Education News Roundup: June 26, 2017

Today’s Top Picks:

Cache School District is holding on to acreage for future schools. (LHJ)

Cache Supt. Schofield discusses his district. (CVD)

There is a petition circulating to save Kairos Academy. (DN)

The U.S. Supreme Court sides with a Missouri church in a case that could have implications for school vouchers. (Ed Week)
and (DN)
and (WaPo)
and (WSJ)
and (NPR)
and (Atlantic)
and (Fox)
and (Reuters)
and (AP)
or a copy of the ruling (Supreme Court)

There are also a couple of new studies out on how well students perform in voucher schools. (WaPo)
and (Indianapolis Star)
and (UPR)
or a copy of the Louisiana study (Education Research Alliance for New Orleans)



Cache School District has plenty of land in waiting

A conversation with the Superintendent: Building and programming updates in the Logan City School District

More than 1,400 sign online petition urging reprieve for charter school for teen moms

‘Dry snow’ a fix for wildfires? Utah teen’s science project explores possibilities

Lawmakers labor to clean up state education code with 90-plus more bills in pipeline

South Jordan students perform homemade opera

Census: Utah’s Asian and multiracial populations increasing

Murray High celebrates centennial milestone

‘Sacred’ community symbol lights up community on special occasions

Alta High grad remembered for legacy of kindness, friendship

These summer programs for kids teach STEM with hands-on fun

Young girls becoming experienced coders


Get ready for Utah, and America, to become more diverse

Off the Charter

‘Thank you for not giving up on me’

SITLA should see that money isn’t everything

Textbooks in the digital world

Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten?
Redshirting may do more harm than good


Supreme Court Sides With Church in Case With Implications for School Vouchers

School voucher recipients first lose academic ground, later catch up to peers, studies find

Tentacles of teacher shortage stretch far and near, as educators work on solutions

Taxpayers could pay to attract teachers. But is California really running out of them?

Science Teachers Warn Trump Team Against ‘Poor Policy Choice’

Schools Let Students Take Laptops Home In Hopes Of Curbing ‘Summer Slide’

Out of High School, Into Real Life
This graduation season, The New York Times talked with seniors across the country who are not headed to college about their plans, hopes and dreams.

New Orleans school graduation rate slides nearly 6 points in five years; officials eye solutions as progress plateaus

Poll: Trump Voters Oppose His Education Agenda
Nearly half of people who said they voted for the president oppose his education agenda.

Colorado teachers, administrators train to take offensive against active shooter

A Battle Over Prayer in Schools Tests Canada’s Multiculturalism

Rihanna Asked for Justin Trudeau’s Education Funding on Twitter. Here’s What He Said.

Tanzania’s ban on pregnant girls in school violates basic rights: campaigners



Cache School District has plenty of land in waiting

Now, they are vacant lots, mowed occasionally to keep the weeds down. But in a few years or decades, they could become classrooms.
Cache County School District owns approximately 105 acres of land not currently used for schools. That acreage is divided among seven lots in Wellsville, Hyrum, Hyde Park and Newton. CCSD bought most of the plots when voters approved a $60 million bond in 2004 to build three new elementary schools.
CCSD Superintendent Steve Norton said the building and bond committee back then advised the school district to be proactive and start buying land. About $3.5 million of that bond was devoted to land purchases to avoid going through another bond process when the need arose for new schools.
“We ought to be thinking in the future and purchase some land because land value just kept going up,” Norton said of the strategy.
Business Administrator Dale Hansen said the idea to buy land was tied to statewide enrollment projections that predicted rapid population growth. He said the growth was coming so fast that they figured before they could secure funding and design and build a new school, it would be too late. (LHJ)


A conversation with the Superintendent: Building and programming updates in the Logan City School District

LOGAN – Dr. Frank Schofield has just finished his second school year as the superintendent of the Logan City School District. His career in education began at Logan High School, where he was a Spanish and ESL social studies teacher. He was then the principal of Wilson Elementary before spending seven years in the Canyons School District in Sandy as an elementary and middle school administrator. Schofield says he’s enjoyed his return to Cache Valley, and he’s excited about the many opportunities afforded to the district’s 6,000 students. (CVD)


