Education News Roundup: May 25, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

"Math Cross Stitch" by Jessica Kelly/CC/flickr

“Math Cross Stitch” by Jessica Kelly/CC/flickr

Conservationists buy a large parcel of SITLA land.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a4W (SLT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/a4X (DN)

Ed Week takes a closer look at the proposed budget and its effects on Title I programs in the states.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a59 (Education Week)

Census Bureau shows just how fast some Utah cities are growing.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5w (KSL)

Secretary DeVos testifies before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the President’ s proposed education budget.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a4Z (NYT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/a50 (WaPo)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/a51 (Washington Times)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/a52 (LAT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/a53 (Ed Week)

New study takes a look at how parents go about choosing a high quality school.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5D (Ed Week)
or a copy of the study
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5E (Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis) $

“How Much Math Anxiety Is Too Much?” Wait. Don’t we to use math to answer this question? Aaaarrrrggghhhh.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5C (Ed Week)

————————————————————
TODAY’S HEADLINES
————————————————————

UTAH

Utah conservationist buys Needles Outpost for $2.5 million at SITLA auction
SLC bidder offers double the minimum price for the school-trust parcel and vows that the 640-acre plot won’t be developed heavily.

Proposed Budget Cuts for Disadvantaged Students Would Hit These States Hardest

Census data: Lehi 11th-fastest growing city in America

Moms building bridges at Highland High for refugee, immigrant students

Park City puts big money into helping undocumented students

Utah’s schools seek help for students who could go hungry over summer vacation

Pay raises all around for teachers in Tooele County

School board approves proposed pay raise

Davis School District receives governor’s trophy for AP testing prowess

Two Nebo educators honored for their excellence in education

Crane resigns as superintendent; school board launches search for replacement

School Trust Lands: Access for Public-Land Hunters at Risk
Public-land hunters could lose more ground to private interests

Uncle Wiggly Wings does Candy Bomber run at American Heritage School

Ogden students take artistic talents to new level with prosthetics and real-life models

Springville High student wins financial video game contest

Cache Valley athletic trainers following concussion protocols for local sports

Pedestrian and bike bridges coming to 4 Utah locations

‘The Secret Life of Bees’ author coming to Ogden schools’ Fall Author Event

New resources coming for students with dyslexia

Logan grad expresses school spirit with all-original musical

Weber High School Graduation 2017

Cedar High School 2017 Graduation

Canyon View High School 2017 Graduation

Desert Hills High School Graduation 2017

Hurricane High School Graduation 2017

Millcreek High School 2017 Graduation

Alta High students Chalk the Walk at annual event

UESP awards two elementary schools

Fundraiser Yard Sale for Local Teen with Cancer

Are fidget spinners spiraling out of control in Utah classrooms?

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Next legislative session should focus on air, schools and tax reform

Right On: State Board of Education bomb throwers

Graduate to something much more than just a job

Why Bad Online Courses Are Still Taught in Schools
Because many of the laws regulating them are toothless-and because of an aggressive political effort to maintain that status quo.

Trump’s NASA Budget Eliminates Education Office, Plunging America Into The Dark

NATION

Betsy DeVos Refuses to Rule Out Giving Funds to Schools That Discriminate

Former allies on school choice now divided by Trump budget

More money for Texas public schools dies, a casualty of lawmakers’ vouchers fight

How Do Parents Choose a ‘High Quality’ School?

Half of Jefferson County teachers lose jobs

Next-Generation Science Tests Slowly Take Shape
Few states so far have moved to assessments aligned to the Next Generation standards

Should Schools Test the ‘Career’ Half of ‘College and Career’?
The time is ripe to build better vocational assessments for schools, experts say

Country’s Oldest Career-Matching Test Gets an Update

Unmet Needs in Special Ed. Are the Focus of New Ed-Tech Grants

Christian school: Teen banned from graduation ‘not because she is pregnant but because she was immoral’

How Much Math Anxiety Is Too Much?

 

————————————————————
UTAH NEWS
————————————————————

Utah conservationist buys Needles Outpost for $2.5 million at SITLA auction
SLC bidder offers double the minimum price for the school-trust parcel and vows that the 640-acre plot won’t be developed heavily.

A Utah trust-lands parcel at the Needles entrance to Canyonlands National Park fetched a record $2.5 million Wednesday from a conservation buyer after a brief bidding war.
The square-mile section – longtime home of the Needles Outpost campground and store – went on the market shortly after the surrounding public land became part of the new Bears Ears National Monument.
The proposed sale had raised concerns that the 640 acres would be taken over by developers eager to capitalize on the spot’s proximity to protected lands in southern Utah.
Jennifer Speers, a Salt Lake City resident affiliated with The Nature Conservancy and The Wilderness Society, submitted a sealed bid that was more than double the $1 million minimum bid set by the Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration, or SITLA.
The agency then fielded oral bids Wednesday at its Salt Lake City headquarters.
Speers’ representative said Wednesday while the land’s exact fate hadn’t been decided, it will likely remain a campground and never see heavy development.
The Needles Outpost fetched the highest amount paid at auction for a trust-lands parcel in years, according to SITLA executive director David Ure.
“We are very appreciative to [Speers’] foundation,” said Ure, who acknowledged being surprised by the final sale price. “This is a good deal for [Utah’s] school kids. This money goes directly into the trust [supporting Utah schools] and is reinvested. We will reinvest this money year after year.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/a4W (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/a4X (DN)

