Education News Roundup: June 7, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

The use of co-teaching for middle school math is being tried in Utah.
http://gousoe.uen.org/abH (DN)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/ac3 (KUER)

U.S. job openings are at record highs (particularly in Utah), but hiring in state and local public education is low, according to a new report.
http://gousoe.uen.org/acg (Pew Research Center)

There’s lots of follow up on the Our Schools Now initiative.
http://gousoe.uen.org/abB (UP)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/abJ (AP via OSE)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/abO (AP via LHJ)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/abP (AP via CVD)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/abT (AP via KUTV)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/abW (KTVX)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/abY (DN via KSL)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/ac1 (KSTU)
or a copy of the application for an initiative
http://gousoe.uen.org/abD (Utah.gov)

Congratulations to new Deputy State Superintendent Patty Norman.
http://gousoe.uen.org/acc (PR)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/ack (USBE)

Secretary DeVos discusses state ESSA plans.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ac5 (Ed Week)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Co-teaching aims to make middle school math ‘doable’ for all

U.S. job openings at record high levels

‘Our Schools Now’ officially launches petition to boost school funding through tax hike

New state education official named

Park City teachers union to change leadership
Incoming co-president says maintaining communication with district officials is critical

Mother, kindergartner among victims of shooting near elementary school

Girls learn coding and design at Dixie State University

Local teacher earns fellowship

Farmington’s new high school has a name, but no decision made on mascot, colors

School district to offer online education service this fall

Utah Valley Educator of the Week: Louise Crook

Utah Valley Student of the Week: Jayne Holdaway

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Some simple steps to improve the Our Schools Now initiative

Weekly survey: How successful will the ‘Our Schools Now’ ballot initiative be?

West High sets a good example

Time to join an activist group

NATION

ESSA Plans Have to Follow the Law, Not Conform to My Beliefs, DeVos Says

Illinois State Worker Asks Supreme Court to Overrule Key Case on Union Fees

Teachers unions across U.S. increase pressure for collective bargaining in charter schools

Education Philanthropist Helps Students Excel
George Weiss’ organization helps more than 130,000 public-school students get access to support services and scholarships

Abstinence education advocate named to HHS post

How media literacy can help students discern fake news

After Satanic request, PBC schools call for a ban on religious banners on campus

Florida woman sent to prison for threatening Sandy Hook parent

A woman tripped over a speed bump. Now she’s suing a Rupert school

 

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UTAH NEWS
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Co-teaching aims to make middle school math ‘doable’ for all

SALT LAKE CITY – Noodle this middle school math problem: Napoleon Dynamite and his friend Pedro walk down the hall of their high school. If we know there are 500 lockers in their school, how many are there of each color based on the pattern we see in the movie clip?
A movie clip to teach a math concept?
Why not, says Lori Gardner, retired Park City School District associate superintendent of teaching, learning and technology, addressing 36 middle school teachers taking part in the start of a yearlong training on co-teaching.
It’s a new take on story problems, “using a problem-solving activity they can relate to,” she said.
Gardner was among a handful of instructors providing professional development on co-teaching Tuesday at the office of the Utah State Board of Education. Co-teaching pairs a general educator and a special educator in the same classroom with the objective of using newly learned instructional concepts and techniques to improve math proficiency among students with disabilities.
Ultimately, both teachers will teach in the same middle school classroom, with the special educator employing improved skills in math instruction and the math teacher better versed in special education practices to better meet the needs of all students.
http://gousoe.uen.org/abH (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/ac3 (KUER)

 

U.S. job openings at record high levels

With the U.S. economic expansion well into its eighth year, some states are experiencing what might seem like an enviable problem: not enough people to fill all the available jobs. Utah and Colorado, among others, are reporting local worker shortages and record or near-record low unemployment. And nationally, job openings remain at their highest levels since the turn of the century.
As of the end of April, nonfarm employers reported more than 6 million job openings, according to seasonally adjusted data from the government’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (known as JOLTS). Although there are still more people without jobs than there are job openings – about 6.9 million people reported being unemployed in May – the monthly estimate of open positions has been above 5.5 million for all but one month since the start of 2016, a sign of the U.S. economy’s relative health. In July 2009, just past the trough of the Great Recession, employers reported fewer than 2.2 million job openings, the lowest total since the Bureau of Labor Statistics began collecting JOLTS data in 2000.

