Education News Roundup: April 26, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

Several news outlets look at teacher salaries in Utah as contracts are being negotiated for next school year.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Nz (KTVX)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9ND (KUER)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9Nk (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9NQ (KTVX)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9Ny (KUTV)

An engineering consultant to the Utah State Division of Risk Management has concerns with Canyons District Big Cottonwood Canyon bus route.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Ni (DN)

President Trump prepares to sign an executive order on local control in K-12 education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9N8 (WaPo)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9NG (AP)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9NL (USN&WR)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/9NJ (Ed Week)

China is now livestreaming many of its classrooms.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9N1 (NYT)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

An ‘arms race’ for teachers as districts raise pay

For Teachers, Moving Up The Ladder Often Means Leaving the Classroom

Canyons educators to receive at least 4 percent pay raise

Jordan school board makes $10 million teacher pay raise official

Canyons District’s Big Cottonwood Canyon school bus route ‘unsafe,’ state engineer opines

Alpine School District superintendent reappointed

Survey finds most would support Ogden School District bond initiative

Students apply STEM skills to simulate Mars mission

High and Dry
Developers, preservationists at odds over Granite High’s future.

Lehi High School teacher plans 2,650-mile hike to conquer cancer

Everyday Learners: How books can change a child’s life

Washington County schools lift bike bans

Audit shows Utah Board of Education program mishandled more than $1 million

Lindon charter high school named Utah’s best by U.S. News and World Report
Education » U.S. News and World Report rating based on statewide tests and college prep rates.

Weilenmann director appointed to state board

Park City student wins award for audio tech design
Technology would allow users to feel bass frequencies in music

Jordan, Waterford robotics teams advance to world championships

PCHS production of ‘Little Women’ garners big honors
Musical nominated for eight statewide awards

Northern Utah community comes together for teen with special needs

Rural Utah school district offers $80,000 teaching salaries

Edison Elementary principal retires amid police and school investigation

1,700 Utah elementary students hurt annually on playgrounds

Utah Educational Savings Plan – Saving for College

Utah Valley Educator of the Week: Marie Glahn

Utah Valley Student of the Week: Alexis Delgado

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Don’t let school get in the way of your education

And yet we stay

Lifting Kids to College

The Case for Contentious Curricula
Teachers should not shy away from addressing controversial issues in the classroom.

Charter and Magnet Schools Dominate List of Nationwide Best

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’s Treatment Of Education As A Luxury Should Scare You

NATION

Trump expected to order study of federal role in education

Never Mind the Students; Homework Divides Parents

Immigration crackdown fears fuel uncertainty for undocumented students

In Elementary School Science, What’s at Stake When We Call an ‘Argument’ an ‘Opinion’?

Bills could knock out what little teeth STAAR tests have left

Study: Tech-Enabled Early Warning Systems Can Have Positive Impact on Chronic Absenteeism and Course Failure Rates

Alabama education officials pull down inaccurate 2016 grad rates

WV ed leaders feel Common Core ban won’t actually ban current standards

School Districts Update Professional Development

DeVos Tours Virginia School to Stress Needs of Military Kids

Can playground design help reduce bullying?

This prom season, donated dresses help teens believe in themselves

In China, Daydreaming Students Are Caught on Camera

 

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UTAH NEWS
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An ‘arms race’ for teachers as districts raise pay

RIVERTON, Utah – Two of Utah’s largest school districts will raise teacher salaries after votes Tuesday night to approve the raises in Jordan School District and Canyons School District.
“We have to do this to attract the best teachers,” said Jeff Haney with Canyons School District.
In addition to Jordan and Canyons, Murray School District announced Tuesday plans to raise teacher pay. So, too, did Granite School District earlier this month.
“It is an arms race,” said Ben Horsley with Granite School District.
“We needed to be competitive with our surrounding districts, and essentially needed to beat them,” he added.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Nz (KTVX)

 

For Teachers, Moving Up The Ladder Often Means Leaving the Classroom

The pay gap between Utah’s teachers and school administrators is significant. Which means educators hoping to advance their career often leave the classroom behind.
A big chunk of Spencer Campbell’s day is spent corralling the 7th, 8th and 9th graders of Elk Ridge Middle School in South Jordan. He walks the halls, checks breezeways for kids playing hooky and is always ready to answer a call on the radio.
Campbell is one of two assistant principals at Elk Ridge and it’s his first year. Last year he was teaching 9th grade English at a school up the road.
Now his days are much different.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9ND (KUER)

 