 

Proposed Budget Cuts for Disadvantaged Students Would Hit These States Hardest

President Donald Trump’s proposed education budget would cut close to 4 percent from traditional, formula-based Title I aid, the U.S. Department of Education program designated for disadvantaged students. And as part of that $578 million cut, big states (not surprisingly) would take the biggest overall dollar hit. For example, California would see a $61 million cut from its $1.83 billion in Title I aid in fiscal 2017. But which states would lose the biggest share of their previous Title I aid?
First, remember that Trump’s budget does include a $1 billion boost in overall Title I aid, which would bring it up to $15.9 billion. However, that $1 billion boost is earmarked for a new public school choice grant program for districts, not the regular formulas. It’s part of the Trump administration’s big push to expand public and private school choice.
And here’s a standard disclaimer: Trump’s budget plan is just a proposal and won’t be passed by Congress as written. In fact, even though the GOP controls Capitol Hill, lawmakers might disregard much of the administration’s blueprint.
But put aside the politics, as well as that $1 billion increase for public school choice. That $578 million cut in formula Title I aid would bring total Title I funding for districts down to just below $14.9 billion. Which states would have the biggest percentage loss from that pot of Title I?
http://gousoe.uen.org/a59 (Education Week)

 

Census data: Lehi 11th-fastest growing city in America

LEHI – With expanding streets, housing and even a new high school, there’s no question that Lehi is vastly growing.
New U.S. Census Bureau data released Thursday notes Lehi isn’t just the fastest-growing city in Utah, it’s the 11th-fastest growing city in the United States and the third-fastest growing city in the western region with a growth of 4.6 percent from July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2016.
The bureau estimates Lehi’s population grew to 61,130 in 2016. That’s an increase of more than 13,500 from the 2010 Census and more than triple the population from the 2000 Census report.
Its growth came from a report that noted the sharpest rise in population came from southern and western areas in the U.S. In fact, 14 of the 15 of the fastest growing cities – of 50,000 or more – were located in those two regions.

South Jordan, at 3.8 percent, placed second in growth among cities of 50,000 or more in Utah. Orem (3.4 percent), St. George (2.7 percent) were third and fourth, while Logan and Sandy tied for fifth at 1.9 percent growth.
Logan’s population was estimated at 50,676, marking the first time it had surpassed 50,000, according to the bureau. It is now the 13th city in Utah that has surpassed that mark.
Logan was one of just five cities in America that crossed the 50,000 population mark in 2016. The other cities were Aliso Viejo, California; Parker, Colorado; Cerritos, California and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
Lehi’s growth, however, has been well documented as people and businesses continue to come to the city, while the city’s officials have worked to balance out the needs that have popped up along the way.
The population boom has led to an expansion of business and housing developments. In 2016, Skyridge High School opened to address the growing number of students in the school system.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5w (KSL)

 

Moms building bridges at Highland High for refugee, immigrant students

SALT LAKE CITY – A group of mothers at Highland High School wanted to volunteer their time, but they were surprised by the principal’s assignment: he wanted them to help the growing number of refugee and immigrant students.
Now these mothers’ efforts are slowly changing lives and attitudes.
The parent volunteers – Lisa Thornton, Deirdre Straight, Mindi Rich and Natalie Connolly – organized a cultural exchange on Thursdays during the two lunch hours for students of all different backgrounds.
On a recent Thursday, Straight was putting out giant pages of a map on the floor as an activity for them to do.
She said playing games and practicing English has led to friendships among the students.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5y (KSL)

 

Park City puts big money into helping undocumented students

Park City, Utah – The Park City Education Foundation raised $10,000 in one week to help undocumented students apply for permits that allow them to work and live in the U.S. legally.
“It’s a pathway to legitimacy for these students,” said Moe Hickey of the Park City Education Foundation.
Hickey said the goal is to raise $20,000 to help undocumented students pay for the $495 application fee for DACA status.
DACA, or Consideration of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, is open to young people who were brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents when they were very young.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5s (KUTV)

 

Utah’s schools seek help for students who could go hungry over summer vacation

KEARNS, Utah – For many, they can’t wait to say “school’s out for summer!” But for some students, they’ll be leaving the only place where they’ve been getting a regular three meals a day.
A large number of Utah children are hungry for summer.
“Here at South Kearns Elementary, eight out of every 10 children are food insecure and qualify for free and reduced lunch,” said Brent Severe from the Granite Education Foundation. He said hunger knows no boundaries and affects more children in Utah than many realize, “There’s a real need in our community. There are kids that are going home hungry at night. It’s a reality.”
There are a total of 12 food pantries in the Granite School District. One of those is at South Kearns Elementary. They created it this year and plan on opening it one day a week during the summer.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5t (KUTV)

