Education News Roundup: June 19, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

Trib takes a closer look at the possibility of using eminent domain for charter schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aga (SLT)

SITLA cancels a gravel pit lease near Capitol Reef.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agk (SLT)

Park Valley School in Box Elder District wants to move to a four-day week.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agq (OSE)

Standard-Examiner profiles new Box Elder Supt. Steve Carlsen.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agn (OSE)

ED will scale back civil rights investigations.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ag7 (NYT)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/agb (WaPo)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/agv (Ed Week)

ED is also offering feedback on some the early ESSA state plans.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agf (Ed Week)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/agx (Ed Week)
and http://gousoe.uen.org/agg (The 74)

National Council for the Social Studies recommends religious studies in public K-12 schools.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agH (Chicago Tribune)
or more information
http://gousoe.uen.org/agI (National Council for the Social Studies)

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TODAY’S HEADLINES
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UTAH

Should Utah charter schools be allowed to seize private land?
High school is being built despite court denials of charter’s bid for a southern access.

Utah trust lands agency nixes gravel pit lease in favor of selling scenic parcel near Capitol Reef
Trust lands » Scenic 120-acre parcel near Torrey to be sold after mine controversy generates interest among conservation buyers.

Box Elder School Board approves Park Valley move to 4-day school week

Weber School District talks new schools, renovations with bond initiative

Ogden School District looks at building junior high innovation centers

Steve Carlsen to lead Box Elder schools starting July 1

Dixie State University receives $250,000 grant for concurrent enrollment math courses

Private transportation provider could replace school bus in Big Cottonwood Canyon

Report says Utah ranks 7th in child well-being, but health care uncertainty casts pall

Canyon School District students receive STEM scholarships

Man creates scholarship in wife’s memory

Mandarin Chinese language and culture camp offered

OPINION & COMMENTARY

Utah needs to have a look at burdensome school fees

Utahns should demand no taxation without innovation

Graduation is not a sporting event

Leave the Grand Staircase-Escalante monument alone

Why Are Schools Still Peddling the Self-Esteem Hoax?
Social-emotional learning is rooted in ‘faux psychology’

9 Tips for Teaching Coding in the Classroom

NATION

Education Dept. Says It Will Scale Back Civil Rights Investigations

DeVos Feedback on Education Plans Defies Federal Law’s Intent, State Leaders Say

Betsy DeVos’ Vision For American Education

National education group recommends religious studies in K-12 public schools

Gov. Abbott signs bill overhauling A-F school, district ratings
A bill overhauling a future system to grade Texas schools and districts on an A-F scale is now law.

Florida Gov. signs bill to shift students, money to charters

States test worksite charter schools for company kids

Indiana Christian school at center of LGBT voucher debate

Audit: Alabama misreported graduation rate

MDE: Testing company misgraded nearly 1,000 exams

Rethinking the parent-teacher conference: Meeting more often, working as a team

Dr. Dre to donate $10 million for Compton High School’s new performing arts center

‘Fantasticks’ scene prompts walkout, incites condemnation

Teacher’s photo showing LGBT pride next to Trump goes viral

 

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UTAH NEWS
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Should Utah charter schools be allowed to seize private land?
High school is being built despite court denials of charter’s bid for a southern access.

When construction began on a new American Preparatory Academy in January, the charter school lacked required permits from the Utah Board of Education, according to newly obtained school board emails.
The project timeline and American Prep’s ongoing and unprecedented quest to seize private land through eminent domain drew sharp critiques from some school board members, expressed in email chains during March and April with subject lines like “APA train wreck in Draper.”
Beyond the plight of a single school, the so-called “train wreck” has catalyzed a debate over who can condemn property for charter use.
http://gousoe.uen.org/aga (SLT)

 

Utah trust lands agency nixes gravel pit lease in favor of selling scenic parcel near Capitol Reef
Trust lands » Scenic 120-acre parcel near Torrey to be sold after mine controversy generates interest among conservation buyers.