Canyons educators to receive at least 4 percent pay raise

SANDY — The Canyons Board of Education approved Tuesday a new salary schedule that raises educators’ pay by at least 4 percent and bumps starting pay for teachers by $6,000 to $40,500.
The average increase for licensed school employees will be about 6.5 percent.
Part of the increase was made possible by the Utah Legislature’s decision to increase the value of the weighted pupil unit by 4 percent earler this year. The WPU is the basic unit of state education funding in Utah.
The rest is funded by locally assessed property taxes.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Nk (DN)

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

 

Jordan school board makes $10 million teacher pay raise official

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The Jordan Board of Education voted unanimously to give 2,700 teachers in its school district a $10 million pay raise.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Ny (KUTV)

 

Canyons District’s Big Cottonwood Canyon school bus route ‘unsafe,’ state engineer opines

SANDY — A state engineer and the superintendent of the Canyons School District have recommended halting school bus service in Big Cottonwood Canyon due to growing safety concerns and dwindling ridership.
The bus route traverses a roadway that Bruce Spiegel, engineering consultant to the Utah State Division of Risk Management, describes as “unsafe for bus travel.”
Superintendent James Briscoe recommended that the Canyons Board of Education eliminate the route starting this fall, noting its “inherent safety dangers,” including steep grades, curves, lack of guard rails, narrowness of the road and increasing use by hikers and bicyclists.
Spiegel, in a letter to the school district, wrote that “there exists a high probability of a serious unfavorable outcome with the Big Cottonwood Canyon route.”
The division deferred the decision to the school board but said it supports ending the service “because the roadway fails to provide adequate safety for students by bus,” the letter states.
The school board agreed Tuesday to consider the matter at a future meeting so that families affected by a possible change could be notified personally.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Ni (DN)

 

Alpine School District superintendent reappointed

The Alpine School District Board of Education voted to reappoint Jarman during its meeting Tuesday evening at Lehi Elementary School. Every present board member voted in favor of his reappointment.
“I’ll just say thank you, and it is a blessing to work in this district,” Jarman said immediately after the board voted on his appointment.
Jarman has been the district’s superintendent since 2015.
The board of education votes to appoint or reappoint a superintendent every two years as part of a process that includes an evaluation.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Np (PDH)

 

Survey finds most would support Ogden School District bond initiative

OGDEN — A survey of 600 people in Ogden found most are in favor of a bond initiative for the Ogden School District.
The district is pursuing a bond to repair and replace buildings. The exact dollar figure has not yet been determined but the Board of Education talked at a February meeting about keeping the amount at or below $100 million.
The survey, conducted via telephone by Lighthouse Research, found 85 percent of respondents would support a bond initiative. Of that number, 33 percent said they would “somewhat support” it and 52 percent would “strongly support” it.
At a Board of Education work session April 13, district spokesman Jer Bates said in an online recording of the meeting that buildings are in need of improvements regardless of a bond.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Nn (OSE)

 

Students apply STEM skills to simulate Mars mission

OGDEN — A dozen plastic bubbles provided the life-support environment for 200 fifth-graders as they set out to proof their systems in advance of a manned mission to Mars.
On Tuesday, students from King Elementary, New Bridge Elementary, the Da Vinci Academy and Quest Academy constructed space habitats on the floor of the Swenson Gym at Weber State University. The event, known as the Mission to Mars Link-Up Day, was coordinated between Weber State University’s College of Engineering and Hill Air Force Base.
After spending hours of class time learning about the science, technology, engineering and math challenges for a Mars mission, the students designed their plastic habitats to provide what they think will be the best solutions for life-support challenges like storing food or water, or for dealing with waste.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Nj (DN)

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

 

High and Dry
Developers, preservationists at odds over Granite High’s future.

The Granite High School buildings could be added to a national historic registry then reduced to a pile of rubble months later.
The Utah State Historic Preservation Review Board unanimously agreed on April 20 to recommend that the former Granite High—near 3300 S. 500 East—and several satellite buildings be recognized on the Historic Registry of National Places.
The recommendation will be forwarded to the U.S. Department of the Interior, which will determine in the next couple months whether it agrees with the suggested designation.
But developers are in the midst of acquiring from the Granite School District the 27-acre property where it’s expected they will build homes and a supercenter store. A spokesperson for the district confirmed that asbestos abatement is slated to begin within a month and demolition around August.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9NT (Salt Lake City Weekly)

 

Lehi High School teacher plans 2,650-mile hike to conquer cancer

With the end of school just around the corner, Lehi High School biology teacher Signe Gines is preparing for the start of a new adventure.
She is planning to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, all 2,650 miles of it, by herself.
It’s part of her personal search for healing and a fundraising effort to help people with cancer.
“There’s three aspects to this for me: healing others, making sure I remained healed through physical activity and emotional healing,” Gines said.
Gines was diagnosed with lymphoma in January 2015 after going to the doctor for what she thought was a kidney stone. She started receiving treatment in February of that year.
During her treatment, she continued to teach, exercise and hike.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Nr (PDH)

