Education News Roundup: March 22, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

Gov. Herbert promotes the new Talent Ready Utah program to create high-skill, high-paying jobs.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9t9 (SLT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9ta (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9tb (UP)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9ue (KTVX)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9tz (KSL)

Salt Lake School Board commits to protecting the privacy of undocumented students.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tn (SLT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9tv (AP via PDH)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9tx (AP via KUTV)

Congratulations to West High’s Kellie May, this year’s University of Utah Outstanding Public School Teacher.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9u5 (DN)

Chalkbeat and Ed Week look at how President Trump’s new education budget is trying to change the way schools are funded (now how much, but how).
http://gousoe.uen.org/9td (Chalkbeat)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9te (Ed Week)

In a unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court bolsters the education rights of students with disabilities.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tB (AP)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9tR (Reuters)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9tW (NYT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9tS (Ed Week)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9tD (NPR)
or a copy of the ruling
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tC (U.S. Supreme Court)

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, whose opinion was reversed by the high court, spoke about his ruling at his Senate hearing.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tX (Politico)

In a new survey, foreign exchange students say high school in the U.S. is easier than at home … and they don’t get the deal with all the sports in school.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tI (USAT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9tT (Ed Week)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9tY (Bloomberg)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9tM (AP)
or a copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tJ (Brookings)

New report looks at how many students are being taught by highly qualified teachers.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9th (Ed Week)
or a copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ti (NCES)

Which learning myths do you believe? Check out this quiz.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tE (NPR)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Gov. Herbert touts work-related school programs in Utah
Talent Ready > State reboots program with $2.1 million in grants.

Law against discussion of homosexuality in schools repealed

Johnson Laments Tax Increases In Times Of Surplus

Salt Lake City School District commits to protecting privacy of undocumented students

Park City School District special education director sees progress
Jennifer Slade says district is taking steps to implement changes

West High educator named U.’s Outstanding Public School Teacher

A million words: Thomas Edison students break old record with writing challenge

New NATA Program Advances Safe Sports in High School

SUU to Host Innovative Media Boot-Camp

Rocky Mountain Power awards funds for renewable energy projects

Timpview students and teacher make quilts for Midwest tornado victims

West Jordan school put on lockdown after threatening note found

Sterling Scholars Awarded

Sterling Scholars to be named on March 22

Several Davis School District principals, assistant principals shift positions

Lehi preschool class fundraising for sick ‘classmate’

Maple Mountain culinary students succeed in competition

Art show helps raise money for American Fork DECA students

Alpine School District students prepare for Battle of the Books

Granite School District principal duct-taped to flagpole

Utah Valley Teacher of the Week: Cassie Farley

Utah Valley Student of the Week: Brielle Fowler

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Cars speeding through crosswalks putting students at risk

You Probably Believe Some Learning Myths: Take Our Quiz To Find Out

Wipe anti-gay law off Alabama’s books

An Obama Decree Continues to Make Public Schools Lawless
To improve education, allow teachers to administer discipline regardless of race.

The Center for Education Reform Releases the 17th Edition of its National Charter School Law Rankings & Scorecard

Exploring District-Level Expenditure-to-Performance Ratios

NATION

Why the Trump administration wants school districts to change their budgets – and how Title I could stand in the way

In Pitching School Chiefs on ESSA Plans, 2 Congressmen See Wildly Different Futures for U.S. Education

Key Democratic senator outlines a case against school vouchers

How Many U.S. Students Are Taught by Qualified Teachers?

High Court Bolsters Rights of Learning-disabled Students

Gorsuch: ‘I’m sorry’ for ruling against autistic student

Student Sues Pennsylvania School Over Transgender Policy

This West Virginia school district has weekly Bible classes. A kindergartener is suing.

Exchange students say U.S. high schools easier and puzzle over all the sports

Arts Standards Quietly Take Hold in 14 States
14 states are using the new guidelines

Senators go after critics of bill that would give parents state funds for private school

State Senate Republicans say their budget fully funds K-12 schools
State Senate Republicans proposed two-year state budget that would add $1.8 billion to K-12 education while cutting some programs. Democrats, including Gov. Jay Inslee, were not impressed.

How does nutrition affect children’s school performance?

High School Rape Gets Drawn into Immigration Debate

NERD Undertakes Cataloging of 10,000 Ed Researchers

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UTAH NEWS
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Gov. Herbert touts work-related school programs in Utah
Talent Ready > State reboots program with $2.1 million in grants.