The lowest openings rate (1.7%) was in state and local public education, which historically has either the lowest or among the lowest rates of any sector.
http://gousoe.uen.org/acg (Pew Research Center)

 

‘Our Schools Now’ officially launches petition to boost school funding through tax hike

The Our Schools Now citizen initiative effort is officially off and running – with the filing Tuesday morning of a petition that, if approved by voters next year – would over three years raise the current state sales and personal income tax rates by around $700 million annually.
There seems to be kind of a peculiar pride some Utahns feel for being “dead last” in the nation in per-pupil spending, said former GOP Utah House Speaker Nolan Karras.
“It’s not for me, and I hope you are not” proud about that dismal statistic, either, he said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/abB (UP)

http://gousoe.uen.org/abJ (AP via OSE)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/abP (AP via CVD)

http://gousoe.uen.org/abT (AP via KUTV)

http://gousoe.uen.org/abW (KTVX)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/ac1 (KSTU)

A copy of the application for an initiative
http://gousoe.uen.org/abD (Utah.gov)

 

New state education official named

The Utah State Board of Education has named Patty Norman deputy superintendent of student achievement. According to a press release, Norman has been an assistant superintendent in the Davis School District since last summer and will be one of three deputy state superintendents. She replaces Rich Nye, who is leaving for a position as superintendent of the Ogden School District. “I am honored to work with the amazing team at the State Board of Education in this different capacity,” she said in the release. “Together, we can lead out to provide more opportunities for students, raise achievement for all while closing equity gaps, and increase avenues of communication for stakeholders.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/acc (PR)

http://gousoe.uen.org/ack (USBE)

 

Park City teachers union to change leadership
Incoming co-president says maintaining communication with district officials is critical

Fresh off negotiating a substantial raise for teachers that will make them the highest paid in Utah, the Park City Education Association is gearing up for a leadership change.
Alane Gaspari, a teacher at Parley’s Park Elementary School, and Ben Kahn, from Trailside Elementary School, are set to take over as co-presidents of the association, which is the union that represents teachers in the Park City School District. They will replace Renee Pinkney and Sam Thompson, who led the organization for the past two years.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ace (PR)

 

Mother, kindergartner among victims of shooting near elementary school

SANDY – Grief spread through Brookwood Elementary School on Wednesday as the victims of a violent shooting attack nearby were identified as a kindergarten student and his mother, while his brother, a fifth grader, and another student were wounded.
The name of the gunman, who was also killed, and his relationship with the family have not been released, though police have confirmed the attack was not random.
Police say the victims were among many parents and children walking home after class at Brookwood Elementary let out for the day Tuesday. About 3:45 p.m., police say a black pickup truck veered into an SUV near the woman and the gunman jumped out and opened fire.
http://gousoe.uen.org/abF (DN)

http://gousoe.uen.org/abG (SLT)

http://gousoe.uen.org/abI (AP)

http://gousoe.uen.org/abL (AP via OSE)

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/abQ (AP via CVD)

http://gousoe.uen.org/abS (KUTV)

http://gousoe.uen.org/abU (KTVX)

http://gousoe.uen.org/abX (KSL)

http://gousoe.uen.org/ac0 (KSTU)

 

Girls learn coding and design at Dixie State University

ST. GEORGE, Utah – Coding, graphic design, computer programming-Those are are just a few things girls as young as seven years old are learning at Dixie State University.
While Taylor Swift played overhead, the girls created their masterpieces.
“Soldering materials together so they stick, so you have a full circuit. So right now, I’m doing a DIY gamer,” said 13-year-old Emi Larsen.
Emi Larsen has come all the way from Tucson Arizona, along with her 8year old sister Ella, for the Girls Go Digital Program in St. George.
The program was started by Dixie State Professor Rachel Ramsay four years ago with only 6 girls participating, but the program has grown to over 600 girls in seven locations across the state.
http://gousoe.uen.org/abV (KTVX)

 

