Education News Roundup: April 28, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

The 2017 Utah Children’s Budget Report from Voices for Utah Children is out. It includes information on education spending in Utah.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9P5 (KTVX)
or a copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/9P6 (Voices for Utah Children)

If you want better grades consider emulating Buddy Rich or John Bonham?
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Pl (KUTV)

Herald Journal looks into grades at Spring Creek Middle School.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9P1 (LHJ)

Former NASA Astronaut Jose Hernandez speaks with high school students at the Latinos in Action Conference in Salt Lake.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Pr (KTVX)

Apple, Google, and Microsoft are fighting it out for dominance in the ed tech market.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Pk (TechCrunch)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

New report measures Utah’s investment in children

Utah students are drumming their way to better focus, better grades

Numbers not replacing letters: Misinformation on Spring Creek MS’s rubric grading upsets some

Astronaut shares humble beginnings, success with Latino youth

Utah History Day contest is Saturday at Hillcrest Junior High

Students put their electric race cars to the test

UHSAA hires three new assistant directors

San Juan School District Wants To Hang On To Teachers By Paying Them Like Administrators

Ogden Schools Promote Dual-Language Immersion Education
It was dress rehearsal in the gym at T.O Smith Elementary School and a hesitant pair of apple trees stood onstage next to Dorothy, Toto and the Scarecrow.

Ogden School District to start offering coaches bonuses for academic excellence

‘House on Mango Street’ author tells Salt Lake elementary students to ‘dream big’

DSD marks seventh year on AP Honor Roll

Hurricane teacher charged with inappropriate relationship with student in court

Officials: Utah principal under investigation retires

Utah boy, 7, writes fake letter from school to his parents demanding more video game time at home or risk being kicked out of class
Nathan Anderson masterminded the plot last week in a bid to trick his parents

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Trump’s Executive Order on Federalism in Education

This is what Martin Luther King Jr. would tell school ‘reformers’

What a New Study on Vouchers Means for Trump’s Agenda
The administration has promoted private-school scholarships as a means of empowering families. But they may undermine a child’s academic success.

Judgment day? Trump and religion at the 100-day mark

NATION

100-day progress report: The sluggish pace of ED hiring

Betsy DeVos to Teachers of the Year: This Administration Should Solicit Your Input

More Oversight of After-School Programs Is Needed, Says Federal Watchdog

Oklahoma Struggles to Pay for Schools After Slashing Taxes

Nevada education board wants to prioritize teacher evals

Mom Declares Her Daughter Is Done With Homework In Viral Email
Blogger Bunmi Laditan sent her 10-year-old’s school a clear message.

Educators Share Their #BestPD, #WorstPD

As Chromebook sales soar in schools, Apple and Microsoft fight back

Matt Damon’s latest role: The voice of an education documentary featuring Tennessee testing

 

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UTAH NEWS
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New report measures Utah’s investment in children

Salt Lake City, Utah – Children are our future, but how well is the state of Utah investing in that future? A new report is breaking it down.
It’s The 2017 Utah Children’s Budget Report. Voices for Utah Children unveiled it on Thursday.
“Every couple of years we look at the state budget, and pull out just the programs that affect children, which ends up being about half,” said State Priorities Partnership Director Matthew Weinstein.
This year’s report looks into funding trends from 2008 to 2016, to see how today’s levels compare to pre-recession investments.
“It was a mix of good news, and bad news,” said Weinstein.
According to the report, overall state spending on children is up 5.5% in 2016.
“It’s the first time we’ve seen ourselves significantly ahead of where we were before the recession,” said Weinstein.
The biggest part of the budget, public education, is down when adjusted for inflation.
“Because of our rapidly growing student population, what we have now found is that we are 4% behind pre-recession levels,” said Weinstein.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9P5 (KTVX)

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/9P6 (Voices for Utah Children)

 

Utah students are drumming their way to better focus, better grades

Give a kid some drum sticks, a giant exercise ball, and a fired up instructor and you’ve got the ultimate upbeat and high-energy gym class.
But as fun as this all looks, there is actually some science behind it.
In fact, there is more than just science.
At Terra Linda Elementary School in West Jordan, this is six classes built into one.
It’s called, “Drumtastic.”
And the creator and brains behind it all is Carrie Ekins, who you would never guess is turning 60 this year.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Pl (KUTV)