Gov. Gary Herbert wants Utah to continue improving its school system – and he said Tuesday pairing education and the private sector furthers that goal.
Herbert on Tuesday announced that $2.1 million in grants would be available to “develop and enhance programs to meet industry needs, build career pathway programs and provide work-based learning opportunities,” according to a news release.
The “grant program unveiled today is a collaborative effort to improve both our education system and workforce in Utah,” Herbert said at the Utah Capitol. “The program seeks to align our efforts to provide a pipeline of future talent and meet the needs of Utah businesses.”
That program is part of Herbert’s Talent Ready Utah, announced in January during his State of the State address. The goal is to create 40,000 high-skill, high-paying jobs in four years.
The grant portion of the initiative has been around since 2008, known under a different name: Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9t9 (SLT)

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

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9ue (KTVX)

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

 

Law against discussion of homosexuality in schools repealed

UTAH – Among the many bills signed by Gov. Gary Herbert Monday was the repeal of a law prohibiting discussion in public schools that could be seen as promoting homosexuality.
As of Tuesday, the governor has signed 234 of of the 535 passed during the 2017 legislative session that concluded earlier this month.
2017’s Senate Bill 196, Health Education Amendments, repeals what LGBTQ advocates called the “No Promo Homo” law. It particularly outlawed discussion of homosexuality as a part of health education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9u3 (SGN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9u4 ([Washington, DC] Metro Weekly)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9ud (Daily Beast)

 

Johnson Laments Tax Increases In Times Of Surplus

With the Utah legislative session in the books, the state is boasting an $88 million surplus and a rainy day fund of nearly a half a billion dollars. But in his op-ed piece in the Salt Lake Tribune, Jonathan Johnson, chairman of overstock.com, laments that the legislature still came up with at least 5 new ways to separate Utahans from more of their money.
One increase that didn’t pass was a proposal to raise the income tax rate from five to 5 7/8 percent to benefit public schools. Proponents threaten to take that matter to a public referendum, something the former GOP gubernatorial candidate would welcome.
“I would be very surprised if Utahns felt like a 17 percent income tax hike was warranted,” Johnson said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9u7 (UPR)

 

Salt Lake City School District commits to protecting privacy of undocumented students

Members of the Salt Lake City School District board took a stand against the harassment and deportation of undocumented students on Tuesday, voting unanimously for a safe schools resolution pushed by an immigration advocacy group.
The resolution directs district employees to reject efforts by individuals or agencies to enforce federal immigration law on school grounds, “except in the rarest cases,” and to avoid collecting or maintaining information on the immigration status of individual students.
“The District shall do everything in its lawful power to protect our students’ confidential information and ensure that our students’ learning environments are not disrupted by immigration enforcement actions,” the resolution states.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tn (SLT)

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

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

 

Park City School District special education director sees progress
Jennifer Slade says district is taking steps to implement changes

Jennifer Slade often worked with parents and staff in the Park City School District during her tenure as the Utah State Board of Education’s anti-discrimination specialist, where she focused on ensuring students throughout the state requiring special accommodations are treated fairly.
But when an opportunity came available last summer to join the district and deal with those issues from a different angle, Slade was eager to take it. She is now nearing the end of her first school year as the district’s special education director.
Slade, who has been an educator for nearly 30 years, is tasked with making sure the district is fulfilling its legal requirements in how it deals with students with special needs, ranging from learning disabilities to medical conditions.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ub (PR)

 

West High educator named U.’s Outstanding Public School Teacher

SALT LAKE CITY – The University of Utah has named West High School social studies teacher Kellie May its Outstanding Public School Teacher.
The annual award, given to exemplary educators in grades K-12, recognizes the impact teachers have in influencing students’ educational aspirations beyond high school
May has been an educator in the Salt Lake City School District for the past 22 years, serving students at four schools. May is also the coordinator of West High’s Advancement Via Individual Determination program, providing support for students on their way to becoming first-generation college graduates.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9u5 (DN)

 

A million words: Thomas Edison students break old record with writing challenge

Nathan Cureton asked a group of middle school students Tuesday, who in their right minds would write 10,000 words in one month?
“You, my students, are crazy,” Cureton said to a round of applause from the youngsters.
For the past three years, Cureton, an English teacher at Thomas Edison Charter School South Campus, has encouraged seventh, eighth and ninth grade students to write 10,000 words in just four weeks.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tw (LHJ)

 