The dust may be settling over Teasdale’s gravel pit controversy, thanks to a decision by Utah trust lands officials to cancel a mineral lease on the 120-acre state-owned parcel in favor of selling it.
For the past year, the site has been under lease to a Wayne County construction firm that recently won a court ruling that seemed to pave the way for an industrial operation in the scenic agricultural area. But on Wednesday, the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration gave 30 days’ notice to Brown Brothers Construction Co., which was seeking to mine aggregate needed for road work even — though local zoning would preclude such industrial uses.
Nearby residents objected to putting a mine on the wind-swept rise above the Fremont River and Torrey, the historic ranching town that is now a gateway to Capitol Reef National Park and dependent on tourism.
“We are in a celebratory mood,” said Ty Markham, a bed-and-breakfast owner and environmental activist. “The blight on our spectacular scenery and what it would do to our economy, disrupt the quiet and beauty, we feel we have a dodged a bullet.”
Brown’s lease paid $1,200 a year, plus a 70-cent royalty on every cubic yard of sand and gravel removed. Opponents long argued that SITLA could make more money for the school trust fund it supports by selling the land, leading to assertions that allowing the parcel to be mined could violate the agency’s fiduciary duty.
This week, SITLA Director David Ure came to agree with that position.
“Our analysis is that the sale price of the property at auction is likely to substantially exceed rentals and royalties from [the parcel] over the lifetime of any gravel pit constructed on the permit premises,” Ure wrote in the letter to Brown canceling the gravel lease.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agk (SLT)

 

Box Elder School Board approves Park Valley move to 4-day school week

PARK VALLEY — Park Valley Elementary and Secondary School is going to have a four-day school week because students are missing too many school days to help out at their family farms.
The Box Elder School District Board of Education approved the change effective next fall at a meeting Wednesday, June 14, contingent on parent support.
Superintendent Ron Tolman said the school asked for the change. He plans to take this to the state level and gather parent feedback in the coming weeks.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agq (OSE)

 

Weber School District talks new schools, renovations with bond initiative

OGDEN — The Weber School District is looking at renovations, building a new junior high school and three elementary schools should a bond initiative pass this fall.
At a meeting Thursday, June 15, a group of Board of Education members and district administrators talked about whether to ask for a tax increase and which buildings have the most dire need for improvements.
No official decisions were made and the next step will be taking the options the group talked about to the public in the form of an online survey, conducted by Y2 Analytics.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agp (OSE)

 

Ogden School District looks at building junior high innovation centers

OGDEN — The Ogden School District is considering building innovation centers at all three of the junior high schools with money from a proposed bond initiative.
The innovation center idea came from the district’s bond advisory committee, which district spokesman Jer Bates said is made up of community members.
The centers would be a space for students and teachers to work collaboratively in career pathway programs.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ago (OSE)

 

Steve Carlsen to lead Box Elder schools starting July 1

BRIGHAM CITY — It was during his time as a student at Brigham Young University when Steve Carlsen decided he wanted to pursue teaching.
“I loved my educational experience and just wanted to make a career out of it,” he said.
Carlsen was chosen as the next Box Elder School District superintendent by the Board of Education at a May meeting from four finalists. He is taking over for Ron Tolman, who is retiring after leading the district for three years.
Carlsen will make $132,000 annually, according to his signed two-year contract. He will also receive a $6,000 annual travel reimbursement, paid equally over 12 months.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agn (OSE)

 

Dixie State University receives $250,000 grant for concurrent enrollment math courses

ST. GEORGE — Dixie State University is set to help more high school students take college-level math courses with the help of a Math Teacher Preparation Grant from the Utah System of Higher Education.
The $250,000 grant will help Dixie State increase the number of high school teachers eligible to teach math classes through the Concurrent Enrollment program, which allows students to earn both high school and college credit for general education courses.
With more instructors available, the university plans to offer more sections of these math classes, making it possible for more high school students to complete quantitative literacy math courses.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agM (SGN)

 

Private transportation provider could replace school bus in Big Cottonwood Canyon

