Education News Roundup: March 24, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

State Charter School Board

Can the State Charter School Board exercise eminent domain?
http://gousoe.uen.org/9uJ (SLT)

The Spectrum looks at LGBTQ students in Utah in the wake of the passage of SB196.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9uT (SGS)

U.S. News & World Report looks at split reactions in the charter school community to Trump administration school choice policies.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9uM (USN&WR)

The U.S. Department of Education looks at data security among education contracting firms.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9uK (Ed Week)
or a copy of the audit
http://gousoe.uen.org/9uL (ED)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Dispute over Utah charter school property forcing question of eminent domain authority
Road dispute > In possible test of eminent-domain power, overseer of alternative schools seeks recourse in bid to solve Draper school’s traffic quagmire.

Do LGBTQ youth have a place in Southern Utah schools?

Parents learn about new Innovations program coming to Logan High

Two Rivers students bring spoken word poetry to Hub 801

Jordan school board prepared to give teachers $10M raise

Governor announces Talent Ready Utah grant program and executive board

Local schools receive $1.7 million for STEM

Granite High alumni group files for historic status of buildings, but it’s likely too late

OPINION & COMMENTARY

To prosper, Utah must scale up its school innovations

Disrespecting educators

Utah’s education strategy

NATION

Trump School Choice Proposals Drive Wedge Between Charter School Advocates
Planned budget cuts to the Education Department and a spending increase for vouchers and charter schools are forcing advocates to pick sides.

IES Audit Finds Problems With Screening for Contractors Using Student Data

Parents See Benefits in Spec. Ed. Vouchers, But No Silver Bullet

Hogan visits Montgomery County School with U.S. Education Secretary DeVos

State Board Association Creates ESSA Tracker

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UTAH NEWS
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Dispute over Utah charter school property forcing question of eminent domain authority
Road dispute > In possible test of eminent-domain power, overseer of alternative schools seeks recourse in bid to solve Draper school’s traffic quagmire.

A Utah charter school group is asking the state charter school board to settle a longstanding property dispute through eminent domain.
The board is scheduled to discuss Friday whether to intervene in the conflict over road access on behalf of Utah Charter Academies, which oversees the American Preparatory Academy network of charter schools.
At issue is a narrow strip of land in Draper that runs along the south side of an American Preparatory Academy parcel and renders it functionally landlocked, without access to a road between the school property and an industrial park.
Charter board spokeswoman Jennifer Lambert said Utah Charter Academies has “requested some assistance in getting access to one of their schools.”
The request sets the stage for an unprecedented and controversial action by the unelected advisory panel to the Utah Board of Education. While Utah law grants to boards of education the power to claim property for public use through eminent domain, it remains unclear – and as yet untested in court – whether that power extends to the state charter school board.
“It would probably be in [the form of] a lawsuit where they become a plaintiff,” Lambert said, describing possible action by charter board members. “They would take first position in trying to exercise eminent domain.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9uJ (SLT)

 

Do LGBTQ youth have a place in Southern Utah schools?

With a senate bill that was signed by Gov. Gary Herbert this week, LGBTQ rights activist groups are hopeful the Beehive State is moving in a direction centered more toward equal opportunities for LGBT youth.
Senate Bill 196 serves as an amendment to the health instruction guideline by repealing a law that prohibited advocacy of homosexuality in schools. Nicknamed the “No Promo Homo” law by LGBTQ rights activist groups, the law has also discouraged simple discussion of homosexuality in Utah’s public schools since 1996.
Herbert signed SB 196 on Monday, and some say the bill is a decent step in the right direction, especially in light of the Trump Administration’s recent pull-back of the bathroom use guidance issued last year. The former guidance required officials at public schools that receive federal funding to allow students to use the public restroom that corresponded with the gender identity of their choice.
So. Utah transgender community fearful of future
Local school officials said, as far as HB 196 is concerned, that they’re waiting for extra direction to come from the Utah State Board of Education. Steve Dunham, communication director at Washington County School District, said the district’s health teachers will likely complete a training, and the content and guidelines related to the training, he said, will likely come from the USBE.
“(USBE) will establish guidelines and send it down to us,” Dunham said. “I don’t know if we’ll need to reach out to all of our teachers or not. I don’t know if it’s currently an issue in our schools.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9uT (SGS)