Local teacher earns fellowship

Lynda Boyle, a teacher at Monticello High School, has been awarded a James Madison Fellowship by the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation of Alexandria, VA. A total of 53 fellowships were awarded in 2017.
James Madison Fellowships support further study of American history for teachers of American history, American government, and social studies in the secondary schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/acb (San Juan Record)

 

Farmington’s new high school has a name, but no decision made on mascot, colors

FARMINGTON – Farmington’s newest high school finally has a name, but Davis School District officials held off on choosing a mascot and school colors, deciding to let students choose instead.
At its meeting Tuesday, June 6, the Board of Education unanimously decided on the name Farmington High School, which was most preferred by an online stakeholder survey.
“We really appreciate all the input we got,” board member Brigit Gerrard said. “We asked for input, we got the input and we value what we got.”
The board then unanimously voted to send the mascot and color decision back to the students who will ultimately be attending the school.
http://gousoe.uen.org/abK (OSE)

 

School district to offer online education service this fall

Tooele County School District has partnered with a private company to open a virtual school. In April the Tooele County School Board approved an agreement with My Tech High, a Spanish Fork-based online education provider, to start up Blue Peak Online this fall.
http://gousoe.uen.org/acj (Tooele Transcript Bulletin) $

 

Utah Valley Educator of the Week: Louise Crook

Louise Crook is a fourth-grade teacher at Sage Creek Elementary in Springville in the Nebo School District working on the English side of the school’s dual immersion program. She was selected as the Daily Herald’s Utah Valley Educator of the Week.
http://gousoe.uen.org/abM (PDH)

 

Utah Valley Student of the Week: Jayne Holdaway

Jayne Holdaway is a fifth-grade student at Salem Elementary and is being recognized as the Daily Herald’s Utah Valley Student of the Week.
http://gousoe.uen.org/acd (PDH)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Some simple steps to improve the Our Schools Now initiative
Salt Lake Tribune commentary by columnist ROBERT GEHRKE

Leaders of the Our Schools Now initiative kicked off their effort Tuesday to ask voters to raise their own taxes – both sales and income – to generate an estimated $700 million a year for Utah’s badly underfunded schools.
Even if it passes, Utah schools would climb from last in the nation in per-pupil spending all the way up to 49th.
But this is incremental progress that has been a long time coming as Utah lawmakers pat themselves on the back for big new school funding while really doing little more than keeping pace with the rapid growth in our public schools.
“This is, I believe, Utah’s current economic challenge: How do we propel our education system to a new high – so we can have the workers to keep our economy moving forward,” said Zions Bank President Scott Anderson, one of the leaders of the initiative. “Simply put, we must significantly increase the state’s investment in education to achieve the performance and results we not only need today, but we hope to have in the future.”
Beginning next month, organizers will hold seven town hall meetings to hear from the public and, says Ron Jibson, the former Questar CEO, they plan to listen and adjust their proposal accordingly.
But let me get a head start, with a few suggestions that, in my opinion, would make the initiative stronger and more likely to achieve the goal of improving education in Utah.
http://gousoe.uen.org/abC

 

Weekly survey: How successful will the ‘Our Schools Now’ ballot initiative be?
Utah Policy commentary

“Our Schools Now” officially launched their ballot initiative to raise taxes to better fund Utah’s schools. Do you think they’ll be able to get on the 2018 ballot? If they get on the ballot, will they be successful? Vote now.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aci

 

West High sets a good example
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Stuart Young

I was impressed when I saw the full-page advertisement in The Salt Lake Tribune purchased by West High School. It was a wonderful list of graduates. It was a very impressive list of colleges and universities where these graduates have been accepted in their effort to seek a pathway to higher education and the rewards this path offers.
I have seen several other similar ads purchased by the private high schools in the Salt Lake area. Their lists of colleges and universities accepting their graduates were impressive but, in all honesty, in no way superior to the institutions accepting grads from West High.
The only difference I am aware of is that the West High grads had their education paid for by local taxpayers.
http://gousoe.uen.org/abE

 

Time to join an activist group
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Robert Van Velkinburgh