 

Everyday Learners: How books can change a child’s life

When we imagine children without books, we often think of children living in various places across the world. We may not realize that there are many children not only in the United States, but also our own community, with very limited access to books in their homes.
Because having access to quality books at home is a crucial piece of literacy success, Everyday Learners and other organizations in our community have sought to help find ways to place books in the homes and schools of many of these children. Through book drives, donations and collaborations with companies in Utah County, we have been able to help many children in Utah County have access to good books.
One of these collaborations is with Silicon Slopes and the Startup Santa book drive during the holiday season. Last Christmas, Everyday Learners received approximately 10,000 books in donations from various companies in Utah. These books have been placed in schools and various agencies and organizations that serve children. Thanks to those donations, thousands of children have the chance to read at home.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Nu (PDH)

 

Washington County schools lift bike bans

Dozens of helmeted children pedaled their way to Sunset Elementary School for the first time Tuesday, encouraged by school officials who decided to lift a decade-old ban on bicycles.
The school marked its new policy change with a set of new bike racks, free helmets and some help from the St. George Police Department, with school and health officials on hand to cheer the change as a way to promote more healthy, active lifestyles among the students. By the time the school bell rang, more than 50 bikes were parked in the racks just outside the school.
“We’ve been working on ways to get kids more active to combat childhood obesity and promote wellness,” said Karen Bess, director of student services for the Washington County School District, which has seen several of its schools enact bicycle bans over the years over safety concerns.
But statistically, more children tend to be hurt in auto accidents than when walking or biking to school, and the potential positives of riding a bike — more exercise, raised alertness in the classroom, less vehicle congestion outside of the school — seem to outweigh the concerns that led to such bans in the first place, Bess said, explaining that the topic has come up regularly in district meetings on transportation safety.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Nx (SGS)

 

Audit shows Utah Board of Education program mishandled more than $1 million

SALT LAKE CITY — The state auditor has released a report saying the Utah Board of Education might have mishandled more than $1 million in federal funding for a dual-language program.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported Monday that the board’s funding for its Dual Language Immersion program lacked oversight and the program’s poor structure led to inappropriate payments.
The board had requested the audit after it found accounting errors.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9No (AP via OSE)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/9NU (AP via UPR)

 

Lindon charter high school named Utah’s best by U.S. News and World Report
Education » U.S. News and World Report rating based on statewide tests and college prep rates.

The best high school in Utah is Karl G Maeser Preparatory Academy, a Lindon charter school, according to rankings released Tuesday by U.S. News and World Report.
This year’s rankings, released annually, showed three Utah schools earning “gold medals,” based on data from statewide tests and college preparation rates.
“We are excited,” Maeser Director Robyn Ellis said Tuesday. “It’s nice to see that the students’ hard work and preparation is being acknowledged.”
Maeser enrolls about 640 students in grades seven through 12, Ellis said. Two-thirds of students tested proficient in English last year, according to the U.S. News rankings, and three-fourths got a score of three or higher on a college Advanced Placement exam, earning college credit.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9N0 (SLT)

 

Weilenmann director appointed to state board

Gov. Gary Herbert announced this week that he appointed Cynthia Phillips, executive director of the Weilenmann School of Discovery, to the Utah State Charter School Board. According to a press release, Phillips, who recently renewed her contract with Weilenmann through the 2019-2020 school year, replaces Robert Enger, who resigned in March. The seven-member board consists of appointees from various backgrounds: two from finance, three with experience in charter schools and two nominated by the Utah State Board of Education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9NR (PR)

Park City student wins award for audio tech design
Technology would allow users to feel bass frequencies in music

Kyle Haas, a senior at Park City High School, has always had an entrepreneurial spirit. There’s something about the independence and adventure of creating something from nothing, he says, that strikes a passion within him.
But among the several ventures he’s undertaken as a student in Park City, it’s the latest one that really makes his chest thump.
Haas, a self-proclaimed audiophile, is designing wearable technology that emits special bass frequencies, allowing users to quite literally feel music throughout their bodies, replicating the experience of being at a concert or club with pounding subwoofers. The technology, he said, already exists for wrists, but when he tried it, it was obvious the experience would be more immersive if it was built into clothing like shirts and socks.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9NX (PR)

 

