids got front row seats, and they had a blast,” he said.
Hendricks said he got a call Monday, March 13, asking if the band would perform for UND in Salt Lake City. He committed to going the following day, and the band started learning UND’s Fight Song.
“Thank heavens it was pretty easy, and we only had to run through it two or three times and we were fine,” he said.
The 29-student group of sophomores, juniors and seniors donned green Fighting Hawks shirts and played their hearts out.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sr (OSE)

 

Rob Cuff says frequency of realignment driven by ever-changing enrollment

Dusty Litster and Dane Stewart sit down for an interview with UHSAA Executive Director Rob Cuff.
The trio discuss transfer rules and realignment. Part 1 of 2.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sq (DN, video)

 

How Utah’s new pitch count rules could change everyday games and the state tournament

There’s a good chance this baseball season that a public address announcer will announce a pitching change, and fans’ reactions will be something similar to, “Who?”
New pitch count limits introduced in Utah following a requirement last summer by the National Federation of State High School Associations will, among many things, see coaches trot out a lot of pitchers this season including some players who might not have otherwise been asked to pitch.
Under the new rules a pitcher must rest for one day if he throws 35-60 pitches. Two rest days are required for 61-85 pitches and three days for 86-110.
Potential health benefits and coaches blaming travel ball aside, the new pitch count limits are expected to have a big effect on the baseball season.
They won’t be felt as much in region play when teams play two games per week.
But tournaments, such as the ones all over St. George the past two weekends and especially the state tournament in May, will be a completely different experience.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sY (SGS)

 

ICSD pays $500,000 in sexual harassment settlement

A settlement has been reached in a 2016 sexual harassment lawsuit against the Iron County School District.
Eight Cedar Middle School employees have received a total of $340,000 as part of the lawsuit, which alleges that school officials failed to protect them from sexual harassment by a former colleague.
The plaintiffs were awarded an additional $200,000 of attorney fees and costs for a total amount of $540,000.
As part of the agreement, the school district must also provide sexual harassment training for all employees every other year in addition to annual training for district administrators.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sx (SGS)

Ogden school fences off homeless

OGDEN, Utah – An Ogden elementary school is being fenced off because of a homeless population that, according to the principal, puts her students in danger.
“We needed a physical barrier to help us keep our students safe,” said Leanne Rich, principal at Odyssey Elementary.
Rich says the problem is Lantern House, a homeless shelter that opened up about a year and a half ago. It’s located a few blocks away from Odyssey Elementary.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sB (KTVX)

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

 

Davis School District announces new administrative appointments

FARMINGTON — The Davis School District has announced new leadership appointments for the 2017-18 school year.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sp (DN)

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

 

Giant cabbage a winner for Lehi student

Grace Thatcher, a student at Lehi Elementary School, was randomly selected the Utah winner of the National Bonnie Plants Cabbage Contest. Her giant cruciferous vegetable weighed nearly 13 pounds and earned her a $1,000 education savings bond. More than 1.5 million third-graders in 48 states — 13,545 from Utah — participated in this free program, sponsored by Bonnie Plants, the largest producer of vegetable and herb plants in North America. Since 2002, the company has sent free “oversized” cabbage plants — the O.S. Cross variety — to third-grade classrooms. At the end of the growing season, teachers from each class select the student who has grown the “best” cabbage, based on size and appearance. The student’s name is then entered in a statewide drawing selected randomly by the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9t2 (SLT)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Utah should have kept teacher mentoring program
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

The hole Utah would have to climb out of if it were to become merely average in our state’s per-pupil spending is so deep that our elected officials are always on the lookout for shortcuts, work-arounds or gimmicks that might make up at least some of the gap.
That’s commendable. Until one of those gap-fillers gets eliminated, for no discernible reason, other than that some lawmakers apparently got tired of it.
That’s what’s happened to something called Peer Assistance Review. That was a state-funded program that pays school districts extra money so they can assign experienced teachers to work with rookies, part of a larger effort to deal with the woeful rate of teacher turnover around Utah.
The recent session of the Legislature ended the program, with key lawmakers explaining that the six-year-old plan was meant as a pilot and that, if local school districts liked it so much, they could pick up the funding themselves.
Which might make some sense, if school districts weren’t already starved for cash. And if one of the reasons for the horrid rate of turnover among the state’s teachers wasn’t the constant flood of disrespect that flows from the Legislature.
And if the Legislature hadn’t already shown itself to be so keen on filling the teacher gap with people who didn’t earn education degrees but who have some fire to teach anyway.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sd