We, the people of Utah, have lost control over our elected representatives. They hold closed-door meetings, write laws and pass them without floor debate. They give our tax money to California to build a coal portal when we have only two working coal mines in Utah. They won’t fund our education system adequately, which puts us dead last in the United States.
Run for public office. No? How about joining an activist group? By joining a local activist organization, you can increase the strength of your voice 100 times, and you will get to have some input in forming policy for the group.
http://gousoe.uen.org/acf

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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ESSA Plans Have to Follow the Law, Not Conform to My Beliefs, DeVos Says
Education Week

Washington — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos told senators during a Tuesday hearing on the federal budget that if states’ Every Student Succeeds Act plans follow the law, then it’s her obligation to approve them
In exchanges with Sens. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., DeVos indicated that her personal views on states’ plans would not influence her decisions about them. She also declined to engage with Murphy’s questions at the appropritions subcommittee hearing about where she would draw the line on approval for state school improvement plans. Both lawmakers also are on the Senate education committee, where Alexander is the chairman.
During his question period at the hearing, Alexander (one of ESSA’s main architects) asked DeVos whether she would would “follow the law, or be tempted to use your own policy ideas in approving or rejecting state plans.” DeVos responded, “Senator, we will be following the law and approve plans as Congress has intended.”
That wasn’t quite good enough for Murphy. He repeatedly asked DeVos if she would reject an ESSA plan if she found the school improvement strategies lacking. At one point, he asked her if she would approve a plan in which the improvement strategies for schools would be to repaint the walls. DeVos declined to answer the question directly.
“The plans will have to be approved” if they follow the law, DeVos told Murphy. “Whether I agree with everything in the plans is another question.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/ac5

 

Illinois State Worker Asks Supreme Court to Overrule Key Case on Union Fees
Education Week

It’s sooner rather than later that the U.S. Supreme Court is getting another crack at overruling a major decision on public-employee union fees for non-members-should it choose to do so.
Two groups planned to file an appeal Tuesday on behalf of an Illinois state government employee who objects to paying so-called agency fees to his collective-bargaining agent, the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees. The appeal is much farther along than a separate challenge to such fees filed by a group of California teachers earlier this year.
Last term, in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, the justices deadlocked 4-4 in a case in which nonunion teachers asked it to overrule Abood v. Detroit Board of Education, the 1977 Supreme Court cast that authorized public employee unions to charge service fees to employees in the bargaining unit who refuse to join.
“This case presents the same question presented in Friedrichs: should Abood be overruled and public-sector agency fee arrangements declared unconstitutional under the First Amendment?” says the appeal filed by the Liberty Justice Center, based in Chicago, and the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation, based in Springfield. Va.
The plaintiff in the case is Mark Janus, an employee of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, who has $44.58 deducted from his paycheck every month to cover the collective-bargaining fees of AFSCME.
Janus and two other state employees who object to the union fees had intervened in a lawsuit brought by Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican who has sought by legislative and legal means to upend the status quo in public employment in the state, as has occurred in nearby states such as Michigan and Wisconsin. The suit seeks to overrule Abood and have Illinois’ public-sector agency law declared unconstitutional.
The governor was dismissed from the suit for lack of standing, and some of the other plaintiffs fell by the wayside because of other issues. Both a federal district court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, in Chicago, dismissed the lawsuit.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ac6

 

Teachers unions across U.S. increase pressure for collective bargaining in charter schools
Washington Times

Teachers unions increasingly are trying to unionize charter schools nationwide, an effort school choice advocates say will stymie the mission and success the nontraditional schools have delivered to struggling school systems.
Organizers of charter schools, which receive public funding but operate independently of a jurisdiction’s primary public school system, often discourage unionization. They say independence from unions allows their schools to be more flexible with assignments, hours and teacher pay, among other things.
“Charters are about flexibility from one-size-fits-all state policies, district policies and collective bargaining agreements. They are about the flexibility to innovate,” said Todd Ziebarth, senior vice president for state advocacy and support at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
“All that cuts directly against union collective bargaining agreements,” he said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ac9

 

Education Philanthropist Helps Students Excel
George Weiss’ organization helps more than 130,000 public-school students get access to support services and scholarships
Wall Street Journal