Jordan, Waterford robotics teams advance to world championships

Robots that were built by about 50 high school teams were steaming during this year’s FIRST Utah regional robotics competition, where Jordan High’s rookie team emerged victorious.
“This just exceeded our expectations by millions,” said Jordan teacher Cameo Lutz, who along with John Chinchen, advises the Jordan robotics team. “We were just happy when we got our robot finished and working.”
This year’s FIRST “Steamworks” competition inspired students to build robots that must lob “fuel cells” (in the form of balls) into a mock steam boiler to build enough fuel to operate a simulated steam-powered airship. Meanwhile, the robots also transported giant gears to the airship to engage the ship’s propellers. Teams score points for each action. At the end, the teams’ robots needed to climb aboard their hovering airship to complete the round.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9NP (Sandy Journal)

 

PCHS production of ‘Little Women’ garners big honors
Musical nominated for eight statewide awards

Rick Kimball faced a dilemma last fall when casting issues forced him to alter course about seven weeks before Park City High School was set to premiere a musical performance of “Jekyll & Hyde.”
He had already done the blocking for the play, and students had already auditioned for their roles. But Kimball, in his first year as a drama teacher at the school, made a difficult and risky decision: They would perform “Little Women” instead.
Kimball was nervous about making such a big change so late. It turns out he had no reason to be.
The school’s production of “Little Women” garnered eight nominations in the prestigious Utah High School Musical Theater Awards, which were announced late last month. The categories are: Best Musical, Best Actress (Alexa Wilcox), Best Supporting Actress (Eileen Riley), Best Director, Best Lighting Design, Best Set Design, Best Technical Crew and Best Orchestra. Several students will perform songs from the play at an awards show in Salt Lake City on May 13.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9NO (PR)

 

Northern Utah community comes together for teen with special needs

PLAIN CITY, Weber County — At first glance, you wouldn’t think Andrew Veldhuizen has any issues on a bicycle. The 17-year-old has been riding for over a decade and is on Fremont High School’s mountain biking team.
Andrew’s father, Ryan Veldhuizen, said there is no doubt his son has a need for speed.
“He’s fast,” Veldhuizen said. “I’m constantly like, ‘Hey, you have to ride with me,’ or ‘We’re riding together, you know? We’re not racing!’”
But racing around has been challenging for Andrew because of his disabilities.
“From the knee down, (Andrew’s) bones are turned out, so he can’t just put the ball of his foot on the pedal,” Veldhuizen said. “He pedals with his heel.”
Andrew also has difficulty with balance and riding at slow speeds, so his dad took to Facebook to ask for suggestions on adjustments he could make to Andrew’s current bike. The post was shared dozens of times, eventually catching the eye of Dusty Ott with Hubsessed Cycle Works.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9NY (KSL)

 

Rural Utah school district offers $80,000 teaching salaries

MONTEZUMA CREEK, Utah — A school district in southeastern Utah is in the middle of a test program to see if offering salaries of up to $80,000 can persuade teachers to stay at an elementary school near the Utah-Colorado border.
Teacher turnover is a major problem at Montezuma Creek Elementary School due to unusual working conditions, the Deseret News reported (http://bit.ly/2oYHyM9T ) Sunday.
The school, near Four Corners, is remote and in an area that struggles with extreme poverty, high rates of absenteeism, homelessness, substance abuse and frequent turnover of teachers.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Nw (AP via LHJ)

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

Edison Elementary principal retires amid police and school investigation

SALT LAKE CITY — A Salt Lake City principal under police investigation for an incident at school has announced she’s retiring, the Salt Lake City School District confirmed Tuesday.
The news comes one week after parents found out the school district placed Laurie Lacy on leave, amid a police and school investigation.
While Salt Lake City police and the district would not confirm the details of the investigation, a source close to the situation had said Lacy’s accused of punishing a student on April 7 by forcing him to take off his pants with no underwear on, and sit half-naked in a chair in the corner of the office.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9NB (KSTU)

 

1,700 Utah elementary students hurt annually on playgrounds

SALT LAKE CITY — Recess is fun, but it isn’t always safe.
A new study by the Utah Department of Health found about 5,100 elementary school students were injured on school playgrounds in the state over three years.
The annual average over that time — about 1,700 students a year — was enough to fill 24 school buses.
Nearly two-thirds of students in kindergarten through sixth grade who experienced injuries at school from mid-2012 to mid-2015 were hurt on the playground, the report said.
Most of the injuries resulted from clumsiness or children using playground equipment in ways other than the designer intended. Fifth-graders suffered more playground injuries than any other grade, making up about 17 percent of all those hurt.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Nq (PDH)

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

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

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

 

Utah Educational Savings Plan – Saving for College

Salt Lake City – Its never too early to start saving for college.
Scott Pettett with Utah Educational Savings Plan stopped by Fresh Living to talk about the State’s official nonprofit 529 plan.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9NW (KUTV)

 