New NATA Program Advances Safe Sports in High School

In an attempt to keep high school student athletes free from injury the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA) is formally recognizing secondary schools that take a series of recommended steps to keep their athletes free from injuries. The Iron County School District in Utah is the first school district in that state to have all three of its high schools designated as Safe Sport Schools, according to writer Becki Bronson. The schools are Canyon View High School, Parowan High School, and Cedar High School. Intermountain Sports Medicine manages the athletic trainers at each high school.
As Bronson wrote, in order to achieve Safe Sports School status, the athletic program at each high school must have done the following: “Create a positive athletic health care administrative system, provide or coordinate pre-participation physical examinations, promote safe and appropriate practice and competition facilities, plan for selection, fit function and proper maintenance of athletic equipment, provide a permanent, appropriately equipped area to evaluate and treat injured athletes, develop injury and illness prevention strategies, including protocols for environmental conditions, provide or facilitate injury intervention, create and rehearse a venue-specific Emergency Action Plan, provide or facilitate psychosocial consultation and nutritional counseling/education, and be sure athletes and parents are educated of the potential benefits and risks in sports.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9u6 (Orthopedics This Week)

 

SUU to Host Innovative Media Boot-Camp

CEDAR CITY, Utah – Southern Utah University welcomes Utah high school students considering communication careers to campus March 30 to April 1 for Media Boot-Camp. Hosted by the SUU Department of Communication, the event is designed to introduce prospective students to careers in media and other specialized communication fields.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tA (KCSG)

 

Rocky Mountain Power awards funds for renewable energy projects

Rocky Mountain Power recently awarded nearly $800,000 in funds for three renewable energy projects in Utah through the Blue Sky program.
The Blue Sky program awarded $576,224 to North Sanpete Middle School in Moroni to construct a 206-kilowatt solar array and a 32 kilowatt-hour battery storage system and electric vehicle charging station.
“This is an exciting new chapter because this is the first time Blue Sky funds have been used for battery storage,” Keven Hoopiiaina, Blue Sky Manager for Rocky Mountain Power, said. “This innovative project will provide valuable lessons for students and the public about how the latest technology can be used to promote clean energy.”
Other schools in the North Sanpete School District already have small solar panels. The middle and high school have an extracurricular program in which students work on electric cars and compete in electric car competitions. The district is planning to add courses that teach students how to install and test solar panels.

The DaVinci Academy of Science and Arts in Ogden received $163,800 to construct a 65-kilowatt solar system, which will provide approximately 89,000 kilowatt-hours each year or approximately 13 percent of the school’s energy requirements.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ua (Daily Energy Insider)

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

 

Timpview students and teacher make quilts for Midwest tornado victims

On the evening of March 6 and early morning of March 7 more than 30 tornadoes touched down throughout the Midwest.
While 153-mile-per-hour winds whipped homes in the Missouri towns of Oak Grove and Odessa like they were butter, Theresa Thompson was in Utah waiting to hear if her family and friends were OK.
“I grew up in Odessa,” Thompson said. “Twenty-nine tornadoes were spawned by one storm.”
By the end of the week another storm was producing more. Not being there to help was tearing Thompson apart.
Thompson teaches clothing, interior design and fashion design at Timpview High School. The following day she was telling her students in her Clothing II class about the devastation and how much she wanted to help.
“I told the Clothing II students I was planning on making a quilt,” Thompson said. “It was a jelly roll quilt.”
Jelly roll quilts are made up of 2.5-inch-wide strips of fabric rolled together like a jelly roll. The quilt has 40 pieces that require one to sew and flip the cloth, sew and flip, and repeat the action several times.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tr (PDH)

 

West Jordan school put on lockdown after threatening note found

WEST JORDAN, Utah, – West Jordan police officers responded to West Hills Middle School on Wednesday after a threatening note was found in a restroom.
The school, at 8270 S. Grizzly Way, was put on lockdown as a precaution as officers investigated the possibility of an actual threat. The note stated, in part, that at noon, someone was going to “shoot up the school.”
All students were found to be safe, according to a Facebook post on West Hills Middle School page. The lockdown was lifted at about 12:45 p.m., after the on-site investigation determined there was no credible threat.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9uf (Gephardt Daily)

 

Sterling Scholars Awarded

The Central Utah Sterling Scholars for 2017 were awarded in a ceremony Tuesday evening. Winners and runners up in each category include:
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tF (MUR)

 

Sterling Scholars to be named on March 22

San Juan High School will host the annual Southeastern Utah Sterling Scholar competition presented by Deseret News, Zion’s Bank and Emery Telcom on March 22.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9uc (San Juan Record)

 

Several Davis School District principals, assistant principals shift positions

Several Davis School District principals will shift to overseeing other schools at the start of the 2017-18 school year.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tp (OSE)

 

Lehi preschool class fundraising for sick ‘classmate’