SANDY — The Canyons Board of Education voted late Tuesday to direct school administrators to explore entering a contract with a private transportation provider to serve schoolchildren in Big Cottonwood Canyon.
It was the fourth time the board had discussed the issue. The administration recommended in April that the board end the service in the face of growing safety concerns and dwindling ridership.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agt (DN via KSL)

 

Report says Utah ranks 7th in child well-being, but health care uncertainty casts pall

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is one of the best states for a child to live in, according to new findings in an extensive report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a national children’s advocacy organization.
The report, titled Kids Count, and last week ranked Utah seventh in overall child well-being in 2015, the latest year for which data has been finalized.
Based on statistics compiled using numerous factors, Utah finished fifth in children’s economic well-being, 15th in education, third in family and community influences and 19th in children’s health.
But leaders of Voices for Utah’s Children, another children’s advocacy group, believe the data now represent a snapshot in time more so than an ongoing positive trend, thanks to potentially sweeping changes to health care in the United States.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agL (DN)

 

Canyon School District students receive STEM scholarships

Butler Elementary student Savanna Moursal wants to learn how to hack into a computer if she should ever be locked out.
So the fifth-grader decided to apply for a RizePoint STEM scholarship to attend the camp Girls Go Digital to learn more about coding.
“I applied because coding is fun to learn and I hope to learn more about software at the camp,” Savanna said. “I’ve learned to code a little at school, but at the camp, we’ll use Play-Doh to control a computer. That sounds really cool.”
On May 17, 20 Canyons School District students from fifth grade through tenth grade were honored as RizePoint scholarship recipients after a committee reviewed their applications, which included a personal explanation of their own ambitions to learn at a STEM camp, their academic record and recommendations from a teacher and a peer.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agO (Cottonwood-Holladay Journal)

 

Man creates scholarship in wife’s memory

ST. GEORGE, Utah – A St. George man who lost his wife to tragedy a year ago making sure her memory lives on.
“Crazy you’re one-year-old, huh baby,” said Jared Buhanan-Decker to his son J.J.
Friday is J.J.’s first birthday. It’s also the day Jared Buhanan-Decker lost his wife—JJ’s mother Sharry—during JJ’s birth.

But he aims to live his life as a legacy to his lost love.
“Sharry was such a kind compassionate person and she had just such a zest for life, and experience life to the fullest, and she was so excited to have this baby boy, and to love and experience life with him as well, and so now i’m trying to keep that going,” said Jared.
Jared has done just that, starting a scholarship in his wife’s name for Utah students. Each year one student is awarded 2,100 dollars put into a Utah Education Savings Plan. Last month a student from Bountiful High was the first recipient.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agN (KTVX)

 

Mandarin Chinese language and culture camp offered

A free language and culture camp focusing on Mandarin Chinese starts Monday morning at Utah State University.
The two-week course will give children who do not have previous Chinese-language experience a chance to learn how to introduce themselves, talk about hobbies and family along with getting information about cultural traditions like Chinese New Year and the Dragon Boat Festival.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agr (LHJ)

 

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OPINION & COMMENTARY
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Utah needs to have a look at burdensome school fees
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

Fees for a student in junior high school can easily add up to more than $200, including money for academic funds, activity fees, instruction materials, day planners, fine arts classes, an online writing program, science fees, physical education uniforms, play sweatshirts, choir uniforms and yearbooks. Some districts charge students $5 for each tardy. Monetizing attendance is counterintuitive to a free and public education.
School fees have spiraled out of control. In response, the Utah State Board of Education has approved a study of the fees school districts charge students.
In the Salt Lake City School District, for example, administrative procedures state that no fees will be charged students in K-6, and each school will provide the necessary supplies. But teachers often ask students to bring additional supplies – some even offer extra credit for such donations. How can a student’s grade be impacted by how much money he gives?
These same procedures allow schools to charge fees and fines to students in grades 7-12, subject to fee waiver provisions. But they also require that a school “under no circumstances” prohibit a student from enrolling based on the non-payment of a fee or fine.
Yet parents receive an email at the end of the year warning them that if the fees are not paid, high school seniors cannot walk at graduation or receive their yearbooks, and students in other grades cannot receive yearbooks and cannot register for classes the following year.
Obviously, school districts are not following their own policies. And the policies themselves are unnecessarily burdensome.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agJ