 

Pay raises all around for teachers in Tooele County

TOOELE COUNTY, Utah – Teachers in the Tooele County School District can finally look forward to pay raises!
This week, the district and the Tooele Education Association struck a deal to increase every teacher salary by at least 8.5 percent. The agreement also brings up starting salaries from $33,142 to $37,000.
Officials say it is all part of a desperate attempt to hang on to experienced educators — who are leaving the profession by the masses — and to compete for the few new educators coming out of college. Right now, a major teacher shortage across Utah is leaving classrooms with unqualified, uncertified stand-ins.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5u (KTVX)

 

School board approves proposed pay raise

FARMINGTON-For the first time in the history of the Davis School District, new teachers’ yearly compensation will top $40,000 come July 1 if the proposed budget is approved.
All teachers across the board will receive a 3 percent cost-of-living increase, steps and lanes based on education level and years of service, plus a one-time $500 stipend in November, according to the district. The board approved the compensation package at its meeting May 16. A 2.5 percent cost-of-living increase, steps and $500 one-time stipend for classified employees was also approved.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5L (DCC)

 

Davis School District receives governor’s trophy for AP testing prowess

KAYSVILLE – Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox paid a visit to Davis High School on Tuesday, May 23, to present the district with the governor’s Traveling AP Trophy.
The Davis School District is one of four districts in the country to make the AP Honor Roll for seven consecutive years, an accomplishment it was recognized for by the College Board in April.
To make the AP Honor Roll, the district has increased the number of students taking AP exams as well as the percentage of students who pass them.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5e (OSE)

 

Two Nebo educators honored for their excellence in education

A teacher from Spanish Fork Junior High and a teacher from Springville High School were recently honored by the Huntsman Awards for Excellence in Education.
J. Merrill Hallam, a science/math/biology teacher at Spanish Fork Junior High, has been educating students for 35 years.

Monica Giffing, an agriculture and biology teacher at Springville High School, has spent 13 years educating others.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5i (PDH)

 

Crane resigns as superintendent; school board launches search for replacement

After five years on the job, Grand County School District Superintendent Scott Crane is leaving Moab to take on the role of executive director of the Southeast Education Service Center (SESC) in Price. During his time in Grand County, Crane oversaw the completion of many projects, including the creation of Grand Preschool and passage of the voted local levy, which he said took good, collaborative teamwork to accomplish.
“All the things that we’ve talked about and made goals for, we got them,” Crane said. “I’m very proud of the things that we’ve been able to do these past five years.”
Through his new role as executive director of the SESC, Crane will support public education throughout southeastern Utah, including Grand, Carbon, Emery and San Juan counties. He said the nonprofit works with the superintendents of those school districts to determine each school’s needs in technology and education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5K (Moab Times-Independent)

 

School Trust Lands: Access for Public-Land Hunters at Risk
Public-land hunters could lose more ground to private interests

In the predawn gloaming, my hunting partner and I pulled the truck behind a dilapidated one-room schoolhouse on the Montana prairie. As the dawn broke, we began to glass, using the crumbling building as cover.
That abandoned schoolhouse was on a square-mile of “school trust land.” You will find similar squares of school trust land scattered regularly throughout the American West. They are often open to hunting and can give the savvy hunter an edge in areas dominated by private farms and ranches.
But be warned: Access to school trust lands cannot be taken for granted. As events unfolding in Utah demonstrate, outdoorsmen must be on their guard to keep access open.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5I (Outdoor Life magazine)

 

Uncle Wiggly Wings does Candy Bomber run at American Heritage School

American Heritage School in American Fork enjoyed a unique field day Wednesday afternoon, with a visit from Uncle Wiggly Wings himself, Gail Halvorsen.
Halvorsen, the 96-year-old known as the Candy Bomber, flew in a helicopter over American Heritage School’s fields, while his son, Bob Halvorsen, released about 200 candy bars in bundles of 10 each attached to parachutes. Gail Halvorsen is famous for participating in the 1948 Berlin Airlift, and dropping gum and candy to the German children who were starving in the city.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5g (PDH)

 

Ogden students take artistic talents to new level with prosthetics and real-life models

OGDEN – Students at Highland Junior High School in Ogden are taking their artistic talents to a whole new level.
Instead of watercolors and canvasses, they use prosthetics and real-life models in their Stagecraft class.
Teacher Sara Woodhouse said the course is meant to teach students skills in theatrical special effects, makeup and prosthetics.
“The skills they learn in this class can be put to use immediately, working as apprentices to major motion picture studios,” Woodhouse said.
Woodhouse received her master’s degree from the University of Utah’s Theatre Department and brought her experience to Highland Junior High in August 2015. She said at that time the school’s theater program was non-existent.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5v (KSL)

 

Springville High student wins financial video game contest

Springville High School student Chandler Rast got a strong dose of financial know-how playing and $250 richer in a video game contest provided by Zions Bank.
Bryan Halverson, manager of the Spanish Fork financial center, surprised Rast at a school last Friday with news that he had won the cash through the bank’s financial entertainment online game tournament. Halverson also presented the school with a $100 Office Depot gift card.
The video games from the non-profit Commonwealth are featured online at zionsbank.financialentertainment.org. Players can serve as personal assistants to spendthrift movie stars in “Celebrity Calamity,” or manage farm resources to build savings and survive emergencies in “Farm Blitz.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5h (PDH)