Parents learn about new Innovations program coming to Logan High

Logan High parents learned more about a program designed to be more innovative, flexible and individualized than the typical high school experience during an informational meeting Wednesday night.
The program, called Innovations, is modeled after Innovations Early College High School in Salt Lake City School District. That school has a 100 percent graduation rate, something that Logan High Principal Ken Auld hopes to emulate. He said Innovations is designed for everyone, but they realize everyone doesn’t want the design.
“This isn’t a program that is taking over Logan High School, but it is a program that is going to benefit many of our students,” Auld said to the parents gathered at the Logan High auditorium Wednesday.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9uS (LHJ)

 

Two Rivers students bring spoken word poetry to Hub 801

OGDEN – For Samantha Garcia, it’s about her father.
For Jocelyn Cortes, it’s a way to express her frustration.
For Abigale Morris, it’s about her girlfriend.
For Connor Morris, it’s a chance to look at his journey through adoption from a different perspective.
The students in Cassie Cox’s English class at Two Rivers High School all have different reasons behind the spoken word poetry they’ve written themselves and plan to perform Monday, March 27, within the theme “If You Only Knew.”
“Their pieces are heartfelt,” Cox said. “They are powerful messages dealing with issues like abandonment, loss, death, where they are now and where they hope to be.”
The performance is free and open to the public, at 7 p.m. at Hub 801, 3525 Riverdale Road, Ogden.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9uP (OSE)

 

Jordan school board prepared to give teachers $10M raise

Salt Lake City – The offer is on the table: $10 million dollars to give 2,600 Jordan School District Teachers a raise for the next school year.
“We are very excited,” said Vicki Olsen, a 27-year teacher who works at Riverton High and also represents the Jordan teacher’s union.
The negotiations have been friendly so far and if teachers approve the offer, it will happen.
Olsen said if approved, every teacher in the Jordan District will get a raise.
Salaries for new teachers will increase from $34,500 to $40,000.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9uU (KUTV)

 

Governor announces Talent Ready Utah grant program and executive board

SALT LAKE CITY – Gov. Gary R. Herbert announced Talent Ready Utah’s first steps in working toward his goal of filling 40,000 new high-skill, high-paying jobs in Utah over the next four years.
The governor announced that the Utah Cluster Acceleration Partnership will become the grant program for Talent Ready Utah, with more than $2.1 million in grant funding available for the purpose of developing and enhancing programs to meet industry needs, building career pathway programs and providing work-based learning opportunities.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9uW (KCSG)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9v1 (UPR)

 

Local schools receive $1.7 million for STEM

SYRACUSE-Computer – science. Computer – science. That was the chant from students during a presentation Friday at Syracuse High School of $1.7 million from Hill Air Force Base and the Northrop Grumman Foundation to fund STEM education.
The majority of the investment will fund participation in the National Math + Science Initiative’s (NMSI) College Readiness Program at Northridge and Syracuse high schools, according to a release. Northrop Grumman is donating $250,000, the Department of Defense is contributing $1.2 million and HAFB is investing an additional $250,000 in partnership with the State of Utah STEM Action Center to expand and enhance STEM programs locally.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9v2 (DCC)

 

Granite High alumni group files for historic status of buildings, but it’s likely too late

SOUTH SALT LAKE – When Merili Carter attended Granite High School in the 1990s, she did all she could to preserve memories all students could remember forever as a member of the school’s yearbook staff.
Now 20 years later, Carter, who heads a group of the school’s alumni, is doing all she can to preserve the actual school.
Granite High closed in 2009. Since then, the school has remained vacant despite various attempts to transform it into something else. It lies on the corner of 3300 South and 500 East, with its windows boarded and surrounding grass overgrown. However, the school remains structurally sound.
Carter wants to turn it into anything – anything really. As long as the buildings aren’t demolished along with those memories.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9uV (KSL)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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To prosper, Utah must scale up its school innovations
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

For Utah education, it’s a matter of whether our can-do spirit can be our will-do reality.
Gov. Gary Herbert this week announced that $2.1 million in grants will be available for his “Talent Ready Utah” effort, which he unveiled in his State of the State speech in January. The goal is to create 40,000 high-skill, high-paying jobs in the next four years.
The effort fits with the governor’s larger, multi-year effort to have two-thirds of Utah workers complete some post-high school training by the year 2020. The funding announced this week is intended to “develop and enhance programs to meet industry needs, build career pathway programs and provide work-based learning opportunities,” according to a news release from the governor’s office.
It’s all very laudable, but there’s just one thing: If we’re spending $2.1 million on skills training for 40,000 workers, that works out to be $52.50 per worker. How much skills training is that going to buy? Even if that funding persists for four years, that would be around $200 per worker.
Try as we might, we are not going to create a skilled worker for $200.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9uI