 

Utahns should demand no taxation without innovation
Deseret News op-ed by Christine Cooke, education policy analyst for Sutherland Institute

In education, it’s not how much money you spend that matters; it’s how you spend it. At least, that’s what the research shows: Money for public schools is only as good as the framework it funds.
Which is why Utah’s response to a tax hike proposal for education should be this: No taxation without innovation.
We’re talking about real innovation, which is more than new iPads, more than tinkering with old ideas, and certainly more than promises of future district plans proposed by current tax hike advocates. There is nothing innovative about requiring a plan tomorrow while taking more taxes today.
Real innovation creates a transformation — of thought and policy. We need to transform how we think and talk about education: It’s about the student, not “the school” or “the system.” Our policies need to transform from one-size-fits-all approaches designed for administrative ease to taking on the administrative challenge of meeting the unique needs of each student through robust choices and individualized learning opportunities.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agm

http://gousoe.uen.org/ags (Sutherland)

 

Graduation is not a sporting event
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Sharon M. Kerikas

It was my pleasure to attend a public high school graduation. The program was very well planned and reflected the dignity of the occasion. Hundreds of students were honored as they accepted their diplomas, reflecting years of dedication to their education.
As a student’s name was read, many family members and friends were delighted to hear the name of their graduate announced. I was appalled to hear the yelling and loud shouting of some of the individuals in the audience when the name of their graduate was announced. This behavior was demonstrated by families and friends of the minority students who were graduating.
They demonstrated the kind of behavior one would observe at a sporting event, not at a commencement program.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agl

 

Leave the Grand Staircase-Escalante monument alone
(Washington, DC) The Hill op-ed by BILL HEDDEN, executive director of the Grand Canyon Trust and former councilman for Grand County

There is a sharp contrast between the intense public debate that preceded President Obama’s designation of the Bears Ears National Monument and President Clinton’s stealth designation of the Grand Staircase-Escalante monument.
When Clinton read the proclamation at the south rim of the Grand Canyon in 1996, scarcely anybody knew what he was about to do. Although the landscape is extraordinary and increasingly valuable on a scientific level, there is validity to the claim that the public was cut out of the process. Utah politicians have made hay for decades by howling over the injustice, yet their actions and those of Congress have validated the monument in several concrete ways that have proven enormously beneficial to Utah.
Shrinking or rescinding the monument now would raise many thorny questions.

The final complication for opponents of the monument involves the very real benefits Utah’s school children have realized from Grand Staircase-Escalante. Clinton instructed Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt to trade the state lands out of the monument so they would not be trapped without the potential to generate revenue. The final exchange involved trading 200,000 acres of state land in the monument for 177,000 acres of federal lands holding rich hydrocarbon reserves in northeastern Utah.
The coal-bed methane land Utah received in Drunkard’s Wash has generated $1.5 million a month for more than a decade. Utah also received $50 million cash to consummate the exchange.
The Utah School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration established the Land Exchange Distribution Account to dole out the proceeds from these state-federal trades. At least 27 Utah counties have since received a total of $441 million.
If President Trump and Utah’s leaders are truly interested in solving problems rather than creating them, they should leave the Grand Staircase monument alone and, instead of attacking Bears Ears, take the opportunity to negotiate a similar land exchange for the state lands enclosed in that monument.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agK

 

Why Are Schools Still Peddling the Self-Esteem Hoax?
Social-emotional learning is rooted in ‘faux psychology’
Education Week commentary by Chester E. Finn Jr., distinguished senior fellow and president emeritus of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute

The longtime Democratic lawmaker John Vasconcellos is resting in peace since his death in 2014, but the educational disaster he laid on California in the 1980s is far from gone. Indeed, its likeness thrives today across a broad swath of America’s K-12 schooling, supported by foundation grants, federal funding, and both nonprofit and for-profit advocacy groups. Only its name has changed—from self-esteem to social-emotional learning.
If only the trend had stayed in the Golden State.
Younger readers may not remember Vasconcellos, the late assemblyman and state senator whom one obituary described as a “titan of the human-potential movement.” In 1986, Vasconcellos managed to persuade California’s conservative GOP Gov. George Deukmejian to support a blue-ribbon task force to promote self-esteem and personal and social responsibility. The ensuing hoopla loosed a tsunami of enthusiasm for building self-esteem as a solution for almost everything that ails an individual, including low achievement in school.
The task force’s final report, in 1990, ascribed (as I wrote at the time) “near-magical powers to self-esteem, characterizing it as ‘something that empowers us to live responsibly and that inoculates us against the lures of crime, violence, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, child abuse, chronic welfare dependency, and educational failure.’ ”
http://gousoe.uen.org/agw

 

9 Tips for Teaching Coding in the Classroom
Education Week commentary by Matthew Lynch, owner and editor of The Edvocate and The Tech Edvocate

As coding becomes an increasingly coveted skill, schools all over the world are deciding to teach their students how to code. This is a excellent idea, as having coding skills could pay huge dividends later on in life. However, pre-service teachers do not usually learn how to teach coding in their college teacher education programs. Many teachers have difficulty learning and then teaching coding skills to their students. In response, I decided to write an article that gives teachers some practical suggestions on how to teach coding in a classroom.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ag8

 

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NATIONAL NEWS
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Education Dept. Says It Will Scale Back Civil Rights Investigations
New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Department of Education is scaling back investigations into civil rights violations at the nation’s public schools and universities, easing off mandates imposed by the Obama administration that the new leadership says have bogged down the agency.
According to an internal memo issued by Candice E. Jackson, the acting head of the department’s office for civil rights, requirements that investigators broaden their inquiries to identify systemic issues and whole classes of victims will be scaled back. Also, regional offices will no longer be required to alert department officials in Washington of all highly sensitive complaints on issues such as the disproportionate disciplining of minority students and the mishandling of sexual assaults on college campuses.
The new directives are the first steps taken under Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to reshape her agency’s approach to civil rights enforcement, which was bolstered while President Barack Obama was in office. The efforts during Mr. Obama’s administration resulted in far­reaching investigations and resolutions that required schools and colleges to overhaul policies addressing a number of civil rights concerns.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ag7

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

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

 

DeVos Feedback on Education Plans Defies Federal Law’s Intent, State Leaders Say
Education Week

This week, three states—Delaware, Nevada, and New Mexico—received official feedback from the U.S. Department of Education on their plans for implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act. And, the feds went a lot further than many guessed they would, given U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ rhetoric about local control, and the Trump administration’s own decision to ask states only for bare-bones information about their plans.
Now the Council of Chief State School Officers is expressing concern that some of the Trump Team’s feedback to states would actually go beyond the scope of the law.
Chris Minnich, the executive director of CCSSO, said in a statement that it’s part of the federal role to ask for more information from states so that it can enforce “statutory or regulatory provisions.”
But he added, “States have built systems to improve educational opportunities for kids and the Department’s feedback is too prescriptive in certain areas, and goes beyond the intent of the law.
In particular, Minnich is concerned with Delaware’s feedback. The department said the state’s student achievement goals weren’t ambitious enough. ESSA requires all states to set “ambitious long-term goals” for student achievement, but the word “ambitious” isn’t defined in the law. And the feds are prohibited under the law from telling states what goals they can or can’t pick.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agf

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

http://gousoe.uen.org/agg (The 74)

 