LEHI – In Elodia Spray’s preschool class in Lehi, the children are preparing for kindergarten and the years to come. Their teacher is guiding that journey. Lately, the lessons are taking a more serious tone. A beloved classmate is not there.
“I miss him,” said one student. “He is special to me.”
“He is very sick,” said another student.
This isn’t just any ordinary classmate.
“Spike is our classroom pet,” said Mrs. Spray. “He’s a bearded dragon and the sweetest, loving pet you could ever have.”
A loving class pet with a serious illness. “(The veterinarian) thinks at this point he has cancer,” Spray said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ty (KSL)

 

Maple Mountain culinary students succeed in competition

Maple Mountain High’s ProStart Culinary Competition team advanced to the State Finals and tied for third place.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tu (PDH)

Art show helps raise money for American Fork DECA students

Howard Lyon is teaming up with American Fork High School’s five DECA International qualifiers to help raise funds for them to attend the International Career Development Conference in Anaheim.
The art show will be 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at 52 S. Bald Mountain Dr in Alpine.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tu (PDH)

 

Alpine School District students prepare for Battle of the Books

More than 9,000 students from Alpine School District have participated in Battle of the Books this year.
The top teams from 40 elementary schools, which is about 200 students, will compete on Saturday at American Fork Junior High. The battles test the third- through ninth-grade students’ knowledge of certain books they’ve read, and the elementary battles start at 9 a.m.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tu (PDH)

 

Granite School District principal duct-taped to flagpole

MILLCREEK, Utah – If you have some scissors and are near Mill Creek Elementary, this Granite School District principal could use a hand.
Mill Creek Elementary principal Ann Kane was duct-taped to a flag pole Tuesday.
Teachers also took pies to the face.
It’s OK, it was for a good cause.
The torturous acts were a reward for students who raised more than $2,000 in the school’s fundraiser.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ug (KSTU)

 

Utah Valley Teacher of the Week: Cassie Farley

Cassie Farley is a health teacher and also works with students in Guided Studies at Pleasant Grove High School. She was selected as the Daily Herald’s Educator of the Week.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ts (PDH)

 

Utah Valley Student of the Week: Brielle Fowler

Brielle Fowler is a senior at Pleasant Grove High School. She is talented in the classroom and on the volleyball court, and she was selected as the Daily Herald’s Utah Valley Student of the Week.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tt (PDH)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Cars speeding through crosswalks putting students at risk
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner letter from Robert Williams

I am a crossing guard at Second Street and Madison Avenue. Since school started on Aug. 23, 2016, I have had eight cars drive through the crosswalk when children or I were in it. Many drivers go 35 to 40 mph, even with the 20-mph flashing lights on.
I am convinced the chief of police is not interested in the safety of our children or the crossing guards. I have been told that there are not enough police to spend one hour in the morning or afternoon at our crosswalks once a month.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tq

You Probably Believe Some Learning Myths: Take Our Quiz To Find Out
NPR commentary by columnist Anya Kamanetz

This blog post has some pretty useful information. So print it out; get out your highlighter and take off the cap.
Ready? Now throw it away, because highlighters don’t really help people learn.
We all want for our kids to have optimal learning experiences and, for ourselves, to stay competitive with lifelong learning. But how well do you think you understand what good learning looks like?
Ulrich Boser says, probably not very well. His new research on learning shows that the public is largely ignorant of, well, research on learning. Boser runs the science of learning initiative at the left-leaning thinktank the Center for American Progress. He has a new book out, also about the science of learning, titled Learn Better.
He recently surveyed a representative sample of more than 3,000 Americans to test their beliefs about common learning myths.
“We wanted to document this gap between public perception and good practice,” he told NPR Ed. “In our paper we call it the, ‘Been there, done that’ problem. People went to school, so they have a feeling they know what good teaching looks like.”
But in fact, public opinion diverges from reality.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tE

 

Wipe anti-gay law off Alabama’s books
Birmingham (AL) News op-ed by Ryan Thoreson, Yale Law School Robert L. Bernstein International Human Rights Fellow at Human Rights Watch

On March 20, Utah officially repealed an anachronistic provision of state law that prohibited the “advocacy of homosexuality” in public schools.
The repeal is an important milestone, and will make a huge difference for Utah’s youth. But in Alabama and at least six other states, similar laws restricting the discussion or “promotion” of homosexuality – or “no promo homo” laws – remain on the books.
Alabama law currently requires public school course materials related to sexuality education to include an “emphasis, in a factual manner and from a public health perspective, that homosexuality is not a lifestyle acceptable to the general public and that homosexual conduct is a criminal offense under the laws of the state.”
Alabama’s criminal law against same-sex conduct has been unenforceable since the Supreme Court invalidated it in 2003. But the no promo homo law remains in place, sending degrading and misleading signals to students and teachers alike.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9u2