 

Numbers not replacing letters: Misinformation on Spring Creek MS’s rubric grading upsets some

Spring Creek Middle School in Providence will always use the traditional A-through-F grading system, but Principal Blake Pickett is testing the effectiveness of a rubric grading system, causing confusion and concern among some parents.
The rubric uses a 1-through-4 system that grades students based on whether or not they understand the concepts and standards. A 1 means the student needs an academic intervention, and a 4 means the student is beyond proficient – meaning they understand the concepts and can apply them.
Pickett said the rubric is focused on how much a student has learned while the traditional system takes into account their behavior, like if work was turned in on time.
“Teachers teach standards now – everything is a standard – and we’re just trying to accurately report if a kid knows that or not,” Pickett said. “And we’re learning about it.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9P1 (LHJ)

 

Astronaut shares humble beginnings, success with Latino youth

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – More than 1,400 Latino youth were at the University of Utah Thursday for the 2017 Latinos in Action Conference, with an out-of-this world keynote speaker who understands how these youth dream.
Former NASA Astronaut Jose Hernandez flew on the second to last Space Shuttle Discovery mission to assist in construction on the International Space Station. A flight engineer for NASA, Hernandez knew he wanted to be an astronaut when he was ten years old. His parents were migrant farm workers with third grade educations.
“People laughed at me,” said Hernandez, who recalled when he told his friends he wanted to become an astronaut. He said his father encouraged him to work toward that goal. Hernandez knew in order to fly for NASA, college would be essential.
Hernandez spoke Thursday to the group of Latino youth in the Salt Lake City area. Many of these youth are graduating high school this year. Brenda Garcia said her immigrant uncle always wanted her to go to college.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Pr (KTVX)

 

Utah History Day contest is Saturday at Hillcrest Junior High

MURRAY – Nearly 400 middle and high school students will compete Saturday in the Utah History Day State Contest at Hillcrest Junior High.
The competition aims to bring history to life for students as they discover the past by choosing a topic from local, national or world history, conducting their own research and drawing reasoned conclusions based on historical evidence.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9OZ (DN)

 

Students put their electric race cars to the test

Matthew King, a fourth-grader at the Edith Bowen Laboratory School in Logan, crosses the finish line during the USU STARS! GEAR UP Greenpower Invitational at the Utah Motorsports Complex in Tooele on on Thursday, April 27, 2017. Greenpower USA, which promotes engineering education, sold frames and motors for the electric cars to 14 schools across Utah, and GEAR UP! provided funds to support those purchases. Once they had the frames and the batteries, the students have been working to build the rest, finding innovative ways to maximize distance before the car battery loses power. USU STARS! GEAR UP stands for Utah State University Science Technology Arithmetic Reading Students Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. The federally funded program is designed to help students prepare for and succeed in college.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9P0 (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9P8 (KSTU)

 

UHSAA hires three new assistant directors

Rob Cuff laughed when asked if he would need staff to wear name tags in the Utah High School Activities Association’s offices.
That’s because the UHSAA announced Thursday the hiring of three new assistant directors.
“We feel really comfortable with the experience of all three candidates coming in,” Cuff said.
Brenan Jackson, the principal at Kanab High School, Jan Whittaker, a former coach at Bountiful High, and Jonathan Oglesby, who worked for the Big Sky Conference, were approved as new assistant directors during Wednesday’s UHSAA Executive Committee meeting.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Pp (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9Pq (OSE)

 

San Juan School District Wants To Hang On To Teachers By Paying Them Like Administrators

San Juan School District in southeastern Utah has a new approach for retaining highly effective teachers: Pay them as much as administrators.
The district itself is expansive, covering more than 10% of Utah geographically. And the southern portion overlaps with the northernmost part of the Navajo Nation.
It’s there, at the high-poverty schools on the reservation, that the district has struggled with teacher retention. But that’s changing.
Three years ago at Montezuma Creek Elementary a new “lead teacher” position was created in order to incentivize teachers to stay. It’s already made a big impact.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Pa (KUER)

 

Ogden Schools Promote Dual-Language Immersion Education
It was dress rehearsal in the gym at T.O Smith Elementary School and a hesitant pair of apple trees stood onstage next to Dorothy, Toto and the Scarecrow.