Betsy DeVos’ Vision For American Education
(Boston) WBUR On Point

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is putting pen to paper. She wants to roll back protections for students caught up in for-profit school fraud and unfulfilled gainful employment promises. Scaled back protections of gay and transgender students. And like her boss, President Trump, wants deep cuts – as in billions of dollars to public school programs, in favor of school choice. This hour On Point: Betsy DeVos’ lesson plan for America’s schools.
Guests
Molly Hensley-Clancy, business reporter for Buzzfeed News, where she covers the intersection of business and education.
Carmel Martin, executive vice president for policy at the Center for American Progress, where her expertise includes domestic policy, education and higher education. Former assistant secretary for planning, evaluation, and policy development at the U.S. Department of Education.
Max Eden, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, where his expertise is in early education, school choice, and federal education policy.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agF (audio)

 

National education group recommends religious studies in K-12 public schools
Chicago Tribune

Educator John Camardella found himself fielding questions when he started teaching a world religions class at northwest suburban Prospect High School seven years ago. After all, Prospect is a public school, where a mixture of government and religion can provoke debate, criticism and even outrage.
“How can you teach religion in public schools? Is it illegal?” parents, staff and colleagues would ask him.
Yes, you can teach religion in public schools and, yes, it is legal when using an academic rather than a devotional approach, among other guidelines that can pass muster under the U.S. Constitution.
Nowadays, Camardella’s world religions class has grown in popularity, covering the history of religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and others.
“One of the greatest things we have to deal with in the United States is understanding religion,” Camardella said.
And in that vein, Camardella and other educators are hoping that a milestone this week — one that grew from efforts out of Prospect High School — will be a springboard for more public schools to teach religious studies.
The National Council for the Social Studies for the first time published guidelines on how to study religion “in ways that are constitutionally sound” and consistent with high academic standards. The guidelines are part of a larger framework that guides states and school districts on standards for what students should know in the social sciences, including history, civics, geography and economics.
The document published this week “recognizes religious studies as an essential part of the social studies curriculum,” according to the national council, and aids schools in developing curriculum for religious studies instruction.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agH

More information
http://gousoe.uen.org/agI (National Council for the Social Studies)

 

Gov. Abbott signs bill overhauling A-F school, district ratings
A bill overhauling a future system to grade Texas schools and districts on an A-F scale is now law.
Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott has signed a bill into law that will drastically change an upcoming system that grades Texas schools and districts on their performance.
The Texas Legislature decided to switch to an A-F grading system from a pass-fail system in 2015. But school superintendents and teachers protested that original plan, which they said relied too heavily on standardized tests.
During this year’s legislative session, House and Senate lawmakers struggled to come to a compromise. Under House Bill 22, which Abbott signed Wednesday, schools and districts will be graded A-F in three categories: student achievement, student progress and closing the gaps. The state will use standardized test scores to grade elementary and middle schools, and a range of additional factors, such as graduation rates, to grade high schools.
Schools that perform well will be able to petition Texas Education Commissioner Mike Morath to build their own accountability system, one that could make up a maximum of 50 percent of their overall grade.
Districts will get their first set of grades in August 2018, and individual schools will get theirs in August 2019.
http://gousoe.uen.org/ag9

 

Florida Gov. signs bill to shift students, money to charters
Associated Press

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a day after insisting he still hadn’t made up his mind, signed a sweeping education bill into law Thursday that steers more public money to privately run charter schools.
Flanked by House Republicans who were the driving force behind the measure, Scott approved the bill during a ceremony held at a private Catholic school in Orlando. The legislation also requires recess in elementary schools, tinkers with the state’s oft-criticized standardized testing system, and includes millions of dollars for teacher and principal bonuses as well as a program serving disabled children.
Scott defended his decision to sign the legislation, despite calls for vetoes from school superintendents and school boards. He maintained it would help schools since it also comes on the heels of an increase in overall school funding passed during last week’s special session.
“The historic funding we’ve secured with along with more choices for students will give every family in Florida the opportunity to receive a quality education no matter what zip code they live in,” Scott said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agc

http://gousoe.uen.org/agd (Miami Herald)

http://gousoe.uen.org/age (Orlando Sentinel)

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

 