 

An Obama Decree Continues to Make Public Schools Lawless
To improve education, allow teachers to administer discipline regardless of race.
Wall Street Journal commentary by JASON L. RILEY, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute

In 2012 the Education Department released a national study showing that black students are suspended from school at a higher rate than whites, and the findings fueled a predictable debate over whether school discipline policies are racist. Two years later, the department sent a letter to school districts warning them to do something about the disparity-in effect, to stop suspending so many disruptive black students or risk becoming the subject of a federal civil-rights investigation-and the results have been just as predictable.
The title alone of a new report on the fallout, “School Discipline Reform and Disorder,” might tell you all you need to know. The author, Max Eden of the Manhattan Institute, notes that 27 states and more than 50 of the country’s largest school districts have moved to reduce suspensions in recent years, often to the dismay of those on the front lines. A Chicago teacher said her school became “lawless” after the new discipline policy was implemented. A teacher in Oklahoma City said “we were told that referrals would not require suspension unless there was blood.” A Buffalo teacher who was kicked in the head by a student said his charges are well aware of the new policy. “The kids walk around and say ‘We can’t get suspended-we don’t care what you say.’ ”
Mr. Eden’s report isn’t just a collection of anecdotes. It also includes plenty of empirical data that point to a change for the worse in school order.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tZ $

 

The Center for Education Reform Releases the 17th Edition of its National Charter School Law Rankings & Scorecard
Center for Education Reform news release

WASHINGTON — The Center for Education Reform (CER) today released its annual ranking of charter school laws for the states and the District of Columbia, giving fewer than a quarter of state charter school laws in the U.S. above-average grades.
“It’s a troubling commentary,” said CER founder and CEO Jeanne Allen. “Too many laws are not being implemented as envisioned when they were adopted, and it is stifling the effectiveness and growth of charter schools across the country.” CER gave above-average grades to only 25 percent of school laws-a significant drop from past rankings, which, as recently as 2014, had half the schools earning above-average marks.
In addition to reviewing the environment for chartering in each state over the past several months, CER consulted more than 100 stakeholders representing three-quarters of schools across the country.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9u8

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/9u9 (CER)

 

Exploring District-Level Expenditure-to-Performance Ratios
Regional Educational Laboratory at Education Development Center Inc. analysis

Districts across the nation are seeking ways to increase efficiency by maintaining, if not improving, educational outcomes using fewer resources. One proxy for school district efficiency is an expenditure-to-performance ratio, for example a ratio of per pupil expenditures to student academic performance. Using state education department data from an example state in the Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast & Islands Region, researchers created six different expenditure-to-performance ratios and investigated how districts’ inclusion in the highest quartile on districts rankings varied according to the expenditure and performance measures used to calculate each ratio. By demonstrating the variability in district rankings depending on the ratio being examined, this guide provides states and districts with evidence to suggest that state policymakers should carefully consider the examination of expenditure and performance measures that are most relevant to their questions of interest when investigating district efficiency.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tc

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Why the Trump administration wants school districts to change their budgets – and how Title I could stand in the way
Chalkbeat

President Trump’s first budget proposal promised $1 billion in new funds for poor students, with a catch: the money would be used to encourage school districts to adopt a new way of funding their schools.
Tucked into the administration’s “skinny budget,” the single sentence on the issue manages to say a great deal about the Trump administration’s priorities – and about how complicated it could be to move them forward.
The budget proposal calls for expanding Title I with money “dedicated to encouraging districts to adopt a system of student-based budgeting and open enrollment that enables Federal, State, and local funding to follow the student to the public school of his or her choice.” In calling for student-based budgeting, Trump joins a host of big-city school leaders and education reformers who argue that money should follow each student, no matter where they enroll.
It sounds like a simple idea, but it’s far from how most school districts operate.
Districts traditionally create school budgets based largely on how much it costs to pay the salaries of the adults who work in a building. That can mean schools serving high-needs students, which often have less experienced and lower-paid teachers, get less money than schools with more affluent students.
Under student-based budgeting, each student attending a school brings a certain amount of money, which can grow based on factors like whether the student has a disability or comes from a low-income family. That kind of system appeals to those who want schools with greater challenges to receive more funding. School-choice advocates like it, too, since it rewards schools that attract students and makes inequities in funding between district and charter schools more apparent.
It also forces districts to do the student-by-student calculations that could enable private-school vouchers – making student-based budgeting a gateway policy for voucher advocates such as U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9td