 

‘Talent Ready Utah’ is one solution to Utah’s workforce woes
Deseret News editorial

To sustain a growing economy, Utah needs a skilled workforce. And yet the state is struggling to keep up. The new “Talent Ready Utah” program, led by Gov. Gary Herbert and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development or GOED, offers one potential solution to Utah’s workforce woes.
According to Val Hale, executive director of GOED, one thing that’s holding back Utah’s otherwise robust economy is a properly trained workforce.
Their solution is to create partnerships between public education, industry and the state, recruiting businesses that will “invest in local and higher education to better prepare the state’s future workforce.” The Governor’s Office hopes that the Talent Ready Utah program will help the Beehive State achieve Gov. Gary Herbert’s goal of 40,000 new “high-skill, high-paying jobs” by 2021.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sZ

Low tax burden is great – but more money needed for education
UtahPolicy commentary by publisher LaVarr Webb

One of the most difficult challenges for policymakers is divining that fine line between a tax burden that is sufficient to provide necessary services to citizens, and a burden that is too high and drives away businesses and hurts economic viability.
Where that line is located is the subject of many political debates at all levels of government. Liberal individuals and interest groups argue that government should do more to support citizens, sometimes requiring higher taxes. Conservative individuals and interest groups argue that citizens should, for the most part, take care of their own needs and high taxes will hurt the economy.
In Utah, conservative thought flourishes, and the tax burden has declined over the last two decades. The Utah Foundation has noted that state taxes in Utah are the lowest they’ve been in 20 years. The Tax Foundation recently ranked Utah the ninth best state in state business tax climate, and a low 41st in state and local tax collections per capita.
It will always be true that more needs exist than we can take care of with tax dollars. Every program of government could find beneficial uses for more money. But it’s also true that we reach diminishing returns at some point when we’re taxing at such high rates that we take too much money out of the private sector and reduce incentives to work and be productive.
So there’s a fine line. And it’s the job of Congress, legislators, city council members, county commissioners, and education officials to find it.

But I believe one area of government – public education – needs more money and a tax increase for education would help Utah’s economy, not hurt it.
Utah’s economic vitality and job growth are among the best in the country. But a big challenge is on the horizon – finding qualified workers for the high-tech jobs of the future. Extremely low taxes are great until businesses can’t find qualified workers. Or until they can’t find customers who have good jobs and can buy their products. Parsimony in education is not good policy for the private sector.
Utah should aspire to be the No. 1 education state in the country. Such status would complement Utah’s economic success, providing the nation’s best workforce – and ensuring a robust economy well into the future.
But Utah won’t become the No. 1 education state with per-pupil spending the lowest in the country. Money isn’t everything in education, but it is important. More money is needed to attract and retain top-quality people in the teaching profession, to provide early education, to provide reasonable class sizes, and to provide career counseling, helping students prepare for the jobs that will exist.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sc

 

Garfield County should stop living in the past
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Veronica Egan

I attended the public hearing in Panguitch on March 13 at which the Garfield County Commission approved a resolution to shrink the boundaries of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by up to 75 percent.
While I was unable to enter the building due to the crowd size, I did watch much of the “action” on a laptop outside. I can safely state that Rep. Mike Noel and the commissioners are firmly embedded in the age of disinformation, given their continued rationales for shrinking the monument.
They blame it for the demise of the sawmill in Escalante, when (a) no commercial logging was ever done inside the monument and (b) even the press of the day indicates the mill was on its deathbed even before the designation in 1996. They claim that livestock grazing has declined because of it, when the numbers indicate that this is simply not true. They want to get at the dirty, remote, coal on the Kaiparowitz, for which there is no market. They claim that the towns in Garfield County are suffering economically, when anyone with eyes to see can observe the new and expanding economic activity in those towns.
As for shrinking school enrollments, this is a problem for nearly all small rural towns in the West. In other words, they would love to turn the clock back 100 years, to the “good old days.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9so