When money manager George Weiss made a promise 30 years ago to 112 poor sixth-graders in Philadelphia that he would pay their college tuition, he launched an unusually hands-on philanthropic mission.
He took the teenagers to football games. When he learned that some were dealing drugs, he went to their homes to “get in their faces.” Although he never dreamed it would be necessary, he gave six of them eulogies.
Back then, Mr. Weiss faced heat from some critics who thought it was unfair and arbitrary to shower largess on one grade at one school, rather than rewarding the most diligent. But he stood by his choice and sought to do more. The national nonprofit he founded, Say Yes to Education, says it has raised more than $280 million over the years, and most came from his gifts and their investment returns.
At a time when many wealthy donors attempt to fix U.S. education by funding charter schools, advocacy and political candidates, Mr. Weiss, who is 74 years old, seeks change in the regular public system. His takeaways: Start social services as early as possible. Get local civic leaders to work together. Persist. “Would you give up on your kids?” he asks.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ac7

 

Abstinence education advocate named to HHS post
(Washington, DC) The Hill

The Trump administration has named a national abstinence education advocate to a post at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Valerie Huber, the president of Ascend, a D.C.-based professional association that advocates for abstinence education, will be the chief of staff to the assistant secretary for health at HHS, according to a staff email obtained by The Hill.
In an email to staff, HHS’ acting assistant secretary for health Don Wright said Huber’s “wealth of professional experience in the field of public policy will serve her well in this position.”
Huber has been the president of Ascend, formerly known as the National Abstinence Education Association, since 2007, according to her LinkedIn profile.
In an article published in Focus on the Family’s Citizen magazine, Huber says she prefers the term “sexual risk avoidance” to abstinence education.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ac8

 

How media literacy can help students discern fake news
NewsHour

Recognizing bias in news stories is one form of media literacy. Spotting when the news is totally fabricated is something else entirely. How can teachers help students tell fact from media fiction? Educators and media literacy advocates in Washington state are working together with legislators to address the problem.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ac2

 

After Satanic request, PBC schools call for a ban on religious banners on campus
Palm Beach (FL) Post

Leaders of Palm Beach County’s public school system want to do away with religious banners on school campuses, seven months after a secular activist attempted to display a Satanic banner at Boca Raton High School.
For years, churches, synagogues and other religious groups had been able to pay to display promotional banners at the county’s more than 180 public schools.
But school district administrators pulled the plug on that program after a secular activist asked in November to post a “Satanology” banner at Boca Raton High.
Now the school district is proposing that banners sponsored by religious organizations be banned for good.
The new policy, which has to be approved by the county school board, would declare religious organizations to be “inappropriate business partners,” along with political candidates and organizations that support political causes or other “controversial subjects.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/aca

 

Florida woman sent to prison for threatening Sandy Hook parent
Reuters

A Florida woman who believed the 2012 massacre at a Connecticut elementary school was a hoax was sentenced to five months in federal prison on Wednesday after pleading guilty to threatening a parent of one of the children killed.
Prosecutors accused Lucy Richards, 57, of saying she would kill a parent of a Sandy Hook Elementary School victim, telling the parent, “you gonna die, death is coming to you real soon.”
Richards, of the Tampa area, pleaded guilty in Fort Lauderdale to one count of transmitting threats via interstate commerce in January 2016, according to a statement from the acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida.
The parent, who was not named, lives in South Florida, the statement said.
“Richards’ belief that the school shooting was a hoax and never happened motivated her to make the threats,” prosecutors said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ac4

 

A woman tripped over a speed bump. Now she’s suing a Rupert school
Twin Falls (ID) Times-News

RUPERT- A Twin Falls woman and her husband are suing the Minidoka County Joint School District after she tripped over a speed bump in the parking lot at Minico High School.
Jan Duff and her husband, Curtis Duff, filed the civil lawsuit after she tripped over a speed bump in a parking area on Sept 25, 2015.
Duff claims that the area was poorly lit and she and injured her knees and wrists when she hit the asphalt.
A status conference in the case is set for June 12 in front of Minidoka District Judge Jonathan Brody.
The speed bump is at the exit to the stadium and is the same blackish color as the asphalt, Duff said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/abZ

 

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

June 8:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting
10 a.m., The Leonardo, East Classroom, 209 E 500 South, Salt Lake City
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 13:

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

July 14:

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

July 25:

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

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