More than 1,400 sign online petition urging reprieve for charter school for teen moms

SALT LAKE CITY – More than 1,400 people have signed an online petition urging a reprieve for Kairos Academy, a public charter school that serves teen moms and pregnant teens. The Utah State Charter School Board voted on June 20 to terminate its charter.
The school has until July 5 to request a hearing over the board’s decision, which school board members said was related to concerns about low enrollment and poor academic outcomes for students.
The petition says, in part, that “Kairos Academy has made every effort to improve both academic and social opportunities for students. Shutting down Kairos is not the answer. Please sign this petition to show support for a more individualized, compassionate education for students that really need it.”
Thus far, the charter school board has not been contacted by representatives of the school, said executive director Jennifer Lambert. A request for a hearing must be submitted in writing. (DN)


‘Dry snow’ a fix for wildfires? Utah teen’s science project explores possibilities

STANSBURY PARK, Tooele County – Like a lot of young teen boys, Gavin Norman is fascinated by fire.
Not necessarily setting things on fire but understanding the science of fire and then coming up with an environmentally friendly means to extinguish it.
Gavin’s exploration began with lessons learned in his science class at Clarke N. Johnsen Junior High School in Tooele. It was also motivated by his childhood experiences with asthma and growing up in a state prone to wildfires.
“The fires would make me cough and cough,” Gavin said during an interview at his home.
As organic material burns, the carbon released combines with oxygen, Gavin said.
“There’s also hydrogen in the organic compound so you get water in the smoke. You always get CO2 (carbon dioxide) and water, and sometimes little byproducts. You always end up with CO2,” he explained. CO2 extinguishes fires because it deprives fires of oxygen.
Gavin, 13, sought to find a compact form of carbon dioxide to apply to a fire to help extinguish it quickly.
“Luckily for me, this material I’m seeking for already exists – dry ice. I decided to do an experiment to see, under what circumstances, dry ice would put out a fire,” he says in a video. Dry ice is frozen carbon dioxide.
Not only did it work, his innovation won top honors for Utah in the 10th annual Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, a nationwide science competition for students in the fifth through eighth grades. (DN)


Lawmakers labor to clean up state education code with 90-plus more bills in pipeline

SALT LAKE CITY – Even as Utah lawmakers labor to tidy up the section of the Utah code on education, legislators have filed more than 90 bills for consideration in the 2018 legislative session, and it’s only June.
One lawmaker is asking whether it’s time for a moratorium on filing new bills until the Utah Legislature’s Education Interim Committee completes recodification of the state education code.
Titles 53A, 53B, 53C and 53D of the Utah Code now include 65 chapters of education statutes covering issues as diverse as compulsory education requirements in public education, college tuition waivers and establishment of state aboreta.
Recodification of the section is akin to cleaning out a gargantuan hall closet, except that the job will be tackled by legislative staff guided by a committee of 19 lawmakers and with suggestions from education community stakeholders. (DN via KSL)


South Jordan students perform homemade opera

SOUTH JORDAN – Seven-year-old Pamela Lloyd was ecstatic when she moved from Arizona to South Jordan to attend third grade, especially after she found out her South Jordan Elementary School class would be writing, producing and performing an opera.
“I love acting and singing. It’s like my favorite thing to do when I have spare time,” she said.
Pamela played the part of a vampire in her class production of “The Invasion,” which her third-grade class spent the entire school year working on and performed Thursday.
The class told the story of zombies, mummies, humans, vampires, aliens and robots overcoming their differences and working together through songs, colorful hand-crafted backdrops and handmade costumes.
The production was part of a Logan-based program called Opera by Children. The program, which South Jordan Elementary teachers Scott Knight and Carolyn Richards brought to their school, has students work with their teacher to write a musical script, which is then sent to a music specialist in Logan. (DN via KSL)