 

Cache Valley athletic trainers following concussion protocols for local sports

Across America, there are more concussions per participant in the sport of women’s soccer than in football.
Marcus Maw said that is consistent with his years at Mountain Crest High as the school’s certified athletic trainer.
“It’s true because there aren’t nearly as many athletes participating in that sport, plus those girls play like they’re invincible,” he said. “They don’t think that they’re going to be injured as you might be in football.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5k (CVD)

 

Pedestrian and bike bridges coming to 4 Utah locations

SALT LAKE CITY – Some bicyclist and pedestrian hot spots in four major Utah cities will be seeing some changes in the near future after a federal grant was awarded to the Utah Department of Transportation and Utah Transit Authority.
Jacob Spland, UTA engineer and construction planner, said for decades the railroad tracks at 300 North and 500 West in Salt Lake City have acted as a physical barrier for commuters and neighborhoods.
“Residents of nearby neighborhoods have voiced their concerns about the dangers that exist here,” Spland said.
Over the past few years, local transportation agencies have documented how people walking and bicycling on 300 North have put themselves in danger crossing this railroad, often crawling under or climbing between railroad cars to reach destinations.
“We have a lot of students trying to get to West High School that come through here and also trying to get to their employment,” Spland said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5x (KSL)

 

‘The Secret Life of Bees’ author coming to Ogden schools’ Fall Author Event

OGDEN – Acclaimed author Sue Monk Kidd will be coming to Ogden in a few months for the 2017 Fall Author Event.
Kidd penned “The Secret Life of Bees,” “The Mermaid Chair,” “Traveling With Pomegranates” and “The Invention of Wings.” Her first book, “The Secret Life of Bees,” was on the New York Times bestseller list and was made into a movie.
The Fall Author Event is held annually by the Ogden School Foundation, and proceeds go to back into the district’s schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5d (OSE)

 

New resources coming for students with dyslexia

ST. GEORGE – Much needed resources for students struggling with dyslexia will soon be available in Southern Utah thanks to a new nonprofit organization called Reading for Life Southern Utah.
According to statistics from the Dyslexia Center of Utah, one in every five students or about 20 percent of the student population has a language-based learning disability; the most common among them being dyslexia.
But for as common as dyslexia is, resources for students and their parents are scarce in St. George. Currently there are no dyslexia screenings offered in the area, there are very few private tutors and there are no support groups.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5q (SGN)

 

Logan grad expresses school spirit with all-original musical

Students have varying degrees of school spirit – but it’s not often that one has such a strong appreciation of their high school that they write a musical celebrating its centennial.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5j (LHJ)

 

Weber High School Graduation 2017

More than 500 students graduated from Weber High School during commencement ceremonies on Tuesday, May 23, 201, at the Dee Event Center.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5c (OSE)

 

Cedar High School 2017 Graduation

Cedar High’s graduation ceremony at Southern Utah University, Wednesday, May 24, 2017.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5l (SGS)

 

Canyon View High School 2017 Graduation

Canyon View High’s graduation ceremony at Southern Utah University, Wednesday, May 24, 2017.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5m (SGS)

 

Desert Hills High School Graduation 2017

Graduates of Desert Hills High School celebrate their commencement Wednesday, May 24, 2017.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5o (SGS)

 

Hurricane High School Graduation 2017

Graduates of Hurricane High School celebrate their commencement Wednesday, May 24, 2017
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5p (SGS)

 

Millcreek High School 2017 Graduation

Graduates of Millcreek High School celebrate their commencement Wednesday, May 24, 2017.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5n (SGS)

 

Alta High students Chalk the Walk at annual event

Heather Eaton, a junior at Alta High School, works on her square of sidewalk during Chalk the Walk, where students work in teams of two and have four hours to re-create a famous work of art, at the Sandy school on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. Chalk the Walk has been occurring at Alta since 1985.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5b (DN)

 

UESP awards two elementary schools

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Educational Savings Plan (UESP) is celebrating college savings by rewarding two schools whose students achieved reading goals.
UESP recently awarded certificates in the amount of $529 to Manti Elementary School in South Sanpete School District and Ferron Elementary School in Emery County School District.
Each school will use the funds to buy books and other resources for its library media center. The awards for winning the UESP/Road to Success Read-A-Thon commemorate 5-29 College Savings Day, a national day to promote saving for higher education with a tax-advantaged 529 plan.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5J (PDH)

 

Fundraiser Yard Sale for Local Teen with Cancer

ST. GEORGE – A yard and bake sale fundraiser is being held for local teen Fox Barrett, a Pine View Middle School student recently diagnosed with Fibrosarcoma, to help with growing medical costs.
The fundraiser will be held Saturday, May 27, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Sandstone Elementary parking lot, 850 N. 2450 E, St. George.
Proceeds from the event will do directly to Barrett’s family.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5A (KCSG)

 

Are fidget spinners spiraling out of control in Utah classrooms?