 

Disrespecting educators
Deseret News letter from Sarah Smith

As a teacher in the Davis School District, I am first and foremost an advocate for the students. However, recent changes to district purchasing policies, which were apparently brought about by pressure from the state, are a blatant disrespect for the education professionals in our community.
In past years, teachers turned in receipts for classroom purchases to be reimbursed with what very little money was given to them, or donated by parents. Many teachers were given school credit cards to use to avoid reimbursement. A recent change has limited school credit cards to two per school that teachers must “check out” to make purchases. Teachers are also no longer allowed to turn in ANY receipts for reimbursement. Ask a teacher how many trips he or she takes to run to the store to purchase something for tomorrow’s science lesson … or even just pencils! Because yes, many teachers have to buy those too.
This policy change unnecessarily inconveniences teachers and forces them into paying for even more things out of their own pockets.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9uN

 

Utah’s education strategy
Deseret News letter from Anne Beus

Utah needs to re-evaluate its educational ideas. First – the public schools. I am continually amazed that people would be surprised that so many public school teachers in Utah are leaving the profession. The salaries are the lowest in the nation, hard-working teachers are unappreciated, classrooms are too crowded. My very well-qualified daughter in Chicago would love to come back to Utah to teach, but as she said, salaries are way too low and house prices are way too high. Second – The loss of many well-qualified college teachers and the rising costs of obtaining a college education. Another daughter was an adjunct professor at BYU until she simply couldn’t afford it and had to find another job. Perhaps our universities could afford to give more of their teachers full-time jobs if they would double their class loads instead of giving them so much research time. The double loads would still be less than the average public school teacher. And the tuition would be more affordable.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9uO

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Trump School Choice Proposals Drive Wedge Between Charter School Advocates
Planned budget cuts to the Education Department and a spending increase for vouchers and charter schools are forcing advocates to pick sides.
U.S. News & World Report

The Trump administration’s plan to ax $9 billion in federal education spending but direct millions to a new program that would help students afford private school exposed a fissure among charter school advocates, one not publicly acknowledged but privately widening at an increasingly fast pace since the election.
In reacting to the fiscal 2018 blueprint, organizations that support charter schools split: Some admonished the administration for its proposed education cuts, as well as billions in cuts to health care and wraparound social service programs on which the country’s most disadvantaged students rely. Others touted the increases for school choice policies, which, in addition to a $250 million private school choice program, included $168 million more for charter schools and a $1 billion boost in Title I for poor students whose states allow them to use the money to enroll at any public school of their choice.
“Today, President Trump demonstrated that he is a strong supporter of charter public schools,” Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, said in a statement. “The charter school movement is grateful for the president’s support, and we applaud his commitment to providing critically needed funding.”
But Greg Richmond, president and CEO of the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, took a different tack.
“We are deeply concerned about proposed cuts to other important education programs, as charter schools are part of – not a substitute for – a strong public education system,” Richmond said in his public statement. “Charter schools cannot succeed without strong teachers and a seamless, affordable path to college for their graduates. Unfortunately, this proposed budget harms programs that are important for students, teachers, and public education.”
The different responses highlight what’s become a more visible divide, though one that’s long existed, among school choice proponents – and specifically among charter school supporters who can get behind private school choice policies and those who cannot.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9uM

 

IES Audit Finds Problems With Screening for Contractors Using Student Data
Education Week

The U.S. Department of Education’s office of inspector general has released an audit sharply critiquing the Institute of Education Sciences’ security screenings for federal education contractors.
IES, the Education Department’s research agency collects data on millions of students nationwide, and it is one of the primary agencies connecting researchers to student data, but the audit suggests the agency needs to tighten its processes to ensure researchers know how to safeguard student privacy.
Auditors looked at a a sample of 95 employees assigned to IES’s five largest contractors, all of them long-standing research groups: Research Triangle Institute, the American Institutes for Research in the Behavioral Sciences, NCS Pearson, Inc, Westat, Inc, and the Educational Testing Service. All told, they represent more than $462 million, or 29 percent of IES’s active contract funding.
The auditors found nearly half of the 81 employees who needed a screening in order to work with student data had no evidence of receiving one. Another 15 employees had been screened while under a previous contract or while working for another agency, but IES had not verified their screenings.
In general, the problems seems to be caused by confusion about which employees met different levels of risk in working with students’ personal data. IES is in the process of revising a guide for contractors on student data, but it has not been reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9uK