Census: Utah’s Asian and multiracial populations increasing

SALT LAKE CITY – New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows Utah is experiencing a growing wave of diversity and Asian and multiracial population are growing faster than others.
The state’s Asian and multiracial populations both grew by 6 percent between 2015 and 2016 – faster than any other racial or ethnic group, according to the data released Thursday.
More than 1 in 5 Utah residents is now a racial or ethnic minority, including more than 1 in 4 under the age of 18, the census bureau said.
“These trends are cumulative and ongoing and irreversible,” said Pam Perlich, director of demographic research at the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah. “The great wave of diversity that is our youth will become the great wave of diversity that is our adults, and then our old folks. It’s the new Utah.”
The growth of the Asian community in Utah is due mostly to an influx of often highly educated immigrants from Asia, Perlich said. (AP) (AP via OSE) (AP via LHJ) (AP via MUR)


Murray High celebrates centennial milestone

Back in the 1940s, Barbara and Vere McHenry were high school sweethearts.
“I got myself a real winner,” she said about the man who is still by her side and helped celebrate Murray High School’s centennial at a reception for former students, teachers and administrators.
Her husband, who was junior class president before becoming student body president in 1946, played basketball and football besides being the class valedictorian.
The McHenrys were attending one of several events planned this spring for Murray High’s centennial. A dance festival involving students from all the Murray School District schools as well as a centennial ball at the capitol rounded out the celebratory activities. (Murray Journal)


‘Sacred’ community symbol lights up community on special occasions

BEAVER – To some, it’s just a letter on a hillside.
To those who live in and love the city of Beaver, it is an almost sacred symbol of the high school community that makes them more than residents of the central Utah county. It reminds neighbors, friends and families of all they share in a simple, silent statement.
“The ‘B’ up on our hill, our community takes a lot of pride in it,” said Beaver High principal Brady Fails. “It’s a very important landmark to the people of our area.”
And that is why Fails has been supportive of efforts to light the ‘B’ on special occasions like homecoming and graduation as well as on holidays like July 4, Memorial Day and Veterans Day. (DN)


Alta High grad remembered for legacy of kindness, friendship

SANDY, Utah — Can you say you keep in touch, I mean really keep in touch, with everyone you were friends with in high school?
Life happens and the more time that passes, the more difficult it can be.
But for a 1999 graduate of Alta High School, those years and the friendships she made were the highlight of her life.
And now, after her sudden passing, her classmates are remembering the impact she made on their lives simply by being their friend. (KSTU)


These summer programs for kids teach STEM with hands-on fun

RIVERTON – Gabriel Rethlake’s dimples show as he demonstrates how turning the wheels on the car he’s just built will provide tension to make it move. The wheels – game chips, actually – are mounted on thin skewers that serve as axles, attached to the decorated mousetrap that is the car’s body.
When the spring is flipped, if the string’s wound right, the car will surge forward a few inches or perhaps even a foot, the 12-year-old explains happily.
Across the room, Livia Anderson stares at what seems to be five drinking straws glued in a fan shape onto a popsicle stick. Each straw has small holes cut out in several spots and she’s tying string through the top one and trying to thread it all the way through to the bottom.
It’s not as easy as it looks, and the instructor, April Stocks, commiserates when the thread pulls loose. “Science is all trial and error, right?” said Stocks, and Livia, 12, nods solemnly.
Soon, though, she’s brandishing what resembles a somewhat arthritic human hand, the knuckles bending at odd angles as she pulls the strings. “Gravity helped me this time,” she proclaims, and her friend Kameryn Grose, also 12, nods happily at her as she threads her own straw hand.
The youths are part of summer STEM camps through the Salt Lake County Library system in partnership with Utah State University, which has provided instructors like Stocks. Over the course of the summer, the free sessions at different library branches will take kids to Mars, help them explore robotics and the human body and engage them in other hands-on activities. (DN)


Young girls becoming experienced coders

“Some people don’t realize how much coding affects our lives.”
This quote could be attributed to any number of local tech business leaders, but it was actually said Thursday by Marissa Purdy, an 11-year-old participating in the Provo Coding Camp for Girls. A veteran at the Coding Camp, she is becoming an expert on the need for coding skills. held its third annual girls-only coding camp this week, and Marissa was one of five girls who have been participants since the beginning. She and two other veteran campers, nine-year-old Kinsey Call and 11-year-old Megan Prows, all say the camp – open only to employee’s female relatives – has been an important highlight of their summers. (PDH)