Are fidget spinners spinning out of control in Utah classrooms?
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5z (KSTU)

 

————————————————————
OPINION & COMMENTARY
————————————————————

Next legislative session should focus on air, schools and tax reform
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

Utah legislative sessions now imitate race-around-the-world type television shows where legislators compete, often ruthlessly, in meaningless and time-wasting challenges in hopes to be the last one standing at the end of the day. The race has begun for 2018.
May 9 was the first day legislators could file bills for the 2018 legislative session.
Hate crimes, e-cigarettes and the right to die are just the beginning of a torrent of pet issues that will inevitably never see the light of day. This is not to say these issues are not important. For example, hate crime legislation would be a welcome addition to Utah’s overall civil rights framework. But there is only so much time in each session.

The Legislature should focus on major priorities, and leave pet projects for the end of the session, if time remains. Not the reverse. After passing a general budget, major priorities should include improving air quality, increasing education funding and tax reform, where necessary.
The Legislature has been chipping away at our bad air problem for the last decade. But press conferences and stalled bills don’t make for better air. It was successful in passing legislation in 2017 to encourage production of Tier 3 fuels, but are million-dollar tax breaks for oil refineries really the best we can do?
Kudos to the Legislature are also due for increasing education funding in 2017. But it just wasn’t enough. Utah schools need more money to pay teachers, implement innovation and upgrade defective buildings, disproportionately located in our poorer communities. Tax reform may be part of this effort, and even the President of the Salt Lake Chamber agrees reforms should be considered to modernize the tax code while protecting competition and growth.
These should be the priorities for the 2018 legislative session.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a4V

 

Right On: State Board of Education bomb throwers
St. George News commentary by columnist Howard Sierer

Figurative bombs, I’m happy to report.
Nonetheless, several members of our Utah State Board of Education remind me of history’s anarchist bomb throwers rather than elected officials with students’ best interest in mind.
Webster tells us that anarchists strive for an “absence of government,” kind of extreme libertarians. It seems to me that the only reason to elect an anarchist to government office is to render the office ineffective.
Michelle Boulter doesn’t seem to have much use for the Board of Education
Perhaps I’m being a little harsh on our recently-elected District 15 board member representing most of Washington and Iron counties, but Michelle Boulter doesn’t seem to have much use for the Board of Education.
The Republican Forum invited Boulter to discuss the state of education in Utah. With my longtime interest in public schools, I came expecting to hear what Boulter and the board were doing to improve schools. I heard almost nothing about the board or about improving schools.
Instead I heard denunciations of the entire public education establishment: the federal government, the Utah Legislature and local school boards. If she doesn’t like any of them, what does she like about public education? Not much, as it turns out.
First up, Boulter excoriated the U.S. Department of Education’s Common Core. It’s not Common Core standards that opponents find objectionable; very few can name even one standard they oppose or would modify. Instead, opposition to Common Core arises from objections to federal government interference with local public education, an area long reserved for the states. That interference comes from federal government threats to withhold federal education funding from states who fail to get in step.
I’m with Boulter on this one. Absent a compelling national need, the federal government should defer to the states. In fact that’s such a good idea that our Founding Fathers included it as the Constitution’s Tenth Amendment.
I would eliminate the federal Department of Education. Who needs it if public education is a local responsibility?
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5r

 

Graduate to something much more than just a job
(Ogden) Standard-Examiner commentary by columnist D. Louise Brown

A lot of caps and gowns are being worn these days.
From kindergartens to colleges, graduates are strolling from one side of the room to the other, gleefully receiving some kind of colorful document with their name on it, and turning to wave at loved ones who are clapping and cheering and snapping photos.
Graduation is definitely something to cheer about – a culmination of achieving an outlined set of goals and skills, of meeting mental challenges and financial obstacles, of completing late-night and early-morning assignments, of overcoming mind and body exhaustion – basically a prime example of enduring to the end.
One final endurance is the commencement ceremony itself, that last grasp on graduating students by the institution that brought them from that long-ago beginning to this concluding moment.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5f

 

Why Bad Online Courses Are Still Taught in Schools
Because many of the laws regulating them are toothless-and because of an aggressive political effort to maintain that status quo.
Slate commentary by Zoë Kirsch, reporting fellow at the Teacher Project, and Stephen Smiley, a Teacher Project fellow