A copy of the audit
http://gousoe.uen.org/9uL (ED)

 

Parents See Benefits in Spec. Ed. Vouchers, But No Silver Bullet
Education Week

While the senators were lecturing, Tera Myers was fuming.
Myers, the mother of an adult son with Down syndrome, had traveled to Washington to support Betsy DeVos, then the nominee for U.S. secretary of education, during her confirmation hearing. DeVos, a staunch supporter of school choice programs such as vouchers, faced pointed questioning from skeptical lawmakers at the January hearing. Several of them said that such options leave students with disabilities behind.
Myers, who lives in Mansfield, Ohio, said she felt the questions were deeply unfair. Not only had a voucher program helped Myers provide the best education for her son, she said, but the choice options had pushed school districts in her area to improve their offerings as well.
“No one, from my perspective, is saying, ‘I don’t like public school,’ ” Myers said. “I believe, just from my experience, the competition has created better public schools and better private schools.”
But in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Lynn Ambert watched the same hearing live on C-SPAN with far more skepticism. Her 9-year-old son is eligible for a voucher under Florida’s program, and she wanted to use it. However, no private school in her area will accept Ayden, who has autism and behavioral disabilities. Even the schools that advertised on their websites that they offered behavioral programs turned her away.
School Choice for Students With Disabilities
Special education students are allowed to enroll in any school choice program that is available in their state, but certain voucher programs, educational savings accounts, and tax credit scholarships are open only to students with disabilities.
“School vouchers are great-in theory,” Ambert said. “But implementation is where they lack, because they don’t accept everybody.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9uX

 

Hogan visits Montgomery County School with U.S. Education Secretary DeVos
Baltimore Sun

Gov. Larry Hogan popped into a Montgomery County elementary school Thursday morning to read some Dr. Seuss. He shared the job with one of the Trump administration’s most divisive figures: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
The Republican governor and DeVos greeted second graders from Carderock Springs Elementary in the school’s library before sitting down to read “Oh The Places You’ll Go,” Seuss’ ode to pluck.
“Good morning Mrs. Secretary DeVos,” the children said in unison.
“That is quite a big handle, isn’t it?” DeVos said, before cracking open the book. Hogan, who said he didn’t know the story, picked up on a hopeful note after the protagonist leaves the “waiting place.”
“You’ll find the bright places where boom bands are playing,” the governor read.
While the tone inside the library was light, protesters massed on the suburban street outside the school. Many carried signs opposing policies championed by Hogan and DeVos, such as support for charter schools and government voucher programs that parents can use to pay for private school.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9uZ

http://gousoe.uen.org/9v0 ([Baltimore] WJZ)

 

State Board Association Creates ESSA Tracker
Education Week

As the first deadline for state accountability plans under the Every Student Succeeds Act approaches on April 3, many state boards of education are meeting this month to vote on crucial policies that will dictate, among other things, school accountability systems and how federal dollars are distributed in the coming years.
Curious how state school boards are handling new policies under the Every Student Succeeds Act?
The National Association of State Boards of Education this week launched a website that tracks all 50 states’ boards of education meeting minutes regarding ESSA plans.
More than 45 state boards of education have authority over content-standards adoption and 32 state boards have direct authority over the summative assessments-all issues that are part of ESSA plans, and five additional states where the SBE shares authority.
NASBE and the National Conference of State Legislatures have both urged their members to make sure that state board policies and state statutes align with their state ESSA plans.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9uY

or https://stateboardinsight.nasbe.org/

 

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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

April 21:

Utah State Board of Education Law and Licensing Committee meeting
8:30 a.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.boarddocs.com/ut/usbe/Board.nsf/Public

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

April 26:

Utah State Board of Education Standards and Assessment Committee meeting
9:30 a.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.boarddocs.com/ut/usbe/Board.nsf/Public

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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