Get ready for Utah, and America, to become more diverse
Salt Lake Tribune editorial

The United States is growing more diverse, and forecasts for Utah match changes seen across the country. Minorities now account for 21 percent of Utah’s population, compared with 19 percent in 2010.
In short, minority populations are growing faster than white populations, prompting local demographer Pam Perlich to label these differences as “the new Utah.”
“Since 2010, Utah’s minority population grew by 20.3 percent, while the white population increased by a much smaller 8 percent.” That is a distinct difference. Perlich continued, “These trends are cumulative, ongoing and irreversible.”
And just to be clear, these rising numbers are the product of births, not immigration.


Off the Charter
Salt Lake City Weekly commentary by columnist Katharine Biele

Today’s political climate is hot or cold, black or white, depending on how you like your platitudes. In reality, things are messy. Take charter schools, for instance. A recent Salt Lake Tribune story highlighted the ugly underbelly of charters-specifically, mini-charter dynasty American Preparatory Academy. There are six mini-charters among the 119 charters in Utah, and all are run by Carolyn Sharette, executive director of the management company that contracts with the school. Oh, she is also the sister of Charter School Board Chairman Howard Headlee-the way-connected president of Utah Bankers Association. They pretty much get what they want. This time it’s land, and the question is on the power of eminent domain. The school’s Draper neighbors are having a fit. State school board member Carol Lear is at least skeptical: “Bullying neighbors and property owners seems outside of that initial mission.” Or is it?


‘Thank you for not giving up on me’
Deseret News commentary by columnist Lee Benson

SPRINGVILLE – She stopped answering her phone.
When 17-year-old Michael Bravo heard that deafening shout for distress – and knew he wasn’t in a position to do anything about it on his own – he understood immediately what he had to do.
He called in the cavalry.
He was aware of the risks. His friend might be mad at him – her confidant – for going public with her problem. He might annoy the authorities – and he did, causing one dispatcher to yell at him for repeatedly calling back for updates.
But this was very possibly a life and death decision.
So he punched out 911 on his phone.
And saved a life.
As much as kids look at their phones these days, Michael didn’t look at his for several hours on a day two months ago in late April. First, he sat in a classroom after school and took a makeup math test; after that he hurried to the soccer field to play in a match for the Springville High School soccer team.
It was already getting toward evening when he came out of the game in the second half and sat down on the bench. It was then he saw all the missed calls. A close friend, who lived in the Salt Lake Valley, had just broken up with her boyfriend and had taken the train to Provo, hoping to talk.


SITLA should see that money isn’t everything
Salt Lake Tribune letter from Lorraine Miller

Recently the citizens of Torrey and Teasdale dodged a big bullet – a potential gravel pit in the center of their communities. The land, 120 acres, is owned by SITLA, the School and Institutional Trust Land Administration. SITLA is a state agency tasked with managing millions of acres scattered throughout Utah, to sell or lease, for the financial benefit of Utah public schools.
During the zoning and permitting process for the gravel pit, a strange truth came to light. As a state agency, SITLA is exempt from any zoning regulations. You may have SITLA land near you and, if so, they can do anything they want with that land and you will have no opportunity to voice your objection.
Members of the community filed a lawsuit against the Wayne County Council and the construction company over details in the permitting process but we lost. In the meantime, SITLA determined it could make more money by selling the land than it could from the gravel pit lease. So it decided to put the land up for auction. Hopefully, someone with a kinder use of the land will prevail.


Textbooks in the digital world
(Cambridge, MA) The Conversation op-ed by Kui Xie, Cyphert, Director of The Research Laboratory for Digital Learning, The Ohio State University, and Nicole Luthy, Director of Outreach and Engagement in the Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement, The Ohio State University

For decades, textbooks were seen as the foundation for instruction in American schools. These discipline-specific tomes were a fundamental part of the educational infrastructure, assigned to students for each subject and carried in heavy backpacks every day – from home to school and back again.
The experience of students is much different today.
As a scholar of learning technologies and a director for outreach and engagement at Ohio State’s College of Education and Human Ecology, we’ve seen how technological advances and an increase in digital curriculum materials have hastened the move away from textbooks.
Does all of this technology spell the end of traditional textbooks? And if so, is that actually a good thing for students and teachers?


Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten?
Redshirting may do more harm than good
Education Next analysis by Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, professor of education and social policy at Northwestern University, and Stephanie Howard Larson, director of Rose Hall Montessori School in Wilmette, Illinois

In his 2008 blockbuster, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell makes the case that a person’s age relative to his or her cohort is a key predictor of success. That is, the older you are in relation to your peers, the more likely you are to perform at an elite level in sports, to excel in school, and even to attend college. We see this principle applied in college athletics when coaches “redshirt” freshman athletes, allowing them to practice with the team but not play in official games. Redshirting gives younger athletes an additional year to develop skills and extends their playing eligibility, since colleges allow these freshmen five years to attend and compete.
On the other end of the student age spectrum, many parents of preschoolers have bought into this concept, choosing to delay their child’s entry into kindergarten for a year-a practice known as academic redshirting. Their justifications parallel those of college coaches: these parents believe that their children need that extra year to develop the necessary skills and maturity to succeed in kindergarten. A redshirted child is a year older at kindergarten entry and thus becomes one of the oldest in his class and remains so throughout his school years, enjoying the presumed advantages of age.
Preschools and elementary schools often recommend redshirting, asserting that it bestows the “gift of extra time,” but parents should take such advice with a grain of salt. After all, a preschool stands to gain financially from the practice, since the school will likely capture another year’s tuition. And elementary schools may also have mixed motives: older children are easier to teach and they perform at higher levels, just by virtue of being older. In other words, older children make the school’s job a little bit easier.
How should parents decide whether they should enroll their child in kindergarten when he is first eligible or hold him back for a year? In this article, we draw upon our combined experience-Schanzenbach as an education researcher and Larson as a preschool director-to provide some practical, evidence-based advice. Notably, we find that Larson’s take on the issue, formed by 14 years of experience with preschoolers and their parents, accords perfectly with Schanzenbach’s conclusions based on academic studies: redshirting is generally not worth it.



Supreme Court Sides With Church in Case With Implications for School Vouchers
Education Week

Washington — The state of Missouri violated religious protections in the U.S. Constitution when it denied a church a grant to use shredded scrap-tire material to improve its preschool playground, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 7-2 decision Monday.
The case of Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Mo. v. Comer (No. 15-577) has been closely followed by groups on both sides of the school choice debate.
The far-reaching question underlying the case is whether state constitutional provisions that strictly bar government aid to religion violate religious freedom protections in the First Amendment. Those state-level measures are considered among the last legal barriers to expanding vouchers and tax credits for use at private religious schools.
Missouri is one of 39 states with such “Blaine amendments” in their state constitutions. The provisions are named for James G. Blaine, the 19th-century congressman who led an unsuccessful 1876 effort to amend the U.S. Constitution to prohibit public funding of religious schools at a time when the growing Roman Catholic population was pressing for government funding for parochial schools.
In an opinion written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., the court reversed an earlier ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, in St. Louis, that had upheld Missouri’s denial of the grant. (DN) (WaPo) (WSJ) $ (NPR) (Atlantic) (Fox) (Reuters) (AP)

A copy of the ruling (Supreme Court)


School voucher recipients first lose academic ground, later catch up to peers, studies find
Washington Post

Students who received publicly funded vouchers in Louisiana and Indiana appeared to lose significant academic ground in the first two years after switching to private school and then catch up to their public-school counterparts in subsequent years, according to two new studies made public Monday.
The new studies do not show that vouchers led to significantly stronger math and reading performance overall, even as President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos promise to pour billions into expanding vouchers nationwide.
Vouchers are direct government payments that families use as scholarships to private schools, and they are among the most bitterly contested policies in education.
Combatants on both sides of that fight could claim a measure of validation from the new research: Advocates of school choice who argue that it isn’t fair to judge voucher programs based on test results from a student’s first year in private school, given that it takes children time to adjust to a new environment, and critics who say vouchers drain funds from public schools without improving student achievement. (Indianapolis Star) (UPR)