An increasing number of states are getting serious about vetting the online education companies that are now responsible for instructing a growing number of their kids. And Florida, at first glance, would seem to be one of them.
Each year, state officials scrutinize these online courses to ensure they meet state academic standards, as well as several other criteria. Last year, the Florida Department of Education rejected the company Online Education Ventures, which failed to provide descriptions of its virtual courses in science, social studies, and English (it provided descriptions of the math courses, but they didn’t meet state standards). A year earlier, the state disqualified Mosaica Online because the company didn’t show it could provide timely information about its courses. And it said no to Odysseyware, since it failed to outline student anti-discrimination policies or show how its products could meet the needs of students with disabilities.
But here’s the rub: Those companies are still allowed to sell their products to schools in Florida. Public school districts can still use public money to educate students with discredited products like Online Education Ventures’. And the state says it has no idea how many of its 75 school districts-if any-are doing just that. “School districts may contract with any online course provider they wish to work with,” said Alix Miller, a department spokeswoman. Florida’s system for regulating online education looks like it has at least some rigor. In practice, it’s as thin as a sheet of loose-leaf paper.
Florida is one of a growing number of states that are starting to rate or review online course providers, offering a check on a booming industry that’s reshaping the nature of high school education nationally. But as in Florida, in most of these states the new rules have very little teeth. Local control reigns supreme.
And across the country an even more powerful anti-regulation force is at work. The conservative American Legislative Exchange Council has made expanding online learning-unfettered and in all of its forms-one of its priorities.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a4Y

 

Trump’s NASA Budget Eliminates Education Office, Plunging America Into The Dark
Forbes commentary by Ethan Siegel, astrophysicist and author

What did you want to grow up to be when you were a kid? Was ‘astronaut’ or ‘scientist’ ever on the list? Did you ever find space fascinating, and want to learn more about it? Was the possibility of exploring other worlds, searching for extraterrestrial life, building a rocket or experiencing zero-gravity ever a part of your dreams? NASA’s Office of Education, in its current incarnation, oversees and administers around sixty different programs that benefit educators, K-12 students, as well as undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students and researchers. With the Trump administration officially announcing their budget for the next fiscal year, they provide only $37 million for NASA’s Education Office, with one major stipulation: the office must be eliminated entirely.
Anything you’ve ever learned, seen, or experienced from NASA has been a result of education and public outreach. The above photo? It’s known simply as “Earthrise,” and was the first time a human being had ever seen the Earth rise over the limb of the Moon. It also was one of the most widely shared and distributed photographs of all-time before the rise of the internet, along with photos of the Moon landings and of the iconic blue marble photo of the full Earth as seen by Apollo 17. Since then, Hubble images, pictures from spacecraft visiting other worlds, information, explainers, Q&A sessions, videos and pretty much anything else NASA-related you can find on the internet has only come about because of education and public outreach efforts.
How many current scientists and engineers were inspired to choose their path, at a young age, by a glimpse into the great Universe beyond planet Earth? How many children across the country (and world) make it their first major goal to be chosen by NASA for a grant, program, or experience to be on the periphery of space exploration? How many young researchers and aspiring scientists are benefitting from the opportunities that NASA makes available to them, from internships to scholarships to research opportunities? And how many adults feed their insatiable hunger for the joys and wonders of the Universe with information that NASA creates especially for the public?
That last one is a personal issue to me, because for the past four years, I’ve been the astrophysicist whom NASA approached to write their once-a-month column for astronomy clubs worldwide. In nearly 300 locations across the world, more than half of which are in the United States, amateur astronomers and astronomy enthusiasts gather in clubs to host events, speakers, observing parties, and to share about their excitement in space. And one of the things that NASA would do was supply the clubs with an exclusive monthly column, highlighting an astronomical discovery or event that would be of particular interest to them. It was a small column and a small contribution that was probably read, on a monthly basis, by only a few thousand people.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5H

 

————————————————————-
NATIONAL NEWS
————————————————————-

Betsy DeVos Refuses to Rule Out Giving Funds to Schools That Discriminate
New York Times

WASHINGTON – Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, on Wednesday fiercely defended budget plans to spend $1.4 billion on the Trump administration’s expanded school choice agenda, but refused to say whether her office would withhold funds from private schools that discriminate against students.
In her first testimony to Congress since a bruising confirmation hearing in January, Ms. DeVos appeared unflappable as she told members of a House Appropriations subcommittee that the budget sought to empower states and parents to make decisions about students’ educations.
“We cannot allow any parent to feel their child is trapped in a school that isn’t meeting his or her unique needs,” Ms. DeVos told lawmakers.
But Democrats derided the education spending blueprint for the 2018 fiscal year as tone deaf to low­income and working­class Americans. Representative Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, the top Democrat on the panel, called it “cruel” and “inhumane.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/a4Z

http://gousoe.uen.org/a50 (WaPo)

http://gousoe.uen.org/a51 (Washington Times)

http://gousoe.uen.org/a52 (LAT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/a53 (Ed Week)

 

Former allies on school choice now divided by Trump budget
Associated Press

President Donald Trump’s budget proposal to provide federal tax money for private-school scholarships is getting pushback from an unconventional source: groups known for promoting school-choice initiatives.
The plan promoted by Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos widened a divide in the school-choice movement and brought swift condemnation from people who support more competition for public schools in the form of charter schools but oppose sending tax money to private institutions.
“I think it’s an affront to the American dream,” said Jonah Edelman, CEO of the pro-charter group Stand for Children, which planned to align with a frequent adversary, one of the nation’s largest teachers unions, to oppose the plan.
The administration’s budget proposal sets aside $250 million for the scholarships. That’s a tiny sliver of the $4.1 trillion spending plan released Tuesday, but if approved it would mark the first time the federal government has helped pay private-school tuition for K-12 students in a nationwide program.
The budget also calls for $1 billion for a new program encouraging school districts to give parents options in choosing a public school for their children. And it increases grants for charter schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5G