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

 

In Pitching School Chiefs on ESSA Plans, 2 Congressmen See Wildly Different Futures for U.S. Education
(New York) The 74

The decline of bipartisan geniality in K-12 education policy debate following the Every Student Succeeds Act continued to implode Tuesday, as two congressmen gave wildly different, often contradictory speeches to the nation’s top education leaders.
Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander and Democratic Rep. Bobby Scott addressed the Council of Chief State School Officers, detailing starkly different visions of the post-ESSA reality. For Alexander, 2017 marks the beginning of a new era of innovation led by states freed from overreaching federal bureaucracy; for Scott, America now finds itself in freefall, backsliding to a time when states ignored the education of children of color, English-language learners, and others outside the majority.
Alexander, the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, addressed this widening divide at the outset, opening his remarks with a pointed note on how far the ESSA coalition has fallen in the year since the law’s passage. Even though ESSA became law just 15 months ago, he said, it feels like 100 years, “given the current political environment.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tj

 

Key Democratic senator outlines a case against school vouchers
Washington Post

Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, a key Democratic leader on education policy, made her case against private-school vouchers in a 20-page memo to her Senate colleagues Wednesday, arguing that “school choice” sounds good in theory but falls short in practice.
President Trump has promised to pour billions of dollars into expanding choice initiatives, including taxpayer-funded vouchers for private and religious schools. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is a longtime advocate for such efforts, arguing that they provide poor children with life-changing opportunities.
But voucher programs too often fail to hold private schools accountable for their students’ performance, fail to serve children in rural areas, and fail to protect the rights of students with disabilities and other vulnerable young people, wrote Murray, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tG

A copy of the memo
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tH (U.S. Senate)

 

How Many U.S. Students Are Taught by Qualified Teachers?
Education Week

It turns out, most U.S. public school students are taught by certified and experienced teachers, according to a report by the National Center for Education Statistics. Still, the numbers vary as you look across states, school districts, and by different school and student characteristics.
The report, published on Tuesday, uses data from the Schools and Staffing Survey and the National Assessment of Educational Progress. The Schools and Staffing Survey provides information on teachers of K-12 students, last collected in the 2011-2012 school year, while the National Assessment of Educational Progress data is from 2013 and 2015 and is specific to 4th and 8th grade math and reading teachers.
At least 90 percent of K-12 public school students in the United States were taught by teachers with state certification in the years studied: 2011-2012, 2013, and 2015. In the 2011-2012 school year, state-certified teachers taught about 95 percent of students across all types of districts ranging from urban to rural. That percentage didn’t vary based on student disabilities, language status, or grade level. However, more high school students than middle school students were taught by teachers certified in the subject area for which they were hired, such as English or math.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9th

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ti (NCES)

 

High Court Bolsters Rights of Learning-disabled Students
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A unanimous Supreme Court on Wednesday bolstered the rights of millions of learning-disabled students in a ruling that requires public schools to offer special education programs that meet higher standards.
Chief Justice John Roberts said that it is not enough for school districts to get by with minimal instruction for special needs children. The school programs must be designed to let students make progress in light of their disabilities.
The court sided with parents of an autistic teen in Colorado who said their public school did not do enough to help their son make progress. They sought reimbursement for the cost of sending him to private school.
The case helps clarify the scope of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, a federal law that requires a “free and appropriate public education” for disabled students. Lower courts said even programs with minimal benefits can satisfy the law.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tB

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

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

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

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

A copy of the ruling
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tC (U.S. Supreme Court)

 

Gorsuch: ‘I’m sorry’ for ruling against autistic student
Politico

Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch said an opinion he wrote siding with a Colorado school district over the family of an autistic student was “wrong” and “I’m sorry” for it – but he had been bound by precedent.
The 10th Circuit judge made the comments after Sen. Dick Durbin announced during Gorsuch’s confirmation hearing that the Supreme Court had just ruled unanimously in a similar case that school districts must go the extra mile to accommodate students with disabilities.
“It’s a powerful decision, it’s a unanimous decision, it was written by the chief justice of the court,” Durbin said. “Why in your early decision did you want to lower the bar so low … ?”
Gorsuch responded that he is often asked whether he abides precedent and whether he always like the rulings he reaches.
“Here’s a case for you,” he said. “If anyone is suggesting that I like a result where an autistic child happens to lose, that’s a heartbreaking accusation to me. Heartbreaking.”
“But the fact of the matter is I was bound by circuit precedent,” Gorsuch continued. “I was wrong because I was bound by circuit precedent and I’m sorry.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tX

 