OGDEN, Utah- It was dress rehearsal in the gym at T.O. Smith Elementary School and a hesitant pair of apple trees stood onstage next to Dorothy, Toto and the Scarecrow.
“Throw the apples!” teacher and director Amy Dunn said. “Go ahead, throw them!”
The two little trees pulled Styrofoam apples that were attached to their shirts with Velcro and tossed them softly at their classmates.
It could have been any “The Wizard of Oz” production, but it wasn’t – the Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow all spoke Spanish.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Pj (AP via U.S. News & World Report)

 

Ogden School District to start offering coaches bonuses for academic excellence

WEBER COUNTY, Utah — The Ogden School District is leaning on their coaches to not just win on the field, but also in the classroom.
Starting next school year the district will be offering about 200 coaches and assistant coaches on the high school and junior high level bonuses if they help their players reach certain academic goals regarding GPA and attendance.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9P9 (KSTU)

 

‘House on Mango Street’ author tells Salt Lake elementary students to ‘dream big’

SALT LAKE CITY – Author and National Medal of Arts recipient Sandra Cisneros told fifth-graders at Mountain View Elementary School that they live in a momentous time, but achieving their dreams will take much effort.
“Each one of you is a bridge,” she said. “Each one of you has to step up and be an ambassador at this time. You have to promise me you’ll be ambassadors of peace.”
The students, a majority of whom are native Spanish speakers learning English at the school, have been reading Cisneros’ “The House on Mango Street,” which has sold more than 5 million copies and is acclaimed for its exploration of the lives of the working class.
“Don’t dream little. Dream big,” Cisneros told the students. “Do something every day to walk toward it, even if its something little.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Pn (DN via KSL)

 

DSD marks seventh year on AP Honor Roll

BOUNTIFUL-Parents are always proud when their children make the honor roll in school – but the district itself is also celebrating success. Davis School District has been named to the AP Honor Roll for the seventh year in a row – ever since it was created – making it the only district in Utah to achieve that status.
“I’m so pleased that your district is one I get to serve,” said Nancy Potter, College Board Director of State and District Partnerships who visited last week’s school board meeting from Seattle to congratulate the district. “We put learning first and want all children to choose this opportunity. It’s the 60th year that AP (Advanced Placement) has been in existence. It is the single happiest story of the century. We discovered it is really good for students.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Pm (DCC)

 

Hurricane teacher charged with inappropriate relationship with student in court

HURRICANE, Utah – A Hurricane High School teacher accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student faced a judge on Thursday.
According to police reports, 40-year-old Aaron Karl Esplin was arrested after admitting to receiving nude photos from a 17-year-old female student.
On Thursday, Esplin, who is out on bail, appeared in court with his attorney. He’s charged with Second degree felony exploitation of a minor. According to Charging documents Esplin requested the photos of the Hurricane High School student, and she sent them through Snapchat. Police say he saved the photos to his phone. They also say he admitted to grabbing the student over her clothing as well as touching her back and stomach under her clothing.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9P4 (KTVX)

 

Officials: Utah principal under investigation retires

SALT LAKE CITY – Officials say a Salt Lake City elementary school principal who police are investigating following a report of inappropriate conduct involving a student has retired.
The Salt Lake Tribune, a media-sharing partner with 2News, reports that the school district and a detective are investigating allegations of inappropriate conduct by Edison Elementary School Principal Laurie Lacy that involves punishment given to a male student.
Authorities said Wednesday that they are trying to determine Lucy’s “mindset” during the alleged inappropriate conduct. No charges have been filed.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9P3 (AP via KUTV)

http://gousoe.uen.org/9P7 (KTVX)

 

Utah boy, 7, writes fake letter from school to his parents demanding more video game time at home or risk being kicked out of class
Nathan Anderson masterminded the plot last week in a bid to trick his parents