Utah Valley Educator of the Week: Marie Glahn

Marie Glahn, Life Skills teacher at Orem High School, is the educator of the week.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Ns (PDH)

 

Utah Valley Student of the Week: Alexis Delgado

Alexis Delgado, a junior at Orem High School, is the student of the week.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Nt (PDH)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Don’t let school get in the way of your education
Deseret News commentary by columnists Linda & Richard Eyre

We were traveling a lot with our book tours and speaking engagements when our children were young, and we took them with us whenever we could, using our abundance of frequent flyer miles. As writers, we could work just as well — in fact sometimes better — when we were away from home.
Those at their schools objected occasionally, and the kids developed a pretty good routine for calming the waters. “We’ll take our homework with us and we will write a full report on where we’ve been and what we learned,” they would promise, and once in a while, if they thought the teacher in question had a sense of humor, they would add, “We can’t let school interfere with our education.”
Now don’t misunderstand. We love teachers and we love schools. All of our children went to public schools in Salt Lake City throughout their elementary and secondary years, and we appreciate so much the education they got and the many incredible teachers they had. Each of our children can list certain teachers who were transformative and pivotal in their lives.
But getting away now and then is also part of being well-rounded, and we all learned to define education much more broadly than “schooling.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9NS

 

And yet we stay
Deseret News op-ed by Brandon Winn, who teaches English and journalism at Highland High School

I have never tried to catch a fly out of the air with chopsticks, as Daniel LaRusso miraculously accomplished in the 1984 classic “The Karate Kid.” But I bet, if one were to venture a wager, I could get closer to catching one than just about anybody reading this.
As has been well-chronicled, teachers in Utah often moonlight in order to make ends meet. Some work retail, others have their own small businesses, while some are more daring, like Jeff Spires of Punta Gorda, Florida, who was fired for accepting cash in exchange for raising students’ grades.
Others are incredibly heroic. I am, of course, talking about people like me. I teach driver’s education after school and on holidays, weekends and throughout the summer.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Nm

 

Lifting Kids to College
New York Times commentary by columnist Frank Bruni

LOS ANGELES — If you go by the odds, Sierra Williams shouldn’t be in college, let alone at a highly selective school like the University of Southern California.
Many kids in her low­income neighborhood here don’t get to or through the 12th grade. Her single mother isn’t college­educated. Neither are Sierra’s two brothers, one of whom is in prison. Her sister has only a two­year associate degree.
But when Sierra was in the sixth grade, teachers spotted her potential and enrolled her in the Neighborhood Academic Initiative, or N.A.I., a program through which U.S.C. prepares underprivileged kids who live relatively near its South Los Angeles campus for higher education. She repeatedly visited U.S.C., so she could envision herself in such an environment and reach for it. She took advanced classes. Her mother, like the parents or guardians of all students in the N.A.I., got counseling on turning college into a reality for her child.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9N2

 

The Case for Contentious Curricula
Teachers should not shy away from addressing controversial issues in the classroom.
Atlantic commentary by JONATHAN ZIMMERMAN AND EMILY ROBERTSON, co-authors of The Case for Contention: Teaching Controversial Issues in American Schools

On August 9, 2014, the police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. Wilson is white; Brown was black. He was also unarmed. Within a few days, Ferguson was engulfed in riots. In dozens of other American cities, thousands of protesters took to the streets to condemn racism and police brutality.
Some schools in the Ferguson area delayed their scheduled opening to allow work crews to clean up the post-riot debris and to make sure that students could be transported safely. When they finally opened their doors, the schools had to decide how—and whether—to address the Brown shooting and its aftermath. Across America, demonstrators chanted that “Black Lives Matter.” How would Ferguson-area teachers make the controversy matter, and to what end?
Not surprisingly, their approaches varied. In University City, a suburb bordering St. Louis, one teacher led students in a “free-ranging discussion” of race, criminal justice, and inequality. “They were able to deconstruct the issues in terms of looking at things like poverty, education, the militarization of the police department, and the perception around the country and the world that St. Louis was in turmoil,” the teacher proudly recalled. But across the Mississippi River in Edwardsville, Illinois, school officials instructed teachers to “change the subject” whenever Ferguson arose in class. And in Riverview Gardens, the district where Michael Brown was killed, officials told teachers to talk about the issue only when students raised it. If students became “emotional about the situation,” teachers were advised to refer them to school counselors and social workers.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9NK

 

Charter and Magnet Schools Dominate List of Nationwide Best
National Review commentary by columnist PAUL CROOKSTON