Student Sues Pennsylvania School Over Transgender Policy
Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A Pennsylvania high school student on Tuesday sued his school district, saying its transgender-friendly policy constitutes sexual harassment and a violation of privacy.
The action, filed Tuesday with the Eastern District of Pennsylvania federal court, comes a few weeks after the Trump administration rescinded Obama-era regulations that had instructed schools to allow students to use bathrooms and locker rooms in line with their expressed gender identity as opposed to their sex assigned at birth.
In October, the plaintiff, a high-school junior identified as Joel Doe, was changing into gym clothes in the boys’ locker room before the mandatory PE class when he saw a student, wearing shorts and a bra, according to the lawsuit. The second student had recently begun transitioning from female to male, said Kellie Fiedorek of the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative group representing the student who brought the suit.
“Joel Doe experienced immediate confusion, embarrassment, humiliation, and loss of dignity upon finding himself in this circumstance,” the lawsuit says. After complaining to the school administration, Joel Doe was told that he had to “tolerate” the situation and make it as “natural” as possible.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tN

http://gousoe.uen.org/9tO (Philadelphia Inquirer)

 

This West Virginia school district has weekly Bible classes. A kindergartener is suing.
Washington Post

A kindergartner is battling county officials in federal court over Bible classes in public school.
In a federal lawsuit filed in January, Jane Doe, a pseudonymous plaintiff who is the mother of Mercer County, W.Va., kindergartner Jamie Doe, challenged the county’s “Bible in the Schools” program, saying it was unconstitutional.
“This program advances and endorses one religion, improperly entangles public schools in religious affairs, and violates the personal consciences of nonreligious and non-Christian parents and students,” said the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia.
The classes, held for 30 minutes weekly in elementary schools and 45 minutes weekly in middle schools, include “scripted interpretations” of Bible stories that advance “creationism” and “inculcate the biblical account of Jesus’ death and resurrection” with “no legitimate secular purpose,” the suit said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9u1

 

Exchange students say U.S. high schools easier and puzzle over all the sports
USA Today

A funny thing happened on the way to making U.S. high schools harder: The rest of the industrialized world made theirs even harder.
A new survey of foreign exchange students who spent time in U.S. high schools last year finds that nine in 10 of them think school back home is more challenging. And the percentage who think so has grown.
That’s according to a new study out Wednesday from the Brookings Institution’s Brown Center on Education Policy. Researcher Tom Loveless in 2001 surveyed foreign exchange students, then revisited the questions in 2016. He found that the new crop of students believe more strongly that school here is easier than in their native country – and that students here don’t work as hard.
“For 15 years, we’ve kind of had this mantra,” he said. “We’ve made schools tougher and kids are working harder.”
But the new survey results, he said, are “kind of going against that – and my only explanation is that we’re not the only ones who have made schools tougher. The rest of the world has made schools tougher.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tI

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9tY (Bloomberg)

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

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tJ (Brookings)

 

Arts Standards Quietly Take Hold in 14 States
14 states are using the new guidelines
Education Week

When Ellie Jacovino began teaching general music in Arizona six years ago, the state’s standards for arts dictated some of her classroom activities very specifically. Her kindergartners were to “describe what a piece of music makes them think of or about.” Older students were to write a story when exposed to a “specific piece” of music.
Now, Jacovino might still ask her students at Sunset Elementary School in Glendale to describe music or write a story. But the standards she plans her teaching around don’t require that. Arizona adopted new arts standards in 2015, and now “it’s more about the concepts than the activities,” Jacovino said.
Arizona is one of more than a dozen states that has adopted new arts standards informed by the National Core Arts Standards, a set of voluntary standards in dance, theater, visual arts, music, and media arts developed by a coalition of more than 50 arts organizations and educators and released in 2014. And even as the better-known Common Core State Standards for English/language arts and math in recent years began to draw fierce opposition, this standards push is largely happening without controversy.
As of early this year, 14 states and the Department of Defense Education Activity had either adopted the National Core Arts Standards in their entirety or written new ones based on them. Several more states are expected to follow suit in the coming months.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tg

 

Senators go after critics of bill that would give parents state funds for private school
Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN – Staunchly conservative GOP senators on Tuesday hit back against claims that their “school choice” bill is a voucher plan skimming money from public schools, inviting fraud and wrongly mixing church with state.
At a hearing that drew scores of witnesses, the Senate education panel’s Republicans and one of its Democrats, Brownsville Sen. Eddie Lucio, spoke glowingly of how the bill would help children escape bullying and bad neighborhood schools.
“It’s not a winner-take-all. We’re not trying to decimate anybody,” said Sen. Larry Taylor, the bill’s sponsor.
Critics, though, questioned whether voucher-type programs in other states are working. In a low-spending state such as Texas, they said the Legislature should try a big funding boost to public schools before pursuing an experiment with subsidizing private school tuition.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tk