A seven-year-old Utah boy desperate for more video game time at home wrote a fake note from his school to his parents saying he needed to practice more or risk getting kicked out of class.
Nathan Anderson masterminded the plot last week in a bid to trick his parents Lori and Jeff into letting him stay up all night playing his games.
His mother found the handwritten note supposedly from Black Ridge Elementary School on their kitchen counter and says she couldn’t stop laughing.
‘Dear parents, Nathan has Been Doing good in all his classes, exept for VIDEO GAME CLASS!, the note read.
‘If he does not stay up all night playing video games, He will get kicked out of school!!! Start letting him stay up all night, & start tonight. He can play anything, computer, Wii, ipod, ipad, phone & any other elekctronick.’
The note was signed: ‘from the school’.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Pt ([London] Daily Mail)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Trump’s Executive Order on Federalism in Education
Sutherland Institute commentary by education policy analyst Christine Cooke

In case you missed it, President Trump signed a number of executive orders yesterday, several calling not to expand federal power – but to reduce it. We are encouraged by this particular use of presidential authority, including an executive order calling for a study of the federal government’s unlawful encroachment in education.
We all know that education happens at the individual level. Those closest to the student are in the best position to help students learn. But for decades the federal government has crept into education policy, with impossible No Child Left Behind requirements, grants that push unpopular teacher evaluations and the Common Core, and attempts to rule district-level decisions – frustrating students, parents and teachers alike.
Education is about the student. It’s a personal one-on-one human endeavor that parents, state and local leaders are equipped to handle – not politicians 2,000 miles away. We applaud the president’s decision to increase transparency in education. We believe it will shine a light on where the federal government went wrong and how we can return to local control. We look forward to putting power back into the hands of the people.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9P2

 

This is what Martin Luther King Jr. would tell school ‘reformers’
Washington Post commentary by James Meredith, the first black student to graduate from the University of Mississippi, with William Doyle, co-author with Meredith of “A Mission from God: a Memoir and Challenge for America”

President Trump calls education the “civil rights issue of our time.”
But he is pursuing education policies that will increase segregation and inequality, dismantle public education in America, and imperil the future of our democracy.
I am familiar with the subjects of education and civil rights. In 1961 and 1962, I triggered a constitutional crisis over my campaign to become the first black student to attend the University of Mississippi, an event that helped open the doors of higher education for all Americans. In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr., placed me first on his own list of heroes in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”
In 1966, while obtaining my law degree at Columbia University, I led a one-man March Against Fear to encourage voter registration and was shot down on a Mississippi roadside. Dr. King came to my hospital bed, and together we finished what became the last big march of the civil rights era in the South, an event that helped open the doors of voter registration for all Americans.
In 2013, the Harvard University Graduate School of Education gave me its Lifetime Achievement Award. Today, I take my grandchildren to public school every day in Jackson, Mississippi.
I am also familiar with conservative thinking and traditional Republican values. I identify myself politically as “black,” but I have campaigned for office as a Republican.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Pc

 

What a New Study on Vouchers Means for Trump’s Agenda
The administration has promoted private-school scholarships as a means of empowering families. But they may undermine a child’s academic success.
Atlantic commentary by columnist LEAH ASKARINAM

The nation’s capital is the only city in the country where the federal government gives scholarships to underprivileged children to attend private schools. The goal of the voucher program, of course, is to help ensure low-income youth aren’t tethered to their often under-resourced and under-performing neighborhood schools.
But a report released Thursday found largely negative results for students who participated in the District of Columbia’s Opportunity Scholarship Program, suggesting that many of the program’s beneficiaries might actually fare better if they turn down the private-school money.
The Institute of Education Sciences (IES) compared test scores for two groups of students: students who, through a lottery process, were selected to receive vouchers, and students who applied for yet didn’t receive them. The study compared the progress of both groups of students from spring of 2012 to 2014 and found that, a year after they applied for the scholarship, math scores were lower for students who won vouchers. What’s more, after narrowing the pool of students down to those in kindergarten through fifth grade, both reading and math scores were lower for students who won vouchers.
While students’ shortcomings in test scores-especially in math-may complicate the Trump administration’s path to elevating voucher programs, the administration remains committed to fully funding vouchers and expanding access to similar options nationwide.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Ph

 