 

States Plan for Sensible School Reform under an Obama-Era Law
Born of bipartisan concern over federal intrusion into K–12 education, the Every Student Succeeds Act may soon bear fruit.
National Review op-ed by FREDERICK M. HESS, irector of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, & MAX C. EDEN, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute

In Washington, a big part of the Republican project for 2017 is cleaning up a litany of Obama excesses. But in the states, perhaps the biggest challenges will be fulfilling the promise of the last major law that Obama signed — the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). States are now finalizing plans for how, beginning this fall, they will proceed under ESSA.
ESSA was enacted in December 2015 by massive majorities in both houses of Congress, largely because both parties had grown tired of the Obama administration’s feckless intrusions into K–12 education. On the right, conservative activists were up in arms about Washington’s efforts to bribe and coerce states into adopting the Common Core. On the left, teachers’ unions were every bit as upset over similar efforts to get states to embrace half-baked, one-size-fits-all teacher-evaluation systems. That unlikely alliance turned the old genial, bipartisan consensus for a steadily expanding federal role in education on its head, and the Wall Street Journal cheered ESSA as “the largest devolution of federal control to the states in a quarter-century.”
ESSA marked a dramatic improvement over its predecessor, the No Child Left Behind Act, and held out the promise of restraining a Department of Education that had run amok. Such hopes dimmed as Obama’s secretary of education, proposing to extend the department’s authority through a law intended to limit it, promised to micromanage school-level spending when the law plainly prohibited that.
Now that Congress has wisely used the Congressional Review Act to overturn Obama-administration regulations intended to supersize Washington’s role under the law, the way is wide open for states to step up. In a pleasant change of pace, the question for governors and state school leaders is no longer how to cope with an out-of-control Uncle Sam. It is how to make the new law work for their students. Governors, legislators, and local school leaders eager to do just that will find big opportunities for the taking.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sV

 

Integrating schools by expanding choice
(Washington, DC) The Hill op-ed by DAVID S. D’AMATO, policy advisor at the Heartland Institute

Last spring, a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office revealed several disturbing, interrelated trends in U.S. public education. The GAO found that racial segregation is growing in America’s public schools and that the color divide predictably tracks another, the troubling concentration of poor students in these schools.
The GAO’s findings, based on a survey of data from the 2000-2001 to 2013-2014 school years, show that schools that “had high percentages of poor and Black or Hispanic students grew from 9 to 16 percent.” And these schools are “the most racially and economically concentrated” overall, with 75 to 100 percent of students being either black or Hispanic and eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.
In the ‘60s and ‘70s, following the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education, schools steadily desegregated, the plans often compelled and overseen by the courts.
But American public schools have seen a recrudescence of racial segregation since the ‘80s, even as other social institutions and areas of life have become more integrated. In a report for EdChoice, economist Benjamin Scafidi suggests that this increased race and class segregation may be the result of “growing programmatic homogenization” in American public schools.
As public schools across the country grow more alike, students sort by race and class rather than according to interest or school specialization, which has effectively been precluded.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9t0

 

Do Private School Vouchers Pose a Threat to Integration?
Century Foundation analysis by fellow HALLEY POTTER