States test worksite charter schools for company kids
Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. — A rarely applied experiment in education enabling companies to host taxpayer-funded charter schools for their employees’ children may be about to spread.
Florida is the only state bringing business-backed charter schools to work sites so far. The first launched in 1999, across the street from the Ryder truck rental company’s headquarters near Miami.
Louisiana and Connecticut laws also encourage these charters. Louisiana’s first school, partly financed by a hospital, is slated to open next year. And now North Carolina lawmakers are weighing a law copied from Louisiana’s.
Charter schools are free public schools, funded with tax dollars corresponding to student enrollment, but they operate independently and are exempt from most state regulations. Supporters say they encourage classroom innovation by creating competition with traditional public schools; critics say charters drain away resources.
Workplace charter schools have been slow to catch on because they don’t offer clear returns for company investment or benefits to employees who would enroll their children, said Samuel Abrams, director of the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education at Columbia University.
On-site preschools are embraced by workers because they can drop in during breaks and check on their young children, alleviating worries about the quality of care, Abrams said. But higher grades are less likely to welcome impromptu parental visits, he said, and parents must coordinate their work days with their child’s schedule.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agz

 

Indiana Christian school at center of LGBT voucher debate
Indianapolis Star

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Lighthouse Christian Academy promises to provide an exemplary education, a caring atmosphere and service to God — but not for everyone. The school says in its admissions brochure that it reserves the right to deny admission to LGBT students because their lifestyle is prohibited by the Bible.
As the Trump administration seeks to expand school choice nationwide, the academy was thrust into the national spotlight last month as part of a heated debate over whether schools that receive money from taxpayer-funded vouchers can discriminate against certain groups of students, such as LGBT children or students with disabilities.
Lighthouse officials say they’ve never turned anyone away based on sexual orientation. But at a congressional hearing, Senate Democrats cited it as an example of a school that discriminates against LGBT students. A Lighthouse brochure says the Bible does not allow homosexual, bisexual or “any form of sexual immorality” and if a student’s “home life” violates biblical rules, the school can deny them admission or expel them.
Pressed on the issue, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, an ardent supporter of school choice, told the Senate committee that discrimination is wrong, but that it was up to Congress and the courts, not her department, to intervene.
Founded in the early 1990s by a tight-knit group of families who wanted an affordable Christian education for their children, the academy is now an academically successful K-12 school serving 300 children in the Bloomington area. About half receive vouchers to help pay an annual tuition that ranges from $4,500 to $6,000 depending on a student’s grade.
This year, Lighthouse received over $665,000 in state funds to enroll 152 students.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agG

 

Audit: Alabama misreported graduation rate
Associated Press

MONTGOMERY, Ala.— A federal audit says Alabama misreported graduation rates by including students who earned an alternative diploma.
The U.S. Department of Education released an audit Friday concerning the state’s graduation rates. Inspectors found Alabama had included students who earned an alternative diploma, even though federal education officials instructed the state years earlier not to include them.
The report was released six months after the state Department of Education acknowledged problems with graduation rates.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agh

A copy of the report
http://gousoe.uen.org/agi (ED)

 

MDE: Testing company misgraded nearly 1,000 exams
Jackson (MS) Clarion-Ledger

A testing giant could be out millions of dollars and an unknown number of Mississippi seniors may have been awarded or denied diplomas in error, after nearly 1,000 exams were misgraded by NCS Pearson.
The state Board of Education moved to end the contract, issuing a one-year emergency procurement with Questar to administer the U.S. history, biology I and fifth- and eighth-grade science assessments for the 2017-18 school year.
Since 2009, Mississippi has spent more than $28 million with NCS Pearson.
More: Miss. accountability plan targets achievement gaps in state schools
State education officials said Friday that the error by the test-making vendor affected 951 U.S. history assessments.
Paula Vanderford, MDE director of research and development, said the test-making vendor used an incorrect conversion table when grading the assessments.
“By them using the incorrect table, it gave some students a slightly higher score than they should have received, others a slightly lower score than they should have received,” Vanderford said.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agC

 

Rethinking the parent-teacher conference: Meeting more often, working as a team
Washington Post