 

More money for Texas public schools dies, a casualty of lawmakers’ vouchers fight
Dallas Morning News

AUSTIN – The two-year state budget nearing passage contains almost no new money for public schools, a victim of infighting over school vouchers.
Although $530 million of new school money was announced on House and Senate negotiators’ decision documents late Saturday, that was premature – and inaccurate, the chief House budget writer, Rep. John Zerwas, said Wednesday.
“There is no money in the bill” for slightly enhanced school funding, said Zerwas, a Richmond Republican.
Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick quickly blamed that on House members. They “buckled under the demands of education bureaucrats” by killing off what would be the first use in Texas of state funds for private-school tuition, he said in a written statement.
The Republican lieutenant governor proclaimed a separate bill on school finance to be dead.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a54

http://gousoe.uen.org/a55 (Houston Chronicle)

 

How Do Parents Choose a ‘High Quality’ School?
Education Week

The underlying principle of the Trump administration’s approach to K-12 education is the need to give parents more ability to choose their child’s school.
In defending the President’s proposed 2018 budget before a House Appropriations subcommittee Wednesday, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos repeatedly cited the need for parent choice: “We cannot allow any parent to feel their child is trapped in a school that isn’t meeting his or her unique needs.”
Yet new research suggests that parents pick schools for widely diverse reasons, and low-income parents in particular may need support to understand what different schools have to offer. For example, low- and high-income parents both select schools based on school quality-but they use different measures of quality, according to a new study of school choice in the journal Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis.
Mathematica researchers Steven Glazerman and Dallas Dotter analyzed how more than 22,000 applicants to the District of Columbia’s citywide lottery ranked their preferences among more than 200 regular and charter public schools in the district. They looked at school demographics, how close schools were to students’ homes, as well as several measures of schools’ academic quality: academic proficiency and growth rates, the district’s three-tiered charter quality ratings, and the districtwide five-tier accountability ratings for all schools.
“The assumption was income might be a proxy for different types of social capital: access to information and the ability to use information to make decisions for your kids,” Glazerman said.
They found that in middle schools, for example, low-income parents ranked schools higher if they had higher academic proficiency rates-information that was easily available on the MySchoolDC website-but high-income parents tended to rank schools based on their accountability ratings, information that tended to be harder to find.
Similarly, parents of incoming kindergartners were also more likely to rank schools based on academic proficiency rates, while parents of high school students-who likely were more familiar with the school system-more often ranked their school choices based on the accountability ratings.
“It’s somewhat of a hard pattern to explain,” Glazerman said. “It’s likely people consume information in very different ways, and we need to understand how we present that information.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5D

A copy of the study
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5E (Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis) $

 

Half of Jefferson County teachers lose jobs
Tallahassee (FL) Democrat

Half of Jefferson County Schools’ teachers will not return next year as a charter school company takes over the struggling district.
Superintendent Marianne Arbulu confirmed the teacher turnover numbers late Tuesday and told the Tallahassee Democrat about half of the current support staff members also have been notified they won’t return next school year.
“Additional support and administrative announcements (are) expected at the end of this week or early next week,” she said.
The announcement came during the last week of school for Jefferson students, as the district begins its transition to become the first in the state run by a charter school company.
At last week’s Department of Education financial emergency board meeting, officials said an estimated $555,000 in terminal leave pay will go to school district staff no longer employed after June 30.
The Jefferson County School Board voted unanimously in April to approve a 5-year contract with South Florida’s Somerset Academy, Inc. Education Commissioner Pam Stewart called the unprecedented move “historic.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5a

 

Next-Generation Science Tests Slowly Take Shape
Few states so far have moved to assessments aligned to the Next Generation standards
Education Week

Around the country, science instruction is changing-students are being asked to make models, analyze data, construct arguments, and design solutions in ways that far exceed schools’ previous goals.
That means science testing, of course, needs to change as well.
Students “have got to show us how they know, not just what they know,” said James Pellegrino, a co-director of the Learning Sciences Research Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago and an expert on assessment.
Yet considering federal requirements around science testing, and states’ logistical, technical, and financial limitations, putting a new, performance-heavy state science test in place is no easy task.
Of the 18 states now using the Next Generation Science Standards, which were released in April 2013, only Illinois, Kansas, and Nevada, as well as the District of Columbia, have moved completely from their previous science tests to ones that align to the newer “three-dimensional” benchmarks. Illinois and the District of Columbia were the first to take the leap, putting an operational test in place in spring 2016. Illinois did so especially quickly to comply with federal reporting requirements, designing a new test in just six months-a move some experts have questioned.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a56

 

Should Schools Test the ‘Career’ Half of ‘College and Career’?
The time is ripe to build better vocational assessments for schools, experts say
Education Week