One of the few ways in which Donald Trump’s presidential campaign addressed the issue of education was through a dramatic promise to create a $20 billion school choice program, including private school vouchers or similar initiatives that fund private school tuition. While the political future of the $20 billion proposal is unclear, finding ways to use public dollars to fund private school tuition appears to be a top priority for the administration. U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been an advocate for private school voucher programs throughout her career in philanthropy. And President Trump reinforced his intention to expand school choice in his first address to Congress in March 2017, calling for a bipartisan school choice bill that would enable student to attend a “public, private, charter, magnet, religious or home school.”
There are multiple reasons to question the value of public programs that provide private school tuition—whether through private school vouchers or similar policies, such as tax credit scholarships and education savings accounts. Century Foundation senior fellow Richard D. Kahlenberg outlined some of these concerns in a recent report. The academic results of private school voucher programs thus far have been disappointing. Vouchers could divert limited funds from public schools, reduce students’ civil rights protections, and erode the separation of church and state. Furthermore, private school vouchers could increase school segregation.
Whether or not private school vouchers promote segregation is to some extent an empirical question, and yet, perhaps not surprisingly, opponents and supporters of private school vouchers tend to disagree on the answer.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sU

 

Future schools: core subjects only, parents pay for the rest
It would perfectly suit Tory ideology for parents to pay for sport, music, extra reading … and for state schooling to be pared to the basics
(Manchester) Guardian commentary by columnist Laura McInerney

Imagine a world where school as we know it – free to all, with a wide variety of subjects – has been stripped back to a basic entitlement. Each child gets only a few hours per day of teaching in the core subjects. If parents want extras, say sports or music lessons or more reading activities, those must be additionally purchased from the school, or from private companies.
It may sound like a dystopian future but many parents already supplement their child’s education and, with grammar schools about to return, there is the opportunity for a boom in private tutoring. An austerity government with weak opposition could see paring back education as a neat way to solve some of its woes.
School budgets are squeezed and by 2020 will have dropped in real terms by around 9%. School leaders are firing staff, cutting maintenance, stopping welfare services. Almost all are cutting back on the curriculum. One academy chain has already made music an after-school extra; others say they will follow.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sW

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Can DeVos sell school choice to America?
Politico

This is the moment Betsy DeVos has been waiting for.
With the president’s proposed budget calling for a major investment in charters and private schools, DeVos faces a test that could define her tenure as Education Secretary — selling school choice to America.
Donald Trump’s budget blueprint seeks to redirect tens of millions from student financial aid and teacher training, among other programs, to charter schools and private school tuition vouchers, including a $1 billion boost in Title 1 funds that for the first time would follow students to the public schools of their choice.
While only a down payment on Trump’s campaign promise to plow $20 billion into school choice, the budget plan represents a radical departure for education policy. DeVos’ reputation will hinge on her ability to convince not just lawmakers but the American public that large pots of taxpayer money should go to educational options besides traditional public schools, including helping working class families with private school tuition.
“The budget places power in the hands of parents and families to choose schools that are best for their children by investing an additional $1.4 billion in school choice programs,” DeVos said in a statement Thursday.
The reality is that DeVos — a billionaire who long fought for school choice causes before taking office — may have a hard time persuading even some members of her own party, who have previously rejected many of these ideas and who are sure to balk at cuts to other programs viewed as essential by educators and parents in their districts.
Still, with Republicans controlling all branches of government and school choice a priority for party leaders who see it as a way to help low-income, urban children while enlisting the support of their parents, nobody is writing off her chances.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sh

http://gousoe.uen.org/9sN (NYT)

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

 

Betsy DeVos to State Chiefs: Time for Ed. Dept. to ‘Let You Do Your Job’
Education Week

Washington – In two nearly identical speeches Monday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos told state chiefs and state school board members that she wants to them to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act.
“It’s time for the [Education] Department to get out of your way and let you do your job,” DeVos told the Council of Chief State School Officers’ annual legislative conference. “Once your state has developed a plan to provide a quality education in an environment that is safe and nurturing for all children, you—together with your governors—should be free to educate your students. And that’s the real key to ESSA.” (DeVos gave almost the same speech to the National Association of State Boards of Education earlier in the day.)
And she continued to press her number one priority: expanding school choice.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sM

http://gousoe.uen.org/9sO (The 74)

 