A copy of the Louisiana study (Education Research Alliance for New Orleans)


Tentacles of teacher shortage stretch far and near, as educators work on solutions
Colorado Springs (CO) Gazette

Schools used to set their sights on spring hiring to fill teacher openings for the next school year.
Not anymore.
“It’s hiring season all year long,” said Peter Hilts, chief education officer in Falcon School District 49.
The nationwide teacher shortage has seeped into Colorado and is creeping toward a crisis.
The state has an “urgent need” to develop teachers, said Kim Hunter Reed, executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education.
“It’s a challenge across the country – we do not have enough interest in teacher preparation programs,” she said during a recent presentation. “We have a decline in enrollment and a decline in retention of teachers teaching in our schools.”
About 3,000 to 3,500 openings need to be filled for the coming school year across Colorado’s 178 public school districts, according to the CDHE.
And nearly 30 percent of educators are nearing retirement age, the agency reports.
“We are definitely feeling it,” said Valerie Martin Conley, dean of the College of Education at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, one of 19 state-approved teacher preparation programs in the state.
“It’s important to continue to prioritize education for our state leaders, across all levels, and that we guard against pitting early childhood, K-12 and post-secondary education against each other for a scramble for finite resources.”
Legislation Gov. John Hickenlooper signed in May requires the Colorado Department of Higher Education and the Colorado Department of Education to jointly develop an action plan to resolve the state’s educator shortage.
A series of statewide town hall meetings began last week.


Taxpayers could pay to attract teachers. But is California really running out of them?
Sacramento (CA) Bee

Should taxpayers underwrite special benefits to attract new teachers, such as affordable housing, expanded maternity leave and tax breaks?
California lawmakers have put forward a raft of proposals offering extra perks for teachers this session, prompted by what supporters say is an urgent need to do more to encourage people to get into the profession or stay there.
“Due to the extreme shortage of teachers in the state, many school districts must seek opportunities to attract qualified teachers,” Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, said of his bill meant to increase the supply of affordable housing for teachers.
Available data, though, doesn’t back up such dire assessments of the state’s overall teacher supply.
Data shows that, as state finances have improved, so have the number of teachers in public schools.
California had 332,640 teachers as it climbed out of recession during the 2010 school year. By 2015-16, the state had 352,000 teachers in 2015-16.
The number of public school students, meanwhile, has barely changed from several years ago, with enrollment of 6.22 million in 2010-11 to 6.23 million in 2016-17.
California, meanwhile, lacks a database to track teachers and identify looming workforce challenges. Lawmakers authorized such a system in 2006, and the state secured $6 million in federal funding. Gov. Jerry Brown, though, canceled the project in 2011-12 to “avoid the development of a costly technology program that is not critical,” the Legislative Analyst’s Office wrote.
In an extensive look at the state’s teacher workforce needs, the analyst questioned claims of teacher shortages. In reality, it said, the teacher supply picture is complicated.


Science Teachers Warn Trump Team Against ‘Poor Policy Choice’
Education Week

A nationwide group representing science teachers and a science education coalition have written to the U.S. Department of Education warning that excluding science as a top priority in new state education plans would be a mistake.
In a letter sent Thursday to Jason Botel, the department’s acting assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, the National Science Teachers Association and the STEM Education Coalition said that the department’s recent feedback on states’ plans for the Every Student Succeeds Act improperly discourages states from using science in school accountability systems.
Last week, the department asked three states (Delaware, Nevada, and New Mexico) for additional information about their ESSA plans.
Department officials said that while Delaware’s plan includes science as an academic indicator, it appears to include only reading and math as indicators. That’s a wrong-headed approach, the science teachers group told Botel, and also contradicts statements made by Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and President Donald Trump about the importance of science.