Nine out of the top ten public high schools in the country are charter or magnet schools, according to the latest figures from U.S. News and World Report. In addition, charters and magnets account for 60 of the top 100 high schools. These statistics are even impressive when one considers that such schools constitute a relatively small percentage of the public schools around the country.
To determine its rankings, U.S. News used a step-by-step system in which schools were ranked by their ability to meet increasingly advanced criteria. To win a medal, schools had to outperform others in their states, excel in helping the least-advantaged students, and achieve high graduation rates. College readiness, as determined by performance on Advanced Placement (AP) exams, was the fourth and final step.
Charters and magnets are unlike traditional public schools in that they must work to attract students, while traditional public schools do not have to. Charters also rely on greater accountability to parents rather than to regulatory regimes, which has spurred innovation. Magnets fall under the same regulatory structure as traditional public schools, but they benefit from the ability to draw in all sorts of students.
Despite this evidence, opponents of school choice show no sign of changing their minds. Education-reform expert Michael Petrilli told U.S. News, “It’s not like the opponents of charter schools are letting up or changing their minds and saying, ‘Wow these results are really impressive, I guess we’ll support them after all.’ Teachers unions continue to see them as a threat, especially in cities, and are acting accordingly.” These new rankings buttress school reformers’ case that genuine improvement comes when families have options.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9NN

 

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’s Treatment Of Education As A Luxury Should Scare You
Bustle commentary by columnist LINDSAY DENNINGER

Imagine a world in which a book, any book, falling into the wrong hands could result in death or banishment. A world in which education is so highly regarded for its power, that it’s systematically used to oppress an entire people. This is the world in which Elisabeth Moss’ Offred exists in Hulu’s new series, The Handmaid’s Tale, but it reeks of past methods of oppression by those in power and it serves as a severe warning for the future.
For all the talk about America being made great again, it sure has a long way to go when it comes to education. As reported by Pew Research, 15 year-olds in the United States placed 38 out of 71 countries in math and 24 in science, and for eighth graders, seven out of 37 countries had higher average math and science scores than United States students. The truth is that American education is in trouble because education is treated as something to fear rather than something to embrace. This is further exemplified in Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, set in a dystopian world (a little too close to home, if you ask me) in which science is eschewed and the Bible is the law of the land.
In with the election of a new President came a new education secretary — Betsy DeVos, a woman who strives to privatize public education. I’m all for new and revolutionary ways to do things, but when DeVos was the chair of pro-school-choice group American Federation For Children, according to the Washington Post, DeVos worked “to create programs and pass laws that require the use of public funds to pay for private school tuition in the form of vouchers and similar programs.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9NM

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Trump expected to order study of federal role in education
Washington Post

President Trump is expected to sign an executive order Wednesday that would require Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to study how the federal government “has unlawfully overstepped state and local control,” according to a White House official.
Trump has repeatedly pledged to downsize the Education Department and its role in U.S. schools and colleges. The order he plans to sign is “intended to return authority to where Congress intended — state and local entities,” the White House official wrote in an email.
The GOP has long been home to lawmakers who felt that the federal government should not be involved in public education. But complaints of federal overreach intensified during President Barack Obama’s administration as the Education Department wielded billions of dollars in stimulus funds — and promises of relief from the much-reviled No Child Left Behind law — to push states toward adopting new teacher evaluations and Common Core academic standards.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9N8

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

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

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

 

Never Mind the Students; Homework Divides Parents
New York Times

Last spring, when Public School 11, a prekindergarten through fifth­grade school in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, banned mandatory traditional homework assignments for children up to fourth grade, you might have expected universal acclaim. Rather than filling out worksheets, students were encouraged to read nightly, and a website offered tips for parents looking for engaging after­school activities.
Instead, war broke out among the parents. Those who wanted to keep homework accused the anti­worksheet group of trying to force through a policy supported by a select few. Some privately called the plan “economically and racially insensitive,” favoring families with time and money to provide their own enrichment. There was a series of contentious PTA meetings and jockeying to get on the school’s leadership team, a board that some schools have had trouble getting parents to join. At least three families left the school.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9N6

 

Immigration crackdown fears fuel uncertainty for undocumented students
NewsHour

Each year, about 65,000 undocumented students graduate from U.S. high schools, and most are protected from deportation under an Obama administration policy called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. But many DACA students are on edge, unsure about what the future holds for them or their families.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Ne

 

In Elementary School Science, What’s at Stake When We Call an ‘Argument’ an ‘Opinion’?
Education Week