Republicans unveil new education savings account bill
Reno (NV) Gazette-Journal

Republicans on Monday rolled out their revamped school voucher plan after the Nevada Supreme Court found the 2015 version unconstitutional.
State Sen. Scott Hammond, R-Las Vegas, is carrying the bill that would revive the education savings account – or ESA – program. ESA’s passed the 2015 Legislature along party lines when Republicans controlled both chambers. The program would have given parents around $5,100 if they pulled their children from the public school system.
However, the Supreme Court ruled in 2016 the program needed dedicated funding and ruled it unconstitutional.
The new bill addresses that matter, and would create a line item for $60 million toward the program, the number Gov. Brian Sandoval requested. That’s lower than the $80 million Treasurer Dan Schwartz said the program needed.
Control of the new program would be pulled from Schwartz’s office and moved to the Office of Educational Choice, a newly formed entity within the Department of Education.
The bill would also limit vouchers to 5 percent of a district’s enrollment in a given school year. The vouchers would also be awarded on a first come, first serve basis.
Homeschool children would also not be included in the program.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sT

 

Education groups to sue to stop private school funding in Michigan
Detroit Free Press

A coalition of education and parent groups in Michigan announced today they are suing to prevent the state from providing funding to private schools.
The groups include the Michigan Association of School Administrators and the Michigan Association of School Boards. They are joined by several other public school advocacy groups.
The lawsuit arises out of the state budget that went into effect Oct. 1 that provides up to $2.5 million to reimburse private schools for costs associated with state-mandated requirements. That includes background checks, immunizations and compliance with state building, health and fire codes.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sS

 

ESSA Rules’ Rollback Complicates States’ Planning Obama-era regulations sent packing by Congress
Education Week

Congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump’s administration recently put their own stamp on the Every Student Succeeds Actt by dismantling key elements of the previous administration’s work.
State school leaders say the moves won’t significantly influence their approach to the law, but advocacy groups will be watching closely to see how the new, more flexible policy environment affects decisions about underperforming schools and disadvantaged students.
Congress earlier this month blocked accountability rules written by President Barack Obama’s administration, while the U.S. Department of Education reduced what states must report to the federal government about their plans for holding schools accountable.
Taken together, the two moves lessen the federal influence and oversight over a law many already see as returning more control to states and districts.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sl

 

She’s 17 years old and already helping patients.
Meet the Winner of one of the country’s most prestigious science fairs.
Washington Post

Indrani Das has been fascinated with brain injuries since her freshman year of high school, when she learned that their effects can be devastating and irreversible.
Later, her fascination evolved into a full-fledged research project. Das, now 17 and a senior at the Academy for Medical Science Technology in Hackensack, N.J., explored how brain damage occurs, examining a process call astrogliosis, which can lead to the excess production of a toxin that can damage neurons. If she and other researchers could better understand how brain damage occurs, perhaps they could figure out how to slow or reverse the process.
“My work centers on repairing the behavior of supporting cells to prevent neuro injury and death,” Das said. “It was really that shock of what it can do to a person that pushed me to work” on research involving brain injuries.
Das’s project, which explores the role of brain cells called astrocytes in the death of neurons, was awarded the top prize of $250,000 at the Regeneron Science Talent Search.
Das bested thousands of high school scientists from across the country.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sj

 

Should high school be more like the real world? These innovators think so
At Powderhouse Studios, students will work on research projects and go to school year-round.
USA Today

Students at Powderhouse Studios won’t have the typical American high school experience – and that’s exactly the point of the new school, its founders say.
The high school, set to open in a repurposed former school building in Somerville, Mass., next year, won’t have grade levels or traditional classes. Instead, students will be immersed in interdisciplinary projects that tap into their interests and ambitions. They’ll divide their days between seminars and project-based work, meeting with faculty for guidance regularly. And students will go to school year-round from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m., taking vacations based on their families’ schedules. Classrooms, lectures and lesson plans – the things traditional schools are built on – won’t be a big part of daily life at Powderhouse.
In short, Powderhouse will look more like a workplace than a high school.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sL

 

How Universal Child Care Affects Boys vs. Girls
A case study from Quebec reveals surprising differences in how children—and their parents—respond to subsidized care.
Atlantic