Judgment day? Trump and religion at the 100-day mark
Religion News Service commentary by columnist Kimberly Winston

This Saturday (April 29) marks the end of that artificial construct between politics and media known as the “first 100 days.” While both sides agree the period is essentially meaningless in terms of predicting the eventual success of a presidency, neither is willing to ignore it.
One thing that is clear so far: White evangelical Christians, who helped put President Trump in the White House and who will be affected by many of his policies, both promised and delivered, remain his staunchest allies.
Three-fourths of them approve of his actions to date, according to the Pew Research Center. That is nearly twice as high as the president’s approval rating among the general public, which hovers just below 40 percent.
So here’s a look at Trump’s accomplishments in his first 100 days in office as they relate to religion and people of faith. They range from matters of foreign policy to questions of who should pay for playground equipment. And more policies that affect religion are likely on the way.

Controversy over schools chief
When Trump picked Betsy DeVos as education secretary, many religious conservatives cheered. DeVos – a Michigan billionaire, businesswoman and Christian evangelical -is a proponent of school vouchers, which would send public money to private schools, including religious ones.
DeVos said of herself and her husband, “Our desire is to . confront the culture in which we all live today in ways which will continue to advance God’s kingdom, not to stay in our own safe territories,” meaning Christian schools.
When that 2001 statement before a conservative Christian audience surfaced in her confirmation hearings, many Christians took sides. Some alumni of Calvin College, where DeVos went to school, praised her choice; others signed a petition outlining their opposition.
But Trump’s proposed budget has cuts for multiple public school programs that mainly benefit lower-income students, while DeVos, who was confirmed, has focused on revamping – critics say re-scrambling – the government loan servicing for student loans.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Po

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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100-day progress report: The sluggish pace of ED hiring
Politico

The Education Department has yet to fill crucial spots as the Trump administration nears the symbolic 100-day mark on Saturday. The slow trickle of hires has hobbled the administration’s efforts to roll out significant policy proposals like the massive “school choice” expansion Trump vowed to unveil in his first 100 days. Of the department’s 15 top political appointments requiring Senate confirmation, only Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has cleared the hurdle. Just one other confirmable nominee has even been named: Carlos Muñiz, a Florida attorney whom President Donald Trump announced as his pick for general counsel. The department has about 150 politically appointed positions and the administration is just a fraction of the way toward filling them.
Staffing has been a major frustration for DeVos, a source close to the secretary told Morning Education. “Some of these key posts that she needs are still unfilled and it’s not from her lack of trying,” the source said. “They’ve had people they were prepared to move on.” Senate GOP members scuttled plans to nominate New Mexico Education Secretary Hanna Skandera to lead the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education because of her support for the Common Core standards, POLITICO reported last month. The secretary, meanwhile, is still missing a permanent second-in-command. The nomination of Allan Hubbard, long considered the frontrunner for the job, may be held up by a $10,000 donation he made last year to an anti-Trump super PAC. The White House has been deeply involved in hiring decisions – and Trump’s advisers have sometimes rejected candidates who’ve criticized the president, even when they boast top-notch credentials.
“It’s a “serious matter,” said Christopher P. Loss, an education historian at Vanderbilt University. “These personnel are supposed to oversee programs and enforce regulations, none of which can occur, or at least occur well, as long as the posts are vacant,” he said. “The effects of this will be felt in the months ahead, creating untold difficulties and challenges for administrators and students around the country as ‘the administrative state’ bogs down.”
Key positions are stacked with “acting” officials. No nominees have been named to take the posts for the long haul, either. Jim Manning is serving as the acting undersecretary. His actual job is senior adviser to the undersecretary, once his replacement is confirmed. Candice Jackson is serving as acting head of the Office for Civil Rights. She was appointed to be that assistant secretary’s deputy. Jason Botel, who has been named acting assistant secretary at the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, is in a similar position: His appointment is actually as that person’s deputy.
Liz Hill, the department’s new press secretary, who came on board herself earlier this week, said in a statement that “Staffing is well underway at the Department.” She said the department has made 23 hires in the last month, including an assistant secretary and a general council nominee, though she didn’t provide a complete list of those hires. “We expect more hires in the coming weeks,” she said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9OV

 