Schools Let Students Take Laptops Home In Hopes Of Curbing ‘Summer Slide’

When principal Kelli Hoffman ran into her students at a McDonald’s during summer break, she knew they weren’t there for the McNuggets.
The two rising eighth-graders at French Middle School had invested in a Coke to unlock a bigger prize: free Wi-Fi. They sat logged into their school-provided Chromebooks studying exercise ideas from their sports coaches.
Hoffman’s district, Topeka Public Schools in Kansas, is one of a rising number of systems that are letting students take their school-issued devices home over the summer months.
“It has opened up a huge educational resource to our kids who may not have access otherwise,” Hoffman said.
Carrie Grant, who graduated this year from the Lammersville Unified School District in California, said having a device last summer made her life easier. Without the school computer, she wouldn’t have had her own laptop to work on.
She used it to stay connected with friends through her school’s Google Chat system and watched Netflix, but also saved time for academics.
“Because I took summer school it was easier for me to get classes done than it was before, and I used it to apply for scholarships,” said Grant, who is now choosing between colleges in Texas and Georgia.


Out of High School, Into Real Life
This graduation season, The New York Times talked with seniors across the country who are not headed to college about their plans, hopes and dreams.
New York Times

The high school gym swirled with blueandwhite graduation gowns and glittering dreams. Some seniors had won university scholarships. Others were counting on springboarding from community college to a fouryear degree.
But for a good number of the 18yearolds here and at graduations across the country, there was no golden ticket to higher education. This was it for teachers and books: a hardwon diploma, a handshake from the principal, a walk offstage and into real life.
What kind of American dream lies ahead?
Nearly all make this calculation well aware that in a fastchanging economy, college is the surest shot at a betterpaying job.
Some 30 percent of this year’s three million graduating seniors will not go straight to college, a number that is ticking up as an improving economy draws more graduates directly to work. They go to Walmarts and to welding shops, restaurants, salons, hospitals and construction sites, to start careers on the tougher side of the vast economic and cultural divide that is demarcated by a college degree
Some simply lack the money for college. Some need to help their families or want to save up for a first apartment. Some just want to build things with their hands.
And some are so wary of going into debt that they choose instead to work to save up for college sometime down the road. But it is a hard road at $10 an hour – and one that educators say too often ends in their college dreams slowly fading.
Some – mostly boys, researchers say – will land highpaying jobs as welders, electricians, plumbers or airconditioning technicians. But the number of higherskilled jobs attainable with a high school diploma is eroding over the long term, replaced by lowskilled work, despite President Trump’s promises to champion bluecollar workers.
This graduation season, The New York Times visited schools in rural Idaho, an industrial city in Indiana and California’s suburban Inland Empire to talk with seniors and their parents about their plans, hopes and dreams – and their decisions not to continue their education.


New Orleans school graduation rate slides nearly 6 points in five years; officials eye solutions as progress plateaus
Baton Rouge (LA) Advocate

In recent years, the officials in charge of public education in New Orleans have been able to claim steady progress, if not outright victory. Their position has been that the public school system, if not fixed, at least is improving.
But that makes the latest news on high school graduation rates all the more worrying. The citywide graduation rate actually declined a few points this year, and it’s been hovering below a previous high-water mark for half a decade.
At 72 percent, the proportion of New Orleans high school students who manage to graduate on time is well below the national average, lags the state average and is considered unacceptable by top education leaders.
It also raises big questions about the city’s experiment with independent charter schools, which have largely taken over public education in Orleans Parish since Hurricane Katrina.
The graduation rate is still 18 percentage points higher than in the year before the 2005 storm, but schools now face the possibility that they’ve hit a plateau and need to rethink how to keep making progress.


Poll: Trump Voters Oppose His Education Agenda
Nearly half of people who said they voted for the president oppose his education agenda.
U.S. News & World Report

Nearly half of those who voted for President Donald Trump oppose his education agenda, according to a new poll, and many said they would likely not vote to reelect their congressional representatives should they support it.
Nearly three-quarters, or 74 percent, of all respondents interviewed for the poll oppose the education cuts included in the president’s budget request, which proposed slashing funding by more than $9 billion, or by 13.4 percent, and 54 percent of respondents “strongly” oppose it.
In addition, nearly half, or 48 percent, of people who self-identified as having voted for the president oppose his education agenda.