As states move to adopt college- and career-ready accountability systems under the Every Student Succeeds Act, many educators and researchers argue that assessments will not be able to adequately measure the “career” part of that equation.
“Over the years, we’ve built tests that measure better and better whether a student will be able to get at least a C in their first year of college-but they explain almost nothing about whether a student will succeed in an occupation,” said Anthony Carnevale, the director of Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.
Career assessments typically focus on the occupations that provide high enough wages to support a family and require some postsecondary training, though usually not a bachelor’s degree. But Carnevale and other researchers have found that the material on career-readiness tests, like the U.S. military’s Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB, and the civilian WorkKeys run by ACT Inc., still overlap significantly with the academic content of college-readiness tests like the ACT or SAT, which focus on early-college content, rather than content geared toward the workplace.
Even the National Assessment of Educational Progress, commonly dubbed “the nation’s report card,” was not found to be particularly aligned to the types of reading and math skills needed on the job in eight major job clusters, such as health care.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a58

 

Country’s Oldest Career-Matching Test Gets an Update
Education Week

The makers of the country’s oldest career tests are taking a fresh look at how to help students find careers in which they can feel successful.
The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB, now includes a 12-minute survey designed to match students to occupations based on their interests, not their personality traits. While now used only for those enlisted in the U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force, the interest survey is a model for a more concrete way to predict students’ success in different fields. Stephen Watson, the director of Navy Selection and Classification, who helped develop the interest assessment, said its format could be used more broadly for students and civilian jobs.
“It’s a matchmaking service, but instead of matching people to people, we match people to jobs,” Watson said.
Most career-interest assessments, such as the Campbell Interest and Skill Survey or the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, rate students on an array of personality traits-for example, how gregarious or conscientious they are-and help students compare that with the characteristics considered typical in a given occupation. The inventories for particular occupations must be regularly revised as more diverse people come into the workforce.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a57

 

Unmet Needs in Special Ed. Are the Focus of New Ed-Tech Grants
Education Week

Fifteen companies and organizations have won new grants to support developing ed-tech products for special-need populations, with the goal of boosting students’ access to and engagement with learning resources, among other objectives.
The winners of the NewSchools Venture Fund’s Ignite Special Education Challenge will receive awards from $65,000 to $150,000. The grants will support product development, building their organizations, strategy, and other goals.
The awardees promise to cover a lot of ground.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5F

 

Christian school: Teen banned from graduation ‘not because she is pregnant but because she was immoral’
Washington Post

A small Christian school in western Maryland is not backing down from its decision to ban a pregnant senior from walking at graduation next week.
Despite a public outcry and growing pressure from national antiabortion groups to reconsider, Heritage Academy in Hagerstown says that senior Maddi Runkles broke the school’s rules by engaging in intimate sexual activity. In a letter to parents Tuesday evening, school principal David R. Hobbs said that Runkles is being disciplined, “not because she is pregnant but because she was immoral. … The best way to love her right now is to hold her accountable for her morality that began this situation.”
Runkles, 18, is a 4.0 student who has attended the school since 2009. She found out she was pregnant in January and informed the school, where her father was then a board member, in February. Initially the school told Runkles that she would be suspended and removed from her role as student council president and would have to finish the rest of the school year at home.
After the family appealed, Heritage said it would allow Runkles to finish the school year with her 14 classmates but she would not be able to walk with the other seniors to receive her diploma at graduation. The family believes that the decision is unfair and that she is being punished more harshly than others who have broken the rules.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5B

 

How Much Math Anxiety Is Too Much?
Education Week

If Levi Vaughan, a 5-year-old kindergartner in Braidwood, Ill., makes it through math class without a meltdown, it’s a good day.
The transition to school has been tough in other ways for Levi, said Stefanie Vaughan, his mother, but math has been uniquely challenging.
“His math papers get pulled out and he’s in full-blown crisis mode,” Vaughan said. “He has to leave the class.”
So Vaughan reached out to a friend, Molly Jameson, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Northern Colorado who studies math anxiety in young children.
In 2013, Jameson developed a scale to help measure math anxiety in the youngest students. Vaughan’s hope is that the scale will help her and Levi’s teachers understand how much of Levi’s distress is specifically related to his anxiety about math.
Jameson is one of a number of researchers trying to gain a better understanding of math anxiety in children like Levi.
A growing body of research shows that many adults and older students have anxiety about math. But only in recent years have researchers been looking to early childhood to understand the roots of the problem and how it is entangled with math performance and other psychological challenges.
http://gousoe.uen.org/a5C

 

————————————————————
CALENDAR
————————————————————

USBE Calendar
http://www.schools.utah.gov/main/CALENDAR.aspx

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

May 25:

Charter School Revolving Loan Committee meeting
9 a.m., 250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
https://www.utah.gov/pmn/sitemap/notice/397351.html

June 1:

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

June 2:

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

June 8:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting
TBD
http://www.schools.utah.gov/charterschools/State-Board.aspx

June 20:

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8:30 a.m., 445 State Capitol
http://le.utah.gov/asp/interim/Commit.asp?Year=2017&Com=APPPED

June 21:

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

July 25:

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

Related posts:

Comments are closed.