Among its many milestones, the 2016 U.S. presidential race marked the first time both the Democratic and Republican nominees released their child-care and paid-leave plans prior to the election. While campaigning, Donald Trump proposed a dependent-care savings account and a small earned-income tax credit for middle-class families. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, called for direct government investment in early childhood education—including universal pre-k for 4-year-olds—and tax relief for working families’ child care.
Both child-care plans were conservative by international standards. When it comes to early childhood education and care, countries like Denmark, Iceland, Luxembourg, Norway, and Sweden spend more than $9,000 per child under the age of 6 each year.
But there’s reason to believe that this kind of spending doesn’t always pay off. In 2015, a National Bureau of Economic Research working study studied Quebec’s universal day-care program and discovered significant negative behavioral and emotional effects among young children who received care. The program, known as the Quebec Family Policy, was created in 1997 with the aim of providing child care for just $5 a day to all children under the age of 4 (this became $7 a day in 2004). Although it presented some significant upsides—namely, allowing more mothers with young children to participate in the labor force—the quality of care was noticeably lacking. Young children enrolled in the program often became more anxious or aggressive, and teenagers who were previously enrolled reported declines in health and overall life satisfaction.
This created a predicament: Policies that favored working mothers seemed to be placing their children at a disadvantage. In fact, it’s the same argument President Nixon cited in 1971 when he vetoed the Comprehensive Child Development Act, which almost granted universal child care in the United States. Nixon described the bill as “a long leap into the dark,” fearing that “it would commit the vast moral authority of the national government … against the family-centered approach.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sQ

A copy of the study
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sR (National Bureau of Economic Research $)

 

In an Era of Fake News, Teaching Students to Parse Fact From Fiction
New York Times

The sixth graders took their seats in a classroom with a “news literacy word wall” that featured, in large letters, terms like “validity,” “accurate” and “reliable.” The teacher, Marisol Solano, said that the question for the day boiled down to this: “How do we know what’s news or not?”
Then she played a four­minute video of a man jumping from an airplane — without a parachute, the video said. As the class broke into discussion groups, Ms. Solano told the students to concentrate on other questions, about the video: “Would I share this? Would that be responsible of me as a news consumer?”
Fake news worked its way into the public consciousness during the presidential campaign last year and remains a hot topic, especially at Intermediate School 303 in Coney Island, Brooklyn, where teachers like Ms. Solano are on the offensive. Their lesson plans are aimed at steeping students in news literacy, which involves determining whether an article or a video is real — and if it is real, whether it is, for example, a news story or an advertisement made to look like a news report.
The teachers see an urgency to news literacy because, on the internet, misinformation can be mistaken for news. Is a tweet ripped from the headlines, or fabricated?
And then there is “fake news.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sk

 

Court: Student Prayers OK at School Board Meetings
Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — A Texas school board can open its meetings with student-led public prayers without running afoul of the Constitution’s prohibition against government-established religion, a federal appeals court ruled Monday.
The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld a lower court ruling dismissing a lawsuit against the Birdville Independent School District. The suit was filed by the American Humanist Association and a graduate of Birdville High School.
The panel said student-led prayers for legislative bodies differ from unconstitutional prayers in public schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sm

A copy of the ruling
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sn (5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals)

 

William Sanders, pioneer of controversial value-added model for judging teachers, dies
Chalkbeat

William Sanders, the Tennessee statistician and researcher who came up with the nation’s first system for evaluating teachers based on student growth, kicking off a contentious, decades-long debate about how best to measure learning, has died.
Sanders died late last week of natural causes in a hospital in Franklin, Tenn., his family said. He was 74.
A former professor at the University of Tennessee and senior research fellow with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Sanders is best known as the developer of the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System, or TVAAS. That model has become the foundation for judging the effectiveness of teachers in Tennessee public schools, and has been emulated in North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and cities across the nation — playing a key role in one of education reform’s central debates.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9sP

 

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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
9:30 a.m., 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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