Colorado teachers, administrators train to take offensive against active shooter
Denver Post

If someone begins shooting at the students or staff at Fleming K-12 School in northeast Colorado, football coach and bus driver Scott Muller wants to be ready to shoot back.
“Something like this is nothing you want to do,” Muller said during a break from the active-shooter training course he took this week. “But anybody who wants to protect kids, they will take something like this on.”
After all, said Muller, it’s unlikely help would be nearby if someone attacked Fleming School, about 20 miles east of Sterling. The local sheriff told him “they are so far out they won’t be able to respond in time to do much. It will be pretty much left up to someone at the school to do something.”
Muller is among 17 teachers and administrators from five mostly rural counties who received intensive training this week on how to prevent – or at least minimize – a mass shooting at their schools, many of which are in far-flung areas where it would take law enforcement up to 30 minutes to respond.
Each participant already has a concealed handgun permit and is approved as a school security officer. As many as 20 Colorado school districts have designated teachers, administrators and other personnel as armed security.


A Battle Over Prayer in Schools Tests Canada’s Multiculturalism
New York Times

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario – The troubles began over sermons.
For nearly two decades, Muslim students in the Peel School District, outside Toronto, had been allowed to pray independently on Fridays, part of a policy in many Canadian provinces to accommodate religious beliefs in public schools.
Last fall, the school board decided to standardize the prayer sessions and offer six preapproved sermons that the children could recite, rather than let them use their own.
Muslim students protested, saying the move violated their right to free speech, and the board reversed itself, allowing the children to write their own sermons.
But the dispute unleashed a storm of protest that continued through this spring.
Demonstrators are picketing school board meetings, arguments are erupting on social media about whether religious accommodation is tantamount to special treatment, and there is a petition drive to abolish prayer in the public schools. In April, a local imam who supported the board received a death threat. The local police now guard the school board’s meetings.
The turmoil is one reflection of how Canada’s growing diversity is encountering powerful headwinds, especially in places with significant Muslim populations.


Rihanna Asked for Justin Trudeau’s Education Funding on Twitter. Here’s What He Said.

While most civically-minded citizens can best make their voices heard by calling up their local elected officials, some larger-than-life individuals have more leverage – and can go straight to the top ranks of power. That’s certainly the case for singer, fashion icon, and lauded humanitarian Rihanna, who is reaching out to world leaders by sending them personal Twitter messages. Her goal? See if they would commit to funding education in support of the Global Partnership for Education.
Sending tweets to France’s Emmanuel Macron, Germany’s Steffen Siebert, Argentina’s Mauricio Macri, and Canada’s Justin Trudeau, Rihanna’s missives did not simply disappear into the void. The ever-popular Prime Minister Trudeau even took the time to respond directly to her plea.
“Will you recommit Canada to #FundEducation?” she asked. To which he replied: “We’ve got your back!” He also noted that girls’ education is a part of Canada’s “feminist international development policy.” (Teen Vogue)


Tanzania’s ban on pregnant girls in school violates basic rights: campaigners

DAR ES SALAAM – Campaigners on Monday criticized Tanzania’s ban on pregnant girls and teenage mothers in state schools, saying the measure fuels stigma against girls and victims of sexual violence.
Addressing a rally in Tanzania’s coast region last week, President John Magufuli said female students who become mothers would “never” be allowed back in school – reaffirming a ban dating back to the 1960s.
“As long as I am president … no pregnant student will be allowed to return to school,” he said.
“We cannot allow this immoral behavior to permeate our primary and secondary schools.”
Denying pregnant girls and new mothers access to education is a violation of their rights, said Equality Now, an international charity defending girls’ rights.



USBE Calendar

UEN News

June 27:

Utah Tax Review Commission meeting
2 p.m., 445 State Capitol

July 13:

Utah State Board of Education committee meetings
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

July 14:

Utah State Board of Education meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

July 25:

Executive Appropriations Committee meeting
2 p.m., 445 State Capitol

July 26:

Public Education Appropriations Subcommittee meeting
8:30 a.m., 445 State Capitol

August 11:

Utah State Charter School Board meeting
250 E 500 South, Salt Lake City

August 23:

Education Interim Committee meeting
8:30 a.m., 445 State Capitol

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