Education News Roundup: April 11, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

USDB is looking for new advisory council members.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Ev (OSE)

What’s in heavy rotation on your curriculum playlist?
http://gousoe.uen.org/9EC (Ed Week)

Are schools and colleges making use of big data to find the students they want?
http://gousoe.uen.org/9EE (Chicago Sun-Times)
http://gousoe.uen.org/9EF (Atlantic)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

USDB seeks Advisory Council applicants and nominations by April 26

“Fast Forward on Tour” Tuesday evening, April 11, at Utah Theatre

2 Davis County Schools on lockout after man commits suicide on school grounds

Lockout at Bonneville High ends after anonymous tip about shooting threat

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Consider the consequences

Arizona’s Grand School Choice
The state enacts universal education savings accounts.

PBS Dares to Air a Documentary Championing School Choice
School, Inc. challenges the public-school status quo.

NATION

Curriculum ‘Playlists’: A Take on Personalized Learning
Some schools are betting on the curriculum playlists to customize students’ learning, but the technology is neither cheap nor proven

Special Ed School Vouchers May Come With Hidden Costs

High School Activists to Betsy DeVos: Keep a Close Eye on Grad Rate ‘Loophole’

Noble tried to poach from other charter schools, not just CPS

How Colleges Use Big Data to Target the Students They Want
By tracking prospective pupils’ digital footprints, schools can make calculated decisions about their admissions outreach-for a price.

San Bernardino School Closed Following Murder-Suicide

San Bernardino shooting puts spotlight on school safety

 

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UTAH NEWS
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USDB seeks Advisory Council applicants and nominations by April 26

OGDEN – The Utah Schools for the Deaf and the Blind is seeking six members to serve on its Advisory Council.
The council has 10 voting members and two non-voting members and because they serve staggered two-year terms, about half of the board’s seats come open ever year.
Open seats on the council are for the following positions:
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Ev (OSE)

 

“Fast Forward on Tour” Tuesday evening, April 11, at Utah Theatre

Students in the art department at Fast Forward Charter High School will perform for the public Tuesday evening in a talent showcase at the Utah Theatre. The performance, entitled “Fast Forward on Tour,” begins at 7 p.m. and features student bands, short films and live art, including dance, projected art and a fashion show.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9EI (CVD)

 

2 Davis County Schools on lockout after man commits suicide on school grounds

KAYSVILLE, Utah – Two schools in Kaysville were placed on lockout Tuesday after officials say a man committed suicide on school grounds.
Officials say Kaysville Junior High and Columbia Elementary will be on lockout as officials investigate.
Kaysville Police say the man was in his 20’s. It happened on the grounds of Kaysville Junior High but no student or staff member witnessed the incident.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9EJ (KTVX)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9EK (Gephardt Daily)

Lockout at Bonneville High ends after anonymous tip about shooting threat

OGDEN – A lockout at Bonneville High School has been lifted Tuesday morning after a shooting threat, officials say.
Weber School District spokesman Lane Findlay said Weber County Sheriff’s deputies are on scene Tuesday, April 11, because the school received an anonymous tip that two students who attend Bonneville High were going to “shoot up the school.”
Findlay said school officials then discovered the two students were not in class; however, one student came to school shortly after and was detained.
The school was put under lockout because the second student couldn’t immediately be found. Findlay wasn’t sure what exact time the lockout took effect. A lockout is when the outer doors of the school are locked but the school day continues inside as usual.
When the second student came to school and was detained, Findlay said the lockout was lifted at about 9:40 a.m.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Et (OSE)

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

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Consider the consequences
Deseret News letter from Ron W. Smith

Interstate competition for effective teachers has been going on for years in the Mountain West and elsewhere. The recession that began in 2008 caused state budget shortages everywhere, and some states that have lost teachers to higher bidders have never recovered. Utah is just one among many losers. Teachers in North Carolina and Alabama also left in significant numbers when their legislatures failed to ante up adequately for the funding of K-12. Kansas and Washington ended up in court over funding issues, and the loss of experienced teachers was a consequence. Arizona tried, without much success, to lure teachers from cooler climes with the promise of fun in the sun to cover its loss of teaching talent because of major underfunding.
We’re fast approaching a point in this country, not just in Utah, where treating public education as a line item in the state budget will no longer work. It’s time to consider the consequences of such poor practice to our children, their lives and the country’s future as a world leader.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Es

 

Arizona’s Grand School Choice
The state enacts universal education savings accounts.
Wall Street Journal editorial