Betsy DeVos to Teachers of the Year: This Administration Should Solicit Your Input
Education Week

Washington — The 55 teachers of the year from every state and U.S. territory gathered Thursday night to celebrate their profession in an evening of laughter, tears, and some policy talk-starting with an address by U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.
The gala was hosted here by the Council of Chief State School Officers, which organizes the Teacher of the Year contest. Sydney Chaffee, who teaches 9th grade humanities at a small Boston public charter school, was recently named the 2017 National Teacher of the Year.
During her speech, DeVos thanked her most influential teachers, including her 2nd grade teacher, her high school band teacher, and her high school government teacher-“You can blame him, maybe, for my being here today,” she said to laughter. DeVos, who is a strong advocate of school choice, has been met with skepticism from many educators across the country.
“Great teachers give of themselves so students get what they need to learn,” DeVos said. “Teaching is a selfless calling. … We must do more to affirm the important role of teachers in our society because, let’s face it, teachers are the foundation of every other profession.”
DeVos gave shout-outs to all the National Teacher of the Year finalists, as well as the state teacher of the year from her home state of Michigan-Tracy Horodyski, who is a reading intervention and literacy coach at Zinser Elementary in Grand Rapids. Audience members cheered, but grew quiet as DeVos transitioned into talking about policy.
“One-size-fits-all solutions never work for every student in your classroom, so why should we think they will ever work at a larger scale?” she said. “Every student is different, so we should not then insist that their challenges can be addressed with the same solution or answer. You know this reality. You live it every day. You know how to educate your students, so that’s why I see my job as getting Washington out of the way so you can do yours.”

DeVos left the event immediately after her speech, and Lily Eskelsen García, the president of the National Education Association (and the 1989 Utah Teacher of the Year) followed to raucous applause. She urged the state teachers of the year to use this year to advocate for their students and for improvements to education policy.
“Teaching is not our job, it’s our cause. It’s a social justice cause,” she said. “Decide what your state is going through. … with all the passion of your social-justice heart that brought you into education, then speak.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Ps

 

More Oversight of After-School Programs Is Needed, Says Federal Watchdog
Education Week

A new report from the federal Government Accountability Office says more oversight is needed for the 21st Century Community Learning Centers, which receives federal funding to provide after-school and summer programs as well as other enrichment activities.
In a report issued Wednesday titled “Education Needs to Improve Oversight of Its 21st Century Program,” the GAO says the U.S. Department of Education “lacks useful data” about the impact programs have on children’s attendance and discipline, even though research suggest the program helps in those areas. Federal officials also need to provide more guidance for helping states evaluate the effectiveness of these programs, the report said.
“[Education Department] officials have not substantially revised the program’s performance measures since 1998, in part because its authorization lapsed from fiscal years 2008 through 2016. Leading practices in performance measurement call for federal agencies to align performance measures with program objectives,” the GAO states in a summary of its report.
The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program has been in the news lately because President Donald Trump wants to eliminate it from the federal budget. Specifically, his preliminary fiscal 2018 budget plan would cut the $1.1 billion in federal support for 21st Century. Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, criticized it for not delivering results, although advocates and others, including GOP Rep. Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania, beg to differ.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9OW

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/9OX (GAO)

 

Oklahoma Struggles to Pay for Schools After Slashing Taxes
Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — Four years ago, Oklahoma’s oil patch was booming, unemployment was falling and state lawmakers were debating what to do with $200 million in surplus revenue.
Republicans who control state government successfully pushed to permanently reduce the state’s top income tax rate, slash the oil and gas production tax rate from 7 percent to 2 percent and give more tax incentives to industry.
But the boom ended and the money dried up. Now unwavering confidence in the wisdom of lower taxes has given way to a growing panic over how to pay for basic services such as schools, health care and public safety. Revenue has fallen about 20 percent short of budgeted needs for the third year in a row.
The situation has deteriorated to the point where highway patrol troopers have been warned not to fill their fuel tanks, and drunken drivers have been able to keep their licenses because there are not enough administrative workers to revoke their driving privileges. Nearly 100 of the state’s 513 school districts have moved to four-day weeks.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Pe

 

Nevada education board wants to prioritize teacher evals
Las Vegas Review-Journal