The conferences most parents had with their children’s teachers this school year probably went something like this: They occurred twice, in the fall and spring. Many parents failed to show up. Those who did asked whether their children were behaving and passing. After 15 minutes, the meeting was over.
But there’s a growing movement in the nation’s schools to overhaul parent-teacher conferences.
In hundreds of schools in the District and elsewhere, these conferences look drastically different as educators seek to build stronger relationships with parents and equip families with tools to reinforce classroom concepts at home. Teachers and parents meet in a large group setting at least three times a year, sometimes with students present. They discuss how students are performing on key measures such as reading comprehension and mastery of math concepts. Parents leave the meetings with games and other activities they can use at home to reinforce classroom learning.
“The traditional parent-teacher conference is isolationist,” said Maria Paredes, a former teacher who created a model in 2012 known as Academic Parent-Teacher Teams, or APTT. “It is me and the teacher, maybe my child, and I don’t hear about anyone else in the class.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/agu

 

Dr. Dre to donate $10 million for Compton High School’s new performing arts center
Los Angeles Times

Dr. Dre has pledged to donate $10 million to help build a performing arts complex at the new Compton High School, the Compton Unified School District told The Times on Thursday.
“My goal is to provide kids with the kind of tools and learning they deserve,” Dre said in a statement to The Times. “The performing arts center will be a place for young people to be creative in a way that will help further their education and positively define their future.”
The complex will provide students with state-of-the-art equipment and technology, including digital media production facilities and a 1,200-seat theater.
The performing arts center will also be a resource for the Compton community at large, officials say.
The hip-hop mogul and Compton native will be directly involved in raising the remaining funds needed to complete the center, which is expected to break ground by 2020.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agE

 

‘Fantasticks’ scene prompts walkout, incites condemnation
Laramie (WY) Boomerang

Native American high school students — attending a weeklong summer institute at the University of Wyoming that aims to give them a first taste of college — walked out of the Department of Theater and Dance’s production of “The Fantasticks” on Thursday during intermission after taking offense at the play’s content.
The production — first performed in 1960 — contains a scene in which characters dress up as and villainize Native Americans. Attendees said they were also shocked at the casual use of the word “rape” in the play’s dialogue.
The walkout prompted a response from UW’s United Multicultural Council, hasty scene edits before the next performance and a boycott of the play by another summer camp. Upward Bound — a summer camp aimed at recruiting low income and first generation students to UW — will no longer be attending the Saturday performance its participants were previously scheduled to attend.
http://gousoe.uen.org/agj

 

Teacher’s photo showing LGBT pride next to Trump goes viral
Associated Press

Rhode Island’s Teacher of the Year is drawing attention for his display of LGBT pride in a photo-op with President Donald Trump.
The photo from Nikos Giannopoulos’ visit to the Oval Office in April shows the teacher wearing a rainbow pin on his suit jacket and he is casually waving a lacey black fan alongside Trump, who is smiling and seated at his desk, and a standing first lady.
Giannopoulos posted the photo to his Facebook page on Thursday. By Friday afternoon it had been shared thousands of times on social media.
His caption for the photo included three rainbow emojis and said “Rhode Island Teacher of the Year 2017 meets the 45th President of the United States. That’s all.”
http://gousoe.uen.org/agA

http://gousoe.uen.org/agB (Providence [RI] Journal)

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

 

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

UEN News
http://www.uen.org

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

Utah State Charter School Board meeting
9:30 a.m., Basement West
http://schools.utah.gov/charterschools/State-Board.aspx

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

Government Operations Interim Committee meeting
8:30 a.m., 450 State Capitol
https://le.utah.gov/Interim/2017/html/00002648.htm

Natural Resources, Agriculture, and Environment Interim Committee meeting
1:15 p.m., 30 House Building
https://le.utah.gov/Interim/2017/html/00002679.htm

Revenue and Taxation Interim Committee
1:15 p.m., 445 State Capitol
https://le.utah.gov/Interim/2017/html/00002691.htm

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

August 11:

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

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