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos last month gave a rousing speech encouraging all flowers of school choice to bloom. Arizona lawmakers put her words into action on Thursday by enacting universal education savings accounts.
Arizona pioneered education savings accounts (ESAs) in 2011 as a workaround to a state Supreme Court ruling that struck down vouchers. The state deposits 90% of a student’s per-pupil allowance into an account that parents who withdraw their children from public schools can tap for private school.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Eo $

 

PBS Dares to Air a Documentary Championing School Choice
School, Inc. challenges the public-school status quo.
National Review commentary by PAUL CROOKSTON, Collegiate Network Fellow at National Review

Your local PBS station might seem like an unlikely place to find a documentary critical of public education, but that is exactly what viewers get this week with the late Andrew Coulson’s new documentary School, Inc. The film doesn’t attack public schools. Rather, it asks why education has yet to behave like other industries have in the last 200 years or so – and why it has failed to achieve comparable gains.
The three-part documentary airs around the country this week, and in it Coulson attempts to answer a narrow but important question: Why doesn’t excellence in education extend to the field as a whole, as it has in basically every other industry? Why don’t education methods “scale up” to raise quality across the board, as has occurred in basically every other industry? School, Inc. approaches this simple question with a global perspective. One of the film’s key virtues, especially for education-policy non-enthusiasts, is that Coulson travels the world examining different schooling models. This turns think-tank expertise into good TV.
Coulson was a senior fellow of education policy at the Cato Institute, so it’s not surprising that he takes a thoroughly libertarian view of how to improve education. But he doesn’t rely on ideological abstractions. Far from it – he constructs his arguments with an eye to history, international education systems, and hard economic data.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9EG

http://gousoe.uen.org/9EH (KUED)

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Curriculum ‘Playlists’: A Take on Personalized Learning
Some schools are betting on the curriculum playlists to customize students’ learning, but the technology is neither cheap nor proven
Education Week

Back in 2009, Joel Rose and his team used spreadsheets to manually produce customized “playlists” for 70 New York City middle school students each day. The goal was to always give each child the best possible content, delivered in the optimal manner, at the best possible time.
Figuring out how to make that happen took 11 hours every night.
Now, Rose’s New York-based nonprofit organization, New Classrooms, performs those same functions each day for 11,000 students in 38 district, charter, and independent schools spread across 10 states and the District of Columbia.
Thanks to complex algorithms, the process is now complete by 4:30 p.m. each day.
“The basic concept of using data to match each student with the best possible lesson every day has remained consistent,” Rose, a former middle school math teacher, said. “But on the tech side, we’ve made quantum leaps.”
Belief in the potential of “curriculum playlists” is central to the K-12 personalized-learning movement. The premise is that in any given math classroom, for example, some students will need help with basic arithmetic, while others should be practicing solving equations. And some students might need to work with a teacher, while others might be better off practicing online. Even the best teachers can’t consistently differentiate at that level for 30 students every single day. Technology can help.
The concept has led to both new opportunities and new challenges for schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9EC

 

Special Ed School Vouchers May Come With Hidden Costs
New York Times

For many parents with disabled children in public school systems, the lure of the private school voucher is strong.
Vouchers for special needs students have been endorsed by the Trump administration, and they are often heavily promoted by state education departments and by private schools, which rely on them for tuition dollars. So for families that feel as if they are sinking amid academic struggles and behavioral meltdowns, they may seem like a life raft. And often they are.
But there’s a catch. By accepting the vouchers, families may be unknowingly giving up their rights to the very help they were hoping to gain. The government is still footing the bill, but when students use vouchers to get into private school, they lose most of the protections of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Many parents, among them Tamiko Walker, learn this the hard way. Only after her son, who has a speech and language disability, got a scholarship from the John M. McKay voucher program in Florida did she learn that he had forfeited most of his rights.
“Once you take those McKay funds and you go to a private school, you’re no longer covered under IDEA – and I don’t understand why,” Ms. Walker said.
In the meantime, public schools and states are able to transfer out children who put a big drain on their budgets, while some private schools end up with students they are not equipped to handle, sometimes asking them to leave. And none of this is against the rules.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Ep

 

High School Activists to Betsy DeVos: Keep a Close Eye on Grad Rate ‘Loophole’
Education Week

Activists who monitor the high school space are urging U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to keep a close watch on a loophole in federal law that could allow states to identify fewer high school “dropout factories” for support.
In a letter issued Monday, the four organizations that lead the GradNation initiative urge DeVos to ensure that states use the four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate-that’s a wonky way of saying the percentage of freshmen who graduate with regular diplomas four years later-when they identify high schools with low graduation rates.
The request comes as states begin to submit their plans to implement the Every Student Succeeds Act. In those plans, states must include descriptions of how they’ll identify and support high schools that graduate fewer than two-thirds of their students.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Eq

A copy of the letter
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Er (Alliance for Excellent Education)