 

State Senate Republicans say their budget fully funds K-12 schools
State Senate Republicans proposed two-year state budget that would add $1.8 billion to K-12 education while cutting some programs. Democrats, including Gov. Jay Inslee, were not impressed.
Seattle Times

OLYMPIA – Washington Senate Republicans on Tuesday released a proposed two-year state budget that would add $1.8 billion to K-12 education.
The $43 billion 2017-19 budget plan is the next step in the long process to satisfy the state Supreme Court’s school-funding order known as the McCleary decision.
The additional money for education would come from higher revenue from existing taxes, transfers from other state accounts and cuts to some government programs.
The plan largely rejects the proposed 2017-19 state employee contracts bargained or negotiated last year that include raises totaling about $500 million.
Instead, the GOP would fund negotiated raises for the Washington State Patrol and some corrections workers while giving most state employees two $500 raises, the first on July 1 and the second on July 1, 2018. That would save hundreds of millions of dollars.
The plan also would cut about 400 managers from state government.
As part of its school-funding plan, the GOP would establish a statewide property-tax levy that ultimately would replace local school-district levies for basic education costs. That would raise property taxes in some places, like Seattle and Bellevue, while lowering them in others.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tf

 

How does nutrition affect children’s school performance?
CNN

As politicians debate spending and cuts in President Donald Trump’s proposed budget, there have been questions about the effects of nutrition programs for kids.
From before birth and through the school years, there are decades-old food programs designed to make sure children won’t go hungry. Experts agree that the nutrition provided to millions of children through school meal programs is invaluable for their health.
The National School Lunch Program, a federally assisted meal program, has been around since In 1946, when it began operating in public schools as well as some private schools and child-care institutions. The program provides nutritionally balanced low-cost or free lunches to children each school day.
In 1966, the School Breakfast Program, which was designed for “nutritionally needy” children, started as a pilot project, and it received permanent authorization in 1975. Decades later, Congress authorized the reimbursement of snacks served to children enrolled in after-school programs.
Under these programs, any child at a participating school may purchase a meal. Local schools set the prices for meals and offer a sliding scale to students depending on family income.
Children from families with incomes at or below 130% of the poverty level are eligible for free meals. (Poverty is calculated annually by the United States Census Bureau based on family size.) Families with incomes between 130% and 185% of the poverty level are eligible for reduced-price meals, which means a student can be charged no more than 40 cents. Children from families with incomes over 185% of poverty pay full price.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tm

http://gousoe.uen.org/9tU (Atlantic)

A copy of the study
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tV (University of California-Berkeley)

 

High School Rape Gets Drawn into Immigration Debate
Associated Press

As officials reported that one of two students charged with raping a 14-year-old girl in a Maryland high school bathroom entered the United States illegally, the crime became part of a national debate on immigration.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer, in response to a reporter’s question at Tuesday’s press briefing, called the crime “shocking, disturbing, horrific.”
“I think part of the reason that the president has made illegal immigration and crackdown such a big deal is because of tragedies like this,” he said.
Henry Sanchez, 18, and Jose Montano, 17, were charged in the Thursday assault at Rockville High School. The Washington Post reports that Sanchez lived in Guatemala until he was 17.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tP

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

 

NERD Undertakes Cataloging of 10,000 Ed Researchers
(Chatsworth, CA) THE Journal

A school of education and the tech accelerator it launched in 2015 are working together to create a database of education researchers. The National Education Researcher Database, or NERD, as it’s known, is a joint project undertaken by the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education and Jefferson Education Accelerator. The goal: to spark collaboration among those researchers, school people and education technology entrepreneurs.
The first step in the project is to create a catalog containing information about every education researcher in the country. That data will be made freely available and searchable on the NERD site. The founders of the effort expect the catalog eventually to contain 10,000 researcher profiles. Users will be able to “follow” their favorite researchers and receive alerts when their accomplishments and availability are updated.
“The $10 billion ed tech market is rife with shiny products that promise to transform teaching and learning. But educators have precious little data to understand which products are most likely to work in various environments,” said Curry School Dean, Bob Pianta, in a prepared statement. “The market is clamoring for better evidence, but the research community feels like a black box to entrepreneurs and investors. Who are the rock stars of education research? What sort of expertise can they bring to bear on the design and implementation of new products?”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9tl

 

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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

June 22:

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2017&Com=APPPED

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