As more teachers are using both the Common Core State Standards and the Next Generation Science Standards, they will increasingly be confronted with a challenge: The standards in literacy and science—and the research literature in the two fields—disagree about when and how students learn to form arguments.
In a new article for Educational Researcher, Okhee Lee, a professor of education at New York University, suggests that standards writers and researchers need to consider the confusing and mostly unexamined situation teachers are in and figure out how to change it.
“The standards writers meant to help by making connections between science, ELA, and math, but the bodies of literature aren’t saying the same thing” about how students learn to form arguments, she said in an interview. “The foundational work hasn’t been done … Teachers, especially in K-5, must be very confused.”
Lee was clued into the discrepancy as she watched an experienced 2nd grade teacher demonstrate a lesson to a group of expert observers.
After a well-thought-out lesson on states of matter, the teacher’s sample writing assignment began with the following prompt: “Write your opinion on … .”
In Lee’s experience in teaching science, it seemed clear that a scientific writing assignment shouldn’t involve opinion, even in early elementary school. Opinions, she said, don’t require any evidence, and in a science class, students should be making arguments and backing them up with evidence. That’s the language used in the Next Generation Science Standards, which were in use in this teacher’s state.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9N4

A copy of the study
http://gousoe.uen.org/9N5 (Educational Researcher) $

Bills could knock out what little teeth STAAR tests have left
Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN — Texas lawmakers seem determined to chip away at standardized testing requirements, with the House Public Education Committee passing a bill Monday that would significantly reduce the number of STAAR tests kids have to take.
The bill would eliminate standardized tests in areas not required by the federal government. That would mean reducing high school end-of-course exams from five to three — cutting U.S. history and one writing test — as well as getting rid of writing tests in fourth and seventh grades. The eighth-grade social studies tests would also be cut.
Texas was a strong supporter of the growing use of standardized tests, with former Gov. George W. Bush using the state’s model as a basis for the No Child Left Behind federal law that raised testing requirements nationwide.
That was until several years ago, when a dynamic push-back against testing began. In 2011, the state was on track for high schoolers to take 15 end-of-course exams and have those tests make up 15 percent of students’ overall grades for a class. But parents and educators strongly opposed the plan.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9N7

 

Study: Tech-Enabled Early Warning Systems Can Have Positive Impact on Chronic Absenteeism and Course Failure Rates
THE Journal

A controlled study involving 73 schools and more than 37,000 students found that early warning systems can have a statistically significant positive impact on student outcomes in K–12 schools, even when those systems are not used to their full potential.
The report, “Getting students on track for graduation: Impacts of the Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System after one year,” was prepared by the Regional Educational Laboratory (REL) Midwest for the United States Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences (IES), National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance. The study was administered by the American Institutes for Research.
For the study, researchers used the Early Warning Intervention and Monitoring System (EWIMS). Thirty-seven schools (18,634 students) were assigned to used EWIMS in the 2014–2015 school year; the remainder delayed implementation and were used as a control group.
As the report’s authors described it: “EWIMS is a systematic approach to using data to identify students who are at risk of not graduating on time, assign students flagged as at risk to interventions, and monitor at-risk students’ response to intervention. The EWIMS model provides schools with guidance to implement a seven-step process, supported by the use of an early warning data tool. The tool uses validated indicators, based on prior research, to flag students who are at risk of not graduating on time … and allows schools to assign students to interventions and monitor their progress. The indicators used to flag at-risk students in the tool are chronic absence (missed 10 percent of instructional time or more), course performance (failed any course, grade point average below 2.0), behavioral problems (suspended once or more), and an off-track indicator (failed two or more semester-long or three or more trimester-long core courses or accumulated fewer credits than required for promotion to the next grade). The EWIMS model is intended to help schools efficiently use data to identify at-risk students and provide targeted supports.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Na

A copy of the study
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Nb (Institute of Education Sciences)

 

Alabama education officials pull down inaccurate 2016 grad rates
Huntsville (AL) Times

Alabama education officials just can’t seem to get its graduation rates right.
Months after being called out by federal education officials for artificially inflating graduation rates, state officials had to pull down 2016 graduation rates released last Friday because those, too, were inaccurate.
In an official statement released late Tuesday afternoon, Alabama state superintendent Michael Sentance said, “There were a number of mistakes made, both in data manipulation and basic protocol, which caused superintendents and others to take issue with the graduation rates posted by the [State Department of Education].”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9N3

 

WV ed leaders feel Common Core ban won’t actually ban current standards
Charleston (WV) Gazette

House Bill 2711 says the West Virginia Board of Education is “prohibited from implementing the Common Core academic standards.”
Yet few education leaders that the Gazette-Mail interviewed seem concerned that the bill would actually require the state to change its largely Common Core math and English language arts standards — even if someone were to take the state board to court for not changing the learning requirements.
Gov. Jim Justice has yet to sign HB 2711. The bill, among other things, also bans the Common Core-aligned Smarter Balanced standardized tests and eliminates the current Regional Education Service Agencies and the Office of Education Performance Audits.
Justice filed the bill’s original version, but lawmakers added in the Common Core line before passing the legislation.
Angie Summers, who controls the WV Against Common Core Facebook group and was a plaintiff in a previous lawsuit over Smarter Balanced, said she thinks the bill would require changes.
“If he signs it, the law is clear — at least it is to me,” Summers said. “I honestly have not looked at legal action. It’s something I’ve not looked at it at this time, but I have not ruled it out, I’ll put it that way.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9N9