 

Noble tried to poach from other charter schools, not just CPS
Chicago Sun-Times

A Noble Network of Charter Schools recruitment effort that used improperly obtained information on Chicago Public Schools students also targeted kids at other charter schools, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show.
More than 28,000 students at 473 schools were sent a glossy mailer last fall inviting them to consider attending a Noble school, and about 2,800 of them – one in 10 of the recipients – already were enrolled at another charter school, according to records Noble released in response to a public records request.
CPS previously has said it sent letters in November to nearly 30,000 households apologizing for the privacy breach that gave Noble personal information about students. A CPS staffer was fired for leaking the student data to Noble.
Neither CPS nor Noble gave any indication that children outside of CPS-operated schools were affected.
But the newly released records show Noble also tried to poach students from 53 charter schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9EE

 

How Colleges Use Big Data to Target the Students They Want
By tracking prospective pupils’ digital footprints, schools can make calculated decisions about their admissions outreach-for a price.
Atlantic

A decade ago, Saint Louis University found itself in a precarious situation. About half of the university’s 8,600 undergraduates were from Missouri and Illinois, and the demographic forecast for the Midwest looked bleak: the number of high-school graduates from the region was projected to drop by nearly a third by 2028.
So the university started to dig deeper for prospects in its backyard, purchasing more names of prospective high-school students from the College Board and ACT and targeting those teenagers with marketing materials. At one point, admissions officials at Saint Louis University were buying upwards of 250,000 names annually.
“We approached searching for students the way most schools did at the time,” said Jay Goff, the university’s vice president for enrollment and retention management. “We would take the demographics of the previous year’s freshman class and try to purchase more names that matched them the following year.”
Given demographic trends, university leaders knew that such a strategy was unsustainable. Like many of its peers, Saint Louis University also wanted to recruit from new geographic regions and improve the racial and economic diversity of its student body, as well as its retention and graduation rates. Those goals called for a new way of searching for potential students, and in doing so, created a new data-driven approach to admissions adopted by hundreds of other colleges and universities over the past several years.
While few colleges follow the same admissions playbook, they are all taking their cues from the invisible array of algorithms that recommend music on Spotify, movies on Netflix, and books on Amazon. While colleges say the data help to target their marketing efforts, the new methods also explain why students with similar similar academic backgrounds now get varying degrees of outreach from colleges.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9EF

San Bernardino School Closed Following Murder-Suicide
Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Students dove under desks when a man walked into his estranged wife’s elementary school classroom and opened fire without saying a word, killing her and an 8-year-old student and wounding a 9-year-old before fatally shooting himself, authorities said.
Some six weeks earlier, 53-year-old Cedric Anderson was a newlywed calling his 53-year-old wife Karen Smith an “angel” in one of many social media posts professing his love.
San Bernardino police have said nothing of what might have motivated Anderson to open fire in the special-education classroom at North Park Elementary School on Monday.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9EA

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

 

San Bernardino shooting puts spotlight on school safety
EdSource

In the wake of Monday’s fatal shooting at a San Bernardino elementary school, schools and security experts across California revisited campus safety protocols intended to keep students safe from gun violence.
“As we mourn and remember the victims of today’s school shooting tragedy, we will continue to instill safety and vigilance in making our campuses as safe as possible,” Steven Zipperman, chief of the Los Angeles Unified School Police, said Monday. “While no educational institution can ever be 100 percent safe from an intruder or other safety threat, maintaining vigilant planning, preparedness, response and recovery protocols can help prevent and mitigate tragedies.”
In Monday’s incident, 53-year-old Cedric Anderson of Riverside visited North Park Elementary School, checked in at the front office, and then fatally shot his estranged wife, Karen Smith, in the special education classroom where she was teaching. An 8-year-old boy, Jonathan Martinez, was also killed, and a 9-year-old is hospitalized in stable condition.
Everytown for Gun Safety, a nonpartisan group that supports reducing gun violence, has tracked 113 school shootings since 2013. It began tracking school violence after the Dec. 14, 2012 shooting rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Ct., that left 20 children and seven adults dead, including the gunman. The city of San Bernardino is still recovering from another shooting, on Dec. 2, 2015, that left 14 people dead at a regional center.
Although school shootings are relatively rare, elementary schools are seen as particularly vulnerable because they usually lack metal detectors and security guards or on-campus police. Most school guards and resource officers work at middle and high schools. To control their campuses, elementary schools often have a single point of entry.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ED

 

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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

April 11:

Legislative Management Committee meeting
3 p.m., 445 State Capitol
https://le.utah.gov/Interim/2017/html/00002109.htm

April 13:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting
1:30 p.m., 2750 University Park Blvd., Layton
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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