CARSON CITY – School districts targeting the next round of state grants will have to focus proposals on three key areas as the Nevada State Board of Education shifted its tentative priorities during a meeting Thursday.
Department officials initially recommended prioritizing proposals that set student learning goals, but board members wanted to be sure principals are trained in how to conduct observations and make teacher evaluations.
“Until leadership evaluates human capital correctly, I’m not sure investing in anything else in the Nevada Educator Performance Framework is correct,” board member Mark Newburn said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Pi

 

Mom Declares Her Daughter Is Done With Homework In Viral Email
Blogger Bunmi Laditan sent her 10-year-old’s school a clear message.
Huffington Post

Fed up with her 10-year-old daughter’s heavy homework load, a mom decided to do something about it.
On Tuesday, mom and blogger Bunmi Laditan posted a screenshot of an email she sent to her daughter Maya’s teachers on Facebook.
In the email, she wrote:
“Hello Maya’s teachers,
“Maya will be drastically reducing the amount of homework she does this year. She’s been very stressed and is starting to have physical symptoms such as chest pain and waking up at 4 a.m. worrying about her school workload.
“She’s not behind academically and very much enjoys school. We consulted with a tutor and a therapist suggested we lighten her workload. Doing 2-3 hours of homework after getting home at 4:30 is leaving little time for her to just be a child and enjoy family time and we’d like to avoid her sinking into a depression over this.
“Thank you for understanding.
“warmly, Bunmi”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Pg

 

Educators Share Their #BestPD, #WorstPD
Education Week

Education Week asked educators to share on Twitter the professional development that inspired them or that left them scratching their heads. Here’s a sample of responses:
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Pf

 

As Chromebook sales soar in schools, Apple and Microsoft fight back
TechCrunch

Few saw the Chromebook coming. When it launched half a decade ago, the category was broadly maligned for its limited feature set, middling hardware specs and operation that required an always-on internet connection to work properly. But things change in five years. In 2015, the category overtook MacBooks in the U.S. for the first time ever, selling around two million units in Q1. It’s a pretty astonishing number for a product many pundits deemed doomed in its early stages. And that victory has been largely fueled by the K-12 education market.
Recent numbers from consulting firm Futuresource paint a similar picture, with Google commanding 58 percent of U.S. K-12 schools. Windows is in second with around 22 percent and the combined impact of MacOS and iOS are close behind at 19 percent. It’s a rapidly shifting landscape. Three years earlier, Apple’s products represented nearly half of devices being shipped to U.S. classrooms.
Now some of the biggest players in technology are poised to make a new push into education. Last month, Apple released a newly refreshed version of its Classroom app, coupled with its lowest priced iPad ever. In January, Microsoft announced plans for a low-cost laptop, coupled with cloud-based software. In a week, it’s expected to unveil its next big move at an education event in New York, aimed at going head to head with the Chromebook.
For many schools, the dream of a one-device-per-child experience has finally been realized through a consumer technology battle waged by the biggest names in the industry. Over the past decade, Google, Apple and Microsoft have shaped the conversation around technology in schools, but as ever, none are in agreement on a one-size-fits-all approach. One thing all the players seem to agree on is that education is a market well worth pursuing.
http://gousoe.uen.org/9Pk

 

Matt Damon’s latest role: The voice of an education documentary featuring Tennessee testing
Chalkbeat

Tennessee’s debate about over-testing is a cause célèbre – or at least a cause drawing the attention of Matt Damon.
The movie star narrates a new documentary that explores the privatization of public schools. It features Nashville’s Gower Elementary School, as well as board member Amy Frogge of Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools.
Called “Backpack Full of Cash,” the 90-minute film was released in late 2016 and screened this week at the Nashville Film Festival.
“I got involved in ‘Backpack Full of Cash’ because I believe that every kid should have access to great public schools,” Damon said in a statement. “. I got a great education in public schools, and my mom is an educator so I know just how hard teachers work every day.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/9OY

 

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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

May 4:

Utah State Board of Education committee meetings
9 a.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
http://www.boarddocs.com/ut/usbe/Board.nsf/Public

May 5:

Utah State Board of Education meeting
8 a.m., 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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