 

School Districts Update Professional Development
Education Week

In Wisconsin’s Kettle Moraine school district, teachers can personalize their own professional learning by earning microcredentials in areas that interest them. In Florida’s Lake County school district, ingenious scheduling models allow teachers to collaborate more often. And on the other side of the country, California’s Long Beach Unified district has developed new methods to collect evidence on the effectiveness of the professional development it offers teachers.
School districts are moving toward a menu of professional learning options that get creative about improving teacher practice. The federal Every Student Succeeds Act, signed into law in December 2015, established a new definition of professional learning that makes it clear districts should move away from the quick-hit type of generalized workshops that take teachers out of the classroom. The law instead prioritizes PD that is woven into the school day and allows for educators to cooperate.
In some districts, this work was going on years before the language in ESSA caught up. But elsewhere, the new ESSA definitions around PD are forcing states, districts, and schools to reconsider and revamp their efforts to improve teacher practice.
“Ultimately, everybody wants to ensure great professional learning for their educators,” said Stephanie Hirsh, the executive director of Learning Forward, a membership organization that works to improve professional learning in schools. “But in many cases, [districts] never investigated what that really means.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9NI

 

DeVos Tours Virginia School to Stress Needs of Military Kids
Associated Press

MANASSAS, Virginia — Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday highlighted the need to help the children of military families transition into new schools as their parents are moving from one assignment to the next.
DeVos visited Ashland Elementary School in Manassas, Virginia, to mark the Month of the Military Child. During a tour of the school she read a book to children about a mother who serves in the military. She donned a pair of toy bifocals like those invented by Benjamin Franklin and watched students refurbish a computer.
During the election campaign, President Donald Trump criticized the Obama administration for neglecting U.S. veterans and vowed to improve their care and benefits. DeVos’ visit to Ashland highlighted the administration’s commitment to veterans.
DeVos said military families need extra support when they relocate to a different city or country and their children must enroll in a new school. The school offers video chats with deployed parents, support groups and community resources.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9NH

Can playground design help reduce bullying?
Reuters

Playgrounds designed with risk-taking in mind may mean more pushing and shoving during recess, but they also might make kids less likely to feel bullied, a small experiment in New Zealand suggests.
For the study, researchers randomly selected eight elementary schools to get modified playgrounds with lots of loose and moving parts, chances to socialize and build things, and opportunities to play with bikes and skateboards. A control group of eight schools kept their traditional playgrounds.
After two years, children at the schools with modified playgrounds were about 33 percent more likely to report pushing and shoving during recess than kids at schools with traditional playgrounds, researchers report in Pediatrics. With modified playgrounds, however, kids were 31 percent less likely to report bullying to teachers.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Nc

A copy of the study
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Nd (Pediatrics) $

 

This prom season, donated dresses help teens believe in themselves
NewsHour

In our NewsHour Shares moment of the day, finding the perfect dress for prom season can pose a real challenge for some teenagers. But one Boston-area organization is stepping in to try and alleviate some of the stress.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Nf

 

In China, Daydreaming Students Are Caught on Camera
New York Times

BEIJING — In the halls of Yuzhou No. 1 High School in central China, students refer to them simply as “the cameras.”
When the first bell sounds before 7 a.m., their fish­eye lenses spring to life, broadcasting live as students sit at their desks and measure geometric angles, pass notes or doze during breaks. Before long, thousands of people — not just parents and teachers — are watching online, offering armchair commentary.
“What is this boy doing? He’s been looking around doing nothing, like a cat on a hot roof,” one user wrote. “This one is playing with his phone!” added another, posting a screenshot.
As internet speeds have improved, live­streaming has become a cultural phenomenon in China, transforming online entertainment and everyday rituals like dating and dining. Now the nation’s obsession with live video is invading its schools, and not everyone is happy about it.
Thousands of schools — public and private, from kindergarten to college — are installing webcams in classrooms and streaming live on websites that are open to the public, betting that round­the­clock supervision, even from strangers, will help motivate students.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9N1

 

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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 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

May 11:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.schools.utah.gov/charterschools/State-Board.aspx

May 16:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
2 p.m., 445 State Capitol
https://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?year=2017&com=APPEXE

May 17:

Education Interim Committee meeting
8:30 a.m., 445 State Capitol
https://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2017&Com=INTEDU

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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